Monday, April 30, 2018


Why are foreign governments lining up to throw money at Trump's DC hotel? I think we know . . .

Donald Jr. DID maintain a back channel to Russia

More Russians: the colorful scoundrels who populate Trump's universe  

[NB: Why all the Russians, for someone who insists, "I have no ties with Russia"?] 

As expected, Trump is trying to rally his base by warning that a Democratic win in the Fall could mean his impeachment. Dems, don't play into this!
“I don’t think we should be talking about impeachment. I’ve been very clear right from the start,” Pelosi said  . . .“On the political side, I think it’s a gift to the Republicans. We want to talk about what they’re doing to undermine working families in our country and what we are doing to increase their payrolls and lower their costs.” . . . “Impeachment is a very serious matter,” she said. “I don’t think we have the information to go to that place, and I would discourage any discussion of impeachment.”

We're respected again around the world, Trump tells Michigan crowd. Uhhh, no. . .

The mystery of the oak tree

John Bolton cites the "Libya model" as a precedent for denuclearizing North Korea. Not the best parallel to be drawing

Word choices: the "petty bigotries" and "pointless microaggressions" of the Trump administration
The agency in charge of US immigration services has updated its mission statement to no longer include the phrase “nation of immigrants.” [read on]

In other news. . . .

So who's REALLY to blame for the disastrous Ronny Jackson nomination?

[NB: This guy]

Trump says that Ronny Jackson is a great guy and that none of the accusations against him is true. But then why isn't he hiring him back as the WH doctor? 

The NRA bans guns at a Mike Pence speech

[NB: But not in schools. . . .]

The Cesspool
Mick Mulvaney Used Old Campaign Funds to Cover Interest Payments on His Loans

Theocracy watch
Right-wing religious nationalists launch dramatic new power play

Kamala Harris is lining up her forces for 2020

The GOP civil war is endangering its own seats. Dems, are you watching?

Only one city wants the Republican convention
Orlando; Phoenix; Atlanta; Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; and Pittsburgh said they are not bidding . . . 

The most anti-press administration ever is hyperventilating because they got roasted at a press event
Trump Rants On Twitter: Michelle Wolf 'Bombed' At The 'Boring' White House Correspondents Dinner


Watching these sanctimonious phonies in the press and the GOP wring their hands over Michelle Wolff's performance at the White House Correspondence Dinner because she allegedly coarsened the culture and insulted that fine Sarah Huckabee Sanders who is honest as the day is long is just ... please. . .[read on]

Bonus item: Some people thought Michelle Wolf's gig at the White House Correspondents' Dinner was too "vulgar" and "mean." See what you think. . .
***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

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Sunday, April 29, 2018


How Trump's anti-immigrant policies are turning the US into a police state
Out of control: ICE agents held an American man in custody for 1,273 days. And there's more.
When showing your papers is not enough
The Trump administration is quietly cracking down on documented immigrants
Did ICE Violate a Teen Informant’s Civil Rights?
Pennsylvania judge was supposed to marry couple, but she called ICE on the groom instead

ICE Wants Drones

Cease and desist
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday issued a cease-and-desist letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), saying the agency uses “aggressive tactics” to make illegal arrests. . . . “I believe ICE has been politicized, if not directly then indirectly in that their aggressive tactics, aggressive behavior — unconstitutional, illegal behavior — is being fueled by the political rhetoric of the administration,” Cuomo said.

Here come the attacks on Jon Tester (D-MT)
President Trump tweeted this morning that Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) “should resign” because allegations he made against White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who withdrew as his nominee to head Veterans Affairs, “are proving false.” . . . “One of the reasons White House officials continued backing Jackson, even after they expected him to withdraw, was that they believed some of the allegations would prove false or exaggerated, and they wanted to set a political trap for Tester, a red-state Democrat up for election.”

President Trump Continues Attack on Tester: I Know Things That Would End His Career

Tester responds:
"It's my duty to make sure Montana veterans get what they need and have earned, and I'll never stop fighting for them as their senator."

The delay in the Stormy Daniels case isn't really good news for Michael Cohen 

Trump now has an insane new explanation for the Trump Tower meeting
Veselnitskaya, despite evidence to the contrary, had denied any connections to the Russian government. But this week, Veselniskaya admitted she has been “actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general” for years. The admission came after emails documenting her relationship with the prosecutor general were released by Dossier, an organization started by a Russian exile who is a leading opponent of Putin. At a campaign rally in Michigan, a red-faced Trump offered a convoluted explanation for Veselniskaya’s admission. According to Trump, Veselniskaya does not have any relationship with the Russian government. But she recently was convinced by Putin to pretend she was an agent of the Russian government. Why? According to Trump, Putin realized that “Trump is killing us.” Therefore, Putin convinced Veselniskaya to lie about her role to make life in America “even more chaotic” Arguing that Veselniskaya is not a Russian agent but also takes orders directly from Putin is a creative, if not particularly convincing, line of argument. [watch] 

[NB: Coming next -- the Trump-Russia investigation is a plot by the Russians to undermine Trump and harm America.]

More evidence of obstruction of justice

Really, really fascinating interview with Maggie Haberman on C-SPAN. She understands Trump. Don't miss it!
In other news . . .

Trump wants to build the new embassy in Jerusalem on the cheap. Absurdly cheap
“I can build it for $150,000.”

Trump "honors" Paralympians at the White House. But he can't avoid insulting them
In cringe-worthy speech, Trump tells Paralympians they were ‘tough to watch’

Paralympians respond:
The Paralympic Games even got in on the controversy Saturday morning and responded to Trump’s comments directly via Twitter. “Record numbers around the world are not finding @Paralympics tough to watch,” the organization wrote on Twitter. 

[NB: I want to be fair here. The original quote could be read as 'it was difficult to find the time to watch very much of it."]


Scott Pruitt is killing the EPA

The Other Reason Trump Hasn’t Fired Scott Pruitt: His Evangelical Christian Ties

[NB: Just the kind of guy you want to put in charge of the environment: someone who thinks you don't have to worry about the things humans are doing to destroy the planet, because God won't let that happen.]

Mick Mulvaney is normalizing corruption -- and now he's in charge of the CFPB

The NRA is hiding its ties to Russia 

Perhaps you've been wondering why so many Republicans are retiring. Mo Brooks (R-AL) tells us why
Fear of assassination . . .

Trump doesn't believe the Republicans are in trouble in the fall
“Congressional and party leaders and even some Trump aides are concerned that the president’s boundless self-assurance about politics will cause him to ignore or undermine their midterm strategy. In battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, Mr. Trump’s proclivity to be a loose cannon could endanger the Republican incumbents and challengers who are already facing ferocious Democratic headwinds.”

Democrats Suddenly Competitive In Rural Districts Too

Is Trump creating a new political realignment in opposition to him?

Imagine if a Democratic Speaker fired the House Chaplain for what he was preaching


What happened to conservative icon Erick Erickson when he came out against Trump

"Fake news" didn't start with Trump -- it's been a long-term conservative strategy

The NBC Megyn Kelly experiment. . . . isn't working
Hey NBC, I Could Have Saved You 70 Million Dollars

Bonus item: Thanks to the National Enquirer!
But the Enquirer makes it clear it is firmly in Trump's corner with its world exclusive blockbuster: "Trump Passed Polygraph Proving No Russia Collusion!" The gist: The tabloid says a Florida lie detection expert named Michael Sylvestre, at its request, analyzed a recording of a press conference Trump gave in December in which he proclaimed there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians, declaring, "That has been proven." Sylvestre, the tabloid says, "subjected those very words to the keen and unbiased judgment of the world-renowned DecepTech Voice Stress Analysis Machine." The machine, and Sylvestre, in the past have found that Hillary Clinton, former FBI director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch have fibbed bigly. The verdict on Trump: "HUGE" anger — but no dishonesty." Sylvestre tells the magazine that Trump "was being truthful" when discussing the collusion question. "I believe he was angry and not deceptive when he spoke about the millions of dollars the investigation has spent," Sylvestre concludes.

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, April 28, 2018


One thing people have learned the hard way: working for Donald Trump damages your career and reputation
It’s not exactly a secret that Donald Trump has gone through staffers at a record-setting pace, with the revolving door at the White House spinning wildly out of control for much of the Republican’s presidency. What’s less appreciated, though, is that those who leave Trump’s orbit nearly always depart worse off than they were before. . .  [read on] 

Here is one consequence of the staff losses and lack of leadership stability across Trump's government  
Max Stier, who tracks federal vacancies as head of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, likened the administration to a government run by substitute teachers.  . . . For millions of Americans, the consequences are real. . . [read on]

Somebody is lying
President Trump distances himself from personal attorney Michael Cohen, says the lawyer handled only 'a tiny, tiny fraction' of his legal work
President Donald Trump on Thursday downplayed the amount of legal work his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen carried out for him, but his description of Cohen’s role doesn’t line up with Cohen’s account . . . “Let’s just say I have no shortage of work. It encompasses all aspects of his life from his business to the personal,” Cohen told the Wall Street Journal in a January 2017 interview . . .

Why Cohen really might flip
His decision could depend in part on whether he can readily shoulder the enormous legal fees required to fight a federal probe of this magnitude. . . .

Trump loved his Fox & Friends interview, wants to do it every month

[NB: Yes, oh yes, please.]

The House Intel Committee final report is in: written and passed solely by Republicans, it concludes, No collusion! No collusion!

Trump claims it as total vindication (of course) -- but the report does say this
[Trump] Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. 'No evidence' that the Trump Campaign 'colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia,' Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia — Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW! . . .

While the report stated the committee found an absence of evidence of a campaign-Russia connection, it did emphasize that other ongoing investigations — such as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe — might be privy to facts the committee could not obtain. The Senate Intelligence Committee is also continuing to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. . . .
The House Intelligence Committee released a final report on its Russia investigation Friday that criticized the Trump campaign for "poor judgment and ill-conceived actions" in dealing with the Russians . . .

“I was very honored by the report,” he said in the Oval Office during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It was totally conclusive, strong, powerful, many things said that nobody knew about and said in a very strong way. They were very forceful in saying that the Clinton campaign actually did contribute to Russia. So maybe somebody ought to look at that. But what we really should do is get on with our lives and get on with a lot of things.” 

The Democratic minority report
The Majority’s report reflects a lack of seriousness and interest in pursuing the truth. By refusing to call in key witnesses, by refusing to request pertinent documents, and by refusing to compel and enforce witness cooperation and answers to key questions, the Majority hobbled the Committee’s ability to conduct a credible investigation that could inspire public confidence. The Majority’s conduct has also undermined Congress’ independent investigative authority. Their repeated deferrals to the White House allowed  witnesses to refuse cooperation, and permitted the Administration to dictate the terms of their interaction with Congress, or evade congressional oversight altogether, setting a damaging precedent for future non - cooperation by this President and, possibly, by his successors. . . . [read on]

Here's the least surprising headline of the day
Lawyer Who Attended Trump Tower Meeting Admits She Has Kremlin Ties


[NB: Let's just make this explicit, shall we? The lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton, with whom the entire Trump campaign "brain trust" was in a hurry to meet, was an agent of the Russian government. That is all, move on.]

Did Trump know about this meeting? Here is what we just learned
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Post on Friday that Republicans on the committee blocked an effort by Democrats to learn more about a phone call Donald Trump Jr. made that may have been related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer. Trump Jr. made three phone calls on June 6, 2016, three days before the meeting, two of which were with Emin Agalarov, the Russian pop star who helped arrange the Trump Tower meeting  . . . Trump Jr. spoke with someone using a blocked phone number, which may have been his dad, Donald Trump. . . Democrats wanted to subpoena the phone records to determine the identity of that person, but Republicans refused . . .


Another revelation about Michael Flynn
The House Intelligence Committee’s report from its Russia investigation published on Friday revealed another meeting former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had with the Russian ambassador before he joined the Trump campaign. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn, Jr., met with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at his Washington, D.C. residence on December 2, 2015, according to emails reviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. Flynn’s son described the meeting as “very productive” in an email to the Russian embassy . . . Flynn’s December 2015 meeting with Kislyak also came after he met with President Donald Trump for the first time, but Flynn did not formally join the campaign until 2016. [read on]

In other news . . .

Trump wants to treat other nations the way he treats his staffers: if you're loyal to me, you're my buddy, if you're not, eff you

What's happening in Korea?

A Nobel Peace Prize for Trump?

[NB: I think it's more complicated than this. What if Trump meets with Kim and talks break down? What if his intervention is a setback to the progress that North and South Korea have made -- without him?]

After the Macron visit, a very different interaction with German Chancellor Merkel

Trump and Merkel tried – and failed – to hide their differences in Washington
All the Times Angela Merkel’s Face Said “S.T.F.U. You Dummkopf Orange Oaf”

Trump might see a way to fill the VA slot AND get rid of Chief of Staff Kelly without "firing" him

The Cesspool
Mick Mulvaney Met With Lobbyist Donors While at Trump White House 


[NB: What's the big surprise? He just TOLD us he could be bought.]
ANOTHER investigation for Scott Pruitt

Well THAT was easy
Trump Calls Ronny Jackson An ‘American Hero’

Put the popcorn away . . . for now
Judge freezes Stormy Daniels' civil suit against Michael Cohen for 90 days

Trump keeps bragging about the black unemployment rate -- because we know how deeply he cares about black people. But here's the fact
Trump’s message is as cynical as it is misleading. . . . [read on]

Why are teachers striking all over the country?
More on the secret recording of Steny Hoyer. The Dems need to deal with the reality that sometimes primary voters favor candidates who have positions too far left to be successful in the general election. (Call it the "Bernie effect") Advocates of direct democracy say, let the voters have their will. Advocates of party pragmatism say, there's nothing wrong with the party taking sides to favor candidates they think have a better chance of winning: primary voters are not a good predictor of votes in a general election. Both sides have a point -- but the debate is not always framed in a way that allows for a serious conversation

Amy Chozick's new book depicts a sad and messed up Hillary Clinton campaign
I spoke to Amy Chozick, a writer-at-large for the New York Times and the author of the new book Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling. In it, she chronicles her years on the Clinton beat, all the way up through Clinton’s devastating loss to Donald Trump in November of 2016. Along the way, she paints a portrait of an unhappy candidate, surrounded by unhelpful and unfriendly aides, who’s unable or unwilling to ever truly be herself on the campaign trail. Chasing Hillary is also an examination of the choices made by the press—including the Times—in how it covered Clinton. The book itself has engendered a fair bit of controversy, with Chelsea Clinton calling certain facts into question and with at least one of Chozick’s own colleagues taking issue with some of her opinions. . . [read on]

Third party candidates often have to deal with the accusation that they're peeling off votes from another candidate, and so de facto helping the opponent win (Ralph Nader, Florida 2000). Of course people should be able to vote for the candidate they believe in. But when those third party candidates are getting financing and support from the opponents, you have to wonder what their motivations are
Jill Stein ended months of silence and speculation about her role in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, announcing this week that she would not be complying with a documents request put forth by the Senate intelligence committee. The announcement, first reported by The Intercept, adds to the litany of questions about Stein’s role in Russia’s broader interference campaigns . . .
The firing of the House chaplain: I guess it's dangerous to be too . . . Christian
Paul Ryan reportedly asked House chaplain to resign after he prayed about inequality

Was it an anti-Catholic thing?
GOP Rejects Bid To Probe House Chaplain’s Firing 

This is the party they have created
A majority of Republicans now say “media is the enemy of the people”

How Colonel Sanders does it:
“You cannot do this job in an environment in which you are belligerent and saying you’re at war with these people every day,” McCurry told her. “I don’t think I’ve ever said anything similar to that,” Sanders replied. McCurry kept going: Her boss’ war on the media was threatening the glue that holds our democracy together. Finally, Sanders had had enough. “We have not declared war on the press,” she said. She smiled at the apparent ridiculousness of the idea, and even let out a chuckle.  

A murmur spread throughout the small crowd. . .  [read on]

Laura Ingraham thinks that entertainers should stay out of politics . . .  unless they support Trump, that is

Bonus item: So Trump wants to be on Fox & Friends every month

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***