Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Yesterday Chris Christie -- today, Giuliani and other GOPers: Collusion is not a crime


More: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/conservatives-start-suggesting-colluding-russia-isnt-so-bad


You can bet that Mueller will never use the word "collusion" -- he will charge CONSPIRACIES


More goalpost moving: now Giuliani is saying Trump might have known about the Trump Tower meeting, but it's okay because he didn't ATTEND it


More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/giuliani-airs-sudden-uncertainty-about-if-trump-knew-about-trump-tower-meeting
In an abrupt departure from his statements just four days ago . . . 

This is a bombshell . . . if it's true

In a back and forth with CNN’s Alisyn Carmerota, [Giuliani] appears to say that two days before the meeting with the Russian lawyer there was a planning meeting to prepare for that meeting. This prep meeting would have been on June 7th, 2016. Giuliani says that meeting included Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort, Rick Gates and others. . . . If nothing else, it suggests that the Trump team took the planned encounter with the Russian government emissary much more seriously than they’ve suggested to date. And then there’s Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy. As we know, Gates is now a cooperating witness. Big problem for the Trump Team, if he was at such a planning meeting. . . .  

Later, on Fox News, Giuliani walks back his claim about a planning meeting, and confuses the issues so badly that even the friendly interviewers are like, WTF?


Is Giuliani just confused, or intentionally sowing confusion? Either way, he has been blurting out things that aren't even in the public record yet


As with all Giuliani's comments, what they tell us is not the truth, but where the Trump team's anxieties lie. You always have to read what he says in reverse

Former Prosecutors Say When Mueller Indicts, 'It Will Be A Bombshell' 

[NB: Hard to say, but the shape of things is starting to emerge. For all the claims of the two Donalds that the Trump Tower meeting was a "nothingburger" and not very important, a planning meeting beforehand would show that they took it very, very seriously. If they discussed what they expected to get from the Russians, and what they were prepared to offer in return, that is huge. If we find out that Trump was in the loop that is even huger. 

It also puts a new spin on Trump's public comments later that he had a Big Announcement coming about Hillary dirt. How did he know that Hillary dirt was coming? And if Rick Gates was there, Mueller has it all. No wonder they are starting to say, Even if collusion happened, it's not a crime.

We are also starting to see Giuliani's role: leak or release damaging information you know is coming out anyway, and then try to pre-spin it to your own purposes.]  

See? Practice your new reverse-reading skills with these Giuliani jaw-droppers

[Giuliani] “Colluding [with] Russians . . . I don’t even know if that’s a crime — colluding with Russians. Hacking is the crime. The president didn’t hack! He didn’t pay for the hacking.”

And this: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/collusion-question-giuliani-isnt-doing-trump-any-favors
The presidential attorney went on to say this morning that Trump “did not participate in any meeting about the Russia transaction,” which is the sort of phrasing that raises eyebrows – because we’ve been told there was no “transaction.”

More from Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani told USA Today that his team is preparing a “counter-report” designed to rebut any accusations that special counsel Robert Mueller makes in his expected report about the Russia investigation. He also said that he believed Mueller’s team is “writing the report as we speak.” “Giuliani said he has no firsthand knowledge of Mueller’s plans, but that he expects the special counsel to file something by Sept. 1, two months ahead of the midterm elections.”

[NB: So, they're preparing the counter-report before knowing what the Mueller report even says. Smart move.] 


Giuliani accuses special counsel's office of acting in 'bad faith' over Trump-Mueller interview

Attacks on Cohen and Mueller escalate as the threats get closer and closer to Trump

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1784470
Trump makes one thing 'very clear'—he hates Robert Mueller

Trump says he had a "very nasty business relationship" with Mueller -- without disclosing what it was -- and claims Mueller should disclose his "conflict of interest." Yes, Trump is complaining about other people's conflicts of interest


[NB: Is this about that ridiculous dispute over golf club fees?]

In other Russia news . . .

Rebecca Solnit explains it all (thanks to RR for the ink)

This is the thing that never happened that was a conspiracy theory that was made up by libtards to cover up for HRC's flaws that was a smear against DT who said that there was no collusion and also that he was not told there was collusion, though he did tell us that it was Putin who told him there was no collusion and didn't mention that US intel briefed him on all the details of the collusion that wasn't, which was just a deep state theory though it was also discussed by foreign news organizations, Mother Jones's David Corn, senators on both sides of the divide, and some other very good journalists who were all part of a vast international conspiracy to pretend that Vladimir Putin was an ex-KBG agent who engages in espionage and intervention and that Russia was not a happy place of song, and anyone who didn't think so was anti-Russian, especially the Russian exiles who didn't think so, and now it's Obama's fault for not telling DT about this collusion that doesn't exist, except that insofar as it exists it's a good thing because it got us to this person who's on a leash that seems to extend to the Kremlin, but to say so is McCarthyist, because to oppose this actual protege of McCarthy's actual right-hand man, Roy Cohn, as he crawls toward Putin's oligarchical post-soviet regime is to be anticommunist?  

He's screwed

Manafort made at least $60 million in Ukraine—much of it unreported—prosecutors say 

More: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/paul-manaforts-trial-everything-you-need-to-know.html
Paul Manafort’s Trial: Everything You Need to Know

Paul Manafort’s Trial Won’t Be All About Russia

Paul Manafort’s Trial Should Be a Slam Dunk for Mueller, but One Big Thing Could Go Wrong

Why Mueller needs a win in the Manafort trial 

A prediction

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) predicted on CNN interview that Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner will both be indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller. Said Cohen: “I think they’re getting closer to knowing that the truth is going to come out that there was activities with the Trump campaign and Russia in releasing those hacks and guiding them to the states and the localities where they came from.” He added: “Some of that was Jared Kushner’s responsibilities, some of it was Donald Jr. I think you’re probably going to see indictments of both of those people.” 

[NB: You know from reading PBD that a major dimension of collusion was sharing voter data and other analytics to facilitate targeted Russian social media strategies. These were in Jared and DJ's portfolios. What I want to see is what Trump does if they get indicted. Is that the trigger that sends him on a rampage? Does he realize that he needs to sacrifice himself to save them?] 

The Trump admin keeps trying to weaken sanctions


In other news . . . 

This story has it backwards. It isn't authoritarians in other societies adopting and changing Trump's expression "fake news" -- it's a direct appropriation of Trump's hostility to a free press or any other institution that can hold him accountable for his lies and misconduct 

At another point, Mr. Trump expressed pride in popularizing the phrase “fake news,” and said other countries had begun banning it. Mr. Sulzberger responded that those countries were dictatorships and that they were not banning “fake news” but rather independent scrutiny of their actions. . .

Well, you know how much he likes superlatives

Donald Trump may be the worst liar in political history: And it’s getting worse 

What the Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg can tell us (a lot)


For Trump, it can't just be good economic news -- it has to be the Greatest Economic News Ever


More: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-economic-predictions-arent-just-wrong-theyre-counterproductive 

Good to see some workers are making out well after the tax cuts

‘Eye-popping’ payouts for CEOs . . .

And now Trump wants to cut taxes for them . . . without Congress's approval


More threats and bluster from the orange faced monster

Trump Doubles-Down on Shutdown Threat 

Bob Woodward has a new book coming out on Trump. The theme? Governing through fear . . .


Once again we ask, If Obama had said this. .  .

Trump says he’d be willing to meet with Iran’s president with “no preconditions”

You don't have to guess: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/07/trump-channels-obama-says-hed-meet-iran-no 

The Trump admin is giving the religious right everything they want



More: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-deal-to-free-a-pastor-in-turkey-falls-apart-and-he-makes-things-worse
Trump’s Deal to Free a Pastor in Turkey Falls Apart — and He Makes Things Worse 

The theocrats' embrace of Trump is costing them followers


Will Trump try to block or delay the Obama Presidential Center?


Notorious RBG says she's good for at least five more years


Rand Paul (R-KY) is a big phony -- but you knew that



Trump is acting like he knows that his presidency might hinge on whether the Dems take the House in the Fall. Impeachment aside, he doesn't want a series of House investigative committees with subpoena power coming after him. Which makes the stakes for us winning all the more important


I'm a Mark Warner (D-VA) fan, and would like to see his name getting more coverage among the 2020 hopefuls

The Vice Chairman for the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), has proposed a sweeping list of options for fighting online disinformation and helping users of platforms like Facebook and Google retain some semblance of privacy over their user data. . . .

I'm not alone: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/08/democratic-donors-push-mark-warner-to-run-in-2020.html 

How to talk about racism without calling people racist


Bonus item: Failing Logic 101

[Bill Mitchell] God favors America. Trump favors America. God favors Trump. [read on!]

***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***

Monday, July 30, 2018


Sunday and Trump is at his golf course without adult supervision: must be time for another unhinged tweetstorm, full of threats, grievances, and nonsensical claims. This is one of my favorites

"Do you think the Fake News Media will ever report on this tweet from Michael?," Trump wrote on Twitter, continuing the back and forth with Michael Cohen, his longtime former lawyer who has signaled that his loyalty to the president and his family is no more.

Trump's blast at Cohen included a quote tweet of something his former attorney wrote in July of last year. "So proud of @DonaldJTrumpJr for being open, honest and transparent to the American people," Cohen wrote on Twitter on July 11, 2017, attaching a photo of Trump Jr. for good measure. "This nonsense needs to stop!"

[NB: These clowns need to decide whether Cohen is an untrustworthy liar or not. Or, I suppose, they can say he wasn't a liar when his comments helped them, but he suddenly is now when his comments are damaging.]

More: https://politicalwire.com/2018/07/29/trump-claims-higher-poll-numbers-than-abraham-lincoln/
President Trump falsely claimed that he has the “highest poll numbers in the history of the Republican Party.” 

Trump has an off-the-record meeting with the publisher of the New York Times, then immediately tweets about it -- which breaks the deal. His version of the conversation and the publisher's version shows the total war we are fighting between freedom of the press and Trump's war on truth

[Trump] “Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger,” Trump tweeted at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. “Spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Sad!”

[Sulzberger] My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric. I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous. I told him that although the phrase “fake news” is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists “the enemy of the people.” I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence. . . . I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press. . . . I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country. 

AFTER the meeting, Trump launches another multi-tweet attack on the press -- and throws in another spate of anti-Mueller posts too


Trump threatens, again, to shut down the government if he doesn't get The Wall™ and other hard line immigration laws passed before the Fall election. We all know by now how empty his threats are, but it would be GREAT if he followed through on this


Trump's broken promises


The fall of Chief of Staff John Kelly

“He comes down for the day, and whatever he saw on ‘Fox and Friends,’ he schedules meetings based on that, . . . If it’s Iran, it’s ‘Get John Bolton down here!’ … If he’s seen something on TV or [was] talking to Hannity the night before, he’s got lots of flexibility to do whatever he wants to do.”  

Trump reportedly makes his own schedule in a black appointment book and keeps track of the meetings he schedules on the fly with the help of his personal aide Madeline Westerhout, who then reports Trump’s appointments to Kelly’s office.
More: https://www.politico.com/video/2018/07/28/kelly-top-moments-067177


In Russia news . . .

Giuliani says Mueller is "bluffing"

Rudy Giuliani told Axios that President Trump is fed up with Robert Mueller and wants him to “put up or shut up.” Said Giuliani: “Why don’t you write a report and show us what you have, because they don’t have a goddamn thing. It’s like a guy playing poker. He’s bluffing and he’s only got a pair of twos.”
More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/giuliani-predicts-decision-on-trump-mueller-interview-as-soon-as-this-week
Giuliani Predicts Decision On Trump-Mueller Interview As Soon As This Week

[NB: In other words, ANNOUNCING a decision that has already been made and has been obvious for months.]  

This is from the NYRB review of recent books by James Comey, James Clapper, and Michael Hayden

It is possible to read Comey’s book and come away thinking he believes in himself above all. He has a soaring self-regard, and he can be pious, even pompous. But it is hard to think he’s not telling the truth about his encounters with Trump. When he sits down with the president, he tells us, he has flashbacks of his days as a mob prosecutor: “I thought of New York Mafia social clubs…. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, great and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.” These sentences ring true, and Comey is in a unique position to write them. The confrontations memorialized here, especially when Trump says he wants the FBI to drop its criminal investigation of the disgraced Mike Flynn and “lift the cloud” of the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election—and then fires Comey for refusing to put the fix in—are as gripping as any chapter of presidential history has ever been. It’s better than Watergate’s smoking gun tape: the president of the United States was trying to suborn the FBI director in an obstruction of justice. Comey testified about much of this last year, but the added atmospherics in the book are powerful. The image of the president as mob boss is indelible. The stench of criminality hangs in the air of the West Wing like cordite. 

A new line of defense

'Collusion Is Not A Crime'

The Manafort trial starts this week. But let's not forget who is really on trial

Rudy Giuliani now says the Cohen tapes were doctored


Giuliani is a clown: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1784398
What does this mean? Nothing good

“The Russian government has sold off the vast majority of its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities for reasons that remain mysterious, in a dramatic move that experts are calling unprecedented,” the Daily Mail reports.

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/07/russia-sold-almost-all-holdings-us
In other news . . . 

Why is Trump obesssed with rebuilding the FBI building?


Glenn Greenwald, Seth Ackerman, Corey Robin, and folks at The Nation magazine -- where does Left opposition to the Russia probe come from?


The NRA is in trouble. It looks like we are going to find that they laundered Russian money and turned it into illegal campaign contributions via a phony shell corporation


One of the great GOP lies is the "Laffer curve" -- the idea that lower tax rates actually INCREASE tax revenue


Hey, the left can do "dark money" too


Bonus item: A jokester in Colorado (thanks to RC and MA for the link)

***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***

Sunday, July 29, 2018


One of the biggest threats to our nation today is election interference. Trump chairs a meeting at which people summarize what they're already doing, and it wraps up in less than an hour. I don't know about you, but I am totally reassured now

More: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/27/trump-election-security-2020-states-714777
Despite Trump’s assurances, states struggling to protect 2020 election

Trump hoped his $12 billion bribe would buy off farm country opposition to his trade war. It won't

American Farmers Are Still Worried About Trump's Trade War

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ag-sec-promised-farmer-bailout-will-not-make-up-for-trumps-trade-war-damage
Ag Sec: Promised Farmer Bailout Will Not Make Up For Trump’s Trade War Damage

Why the Trump gang can't reunify families it tore apart


For shame

U.S. now has highest rate of death during childbirth in the developed world

What would Trump have said if Obama ceded part of Afghanistan to the Taliban?


In Russia news. . .

Trump's old lawyer thinks Trump's new lawyer sucks


The Trump and Michael Cohen legal teams have severed ties

"We have complained to them that he's violated the attorney client privilege, publicly and privately," Giuliani, Trump's current attorney, told ABC News . . 

Maria Butina is going to be a gold mine
Accused Russian agent met with suspected Kremlin spy. Maria Butina’s attorney insists the get-together was nothing more than dinner . . .

In other news . . . 

They. Can't. Govern

House Republicans Are In Total Disarray

Heading into recess, Congress refuses to pass #MeToo legislation to protect Capitol Hill staffers

You've heard of data-driven policy. This is policy-driven data

***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***