Friday, August 31, 2018


When you keep repeating the same complaints over and over again, you need to ratchet up the rhetoric if you want to keep getting attention. Trump's endless war against the free press enters a new phase
"I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. . ." [read on]

[NB: "A broken record" -- now THAT'S a dated metaphor. Who even remembers where that came from?] 

Trump accuses NBC of falsifying the infamous interview with Lester Holt, in which he admitted he fired James Comey over Russia. If that were true, wouldn't he have been howling from the moment it aired?

This is, needless to say, ridiculous and unhinged. Trump must be completely freaked out at this point, and after telling this absurd lie about fudging the tape his lawyers must be freaked out too. Telling an obvious tall tale in an effort to discredit a piece of damaging evidence does nothing except make the evidence even more damaging in a court of law. This whole thing is really starting to come unraveled.

Trump wants you to know
"The Rigged Russia Witch Hunt did not come into play, even a little bit, with respect to my decision on Don McGahn!"

[NB: This obvious lie has to be read in conjunction with his attempt to rewrite the Lester Holt interview. OF COURSE he is getting rid of people in order to smooth his way toward blocking the Mueller investigation. Jeff Sessions is next -- it's only a matter of time.]

Even Alan Dershowitz calls BS on that one:
“I think it has everything to do with the fact that he met with Meuller,” he told NPR. “How can you be representative, or have your White House represented by somebody who might very well turn out to be a crucial witness against you. … “(Trump) should be worried,” he said.

By the way -- "my decision"? Does that mean McGahn was fired?

If the rationale for firing Sessions is that he somehow "can't get along" with Trump, at what point do we put the onus on the unreasonable and insulting pressure Trump has tried to put on HIM?
But all of this is starting to sound an awful lot like post-hoc rationalizations. Because at face value, the president is terrified of the Russia scandal; he’s furious that Sessions isn’t shielding him from legal consequences; and he’s desperate to find someone who’ll lead the Justice Department in a politicized and partisan way. . . .

[NB: Let's just review how we got here. It says a lot about what Trump means by "loyalty." Sessions endorsed Trump in February 2016, when NO ONE believed that Trump had a chance. He stood by Trump through tough moments during the campaign, when others -- like Lindsey Graham -- were trashing him. Then Trump got furious because Sessions, as Attorney General, recused himself from the Russia probe -- which he was legally required to do. Trump rejected that because, he made clear, he wanted an AG who would protect him from investigation. Which is also illegal. Now people like Graham hold it against Sessions that he has abided by the law in defiance of a lawless president. For this he has to go. And, to add the cherry on top, Trump insults Sessions for not going to an Ivy League school and for his Southern accent.]

This is getting a lot of attention: Trump says the Mueller investigation is ILLEGAL
“I view it as an illegal investigation” because “great scholars” have said that “there never should have been a special counsel,” the president said.

[NB: That certainly looks like laying the groundwork for shutting it down -- without issuing a final report. I just want to point out that he called it illegal at least twice before: April 21 and July 29. But in the present context it resonates ominously.] 

What does he mean by "get involved"?
Trump Threatens to ‘Get Involved’ at Justice Department


September 7 is the start of the 60 day window before the election. DOJ custom is not to announce indictments that could affect the outcome during that window. So will we see something before the 7th? 

One of Trump's possible replacements for McGahn or Sessions is . . . wait for it . . . under investigation for money laundering
Turns out the Cohen-Trump tape wasn't just about paying off Stormy Daniels -- it was about buying up ALL of the dirt the National Enquirer had on Trump

In other Russia news . . .

Trump's people are worried that he isn't worried enough about the crises ahead
Trump’s delusions about himself have been formed after years of becoming an expert on one thing: how to avoid being held accountable. . . . [read on]

George Papadopoulos will stick with his plea deal

Rudy Giuliani is preparing a "counter-report" to the Mueller report. How can they do that, when they don't know what's in it yet?
President Donald Trump’s legal team is crafting a “counter-report” that will seek to delegitimize Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation . . .

Giuliani's OTHER part-time job
Rudy Giuliani is President Trump’s personal attorney, but Trump isn’t his only client. The former mayor of New York City now is trying to undermine anti-corruption initiatives in another client, the country of Romania. . . .

In other news . . .                                                      

Trump's word salad completely befuddles his stance on China and North Korea


Shiny objects: Trump is attacking the WTO again

More on the Trump decision to strip people of their passports because their U.S. BIRTH CERTIFICATES aren't sufficient ID

The New Birtherism:

Does Trump not realize that Medicare IS socialism?

Part of the self-delusion about normalizing Trump was that he would be surrounded by calmer, wiser, more experienced hands who would fence him in. One by one, he is getting rid of all of them. Next to go: Sect'y of Defense James Mattis
Trump's racism

Trump keeps bragging about this growing economy and how great it is for workers -- so great that he has to cancel a scheduled pay raise for 2 million federal employees

About 30% of whom are vets:

No, you can't always draw a direct line between irresponsible public pronouncements and nut cases who might be inspired by them to do something terrible. But in this case the linkage is pretty damn close
Man threatened to kill Boston Globe reporters, called them ‘enemy of the people’  

A couple of days ago we asked where was Lindsey Graham in standing up for his buddy John McCain. Well here he is, finally
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBS News that he found President Trump’s response to Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) death “disturbing,” with the president ignoring reporters’ questions about his passing in addition to the White House flag lapse. Said Graham: “It pisses me off to no end, and I let the president know it.” . . .

Yes he is
Trump Is a Snob Who Secretly Despises His Own Supporters

A very early look at the 2020 Democratic field

Here's a test for progressives. We got the lefty candidate we wanted for governor in Florida. Will he win? Will he pull in enough new voters to help Bill Nelson in the Senate race? 

Looks like the Florida governor's race will keep us busy
Florida GOP gubernatorial nominee was admin of racist Facebook group  

How Michael Cohen and Lanny Davis used and screwed CNN

Trump keeps retweeting conspiracy videos and other Internet trash that are howlingly untrue -- but has the audacity to call the NY Times, CNN, and other outlets "fake news" ("Truth doesn’t matter to them")  

Trump: 60% disapproval
Bonus item: He thinks he's funny
When asked by Bloomberg if the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) would have been a better president than Barack Obama, President Trump “declined to say, even as his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, stared at him.” Said Trump: “I don’t want to comment on it. I have a very strong opinion, all right.” He then joked that Sanders was “having a nervous breakdown” over his response. “Maybe I’ll give you that answer some day later.”

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Thursday, August 30, 2018


Trump has been trying from the outset to deflect attention away from Russia as the source of election hacking -- even though we KNOW it was them. Now, why would he want to do that?
Without Evidence, Trump Blames China For Hacking Hillary Clinton’s Emails

[Sept 26, 2016]  “I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” Trump said at the time. “She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke into DNC.”

The FBI tells us that Trump is lying
According to the Washington Post, when asked to respond, the FBI simply stated that it has “never found any evidence” of a breach in Clinton’s private servers. Trump has often deliberately confused the server that Clinton’s staff maintained while she was secretary of State with the server at the DNC which was breached by Russian hackers, who went on to steal thousands of emails. Clinton’s server, and the emails it contained, were the subject of multiple investigations by the FBI and congressional committees. None of those investigations turned up the slightest scrap of evidence that the security of the server had been violated by China or anyone else. . . .

The story yesterday about Trump scaring the evangelicals about the "violent" groups who will take over if the Dems win in the Fall -- and urging them (illegally) to direct their parishioners to vote -- is just another example of the damage Trump is doing to our country. This isn't just politics as usual, it isn't just Trump being Trump, it is deeply anti-democratic and exacerbating lines of hatred and mistrust. This is your new Republican party

Stephen Miller: the loathsome elf behind Trump's inhuman immigration policies

Here's what happens when you elect a Birther to office
Trump Admin Surges Birth Certificate-Based Passport Denials, Revocations

More connections between Trump staffers and white supremacists

Trump bragged that only 16 people died from the hurricane in Puerto Rico ("unlike a real catastrophe like Katrina"). Turns out to have been closer to 3000

Trump’s continued indolent response to Hurricane Maria is our worst fears about him come true

In other Russia news . . .

A smoking gun on obstruction?
In early February 2017, a senior White House attorney, John Eisenberg, reviewed highly classified intelligence intercepts of telephone conversations between then-National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, which incontrovertibly demonstrated that Flynn had misled the FBI about those conversations… It was after this information was relayed to President Trump that the president fired Flynn, and the following day allegedly pressured then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down a federal criminal investigation into whether Flynn had lied to the FBI.”  “These new disclosures … constitute the strongest evidence to date that President Trump may have obstructed justice… The president’s legal team has claimed that Trump did nothing wrong because he did not understand that Flynn was in criminal jeopardy when, according to the former FBI director’s testimony, he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn. The new information that Trump and others in the White House were aware that the intercepts revealed that Flynn had lied to the FBI directly contradicts those claims.”

Donald Trump announces WH Counsel Don McGahn's departure, without clearing it with McGahn
While it was common knowledge in the White House that counsel Don McGahn planned to depart after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed, McGahn was “surprised” by Trump’s abrupt tweet announcing his departure, . . .“Of course it happened this way,” McGahn reportedly said, according to a person familiar with McGahn.
The president’s tweet was precipitated by a report on the Axios website that Mr. McGahn planned to leave after Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation process concluded. Mr. Trump had grown tired of seeing reports that Mr. McGahn might leave, according to people familiar with his thinking, and decided to take away any wiggle room he might have.. .
In recent months, the president has sometimes gone days — or longer — without having substantial conversations with McGahn as their relationship has grown increasingly strained, according to two people familiar with the matter. “They just kind of avoided each other for the most part,” one former administration official told POLITICO. . . . One outside associate of McGahn’s said it always bothered Trump that McGahn was “his own man and wouldn’t kowtow to him.” 

President Donald Trump asked former White House staff secretary and alleged spousal abuser Rob Porter several times if he’d be willing to become White House counsel last year . . . Porter told Trump that he didn’t believe he was qualified to be White House counsel. . .

GOP senators met with Jeff Sessions, said Hang in there -- we've got your back

Meanwhile, Trump is lobbying other GOP senators to let him fire Sessions
Trump personally lobbying GOP senators to flip on Sessions

Trump has come to resent [Sessions] for other reasons, griping to aides and lawmakers that the attorney general doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers, that he can’t stand his Southern accent and that Sessions isn’t a capable defender of the president on television — in part because he “talks like he has marbles in his mouth,” the president has told aides. . . .
Trump's slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre
Each action only has one purpose, one President Trump doesn’t even really try to deny: ending the Russia probe. At the risk of stating the obvious: President Trump is guilty and he is laying the groundwork for ending the probe he believes (probably rightly) constitutes an existential threat to his Presidency. It is on-going obstruction; it’s on-going misrule and high crimes which are what impeachment is meant to be the solution to. But neither of those are really the key point. No President – I don’t care how obsessed with his own power, how hyper-focused on deference and respect, how anything – no President goes to these lengths unless he is guilty of something very bad and which he believes poses a mortal threat to his presidency, his wealth, his reputation. . . .

Faced with his former campaign manager’s conviction, his former fixer implicating him in a federal crime, and the prospect of investigations by a Democratic Congress, President Trump should probably find some top-notch lawyers and avoid making any more legal missteps. But of course, that’s not Trump’s style. Instead, he’s responded by hastening the departure of White House Counsel Don McGahn, and laying the groundwork to finally fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions – two moves likely to intensify the brewing legal storm, and ensure he’s ill-equipped to fight it. . . 

Mueller's not done with Manafort
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team wants to review emails between Paul Manafort and one of his former lawyers — messages that would typically be protected by attorney-client privilege. Manafort’s emails are a special case, Mueller’s team argued in a court motion Wednesday. Attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply when the client enlists a lawyer’s help to commit a crime — and that’s what Mueller’s team is arguing that Manafort did. . . .

Mueller team seeks more time to decide if they'll retry Manafort on deadlocked charges

What were all those Russians doing at Trump's inauguration?
In other news . . .   

Trump made promises to Kim Jong Un that he's having trouble keeping 

Bruce Ohr is the latest DOJ official to be caught in the cross-hairs of the House Intel committee's endless effort to discredit Mueller's fact finding by pointing to the flawed genesis of the Steele dossier

Here are the White House summer interns. Notice anything about this photo?

Trump has access to the world's greatest intelligence services and the advice of serious experts on a range of subjects. Unfortunately, he'd rather get his "facts" from Fox World and the far right media sphere -- and he believes them even when his own people tell him they're wrong

The National Enquirer had decades of dirt on Trump. Here's how he tried to make it all go away

Trump now says that any anonymously sourced story is "fiction" and we should ignore it

Trump Gets Brutally Mocked for Dismissing ‘Anonymously Sourced’ Stories Hours After Citing One Himself
Trump was often “an anonymous source . . .”

John McCain's final FU to Trump

[A] Trump rally in Indiana will go on as scheduled on Thursday night, even as McCain’s body is being transported to Washington. It raises the possibility of a very unfortunate split-screen on cable news, but according to the Times, aides have decided they can handle more indignation . . .

Welcome to the Florida governor's race
Gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis warns Florida not to “monkey this up” by picking black opponent

Ha ha ha ha ha:
Republican 'communications strategist' tries to help Florida candidate—makes it a whole lot worse

Unfortunately, Andrew Gillum has some serious baggage
Haunted by FBI investigation, Democratic gubernatorial nominee faces tough climb


It's not a qualification for office, but man, Ted Cruz stinks at basketball

Meanwhile, Cruz attacks his opponent Beto O'Rourke for once being in a rock band

Duncan Hunter, who blamed his wife for his financial problems, now says, "Leave My Wife Out Of It!"
Chuck Schumer keeps acting as if he is part of Senate still based on collegial respect and accommodation. Somewhere Mitch McConnell is sipping some Kentucky bourbon, smiling
A Senate leader is potentially the most powerful figure of an opposition party, something Mitch McConnell showed adeptly throughout the Obama presidency, as he constantly frustrated Democratic aims. But under Chuck Schumer, those oppositional tactics have withered, producing jaw-dropping spectacles like the one we saw this week: the active collaboration of Democrats in fast-tracking lifetime appointments to the federal bench. . . .

Detroit turns off every public school’s drinking water due to high levels of lead, copper

This is a striking chart, and disturbing in its implications: white working class voters started abandoning the Democratic party right after Obama was elected, and it has dropped steadily since. It wasn't (just) Trump

Bonus item: Rethinking the politics of identity

***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.***