Friday, May 25, 2018


Trump cancels North Korea summit. Bye, bye Peace Prize!

Trump also threatened Kim in the letter about the U.S. nuclear program. “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
By canceling his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump has proved his lack of skill as a negotiator, handed the world’s most brutal dictator a win, and further isolated the United States as a world power. . . .
It's dawning on Trump administration officials that Trump agreed to talks with North Korea's Kim Jong-un far too quickly.
I will look forward to Trump declaring sometime soon, "Nobody knew diplomacy with a rogue nuclear state could be so complicated."
Why did anyone ever take Trump’s North Korea diplomacy seriously?

Coins still for sale!

Now available at a discount:
“If Summit Does Not Occur You can Request a Refund but Most Supporters Have Said They Want This Heirloom of Political History Regardless of Outcome.”

The crazy cancellation letter is pure Trump 
“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. . . If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write”—a confusing suggestion, given that it is he and not Kim who called the summit off. [read on]

Looks like South Korea -- our ally --was blindsided:
“Early Thursday morning, after a flurry of calls with a handful of senior advisers, an angry President Donald Trump personally dictated the three-paragraph letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that cancelled the scheduled summit between their two nations. . . [T]he president, fearing the North Koreans might beat him to the punch, wanted to be the one to cancel first.”

And now . . . the punishment
The White House is hinting it could ramp up sanctions against North Korea

[NB: "Oh what a wonderful dialogue! Please call and stay in touch!" Oh yes, and by the way, "You screw with me and I will eff you up!"]  
Trump says U.S. military 'ready if necessary' after cancellation of North Korea summit 

Trump wants you to know that if there's a war with North Korea, we ain't paying for it (sound familiar?) 

I think this is an important discussion: the Mueller investigation is an organized crime inquiry, and Mueller has tons of experience with that. The mob bosses bluster and bully and deny everything, and they get a lot of coverage that can make it look like they're winning. Meanwhile, you quietly BUILD THE CASE, step by step, fact by fact. Everything we've seen is that Mueller's case is far-ranging . . . and damning. Be patient
“This Is RICO 101”: Why Robert Mueller Isn’t Taking Rudy’s Bait

Special Counsel Robert Mueller stressed that his investigation into Russian election meddling was ongoing and consisted of “multiple lines of non-public inquiry,” in a court filing Wednesday evening in a lawsuit brought by media companies seeking the release of certain records related to the probe. “Many aspects of the investigation are factually and legally interconnected: they involve overlapping courses of conduct, relationships, and events, and they rely on similar sources, methods, and techniques,” the special counsel said. “The investigation is not complete and its details remain non-public.” . . . [read on]
“Why did Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who will brief the members of Congress on this confidential source along with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats – allow these meetings in the first place? . . . [T]here are two theories what Rosenstein is doing here: One, he’s caving to Nunes and the White House. Or two, he’s just trying to buy time for the Mueller investigation, given that he knows more about Mueller’s findings (and timetable) than anyone else.” 

So the meeting happened to review classified documents concerning evidence and witnesses against Trump. And guess who was there?
Republicans emerge from meeting to peek at classified document—along with Trump attorney

More than one participant in that meeting told Flood his appearance was inappropriate, according to a Congressional official familiar with the meeting. The White House downplayed Flood’s role in the meeting. In a statement, the White House press office said Flood and Kelly only went to the meetings to “facilitate” them.
[Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.] "Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols"\
[Mitch McConnell!]  McConnell On DOJ Briefing: I Learned ‘Nothing Particularly Surprising’ 

Giuliani still seems to think that the briefing was to get information for THEM
“We want to see how the briefing went today and how much we learned from it,” Giuliani told Politico. “If we learned a good deal from it, it will shorten that whole process considerably.” . . . “I don’t want the guy’s identity. I don’t want classified information. What I need to know is, ‘What’s the basis for their doing it?’ Most important, ‘What did the informant produce?'” 

[NB: Most important, you don't get to know that. And if your buddy Devin Nunes leaks it to you, that's a crime.] 

Trump's long history of ties to Russia  

How Trump creates "facts"
Yesterday, Trump invented a quote. Today, it’s a fact.

The NYT headline: “Trump repeats unconfirmed claims of campaign spying.”  

The reality: Trump told one ally this week that he wanted “to brand” the informant a “spy,” believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public.

[NB: "Unconfirmed claims"? This is how you erode the public epistemology. An unconfirmed claim seems just a little premature -- maybe it hasn't been confirmed YET. An assertion that is not true, and which you know is not true, is a . . .  LIE.]

Trump, who never released his taxes and hates the press, is now the champion of "transparency." Are you kidding me?   

Trump wants to add a $10,000 tariff to imported cars

[NB: Just like this can of soup!]  

In other news . . .

The email Roger Stone didn't want you to see
"Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30." [read on]


Trump is still making money DIRECTLY from marketing his name 

Mike Pompeo goes off script
'No Deep State': Pompeo Shatters Trump's PR Campaign In Three Words  

Back to "Too Big To Fail"
Trump Rolls Back Dodd-Frank Act 

What Trump calls the smooth-running machine
Sessions And Kushner ‘Turf War’ Led To Federal Prison Director’s Resignation

Trump recycles "Love it or Leave It" -- protesting NFL players should "maybe" leave the country

Being killed “in the line of duty” was once a job hazard reserved for law enforcement, the military and firefighters, but this week, the Granite State extended that terrifying reality to educators and other school employees. Offering a six-figure payout to surviving dependents of teachers and school support staff who lose their lives in a school shooting, HB 1415 passed Wednesday, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu is expected to sign it into law.

80,000 votes in three states would have swung the election -- OF COURSE Russian interference changed the outcome

The House is close to forcing an immigration vote -- against the will of their leaders

Can the Dems make health care a winning issue in the midterms?

No, liberals aren't to blame for the rise of Trump -- but it is worth reflecting on the strategies used to build the resentment and sense of anger that do drive his base. One part is, Those elites don't understand you and don't respect you; but I do. When we blurt out "deplorables" or "clinging to bibles and guns," they hear it as condescending and demeaning. It feeds into that narrative 

Sean Hannity is a menace to democracy. Media Matters shows why

Bonus item: Can't top this

Nobel Prize 
Nobel Prize 
Nobel Prze 
Noel Prze 
Noel Pre 
Nol Pre 
No Pre 
No Pe 

***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.***

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Trump has a new name, "SPYGATE!" and a made-up quote he then uses to attack James Clapper

Trump’s FBI Spy Theory Is Completely Insane
Hmmm. President Trump’s use of ALL CAPS on Twitter seems to be growing. . .
Trump’s “Spygate” tweets perfectly illustrate his Fox News feedback loop
Donald Trump’s morning Twitter blasts, in which he’s treating documents he hasn’t even seen yet as definitive proof that his campaign wasn’t the cause, but the victim, of a conspiracy may seem nonsensical. Because they are. But they’re also representative of a narrative that has been building on the right—an interwoven nest of terms, memes, themes, and theories—that’s now been put together into a terrifying mass hallucination. . . .
President Donald Trump isn’t undercutting the FBI or the Department of Justice’s Russia investigation by demanding a probe into the use of a government informant to gain information on the Trump campaign before the 2016 election. . . . “No, no. We’re not undercutting, We’re cleaning everything up,” trump said. “This was a terrible situation. What we’re doing is we’re cleaning everything up. It’s so important. What I’m doing is a service to this country.”
Trump suggests Rosenstein needs to help him fend off Russia probe to keep his job
[Wednesday] In the course of discussing the Justice Department’s approach to corporate crime, Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general perpetually on the verge of being fired, said current policy discourages “piling on” penalties. He paused to prepare his New York audience for the punchline. “The dictionary defines piling on as joining with other people in criticizing someone, usually in an unfair manner,” Rosenstein said. “I also have experience with that.” . . . “One of the things that sometimes gets lost in the endless commentary about law enforcement,” Rosenstein said, “is that some of the most patriotic and public-spirited Americans work alongside me in the Department of Justice.” He didn’t need to say who issues that endless commentary.  

The initial WH position was to back the DOJ and protect the identity of the informant. Then something changed. Can you guess how it happened?

The apparent target for the "spy" conspiracy theory: former CIA director John Brennan
“The guy who will end up burning in all this is [former C.I.A. director] John Brennan,” Stone told me. “If I were him I’d break the capsule and swallow it now. That psychopath is going down.”

The "second spy" -- also not a spy

The meeting to get access to the classified info has changed today -- now there are TWO meetings
After Democratic complaints and negotiations that went into the late evening Wednesday, the Justice Department said it would host a second classified briefing the same day and invite the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” — a group that includes the top Republicans and Democrats in each chamber and the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees. There were two other late additions to the list — White House chief of staff John Kelly and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had originally said that no one from the White House would attend the briefing, at which the investigation into Trump’s campaign will be discussed. . . . The two House lawmakers — Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy — were invited to attend both briefings. . . 

[NB: Lots of questions here. Why two meetings if Nunes and Gowdy will be at both? Why give them their own private briefing? Is Gowdy's security clearance the same as the Gang of Eight? And what the hell is John Kelly doing there, if evidence against his boss is being discussed?]

House Speaker Paul Ryan will not attend the bipartisan meeting Thursday due to a "longstanding schedule commitment," said AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman.

Here's the fact-free environment in which Trump's lies take root -- 59% don't even know that Robert Mueller has already uncovered crimes 

Giuliani: Russia didn't help Trump, and if they did it wasn't collusion, and if it was collusion it wasn't illegal -- it was, like, a "gift"

Giuliani now says that Trump SHOULD testify to Mueller. I still don't believe it

Giuliani has warned before, “What they’re really trying to do is trap him into perjury, and we’re not suckers.” In another interview today, with the Washington Post, Giuliani expounds upon his reasoning. The perjury trap turns out to be the nature of truth itself, and Mueller’s presumptive belief that it exists in some stable form. “Truth is relative,” Giuliani tells the Post. “They may have a different version of the truth than we do.”

So let's talk about a few facts . . .
Complete timeline of Trump-Kushner connection to Saudi Arabia, UAE isn't secret—but still shocking . . .
Kushner sat for a second Mueller interview but still can't say if he's a 'witness' or a 'target'
Here is a very notable passage from a new Bloomberg article about PSY Group, the psy-ops company run by Joel Zamel, the Israeli social media expert who was in that Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr pitching his services in August 2016 . . . Remember that Zamel appeared to be pitching his services to the Trump campaign in concert with George Nader who was there as an emissary of the United Arab Emirates and, less formally, Saudi Arabia. Zamel’s company would provide the services, the princes would cover the tab. As the article describes, shortly after the election in December 2016, PSY Group went into business with Cambridge Analytica. Later the article notes that PSY Group shut down “the same week that Nader testified before the grand jury working with Mueller.”
The BBC is reporting that after being kept at arms length by the White House, the President of Ukraine paid Michael Cohen at least $400,000 to arrange a meeting between the President Poroshenko and Trump. . .
Michael Cohen, Felix Sater, and the Russian Mob
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team suggested Wednesday that there were other yet-to-be-revealed public relations firms involved in Paul Manafort’s Ukraine lobbying scheme beyond those already referenced specifically in the indictment. [read on]

Donald Jr lied to Congress

Collusion happened

Fifteen Unanswered Criminal-Law Questions About Trump
In other news. . . 

Just another little reminder of the kind of man he is
“If Democrats gain power they will try to reverse these incredible gains, these are historic gains, they will try and reverse many of them. So your vote in 2018 is every bit as important as your vote in 2016 — although I’m not sure I really believe that, but you know. I don’t know who the hell wrote that line!”


The former ambassador to Panama tells what it is like to work for Trump

Trump can't block users from his Twitter feed

By the way, Trump claims 33 million followers on Twitter. How many actually read him?
While 76 percent of Americans say they hear about Trump tweets, only four percent of Americans actually follow Trump on Twitter and see his tweets as he posts them. 

I really don't understand why, given his Russia contacts and numerous other problems
After Many Months, Jared Kushner Has Been Granted Permanent Security Clearance


Betsy DeVos is in a close race with Scott Pruitt for the title of worst Cabinet Sect'y
If gunning for worst cabinet member were an Olympic sport, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would surely sweep gold. DeVos has admitted she has no idea if underperforming schools have improved, she has trampled on the civil rights of transgender students and she has instituted “devastating” campus sexual assault guidelines—and that’s just year one.  Betsy DeVos is wholly unqualified, unprepared and ignorant, which she yet again put on full display in front of Congress this week, when she claimed that individual schools should be able to decide if they feel like turning undocumented kids over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) .  .

In Fox World: Kim Jong Un -- not such a bad guy, really

He's winning:
Former South Korean National-Security Adviser: The U.S. May Have to Withdraw Some Troops

The NY and NJ Attorneys General who are independently after Trump

Trump 2020!
Just 36 percent say they would vote to reelect the president in 2020 . . .

Government networks have security software written by a Moscow-based company -- and now they can't get rid if it

June is going to be a lousy month for Paul Ryan

No sympathy:
Missing an opportunity to lead, Ryan enables the GOP’s worst instincts
Paul Ryan’s Sad Legacy

The Republican tax plan is intended to punish Democratic states -- and they mean it
The Trump administration  said Wednesday it will propose new regulations over a provision in the Republican tax law that disproportionately raises taxes on taxpayers in Democratic-led states, suggesting federal officials will move to block attempts to circumvent the tax overhaul. In a notice, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service said they will issue regulations over the federal law's new $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes taxpayers can deduct from their federal taxes.  Democratic lawmakers in several states have passed new workarounds to get around the cap . . .

No, the 2nd Amendment doesn't say everybody gets to buy as many guns as they want, any time that they want

Wow -- look at the female nominees for the Dems, vs the Repubs

How should the Dems handle the Mueller investigation on the midterms?
The report found that when presented with two arguments — one that the year-old investigation should be ended and another that the multitude of indictments is proof it should continue — 59 percent of the public (and 63 percent of independents) side with the argument that the probe should keep going. . . 

[NB: Of course I disagree. Trump wins these little PR battles, but he is losing the legal war.]

***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.***

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


How the FBI "helped" Clinton and "undermined" Trump


Broidy again: 
Get to know Elliott Broidy, the next major Trump scandal figure
“Clown Prince” Jared Kushner Is Officially the Laughing Stock of the Middle East . . . George Nader and Elliott Broidy do not think very highly of the First Son-in-Law.

Small world:
Trump’s Lawyer’s Lawyer Is (Was) a Foreign Agent for Qatar

There's collusion, there's obstruction, and then there is the very large third bucket of Trump scandal

Giuliani suggests that the deal to give congressional leaders access to information about the investigation extends also to Trump and his lawyers. I seriously doubt that
"We can’t let our guy go in and be questioned without knowing this."
Rudy Giuliani adds another dumb comment to his greatest hits list

Trump’s Assault on Prosecutorial Independence
Trump’s FBI Threat Is Really Out of Bounds 

And an added bonus!
Trump campaign turns DOJ ‘demand’ into fundraising opportunity

This tells you just about everything you need to know
No Dems invited to attend meeting on Russia docs

Who's coming, and who's not:

[NB: There is a lot of second-guessing about Rosenstein's decision to share classified documents with leaky Republicans like Devin Nunes. But giving in on this tells me two things: One is that this is not the hill he is prepared to fight and die on; there may be a bigger confrontation yet to come. Second, from all I can tell, Mueller is building a huge, damning case against Trump and his associates. I think Rosenstein feels that must be protected at all costs. Eventually it will come out -- on a scale that will make Trump and Giuliani's squeaks seem very small ("a spy in my campaign!" "the biggest political scandal in history!"). We need to get there -- and certainly I could be wrong -- but I think that moment will be worth the wait.]

Was Rosenstein's concession worth it?

They say that Trump is just waiting to get past the midterms before he tries to clean house at DOJ
Trump Won't Say Whether He Still Has Confidence In Rod Rosenstein

Trump says a "spy" was placed in his campaign and paid a "massive amount of money" to "help Crooked Hillary win". None of that is true -- not a bit of it

By the way, from all accounts, the conversations between Trump's people and the "spy" were . . . a lot of nothing. Here are Sam Clovis and Carter Page's versions
The two sat for coffee and had a “high level” academic discussion about China, Clovis said. “It was like two faculty members sitting down in the faculty lounge talking about research,” Clovis, who served as the campaign’s national co-chairman, said “There was no indication or no inclination that this was anything more than just wanting to offer up his help to the campaign if I needed it.”. . . Clovis said Monday that his meeting with the informant was focused solely on the informant’s China research. Clovis claimed he didn’t think anything of the meeting, as the campaign already a had a “host” of people with China expertise
In an email to NBC News, Page said he didn't find his encounters with Halper concerning. Page told the Daily Caller he met several times with Halper, including on Halper's farm in Virginia. Halper's father-in-law, Ray Cline, was the chief CIA analyst during the Cuban missile crisis. "At the time, I never found his actions suspicious," Page told NBC News. "He never offered me one cent. Just 2 foreign policy scholars having some discussions. That's about all that I took it as."

Mueller has already filed charges -- but nothing related to the DNC hacking itself. Why not? 

Mueller follows the money flow overseas

Mueller will never, ever, ever agree to this nonsense -- and they know it. I think a subpoena is coming . .
President Trump’s legal team is trying to narrow the scope of his potential interview with special counsel Robert Mueller to questions on Russia-related matters that occurred before Trump’s election, CNN reports. “Trump’s lawyers, who are urging Mueller to wrap up his investigation, are looking for a way to get him to agree to limit — or eliminate — questions regarding Trump’s conduct after he won the presidency, especially those related to whether he might have obstructed justice while in office.”

Another blow for Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen’s taxi business partner just agreed to cooperate with investigators


Where are Cohen's SARs? 

Why you don't want House Intel chairman Devin Nunes anywhere hear classified information

You see the parallels, don't you?
House Republican says the FBI is mistreating Trump just like it mistreated MLK Jr.

Fishing expeditions
Michael Caputo Claims Second ‘Informant’ Penetrated Trump Campaign
Manafort Demands Hearing On Prosecutor’s Alleged Meeting With AP
Grassley Requests Correspondence Between Steele And DOJ Official

Trump tosses word salad at the North Korea problem, but one thing comes through loud and clear -- the June summit is not going to happen

Trump sounds tired and confused . . .


He's not prepared anyway:  
Trump not 'engaged' in briefings for North Korea summit, is focused on the 'pageantry'

Does Trump want a war with Iran?

In other news . . .

Trump is actually a terrible negotiator
The Art of the Worst Possible Deal: Diplomatic expert breaks down Trump's terrible China negotiating

So Far, Donald Trump Has Negotiated Zero Successful Deals

Trump's Homeland Security Advisor says she has no idea that the intelligence agencies all concluded that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump. I can't believes she's that clueless -- I think it's because her boss doesn't believe it, and she's afraid to get crosswise with him on this issue

Trump trashed Clinton over her unsecure email server -- but NOW. . . .


With all the scandals and drama, we forget sometimes that policy still matters 
Trump gets the go-ahead to strip money from Children's Health Insurance Program 
House Votes To Dismantle Key Dodd-Frank Bank Rules  
The Muslim Ban Waiver Process Appears to Be a Charade

Your daily Scott Pruitt
The Worst, Most Thuggish Trump Official Just Had Reporters Violently Ejected From a Government Forum

Colonel Sanders DOES NOT want to talk about it:

Paul Ryan is on thin ice as Speaker of the House -- and the Trumpians are not helping


A Reuters tracking poll showed for the first time that Republicans lead Democrats in the generic congressional ballot, 38% to 37%. By comparison, the FiveThirtyEight polling average still shows Democrats ahead by five points, 45% to 40%.

[NB: That's a lot of undecideds!] 

Are Democrats Losing the Midterms?  

Here's what happens when you have a rudderless party of cynical opportunists, without a leader in sight, dominated by a stupid, reckless, and corrupt -- but relentless -- force
Make no mistake about it: President Donald Trump has tested the Republican Party's soul, and the GOP has been found wanting. . . .

How this IS different from Watergate:
The huge difference here, as I believe Bob B. alluded to, is that in 1973/74, as soon as it became clear that Nixon had probably sinned, a significant part of the GOP caucus in Congress turned on him--and did so decisively once he moved to breach norms of prosecutorial independence, so much so that, less than two weeks after the SN Massacre, *everyone* concurred that the new special counsel (Jaworski) would have far *greater* independence than Cox ever had. There wasn't even a debate . . . [read on] 

News from the primaries
Female Marine Vet Upsets Heavily Recruited Democrat In Key House Race Primary
Stacy Abrams just won a shot to be the first black woman governor in America
Winners and losers:  

Hope on gun control?
Public opinion on guns is shifting

WH staffers write tweets for Trump -- complete with bad grammar

Trump cleans out his communications team, trying to get rid of the leakers

It won't work:

Heh, heh -- the "sibling rivalry" of Michael Cohen and Corey Lewandowski

Trump explains his view of the press, in his own words
“60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl told an awards dinner that President Trump once told her that he attacks the press so no one will believe the negative stories written about him. Said Stahl: “I said, ‘You know that is getting tired, why are you doing this? You are doing it over and over, it’s boring, it’s time to end that. You won the nomination, why do you keep hammering at this?'” Responded Trump: “You know why I do it? I do it to demean you all and discredit you all, so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

***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.***