Tuesday, November 21, 2017

START WORRYING


Trump keeps saying he's not under investigation. All signs indicate otherwise

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/muellers-latest-request-suggests-trouble-trumps-white-house

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/11/20/1717219/-Mueller-scouring-documents-on-Trump-s-dismissal-of-Comey-shows-obstruction-investigation-is-serious

More: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/11/mueller-machine-moves-ever-closer-oval
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents . . . [read on]

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/rumblings-on-the-russia-front
We’ve long known that potential obstruction of justice by the President and his top aides is a central part of Mueller’s investigation. The focal point is his firing of James Comey. But the firing isn’t the only action under scrutiny. Paradoxically it may not be the most legally significant. There was also Trump’s alleged request for Comey to drop the government’s investigation into Mike Flynn. In both cases, but particularly with regard to firing Comey, the chain of actions and evidence goes directly through the top leadership of the Justice Department – specifically Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein. Thus document requests and perhaps eventual subpoenas seem almost inevitable. . .  [read on]

A great chart of Trump campaign-Russia contacts. It really is extraordinary the number of people who had repeated contacts with shady Russians. . .  and lied about it

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/11/20/where-the-trump-campaign-and-russian-actors-overlapped/

And now, ANOTHER one: https://www.thedailybeast.com/roman-beniaminov-a-low-profile-real-estate-exec-turned-pop-star-manager-knew-about-russias-dirt-on-hillary
Days before the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, a low-profile real estate figure with ties to powerful Russians alerted a meeting participant that the topic of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton could come up . . .

We haven't talked much about Ivanka as a target of investigation. That might be changing

https://www.salon.com/2017/11/20/is-ivanka-trump-a-target-of-investigation-now-it-seems-likely/

More: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/20/16670484/jared-kushner-russia-scandal-wikileaks
All the times Jared Kushner has failed to tell Congress something important

[NB: Just heard a sharp comment on the news: what happens when the first member of Trump's family gets announced as a target of investigation? How big an explosion ensues -- and is that when he finally tries to fire Mueller?]

Trump's Sect'y of State said he was a "moron." Now his National Security Advisor calls him an "idiot" and a "dope"

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/11/20/1717266/-Trump-is-an-idiot-and-a-dope-his-national-security-adviser-reportedly-said 

More: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/report-tillerson-called-trump-idiot-dope-intelligence-of-a-kindergartner

Trump and his minions sorta kinda indicate that they think Roy Moore's behavior is not okay -- but then turn around and say that people should vote for him anyway. This is a test of character for these jerks, and they are failing it

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/kellyanne-conway-doug-jones-roy-moore-tax-cuts
[Kellyanne Conway] “Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled. He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He’s terrible for property owners. And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal which is why he’s not saying anything and the media are trying to boost him,” Conway said. Fox co-host Brian Kilmeade then asked, “So vote Roy Moore?” “I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Kellyanne replied.

More: https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/20/trump-advised-not-criticize-roy-moore/
“Multiple sources in and out of the West Wing say that some of Trump’s closest advisers have recommended that he not criticize Moore publicly prior to the election in November. Among those privately encouraging him to stay mum have been Kellyanne Conway, the president’s counselor and former campaign manager, and Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist and current Breitbart chairman.”

I am endlessly fascinated and appalled by the mental gymnastics of theocratic apologists for Roy Moore

http://crooksandliars.com/2017/11/faith2action-roy-moore-supporter-goes

Sixteen women accused Donald Trump. And they were ALL lying?

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/what-happened-to-trumps-16-sexual-misconduct-accusers.html

Kasie Hunt has a new MSNBC show. She's off to a great start

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/20/16679104/congress-sexual-harssment-process-explained
Why women on Capitol Hill don’t report sexual harassment, explained in 90 seconds

Trump puts North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/is-labeling-north-korea-terrorism-sponsor-just-an-insult.html
Is Labeling North Korea a State Sponsor of Terrorism Just Another Trump Insult?

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/11/north-korea-state-sponsor-terrorism/546386/?utm_source=feed
The Politics of the North Korea Terrorism Designation

More: https://www.vox.com/world/2017/11/20/16680084/north-korea-trump-terrorism

The Trump DOJ comes out against the AT&T/Time Warner merger. They say it has nothing to do with Trump's hatred of CNN, even though Trump himself said he would block the merger for that reason. They say it's because of concern over the concentration of media -- which is great because it means they will block the right-wing Sinclair/Tribune Co merger too. Right? Right?

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/20/16682262/att-time-warner-deal-doj-sues

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/11/trump-att-time-warner/546443/?utm_source=feed

More: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/att-ceo-forfeiting-cnn-a-nonstarter-would-look-like-first-amendment-compromise

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/20/trump-cnn-tweets-time-warner-lawsuit-182454
Trump tweets on CNN could muddy AT&T-Time Warner lawsuit 

[NB: Suddenly the anti-regulatory Trump admin is worried about corporate mergers? AT&T and Time Warner vow to fight this in the courts, and I think they will win.]

Trump's voter suppression committee gets shut down by a judge, may never meet again

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/20/trump-voter-fraud-commission-judge-252132



When you have a brand-based business, like Trump, preserving the brand is essential. So many of Trump's reactions to slights and failures are not just the result of his big ego and thin skin, but also his fear that the brand reputation tied to his persona will take on damage (for example, failure is never his fault, it is always someone else's fault; anyone who criticizes him must be punished, preferably with a lead pipe; etc). Trump products are always the biggest, the best -- and he treats his policies like Trump-branded products. That's where the trouble begins . . .

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/11/20/trumps-declining-popularity-is-hurting-his-businesses/

Trump’s declining popularity is hurting his businesses

All the GOP tax cut lies and broken promises

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/20/16674640/gop-tax-plan-lies

They hate it, they really HATE it: https://www.salon.com/2017/11/20/gops-tax-bill-is-second-most-unpopular-legislation-in-30-years/
GOP tax bill is second-most unpopular legislation in 30 years

GOP solicits donations by promising a "lucky conservative" an all-expenses-paid weekend stay in the DC Trump hotel

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/gop-to-send-lucky-conservative-to-trump-hotel

Marie Antoinette's got nothing on her

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/20/ryan-lola-zinke-interior-travel-251108 

Here's what happens when the price point of wind and solar energy crosses that of nuclear and coal

https://thinkprogress.org/solar-wind-keep-getting-cheaper-33c38350fb95/

Is the anti-vaxx movement in remission?

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/11/20/16667116/rate-parents-opting-out-vaccines-kids-plateaued-america


***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, November 20, 2017

DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL

Roy who? 

https://thinkprogress.org/white-house-roy-moore-endorsement-bab537ec68a1/
On ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, George Stephanopoulos drilled White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short for answers as to whether President Trump still supports Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. At least half a dozen times, Short dodged blatant yes-or-no questions, leaving room for Trump to be satisfied if Moore ends up winning the special election next month. . . [read on]

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1717015
Alabama's biggest newspapers run front-page denunciation of Roy Moore, endorsing Doug Jones 

There has never been an administration -- even Nixon's -- that disseminates daily lies in pursuit of its interests. Not spin: flat out, jaw-dropping lies 

http://crooksandliars.com/2017/11/michael-caputo-says-roy-moore-sex-abuse
Michael Caputo Says Roy Moore Sex Abuse Accusers Are Lying In A Plot To Get Trump 

Drip, drip, drip. . . . 

https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/19/publicist-arranged-trump-tower-meeting-denies-plot/
Rob Goldstone, the publicist who helped arrange the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, tells the Times of London that Jared Kushner was “furious” that the focus of the meeting turned to the Magnitsky Act instead of dirt on Hillary Clinton.

More: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-long-winter-white-house-aides-divided-over-scope-risks-of-russia-probe/2017/11/19/497557c0-cbba-11e7-b244-2d22ac912500_story.html?utm_term=.ef779908930b
The investigation reached a critical turning point in recent weeks, with a formal subpoena to the campaign, an expanding list of potential witnesses and the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates. Some within Trump’s circle, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, have already been interviewed by Mueller’s investigators, while others such as Hope Hicks — the White House communications director and trusted confidant of the president — and White House counsel Donald McGahn are expected in coming weeks. One Republican operative in frequent contact with the White House described Mueller’s team “working through the staff like Pac-Man.” “Of course they are worried,” said the Republican, who insisted on anonymity to offer a candid assessment. “Anybody that ever had the words ‘Russia’ come out of their lips or in an email, they’re going to get talked to. These things are thorough and deep. It’s going to be a long winter.” . . .

Witnesses questioned by Mueller’s team warn that investigators are asking about other foreign contacts and meetings that have not yet become public, and to expect a series of new revelations. . . .

“The president says, ‘This is all just an annoyance. I did nothing,’ ” said one person close to the administration. “He is somewhat arrogant about it. But this investigation is a classic Gambino-style roll-up. You have to anticipate this roll-up will reach everyone in this administration.” . . . “When the staff gather in the morning at the White House now, they jokingly say: ‘Good morning. Are you wired?’ ” one person close to the administration said. 

Whoa

https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/19/mueller-requests-documents-justice-department/
Mueller Seeks Documents from Justice Department  

Coming soon: a sharper focus on Michael Flynn 

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/11/im-fascinated-by-this-latest-twist-in.html 

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/20/paul-manafort-michael-flynn-case-strategy-trump-russia-probe-247643

When did Russian spies first take an interest in Trump? 

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/19/trump-first-moscow-trip-215842
The form demanded basic details—name, profession, family situation, and material circumstances. There were other questions, too: what was the likelihood that the “subject could come to power (occupy the post of president or prime minister)”? And an assessment of personality. For example: “Are pride, arrogance, egoism, ambition or vanity among subject’s natural characteristics?” The most revealing section concerned kompromat. The document asked for: “Compromising information about subject, including illegal acts in financial and commercial affairs, intrigues, speculation, bribes, graft … and exploitation of his position to enrich himself.” Plus “any other information” that would compromise the subject before “the country’s authorities and the general public.” Naturally the KGB could exploit this by threatening “disclosure.” Finally, “his attitude towards women is also of interest.” The document wanted to know: “Is he in the habit of having affairs with women on the side?”

The GOP tax plan is a disaster

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stancollender/2017/11/19/gop-tax-bill-is-the-end-of-all-economic-sanity-in-washington/#73cbf42777ef
If it's enacted, the GOP tax cut now working its way through Congress will be the start of a decades-long economic policy disaster unlike any other that has occurred in American history . . . [read on]

Don't call it "tax reform" http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/the-republican-plan-is-the-opposite-of-tax-reform.html
 
Maybe this will help you sleep a bit better

http://crooksandliars.com/2017/11/us-nuclear-general-says-he-would-resist
U.S. Nuclear General Says He Would Resist 'Illegal' Trump Strike Order

Trump intervenes with the Chinese government on behalf of three UCLA basketball players who got caught foolishly shoplifting. Good for him -- but then undoes whatever credit he might deserve by petulantly whining that the players aren't "grateful" enough

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/11/19/technical-foul-trump-goes-there-again/
"I should have left them in jail!"

More: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/11/trump-regrets-not-leaving-ucla-players

Ah, yes, The "war on men"

https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/19/alabama-pastor-says-theres-war-men/

Bonus item: Hillary Clinton "resigns" as the president in Fox World

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/11/they-finally-got-clinton-to-resign.html

More: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/18/hillary-clinton-trump-bill-arkansas-247679
Hillary Clinton: Trump 'is obsessed' with me

***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, November 19, 2017

LOSER


Trump calls Clinton ‘The Worst (And Biggest) Loser Of All Time’. File that away, will you? What will we call Trump when it is shown that his campaign was infiltrated by Russian interests, and his narrow electoral victory secured by Russian interference magnified by corruption, lies, and tacit if not overt coordination with his own people? And that isn't even to say the possibility of impeachment or forced resignation if it is ever shown that he was knowledgeable and involved at the time, or engaged in obstruction of justice after the fact

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-attack-clinton-loser-election-legitimacy

A look back: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/11/six-months-ago-donald-trump-fired-the-director-of-the-fbi/
This is your periodic reminder that six months ago the president of the United States fired the director of the FBI. Then he went on national TV and admitted that he had done it because he was exasperated with Comey’s investigation of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign (“this Russia thing”). And nothing happened. . . .

[NB: Yet . . . ]  

Pressure builds on Jared Kushner

https://thinkprogress.org/jared-kushner-missing-emails-31bf5f00d577/
Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner has spent much of the past few months playing a cat-and-mouse game with special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators working to unearth possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. But several media reports this week detailing missing documents that the president’s son-in-law may have kept from congressional investigators suggest that the walls around him may be closing in. . . .

More: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/kushner-lawyer-senate-committee-request-documents
The senators noted they have received documents from other campaign officials that were copied to or forwarded to Kushner, but which he did not produce.  . . . In the letter to Kushner, the senators noted they had asked him to provide documents to, from, or copied to him “relating to” certain individuals of interest to investigators, but Kushner responded that no emails had been found in which those individuals were sent emails, received emails, or were copied on them. Lowell replied that Kushner had provided the Judiciary panel with the same documents he had provided the intelligence panels, believing that would be enough to satisfy the Judiciary request. . . .

Following up a theme from yesterday

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/18/swamp-diary-jack-shafer-wikileaks-don-trump-jr-215841
If we've learned anything from months of scandal reporting, the Russians set their sights on two types of people wandering the halls of Trump Tower. There were the self-promoters like Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort who they knew would cooperate based on direct or potential payouts. But the Russians also shopped a second group of Tower denizens, the over-their-heads strivers often compared to the hapless Fredo Corleone. These Fredos—George Papadopoulos and Carter Page—attracted Russian agents like magnets, and were easily manipulated by direct appeals to their stooped egos. But of all the Fredos occupying Trump world, perhaps Donald Trump Jr. proved to be the easiest mark for the Russians. . . . [read on]

The right always has an excuse for any scandal -- that keeping the Supreme Court conservative is more important, and trumps (sorry) any other consideration

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/kay-ivey-to-vote-for-scofflaw-roy-moore-to-help-shape-scotus.html
Alabama Governor To Vote For Scofflaw Roy Moore To Help Shape SCOTUS

Trump helps the narrative: https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/18/trump-adds-5-list-possible-supreme-court-justices/
“In a move certain to please conservatives, President Trump added five names to his list of candidates for a prospective U.S. Supreme Court vacancy as he presses ahead with a campaign to move the federal judiciary to the right,” Reuters reports.

[NB: Yes, that's right. The female governor of Alabama, who says she BELIEVES the women accusing Moore, says in effect, I'd rather vote for a child molester than a Democrat.]

The tax cut's big math problem

https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/18/shocking-math-gop-tax-plan/
Adam Davidson: “If it gives us nothing else positive, the Republican tax plan—and, in its Senate form, the health-care repeal—at least provides clarity. There is no debate. The middle class will, in the long run, pay more in taxes than under current law, and the rich will pay less.” [read on]

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/11/17/1716608/-Are-so-called-GOP-deficit-hawks-worried-enough-about-their-tax-plan-s-price-tag-to-tank-it
Are so-called GOP 'deficit hawks' worried enough about their tax plan's price tag to tank it?

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/17/senate-tax-reform-roadblocks-168761
Tax reform roadblocks emerge in Senate

Donald Jr enjoys killing animals like elephants and cutting them up for trophies. Dad lifted a ban on importing elephant items, then after a massive global outcry decided to maintain it . . . for now

https://www.salon.com/2017/11/18/trump-reverses-decision-to-allow-elephant-trophy-imports-but-will-it-stay/ 

The White House Adult Day Care Center

https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/18/aides-give-trying-control-trumps-tweets/
Aides Give Up Trying to Control Trump’s Tweets 

https://politicalwire.com/2017/11/18/trump-still-loves-polls/
“Aides in the White House often show Trump polls designed to make him feel good, according to aides and advisers. Usually they’re the ones that focus just on voters who cast ballots for him in 2016 or are potential Trump supporters —Trump’s base—but occasionally include public polls like Rasmussen, depending on what the numbers say.”

Let's hope

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/18/donald-trump-tweets-polls-swing-voters-215840
Trump’s Tweets Are Hurting Him

I'm certainly not the one to ask for advice about the future of the Republican party. But I am struck by the reaction of people like Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmidt, lifelong GOP operatives who are apoplectic about Trump (I have recommended Wallace's afternoon show on MSNBC, on which Schmidt is a frequent guest). Wallace and Schmidt, if you have read "Game Change" or seen the movie adaptation, were appalled by Sarah Palin during John McCain's 2008 campaign, on which they worked. These are conservatives about whom we would disagree on most issues; but the issue here is something else. The Republican party faces an existential crisis. There are serious Republicans with views on the economy, trade, and foreign policy -- views we criticize here. Then there is the Republican clown show: Palin, Trump, Moore, Gohmert, Bannon, most of the Fox News crowd. They are the GOP version of identity politics, based in white resentment, theocracy, nativism, and extremist views on most social issues. For these folks, forcing bakers to make cakes for gay weddings is one of the Most Urgent Issues facing humanity today. These wackos speak to and for a highly energized base that is indispensable to electoral success on the national level, and even mainstream Republicans have played footsie with them for the sake of expedience. But now the party is threatened to be devoured by its far right wing -- and many of the mainstreamers are headed for the exits. Is the election of Trump the tipping point in this battle for the conscience of the party?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/flake-hot-mic-moore-trump-gop-toast
Flake On Hot Mic: If GOP Becomes Party Of Moore And Trump, ‘We Are Toast’

Bonus item: SNL has to take down Al Franken, an SNL alum

https://www.thedailybeast.com/snl-takes-down-al-franken-one-of-its-own-this-is-bad

***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.***