The weekend to Monday, June 4th.
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION
- Special counsel in Russia probe accuses ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort of attempting to tamper with witnesses
- Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses: U.S. special counsel
President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who has been indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, attempted to tamper with potential witnesses, Mueller said in a court filing on Monday.
Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, asked the judge overseeing the case in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise an order releasing Manafort ahead of his trial.
Witness tampering, that’s a felony.
According to reports, Manafort called, texted, and used an encrypted WhatsApp messages to talk with potential witnesses, in multiple attempts to get the witnesses to lie under oath to benefit Manafort.
- From August 2017: Trump role in Trump Jr. statement came after Putin meeting
- The Evidence That Trump and Putin Concocted a Cover Story for the Trump Tower Meeting
- Mueller has waited long enough. It’s subpoena time.
ABUSE OF POWER AND CRAPPY LAWYERS
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.
In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
Two letters, both from Trump’s legal teams, made their way to the New York Times this weekend. They both have about as much legal standing as Cersei’s proclamations against the Targaryens. In other words, it’s straight fantasy.
- Grassley on Giuliani pardon quote: ‘I would hire a new lawyer’
- “This ‘Deep State’ shit gets under peoples’ skin”: Inside the F.B.I., Trump’s Attacks Fuel a Rising Anger
Which is precisely the larger game that Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and California Congressman Devin Nunes have been playing—undermining the F.B.I.’s reputation as a way of undercutting Mueller’s eventual findings. Rosenberg, though, wonders if the strategy could boomerang inside the bureau. “The attacks are unfair and unprecedented, and it gets tiresome,” he says. “But it can have an unintended effect. Imagine you had a bunch of special agents in the New York field office looking at certain real-estate developers and their deals going back to the 1980s. Maybe they were working six days a week—and now they’re working seven.”
Pursuant to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, the “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment,” is vested in the President. This raises the question whether the President can pardon himself. Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, it would seem that the question should be answered in the negative.
- Trump Lawyers Reveal He ‘Dictated’ Misleading Statement On Son’s Russian Meeting | HuffPost
- Trump’s legal memo to Robert Mueller is a recipe for tyranny
- Trump’s lawyers say he’s above the law. They clearly don’t understand it.
- Trump: ‘I have the absolute right to pardon myself’
- Donald Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself
- Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself but denies wrongdoing
- Secret memo to Mueller actually reveals weakness of Trump’s position
- Trump’s lawyers say he’s above the law. They clearly don’t understand it.
- The White House just got caught in a lie about the infamous Trump Tower meeting
- Donald Trump Sounds Just Like the Monarch the Constitution Was Written to Thwart
- Steve Schmidt: Trump claim he can pardon himself is ‘propaganda’ | TheHill
- Trump’s Lawyers Say He Is the Law
- Trump and Giuliani Accidentally Make the Case for Impeachment
- Donald Trump Cannot Pardon Himself and Needs a New Lawyer, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Says
So, here’s where we’re standing today. The President of the United States of America is openly contemplating and arguing for a position where he is an absolute ruler, capable of ending all investigations into himself, and capable of pardoning each and every crime, no matter what. At the same time, he’s calling the Special Counsel’s work unconstitutional, while simultaneously calling for another Special Counselor to investigate the Special Counselor.
These are not the actions of an innocent man.
- Ted Cruz Pauses for 18 Seconds When Asked if Trump Can Pardon Himself
- Paper written by Ted Cruz about Presidential Abuse
Fuck Ted Cruz. There are some days I’m not sure who I despise more, him or Paul Ryan.
Ted Cruz lied to the press today when confronted for his reaction against Trump’s Cartman-esque rant on pardons, claiming he never gave the issue much thought.
Remember, Ted Cruz was a major player in the Cambridge Analytica saga.
- The DOJ ruled 44 years ago that the president cannot pardon himself
- Spicy: The 1974 Office of Legal Counsel Memo that says a President cannot pardon themselves
I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this in GTKYG-Pardon Limitations, but even Nixon’s own lawyers said he couldn’t pardon himself. Three days after they returned their decision, Nixon resigned. I’m counting down the days.
- U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley Was Denied Access to Detention Center for Immigrant Children, and Somebody Called the Police When He Went to the Door
- Leaked photo reveals ‘mass trial’ of immigrants in Texas
- CEO of non-profit shelter that called police on senator for trying to visit detained children paid $770,860
- Dem senator shares video of him being barred entry to immigration detention center
- Blowback over border separations amps up tensions inside Trump administration – POLITICO
- McCain backs effort to bypass GOP leadership, force House vote on DACA
COHEN: LACK OF PRIVILEGE
- Cohen Document Review So Far Yields Few Items Prosecutors Can’t See
- Klasfeld Reports: Tweet of Cohen’s evidence breakdown from the Special Master
- Special master in Michael Cohen case finds few privileged items in initial review of files
- Michael Avenatti drops Cohen emails showing Stormy Daniels’s ex-lawyer fed questions to Trump attorney
- Michael Avenatti Releases Cohen Emails Showing Stormy Daniels’s Ex-Lawyer Shared Questions With Trump attorney
- Rudy’s latest interview blunder just made Avenatti celebrate publicly (WATCH)
162 privileged items out of 300,000. That’s 0.054%. If he were a baseball player, that’s a .000 batting average. If Cohen manufactured cars, this wouldn’t be a high enough failure rate to qualify for a recall. That amount is a statistical anomaly.
Remember on Daily Check-In 04/13/2018 when Cohen’s lawyers claimed they had millions of pieces of privileged information?
I feel like being a dick, so let’s do the math. If 0.054% of pieces of evidence are privileged, for Cohen to get to “millions”, in this case at least 1,500,001 for rounding purposes, Cohen would have to have…2777779629.63 pieces of evidence. Rounding that to the next integer up gives us 2,777,779,630 pieces of evidence. 2.77 billion, with a B. If each iPhone and iPad had 150,000 pieces each, that would be…18,519 phones.
Or 18,504 more phones than the FBI seized from Cohen.
SCOTUS: NOT AS BAD AS THE DECISIONS LOOK
In the unsigned opinion with no dissents, the justices threw out the appeals court decision on the grounds that the dispute became moot once the unnamed teenager had the abortion.
The justices, however, declined to take up the administration’s request for disciplinary action against the American Civil Liberties Union lawyers who represented the girl, who underwent an abortion in Texas last October. The administration had accused the ACLU lawyers of misleading the Justice Department over when she would have the abortion.
In this case, the Justices decided to throw the case out since it was a moot point after the girl had the abortion. The lawsuit was for this specific girl, not any others in her situation.
- Supreme Court narrowly rules for a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple
- Popehat: Scope of the Bakery Decision
- Supreme Court rules on narrow grounds for Colorado baker in same-sex wedding case
On the surface, this seems pretty bad, but it’s not. The SCOTUS took a very narrow part of the case, and ruled on the constitutionality of that. In this case, they studied the initial civilian review board, and whether or not that board was biased for or against either of the parties. In their findings, they determined that the board in Colorado was biased against the bakery ahead of time.
That is all they ruled on. They did not rule on whether or not a business can legally discriminate, or whether a class of citizens can withhold services and goods from another class, but only on whether or not, in this specific instance, a review board was impartial as was required by the law.
So, let’s put the pitchforks down. At least for this case.
COLD WAR 2.0
- London law firms feel chill from icy relations with Russia
- Germany’s Billionaire ‘Screw King’ Tightens the Screws on the U.S.: No More Investment Until Trump Goes
- Germans Appalled by Threat From Trump’s Ambassador to Help Far-Right Nationalists Take Power Across Europe
- Syria’s Assad says will visit North Korea, news agency reports | Article [AMP] | Reuters
- Iran calls on world to stand up to Trump, save nuclear deal
- National Crime Agency ‘dirty money’ probe targets Russian oligarchs | News | The Sunday Times
- US searching for way to pay for Kim Jong Un’s hotel stay during summit: report | TheHill
WHITE HOUSE CHAOS
- Pentagon watchdog officially launches investigation into White House doctor
- White House Promises to Produce Evidence That Melania Is Just Fine
- First lady Melania Trump will not join President Trump on G7, Singapore summits
- Melania Trump attends first official event in 24 days
The First Lady was seen from a distance, as the press were not allowed in the event. She’s still cancelled her foreign trips, though.
Time to get ready for the first Presidential Divorce.
- Aide Sought a New Apartment for Scott Pruitt, as Well as an ‘Old Mattress’ From Trump Hotel – The New York Times
- Pruitt aide inquired about used Trump hotel mattress for him
- Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education get sued for abandoning discrimination complaints
- 7 reasons to be suspicious of the DOJ lawsuit to stop AT&T from buying CNN – Chicago Tribune
- Australia’s ABC 3 Part series on Trump. Trump/Russia (Part 1) Follow The Money
- Emma talking about march in Brooklyn
- ‘It was my job, and I didn’t find him’: School resource officer remains haunted by Parkland massacre
- Parkland students going on nationwide bus tour to register voters, call out NRA donation recipients
- Parkland activists launch new push for youth voter turnout: ‘We can fix the political system’
GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD
“I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny—fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.” – Senator Margaret Chase-Smith, in 1950.
- California’s GOP is collapsing. Is that a sign for Republicans nationwide?
- What GOP cowering has gotten us: Talk of self-pardon and absolute power
- Reagan’s daughter: My dad would be ‘appalled’ by Trump presidency
- Missouri among worst nationally in maternal deaths. Reps say no to study on issue
- San Juan mayor: Trump admin ‘completely looked away’ over hurricane death toll
- Protesters Demand Audit of Hurricane Maria Death Toll in Puerto Rico
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
- DNA lifted from Golden State Killer suspect at Hobby Lobby parking lot key to cracking case, documents show
- Would a Former President Get Secret Service Protection in Prison?
Barring an act of Congress, the responsibility of the Secret Service to protect a former president or first lady would not disappear because that person had been convicted of a crime.
This has never happened, though, and any potential details of such an arrangement are mysterious even to Secret Service veterans and other experts on the agency. A spokesman for the Secret Service refused even to address the issue. “It’s a road we would have to go down if it ever happened,” he told the Explainer. “It’s not something we’re going to think about unless it happens.”
- ‘You don’t look like a legislator’: Security stops black, female lawmaker going to work in Ohio
- Attorney: $4 verdict meant to “punish” family of man shot by police in his garage
- A Columbus, Ga., teen is going to prison for stealing a pair of Nike sneakers when he was 15. | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
TARIFFS AND ECONOMICS
- Trudeau: It’s ‘insulting’ that the US considers Canada a national security threat
- Trump’s phone call with Macron described as ‘terrible’
- Coal Miners’ Fund Set For Deep Cuts As Black Lung Epidemic Grows : NPR
- Majority Leader McCarthy defends Trump tariffs
- Billionaire Koch brothers’ political network will spend millions to oppose Trump’s tariffs – the group’s biggest split with the president so far
- Corker: Republicans are working on plan against Trump tariffs
PROGRESS IS PROGRESS
- Democrats are the last hope against Trump-era chaos and lies: Republican strategist
- Time For Unions To Step Up On Medicare For All
- Crowd cheers when valedictorian quotes Trump. Then reveals it was Obama
- Kentucky Crowd Cheers Trump Quote, Then Finds Out It’s Actually From Obama
- California just hit back at a new anti-LGBT law
- Threatening Workers Who Want To Unionize Is Illegal, A Congressman Just Told Elon Musk
- ‘How can they walk away with millions and leave workers with zero?’: Toys R Us workers say they deserve severance
FIXING THE INTERNET
- Washington state sues Google, Facebook over campaign ad data
- Democrat on Facebook report: ‘Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress’
- Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends – The New York Times
- Trump disinvites Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from planned White House visit on Tuesday, citing national anthem dispute
- Pennsylvania lawmakers invite Eagles to Capitol after Trump disinvites them
- Trump may have violated federal law by urging NFL owners not to sign Kaepernick
This shit pisses me off. I hate the Eagles. Out of all of the Philadelphia sports teams, the Eagles might be my favorite, and I HATE the Eagles. Shit like this makes me feel for them, and Philly sports fans don’t deserve any sympathy.
I’m still bitter about the 15 year long Penguins losing streak. And the Flyers just being general asshats.
THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE
- Shep Smith: Someone in White House is lying about Trump Tower meeting
- Rudy Giuliani Says President Trump Couldn’t Even Be Indicted for Murder
- Counterchekist on Joy Reid
- From May 30: Joy Reid Promoted An Infamous 9/11 Conspiracy Documentary On Her Old Blog
- James Fourm: Joy got the bots
Something’s off with Joy Reid. I’m not as suspicious as Countercheckist is, but something just seemed off. Maybe it’s the bots swarming around her and Malcom Nance that I don’t trust.
- Spicy: Trade Wars Suck
- Eric Garland: Libyan Bribes
- Eric Garland: Crazy Things Happening This Week
- Lincoln’s Bible: Anthony Weiner and Roger Stone?
- Lincoln’s Bible: Manafort Monday
- Rick Wilson: Found: Roseanne Season 2, the Lost Episodes
That’s it for today. And the weekend.
I didn’t publish a story last night. Unlike most other nights off, I planned on writing. I had the laptop ready, started writing up a post about the differences between the two parties, but I couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t get in the right mood. I needed to be angry, but I just couldn’t get there. There’s one person that is impossible to stay angry when they’re on television…Fred Rogers.
Last night, PBS showed a documentary about Mister Rogers hosted by one of Fred’s former employees, Michael Keaton. Yes, THAT Michael Keaton. He got his start doing puppets and voices on Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
Fred Rogers was the nicest, sweetest, calmest human being of the last century, and the world needs more of him today. Especially today, with how crazy things are getting.
Trump talking about pardons like this is some desperate shit. Something big is coming, and not just Cohen’s June 15th deadline to review the evidence. His rants are some high-level projections about his crimes.
We’ll see where this goes.
Thank you, and have a good one.
“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”
– Katy Tur