Daily Check-In 08/14/2018

Tuesday, August 14th.



The Manafort Trial

The eleventh day of the Manafort Tax Trial was pretty short as the defense rested their case without calling any witnesses or entering any evidence into the record.  While this might seem like a bad idea, this is Manafort’s best approach, and it’s relatively common in White Collar cases for the defense to do this.  It is the burden of the prosecution to prove that Paul Manafort committed these crimes, not the Manafort’s burden to prove that he didn’t.  All his defense has to do is provide a reasonable doubt to the jury.  The jury cannot use the fact that Manafort did not take the stand against him.  If Manafort introduced any witnesses or evidence of their own, the prosecution gets the chance to go after them or that as well.  Besides, this is a tax avoidance crime.  It’s not like it’s a murder case and his friend provides an alibi that he was busy ballroom dancing instead of filling out tax forms or stabbing his mailman.

There were some arguments about how emails would be entered into evidence.  Emails, like the one linked to above where Paul Manafort mailed Jared Kushner a copy of Steve Calk’s resume and a recommendation letter that was dated two weeks after the loans from Federal Savings Bank cleared.

The trial will resume Wednesday morning with closing arguments.  Following the jury instructions from the judge, the jury will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.  The prosecution would like the jury to stick around afterward in the case of a guilty verdict to discuss asset forfeiture.



Before I get to this next section, I want to make a disclaimer.  I hoped that this whole Omarosa tape crap would stay in the realm of distraction, and for the most part it has.  But, like everything else in this shitshow, it’s connected to the Russian Investigation in some part or another.   Omarosa is no exception.

During Omarosa’s interview with Katy Tur on MSNBC, she let a little something slip; Trump knew about the Wikileaks email release before it was public knowledge.

I’m sorry, what the fuck was that?  Did she just…  Did she…


Holy dogshit, people.  That should be the game-changer right there.  But, before I start popping the popcorn and open that bottle of “Buttery Males” wine (seriously, someone should make that), let’s qualify this a little bit.

First, Omarosa’s track record is… well, it’s shit.  I’ve seen salesman at tiny buy-here-pay-here used car lots with more integrity than her.  She’s one of the more “dependable” people in Trump World, but that’s like being the tallest midget on the basketball team.

Second, she doesn’t mention which Wikileaks mail drop.  According to the following list from Wikipedia, there were a few releases in 2016.  The two most important to the Trump Team were the July 22nd DNC emails and the October 7th Podesta emails. (Daily Check-In 07/13/2018 , Daily Check-In 10/6/2017)  Omarosa joined the campaign at its onset, so it could be either of these.

Third, there’s a difference between knowledge and coordination.  Let’s assume for a moment that Trump was told about the release right before it happened, and that he had no control over it, and maybe Omarosa was in the room when the call came in.  I don’t buy this for a second, but this will eventually become the talking point Team Trump uses when their back is against the wall.  They’ll try to spin it that she was talking about a courtesy call that Trump received, and that there was no coordination.  Of course, that assumes that Donnie Jr. never told Daddy about his DM’s with Wikileaks. (Daily Check-In 11/13/2017)

After all of that, the defense against her will be that she’s a liar, unreliable, or blowing things out of proportion, or just mad that she was fired.  How can she battle against this?

Does anyone forget that she recorded EVERYTHING that happened?  She did it during her time in the White House, and said she did it because “in Trump World, everyone lies.”  Anyone want to bet that she started this habit BEFORE working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?  I’ll put $20 down on that.  She wouldn’t be the first person to record conversations with Donald Trump (Daily Check-In 07/20/2018).

As far as her motivations go, I put them somewhere between greed and revenge, with just a sprinkling of conscience and patriotism.  She could have taken the hush money and stayed quiet, but I think at some point in the last couple years, she had her moment of clarity and realized what was going on.  Sure, she stuck around out of some sense of loyalty to Trump, but when he turned on her, or didn’t fight for her hard enough, or saw their efforts to screw her over, she decided to fight back.

Is she the long-rumored mole in the campaign?  Doubt it, but at this point nothing should surprise me.

By the way, she says she’s been interviewed by Special Counselor Robert Mueller.  And an NDA cannot be used to suppress criminal activities.



Let me get this straight…

Cadet Bone Spurs, who signed a tax bill that adds over a trillion dollars to the deficit, who has demanded a dictator-style parade while saying we have to cut funds from the VA, who is bending over to appease Russia and North Korea, and who is making a mockery of the military with this Space Force bullshit, asked if any of the soldiers in the Army’s busiest division would donate their pay raise to pay off his debts, and when none of them raised their hands, he attacks them?

JFC.  In any normal universe, this alone would be enough to sink him for good.















That makes sense for three reasons.

First, the economy is the only thing that’s sort of going right under Trump.  Of course, he’s tried to kill it with every action he takes, and it usually takes 2-5 years to finally see the damage caused by their actions.

Second, for the well-to-do Fox News viewer, this reinforces their view that everything is going great and that Cheeto Mussolini is great.

Finally, for the poor Fox News viewers, this helps anger them more.  Combine good news of Trump’s “accomplishments” with how bad anyone is with skin darker than a latte, then talk about how good the economy is doing, and they’ll put the pieces together and think that they’d have it good to if it wasn’t for all of the minorities.



Omarosa and the Tapes

As much as I’d like to say “the tapes would end his presidency once and for all”, I know that there are enough people in his base that would cheer him on.





The West Virginian Supreme Court has been rife with corruption for a long time, so it’s not the “End of Democracy” circle jerk that Reddit commenters who can’t be bothered to read the article make it to be.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, listing hundreds of accused clergy and detailing 70 years of misconduct and church response across the state.

The release is the culmination of an 18-month probe, led by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, on six of the state’s eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.

Some details and names that might reveal the 300 clergy listed have been redacted from the report. Legal challenges by clergy delayed the report’s release, after some said it is a violation of their constitutional rights. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled last month that the report must be released but with some redaction.

In the 12 hours following the release of this report, I’ve seen several posts on social media from friends detailing their run-ins, interactions, and abuse at the hands of priests mentioned in this report.  Some of them were benign, like one person saying “I wondered why Father XXXXXX was transferred away so quickly from the parish.”  Others weren’t so, like one tale of attempted abuse by a priest on a then 11-year-old boy who made an excuse to get away as fast as he could.  He put two and two together after reading that priest’s name in the report.  He’s a grown man with a family now, and will live with those memories for the rest of his life.

To be fair, this is the first “purposeful” death by fentanyl.  According to this story and the first chart, more than 20,000 people died of a fentanyl overdose in 2016.



I’m noticing a pattern, and I’m not the only one that’s noticed it.

The Republicans have a primary election between a normal, run of the mill Neoconservative and a Trumpist.  One espouses whatever Ayn Rand-ian bullshit they claim to believe in, while the other goes full MAGA.  The Trumpist wins the primary.  Meanwhile, in the same district, the Democrats are running Moderate and Centrist candidates who don’t own red hats nor kale farms.  Those two face off in the General Election, and the Democrat outperforms what they’ve done historically.  Sometimes, like in Alabama’s Senate race, or the PA Congress special election, the Democrat wins.

We saw it again on Tuesday with Kansas and Minnesota.  In both states’ Governor election, the GOP “Base” went full MAGA.  Never go full MAGA.  Minnesota is usually a toss-up state, but Kansas has been the definition of a Red-State since the color choices were settled back in the 80’s.

The GOP Primaries across the nation are looking more and more like Pyrrhic Victories.  Sure, MAGA wins the primary, but now they have to bet that the average voter will put Party of Country like they did.






That’s it for Tuesday.  The Manafort Tax trial wraps up on Wednesday.  I’m not sure how long that will be with the jury.  We’ll probably get more stuff about Omarosa, and who knows what other craziness.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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