Daily Check-In 09/04/2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III told President Trump’s lawyers in a letter Friday that he will accept written answers from Trump to questions about whether his campaign coordinated with Russia to tilt the 2016 election in his favor, according to two people briefed on the communication.

Mueller did not rule out interviewing the president as part of his wide-ranging inquiry. His Friday letter indicated that he may revisit his long-running request to pose questions to Trump directly about Russia’s activities during the campaign after reviewing his answers.

And the special counsel left open the possibility that he may still try to press Trump in person about a second piece of his investigation: whether the president has sought to block the probe since taking office.

On potential obstruction-of-justice issues, “he said he’d assess it down the road,” said one person familiar with Mueller’s letter who requested anonymity to discuss private communications. “They’re essentially saying, ‘We’ll deal with this at a later date.’”

Before diving into this, I need to clarify something.  This story was originally broken by Maggie Haberman at the New York Times.  I’ve covered Maggie’s “access journalism” before. (Daily Check-In 01/25/2018Daily Check-In 07/26/2018)

This is an interesting development.  While I’m not completely surprised by this move, I wasn’t expecting it, either.  This letter was delivered on Daily Check-In 08/31/2018.  That was the day that Sam Patten was charged with a FARA violation and right after George Papadopoulos confirmed that Trump gave his approval for his Russian activities.

From what I’m seeing, there are a few different arguments to be made about why this is happening.  I’ve seen responses ranging from “Mueller’s toast” to “Trump is so screwed Mueller doesn’t need anything.”

Here’s what I think.  If Mueller is still negotiating with Trump’s lawyers, it means he wants or needs their input.  He might need it to complete his investigation, to at least give the appearance that they’re only getting around to this now.  It could also be a delaying tactic.  Once Mueller interviews Trump, or if the possibility no longer exists, there will be immense pressure to finish this investigation as soon as possible.  But, by keeping this in a state of limbo, Mueller’s team continues their work on other fronts.

As much as we like to talk about how much Mueller knows, their team is a black box.  Nothing escapes from their cone of silence.  Nobody knows what they’re doing.  All of the information we’ve received over the past year and a half has been from following the court cases and from second and third hand accounts of interviews.  We know some of the people they’re working with, or getting evidence from, but that’s it.  We assume that they have a ton more information than what has appeared in the press, but we’re still on the outside looking in.

Plus, this was a Maggie Haberman story.  There’s a pattern to how these stories go…

  1. Something bad happens to Trump or the White House.
  2. Trump needs to bitch about something or get a story to the press to distract from it.
  3. Trump calls his frenemy Maggie Haberman.
  4. They talk for a while, and she gets him to tell her some juicy info that he’s purposefully leaking.
  5. Maggie confirms it with another source or asks another journalist to confirm what she heard.
  6. Maggie publishes Trump’s distraction piece.

I’m wondering what Trump’s trying to cover up.

 

SCOTUS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

Corruption

 

 Fear

Here we go, here’s what Trump wants to distract from.  Bob Fucking Woodward.  He has a new book coming out next week called Fear, about the inner workings of the Trump White House, and how insanely stupid everything is.

If this story sounds familiar, think Fire and Fury, but by one of the reporters who took down Nixon by reporting on Watergate.  Bob interviewed EVERYONE, and has hundreds of hours on tape.  All of it, from the low-level staffers to the senior members of the administration, all point to the same conclusion: Trump is unfit to serve as President.

I know, right.  This comes as a shock to… like 4 people at this point, but the amazing levels that the staff go to just to keep Trump from causing an active crisis every day is astounding.  Here are some examples mentioned in the book:

  • Trump wanted to cancel all trade with South Korea, and almost did until one of his advisers took the letter from his desk and hid it.
  • Trump called his speech repudiating the Neo-Nazis at Charlottesville the “biggest fucking mistake of my life.”
  • Trump repeatedly called Jeff Sessions a retard, a moron, and would make fun of his accent, his height, and the way he dressed.
  • Trump ordered the assassination of the Syrian President (a big no-no), and when he hung up on SecDef James Mattis, Mattis calmly said to everyone in the room “We’re not going to do any of that.”

And it’s not like most of the staff look good in the book, either.  The descriptions fall into three categories.

  1. People trying to keep the government working for the good of the country.
  2. People along for the ride who can’t figure out what they do.
  3. People trying to abuse the system to get what they want out of it.

The first group consists of people like Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster, and to an extent John Kelly.   This also includes the nameless staffers who keep the wheels of government spinning.

The second group are people like Ivanka and Jared, or Omarosa.  They’re there, but no one knows what they were doing.  They helped Trump get elected, but now just take up space.

The third, and most vile, are the opportunists like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller.  They are actively perverting their positions to push their corrupt, hate-filled agendas.  Accounts like these will help sort the collaborators from the witnesses.

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

NFL

I really hope that these racist white pieces of shit don’t try to adopt Converse as the footwear of choice for their klan rally.  Not only is Converse owned by Nike, but they’ve already co-opted hand signs, white polo shirts, khakis, tiki torches, bald heads, and being a fat white guy.  There’s not much left for the rest of us.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

TALKING ABOUT RACE

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

#METOO

 

PRIESTS

 

ELECTION 2018

 

 

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  Kavanaugh’s hearing is taken most of the oxygen out of the room, and it’s a little depressing to be honest.  Watching this shitshow proceed from the most corrupt political party this side of the old Soviet Union makes my skin crawl.  Grassely and the Republicans are trying to ram Kavanaugh through this nomination with no remorse, no compunction of decency, and no respect for their own rules. Kavanaugh is corrupt, lacks all basis of ethics, and the fact that he holds the views that a President is above the law and yet was nominated by an unindicted co-conspirator to a lifetime position for the highest court in the land makes me sick.  There is an active cover-up going on at this point to railroad him onto the court.

I am honestly afraid at this point for what comes next.  Removing a Supreme Court Justice is the same process for removing a President: Impeachment and trial in the Senate.  I’m worried that someone, thinking they’re on the right side of history, will see him and try to pull a Pelican Brief move of their own.  In a future post, I’ll recommend how to fix the courts in the future, but for right now, I’m nervous.

One thing that does help is stepping back and looking at everything in the large picture.  There are multiple investigations into Trump’s world from several jurisdictions, the blatant corruption is on display for the world to see, and the old white men in power will, sooner rather than later, die of natural causes and be replaced by younger, darker, smarter men and women.

It’s just hard to remember that from a distance.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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