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That Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Is Looking More And More Like Collusion

Donald Trump Sr and Jr

Donald Trump Jr. spent a good part of this morning digging further down into the hole that he has fallen into given the recent revelations regarding his June 2016 meeting with a lawyer purporting to have ties to the Russian Government and information damaging to Hillary Clinton, which Steven Taylor has previously detailed in posts that can be found here, here, and here. Today, in a series of tweets, the younger Trump posted for all the world to see the email chain that led up to that meeting, and it only adds to the questions that have been generated about him over the past several days:

The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If the future president’s elder son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material — or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign — he gave no indication.

He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Four days later, after a flurry of emails, the intermediary wrote back, proposing a meeting in New York on Thursday with a “Russian government attorney.”

Donald Trump Jr. agreed, adding that he would most likely bring along “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, now one of the president’s closest White House advisers.

On June 9, the Russian lawyer was sitting in the younger Mr. Trump’s office on the 25th floor of Trump Tower, just one level below the office of the future president.

Over the last several days, The New York Times has disclosed the existence of the meeting, whom it involved and what it was about. The story has unfolded as The Times has been able to confirm details of the meetings.

But the email exchanges, which were reviewed by The Times, offer a detailed unspooling of how the meeting with the Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, came about — and just how eager Donald Trump Jr. was to accept what he was explicitly told was the Russian government’s help.

The Justice Department, as well as the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, is examining whether any of President Trump’s associates colluded with the Russian government to disrupt last year’s election. American intelligence agencies have determined that the Russian government tried to sway the election in favor of Mr. Trump.

The precise nature of the promised damaging information about Mrs. Clinton is unclear, and there is no evidence to suggest that it was related to Russian-government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails. But in recent days, accounts by some of the central organizers of the meeting, including Donald Trump Jr., have evolved or have been contradicted by the written email records.

After being told that The Times was about to publish the content of the emails, instead of responding to a request for comment, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out images of them himself on Tuesday.

“To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails” about the June 9 meeting, he wrote. “I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet.”

He added that nothing came of it.

On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. said on Twitter that it was hardly unusual to take information on an opponent. And on Tuesday morning, he tweeted, “Media & Dems are extremely invested in the Russia story. If this nonsense meeting is all they have after a yr, I understand the desperation!”

Here are the relevant Tweets from Trump Jr.’s account, including a statement and the attached email chain:

The New York Times goes on to summarize the chain:

The initial email outreach came from Rob Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and entertainment publicist who first met the future president when the Trump Organization was trying to do business in Russia.

In the June 3 email, Mr. Goldstone told Donald J. Trump Jr. that he was writing on behalf of a mutual friend, one of Russia’s biggest pop music stars, Emin Agalarov. Emin, who professionally uses his first name only, is the son of Aras Agalarov, a real estate tycoon sometimes called the “Donald Trump of Russia.”

The elder Agalarov boasts close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia: his company has won several large state building contracts, and Mr. Putin awarded him the “Order of Honor of the Russian Federation.”

Mr. Agalarov joined with the elder Mr. Trump to bring the Miss Universe contest to Moscow in 2013, and the Trump and Agalarov families grew relatively close.

When Emin released a music video with a theme borrowed from the television show, The Apprentice, Mr. Trump, then the show’s star, made a cameo appearance, delivering his trademark line: “You’re fired!” The elder Mr. Agalarov had also partnered with the Trumps to build a Trump hotel in Moscow, but the deal never came to fruition.

“Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting,” Mr. Goldstone wrote in the email. “The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

He added, “What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?”‘

There is no such title as Crown Prosecutor in Russia – the Crown Prosecution Service is a British term – but the equivalent in Russia is the Prosecutor General of Russia.

That office is held by Yury Yakovlevich Chaika, a Putin appointee who is known to be close to Ms. Veselnitskaya.

After sending back his “love it” reply, Donald Trump Jr. arranged to speak with Emin, sending along his private cellphone number on June 6.

“Ok he’s on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 Minutes so I’m sure can call,” Mr. Goldstone wrote at 3:43 p.m.

Within the hour, Donald Trump Jr. had responded

“Rob thanks for the help. D”

The following day, Mr. Goldstone followed up:

“Don Hope all is well Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday. I believe you are aware of this meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you?”

As has been the case with other aspects of this story, the extent to which the younger Trump’s admissions regarding his contacts with the Russian government or those who may have been reacting on its behalf has changed significantly as more information has been revealed. Back in March, Trump Jr. was denying that he had been involved in any such meeting and dismissed reports to the contrary that, at the time, could not be corroborated. When the current series of reports about the June 2016 meeting first became public on Saturday, he said that the subject matter of the meeting was regarding the issue of the adoption of Russian orphans by American citizens, something that has been a point of controversy between the U.S. and Russia for several years now. On Sunday, in response to additional reporting from the New York Times and other news sources, the younger Trump essentially admit that he met with the attorney in question after being told that she had information that could prove damaging to Hillary Clinton. Today, he essentially admitted that he agreed to this meeting even after being told, or at least led to believe, that the person he was meeting someone who was represented as being a Russian government and that they had information directly from the government designed to help the Trump campaign defeat Clinton in the General Election. The prospect of having access to that information was apparently so appealing to the Trump campaign, that Trump Jr. was joined at this meeting Paul Manafort, who was still serving as Campaign Manager at the time, and by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and someone who, along with his wife and Trump daughter Ivanka, has become one of President Trump’s closest advisers in the White House.

As it turned out, the attorney that Trump Jr. and the others met with had no relevant information at all, and the emails themselves don’t provide the kind of direct evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russian officials that would constitute a ‘smoking gun’ in this case. At the same time, though, the chain of emails, and the fact that the meeting took place at all is certainly evidence that the campaign was open to the idea of working with a foreign government whose interests are plainly adverse to those of the United States in an attempt to influence an American election. That fact alone is likely to mean that these revelations will ultimately lead to a significant expansion of the investigations being conducted by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and by special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been quietly hiring a fairly well-experienced stable of lawyers and investigators to assist him in what is becoming an investigation that seems as though it will last for quite a long time and continue to chip away at the White House and the Republican Party’s ability to get anything done in Congress.

The White House response to all of this so far has amounted to an effort to distance the President from all these reports. While there hasn’t been a live on-camera press briefing for a week, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has told reporters that the President didn’t even know this meeting took place until the reports started coming out this week. Given the fact that the people who attended the meeting included his campaign manager, his son, and his son-in-law, though, the idea that he was completely unaware of what was happening seems bizarre to say the least. Perhaps it will turn out that this is true and that Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner were doing this on their own without consulting the candidate. As things stand right now, that’s an explanation that simply defies credulity.

Whatever the truth is, though, this much is clear. Once again, we have a series of revelations regarding the Trump campaign that show that top officials in that campaign went to a meeting with someone represented to them as being a representative of the Russian government who had damaging information about the Democratic nominee for President. At the very least, it shows that they were open to the idea of colluding with a foreign government to influence an American election. If that doesn’t convince even the most diehard Republcian that there is something very wrong going on with this White House, I’m not sure what will.

Here are the emails in question as tweeted by Trump Jr. They are in reverse chronological order:

Donald Trump Jr. Emails Regarding June 2016 Meeting by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

 

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. HarvardLaw92 says:

    It’s looking like more than that. It’s looking more and more by the minute like a conspiracy to violate 52 U.S. Code § 30121

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  2. Mark Ivey says:

    “Russian government attorney.”

    Gee . . . . . . . . . . .

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  3. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Looking more and more like collusion?
    It’s collusion. Period.
    There’s been a great deal of jabbering about how nothing came from this meeting.
    The “smoking gun” email was on June 3rd.
    On June 7th Snowflake promised big news about Hillary Clinton’s crimes…”probably” on June 13th.”
    The meeting was on June 9th.
    The DNC announced they were hacked on June 14th.
    It’s up to Mueller to find all the collaborating evidence.
    An orangutan could connect the dots.

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  4. Moosebreath says:

    “At the very least, it shows that they were open to the idea of colluding with a foreign government to influence an American election.”

    “Open to the idea” seems like a massive understatement. From the article you quoted:

    “If the future president’s elder son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material — or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign — he gave no indication.

    He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.””

    ReplyReply

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  5. Gustopher says:

    If it wasn’t Donald Trump Jr. who was meeting with the Russian government operatives to get information about Clinton — if it was the NY Times that was getting information from Russian government operatives — would it still be a criminal matter?

    I mean, assuming that the Russian government operatives weren’t trying to get a quid pro quo with help overturning some sanctions imposed after they beat some whistleblower to death…

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  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    who has been quietly hiring a fairly well-experienced stable of lawyers and investigators

    Dude, seriously? Mueller has hired the legal world’s equivalent of the freaking British SAS

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  7. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Okay, so you’re a typical GOP senator or congresscritter. You have no ambitions to be president or even VP, you just want to get elected a few times, build up your contacts, retire with a government pension and a part-time gig as a well-paid lobbyist. You’re not asking for much, just a simple life.

    Now, do you want to pass Trumpcare legislation and have it hanging around your neck in the next election when it could be named after a guy who’d be fighting in the last ditch to preserve his presidency?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  8. de stijl says:

    “I applaud my son’s transperancy.”

    “He is a high-quality person.”

    Have more tender words ever been spoken from father to son?

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  9. Moosebreath says:

    It doesn’t help Uday Trump’s credibility that he has changed his story multiple times within the last few days:

    “The progression of Trump Jr.’s position can be summarized:

    I never represented the campaign in a meeting with a Russian.
    Actually, I did, but the meeting was about adoption.
    Well, the pretext of the meeting was incriminating information about Clinton, but we didn’t actually get any.
    This kind of meeting is totally normal.
    The meeting didn’t seem like such a bad idea at the time because the media wasn’t focused on Russia yet.”

    ReplyReply

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  10. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Snowflake’s statement on his son:

    “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency,”

    Keep in mind that his high-quality son has been lying about this for over a year, now.
    Transparency? I do not think that word means what you think it means…

    And then Sarah Sanders refused to take any questions.

    ReplyReply

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  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    And then Sarah Sanders refused to take any questions

    Wonder how she’s feeling right now about having been walked out onto the plank and then having it pulled out from under her?

    I mean, I get that she has little credibility or much of a reputation to protect, but it was satisfying to see what little she has of either just take a beating 😀

    ReplyReply

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  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  13. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    to steal a brilliant line from another commenter (I do not remember who):

    My freude is over-schadened.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. dmichael says:

    As to the current claim that Donald, Sr. was unaware of what his evil spawn Donald, Jr. was up to, please note that during the campaign a few days after Jr.’s meeting with Natalia V (should be called “Natasha Fatale”), Sr. said in a speech that in a few days, he would be giving a speech detailing Hillary’s “crimes.” See: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/oh-boy-3.
    To the writers out there (I am looking at you, Michael) after tragedy moves to farce, what comes after?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    No, no, no–it’s not collusion. They TRIED to commit collusion, but failed, so nothing to see here.

    You know, it’s like when I try and kill someone, but fail. Not a crime, move on from this fake news, etc…

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  17. Tony W says:

    The latest news now reveals Trump had a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, which Donny Jr. was to oversee. Apparently the deal went down while he was there for Ms. Universe in 2013.

    Of course Trump, as he has said many times, has no ties to Russia

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  18. pylon says:

    But what about the orphans?

    ReplyReply

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  19. Facebones says:

    To quote Trevor Noah on the Daily Show, Li’l Donnie’s defense amounts to a husband telling his wife “Sure, I was gonna f*** that girl, but she only wanted to talk about Jesus! So how can you accuse me of cheating?”

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  20. Hal_10000 says:

    Trumpaloos seem to be settling on the Sideshow Bob Defense. They didn’t *actually* collude. It was attempted collusion. And who cares about that? Do they give out Nobel Prizes for attempted chemistry?

    ReplyReply

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  21. grumpy realist says:

    @Hal_10000: Someone should get a law dictionary and read out the definition of “conspiracy” to them. Also “attempt” crimes.

    And I bet that Uday Trump honestly can’t figure out why anyone is making a fuss.

    What a bunch of idiots.

    ReplyReply

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  22. SKI says:

    the attorney that Trump Jr. and the others met with had no relevant information at all

    Do you have any source for this other than Donny Jr’s statement that nothing was provided at the meeting?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  23. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “Trumpaloos seem to be settling on the Sideshow Bob Defense. They didn’t *actually* collude.”

    The trouble with that defense is that every time they say “I only did this…” the next day brings another reveal. It was only Saturday that Don Jr. was saying the meeting was about adoption, then on Sunday had to admit there was the promise of dirt on Hillary but they never wanted it, and then on Monday….

    It has already been pointed out that just days after this Trump Sr. was promising a big speech about Hillary’s crimes.

    ReplyReply

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  24. Mr. Prosser says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I read somewhere and I paraphrase, “At this rate she’ll be lucky getting a job shilling on the 700 Club.”

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  25. t says:

    @Hal_10000:

    the Sideshow Bob Defense.

    “that’s german for “the bart, the”

    ReplyReply

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  26. Lit3Bolt says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Since this meeting happened in Trump Tower in NYC, can NYAG do any state charges as well?

    ReplyReply

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  27. Lit3Bolt says:

    @t:

    “Someone who speaks German can’t be bad!”

    ReplyReply

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  28. Paul Hooson says:

    Well, even when those associated with Donald Trump commit crimes they only manage to bungle it up, not breaking their perfect record of failure and ineptness….Donald Jr., Manafort and Kushner all show up at a meeting with the intent to break the law by working with an enemy government, but this turns out to a bust…But, it also suggests that other illegal opportunities may have existed and that some like Manafort provided false testimony and other problems.

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  29. MarkedMan says:

    Hair Gel Donnie is still talking. If his lawyers are telling him to shut up he’s not listening.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. MarkedMan says:

    Hmmm. Donnie Darko doesn’t seem to be getting any advice from anyone that he should stop talking. Can his family be throwing him under the bus? Including Donnie Comb Over?

    ReplyReply

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  31. Mister Bluster says:

    Hair Gel Donnie is still talking.

    I can only assume you are noting this tease by Sean (rhymes with pawn) Calamity for his evening screed in support of our National Pervert. Tonight featuring the degenerate son.
    I suppose this counts as a scoop for Fox.
    I am not impressed.
    Hannity needs to get Manafort and Kushner to blab on themselves.

    ReplyReply

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  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    They’re the gift that just keeps on giving.

    ReplyReply

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  33. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Trump the Elder seems pretty contemptuous of his oldest spawn. I believe he would throw him under the bus.

    ReplyReply

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  34. Mister Bluster says:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): I was just watching during the break Democrat senators flipping out on CNN going, “This is incredibly serious, Donald Jr., Russians did influence the election.” Because they met with one lady who wanted to talk about sanctions. They’re like, “No, we want to talk about Russian connections to Hillary” — which are now confirmed. That’s Donald Jr. doing his job. So that he’s trying to find Russian spies, he is now a Russian spy. So that’s coming up. All these wars tie together.

    So Alex Jones is claiming Jr. Is a Russian spy!?!

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  35. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    I believe that’s the point.

    Don Jr. will be sacrificed as a rear guard tactic in a containment effort.

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  36. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I think Alex Jones was trying to say that Don Jr. was spying on the Russians.

    I know. That is a stupid assertion by Jones, but you go to war with the Fredos you have not the Fredos you want.

    Also, Alex Jones admitted during the recent lawsuit that he is faking his persona for personal and economic gain. He basically admitted that InfoWars and the “Alex Jones” persona is the equivalent of a WWE heel.

    He claimed that he doesn’t believe his own bullshit.

    ReplyReply

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  37. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    And he still lost custody of his kids

    ReplyReply

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  38. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    That’s gotta burn.

    Jones gave up the whole game and he still lost.

    ReplyReply

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  39. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Also, Alex Jones admitted during the recent lawsuit that he is faking his persona

    His lawyer made that claim. In true Trumpian fashion, he contradicted those claims and insisted he was for real.

    In response, Jones’s lawyer countered that his on-air persona was “performance art,” and said that that judging him as a father based on his public persona would be like judging Jack Nicholson’s parenting skills on his role as the Joker in the movie “Batman.” A claim Jones then, bizarrely, went on to dispute, filming a series of videos before his court appearances last week, in which he appeared to be undermining his lawyer’s argument by insisting that his on-air persona is real.

    ReplyReply

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  40. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    Ah!

    I thought that Jones himself offered up the WWE heel argument, not his lawyer. Stupid me.

    I guess I should apologize to Alex Jones for mischaracterizing his statements. But he’s a dick so screw that guy.

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  41. de stijl says:

    Seriously, I’m sorry for misstating Jones’ position. That’s on me.

    Confirmation bias is a bitch.

    ReplyReply

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  42. de stijl says:

    In my mind mischaracterizing what someone said is a cardinal sin.

    And the height of foolishness is being snookered by your own bias.

    So, basically, I failed twice.

    ReplyReply

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  43. michael reynolds says:

    I followed Watergate as only a 19 year-old political junkie living off Dupont Circle in Washington DC could. But the turning point, the moment when I knew he was going down, came when I was riding a subway in Madrid. With my innate Californian Spanish I saw that the Supremes had ordered Nixon to give up the tapes.

    And now, I’m in Europe again. OK, not the Madrid subway but the BA lounge at Heathrow en route to Cyprus, but still: omen.

    This is collusion, period. Further, it proves the essence of the anti-Trump position, that he is corrupt, that he colluded, that he is in one way or another beholden to the Kremlin. It is no longer possible to dispute the basic Democratic case. Trump is a criminal running a crime family masquerading as a business.

    Even the poor saps like @MBunge and @Guarneri cannot possibly go on pretending that this administration is ever going to be a success. Trump has crashed and burned. If he wants to keep himself and his idiot spawn and their idiot husbands out of prison, he needs to resign and save whatever will be left of his Potemkin business.

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  44. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Yes, but you have the integrity to admit it, to correct yourself and to vow to be more careful. Integrity is in extremely short supply in this country at the moment.

    ReplyReply

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  45. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t have a choice.

    I was born with a really persistent and annoying conscience. If I eff up especially in a moral sense, that voice blares in my head like a hang-over alarm clock.

    “You screwed up! Fix it! Fix it now!”

    It”s 99% a good thing. I’m trying to do the good thing because It’s the good thing, but when I waver from true north, my brain goes nutzo.

    One of the biggest conflicts of my life is that I’m not entirely sure whether I behave morally because it is the right thing to do or if It’s my really annoying conscience.

    I have resolved not to fret too much, because the effect works out to be the same. Sometimes I succeed at that.

    ReplyReply

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  46. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Same. I’m in Israel at the moment and realizing this is one of those things I’m going to remember: sitting in a sushi restaurant in Tel Aviv and thinking, “maybe I’ll check Twitter” and my jaw hitting the floor.

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  47. john430 says:

    Jeez, Doug. Don’t you have anything better to do?

    Alan Dershowitz: ” “Obviously if anyone conspired in advance with another to commit a crime – such as hacking the DNC – that would be criminal. But merely seeking to obtain the work product of a prior hack would be no more criminal than a newspaper publishing the work product of thefts such as the Pentagon Papers and the material stolen by Snowden and Manning.”

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  48. grumpy realist says:

    Anyone see this article from Josh over at TPM?

    It looks like it’s a question as to who will manage to throw whom over the gangplank first: Trump Sr. or his son-in-law?

    (Javanka seem to think they can fix the whole problem by throwing–get this–Rince Priebus off the gangplank. A “strategy” that can only make one stand back, shake one’s head, and realize why Trump’s son-in-law only got into college on the strength of a big fat donation.)

    I’m in awe of their stupidity. Heck, even the Bourbons had better sense.

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  49. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Even the poor saps like @MBunge and @Guarneri cannot possibly go on pretending that this administration is ever going to be a success.

    @john430: on the other hand…

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  50. Mister Bluster says:

    Not surprised to see that johnny telephone still supports our pussy grabbing pervert in chief.

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  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @john430:

    Alan use to be a pretty talented attorney, which just makes this slide into being a hack of an apologist he’s been on of late that much more depressing.

    The analogy is specious. Federal election law explicitly criminalizes both foreign interference in US elections AND the solicitation of, participation in and/or receipt of anything of value by US nationals in pursuit of the same. Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner arguably engaged in a conspiracy to violate federal election laws. It doesn’t matter if there was no direct agreement at the meeting to provide information. Just the overt (important term you’ll want to get acquainted with) act of taking the meeting itself, in the context of the information tendered beforehand to the participants about the agenda, violated federal law.

    Then we get into “Were any of these three questioned by federal investigators about this subject arena and either failed to disclose the email exchange / meeting itself or responded untruthfully?”

    If so, we’re heading into false statements and, depending on the context, perjury.

    Then we get into the SF-86 omissions, which are in and of themselves a federal crime regardless of any subsequent amendments. The minute anyone signs an SF-86 which they know omits pertinent information or which mischaracterizes events, a crime has been committed.

    At a minimum, it’s grounds for revoking security clearances.

    Gunga Dershowitz notwithstanding, these guys – all three of them – are potentially in serious doo doo.

    Which honestly makes me wonder who in this White House possesses the level of Machiavellian subtlety required to have made a complex play like this one? Certainly not Bannon and by no means Trump himself. There is some factional three-dimensional chess going on here – I very much want to know who’s playing the game.

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  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As it turned out, the attorney that Trump Jr. and the others met with had no relevant information at all,

    Doug, based on what evidence do you make this statement? The words of a proven pathological liar? I’d put a $20 on “information was exchanged and it was decided by the principals at the meeting that it was best leaked by wikileaks at a time and intervals to be decided later”.

    Oh and I’d put a $50 on tRump knowing all about this meeting after the fact if not before.

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  53. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    What seems to be lost on most everyone, especially the sycophants like John 430, is that it doesn’t matter if anything was exchanged at this meeting or not.
    One of the very first things the Trump Administration did upon taking office was to try and relieve the sanctions on Russia.
    Then there was Jared trying to set up secret back channel communications to Russia.
    Then there was Snowflake himself welcoming Kyslyak into the Oval Office for a secret meeting, in which he gave away classified information.
    Just recently the White House spent a week on the Hill begging Congress NOT TO INCREASE sanctions on Russia.
    And, of course, there was Snowflake cow-towing to Putin at the G-19.
    So there has been plenty of Quid in these first 6 months of Trump Treason.
    Jr.’s emails explain the Quo…Russia wanted to help Snowflake try to win the election. Our Intelligence agencies are unanimous that they did in fact do so. The ways they did it go beyond simple opposition research…opposition research is a red herring made up by congenital liars who got caught colluding.
    (note: this doesn’t even include the Flynn stuff…which is serious itself and should not be ignored.)
    The Quid Pro Quo is pretty fwcking obvious to anyone with a brain. Unfortunately for this Republic, the minority that voted for Snowflake do not seem to have functioning brains.

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  54. KM says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl :

    The Quid Pro Quo is pretty fwcking obvious to anyone with a brain. Unfortunately for this Republic, the minority that voted for Snowflake do not seem to have functioning brains.

    Common sense is not common.

    There are people actually arguing that *if* this went down *that* way, Russia wasn’t expecting anything but did this out of the goodness of their hearts and prevent a Hillary disaster. All the following pro-Russianess was a natural consequence of the Administration recognizing an ally and wanting to improve relations. Since it’s all FAKE NEWS anyway, what does it matter? Yeah Donny Jr tweeted the emails first but since the NYT is involved, it’s gotta be a FAKE smear about a innocent meeting regarding adoptees and dirt on a political opponent. Doesn’t everybody have those?

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  55. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    As if to prove my point; McClatchy has a report about Jared being investigated for guiding Russia’s fake news operation.
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article160803619.html

    Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.
    Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries.

    If you haven’t noticed McClatchy is one of this countries finest journalism operations. They actually got most of the Iraq stuff right, while the NYTimes was running Judith Miller/Dick Cheney propaganda.

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  56. teve tory says:

    These days I’m not seeing the shit-ton of “You lost! Get over it!” posts like I used to.

    The wheels are coming off the wagon.

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  57. MarkedMan says:

    I finally saw an at least plausible theory on where these leaks are originating. Basically, the speculation was that it was Kushner, because he felt like he was getting cut out in preparation for being thrown to the wolves and so he decided to implicate Donnie Short Pants in order to raise the stakes if Senior tried to sacrifice him. Normally i would say nobody was so stupid as to think this might work, but we are talking about the Trump clan here…

    Anyone got anything better?

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  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Honestly? My mind keeps circling back to Pence. He’s devious enough, knows well enough how the game is played and had/has enough access to material to be situated to conduct a campaign like this.

    I’ve even entertained the possibility that the party is trying to rid itself of a problem (so amend the above to “Pence, also being helped by others, in a coordinated campaign” )

    When you consider the breadth, character and nature of the whole body of material that has been leaked, the list of people with broad enough access to carry this out shrinks pretty quickly.

    Then again, maybe it’s just True Believers™ in the West Wing engaged in a purity crusade. Who knows?

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  59. Jen says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

    This has been my suspicion all along; that the point of nexus here is the combined use of the overseas trolling operation with the Cambridge Analytica data for voter targeting. It makes sense, in no small part because this would be similar to microtargeting in a marketing strategy. Remember that the Trump campaign digital lead strategist did not have a political background, and thus probably didn’t spend too much time examining what the law says about the ban on foreign assistance/help/etc. That this wasn’t a real focus of theirs was readily apparent when the first fundraising emails went out, if everyone remembers–those (illegally) went all over the globe, including soliciting campaign funds from members of Australia’s and UK’s governments.

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  60. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Most of the comments I’ve heard about Pence from people in Indiana is that the guy couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if directions were printed on the heel.

    So I’m not sure Pence would be my first guess.

    It is quite possible that we’re seeing a collection of “useful idiots” who have been egged on by more intelligent individuals. I’d put Pence in the “useful idiot” category.

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  61. teve tory says:

    @MartinBelam: “Imagine Watergate. But one of Nixon’s kids kept uploading all the tapes to Soundcloud”

    big difference between this and watergate is back then some republicans had integrity and patriotism. MCConnel, Ryan and the rest DGAF.

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  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Entirely possible, which just reverses my second statement to “others, being aided by Pence”. I can’t help but think that he’s involved – indeed would want to be involved, for obvious reasons. If not him, it’s somebody who was centrally located in the campaign and who has access to the White House now. I don’t think it’s Kushner. I’m dead certain that it isn’t Bannon.

    Somebody is coordinating all of this. It’s not random and it has specific end goals which go well beyond “nudge Mangolini back on track”.

    This whole thing has a design which doesn’t benefit Trump and a purpose which has nothing to do with helping him learn to govern effectively. It’s intended to achieve an entirely different objective and it’s well coordinated. Of that I am nearly certain.

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  63. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Pence. Whoa. That makes sense. He himself is as stupid as any of the Trumps, but there certainly could be non-stupids helping him. Trump threw him under the bus early on with the Flynn thing so he probably doesn’t feel any loyalty to the Combover. Heck, who are we kidding. He is so much of a sackcloth and ashes kind of a Christian it’s 90% odds that he’d sell out his most trusted friend much less someone he feels morally superior to.

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  64. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I’d put Pence in the “useful idiot” category.

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/that-donald-trump-jr-meeting-is-looking-more-and-more-like-collusion/#ixzz4mdOlzsLV

    Sure. But Pence himself doesn’t have to even be involved. The Koch brothers or some other free lancers could have decided that they would advance their interests further with a normal idiot like Pence, rather than a ratf*cking insane idiot like Trump.

    I wish I could say that senior members of the Republican Party had decided that for the good of the country they needed to slip Donnie Prince of Darkness the shiv. But these are Republicans we are talking about. The party of liars and traitors.

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  65. Jay Gischer says:

    As it turns out, Democrats held the House, and so could proceed with hearings and impeachment. Republicans held the line for Nixon right up until the point that the tapes became public, and people could hear Nixon (or read the transcripts) for themselves plotting all that stuff. It didn’t hurt that the transcript was full of “”

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  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I wish I could say that senior members of the Republican Party had decided that for the good of the country they needed to slip Donnie Prince of Darkness the shiv. But these are Republicans we are talking about. The party of liars and traitors.

    It would have nothing to do with the good of the country. It’d solely be about the good of the party. They never expected him to get nominated, and they never expected him to win. Now they’re saddled with the most damaging factor for their carefully constructed brand which they’ve had to face & deal with in decades. Trump is poisonous for the GOP, and they’re painfully aware of that.

    If the party is involved at all, and that is absolutely a possibility, it would be so that it can rid itself of this meddlesome priest & install Pence in his place. Short term grief, longer term benefit. It does have a logic to it.

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  67. Blue Galangal says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I concur, but I’d add this: I think this has been Pence’s long game – as much as he is capable of it – since the tape dropped. I think he was on the verge of dropping off the ticket when that tape dropped. He seemed deeply dismayed and even disappeared for a couple of days. Then he realised, or someone close to him (maybe Mother Pence a la Lady MacBeth) pointed out the advantages of, the long game. No one within the maelstrom of the Trump campaign (or even in its orbit) could have thought Trump could make it even a year without being impeached. Aside from being in bed with Russia up to his bristly little eyebrows, he’s uncontrollable and he’s clearly got some kind of dementia if nothing else. Result: Pence, who indeed couldn’t pour piss out of a boot w/ instructions, etc., and is even less qualified and intelligent than Palin, ends up #46.

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  68. Franklin says:

    [This part was written before the last couple posts, before my computer crashed.] OK, this is all looking a bit downhill for the Administration, but can someone predict what happens when Mueller and crew produce a report? Do we eventually get Pence as President, or is he going down, too? (I’m prematurely assuming that the head honcho and all his nepotistic appointments are out.)

    Honestly, Pence is worse for those of us on the left side of the spectrum. He may be able to get something done. That said, my gut feeling is that he has significantly more integrity than his current boss, even if he is being semi-loyal (“semi” because his statement about Junior was basically “not my fault, happened before I was even on the campaign”).

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  69. teve tory says:

    in 1974 republican senators Scott, Goldwater, and Rhodes went to the white house and told nixon to GTFO, and he resigned the next day. McConnell, Ryan and the like are way too craven to do that.

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  70. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Most of the comments I’ve heard about Pence from people in Indiana is that the guy couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if directions were printed on the heel.

    I I were Pence I’d already be President. The Palace coup would be complete. Pence is probably the only guy in politics dumber than Snowflake.

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  71. Tony W says:

    I can’t speak to his intelligence, but Pence is a decent politician. During television interviews and speeches he is disciplined, he sticks to his talking points and he has mastered the Leslie Neilsen look of seriousness.

    He’s absolutely wacky, believes demonstrably false things, and is as shady as the day is long, but still, it seems reasonable that the oligarchs in power would determine gray is the new orange.

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  72. Franklin says:

    @Tony W: Mostly agreed. I don’t know how shady he is, but Pence destroyed Kaine in the VP debate. Not from a substance or policy viewpoint, but from acting like a responsible adult. (Of course, I still think Kaine accidentally swallowed about nine too many caffeine pills before that ‘performance’.)

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  73. teve tory says:

    Norman Ornstein‏ @NormOrnstein 24h24 hours ago

    it is impossible to emphasize enough how despicable McConnell’s behavior was when he learned from Intel agencies about Russian interference

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  74. Pete S says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I still think Priebus is the one working with Pence. They are both establishment Republicans who support a typical harsh Republican agenda. And after all of the stories about different Trump family members coming after him I could really see Priebus picking the dumbest link and starting his revenge there.

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  75. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “My mind keeps circling back to Pence. He’s devious enough, knows well enough how the game is played and had/has enough access to material to be situated to conduct a campaign like this.”

    I certainly see the appeal of that, but to me there are a couple of problems with the theory. First is that Pence is widely regarded as one of the dumbest men in politics. I suppose we’d all love to see that the ass-licker in chief is secretly working to bring down Trump, but that would require more intelligence than I’ve ever heard anyone say he’s had.

    Also, do you really think there’s a chance that he isn’t just as dirty as the rest of them? Yes, he joined the campaign later, so he wouldn’t have been in for the early stages. But would Trump let him keep his hands clean once he was inside? I know this has been his posture — “Oh my stars and garters, General Flynn lied to me!!!” — but I don’t believe it for a second. He’s a born bagman.

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  76. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Also, do you really think there’s a chance that he isn’t just as dirty as the rest of them?

    Without doubt. He’s just a (somewhat) better quality of villain. They’re incompetent. He’s malevolent.

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  77. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Blue Galangal: “…and is even less qualified and intelligent than Palin, …”

    Wow! That’s an awfully low bar or is “less qualified and intelligent” a high bar in this case? Palin is pretty near the Platonic representation of unqualified to be President.

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  78. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    This whole thing has a design which doesn’t benefit Trump and a purpose which has nothing to do with helping him learn to govern effectively. It’s intended to achieve an entirely different objective and it’s well coordinated. Of that I am nearly certain.

    It’s Obama and Hillary stabbing their country in the back by trying to stop St Donald the Virtuous from completing his expunging of the heretics from the Holy Land.

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  79. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Thank you, Lucianne 😀

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  80. MarkedMan says:

    @wr:

    would Trump let him keep his hands clean

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/that-donald-trump-jr-meeting-is-looking-more-and-more-like-collusion/#ixzz4me0gOOYg

    My reading was that Trump thought of Pence as a complete non-entity. Remember the humiliating “introduction” where Trump spent the whole time talking about himself? So, yeah, it’s not that Trump would deliberately let him keep his hands clean, but rather that Trump never even thought about him.

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  81. SenyorDave says:

    @teve tory: McConnell, Ryan and the like are way too craven to do that.

    They don’t have a problem with trying to fix an election, they have a problem with how he did it. Plus, as you say, they are complete cowards. Of course, the idea that anyone truly believes Mitch McConnell cares about the country is laughable.

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  82. John430 says:

    @Mister Bluster: Your mama doesn’t seem to mind it.

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  83. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: He’s just a (somewhat) better quality of villain. They’re incompetent. He’s malevolent.”

    Maybe I’m misreading the situation, but I have to suspect that if Trump starts going down, he’s going to throw everyone around him under the wheels first, non-relatives first. And even if Pence manages to survive his time as a human shield, do you really think Trump is the kind of guy to leave the job without tearing everyone down around him?

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  84. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @John430:
    Hahahahahahahaha…
    These guys commit perjury (falsifying disclosure forms) in order to collude with the enemy and you are OK with it.
    But get a blow job…ooooohhh no…that’s outta bounds.
    You stupid mother-fwckers are hilarious.

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  85. MarkedMan says:

    @wr:

    And even if Pence manages to survive his time as a human shield, do you really think Trump is the kind of guy to leave the job without tearing everyone down around him?

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/that-donald-trump-jr-meeting-is-looking-more-and-more-like-collusion/#ixzz4meYxc6zS

    It’s an interesting question. Does he think Pence owes him loyalty? Because 30 years of watching Trump has shown that when things go bad he attacks those he thinks “owe” him. When things go south he starts viciously attacking whatever “ally” or “friend” most in his field of vision.

    And right now, I don’t think Pence is in his field of vision. He has made it perfectly clear to the whole world that he thinks nothing whatsoever of Pence. Seriously – name something that Pence is responsible for. Name a time when he did more than mention Pence in passing. My guess is that if Pence keeps his head down Trump will end up going after Mitch and Paul, and all the other Republicans, whether they stuck with him as long as they could or not. He won’t waste his time going after Democrats because they never owed him and so didn’t betray him, they weren’t disloyal. He expects loyalty from Republicans and, more importantly, he can hurt them. If he sends out the word to vote for a primary opponent or to stay at home he could single handedly take out even the most secure Republican. But he knows he’s not going to have any effect on a Democrat. Trump likes to rough people up, he likes to hurt people. He can hurt a Republican, but not a Democrat.

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  86. gVOR08 says:

    The linked NYT article identifies Yury Yakovlevich Chaika, Prosecutor General the Russian Federation, as likely the person meant by the British term “Crown Prosecutor” in the email. Via Booman, Julia Ioffe at Atlantic has a piece on what Chaika is. The US equivalent would be Attorney General, but only if Sessions were also a Mafia Don who had close business and personal ties to General Motors and Goldman Sachs and had killed people for them.

    Please god the FBI isn’t tainted by Russians. If they go down this rat hole it’s going to get a lot worse than Jr. being an idiot who took a meeting with a Putin connected lawyer. Incredibly worse.

    Highly recommend you fasten your seatbelt and read the Booman post above and the linked Atlantic article.

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  87. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: Considering that Trump is now saying that he will be “very mad” if the ACA repeal fails to go through, I suspect we’re going to be in for an interesting few months.

    On the other hand, I don’t see Trump being able to do much to people like Yertle the Turtle, etc. If Trump looks like he’s going to turn on the Senate, I suspect we’ll see a determined push by the Republican Party to get him out. And yes, that involves impeachment.

    Once Trump is impeached…? Whee!

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  88. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And yes, that involves impeachment.

    I wish you were correct, but the rabid Trumpistas make up a huge Republican voting block. Voting for impeachment would mean the immediate end of their political career. Any Republican with that kind of integrity has been primaried out of existence years ago.

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  89. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @John430: Really? A lame “yo’ mama” quip? You’re just like school in July–NO CLASS.

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  90. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:..Thank’s for the support.
    I’m still waiting for him or any of Republican President Pork Chop Pud’s lackeys to explain how they can abide by this moral degenerate since he revealed himself to be an active sexual molester of women.

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  91. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds: Concorde Lounge in Terminal 5?

    That place makes every other first class lounge look like a Denny’s.

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  92. teve tory says:

    @MarkedMan: Considering that Trump is now saying that he will be “very mad” if the ACA repeal fails to go through, I suspect we’re going to be in for an interesting few months.

    Indeed. An angry trump is an even less stable trump.

    An unpopular president typically loses 34 House seats in the next midterms, I read last week. The GOP’s only up by 23 seats. So When trump causes the GOP to lose the House and makes Nancy Pelosi Speaker, I wonder what the trumpistas will think.

    Ha! Just kidding. They show us here weekly, they don’t think. They repeat what their media tells them.

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  93. Blue Galangal says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: And I didn’t use that comparison lightly, believe me.

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  94. JohnMcC says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I think that a recent tweet from the Pence camp regarding the Don Jr emails ended with “#46”. That is, at least by my memory of the reading aloud by MSNBC talking head. (Don’t do twits. Yes that has two meanings.)

    I wondered about that. First, did the V.P.’s staff put it in as a joke? As a threat? To show that the ‘alpha’ team could no longer push their 90 pound weakling around? To prove they didn’t need permission to tweet?

    You make me think they might have plans.

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  95. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: When Trump threw the National Intelligence Community, CIA, and FBI under the bus—He FVCK’D with the wrong people. They know where all the bodies are buried (or can quickly find them) for every politician of note–around the world.

    As Sheriff Buford T Justice would say: They gonna Bobby Q his ass in molassus

    They’ll let it drizzle out a little at a time to protect the sources and methods they are getting the information from. Frankly, it could very well be the Russians themselves. It’d be a well played double cross to embroil the US in 4 years of controversy by helping elect Trump then knee cap him after the election to make sure he’s not positioned to challenge your true goals.

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