Hagmann Report / Flickr REPORT Robert Mueller Was FBI Director...
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Russia Russia Russia

FEC probes whether NRA got illegal Russian donations

The Federal Election Commission has launched a preliminary investigation into whether Russian entities gave illegal contributions to the National Rifle Association that were intended to benefit the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, according to people who were notified of the probe.

Woodhouse, a longtime Democratic Party activist, said the FEC inquiry is a significant step in getting to the bottom of a very complicated series of relationships between the NRA, the Trump campaign and Russian entities.

you know who else is all over this?  Mueller…  Just sayin’

Massachusetts launches probe into Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data

another example of a great state attorney general stepping in for America!

Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey (D) announced Saturday that her state will launch an investigation into Cambridge Analytica, a data firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, after Facebook suspended the firm.

“Massachusetts residents deserve answers immediately from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. We are launching an investigation,” Healey tweeted

you know who else is all over this?  Mueller…  Just sayin’

And this is HUGE and could be a key in taking down all of them

Staff claim Cambridge Analytica ignored US ban on foreigners working on elections

Cambridge Analytica employed non-American citizens to work on US election campaigns in apparent violation of federal law, despite receiving a legal warning about the risks.

The company’s responsibilities under US law were laid out in a lawyer’s memo to the company’s vice-president, Steve Bannon, British CEO Alexander Nix and Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire owner Robert Mercer, in July 2014. It made it clear that most senior and mid-level positions involving strategy, planning, fundraising or campaigning needed to be filled by US citizens.

Did you catch that?  Bannon and both Mercers!?!  Good lord, if this takes down the Mercers and Bannon along with Trump… I think I would have a good news overload if that happened!

Why is this in the Russia section of the news?  Well they were tied into this too

The new disclosures should renew serious questions about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The dual allegiances of the Russian American middleman Kogan — who before hooking up with CA performed at least one research project for the Russian government — should raise eyebrows; so should a CA presentation on its American election work given to top executives of the Russian oil giant Lukoil, which (like most successful Russian businesses) has close ties to its country’s leader, Vladimir Putin. Special counsel Robert Mueller has already indicted 13 Russians and a St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” for targeting Americans with bitter messages on Facebook in a way that dovetails with and amplifies exactly what CA was trying to accomplish. Coincidence? Or collusion? That’s a question for Mueller and his team that arguably ranks second in stature behind only: What did the president know and when did he know it?

perhaps his freak out this weekend was tied to this as well:

This weekend, just as the Guardian/Times scoop was hitting the fan, Trump and his minions went on something of a bender. His administration almost simultaneously stole the headlines away from the Facebook/CA affair by firing deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe for reasons that are still murky but in a manner that had the grace of a mob hit. Then Trump took to Twitter for some of his most frantic tweets ever about the Russia investigation, going after Mueller for the first time by name just hours after his attorney called for an end to the probe. It reeked of great fear — and that fear is justified. Nixon was taken down by following the money, but “Nixon on steroids” will fall by following the data.

I bolded that because YES PLEASE!!!

And that is not all for the Russia news.  There is also this new info on Flynn:

What Michael Flynn Could Tell the Russia Investigators

The former national security adviser mingled business with government. That could help Robert Mueller look for similar overlaps among Trump insiders.

Michael Flynn, who joined Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as a top military adviser, never believed the candidate would win and often treated the election like a business opportunity, associates say. Now, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller bears down on Trump, Flynn is a key cooperating witness.

A three-month Bloomberg investigation has found that Flynn, who was fired for having lied to the FBI and the vice president about his contacts with Russians, had a slew of other problematic entanglements. Previously unreported documents, including Pentagon contracts, emails and internal company papers, point to overlapping business conflicts around the world.

Self-dealing is, in some ways, at the core of the Mueller inquiry, which is looking at money laundering, contact with foreign (especially Russian) officials and a blending of personal profit with public policy. During the campaign, the transition and his few weeks as national security adviser, Flynn was in Trump’s inner circle. While it remains unclear what he’s providing Mueller, his history of mingling business with government could point investigators to look for similar overlaps among other Trump insiders.

And our good friend (jk, I hate him) Sessions may be in trouble with Mueller as well:

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees.
Trump is not consulting with top advisers, including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and chief White House lawyer Donald McGahn, on his Russia legal choices or his comments about the probe, according to one person with knowledge of his actions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive conversations. He is instead watching television and calling friends, this person said.
The developments suggest that the tumult that has already engulfed Trump’s White House now threatens to overtake his fractious legal team. The half-dozen key lawyers tasked with defending Trump are increasingly operating with conflicting information, feuding internally, and pursuing strategies that many legal analysts and friends of the president view as dubious — if not downright dangerous.
Good luck with that.  /s
Finally, I found this interesting (and a relief).  The article itself is about something else, but this part of it made me feel hopeful:

Consider that Mueller’s situation is genuinely special.

Were he to be fired, it would be a huge national story with obvious political consequences. What’s more, there’s no good alternative to firing Mueller. You can’t quietly transfer him to the Alaska office or make his life miserable with tedious paperwork. He’ll investigate Trump right up until the day he is fired.

And if he does get fired, he and his team will have a big story to tell the press and an eager audience for it. The question will then become whether the voters care about a Trump action that amounts to an implicit admission.

Not that we shouldn’t do all we can to stop that from happening.  If you have republican reps to the house or senate, now is your time to make a difference.  CALL THEM and make sure they know we want the investigation protected.  Also, just in case, make sure you are registered to protest if the firing does occur.

There is Pushback Against Trump Firing Mueller

Trump wanting so badly to get rid of Mueller is, in a way, its own good news.  He is clearly panicking beyond belief.  Which is a good sign.  Also good news, there are people standing up against this (and hopefully more to come! Lets make those calls!)  Those who don’t stand up to him will have history to contend with.  

Graham: Trump firing Mueller would be ‘the beginning of the end of his presidency’

Sen. Lindsey Graham gave a stern warning Sunday to President Donald Trump against firing special counsel Robert Mueller.

“As I said before, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency,” the South Carolina Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) urged President Donald Trump and his lawyer on Sunday to stop flailing at special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and to let the probe continue unimpeded.

“When you are innocent … act like it,” Gowdy said on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about Trump’s repeated Twitter attacks on Mueller, whose probe has become increasingly perilous to the president and his inner circle. “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible.”

McCain: Mueller must be allowed to finish investigation ‘unimpeded’

“Special Counsel Mueller has served our country with honesty and integrity. It’s critical he be allowed to complete a thorough investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election — unimpeded.”

Lieu: There will be ‘widespread civil unrest’ if Trump fires Mueller

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) issued a stark warning to President Trump on Monday evening, saying there would be “widespread civic unrest” if he moved to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

“If the president does go ahead and fire Robert Mueller, we would have people take to the streets. I believe there would be widespread civil unrest because Americans believe the rule of law is paramount,” Lieu told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

“I think you’re going to have protests, and marches, and rallies, and sit-ins. I believe Americans would not stand for the firing of Robert Mueller,” he said.

“The president hasn’t been able to point to a single thing that Robert Mueller has done wrong. There is no basis to fire him. And he would have to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein first in order to fire Robert Mueller.”

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, says Robert Mueller is ‘not an unguided missile’

“The special counsel is not an unguided missile,” Rosenstein said in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY. “I don’t believe there is any justification at this point for terminating the special counsel.”

He dismissed the near-constant and pointed criticism aimed at the Justice Department from the White House and from an ultra-conservative Tea Party Patriots group. The group has run an ugly ad campaign, describing Rosenstein as “a weak careerist” and suggesting that he tender his own resignation.

“I believe much of the criticism will fall by the wayside when people reflect on this era and the Department of Justice,” said Rosenstein, who did not refer to Trump directly. “I’m very confident that when the history of this era is written, it will reflect that the department was operated with integrity.”

I bolded that because it seems VERY telling to me. It is Rosenstein fighting back in his own way.  Remember, he knows what Mueller is doing.  He is overseeing the investigation.  So here is another person, who knows what is going on from the inside, expressing confidence that when history is written it will be on our side!

McCabe Firing was a Huge Mistake

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Lawyers Up

Andrew McCabe, formerly the deputy director of the FBI, has lawyered up. Michael Bromwich of the Bromwich Group confirmed to The Daily Beast that he is representing McCabe for the purposes of the matter that led to his firing.

Could getting Andrew McCabe fired come back to bite Trump?

It’s readily apparent why getting McCabe fired might send a message Trump likes. But might it also come back to bite Trump?

Trump has now, after all, cemented the enemy status of a top-ranking official at the FBI (its No. 2) and onetime acting director. He previously did that by firing McCabe’s superior, former FBI director James B. Comey, and Comey has rewarded that decision by leaking unhelpful things and testifying about Trump in a negative light. He is now set to release a book.

Trump and Sessions have just created a very motivated enemy.

It also pushed people to speak out against Trump.  For example:

A retired four-star general called the president of the United States “a serious threat to US National Security.”

“Reluctantly I have concluded that President Trump is a serious threat to US national security. He is refusing to protect vital US interests from active Russian attacks. It is apparent that he is for some unknown reason under the sway of Mr Putin.”

Graham calls for hearing on McCabe firing

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said the Senate Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, telling CNN’s “State of the Union” that the decision merits extra scrutiny “to make sure it wasn’t politically motivated.”

“I think we owe it to the average American to have a hearing in the Judiciary Committee, where Mr. Sessions, Attorney General Sessions, comes forward with whatever documentation he has about the firing, and give Mr. McCabe a chance to defend himself,” said Graham (R-S.C.), who sits on the committee.

Fox’s Napolitano: McCabe firing could be seen as obstruction of justice

Fox New’s Judge Andrew Napolitano warned Monday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘s firing on Friday of former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe could be seen as “obstruction of justice.”

Napolitano said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” Monday that he viewed McCabe’s firing as “vindictive” and “reckless.”

“Andrew McCabe is more likely than not to be a witness against the attorney general’s boss, the president of the United States,” Napolitano said. “I think that firing him in that environment could very well be determined to diminish his effectiveness as a witness. What’s that called? Obstruction of justice.”

Comey’s unreleased book lands at No. 1 on best-sellers list

Former FBI Director James Comey’s unreleased book has landed at the No. 1 spot on the Amazon best-sellers list just one day after he told President Trump that “the American people will hear my story very soon.”

Oh after I put that in here it got knocked out….  BY John Oliver’s Pence family rabbit spoof book 

“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver’s book parodying one about Vice President Pence’s family rabbit has knocked former FBI Director James Comey’s unreleased book from the No. 1 spot on the Amazon best-sellers list.

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” was No. 1 on the Amazon best-sellers list as of Monday afternoon, just hours after Oliver announced the book’s release on his show Sunday night.

The book spoofs “A Day in the Life of the Vice President,” written by Pence’s daughter Charlotte Pence and illustrated by second lady Karen Pence. In Oliver’s version, however, the rabbit — Marlon Bundo — is gay.

So, so awesome.  The top two books right now are Comey’s book and a book about Pence’s gay bunny.  You can’t make this shit up….  ???? 

Great Election News

Once-safe Republican districts suddenly in play as Democrats expand the map

The campaign for control of Congress is suddenly playing out across a far larger swath of the country than either party had previously expected, with Tuesday’s special House election in the Pittsburgh suburbs showing how President Trump’s unpopularity is turning many once-safe Republican districts into battlegrounds in this year’s midterm elections.

GOP incumbents who have rarely, if ever, faced a viable challenger are being forced to build campaign operations, raise money and make more frequent appearances across their districts.

And Democrats who have long intended to make their stand in a few dozen evenly divided districts now say the results in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, which Trump carried by nearly 20 points two years ago, suggest the battleground may expand to more than 100 districts where the president’s margin was smaller.

Democrats hold double-digit lead for 2018 midterm elections

even though any advantage is good, I wouldn’t give too much stock to generic polls.  They underestimate our advantage because recruitment of good candidates has been SO MUCH better for our side that theirs.

Fifty percent of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 40 percent want a GOP-controlled one.

and even though this poll finds an uptick in Trumps numbers, keep in mind that 

Trump’s overall approval rating at 43 percent is the lowest for any modern president at about 14 months into his job.

got that?  the lowest for any president EVER at this point in his presidency.  Ever.  The losing-er-est of all!  And also this:

Also in the poll, the most popular political figures and institutions are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (48 percent positive, 20 percent negative), Planned Parenthood (52 percent positive, 25 percent negative), the “Me Too” Movement (35 percent positive, 18 percent negative) and special counsel Robert Mueller (28 percent positive, 19 percent negative).

Republicans bet their Senate majority on Trump

Hee hee!  Great idea, fellas!  I realize they are stuck between a racist rock and a loser hard place on this one, but sticking with Trump is NOT going to win them the Senate.  So this is GREAT news.

His approval rating is perpetually underwater, and the pandemonium surrounding his presidency only grows the longer he’s in the job.

But Senate Republicans are nevertheless making a counterintuitive, all-in bet that President Donald Trump will save their 51-49 majority — and perhaps even help them pick up a few seats.

“If you look at a race in a state like Missouri or North Dakota — or any of these states — he’ll be very involved,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of the GOP’s campaign arm, who speaks with Trump about political strategy regularly. “He’ll be actively campaigning for a Senate majority. Absolutely.”

What does our side think of this amazing plan?

 Democrats argue that the president’s personality and popularity among some voters is neither transferable to other Republicans nor enough to put their candidates over the top. Just look at the two latest examples, they say: Trump went all in for Rick Saccone in last week’s Pennsylvania special House election, and before that for Roy Moore’s Senate bid in Alabama.

Both lost.

“The pattern here is every time he goes in, they lose,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

but their base, they argue!  They need Trump front and center to mobilize their base!  Uh, have they met our base?  Because as McCaskill says in the article:

“Nothing motivates our base more than Donald Trump.”

the article points out one more fly in their plan (spoiler alert: their hero is a narcissist):

If there is a wild card to the GOP’s Trump strategy, it’s whether the president can actually focus on promoting their candidates or going after Democrats. At the most recent Saccone rally, the president spent far more of the time talking about himself than the Republican hopeful.

so this new plan is understandable, but also totally likely to fail.  So says this other article also from Politico: Van Hollen: Trump ‘not as persuasive as he thinks he is’​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The head of Senate Democrats’ campaign arm chided President Donald Trump on Sunday for not being the most effective surrogate for his party, coming after the GOP appears poised to lose a special election in Pennsylvania in a congressional district the president easily carried in 2016.

“Trump is actually 0-2 in campaigns where he actually showed up,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told host Kasie Hunt on MSNBC’s “Kasie DC. “When he shows up, he’s obviously not as persuasive as he thinks he is.”

DCCC Raised $10.6 Million in February

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised nearly $10.6 million in February.

That’s the most the committee has ever raised during the second month of the year, according to figures obtained first by Roll Call.

The DCCC raised $3.38 million from online donations in February, with an average online gift of $18. So far this cycle, the group has raised more than $50 million online, which includes 300,000 first-time online donors, and a total of $125 million this cycle. It ended February with $49 million in the bank.

“It’s been clear all cycle long that the grassroots are energized and unified around the goal of taking back the House,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement.

“The DCCC’s historic fundraising combined with incredible candidate fundraising will ensure that Democratic candidates have the resources to tell their powerful stories and connect with voters,” he added.

Judges refuse GOP request to block new Pa. district boundaries

A panel of federal judges in Pennsylvania refusedon Mondayto block the state Supreme Court’s new congressional map from going into effect, dealing a blow to Republicans who had sought to block it.

AND THEN THIS: Supreme Court refuses to stop new congressional maps in Pennsylvania

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request from Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania to block the implementation of a redrawn congressional map that creates more parity between the political parties in the state.

The practical impact is the 2018 elections are likely to be held under a map much more favorable to Democrats, who scored an apparent victory last week in a special election in a strongly Republican state district. The 2011 map that has been used this decade has resulted in Republicans consistently winning 13 of the state’s 18 congressional seats.

Monday’s action was the second time that the court declined to get involved in the partisan battle that has roiled Pennsylvania politics. The commonwealth’s highest court earlier this year ruled that a map drawn by Republican leaders in 2011 “clearly, plainly and palpably” violated the free-and-equal-elections clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution.


Kris Kobach’s Voting Sham Gets Exposed in Court

For the past two weeks, however, Mr. Kobach has been forced to make his case in a far more rigorous setting — the fact-finding process of a federal trial. In a Kansas City courtroom, Mr. Kobach and his fellow true believers have struggled to defend a 2013 state law that requires prospective voters to prove their citizenship before they can register.

It has not gone well for Mr. Kobach.

One would think that after all these years, Mr. Kobach would have something to show for his dogged efforts. Yet according to his own witnesses, Kansas, which has 1.8 million registered voters, has identified 129 noncitizens it says registered or tried to register since 2000. Of those 129 people, 11 actually voted, and it’s not clear how many of these cases represent intentional fraud, as opposed to honest mistakes or clerical errors. But Mr. Kobach is convinced, calling these findings “the tip of the iceberg.” If so, the iceberg is melting fast.

Mr. Kobach’s game may work with partisan lawmakers, but not with federal judges.

These laws masquerade as common-sense measures, but they are in truth anti-democratic shams, and it is gratifying to see them unravel in the harsh light of a federal courtroom.

That is it for today.  Lots to feel hopeful about and lots of work for us to do.  Make sure to call your reps and let them know that Mueller MUST be protected!  

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