The Republican response to the Trump impeachment inquiry whimpered off to an underwhelming start this week, with the plan of action being the best defense is to be as offensive as possible, apparently. Trump’s wrecking crew, Nunes, Ratcliffe, Jordan and that poor outclassed GOP lawyer, Steve Castor, all assumed the same pose of arrogance. While witnesses Kent and Taylor made a stunning show, offering truth and facts in a quiet and deliberate manner, Trump’s henchmen didn’t have the luxury of facts; so in lieu of fact, they offered innuendo and ire, and in Jordan’s case, repeated lies. They had no argument — and one can only presume that they knew it. So why oh why, you must be asking yourself, has the GOP not simply cut bait with Trump? It’s not like it’s an original thought that they will send him to the political cornfield the minute his liabilities outweigh his assets. Isn’t that time now? No, and just think about it for a moment. If Trump goes down in flames — which he may — that leaves Pence as standard bearer. But Pence is far from clean, and some of this Ukraine mess is going to stick to him as well, as you will see below. And that’s the crux of the matter, one that probably has McConnell pacing the floors: If Trump goes down in flames and takes Pence down with him, then you’re looking at none other than Nancy Pelosi to take the helm. Salon: Republicans have good reason to fear that if Trump goes down, he’s taking Vice President Mike Pence with him. If that happens, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who is third in line under the Constitution, would become president. Republicans may be genuinely worried that they can’t toss Trump to the curb without losing the White House entirely. That might initially sound odd, since Pence’s name has come up only rarely in the discussion of the Ukraine scandal. He was barely mentioned during the many hours of testimony from Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent on Wednesday. But even though that mention of Pence was brief, if one reads between the lines a bit, it was also illuminating. In his opening statement, Taylor said that on Sept. 1, Trump suddenly canceled a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, claiming Hurrican Dorian as an excuse. (In reality, Trump played golf.) In his stead, Trump sent Pence. Taylor, who received a readout of the meeting, says that Zelensky asked right away about the military aid that Trump was withholding — aid that Trump was clearly using as leverage to extort Zelensky to back up Trump’s conspiracy theory about his presumed Democratic 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. Pence “did not respond substantively,” Taylor recounted, but did say that Trump “wanted the Ukrainians to do more to fight corruption.” Yes, indeed, “fight corruption” is the code name of this mission. We all know what’s meant by fight corruption and it’s an absolute that Mike Pence does. Bear in mind that Trump deliberately sent Pence to deal with Zelensky at the meeting in Poland. So one can reasonably infer that Pence was sent to Poland to lock the deal down — or, was Trump looking for a fall guy, since things with […]
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. local time shots were fired at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. Multiple victims have been reported and the shooter is at large. Students evacuate after shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. https://t.co/D6PjO6Y4F7 pic.twitter.com/YD3iGA7Ol5 — NBC News (@NBCNews) November 14, 2019 Santa Clarita is largely rural. When I had my Arabian gelding, Scotty, he was stabled in Santa Clarita and I drove up from the west side of Los Angeles to ride him every Saturday and eat huevos rancheros afterwards. It’s a nice area, lots of nice folks, and lots of guns. It’s ranching country, so you will find a lot of guns. They’re necessary to protect the livestock. We’re not talking AR-15’s here, we’re talking shotguns. At this time, no word on what weapon the shooter used. Once again, our young people are traumatized in a manner that my generation didn’t have to deal with. This story will be updated as it develops. UPDATE 8:49 a.m. PST: NBC News is reporting multiple injuries, but no fatalities at this time. Multiple people were injured Thursday in a shooting at a Southern California high school, officials said. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the suspected gunman, an Asian male wearing black clothing who was last seen at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, was at large. “ “This is an active shooter situation,” said a tweet from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Office. “If you live in neighborhoods anywhere near Saugus High, PLEASE LOCK DOORS and stay inside. If you see suspect, male dark clothing, in backyards, etc. CALL 911” Again, I cannot impress upon you too much how “nice” this community is. There’s a major amusement park, Six Flags, out here — this is all happening twenty miles away from where I’m writing — and people congregate and philosophize at the feed store, as they have for decades. Maybe the moral is, if it can happen in Santa Clarita, it truly can happen anywhere. UPDATE X2: 9:51 a.m. PST: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the shooter is in custody at this time. He’s 15 and believed to be a student at the school. So far no fatalities, multiple injuries, a couple of victims critically injured. UPDATE X3: 11:52 a.m. PST: NPR is reporting one dead and two more in critical condition from this morning’s shooting. It’s ugly when this strikes a community. In recent tragedies, I’ve only read about them, seen them on the news, but this is just over the hill in Santa Clarita. At times like this the neighbors are all talking somberly and we’re all crestfallen. Its so greatly to be hoped that these tragedies can be averted in the future. They are devastating.
Once again, Donald Trump proves to us that he has no idea where the line between reality and television is drawn, or that there even is a line. As he goes progressively fruit loops day by day, it probably all seems to be television to him, only he can’t manage to fire the screenwriters or yell “cut,” much as he’d like to. Today Trump was asked, while entertaining Turkish president Erdogan, what he thought of the impeachment hearings and this was his insightful take. The Hill: “I’m too busy to watch it. It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax, I’m too busy to watch it. So, I’m sure I’ll get a report,” Trump told reporters when asked whether he had been watching the hearing. “There’s nothing — I have not been briefed. There’s nothing there. I see they’re using lawyers that are television lawyers, they took some guys off television. You know. I’m not surprised to see it, because [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam] Schiff can’t do his own questions,” Trump continued. He’s too busy to watch it, but he knows about the “television lawyers.” It will undoubtedly come as a shock to Daniel Goldman, attorney and director of investigations for the House Intelligence Committee, that he’s now been dubbed a television lawyer, but he probably should take it as a compliment. After all, many months ago, when Trump was getting rid of Jeff Sessions and before he found Bill Barr, he was crying out to the heavens about needing both a “killer” and “more television lawyers.” So the sobriquet, television lawyer, is apparently some kind of a compliment in Trumpworld, even though in this instance it’s a left handed one. As to Steve Castor, he’s worked for Republicans on the Intelligence Committee since 2005 and he’s supposedly on Trump’s side. Hard to imagine that Trump is castigating him, but again, to know what goes on in the twisted morass of Donald Trump’s thought process is a task that few dare to speculate on. With respect to Castor, he may not be saving the Trumpian bacon, however, and maybe that makes him a bad television lawyer. Some initial reactions on the first day. Huge difference in skill framing questions between former prosecutor @danielsgoldman for the majority — polished, prepared & focused — while @HouseGOP lawyer Steve Castor questions poorly framed, factually problematic. Americans would benefit if @GOP hired a better lawyer — David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) November 13, 2019 Or, is this what makes one a “television lawyer?” Steve Castor is hunched over and frowny and looks terrible on TV. This is all Trump cares about! — Molly Knight (@molly_knight) November 13, 2019 Steve Castor is an inept questioner but in fairness there’s nothing he could say that would shake the ironclad proof of Trump’s corrupt actions with regard to Ukraine. — Max Boot (@MaxBoot) November 13, 2019 So far Castor is not the golden boy that the GOP might have hoped for. But again, in all fairness, he drew the short straw and is on the wrong side of this case, so that’s to be expected. All he can do is attempt to cast doubt wherever he can, and so far in doing so, he merely looks like an ass. I’m going to go out on a limb and say what […]
Donald Trump is not having a good day at all. He’s got unpleasant facts and inconvenient truths firing at him like tennis balls out of a practice machine and the only way he can return the volley is if he finds somebody to blame. After all, he hasn’t done anything wrong, right? He’s just where he is because of plotting enemies and disloyal minions, with big mouths. If there’s collusion anywhere, that’s it, not his fault. So he sent Vindman packing back to the DOD and now he’s looking to do something about Inspector General Michael Atkinson for how he screwed up to rain all this despair on poor Donald. New York Times: Mr. Trump first expressed his dismay about Mr. Atkinson around the time the whistle-blower’s complaint became public in September. In recent weeks, he has continued to raise with aides the possibility of firing him, one of the people said. The president has said he does not understand why Mr. Atkinson shared the complaint, which outlined how Mr. Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals at the same time he was withholding military aid from the country. He has said he believes Mr. Atkinson, whom he appointed in 2017, has been disloyal, one of the people said. Mr. Trump’s private complaints about Mr. Atkinson have come as he has publicly questioned his integrity and accused him of working with the Democrats to sabotage his presidency. In Trump’s black and white world of the micro intellect, there are no exceptions. You’re either on his side, and you bend, staple, and mutilate the truth until it fits some kind of a pro-Trump defense, or you’re one of the others, who just don’t get it. Trump unquestionably shakes his head, “Bill Barr gets it, Lindsey Graham gets it, WTF is wrong with these other guys? They work for Me, they’re here to protect Me.” Don’t be surprised if Atkinson is the next in a long list of people Trump finds wanting that find themselves prematurely retired. …the mixture of public attacks and private discussions about a possible dismissal is a familiar way Mr. Trump has undermined investigators who have examined his conduct or that of people close to him. The president publicly criticized James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general, before he dismissed them for perceived disloyalty. Mr. Trump believes he has the power to fire anyone in the executive branch, though aides say they have learned to ignore many of his private rants, unless the president brings up the subject repeatedly and appears on the precipice of making a move they feel could be damaging. […] People close to the president believe the political consequences of firing Mr. Atkinson could be devastating, especially when Mr. Trump needs all the Republican support he can get for a potential impeachment trial in the Senate. The firing of Atkinson might not be as pyrotechnic as the firing of James Comey, but it won’t be insignificant, that much is certain. History is repeating itself. Trump fired Comey, that blew up in his face, and Mueller came. Rather than just let Mueller do his job, Trump wanted McGahn to fire him, but McGahn wouldn’t — and that ruckus may yet be written up as an article of […]
You recall back in the day that Donald Trump said he never spoke with Roger Stone about Wikileaks, or Hillary, etc., et al. and that is what he told Robert Mueller. That is not what Rick Gates is saying in his testimony at the trial of Roger Stone. People should resist the temptation to shrug this off as just confirmation of what we already knew. This is real evidence of serious criminal wrongdoing by the president. https://t.co/bhm2YB5c4P — Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) November 12, 2019 This is indeed significant. In fact, I would venture to say that Jay Sekulow is reaching for serious migraine medication right about now, this is so on point. 2/ Former deputy campaign chair Gates testified that he was riding in a Chevy Suburban from LaGuardia Airport in New York in mid-2016 when Trump took a late-evening phone call from Stone, where the pair apparently discussed WikiLeaks' planned release of hacked Democratic emails. — Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 12, 2019 4/ Gates said two secret service agents also witnessed the call. The call happened days after WikiLeaks' first release on July 22, 2016, of emails the Russian military hacked from the Democratic National Committee. — Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 12, 2019 5/ This testimony was redacted from Mueller report since Stone trial was still to come. Can it still be credibly claimed the Mueller report presented the full picture of Trump’s knowledge of 2016 Russian interference? — Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 12, 2019 It will be interesting to see what other material that was redacted in the Mueller report will come out in the Stone trial. Meanwhile, it’s been noted that Roger Stone doesn’t seem to have much of a defense going on right now. I seriously do not understand Roger Stone's defense strategy. Maybe folks like @Popehat have some insight that I am not seeing but this seems like a pro forma defense centered around the belief Trump will simply pardon him and Stone can then monetize his victim status further. — Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) November 12, 2019 Maybe it’s as pathetic as that. If that’s the case, I would point out to Roger Stone that Paul Manafort is still waiting for his pardon and he’s going to get a lot greyer and longer in the tooth before it comes. I think that’s where all the smart money is placed at this time. Trump has never been known as a stand up kind of a guy, who takes care of people. Stone is a fool to play that card.
Porn mixed with politics in 2016 and in 2019, rap has been added to the mix. Stormy Daniels was yukking it up onstage in Los Angeles recently with Rapper YG, and the lyrics are ones that we sing in our hearts every day. Mediaite: YG, whose real name is Keenon Jackson, handed Daniels a mic during his performance at the Camp Gnaw Flog Carnival at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium and asked her to recount her experience with the president, whom she claims to have had an affair with in 2006; Trump denies this allegation, despite his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleading guilty last year to paying out $130,000 in hush money to the adult film star in an attempt to keep her quiet during the 2016 election. “My name is Stormy fucking Daniels and I am the reason that Donald Trump is fucked,” Daniels said as YG’s raucous fans cheered and applauded. So. This happened tonight. https://t.co/vBa1tZ78ZH — Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) November 11, 2019 Catchy little tune, has a real primal resonance about it. The words hit me where I live. I think we should blast this out of speakers and have it on the screens in sports bars on November 3, 2020.
The entire month has not been kind to people named Trump and it’s not even half over. First Daddy got booed at the World Series and then once again at the UFC championships and then Don Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, now lovingly dubbed “Donfoyle” made two appearances, pitching Junior’s book; one on television, where they were asked to leave, and then one on stage, where they were booed off — while Guilfoyle was giving dating advice. Truly stellar, coming from her, after she played show and tell at Fox News, complete with pictures of her “conquests” penises. Vintage Trump, all the way, crass not class. But the showstopping element in all this, is that it was not the lefties booing Donfoyle, it was young conservatives. Bess Levin, Vanity Fair: First was an appearance on The View to publicize his new book, Triggered, which begins with the premise that “a victimhood complex has taken root in the American left,” and then spends hundreds of pages bitching about how mean liberals have been to his family and how unfair his life is. On the daytime talk show, Donald Trump the Younger battled with the five hosts and got booed by the audience. On the topic of his decision to out the alleged whistle-blower, his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, told the audience she was in the bathroom when the whole thing went down and then said this: “I left you alone for 10 minutes; what happens when mamacita’s gone?” Then on Sunday the first boy and his mother-girlfriend stopped by the University of California, Los Angeles, to pimp the tome. There they presumably thought they’d be in friendlier company, as the event was put on by conservative group Turning Point USA and moderated by terrible human Charlie Kirk. They presumably thought the room would be a safe space to drag the traitors who won’t just let the president commit as many impeachable offenses as he wants, and that they’d receive nothing but adulation for owning the libs. Unfortunately for Donfoyle—yes, that’s their couple portmanteau, spread the word—things didn’t pan out that way! And not because, per the thesis of Triggered, liberals hate free speech. Instead the duo received deafening boos by the president’s own supporters after it was announced that the question-and-answer session had been canceled. Despite the fact that the heckling was reportedly coming from people in Make America Great Again hats and other pro-Trump gear, the first son apparently initially assumed it was from left-leaning protestors, because he’s not very smart. “Name a time when conservatives have disrupted even the furthest leftist on a college campus,” he told the crowd. “It doesn’t happen that way. We’re willing to listen.” After an audience member quite reasonably yelled, “Then open the Q&A!” Junior responded, “See what I mean?” (Answer: No, no one did.) “And that is the problem. And the reason oftentimes it doesn’t make sense to do the Q&A is not because we’re not willing to talk about the questions, ‘cause we do. No. It’s because people hijack it with nonsense looking to go for some sort of sound bite. You have people spreading nonsense, spreading hate, trying to take over the room.” Junior was overwhelmed, his normal state, apparently, and he looked to “Mamacita” for guidance and Guilfoyle let the room know what a bunch of losers who couldn’t get dates they were. Audience: We want to ask questionsTPUSA: Have sex incel […]
More and more the daily functions of life in Washington are being relegated to the courts to decide, and McConnell is probably fretting that he just hasn’t had enough time to make more right-wing appointments, so that he’ll know that his lackeys are in place to cover everybody’s a$$ when the going gets rough. The newest development in the impeachment inquiry is Mick Mulvaney asking to join ex-Bolton aide Charles Kupperman’s lawsuit, seeking a declaration from the court whether Kupperman should comply with a House subpoena, or with Trump’s directive not to testify. The Hill: But Democrats argued that the original lawsuit is moot since they withdrew the subpoena directing Kupperman to testify. – Kupperman also filed a brief on Monday opposing Mulvaney’s motion arguing that he should be directed to file a separate lawsuit. – The Democrats wrote in their filing that even if the case was not moot at this point, Mulvaney and Kupperman are in very different circumstances. – “While Kupperman seeks a declaration from this Court as to whether he should comply with his subpoena or follow the President’s directive, Mulvaney seeks only a declaration that the House Defendants cannot compel him to comply with his subpoena or take any action against him if he does not,” they wrote. “Unlike Kupperman, Mulvaney does not state that he would comply with his subpoena if this Court rejects the claimed absolute immunity.” […] Mulvaney, meanwhile, is asking the court to block the subpoena he received last week. If Mulvaney’s motion prevails, it would throw him into a lawsuit in which his own boss is a named defendant. Mulvaney may prevail on his claim of absolute immunity, which is doubtful, or he may be up the creek without a paddle, which is more likely. The usual phone conferences with both sides are going to take place and this story will be updated as developments occur.
John Cleese and Eric Idle know a farce when they see one, they are celebrating 50 years of Monty Python this month. They both live in America and have for some time. They also remember Watergate all too well, and recently they kicked in their two cents about the Trump “shitshow.” Daily Beast: “It’s been quite clear to me from the very beginning that he is not mentally balanced,” Cleese says of Trump. “He is an extraordinary caricature of an asshole; a person who has no interest in anyone else except himself. Every time he makes a decision, no matter how impulsive it is, it’s the one that makes him feel best about himself for the next 20 minutes. But I think he is now for the first time, because he is really becoming a disaster in foreign affairs, I think some Republicans are beginning to notice it. But the people who support him are basically so ignorant, because they only ever get news from Fox News, I don’t know what you say to people like that. To me, it’s like people who go and watch professional wrestling and don’t realize that it’s fixed. If they can’t see it when it’s right under their nose, I have no idea how they’re going to realize how wrong they are.” Idle agrees. “He’s stark raving mad. Absolutely mental. He’s a criminal and a con artist and a mob boss.” But he has faith in America. “America was founded by people who drew up a Constitution that accounted for somebody like Trump,” he says. “They wrote down laws to guard against it. They don’t have that in England. And that’s why they’re in the mess they’re in over there.” Nice to hear the vote of confidence, but on the other hand, it’s not entirely clear that the constitution was written with the thought of a charlatan like Trump in mind. Plenty of people worry that the advent of Trump has opened the door for more of his self-serving, predatory capitalist ilk to come in, media charmed as he was, and do the same thing. Idle and Cleese then shared ruminations from Watergate. “When we were first touring here, in Canada, actually, the impeachment hearings were on,” Idle says. “It was amazing and riveting. But it was a lesson in how resilient America is, too. William Barr is nothing more than this era’s John Mitchell, and you can see how well that turned out for him.” For his part, Cleese has less faith in the Republicans in Congress. “This is the best job they’re ever going to get,” Cleese says, emphatically. “The better-known ones will go on living well, of course. But the rest of them will have to go back to being assistant manager in a shoe shop!” “They’re terrified of Trump, sure,” contends Idle. “But do you know what they’re really terrified of? If you think the Russians only hacked Hillary Clinton and the DNC, you’re a fool. They hacked everyone! The RNC, Mitch McConnell and, especially, Lindsey Graham. That’s why they’re all so docile. But don’t be fooled that they’re doing this out of allegiance to Trump, or even because they fear his base. They’re afraid of what Russia has on them!” Cleese has an interesting bottom line, one that’s at odds […]
In what I suspect is yet another veiled swipe at Obama, Donald Trump wants to prove himself the most hip, slick and cool prez ever, and so he issued the MAGA CHALLENGE to rappers. He’s going to announce the winners today, supposedly, and he will invite them to the White House to perform — maybe. He used to promise big checks to charities who never saw them, but maybe this will happen. Rolling Stone: On Friday, Trump tweeted plans to announce winners of the #MAGACHALLENGE — a social media trend in which pro-Trump rappers film themselves spitting their affection for the president — and invite them to the White House to perform, effectively opening a fresh portal to hell by promoting what is soon to become one of the most cursed hashtags in Twitter’s history to his 66.6 million followers. He does have 66.6M followers. I just checked. Mark of the beast, anybody? Sure as hell is a weird coincidence…but it gets weirder. I will be announcing the winners of the #MAGACHALLENGE and inviting them to the @WhiteHouse to meet with me and perform. Good luck! https://t.co/3PYzOvYz17 — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2019 Now here’s a full mix of 7:50. For the anthropologist in all of us, this is a vision. If we sent this out in a spaceship and some advanced civilization picked it up in a few thousand years, I don’t even want to speculate what they might think about us. One way of discouraging visitors, that’s for damn sure. Take a look. I saw this #MAGAChallenge thing on twitter and didn't realize it was a "who can kiss Trump's ass the best according to Trump" video contest. I thought the challenge was just surviving this dumpster fire of a presidency. #TheMoreYouKnow https://t.co/DTReKavCe0 — Dave Shaw (@TheRealDaveShaw) November 8, 2019 Here's my dog's submission for the #MAGACHALLENGE pic.twitter.com/UKGA3Qn4Rg — Regina Fellangi (@andiemcdonagh) November 8, 2019 I can’t wait for Trump to announce the losers winners of the contest, can you? Maybe he’ll ask one of them to be a cabinet member, or better yet, join him on the 2020 ticket?