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Begin the Thawing of Robert Bork

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Mueller’s investigations appear to be extending to the top of the ladder:

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

This is an even more interesting avenue that the obstruction of justice Trump has essentially already confessed to:

A former senior official said Mr. Mueller’s investigation was looking at money laundering by Trump associates. The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would most likely have been in exchange for some kind of financial payoff, and that there would have been an effort to hide the payments, probably by routing them through offshore banking centers.

You know – and I know this sounds crazy, but bear with me for a bit — I’m beginning to think that Trump didn’t refuse to release his tax returns because of an audit that was apparently initiated during the Reagan administration.

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  • Lit3Bolt

    Josh Marshall at TPM made a great point…Trump chats with a coterie of people who will put up with him, like Chris Ruddy of Newsmax, and now all of those people are subject to subpoenas because they are possible witnesses to obstruction of justice.

    Who wants to work/talk to Trump now? This administration is done, unless we get into dictator territory with pardons/firings. I’m guessing Trump will try, briefly succeed, brag about it, and incriminate himself even further.

    Smart Republicans are going to realize the more Trump expands the power of the Presidency, the more the worm is going to turn at some point…

    • Smart Cunning Republicans are going to realize the more Trump expands the power of the Presidency, the more the worm is going to turn at some point…

      There are no smart Republicans.

      Personally, I don’t think Mueller will find any outright collusion. The obstruction of justice may have some meat, but the Repubs will just sweep it under the rug. The real scandal is going to be all the fucked up business deals. Once Mueller turns up the heat on that, that is when you will see the Republicans going full court press against him. Then we’ll see what Rosenstein’s little balls are made of.

      • Lurking Canadian

        Collusion is nearly impossible to prove to the satisfaction of people who don’t want to see it. We can already establish pro-Russia policy preferences, Russian interference in the election and secret meetings with Trump campaign officials, and yet the Greenwad crowd are still yelling “Witch hunt! no evidence!” etc

        I wonder what, exactly, these people would accept as “proof”? I suppose a written contract signed in blood might do it, if the DNA vidence proved the blood came from both Trump and Putin.

        • The real story is going to be the money. Right now he’s being bribed in plain site with these real estate deals, and there’s all kinds of shady money behind that. And at the end of the day, that’s what people can get their heads around. It will be hard to convince people of collusion because nobody in real ‘merika wants to believe that the President of the United States is capable of committing outright treason. But money + politics = scandal is about the oldest and easiest story there is.

          • Tom in BK

            As Lester Freamon put it:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7M71wmwWRo

            (edited for spelling)

          • lunaticllama

            The financial crimes and “collusion” are not mutually separate areas of investigation – if illicit money transfers are being made from Russians connected to the Kremlin to Trump or Kushner’s companies, it’s going to look a lot like payoffs, regardless of the truth of the matter.

          • Bitter Scribe

            Right now he’s being bribed in plain site with these real estate deals…

            That may have been a typo, but it’s a great pun, too.

        • Hogan

          “That’s my Robert. Always peein’ on people.”

        • twbb

          I want there to be direct collusion, and I still think there’s a good chance we won’t find it.

          I do think, however, is that they’re going to find Russian government money anywhere they look, and I think Trump dimly is aware of that which is why he’s so freaked out.

          • Yup, as well as the people around him. People are comparing this to Watergate; I’m thinking more like Teapot Dome (with some Watergate sprinkled on top).

          • lunaticllama

            It’s hard to make sense of all the smoke, but I still wonder, as apparently reported, why Jared Kushner wanted to communicate to Russians using Russian secure communications channels. It’s hard to fathom what the innocent explanation for that is, if that indeed is what happened.

        • John F

          “I wonder what, exactly, these people would accept as “proof”?”

          Nothing. These are the people who don’t believe Trump fired Comey because of the Russia investigation EVEN AFTER TRUMP ADMITTED IT.

          So that’s your answer- some people are not reachable, as the saying goes, you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

          • Mellano

            These are the same people for whom the words “Solyndra!” and “Benghazi!” are followed by “Case closed! Period! Suck it libs!”

            Short of Trump embracing Hillary and Obama in a dramatic, Hulk Hogan-joins-NWO-while-Jerry-Lawler-despairs scene, there is no evidence sufficient for them.

            • Rob in CT

              Nah. He’d just be Not A Real Conservative and be put down the memory hole (like Bush the Lesser).

              That they are repeatedly “duped” by these “not real conservatives” never seems to impact their certainty the next time ’round.

              • John F

                That’s only after he’s out of office and the GOP has lost its Congressional majority.

        • Domino

          What is the Greenwald & co. response to Trump officials softening the GOP party platform at the convention regarding the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine?

          • John F

            They AGREE with the Russian line on that issue- to such an extent that to them- it’s good policy that makes sense so they are actually baffled by the idea that it’s evidence of collusion, to them it’s like saying that Obama only wanted the ACA to pass because someone bribed him.

            They’ll also dodge by saying, “isn’t better relations with Russia a good thing?” In their minds the poor state of US/Russia relations is ALL the US’s fault- we *should* be the ones making conciliatory moves, etc etc., Of course the US has it share of blame, but their view of Russia/Putin is downright delusional.

            • Redwood Rhiadra

              See Dilan Esper, who also agrees with Trump that Russia should not be sanctioned for their invasion of Ukraine, but indeed that it is Russia’s God-given *right* to conquer Ukraine and the rest of their neighbors, without any protest from America or the rest of the world.

              • MyNameIsZweig

                The shit he posts under his real name just baffles the fuck out of me.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          I don’t think we’ll see any evidence of Trump knowingly colluding because the Russians damn well know he’s too stupid and narcissistic to be trusted with that knowledge. What they did is pick a guy who was easily manipulated and was already inclined to support them, suborned some of his associates, and helped him win.

          Trump is a tool, not a collaborator. Which is still bad for the country, of course, but it means no investigation is going to find Trump being directly involved – all his involvment is indirect.

          • Pete

            “I don’t think we’ll see any evidence of Trump knowingly colluding because the Russians damn well know he’s too stupid and narcissistic to be trusted with that knowledge.”

            Exactly this! And they’d assume that he’s favorably pre-disposed and easy enough to guide in the right direction.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        The Republicans won’t care a rat’s ass about the fucked up business deals. They are certainly not going to use them as a basis for impeachment.

  • Uneekness

    So, can Trump fire Mueller directly or does Rosenstein or Sessions have to do it? And will it be before or during the weekend?

    (Assuming the stories “proving” Mueller is a partisan/incompetent hack are fully flushed out by the conservative media ecosystem by EOD Thursday.)

    • Rosenstein says that only he can fire Mueller and he will refuse an order to fire Mueller without cause.

      Trump could just declare Mueller fired and see what happens, or he could fire Rosenstein and appoint, I dunno, Patterico or some fucker to do his bidding.

      Either way it’d be an unmistakable violation of the rule of law that would put us in a genuine constitutional crisis. Nixon wasn’t being directly investigated by Archibald Cox (he had been subpoenaed, though), so this would be actually worse.

      • MDrew

        Rosenstein said that?

        Man alive. I’m even trying to keep up!

      • Matt McIrvin

        Or Rosenstein could suddenly and mysteriously have a change of heart and declare that Trump gave him a perfectly good reason.

        • ema

          Or a stoppage of heart if the Russians get involved.

      • Either way it’d be an unmistakable violation of the rule of law that would put us in a genuine constitutional crisis.

        I’ve said from the start that I’d give Trump about six months before he created a genuine constitutional crisis, because he has no understanding nor care for the rule of law. He’s lived his whole life like the law is for the little people. Nothing is going to change that now that he’s King of America.

        • smartalek

          “God Emperor,” please*.
          Mere “king”?
          It is to laugh!
          Pshaw!
          Faugh and fie on your puny “king.”

          *This term is already routinely deployed in the rwnj chat threads.
          Without irony, obviously.
          Can’t use what you’ve never had.

      • Sebastian_h

        What happens if Rosenstein refuses to fire him and doesn’t resign? Just trump just fire Rosenstein first?

        • GFW

          That would be the correct pathway … but in order to fire Mueller, the person who does it has to be eligible to be Acting AG (as Rosenstein currently is in matters where Sessions is recused). There’s only a few job titles that make a person eligible to be Acting AG … and I don’t think any of them have been confirmed by the Senate other than Rosenstein. I believe that in order to be Acting AG, one has to have been confirmed by the Senate.

          So, as things currently stand, were Trump to fire Rosenstein, there would be no one who could technically fire Mueller.

          • Sahuarita

            I’d like a citation for that. As we all know, Bork fired Cox on a Saturday night after his superiors resigned that same night; and Bork certainly wasn’t Senate confirmed (was he?) to lead the justice department at the time he was told to fire Cox. Say what you will, Trump has nothing to lose (compared to what Mueller will expose) by getting rid of Mueller and thus he will do it. And the GOP Congress might wring its hands, but it will do nothing about it.

    • CS Clark

      If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly.

  • MDrew

    I am completely missing the connection of reference in the title to the subject matter…

    • LosGatosCA

      The cryogenically frozen dead Bork can be thawed out and reanimated to reprise his role in the Saturday night massacre.

      • timj

        Ah, now it makes sense, thanks!

      • Bitter Scribe

        If Bork were thawed out, he wouldn’t do anything but complain some more about being kept off the Supreme Court.

    • Uneekness

      Nixon wanted special special prosecutor Archibald Cox fired, AG Richardson resigned rather than do it, as did Deputy AG Ruckelshaus. Bork was the Solicitor General at the time, and after the resignations, acting head of the Justice Department. He fired Cox.

      • twbb

        To be fair to Bork, both Cox and Ruckelshaus asked him to stay in the position.

        • Bitter Scribe

          Yeah, I never blamed Bork for that. Just everything else he said or did.

    • MDrew

      Thank you!

      My Nixon-fu was weak after a night shift in the Whole.

    • MDrew

      …So (reading up) were the Senate Dems aware in 1987 that Nixon had promised Bork a SC seat in exchange for carrying out the firing?

      • As far as I know, that first surfaced in Bork’s posthumous memoirs.

      • Warren Terra

        My recollection is that in his lifetime Bork and/or his defenders insisted that he did the right thing, at the urging of Richardson and/or Ruckelshaus (who were by then dead and unavailable for comment?), that a statement had been made by the double resignation and it was important to have an excellent person like Bork as acting head of the DOJ. Indeed, it was a noble self-sacrifice by Bork that he bravely soldiered on and fired Cox instead of taking the easy way out and resigning.

        This narrative was fairly obviously self-serving codswallop, but the degree to which that was so – the blatant corruption of an offered seat on the Supreme Court – wasn’t known.

        • Breadbaker
          • twbb

            Yeah, was about to say Ruckelshaus is alive and kicking. I actually tried to reach him a little while ago as part of a research project but couldn’t swing it (though his people were surprisingly helpful).

            Also I don’t know if Cox spoke on the issue, but Ruckelshaus said that Cox also urged Bork to stay.

        • efgoldman

          This narrative was fairly obviously self-serving codswallop

          I can’t speak about Ruckleshaus, but Richardson was local (he spoke at my brother’s HS graduation in ’67). He had more integritude in his pinky than 100 Comeys. The very definition of an old New England old-style New England Republican lawyer.

          • N__B

            old New England old-style New England Republican

            As opposed to the new old-England new-style old-England Tory?

          • TopsyJane

            “He had more integritude in his pinky than 100 Comeys. The very definition of an old New England old-style New England Republican lawyer.”

            There was a Doonesbury cartoon showing Richardson poring over his glowing press coverage while his wife gets after him about looking for work. (“By Monday, Elliot!”)

          • Bitter Scribe

            And Alexander Haig went around sliming him, telling reporters he had a drinking problem and other stuff.

        • Bitter Scribe

          It was Reagan who offered Bork the Supreme Court seat. I doubt that Nixon had much influence with the Reagan people at that point.

      • MDrew

        …I am embarrassed that all of this wasn’t right there as basic political knowledge for me.

        I do think that I knew that Bork was the one who served as the doorstop for Nixon in the Massacre, and just wasn’t recalling. But I had only regarded it as a curious footnote. But I didn’t know anything about the SCOTUS angle.

        This now seems like hugely relevant and important context for the times we’re living through (hence Scott’s reference, obvs). And beyond just that, Nixon, by Bork’s own account, offering a SCOTUS seat to Bork if Bork would stay on and fire Cox seems like something that should be banged into the heads of anyone learning about modern U.S. political history or just U.S. politics, given the role that Bork’s nomination to said seat later would go on to play in shaping the politics of our legal system. I’m honestly stunned I was unaware of this.

        • cpinva

          em>”…I am embarrassed that all of this wasn’t right there as basic political knowledge for me.”

          you shouldn’t feel embarrassed at all. I was in college at the time all this was going on, and vaguely remembered Bork’s role in it. I totally missed the promise of a SC seat however, which makes both him and Nixon even bigger scumbags than they already were.

          as to your other question:

          “If Trump is involved in shady financial dealings in Russia…

          …why would that be reflected in his tax returns?”

          it probably wouldn’t be obviously so. he’d have to identify any foreign accounts he owns/has control over, but that, in and of itself isn’t evidence of financial wrongdoing. He’d also have to report all income from partnerships/S Corps he has an interest in. again, not, by themselves, evidence of financial wrongdoing.

          the returns would, however, be a potential start on the road to financial wrongdoing, but it would be indirectly so, via audits of those related returns (Partnerships/S Corps), and a review of the transactions of those foreign accounts he owns/has control over. this could be a lengthy process, depending on how many flow-through entities/foreign accounts are involved.

          my guess (based on 32 years of experience as an IRS Internal Revenue Agent, most of it spent dealing with very large corporations, involving both domestic & foreign tax issues), is that a great many of these related returns will show little to no activity, in any given year. they were created for a specific purpose (say, parking stock of another company in, or real property, awaiting either use or disposal), so the bulk of the reported flow-through activity is going to be concentrated in only a few entities. those are the ones the RA(‘s) would focus their efforts on, because that’s where the money is.

          even with whittling down the entities to actually look at, it’s still going to take time to drill down, to find anything shady, because it will be part of some byzantine structure, created for the sole purpose of making it as difficult as possible to find, and then put all the pieces together, in a coherent fashion. that’s why he pays (or doesn’t) expensive tax attorneys to create these seeming messes, to hide any financial wrongdoing.

          but, the tax returns would be a good place to start.

          • MDrew

            Thanks!

            I think my question relates to my bolds here:

            it probably wouldn’t be obviously so. he’d have to identify any foreign accounts he owns/has control over, but that, in and of itself isn’t evidence of financial wrongdoing. He’d also have to report all income from partnerships/S Corps he has an interest in. again, not, by themselves, evidence of financial wrongdoing.

            …He’d have to… because if he didn’t immediately a thousand blaring horns and red spinning lights would go off at IRS HQ and IRS agents would immediately show up in his penthouse and haul him off?

            …Or he’d have to because otherwise there would major red flags at IRS and… something I don’t know about would happen?

            …Or he’d have to because otherwise there would major red flags at IRS and thereafter the Trump Organization would be embroiled in endless legal struggles with IRS that would last the better part of decades?

            …Or he’d have to in order to correctly follow the law?

            …But at some level I’m assuming for there not to be massive unexplained holes, if any of what we have in mind here is going on, it would have to show up… in the form I’m guessing of perhaps most likely not showing up. A back hole of revenue, payments, what-have-you.

            The issue as you say, if his people are any good, is that it might look suggestive, but not damning with much specificity.

            • MDrew

              …But certainly I hope investigators get a shot at it.

            • cpinva

              “…Or he’d have to in order to correctly follow the law?”

              this. whether or not he does is an entirely different issue. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sect. 61 both defines “Gross Income”, and requires that, absent exceptions elsewhere in the Code, it all be reported on the tax return appropriate to your activity. For individuals, that would normally be F1040 & schedules.

              Since those flow-through entities are required to provide a Form K-1, to the Partners/Shareholders, and the IRS, failing to report those items of Ordinary Income, and share of Separately Stated Items, would be kind of a red flag. the IRS does a “Matching”, between information reports filed for you, vs what you reported on your return, if you failed to report K-1 items on your return, you might well get a nice letter from the Service Center, asking you for an explanation.

              there could well be a legitimate reason for it to not be reported on your return, or not. but yeah, with all the entangled entities he’s got going on, absent a legitimate business reason for them being so, that would probably lead to some questions being asked. “And now, it begins.”

              • Colin Day

                I take MDrew as saying that Trump could simply blow off the IRS. How would the IRS deal with that?

                • cthulhu

                  “I take MDrew as saying that Trump could simply blow off the IRS. How would the IRS deal with that?”

                  Isn’t the point that Meuller can now just get Trump’s tax forms and those of the associates he’s investigating as part of his work? If a main focus is money laundering, I assume what is reported in tax forms vs. what is found in the world of banking transactions is very important for determining intent?

          • Hogan

            Trump certainly is creating jobs. Mostly for forensic accountants.

            • N__B

              I, for one, look forward to CSI: Spreadsheet.

        • Hells Littlest Angel

          You’re embarrassed? I didn’t even know that Bork is dead.

          On the plus side — Bork is dead!

          • Gregor Sansa

            The bitter battle…

            Random health update: my arm in one piece again, I’m going home from the hospital today. Fuck car doors.

            • cpinva

              good to hear that Gregor. did they at least give you some fun drugs, for the pain? or tell you to just take a handful of Ibuprofin, like they did to my wife, which then killed her liver? if the latter, find another Dr., because yours is a malpractice suit looking for a patient to happen on.

            • Ahuitzotl

              Car doors: silent agents of the FPTP conspiracy

              Glad to know they can rebuild you, though

              • Colin Day

                Gregor Sansa, a man barely alive. We can make him better, stronger, faster, but only if we first achieve proportional representation.

        • CS Clark

          I just assumed you weren’t getting the Simpsons reference. Whether that should be considered more or less embarrassing is left as an exercise to the student.

          (It’s from $pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling) btw)

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            $pringfield doesn’t make a lot of people’s top episodes lists, but for sheer gutbusting laughs, it’s my all-time favorite.

        • twbb

          Don’t be embarassed, the idea that everyone should know everything about Watergate is a boomer conceit, like the proposition that Bob Dylan deserves a Nobel.

          • Bitter Scribe

            Watergate has a good deal to teach us about the current era. As does Joe McCarthy.

            Agree with you about Dylan, though.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Also like so many LGM post titles it’s a riff on a Simpsons quote.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0701040/quotes?item=qt0299656

  • JustRuss

    Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns should have been a huge red flag. But no, our fucking media had to Both Sides it by bringing up EMAILS!!! ad nauseam with a side of Clinton Foundation Clouds.

    • AMK

      The fact that those returns remain unleaked is remarkable, considering the demand and how many loose ends they fit into. The highest levels of the CIA, FBI, DOD have been leaking circumstantial evidence like sieves, but the B-list accounting functiaries at some office park in Ohio or Kansas who might have smoking gun evidence are bulletproof. Makes me think that Trump maybe did not report his Russia-related income at all and that they’re all cooked books that by themselves confirm nothing. I can totally see Trump still not wanting to release them just because even fake returns would show he’s not so rich.

      • MDrew

        Since I’m already outing myself as an ignorant rube in this thread…

        If Trump is involved in shady financial dealings in Russia…

        …why would that be reflected in his tax returns?

        …I mean, by all means it might, and by all means lets hope we get, or at least Mueller, gets see them to see if it is reflected, and for every other conceivable reason.

        But throughout the campaign and since the election, relating to Trump $-connections to Russia, I’ve been thinking, Why would that be in the tax documents?

        Help me out.

        • dnexon

          They might report loans or income from shell corporations that a talented investigator could unravel.

          • cpinva

            “They might report loans or income from shell corporations that a talented investigator could unravel.”

            see my post above.

          • CS Clark

            Plus his attitude has been that he is too rich to be bribed. While that’s self-evidently nonsense, everyone probably has a mental image of the amount of money at which bribery and corruption go from ‘why would he do that when he has money’ to ‘yeah, obviously he would do anything for cash’. If his returns, as many suspect, show that he’s nowhere near as wealthy as he claims it would move the needle of suspicion.

            • Matt McIrvin

              Actually, no, I don’t believe there is any such amount of money. People who are that rich usually have a pathological need for more of the stuff.

              • CS Clark

                But people who’re not that rich don’t think in that way, which is why finding out that Trump is worth, hypothetically, $10 million net and owes billions to foreign investors would make them view him differently in this regard (as well as many others) than if he was a real billionaire.

            • btfjd

              “You will hear everlastingly, in all discussion about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is rich.” —G.K. Chesterton

      • Makes me think that Trump maybe did not report his Russia-related income at all and that they’re all cooked books that by themselves confirm nothing.

        I’m sure that it’s all buried behind endless shell corporations and offshore havens that would take years to unravel.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          I’m sure that it’s all buried behind endless shell corporations and offshore havens that would take years to unravel.

          That assumes The Donald having about 50 IQ points more than he obviously has, OR hiring such people and refraining from stiffing them on payment for more than a decade.

          Seems unlikely.

          More probable: a suspiciously lumpy mattress packed with bundles of benjamins, with a gift tag ‘love from Vladimir’.

          • Or a house that sells to an LLC for $45 million.

          • More probable: a suspiciously lumpy mattress packed with bundles of benjamins, with a gift tag ‘love from Vladimir’.

            Still damp?

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            Trump might be that stupid. Putin is not.

    • patrick II

      Donald has been and is being bribed in plain sight. Russians have overpaid for his real estate – about $45 million over for one house in Florida. He is currently selling about 70% of his condos to LLC’s with anonymous owners. Overpaying for real estate is a great way to bribe someone – who is to say what the true value is?

      I don’t know the rules, but it seems Mueller will eventually have access to those returns. If Trump obstructed an investigation he needs A motive, and corruption would be the most likely one.

      • patrick II

        Oh, and I half-believe that Tromp doesn’t think of his great Russian real estate deals as bribes, but just “smart” business decisions, as he contended paying no taxes was smart during the debates. He doesn’t have much of a sense of right and wrong or of when he is being manipulated.

        • He doesn’t have much of a sense of right and wrong or of when he is being manipulated.

          Actually, I believe he has a very strong sense that he’s right and everyone else is wrong.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        “Donald has been and is being bribed in plain sight. Russians have overpaid for his real estate – about $45 million over for one house in Florida.”

        The current season of Fargo is portraying quite well how this dynamic works.

        • jeer9

          I’m waiting for Mrs. Goldfarb to be worse than Varga’s wildest imagination. He’s already underestimated Ms. Swango. Love the twist of the deaf hitman’s return.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          The current season of Fargo is fantastic. And captures the concerns of the present so nicely. I think this is my favourite season so far.

  • aab84

    It depresses me beyond measure that we may actually test the open question of whether the Constitution allows the President to pardon himself.

    • Denverite

      Nah. He’ll resign and Pence will pardon him if it comes to that.

      • What would make him trust Pence to do that for him, given that he’d reached the point when something had happened that led him—HIM!—to resign?

        • Denverite

          Because he knows what Pence knows and he’ll talk if Pence doesn’t pardon him.

          • MyNameIsZweig

            He’ll talk anyway. He can’t *not* run his goddamn mouth.

  • keta

    Ha! Predisent Trump probably had visions of a Marilyn Monroe look-alike being literally sewn into a dress to coo “Happy Birthday” to him, and instead he gets this bombshell dropped on his ass on his big day.

    Kennedy knew he was gonna’ get laid, and Trump must now know he too is fucked.

    • cpinva

      “Kennedy knew he was gonna’ get laid, and Trump must now know he too is fucked.”

      the culmination of an entire life spent telling everyone (stupid enough to listen, without being actually bored to death) how smart he is, and how much smarter he is than everyone else. you do this often enough, for a long enough period of time, and you probably start to believe it yourself. kind of like an actor believing his/her agent’s press releases.

  • patrick II

    When Trump fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara does anyone know if the Trump involved investigations be was running continued? And if they did, are they among the cases being picked up by Mueller?

  • Moonman von Superdog

    I feel like the world has forgotten about the mystery DNS lookups. Understandably. But it’s haunting me in an aspens-are-turning sort of way.

    November – NYT reports about the lookups — involves a Russian bank as well as a Devos company
    December – Jared seeks back channel & fails
    January – Erik Prince seeks back channel (the meeting in the Seychelles)

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      See my comment re: the current season of Fargo. At the time, I remember the story was, “Secret communications between Trump Tower and Russia!…oh, wait, it looks like some Russian hackers were just trying to hack into a business in Trump Tower. Never mind….’

      • As Josh Marshall has pointed out, it’s not at all clear that the attempts to set up a back channel failed.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      Actually, the “seeking back channels” is an indicator that there *wasn’t* any direct collusion going on at the time. Kushner and Prince wouldn’t NEED to ask for a back channel if they were actually working directly for the Russians; they’d just report to their handler (i.e. the back channels would already exist).

      • patrick II

        That’s why we are talking about the DNS server. If that server was the original back channel, when that Server became known they had to set up a new back channel.

  • Mike in DC

    If/when Mueller is fired, and the GOP leadership does nothing, what’s the best countermove at that point? We can slow down the Senate. We can shut down the entire government a few months down the road. The FBI, Mueller and the Intel community can dump the most damning evidence to the media. Massive protests and phone call/town hall campaigns are a given. We can fight to protect voting rights for 2018 and 2020. We can recruit strong candidates and unite behind a message that only the Democrats will protect your vote and your healthcare and check the abuses of an unpopular president.
    It might not work. But we have to try.

  • Gwen

    If Trump fired Mueller for investigating obstruction of justice in the firing of Comey…

    … this is getting weird!

    • Bitter Scribe

      Getting?

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