Home / Robert Farley / The Hits. They Keep on a’Coming.

The Hits. They Keep on a’Coming.


Is it wrong to sit down with a foreign lawyer?  Is it wrong if that lawyer has promised to give you dirt on an opposing candidate?  What if you have reason to believe that the lawyer represents a foreign government, regarded by some as hostile to US interests?


Obviously, even asking any of these questions makes you a modern day expression of the most vicious elements of McCarthyism. Nevertheless, I support a full investigation of these allegations.

Promoted from comments; we need much, much more of this.

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  • Seems like Pollitt’s handing in her resignation letter soon:

    • Robert Farley

      It’s time to cancel subscriptions, and put together a campaign to force Katrina to resign.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Why does everyone hate peace and friendship?

        • tsam100

          We’re trying to shuffle off this peacenik image, see? We were just late to the Kill the Russkies party.

        • If you don’t like it, why don’t you move to Russia why don’t you.

          • Chet Murthy

            *cough* Davis is snarking, my friend.

      • The foreign policy section is a fucking malign abdominal tumor that’s crushing all the (otherwise reasonably functional) internal organs and is also starting to metastasize. And you can throw James Carden onto the pile of “The Nation‘s local fucking idiots.”

        As for subscriptions, I regret that I don’t even have physical copies that I can tweet being used as monkey cageliner.

        • Jose Arcadio Buendia

          Reminder that The Nation ran a whole issue about how bad the Taliban were for doing an oil pipeline deal with Unocal and for oppressing women and then completely changed their tune *after* 9/11.

          • Terok Nor

            Remember when Cockburn wrote “If ever a country deserved to be raped, it’s Afghanistan.”

      • Lost Left Coaster

        I already canceled my subscription to the Nation over this.

        ETA: I saw Katrina Vanden Heuvel on Democracy Now! a couple of days ago, and she totally downplayed Russian interference in the US election, busted out the classic “what about US interference in other countries’ elections?” line, and basically echoed the Trump line that it is time to look forward because the USA’s relationship with Russia is just too important to worry about this. My wife and I were yelling at the TV — what the hell is her angle? Why is she doing this? She sounded like a Trump administration spokesperson, really, when it came to that issue.

        • Davis X. Machina

          what the hell is her angle?

          The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

          It’s not vague international leftism, that’s for sure, as it might have been a generation ago — Putin’s Russia is about as leftist as King Leopold’s Congo.

        • tsam100

          I feel like they subconsciously want Trump to stay in office so they can focus on their pet issues rather than deal with the fact that most of them view Hillary Clinton in nearly the same regard as Trump. SHE’S supposed to be the sleaze bucket criminal, not him. There was a collective shrug when Trump got elected, followed by weaselly disclaimers about how terrible Trump is, but the Democrats are the fucking worst. Reminds me of the Republicans saying they find Trump’s behavior concerning and then voting to help him fulfill his campaign promises and slow-walking the investigations.

        • NewishLawyer

          Davis gets it right. The enemy of my enemy is my friend is a really powerful pull for people. I saw people start defending Syria once Trump tried and failed to do some military action there. The guy was a teacher too! And the propaganda he fell for was all about how Syria is GMO-free and their currency is not pegged to the U.S. dollar.

          • Sounds like your friend is a fuckin’ idiot.

          • Harkov311

            Well, anyone who thinks GMOs are dangerous is probably too far down the rabbit hole anyway.

      • On this whole, embarrassing affair, this comment by gwen is fucking timeless: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/39e47959d35d1e572b579b3f4e24f62960f4df724479e8497c91b2e20be67507.png

        • randykhan

          Some of us (Giants fans) thought both that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy and that Putin was a thug.

        • Kevin

          That quote, and from August 2014 no less!…beautiful, I’m going to upvote all of Gwen’s comments forever just for that

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Katrina vanden Heuvel’s take on Russia has everything to do with he husband Stephen Cohen’s take on Russia. And the reasojs for his bizarre Putin water-carrying are more complicated than the whole enemy-of-my-enemy thing (though there’s plenty of synergy with enemy-of-my-enemy-ism).

        • TimJ

          I agree, Cohen’s take on Russia is inexplicable. He always says that it is the fault of the US for expanding NATO to Russia’s borders, but former US ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul says that the Russians never raised NATO expansion as an issue during his time as ambassador.

      • BloodyGranuaile

        The Nation’s abominable Russia coverage makes me sad because there is so much other stuff in that magazine that’s so, so good, so I’m really reluctant to cancel my sub. But their waffling and defensiveness on this is just so, so bad.

        • closetothetruth

          i’m going to say something even stupider. the number of leftists who parrot this bizarre line about the Russia investigation being obviously a “nothing burger” before the fact, and a “new cold war” etc–as if the rest of us are unaware that Putin is not a demonized Soviet threat but instead an oligarchic organized crime boss who was essentially put into place by Western organized crime bosses working with “business interests”–given that the whole story is about Putin using whatever influence he can to sow chaos in the US political sphere… I mean, it really, really makes one wonder whether some of that effort might not be directed toward steering certain media figures in certain directions.

          i know it’s stupid and crazy. but the fact that these “left” bullies are so bullying, and so uninterested in looking at the facts as they emerge, does not bespeak to an actual engagement with what is happening, but to some prior commitment.

          to some of them, I’m willing to grant, “enemy of my enemy” stuff, although how they see one of the most powerful mob bosses in the world as an enemy of the capitalists the left takes as its overall enemy is truly beyond me. they claim “xenophobia,” but as far as I can see, it’s they who are giving Putin a pass they would never give to a parallel figure in any US or Europe. They are applying special reasoning because of Putin is Russian, whereas we are pretty clearly holding him to exactly the same standard we hold everyone else in the world.

          the idea that Putin would not try to buy out certain media figures who would behave exactly as some of them are behaving is not just an obvious inference to draw, but is implied by much of the rest of the story.

          i am not by any means saying this is clear. but when you look at how certain peripheral figures (e.g. Jill Stein, & through her the Pacifica/Democracy Now crowd, and on and on) appear to have been rather clearly manipulated in this fashion, one really has to wonder how far the influence peddling goes.

          • Procopius

            I’m willing to look at the facts as they emerge. When are they going to start? I’d prefer them to start with evidence that the DNC emails really were stolen by hacking and then evidence, not even evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt, but at least some evidence that the Russian government was really involved. So far all I’ve seen is a vague report from a for-profit firm run by an anti-russian activist who says a piece of Ukrainian malware they found on the servers were used in the past by two groups of hackers they, they say, they have reason to think may be subordinate to FSA and GRU respectively. I don’t even hear them claiming that any more. Sound of crickets. I would like to know how you can prove that the DNC emails were not downloaded by an insider, not necessarily Seth Rich who probably was NOT the person who gave them to WikiLeaks. Really, Trump Jr. is widely considered to be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, so when he was offered an attractive bait he went to find out more about it. It turned out to be a bait and switch to lobby him to lift sanctions on a specific Russian oligarch, and he refused and left. What’s relevant about the connections of that lawyer? Bring this evidence out and let us look at it.

    • stepped pyramids

      Katha Pollitt has been #1 on an increasingly shorter list of reasons to give a shit about the Nation for a very long time. If she leaves, it might be the end. The New Republic and The Atlantic survived some very stupid years in the ’90s and ’00s and, albeit no longer being the major publications they once were, are now relatively significant and respectable names in the new era of semi-bloggy online periodicals. I can’t see that happening with The Nation, because their bad period has pulled them further from the mainstream, rather than closer to it.

      Basically, I expect there to be a big lightning storm in the next 5 years or so that represents Jacobin absorbing The Nation’s Quickening.

      • I wouldn’t mind them being further from the mainstream if they weren’t deep into stupid and evil land.

        • stepped pyramids

          Sure. Lord help me, I still have some degree of respect for Jacobin that I don’t have for The Nation, because at least they combine their trollish tendencies with some actually solid writing about leftist and anticapitalist topics. The Nation exists in this weird limbo where they’re not really that notable for leftist thought (and haven’t been for a long time) but are still kooks.

          Also, hi, Bijan. It’s nice to see you around. I always enjoy reading your comments and you make things noticeably better around here.

          • LFC

            I haven’t really read The Nation in a long time, though I think they occasionally still run some good stuff.

            I remember The Nation of circa the 1980s and a bit beyond, w the late Arthur Danto on art, Stuart Klawans on movies, and good book reviews. I don’t know exactly how that part of the magazine has fared in recent yrs. They have run C. Robin, who is usu. thoughtful and provocative whether one agrees w him or not.

            • Davis X. Machina

              Had the best back-of-the-book in the business for decades…

            • Numbertwopencil

              Yes, I subscribed to The Nation during those years. Yes, I enjoyed Danto and Klawans, but, ahem, remember the ugly, ugly storms around Cockburn (who I forgive) and Hitchens (who I don’t)? The Nation’s regular state seems to be one of internal turmoil. I still like, oh, Gary Younge quite a bit and, yes, Corey’s occasional pieces are worth reading and once a month there will be, say, a Rebecca Solnit piece worth passing around but, Cohen and vanden Heuvel and a dozen more regulars stink up the place.

              The Nation Investigates funds some good work and Nation Books is one of our better lefty publishers. The Nation, as a whole, is perhaps very slightly less dysfunctional than the Democratic party–a low, low bar. However, there are so few lefty organizations with a sense of history and purpose beyond the next election, so few places to counter the legions of well-funded right wing think tanks, publishers, and PR shops that I’m overall sympathetic toward the Nation. I long ago dropped my subscription and sent a letter expressing my concern over some now forgotten outrage (actually, I think it was Hitchens that did me in) but I do buy copies of the Nation now and then and I probably have a dozen Nation Books on my shelves and I have some faith that, in the long run, they will at least partially come to their senses.

              • LFC

                I do remember the Cockburn and Hitchens controversies, in a general way. Both were sometimes deliberately (it seemed) outrageous and the polemics were occasionally amusing, but on the whole I wasn’t a big fan of either one.

          • Anna in PDX

            Yeah I still subscribe to J and can’t imagine subscribing to the N ever again. J has some good articles.

          • Spiny

            Hell, Jacobin wrote a piece the other day calling TeleSUR out for being Venezuelan state government propaganda, making the eminently reasonable point that leftists should not leave the job of criticizing the left to bug-eyed right-wingers. The Nation prints pieces carrying water for Russia Today.

            • closetothetruth

              Jacobin still publishes some good pieces, but I’m pretty unhappy with the bullying quality of the core group who maintains what is becoming a rigid party line. their new “academic” journal is nothing but retrograde compared to the ones that have come before it. really disappointing.

          • Ah thanks! The Great Disqus migration prompted me to comment a bit more and the Great Dilan Dramatic Exit might keep me :)

            • stepped pyramids

              I’ve had him blocked since day 0 so I missed the dramatic exit. That’s a pity, of sorts.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                losing Dilan and gaining Bijan seems like an awfully good trade to me though I will admit a wee smidgen of curiosity about how the Dramatic Exit went down

                • Thanks!

                  Here’s a link: http://disq.us/p/1kefrsb

                  Short story, some feature of disqus was the last straw. I’m not sure if mods were deleting his comments or Disqus was.

                  The silliness of course is that he could have blocked me. Or just not been a schmuck.

                • wjts

                  Or just not been a schmuck.

                  Birds gotta swim, fish gotta fry, etc.

                • TheBrett

                  He’ll be back in a Friedman Unit, I bet. He’s never stayed away permanently before.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I can’t speak for anyone else, but it was my thread and I deleted nothing.

                • I presume someone else did and my flagging alone wasn’t immediately casual. Because If it was, then my account has inappropriate permissions!

                  (I flagged the first one as a test. My plan was to flag instead of rebutting because rebuttal tends to increase the noise.)

                  One thing about migrating the old comments to Disqus is that I think a lot of comment links are going to break.

                • gmack

                  Ah, lovely. I haven’t been reading many comment threads for the last couple of months (all things considered, they’re really not good for my emotional well-being), but knowing you’re back might lure me back more often.

                • It would be great to organise some roundtable discussions on things like Mill! That would be a ton of fun.

                • sibusisodan

                  Thanks for the link. I’ve always been amused by the surprise Dilan and also TJ had when people dared to remember their previous comments, positions and postures. Sometimes from only a few weeks earlier!

                  I’ve never been able to confidently say it was performative surprise, either.

                  Still, last time Dilan flounced his first thread back was EPIC. So there’s that to look forward to.

              • wjts

                The real pity is that we’ll be deprived of such invaluable insights as “Foreigner was better than the Clash because they sold more records,” “Maureen Dowd is a very good writer because she’s popular,” “Russia has an inalienable right as a great power to interfere in Estonian politics,” and “Chelsea and Hillary Clinton need to crawl into a hole and die for the good of the Republic.”

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Don’t forget my strident opposition to all forms of public health insurance!

                • You are a monster that way.

                • wjts

                  Also, none of us will ever understand statistics now.

            • cpinva

              “The Great Disqus migration prompted me to comment a bit more and the Great Dilan Dramatic Exit might keep me :)”

              kind of amusing how he left in such a huff, I could almost imagine him flouncing. but you were so mean to him! eh, not really. that thread was pretty much the worst I’ve seen him. it was as though his insecurity was on Adderall or something.

            • Drew

              Oh boy. I blocked him so I missed this. What thread did this dramatic exit happen in?

              Also: nice to see you again!

              ETA: I see the link downthread. That’s what I get for not reading!

            • Kevin

              Lol, what thread was the dramatic exit in? I must have missed it?

              edit: Just read it now, between the block function and this, the comment section is getting much easier to read :)

      • The most fucked-up thing about its degeneration is that aside from the foreign-policy section the rest of the publication is still not especially bad; its FP section is just that toxic. The primaries-era Daley Salon comes to mind, where there’s a small core of solid writers (Pollitt, Alterman, Holland, Walsh) with everyone else being meh-to-fucking horrible, and the aftermath of the offending editor’s ouster is spent just trying to staunch the bleeding.

        And here is your obligatory reminder that The Nation is where Patrick Lawrence Smith ended up after being kicked out of Salon with Daley for being the fucking idiot’s Alexander Cockburn. Because it’s been proven that people just love the belated non-union Mexican equivalent of something that was already divisive in the first place.

        • stepped pyramids

          I just feel like everyone worth reading at The Nation could bugger off and work for any of a dozen liberal-to-left outlets with less of a history but more of a future.

        • Dr. Acula

          I cancelled my Nation subscription when I decided that I didn’t want any of my money going to Alexander Cockburn.

          • Scialabba did a Cockburn defense/rebuttal to Paul Berman a while back that is, shall we say, unconvincing. The thing that immediately stands out is his repurposing of Jeane Kirkpatrick’s “authoritarian/totalitarian” distinction.

            • Dr. Acula

              He actually used the term “infuriatingly charming” to describe Cockburn. I met Alexander Cockburn twice, and the word “charming” would be about as far away from a description of him as I could come up with. Cockburn was an asshole in print, and an asshole in person.

          • I remember reading and enjoying Corruptions of Empire. Parts were very funny. Parts were thought provoking at the time for me (e.g., thinking of the Marshal Plan as stimulus for the US).

            He and Hitchens were folks I read when I was finding my way into more recent leftist/liberalish/etc. writing and they were sort of Chomsky adjacent. And they were snarky which was fun. Some of that panache exists in LGM, though LGM tends to be rather more grounded in reality.

            Both Cockburn and Hitchens got rather crap (which diminished some of their earlier stuff; though frankly, I’d never consult either for anything but entertainment; Chomsky, perhaps, but a lot of his better bits have been superseded; “Manufacturing Consent” is probably worth reading once, but it’s not something to consult a lot). It’s hard to saw who was worse in the end…Counterpunch vs. Smash the Islamofacists is a tough call. Hitchens probably comes out a bit better for having tried being waterboarded and Cockburn believing in endless oil generated by bacteria (surely his goofiest though not evilest notion).

            Finkelstein was an odd part of the crowd…a bit more specialised and, of course, an academic. But Cockburn, Hitchens, and Finkelstein formed the core of what I’ll call second wave progression. First wave was Satre and friends. Third wave, Nader and the greens. Fourth wave…bernie bros.

            And now I have a facile typology to flog as well!

            • Counterpunch semi-frequently runs pieces denying the Serbian & Rwandan genocides (and rather infamously ran one denying the Cambodian one back in 2012). That mag’s worse, no contest.

              • Yes. There’s a whole industry there. Edward Herman went in for a bit of that over at… Z! Z magazine. Been a while!

                • Hob

                  Y’all are describing the core of my reading list as a college student in the early 90s. I feel dumb about some of the things I thought were awesome then (Nader) but am slightly reassured by the fact that I was able to recognize a lot of the Counterpunch stuff as self-evident garbage, even though I wasn’t myself super well informed, just based on the way it was written. I think it’s served the purpose of immunizing me slightly against similar kinds of rhetoric online (and against the temptation to think that that kind of writing on the Internet is something new under the sun, omg the kids have ruined everything, etc.).

                • You probably did better than me! I was perhaps more vulnerable to some of the more boisterous nonsense.

                  I still wrestle with the Kosovo conflict for example. To be fair, anything is going to be more complex than the boisterous of any stripe present.

                • I actually dabbled in it in the 6th grade & got it all out of my system by the end of middle school (re: 2010).

                  FWIW Counterpunch et al. oppose not just the Kosovo intervention but are outright denialists of the Bosnian genocide (especially since AFAIK still opposing the Bosnian intervention is a fringe position enough already, much more so than holding the same for Kosovo).

            • Dr. Acula

              I actually completely agree with you about both Cockburn and Hitchens. I read both of them at one time, back when I was in my 20s.

              I think I have a copy of Corruptions of Empire around somewhere, haven’t looked at it in years.

              I also have a couple of Hitchens books I read about 25 years ago (For the Sake of Argument and Prepared for the Worst) which I liked at the time. He became absolutely unhinged about the Clintons, which turned me off. Then, after 9/11/2001, he practically turned into a neocon, a type of person he used to ridicule.

      • LFC

        I’d say The Atlantic is a major publication, both in hard copy and online, as well as something of a conglomerate w a lot of different ventures (something The New Yorker prob does too, to some extent at any rate).

        I subscribe to very, very few pubs, but if were to add a subscription The Atlantic wd be pretty high on the list, I think.

        • stepped pyramids

          Well, nothing’s really the major print publication it used to be. The Atlantic has held up pretty well, considering.

      • HugeEuge

        Katrina vdH is leftism for trust fund babies. Her husband is academic version of the same — not one of the “tenured radicals” of right wing brain fevers but a noxious Soviet apologist with a scholarly veneer. It’s fairly straightforward to imagine both at the repulsive International Luxury Conference in Loomis’ post below, assuming a transgressive pose while grabbing the gift bags.

        • IIRC he was actually fairly critical of the Soviet government; Russia’s ’90s seems to be ultimately responsible for breaking him as an analyst (and his love for Putin having definitely passed into discredit by the mid-2000s).

          • Hob

            That fits my recollection as well. But that whole “US advisors were in favor of terrible privatization policies in the ’90s that hurt Russia, so we’re not allowed to ever complain about Putin” shtick has never made any sense to me, if it’s someone who claims to care about Russians as people rather than political props. It’s like if evil US actions in Nicaragua in the ’80s had been fully successful, and had reinstalled Somoza or someone even worse, who proceeded to subject the Nicaraguan people to fascist terror while also trying to destabilize the US somehow and threatening all of that country’s neighbors… would “it’s our fault” be a reason for US leftists to insist that that was basically an okay situation?

            • Breadbaker

              See the last scene of Charlie Wilson’s War. We’re obviously personally responsible for the rise of the Taliban so quit yer bitchin’.

          • Davis X. Machina

            Russia’s ’90s seems to be ultimately responsible for breaking him as an analyst

            The window of opportunity for a new socialist-not-Soviet state, one with a legitimate claim on the hearts of the left worldwide, closed with the rise of Yeltsin. So Jeffrey Sachs did it. And Anatoly Chubais. And Yegor Gaidar.

            The Putin thing is a spite hook-up.

        • Erik Loomis

          There is The Nation cruise every year

          • TheBrett

            I wonder if it has good food. I’d be willing to masochistically put myself up for that if there was at least good food.

    • wengler

      I’ve never really understood the overarching editorial position of The Nation. I remember back when they were hyping the EU as some sort of alternative to the US rule of the world. I mean, that’s fine, but it ignores the fact that the US and EU are pretty fucking close. They’ve always come off as the privileged elite that were angry about the way their parents, the traditional elite, was doing things and so supported all of their enemies out of spite.

      I’m all for supporting the enemies of the traditional American elite, but not if they are rightwing nationalist terrorists like Putin.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    “We should be proud of Mister President Donald Jr.”

    –Sarah Huckabee Sanders

  • Davis X. Machina

    There was an existential threat to the Republic.

    The bitch was going to win. Have you no conception what that means?
    Salus populi, suprema lex.
    Desperate times, desperate measures.
    Ends, means. etc.
    You’ve got to keep in mind the sheer magnitude of the threat!

    • nick056

      Hand me the damn ballot!

  • i’ll buy the rope.

    string that fucker up

    • calling all toasters

      Mueller: Crucifixion!

      DJTJR: Hm. Could be worse.

      Mueller: What do you mean, ‘could be worse’?

      DJTJR: Well, you could be stabbed.

      Mueller: Stabbed? Takes a second. Crucifixion lasts hours! It’s a slow, horrible death!

      DJTJR: Well, at least it gets you out in the open air.

      Kushner: Smart choice. I hear Bannon wants the same.

  • Trump may need his pardon pen sooner rather than later. Vox sez it may be solicitation of an in kind campaign contribution from a foreign entity which itself is illegal:


    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Nothing a Neil Gorsuch-penned decision couldn’t overturn. Foreign entities are people, too! Citizens United ftw!

  • aab84

    I remain deeply offended that these people are this fucking stupid. Also, it’s time to retire the Fredo comparisons, as they are wholly unfair to Fredo.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I just ran across (and forgotten where, apologies to the originator) the idea they’re all A J Soprano

      • Scott Lemieux

        Little Carmine. Or Jackie Jr.

        • HugeEuge

          Little Carmine is more like W Bush (or Donald Sr for that matter). An idiot but knows the game and knows how to worm his way into power. Jackie Jr and AJ, yes that’s Eric and Don Jr. Ivanka is Meadow. And KellyAnne is Carmela, knows how evil it is but sells her soul for a place at the top table.

          • Mellano

            Who was the kid who got shot with an arrow playing Lord of the Rings in the backyard? Ralphie’s son, maybe?

            We may be getting to that point soon … incompetents indulging fantasies while not realizing they’re playing in a world of killers.

      • Sly

        Without the guiding light of Livia to keep him grounded.


      • Abigail Nussbaum

        Hey, AJ had a bit of a soul. Not much, and he certainly had no idea what to do with it. But compared to Meadow or Carmela, he was a freaking moral thinker.

  • stepped pyramids

    This is it, isn’t it? One way or another? This is so stunning a claim that it seems like there’s only three plausible outcomes:

    1) It seriously damages Trump, up to the point of impeachment;
    2) It is handwaved away by the GOP, so that one of our two major parties is an accessory after the fact to manipulating a presidential election with the help of a foreign power;
    3) It is debunked or disproved, and the entire Russia story ends up going the way of “Rathergate”.

    If it was just Kushner and Manafort, or Bannon, or even Sessions, these are people who can be jettisoned, disavowed. This is Donald Trump Jr. The elder Donald is an untrustworthy man, but someone who believes in “loyalty”. Considering how much damage Trump has done to himself by clinging to Mike Flynn, can anyone imagine him seriously disavowing his son, who bears his name? I think he’s an inhuman monster and I can’t see him doing it.

    • randykhan

      Considering the responses from DJT, Jr. so far, (3) seems pretty unlikely. He’s never denied the meeting and keeps backpedaling after each story.

      • stepped pyramids

        I think (3) is unlikely, too, but I’ve been worried for months that a sufficiently well-crafted fake story could derail things. Imagine something like that recent CNN story they had to retract, but if it had actually had legs in the first place (it was a really boring story, even before retraction). And Rachel Maddow’s recent report about fake scoops has me troubled.

        • Deborah Bender

          There is a possibility of that in the late addendum to the NYT story. The meeting itself seems to have happened. The late addendum, credited to three unnamed “close to” sources, says that before the meeting, a guy named Goldblum or something like that who is a Trump crony emailed Donald Jr. that the information about Hillary that was going to be on offer came from Russian government sources.

          The NYT story does not directly quote the email. if it’s real, it would be evidence that DT Jr. knowingly colluded. This seems a little too good to be true, like the evidence about the younger Bush getting out of his National Guard duties that Dan Rather fell for. Emails are easy to fake, and this item looks like a baited trap.

      • rm

        Indeed. Until this week I thought 3) was a possibility — that collusion wouldn’t be found and that would serve to obscure the real problems with shady business ties and money laundering.

        Now I think ten tons of orangutan shit are hitting a fan the size of Russia.

    • Joe Paulson
    • calling all toasters

      Trump only believes in loyalty to him. Ask anyone in the White House if you get loyalty from him.

      • stepped pyramids

        Why did he stick his neck out for Mike Flynn, then? I’m not saying there’s anything honorable or even reliable about his loyalty, but he seems to really hang on to certain people.

        • calling all toasters

          He didn’t, though. Flynn knows where the bodies are buried, but still got fired as soon as his indiscretions hit the paper.

          • Bastard beat me by 4 or 5 seconds.

            • calling all toasters

              Close only counts in neurosurgery.

              • N__B

                And thermonuclear warfare.

              • And rules of intestacy

              • Hogan

                Horseshoes and hand grenades.

          • stepped pyramids

            But from all evidence Trump didn’t want to fire Flynn and was upset about it for quite some time, and he specifically asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn.

        • Flynn knows where the bodies are buried

        • tsam100

          People who deftly stroke his… ya know, ego.

    • WinningerR

      Disavowing Jr wouldn’t even help at this point. If this email is genuine, there is simply no way–none–that Manafort, Kushner, Flynn, and Trump himself didn’t know about the Russian government angle (Manafort and Kushner almost certainly knew in advance of the meeting). Junior gets info that the Russian government is engaged in an operation to dig up dirt on Clinton to help his father, and he somehow decides to keep that *secret?* How is that remotely plausible.

      • Deborah Bender

        I commented above that I have doubts about the email. It’s too much the smoking gun that everyone is looking for. There’s solid evidence that the meeting took place and who was at it, but the email beforehand, not so much. I hope the NYT doesn’t go too far out on a limb with that; three sources with dubious motives aren’t much better than one.

        • Diabolical_Engineer

          Well, recent events seem to have preempted that worry. Who thought that Jr would release the emails himself.

    • Drew

      You reminded me of a great comment I saw on Reddit regarding this whole thing: “It’s kind of amazing that Donald Trump isn’t even the stupidest Donald Trump.”

  • randykhan

    Do you think DJT, Jr. has figured out yet that the Times has more or less the entire story about the meeting and has just been holding out parts to bait him into new lies? (Not to mention to have as many stories as possible about it. And it seems obvious that the part about the email came from the same three people as yesterday’s story.)

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Well, it’s been obvious to most of us human beings of average intelligence for a couple of days now, so I’m guessing…no.

    • Joe Paulson

      Does anyone find it a tad ironic emails are starting to screw Trump now?

      • Renfrew Squeevil

        Yeah, but, but, but Clinton’s e-mails are sooooooooo much worse!!!!ahundredandeleven!!!!!!!1!!!

        • reattmore

          Yeah, at least there is no Trump pedophilic pizza parlor–that we know of. Yet.

      • N__B

        As I saw elsewhere in the intertubes, The Wire has the appropriate line: Are you taking minutes at a fucking criminal conspiracy?

    • Hogan

      Doesn’t have to be the Times. Could be whoever’s talking to the Times.

      • randykhan

        Given the sourcing, etc. – the repetition of “three people with knowledge,” it seems like the Times had the whole thing, but its certainly possible it’s the sources dribbling it out.

        • Deborah Bender

          Why would anybody send an email like that to Donald Jr.? He probably had a good idea of the source of any information he was going to be offered, and why would he care one way or the other? The email doesn’t smell right.

    • Stella Barbone

      No, he hasn’t figured it out yet because he gets all of his information from Fox News and Fox isn’t covering this at all.

  • Joe Paulson

    Putin sources says there is nothing there. What more do you want?

    ETA: Not totally joking. Look at the NYT article.

  • The Nation Story: from premature anti fascism to post mature pro Putanism

  • Renfrew Squeevil

    Is it too soon to start the Resignation Clock?

    • tsam100

      Yeah. Impeachment clock too. Loss of support clock and anything else that amounts to a consequence clock.

      • calling all toasters

        Y’all mean the Group Pardon and Mueller’s Fired clocks.

        • petesh

          Someone was saying today that Bannon warned against firing Comey. Which I take to mean that firing Mueller is on the table. After which, anything is possible but the odds tilt severely against the Trump crime family.

          • catbirdman

            Woah there, doesn’t Trump need to stay in power as long as humanly possible to make sure all the right people get pardons?

    • SatanicPanic

      Shhh don’t jinx it

    • TheBrett

      Why would he resign? Taking him down requires an impeachment/removal combo vote, and he can pardon his family members for any wrong-doing. If they nail Don Jr with something that merits criminal punishment, he’ll just pardon him for it.

  • Crusty

    Here’s something that might be kind of obvious, but I feel not discussed. If you’re a Russian who desperately wants certain sanctions lifted, and you think you want to lobby the next president on this topic, whether it is just make him believe in your cause, or put together a quid pro quo, wouldn’t it be a better use of your resources to make that effort with the campaign that was always leading in all the polls at every step? Of course it would, unless you knew something that made you know not to believe the polls and that it was in the bag. I mean, at the very least, we’d hear stories about Russians seeking meetings with Hillary people and Hillary people declining those meetings. But they focused their efforts only on Trump, which would be a big waste if the fix hadn’t been in.

    • randykhan

      I’d guess they knew it was a no-go with her campaign. She was Secretary of State when the Magnitsky Law was passed and she and her team probably were involved in putting it together.

      • nick056

        Yeah, the two overarching themes are a) Hillary and Putin dislike each other deeply and b) Trump’s businesses are awash in Russian capital, he personally has commented publicly that he likes Putin, is very pleased at deepening connections.

        • stepped pyramids

          Absolutely. Can’t overestimate the degree to which Putin is motivated by personal animosity toward Clinton. He apparently believes that she was actively supporting his opponents during the 2012 Russian elections, while she was Secretary of State.

          Beyond being payback, it seems that 2012 also made Putin interested in the idea of manipulating foreign elections for strategic reasons. That’s when he started really actively working with right-wing parties in Europe and supporting groups like Wikileaks.

          • Numbertwopencil

            “He apparently believes that she was actively supporting his opponents during the 2012 Russian elections, while she was Secretary of State.” Which, ahem, she may have done. IIRC, there were allegations of roundabout US funding of various non-Putin Russian parties. Maybe. Probably. Nonetheless, seems to me that personal animosity between Clinton and Putin might account for Putin not courting the Clinton campaign.

    • Richard E Olmstead

      I think all the reporting up to now suggests Trump’s biz was getting lots of funding via Russian sources since the mid-00’s. And unlike many conservatives, Trump didn’t much have a problem with Russia before then. So, uniquely among all candidates, Dem or GOP, Trump was the best bet to get sanctions lifted even if his election seemed like a long shot to the Russians as well.

      The Russians may not have known that it might unravel this this fast and that with regard to lifting the sanctions, maybe it would backfire (e.g. Congress asserting itself on the topic so it is no longer simply about working with Trump). Which does make me wonder: at what point does Putin just give up on the sanction thing and instead hang Trump et al out to dry as his best FU against the US? It will certainly cause much turmoil if the GOP is forced to finally do the right thing and keeps us distracted for some time.

      • randykhan

        I’ve been wondering that, too. There could come a point when Putin’s best play is to dangle Trump in the wind, and it’s not like he’d be sentimental about it.

      • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit

        How would Trump fans respond to him being exposed as a Russian plant, or someone so caught up in blackmail that he might as well be? They would feel pretty stupid, given the fact Trump went out of his way to show how much he loved Putin on the election campaign.

        • Robespierre

          But next time they will vote for a real conservative, no more cucks…

        • Drew

          “They would feel pretty stupid”


    • petesh

      Yes, except that the goal was probably less specific and more along the lines of sowing chaos and hoping to reap the whirlwind.

    • Deborah Bender

      In addition to what the other commenters say, I can’t think of any quid Russia is prepared to offer right now that Clinton would think was worth lifting sanctions for. Human rights abuses and oil revenue are what keep Putin in power. Russia can’t stop the North Korean missile program or settle the Israel-Palestine disputes. Russia can influence Iran but not dominate it. Putin isn’t going to give up Crimea or military bases in Syria. Eastern Ukraine might be negotiable in the long run but it would be complicated and dangerous to try to do anything quickly. Eventually a Democratic administration and Russia may be driven to detente, but it wasn’t going to happen during the campaign.

  • russiannavyblog

    I hate to be a wet blanket, but how do we know this isn’t an operation by the White House to discredit the media? Rachel Maddow came out and said that people are peddling fake classified documents. How tough would it be to round up three loyal White House sources to independently tell reporters what they want to here? And does anyone -really- believe Diaper Don is dumb enough to say some of the things he’s admitted to? (Don’t answer that – he probably is).

    I’m just saying that don’t be too surprised if some of this stuff is part of a counter-leak operation.

    • randykhan

      I would expect that the Times has the email.

      • Deborah Bender

        The Times may have the email, but authenticating emails is probably difficult, and I doubt the three sources vouching for it are highly trustworthy.

    • sigaba

      If that were the case Trump Jr. would simply be denying everything. He’s admitted from his own tweets enough to damn himself.

      The facts of this case aren’t as disputed as wether or not the facts are actually bad, or make a difference.

    • Perkniticky

      Pretty elaborate operation – Don has already hired a criminal lawyer.

      • Steve LaBonne

        Who, it would appear, immediately ordered him to clam up. Little Donnie has a real problem here.

  • wengler

    The most disturbing thing about this whole saga is how in the open it has all been. If we don’t get prosecutions and convictions at the end of this, there will be a clear realization that people in power are above the law and can do whatever the hell they want. I know we are likely there but at that point the traditional job of journalists and investigators and prosecutors is over. Pantomime reporting, pantomime rule of law, pantomime voting.

    • The Realist


      Give up this juvenile One Weird Trick to End Donald Trump and focus on the midterms and 2020.

      • Robespierre

        Upholding the rule of law goes beyond getting rid of Donald Trump.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        the worse trump can be made to look, and the worse congressional republicans can be made to look for their complicity, the better it is for the Ds in the midterms. A bit surprising someone who wants to be known as “The Realist” can’t see that

      • sigaba

        Let's all vote on wether or not the President should go to jail. That's a precedent we should all celebrate.

    • Deborah Bender

      One might say the same about the financial shenanigans that caused the Great Recession.

  • NewishLawyer

    So I have a vacation to Russia planned and I leave in less than two weeks. The vacation came across as a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is the land of my ancestors.

    So how should I feel about my vacation?

    • stepped pyramids

      You should feel good. Russia is a fascinating place with a storied history, a rich culture and, like anywhere else in the world, a lot of decent, well-meaning people. Their current government just sucks. Not new news. Their government has always sucked, Communist, pre-Communist, and post-Communist. And Americans can hardly throw rocks at this point.

      • sigaba

        We can’t throw rocks for moral reasons but we certainly have strategic reasons.

    • You should be excited! Russia is amazing, or at least the very limited parts of it I have seen, and full of amazing people. (Assholes, too; people will be people.) Moscow often makes New York look low-key and laid-back by comparison.

      Have a great trip!

  • Dr. Waffle

    Actual, real-life adults defend and support this administration. Let that marinate for a second.

    • Renfrew Squeevil

      They’re only grown ups if you go by how long they’ve been alive. By any other measure, they fall a bit short.

  • The Realist


  • keta

    I think the next line of defence for the Trumpies was tipped a couple of weeks ago when Hannity, Brit Hume and others floated the idea that even if team Trump did collude with the Russians on the election, is that really, uh, illegal?

    “Can anybody identify the crime? Collusion, while it would be obviously alarming and highly inappropriate for the Trump campaign, of which there is no evidence, by the way, of colluding with the Russians,” said Hume. “It’s not a crime.”
    Last Friday, Fox personality Sean Hannity, who hosts the network’s Sean Hannity Show, asked during his own radio broadcast whether it would be a crime if someone in the Trump campaign asked somebody in Russia to release a tranche of emails hacked from the Democratic Party and then-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

    I think this is where the Trumpies will dig in. They started with straight up denials, Trump even fired his biggest investigative threat in Comey and then bragged about it to the Russians. Now, as evidence comes forward of all these meetings they denied ever happened, the next fallback position is, “sure, we met but there was nothing substantive discussed and besides, there’s nothing illegal about these meetings.”

    The most amazing thing about this stage won’t be the fact that all these people lied about collusion with Russia. And the most astonishing thing won’t be that they continue to lie about colluding with Russia in the election. Nor will it be truly gobsmacking that Trump supporters, freshly supplied with evidence of chronic lies and irrefutable collusion will now nod and say, “yeah?! what’s so wrong with a bit of harmless collusion, anyways?” Nope, what will really decorate the nation here will be the silence from other elected Republicans displaying their poltroon plumage to the fullest as the exalted constitution to which they feign fealty is publically shit upon by Big Baby in the oval office.

    • Drew

      Not technically illegal! You know you’re winning in the court of public opinion when that’s your play.

    • The Realist

      ROFL! Nothing matters.

    • sigaba

      The Democratic response is obvious: Give the Chinese government all of our login passwords, leave Port of Long Beach unlocked while Chinese tow enormous wooden dragon into port. As gift, you see.

      If Trumpers are totes okay with foreign interference in our elections, two can play at this game.... Bwa ha ha.

      I’m kidding but, as someone else pointed out in an earlier thread, the Republicans are essentially taking the part of a rightist Central American party-state: they happily let the foreign intelligence services screw their elections and their political system, just as long as the money keeps flowing, they retain power, and the real enemy are the people and the intelligentsia.

      This is why central and South American leftists all went pro-Russian in the 60s: their opposition were openly supported by a foreign power that flooded their countries with disinformation and propaganda, rigged their elections and locked up their leaders.

      Hannah Arendt said it in Origins of Totalitarianism, governments eventually re-import all of the tools of imperialism to the homeland, and then practice them against their own people. Totalitarianism and fascism are just what we call imperialism when its practiced against white people.

    • stepped pyramids

      of which there is no evidence, by the way, of colluding with the Russians

      They keep on saying this, but it’s not true. There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence. It might not be enough for a conviction, but it’s enough for an investigation, and maybe an indictment.

      • keta

        Brit Hume today, calling Junior’s meeting “farcical” and “laughable” and yes, chortling a few times while telling the credulous goobers in Foxland that “young Mr. Trump” was “conned” into the meeting.

        It’s comedy start to finish.

        • stepped pyramids

          You’d think virtuous young Mr. Trump would have done his bit as a proud American and exposed this perfidious attempt to sully the good Trump name. Right?

          • keta

            At the rate he’s been changing his story I wouldn’t be surprised if his next take is exactly this. “I realized the threat she posed to our democracy, rallied support from Manafort and J-Kush, and was all ready to stuff the American flag up her ass but then she started babbling about adopting Russian kids and we were, like, out of there. USA! USA!”

    • Steve LaBonne

      At least in Little Donnie’s case, there may well have been a crime.

    • JKTH

      And beyond that, they might fall back to “he wasn’t President when he did illegal shit so he shouldn’t be impeached.”

    • IANAL, but IIRC… legally-speaking, “collusion” is meaningless outside of anti-trust law. and Trump was not conspiring with the Russians to fix prices in an anti-competitive scheme.

      ‘conspiring’ might be a better word?

  • Jose Arcadio Buendia

    The Nation has been a crypto-Cockburnist Neo-Stalinist shitmill for decades. It’s not for progressives or liberals.

  • Charles S

    Any guesses as to the sources leaking this and what their angle is?

    • Deborah Bender

      My only guess is multiple sources and at least a couple of different angles.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Mother Jones seems to have a pretty good lead on that. I wouldn’t be surprised if Goldstone himself leaked to cover his ass, because he was feeling double-crossed, or some such,

      • Hogan

        There are good stones and bad stones
        and curbstones and gladstones
        and touchstones and such stones as them.
        There are big stones and small stones
        and grind stones and gall stones,
        but Goldstone is a gem!
        There are milestones, there are mill stones.
        There’s a cherry, there’s a yellow, there’s a blue.
        But we don’t want any old stone,
        only Goldstone will do!
        Moon stones, sun stones.
        We all scream for one stone.
        Mr. Goldstone we love you!

  • PressSecretaryCaptainHowdy

    BTW, a book I’m currently reading describes Putinism in passing as “homophobic, sexist, and neoliberal”. (I’m still processing that.)

  • TimJ

    Thom Hartmann lost a long time subscriber (me) when he started hosting Cohen on his show a few years back, never questioning or pushing back on Cohen’s assertions that the US is at fault for Russia’s bad behavior.

  • mpowell

    I want to be tentative in how I phrase this because I do think Trump is basically continually involved in indictable offenses, but… can someone explain to me what is illegal about getting oppo research from a foreign power? At the very least, I don’t see people regarding this as so blatantly illegal that Trump will suffer much for it. To me, it’s the quid pro quo that should be politically problematic and an arguably treasonable offense (sometimes hard to tell the difference between terrible policy and actual treason, especially when you are the president). Yglesias has been hitting on this for a while – it’s actually Trump’s current conduct that this the worst part of the whole affair. I think the danger is thinking this latest revelation is going to bring Trump down, over-hyping it and then what passes for the center-right these days is like, ‘so what, that’s all you’ve got?’

    And certainly we should continue investigating the situation. People around Trump are going to eventually start going to prison for illegal conduct, which will cause problems for him in all sorts of ways. I don’t think it will ever be possible to prove that Trump’s Russia policy is a quid pro quo. The best I think you can get is clear evidence of cooperation or agreement on something like quid pro quo in exchange for illegal behavior by Russian actors to collect the oppo material. I don’t think it will be enough for an impeachment in today’s era – but it will definitely be politically useful to reveal it.

    • Hogan


      “It does not help their case that you have a very specific operational instance where the campaign decided it was prepared to welcome assistance from a Russian source,” said [election lawyer Bob] Bauer, who has previously argued in a series of posts that the law prohibits cooperation with foreign nationals to influence a U.S. election. “You are not permitted to solicit or accept anything of value from a foreign national to influence an election. You cannot enter into a conspiracy with a foreign national to influence an election.”

      “What was precisely her connection to the Russian government?” Bauer said. “Investigators are going to try to dig as deeply as possible here.” But Bauer added that it might not even have to be established that she did “report back to Moscow” for this to rise to the level of accepting help from a foreign national in influencing an election. Bauer concluded: “This should draw an awful lot of investigative energy.”

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