Rosenstein is still with us, but his days on the job are obviously numbered. Hannity's blather about the "Mueller crime family" tells you all you need to know about what's coming. Fox News makes Der Stürmer seem subtle, and I speak literally.
Optimism is idiotic.
Sure, Mueller's firing will create a firestorm of protest -- and I will join in, if health permits. But what good will it do? The bad guys, if they are on their game, have already devised a strategy to turn the upcoming protests to their advantage: A few outrages committed by agents provocateurs will paint all members of the Resistance as terrorists.
Josh Marshall sums up the Rosenstein situation nicely in this tweet:
Trump: Rosenstein can’t be trusted because he helped me fire James Comey
Infuriatingly, this contradiction means nothing -- nothing at all -- to members of the Trump cult. They refuse to see that if Trump were innocent, he would not act like a cornered animal.
They also don't care that Trump has tossed aside his anti-TPP trade pact stance, just as he has tossed aside his anti-Goldman Sachs stance and his anti-neocon stance. The cultists know only that Trump Is God; all else is irrelevant.
Pardon. The pardon of Scooter Libby -- a man whose much-deserved sentence was commuted by Dubya, a man who should have learned a profound life lesson from a 300-pound cellmate named Twinky -- serves but one purpose: Trump wants his cronies to know that he'll hand out a Get-Out-Of-Jail card to anyone who keeps his mouth shut.
So far, I've seen no hint of state charges against Flynn or Manafort or Stone or Cohen or anyone else. As long as everything remains on the federal level, and as long as Trump holds the power of the pardon, justice is doomed.
As I see it, Mueller has but one chance: He must issue an obstruction of justice report, and he must do so soon. The revelation that Trump's lawyer has flagrantly offered pardons-for-silence was pretty damned shocking. If Mueller can keep the shocks coming, he might jolt the Republicans into rediscovering their consciences.
The Comey book. We've received various advance peeks at Comey's book, and they've proven very interesting. So far, the most intriguing bit concerns the ever-popular pee-pee allegation. We're told that Trump asked Comey to investigate the matter, allegedly to make poor Melania feel better. She's sensitive, you know.
On last night's Brian Williams broadcast, one reader of the book reported that Trump claimed not to have slept in that hotel room at all that night. The president told Comey that he (Trump) visited the room only long enough to change clothing.
Unknowingly, Trump has provided the solution to a problem outlined in the Corn/Isikoff book Russian Roulette. Those two authors researched the golden shower allegation and determined that Trump had stayed late at a party that night and had to catch a plane at six AM the following morning. Most people would have used those four or five hours to catch some Zs, as opposed to frolicking with bladderific slatterns.
But Trump told Comey that he did not sleep at all that night. This news changes the picture considerably.
Trump, as we know, sleeps little -- and he may have mastered the art of napping while flying. Thus, without intending to do so, Trump has answered the Corn/Isikoff objection and brought new credibility to the pee-pee claim.
Until last night's edition of The 11th Hour, I favored the theory that the "watery tart" allegation was a bit of disinformational fun directed at Steele's operatives, who were probably "made" at some point. In other words, I didn't really buy it. Now I'm not sure what to think.
David Corn does not address this specific argument -- not in his twitter feed, and not in this Mother Jones story. However, he does say the following:
Trump was two weeks away from being sworn in as president. He was just informed that the US national security establishment had confirmed its assessment that Vladimir Putin had covertly attacked American democracy and that this assault was designed to affect the results of the election. And Trump responded with no interest in any aspect of this unprecedented intervention other than its political implications—for him. In front of the leaders of the intelligence community—two of whom would continue to work for him—Trump did not even bother to feign concern. He went straight to what mattered most: What does this mean for me?
The president-to-be was engaging in a profound dereliction of duty. His number one job is to defend the United States from foreign attack. And he didn’t give a damn.
Inaction is collusion. Once again, the non-barking dog tells all.
If you're a security guard and you do nothing as the bad guys walk out with a Caravaggio, you're part of the heist.
Dino! We've learned a bit more about Dino Sajudin, the doorman who received $30K in hush money from the National Enquirer to sit on a story about Trump fathering a love child.
The mother, we are now told, supposedly worked as Trump's housekeeper. This woman, still unnamed, has told reporters that she denies the "love child" story. Perhaps, perhaps...but the tales of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal give us good cause to treat all such denials warily. We know that Cohen established a corporation devoted to paying off all potential talkers.
As noted in our previous post, Sajudin is not exactly the most credible source one could wish for. Everything about the guy makes me envision the word "SCUZZBALL" in blazing gold letters above his head. The NY Daily News interviewed Sajudin's former wife, who offered the following observation:
“He’s infamous for making up stories,” Nikki Benfatto said of her former husband Dino Sajudin.
“He’s seen the chupacabra. He’s seen bigfoot. One of our friends who passed away, he saw him too, walking down the street.”
This seems a bit much. A New York City doorman who spins yarns? Sure, I can believe that. I can also believe that the guy thought he saw a ghost. But a New York City doorman who spins yarns about chupacabra and bigfoot? That part is harder to buy: City boys don't hobnob with chupie.
Benfatto (a fitness instructor in Brooklyn) may well be correct when she calls her former husband a liar, but when she she festoons her assessment with apparent hyperbole, she has the paradoxical effect of making me wonder whether Scuzzball might be telling the truth. At least on this matter.
So far, the weight of the evidence is against Dino Sajudin. But he has one considerable point in his favor: The Enquirer really did pay him $30,000.
They wouldn't pay that kind of money for a fake story about bigfoot. Why would they pay that kind of money for a fake story about a Trump love child?
Years and years ago, I knew a man who thought he could make some extra cash by selling a scandalous tidbit to the Enquirer. We're talking about a tawdry piece of piffle involving an extremely popular professional athlete. (Last name = a fruit. And that's the only hint I'm going to give you.) As I recall, the Enquirer was indeed willing to pay -- but only upon publication, and only if the story could be proven.
Thirty thousand smackers for an unproven bit of whimsy told by a notorious chupacabra-spotter? It doesn't make financial sense. Doesn't make any sense.
Stormy times ahead. Michael Avenatti says that if the Stormy Daniels case goes ahead -- as it probably will -- Michael Cohen plans to take the fifth.
Ponder the majesty of the chutzpah on display here: A lawyer. For the president. Taking the fifth. IN A CIVIL CASE.
How the hell can Cohen argue that the NDA is valid if he takes the fifth?
"The Mob takes the fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the fifth?" -- D. Trump, in Iowa, September, 2016.
Crisis actors. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I sympathize with the JFK assassination conspiracy theorists because the best of them comprehend the need for actual evidence. Left-wing paranoids tend to be well-educated brainiacs willing to dive into hyper-detailed arguments about (say) the efficacy of neutron activation analysis. (The JFK buffs won that particular debate, by the way.) By contrast, right-wing paranoids are primitive brutes and disgusting, barely-literate fear-junkies. Proof below.