39 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-5-18

  1. Like

  2. The Stormy Daniels payoff/campaign finance violation story continues to grow. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Michael Cohen may have been trying to raise significant cash to pay off disgruntled Trump mistresses as Trump soared in the polls.

    This story from the NYT details that Trump’s comments about his knowledge of the Daniels payoffs were lies. It also indicates that Trump’s company was involved (and may be drawn into the investigation of campaign finance law violations).

    Hilariously, it also notes that Trump is now angry at both Giuliani and Sean Hannity.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/us/politics/trump-hush-payment-stormy-daniels.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

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  3. As Bret Stephens says here, the policeman has checked out. This development was predicted here months ago. Stephens gives a clear-eyed analysis of what is really going on in Korea. Who knows? Maybe it will all work out.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/opinion/trumps-dangerous-global-retreat.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion-columnists&action=click&contentCollection=columnists&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

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  4. Oh that’s rich. Kristol talks rule of law, yet brushes off a prosecutor lying to a judge as no big deal, just part of the legal process……

    Meanwhile, the shoes continue to drop.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/fbis-james-baker-lisa-page-resign

    “Two FBI officials — both advisers to former FBI Director James Comey — are resigning from their posts at the agency.

    James Baker, who served as the bureau’s top lawyer until late last year when he was reassigned as an adviser to FBI Director Christopher Wray, is resigning, per the New York Times. He is also being looked at for possibly disclosing classified information with journalists about the so-called Trump dossier, though he has not been charged.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. @6:41. People who embrace their perversions and blasphemy do not, in general, have great depth of thought. Why would anyone of sense take it seriously.

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  6. Debra, I would argue that Mr. Milbank is not embracing his own perversions and blasphemies. Rather, he is accurately (though satirically) reporting the evidenced blasphemies and perversions of someone else.

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  7. Conclusions:
    1. The world owes a great debt to a Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman and the defeat of global communism.
    2. We are living in the Asian Century.

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  8. Comey, Mueller, and the poisonous tree.

    Like with Adam and Eve, they know they shouldn’t, they know it’s against the rules and law, and
    yet they did it anyway.

    http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/384963-comey-mueller-and-the-poisonous-tree

    “It is a strange and curious America that fêtes a former FBI director who was fired from his job after exceeding his authority in ways that two presidential campaigns condemned, and who then leaked confidential memos about a president he clearly despises.

    But that is the circus our media, politics and legal system has become. Indeed, on one channel, James Comey is one step from jail and, on another channel, he is the spear that will bring down the presidency. On one network the Russia collusion theory is done and, on another network, it’s just a matter of time before Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, flips on the president.

    In the latest Harvard Caps-Harris Poll, nearly 70 percent say that special counsel Robert Mueller and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein should not be fired. But 72 percent also say that a second special prosecutor needs to appointed and the actions of Comey and fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe should be criminally investigated.

    The more we learn about how these massive investigations were started, the more they look so corrupted that this entire investigation now could now qualify as the fruits of a poisonous tree, a doctrine first adopted by Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter as the only way to prevent government agents from abusing the rights of citizens and benefitting from those actions. The government can’t violate people’s rights with impunity and then just say “oops.”

    The investigation was polluted from the beginning.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. They aren’t. But their leadership seem to think they are.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/russia-investigation-congressional-oversight-fbi-not-above-law/

    “These days, a number of people seem to be under the impression that investigating President Donald Trump is the most vital project undertaken by this nation since its founding. Perhaps. But their feelings shouldn’t override the Constitution, because for all the principles allegedly being whittled away by this administration, its antagonists seem to be doing everything they can to keep pace.

    For instance, while it might come as a surprise to many, the Justice Department is not an “independent” entity. Presumably, those who work for the DOJ have fealty to law and justice first, yes. But they are ultimately subordinates of the president of the United States, who was elected legally and has powers identical to those of former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

    In other words, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein doesn’t work for CNN personalities or Vox-explainer writers. He works for Trump.

    And while it might also come as a surprise to some people, Congress — a separate, co-equal branch of government run, for the moment, by Republicans — is tasked with oversight of the executive branch, which includes the Justice Department. Now, you may deem Congress scandalously incompetent or hopelessly partisan, but it’s within the purview of a congressional committee to ask the FBI for documents pertaining to an ongoing investigation. Congress isn’t breaking the law or “extorting” anyone by asking for more transparency, as Rosenstein recently asserted.

    Yet most Democrats (and Never Trumpers) have taken the exceptionally convenient position that not only should the president (well, this president) not have a say over the goings-on at the Justice Department but Congress (well, this congress) also has no right to demand oversight. Most of the media frame their work accordingly, creating the impression the FBI doesn’t answer to anyone.

    Fact is, Rosenstein has a habit of slow-walking documents to Congress that make the FBI look bad. This is a political consideration. The deputy attorney general is now refusing to hand over redacted documents that pertain to former Trump aide Michael Flynn’s statements about interacting with Russians. Will Flynn’s statements magically change if the public or Congress see them? Rosenstein has yet to explain why he’s not cooperating with a congressional inquiry. Instead, he plays martyr to a friendly media.

    Last time we went through this charade, in fact, Democrats and their allies were claiming that releasing congressional findings on alleged FBI abuses would be a reckless attack on the nation’s security. Whatever you make of the veracity of the claims in the Devin Nunes memo, this claim turned out to be untrue. We went through a similar circus with the release of the James Comey memos, which ended up giving Americans more context to the endless leaks that have consumed news coverage for the past year and a half.

    The idea that partisans and journalists who’ve made a living using favorable leaks regarding the investigations into the Trump administration are suddenly concerned about the sanctity of a criminal investigation is ludicrous. Moreover, Congress, whether you like it or not, is also conducting an investigation. Let’s see more, not less.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I hope this is a humiliating experience for Mueller. He’s earned it.

    https://www.redstate.com/streiff/2018/05/05/robert-mueller-facing-humiliating-end-one-high-profile-indictments/

    “I posted yesterday and today on the roasting district court judge T. S. Ellis gave to Robert Mueller’s team in Friday’s hearing on the prosecution of Paul Manafort.

    It now appears that the only real case Mueller has filed involving anything vaguely resembling a Russian (can anyone explain why the two Russian FusionGPS subcontractors who were at the famous Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. have yet to be questioned by the special counsel’s office?) is on the verge of going full Chernobyl or Kursk, depending upon your favored Slavic metaphor.

    In February, to huzzahs of delight from the media, the Democrats, and the NeverTrump people, Robert Mueller announced, via his errand boy Rod Rosenstein, the indictment of thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian entities for a variety of alleged computer crimes during the 2016 election.

    This was supposed to be the silver bullet that brought down Trump. But, when you took a close look at the indictment it was pretty obvious it was a public relations scam. Mueller had come under a lot of criticism for indicting people on the flimsiest of pretexts and was showing zero interest in actually pursuing his charter. As I said in my prescient post, If Mueller’s Indictment Isn’t A Nothingburger You Could Be Forgiven For Making That Mistake:”
    ————————-

    “This scam seemed foolproof. The thirteen Russians were never going to be caught. Two of the three companies were already under US sanctions and not likely to worry a whole lot about a US indictment. Mueller got the press. No work was involved. All is good.

    Then in April, the most amazing thing happened. One of the indicted companies informed Mueller that it had retained US counsel and would see him in court. You could hear the collective sphincters of the special counsel’s office snap shut as far away as Kenosha, WI.

    Now the little publicity stunt, the bone tossed to the NeverTrump crowd, suddenly became a liability. Just how big a liability became obvious yesterday and today.

    Because the Russian oligarch has enough money to hire real lawyers who fight for a living, Mueller faced real opposition rather than people with no resources to defend themselves. You can be excused for looking at the manhandling Mueller’s people took from Manafort’s legal team and concluding they aren’t used to doing much besides bullying indigent defendants into a plea bargain. Via Bloomberg:

    They are also demanding their right to a speedy trial.

    This is how a competent legal team attacks a case that is built upon allegedly secret information. Keep in mind, Mueller’s team is not above lying to the court when it serves their purpose. They claimed that Manafort was in contact with Russian intelligence operatives in 2016 but when require to produce the evidence that supported that claim they admitted there was none. Mueller will either have to provide the defense with the information upon which they based an indictment or there is no case. There is no such thing as “trust me” evidence.

    The government was put on the defensive and reduced to arguing that the defendant had not been properly served with a summons to try to avoid an arraignment scheduled for the coming week.”
    ———————-

    And their efforts failed. A federal judge has rejected Mueller’s stall tactics. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Chinese communism is alive and well, and owes a deep debt of gratitude to Nixon, Reagan, Friedman and their compatriots who enabled the mass promotion of ideologies of greed and lawlessness. It is China’s turn now, having acquired from us all the manufacturing capacity and technology they need, to be a major player in the world. It is the century of the new authoritarianism. Only fools will be surprised at the increase of various flavors of communism, marxism, and other forms of authoritarianism in the days ahead. The good news is that these oppressions, while horrible in themselves, can create a consciousness of the need for a savior. One can only hope Jesus makes it to the list of saviors along with Friedman, Reagan, and other heroes of the faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Debra, I thought “greed and lawlessness” was the Trump family motto. Reagan and Friedman practiced and preached lawful and honest business, not casinos, fake universities, strip clubs, government subsidized slum ownership, stiffing of hundreds of contractors, etc.

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  13. His entire operation is a joke.

    ——————

    https://www.bizpacreview.com/2018/05/06/full-transcript-of-muellers-court-beatdown-shows-how-bad-it-really-was-for-him-brit-hume-has-message-for-the-judge-631699

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  14. Now why do you suppose that is? Seems it would be relevant, no?

    Because they know it would only make things worse for the FBI’s already tarnished reputation.

    http://dailycaller.com/2018/05/04/fbi-strzok-page-personal-emails/

    “The FBI says it has not requested information from the personal email accounts of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the two bureau officials who exchanged anti-President Donald Trump text messages while working on the investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

    The disclosure was made in a letter sent May 2 to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley, a Republican, questioned why the bureau has not sought Strzok and Page’s personal email records, noting they referred to using private email accounts to conduct government-related business.

    “FBI has not requested from Ms. Page or Mr. Strzok any information from their personal email accounts, nor has the FBI conducted searches of non-FBI issued communications devices or non-FBI email accounts associated with Mr. Strzok or Ms. Page,” Charles A. Thorley, the acting assistant director at the FBI’s office of congressional affairs, wrote to Grassley.

    Strzok and Page worked closely on both the Trump-Russia investigation and the Clinton email probe. Their politically biased texts were discovered as part of a Justice Department inspector general’s investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. The Justice Department has provided Congress with thousands of text messages Strzok and Page exchanged during the course of both investigations.

    Grassley has pointed to text messages Strzok and Page exchanged “show substantial reason” to believe the two FBI officials conducted government work on their private email accounts.”
    ————————

    There was a pattern of using personal emails for public business thru out the Obama admin, including these folks. Keep digging.

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  15. While Democrats and Ricky make up imaginary campaign finance violations by Trump, they once again ignore obvious violations elsewhere by Democrats.

    And make no mistake, this is an intentional attempt to break the law, and Rosie knows it, as do the Dems receiving it..

    https://nypost.com/2018/05/05/rosie-odonnells-campaign-donations-to-dems-went-over-legal-limit/?utm_source=twitter_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

    “Rosie O’Donnell made illegally over-sized campaign donations to at least five Democratic federal candidates, according to a Post analysis of campaign filings.

    The liberal comedian has regularly broken Federal Election Commission rules limiting the total any one person can give to an individual candidate at $2,700 per election. The limit applies separately to primaries, runoffs and general elections.

    “Nothing nefarious,” the outspoken star and Donald Trump arch-nemesis wrote in an email to the Post. “I was not choosing to over donate.

    “If 2700 is the cut off — [candidates] should refund the money,” she wrote. “I don’t look to see who I can donate most to … I just donate assuming they do not accept what is over the limit.”

    O’Donnell said she donates often, and uses the online liberal fundraising platform ActBlue. “My anxiety is quelled by donating to those opposing trump [and] his agenda — especially at night — when most of these were placed.””
    ———————

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  16. So when can we expect Mueller and his flunkies in the Eastern NY fed attorney’s office to raid Rosie’s lawyer’s office and home, like they did to Trump?

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  17. Answer to AJ @ 1:33 Because having worked in a federal election campaign, Ricky understands federal election law

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  18. Then where are the charges?

    Just because you and others allege something, doesn’t make it so. As has been demonstrated repeatedly thru this entire Russia affair.

    And yet again….

    https://www.bizpacreview.com/2018/05/06/doj-caught-red-handed-protecting-comey-after-unredacted-version-of-report-exposes-big-lie-631689

    “After the House Intelligence Committee released a redacted report last month that contained evidence the FBI had coerced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn into a guilty plea, now-disgraced former agency Director James Comey acted surprised. But newly released evidence makes it clear his surprise was just an Oscar-worthy farce.

    The evidence lies in a partially unredacted version of the House Intelligence Committee’s report that was released this week.

    “Director Comey testified to the Committee that ‘the agents…discerned no physical indications of deception. They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them,’” the report reads.

    This means Comey shamelessly lied during his appearance on Fox News.”

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  19. And could you please tell us, in your expert opinion, did Rosie violate campaign finance laws?

    Also when you’ve done that. Please explain why you think Trump did. Please cite all applicable laws and your sources and explain why you feel he violated them.

    I anxiously await your response. Take your time……..

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  20. I do not pay any attention to the Trumpkin chubby Rosie or the anti-Trumpkin chubby Rosie.
    Here is a pretty good analysis of Trump’s problems. Please note this was written before Trump’s and Giuliani’s idiotic and contradictory statements of the last couple of days.

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  21. This is for those who want to become experts. The toughest problem for Trump is the failure to disclose (on FEC reporting forms) the payment to the mistress. Even new Trumpkin Alan Dershowitz concluded that the Giuliani defense that the payment was “personal, not political” is not going to fly given the fact that the payment was made 11 years after the affair, but right before the election. If Cohen had a slush fund for disgruntled mistresses, it will make things worse for Trump.

    https://classic.fec.gov/pages/brochures/fecfeca.shtml

    This case will be handled by the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. AJ, If you want extra credit, you might try to become the first member of The Trump Cult to allege that the attorneys handling the case are “drama queens”, or members of the “Deep State” or “Silent Coup”.

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  22. Debra, Despite Jonah’s endorsement, I believe that something Trumpian (maybe money laundering?) was likely going on in Mr. Cohen’s deals. I doubt this was what Reagan and Friedman had in mind.

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  23. Ricky,

    And I’d counter with…..

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/05/politics/rudy-giuliani-jeanine-pirro/index.html

    “”Every campaign finance expert, Republican and Democrat, will tell you that if it was for another purpose other than just campaigns, and even if it was for campaign purposes, if it was to save his family, to save embarrassment, it’s not a campaign donation,” Giuliani said. “And, second, even if it was a campaign donation, the President reimbursed it fully with a payment of $35,000 a month that paid for that and other expenses. No need to go beyond that. Case over.”
    ——————

    Or maybe this one….

    https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/commentary/rudy-giuliani-right-settlement-stormy-daniels-didnt-violate-campaign

    “KEY TAKEAWAYS
    Those claiming the settlement with Stormy Daniels was a campaign-related expense and a violation of campaign finance law don’t have much of a leg to stand on.

    The payment, Giuliani told Hannity, was reimbursed by Trump himself out of the attorney’s monthly retainer and using Trump’s personal funds.

    Daniels had no connection to the presidential campaign of any kind and the encounter—if it occurred—didn’t happen during the campaign itself.

    Rudy Giuliani sent opponents of President Donald Trump into a wild flutter in an interview Wednesday night with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.

    Giuliani, the former New York mayor who is now part of the president’s legal team, said that one of Trump’s personal lawyers, Michael Cohen, had been reimbursed for the settlement he entered into with an adult film star on the president’s behalf days before the election.

    Those claiming the settlement with Stormy Daniels was a campaign-related expense and a violation of campaign finance law don’t have much of a leg to stand on. This is particularly so given that the Justice Department tried to make a similar legal claim against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards without success.

    The payment was seemingly a nuisance settlement, the kind that celebrities make all the time when faced with meritless claims that will cost far more to defend than making a quick payoff without all of the bad publicity that usually accompanies such cases.”

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  24. AJ, Giuliani might become a more effective expert for you if he ever figures out what actually happened. After his initial round of press interviews, Trump publicly scolded him for speaking before he knew the facts. As of this morning (after the interview you posted with the ridiculous Pirro), Giuliani said he was “still getting up to speed” on the facts. Any competent lawyer could discover the relevant facts in a 30 minute interview with his client assuming the client was truthful. I understand that is an absurd assumption in this case. Trump and Giuliani seem to be throwing new stories against the wall every day to see if any of them work. As noted above, all possible lies and the truth (whatever that might be) still leave your man in jeopardy of campaign finance law violations.

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  25. The key takeaway from the Heritage/Daily Signal links.

    The expert says………

    —————————
    “Based on what we know, the Federal Election Campaign Act wasn’t meant to cover something like this, which is why the Edwards prosecution failed. The Federal Election Commission, where I served as a commissioner and which is responsible for enforcing the law, wouldn’t find a violation based on the facts that are known.

    If special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating this based on a supposed campaign finance violation, he is definitely overreaching, just as the Justice Department did in the Edwards case.

    Unless, of course, Mueller is actually investigating Daniels for possibly violating the federal extortion statute (18 U.S.C. §875), which makes it a felony for anyone to extort money by sending a communication that threatens to injure the “reputation” of another.

    Since Daniels never has claimed that she was forced into a supposed sexual relationship, the only basis for any claim—as the nondisclosure provision of the settlement agreement demonstrates—was her threat to make her claims about a supposed affair public to injure Trump’s reputation.

    Would that violate federal law? Good question.

    And somehow, I doubt that Mueller is investigating that.”
    —————————–

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  26. As for my experts credentials………

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_von_Spakovsky

    “Hans Anatol von Spakovsky (born March 11, 1959) is an American attorney and a former member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). He is the manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative and a senior legal fellow in Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.[1] He is an advocate for more restrictive voting laws.[2][3] ..”

    “On June 29, 2017, President Donald J. Trump named him to be a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.[11]”

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  27. Here is a summary of this morning’s Giuliani interview. It was almost as funny as his performance last week on Hannity.

    Will Giuliani join Mini-Trump Scaramucci as the two guys who were fired before they learned their way around the office?

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  28. AJ, Your expert doesn’t even know which prosecutors are handling the case. Like a true Trumpkin, he whined about Mueller, but as noted @ 4:41 the investigation of possible FEC violations is being handled by the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/fbi-seizes-records-related-to-stormy-daniels-in-raid-of-trump-attorney-michael-cohens-office/2018/04/09/e3e43cf4-3c30-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html?utm_term=.13e97ea5747e

    Clearly this is an opportunity for Trumpkins who wish to rise within The Cult. Since the Cult’s “brain trust” is still unaware of the actual facts and who is investigating the matter, this is a golden opportunity for an enterprising Trumpkin to invent a story which ties the FEC investigation to Seth Rich, the Pizza Pedophiles, Obama, Hillary and the Dossier.

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  29. No, those things Wii not do. We must use something that will catch the eye of our media and never trumpers. The chubby Rosies are chubby in all the wrong places. Hate to say it but another porn star will have to surface. I’m sure there is another one hiding in the closet —-maybe Mueller’s closet. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Sorry, yes that was me. And of course ‘Wii’=will. I was at work on break and spent the last of my discretionary time convincing my phone that no, I do not wish to post a comment about a ‘pork’ star. :–/

    Liked by 2 people

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