WTF Community

Day 389

Updated 2/12/2018 10:01 AM PST

1/ Rachel Brand quit the Justice Department in part over fears that she'd have to take over the Russia investigation if Trump fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Justice Department's No. 3 attorney had been unhappy with her job for months, telling friends that she felt overwhelmed and unsupported in her job, primarily because four of the 13 divisions she oversaw as the associate attorney general remained unfilled. (NBC News)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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It was also reported (CNN) that her departure was due (at least in part?) to a conflict of interest, that it had to do with the fact that her husband is a partner in the law firm for defending Rick Gates in the trump-Russia case. It certainly it could be both…I wouldn’t blame her for wanting to leave the ongoing “spectacle” that is the trump so-called presidency and the lack of support for her job therein.

Not a link, but on Feb 10, it was reported by Carl Bernstein on CNN.

I don’t doubt for a minute that she also didn’t want to step in the trump-Russia mess though.

Here’s a link to the transcript:

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Hey! Big fan of the newsletter. Today was the first time I felt tricked. The headline “Jeff Sessions called sheriffs a “critical part” of the “Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement”” gave me the impression that Mr Sessions made an overtly racial statement, when in fact it is a common legal reference. Doesn’t seem like news. If anything, it’s only relevant in that it’s a potentially confusing term. You should have left this one out.

Cheers, keep up the good work.

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Feel free to make a request to update:

Putin is speaking on behalf of the US? Cool, cool.

Putin mentioned the call with Trump at the start of his meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.
He said: “Naturally we spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli settlement” and told Abbas: “I would like to convey to you his best wishes.”

Note: I’ve never heard of, so I did check it out to make sure it’s legit and it is. It’s a Israeli newspaper - the longest running newspaper still in print in Israel! (Wikipedia)

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I think the main reason this was “news” today was due to it not being included in his written remarks, but was impromptu.

From the CNN article:

A written version of the remarks says that Sessions was supposed to say: “The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage.”

IMO, if it wasn’t notable at all and just a typical term - CNN & NBC News wouldn’t have done articles on it.


I see it the same way, mouseam. Sessions can’t seem to stop oozing racism from every pore, just as trump accuses his critics of whatever they bring up about him, only he supersizes it in the process.


OK, “Anglo-American law” is a synonym for the common law, but Sessions rang an apparently improvised change on it. My #1 thought when I heard “Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement” was “Oh, you mean like lynching?” Context matters, and the context here includes a racist AG in a racist administration. I think the item is newsworthy. I’m interested in what lawyers, legal scholars, and historians have to say about the phrase.


Agree with you, Matt, on the Obama portraits. HIs grabbed me immediately. Hers made me think “Huh,” but it’s growing on me PDQ.

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Glad to see other news outlets finally pay attention to this. Maddow has been following it for close to a year now.


I’m so hooked on watching Maddow…I love the way she digs into stuff like this. If I were to guess, I’d say trump considers himself to be a “charity”, just as the fund-raising he’s been doing under the guise of his re-election fund is actually paying his lawyers & who-knows-what-else. He’s hoping everyone will stop asking about it. :rofl:

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It’s helpful to look at Michelle Obama’s portrait by Amy Sherald in the context of the artist’s body of work. (She is amazing, btw)

Then look to the artist’s statement:

Sherald, “known for her stylized, archetypal portrayals of African Americans,” survived a heart transplant in 2012, the museum notes. “A personification of resilience herself, Sherald conveys the inner strength of her subjects through a combination of calm expressions and confrontational poses,” the gallery writes.

Let’s then look at the content of the image, the pose, the dress by Michelle Smith for Milly and even the color choice of the background. This portrait is layered in meaning but does require some context.

The dress, Smith said by phone from Paris, is based on one that was in her spring 2017 Milly collection. That season Smith was inspired by a “desire for equality, equality in human rights, racial equality, LGBTQ equality,” she says.

The pose, seems contemplative and very measured.

The light blue background is telling a story too. Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.

Here’s a link to Kihinde Wiley’s work as well, he is also amazing!

Both of these paintings are absolutely stunning and wonderful additions to the Portrait Gallery. I hope that helps! What do you all think?


There’s been some commentary on it in the twittersphere, enough that I think it would be worth issuing a correction. It does sound weird and racial at first glance, but apparently it’s an inside-baseball term that’s seen use from many far more anodyne sources.

FWIW, Snopes reached the same conclusion as @abellenz as well:

“While we are unable to ascertain Sessions’s motives for the change he made to his prepared speech (there were many other places he diverged, as well), we can say that it is factual that Sessions made the statement that “the office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement” and that “Anglo-American” is a way to reference to the common law legal heritage the United States sheriff’s system shares with Europe.”

The trouble with the trump administration is that they (especially trump but others too) say things that are ambiguous…I’m convinced it’s done deliberately to signal their base in ways they know they can “get away with” using plausible deniability after the fact. And it’s not as if they never completely contradict themselves in plain English anyway…they depend on people hearing what they want to hear out of all their gaseous emissions.

Snopes: I thought they were no longer considered reliable for fact-checking?

Do you have any further details on this? I hadn’t heard this, so I’m curious. I know they had legal issues over their website hosting last year and their was that whole Save Snopes campaign, but it was unrelated to their reliability from my knowledge.

Not off-hand I don’t…it’s been about a year since I used them to look up something that was disproved elsewhere. Then I heard from someone else they weren’t considered to be reliable any longer-? Wish my memory was better on this, sorry…it’s not my intention to bad-mouth them at all, I used to use them now & then, it was a disappointment. I’ve had no awareness of any other website issues they may have had.

I like the Obama portraits…they aren’t the musty old-style portraits of yesteryear.

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