Day 473


(Matt Kiser) #1

Updated 5/7/2018 11:00 AM PDT

1/ Trump: There is no obstruction of justice, "it's called Fighting Back." Trump attacked Robert Mueller's team, tweeting that "The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility." He added: "The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice…and just wait 'till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!" (NPR / NBC News / The Hill / CNN)


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/2018/05/07/day-473/

Why the Fuck Could 45 Avoid Testifying?
(Matt Kiser) #2

The results of an internal campaign poll conducted for one rival Senate campaign on Saturday and Sunday were: Blankenship 31 percent, Jenkins 28 percent, Morrissey 27 percent.

The results of another internal poll conducted Friday and Saturday were: Blankenship 28 percent, Morrissey 27 percent, Jenkins 14 percent.

Two weeks earlier, the same rival campaign found Blankenship at 14 percent, Morrissey at 29 percent, and Jenkins at 26 percent.


(Matt Kiser) #3

On if/when Robert Mueller subpoenas Trump:

The most dangerous questions Trump faces concern exercises of the powers of his office, including allegedly: (i) firing FBI Director James Comey in an effort to end a law enforcement investigation; (ii) demanding the dismissal of Mueller; and (iii) dangling the prospect of pardons to tamper with witnesses, as the special counsel’s questions suggest Trump may have done with Michael Flynn.

Being truthful about such matters could require Trump to admit engaging in crimes. Lying is also a bad option, given the likelihood there’s evidence to counter any falsehoods. Asserting the Fifth Amendment could put an end to Trump’s political viability.

Together, these decisions make it all but impossible for presidents to categorically defy subpoenas for testimony in criminal investigations. Ken Starr went so far as suggesting that Clinton could be impeached for asserting the executive privilege in response to a grand jury subpoena, because Clinton’s privilege claim was frivolous.


#4

Yeah I’ve heard that confirmation hearings can be real torture. :smirk:


#5

@matt Thanks for the summary of Giuliani’s recent blatherings. This is one of my favorites:

3. Giuliani is “focused on the law more than the facts right now,” when it comes to Trump’s legal situation. “Well, I have just been on board a couple of weeks,” Giuliani said.

What an outrageous statement – especially from an attorney. The most important question is this, “When did the President know about the payment to Daniels?” That’s a simple question. Why doesn’t Giuliani just ask his client? He makes it sound like finding the answer will involve a huge research project. This is from the transcript of Giuliani’s interview on ABC This Week:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Giuliani said that we’ll cover your expenses, they work out this $35,000 a month retainer after that. So – so the president did know about this after the campaign?

GIULIANI: Can’t say that. I mean, at some point, yes but it could have been recently, it could have been a while back. Those are the facts that we’re still working on. . . . This is more rumor than it is anything else.

“Those are the facts that we’re still working on.” Really? Let me take care of that for you. “Mr. Trump, when did you find out about the payment to Daniels?” [Insert Trump’s answer here.] There. Done. That was the first question you should have asked Trump when you came on board two weeks ago. And Giuliani adds “This is more rumor than it is anything else.” WTF! Again, why is this a “rumor” when you can just make words come out of your mouth to ask Trump for the date? That would take 15 seconds. OK, I need to take a deep breath . . .


(Dustin Halstead) #6

West Virginia has been ranked as the most miserable state for 9 years in a row – not to mention, having the lowest education.

Misery can drive people to cling desperately onto any hope, even if it’s improbable or false (lottery sales are a perfect example).
On the other hand, education has never been a prerequisite for common sense, and wisdom is often born from struggle.

With that said – what’s causing the continuous decline (towards extinction) of basic common sense?

People used to live more isolated lives, looking only towards those in their family, communities, and town for comparison of their own well being. My parents and (especially) grandparents grew up extremely poor, but were quite happy. Everyone around them struggled as well, so they often felt they were all-in-it-together.

Now-a-days, people are less isolated than ever.
Financial success is touted on television and social media facilitates the announcement of every pay-raise and life achievement. It results in unrealistic comparisons, leading towards depression that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
In many ways, instead of reducing isolation, it’s caused the opposite.
To compound the issue further, instead of wisdom and common sense being regarded as a positive trait, the media regularly glorifies irresponsible celebrities and millionaires (some who don’t even possess basic decency), effectively degrading the importance of these traits.

Could this be the primary cause, or is there more to it?

This is just my personal observation/interpretation – nothing more.

It would be great to hear any additional perspectives that you all would be willing to share.


#7

Primary cause of what, decline in common sense? I don’t think there is a way to quantify such a thing. Please elaborate.


#8

Here’s another Russian money trail that the FBI is following. This one involves Trump, Cohen, and a Russian mixed martial arts fighter with close ties to Putin. The story was first broken by The Guardian about a week ago. More power to Kate Briquelet on the Daily Beast for following up with this report.

In a nutshell, Trump helped launch a fight exhibition business in 2008, partnering with Kremlin-connected Russians. He appointed Cohen as COO. Recently, FBI agents intercepted and interviewed Fedor Emelianenko, the Russian fighter who was at the center of the now defunct company.

Can you imagine Michael Cohen as COO of anything? I would wager that (as with the Daniels’ case) he was just there to move money. It was all legit, I’m sure. :wink:

Atencio [VP of the company] said he met with Cohen, the chief operating officer, a few times for lunch but that “at the end of the day, he was really Donald Trump’s lawyer and had nothing to do with the events.” Atencio said he got “a big kick out of” seeing Cohen’s COO title in recent news reports.

(A shout out to @Himal for the link.)


( Lee Miller) #9

Makes me want to pull my hair out. WTF is the problem with George and Tapper??? ASK the question!!!


(nina) #10

If T is subpoenaed, which seems likely and it does go to the Supreme Court to decide if he can evoke Executive Privilege that may be the the way this entire investigation is going to be decided.

With Emmett Flood on board, who may be the only real legal expert on what T should do (Guilani, of course has no credibility or legal chops, so I am guessing he’s not going to try to hatch a legal plan) it seems like they will assert T’s right to defend himself on Executive Privilege and offer all the Manaforts, Flynn’s and Cohen’s an eventual pardon.

Because as this article states

"There is therefore reason to anticipate that some Supreme Court justices will take seriously an argument that the president’s exercise of the constitutionally delegated authority to fire executive branch officers and to pardon witnesses can’t be limited.

The argument has some surface appeal. The Supreme Court has long recognized that the Constitution defines certain areas of broad executive powers. Certain of those powers were derived from authority previously held by the king, including the pardon power."

All this razzle-dazzle, muddying-the-waters Guiliani talk-time, is just a play to say…T wants to speak, and gosh, he’s got a lot to say, but I have no idea if he will.
Don’t know what responses anyone else in the WH legal team is going to present…certainly not Guiliani.

Then we consider if T is going to fire Rosenstein, Mueller, Sessions and that fallout will be yet another benchmark moment, similar to the cataclysmic Watergate Saturday night massacre…What’s the probability of this happening?

But you wonder now with supposed unsealed indictments from Mueller, detailing the wrong doings of the president is enough to shake the Trump administration. We know it is not going to be impeachment anytime soon, and very unlikely resignation. It could remain only the our fever dream (as the R’s like to say) until the midterms.

And now there is grounds for SDNY DA Eric Schneiderman to step down given some very course allegations…putting his tenure on really shaky grounds. That’s another can of legal ‘worms.’

As usual I have more questions, and less certainty of any outcome.

But c’mon Mueller. :-:slightly_smiling_face:


(nina) #11

YES…he’s an idiot.

You hear things like this and he’s so out of touch…uncareful and sounds likes his boss - speak before you think, show bravado, appear as if it is true.

Lots of pundits are saying that T was aware that Guiliani was ‘not right’ and falling apart (when the Admin was getting it’s cabinet nominations ready, and therefore not Secy of State material). Other pundits say that because Guiliani is willing to go and fight on T’s behalf, and is a TV personality that fits the bill for T.

Either way…what a joke, right?! I hope he proves more damaging to T’s cause than good.


#12

Just a couple hours after I posted the article above from the Daily Beast, Putin’s Top MMA Fighter: Backed by Trump, Busted by the FBI, I came across this interview with Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti – also in the Daily Beast.

As anyone following the Trump/Stormy Daniels scandal knows, Avenatti and his team have been conducting a high-profile search to identify the man who Daniels alleges threatened her. During this interview, both the Daily Beast interviewer and Avenatti allude to a possible link between the threat to Daniels and Trump’s disbanded MMA company discussed in the earlier post above.

[MARLOW STERN, Daily Beast:] As far as the man in the sketch goes, our reporting has led us to believe that there may be a connection between the man in the sketch and the now-defunct MMA league—Affliction—that Trump and Cohen ran for a period of time.

[AVENATTI:] There may be a link between the MMA league—or business—and the threat. We don’t know that yet, but it has crossed our mind as well. Though to be clear, the individual that approached her at her car was not the gentleman [Fedor Emelianenko] that was widely reported recently as being questioned by the FBI.

Yes, that exchange is “out there” – but I’m actually posting the interview because it does a great job of covering many other aspects of Daniels’ defamation suit. Once again, Avenatti comes across as a straight shooter who is doggedly pursuing the truth.


(Dustin Halstead) #13

Everything comes about through cause and effect.
Individual perspectives are changed through any number of personal experiences, but social norms require more time, and the causes can usually be identified and attributed to a handful of key factors.

Just wondering if anyone else had any personal observations on what that may be.


#14

Let’s go back to West Virginia for a minute and look at some cited causes and effects because there is actually data. West Virginia used to be a blue state, that turned bright red during the 2016 election. We’ll call Trump winning an effect, for the sake of this conversation.

From Blue to Red

In the 1992 presidential election, Democrat Bill Clinton won West Virginia by a solid 13 percentage points. In November, Republican President-elect Donald Trump captured the state in a walk — winning it by more than 40 percentage points.

Loss of industry, due to changing demands.

In Boone County, a short drive from Charleston, the mining cuts have shattered the economy — more than 4,000 jobs lost in the last five years, said Kris Mitchell, director of the Boone County Community and Economic Development Corporation. And that’s in a county with only 24,000 people.

No competition from Democrats

“The Democratic Party is in full retreat here now,” said Mike Plante, a Democratic strategist in Charleston who’s been in the state since 1992. Government, he said, is viewed as a tool of elites and a “malevolent force out to do us harm.” And that’s gotten worse under Obama, he added.

Loss of population, with high unemployment.

Since 2010, West Virginia is the only state in the union that has lost population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Its November unemployment rate, 6 percent, ranked 47th out of the 50 state.

Demographics

West Virginia is one of the nation’s most rural states, with 77 people per square mile. — Its population is more than 92 percent white.

Dependence of government jobs

And whether residents like it or not, government makes up a big part of this state’s economic fortunes. A full 19 percent of those employed in the state work for some form of government — the public sector. That’s higher than the 14 percent who work for the public sector nationally.

Dependence on Federal Spending

And even after all the cuts in government, West Virginia still ranked ninth in federal spending per capita in 2014 at $11,973 per person. The federal funds spigot still flows more freely here than other places.

NBC’s conclusion

But the split between West Virginia and the Democratic Party runs deeper than all those elements. The economic divide is a demographic and cultural chasm.

Seems like Dems could do a lot of good work in West Virginia if the voters would let’s them.

@MangaX, is that what you had in mind?


(Mesila Thraam) #15

Every day as I read more and more about the Russia investigation, I see 45 do two things: #1 Act really guilty, whether or not he is, by repeating the whole “witch hunt” thing, and #2 Seem to be working on arrangements no regular American would be able to pull off to completely avoid answering Mueller’s questions. That second thing really bothers me. If he gets away with that, it doesn’t even matter if 45 colluded with Russia because we would now be a country where the President proved he was above the rule of law.

Can he really do this? I am not an expert on legal matters, but the more I hear, the more scared I get.


#16

Good question. It’s everyone’s right in America to plead the 5th amendment. However, it’s not without political consequence but who knows, this is Trump. I don’t think the Mueller Team would have threatened to issue a subpoena if they couldn’t back it up. Sit tight. No one knows what will come next but it’ll interesting.


(Dustin Halstead) #17

That’s extremely insightful information. Thank you sir.
It’s also worth mentioning the widespread opioid and heroin addiction.

The politics, employment, education, and history are all important factors – but it still doesn’t quite explain the culture and general, shared perspective.

Oddly enough, a great deal of insight was found on a reddit post because a number of respondents were from West Virgina (or KY neighbors). https://www.reddit.com/r/NoStupidQuestions/comments/6309r2/why_is_west_virginia_so_bad/

Usually, hardworking, responsible parents want the best for their children. There’s a desire to see them become more successful than the generation before.
Unfortunately, the endless unemployment and (more importantly) drug abuse decimates rational thought, and replaces it with a misery-loves-company mentality.
Various individuals reflected on relatives and parents barraging them with guilt.

“So you just think you’re better than your family?”
“Your mom/grandmother will die from grief if you leave.”
“You’ll be missed, because if you leave, you’ll never be welcomed back.”

It’s a mentality that stagnates change and drives out anyone who might be able to bring about innovation.
So, they effectively accomplish nothing, dull the pain with drugs, and vote for anyone who promises to reverse time – back to when things were better.
Regardless of the irrationality.


(Matt Kiser) #19