WTF Community

Day 613

Updated 9/24/2018 10:27 AM PDT

1/ Rod Rosenstein reportedly verbally resigned to John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by Trump. The two will meet on Thursday to discuss the deputy attorney general's future at the Justice Department. While Rosenstein has not submitted a formal resignation, he went to the White House this morning for a meeting where he "expect[ed] to be fired." The news follows reports that Rosenstein discussed the idea of wearing a wire last year to secretly record Trump in order to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the President from office. Rosenstein has been overseeing Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with those efforts. Noel Francisco, the solicitor general, would take on oversight of Mueller's investigation and could fire or limit the investigation. (Axios / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Today’s episode of The Daily is a must listen :ear:

Rod Rosenstein’s Insurrection
In the eight days between the firing of James Comey and the appointment of Robert Mueller, the deputy attorney general faced a crisis.


Avenatti says his client will be going public with her allegations against Kavanaugh within 48 hours and will do so in an on-camera interview. In the meantime, Vox has published a well constructed, point-by-point summary of what we know so far. Here are some highlights:

  • Avenatti on Sunday tweeted that he was representing a woman with “credible information” about Kavanaugh and [Mark] Judge and would demand an opportunity to present testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said he would like [Mark] Judge and others to be subpoenaed to testify and called for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn.

  • Though news about Ramirez’s claims broke around the same time Avenatti began tweeting, he clarified that his client wasn’t [Deborah] Ramirez.

  • It’s not entirely clear what Avenatti’s client says happened, but according to the emails with Davis he posted, he says there is “significant evidence” Kavanaugh and Judge were involved in some sort of scheme to gang rape young women in the 1980s.

  • [Mark] Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland and conservative writer, has become an important figure in the Kavanaugh allegations, as [Dr. Christine Blasey] Ford says he was present when Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her. Judge has previously written about his drunken escapades while in high school, including seemingly referencing Kavanaugh (using the name “Bart O’Kavanaugh”) but has denied memory of the assault Ford says took place. He has also said he doesn’t want to testify before the judiciary panel.

  • He said his client — who is still unknown — is willing to meet with the FBI for an investigation and take a polygraph test.

  • In the New Yorker story on Ramirez, one of Judge’s former girlfriends, Elizabeth Rasor, said that [Mark] Judge once “told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman,” but that he deemed it consensual. A lawyer for Judge said he “categorically denies” Rasor’s claim. It’s not clear whether it’s connected to Avenatti’s accusations.

  • According to Politico, Avenatti said on Monday that his client will go public with allegations and more information in an on-camera interview within 48 hours.


A few articles I didn’t include in today’s update:

The C.I.A. director said on Monday that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, will not give up his nuclear weapons easily, seeing them as crucial leverage to preserve his government.

In rare public remarks, Gina Haspel, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said that North Korea has spent decades building its weapons program, and noted that the government in Pyongyang had said it was “essential to their regime’s survival.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he had no plans to meet President Donald Trump during his visit to New York, saying the United States had employed only threats and sanctions against his country.

Federal prosecutors have stepped up their investigation of prominent Washington attorney Gregory Craig for work he conducted at his former law firm on behalf of the Ukrainian government in 2012, an effort coordinated by Paul Manafort, according to people familiar with the matter.

Shortly before Manafort pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and obstruction this month, attorneys for Craig received requests for information from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who are investigating Craig’s activities as an offshoot of the broader probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to one person with knowledge of the exchange.


A fourth person has come forward with allegations against Bret Kavanaugh.

A possible fourth person has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Maryland law enforcement officials told a Maryland newspaper.

An anonymous witness told Montgomery County investigators over the weekend about another incident that occurred while Kavanaugh was in high school, according to a Monday report in the Montgomery County Sentinel.

In a response to this report, The Montgomery County Police Department put out a statement that said it had not received a request from an alleged victim to start a criminal investigation — though it’s unclear if the witness from the Sentinel’s report is an alleged victim.


I believe you have that correct but not sure. Seems like the unknowns are Avenatti’s client and the new one out of Maryland. I’m sure more information is coming.


While investigators weren’t specific and spoke on background, they said they are looking at allegations made against Kavanaugh during his senior year in high school after an anonymous witness voluntarily came forward to speak with them this weekend.

This would potentially bring the number to four women accusing Kavanaugh of wrongdoing and comes after Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale college student, stepped forward this weekend to accuse Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her in college, and after attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted out a message saying he represents a woman with “credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.”


The man who would replace Rod Rosenstein is a conservative who favors executive power

This is really, really bad news and alarm bells should be going off all over the capital. :fire: :fire_engine:

Here’s a crucially important Politico article that was originally published back in April. It’s even more timely today and for that reason Politico has just republished it (kudos to @dragonfly9 and @hippopotatomus for originally pointing the way to this piece):

Donald Trump probably can’t fire special counsel Robert Mueller himself. So if he wants to end or limit Mueller’s Russia probe, he’ll need to find someone who will.

He may have his man in Solicitor General Noel Francisco, a little-known Trump appointee who happens to have an ax to grind against the FBI — and who could become Mueller’s boss through one angry presidential impulse.

Francisco even has a specific grudge against former FBI Director James Comey, whom — much like Trump — he has accused of partisan bias. That has compounded prior concerns among Democrats about Francisco’s political independence and whether he might obey an order to either sack Mueller or constrain his investigation. . . .

As the Justice Department authority overseeing the investigation, Francisco could narrow its parameters or deny specific requests to prevent Mueller from looking into Trump’s personal and business affairs. He would also assume control of Mueller’s budget.


More public relations for Brett Kavanaugh, who is sitting down on FOX network on Martha MacCallum’s show today 7p EST/4p PST. Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley discuss, Brett’s innocence. Not only does he refute any suggestion he had any ‘relations’ with any of these women, but he’s calling it a ‘smear.’

Too many coincidences now to think that he might have done a little something w/ these women who are coming forward to reveal their experiences, at a huge personal cost.


Is this just as it seems? T wants to divert attention to Rod Rosenstein drama instead of the hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser. It makes sense to me, to create a competing story as a way to control the narrative better.

I like that Joyce Alene responds with a Don’t worry - women can multitask.


Here’s a little tidbit…If Rosenstein resigns, T can provide a ‘temporary’ replacement, if Rosenstein is fired, this would be the line of succession I believe.

Kevin Rincon
‏Verified account @KevRincon (WCBS)

Resigned vs Fired. Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 gives POTUS the ability to temporarily fill a federal post if that person “dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions & duties of the office.” If deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is fired, that’s not the case.
8:16 AM - 24 Sep 2018


There will be 3 accusers by Wednesday, keep an eye on the possible 4th from Maryland.

A third woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct will come forward in the next 48 hours, according to Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film star and alleged President Donald Trump mistress Stormy Daniels.


Just like many historical sexual abuse claims that lie dormant for years, once the first victim raises their head above the parapet - others will be emboldened to follow. Of course there is always more reluctance for a victim to come forward if the perpetrator is well known - eg Bill Cosby.


Here’s some interesting background on the recent New Yorker piece that broke the story on Kavanaugh’s second accuser, Deborah Ramirez. It turns out that her classmates were discussing the incident via email back in July before Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Dr. Ford, even came forward. To me, this adds credibility to Ramirez’s story and is reminiscent of the “rumblings” that preceded the first serious allegations against Cosby – just as there were “early warnings” before Weinstein’s accusers came forward.

The second woman accusing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct — Deborah Ramirez — just went public with her story, but Yale University classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh were corresponding about the alleged incident well before reporters contacted Ramirez, New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer told NBC News on Monday. Mayer said she first saw Yale alumni emails discussing the incident in July. . .

Explosive new sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh brought by Ramirez broke in the New Yorker on Sunday night, but they’ve reportedly been a topic of discussion among Kavanaugh’s Yale University classmates for some time. . .

Mayer said she and Farrow saw emails sent between Yale alums discussing the incident back in July, before Kavanaugh’s first accuser Christine Blasey Ford went public with her accusations of Kavanaugh sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school.

“The story broke overnight, but it dates back 35 years,” Mayer told NBC News’s Savannah Guthrie on Monday morning. “What happened was, the classmates at Yale were talking to each other about it, they were emailing about it. We’ve seen the emails, back in July before Christine Blasey Ford came forward, and eventually word of it spread. It spread to the Senate. It spread to the media. And we [the New Yorker] reached out to her.”

This underscores the point that many women who experience sexual assault or harassment don’t immediately go public with those experiences, for a variety of reasons. Instead, these stories often stay confined to the small group of people who witnessed it or were told about it at the time.


Yes, that email chain would be interesting to read. And Kavanaugh’s former roommate, James Roche does agree in full with Debbie Ramirez…Here’s his letter describing Kavanaugh’s behavior in general in college.

Full statement from Roche:

"I was Brett Kavnanaugh’s roommate at Yale University in the Fall of 1983. We shared a two-bedroom unit in the basement of Lawrence Hall on the Old Campus. Despite our living conditions, Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year. We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends.

"It is from this experience that I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk. I did not observe the specific incident in question, but I do remember Brett frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk.

"I became close friends with Debbie Ramirez shortly after we both arrived at Yale. She stood out as being exceptionally honest, with a trusting manner. As we got to know one another, I discovered that Debbie was very worried about fitting in. She felt that everyone at Yale was very rich, very smart and very sophisticated and that as a Puerto Rican woman from a less privileged background she was an outsider. Her response was to try hard to make friends and get along.

"Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up. Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described.

"I do not consider myself to be a political person and I have no political agenda. I have shared this information with a small number of reporters who reached out to me directly because Debbie has a right to be heard and I believe her.

I have been asked for more details and additional stories, but this is all that I am comfortable sharing. If I could contribute more first-hand information, I would, but I will not be granting any more interview or answering any more questions at this time.”

Brett Kavanaugh’s freshman-year roommate at Yale, James Roche, said in a statement Monday that, despite not observing the incident described by Debbie Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while at college, he does remember that “Brett was a notably heavy drinker” and that he “became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk.”

Key quote: “Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unsually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up. Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described.”

Why it matters: Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied both Ramirez’s and Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual misconduct. In a Fox News interview on Monday, he also defended his character and behavior in both high school and at Yale, stating that he was focused on academics, athletics and church.


More character analysis of the SCOTUS nominee. Facts vs. Fantasy


NEW: Yale classmates say Brett Kavanaugh untruthful about drinking, say he was a “sloppy” drunk—once wore a superhero cape, grabbed his crotch and sang “I’m a geek, I’m a geek, I’m a power tool…” Says one: "You can’t lie your way onto the Supreme Court.”

On Monday night, Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh said in a nationally televised interview that in his younger years, he was focused on sports, academics and “service projects.” But it was his comments about drinking that rankled some Yale University classmates, prompting them to speak out for the first time.

Liz Swisher, who described herself as a friend of Kavanaugh in college, said she was shocked that — in an interview focused largely on his high school years and allegations of sexual misconduct — he strongly denied drinking to the point of blacking out.

Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him. I watched him drink more than a lot of people. He’d end up slurring his words, stumbling,” said Swisher, a Democrat and chief of the gynecologic oncology division at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “There’s no medical way I can say that he was blacked out. . . . But it’s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess.”

Lynne Brookes, who like Swisher was a college roommate of one of the two women now accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct, said the nominee’s comments on Fox did not match the classmate she remembered.

He’s trying to paint himself as some kind of choir boy,” said Brookes, a Republican and former pharmaceutical executive who recalled an encounter with a drunken Kavanaugh at a fraternity event. “You can’t lie your way onto the Supreme Court, and with that statement out, he’s gone too far. It’s about the integrity of that institution.”

Kavanaugh’s credibility will be tested this week as the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hear sworn testimony from him and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who alleges that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers decades ago and he was, in her words, “stumbling drunk.” As Thursday’s hearing approached, three Yale Law School classmates who had endorsed Kavanaugh called for an investigation into her claims and those of the other woman, and Yale Law professor Akhil Amar — who taught Kavanaugh and testified on his behalf before the committee — called for a probe into what he described as “serious accusations.”


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Even I’m confused… Is it really four different people accusing Kavanaugh or three, plus one mystery Avenatti client that has “evidence” to corroborate Ford’s allegation?