1/ The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to approve William Barr's nomination to become attorney general and succeed Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. All 12 Republicans on the panel voted for Barr, while all 10 Democrats voted against him. Democrats cited an unsolicited memo Barr wrote last year to Rod Rosenstein objecting to the obstruction of justice aspect of the Mueller probe was "fatally misconceived" and that "Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction." Barr also argued that Trump firing James Comey, and before that asking Comey to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn were within his powers as head of the executive branch. A final vote on Barr's nomination in the full Senate is expected next week. (ABC News / CNN / Reuters / NPR)
Yes, T should be nervous…and it also enforces the notion that there is a real consciousness of guilt. Rep Adam Schiff is a real force to be contended with, and as mentioned before, others have said he’s the best legal interrogator and mind in the Congress. Go Schiff.
The Notables today are especially noteworthy. I find the new rules easing oversight of weapon exports to be very troubling. Would have missed this if not for the links here. Same applies to the easing of Pay Day loan rules.
@matt Thanks for these links – and for the pointers to relevant past WTFJHT posts ( ).
This is one of the best analyses to date on Melania’s friend’s involvement in the finances of Trump’s Inaugural Committee that is now coming under close scrutiny by federal prosecutors.
…According to bank statements, checks, and internal documents that I’ve reviewed, the $26 million in payment to [Stephanie Winston Wolkoff] was largely distributed to third-party vendors and labor. Nearly $24 million was paid for projects related to the work of a subcontractor, Inaugural Productions, an independent organization affiliated with television producer Mark Burnett, which was responsible for staging several events. Around $1.6 million was used to compensate 15 contract workers who worked with Wolkoff as staffers. Wolkoff herself received $500,000 for her work on the inauguration. She had submitted audited records to the inauguration committee in March 2017, a month after she signed a gratuitous-services contract to work as an unpaid strategist and senior adviser to the First Lady. …
By the time Cohen and Wolkoff spoke last summer, she had returned to her life in New York. He would soon plead guilty to eight counts in a federal courthouse downtown. But Cohen let Wolkoff know that, among other documents and recordings, the F.B.I. had seized hours of their own conversations that he had taped. According to people familiar with the recordings, some of the taped conversations dealt directly with the inauguration. In them, Wolkoff detailed her own contemporaneous concerns with the inauguration—about how money was being spent, the general chaos of the process, and the involvement of Trump’s adult children. During these conversations, Wolkoff also raised her issues with the two men in charge of the committee: Gates and Barrack. …
Wolkoff also questioned Gates and Barrack about pricing and budgets across the board, according to the people familiar with the conversations. She started to grow concerned about being left out of meetings, particularly as she raised more red flags. Because part of her responsibilities included reviewing all budgets from her vendors and presenting them to other members of the inaugural committee, she studied the line items in order to be able to explain them. At points, she could not justify the numbers coming in. After circulation of a quote from one of their largest event-production vendors, Hargrove LLC, Wolkoff was shocked that no one in the organization appeared willing to question the figures. She suggested that the quote seemed far beyond what the Obama inaugural committee would have been charged in 2009. She sent an e-mail to her team and Barrack on December 31, 2016. “I am DISGUSTED by [Hargrove’s] lack of transparency and entitlement to [the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s] funding,” she wrote. “I can not approve any budget line items because I do not have a clue what these numbers represent!!” (Hargrove did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) …
I’m sure prosecutors are especially interested in nailing down how the $24 million was managed by the company affiliated with Mark Burnett, Trump’s close friend and producer of “The Apprentice.” This USA article from October, 2016, may be relevant to their investigations:
As the clamor grows louder for the release of potentially embarrassing tapes from Donald Trump’s years on The Apprentice, the show’s producer and owner are digging in their heels, declaring the archives are contractually confidential and they intend to keep it that way.
Mark Burnett, the reality-show maestro who invented the TV series that made Trump a reality star, issued a statement late Wednesday — his second on the topic — because, he said, of “continued false reporting” about whether there are recordings of Trump that could further upend his GOP presidential campaign and whether Burnett will release them.
And now, Thursday evening, Whitaker has caved. He says he’ll appear to testify tomorrow even without an assurance that a subpoena is off the table. This is just a plain and simple surrender. He would not have had to give in if he hadn’t thrown down the gauntlet in the first place. On top of all his other shortcomings, it looks like he’s a lousy strategist.
Now we’ll see tomorrow if he tries to erroneously claim “executive privilege” or “ongoing investigation.” If he does, here’s hoping that the committee’s response is swift and unyielding.
Bezos calling out AMI for extortion and blackmail is a story with legs. (For details, see @dragonfly9’s post from earlier today). Now Ronan Farrow has come forward with similar allegations. Here’s hoping this will encourage other victims of AMI’s strong arm tactics to come forward as well.
Tonight Rachel Maddow spun out an amazing segment on the Bezos/AMI scandal. I would rate this a “must see”:
But wait … there’s more! Earlier today @dragonfly9 also posted this news: In 2017, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he would use “a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi, a year before the reporter was brutally assassinated. Who knew when these two stories were released this afternoon, they would collide just a few hours later? Maddow lays out the connection between them:
For background on the bizarre “Magic Kingdom” special issue published by AMI that Maddow refers to, see this post and this from the Daily Beast:
And there’s this. Tonight a panel on Lawrence O’Donnell’s Last Word discussed AMI’s attempts to secure financing from the Saudis: (starting at 13:00)
How Pecker leveraged his relationship with Trump while pursuing Saudi financing is detailed in this NYT article from last March:
Since my first impressions of the narcissistic egocentric and either so obtuse he developed a deepseated phobia of anyone that didn’t fit his whitewashed world or is even worse a true rascist. He has done nothing but instill fear in his mesmerized base ignored the real internal and external security threats and wants to protect us from some new caravan with faster cars- is he truly dwlusional who is paying for these supposedly faster stronger are they bullet prrof as well and the vans filled with duct taped woman being smuggled to be prostitutes slaves or who knows what .Every top intelligence agency haa reported the major threats to america and guess which country is not on a single one - mexico ; at this point in my life i can’t get too wrapped up in stickinh with the democrats in every aspect i feel they have done some spiteful stonewalling at times largely due to being stonewalled themselves during the end of obamas second term he had. Wvery rite to nominate a supreme court justice i truly believe the Democrats in their original ideology had the best interest of the country as a whole qhike the republicans cater largely to the top income brackets and push trickle down theory whats good for big business is good for all guess what that has to be one of the biggest sham of mod ew en society they may as well be selling snake oil on street corners marketing it as the cure for all ills they have no interest in healthcare for all utilizing semantics to feign concern all americans should have access to it wtf does that even mean of course it exists there is access but who on earth can afford it .as a single moyher the minimum insurance my employers holiday inn offer which covers nothing has an insane 6000 deductible per person so for my son and myself nearly half of evwry check i receive would give us nothing healthcare .gov offered me 14 choices atleast half the listed drs didnt partipate in the program i for one do not believe it was obamas intent to worsen the problem astronimical unchecked pricing for insurance medications etc .no other country in the western world has failed their citizens to this extent universal healthcare does work and quite well in many countries taxation is more fair in so many western suropean countries if we didnt spend so much money on fighter planes like the f35 that dont work have cost the country trillions cant fly have a strong potential to blow up and have perhaps the worst computer glitches which remain unsolved yet trump apparently believes they are the answer to it all is he for real i often swear the man has dementia on top of his corporate psychopathy . The man gives legitimacy to white supremacists cannot work with congress the justice system or even his own first advocate he lacks a moral compass and as much as people may have disliked hillary that was no reason to vote for a womanizing uninformed unintelligent man with grandiose delusions no matter how you look at it he is self serving and shows clear signs of sociopathy .one doesnt have to pull a lizzie borden to be a psychopath stepping on others to reach the top putting oneself above the law manipulating playing on the fears of the downtrodden ripping off investors not paying subcontractors blatant admiration for dictators alienating any real ally we had preaching nationalism rather than patriotism we have seen this before and not simply in dystopian novels .the American dream needs cpr and our commander in chief probably wouldnt know cpr from the heimlich maneuver what in gods name if there is one is going on divisive tactics preaching hatred and fear remniscient of many historical figures the end results were never positive ones. Jerrymandering , the electoral college, and voter suppression need to stop .this man is so far out of touch with the majority of americans has no concept of the difference between a need or a want and needs never to hold any govt office again .i apologize i was all over map but there is just so much broken in our system and all the presdent aeems to do is drive the qedge deeper
Whitaker hearing begins this am…already a lot of fireworks.
Was there to be a subpoena or not? But the R’s are cushioning him, and blaming the D’s to have some kind of ‘fireworks,’ around looking into Whitaker. Rep Doug Collins is our new Rep Gowdy…same kind of sarcastic jabbing.