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📝 Must Read Op-Ed and Profiles

Tonight Rachel Maddow dove into an absolutely fascinating account of Nixon’s “Enemies List” followed by some sobering “then-and-now-comparisons.” Listening to the tapes is chilling! This is more entertaining than an episode of “Law & Order” – really! When you watch this, like Comey, you’ll be thinking, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”

(You’ll need to watch a brief ad before the segment, but, hey, Rachel’s got to keep the lights on.)


This is the most credible “forward looking timeline” of I’ve come across. Some astute predictions here, but really, who knows what surprises lie ahead?

Regarding Paul Manafort’s fate, Cunningham concurs with many other legal analysts:

Paul Manafort will plead guilty in the coming weeks. The two indictments against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, relating to his work for Ukrainian backers and his efforts to evade federal registration and to pay taxes on the proceeds of his work, are exceptionally strong. His junior partner in crime (and Trump’s deputy campaign manager) Rick Gates has already pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. And just last week, Manafort’s former son-in-law (and former business partner), Jeffrey Yohai, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. There is little question, in prosecutors’ circles, that Manafort faces certain conviction and a long prison term.

Manafort at the moment is exercising his own Hail Mary defense: claiming that Mueller has exceeded his authority in charging him. That claim was roundly dismissed last week in the D.C. court, and in all likelihood the Alexandria court will follow suit. Rosenstein’s charge to Mueller to investigate allegations that Manafort “[c]ommitted a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government” could not be more clear.

Once his Hail Mary motions fail, Manafort (and Mueller) will have every incentive to quickly reach a resolution. Manafort, who is 69, does not want to spend the rest of his years in prison.


Thank you, NYT, for publishing this in-depth flow-chart of the possible paths the investigation could take – very informative – this covered many crucial “forks-in-the-road” that I didn’t even realize existed. Awesome reporting.


@Keaton_James That’s so funny, I had just finished reading that piece too. Lol. Best explainer yet. :nerd_face:


We really do not have a full picture of what Wray, Rosenstein and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (with whom Rosenstein and Wray almost certainly consulted) are up to. They may wind up providing nothing more than what is available currently in the media.

What is clear is that Republican members of Congress are “utterly supine in the face of the moral vandalism that flows from the White House daily,” as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) aptly put it in a commencement address at Harvard Law School on Wednesday.


For the Memorial Day weekend, have a glass of wine, a few beers or whatever before you tackle this one, you won’t finish feeling like carrying a flag on Memorial Day at the end. Frum nails it however.


Gail Collins discusses “who is worst?” In this NYT opinion piece…Scott Pruit OR Betsy DeVos? Ranking the worst is now commonplace. This is not normal. Sigh.

NYTimes: Who’s the Worst for the Holidays?

They will consider it a badge of honor.

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Don’t let anyone try to tell you this investigation is “dragging on” – it’s just revving up. Compare Watergate at the top of the list with Russia at the bottom.

For me, it’s tough to remain patient, but my folks taught me “measure twice and saw once.” Mueller has got to get this letter perfect before going public with indictments against the top players. We don’t want these traitors to walk free on a technicality.


As the White House often says, “the tweets speak for themselves.”

Donald Trump’s statement to the nation on Memorial Day, 2018:

Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!

Barack Obama’s:

We can never truly repay the debt we owe our fallen heroes. But we can remember them, honor their sacrifice, and affirm in our own lives those enduring ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity for which generations of Americans have given that last full measure of devotion.



The American information marketplace is being corrupted by many other foreign nations, including China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. For the Middle East combatants, the United States is becoming the new Lebanon — the place where other nations go to fight their dirty proxy wars.

This assault on America is abetted by Mr. “Fake News” himself, President Trump. Since his success nearly a decade ago in fostering the canard that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, Trump has been spreading deceptive allegations and outright lies as a political tactic — all while falsely accusing his adversaries of making things up.

The scary thing is that this fog of lies is working — for the Russians, the Arab info-warriors and Trump. And it is encouraging a growing use of covert manipulation by other nations (and private parties) to shape opinion. The public, understandably, is getting dizzy in this information storm and is not sure what (if anything) can be believed.

This degradation of the information marketplace should terrify everyone, but especially journalists who depend on its coherence and credibility. For us, policing the information space starts with understanding how it is abused.


T setting up one of his defense strategies via pardons. He short circuits the legal system, and a doctrine of fairness which has been more or less adhered to by the Presidents who have a bit more integrity (exceptions of course - Nixon wanted to pardon Haldeman/Erlichman, Ford pardoned Nixon, and Clinton pardoned Marc Rich) As Ruth Marcus points out, those who were charged with crimes should pay with their time, and given some short period - 5 years to atone. Then a pardon might be considered.

WIth T - it is capricious and vindictive instincts (aimed at Comey, Fitzgerald - lawyers who proscecuted Martha Stewart and Blagojevich.) And also very much aimed at a ‘get out of jail’ card notice to Manafort, Cohen and Stone.

If, as is often said, a president’s budget proposal presents a glimpse of his heart, a president’s use of his pardon power offers a companion, and even more telling, X-ray of his soul.

Writing a budget involves making trade-offs and priorities, but these must be examined and ratified by others, elsewhere. The power to pardon is more uniquely personal, both in that pardons tend to be granted to individuals, based on the circumstances of their particular cases, and in that it is an authority that resides solely within the purview of the president.

Yet there is something particularly wrong, particularly askew, in Trump’s pardoning. Partly it is his sloppy impulsivity, without going through the ordinary process of consideration by the Justice Department or satisfying the usual criteria (a five-year waiting period after serving a sentence; “acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement” for the offense).

But even more it is the disdain in which Trump holds the legal process — a disdain whose public expression in the form of pardons helps reinforce Trump’s case of a criminal-justice system that is rigged, unfair and unworthy of respect. Trump’s pardon of Arpaio for his criminal contempt for disobeying a court order to halt racial profiling underscored the president’s contempt for the judiciary


President Trump Thinks He Is a King


Here’s an excellent, in-depth look at Konstantin Kilimnik who helped Manafort tamper with witnesses and who is tied to Russian intelligence. This article was published back in March when Van der Zwaan’s sentencing documents revealed Kilimnik’s central role in Mueller’s investigation. In the Van der Zwaan filing, Kilimnik is referred to as “Person A” (just as he is in Monday’s Manafort filing). Here’s what Mueller had to say about Person A (Kilimnik) on page 4 of the Van der Zwaan filing:

Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents assisting the Special Counsel’s Office assess that Person A has ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016.

So the FBI says Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence in 2016. There’s no reason to believe that he severed those ties – we can only assume he still has them today. That said, the Kremlin probably knows as much about Manafort’s witness tampering as Mueller does. Strange times.


Interesting that his identity doesn’t seem to have been focused upon by any in the media.

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@SEPTGUY Yes – I actually think it’s amazing that we’re not seeing headlines like “Manafort Accused of Using Russian Agent to Witness Tamper.” I feel that would be an accurate statement considering what Mueller and the FBI have laid out in court documents. Not only are we not seeing these types of headlines, but the reporting only mentions the Russian connection in the middle of the article – whereas I feel it should be in the opening sentence.

I’ll be interested to hear what Rachel Maddow has to say on this. Tonight I’m sure she’ll be focused on the primaries, but maybe she’ll weigh in tomorrow night.

Here’s a summary of Kilimnik’s Russia connections that I posted over on the Day 502 thread.

Clearly, all of T’s non-participation in the G-7 by not signing the treaty, creating Tariff disputes, calling out Trudeau as being hostile is a way to have the US disembark from whatever strategic alliances that have worked for us in the past.

What is clear is that T’s allegiance is to Russia FULL STOP.


President Trump is trying to destroy that alliance.

Is that how he thinks about it? Who knows. It’s impossible to get inside his head and divine his strategic goals, if he even has long-term goals. But put it this way: If a president of the United States were to sketch out a secret, detailed plan to break up the Atlantic alliance, that plan would bear a striking resemblance to Trump’s behavior.

It would involve outward hostility to the leaders of Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Japan. Specifically, it would involve picking fights over artificial issues — not to win big concessions for the United States, but to create conflict for the sake of it.

A secret plan to break up the West would also have the United States looking for new allies to replace the discarded ones. The most obvious would be Russia, the biggest rival within Europe to Germany, France and Britain. And just as Russia does, a United States intent on wrecking the Atlantic alliance would meddle in the domestic politics of other countries to install new governments that also rejected the old alliance.

So Trump isn’t telling the truth about trade, much as he has lied about Barack Obama’s birthplace, his own position on the Iraq War, his inauguration crowd, voter fraud, the murder rate, Mexican immigrants, the Russian investigation, the Stormy Daniels hush money and several hundred other subjects. The tariffs aren’t a case of his identifying a real problem but describing it poorly. He is threatening the Atlantic alliance over a lie.


This article from Foreign Policy makes an interesting comparison between Saddam Hussein and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. What happens if talks fail as they did with Hussein in 1998?

I thought of that episode when U.S. President Donald Trump jubilantly announced that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had ended a nuclear standoff, and the very real possibility of war, with an agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Trump is one full step behind Annan, since he and his team will be returning to Washington without any kind of agreement on access for weapons inspectors. He has not even tested the willingness of this absolute dictator to allow those inspectors to swarm across his territory. And this dictator, unlike Saddam, actually has weapons of mass destruction. Experience tells us that this shotgun romance will end in tears.

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Yup. The Republican Party has totally fallen into the moral black hole that is Trump.

‘This is the new Republican Party’
The final GOP holdouts to Donald Trump whimper into oblivion.

Then there’s what’s happening every day. The party of free trade has gone protectionist. The party of spreading freedom and never negotiating with dictators is now full of praise for chumming it up with Kim Jong Un. The party of fighting deficits has blown a trillion-dollar hole in the budget.

Family values and moralizing have been replaced by porn stars and Twitter tantrums. Trump goes to war with the G-7, and the sum of the Republican reaction is a statement from John McCain and a few comments on Sunday TV from Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

There aren’t committee hearings. There aren’t bills put on the floor. There aren’t votes that force the president’s hand. It’s well into cliché that the only people who speak out against Trump are the ones who’ve already been chased out of reelection and are heading to their cushy cable and lobbying gigs.

They can criticize from the sidelines all they want, but they won’t be around or have any power once January rolls around, and Trump and his allies will fill that space.