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What the Conservatives are saying - the T faithful, the Quiet Bulwarks, and Rogues - Amash, Conway

curated-threads

#1

I like checking out the various points-of-view. We are all entrenched in our own bias, however thoughtful, but it might be useful to check what the ‘other’ camps are saying.

Thanks @Turingtest for opening up some windows on those sources (and not the INFOWARS/Fox News kind) but the Bulwark “very polite and calm” area for conservative journalists to write about issues (Bill Kristol - nyt).

We’ve seen that George Conway III has ignited a tweet storm to combat what seems to most of an unhinged, spurious, deceitful, petty and insane president. Now Rep Amash is giving up some Republican beachhead, but coming out for more impeachment investigations. I hardily agree with these guys as they have their “come to Jesus” moment so-to-speak.

We may never see the R’s give up any ground, and the Dems/Independents are facing a mighty fight for their implacable stances…they hold the ultimate power for impeachment, but they could make a majority of Americans mad enough that they lose their seats (wishful thinking.) But so much is at stake here…the future of our Democracy…it would be great if we could rise out of this quagmire T has ditched us in.

I looked on The Bulwark tonight and yes, they agree that T should be afraid of how Mueller presented his facts today…and it was not ‘case closed.’ (you know T’s tweet - no need to bother repeating it here)

  1. Mueller made clear that, contra William Barr’s early assertions, his office relied heavily on Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.

The very first summary we got of the Mueller report was back in March, when attorney general William Barr sent a letter to Congress offering a brief synopsis of the report’s central findings. In that report, Barr made three assertions: First, that Mueller had not uncovered sufficient evidence to charge the Trump campaign with complicity in Russian efforts to meddling in the 2016 election; second, that Mueller had declined to offer a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” about whether the president had criminally obstructed the investigation; third, that he, Barr, had then made that decision for Mueller and concluded that the evidence did not establish that the president had committed obstruction.

In explaining that decision, Barr made this crucial claim: “Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.”

At a press conference on the day of the report’s release, he added the following: “Although the deputy attorney general and I disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision. Instead, we accepted the special counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the special counsel in reaching our conclusion.”

The subsequent release of the report cast Barr’s gloss into serious doubt, doubt that Mueller’s statement confirmed as justified. Simply put, it cannot possibly be true both that Barr “accepted the special counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis” and that his determination not to charge Trump with obstruction was made “without regard to … the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and prosecution of a sitting president.” In his statement, Mueller took great pains to explain that his office had relied heavily on the constitutional considerations in question.

In the days following the April release of the redacted Mueller report, the attorney general was frequently accused of behaving as a Trump partisan, in part for the reasons listed above. Some Democrats, like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, insisted for weeks that Barr could not be trusted with those redactions, and have used every procedural tool to extract the complete text of the report from the Department of Justice, subpoenaing the full report and eventually voting in committee to hold Barr in contempt. A New York Times editorial last month put the case thus:

The Trump administration—based on its pattern of dishonest conduct in office—simply cannot be trusted to be straight with the nation about what parts of the report need to remain concealed from public view… Nor can the public depend on the word of Mr. Trump’s handpicked attorney general, who has a long history of trying to muffle Republican scandals and whose view of executive branch authority is alarmingly broad.

These worries were seemingly amplified when it was later reported that Mueller had been frustrated with Barr’s handling of the report’s rollout.

But while Mueller contradicted some of Barr’s narratives in his Wednesday statement, he also took pains to say those particular concerns had been overblown. “At one point in time I requested that certain portions of the report be released; the attorney general preferred to make the entire report public all at once,” he said. “We appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public, and I certainly do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision.”

  1. Mueller punctured a ubiquitous Trumpworld talking point about his report: That the very idea that Trump could have obstructed justice was laughable, since he had not committed the underlying crime of conspiracy.

This is one we’ve heard constantly from Trump and his allies: That all along the investigation was just a partisan witch hunt, a fishing expedition, so how could you blame the president for taking deliberate steps to bring it to an end? In his own aforementioned press conference, Barr made this argument fairly explicitly:

In assessing the president’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context… As he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.

But in his remarks Wednesday, Mueller reminded the country that there was underlying criminal activity that he had been appointed to investigate: The Russian government’s deliberate efforts to subvert American democracy by meddling in the election. Such efforts “needed to be investigated and understood,” Mueller said, “and that is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office.”

Crucially, Mueller argued that the obstruction investigation was specifically necessary because of how important the investigation into Russian meddling had been. “The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation, or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.”

The work the special counsel was doing, in other words, was important to the health of the nation. The fact that Trump didn’t like it did not outweigh this fact.


#2

Here’s Rep Justin Amash banging his own drum…he does not like what he sees. Is he going to continue to be squashed or is going to get some traction?

Then there is the Trump realpolitik: Nearly the entire incentive structure of Republican politics now pushes elected officials towards acquiescence. If you want to be relevant or have influence . . . or matter at all in conservative politics these days, you have to go along.

Once the bargain has been struck, there is no going back. After a while what was grudging becomes habit and morphs into a culture. So, Republicans have gone from biting their tongues to full-throated MAGA cheerleading. But Amash:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Rep. Justin Amash is a lonely man in Congress, the sole Republican to back Donald Trump’s removal from office. But back home on Tuesday night, the Michigan lawmaker got the red-carpet treatment in his first face-to-face encounter with voters since his call for impeachment.

During a packed town hall in Grand Rapids, attendees in the mostly-friendly audience gave Amash several standing ovations and heaps of praise for his solo rebellion against Trump.

“I don’t agree with many of your stances, but I applaud your courage and your morality that seems to be lacking in [Washington]. So thank you,” said one woman in the crowd, drawing cheers from the audience.

Does this matter? He’s just a lone voice. But maybe it does, because it creates a counter-narrative: there is political life after independence.

Meanwhile, Amash is drawing attention for making a stronger case for impeachment than the Democrats. If you haven’t read yesterday’s tweet storm, it’s well worth your time.

And just gets better. Read the whole thing.


#3

#4

High crimes and misdemeanors can make for strange bedfellows… .


#5

And snarky… .


#6

T reveals that he’s very aware Russia helped him…and it has not gone unnoticed…even from the Right and the media.:boom:


#7

Made duplicate…!!!


#8

William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense and R Senator tries to encourage other R’s to take on the Impeachment process.

Impeachment is an extraordinary political remedy under the Constitution. The democratic process by which we elect a president is defined by passion and partisanship, but any effort to remove that leader is likely to be unsuccessful if it is similarly motivated. As an English lord chancellor once wrote, “The power of impeachment ought to be, like Goliath’s sword, kept in the temple, and not used but on great occasions.”
All who are elected or appointed to high office are fiduciaries of the public trust. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo once described the standard of a fiduciary’s conduct to be “something stricter than the morals of the marketplace. Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive.”

With the exception thus far of Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Republicans have taken the position that Mueller’s redacted report has resolved all issues of alleged presidential collusion with the Russians and obstruction of justice. Case closed.


#9

"

There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere," Boehner, a Republican himself, said.


#10

#11

Citing this piece from Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare which was linked on The Bulwark…asking Dems not to violate norms by wanting to indict the sitting President or prosecute him. It is an interesting point since many of us want to throw the book at him…but how to do that.

Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi have suggested he needs to be in jail and prosecuted…(which I agree with…)

But which is the best way to get him out…

Get him impeached - but only achieving that halfway, since the Senate will never vote for it.

Get the Impeachment investigation going so Dems have more muscle to get docs that they need and can subpoena with more ease and can expose more wrong doing?

Or just plain make look like such a fool - embarrass him, expose his weaknesses and hopefully make it impossible for him to win another term.

She refrained from chanting, “Lock Him Up!”—for which I suppose we should be grateful.

Harris is not the only prominent Democrat to have dipped her toes in these dangerous waters. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reportedly said recently that she didn’t want to see Trump impeached, she wanted to see him jailed. We can expect others to weigh in over the coming weeks as well.

Paul Rosenzweig is fond of saying that you don’t protect norms by violating norms. And with the president so flagrantly and consistently abusing basic expectations regarding the non-politicization of law enforcement, it is tempting to be tolerant when Democrats—or Republicans, for that matter—return the favor in some small measure. But declaring someone guilty of crimes, as Pelosi reportedly did, and saying that as president you would supervise that person’s prosecution, as Harris did, is poisonous stuff in a democracy that cares about apolitical law enforcement. It’s poisonous to a society that believes in a presumption of innocence. It’s poisonous to a society that believes in limiting the relationship between political actors—including the president—and the deployment of the coercive powers of the state against individuals. A presidential candidate’s promising a law enforcement outcome against an individual should be unacceptable—even to those who fervently wish to see Trump in the defendant’s chair in federal court.


#12

Conservative radio host Michael Savage of “Savage Nation” radio show was once a favorite of T’s but now he is an outlier. Savage is interviewed about the way T has been handling his job and how he hasn’t fulfilled his campaign promises - ie wall, immigrants etc.

Some interesting comments from those Conservative Media people who have broken with T - Ann Coulter who unto herself is a large bag of ugly words, but the fall out from some circles is happening…

Note: Brett Baier was condemned this am…by T T condemns Fox and Baier re: Polls 6.18.19

In January 2011, four and a half years before Donald Trump glided down the escalator at Trump Tower and began a campaign for the White House that few conservatives were taking seriously, Michael Savage invited him on the radio and declared that he had found a president. It was their first interview.

Mr. Savage isn’t as well known or as widely listened to as heavyweight conservative talk show hosts like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. But his early backing of Mr. Trump helped the candidate build a bridge to the millions of people in his “Savage Nation” audience who identify with the host’s nationalist beliefs, a worldview he sums up in his unofficial motto: “Borders, language, culture.”

Now Mr. Savage is an outlier once again, dismayed more each day as the budget deficit continues to swell, thousands of new migrants are apprehended at the border, and the wall Mr. Trump promised to erect and make Mexico pay for remains unbuilt.

Read my lips: no new immigrants,” Mr. Savage said one recent day, taking a swipe at what he says is just one of the president’s major unfulfilled promises.

Still, in the world of conservative media, where questioning the president’s greatness can be an apostasy that tanks ratings and ends careers, Mr. Savage is taking a major risk. His views aren’t widely shared among conservatives, though they do represent a small crack in the foundation of Trump loyalists who are not buying the president’s “Promises made, promises kept” motto.

Mr. Savage, 77, was surprised there wasn’t more second-guessing that day. “I don’t think they care very much about issues,” he said of his listeners, with a hint of disappointment. “They’ll vote for him no matter what because he’s not ‘them.’ I think it’s come down to ‘them’ or ‘us.’”

Mr. Trump once said his political base was so rock solid that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters.” He may have had a point. While public polling has consistently shown that the majority of Americans disapprove of how he handles his job, the percentage of Americans who think he is doing a good job has been relatively stable — though still a minority.

Mr. Savage, a former member at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, embodies the contradictions of much of the president’s base. He insists “I’m no Benedict Arnold,” and will still vote for Mr. Trump in 2020 despite his misgivings because there is no Democratic candidate he could imagine supporting.

But he has no plans to pull his punches when it comes to the president. Mr. Savage believes his words have already cost him access to Mr. Trump, whom he has not spoken to since the White House Hanukkah party in December.

They keep pushing me away because they don’t like what in their mind is not 100 percent sycophantic behavior,” he said.

His bridges to the Trump White House are not as scorched as those of Ann Coulter, who has accused the president of lying about his pursuit of funding for the border wall and attacked him as “a shallow, narcissistic con man.” But Ms. Coulter said she believed there were far more people like her and Mr. Savage who are dismayed. They are just less willing to speak up.

A lot of wingers are desperately hanging on to Trump as flotsam in a tsunami,” Ms. Coulter said in an interview. “So loads of Trumpsters are beside themselves — but almost none of them will say so publicly. I think the issue is: How many voters, who voted for Obama, or didn’t vote, and then came out to vote for Trump, are done with him?”


#13

From tonight’s rally in Florida…“The T faithful”


#14

Here’s an ‘opinion’ piece out today in The Hill by Conservative writer John Solomon, formerly of The Washington Times (Wiki info J Solomon background)
with the notion that the FBI came up with shoddy evidence to start the Russia Investigation - see Steele Dossier and the black cash ledger from Ukraine (stating large amounts sent to Manafort for his Ukrainian work) that was never verified by outside sources.

It is an attempt to muddy the waters, and place doubt on the FBI’s efforts and clearly debunk any of the Russian Investigation

When the final chapter of the Russia collusion caper is written, it is likely two seminal documents the FBI used to justify investigating Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign will turn out to be bunk.

And the behavior of FBI agents and federal prosecutors who promoted that faulty evidence may disturb us more than we now know.

The first, the Christopher Steele dossier, has received enormous attention. And the more scrutiny it receives, the more its truthfulness wanes. Its credibility has declined so much that many now openly question how the FBI used it to support a surveillance warrant against the Trump campaign in October 2016.

At its best, the Steele dossier is an “unverified and salacious” political research memo funded by Trump’s Democratic rivals. At worst, it may be Russian disinformation worthy of the “garbage” label given it by esteemed reporter Bob Woodward.

The second document, known as the “black cash ledger,” remarkably has escaped the same scrutiny, even though its emergence in Ukraine in the summer of 2016 forced Paul Manafort to resign as Trump campaign chairman and eventually face U.S. indictment.

In search warrant affidavits, the FBI portrayed the ledger as one reason it resurrected a criminal case against Manafort that was dropped in 2014 and needed search warrants in 2017 for bank records to prove he worked for the Russian-backed Party of Regions in Ukraine.

There’s just one problem: The FBI’s public reliance on the ledger came months after the feds were warned repeatedly that the document couldn’t be trusted and likely was a fake, according to documents and more than a dozen interviews with knowledgeable sources.

For example, Ukraine’s top anti-corruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytskyy, told me he warned the U.S. State Department’s law enforcement liaison and multiple FBI agents in late summer 2016 that Ukrainian authorities who recovered the ledger believed it likely was a fraud.

It was not to be considered a document of Manafort. It was not authenticated. And at that time it should not be used in any way to bring accusations against anybody,” Kholodnytskyy said, recalling what he told FBI agents.


The Steele Dossier Considered Post-Mueller
#15

Solomon is an imbecile. Talk about shoddy…

First, the idea that the Steele “Dossier” was the prime mover in
“the oranges” of the investigation is Trump dogma, but it is simply false. Second, if Solomon has a problem with the black ledger payments, he should talk to Trump, who fired him over it. (Fired him, but interestingly, didn’t banish him from the campaign–in the transition phase, Manafort was merrily working to sell access to Trump.)

And there’s the “unverified and salacious” hobby horse again. Believe me, if it turned out that none of it was true EXCEPT the salacious parts, I would be (almost) ready to kiss and make up with the POTUS.


#16

Read Marcy Wheeler’s rebuttal all of John Solomon’s remarks in this above Opinion piece. It is layered with details, sources and says straight up…"The key claim behind Solomon’s breathless propaganda is bullshit."

Marcy Wheeler has been a great analyzer of the layers of arguments and sources it to the actual proven facts. She is a great derailer of what’s absolutely false. She has appeared many times on MSNBC and like Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare, she knows her facts. She also testifed in front of Mueller about some evidence she knew about in the Russian Investigation.

It’s nice to see that she can slice and dice through the above BS.

Konstantin Kilimnik Shared Stolen Data Laundered Through Bannon’s Propaganda with State Department

June 20, 2019/7 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel

John Solomon is feeding the frothy right with faux scandals based off dubious propaganda again.

What John Solomon’s document really shows

“Konstantin Kilimnik Shared Stolen Data Laundered Through Bannon’s Propaganda with State Department.”

That’s what the title of an article based off a document propagandist John Solomon turned into the latest frothy right shiny object. After all, the fragment of the email exchange between Kilimnik and a guy at State named Eric Schultz that Solomon includes ends with Kilimnik attributing the narrative that Trump is dangerously close to Russia to Hillary solely because Ken Vogel, who wrote an article critical of Manafort, once shared an article critical of Hillary with her team before publishing it. He cites a Breitbart story that, the same day the DNC emails stolen by Russia were released, focused on Vogel.

more summation

So this fits the John Solomon propaganda laundry pattern:

  1. Sources that may have access to Manafort’s discovery dump documents to Solomon
  2. Solomon writes a logically ridiculous story, in this case hiding part of a document that might show more of how Kilimnik himself was laundering documents stolen by Russia and magnified by Steve Bannon into the State Department
  3. According to an update to Solomon’s story, Mark Meadows, “is asking the Justice Department inspector general to investigate the FBI and prosecutors’ handling of the Manafort warrants, including any media leaks and evidence that the government knew the black ledger was potentially unreliable or suspect evidence”
  4. The frothy right goes nuts (and Don Jr. goes even more nuts) (Update: Matt Gaetz just entered this into the record)

Solomon’s illogical misreading

Now that we’ve established that this is yet another instance of Trump supporters using Solomon as a tool to launder illogical propaganda to fire up the frothy right, let’s look at how he misreads the evidence.

The FBI did not claim that the ledger served as an important reason behind the “resurrection” of the investigation into Manafort

Logically, all the documents Solomon have been leaked only matter if it is true that the ledger was a key reason why the investigation into Manafort remained ongoing in 2017.

But neither of the warrants show that.

Manafort has pled guilty to the two key details included in this passage in the affidavit: that he was lobbying for the Party of Regions as early as 2006, and that he was trying to hide that relationship (see ¶¶4, 6, and 7 for those admissions). So the assertion in question — that Manafort was lobbying for Akhmetov in 2006 and got paid for it in 2007 — was not faulty. Moreover, the AP story in question specifically said that it hard confirmed those two payments, which would seem to raise questions about 2016 claims that the ledger was totally unreliable.

So to sum up:

  • The May 2017 warrant Solomon doesn’t mention but which was incorporated by reference and attachment into the July one describes the FBI still investigating the ledger
  • The July 2017 warrant doesn’t rely on either the ledger or the story about it as proof; rather, the story about it (but not the ledger) is described as background that explains why Manafort continued to lie about his ties to Ukraine
  • What the FBI used the ledger for in October 2017 not only had been corroborated after the 2016 evidence claiming the ledger was totally bunk, but Manafort has since pled guilty to the substance it addresses

The key claim behind Solomon’s breathless propaganda is bullshit.


#17

“So at a time when Kilimnik had recently been trading Ukraine for Michigan… .”

Hahaha.


#18

If you lack a soul, you can’t have a spiritual advisor–those are the rules. Cheer-leaders are under some circumstances permissible.


#19

This review of the differences in the party outlooks has to do with the very tribal nature of ‘other,’ or ‘not us.’ When’s R’s talk about 'pearl clutching, or ‘Limousine Liberal’ it is a posture that they , R’s can not stand…and D’s do the same…so it can be seen as a tit-for-tat dilemma.

According to the Democratic caricature, most Republicans stridently oppose immigration, hold deeply prejudiced views about religious minorities, and are blind to the existence of racism or sexism. Asked to guess what share of Republicans believe that immigration can strengthen America so long as it is “properly controlled,” for example, Democrats estimated about half; actually, nearly nine in 10 agreed with this sentiment.

Democrats also estimated that four in 10 Republicans believe that “many Muslims are good Americans,” and that only half recognize that “racism still exists in America.” In reality, those figures were two-thirds and four in five.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans are also prone to caricature Democrats. For example, Republicans approximated that only about half of Democrats are “proud to be American” despite the country’s problems. Actually, more than four in five Democrats said they are. Similarly, Republicans guessed that fewer than four in 10 Democrats reject the idea of open borders. Actually, seven in 10 said they do.

If the reasons for mutual hatred are rooted as much in mutual misunderstanding as in genuine differences of values, that suggests Americans’ divisions should in principle be easy to remedy. It’s all just a matter of education.

Unfortunately, the “Perception Gap” study suggests that neither the media nor the universities are likely to remedy Americans’ inability to hear one another: It found that the best educated and most politically interested Americans are more likely to vilify their political adversaries than their less educated, less tuned-in peers.


Mentionable News
#20

Honestly…language is important. Idiot-proofing your communications seems to be important too. Jason Miller calls Rep Nadler a “Fat F*&k…”

Jason Miller, a former top campaign aide and close adviser to Donald Trump, has left his job as a managing director at Teneo, a prominent consulting firm, days after launching a profanity-laced tirade directed at a top House Democrat.

“I have parted ways with Teneo by mutual consent and look forward to formally announcing my next move in the coming weeks,” Miller said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Teneo is an incredible firm and without a doubt the premier CEO consultancy on the planet. They have always been great to me and I’m proud to have called them teammates for the past two and a half years.”