WTF Community

What The Fuck Happened Over The Weekend?

Some indications that Kavanaugh’s team was trying to sway one of the college witness to the Ramirez claim.

Kavanaugh should not pressure anyone. But Grassley is saying it is normal to do a search for your witnesses and evidence,

NBC News reached out to Berchem for comment after obtaining a copy of a memo she wrote about the text messages. In a statement to NBC News, Berchem, a partner in the law firm Akin Gump, said: “I understand that President Trump and the U.S. Senate have ordered an FBI investigation into certain allegations of sexual misconduct by the nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I have no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against him. However, I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations. I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate. “

George Hartmann, a spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles > Grassley said that “The texts from Ms. Bercham do not appear relevant or contradictory to Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony. This appears to be another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination with baseless innuendo by Democrats who have already decided to vote no.”

Her texts with Yarasavage shed light on Kavanaugh’s personal contact with friends, including that he obtained a copy of a photograph of a small group of friends from Yale at a 1997 wedding in order to show himself smiling alongside Ramirez ten years after the alleged incident. Kavanaugh was a groomsman and Ramirez a bridesmaid at the wedding.

Berchem hired a lawyer on Sunday to help her get her information into the right hands. She has twice sent her memo to the FBI and has yet to hear a response, according to her lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He flagged two texts in particular


From Crooked Media newsletter


Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, amid credible allegations that he assaulted young women in his youth and ample evidence that he is a rabid partisan who has serially misled the Senate for over a decade. It is ok to pause at the end of this sentence and unleash a primal scream. Then please go to Vote Save America and find a volunteer shift for this weekend, because fuck these people →

Kavanaugh stands to be confirmed by a historically thin margin, with the help of three of the four last undecided senators: Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Yeah, that last guy has a D next to his name.

His fate became fairly clear after all three of them teamed up to end a filibuster of his nomination, over the objection of 48 Democrats and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)—the one Republican who took the allegations, the lies, and the partisanship seriously.

Within hours, all three had announced that they would support his final confirmation vote, which will take place late Saturday afternoon. Collins and Manchin each publicly embraced the right wing theory that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—who testified to being 100 percent certain Kavanaugh assaulted her—might simply be confused about the identity her attacker. Which is the same thing as not believing her.

Flake is retiring, and Manchin has a healthy lead in his bid for re-election against West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. But Collins will be up for reelection in 2020, and her vote is almost certain to draw her a credible Democratic challenger.

Activists have already raised over two million dollars to fund Collins’s opponent—money that would have been returned to donors had Collins decided to vote no—and there are multiple credible Democrats who could plausibly defeat Collins. After Collins announced her support for Kavanaugh, Susan Rice, who served as President Obama’s U.N. Ambassador and national security adviser, and has family roots in Maine, suggested she might challenge Collins.

From Brian: Kavanaugh’s ascent to the Supreme Court is a blow for the worst forces in politics. It is a victory of the patriarchy over equality movements like #MeToo; a victory for the forces of deception and bad faith over virtues like ethics and decency; a victory for the maximalist right wing effort to co-opt democratic institutions and turn them into tools of partisan control as a means to preserve minority rule; and a victory for President Trump in his ongoing effort to corrupt the judiciary and the federal law enforcement apparatus. There’s only one lesson to be taken from this outcome and it is for the masses to mobilize as if their lives and livelihoods depend on it—for many of them, it does.


@rgoodlaw. Ryan Goodman (former Special Counsel)

The Susan Collins standard: if there’s a 49% chance a nominee is an attempted rapist, they should be confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court.

If she’d adopted a reasonable standard, would this have turned out differently?

Did she make up a high standard to mislead Maine voters?

1 Like

Jonathan Swan of Axios predicts that the WH will be on different footing come the mid-terms. Perhaps it is wishful thinking to sense that the Dems will be getting the upper hand in the House and win, (and very possibly so) but right now with all the R’s and T gloating over the SCOTUS win, it is hard to see.

Read on…what may be developing in terms of WH protecting themselves from subpoenas etc.

Some of this falls on Gen Kelly’s shoulder’s to plan for the results of the midterms and pending legal actions. AND I am still wondering was he the NY Times Leaker. Is it KELLY??? IS he any dis-incentivized to really protect and serve his president. I know he’s still employed, but who’s the one that plays both sides…?

1 big thing: Scoop — White House begins prepping for Dem legal storm

Top officials inside the White House have taken their first steps to prepare for an onslaught of investigations if Democrats win the House. According to a source with direct knowledge:

Chief of Staff John Kelly recently formed a small working group to start preparing for the possibility that Democrats will soon sic Congress’ top investigators on Trumpworld.
Senior White House staff have an offsite weekend retreat scheduled for late October. The agenda is expected to include a discussion of investigations under a Democratic-controlled House, according to the source.
To be clear: Team Trump is still trying to prevent a House flip from happening. They’re ramping up political activities leading into the midterm — including a blitz of rallies from the president — to give Republicans their best chance of saving the House.

Why this matters: Polls show Republicans will probably lose the House in November. And Trump’s team, including the understaffed White House Counsel’s Office, must batten down the hatches for an onslaught from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

White House officials have been telling us for weeks they were worried that Kelly hadn’t been taking the threat seriously enough. This is the first time I’ve learned new information to suggest that they’re preparing.
According to three sources who attend senior staff meetings, when Kelly gathers the full White House senior staff in the Roosevelt Room several times a week, they never discuss the prospect of investigations.
You’d think,” one White House official told me, "we’d have a briefing or something to help us understand what’s coming with subpoenas and investigations."

What they’re saying: Over the past month, my colleague Evan Ryan and I have been interviewing lawyers who worked in the Obama and Clinton White Houses. We wanted to find out what it’s like being inside a White House when the opposite party controls Congress and trains its investigative fire on the president.

A couple lawyers spoke on the record; most didn’t. But what we learned from these conversations provides a map for Trump’s likely future.

> "Subpoenas flowing into a White House create paralysis," said Neil Eggleston, who was Obama’s White House counsel and an associate counsel in the Clinton administration.

“The whole system stops while everyone tries to comply with subpoenas and prepare to testify.”
“The White House doesn’t operate optimally, and the policymaking process doesn’t receive its due attention. Morale suffers, and energy is diverted to the crisis at hand.”

The big picture: Lawyers from previous White Houses mostly agreed on one thing: The better analogy for what’s coming for Trump is not the Obama White House, but Clinton’s.

Obama’s administration faced scandals — from “Fast and Furious” to the IRS-Tea Party targeting to Benghazi. But his White House counsels managed to mostly keep the White House out of the picture; the agencies bore the brunt of the investigative onslaught.
But Bill Clinton spent his entire presidency under a cloud of investigation, from Whitewater to Monica Lewinsky under the glare of Ken Starr. Staff who worked in the Clinton White House say it felt like there was a subpoena coming for them every day.

The bottom line: For the most part, the staff who work in the Trump West Wing — beyond the Counsel’s Office — have no idea what may be coming for them. But senior staff are now finally preparing for a tough new normal under House Democrats.

  1. Trump’s traps: White House lawyers analyze his danger spots

Here are the looming legal dangers for the Trump White House, foreseen by former White House lawyers interviewed by Evan Ryan and me:

  1. Compartmentalization: One reason Bill Clinton survived a presidency of investigations was, according to his former staff, his almost supernatural ability to compartmentalize. He put the investigations in a psychic and literal box: A separate team handled them, from a communications war room to his lawyers. Clinton avoided publicly discussing the scandals.

    “The key to Clinton’s survival during impeachment,” a former Clinton official told us, “was ‘compartmentalization’: working with Congress on substantive issues like health care and education, even as the same Congress was trying to impeach the president.”
    “The president rarely talked about impeachment,” the former official added. “He showed himself to be busy at work delivering for the American people.”

Compare that to Trump. The president relishes discussing the Mueller probe, not only with his staff but on Twitter and in public interviews.

Staff tell us he can’t help himself. White House officials have told us they try to stay out of Trump’s vicinity on a bad Mueller news day, because any conversations with him may make their legal bills balloon.
"He has no boundaries," a former senior White House official told Axios. Trump will try to discuss the Mueller “WITCH HUNT” with whoever is around him.

  1. Legal talent: Whoever ends up replacing McGahn as White House counsel “needs to put together what is in effect the best litigation and investigation law firm in this city,” Bill Clinton’s White House Counsel Jack Quinn told us.

    And needs to do it overnight. They’re going to have to get the best and the brightest and the most experienced and the most skillful, and assemble an absolutely first-rate team of lawyers to conduct defense on multiple fronts.”
    The current White House Counsel’s Office — hampered for months by a terrible relationship between Don McGahn and Trump — is nowhere near the fine-tuned machine Quinn describes.

  2. Competent and focused investigators: Incompetent, distracted and overzealous Republican congressional investigators helped both the Clinton and Obama administrations survive years of aggressive oversight.

    If they win the House, Democrats could make the same mistakes and screw up their investigations by overreaching.
    But there’s a decent chance they won’t. Former White House lawyers concurred that if Democrats install the highly experienced Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and keep Elijah Cummings and his seasoned staff in charge of oversight, they could marshal their investigatory power far more effectively than Republicans did under Obama and Clinton.

The bottom line: Obama’s White House Counsel Bob Bauer, who has thought considerably about these pitfalls and opportunities, told Axios: "An impeachment process is a legal process, and to defend against the inevitable political attacks, it must be carefully structured and well-presented to the public."

"It has to be disciplined in identifying and explaining the relevant standards for an impeachable offense, and it has to pay close attention to a fair and rigorous process.
"The House impeachment of President Clinton completely failed that test. …
“In any impeachment proceedings directed against Donald Trump, the House majority would be well-served by proceeding step by step with care, attention to detail and transparency.”


There is some Mueller investigation news…Roger Goodman (Law Prof and ex Special Counsel) links us with some new evidence about Peter Smith, the GOP operative, who died by suicide…
Read about what Mueller may be looking into…WSJ is carrying this report (but it has a paywall) but some readers here could link to it perhaps.

  1. My WSJ SCOOP on Peter Smith’s 2016 operation to get Clinton emails ● WSJ raises specter Smith was killed, not suicide ● Emails involve payments to “Russian students” ● 4+ financiers ● Mueller expanding interest in Smith group ● potential ties to Flynn/Trump …

links to WSJ article on GOP Operative Secretly raises $100k

GOP Operative Secretly Raised at Least $100,000 in Search for Clinton Emails
Opposition researcher’s efforts are of intense interest to investigators probing Russian election interference

WASHINGTON—A veteran Republican operative and opposition researcher solicited and raised at least $100,000 from donors as part of an effort to obtain what he believed to be emails stolen from Hillary Clinton, activities that remain of intense interest to federal investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and Capitol Hill.

  1. First, recall multiple reports that Peter Smith’s operation was potentially linked to Flynn/Trump campaign.

Ex-British security officer GCHQ Matt Tait (@pwnallthethings), who was approached by Smith, assessed Smith’s “group was formed with the blessing of the Trump campaign.”
3 replies 155 retweets 312 likes

  1. Smith himself told @shaneharris—who broke the original story—of line of communication with Flynn, and Smith’s emails “show that his small group considered Mr. Flynn and his consulting company…to be allies in their quest" for Clinton emails

Links to WSJ 6/17 GOP Operative seeks emails…

  1. Smith’s document to Tait listed groups involved in operation One group: “Trump Campaign (in coordination to the extent permitted as an independent expenditure)” Named campaign officials: Flynn, Clovis (who approved Papadop-RUS efforts), Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Lisa Nelson

  2. Flynn is extra-important because WSJ 2017: “reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via AN INTERMEDIARY” (confirmed by @JasonLeopold @a_cormier_ reporting)

  3. WSJ now raises specter Smith was murdered (foul play) not suicide. Smith died suddenly about 10 days after WSJ interviewed him in 2017. Was ruled suicide. Chicago Tribune reported details consistent with suicide: … But look at WSJ final two paragraphs: (see below)

  1. :exclamation:email on Russia nexus via WSJ

Subject:“Wire Instructions—Clinton Email Reconnaissance Initiative”

Text:“This $100k total with the $50k received from you will allow us to fund the Washington Scholarship Fund for the Russian students for the promised $150K"
4 replies 121 retweets 241 likes

  1. On “the promised $150K” in Smith email: Note: @JasonLeopold @a_cormier_ reported “cash withdrawals totaling about $140,000” that Smith used: “PAID HACKERS who PROVIDED him emails, according to two bureau sources.” Smith may have then had difficulty authenticating the emails.

  2. Where may this all lead? New WSJ report refers to “Smith’s activities as an area of expanding interest” to Mueller. WSJ: John Szobocsan, a Peter Smith associate, appeared before grand jury recently (August) and was interviewed by Mueller’s team 3X earlier in the year.

P.S. On Peter Smith’s peculiar death. Note: By summer 2018. Mueller’s team added attorney Kathryn Rakoczy, “best known for her work on violent crime cases.” (@woodruffbets reporting)

DailyBeast link to Inside Mueller’s New (lawyer) Army


This is for anyone following the U.K. Skripal poisonings.

One by one, members of the team of Russian GRU agents that allegedly carried out the poisonings are being exposed. In September, the first member was unmasked. Then last week, the second agent was named. And now, records have been uncovered pointing to a third member who may have been the “recon man”:

Sergey Fedotov, 45, travelled to the UK on the same day as the two assassins already charged by British authorities - and boarded the same flight home.

The Telegraph had previously reported the existence of a third member of the Russian intelligence hit squad and a trawl of flight records by the Fontanka news agency matched it to Fedotov.

According to Fontanka, Fedotov flew to the UK on a passport whose number differs by only a few digits from those used by the two GRU military intelligence agents officially wanted for the nerve agent attack.

It is almost certain Fedotov is not the passenger’s real name but an alias . . .

The role of Fedotov is not clear. CCTV images released by British counter terrorism police show only Chepiga and Mishkin in Salisbury on the day of the attack as well as the day before. It is possible Fedotov formed part of a reconnaissance team to scope Col Skripal’s home in a quiet cul-de-sac. . .

Fedotov’s passport number differs by only a few digits. It is of the same ‘64 series’ linked to not only Chepiga and Mishkin but also to other suspected agents such as Col Eduard Shishmakov, who is accused of the failed plot to assassinate the prime minister of Montenegro before its referendum to join Nato. . .

More details about Fedotov’s real identity are likely to emerge. More than 300 suspected GRU agents were exposed this month after they registered automobiles to the address of GRU unit 26165, which has been accused of hacking the 2016 US election.

That last paragraph brought me up short. Say what? 300 GRU agents were recently unmasked? And they belong to the unit accused of U.S. election hacks? So here’s the story – and it’s got to be an embarrassing one for the GRU:

It’s hard to condense the detective work involved into a few excerpts so I’ll leave it to you to refer to the article. It’s worth a read if you like this kind of thing – the sleuths made some ingenious connections as they followed a trail of clues to a treasure trove of GRU agent identities.

I think the cautionary tale here for any intelligence agency is that it’s becoming nigh impossible to stay anonymous in an age where so much data about everyone’s business is dumped into the internet everyday – and at the same time, we have at our disposal an increasingly sophisticated array of tools and services that allow us to search out, aggregate and compare data points across the entire web. These days, there’s almost no place to hide – even when you’re a spy!

I’ll close this post with one more piece of recently uncovered evidence that further incriminates the alleged Skripal poisoners:

UPDATE: If you like this kind of stuff, here’s an article about Bellingcat, the team of cyber-sleuths who tracked down the true identities of the Skripal poisoners and unmasked another 300 GRU agents along the way.


The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.



This is beyond disturbing. Just devastating news.

Trump’s response👇click for full thread with videos

He’s a danger to us all.


I’ve never voted a straight ticket this year may be different the GOP is on my s&@t list.


Let me count the ways T has had negative impact.:

Moral character
Debt and the long term impact on the US financial system
Climate impact
Saudi relationship and world image
Management of the Federal Government system
( pls add your thoughts)


@kenvogel (nyt)
SCOOP: Representatives of PUTIN ally OLEG DERIPASKA expect that sanctions against his companies will be lifted by the TRUMP administration after the midterms. Then they plan to launch an effort to get personal sanctions against Deripaska lifted as well.


A must read article:

“To be honest,” he wrote, “I didn’t see evil when I looked into Robert Bowers’ eyes. All I saw was a clear lack of depth, intelligence, and palpable amounts of confusion.”

He added, however, that he thought Bowers “probably had no friends, was easily influenced by propaganda, and wanted attention on a sociopathic level. He’s the kind of person that is easily manipulated by people with a microphone, a platform, and use fear for motivation.”

“This was the same Robert Bowers that just committed mass homicide. The Robert Bowers who instilled panic in my heart worrying my parents were two of his 11 victims less than an hour before his arrival.

“I’m sure he had no idea I was Jewish. Why thank a Jewish nurse, when 15 minutes beforehand, you’d shoot me in the head with no remorse?

“I didn’t say a word to him about my religion. I chose not to say anything to him the entire time. I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt that the best way to honour his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong. Besides, if he finds out I’m Jewish, does it really matter? The better question is, what does it mean to you?”

In conclusion, Mahler wrote: “If my actions mean anything, love means everything.”


Too many questions remain about what happened in Broward County over the number of uncounted ballots, calling for recounts and run offs. Other ballot issues are creating real questions as to who was pulling the levers. And a long history of party politics when recounts happen (GWB’s infiltration of 'Brooks Brothers protestors there to rabble rouse and create mayhem for the process in 2000 presidential recount with Al Gore.)

State Governor
R - Ron DeSantis v Dem Mayor Andrew Gillum (recount to be issued)

R Gov Rick Scott v D Sen Bill Nelson (potential recount)

As the Republican margin in Florida’s U.S. Senate race narrowed and the contest headed toward a manual recount, everyone from elected Republicans to online conspiracy-mongers began screaming foul on Thursday night.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is clinging to a roughly 34,000-vote lead over Sen. Bill Nelson (D), held a press conference at the Florida governor’s mansion in which he called on law enforcement to launch an investigation and announced that he and the National Republican Senate Committee were bringing a lawsuit against officials in Broward County, where many votes are still being counted.

Florida’s gubernatorial race is also tightening. The race between Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis had appeared to be over on Tuesday night, when Gillum, the Democrat, conceded. But as the counts continued, particularly in Broward County,the gap between the candidates narrowed so much that it passed the 0.5 percent automatic recount threshold on Thursday afternoon, Politico reported.

The late swing toward the Democrats—powered by South Florida—is so pronounced in the election for Florida’s agriculture commissioner that Democrat Nikki Fried has now moved into the lead after she trailed her Republican rival on Election Night.

And here’s what’s happening in Miami-Dade County

Once again, Broward County is haunting the nation’s dreams and, once again, we find ourselves in the preposterous position of having one of the candidates controlling the process of settling an election in which he is involved. The count in the Senate race has closed to within the state’s requirement for a statewide hand recount, and Scott went into a frenzy trying to stop it.

From the Tampa Bay Times:
Rick Scott filed suit against Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes over the county’s delay in completing its count of the votes from the midterm election. Scott sued as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, not in his capacity as governor of Florida. Scott followed up by lashing out at Snipes in an extraordinary press conference at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday night. Broward County lags the rest of the state in completing the first, crucial phases of counting ballots from Tuesday’s midterm election. As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the same time the governor summoned reporters to the mansion, Broward County was the only one of the state’s 67 counties that had not reported to the state that it had completed its tabulation of early votes. Early voting ended Sunday in Broward.



Yes, I think so too. #wishfulThingBasedOnPastBehavior

Speaking on Brian Williams’s 11th Hour, Figliuzzi said he had “a theory” about what Mueller would do: “I think he’s ready to indict some folks and…those indictments will tell the story of what he’s found against the president.

"> I’m not saying he’s indicting the president. I’m saying there’s a middle ground where he tells us the story, locks it into the court system by indicting others, then files a report with Whitaker,” he said.

“Perhaps what we’ll see is Bob Mueller telling us the story of a corrupt president through indictments,” Figliuzzi said, adding that Mueller knew his days were numbered, and so would act soon.

“I think the Whitaker appointment steps up the timeline, and I think perhaps if Mueller sticks to the strategy of telling us the story through indictments—the indictments speak to us—that he’ll speak to us soon, very soon, with additional indictments, perhaps that tell the story of a corrupt president,” he said.


More good news from California! :mega: :tada:

Republican Rep. Jeff Denham lost his lead over Democrat Josh Harder on Friday in one of California’s four unresolved congressional races as updated ballot counts showed the GOP in growing danger of losing as many as six House seats in the state.

GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa fell further behind Democrat Harley Rouda, who is now more than 7,300 votes ahead of the 15-term congressman.

Another Republican Orange County incumbent, Rep. Mimi Walters, has seen her election-night lead of 6,233 votes drop to 2,020 in her race against Democrat Katie Porter.

The tabulation Friday was also alarming for Republican candidate Young Kim of Fullerton, whose election-night lead over Democrat Gil Cisneros has shrunk to 2,672 votes.

If historical voting patterns hold, Republicans will lose all four of those seats. More than 50,000 votes have yet to be counted in each contest, analysts in both parties estimate, and the votes tallied latest in California nearly always skew Democratic.


It’s looking more and more like Trump has just committed another flagrant act of obstruction of justice.

The President claims he doesn’t know Matthew Whitaker, but if these sources can be believed, it appears as if he’s been scheming with him for sometime – and it’s hard to believe that if they were plotting to investigate Hillary Clinton, they wouldn’t have also discussed the Mueller investigation (which Trump adamantly denies they ever did). It’s becoming increasingly clear that Trump has just appointed his mole in the DOJ as head of the DOJ – and he has done so with every intention of directing him to put the brakes on the Mueller investigation and at the same time launch investigations into his political enemies.

Matthew Whitaker, whom President Donald Trump named as his acting attorney general on Wednesday, privately provided advice to the president last year on how the White House might be able to pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president’s political adversaries, Vox has learned.

In May 2018, President Donald Trump demanded that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into whether the FBI “infiltrated or surveilled” his presidential campaign and whether Obama administration officials were involved in this purported effort.

During this period of time, Whitaker was the chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and in that role was advising Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on how to counter the president’s demands. But according to one former and one current administration official, Whitaker was simultaneously counseling the White House on how the president and his aides might successfully pressure Sessions and Rosenstein to give in to Trump’s demands.

Sources say that Whitaker presented himself as a sympathetic ear to both Sessions and Rosenstein — telling them he supported their efforts to prevent the president from politicizing the Justice Department…

But two . . . people with firsthand information about the matter told me that Whitaker, in his conversations with the president, presented himself as a vigorous supporter of Trump’s position and “committed to extract as much as he could from the Justice Department on the president’s behalf.”

One administration official with knowledge of the matter told me: “Whitaker let it be known [in the White House] that he was on a team, and that was the president’s team.”

Whitaker’s open sympathizing with Trump’s frequent complaints about the Mueller investigation resulted in an unusually close relationship between a president and a staffer of his level. The president met with Whitaker in the White House, often in the Oval Office, at least 10 times, a former senior administration official told me. On most of those occasions, Sessions was also present, but it’s unclear if that was always the case.

During this period, Whitaker frequently spoke by phone with both Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly, this same official told me. On many of those phone calls, nobody else was on the phone except for the president and Whitaker, or only Kelly and Whitaker. As one senior law enforcement official told me, “Nobody else knew what was said on those calls except what Whitaker decided to tell others, and if he did, whether he was telling the truth. Who ever heard of a president barely speaking to his attorney general but on the phone constantly with a staff-level person?

This chummy relationship, which included private phone conversations and perhaps even private face-to-face meetings, stands in stark contrast to Trump’s claims that he doesn’t even know Whitaker.


I’m sorry to have to post this - but as a retired Naval Officer and as the son of a soldier who was wounded in WW1, I find the disrespect paid by Trump to the US servicemen who gave their lives in France incredibly insensitive.

Despite the cancellation of the visit to Belleau, where nearly 2,000 US Marines died in a ferocious battle in June 1918, Trump was scheduled to visit a different cemetery on Sunday, exactly 100 years since the end of the first world war.

A White House statement said the Belleau visit was “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather”, and said a delegation “led by Chief of Staff Gen John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joe Dunford” would attend on behalf of the Trumps.

Nonetheless, Burns, the former ambassador, committed his thoughts to Twitter.

“Did the President really not visit the American military cemetery today in France?” he asked. “It is his duty to honor our soldiers who fought in 1917-18.”

Among veterans groups, one progressive organisation responded angrily.

“Donald Trump complained about having to stand in the rain, to speak about the massacre in Pittsburgh, because it messed his hair up (more),” said VoteVets in a tweet, referring to Trump’s remarks after a mass shooting two weeks ago in which 11 people were killed. “Today, he will skip honoring fallen American heroes of WWI, and stay in his hotel room, because of some rain.”


Thank you for your service, my family are warriors as well, both my grandfathers served and I currently have three close cousins currently serving, one who is Marine who frequently visits the DMZ in Korea.

I feel so ashamed by this President especially yesterday. Everyone should know, yes Americans can fly in the rain.


Thanks for bringing up @macro and @Pet_Proletariat.
…both my father and grandfather served in The Navy and in WW II.

This act of omission on T’s part is so loathesome.
All military service for this country represents the honor and patriotism we hold for being American.
What an embarrassment for us all.

I do keep a candle (via @matt ) for a real American hero, Robert Mueller. - who voluntarily served in Viet Nam as a Marine, and honors this country with his continued service.