The Filings – Grinding the crooks down

December 7th, 2018

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll just quote the fine recapitulation of Donald Trump’s adventures with the law provided by Sabrina Siddiqui, writing for the Guardian:

  • Cohen told investigators he made efforts to contact the Russian government to propose a meeting between Trump and Putin in 2015, after discussing this with Trump.
  • Prosecutors recommended Cohen receive a prison sentence of about four years.
  • The government for the first time implicated the president in Cohen’s campaign finance violations, saying the attorney “acted in coordination with and at the direction” of Trump.
  • Paul Manafort lied to the FBI and to the special counsel’s office, according to a separate filing by Mueller on Friday.
  • The former campaign chairman tried to conceal his contact with an “administration official” inside the White House as late as May 2018, the filing said.
  • Mueller wrote: “Manafort told multiple discernible lies – these were not instances of mere memory lapses.”
  • James Comey, former FBI director, testified before the House judiciary and oversight committees on Friday, and later criticized the process.
  • Trump tweeted attacks on Comey and also wrongly claimed the sentencing memo “clears the president”.
  • John Kelly, White House chief of staff, has been interviewed by Mueller’s team and is expected to quit, CNN reported.
  • George Papadopoulos, former aide to Trump’s campaign, was released from prison on Friday after serving 12 days for lying to the federal government about his contacts with the Russians.
  • Trump nominated William Barr as the next attorney general, selecting a man who served in the role under George HW Bush.

Well, that’s quite a bit to digest. Cohen committed felonies at the behest of “Individual-1”, aka, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. This means that the President has been officially accused of a felony, since the act of ordering someone to commit a felony on your behalf is, in itself, a felony.

Manafort lied to everyone about pretty much everything. We kinda knew that already, but you know, it doesn’t hurt to recap what a monumental pile of human shit Trump built his presidency upon.

Kelly’s going to quit. Too late to save his reputation, but at least he won’t be sharing a prison cell with Flynn. Granted, Flynn won’t do any jail time, but that just makes him a smarter lickspittle to Trump, not a better one.

Comey went to Congress to answer their questions. They wanted to know about…Hillary’s emails. No shit. I’m not kidding. They’re still rabbiting on about that. Even though it came to light that unsecured emails were common throughout the Trump campaign, and in the Trump administration. Trump doesn’t even use a secured cellphone because he’s too stupid to figure out how it works. The Republicans wonder why they are doing extinct. Despite what they believe, there’s only so much stupid out there.

Trump bragged that the filings today “clears the President” which reaches Baghdad Bob levels of bullshittery. Anyone remember Joe Isuzu? Yeah, that level of in your face lying. Thousands of people lined up on the web to remind Trump of who “Individual-1” actually is. Hint, Donnie: it’s not Hillary Clinton.

Whitaker was apparently just taking up oxygen. I would love to hear the story of how he wound up not systematically trying to destroy the Mueller investigation; I doubt very much that he or Trump had a change of heart and decided justice must take its course. So Trump is going to nominate William Barr, who is basking in the reflected glow of the newly-sainted George HW Bush, now suddenly a hero due to his ability to drop dead at the age of 94. Barr was Bush’s A-G. On the surface, it seems a wise choice: previous experience, and smells of the aroma of the closest thing to a respectable person the Republicans have remaining. Well, until he died, that is.

But here’s the thing you need to know about Barr: he was Attorney-General at the same time that Bush ordered all those pardons, the ones that wiped out nearly 200 felony charges and thousands of lessor charges from dozens of people working in the corrupt, morally bankrupt Reagan administration. In a sane society, Bush would have gone to prison for obstruction of justice, and Barr would have been in the next cell over as his accomplice. So if you think Trump wants a decent, respectable man in the position, stop it. Just stop it.

But here’s the most important thing: George Papadopoulos is FREE! Let the bells ring out, let the children cheer! It seem too good to be true, but he’s free! And one day he’ll show up at your neighborhood bar, drunk off his tits, and tell you the story of how he set Donnie up for a one-night stand with Vladimir Putin and got a nice fur coat in return. I bet you can’t wait.

And some people say there is no god…

“Fly, My Pretty!” – Mueller condemns Flynn with a benediction

December 3rd 2018

Tonight, there are probably dozens, even hundreds of small puddles of urine scattered around the West Wing, and Trump is curled up in a fetal ball under the Lincoln bed, whimpering and muttering inchoate imprecations, his fingers shaking too violently for him to tweet his rage and fear to the world. He has a large brown stain on the back of his pajamas, and he smells appalling.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, really.

Mueller came out with his sentencing recommendation for Michael Flynn. Flynn, of course, is the retired general who made money by fucking with Turkey, playing each side against the other, and negotiated illegally with the Russian government. He also hatemongered against Hillary Clinton, urging crowds to chant “Lock her up!” for supposed crimes that were already widespread in the Trump organization, specifically use of unsecured private servers for official email.

The guy is a dirtbag, and his actions come within shouting distance of treason. He’s a disgrace to the uniform he once wore, he’s a liar, and he’s a vicious opportunist. Clearly he was destined to rise to the highest ranks in the Trump organization.

So Mueller could have recommended decades in jail for General Dirtbag and nobody would have much cared other than the QAnon nuts and Flynn’s son, Junior, who is, if anything, an even bigger sleaze ball than Daddy, lacking only the power to inflict his douchebaggery on the world.

So when I heard that Mueller had recommended little or no jail time for this dirtbag, my initial reaction was “Say what?” Was Mueller going soft? Or did Trump get to him in some way?

Then I read the sentencing memo from Mueller’s office, and by the time I was done, I was just grinning from ear to ear. I still am.

Mueller was quite happy with General Dirtbag. General Dirtbag, it seemed, sang like a canary. Nineteen separate interviews from a guy who lived a happy, slimy existence neck-deep in the Trump Swamp. And it seem the interviews covered quite a bit of ground. There was a criminal investigation, mentioned but the nature of which, and the persons of interest were artfully redacted. There was the ties to Russia thing, again with interesting amounts redacted and which promised much more to come in ensuing reports. Mueller praised General Dirtbag for his “substantial assistance.” And there was topic 3, which was completely redacted. Completely: just a line for a header of some sort, and a five-line paragraph. Mueller apparently saved the best for last.

Keep in mind that Mueller doesn’t go easy on assholes who try to cut a plea and then whip around and try to shank Mueller. He’s been a prosecutor for a long, long time, and he sees opportunistic scum like Papadopoulous and Manafort coming a mile away, and eats them for breakfast.

So for Mueller to give General Dirtbag a pat the head and a soft murmur of “Fly! Fly, my pretty! Be free!” means he got all kinds of stuff on Trump and his gang of thieves and traitors, vetted the information very carefully, made sure it would stand up in court, and then, and only then, pulled the hook from General Dirtbag’s mouth.

I picture Sally Yates, one of Manafort’s first victims as National Security Sellout, roasting her toes in front of a warm fire in her living area, sipping an appropriate beverage, and smiling off into the middle distance.

General Dirtbag is finished in the eyes of the country. Normal Americans despise him for what he did, and the Trumpkins hate him because he got caught and then snitched. He may as well take his medals and pawn them—he won’t be wearing them to any Fourth of July parades, not in this lifetime.

Adam Schiff, the Democrat who will be replacing the contemptible Devin Nunes as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said of the sentencing memo, “The recommendation of no jail time for Flynn, apart from its obvious irony for the man who led chants of ‘lock her up,’ reflects both the timeliness and significance of his help. That most of the details are redacted signals he has given far more than we or the President may know.”

Of course, we’ve known for some time that Mueller knows more than Trump thinks he knows. The recent implosion of the Manafort plea bargain, and the earlier, casual revelation that Trump knew more about the inner workings of the Russian “fuck with America” troll farms than the Russians themselves did, showed that to the world. But Schiff didn’t see any harm in reminding Trump about this. After all, what are the odds that Trump will eventually start tweeting and sink himself deeper with reckless, self-destructive and insane responses?

I caught a clip of Rudy Giuliani, who does for lawyering what Tiny Tim did for the ukulele, fuming on Faux News that Mueller and his team were “sick puppies”. That’s our Rudy. Always projecting.

And we had been treated to a steady stream of assurances from Trumpkins on line that Mueller was actually investigating Hillary Clinton for collusion with Russia, and was about to drop a house on her. They seem to have vanished this evening.

Finally, a note to General Dirtbag: why don’t you round up that vile kid of yours and go get drunk, and stay that was for a few weeks? It isn’t like you’ve got anything better to do now.

The Plea Bag – Mueller outsmarts them all

November 27th 2018

Like everyone, I’m watching the spiral death dance of the Trump with a mixture of wonder and disgust.

We expected major developments from the Mueller probe this week, and we certainly have been getting those. They just aren’t the ones anyone expected.

What we’re getting is a whole lot more twistier and amusing.

Let’s start with Paul Manafort, once and future felon. Mueller’s office dropped the plea bargain arrangement they had up until yesterday, on the grounds that Manafort had been steadfastly and systematically lying to them.

Of course, there are dozens of theories about why Manafort would lie (nobody, as far as I know, has tried to suggest he wasn’t lying and Mueller is simply wrong). Perhaps Trump has been dangling a pardon, in itself obstruction of justice. Manafort may have been afraid of Trump, or some of Trump’s mob contacts, or perhaps Vladimir Putin. Or he may have just thought he could pull it off.

I can just picture Manafort meeting with one or two members of Mueller’s team. As Manafort talks, the Feds are enrapt, scribbling furiously or clacking their keyboards, even though everything is being videoed. Manafort will correctly assume this means they are taking his testimony very seriously, in a way a silent and unassuming camera eye cannot. It inflates Manafort’s sense of self-importance and self-worth.

Suddenly, the agent with the computer sighs and slaps the laptop shut. He sighs. “Damn thing crapped out again.” He looks at his partner. “Do you have yours handy?”

The partner shakes his head. “Died Wednesday. I was supposed to have one for this meeting. You know how important M thinks it is.”

The first agent turns to Manafort, a sad smile inviting sympathy. “You know how it is. You worked on the campaign. It’s the same here. People screaming at each other, in panic, nothing gets done.” He olds up his number 2 pencil. “Why if it wasn’t for this…”

Manafort nods sympathetically. He was the one sane man in the chaos of the Trump campaign.

Later, the agents make a friendly wager on how long it will take for their little “slip” to turn up in a Trump speech. Mueller runs a tight ship, but the White House leaks more than a geriatric ward, and so they know that Trump is trying to use Manafort as a mole into the Special Prosecutor’s activities.

And of course, it did start showing up in the speeches and trumpentweets. You have to wonder how many other false tidbits Mueller’s people fed to Manafort to confuse and divert the already confused and diverted Trump.

Then there’s the thing with Julian Assange. Mueller’s office filed a court document that accidentally named Assange as being under a sealed indictment. The document didn’t say what the charge(s) was, or when it was filed, and people thought it odd the normally legally meticulous Mueller legal team would make such an error.

But it apparently shook something loose. The Guardian reported yesterday that “Manafort visited Julian Assange three times at the Ecuadorian embassy, including once during the 2016 election.” That right there would send Steven Colbert’s right eyebrow clear up into his hairline. Then it broke that the Trump team had been conferring with Ecuador over their somewhat unwelcome sanctuary guest in their London embassy, meeting with them as recently as yesterday. The speculation is that they are begging Ecuador to NOT release Assange over to American authorities.

Gee, I remember being critical of Obama because he did want Assange turned over to American authorities. Strange times we live in, eh?

Manafort and the Trump people are vociferously denying the report, and given the general ethics and moral characters of those worthies, I can’t help but conclude that it means the report is true. Terribly unfair of me, I know, but when the ball keeps landing in double zero, it’s pretty stupid to bet against the house.

When Mueller asked for a ten day extension on the plea bargain arrangement with Manafort, everyone assumed he just wanted more time to draft his next round of major charges, and was just doing due diligence. We now know that can’t be the case, because we’ve learned that Mueller had proof Manafort was lying, and he knew what Manafort was lying about and when. And because he had to know Manafort was feeding information back to the Trump people through some likely-to-get-disbarred-if-not-imprisoned lawyers, he was systematically convincing Manafort he was being believed, and he was probably feeding disinformation for Manafort to send back to his homies.

So why the ten-day extension? The plea bargain deal was already dead. Why extend it to yesterday?

That’s the deadline for Trump to turn in his written answers to Mueller’s questions about cooperation between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

He turned them in with help from his lawyers who, through Manafort, believed they had a handle on what Mueller did and did not know, and thus had an idea what lies Trump could tell that would be safe.

This right here is a major disaster for Trump, but he really sealed his fate hours after he turned his under-oath answers to Mueller, publicly boasting that his lawyers did not write the responses, but that he did them himself. Every word.

The sad thing (OK, the hilariously sad thing) is that Trump is probably bullshitting and in reality probably just signed off on answers his lawyers wrote and probably had at best a dim understanding of their contents.

But his public boast stripped him of his one and only fig leaf, and the cold blasts of the perjury indictments are coming.

Somewhere in Mueller’s spartan offices, a couple of junior lawyers are holding up a number two pencil, and laughing their asses off. And they may have just helped save the country.

Donald, Duck! In the wake of the Manafort and Cohen catastrophes, more looms

August 23rd, 2018

Did you spill your popcorn following the Travesty of the Donald this week? Leave it. Things are going to get fast and furious, and you aren’t going to have time to make more popcorn.
Pecker! That’s what this complex of scandals was missing! A corrupt pseudo-journalist named Pecker turning on Trump. Now this David Pecker is a newspaper man in much the same way that Trump is a president: he has the power, and the accoutrements pertaining thereto, but he’s still just a dangerous joke.
He’s the owner of the supermarket tabloid, the National Enquirer. Long the province of psychics, bat-boys, and endless scandalous (and almost always false) rumors, it branched out into politics in the 1990s, breathlessly detailing secret meetings between Bill Clinton and space aliens. It was unbelievably stupid, but it put Clinton in a bad light (space aliens, really) so it became a new bible for the types of morons who think the notion that Earth is a big old ball just hanging in space is just a conspiracy by scientists to make us all not love Jesus. The Ray-de-oh is broke, so they can’t listen to tINFOil WARS.
So when you have a candidate come along who bangs porn stars, and is possibly a Russian agent and might have had hookers put on a golden shower show for him, you would think the National Enquirer would expand to 500 pages weekly just to keep up with all the lurid scum flowing from this walking sewer of a candidate.
Um, no. They didn’t. In fact they went out of their way to protect him, buying up tell-all stories from women who got paid not to discuss having sex with Trump, and starting an unending stream of attacks on Hillary.
Rachel Maddow tonight showed a bakers’ dozen covers from the NE, putting Trump in a god-like light, and blasting Hillary Clinton over and over.
Interestingly, much of what they accused Clinton of was things we know Trump was doing. She was corrupt, swindled people, kowtowed to foreign agencies, was secretly a lesbian who banged porn stars, ran a fake charity, and lied a lot. It was part of the standard right wing propaganda: protect your candidate from his own ruinous behavior by accusing his opponent of the same things. It confuses the cows in the supermarket line.
Interestingly, the tab also accused Hillary of being far sicker and more senile than she looked, and having a severe drug problem. Was that part of the same pattern? Are these Trump problems being projected?
You know, things with this administration phase between ‘chilling’ and ‘ridiculous’ so fast and so often it’s frequently hard to tell which is which.  But this one involves long-time scandal rag ‘National Enquirer’ covering up for a corrupt politician on multiple sex scandals, so let’s call it ‘ridiculous.’
In any event, Vanity Fair and the Wall Street Journal (who seem to be getting very fed up with Trump these days) reported that Pecker and his Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Dylan Howard, were granted immunity in return for some nice long chats (30 hours worth?) with Robert Mueller’s people. There are lurid rumors of a safe in Pecker’s office that is crammed with hundreds of stories the NE has covered Trump on.
Trump is openly musing a pardon for Manafort trial even as the second one looms. This, by itself, is a federal felony by Trump, an open move to obstruct justice. Mueller probably grinned mirthlessly and added it to his very long list.
Cohen is going to have some nice long chats with the Special Counsel’s office himself. Apparently he’s not too fond of Captain Pissmop any more and wants to share more items. One line in the court proceedings where he entered his pleas might give a clue as to what he wants to discuss: “The $50,000 represented a claimed payment for ‘tech services,’ which in fact related to work COHEN had solicited from a technology company during and in connection with the campaign.”
OK, here’s the thing: The Trump campaign detailed all their spending in regards to computer servers, use and communications.
Except this. There’s a hint the ‘tech service’ in question was based in Russia.
If there was direct clandestine communication between the Trump campaign and Russia during the campaign, even the corrupt, venal, cowardly and unpatriotic Republicans in Congress will have to abandon their dreams of enslaving the American people and cut their losses—and Trump’s throat.
If you have any popcorn left, hang on to it tightly, no matter what your dog suggests.


Enjoy Zepps Commentaries? Please spread the word :)