Tuesday Reads: Sweet Schadenfreude and John Kelly’s Racism

George Papadopoulos (third from left) meeting with Trump and his foreign policy team, led by Jeff Sessions

Good Morning!!

The schadenfreude is strong this morning, as the world watches the aftermath of yesterday’s special counsel indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, as well as the guilty plea and cooperation by Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. It’s easy to envision Trump melting down yesterday as the revelations poured out.

Fallout from Mueller Monday

The Washington Post: Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments.

President Trump woke before dawn on Monday and burrowed in at the White House residence to wait for the Russia bombshell he knew was coming.

Separated from most of his West Wing staff — who fretted over why he was late getting to the Oval Office — Trump clicked on the television and spent the morning playing fuming media critic, legal analyst and crisis communications strategist, according to several people close to him.

The president digested the news of the first indictments in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe with exasperation and disgust, these people said. He called his Albuquerque lawyers repeatedly. He listened intently to cable news commentary. And, with rising irritation, he watched live footage of his onetime campaign adviser and confidant, Paul Manafort, turning himself in to the FBI.

Initially, Trump felt vindicated. Though frustrated that the media were linking him to the indictment and tarnishing his presidency, he cheered that the ­charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were focused primarily on activities that began before his campaign. Trump tweeted at 10:28 a.m., “there is NO COLLUSION!”

But Robert Mueller had a surprise up his sleeve.

But the president’s celebration was short-lived. A few minutes later, court documents were unsealed showing that George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his efforts to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

For a president who revels in chaos — and in orchestrating it himself — Monday brought a political storm that Trump could not control. White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, along with lawyers Ty Cobb, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, advised Trump to be cautious with his public responses, but they were a private sounding board for his grievances, advisers said….

“The walls are closing in,” said one senior Republican in close contact with top staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Everyone is freaking out.”

Many more details at the WaPo link.

Rick Gates and Paul Manafort

Betsy Woodruff at The Daily Beast: Why the Mueller Indictments Should Terrify Trump.

…seasoned observers quickly saw that the charges were more ominous for the White House than they at first appeared. The Manafort and Gates indictments made clear that Mueller is perfectly comfortable bringing charges related to activity that happened years before Trump took his historic escalator ride.

For special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of seasoned federal prosecutors, not much is off limits. And that could spell all kinds of trouble for a president who has sought to keep his finances private, surrounded by top aides who have all kinds of interesting financial entanglements of their own.

Mueller “certainly is acting as if, in fact, he has jurisdiction to investigate any and all offenses in the statute of limitations, of all the people who he is investigating in the first place,” said David Rivkin, an attorney who formerly worked in the George H. W. Bush and Reagan administrations.

In other words, if someone in Trump’s orbit committed a crime and the statute of limitations for that crime isn’t up—well, watch out.

It’s highly likely that Trump himself is guilty of money laundering. Woodruff:

The Monday indictments show what Mueller is willing to do with that mandate. Sol Wisenberg, a longtime Washington white-collar defense attorney, said it’s safe to expect Mueller to investigate any crime committed by a Trump campaign associate as long as the statute of limitations isn’t up and the crime could “shed light” on the probe’s broad focus.

“For example, if Trump himself was engaged in tax fraud and money laundering involving the Russians, that obviously could be relevant to whether or not he had a motive to facilitate any quote ‘collusion’ that may have happened,” Wisenberg added.

It is widely telegraphed that the White House’s most acute concerns about Mueller aren’t regarding potential collusion, but rather about all the other information his team could find in that process.

George Papadopoulos

Paul Waldman at The Washington Post: How bad will Mueller probe get for Trump? The Papadopoulos plea may be a big tell.

I spoke this morning with Barbara McQuade, a professor at the University of Michigan law school who is a former U.S. Kendall County attorney and who has worked extensively in criminal and national security cases. I asked: If Papadopoulos was just some low-level nobody tossing around ideas that were rejected by the campaign’s higher-ups, why would Mueller offer him a plea deal that is contingent on his cooperation? Doesn’t that suggest that he has information that can be used to build a case against someone more important than him?

“I think it’s a fair conclusion to think that he has information that is valuable in the prosecution of others,” McQuade says. “You would only offer that cooperation if you’ve sat down with him and learned that he has information that is of value.”

And that appears to be what is happening: in return for what will likely be a reduced sentence, Papadopoulos has agreed to sing. As the letter laying out the terms of the plea agreement says,

“The Government agrees to bring to the Court’s attention at sentencing the defendant’s efforts to cooperate with the Government, on the condition that your client continues to respond and provide information regarding any and all matters as to which the Government deems relevant.”

Who does Papadopoulos have information on? We don’t know. The plea document mentions his discussions (his efforts to set up a meeting with the Russians) with people who are referred to as “Senior Policy Adviser,” “Campaign Supervisor,” and “High-Ranking Campaign Official,” but we don’t know who those are. Then there’s this:

On or about May 4, 2016, the Russian MFA Connection sent an email (the “May 4 MFA Email”) to defendant PAPADOPOULOS and the Professor that stated: ” I have just talked to my colleagues from the MFA. The[y] are open for cooperation. One of the options is to make a meeting for you at the North America Desk, if you are in Moscow.” Defendant PAPADOPOULOS responded that he was “[g]lad the MFA is interested.” Defendant PAPADOPOULOS forwarded the May 4 MFA Email to the High-Ranking Campaign Official, adding: “What do you think? Is this something we want to move forward with?” The next day, on or about May 5, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS had a phone call with the Campaign Supervisor, and then forwarded the May 4 MFA Email to him, adding to the top of the email: “Russia updates.”

This exchange happened not long before Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner had their infamous meeting with representatives of the Russian government who purportedly had damaging information on Clinton to offer.


Aaron Zelinsky

CNN: Special counsel’s office: Papadopoulos ‘small part’ of ‘large scale investigation.’

Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos‘ guilty plea Monday appears to hint toward even more threads of the ongoing Russia collusion investigation than what the court revealed.

Lawyers from the Justice Department’s special counsel office have repeatedly hinted at how Papadopoulos would contribute to a larger, sensitive investigation.
“The criminal justice interest being vindicated here is there’s a large-scale ongoing investigation of which this case is a small part,” Aaron Zelinsky of the special counsel’s office said during Papadopoulos’ October 5 plea agreement hearing, records of which were unsealed Monday.
Read the rest at CNN.

I wonder what new stories will break by tonight? I’m sure hundreds of journalists are eagerly looking for more scoops.

John Kelly’s Shameful Fox News Appearance

Last night White House Chief of Staff John Kelly outed himself as a Trump-style racist who is as ignorant of history as his boss.

NBC News: Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly Says ‘Lack of Compromise’ Led to Civil War.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waded into the long-simmering dispute over the removal of memorials to Confederate leaders saying in a televised interview on Monday night that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War.”

In the interview on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” host Laura Ingraham asked Kelly about the decision by Christ Church, an Episcopal congregation in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, to remove plaques honoring President George Washington and Robert E. Lee, the commander of Confederate forces during the Civil War.

“Robert E. Lee was an honorable man” — John Kelly

“Well, history’s history,” said Kelly, whom President Donald Trump moved from secretary of homeland security to be his chief of staff in July. “You know, 500 years later, it’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then. I think it’s just very, very dangerous. I think it shows you just how much of a lack of appreciation of history and what history is.” [….]

Kelly on Monday night explained the Civil War’s genesis by saying “men and women of good faith on both sides” took a stand based on their conscience.

“Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” Kelly said, adding: “The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War.”

“Men and women of good faith on both sides?” So continuing and expanding slavery (the position of Confederate states) was an honorable point of view according to Kelly. According to Kelly the Civil War was not sparked by slavery, but by a failure to “compromise.”

On his lies about Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson:

Kelly during the interview was also asked about whether he would apologize to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., for making inaccurate statements about her after she criticized Trump’s condolence call this month with a fallen soldier’s wife.

Kelly accused her of grandstanding during a 2015 ceremony to dedicate a new FBI field office in Miami and said she wrongly took credit for securing federal funding for the building. She did not take credit for it.

Still, Kelly held his ground Monday.

“Oh, no,” Kelly said. “No. Never. Well, I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”

Read the full transcript of Kelly’s remarks at the link. Kelly is not an honorable man. If he ever had a soul, he sold it to Trump.

So . . . what else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great Tuesday!

65 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Sweet Schadenfreude and John Kelly’s Racism”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    GOP Senators didn’t want to answer questions about the indictments. Chuck Grassley actually sneaked out of the press conference behind the flags.


  2. bostonboomer says:

    Lots of legal experts are suggesting that Mike Flynn is likely cooperating. We’ve heard nothing from him in ages.

    • NW Luna says:

      Ooooh, I hope that’s so! From what we already know about Flynn, it seems a little digging should turn up a lot of illegal activity.

  3. joanelle says:

    The whole party is culpable based on their choosing him as their candidate. They knew he was a sneak, a liar and a cheat – Everybody in the country knew! They were betting on him being able to get away with his dirty deals.

    • NW Luna says:

      He did long enough to get elected*.

      *because we still don’t know how many votes were legitimate and how many didn’t get counted.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    I am waiting for the entire administration to resign.

    • NW Luna says:

      Trump would do so kicking and screaming, and then take it back the next minute.

      I want to see them all locked up for the rest of their lives.

    • joanelle says:

      yes, Pat that’s the only way we can clean the mess made by the man-child in office. And perhaps that would bring all politicos up short and get them to start paying attention to what they are really supposed to be doing and do it right

  5. NW Luna says:

    Here’s one for Hannity:

    • catscatscats says:

      Hill-arious! I love the way our President Clinton riles up the right wing nutters now with her wonderful laugh or her sly, all knowing smile or her cogent, insightful and oh so presidential responses to serious issues…

  6. NW Luna says:

    • catscatscats says:

      Love Ted! I still remember his wonderful questioning of Comey on the “extremely careless” handling of her “classified” emails. His conclusion was you exaggerated and mischaracterized, crossed a line in so doing and there is nothing to see here. I believe he is an attorney like so many of the other Dems in the House.

  7. Sweet Sue says:

    The more exposure John Kelly gets, the slimier he looks.

    • dakinikat says:

      yeah. How can you serve the US military and regale a traitor to it and to the country? Sheesh. And to say you’d compromise? On what? saying it’s perfectly not okay to own people as property or gee go ahead and let your state pass laws that are blatantly unconstitutional? WTF compromise on … calling US people ownable and marketable commodities or rule of law?

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        When they actually espouse their white supremacist rhetoric outside the echo chamber it doesn’t sound as good as they hoped it would.

        The whole point is to create that false impression that it is intolerant of liberals to resist confederacy worship.

    • Enheduanna says:

      And how ironic Kelly was brought in to “manage” tRump. Looks like he needs adult supervision himself.

      Where did he pull the 500 year thing from? His a$$? The Civil War was 165 years ago. England had ended slavery by then. Even 500 years ago, Shakespeare had a pretty good grasp on morality.

      And as for his opinions of Rep. Wilson, he just needs to apologize or sit down and STFU. Just another old, white, misogynistic racist dinosaur.

    • catscatscats says:

      Is it just me or does frowny face Kelly look like he belongs in a Gestapo uniform? He strikes me as cold, cruel and soul less.

    • teele says:

      When Kelly was standing looking down at the floor while Trump prattled on about the good guys in the Alt-White crowd, we misinterpreted it as embarrassment at Trump’s insanity; apparently, he was just discouraged that the Doltard didn’t go far enough. Well, as President Crazypants is constantly reminding us, Kelly is “his” general.

    • jane says:

      one thing a military brat can tell you, just because you are a general doesn’t mean that you are smart or honorable. It means you have rank, nothing else.

  8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/10/31/trump-and-his-allies-are-laying-the-groundwork-for-a-saturday-night-massacre/

    Comments or thoughts on this piece? Also armandokos on twitter tweeted something similar last night. Fear of outright authoritarian take over in the face of lack of Repub willingness to act.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Oh wow. Dakinikat just clued me in to this story in Politico. Sam Clovis was a co-chair of the Trump campaign and one of the people who communicated with Papadopoulos.

    Clovis said to be ‘cooperative witness’ in Senate Russia probe

    Sam Clovis, President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee to be the Agriculture Department’s chief scientist, has been “a fully cooperative witness” in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts told POLITICO.

    Clovis, a former co-chair and policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, knew that another campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, was talking to Russians, according to news reports based on documents released Monday as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

    • Fannie says:

      Good enough, no excuses for Kevin Spacey. None!

    • Enheduanna says:

      Everyone told me how good that series was but I’ve been averse to Spacey for years – not sure why. He just seemed smug. And overrated.

      Anyway, shutting down the series seems to be more a punishment for anyone watching the damn thing and for the other actors involved. Not sure how I feel about that. I guess he gets royalties though.

  10. Fannie says:

    Thanks BB for great links……The Russian Mafia article broke it right down, and stuck it right in Trump’s front door. We have commented time and time again that he is another Al Capone, in one of the biggest roulette game evah!

  11. bostonboomer says:


  12. dakinikat says:

  13. dakinikat says:

    Will No One Rid Us of This Meddlesome Trump?
    With both parties in a state of disunion and disrepair, it’s hard to have faith that Americans can emerge from this unscathed. Or at all.


  14. bostonboomer says:

    So it turns out that Sam Clovis has testified in the Mueller probe.

    Top Trump Campaign Aide Clovis Spoke to Mueller Team, Grand Jury


    Clovis is also the guy who recommended the 5 foreign policy advisers that Trump named in that WaPo article during the campaign.


  15. Sweet Sue says:

    Am I going nuts, now, too because this whole New York attack stinks of Putin.

  16. Catscatscats says:

    Sue: WatchIng Rachel, she had a guest who said that while this guy came from Uzbekistan in 2010 there was an ISIS banner sent out yesterday specifically calling for attacks on Halloween, Oct 31st, which is of course a US holiday. They say the banner was translated into four languages, including English, French and Russian, with an image of the Eiffel tower but she pointed out that ISIS usually doesn’t specify a date. Sounds like it was ISIS inspired but i guess it could be Putin using that as a cover. Hey, i am no stranger to tin foil myself! I bet Putin likes squirrels as much as his orange pawn.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Cats, we know Putin wants to keep Trump in place and it sure did change the conversation.
      Still, I pray that it’s not all that corrupt and cynical. We’ve seen so many nut jobs scream “False Flag” in the worst ways and situations.
      I won’t. Not now.

      • Joanelle says:

        We’re going to find that as Mueller keeps digging the Republican Party is like an onion, keep peeling Mueller, keep peeling and he’ll find that there is nothing of substance there, just hate and fear. Hatred is what keeps these folks going. How 😞, these are the folks who ‘have it all’ but have no heart or compassion.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I guess all us white southerners were brought up thinking he was above reproach. The story went, when he approached Gettysburg, he cut such a fine-looking figure the Union bystanders “wished he was theirs”.

      It’s hard when you find out you were brought up with a huge dose of codswallop. We have to change the way history is taught here.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        Taught everywhere. In he North Lee is held up as the “Reluctant Rebel Who Lost All For Honor!”

        I try to be fair to the folks from the past, to recognize their gifts and qualities along side their shortcomings and vices.

        The problem is that the rampant hagiography that has gone on regarding race, gender and American Icons leaves most of us not really having any kind of real idea what the hell the truth is!

        I do know this. This nonsense about the left trying to obliterate history is horseshit designed to let white supremacy in by the side door. The truth and history have nothing to do with it.

        • Enheduanna says:

          Seems to me the people trying to uncover the truth behind these myths are doing the opposite of obliterating history. Shining a light on it more like.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I love the word codswallop. Also, flapdoodle.

    • NW Luna says:

      “Kindly”? I was raised in the North and still live here. In school learning about the Civil War I couldn’t understand why all those states started a war to keep slavery going. And all those men who signed up to fight — didn’t they know slavery was bad? Were they all mean people? I was a very kind-hearted kid who trusted that people were good. I hope I’ve kept the kind-heartedness but through hard experience I’ve become cynical. Yes I’m mostly white, but I’m not stupid. Slavery is just plain wrong.

  17. dakinikat says:

    The RNC, Revisited
    Last year, when Jared Yates Sexton went to Cleveland, the ugliness he saw there was a harbinger of much to come.

    Below is an excerpt from The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore, by Jared Yates Sexton. A version of this story originally appeared in The Atticus Review in July of last year, when it wasn’t yet clear that the ugliness Sexton Yates saw in Cleveland was a harbinger of much to come. Or, perhaps it was clear—to anyone who was really looking. Here is that essay, revisited. This story is recommended by Longreads contributing editor Dana Snitzky.


  18. Sweet Sue says:

    I see that Drump is using the crime that took place in NYC as an excuse for going full on Bannion/Blood and Soil and I am very afraid.