Friday Reads: TMI addition (I’m shocked! Shocked!)

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

How many of us are really surprised by the content of the Comey Memos?  Any one?  Surprised the Republicans would release detailed accounts of Trump’s most bizarre moments?  Yeah. That last one is a bit confusing.  So, we now have more on hookers and jailing journalists and blatant lies, and just about every other  lurid example of the multiple personality disorders that comprise the raw id of the Kremlin’s potted plant in the US oval office.

Let’s just get straight to the dishonesty, obsession, and ickiness of the Madness of KKKremlin Caligula. This first read isn’t from Comey but if you want to read up on one of Trump’s lying self-promoting alter egos then read this in WAPO by Jonathan Greenburg:  ‘Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes.’ Yes, here there be tapes.

In May 1984, an official from the Trump Organization called to tell me how rich Donald J. Trump was. I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holdings at $200 million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was.

The official was John Barron — a name we now know as an alter ego of Trump himself. When I recently rediscovered and listened, for first time since that year, to the tapes I made of this and other phone calls, I was amazed that I didn’t see through the ruse: Although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly stronger New York accent, it was clearly him. “Barron” told me that Trump had taken possession of the business he ran with his father, Fred. “Most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump,” he said. “You have down Fred Trump [as half owner] . . . but I think you can really use Donald Trump now.” Trump, through this sockpuppet, was telling me he owned “in excess of 90 percent” of his family’s business. With all the home runs Trump was hitting in real estate, Barron told me, he should be called a billionaire.

At the time, I suspected that some of this was untrue. I ran Trump’s assertions to the ground, and for many years I was proud of the fact that Forbes had called him on his distortions and based his net worth on what I thought was solid research.

But it took decades to unwind the elaborate farce Trump had built to project an image as one of the richest people in America. Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue. Trump wasn’t just poorer than he said he was. Over time I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million — a paltry sum by the standards of his super-monied peers — as a spate of government reports and books showed only much later.

It’s just hard to grok that level of need for recognition. But, Comey’s memos outline the same behavior about 40 years later.  From CNN and Stephen Collinson: ‘Comey memos renew questions over Trump’s behavior.’

The Comey memos suggest Trump has a scattershot and self-obsessed mindset, brooding about his subordinates, leaks, his campaign and his inaugural crowd size and not appreciating or caring about protocol boundaries that separate the White House and the Justice Department.

Furthermore, the conversations with Comey soon after Trump moved into the White House paint a picture of a new President more concerned with own fortunes than the burden of his new responsibilities.

CNN obtained the documents, which offer a staggering insider account, after they were sent to Congress by the Justice Department on Thursday in response to requests from three GOP House committee chairmen on Capitol Hill.
Trump responded to the release of the memos on Twitter in an apparent attempt to direct conversation away from the embarrassing substance of the documents.

“So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

Hours earlier, he insisted the memos “show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?”

Here’s the latest from the AP wire.

The 15 pages of documents contain new details about a series of interactions with Trump that Comey found so unnerving that he chose to document them in writing. Those seven encounters in the weeks and months before Comey’s May 2017 firing include a Trump Tower discussion about allegations involving Trump and prostitutes in Moscow; a White House dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for his loyalty; and a private Oval Office discussion where the ex-FBI head says the president asked him to end an investigation into Michael Flynn, the former White House national security adviser.

The documents had been eagerly anticipated since their existence was first revealed last year, especially since Comey’s interactions with Trump are a critical part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice. Late Thursday night, Trump tweeted that the memos “show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.”

The memos cover the first three months of the Trump administration, a period of upheaval marked by staff turnover, a cascade of damaging headlines and revelations of an FBI investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The documents reflect Trump’s uneasiness about that investigation, though not always in ways that Comey seemed to anticipate.

In a February 2017 conversation, for instance, Trump told Comey how Putin told him, “we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world” even as the president adamantly, and repeatedly, distanced himself from a salacious allegation concerning him and prostitutes in Moscow, according to one memo. Comey says Trump did not say when Putin had made the comment.

In another memo, Comey recounts how Trump at a private White House dinner pointed his fingers at his head and complained that Flynn, his embattled national security adviser, “has serious judgment issues.” The president blamed Flynn for failing to alert him promptly to a congratulatory call from a world leader, causing a delay for Trump in returning a message.

The foreign leader’s name is redacted in the documents, but two people familiar with the call tell the AP it was Putin. They were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

 

Woman-Laying-on-Green-Fainting-Couch-ImagesJosh Marshall of TPM writes that the memos show clear indications of Trump’s lying about his trip to Moscow.  He’s traced and documented the inconsistencies between words and actions.

There’s ample evidence that Trump stayed not one but two nights. In July 2017, Bloomberg News’s Vernon Silver and Evgenia Pismennaya reported out a detailed reconstruction of the trip based on FAA records, social media postings and interviews. They showed clearly that Trump flew from North Carolina to New York on the evening of November 7th (Thursday) and then proceeded on to Moscow overnight and arrived sometime early on November 8th (Friday). He overnighted in Moscow. He was in Moscow all of November 9th (Saturday), the day of the pageant, and departed for New York early November 10th. For the details of how we know these facts, see the Bloomberg article. It is forensic in its detail.

Clearly, Trump lied about not spending the night in Russia. It’s conceivable that he forgot he’d spent the night. But again, the whole idea is wildly implausible. He said he’d discussed the details of the trip with others. Surely they would have reminded him. And he stayed not one but two nights. Clearly, Trump was lying about this. He lied about it repeatedly to Comey. And Priebus’s presence during one of the encounters strongly suggests he’d told this same lie to his senior staff.

In other Trump Crazy news there’s this: ‘Trump sex scandals turn a harsh spotlight on this Beverly Hills lawyer’via the LA Times.

Most Beverly Hills lawyers are seldom accused of extortion.

For Keith M. Davidson, however, it’s not so rare: He is fighting three civil suits by television personalities alleging extortion.

Davidson is the attorney who negotiated payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential race to keep them quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump.

Both wound up firing Davidson and hiring new lawyers to get their nondisclosure deals voided.

Via the NY Times we hear about a recently filed lawsuit: ‘Democratic Party Alleges Trump-Russia Conspiracy in New Lawsuit’.  Yes, it is just breaking!

The Democratic National Committee opened a new legal assault on President Trump on Friday by filing a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the organization was the victim of a conspiracy by Russian officials, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.

The 66-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, assembles the publicly known facts of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling to accuse Mr. Trump’s associates of illegally working with Russian intelligence agents to interfere with the outcome of the election.

“The conspiracy constituted an act of previously unimaginable treachery: the campaign of the presidential nominee of a major party in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” the D.N.C. wrote in its lawsuit, which was first reported by The Washington Post.

And from that WAPO link:

The lawsuit argues that Russia is not entitled to sovereign immunity in this case because “the DNC claims arise out of Russia’s trespass on to the DNC’s private servers . . . in order to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage.”

The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC filed suit against then-President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.

The suit was denounced at the time by Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, who called it a case of “sheer demagoguery” by the DNC. But the civil action brought by the DNC’s then-chairman, Lawrence F. O’Brien, was ultimately successful, yielding a $750,000 settlement from the Nixon campaign that was reached on the day in 1974 that Nixon left office.

The suit filed Friday seeks millions of dollars in compensation to offset damage it claims the party suffered from the hacks. The DNC argues that the cyberattack undermined its ability to communicate with voters, collect donations and operate effectively as its employees faced personal harassment and, in some cases, death threats.

 

Rachel Maddow interviewed Comey last night on her show.  You may watch here.

The Cook Report lists risk factors for Republicans in the upcoming elections.  Toss ’em out!

Multiple indicators, including generic ballot polls , President Trump’s approval ratings and recent special election results, point to midterm danger for Republicans. But without robust race-by-race polling, it’s trickier to predict individual races six months out. Are Democrats the favorites to pick up the 23 seats they need for a majority? Yes, but it’s still not certain which races will materialize for Democrats and which won’t.

Our latest ratings point to 56 vulnerable GOP-held seats, versus six vulnerable Democratic seats. Of the 56 GOP seats at risk, 15 are open seats created by retirements. Even if Democrats were to pick up two-thirds of those seats, they would still need to hold all their own seats and defeat 13 Republican incumbents to reach the magic number of 218. Today, there are 18 GOP incumbents in our Toss Up column.

That Toss Up list is likely to grow as the cycle progresses. Out of the 65 GOP incumbents rated as less than “Solid,” 49 were first elected in 2010 or after, meaning more than three quarters have never had to face this kind of political climate before. And, Democrats have a donor enthusiasm edge: in the first quarter of 2018, at least 43 sitting Republicans were out-raised by at least one Democratic opponent.

Well, that’s it for me today.

What’s on your reading and blogging list?

 

 

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19 Comments on “Friday Reads: TMI addition (I’m shocked! Shocked!)”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. NW Luna says:

    Civil rights prosecutors recommend charges in death of Eric Garner

    Career civil rights prosecutors have again recommended pursuing charges against the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, whose videotaped takedown by New York City police officers sparked a national outcry, though it remains uncertain if a case will be approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department, a person familiar with the matter said.

    The recommendation to charge New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo came in recent weeks, and now must be weighed by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions

    I’m not hopeful that justice will be done if it’s left up to Sessions.

  5. NW Luna says:

    The president blamed Flynn for failing to alert him promptly to a congratulatory call from a world leader, causing a delay for Trump in returning a message.

    He acts like a teenager with a crush.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Rules for babies on the Senate floor

    On Thursday, Tammy Duckworth became the first senator to bring a baby onto the Senate floor. (Congratulations, Senator!) The baby, Maile, was attired in a duck-bedecked (be-ducked?) onesie and a jacket (in order to conform to the dress code).

    With babies present, senators may be held to a higher standard than previously. If babies throw tantrums on the floor, they will be removed, instead of returned by the people of the state of Texas to serve another term.

    • quixote says:

      This could be the beginning of a new era in the Senate. It dawns on them that if they can throw tantruming babies out then — hey! — they could throw tantruming old white guys out too. Then they actually get good stuff done and — >pop<

      Oh well. That dream bubble was bound to burst sooner or later.

  7. quixote says:

    About leaking the Comey memos even though they don’t seem to help the Rethug cause:

    I saw one comment saying the DOJ, months ago, was against their release because it could complicate Mueller’s work. I’m pretty sure Nunes, at least, would view that as a feature, not a bug.

    And the other thing I thought was that damaging Dump may be what they want. Maybe they’d like Pence in there by, say July, so that the election can go back to being about sexism and racism instead of the temper tantrums of the mess in the White House.

    • dakinikat says:

      Here’s the official statement from the bad guys
      https://intelligence.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=879

      They think it clears Trump of obstruction charges!!!

      • quixote says:

        :megasurprised look: Really? I mean, *really*? What in a few brief words that don’t mess up our beautiful minds too much, are they thinking? (I’m kinda serious. I don’t read stuff written by Repugs because afterwards you have scrape off mental ticks.)

        On the off chance they’re not as stupid as they’re playing at, if they do want to get rid of him, they can’t come out and say that. They’d have to cloak it in some language that implied they were doing it all from the best motives, even if it made no sense.

  8. dakinikat says:

    look who the CIA turned in?

  9. NW Luna says:

    Responding to James Comey, New York Times’s Baquet says key Russia-Trump story was ‘NOT inaccurate’

    Asked to comment on whether the newspaper is prepared to revisit the article in light of Comey’s comments, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet emailed the Erik Wemple Blog: “I think the headline was off but if you read the story I think it was NOT inaccurate based on what we knew at the time. Sort of like the Hillary Clinton story that turned out to be right.”

    “the headline was off” They still can’t say “We were wrong” and I expect they never will. I hope the NYT keeps losing subscriptions.