Lazy Caturday Reads: Pelosi Wiped the Floor with Trump and Roger Stone is Going Down

Albrecht Durer, Hare and Cat

Good Afternoon!

The artwork in today’s post is by Svetlana Petrova of Fat Cat Art. “I insert my ginger cat into famous paintings.”

Yesterday was quite a day. We saw Trump fold like a cheap suit in the face of Nancy Pelosi’s determined refusal to give in to his childish tantrums and, thanks to CNN, we saw Roger Stone frogmarched by FBI agents who weren’t getting paid because of Trump’s government shutdown.

The word of the day was “cave,” and Merriam-Webster wondered why so many people had to look up it’s meaning.

What does cave mean?

Cave is defined as “a natural chamber or series of chambers in the earth or in the side of a hill.” But that’s of course just the noun version. The one seemingly being used by every headline writer on the Internet right now is the verb sense defined as “to cease to resist; to submit.”

Cave has been used since the early 19th century in the “submit” sense, and there is evidence of its application in political matters shortly thereafter.

The genuine Douglas Democracy will not support it, but we see that a few shilly wally politicians are caving in.
— The Shippenberg News (Shippenberg, PA), 7 May 1859

Yes, he caved.

Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street Rainy Day

The Daily Beast: Trump Caves, Ends Longest Government Shutdown in History Without His Precious Wall.

President Donald Trump agreed on Friday to fund the government without money for his much-desired border wall, effectively bringing an end to the longest shutdown in American history.

The deal extends funding for the government at current levels until February 15  and include a “vehicle” for lawmakers to begin discussions between the two congressional chambers over a larger bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and border security specifically.

The president presented the end result was a triumph for his administration, insisting that Democrats had come to his position on the need for a border barrier (they hadn’t)….

Though Trump spoke defiantly, the consensus view from officials of both parties on Capitol Hill was the Trump’s clock had been cleaned. The president had insisted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that he would not sign any bill to open the government that did not include $5.7 billion in wall funding. But amid sagging poll numbers and partial closures of critical government functions—including, on Friday morning, flights in and out of LaGuardia Airport in New York—Trump committed on Friday to doing just that.

Please keep reading for Nancy Pelosi’s characterizations of Trump and Senate Republicans. Here’s just a sample:

Pelosi was also critical of Republican lawmakers for letting the situation get to its current point. In particular, she singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who had insisted it was pointless to move any government funding measure through the Senate if Trump had not committed to signing it—including reintroducing a clean funding bill that the Senate had overwhelming backed in December.

“I know he is a professional,” Pelosi said of McConnell. “So It is particularly painful to see him kowtowing to the president of the United States. And I said to him, ‘Do you just want to abolish the Congress or maybe just the United States Senate? Because that is effectively what you’re doing.’”

Asked what McConnell said in response, Pelosi replied: “What does he ever say? Nothing.”

Also from The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky writes: Trump’s Zombies Applaud as He Lights Himself on Fire.

Donald Trump is in this so far above his head he’s like Danny DeVito in the Lakers’ locker room. To extend the metaphor, Nancy Pelosi is LeBron, and Chuck Schumer is, uh, whoever their second-best player is these days. But the two of them, Pelosi in particular, have just made the president of the United States look like 1) a fool and 2) a moral eunuch, which you might say shouldn’t be hard, because he is obviously both of those things, but he is the president and he has the bully pulpit and all that, along with a propaganda network that every night tells millions of Americans that he farts roses, so actually it is kind of hard, what they did.

Trump looked so terrible at that Rose Garden… well, it wasn’t a press conference. It wasn’t exactly a speech, either. Event. Of course he had his goons around, so that when he said right off the bat that there was a deal to end the shutdown, we heard applause. Applause! Can you imagine?

He just got taken to the house and forced to humiliate himself on national television, and these zombies applaud? He singlehandedly shut down the government. Cost hundreds of thousands of people their paychecks through his bluster and buffoonery. Sent air-traffic controllers who already work hellish 50- and 60-hour weeks out to find part-time work. And they applaud?

Then he just carried on and on and on, well past the point that most Americans might actually have been listening. Okay, dude, you lost. We got it. Now you’re still going to make us listen to all this word-salad of yours about left turns and right turns and women with duct tape? Where did that come from? Probably some TV movie he watched. Or maybe James Woods told him.

Read the rest at the link.

Adam Davidson at The New Yorker: Robert Mueller Got Roger Stone.

On Friday morning, Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime political adviser and ally, who has been a fixture in Republican politics since the Nixon Administration, was arrested by the F.B.I. The office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, issued a seven-count indictment, which charges Stone with obstruction of an official proceeding, false statements, and witness tampering. It also makes the case that Stone acted as a conduit of information between the Trump campaign and Julian Assange as Assange’s organization, WikiLeaks, released e-mails that the Russian government had stolen from the Democratic Party and members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in an effort to help Trump win the Presidential election.

The charges stem not from the original acts themselves but from Stone’s alleged lies about them. In September, 2017, Stone testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that he had “no e-mails, no texts, no documents whatsoever” or any other materials that discussed hacked documents or conversations about Assange. As in the case of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager (and Stone’s former business partner), and that of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, we see that it is not wise to lie when asked, under oath, if you have any specific e-mails and texts. Once again, the government had all the incriminating receipts.

Perhaps the most surprising detail of the indictment is that Stone, a famous braggart, often downplayed the significance of his role as a conduit between the Trump campaign and Assange. He was not, as he has previously said, simply guessing and making vague predictions about the actions WikiLeaks was likely to take; he was an active participant in its attempts to cause chaos in the 2016 Presidential election. In texts sent on or about October 2, 2016, Stone expressed confusion that WikiLeaks had not released e-mails related to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as he had expected. That same day, he sent an e-mail to a friend, who is identified in the indictment as Person 2 and appears to be the radio host Randy Credico, with the subject line “WTF?,” in which he asked why Assange had cancelled a press conference.

The first week of October, 2016, was a crucial one for the Trump campaign and for the country. Trump was trailing Clinton by about four points in the polls, and the conventional wisdom was that he had no chance of winning the Presidency. In the e-mails quoted in the indictment, Stone began that week by complaining that a high-ranking official on Trump’s campaign wouldn’t return his calls. By October 4th, the official—who has been identified by CNBC and in previous reporting by the Times as Steve Bannon, who was the head of Trump’s campaign at the time—had contacted Stone directly, asking when Assange planned his next e-mail release. Stone reassured him that Assange would release “a load every week going forward.” On October 7th—shortly after the Washington Post published the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women—Assange began releasing e-mails stolen from Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta. An unnamed associate of Bannon wrote, in a text to Stone, “well done.”

Read the whole thing at The New Yorker.

At The Washington Post, John Podesta gets his revenge: John Podesta: It might now be Roger Stone’s time in the barrel.

Despite my Italian roots, vengeance doesn’t run deep in my veins. But I admit I smiled when Roger Stone’s arrest was announced Friday morning.

To give some context: On Oct. 7, 2016, WikiLeaks began leaking emails from my personal inbox that had been hacked by Russian intelligence operatives. A few days earlier, Stone — a longtime Republican operative and close confidant of then-candidate Donald Trump — had mysteriously predicted that the organization would reveal damaging information about the Clinton campaign. And weeks before that, he’d even tweeted: “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel.”

Stone’s connection with and boasting about WikiLeaks during the campaign has always been fishy. But thanks to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, the truth is finally coming out. Friday’s indictment alleges that a senior campaign official “was directed” (and by whom?) to contact Stone about the WikiLeaks releases even after it was widely reported that they were a Russian hacking operation.

Revenge aside, the accusations against Stone are serious. He faces a seven-count indictment: five counts of false statements, one count of obstruction and one count of witness tampering.

The details of the indictment are devastating and, characteristically of Stone, quite colorful. According to the filing, Stone emailed a confederate labeled “Person 2” (identified by the media as radio host Randy Credico) to dissuade him from testifying truthfully about WikiLeaks before the House Intelligence Committee: “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds” and “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die [expletive].” Stone instructs Person 2 to do a “Frank Pentangeli” — a character from “The Godfather Part II” who famously lies to congressional investigators — and, my nostalgic favorite, Stone paraphrases a quote from President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate coverup: “Stonewall it. Plead the Fifth. Anything to save the plan.”

Read more at the WaPo.

More stories to check out, links only:

The New York Times: Trump and His Associates Had More Than 100 Contacts With Russians Before the Inauguration.

The Washington Post: ‘Prisoner of his own impulse’: Inside Trump’s reversal to end shutdown without wall.

The Washington Post Editorial Board: The shutdown was proof of Trump’s stark incapacity for leadership.

Harry Enten at CNN: The numbers show Trump lost the shutdown and Pelosi won.

Jim Newell at Slate: The Pelosi Method.

Harry Cheadle at Vice: Nancy Pelosi Mopped the Floor with Trump.

Just Security: Roger Stone Indictment Implicates Trump Campaign in Election Law Violations.

Betsy Woodruff at The Daily Beast: ‘I Will Piss on Your Grave’: Emails Reveal Roger Stone’s Abuse of Frenemy Randy Credico.

Emptywheel: Things Not Said In Roger Stone’s Indictment: “Trump Directed” and Other More Damning Details.

Bloomberg: Roger Stone Draws the Judge Who Threw Paul Manafort in Jail.

Ben Zimmer at Politico: Roger Stone and ‘Ratf—ing’: A Short History.

Chuck Rosenberg at Lawfare: Roger Stone’s Arrest Was Appropriate, Not Heavy-Handed.

That’s it for me today. What stories are you following?

 

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24 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads: Pelosi Wiped the Floor with Trump and Roger Stone is Going Down”

  1. Joanelle says:

    You said ‘We saw Trump fold like a cheap suit in the face of Nancy Pelos. Thanks because he’s it used to dealing with smart women, and she played him

  2. tokyosand says:

    It’s important to celebrate the wins we get, but now I’m looking to the future and what happens next, as this continuing resolution only gives the government a 3 week patch. I’m reading this article about Pelosi introducing legislation to try and prevent future shutdowns: https://www.thedailybeast.com/pelosi-embraces-legislation-to-effectively-prevent-future-government-shutdowns/

    • bostonboomer says:

      I hope McConnell has learned his lesson and that he won’t allow Trump to pull this again. But I’m not betting on it.

      • tokyosand says:

        McConnell is an immovable object. He is, by far, the most anti-democratic person in government today.

    • NW Luna says:

      Interesting that a few R senators have raised plans to continue most funding in case of a budget impasse. My favorite plan is Democratic Senator Warner’s:

      In lieu of a failure by lawmakers to reach a spending deal, the current funding levels of the government would automatically continue — except for those monies meant to pay members of the legislative branch and the office of the president.

      Except that most of those people have enough money to comfortably ride out a long closure.

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Wow. Check out this article from December.

    • quixote says:

      The Shrub elections, I think it was actually the 2004 one, a statistician looked at the probability of the votes he got without a thumb on the scale. I don’t remember how many zeroes were in front of the one, but definitely more than three.

      There was a less than 0.00001 chance (whatever it was, vanishingly small) of that his election happening without help.

      But nobody in authority ever investigated and made sure the crap stopped because, I don’t know, this is America and it can’t happen here.

      It’s really taken the Russians noticing easy pickings on top of the massive US homegrown shenanigans (Crosscheck for instance) to wake up some of the country.

      Still remains to be seen whether anything gets done. Pelosi’s HR 1 is excellent, but He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named will kill it.

      • NW Luna says:

        I distinctly remember that too. Two or three statisticians with academic affiliations analyzed the numbers and their conclusion was that the results Bush received were astronomically unlikely. That and the hours-long waits to vote in heavily Democratic areas, and in Ohio in the pouring rain. Tip a few situations and cheat your way to a win.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Even as far back as 2000, weren’t the exit polls suddenly showing wide disparities with the actual vote counts? I think whenever the exit polling is off something smelly is going on and that happens more now than it ever did in the past.

        • NW Luna says:

          Yes. The UN uses exit polls to judge the reliability of election results. Many US elections have not met that smell test.

        • quixote says:

          2000 was stolen. The statistics are damning on that one. And interestingly enough, if the disparity between exit polls and election results happens in other countries, it’s considered such a strong indicator of tampering that an investigation is warranted.

          The other thing that I find interesting, though I haven’t seen it mentioned, is that the US exit polls are always “wrong” in favor of Republican wins.

          If it was a modelling problem, you’d expect the pollsters to overcorrect, then next time they’d be wrong in favor of Democrats, etc. But somehow these professionals always manage to be wrong *the same way*.

  5. OG says:

    I agree that the senate should be abolished. It is undemocratic.
    I also think the right of the president to veto legislation passed by the house should be abolished.
    If we could get those two changes made it would be s great step forward for us and our government.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Trump’s golf course employed undocumented workers — and then fired them during shutdown

    They had spent years on the staff of Donald Trump’s golf club, winning employee-of-the-month awards and receiving glowing letters of recommendation. Some were trusted enough to hold the keys to Eric Trump’s weekend home.

    But on Jan. 18, about a dozen employees at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., were summoned, one by one, to talk with a human resources executive from Trump headquarters. During the meetings, they were fired because they are undocumented immigrants, according to interviews with the workers and their attorney. The fired workers are from Latin America.

    The firings show Trump’s business was relying on undocumented workers even as the president demanded a border wall to keep out such immigrants.

    • quixote says:

      God, he’s such a toxic waste of space.

      I’ve been assuming for years he has cheap undoc labor. But, you know, in reality, none of the asshats object to that. They only object to them being treated like human beings.

  7. Enheduanna says:

    The pictures are hilarious. I especially like the “Durer” – hahahaha. It really fooled me.

  8. NW Luna says:

  9. NW Luna says:

    Lol. Sob. The article is another example of both-sidesism.

    Trump advisers lied over and over again, Mueller says. The question is, why?