Thursday Reads: Russia Investigation Cover Up Live Blog/Open Thread

Cover-up bunny

Good Morning!!

The Barr cover-up report reportedly will go public sometime today. The schedule is vague. At 9:30, Cover-Up General Barr plans to give a “press conference” about a report that no one except unknown DOJ officials and White House lawyers have read.

Yes, according the NYT, the White House has been briefed and very likely has had the full report for some time. In addition, DOJ attorneys have been helping the White House prepare their counter-report!

The New York Times: White House and Justice Dept. Officials Discussed Mueller Report Before Release.

Not all of Robert S. Mueller III’s findings will be news to President Trump when they are released Thursday.

Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.

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A sense of paranoia was taking hold among some of Mr. Trump’s aides, some of whom fear his backlash more than the findings themselves, the people said. The report might make clear which of Mr. Trump’s current and former advisers spoke to the special counsel, how much they said and how much damage they did to the president — providing a kind of road map for retaliation.

Reporters should use the “press conference” to ask Barr about his past cover-ups, his connections to Russia, his conflicts of interest, and his general corruption. They won’t, of course. They also should not refer to whatever redacted mess the Cover-Up General releases as the Mueller Report, but of course they will do just that.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s not the Mueller report; it’s the Barr report. If Robert Mueller wanted to endorse Barr’s cover-up, he would be appearing at the “press conference.” But his isn’t going to be there. Mueller has been muzzled.

Tom Scocca at Hmm Daily: It’s the Barr Report, Not the Mueller Report.

What could inspire more hope and despair than a whole bunch of people who messed something up being granted a do-over? Tomorrow, all the reporters and publications who gave Donald Trump his “MUELLER FINDS NO COLLUSION” headlines, based on a few sentence fragments in a letter from attorney general William Barr, are supposed to get another document to analyze and quickly write headlines about.

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Already, journalists are calling this document “the Mueller report.” It is not the Mueller report; that is, it will not be the report prepared by the special counsel investigating Russian election interference and the Trump campaign. It will be some other document. Its text, like the quotes used in the Barr letter, will be based on the text of the Mueller report, but it will have been edited down for release by William Barr, whose implicit and explicit theory of his job duties is that he is there to protect the president.

This isn’t speculation. It’s a description of what’s publicly known about the process, informed by Barr’s prior work with the Mueller report, his written record of his own thoughts on presidential immunity, and his history as a middleman in previous scandal coverage. Barr is a partisan, not a broker of facts, and it is a basic reporting error to treat material that’s passed through his control as definitive—a basic reporting error that major media outlets eagerly made, last time around.

The Daily Beast: Mueller Report Rollout Won’t Have Mueller.

The Justice Department will hold a press conference Thursday morning about the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report—but Mueller won’t be there and the document may not be released until after Attorney General William Barr speaks about the nearly 400 pages he went through to redact.

The House Judiciary Committee has been told it will not get the Mueller report from DOJ until 11 a.m. or noon—after Barr’s press conference scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

“They are making Al Capone look straight,” one committee member told The Daily Beast.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler ripped Barr’s plan to speak about the report before lawmakers, the media and public have a chance to review it.

“Rather than letting the facts of the report speak for themselves, the attorney general has taken unprecedented steps to spin Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation,” Nadler said at a press conference on Wednesday night.

“The Attorney General appears to be waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump, the very subject of the investigation at the heart of the Mueller report,” he added.

If the report is heavily redacted, Nadler said, “we will most certainly issue the subpoenas in very short order.” He said they “will probably find it useful” to ask Mueller and members of his team to testify.

Just send out the subpoenas as soon as you get the report. No more fooling around.

Axios insists on calling the Barr Report “the Mueller Report.”

Mueller report: What witnesses expect ahead of its release

Mueller witnesses and their lawyers say that they expect the special counsel’s report to include a mass of detailed scenes in which President Trump lashed out about Mueller, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and the FBI.

The big picture: They believe that if Mueller’s report presents the material in the same relentlessly detailed way as his prosecutors asked the questions, the accumulation could lead a casual observer to think that the president tried to obstruct justice.

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  • These sources expect Don McGahn, the former White House counsel, to star in many of the crucial conversations that the Mueller team considered part of their exploration of whether Trump sought to obstruct justice.

The bottom line: These sources don’t know whether the scenes the Mueller team quizzed them about were included in the report. And, of course, they don’t know what Attorney General Bill Barr redacted ahead of today’s release.

The Barr cover-up people are claiming that the part of the report on obstruction of justice will only be “lightly redacted” (according to the WaPo). I can’t imagine why the Barr people think we should trust them on this. More from Axios:

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, said: “We’re going to respond as quickly as we can to you all during the day, probably multiple times. … We’ll try to get something up very quick.”

– I asked Sekulow whether there could be a surprise. “This is a situation where we know what the conclusion is,” the lawyer replied.

– “The aircraft landed safely, there was no damage to the equipment or injury to the passengers, and now two weeks later the NTSB issues a video of the landing.”

– “I’m not concerned,” Sekulow added. “The inquiry is concluded.”

Fuck off Seculow. I hope you end up in prison.

Democrats are furious. Politico: ‘Keep your mouth shut’: Dems erupt over Barr’s Mueller report rollout.

House Democrats exploded in anger Wednesday over Attorney General William Barr’s plans to roll out special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, accusing the Justice Department of trying to spin the report’s contents and protect President Donald Trump.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning to review the report, which will include redactions. Reports that DOJ officials have already discussed Mueller’s findings with the White House only further inflamed tensions.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Barr had “thrown out his credibility & the DOJ’s independence with his single-minded effort to protect @realDonaldTrump above all else.“

“The American people deserve the truth, not a sanitized version of the Mueller Report approved by the Trump Admin,“ Pelosi wrote on Twitter while on an official trip in Ireland.

The House speaker joined with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to call for Mueller to testify publicly once the report is out, saying Barr’s “regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report … and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference” had created “a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality.”

“We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible,” they said.

Barr is going to release the report to Congress as hard copies and on CD’s! Barr is still stuck in the 1990s, apparently.

NBC News: Democrats blast timing of Mueller report release: ‘What are they trying to hide?’

A hard-copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report will be made available to members of Congress after 11 a.m. Thursday, but only after a news conference by the attorney general — timing that has infuriated Democratic lawmakers.

That means the document will be handed over to lawmakers on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees 90 minutes after the press conference by Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the contents of the 300-plus page report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign.

The report will be delivered on CDs. Sometime after that, it will be posted on the special counsel’s website and available to the public, a Department of Justice official said.

The Washington Post Editorial Board: Barr’s redactions on the Mueller report don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

As Washington prepared for the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s final report, a fight was brewing between House Democrats and the Justice Department about how much would be redacted. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has prepared a subpoena demanding disclosure of the whole document to Congress. Attorney General William P. Barr has steadfastly insisted that information that is classified, stemming from secret grand jury proceedings or otherwise sensitive would not be revealed publicly.

Mr. Barr is essentially asking Congress and the public to take him at his word that his redactions will be proper. There is already cause for wariness about Mr. Barr’s judgment, following reports that those who worked on the Mueller investigation felt that the summary the attorney general released last month inadequately represented their findings. The fact that Mr. Barr rejected the notion that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, even though Mr. Mueller made no determination on the matter, is another concerning sign about what the attorney general is thinking.

More importantly, Mr. Barr works for an administration preparingfor all-out war with Congress over all sorts of disclosure, which would be only the latest in a string of bad-faith rejections of federal rules and traditional norms. Regardless of the attorney general’s reputation, he still works for an administration that long ago lost any benefit of the doubt on transparency and fair play.

There may be no satisfying end to this national saga until an independent referee steps in to sort out the controversy. Reggie Walton, a U.S. district judge, raised on Tuesday one possibility for further review. Accusing Mr. Barr of creating “an environment that has caused a significant part of the public . . . to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” the judge raised the possibility that he would demand an unredacted copy to review whether the Justice Department’s omissions were warranted. We hope he follows through. Mr. Walton could ensure that the redactions followed Freedom of Information Act procedures and were not influenced by political considerations.

More at the link.

Funny face of cute Jack Russell dog wrapped up in red warm blanket, focus on nose

One more from Natasha Bertrand at Politico: Post-Mueller report likely to target Russia dossier author Steele.

The frenzied anticipation around special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report has overshadowed another Justice Department report on the Russia probe that could land as soon as next month, and which will likely take direct aim at the former British spy behind an infamous “dossier” on President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

For the past year, the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has been examining the FBI’s efforts to surveil a one-time Trump campaign adviser based in part on information from Christopher Steele, a former British MI6 agent who had worked with the bureau as a confidential source since 2010.

Several people interviewed by the Inspector General’s office over the past year tell POLITICO that Horowitz’s team has been intensely focused on gauging Steele’s credibility as a source for the bureau. One former U.S. official left the interview with the impression that the Inspector General’s final report “is going to try and deeply undermine” Steele, who spent over two decades working Russia for MI6 before leaving to launch his own corporate intelligence firm.

Read the rest at Politico.

I’m putting this post up early so we can discuss what’s happening in real time. It should be in interesting day.

 

 


Friday Reads: The Fix was in (like we didn’t know that but it’s official now). We’re Live and Updating

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I’m watching indictments of 12 Russians pour in while AG Rosenstein does a presser.  He’s taking questions now.  Members of Russian military intelligence have been indicted and those individuals were in touch with Americans. It is unclear if Americans knew their identity as Russian intelligence so no Americans have been named as of yet.  I would assume that this would be the next shoe to drop and you know whose campaign that would corner.  Election hacking is now directly tied to Putin.

Some familiar names popped up.   Guccifer 2.0 was indicted  and identified as a Russian intelligence officer.  The indictment was for crimes related to the alleged hacking of the DNC in 2016.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on Friday that 12 Russian intelligence officers was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. The officers are members of the GRU, and are all named as having allegedly hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic National Committee, and the Hillary Clinton campaign. CNN reported that prosecutors from Mueller’s office and the Justice Department’s National Security Division gave a grand jury indictment to a D.C. federal ma gistrate judge on Thursday morning. The indictment comes just one day before President Trump is set to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for their first one-on-one meeting.

Rosenstein’s speech goes further to demonstrate this is no “witch hunt”.  Next shoe would probably come from Roger Stone and maybe more.

Today, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment presented by the Special Counsel’s Office. The indictment charges twelve Russian military officers for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Eleven of the defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release documents in an effort to interfere with the election.

One of those defendants, and a twelfth Russian officer, are charged with conspiring to infiltrate computers of organizations responsible for administering elections, including state boards of election, secretaries of state, and companies that supply software and other technology used to administer elections.

According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendants worked for two units of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff, known as the GRU. The units engaged in active cyber operations to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. One GRU unit worked to steal information, while another unit worked to disseminate stolen information.

The defendants used two techniques to steal information. First, they used a scam known as “spearphishing,” which involves sending misleading email messages and tricking users into disclosing their passwords and security information. Second, the defendants hacked into computer networks and installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on users and capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and exfiltrate data.

The defendants accessed the email accounts of volunteers and employees of a U.S. presidential campaign, including the campaign chairman, starting in March 2016. They also hacked into the computer networks of a congressional campaign committee and a national political committee. The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents.

The conspirators created fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0,” and used them to release thousands of stolen emails and other documents, beginning in June 2016. The defendants falsely claimed that DCLeaks was started by a group of American hackers and that Guccifer 2.0 was a lone Romanian hacker.

In addition to releasing documents directly to the public, the defendants transferred stolen documents to another organization, not named in the indictment, and discussed timing the release of the documents in an attempt to enhance the impact on the election.

In an effort to conceal their connections to Russia, the defendants used a network of computers located around the world, and paid for it using cryptocurrency.

The conspirators corresponded with several Americans through the internet. There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers.

In a second, related conspiracy, Russian GRU officers hacked the website of a state election board and stole information about 500,000 voters. They also hacked into computers of a company that supplied software used to verify voter registration information; targeted state and local offices responsible for administering the elections; and sent spearphishing emails to people involved in administering elections, with malware attached.

The indictment includes eleven criminal charges and a forfeiture allegation.

Count One charges eleven defendants for conspiring to access computers without authorization, and to cause damage to those computers, in connection with efforts to steal documents and release them in order to interfere with the election.

Counts Two through Nine charge eleven defendants with aggravated identity theft by employing the usernames and passwords of other persons to commit computer fraud.

Count Ten charges the eleven conspirators with money laundering by transferring cryptocurrencies through a web of transactions in order to purchase computer servers, register domains, and make other payments in furtherance of their hacking activities, while trying to conceal their identities and their links to the Russian government.

Count Eleven charges two defendants for a separate conspiracy to access computers without authorization, and to cause damage to those computers, in connection with efforts to infiltrate computers used to conduct elections.

Finally, a forfeiture allegation seeks the forfeiture of property involved in the criminal activity.

There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.

The Special Counsel’s investigation is ongoing.

Specific allegations are directly related to stealing Clinton’s voter data and to DNC emails and data. The DNC was hacked and doxed by Russian Intelligence. They also got into voter registrations and data in US states.

They’re accused of stealing usernames and passwords for multiple members of Clinton’s campaign, including chairman John Podesta. Democratic Party computer networks were also hacked.

Emails were stolen and released online to help influence the presidential election, the Justice Department said.

The indictment includes 11 criminal charges, including conspiracy, identity theft and money laundering to fund the hacking.

From the Atlantic: “The Russians Who Hacked the 2016 Election.   According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, 12 intelligence officials stole emails and hacked into computers at the Democratic National Committee and a state board of elections.”

Friday’s indictment is important because the hacking of the DNC was the origin story for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The DNC announced in June 2016 that its computer networks had been infiltrated, and security experts quickly concluded that Russia was behind the break-in. Further investigation by multiple American intelligence committees reached the same conclusion. Since then, there have been new allegations and revelations about Russian interference, ranging from the “troll farm” that was the target of Mueller indictments earlier this year to allegations of coordination and collusion between Russians and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

President Trump has repeatedly derided Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” even as it produces indictments, guilty pleas, and a pile of new, detailed information about how Russian interfered. The hacks are an especially important part of this case: Unlike claims of collusion or obstruction of justice, the hacking clearly constituted a crime, and there was a clear culprit. As a result, the fact that Mueller hadn’t charged anyone in connection with the crime until how had become conspicuous.

That curious silence ended on Friday. The defendants are charged with conspiracy against the United States, identity theft, and money laundering.

“The object of the conspiracy was to hack into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the indictment states.

The indictment lays out in more detail than previously known how the hacking worked. While the federal government released an intelligence document explaining its conclusions, it offered little hard evidence. Mueller marshals more detailed forensic evidence, recording specific actions, down to searches run and files deleted.

According to Mueller, the GRU, Russia’s main foreign-intelligence agency, conducted the operation with the intention of interfering with the election. One unit was charged with hacking, while another had responsibility for spreading what was known.

The hacking unit used two methods. The first was spearphishing—sending emails intended to trick users into divulging user names and passwords. This was already known to be the method by which hackers got into Podesta’s email. The second was to hack into computer networks, installing malware that allowed them to spy on users, capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and steal files. In addition to the Democratic targets, the Russians allegedly tinkered with hacking state boards of election. Various reports have speculated on whether the Russians did, in fact, break into state election functions, and the indictment provides an answer.

To get the documents out, the second GRU unit created two front personas. One, called DCLeaks, released an early tranche of Podesta emails. The second, Guccifer 2.0, took his name from an earlier Romanian hacker, who became famous for releasing pictures of former President George W. Bush’s paintings. Though they pretended to be Americans and a Romanian, respectively, both DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 were Russian intelligence, Mueller charges. To cover up their tracks, they set up a network outside Russia, paid for with cryptocurrencies.

The Spearfishing started the same day that Candidate Spy “Who should Come in from the Cold” said this at a rally. July 27, 2016, Trump: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

Indictment: That evening, Russian operatives targeted Clinton campaign emails “for the first time.

So Trump’s call for Russia to hack his opponent during the election—which his defenders dismissed as a “joke”—was taken very seriously indeed by Russian hackers. He asked them to, and they did. If you are not yet convinced something went very, very wrong in the 2016 election, you might ask yourself whether at this point you’d be perfectly fine with the president shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.

I stopped writing on other things when this started coming through because it’s going to overshadow everything. You may consider this an open thread. I’ll continue to link to important analysis about this as it happens.

Robert Mueller is coming!!!

 

Justice Department link to actual indictment here (pdf).


Live Blog #2: Smackdown In Vegas

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Hillary is wiping the floor with Donald Trump tonight. She gave a tremendous speech on Russian hacking, and Trump gave a speech defending Putin. And Hillary called him a puppet.

Here’s a new thread, so let’s keep up the discussion.


Live Blog: US Presidential #Debate2016

 

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There is a chill in the air, it is a bit windy too…it does feel like an All Hallows’ Eve.

One almost expects to see monsters and ghouls creeping up to assault you on a night such as this…

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He is not going to just kiss you my dear, he is going to grab your pussy with that hand!

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Pussy Power Unite!!!!!

 

 

Tonight is the second US Presidential debate between Donald Trump and (our shero) Hillary Clinton.

I believe framing the debate as a horror show is the best way to come at this event, because I honestly don’t know what to expect this evening. I’m sure it will be ugly and nasty, from the Donald side of the ring. How can Hillary even begin the evening by shaking this animal’s hand?

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For those who are looking for a viewing outlet….

Where to catch the debate live:

Live on Twitter

Live Updates: OMG Now There’s Going To Be A Presidential Debate – BuzzFeed News

Live-Blogging the Second Clinton-Trump Presidential Debate – The Atlantic

Presidential Debate: Donald Trump Pushes Back Against G.O.P. Critics and Focuses on Bill Clinton – The New York Times

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Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton head to St. Louis on Sunday for a widely anticipated second debate that comes asextraordinary upheaval in the Republican Party has upended the presidential race just a month before the election.

Mr. Trump’s campaign reeled over the weekend after theFriday release of a video recording that showed him speaking in vulgar and demeaning terms about women and boasting of how, because he was a celebrity, he could grope and kiss them whenever he wanted. Despite tepid apologies, the revelation has led to a parade of denouncements from dozens of Republican leaders, including his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana.

Mr. Trump continued to push back against calls from Republicans to quit the race, mocking them on Twitter and directing his loyalists to assail the party’s leaders as politicians guided by self-interest.

He also signaled on Sunday that he was likely to make the behavior of former President Bill Clinton an issue in the debate.

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And P is for Pussy

As I said, it will be an ugly scene tonight.

All the ways Trump attacking Hillary Clinton over Bill’s sex scandals could go horribly wrong – Vox

Here is a bit more on the debate prep:

Clinton, Trump prepare for debate amid Republican exodus | PBS NewsHour

Wondering why Trump wants to focus on Bill? Look at the people around him. – The Washington Post

Trump and his campaign’s record of controversy involving women: A brief history – LA Times

img_0726A list of papers that have endorsed Hillary so far:

Major newspapers that have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president – Business Insider

The producer at The Apprentice is threatening to sue if any video is leaked: Source: Trump-Backer Burnett Has Warned Staff On Leaks – BuzzFeed News

There is tape of Trump saying the N word…

REPORT: Some of the Old Apprentice Footage Allegedly Features Trump Using the N-Word | Mediaite

Producer: There’s video of Trump saying the N-word but it’ll cost $5 million to get it

Then there was this tidbit:

img_0723Trump Left for the Debate Without Informing His Press Pool

Donald Trump has been spirited away to St. Louis for his highly anticipated town hall debate against Hillary Clinton—but he left his traveling press pool back in New York City. Naturally, the reporters responsible for covering him only discovered their petulant orange charge was gone after campaign manager Kellyanne Conway made a tweet:

 

This is not the first time Trump has ditched the press—he also memorablyabandoned them when he made the snap decision to travel to Mexico in August. Last month, he mocked journalists for being late to a New Hampshire rally after his campaign failed to properly arrange the pool’s travel.

“I have really good news for you,” he told the crowd assembled for the event. “I just heard the press is stuck on their airplane. They can’t get here. I love it. So they’re trying to get here now. They’re going to be about 30 minutes late. They called us and said could you wait? I said absolutely not. Let’s get going, New Hampshire.”

What a guy.

 

Yeah, such a great candidate for President of the United States.

Only now I see why he sneaked out:

Trump Appears Before Debate with Juanita Broaddrick and Other Clinton Accusers | Mediaite

This campaign is a fucking reality tv show.

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Could it finally be, the Beginning of the End?

Let’s find out…

Here we go, round two begins shortly, catch our live blog below.


Tuesday Night Live Blog: VeepStakes Debate!

pence-kaineGood Evening!  

The Vice Presidential Debate 2016 is at 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM (CT) on

Tuesday, October 4

The 2016 Vice Presidential candidate Debate is live tonight from Longwood University in Virginia. It’s an interesting place for the debate for several reasons. Coincidentally, Virginia is Tim Kaine’s home state.  Also, Farmville–the small town that’s home to Longwood–has a history of racial tensions in a campaign year full of them.

Across the nation, race has flared again as a dominant political issue. From Black Lives Matter and violence between police and people of color to campus demonstrations, neighborhood riots and the rise of white supremacists in mainstream politics, this has been a tense and divisive campaign season.

When America focuses on Farmville this week, it will find a town that has struggled more than most to come to grips with race. It hasn’t always worked. Though the county is 64 percent white, the public schools are only about 37 percent white. Many white students still attend the private school that opened after desegregation.

But some believe there is a lesson in the effort made by town leaders and the university to confront the worst aspects of the past.

Farmville is “the scene of where leadership has been forged in reconciliation,” Longwood President Taylor Reveley IV said. “That is a powerful concept for the country today as we are wrestling with issues that are very familiar from the past, especially from the civil rights movement.”

Both the Kaines and the Clinton have spent a good portion of their public life in support of civil rights.  Trump and Pence, of course, are fairly well known for just the opposite. There clearly could be some questions that pop up that reflect those differences.

Here’s some information on the debate to as we gear up for our watch party!2016_07_27_kaine_pence_twitter-3_22736636421

Both candidates have a mission as they take the stage Tuesday night: to make the case for their running mates, and to avoid any major missteps that could take their campaigns off-course. Pence needs to show stability for a ticket that has been rattled by Trump’s debate performance and an explosive story about Donald Trump’s taxes, while Kaine will look to extend Hillary Clinton’s newfound momentum and make an effective argument on her behalf.

You can watch the debate on CSpan and any of the major news networks.  You can also live stream it.

The first and only vice presidential debate of this election season is tonight at 9pm ET, 6pm PT. And if you don’t have cable there are plenty of different ways to watch Trump’s running mate Mike Pence and Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine square off. Kaine, of course, is perhaps best known as the lead singer of the band Future Islands. And you can’t convince me that it’s not the same guy.

 If you’re watching on a computer, one of the easiest ways to watch is on YouTube. PBS Newshour has a livestream that starts at 8:30pm ET, 5:30pm PT, but seriously have you ever seen Tim Kaine and Future Islands lead singer Samuel T. Herring in the same room together? I didn’t think so.

If you have a cable subscription but want to watch CNN on your devices you can watch CNN Go on your iPhone or iPad, Android, and Windows Phone. You can also use the CNN mobile apps for Kindle Fire and Windows 10. Or you can watch using the CNN app for Apple TV and Roku.

There are a lot of topics that could come up tonight! Here’s some analysis from MoJo’s Hannah Levintova.57968fbbc361885e658b458e

In this case, after Donald Trump lost his first presidential debate—in which hesniffed often, spoke in incomplete sentences, lied, and ranted about his “winning temperament”—many conservatives have expressed concern about his lack of focus and debate preparation. It will be up to Pence to restore their faith in Trump. Kaine will have to match Hillary Clinton’s strong first debate performance while defending her against the Trump campaign’s tried-and-true attack lines, including her shifting stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and her husband’s role in enacting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

 So, hold on here we go!!!

 


Live Blog: Clinton and Trump Debate for the First Time Tonight

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Here we go folks, debate day has finally arrived. Dakinikat’s post offered plenty of background, so I’ll just focus on today’s interesting developments.

David Fahrendhold has another bombshell post today on the Trump Foundation: Trump directed $2.3 million owed to him to his charity instead.

Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has received approximately $2.3 million from companies that owed money to Trump or one of his businesses but were instructed to pay Trump’s tax-exempt foundation instead, according to people familiar with the transactions.

In cases where he diverted his own income to his foundation, tax experts said, Trump would still likely be required to pay taxes on the income. Trump has refused to release his personal tax returns. His campaign said he paid income tax on one of the donations, but did not respond to questions about the others.

That gift was a $400,000 payment from Comedy Central, which owed Trump an appearance fee for his 2011 “roast.”

Then there were payments totaling nearly $1.9 million from a man in New York City who sells sought-after tickets and one-of-a-kind experiences to wealthy clients.

That man, Richard Ebers, bought goods and services — including tickets — from Trump or his businesses, according to two people familiar with the transactions, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the payments. They said that Ebers was instructed to pay the Donald J. Trump Foundation instead. Ebers did not respond to requests for comment.

The gifts begin to answer one of the mysteries surrounding the foundation: Why would other people continue giving to Trump’s charity when Trump himself gave his last recorded donation in 2008?

The donations from Ebers and Comedy Central, which account for half the money given to the Trump Foundation since 2008, also provide new evidence of the Trump Foundation’s ties to Trump’s business empire.

Wow. This guy is nothing but a criminal.

“This is so bizarre, this laundry list of issues,” said Marc Owens, the longtime head of the Internal Revenue Service office that oversees nonprofit organizations who is now in private practice. “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years in the IRS, and 40 years total.”

The laws governing the diversion of income into a foundation were written, in part, to stop charity leaders from funneling income that should be taxed into a charity and then using that money to benefit themselves. Such violations can bring monetary penalties, the loss of tax-exempt status, and even criminal charges in extreme cases.

Will Lester Holt ask Trump about this or the other revelations about Trump Foundation and Trump “University”?

Yeah, I doubt if Lester will bring it up….

From Bloomberg, Trump biographer Timothy O’Brien writes: How Trump Rides on Waves of Other People’s Money.

During a campaign stop in North Carolina last week, Donald Trumpdescribed the logic behind his plans for billing other countries for U.S. military support should he become president:

It’s called OPM. I do it all the time in business. It’s called other people’s money. There’s nothing like doing things with other people’s money because it takes the risk — you get a good chunk out of it and it takes the risk.

By “takes the risk,” Trump means that using other people’s funds reduces his risk of losing any of his own money on deals. Trump has spent a lifetime using other people’s money – and losing piles of it along the way.

Trump’s MO around OPM in his early days was defined largely by his father, Fred, basically because Fred had a lot of M. While Trump frequently downplays the role his father played at the start of his business career, his dad was always there for him, wallet and Rolodex open.

“It has not been easy for me,” Trump said at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire almost a year ago. “And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.” In a subsequent interview, Trump described his father’s financial support as amounting to nothing more than a “very, very small loan.”

None of this is true, of course.

Read much more at the link.

Seven new national polls came out today, including this one from NBC News/Survey Monkey: Poll: Clinton Leads Trump Among Likely Voters Ahead of First Debate.

Just hours ahead of the first 2016 presidential debate, Hillary Clinton continues to lead Donald Trump by 5 points, 45 percent to 40 percent, unchanged from last week, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson trails behind with 10 percent support, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein has 3 percent support.

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As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, there is very little positive to read about Hillary Clinton in the mainstream media, but this has to be the headline of the day from Anita Terket at Huffington Post: Debate Bar So Low For Donald Trump That If He Doesn’t Vomit, He’s Exceeded Expectations.

Donald Trump is an arrogant slacker who wastes his time hanging out at greasy spoons when he should be spending his time studying ― not like that striving know-it-all Tracy Flick Hillary Clinton. Or at least, that’s what Trump’s campaign wants you to believe.

In the run-up to the first presidential debate Monday night, Trump’s team has been working to lower the bar so far for him that it’s basically just lying on the ground. Story after story talks about how Clinton is spending her time poring over wonky policy details in briefing books while Trump is just hanging out….

The two candidates’ differential treatment was clear during a Sept. 7 veterans forum, the first such event during the general election. The moderator, NBC News host Matt Lauer, challenged Clinton on the use of her private email server and repeatedly interrupted her to stop her from filibustering. But with Trump, Lauer lobbed softballs like, “What have you experienced in your personal life or your professional life that you believe prepares you to make the decisions that a commander-in-chief has to make?”

“Candidates should expect to be challenged. They’re applying for a challenging job. But where Mr. Lauer treated Mrs. Clinton like someone running for president, he treated Mr. Trump like someone running to figure out how to be president, eventually,” New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik wrote in a scathing review the following day.

Read more at HuffPo.

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No one in the MSM writes about reproductive rights either. It fell to Glamour Magazine to publish this: Why It’s Important That the Presidential Candidates Talk About Abortion at the First Debate.

Since at least 1984, debate moderators have asked presidential candidates about abortion, but have often focused on the theoretical or based them on extreme cases. It’s time we have a deeper discussion, beyond its legality and theory. We must discuss its accessibility and availability. During the Democratic primaries, NARAL Pro-Choice America and I called on debate moderators to #AskAboutAbortion, and it wasn’t until the last debate when Clinton addressed the issue head on. Since that debate, the Supreme Court has issued the biggest ruling on abortion in almost 20 years, baring the state of Texas from closing the majority of their abortion clinics. While this is a huge win for abortion advocates, it doesn’t mean that access will reappear overnight. In light of this, we’re calling on Holt, as the moderator, to ask about abortion.

Both Clinton and Trump have had a lot to say about abortion on the campaign trail. In a June speech to Planned Parenthood, Clinton said, “I believe we need to protect access to safe and legal abortion — not just in principle, but in practice. Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access it is no right at all.” Clinton has also vowedto repeal the Hyde Amendment, a discriminatory policy that bars Medicaid recipients from using their health insurance to pay for an abortion. Similarly, for the first time in history, the Democratic Party has added the repeal of the Hyde Amendment to their platform. Trump has vowed to make the Hyde Amendment permanent and believesthere should be “some form of punishment” for people having an abortion. The Republican Party, in their platform, calls for a codification of the Hyde Amendment and refuses to fund healthcare services at providers like Planned Parenthood—instead, they want to fund crisis pregnancy centers, which are anti-abortion centers that scare patients with debunked and inaccurate medical information.

There are huge disparities in the candidates’ positions. Voters deserve to know how they plan to change access to abortion over the next four, possibly eight, years, which will impact our nation for decades to come.

As I commented earlier, if Holt doesn’t ask a question about abortion we need to demand answers from him about why he didn’t.

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One more interesting article I came across today–it’s a psychological analysis of Trump at Scientific American from July: .Donald Trump’s Real Ambition. Trump is driven by one thing and one thing only: the search for glory.

I normally stay clear of psychologically profiling public figures. But when the writing is so clearly on the wall, when the stakes are so high, and when the data is so consistent, I am inclined to comment. With Trump, what I see is so clearly a textbook case of a metaphorical computer program running amok, that I feel its my imperative to reveal the source code. Hopefully by making Trump’s ambition open-source, we can clearly see where it is headed, and we can take action to halt the program before it reaches its ultimate conclusion.

What is this program? There are many ways to frame it. Some therapists prefer to couch it in terms of “narcissism“. “Oh look at that Trump, he’s such a grandiose narcissist!” But I believe this is not a helpful description for several reasons. For one, it perpetuates an us vs. them mentality. After all, we are all narcissists in varying degrees. The computer program that Trump is running is a grossly exaggerated version of a program, but it’s still a variation on a potentiality that lies deep within all of us. The other reason why this is unsatisfactory is that it doesn’t actually explain anything. Trump obviously has extreme narcissistic tendencies (a high sense of superiority and entitlement). To say he is a “narcissist” is merely saying that he consistently displays an abundance of narcissistic behaviors: not all that revealing.

No, I believe we need to look deeper at the underlying motivation behind virtually everything Trump does, from his choice of teammates to his tweets to his private and public statements. In my estimation, Trump is driven by one thing and one thing only: the search for glory. Everything stems from this one simple fact, and everything falls into place in a predicable fashion once we fully understand the operation of this fundamentally human drive.

Please read it when you have time. It’s a fascinating article.

What are you hearing? How are you going to watch the debate? I think I’ll stick with C-Span. However you watch, I hope you’ll post your reactions below.

 


Live Blogging and Watch Party Part II

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Wow!!!!

What more can I say! This has been an amazing night. Paul Simon was amazing. Cory Booker showed why he may be President someday. Michelle Obama was just magnificent. Next up, Elizabeth Warren.

Here’s a fresh thread to keep right on discussing what’s happening in Philly.