Tag: Scandal

Epstein and Trump And Clinton and the Democratic National Convention

Seriously, if Clinton gets taken down, or embarrassed, or just hauled into court, as a result of the Ghislane Maxwell trial, more power to the prosecutors.

So reports that there are photographs of show Clinton apparently receiving a neck massage from alleged Jeffrey Epstein victim Chauntae Davies don’t bother me, though I think it is mind bogglingly stupid to have them as featured speakers at the Democratic National Convention.

It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake: (Not actually a Tallyrand quote)

Hours ahead of former President Bill Clinton’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention, the Daily Mail published photos Tuesday that show Clinton apparently receiving a neck massage from alleged Jeffrey Epstein victim Chauntae Davies following a previously-reported flight that Clinton and Epstein took to Africa together in 2002, with Davies telling the Mail that Clinton was a “perfect gentleman” on the trip.


Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a link to the Daily Mail article, and suggested that if Clinton brought it up during his Tuesday DNC speech, it “would be a lot more interesting then garbage we saw last night.” His father, President Trump, was also once friendly with Epstein and Maxwell. After Epstein’s 2019 arrest, however, Trump said he had not spoken to Epstein in over a decade.

I get that you need to throw some bones to the Clintonistas at the convention, but the prominence being afforded to Billary is counter-productive and stupid.

Rats, Sinking Ship, You Know

Senator Ron Johnson, (R-WI) just threw Donald Trump under the bus:

A Republican senator said he was told by an American diplomat in August that the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation desired by President Trump and his allies, but Mr. Trump denied pursuing any such proposal when the lawmaker pressed him on it.

Sen. Ron Johnson said that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described to him a quid pro quo involving a commitment by Kyiv to probe matters related to U.S. elections and the status of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine that the president had ordered to be held up in July.

Alarmed by that information, Mr. Johnson, who supports aid to Ukraine and is the chairman of a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the region, said he raised the issue with Mr. Trump the next day, Aug. 31, in a phone call, days before the senator was to meet with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, Mr. Trump flatly rejected the notion that he directed aides to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on a new probe by Kyiv, Mr. Johnson said.

“He said, ‘Expletive deleted—No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?” the Wisconsin senator recalled in an interview Friday. Mr. Johnson said he told the president he had learned of the arrangement from Mr. Sondland.

That Trump was trying to extort the Ukraine by delaying aid was obvious to anyone who was following the issues in aid going to Kiev. (I was not one of these people, but Johnson was).

He is releasing this statement now only because he’s afraid of being collateral damage in the every widening disaster.

I still don’t think that any Republicans will vote to convict in the Senate, but the cockroaches are fleeing the light.

Who Says that Irony is Dead?

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s resignation Friday amid the mushrooming Jeffrey Epstein investigation made him the latest in a growing list of President Trump’s Cabinet members to depart under a cloud of scandal, plunging an administration that has struggled with record turnover into further upheaval.

Trump announced the departure in a morning appearance with Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House, telling reporters that his labor secretary had chosen to step down a day after defending himself in a contentious news conference over his role as a U.S. attorney a decade ago in a deal with Epstein that allowed the financier to plead guilty to lesser offenses in a sex-crimes case involving underage girls.

 Of course there is a replacement in the wings, and he worked closely with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramhoff to protect the use of slave labor in the Marianas, which might make him even worse than the guy who let a pedophile off with a slap of the wrist:

Incoming acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella will take the helm of the department following the resignation Friday of Alex Acosta, who faced scrutiny over his role in prosecuting alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago.

But Pizzella, currently deputy Labor secretary, has his own controversial past that will likely come to the fore. Democratic senators and civil rights groups have expressed concern about Pizzella’s prior work with disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the late 1990s and early 2000s to hamper worker protections in the Northern Mariana Islands.

When Pizzella worked on Abramoff’s team at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, the lobbying firm was pushing to prevent Congress from imposing minimum wage laws on the Northern Mariana Islands. At the time, there were “maximum” wage restrictions on the islands of $3.05 per hour for foreign workers, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

“Foreign workers pay up to $7,000 to employers or middlemen for the right to a job in the CNMI. When they finally reach the Commonwealth, they are assigned to tedious, low paying work for long hours with little or no time off. At night they are locked in prison-like barracks,” one government report found.

Is it just me, but does it seem that each time a member of the Trump administration is leaves, they are replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.

Well, Someone is Completely Losing his Sh%$

President Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday to end the special counsel’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, issuing an unambiguous directive on Twitter to shut down an investigation that even now is scrutinizing his tweets for evidence of obstruction.

The White House and Mr. Trump’s lawyers moved quickly to minimize the president’s statement, dismissing it as merely a case of venting by a president who has grown increasingly angry with an investigation that he considers illegitimate — and not a direct order to a cabinet secretary to interfere with a continuing federal law enforcement matter.

But in saying that Mr. Sessions, the United States’ top law enforcement official, should take specific action to terminate the investigation, the tweet crossed a line that Mr. Trump has never explicitly crossed — until now. It immediately raised more questions about whether Mr. Trump was attempting to obstruct justice, already an issue being examined extensively by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel leading the investigation.


But the morning tweet signified a new chapter in the public feud between the president and Mr. Sessions, the product of Mr. Trump’s rage and sense of betrayal at his attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia inquiry. That has made it impossible for the president to control an investigation that he sees as undercutting his legitimacy.

“This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Mr. Trump wrote in a morning tweet. “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

I’m not sure what this all means, beyond the fact that I am profoundly amused by all of this.

Tweet of the Day

if there’s one thing I want to stress with all the Cohen-Avenatti-Davis-Giuliani stuff churning in the background, it’s that when *you* hire legal counsel you should really seek out someone who doesn’t have the burning urge to be on teevee every damn day

— Jason Linkins (@dceiver) July 25, 2018

The first thing a good lawyer tells his client is to shut the f%$# up.

Physician, heal thyself.

H/t Atrios.

Holy Sh%$!

The FBI just raided Michael Cohen’s office.

Michael Cohen is Donald Trump’s long time consiglieri lawyer, and the fact that they have raided his office, and seized his files, including his communications with clients.

As a non-lawyer, I know that this is a huge deal, because, among other things, it means that Cohen is believed to have actively broken the law, typically by something like actively facilitating fraud, not merely having advised a criminal.

I’ll summarize the comments of a lawyer Ken White:

  • This warrant was secured by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the most prominent US Attorney’s office in the nation outside of Washington, DC.
  • They thought that they had enough evidence to apply for a warrant searching what is normally privileged communications.
  • Getting a warrant to raid a lawyer’s office involves MANY hoops to jump through.
  • The court thought that the evidence was convincing enough to grant the warrant.

I am inclined to believe that this is about some sort of fraud, and not any sort of spy-craft involving the FSB or the GRU, particularly since Mueller has already used the “crime-fraud exception” to get some communications with Manafort’s attorney.

This is a big f%$#ing deal.

Sauce for the Gander, I Guess

At Least, There is Symmetry

It turns out that we may have another dress figuring in a Presidential sex scandal:

I honestly thought Stormy Daniels’ friend Alana Evans was just trolling CNN with this, but maybe there’s something to it.

During a much longer interview with CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Stormy’s friend Alana Evans told him she was unaware of any texts, pictures or video but there was one thing. One little thing.

“All I know is that Stormy still has the dress that she wore rom that night,” Evans told Sciutto.

Nonplussed, he asked, “And she kept that for what reason?”

As if everyone’s mind didn’t go to Monica Lewinsky’s little blue dress. Please.

Of course, the Republicans are not going to do anything if this whole mess pans out, even if Trump were to, “Put half a dozen children on a spit and toast them at the flame that comes out of his mouth,” as playwright Christopher Fry so colo(u)rfully put it many years ago, the Republican base would continue to support him.

Still, watching him squirm on a matter which won’t have the effect of f%$#ing up the world for the next few decades amuses me.

People Are Saying That This Will Be the End of Facebook ………

The whole issue with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook is a big deal, and it appears that at the privacy violations that ensued were a deliberate artifact of Facebook’s business model.

That this business model has been completely contemptuous of user privacy has been clear since Mark Zuckerberg was at Harvard.

While the consequences could be severe, literally involving penalties exceeding a trillion (yes, that is a “t”) dollars in accordance with a consent degree that was agreed to a few years back, the chance of meaningful penalties, or meaningful legislation is near zero.

Given the hostility of the Republican Party to regulation and consumer protections, and the Neoliberal Obama/Clinton wing of the party is so enamored of internet firms as to take any promises from tech executives at face value, meaningful government action is as likely as Jeff Sessions joining Black Lives Matter.

I expect a small fine and some theatrics at Congressional hearings, but not much else.

I See Nothing!

I really want to stop living in Bizarro World:

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, released a statement on Wednesday apologizing for a graphic nude photo of him that circulated on social media earlier this week.

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” he said. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”

It is still unclear how the photo got onto social media, who put it there, or whether its posting would constitute revenge porn, which is illegal under Texas law.

Barton, who announced his re-election bid earlier this month, is navigating in a political environment charged with emerging stories of sexual misbehavior in politics, in business and in the media. The photo, which appeared on an anonymous Twitter account, set off speculation within Texas GOP circles about his political future.

Seriously.  Don’t.  Just don’t.  Ever.

Now John Conyers

More allegations of sexual harassment, this time John Conyers (D-MI), and the allegations are pretty f%$#ing awful:

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

Conyers confirmed he made the settlement in a statement Tuesday afternoon, hours after this story was published, but said that he “vehemently denied” the claims of sexual harassment at the time and continues to do so.

This is seriously f%$#ed up.

Say It Ain’t So, Al

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) faced swift condemnation and bipartisan calls for an ethics investigation on Thursday after a Los Angeles radio broadcaster accused him of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006.

Franken first issued a brief apology, saying his actions were intended to be funny and that he didn’t recall the incident the way Leeann Tweeden did. He later issued a longer apology: “There’s no excuse,” he said in a subsequent statement, adding that he would “gladly cooperate” with an ethics investigation.

That looks likely to happen. At least half a dozen Senate Democrats urged their chamber’s six-member, bipartisan ethics committee to investigate the allegations. Franken could face censureship or even expulsion from the Senate.

Copy editing note here, it’s, “censure,” not “censureship,” you illiterate Saracen pig.

This sucks like 1000 Hoovers all going at once.

Pass the Popcorn

The first charges have been issued in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion by members of the Trump campaign and arrests could be imminent, according to several reports.

CNN, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported that a grand jury has approved charges filed by investigators led by special counsel Robert Mueller against at least one person, and the indictment has been sealed by a federal judge, pending arrest. There was no information of the nature of the charges or their target. The reports suggested one or more arrests could take place as early as Monday.

That would take the broad investigation into Russia’s role in the election, which has hung over Donald Trump’s presidency since it began, to a new level, raising questions over how the White House and its allies would respond. Trump and his supporters have disparaged Mueller and tried to portray him as a sympathiser of Hillary Clinton and James Comey, the FBI chief fired by Trump.

My I’ve searched, and found nothing definitive on who will actually be on Muller’s hit parade.

My money would be on it be either Paul Manafort or Roger Stone, but we should find out in the next couple of days

Oh, Snap

Remember the infamous “Trump Dossier”, which alleged that Trump paid prostitutes in Moscow to pee on a bed used by Barack Obama a few years before?

It turns out that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the report.

So, it was opposition research, which isn’t a big deal. This is what political campaigns, and party committees do.

Obviously, the source of the funding will influence what sort of direction that Fusion GPS gave to former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, the author of the report, which would influence where he looked, and also the level of confirmation of any stories that he might come across.

Of course, the current leadership of the DNC has disavowed what the earlier leadership of the DNC did, but many in the Democratic party establishment, most notably the execrable Joy Reid, are saying that the source does not matter.

Apparently, the logic of the previous paragraph does not apply to the DNC email leaks, which have actually been confirmed as true, because ……… Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, I guess.

I is confoozled.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Something odd is going on in New York.

For reasons that are not clear to me, people are starting to go after Governor Andrew Cuomo, and I have no clue as to why.

Case in point, the CEO of the Western New York Fair just revealed that a Cuomo staffer attempted to delay cleanup at the fair after a tornado, because Cuomo wanted a telegenic platform for Cuomo to give a speech:

Call it a collision of politics and good old Western New York can-do attitude.

The cleanup after the tornado that struck the Erie County Fairgrounds was well under way Thursday afternoon when an aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo asked that the cleanup be delayed — until after the governor arrived, fair CEO Dennis Lang said.

“I said, ‘You’re kidding, right?'”

Lang said he told a Cuomo aide who asked him to keep debris in the area where the press conference would be held. “I just turned around and walked away.”

Lang said he did not know the name of the man who asked for a delay.

“After the ceremonial service was over, I haven’t seen any of them, nor do I expect to see any tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,” Lang said of state officials and National Guard, who were at the governor’s news conference.

Cuomo’s office denied it requested the cleanup be delayed.

This sort of request is actually not that uncommon, but it is notable that someone is calling out the Cuomo administration about this.

We’re also seeing the finger on the New York City Subway problems being pointed at him. (IMNSHO correctly) 

It’s long overdue, but I am unclear as to why it is happening now.

If anyone among my reader(s) has some analysis, please contact me.

OK, This is Now Officially a Legitimate Sh%$ Storm

TheNew York Post states the obvious.*

OK, so now we know that in June of last year, Donald Trump, Jr., aka “Fredo”, was setting up a meeting with a Russian lawyer at the request of a publicist for a Russian to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. (Yes, this is profoundly weird and f%$#ed up)

This is now a big deal, not because this was necessarily a crime, I find the claims of a violation of Section 30121 of Title 52 to be a stretch in the world of Citizens United, but because we now have evidence of a conspiracy and a coverup.

It was a conspiracy to obstruct justice that took down Richard Nixon, after all.

I don’t think that this is the most impeachable thing that Trump has done (that will be a later post), but this has a potential to hamstring the Trump administration, particularly if the Democrats take back the House and Senate in 2018.

The underlying crime here is still a violation of campaign finance law, not espionage, not treason or some similar heinous crimes.

From a political perspective, I do not think that this is a good thing for the Democratic Party.

This provides yet another opportunity for the Dems to miss the opportunity to reform, and ditch the incompetent and clueless deadwood that populate the party’s professional consultant class.

As opposed to a movement toward some sort of ideological coherence, the national Democratic Party will remain in, “A noun, a verb, and Vladimir Putin,” mode, which I do not believe will resonate with voters.

If hostility toward Russia were a political winner nationwide, Hillary Clinton would be President now.

My guess is that right now, Republicans will slow walk any investigation, saying that they need to wait for Special Prosecutor Muller’s report.

I expect months of overwrought press coverage over this, because this is a classic example of catnip for reporters.

*I cannot f%$#ing believe that I am f%$#ing citing the f%$#ing New York f%$#ing Post.
It was never treason. Treason is specifically defined in the US Constitution because of at least a millennia of abuse in Europe, and this does not meet that very specific definition.
That being said, Nixon’s sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968, and Reagan and Poppy Bush’s deal with Iran to keep the hostages held in Iran in 1980 might meet the statutory requirements of Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution.

Pass the Popcorn

A week after President Donald Trump began to publicly distance himself from White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, alt-right ringleader Mike Cernovich threatened to release a “motherlode” of stories that could “destroy marriages” if Bannon is formally let go from the administration.

Cernovich made the claims that he’d release a series of “scoops” if Bannon is officially pushed out of the White House on an eleven-minute, self-recorded Periscope Thursday night.

What would be uncovered?

“If they get rid of Bannon, you know what’s gonna happen? The motherlode. If Bannon is removed, there are gonna be divorces, because I know about the mistresses, the sugar babies, the drugs, the pill popping, the orgies. I know everything,” said Cernovich.

“If they go after Bannon, the mother of all stories is gonna drop, and we’re just gonna destroy marriages, relationships—it’s gonna get personal.”I so hope that there is an actual dossier, and that it sees the light of day.

I am so looking forward to a blowup.

Remember When I Said That Hillary’s Secrecy Backfired?

Now the Wikileaks email releases detailing Hillary Clinton’s speeches to the Wall Street banks have pissed off Bernie Sanders something fierce.

This was foreseeable, and it was a direct result of her unwillingness to get ahead of the story and release the transcripts over the last 2½ months.

I know that politicians are not inclined to admit failure and move on, but the cover-up is always worse than the original mistake:

Supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday expressed anger and vindication over leaked comments made by Hillary Clinton to banks and big business that appeared to confirm their fears about her support for global trade and tendency to cozy up to Wall Street.

Clinton, who needs Sanders’ coalition of young and left-leaning voters to propel her to the presidency, pushes for open trade and open borders in one of the speeches, and takes a conciliatory approach to Wall Street, both positions she later backed away from in an effort to capture the popular appeal of Sanders’ attacks on trade deals and powerful banks.

The excerpts of remarks by the former secretary of state, made in 2013 and 2014 in closed-door meetings where audiences paid to attend, were published online on Friday by WikiLeaks, which sourced them to the email account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.


“This is a very clear illustration of why there is a fundamental lack of trust from progressives for Hillary Clinton,” said Tobita Chow, chair of the People’s Lobby in Chicago, which endorsed Sanders in the primary election.


“That is a big concern and this certainly doesn’t help,” said Larry Cohen, chair of the board of Our Revolution, a progressive organization formed in the wake of Sanders’ bid for the presidency, which aims to keep pushing the former candidate’s ideas at a grassroots level. “It matters in terms of turnout, energy, volunteering, all those things.”

Anyone with two brain cells, and a knowledge of the relationship between Wall Street and the Clintons (Bob Rubin anyone?) knew that this was the case, but Hillary Clinton has handled this in the absolutely worst possible way, and this is not the first time.

The past is prelude, and this does not bode well for a future Clinton administration.