Rudy Giuliani, moving the goalposts, says “collusion is not a crime”

Late last week, as we discussed here, the President’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen signaled through his attorney that he was willing to testify that Donald Trump knew in advance of his son’s meeting with a Russian delegation that had come to New York prior to the 2016 election promising illegally-gotten “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, staying true to form, responded to the news by melting down on Twitter, calling the Mueller investigation a “rigged witch hunt,” and once again stating definitively, “There is no collusion!” Well, it looks as though sometime between that Sunday morning meltdown and this morning, when Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani hit the cable news circuit, a decision had been made to change tack yet once again, tentatively embracing the idea of collusion, but arguing that collusion isn’t a crime.

Colluding with Russia is “not a crime,” Giuliani told CNN… “I have been sitting here trying to find collusion as a crime,” Giuliani said on Fox and Friends, then going on to repeat, “Collusion is not a crime.”

So, it looks as though there’s a attempt to move the goalposts mid-game. No longer is Trump’s team insisting that there was “no collusion.” Now it would appear as though they’re floating a trial balloon, saying that, even if there was collusion, it’s not a crime. And, for what it’s worth, they no longer seem to be arguing that Trump didn’t know in advance about that suspicious June 9, 2016 meeting that took place at Trump Tower between senior members of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., and a delegation of Russians with ties to the Kremlin. This morning, Giuliani would only say taht Trump didn’t attend the meeting himself. [Asked on CNN if he could say for certain that Trump didn’t know in advance about the meeting, Giuliani said that “nobody can be sure of anything.”] And, perhaps most laughably, Giuliani is now saying that the only real crime in all of this is hacking, and that the President, as he isn’t himself a hacker, is innocent.

All of this, of course, is bullshit. While it’s true that there’s no federal statute that states definitively that “collusion” is a crime, we have plenty of laws against conspiring with foreign governments to influence our elections, and that’s what we’re talking about here. Furthermore, as any prosecutor can tell you, it’s not just the hacker who has committed a crime in an instance like this, but also those who gave the orders… hence the recent grand jury indictments against the 12 Russian GRU agents who oversaw the hacking campaign.

We can’t allow this trial balloon to go up unchallenged. We cannot allow the Trump administration to move the goalposts now, after swearing for two full years that there was no collusion. We need to keep reminding ourselves (and everyone we know) that, for the past two years, the Trump administration kept demanding that there was “no collusion,” and that Trump didn’t know about the Trump Tower meeting between members of his campaign and Russian agents. We need to keep sharing videos like this one, showing the extent to which they denied that there was any coordination with the Russians in the run up to the election. We can’t allow history to be rewritten.

update: Trump has now weighed it to say that he didn’t collude, and, even if he did, it wouldn’t be a crime… Makes sense, right?

Posted in History, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Michael Cohen says he’s willing to testify that Donald Trump is lying about his knowledge of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russian operatives offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton

Remember that suspicious June 9, 2016 meeting that took place at Trump Tower between senior members of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., and a delegation of Russians with ties to the Kremlin? And remember how, prior to that meeting, Donald Trump, Jr. had been told that these Russians would be coming to discuss the transfer of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, to which he replied, “I love it“? And do you also remember how, after the news broke about the meeting, which even Steve Bannon referred to as being “treasonous,” the White House came out with a firm statement about how the President hadn’t known anything about it?

Well, it’s being reported this evening that Donald Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, is now willing to go on the record with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, stating under oath that Trump not only knew about the offer of assistance from the Russians, but encouraged his son, son-in-law, and campaign manager to take the meeting. And, what’s more, Cohen is apparently saying that he’s willing to name others who can corroborate that Donald Trump was aware.

So it looks as though Donald Trump didn’t just oversee the coverup, ghostwriting Don Jr.’s laughably pathetic letter to the press attempting to explain the Trump Tower meeting as having been about international adoption policy, but also knew ahead of time that the Russians were coming to offer ill-gotten “dirt” on Clinton.

Here’s video from CNN.

And here’s an excerpt from CNN’s accompanying story.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.

Cohen’s claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017.

Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources…

If true, this would certainly seem to indicate an intent to collude on the part of the President, who, this evening, sent his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, out to discredit Cohen in the press. “He has lied all his life,” Giuliani said of Cohen on CNN, adding he’s “an incredible liar.”

Adam Schiff, for one, doesn’t seem so willing to just take Giuliani’s word. “If (the) allegation Trump OK’d June 9 meeting is true, it means he not only publicly appealed to Russia for help, but privately approved receiving it,” said the Congressman in a tweet, “…the conspiracy case may have just gotten stronger.”

Oh, and if this does prove to be true, it also means that Donald Trump, Jr., who told the the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath on May 6 of this year that his father didn’t know about the meeting, could be going to jail for perjury.

update: Donald Trump has responded.

“Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of a jam.” Yes, yes it does sound like that, doesn’t it?

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sometimes WCBN gets things very right, and sometimes they get things very, very wrong

I’ve just received word that The Ballad of Christian Wolfcock, the most recent release by my one-day-a-year band, the Monkey Power Trio, is currently the second most played record on WCBN.

I know that I should be happy about this incredible achievement, but I’m finding it difficult to look beyond the fact that I don’t know even one other band on the list. In the distant past, when I’d see these college radio playlists, I’d always take pleasure in seeing where we stood in relation to other bands whose work I knew. Now, though, it’s just a jumble of meaningless words that makes me feel incredibly old.

At any rate, I wanted to thank the good men and women on WCBN for their support.

With that said, though, I also have a complaint that I’d like to register with WCBN management.

Right now on their site, they’re running the following story, and it’s just not true.

Half Japanese are not Ann Arbor natives. Jad and David, who I’m fortunate to know, have never called Ann Arbor home. They grew up in Coldwater, Michigan, started the band while at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, and put out their first EP, “Calling All Girls,” in August 1977, after moving to Uniontown, Maryland with their parents.

I just reached to out them, and they confirmed this to be the case. While they said they’d come to see shows in Ann Arbor, and visit friends here, they never lived here. As for why people might think they came from here, I suspect it has to do with the fact that one of their first songs was titled, “Ann Arbor, Mi.” As David just told me, “I think that might have mixed people up, because we never wrote songs called ‘Coldwater, Michigan’ or ‘Grand Rapids, Michigan.'”

For what it’s worth, it’s not just WCBN that gets this wrong. Wikipedia says they’re from Ann Arbor as well.

[above: “Calling all Girls,” the first release on their 50 Skidillion Watts label, was released from their parents’ home in Uniontown, Maryland.]

I should add that it doesn’t make me happy to have to tell you this. I’d love it if Jad and David were from Ann Arbor. Sadly, though, it’s just not the case.

Posted in Ann Arbor, Art and Culture, Monkey Power Trio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

“Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

I wanted to write something tonight about this news that Donald “trade wars are good and easy to win” Trump was going to be asking the American taxpayers to pony up $12 billion to help offset the losses of the American soybean and dairy farmers who got totally fucked by his bright idea to jack up trade tariffs without first either laying the diplomatic groundwork or thinking through the consequences. [Just as people predicted, the rest of the world pushed back hard, completely crushing farmers in red states, forcing Trump to pay them off with our tax dollars in advance of the midterm elections.]

As I’m really tired, though, I’m going to have to leave you to work through it on your own. Here, though, is the general outline.

Our President is essentially buying the votes of red state farmers to keep himself from being impeached. And, perhaps worse yet, he’s not doing it because these farmers suddenly became aware that he’s a draft-dodging, child-abducting, pussy-grabbing, puppet of Vladimir Putin, but because he hastily announced dramatic changes to U.S. foreign trade policy without first thinking through the ramifications, essentially putting himself in a position where he has to raid the U.S. Treasury in order to avoid being forced by a Democratic majority to face responsibility for his actions. How fucked up is that? And how is it possible that we aren’t in the street right now?

OK, with that, I bid you good night.

Oh, before I go, there’s one more thing that I wanted to share… Probably the best Donald Trump quote of the entire summer. I just couldn’t allow myself to drift off to sleep without sharing it first. I think it speaks volumes as to just how far through the looking glass we’ve now traveled.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 138 Comments

If war with Iran is what it’s going to take to keep the greatest President in American history out of prison, I’m OK with that

With Donald Trump’s Helsinki treason summit fresh in everyone’s mind, Paul Manafort’s trial set to begin in about a week, the promise of incriminating audio tapes, and the mid-term election just a little over three months away, our President seems to be thrusting himself headlong into desperation mode. Over the past 24 hours alone, he has threatened war with Iran, reverted to once again calling Russian election interference a “hoax”, lied about the FISA warrant against Carter Page, and announced that he my seek to revoke the security clearances of lifetime intelligence community officials like John Brennan who dare to question his cozy relationship with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Here, if you’ve yet to see it, is Trump’s tweet promising war with Iran. [A big, heartfelt “thank you,” by the way, to all of you pure liberals out there who refused to vote for Secretary Clinton because you bought the laughably stupid “Hillary’s a war monger” narrative that was being peddled by Russian bots and the New York Times.]

And, yes, if you’re thinking that Donald Trump might just be the kind of guy who, if it meant increasing his odds of avoiding impeachment and prosecution, might consider wagging us into war, you’re not alone. A lot of us are thinking that he’s the kind of guy to do such a thing. I mean, it’s clearly something that he’s thought about. Back in the 2011, as you may recall, he even accused President Obama of doing it, saying in a tweet that his predecessor would start a war with Iran “in order to get elected” to a second term… And we all know that Donald Trump has a long history of accusing others of doing things that he then goes on to do himself.

It really does feel like the madness is purposefully being ramped up in hopes of preemptively counteracting something Donald Trump knows to be on the horizon, like the release of the above-mentioned audio recordings, or the arrest of his close associate Roger Stone, who many think may be the next one swept up in Robert Mueller’s magnificent net of justice.

And so we wait as the craziness and chaos builds to a fever pitch, with our President throwing out absolutely anything and everything that he can, hoping to stir up enough dirt to obscure what’s actually going on… claiming once again, for instance, that the FBI investigation began with the Steele dossier, when we all know for a fact that it actually began when federal authorities were informed by an Australian diplomat that Trump policy advisor George Papadopoulos had been drunkenly talking in a London bar about stolen Clinton campaign emails that he and the Trump-Pence 2016 team were expecting to receive from the Russians.

Oh, and, for what it’s worth, Vladamir Putin has also started pitching in to help Trump out, telling Fox News that his government has never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States. [You know, when I first heard Trump say about Putin, “He said he didn’t meddle… and I believe,” I scoffed. But he really is persuasive, though, isn’t he?]

So, yeah, we’re all fucked. Donald Trump isn’t going to go quietly into the night like Richard Nixon. He’s going to keep fighting to the bitter end, without any concern for the long term damage being done to our nation. If he has to, he will take us to war to avoid facing the consequences of his actions. Let this be a lesson to future generations not to elect sociopaths.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

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