Trump’s legal team admits that the President authored his son’s false statement concerning the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives promising stolen “dirt” on Hillary Clinton

Yesterday, the New York Times released a 20-page memo that was sent from Donal Trump’s legal team this past January to special counsel Robert Mueller. The document was, it would appear, an attempt on the part of the Trump team to argue that, as the President of the United States, their client could not technically obstruct justice. [“He, by definition, is justice, and therefore could not possibly obstruct justice,” they essentially argued.] While I’d love to spend time getting into their argument as to why Trump can neither be questioned under oath, or found guilty of obstruction, I’d like to focus for the time being on a specific excerpt from the memo concerning Trump having written his son’s preemptive response to a New York Times article that would be coming out the following day about a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians promising illegally acquired “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and senior members of the Trump campaign… Here it is.

This, of course, isn’t exactly breaking news, as people have expected for some time that Trump authored the letter, but this is the first time the administration has conceded as much. The following comes from New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman.

This is the first time that representatives of Mr. Trump concede that he dictated a “short but accurate” statement issued by his son to The New York Times about a meeting in June 2016 the younger Mr. Trump had with a Russian lawyer who an intermediary claimed had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump’s advisers have tried to muddy this point, suggesting several people were involved, so the clarity of the sentence is striking. The response about the statement from Mr. Trump’s lawyers also quickly shifts to Mr. Trump’s son, saying he soon after made a “full public disclosure” about how the meeting was arranged.

As for this not being exactly surprise, here’s something that I posted this past January, shortly after Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, came out. My post was titled “It looks as though Trump really did ghostwrite Don Jr.’s laughably pathetic letter attempting to explain his Trump Tower meeting with Russians as having been about international adoption policy.”

…I just want to focus on one specific story from the Wolff book – the story of how it was decided that, when it became known that the New York Times was about to release their story concerning Kushner, Trump Jr. and Manafort taking a meeting with Russian agents at Trump Tower during the election, the President himself decided that they should try to play it all off like the three people running the campaign just decided to take some time away from the race to discuss the plight of Russian orphans.

Before we get to that, though, I just want to say that obstruction of justice is something we’ve already seen from Donald Trump multiple times. Trump himself told Lester Holt on network television that he fired FBI Director Jim Comey because he wouldn’t stop the Russia investigation. And, the day after firing Comey, in a secret meeting that the press wasn’t made aware of, Trump pretty much said the same thing to the Russian ambassador at the White House. Then, of course, there was the time when he pretty much admitted to not coming forward and telling the Department of Justice when he knew that his national security advisor, Michael Flynn, had been lying to investigators about his communications with the Russians. And, thanks to the reporting of the New York Times this past week, we know that Trump also tried to interfere and stop Sessions from recusing himself from all things Russia-related, as he wanted an Attorney General who could stop the investigation. [Trump, accounting to multiple New York Times sources, sent White House counsel Don McGahn to stop Sessions from recusing himself.] So the story I’m about to share shouldn’t shock you. We know that Trump is guilty of obstruction already. This is just one more example, although, perhaps, a more interesting one, as it involves Ivanka drugging herself to avoid participation… Here, from the Fire and Fury, is the story of how it came to be that Donald Trump Jr. issued his statement telling everyone that, while it was true that he, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner – the three top members of the Trump 2016 campaign – had taken a meeting with Russians at Trump Tower prior to the election, they only did so out of concern for Russian orphans.




So, if we’re to believe Wolff, as I do in this instance, everyone on Air Force One fought to get as far as possible away from the President, as he, Hope Hicks, and possibly Jared Kushner, came up with a plan to lie about the purpose of the July 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, in spite of the fact that they knew damn well that the Times already had the email chain which proceeded the meeting, in which the Russians promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Ivanka, knowing what was going down, made it a point to tell everyone that she was taking a sleeping pill and leaving. And the President’s other most trusted advisors went off to watch the movie Fargo, which, ironically, is about a poorly-conceived-of crime perpetrated by stupid people who are eventually caught.

And, as Wolf says later in the book, not only does the President’s former advisor, Steve Bannon, think the Trump Tower meeting was in itself “treasonous,” but, for what it’s worth, he thinks Trump Jr. probably brought the lawyer from the Russian mob and her associates upstairs to meet with Donald Trump himself. “The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these Jumos up to his father’s office of the 26th floor is zero,” Bannon apparently told Wolff.

Will this be enough to make a difference? Almost surely not. The Republicans know that Trump is guilty of obstruction, and yet they’ve chosen to do nothing…

So, in the words of Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, “First, we’re told there were no meetings with Russians. Then, we’re told Trump had no part in drafting the false Trump Tower statement. Then, we’re told he weighed in. Now, we’re told he dictated it. Not a word can be trusted of Trump or his staff on Russia, or perhaps anything.

Which brings us to this morning, when Trump sent his new attorney Rudy Giuliani out to make the rounds, telling everyone that it’s really, really difficult to keep your stories straight about things like this, and how, if four out of five of their stories aren’t incriminating, we should disregard the fifth.

For every one these things he did, we can write out five reasons why he did it. Four of them are completely innocent, and one of them is your assumption that it’s a guilty motive, which the president would deny.” -Rudy Giuliani

Again, this won’t change anything, as we have a complicit Republican Congress in control of our government, but I think it’s safe to say that, at any other point in American history, had the President of the United States done what Donald Trump has done, he would have been driven from office in disgrace.

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On the 23rd day with no Melania, I can’t help but be reminded of the troubling story of Martha Mitchell’s forced imprisonment at the hands of the Nixon administration

Melania Trump has not been seen in public since May 10. The White House said on 14th that she’d undergone surgery for a “benign” kidney issue, but, according to doctors who have been interviewed in the press, the kind of procedure she’s said to have had wouldn’t have required such a lengthy recovery period. So, for the past 23 days, people have been wondering. And her tweets during this period, all of which seem to have been written by her husband, certainly haven’t helped quiet speculation that something might be very wrong.

I know there’s likely a very simple explanation – like that she hates the President, and has decided that she no longer wants to play the role of First Lady, telling America’s kids to “Be Best” while pretending to care – but, having just recently listened to the Martha Mitchell episode of the “Slow Burn” podcast about Watergate, I can’t help but wonder if maybe there’s something more to it. I mean, really, who would have thought it even remotely possible back in 1972 that the wife of Nixon’s former attorney general, could have been beaten, drugged and held prisoner by members of a presidential administration who feared that she might talk with the press about the Watergate break-in? But yet that’s exactly what happened. Of course, no one really believed her once she was finally let go, as she’d been labeled an alcoholic and a kook by members of the administration, but the truth eventually came out.

[Thanks to Mitchell, there’s now term in the psychiatric profession that’s used to describe when a patient’s accurate perception of real events are labeled delusional. It’s called The Martha Mitchell Effect.]

Here, from Medium, is bit of the story, for those of you who might not have heard it before.

…In the summer of 1972, Martha Mitchell was on the telephone in her hotel room in Newport Beach, California, when a security guard for President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign walked over and yanked the cord out of the wall. According to Mitchell, for the next 24 hours, the guard, who was working on orders from her husband, former attorney general John Mitchell, refused to let her leave. Every time she tried to escape, the guard caught her. Later she recounted, “From then on I saw no one — allowed no food — and literally kept a prisoner.” At more than one point, things got physical. Mitchell said that the guard, Stephen King, kicked her and, later, during one of her escape attempts, put her hand through a glass window, causing an injury that required six stitches. The incident was humiliating. Mitchell reported, “He came into my room while the doors were closed and I was undressed.” At some point, King called a doctor, who walked into the room without saying a word to Mitchell. He and King threw her on the bed and held her down while the doctor removed her pants and administered a tranquilizing shot to her rear end…

That security guard who beat and held Mitchell against her will, by the way, was nominated by Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate this past October to be our U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic… Yes, these are exactly the kinds of men that have sought to represent Trump’s America abroad.

Back to Melania though… As I didn’t appreciate it when people on the right speculated about Obama’s birth certificate, or Hillary’s health, I’m hesitant to engage in any armchair sleuthing about what may or may not have happened to the third Mrs. Trump. And I hope the comment thread accompanying this post doesn’t fill up with speculation about murder, plastic surgery or spousal abuse. With that said, though, I feel I’d be remiss, as someone who knows the story of Martha Mitchell, if I didn’t at least mention that, not so long ago, the wife of a prominent American politician was actually drugged and held against her will by surrogates of the president when they felt as though she had information that could harm the administration. And that’s all I’m saying… Nothing should surprise us.

Again, I expect that Melania is fine, but understandably fed-up. With that said, though, I do really believe that, by the time all of this is done, things will have gotten a whole lot weirder. And, as I’ve said before, it wouldn’t surprise me at all, given the kind of people in Trump’s orbit, if murder was eventually on the long list of crimes that we’re discussing… I don’t imagine, however, that’ll happen until the end of the first season, which is still a ways off.

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“So I’m warning you… What I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering if, just maybe, Trump fixer Michael Cohen, the man who mortgaged his home to buy the silence of his boss’s porn star mistress, might be deserving of your empathy, I’d encourage you to listen to this recently released audio of him threatening NPR’s Tim Mak back in 2015, when the latter was working on a piece for the Daily Beast, about a rape claim made against the then candidate by his first wife, Ivana Trump, during their divorce proceedings… After declaring to the reporter that a man can’t technically rape his own wife, which is both incorrect and disgusting, the wannabe mob enforcer growls, “So I’m warning you… What I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

If I had to guess, I’d say this is probably pretty indicative of the kind of pseudo-organized crime operation that Donald Trump sits at the head of. And, of course, we’re not just talking about the Trump Organization now, as they’ve taken over the entire Republican Party. As former Republican House Speaker John Boehner just said this past Thursday, while sipping a Bloody Mary at the Michigan policy conference on Mackinac Island, at this point “there is no Republican Party,” only a “Trump Party”. And it’s because of this that Michael Cohen, in spite of his thuggish behavior, and the fact that he’s under federal investigation for bank fraud, remains the deputy director of the Republican National Committee.

Trump told us, when all of this started, that he only surrounded himself with “the best people.” Well, with each passing day, we see just how much of a lie that was. He was never the world’s greatest dealmaker, and he never surrounded himself with the smartest people. He was never anything more than a conman who surrounded himself with cast of characters who could help him cash in on the “Trump” name while staying one step ahead of the law. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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Donald Trump, who has said in the past that he fired FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia investigation, says he did not fire FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia investigation

While, thanks to Roseanne Barr, the whole world was busy debating the extent to which Ambien causes racism, Donald Trump took the opportunity to rewrite a little bit more of American history today. [He also sent a signal to his numerous co-conspirators by announcing his intention to pardon the racist far-right “intellectual” Dinesh D’Souza, but we’ll have to save that for another time.]

In spite of having stated on multiple occasions that he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to stop the Russia investigation, our president took to Twitter this morning – the day after lashing out at his Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation rather than stopping it – and said definitively that he “never fired James Comey because of Russia!” This, as we know, is a lie, and one that’s very easy to fact check.

There may be more, but I can recall at least two instances, one of which was broadcast over network television, in which Donald Trump has said before witnesses that it was his decision to fire James Comey not because of how the former FBI director had handled the Clinton email investigation, which, as we now know, was never anything more than a politically motivated farce, but because of… to use his own words… “the Russia thing.” Here he is using that exact phrase with NBC’s Lester Holt on May 11 of last year, two days after the FBI Director had been fired, and hours after the White House put out a statement saying that the firing had not been Trump’s decision, but that Comey had been fired based on the advice of the Department of Justice’s Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions, both of whom, by the way, the President has since turned on.

“(It was) my decision,” the President told a caught-off-guard Lester Holt, who had clearly not been expecting Trump to admit that he’d given the word to fire the man charged with investigating him. The President then when on to say that he was thinking about “this Russia thing” when he decided to terminate the FBI director. Here, if you’d like to the refresh your memory, is video of the exchange, which I’m certain will one day be played in court. [Word is that the special investigator already has enough to charge Donald Trump with obstruction of justice, but he’s still shoring up the rest of case, which centers on corruption, money laundering and conspiring with foreign powers against the interests of the American people.]

“[Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein] made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” – Donald Trump

This isn’t like “laurel” and “yanni”. There’s no debating what it is that Trump said, or what he meant. It’s clear. He told Lester Holt that he’d decided to fire Comey himself, and that had to do with “the Russia thing.”

And, before we move on, it’s worth noting that this video, as we now know, was followed shortly afterward by the release of a memo authored by James Comey just after the President called him to the Oval Office, where, according to the former FBI Director, he was both asked for his “loyalty” and told to stop looking into National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s interactions with the Russians prior to the election. [Flynn, it’s worth noting, ultimately plead guilty to charges of lying to the FBI, when evidence surfaced that he’d lied to federal investigators about his contacts with Russians who had been engaged in election interference on Trump’s behalf.]

But Trump didn’t only tell the NBC audience that he fired Comey for refusing to put “the Russia thing” to bed. He also told a delegation of Russians, who he’d brought to the White House without the public’s knowledge on the very day he fired Comey. The visit hadn’t been on the public calendar, and the only reason we ever found out about it is because the Russians in attendance reported on it… Here’s something that I wrote about the meeting at the time.

Trump must be trolling us, right? I mean who in their right fucking mind, on the day immediately after he fires the man heading the investigation into whether or not his campaign team colluded with the Russians to steal an election, not only invites into the White House the very Russian Ambassador who’s widely thought to have helped orchestrate the whole thing, but bans the American press, allowing in only Russian news agencies? I mean, this is the very same guy, Sergey Kislyak, that Michael Flynn was fired for having lied about having talked with during the campaign. This is the guy who many think coordinated the whole “we’ll hack the election if you lift the sanctions” deal at the heart of this whole fucking thing. And Trump invites him into the White House on the day after he fires FBI Director Comey in hopes of killing the investigation. It’s absolutely insane. This would be like if Obama, at the height of the Tea Party madness, joined the Black Panther Party, donned a dashiki, released his Kenyan birth certificate, and started to speak exclusively in Bantu…

And it wasn’t just that Trump invited Kislyak into the Oval Office the day he fired Comey. He also laughed about it in front of them, calling the former FBI director a “nut job,” and noting how, now that he’d been removed from office, there would be less significantly less “pressure” on him. Here’s a clip from a New York Times article written at the time.

…“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that the president dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

The comments represented an extraordinary moment in the investigation, which centers in part on the administration’s contacts with Russian officials: A day after firing the man leading that inquiry, Mr. Trump disparaged him — to Russian officials.

The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account…

At first, the White House said Mr. Trump had fired Mr. Comey based on the recommendation of the Justice Department, and because of Mr. Comey’s handling of the F.B.I. investigation into Hillary Clinton last year. Officials said the move had nothing to do with the Russia investigation.

But the president undercut that argument a day later, telling NBC News, “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story”…

So, today, when you hear Donald Trump say, “The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!,” just keep in mind that he’s lying. It’s absolutely true that he fired Comey in hopes of ending the investigation, and he’s only saying this now because he’s scared, and knows for a certainty that his only chance of avoiding prosecution is to convince Republican voters that he never said what he said, and that all of this is nothing more than the ‘lying press’ trying to keep him from saving America and getting the credit which is so rightfully his. We can’t let him get away with it.

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Not a witch hunt… not by a long shot.

Do you want to hear a really scary statistic?

According to a recent survey by Navigator Research 59% of Americans are unaware of the fact that the Mueller investigation has already uncovered evidence of crimes.

For those of you who, like our friend EOS, “deal in facts,” here are the cold, hard facts that 41% of us already know.

As of today, the Mueller investigation has already obtained 5 guilty pleas and 17 criminal indictments… Here, from Vox, are just a few of the highlights.

Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and a key Trump campaign surrogate, pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal investigators in December.

Rick Gates, a top aide on the Trump campaign and a longtime business partner of Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to false statements and one count of conspiracy.

George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the campaign, pleaded guilty to false statements.

Alexander van der Zwaan, a London-based Dutch attorney, pleaded guilty to making false statements about his contacts with Gates and an unnamed Ukrainian.

13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been indicted on conspiracy charges, and some on identity theft charges, related to Russian social media and hacking efforts.

Richard Pinedo, a California resident, has pleaded guilty to an identity theft charge related to the Russian indictments.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair, is facing two separate indictments — one in DC about conspiracy, money laundering, false statements, and failure to disclose foreign assets; and one in Virginia about tax, financial, and bank fraud charges.

And, from what we hear, the impanelled grand juries are nowhere near done.

In spite of this, however, Donald Trump, with the support of the Republican propaganda machine at Fox, and his co-consipirtors in Congress, continues to push a false narrative, telling the American people that the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt,” as we saw yesterday in this tweet, where he suggests that poor, innocent patriots are being dragged through the mud, not because they committed treasonous acts and lied to federal investigators, but because a secret pro-Obama sect within the government, called the “deep state,” is hell bent on keeping the current administration from “making America great again.”

And here’s the really insidious part… This whole deep state, pro-Democrat conspiracy is being led by lifelong Republicans appointed to office by Donald Trump!

Donald Trump appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates, and Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Rod Rosenstein. And Rosenstein, in turn, appointed special prosecutor Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director who was first appointed to public office by Ronald Reagan, and served with distinction under both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

But yet here we are… being subjected on a daily basis to things like this.

So we find ourselves in this upside down world, where people who have been fed a constant media diet of lies from the far right for decades actually believe the the Mueller probe, which has 5 guilty pleas and 17 criminal indictments already, is “fake,” while the Benghazi investigation, which yielded absolutely no evidence of crimes, and cost the American taxpayers several times more, is real. And, in a world where the far, far right is debating the existence of a child sex dungeon operated by Hillary Clinton beneath D.C.’s Comet Pizza, we actually view them as the “sane” ones. That’s how far the bar has dropped in our lifetimes.

So, if you have a moment, please remind everyone you know that the Mueller investigation, as of today, has yielded 8 indictments covering 19 individuals and 3 businesses, 5 guilty pleas, 2 criminal cases headed to trial, and 1 one individual already serving a prison sentence. And additional indictments are expected in the near future.

I wouldn’t have thought a post like this would be necessary, but the polling says different. As the current resident of the White House would say, “Sad.”

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