March 4: Mueller tells Barr he's not going to exonerate Trump, leaving it up to Congress
March 24: Barr releases a panicked summary usurping Congress' power, all while pretending transparency
April 4: Barr now scrambling as it becomes clear his March 24 memo is a coverup
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) April 4, 2019
While the dimmer bulbs in the media are slowly starting to figure out that maybe, just maybe, the Mueller Report didn’t exonerate Trump (I suppose the first clue was Mueller explicitly stating the report did not exonerate him, but hey- I’m not paid the big bucks like Maggie Haberman and company), the House is busy supboenaing the hell out of everyone and everything in sight. We will eventually get to see the Mueller report, I think, but it might be some time.
It’s pretty clear that the reason Trump was uncharacteristically quiet on twitter the weekend the report was sent to Barr was that they were trying to figure out how they were going to do damage control. Apparently they settled on throwing Barr to the wolves, letting him issue the bullshit 4 page memo, and the use that to blow up and out the puke funnel to try to firm up the opinion that there is no there, there. They had some help from the typically idiotic press who, as usual, took the Republican’s word on things and uncritically blasted it out for a few days before doing what they always, which is make the story about themselves and spend the next few days deciding who the winners and losers in the media are. Another assist came from various useful idiots (see Michael Tracey, Matt Taibbi, and others), who have decided without seeing the report that there was nothing inappropriate going on with Russia and because of that, none of the other criminal shit matters, either. I wish I was kidding:
like when they investigate the mob for money laundering and discover murder, extortion, blackmail and drug trafficking, they just drop it because the whole thing was based on false pretenses.
— Cake or Death (@Johngcole) April 4, 2019
If you want a brutal take down of these guys, you should definitely read Klion on Taibbi and Greenwald (whom I still like and respect even though I think he has been crazy about this whole Trump investigation and who is always worse on twitter than he is in his longer pieces- the price of being a contrarian with a temper, I suppose).
Despite all of that, it ain’t working. Polls show that only around the crazification factor thing that Trump is innocent, with around 70% saying either no or dunno. So, for those of you who are cynical as fuck, like me, and sick of going high, it is my personal opinion that the longer Barr drags this out, the worse it is for Barr, the worse it is for Trump, and the worse it is for Republicans. Additionally, while there may be a number of redactions done for legitimate national security reasons, it’s excellent fodder for “WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?” I spent a lot of time listening hearing Republicans say “If you haven’t done anything to hide” while they stomped all over our civil rights and privacy, and I watched them launch ridiculous investigations over Benghazi and stoke birther bullshit and spew nonsense about Hillary’s emails, so you know what, fuck it. Let’s beat them up and use what they are giving us.
So yes, I am dying to read the Mueller, but the cynic and political opportunist in me is to hope the Republicans keep self-owning themselves and drip it out in pieces and redact a ton of shit. Anything that hurts these guys is a win for the country. Period.
That Klion column is great.
How do we know what happened March 4th?
I’m hoping that the next time that Trump stamps his little feet and says ‘I’m completely exonerated!’ some ex-Mueller staff will be driven over the edge and do the right thing. But we shall see.
Gosh, where were people like Michael Tracy when Ken Starr started an investigation into a 20 year old land development deal, and, after finding nothing illegal there, proceeded to investigate more than a dozen other issues, which *also* had nothing illegal, and finally resorted to creating a perjury trap about a blowjob?
I used to like Greenwald back in the Salon days, but let’s face it- he’s working for the other side now. I don’t know what happened but I suspect he was flipped either through blackmail or plain old extortion. Don’t know and don’t care. Write him off.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
He’s a genius – but you can’t see his grades. He’s a billionaire – but you can’t see his tax returns. And he’s totally exonerated – but you can’t see the Mueller Report.
Barr has some unusual legal theories justifying why a president can never be indicted or even investigated. I am not sure they would protect him from obstruction if he carries this too far. I have heard of criminals who justify their theft because of unfounded legal theories (like a bank robber who says banks are stealing from us so I am just taking some back). I know Barr is a respected lawyer in some circles, but how far off to you have to be from actual law and previous decisions to have your theory discounted or seen as a convenient fabrication and be held responsible for an underlying crime such as obstruction?
As usual, the Trump administration, led by an incompetent boob, displays it’s utter and total incompetence. Rather than get this report out, perform what damage control they can, and hope that it fades into the memory hole of both the public and the media, they are continuing the cover-up. It’s already April. Democratic debates between nominees start in just over 2 months. And these morons are assuring the candidates will have a nice juicy issue to gnaw on throughout the summer and into the fall.
Right On Cole!
The thing that strikes me about the whole ordeal is how stupid the Goopers are about the Modern World. This may be based in the heavenly light of their ultimate goal Some White Supremist Nirvana, that blinds them to seeing or even believing in Reality. Even though they have all the media platforms wired, they still don’t understand the rest of us do not live in Conservative Bubble, and that we can still see the facts for what they are.
Of course, they also believe all the non-Base have horns and hooves and stink of sulfur (or patchouli).
A Ghost To Most
What the fuck happened to Matt Taiibi? He used to be sorta sane.
This isn’t about the true believers. I have a bunch of them in my extended family who are on facebook and such. They don’t give the slightest shit about Mueller or anything else. They know Trump is corrupt as all hell and just don’t care because he is on their team. And they never will care because Fox News tells them not to.
This is about carving off little slices of the middle. Which is how elections are won and lost these days.
The more they dribble things out and leak stuff the better.
@John Revolta: If I had to guess it’d be that Greenwald needs to believe that pro-Russian hackers are mostly culture-jammers and rebels against the “national security state” because that’s how the Snowden story made him famous. And if that’s not what was happening with Snowden then his whole career just might be based on a lie at best and proof of his being a naive patsy at the next-best.
Here in the United States of Amnesia, no one in the media seems to recall Trump’s many visits with Putin, without any person from our side in on the conversation. If he was a “dupe,” he was an eager one.
@A Ghost To Most: Doesn’t Taibbi have a track record of sexual adventurism, putting it rather politely, in post-Soviet Russia?
Also, both Taibbi and Greenwald are POSITIVE they’re the smartest people in every possible room.
Who’d’a thunk that pro-Russian narcissists would think President Pro-Russian Narcissist is getting a raw deal? ;/
GG is a certifiable nightmare. Acting as an enabler of Cucker Tarlson’s White Supremacist Power Hour is all the evidence needed to see it’s all about the benjamins now.
@A Ghost To Most: He became a nihilist.
Great post John I’m with you and think the longer this strings out the worse AND there will be a steady drip drip drip of the content as well anyway. The content is ugly and will leave a mark that won’t go away no matter how they will try. My fear is that Trump will use increasingly extreme actions to distract and deflect that will hurt us more. God I hate him and the GOP mofos doing this to our country!
Well, see, the problem is that in those days, a “perjury trap” was not a “process crime,” it was a REAL crime, nigh unto murder (or at the very least, having e-mail on a private server), because it was the Clintons, and who the HELL did they think they were, thinking they deserved to be in the White House, etc., etc.
However, with the world’s most successfullest businessman — who also has the highest IQ ever, holds the course record at EVERY major PGA venue, and also has really BIG hands — in his rightful residense in DC, “process crimes” are not even as bad as traffic warnings, and should be ignored. And it’s his accusers who are the TRUE GUILTY PARTIES.
Shorter me: IOKIYAR
@A Ghost To Most:
White supremacy is a hell of a drug, as many others have noted before me.
@FlipYrWhig: Unless the adventurism involved underaged individuals, I am not sure it would matter to Taibbi. It’s sort of like the guy who tried to blackmail Joe Francis (owner of Girls Gone Wild) over allegedly compromising photos of Francis having sex with men. Francis told the guy that he didn’t seem to know much about Francis if he thought that kind of thing would be problematic for him.
Why on earth do you continue to like and respect Greenwald? Can you explain that?
As a great philosopher once said:
The pessimist sees the glass as half-empty
The optimist sees the glass as half-full
The nihilist wants to smash the fucking glass
Same with Bernie, I hope. You’ll never get his true believers, but others can see the light. I know highly intelligent people who are still snowed by him (“he’s saying what needs to be said!”) and know nothing about his actual career.
@J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:
Stay on message, Dems…just twenty short months to go (unless the Orange One strokes out from the stress of all that ‘executive time’ before then)
@feebog: A potential obstacle to following such a strategy is Trump’s insecurity and stupidity. His best defense would be to claim incompetence, e.g., he could agree that the campaign was the target of a sophisticated Russian infiltration campaign, but his people were too inexperienced to understand what was going on. That would be the smart thing to do, even if he were an active Russian agent. More likely, he and his people are just lazy and greedy, which made them perfect targets for Russian kompromat. They just couldn’t resist the temptation to take meetings with mysterious Russian lawyers about Clinton misdeeds and offers of sweetheart skyscraper deals in Moscow. That was all bullshit that the Russians fed them to get them on the hook. Now, I think that Trump is more worried about looking like a moron, than looking like he was actively conspiring with Russian agents. He’s also probably more worried about the other sweaters that are unraveling because of the Mueller investigation, stuff he understands better, such as his scammy dealings in NY real estate, tax evasion, bank and insurance fraud. The guy’s really just a common criminal and, like a lot of criminals, he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. He’s used to dealing with other criminal numbnutz like himself, not GRU and FSB operatives. He hates the Russia thing because it makes him look stupid, and he fears that more than anything else.
Battered spouse syndrome?
Greenwald is at best a useful idiot for the Kremlin, and at worst a willing asset. And given his involvement with comrade Snowden, the latter seems much more likely.
@FlipYrWhig: @Barbara: Yeah, Taibbi got up to lots of weird shit while he was in Russia. There’s no way that Putin doesn’t have gobs of kompromat on him.
@J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: That’s an interesting patterning. What’s next believe me.
John (Up top):
I agree. A significant majority of the country, and even of Republicans, wants the report out for us to read.
With House committees subpoenaing the material, there will be news stories every day, and they will show Barr dragging his feet and Trump stamping his. And the rest of us can keep up the chant “What are they hiding?”
I think I read that there is going to be a demonstration in DC today about getting the report out. Keep things boiling.
@FlipYrWhig: Yep. And once you create a fictional universe like that to inhabit, before you know it, guest appearances on the white nationalist news hour on a right-wing propaganda outlet don’t seem like such a bad idea.
@A Ghost To Most:
Matt Taibbi was always a lame brogressive, doing a bad Hunter Thompson impersonation.
I assumed that barr wouldn’t just lie about the report because he had to know there would be intense pressure to release it and the lie would bite him on the a**. But maybe I underestimated the pressure he was under from Trump to engage in a cover up. I might have also underestimated the “everything trump touches dies” factor and its impact on barr’s judgement.
I can see a scenario where Trump tells barr to lie about the report in a quick summary to set the narrative and “win the week.” He hopes that people will lose interest and the problem will go away. Trump doesn’t think more than 1 step or 24 hours ahead, so from his perspective that approach makes sense. And in normal circumstances Barr might say “well that’s idiotic,” but then the Trump effect kicks in.
@Lapassionara: That is a seriously solid point. Trump willfully went into a meeting with Putin and no American translator or record-keeper.
I believe Schiff mentioned it in his “You might think it’s OK” speech.
It WOULD make for one hell of an October Surprise.
I gave up too soon on my somewhat expected outcome (The Dream, I guess), which is that Trump won’t be the GOP nominee; I thought/hoped he would be too wounded by Mueller’s report. We may still get there. I could almost see him doing an LBJ (“I shall not seek, and I will not accept…)
There may only be a drop of blood in the water, but the next Woodard and Bernstein are out there knowing they can make their career on this thing.
Greenwald is trash. He postures as some sort of expert on investigative journalism, but he’s actually nothing more than a pundit, based on his own output. Where’s *any* original reporting by the man in the past two years? Any investigation?
I wouldn’t even mind him being a pundit, but he fucking talks about journalism like he’s actually done any. He had *one* story dumped in his lap by a then-completely unknown individual. Other than that, pretty much all his output is lazy punditry.
The media’s big problem in this area is that they treat credibility as something that comes from one’s position, not from one’s record. They have to treat people like Trump and Barr as credible because they’re Republicans who hold important positions, and their history of lying through their teeth doesn’t matter. OTOH, Jane Schmoe can’t be trusted even when she presents video proof because she’s a nobody. Of course it’s worse than just that, because all their various forms of bigotry show through in terms of who they treat as automatically credible and who they question. It’s incredible they kept taking John Kelley’s word over Frederica Wilson’s even when there was video evidence supporting her, but it goes to show their attitude toward truth.
A Ghost To Most
The engineer tries to figure out how to make the vessel fit the fluid.
@FlipYrWhig: Not that they are willing to admit. The underaged girl subject to the revolting actions and/or satirical writing (no, I don’t take them at their word as to whether it really happened) involved the other guy, not Taibbi. I am not defending Taibbi, but I think that Putin or someone else would have nuked him by now if they could. I just think that there must be a different explanation for Taibbi’s loss of redeeming value over the last few years.
The parody account is almost word-for-word transcription at this point:
greenwald is “a contrarian with a temper”. i guess those are indeed words in a sentence. i suppose.
A Ghost To Most
Definitely got the bad “Duke” thing. Hunter S. would have eaten him. I gave up reading Taiibi long ago. Just another GG now, apparently.
Excellent tweet by Mr. Cole!
Back when I was much younger in the 70s and 80s there seemed to be a lot more young people caught up in cults. Here in Oregon it was the Rajneeshees when I was in college. Seemingly rational people would get caught up in their world and you just couldn’t talk to them anymore. The Bernie folks I encounter are starting to seem more and more like that. It’s all about what Dear Leader says. Nothing about how to actually accomplish any rational goals such as getting elected or governing.
A Ghost To Most
Coercion is not collusion! in 3, 2, …
@A Ghost To Most:
taibbi spent some time in russia. and he had a good time. a *really* good time. like “knocking up hookers and beating them up” good time*.
so now he’s all in on russia. he fucking loves the place.
*note, i’m not actually saying that doing those things, in reality, comprises “a good time”.
@John Revolta: It look like underage girls and sexual assault is game every guy can play no matter the political leanings.
This. A lot of people who should have known better were willing to give Tabbi a pass because he was saying stuff they agreed with. They could ignore his dickishness as an uncompromising willingness to stand up to the man. It’s only when they started disagreeing with him that they noticed how awful he is in general.
I’m sure this has been debated elsewhere.
But any reason why the House Committees can’t just ask Mueller to come testify? I don’t think there would be any way for the white house and DOJ to stop that from happening would there be? Unless Mueller himself wants to claim executive privilege or make some such objection. I don’t think the white house or other agencies can just step in and stop it can they?
Or for that matter, any of the other investigators who were working for Mueller.
I used to know someone whose brother got caught up in the LaRouche cult, and it was a true cult even if the focus was on politics. They had to be very careful about what they would say to him or he would cut all contact for months on end.
The Bernie dead-enders are on track to be the LaRouchies of the 21st century.
A Ghost To Most
No shit. No way he’s compromised /s.
His father was a serious journalist, as I recall. I wonder what he thinks.
Yep. It’s only right to pay them back.
A Ghost To Most
Some people are just sheep, and not too particular about who the shepherd is.
@Roger Moore: His gibberish after the financial crisis was cringe worthy and his numbers didn’t add up either.
Define “nuked.” I would say that inducing him to write pro-Russian propaganda and pooh-pooh Trump being compromised would be more valuable to Putin than just wrecking Taibbi’s career.
If only we could get the Bernie folks to shut up that easily!!
The LaRouchies were really bizarre. They’d always show up in Dem primaries, especially here in the west and up in Alaska when I was living there. I never got a coherent sense of what they actually stood for and believed beyond bizarre consiracy theory stuff that was largely unintelligble to anyone not inside the fold. I was actually forced to vote for a Republican (Sen Ted Stevens) when one of them hijacked the “Dem primary in Alaska.
Formerly disgruntled in Oregon
@Mnemosyne: Yeah, no kidding… Why burn an asset for no reason?
I think this was the big mistake. There was ample evidence going in that Barr was chosen specifically because he had promised Trump that he was willing to run interference for him on the Mueller business. It should come as no surprise that he did it when the time came.
Honestly, though, I think the “everything Trump touches dies” business is a result of mistaking cause and effect. Trump is less of a corrupter than he is a man with a key eye for people who are already corrupt. Almost everyone Trump has supposedly corrupted has, at least in retrospect, shown signs of the same corruption before Trump came on the scene. That’s why traditional Republican hacks like Elaine Chao and Rick Perry have managed to dodge the curse; their preexisting corruption was pretty tame in comparison to the outsiders Trump brought in.
Also, keep in mind that the most common way to use blackmail material in espionage is NOT to threaten the person, but to assure them that you are their very good friend and will be sure to keep their secret.
And then you start to ask your “good friend” for favors.
@Mnemosyne: Both GG and Taibbi were probably honey trapped by Putin’s agents and are compromised.
Mueller is still a DOJ employee. He cannot testify without DOJ approval and his comments would be vetted.
IMO, this is structurally, and as a matter of the rule of law, a good thing.
@John Revolta: Liked Taibbi’s book expose of a faith-healing charismatic church. But later he’s just seemed weird. Those here who know more about him–what happened to him?
Funny you said “and others” rather than name-dropping GG…dude…just you can say his name and call him out…good friends can call out their good friends can’t they?
A Ghost To Most
@schrodingers_cat: Dang, I missed a helluva tale. I just wrote him off early for ripping off my favorite author.
I actually think that GG was trapped using his political beliefs against him. Snowden was carefully coached to tell GG everything he wanted to hear about the Democrats being just as corrupt — if not more corrupt! — than the Republicans, so it was in the best interest of the whole world to bring the American empire down.
The honeypot wasn’t sexual, it was ideological. And GG fell for it hook, line, and sinker, because he’s not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.
And the white supremacy, of course. You can never leave that out when discussing GG’s ideology. Young white guy is going to heroically take down the black president and expose his secret corruption? GG was half sold before the plot even began.
I have to agree that the Mueller report will probably get out, and that turning that eventuality into a constant drip-drip-drip of choice details over the next year, followed by that inevitable full release, is probably *not* the wisest choice for Republicans.
@Mnemosyne: I am sure all of that might have happened. But after a while, it starts to sound like a kind of deus ex machina explanation, where everything that seems otherwise inscrutable is because Putin is a puppet master. Taibbi strikes me as someone who is (a) bona fide misogynist and (b) living off the fumes of other people’s outrage. Most of what he has written over the last three years has become virtually unreadable, lacking a coherent point of view and not much more than collection of cleverly packaged insults. The 90s were 20 years ago.
ETA: On Taibbi’s need for outrage, it’s a hard thing to write material that creates a sense of honest outrage, and some of Taibbi’s writing captures this spirit, especially on the financial crisis. But too often Taibbi’s idea of outrage is merely to insult, and often enough, he doesn’t care who is on the end of those insults.
@Roger Moore: I give Taibbi credit for being a better writer than Greenwald — low bar, but there it is. Taibbi’s snark can be mean and over-the-top, but at least he has a sense of humor. It may seem like a small distinction, but reading the output of a preening know-it-all isn’t as painful if he’s not also a verbose and supercilious scold.
I would beg to disagree. Elaine Chao and Rick Perry have just been on the periphery because transportation and DOE policy has been on the periphery or completely ignored by Trump to date. Should Trump decide to personally stake out some absurd claim or position that directly intersected with either the DOT or DOE then Chao or Perry would suddenly find themselves front and center and forced to ether support whatever idiocy was coming out of Trump’s mouth, or taking the brave stand to contradict him. $50 bucks says they would take the former route.
Chao and Perry are also more seasoned politicians and so haven’t gotten themselves caught up in the more absurd amateur corruption nonsense that some of his earlier cabinet picks did, like Scott Pruitt or Ryan Zinke.
But if Trump ever started paying attention to DOE or DOT policy like he does with immigration, then those two would suddenly become front and center examples of the Trump corruption vortex.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Trump’s problem now is Trump built his support on conspiracy theorists and flat earthers; even if the Mueller report isn’t an open and shut cause his own base will simply just assume cover up of the most damning parts because they’ve been conditioned to believe in conspiracies. The longer they dither about releasing the report the worse it will get.
@Ladyraxterinok: Social media, imo.
Taibbi used to be someone who actually went out and reported stories, even if he was giving you his point of view half the time. With his column at Rollingstone and his following on social media, he’s seemed content in recent years to sit on his ass and just opine on things, forget reporting or fact-finding. And in some ways, I can’t blame him, because he probably makes more money per hour worked than he did when he was reporting. Social media has allowed a certain subset of writers to just feed audiences redmeat on the daily news cycle, without actually making original news of their own, for relatively good profit.
Is he really still a DOJ employee? Or does it not matter even if he is retired?
@A Ghost To Most:
An engineer sees that the glass is only being used at 50% capacity and tries to figure out if that’s the optimum usage.
Thanks to Cole for a nice update and insightful summary. But, IMHO, Taibbi > Greenwald, and Tracey is a sad mess.
Caption on the NYT article pic was funny. Mindless ass-kissing of power can be very funny, especially when it is transparently pointless and useless:
” Attorney General William P. Barr has shown hints of frustration with how the rollout of the special counsel’s chief findings has unfolded. ”
One senses hints of panicked soiled AG trousers in the air, from the leaks that have come out. I didn’t know ‘hints of frustration’ could do that to a person. Good to know. I officially will take note and remember for future reference.
I think it’s well past time for a network to air a production of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
It’s less a conspiracy and more that they’re all inside the same bubble, talking to each other and swapping stories.
Did you see Adam’s post from a couple of days ago about Islamic extremists and white supremacists exchanging anti-Semitic memes and propaganda? It’s like that. GG and Taibbi and their fanboys all hate the same people, so they form an information bubble. As Adam said, that kind of bubble is very, very easy to infiltrate and spread propaganda to without the rest of the residents realizing it.
It’s not that Taibbi is afraid that Putin is going to release his bad deeds. It’s that he thinks Vladimir is his good buddy who would never hurt him, unlike those small-minded SJWs who want to condemn him for blowing off some steam.
A Ghost To Most
It’s like Beetlejuice and Voldemort?
@Van Buren: No one wants to see either Orange or the low rent double of Elton John, naked. Spare mine eyes.
@Mnemosyne: Maybe. I chalk it up to something more fundamental, like a toddler yelling “you’re not the boss of me!” at his parents.
And his dad’s money and name, without which he’d be the prototypical Z list nobody blogger.
Catching up on krugman and TPM tweets and links right now, since they are blackly funny enough to not disturb my lunch.
I’m beginning to wonder whether an honestly redacted release of the report will show a bunch too stupid and incompetent to collude, so mind bogglingly disorganized and feckless, they can’t even muster the evidence of an attempt.
Except, on campaign finance law violations. AFAIK, Mueller recommended no charges there, right? How can that possibly be? Seems very clear to me there were exchanges of things of value, both ways. Just as clear as NRA getting Russian money. But IANAL. I probably don’t understand something important about it.
West of the Rockies
Taibbi sucks. He’s putting out a book about how the media has become full of hate-mongers. It features Hannity and Rachel Maddow on the cover. Yeah, Rachel is JUST like Hannity.// Taibbi is a both-siderist.
Let’s face it, that’s pretty much the definition of every libertarian ever. Birds of a feather flock together, and all that.
@eemom: How many nepotism hires populate the Beltway media?
@Wapiti: More than once
A Ghost To Most
Useful idiots. Coercion is not collusion.
Now let’s be fair here: nobody on the planet could be.
@A Ghost To Most: See his stories about the financial crisis in Rolling Stone. High on invective, low on substance. I guy who can’t add should not write about numbers not adding up. The math errors in those articles were huge.
@West of the Rockies:
That vampire squid thing wasn’t so bad, was it?
Holy god, PHRASING!!!
Gin & Tonic
@A Ghost To Most:
Even if one accepts that Trump was “exonerated” – I don’t, but let’s say I do- it’s weird to oppose an investigation based upon the investigation not leading to indictments on conspiracy and obstruction.
What is the Greenwald standard? You have to know ahead of time how the investigation comes out or you can’t do one? That’s ridiculous. It’s an investigation. The result isn’t supposed to be known prior to launching it.
Oh, let it be so.
Someone’s on fire today!
@A Ghost To Most:
Almost. For us (mineself and me colleagues), it was fitting ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag. Sometimes I could only get nine pounds in there.
I was going to say something about using my Nine-pound Hammer, but that’s a different tangent.
@different-church-lady: glad that I made the point. I thank you and you are welcome.
Having read a lot of GG when he was at Salon,* his worldview always has been that Both Sides are bad. He mostly lit into the Bush Administration in those days, but largely because it was the easiest target. Even then, anybody who disagreed with him – or expressed the slightest uncertainty about the righteousness of his position – was not just wrong but willfully evil. Since he hates the intelligence apparatus with a deep and abiding passion, naturally the evil people included more or less any Dem who was in the mainstream. And, of course, he believes the Dems should know better.
*Even in those days, it was hard to read a little of GG, particularly since he would add multiple 500-word addenda in response to perceived slights or disagreements with his evidently correct position to every piece he wrote.
@germy: that’s a very nice “quit fucking around and produce the Mueller summaries, and by the way haul your ass in and bring all the documentation with you.” letter from Nadler.
@patrick II: I suspect he’s got a nice Cayman or Swiss account that’s keeping track of how much his legal theories are worth.
@J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:
Are you trying to say something is not right in our capital?
I do believe you’ve got it!
Barr is the rich kid who wants to keep his inheritance after he murders his parents because they wouldn’t give him a new car.
@A Ghost To Most: he lived in Russia for a couple of years living a life of debauchery, he even co wrote a book about it. Came back to the states as a hot shot for Rolling Stone. I suspect he finally became useful for the Russians.
Seeing Greenwald’s behavior lo these past few months is totally disqualifying of him as any sort of an arbiter of truth.
He is either a pro-bono advocate for fascists and anarchism or a paid stooge for some elements of global authoritarians.
There are really no other options.
I never liked GG. I found him too verbose and long-winded. I could not understand why he was such a favorite among the leftie set.
“Except, on campaign finance law violations. AFAIK, Mueller recommended no charges there, right? How can that possibly be? Seems very clear to me there were exchanges of things of value, both ways. Just as clear as NRA getting Russian money. But IANAL. I probably don’t understand something important about it.”
We have no clue what Meuller recommended or didn’t recommend.
We, and most media, are doing Kremlinology off of the charges Meuller made, the prosecutions he has done, the investigations he has passed on, and what’s leaked of the redacted 2nd Rosenstein Memo.
@sukabi: he played hoop in Mongolia where he was the Dennis Rodman if the team!
@Kent: LaRouche had this estate around Leesburg, Virginia and had sort of a private militia that kept doing disconcerting drills there and bothering the neighbors. Once I got in one of their many publications: I won a science fair that was held on a community-college campus in Loudoun County and got interviewed by a reporter for the “Loudoun County News.” They sent me a complimentary copy–it was a LaRouche paper. They had this pretty straight article about the science fair right on the front cover, surrounded by all this stuff about how Donald Regan and Queen Elizabeth were running the global heroin trade, and so forth.
At one point there was this little squib about how the printing of the “Frank Raflo Joke Book”, which was evidently a whole book of joke attacks on Loudoun County Supervisor Frank Raflo, had been delayed. I always figured there was a story there that I didn’t know all of. But one thing the LaRouchies always had was an aptitude for douchey, aggressive shock-jock humor, the same kind of weird macho thing you saw from right-wing dweebs like R. Emmett Tyrell or Tucker Carlson.
The fetid media terrarium in which we is immiserated (heavy on the misery) is one in which every GOP partisan hack in creation hadda platform to shriek “But what will we tell the motherfucking children?!!” during the Great Clenis Penis Hunt of the 90s, but now that all but the unconquerably stupid, ignorant and misinformed are abundantly aware that the the preznit of these here United States is overwhelmingly likely to be, at minimum, an unindicted criminal and (by his own admission) a hopelessly compromised Russian asset who doesn’t give a shit about Russian attacks on our government, NOW, apparently, the press chooses to be cautious and circumspect to the vanishing point of credulous absurdity.
Funny old world this.
The fetid media terrarium in which we is immiserated (heavy on the misery) is one in which every GOP partisan hack in creation hadda platform to shriek “But what will we tell the motherfucking children?!!” during the Great Clenis Pen1s Hunt of the 90s (and cheered on a $44 million dollar “investigation” that “uncovered” illicit consensual blow jobs that were fulsomely reported in excruciating detail), but now that all but the unconquerably stupid, ignorant and misinformed are abundantly aware that the the preznit of these here United States is overwhelmingly likely to be, at minimum, an unindicted criminal and (by his own admission) a hopelessly compromised Russian asset who doesn’t give a shit about Russian attacks on our government, NOW, apparently, the press chooses to be cautious and circumspect to the vanishing point of credulous absurdity.
Funny old world this.
Mike in NC
Haven’t read anything from Matt Taibbi in a couple of years. He worked in Moscow for a while in the 1990s and must by now be a fully compromised FSB asset.
Yep, as George Carlin said: “There’s a club, and you ain’t in it.”
@randy khan: What I mostly remember from those days was learning to distrust GG, for two reasons:
(1) GG was a libertarian, not a liberal. As Mnemosyne noted, this made him always favor “Democrats are EVERY BIT AS BAD AS REPUBLICANS” arguments. It also means he loves Trump’s isolationist twitches now.
(2) GG’s big revelations simply weren’t trustworthy—he’d spin together two or three dubious but not really connected stories into a single connected massive conspiracy by the Bush administration. This tended to get people haring off in the wrong direction, and diffused the focus that ought to have been on the entirely straightforward things Bush was doing wrong.
@Kent: think they want to get Barr and other DOJ persons on record FIRST then bring in Mueller to get his take.
Catch the liar lying.
“Saudi Arabia is reportedly nearing completion of its first nuclear reactor. King Salman bin Abdulaziz has not officially disclosed the project or agreed to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules that would permit independent inspections and ensure that enriched uranium and plutonium isn’t diverted to a weapons program. (Fethi Belaid via Associated Press)”
@Kent: DOE and Perry are probably involved now that Trump is talking about transferring nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
@randy khan: The thing I always remember about GG was the time that Fred “Slacktivist” Clark dared to post a mild criticism of one of his positions, and Greenwald and a crowd of hangers-on descended on his comment section to excoriate him at great length. I mean, he did that in a bunch of other places, including here, but doing it to Fred Clark was kind of like beating up Mr. Rogers because the trolley dinged the wrong way.
Apparently the Pen1s was not OK and then it was.
Sorry for double-posting error.
@Matt McIrvin: To be entirely fair, Fred Clark is a liberal evangelical. It was hardly the first time he was harangued by a mildly-frightening cult. (Your “beating up Mr. Rogers because the trolley dinged the wrong way” is a phrase for the ages, though!)
@Jay: AFAIK, Mueller did not charge anyone (edit: except maybe Cohen for the porn star coverup, I forget, too much criminality to keep track of). That would be public record, right? If Mueller did recommend or strongly suggest campaign finance laws were broken, but for some reason chose not to charge someone, given Barr’s bogus summary, Barr should be dumping in his pants right now, out of ‘hints of frustration’.
So, my question still stands. How could there be no very clear campaign finance violations by Trumpsters?
@jl: maybe those investigations were shuffled of to the states where the organization’s corporate status is recorded? Or maybe there are sealed indictments just waiting…
I know grasping at straws.
I would just like to say that Tim Ryan is horrible so none of you have to bother with him at all as a presidential candidate.
You won’t like him when you get to know him. Best case is you don’t get to know him, really.
Okay, so picture a Right-leaning older Democratic Ohio man with some backward opinions but you say “well, he came up in earlier era….” except he’s not old. That’s the thing.
Gin & Tonic
@jl: Isn’t there still a slew of sealed indictments in the Eastern District of VA?
@Cheryl Rofer: I attended a demonstration in Cincinnati this evening. Small group but we got a lot of honking horns and thumbs up.
I wonder why didn’t GG, Taibbi and Michael Tracey never gave Obama admin the benefit of the doubt they’re extending to Trump. Obama was always guilty and his admin guilty but somehow the crass, no nothing racist crook gets their full throttle defense and the benefit of doubt.
Meuller’s job has always been from day 1 to investigate and report.
Rosenstein’s 2nd Memo, is highly redacted, so we don’t know what other limits Meuller and his were restricted to.
We do know that the indictments and trials, were used to force witnesses to testify, and use peripheral criminality and perjury to punish those who didn’t.
IMHO, the Meuller Report is going to be the Investigation that launched One Thousand other investigations.
Gin & Tonic
@Anya: Trump is white. Obama isn’t.
Thanks for commenters for suggestions and info. I’ll continue trolling for BJ lawyer squad on why Russian contacts and exchanges of info, even if not amounting to collusion, conspiracy, etc. did not amount to chargeable violations of campaign finance law, Trump Jr. etc.
IANAL. ICTBPBI (I continue to be puzzled by it)
@Jay: you a lawyer? I edited my comment to ref Cohen charges, which slipped my mind momentarily because too damn much criminality to keep track of. Sorry that slipped my mind momentarily.
Nope, just been reading the lawyers and legal eagles push back for years about what the Meuller Investigation is, and isn’t, and remember it all.
When you push back 100,000 times against the false hope, the eeores, the hot takes on not leaks, the Meuller is fired, all the Kremlinology and entrail reading, it kinda makes one an armchair expert of a sorts.
Formerly disgruntled in Oregon
@Jay: Like the Velvet Underground!
“IANAL. ICTBPBI (I continue to be puzzled by it)”
Put simply, after the Starr Special Council Witch Hunt,
The DOJ put limits constraining the who, what, when and why of what a Special Council could investigate.
Rosenstien’s publically release memo, limited the scope of what Meuller and his Team was allowed to investigate, and whom they could charge and try.
We now know that Rosenstien later issued a second letter further restricting the Special Council investigation, but because it’s highly redacted, we don’t know the extent of the added restrictions.
So, until the unredacted Meuller Report and supporting documents are released, we are just engaged in more Kremlinology.
@Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:
I was going for Helen of Troy, but Velvet Underground works.
@Gin & Tonic:
@Old School: It’s good, and I agree with a lot that’s in it, but it includes a false premise in the first paragraph:
Almost literally anything I’ve read about the investigation in non-right wing media outlets clearly stated that DT was using Russia for financial gain, including as a way to be elected so he could funnel more money to himself; and/or that he was financially compromised by them because they used his properties for money laundering. I rarely read anything surmising that he was literally a foreign agent. I think most people understood early on that it was white collar crime.
“Definition of agent in English:
1A person who acts on behalf of another person or group.
‘in the event of illness, a durable power of attorney enabled her nephew to act as her agent’
More example sentencesSynonyms
1.1 A person who manages business, financial, or contractual matters for an actor, performer, writer, etc.
‘his agent was able to negotiate a long-term contract’
More example sentences
1.2 A person or company that provides a particular service, typically one that involves organizing transactions between two other parties.
‘speak to your letting agent about refurbishing the property’
More example sentencesSynonyms
1.3 A person who works secretly to obtain information for a government or other official body.
‘a trained intelligence agent’
More example sentencesSynonyms
2A person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect.
‘universities are usually liberal communities that often view themselves as agents of social change’
More example sentencesSynonyms
2.1 A substance that brings about a chemical or physical effect or causes a chemical reaction.
‘there is an urgent need for new antimicrobial agents to combat infections’
‘the bleaching agent used is hydrogen peroxide’
More example sentences
2.2Grammar The doer of an action, typically expressed as the subject of an active verb or in a by phrase with a passive verb.
2.3Computing An independently operating Internet program, typically one that performs background tasks such as information retrieval or processing on behalf of a user or other program.
Late Middle English (in the sense ‘someone or something that produces an effect’): from Latin agent- ‘doing’, from agere.”
I don’t quite understand why Iran must never have nuclear power, but Saudi Arabia, who funded and brought about, 9/11, is going to be given nuclear capacity. Guess MBS and Jared have worked it all out.
@Roger Moore: @A Ghost To Most: The way I heard it wasn the engineer says “That glass is the wrong size.”
A structural engineer would tell you the design has a factor of safety = 2.0.
@trnc: Trump doesn’t need to be an agent. Trump knowingly, outrageously, and repeatedly, lied about his business and financial dealings in Russia, and related to the Russian government. That, in addition to the dishonest and corrupt, but not indictable, footsies with Russians during the campaign, Trump is deeply compromised. Jerk would be out of office by now, except there is a legal and political double standard in this country, one standard for reactionaries and flunkies of the corporate state (do whatever the F you damn please), and another for everyone else.
And an engineer’s manager sees a 60K cubic-inch-sized enclosure, totals up all the various internal components and equipment to find they’re 57K, and says “You have 3000 cubic inches to spare, so why can’t you fit it all in?”
And, yes, I’ve encountered that level of critical thinking in my career, from at least one person who should know better.
Bullshit. All the hijackers were personally interviewed, hired, and trained by Saddam Hussein. And Barack HUSSEIN Obama, Junior.
J R in WV
A “game every guy can play no matter the political leanings.” ??
Just no, NOT every guy. You should know better than this!
Nothing Taibbi says about Russia has credibility to me. He had great connections and background in journalism (father at NBC news); but instead spent his time in Russia on misogynistic writing, insulting Russian and Western women each week as humor, and pulling pranks on Russian officials. Then he imagined he could be another HST, but he didn’t have the chops or creativity.
The common thread in his writing, from Russia to now, has been these attacks on Western journalists. His treatment of women journalists while in Russia and back here has been slimy and deceitful.
So I have no respect when he tells us to ignore US reporters’ stories about Russia. Instead of actual reporting while in Russia he produced stories about nightclubs and harassing the young women who worked in his office. Encouraging other expatriates to treat Russian women badly isn’t ethical journalism. Despite his Garner book, he has no intellectual or ethical standing to tear down serious work.
I remember a whole bunch of people around this site talking about Barr’s letter being the final straw as the US finally became a full-on fascist state. I am not sure that those comments are aging well. Ditto talk of the complete collapse of our institutions.
J R in WV
What about the nuke sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Crown Prince Mohammad bin BoneSaw? Won’t that involve Sec Perry, he of the horn rimmed glasses to help him “Look Smart” ?????????
J R in WV
NO, NO That’s Perfect!!!!!
J R in WV
No one can really render even an educated guess until we know more about several complex things. Like the Deputy AG’s secret second letter of, what, instructions to Mueller about what can be investigated, a secret more important than, I dunno what! Or the Report of the Special Prosecutor, in toto, or even with some redactions.
But a federal judge can authorize the release of Grand Jury information….. we know this from Nixon’s time in the barrel. Things will be interesting, a little TOO, TOO, interesting but maybe we will get used to it~!~? gah,
As much as I am dismayed about his comparing Maddow with Hannity or Judith Miller (NYT), it’s really easy to pile on charges that don’t make sense. Taibbi was a journalist in Russia. Friends of his were murdered for journalism in Russia. What makes anyone think he’s a stooge for Putin? If anything, I’d think it would make Taibbi more adversarial towards Putin.
As for the other rumors – you’d think if they were true that there would be rumors about bad behavior in the US. I haven’t heard. Which means I haven’t looked it up in the dark corners of the interwebs – and nothing’s bubbled up to the surface – or has it?