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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


Somebody secretly recorded smarmy Rep. Devin Nunes talking about the Tea Party plan to impeach Rod Rosenstein after the midterms so the Senate has time to ram through Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, adding House Republicans are the only ones who can save Donald Trump from Robert Mueller's investigation into his "crimes." OOPS! [Morning Maddow]

Judge Ellis has spent the Paul Manafort tax fraud trial being a cranky old bitch. Yesterday he ignored his own exceptions on a witness's presence in the courtroom, badgered prosecutors who asked to read court transcripts, grumped about the complexity of a flow chart showing how Manafort laundered money, and complained that there was too much evidence against Manafort, the defendant. Sounds like somebody skipped his nap!

Republican Sen. Rand Paul is on a field trip to Russia and says he just delivered a special letter from Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Unfortunately, the macaroni pictures were confiscated by customs officials.

Rudy Giuliani went on Hannity (again) to ramble about "perjury traps" while flailing his arms and making stupid faces (again). Mr. 9/11 then said that Mueller needs to end the investigation, and that Trump doesn't need to sit down with Robert Mueller because Mueller already "knows all the answers." He also invoked Watergate, which ... well yeah.

GOOD NEWS: Effective immediately, the Army has temporarily suspended discharging immigrant soldiers trying to get US citizenship by serving Uncle Sam.

The Trump administration and Republicans are still pushing Jared Kushner's prison reform plan, but the House and Senate can't agree on the dirty details. Is it any coincidence Republicans suddenly want to make life easier for criminals now that they're being accused of serious crimes?

Eleven months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island FINALLY has power again ... Oh, and the government is admitting that 1,427 people died (not "dozens") as people began to commit suicide, and die from a lack of proper healthcare, food, and water. Thanks, Trump.

In a move to stomp out the rising #BlueWave, Trump's White House is planning to salvage vulnerable Republicans with a combination of shitposts on Twitter and parachuting Ivanka into flyover country, but new forecasts from political fortune tellers say it won't amount to doodly squat.

With polls showing voters hate the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich), Republicans are now running campaigns based on fear - fear of Nancy Pelosi, fear of impeaching Trump, fear of Mexicans, Muslims, and minorities, - because they've got nothing else aside from good, old fashioned lies (and vote rigging).

On Monday McClatchy reported some irregularities in Georgia's primaries, with voters making sworn statements that they were turned away from polls, received incorrect ballots, and encountered frozen voting machines. Also, one precinct reported a 243 percent voter turnout. Yesterday state officials defended themselves against allegations of incompetence and fuckery by saying, "NUH-UH!"

The Koch network is coming to bail out Ted Cruz as Beto O'Rourke continues to gain in the polls by trucking in disgruntled veterans to tell old stories about that time back in 'Nam.

News outlets are being forced to hire security for journalists at Trump rallies thanks to his repeated harassment of the media, and the blind, rabid frothing of his supporters.

After the US announced new sanctions on Russia for the poisoning of super spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Russia complained the sanctions were "asolutely illegal," almost as illegal as crossing into other countries to kill people with super rare nerve agents that exist nowhere else on the planet.

An appeals court denied a new trial for convicted sex offender Brock Turner and upheld earlier rulings that found him guilty of sexual assault and attempted rape. Apparently the court didn't buy his dry-humping defense.

Laura Ingraham whined about how brown people are taking our jerbs and giving all the white people perma-tans, though she stopped short of endorsing eugenics and skin bleaching.

Former reality TV villain and White House official Omarosa secretly recorded conversations while she worked in the White House, according to a new book of useless gossip that she desperately needs people to buy.

Tribune Media bailed out of a $3.9 billion merger with the pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and will instead sue Sinclair for hurting its shareholders by dragging its ass for over a year and refusing to sell off assets required to pass federal approval. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

State and federal officials are warning about an Asian super tick that's been showing up along the Eastern seaboard with the ability to reproduce asexually in massive numbers, and suck pets and livestock dry. Enjoy your hike!

And here's your morning Nice Time! Peaceful yellow tangs!

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or lying in a gutter taking photos.

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Yeah, that's definitely a repurposed animatronic Hillary (YouTube)

A whole bunch of protests were held today against the fake "president's" fake "emergency" declaration, with people turning out in cold crappy weather to call attention to the general nastiness of the guy who claims he absolutely had to do that declaration that wasn't necessary. Organizers with MoveOn.org said over 250 rallies were planned nationwide. So far, the national State Of Emergency doesn't appear to have caused any of the rallies to be cancelled, despite the very real possibility that terrified Honduran refugees fleeing violence in Central America might suddenly show up and ask for asylum.

Are there still actions taking place in your area? Check at MoveOn!

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WHAT. IS. PAUL. MANAFORT. HIDING?

Before Manafort pleaded guilty and signed up as a cooperating witness who didn't actually cooperate, we wrote this:

We have always kind of figured that Paul Manafort is the one who knows the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy story. He was the first big fish indicted, and they hit him for A LOT. Also note that just about all the other prosecutions that have come from the Mueller investigation so far have been farmed out by Mueller to different jurisdictions. Manafort, on the other hand, Mueller has kept squarely in his office. There has to be a reason for that.

Perhaps it's because, as this Josh Marshall podcast suggests, Paul Manafort, a foreign agent who worked for Oleg Deripaska, AKA Putin's favorite oligarch, and who got sideways financially with Deripaska, was literally sent into the Trump campaign by the Kremlin to do its dirty work. Perhaps the Steele Dossier is right when it suggests that the entire Trump-Russia election-stealing conspiracy was run by Manafort on the Trump side, and that others like (perhaps!) Michael Cohen only had to take over when Manafort's shit started to stink and the news media started reporting on his weird-ass Russian connections in the summer of 2016.

If it's possible, we are beginning to suspect it may be even worse than that.

On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller issued his sentencing recommendations for Manafort, after DC district court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled conclusively that the shady motherfucker very intentionally lied and blew up his cooperating agreement. Because Manafort defaulted, Mueller is no longer bound to recommend that Manafort's sentence be reduced, and is free to throw the book right at Manafort's face. HARD.

And that is what Mueller did! To be clear, the sentencing memo is harsh.

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