God help us, this is actually the reality we live in.
The other day, Wonkette told you the tale of Michael Cohen paying John Gauger, the computer nerd IT guy from Liberty University, to rig MEANINGLESS ONLINE POLLS so that Donald Trump could win them, back in 2014 and 2015. Cohen was supposed to pay Gauger $50,000, but instead he paid him a literal Walmart bag of 12,000 American stripper tip dollars and also a used boxing glove, because that's totally normal.
Strangely, in 2017, Donald Trump "reimbursed" Michael Cohen for the full Fitty Gs, "largely" from his own money, which by extension we guess means it came "small-ly" from the Trump Organization, to rig ONLINE POLLS, Jesus Christ!
Also Gauger set up a special Sex Twitter account for Michael Cohen, dedicated to showcasing the RAW ORGASM BONER MAGNETISM of Michael Cohen, which is a totally normal thing to get your pal from Liberty University to do for you when he's not too busy rigging online polls for you. If anybody needs to take a break from this post and go masturbate because we mentioned Michael Cohen's RAW ORGASM BONER MAGNETISM, please go do that and never come back.
Now the Wall Street Journal has added new and hilarious details to the a story that was already stupid, dumb and hilarious. Regarding the CNBC online poll in 2014 -- the one where Trump really wanted to top the list of America's business leaders in advance of announcing a presidential run, but he didn't even break the top one hundred, which is appropriate because Trump is really shitty at business and a "leader" at nothing:
What even is he doing up there?
Does Rudy Giuliani have a plan? Or is he just a demented squid lawyer who expels clouds of inky nonsense as he wriggles off into the murk? We just watched the Old Roods make the Sunday rounds again, and the answer is ... FUCK IF WE KNOW.
He started Sunday morning promising Jake Tapper that Donald Trump never spoke to any Russians ever, and also that he was negotiating to build Trump Tower Moscow ALL THE WAY UP UNTIL THE 2016 ELECTION. And if you think those things sound contradictory, just shout BUZZFEED five or six times to yourself, until the confusion goes away.
GIULIANI: [I]t was an early stage proposal that never got beyond a nonbinding letter of intent that was being run by -- by Michael Cohen. It was his project. And it was being done while Donald Trump was running for president of the United States, and wasn't focused on that at all.
TAPPER: Sure. OK, but he said, I have no business there. I have no business there. I have no deals there.
TAPPER: That's not true. He did...
GIULIANI: No, that is not inaccurate. That is not acc -- what you are saying is not accurate. I run a business. We do it in a lot of countries. I have proposals right now in six different countries. Two of them have been accepted. I'm doing business in the two that are accepted, not the four in which I have proposals.
Look here, Jake, Rudy Giuliani is a giant whore who'll take money from any murderous oligarch whose check clears, a fact he confirmed more or less verbatim to Chuck Todd in the 10 o'clock hour. So, just because Donald Trump signs a letter of intent in October of 2015 and his agent continues to negotiate with Kremlin agents up through the election and keeps Trump and his children minutely apprised doesn't mean Trump "has business" in Russia, okay? Also, BUZZFEED.
Asked about Michael Cohen's false testimony to Congress -- testimony he had reviewed in advance with Trump and which aligned almost perfectly with Don Jr.'s testimony -- Giuliani readily admitted that his client, the president, reviewed that false congressional testimony in advance. And isn't it a shame that a rough character like Cohen would lead poor, innocent Donald Trump down the garden path!
Too late now, Chatty Cathy!
HOW YOU LIVIN', BILL BARR? Still glad you sent that memo to the president's lawyers saying there's no obstruction unless the president actually suborns perjury? Still psyched for your fancy new DOJ job? Or are you maybe thinking you should have kept your fat mouth shut and not opined on a prosecution you didn't know anything about, because now you're totally boxed in between that rabid dog in the Oval and congressional Democrats who got you to own your shit on the record?
Let's rewind the tape to June 2018, when former Bush Attorney General Bill Barr sends an unsolicited memo to Rod Rosenstein and Donald Trump's lawyers expounding his theory of the case in the Mueller investigation. Because Barr is a good samaritan, see, not at all because he's trying to get the AG job for himself. Without knowing any details of the case, Bill Barr is certain that it was opened because Donald Trump fired James Comey, and for no other reason. (IT WASN'T.) And because the president has the right to fire the FBI director, he can't possibly be obstructing justice when he does it. Ipso facto ergo hence, the entire investigation is illegitimate. And PS, NO COLLUSION.
The President, as far as I know, is not being accused of engaging in any wrongful act of evidence impairment. Instead, Mueller is proposing an unprecedented expansion of obstruction law so as to reach facially-lawful actions taken by the President in exercising the discretion vested in him by the Constitution.
Those Bushies have such a raging hard on for their theory of the unitary executive as a President God King. Like they didn't preside over the wholesale destabilization of the Middle East based on an obvious lie about "weapons of mass destruction" and then fuck up the 9-11 prosecutions by torturing all the witnesses at black sites. But we digress.
Samaritan Barr was so sure of his uninformed conjecture about the Mueller predicate that he helpfully laid out examples of what REAL OBSTRUCTION would look like. Because obviously Donald Trump would never encourage a witness to lie like a common Clinton or Nixon, right?
Individual 1 been berry berry bad.
Everybody knows Donald Trump is a shady dumpsterfuck mobster wannabe, and we've always assumed we would eventually find out he tampered with and threatened witnesses in the Russia investigation, because he's a shady dumpsterfuck mobster wannabe. So in that way, last night's breaking news from BuzzFeed isn't surprising at all -- that Trump literally told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project he was pursuing during the 2016 campaign, while lying repeatedly to the public and saying he had no business in Russia, NO RUSSIA, NO RUSSIA, YOU ARE THE RUSSIA.
If you need a recap, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a deal Trump was pursuing to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a deal that in and of itself raises many questions about whether it was part of the quid pro quo for Russia helping Trump steal the White House. Cohen told Congress that negotiations for the project had ended long before the campaign really got going, specifically before the Iowa caucuses; that Trump only ever discussed the deal with him three little tiny times and that he himself had only barely mentioned it to the kids; that he never considered going to Russia to work on the deal during the campaign, and that moreover, Trump had also never considered going to Russia to meet Putin about the deal during the campaign; and that he had only had limited contacts with the Kremlin about the deal after January of 2016.
All of this was lies.
The project was ongoing during the campaign, Trump's family was in on it, there was all kinds of talk of Cohen and Trump going to Moscow, and the Kremlin was heavily involved, specifically Kremlin figure Dmitry Peskov, Putin's right-hand man, all the way up to at least summer of 2016, when things started to fall apart for some reason. (Peskov also shows up in the Steele Dossier as the person who allegedly held the keys to the kingdom when it came to the Kremlin's plan to ratfuck the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton.)
Oh yeah, and remember how the Trumps were going to give Vladimir Putin the $50 million penthouse in the tower,
as a bribe to pay down part of their loan as a very normal gift?
BuzzFeed is reporting that Trump was looped in on this entire process, that he and Cohen met at least TEN TIMES about the project, and that Trump literally directed Cohen to tell those lies to Congress, which is called suborning perjury, which is in any sane world an impeachable offense. Wingnuts on the internet and Rudy Giuliani are already saying, "OH YEAH, U GON BELIEVE A KNOWN LAHR LIKE MICHAEL COHEN?" This is because they are commenting on the article before reading the article, in which BuzzFeed specifically says its sources are "two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter" and that they have texts and emails.
See what we did there?
Okay, before we get to the life and times of a crazy motherfucker by the name of Mike C. (straight outta Lawn Guyland), remember that we're talking about Donald Trump making a possible illegal campaign contribution for online ratfucking, all the way back in 2014. Because this story is hilarious, but don't lose sight of the fact that Cohen's inept poll rigging and hashtag manipulation look an awful lot like what the Russians wound up doing for Trump in 2016. NO COLLUSION, right Roods?
According to The Wall Street Journal, Michael Cohen paid an IT guy from Liberty University to rig two online polls in favor of then-candidate Trump. Cohen met John Gauger, Liberty's CIO, through Jerry Falwell Jr., who keeps popping up in Act II of I, Trumpius. Which is weird, no? Also, really the guy's name is GAUGER? Fire the writers! But we digress ...
For $50,000, Gauger's consulting company RedFinch was supposed to goose Trump's stats in a 2014 CNBC poll of America's top business leaders, and in a 2015 Drudge poll of Republican presidential candidates. Gauger appears to have done a pretty crappy job -- Trump never broke the top 100 business leaders and only picked up 5% of the Drudge sirens. Which may or may not be why Cohen stiffed him on the bill.
WE DO, WE DO!
Paul Manafort has been a very bad boy. You don't need to read the latest filing in his case, an FBI agent's affidavit buttressed by 100 pages of exhibits, to know that he's going to jail for a long, long time. And that's a good thing, because most of the affidavit looks like this.
But we can still piece together a lot about a hustler who figured he was always the smartest guy in every room. Spoiler alert: HE WASN'T.
Ethics, what even are they?
Meatball, ya dumb sonofabitch! Did you think that shit would stay buried in a White House that leaks like a sieve? Did you think you could dodge the House Judiciary subpoena long enough to get out of Dodge and none of your dirty tricks would matter? Did you fall off that Big Dick toilet and hit your giant head? Well, snap out of it, genius, because Murray Waas got the goods on you before you could hightail it back to Iowa. Womp, womp!
Cast your minds back, Wonkers, to the summer of 2017. Don Jr.'s Trump Tower meeting was dominating the news cycle, and Republicans were casting about desperately for evidence of NO COLLUSION! Luckily the GOP brain trust had A IDEA. What if the DNC asked the Ukrainian government about all the money Paul Manafort took from thieving Ukrainian oligarchs, and so HILLARY CLINTON IS THE REAL COLLUSION?
Yeah, it was a really dumb idea. You were expecting more?
Spoiler Alert: Donald Trump is an abusive asshole.
Chris Christie was the first major Republican to shamelessly throw his support behind Donald Trump in 2016. There were supposedly great rewards waiting for him in a Trump administration — attorney general, chief of staff, maybe even the VP slot. They all went up in smoke and the former New Jersey governor has nothing to do now but pen his own Shakespearean tragedy.
Falstaff's new book, "Let Me Finish," drops at the end of the month, and judging by excerpts in the Guardian, it's a blistering smackdown of Trump's idiot son-in-law, Jared Kushner. This is truly stranger than fiction because fiction makes reasonable efforts to not be stupid. Christie seriously believed he had a future in the Trump crime family despite having sent Kushner's father to an Alabama federal prison for 14 months. People tend to hold grudges, especially if you make them go to Alabama.
How did he get so corrupt? Practice, practice, practice!
Within the past 24 hours, there have been three stories about shady shit at the Trump inauguration. Begin as you intend to go on, as they say. And Boy Howdy, did they ever! The inauguration was already under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as the Special Counsel's Office (SCO). So obviously, this is yet another DEEP STATE WITCH HUNT, right? Right?
Okay, glove up kids. We're going in!
The New York Times Finds One or Two Suspicious Transactions in the Inauguration's Books
When SDNY prosecutors raided Michael Cohen's office last April, they found a recording of him talking to Melania's socialite BFF Stephanie Winston Wolcoff, who had been hired to run the inauguration and was known to wave her phone at staff and threaten that she could get them fired with one text to Ivanka or Melania. (Treat yourself to this amazing story about Wolcott in Town & Country, MEE-OWW!) Wolcof was freaking out that the Trump hotel was overcharging the inauguration for rooms, telling Ivanka in an email, "Please take into consideration that when this is audited it will become public knowledge." She also took up the apparent price gouging by the Trump Hotel with Michael Cohen and Manafort's little buddy Rick Gates, who stayed with the campaign and was deputy chair of the inauguration committee.
Trump's billionaire pal Tom Barrack, who chaired the inauguration committee, pinky swears that there was an audit of how the record-breaking $107 million donated to celebrate the incoming Grifter in Chief was spent. But he's not releasing the audit, and no, he's not going to tell you which firm performed it.
A plan even stupider than usual!
Much like any former reality TV star who is also a moron, Donald Trump has no idea how government works. Trump treats political negotiations like business deals, which we wouldn't advise even if he were actually any good at business deals. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has outmaneuvered and publicly humiliated Trump repeatedly both before and during this absurd government shutdown because she is, in her own badass words, a "legislative virtuoso." Trump should just say, "No mas!" and see if Pelosi would give him bus fare back to New York, but he's intent on fighting on like some cartoon villain who hasn't noticed that he loses in every episode.
Jonathan Swan at Axios reported Sunday that the White House is desperately searching for an "exit ramp" to all this. Unfortunately, Trump is driving both while drunk and with the brakes cut.
Senior administration officials have discussed inviting rank-and-file Democrats to the White House, hoping they may be willing to negotiate over funding for a barrier, according to two sources privy to the private discussions.
Republican officials involved conceded to me that it's a stretch to imagine the White House can break Nancy Pelosi's strong command of her caucus. But administration officials tell me they're going to try.
So Trump wants to play "House of Cards" but he couldn't beat Pelosi at Uno with all the draw fours in the deck. The speaker sets the agenda, and the freshman congresspeople who are awed by the sight of their own names on their office doors don't have the political muscle mass to force Pelosi to give Trump a dollar for his WALL.
Maybe Trump isn't as stupid as we know he is. If he can get at least some of the Dems to speak out against Pelosi's hardline stance it could prove a chink in her armor. Or something. As Barack Obama pointed out, the Donald is not really a "plans guy."
Trump Might Literally Be Working For The Russians. Here's How #TeamTreason Will Pretend That's Totally Fine
And no amount of tweeting will change it.
CAN WE JUST CUT THE SHIT FOR A MINUTE? We all know the Russians hacked our elections. And we know people associated with Trump's campaign offered sanctions relief and a freer hand in Ukraine to the Russians. The only real question is, was, and always has been whether this was a quid pro quo. Did Donald Trump promise to change American foreign policy in exchange for Russian help getting him elected? The rest is commentary.
On Friday, the New York Times revealed that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump in May of 2017 after James Comey was fired. The Bureau was apparently so spooked by Trump's bragging to the Russians and Lester Holt that he fired the FBI director to end the Russia investigation -- on top of everything else the agency knew from their own inquiry into Russian hacking and Trumpland's dozens of Russian entanglements -- that they feared the sitting president was a literal actual Russian asset.
The Times seems to have raced to publish because a guy named Jeff Carlson from a Chinese-American site called The Epoch Times, which loves Trump, far-right German anti-immigrant parties, and Falun Gong, somehow got his hands on former FBI lawyer Lisa Page's sealed testimony before the House Judiciary, Oversight, and Government Reform Committees. (Get your Shen Yun tickets today!) Now we're not saying the person who gave Carlson the transcripts has glamour shots of a cow on his desk, but we do note that Carlson makes reference to his own April 2018 interview with Devin Nunes in the article about "The Spygate Scandal." So ... yeeeeaaaah.
Michael Schmidt showed some portion of Page's testimony to Lawfare's Ben Wittes in December, while he reported out the details with Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos. But in-depth stories don't help the GOP, which needs to start shaping that LYIN' FBI FRAMED TRUMP narrative now before House Dems start releasing complete witness transcripts. So with the GOP revving up the selective leak machine, it looks like The Times jumped on the story Friday night and made Evan come back in to work. Thanks, Devin! ALLEGEDLY.
This is all extremely on-brand for 2019, which is already shaping up to be a weird-ass year, BUT WHAT THE HELL DOES IT MEAN? Let's ask Mr. Wittes, since that guy seems to know everything important before it happens.
This is hell, isn't it?
Happy Sunday, Wonkers! Is it snowing where you are? Are you stuck in the house? Let's beat the boredom with a little game called So You Think You Can President. For five thousand Wonkette NO DOLLARS: Are you a clandestine Russian asset who sold out your country to benefit Vladimir Putin?
... tick tock, tick tock
Okay, pencils down!
Was your answer more than two letters long? Congratulations, you go directly to jail! And take Donald Trump with you.
BREAKING FRIDAY NIGHT NEWS DUMP FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, and you know why? Because the Times has no goddamn respect for weekends, just kidding #DemocracyDiesInDarkness, just kidding that's not the Times's motto.
The scoop is a big shock (nope), and it is that the FBI started investigating whether Donald Trump is a literal actual Russian intelligence asset way back in 2017, just after Trump fired former FBI director James Comey, which is approximately MANY MONTHS after Wonkette started its own investigation into the same subject:
DO NOT come into Nancy's House with that trifling shit, munchkin. Madame Speaker did not come here to play, so don't bring your sorry-ass excuse for a book report into Congress and expect to get credit for it.
Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin whatevered his way through a classified congressional briefing on his decision to un-sanction Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's aluminum and energy companies. Big mistake!
PELOSI: I usually don't comment on something in a classified briefing. But quite frankly, they spent most of the time reading an unclassified document. This -- with stiff competition, mind you -- was one of the worst classified briefings we've received from the Trump administration. The secretary barely testified, answered some questions, but he didn't give testimony. They had an intelligence briefing which I won't go into. And then they read a document which was unclassified, wasting the time of the members of Congress.
On December 19, approximately twelve seconds before Congress left for the holidays, Mnuchin announced his intention to drop sanctions on Deripaska's En+ Group, which has a controlling interest in aluminum behemoth RUSAL, and also owns Russian power company EuroSibEnergo. This started he 30-day clock for Congress to review the decision and block it if it disagrees. In Mnuchin's telling, it's totally cool, bro, since Paul Manafort's BFF Oleg Deripaska has to divest from those companies as part of the deal, bringing his ownership stake below 50 percent, and he'll still be personally sanctioned, after all. Sure, Manafort tried to leverage his position as Trump's campaign chair to "get whole" with Deripaska, who was desperate to avoid being boxed out of western financial markets by US sanctions, but this decision had absolutely nothing to do with politics or Trump's eccentric proclivity to govern America in the way that is most advantageous for Russian kleptocrats.
'Truth isn't truth' -- Rudy Giuliani
BREAKING NEWS: Just to clarify things, after a few years of saying the opposite, Donald Trump patiently explained to the stupid lying news media yesterday that all those times he said he was going to build WALL between the US and Mexico, and that Mexico would pay for it, he never once said Mexico was actually going to pay for WALL with, like, CHECKBOOK. That's just silly! How could anyone get that from him saying, "I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words." Get real. He was simply pronouncing it with the silent "indirectly," like in French.
Or maybe he just imagined he'd send them an invoice for WALL and Mexico would lose it at the bottom of the junk drawer and never pay it, like a common Donald Trump. Oh well, anyhow!
Get it all out, buddy!
OOOOOH, SPILL IT HONEY! Michael Cohen has agreed to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee about all Trump's dirrrrty filthy secrets. Well, not all of them. Chairman Elijah Cummings isn't trying to kneecap Robert Mueller's investigation like a common Trey Gowdy or Devin Nunes, so he'll steer clear of the details in the Russia investigation, so we guess we'll have to save getting recommendations for the best AirBnBs in Prague for another day, allegedly. But hinky shit at the Trump Org and the hush money payoffs to all the ladies that Trump bumped his orange bits against are fair game. Bow chicka bow bow! And also EWWWWWWWWW.
Cohen will appear in open session on February 7 "to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired." And if we might be so bold, Yr Wonkette would like to suggest a question for Chairman Cummings. To wit: Who the hell is Executive 2?
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