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Shut the front door, y'all! Donald Trump's legal team finally did something RIGHT! According to CNN, the president's real lawyers negotiated with Robert Mueller to provide written answers to a limited list of questions. So Donald Trump won't be forced to commit all the perjuries because he is constitutionally incapable of NOT LYING while making words with his mouth. (Which is not a perjury trap, goddammit!)

The questions are focused on matters related to the investigation of possible collusion between Trump associates and Russians seeking to meddle in the 2016 election, the sources said. Trump's lawyers are preparing written responses, in part relying on documents previously provided to the special counsel, the sources said.

"We are in continuing discussions with the special counsel and we do not comment on those discussions," said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.

He said, with one hand clamped firmly over Rudy Giuliani's mouth. Probably.


Mueller's questions will be confined to the issue of NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION. Whether Trump intended to obstruct justice by firing Comey, attempting to fire Sessions, trying to get Sessions not to recuse, tweeting intimidation at Sessions, trying to fire Mueller, interfering with the congressional investigation, etcetera ad nauseum ... well, that's a battle for another day. Which is mighty convenient, since those issues will get punted until after the midterms. Do you think Trump might be holding off on murdering the Special Counsel investigation until after the election? Is he perhaps waiting to see if Republicans hold on to the Senate, so he can get a new attorney general approved to take over the Russia inquiry and stop Mueller from asking all those pesky obstruction questions? Safe bet!

So why would Mueller agree to this deal? WHO THE HELL KNOWS? Maybe he intends to wage the subpoena fight over an in-person obstruction interview once he has the written collusion answers in his pocket. Maybe he decided obstruction of justice is outside his purview. Maybe he thinks Trump is pure as the driven snow. Maybe he already has enough information from Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen and the fifty other people he got before the grand jury to nail Trump to the wall. Or maybe it's none of those! But one thing's for damn sure -- unless your name is Andrew Weissman, you have no idea why Mueller does anything. Because that operation DOES NOT LEAK.

Speaking of which, there's yet another possibility we have to acknowledge. It might well be that this story is just more word vomit from Rudy Giuliani, who's been oddly quiet of late. So either he actually stopped talking (lololol), or his blabbermouth is on background right now.

But let's assume this story is accurate. What might be the advantage of getting Trump on the record about all the NO COLLUSION that went on during the campaign? Former prosecutor Renato Mariotti suggests that written responses commit Trump to a version of events that can't be altered later. Like say if Don Jr. suddenly remembers some more conversations he had with Wikileaks or his Russian friends. Or if Hope Hicks doesn't get that raise she asks for at her sweet new Fox gig, and she starts feeling chatty about her old pals at the campaign.

Sounds reasonable. Particularly if you take as the premise that Donald Trump was never not ever going to answer any questions under oath, which we do. Because, as his own attorney pointed out, the guy is a "fucking liar." So even if Mueller fought all the way to the Supreme Court and won the right to subpoena him, Trump would take the political hit and plead the Fifth before agreeing to an interview. So, maybe this was the best Mueller was ever going to get?

But, don't take our word for it. Because, like we said, NO ONE KNOWS.

[CNN]

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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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