You seen McConnell's so-called proposed 'rules'? It's Merrick Garland all over again!
Good afternoon from the United States Capitol, where we Not Are! The Senate impeachment trial of Donald John Trump commences today, and we are ready for the shitshow, we guess!
In the dead of night last night, Moscow Mitch McConnell finally released his proposed Senate rules, and oh boy, we guess he's just decided he wants to do cover-ups for Trump in plain sight. In short, it's Merrick Garland all over again, and if you don't like it, or if you DO like fair trials and democracy and our American experiment, you can go fuck yourself with McConnell's spare turtle shell.
Here are some highlights of the proposed rules:
1. MAYBE they will admit the House's evidentiary record on Trump in the Senate trial, MAYBE THEY WON'T. They'll just have to vote on that. Wonder what McConnell's trying to hide.
2. Sure, the House gets 24 hours to present its case against Trump, and so do Trump's lawyers. Those 24 hours must happen over the course of only two days, and with the trial starting at 1 p.m. Eastern each day, that means Mitch McConnell would like as much of this to happen in the dead of night as possible. Wonder what McConnell's trying to hide.
3. Maybe after that they will vote on some witnesses. Maybe.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pissed, and calls McConnell's rules a "national disgrace."
Oh hey, did you hear the Trump White House is losing a ton of sleep and pooping its pants over the possibility of John Bolton testifying, so according to the Washington Post, they are thinking maybe they will get any eventual Bolton testimony to happen -- wait for it -- in a CLASSIFIED ROOM -- and they will do that for -- wait for it -- NATIONAL SECURITY PURPOSES.
You know, because that wasn't OK when the House was doing depositions during the impeachment inquiry (to keep witnesses from coordinating their stories), but it is OK when you are trying to do cover-ups for Donald Trump.
Of course, it's funny, because the Post article reads as if this is a decision the Trump White House feels it has the authority to make, which would mean Mitch McConnell is just going to give them the authority to make it.
Mitch McConnell is already talking, so let's just start the liveblog and we'll fill you in on other things as we go.
Fox News actually proved a 'no-spin zone' for Brad Parscale.
It's admittedly a challenge to run Donald Trump's re-election campaign. He's just now through his first term, and his most significant legislative achievement is his own impeachment. Unfortunately, Trump's campaign manager is Brad Parscale, who according to our legal experts is a "shameless hustler." Parscale and his beard, which is mostly house trained, visited Fox News studios Monday to peddle fact-less "data." It didn't go well.
Parscale triumphantly informed Fox's Bill Hemmer that Trump is an unstoppable electoral behemoth. He's got amazing numbers among all the key demos Republicans don't actively prevent from voting.
PARSCALE: The numbers are up. You can look at things like Rasmussen, which was right in 2016. Every standard we have in measuring what's going on with the president and trying to win victory in 2020 we're doing better.
Yes, he said "win victory." That must be their stretch goal. They only "won defeat" last time. This time they're going for the popular vote, as well as the Electoral College. Parscale's problem, though, is that he's "measuring what's going on" using "every standard" but math. Hemmer confronted Parscale with "numbers" and not commie numbers from CNN but numbers from a Fox News poll of suburban voters. Those are numbers that stand for the national anthem.
Yes, we know, but here's why Bill Barr should recuse like a common Jeff Sessions.
If the only way to survive the Trump administration is to keep resisting no matter how tired we get, then the combination of Lev Parnas and his attorney Joseph Bondy could be just what we need. When everything is crazy all the time and the riptide of normalization threatens to pull us under, maybe we need a wackass chucklefucker and his dead-eyed weed lawyer to shout, "Hey, snap out of it, this shit ain't right!" as they hurl a life preserver at our heads. Not because they can stop the tide, of course, but to jolt us back awake before we sink into the miasma of corruption.
It is in that spirit that we should view the latest salvo from Bondy asking Attorney General Bill Barr to recuse himself from Parnas's campaign finance case and appoint a special prosecutor. Not because it's likely to work with Barr or US District Judge J. Paul Oetken, but because it draws a giant arrow toward the gross impropriety at the Justice Department which gets buried under the daily avalanche of Trump corruption.
Weird how these guys wind up in the same room all the time!
But enough about Ukraine, let's talk about Venezuela. Particularly about Rudy Giuliani and Bill Barr and whatever hinky shit the two of them were cooking up when Rudy went down to the Justice Department last September to ask the DOJ to prettyplease not indict his Venezuelan client Alejandro Betancourt López as part of a massive money laundering case in Florida.
Betancourt had generously hosted Giuliani and his henchman Lev Parnas at his estate in Madrid where they traveled to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's aide Andrey Yermak last August during their peregrinations across Europe in search of dirt on Joe Biden. The next month, Giuliani returned the favor by using his contacts at the Justice Department to score a face-to-face with Brian Benczkowski, head of the criminal division, to plead Betancourt's case. Which is a nice perk you get when you hire the president's personal lawyer and subsidize his backchannel ratfucking for the president!
PULL THE FIRE ALARM!
The Senate's impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is set to begin tomorrow afternoon, and oh boy, are Republicans losing their shit.
How scared are they? Well, they are gallivanting around right now making the case that the Senate rules on impeachment should include an emergency shutdown mechanism, a "kill switch," a fire alarm Trump's lawyers can pull if things are going really really really poorly for Donald Trump. (What could possibly go wrong? Surely nothing with the dream team of lawyers Trump has assembled!)
And a whole lot more from your favorite chucklefuck!
Time for the latest dispatches from chucklefuck Lev Parnas's phone on the Trumpland conspiracy to frame Joe Biden. The newest doc dump from the House Intel and Judiciary Committees contains three different PDFs, plus a voicemail. The first comprises messages between Parnas and Devin Nunes's aide Derek Harvey, the second pertains to surveillance of our ambassador in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the third is just photos of Lev Parnas, who takes more selfies than Kim Kardashian, documenting his position at the center of Trumpworld. Let's get at it.
Devin Nunes, Moo Got Some Splainin' to Do!
Friday night we got a peek at Lev's messages with Derek Harvey, Devin Nunes's top Intel staffer, and -- SURPRISE -- they back up Parnas's allegation that the congressman was up to his udders in the Biden smear. Parnas served as a conduit between Nunes and corrupt Ukrainian prosecutors willing to say more or less anything for a price, including Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko.
As Parnas told Rachel Maddow last week, "Derek Harvey had several interviews, Skype interviews I set up, with different prosecutors like [Nazar] Kholodnytsky, which is the anti-corruption prosecutor of Ukraine, Konstantyn Kulyk, one of the major guys that's had this whole Biden stuff."
At the same time, Harvey was pumping Parnas for dirt on the Clinton Foundation. Because it will always and forever be 2016.
We've gotta do this every year, don't we?
Rep. Ilhan Omar twice used the word "radical" yesterday to describe Martin Luther King Jr., and that annoyed conservatives who want to imagine the civil rights leader as a Bagger Vance figure who inspired America to fulfill its post-racial promise. They'd prefer we all join hands today and call no harm, no foul for the slavery and Jim Crow oppression. Omar set fire to the memo saying everyone should just tweet that "darkness cannot drive out darkness" quote and declare King's dream fully realized because Bad Boys For Life was number one at the box office this weekend. No, Omar decided to do something radical herself and talk about the Dr. King who actually existed.
Photos from the 2020 Women's March
For the third year in a row, thousands of protesters put on their snow boots, big coats, and pink hats to march through downtown Chicago as part of the 2020 Women's March.
Organizers say as many as 10,000 nasty women were trudging through snow and slush in Chicago's frigid temperatures. Chicago's march was in conjunction with several other marches in major cities across the country, including Atlanta and New York. After some leadership changes, this years organizers encouraged marchers and supporters to consider themes, including the 2020 Census, gun violence prevention, climate justice, health care, and voting rights. A number of prominent officials joined the protest, including Illinois congress members Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Looks like it's time for The Talk again!
I keep thinking about dominance, and not in the sex way :(
I keep thinking about it as it pertains to white men, identity politics, the Left, the primary. Some Bernie people did not cover themselves in glory when they demanded conservatives, centrists, squishy liberals, and real liberals "bend the knee" to them. Sure, it's a quote from a popular television program. But people do not like being dominated. (It was also the most boring part of that popular television program. The hot queen is fighting on three fronts, including zombies, but she's going to take time every episode to demand someone "bend the knee"? Get your priorities in order, hot queen!) Insisting on "my way ... OR DRAGONS" is not actually awesome.
I am a Warren person, after first being a Kamala person. A plurality of Wonkette writers are Warren people too. One is Maybe Bernie. A couple are Affirmatively Undecided until it's time to vote but possibly leaning toward a more centrist candidate. Nobody is a Bidener, that I know of -- late-breaking news, we do have a Bidener! -- unless and until he wins the nom, at which point we will jump on that bandwagon so hard we break our ankles. There are people on staff (me!) who would vote Bernie before Biden, and people who would not do that. Maybe you're harder Left than we are, or less. Maybe you're more hawkish, or less. There's an entire spectrum, just among the staff. We argue quite a bit in the chatcave! There's a far larger spectrum outside it.
Lev Explains It All, Episode Two: How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Talking To Rachel Maddow
All this needs to be investigated, but hoo boy.
Did you watch the first night of Lev Parnas on the Rachel show? And most importantly, did you read Wonkette's recap of it, because it took us a long time to write? If you have not done those things, you have five hours of homework, and then you can read this post, which is Wonkette's recap of NIGHT TWO of the Lev Parnas on the Rachel show!
Rachel Maddow started last night's episode of the new hit
CW MSNBC show Lev Splains It where we started our recap yesterday, with a discussion of why precisely exactly Lev Parnas, who was indicted by the SDNY, is doing what he's doing right now. The first night, Maddow said what came across in her discussions with him is that he feels that by spilling his guts about what he knows, he is rendered safer than if he were a man who could, we dunno, fall out of a window like a common Russian journalist (either they are particularly bad at knowing which one is "window" and which one is "door" or Vladimir Putin is a murderer), taking his secrets with him.
And yes, it sounds like he is scared of that. We want to emphasize at the outset, though, that we actually don't know Lev Parnas's true motivations in what he's sharing right now. (Marcy Wheeler is skeptical, but also acknowledges that a lot of what Parnas is saying is tracking with what we already know.)
But Parnas said last night that what he fears more than these "criminals" is
his shadow spiders the monster under his bed
BILL FUCKING BARR.
(We will replace this grody poop-smell picture of Barr as soon as MSNBC uploads the fucking video, please.)
Palin wows us again with her stream-of-consciousness, truth-adjacent America-isms.
Hey, what do you know? Sarah Palin's emerged from her spider hole. In case you've blissfully forgotten, Palin is the former governor of Alaska who Republicans like to blame for why Meghan McCain's father, John, lost to a black guy. I think she gets a bad rap. It's not like Republicans learned their lesson and nominated another war hero related somehow to Megs McCabe but unencumbered by a narcissistic simpleton as a running mate. No, they doubled down and put Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. The modern, know-nothing, insult comic GOP is the party of Palin not Lincoln or even Reagan.
Palin was a guest on "Good Morning Britain!" the morning show hosted by Piers Morgan, the living embodiment of "what's that on my thigh? I should have a doctor look at it." He asked Palin about the Frontline documentary A Serial Liar, and that was a little awkward because the title refers directly to her. It's like if someone asked me about the upcoming documentary Middle-Aged Flabby Black Man. It's all you can do not to cry on air. Palin kept what amounts for her composure when Morgan read a quote from former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt. Schmidt's the guy who once met Palin and thought she should be an elderly man's heartbeat away from the presidency.
SCHMIDT: She is the first of a generation of politicians who live in a post-truth environment. She was, and there's no polite way to say it, but, a serial liar.
Shit, no wonder Lev Parnas is more scared of Bill Barr than the Russian mob.
Bill Barr's weaponization of the Justice Department is a wonderment to behold. The guy has been sitting on evidence that the American ambassador to Ukraine was being stalked inside our own embassy, and he's done fuck all about it for months. But somehow in that time he's found the resources to investigate a three-year-old leak allegation against former FBI Director James Comey based on a bunch of bullshit Trump tweets. Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gents!
The New York Times reports that the feds are in hot pursuit of the source for a pair of articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post back in the spring of 2017. Because that's a priority for the US Attorney's Office in DC right now! And they have all their little fingers and toes crossed that the culprit is a 6'7" former federal employee who features widely in the Commander in Tweet's morning dispatches from the White House crapper.
PAR-NASS? I'm not sure I know a PAR-NASS!
Donald Trump lied in the Oval Office today:
All week we have been discussing Lev Parnas, who appears to have the RECEIPTS, GIRL on Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani and their international criminal derp-spiracy to force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election for Trump's benefit, for which he was impeached and the Senate has now been sworn in to hold his trial.
Which is weird, because there's President Truth Serum up there saying he doesn't even know her.
And so should everyone else in the world!
More Lev Parnas docs! Are you trying to kill us, Adam Schiff? You dropped another 500 pages of Lev's constant WhatsApp messaging last night? REALLY?
Well, the good/bad news is that 40 percent of the new texts are in Ukranian, so we'll have to wait for a translation. And another 40 percent is just these morons sending Hannity clips and Dan Bongino tweets back and forth to each other, punctuated by "Wow!" and "lol." But there's still a lot here, and probably more coming tonight. So, let's do it rundown-style by recipient and maybe we'll finish before the next batch drops.
And incidentally, after we downloaded these documents, some of them appear to have moved, and now we're getting a 404 message. We'll put the link back if it ever reappears.
First up ... who else, right?
Here's Parnas, apparently in a May 18 group chat with Rudy and two of his phones, being instructed to tell Ukrainian President-Elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy to "stop acting like a boy and become a man and take control" by arresting Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.
Surely this has nothing to do with Kolmoisky blowing off advances from Giuliani's chucklefuck henchmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and giving an interview that month to Pravda which the Washington Post translated thusly:
They wanted to have a meeting with Zelensky and show Giuliani that they had organized everything. [...] A big scandal may break out, and not only in Ukraine, but in the United States. That is, it may turn out to be a clear conspiracy against Biden.
You ain't kidding, Ihor!
And there's a second hour of it tonight!
WOW. We do not know what exactly we were expecting when we sat down to watch Rachel Maddow's interview with Rudy Giuliani's good old pal Lev Parnas last night, but it turned out to be not that. First of all, we might call him a chucklefuck around these parts, but he did not come across as chucklefuck! He was calm, well-spoken, thoughtful, and dare we say, he seemed credible, at least for a person currently indicted by the SDNY related to Trump and Giuliani's scheme to defraud the United States out of another free and fair election by trying to force Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden to help Donald Trump.
It was an hour-long interview (and there's a second hour tonight!) and it was just headline after headline after headline, and every single thing Parnas said needs to be investigated to determine its veracity. So take it with a grain of salt! That said, we can look at what we know -- and also the things Wonkette is pretty sure we've figured out along the way -- to see how much it lines up. Spoiler, it lines up a heck of a lot. In fact, Parnas didn't say anything that surprised us, at least not because it made us think of the situation in a new way. Our jaw was on the floor for a full hour more because we were sitting there going, "JUST LIKE WE FUCKING SAID!"
The interview paints Donald Trump as a person who knew exactly what was going on, because he was directing it all from the top. It also implicates Mike Pence, who, according to Parnas, was tasked to do Trump's dirty work pressuring Ukraine to announce fake investigations into Joe Biden starting a long time ago. And regarding that pressure, Parnas says that going all the way back before Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected in a landslide on an anti-corruption platform, getting that Biden investigation announcement was the only motivation for every single thing they did.
Oh yeah, and Attorney General Bill Barr needs to call his lawyer.
Before we jump into clips from the show, though, one of the most interesting parts to us happened at the end, as Maddow handed off to Lawrence O'Donnell for the 10 p.m. hour and he asked the question on so many people's minds, which is why the hell is Lev Parnas doing this? Why is he going on Maddow and spilling? How does this help him or his case? Maddow said the feeling she got from talking to Parnas is that by him coming clean and spilling everything he knows, it keeps him "safer" than if he didn't, because if his secrets were still his secrets, we guess it'd be a lot easier to dispose of him and them. It's kinda sick that we're talking about this in the United States of America, but this is a scandal partially financed by a Ukrainian billionaire the FBI has assessed to be BFFs with the Russian mob, so, we guess we understand what he is saying.
No, not the ones where they stalked the American ambassador. We did those last night.
This Trump Ukraine stuff is batshit crazy. Even if you spend all day staring at it -- and we do! -- it's easy to lose the plot. The best way to keep all these characters straight is to sort them by their goals. Ask yourself, "What does this particular cartoon villain want, and how the hell did the president of the goddamn US of A get involved with him?" So, with that in mind, let's read the second tranche of Parnas texts released yesterday by the House Intelligence Committee. Because this right here from Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko looks suspicious AF:
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