Goddammit, We Cannot Believe We Are Saying This, But Here Is Your OMAROSA LAWSPLAINER

You cannot make us listen to the tapes. NFW!

Can you believe these assholes are making us violate our NO OMAROSA policy twice in one week? Do we appreciate being forced to take the side of a reality teevee nutjob? No, we do not! But even nutjobs have First Amendment rights. And the Trump Administration needs to GTFOH with this nonsense about using law enforcement to shut their former employee up.

SO, FINE. You've forced us into it! Hope you're happy now. Buckle up for your Omarosa Lawsplainer!

Exhibit A: The Firing

Here's decorated war hero John Kelly telling Ms. Manigault Newman that no one will prosecute her for "serious integrity violations" if she leaves without making a fuss. Omarosa has described this as a threat, and we agree with her. Is it appropriate for a federal official to threaten to sic Johnny Law on a federal employee if she contests her termination? No, it is not!

You can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation. But it's very, very important, I think that you understand that there are some serious legal issues that have been violated. And you're open to some legal action that we hope, I think, we can control, right?

Subtle, dude.

Various Republican luminaries have characterized her TAPPING this conversation, which took place in the White House Situation Room, as a very serious violation of the law. So now it is LOCK HER UP, right?

Is there someone out there suggesting that Omarosa shouldn't have been fired, or is Erick Son of Erick moving the ball again? Hmmmm.

Except, the prohibition on recording unclassified conversations in the White House is a rule, not a law. (Much like the Streisand Effect.) So Omarosa is in BIG TROUBLE now, and will maybe get fired and lose that security clearance she never had.


And as a side note, why did Kelly insist that an unclassified conversation had to take place in the Situation Room? Were those grownass white men that terrified of a brown lady? Let's ask Axios -- they always have the inside gossip.

"I'm scared shitless of her... She's a physically intimidating presence," a male former colleague of Omarosa's told me. (He wouldn't let me use a more precise description of his former White House role because he admitted he's still scared of retribution from Omarosa. Other senior officials have admitted the same to me.)

"I never said no to her," the source added. "Anything she wanted, 'Yes, brilliant.' I'm afraid of her. I'm afraid of getting my ass kicked."

Three other former officials shared that sentiment: "One hundred percent, everyone was scared of her," said another former official.

Oh, FFS!

Exhibit B: The NDA

Okay, on to Plan B. Time to send White House staffers out to jump up and down shouting NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT!!! while flinging poo. And who better than Kellyanne Conway to send out on Sunday morning to tell ABC's Jonathan Karl,

I'm told she signed them when she was on 'The Apprentice,' certainly at the campaign. We've all signed them in the West Wing.

Oh, and look who's taking a break from golfing to tap out a few dozen shit-tweets in light of the tape she dropped this morning of her post-termination conversation with the Dotard-in-Chief!

Cool story, bro! Uncle Kelly's gonna need an extra slug out of that fifth he keeps in his desk drawer PROBABLY before he tucks you in tonight and tells you about that time when you were just a little baby dipshit and Reince Priebus got the staff to sign those hush agreements to stop you making another stinky in your diaper. Here on Planet Earth, executive branch communications belong to American citizens, not the White House. NYT reports:

A few months into his presidency, Mr. Trump — infuriated by leaks about everything from staff rivalries to his bathrobe-wearing, TV-viewing habits — ordered Reince Priebus, then his chief of staff, to do the same thing in the West Wing.

To calm Mr. Trump, Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, drew up a broad document barring White House officials from publicly disclosing what they heard and saw at work. But he privately told senior aides that it was mainly meant to placate an agitated president, who was convinced that the people around him had to be pressured into keeping his secrets. Mr. McGahn made it clear the agreement could not ultimately be enforced, according to several people who signed.

If Omarosa violated any laws, they have to do with maintaining presidential records. So that NDA isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Exhibit C: The FREAKOUT

Guess it was raining in New Jersey this morning! ABC reports the White House is exploring legal options to stop the former communications director for the Office of Public Liaison from releasing further tapes. And good luck to them! Maybe they want to check out Wikipedia page for the Pentagon Papers before rushing to ask a court for a prior restraint on political speech. Because SHUT THE FUCK UP IT'S CALLED THE FIRST AMENDMENT is why!

Hey, remember that fun time when Trump threatened to sue Michael Wolff's publisher to stop them putting out that Fire and Fury book? Whatever happened with that?

Oh, right! NOTHING! Which is exactly how much we want to hear about Omarosa until the end of time. Except her book drops tomorrow and we'll probably have to make words about that lunatic again.


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[NYMag / Axios / NYT / Politico]


Rudy Giuliani Did Not Lie About Thing Rudy Giuliani Lied About Just Now

If it's Sunday, it's Rudy Giuliani Saying Bullshit Day!

It is a truism in our current American politics that if Rudy Giuliani subjects you to some bullshit on a Friday, he'll subject you to WAY MORE BULLSHIT on Sunday, because if it's Sunday, it's Rudy Giuliani Saying Bullshit Day!

When we last left Giuliani, he was literally accusing Robert Mueller of prosecutorial misconduct -- which is weird, considering how Mueller hasn't even asked Donald Trump a question yet, but hey, what does Giuliani know, he's just a "lawyer" -- and screaming PERJURY TRAP! You see, Giuliani knows Mueller is going to unfairly PERJURY TRAP! the president, because he's going to ask Trump questions, and then Trump is going to lie, and that is how you do PERJURY TRAP!

Sunday, Giuliani went on CNN's "State Of The Union" to tell Jake Tapper that, contra LITERALLY EVERYTHING HE'S SAID IN THE PAST, Trump never even talked to former FBI director James Comey about taking it easy on Michael Flynn. Didn't ask him to kill the investgation, didn't pressure him, didn't do NOTHIN'.

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2018 State and Local Elections

The Right Fails To Unite. Wonkagenda For Mon., Aug. 13, 2018

DC unites against the right, Omarosa still clinging to 15 minutes of fame, and hackers find new ways to break voting machines. Your morning news brief.

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

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White Nonsense

Illinois Republicans Have Nuts-And-Nazis Problem

Democrats are about to go America all over their asses!

The Illinois Republican Party just can't seem to get a handle on its basket of deplorables. Things looked comically bad when it accidentally nominated a Nazi to run for Congress in the Fifth District, but it's also accidentally nominated a crackpot conspiracy theorist in the 17th. The party is desperate to distance itself from all the freaks flying their flag, so they're denouncing their own candidates, and quietly running write-in campaigns in the event that they accidentally send another wacko to Washington.

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Devin Nunes, Keep Fucking That Chicken! Wonkagenda For Thurs., Aug. 9, 2018

Devin Nunes accidentally spilled the beans, Judge Ellis is a cranky old bitch, and Laura Ingraham is afraid of a brown America. Your morning news brief.

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

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Will Kicking Alex Jones Off Of Social Media Backfire?!? Nope.

It's called 'means reduction,' and it works.

This week, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has found himself banned from nearly every possible social media outlet (except for Twitter) on the internet, following a particularly abhorrent outburst in which he actually mimed shooting Robert Mueller. For many outlets, this just went too far.

I am, usually, a free speech absolutist. Not even just as a matter of principle, but because I find that it tends to work better for me than the alternative. I abide by the "enough rope" and "sunshine is the best disinfectant" philosophy of people who say stupid ass shit. I win arguments with stupid men not by telling them to shut up, but by asking them questions until they want to disappear in a hole of regret and die or, at the very least, take a vow of silence. I'm fucking vicious and it is adorable.

That being said, I also believe that if you are hosting a lovely dinner party and some asshole starts being an asshole, you are within your rights to kick him the hell out, for the sake of the rest of your guests. I believe that you are allowed to set the terms for your own space. In fact, it seems as though this is one thing InfoWars actually agrees with me on.

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Wilbur Ross Giving Young Whippersnappers Masterclass In Being A Robber

Don't be discouraged, young jedis! He's got years of practice under his belt.

Word to the wise, kids: DO NOT FUCK WITH FORBES! Just ask Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who convinced a Forbes magazine reporter that he was a real life billionaire 15 years ago so they'd let him on the Forbes 400 list. Ross leveraged the notoriety that came with inclusion on the prestigious Vulture Capitalists Roundup to get gullible rich people to hand him even more money, until pretty soon he really was a billionaire. Of course by then he'd convinced Forbes (which should have known better!) that he was a multi-billionaire. But the charade continued for another decade until Trump tapped Ross to be Commerce Secretary, forcing him to fill out a public financial disclosure.

After some initial fuckery where Ross claimed to have magically given $2 billion to his kids without leaving a paper trail, Ross was forced to admit -- sort of -- that the $2 billion never existed, and he'd been inflating his income for 15 years. Ooopsie!

Forbes was righteously pissed, and since then reporter Dan Alexander has been so far up Ross's ass he can see the Secretary's dentures. When Ross told "fibs" on his financial disclosure claiming he'd sold all his stocks before taking office, Alexander was there with his calculator to tally the $1.2 million dollars Ross netted by delaying the sale. When Ross held on to stocks "in companies co-owned by the Chinese government, a shipping firm tied to Vladimir Putin's inner circle, [and] a Cypriot bank reportedly caught up in the Robert Mueller investigation," Alexander was there to spread the word. When Ross shorted stock in that Kremlin-linked company days before the Forbes story went public, well, you know.

Yesterday Alexander published a brand new story on all the cool stuff Ross picked up and put in his pocket over the past 30 years, from millions of dollars in other people's stock to fistfuls of pink Sweet'N Low packets. Alexander estimates the total at $120 million -- which is A LOT OF GODDAMN SWEET'N LOW!

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Post-Racial America

Charlie Don't Surf. Wonkagenda For Wed., Aug. 08, 2018

Democrats have a crazy good night at the polls, Trump's Mar-a-Lago members are secretly running the VA, and the Paul Manafort trial is a soap opera. Your morning news brief.

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

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CNN, MSNBC Get Pat On The Head For Not Covering Trump Slob Picnics

Now go, and show no more Trump rallies.

Yr Wonkette is a big believer in positive reinforcement when someone gets it right, which is why we sometimes give a pat on the head to, say, Rick Scott's less-than-terrible gun bill after the Parkland massacre, or the new EPA chief undoing Scott Pruitt's final (chronologically) awful environmental order, or even Pat Robertson saying gender reassignment surgery is not a sin. And while cable news remains a brain dulling morass most of the time, today we offer CNN and MSNBC a head pat, a bit of kibble, and a hearty "Who's a good dog? Is it YOU?" for an exemplary bit of good behavior: They've finally broken the bad habit of carrying Donald Trump rallies live.

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2018 State and Local Elections

Manafort Trial Getting Hot In Here. Wonkagenda For Tues., Aug. 7, 2018

Paul Manafort's partner snitches, California burns, and Mike Pence has thoughts on impeachment. Your morning news brief!

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

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New QAnon 'Expert' Is Guy In Band With Guy On Bravo Show

Also he is stalking Seth Green.

Alex Jones is having a bad day today. He got kicked off of Facebook, he got kicked off of Spotify -- and, to add to that, he'd already been kicked off of iTunes. This means it's going to be just a little bit harder for him to reach whatever potential cranks in America are not already listening to his weird rants about gay frogs. All because he goes around threatening people all the time. How is that even fair?

But he does have a new buddy! He's got a brand new friend -- a big Hollywood star, he claims! -- named Isaac Kappy, who is ready to help him out all the pedophiles in Hollywood. What? You have never heard of Isaac Kappy? Wow, that sure is surprising. After all, he played "Pet Store Clerk" in Thor, and also "Rowdy Prisoner" on an episode of "Breaking Bad." Jones had Kappy on his show on Friday to discuss how all the big stars in Hollywood are molesting children for the purpose of "soul sucking" -- which, according to Jones, gives them magic powers of some kind, I guess.

I watched the whole video this morning, but cannot share it with you as YouTube has now also terminated InfoWars. However, I assure you: It was very, very stupid.

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Tip Your Servers, Trump Will Be Here All Week

Have you heard the one about how Trump is president? No, that's it. That's the joke.

Donald Trump as president is a fading insult comic, Andrew Dice Clay without the subtlety and class. He likes to workshop material on Twitter before touring the nation with his arenas of sold-out, throbbing humanity, like Steve Martin in his prime. The Washington Post on Sunday revealed a glimpse into his process.

From his White House residence Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted that [former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort may be treated worse by the criminal justice system than Al "Scarface" Capone, whom he identified as "legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One.' " He later called around to some advisers asking what they thought of the tweet, proud that he had come up with the Capone comparison.

What's weird about Trump's "Capone comparison" is that Manafort's charges are far more serious. The federal government was only able to nail Capone on tax evasion, because "Scarface" wasn't an idiot who wore ostrich after Labor Day or who hid incriminating evidence like a parent who doesn't care anymore hides Easter eggs ("Why am I still doing this? You're 13 and we're Jewish").

Oh, also, Al Capone was sent to Alcatraz.

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Sunday Shows: Sinking To A New Sekulow

Plus Kellyanne says words with her mouth, and Rick Santorum: Is he ever not on your TV?

Hello Wonks! It's your Sunday show roundup!

After a few weeks of the worst lawyer ever, Rudy Giuliani, we focus on the other member of Trump's legal "Dream Team": Jay Sekulow, a man who could teach Donald Trump how to grift!

Appearing on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sekulow had to explain the complete destruction of his defense of the infamous Trump Tower meeting:

Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
But Sekulow looked at that insanity from his client, told it to hold his beer, and proceeded to evoke ... actual literal foreign agent Michael Flynn as Martin Luther King.
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Get Ready For Executive Time! Wonkagenda For Mon., Aug. 6, 2018

Trump's gonna be watching A LOT of tv, Don Jr. is dead to rights, and here comes more trade war! Your morning news brief!

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

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Adult President Throws Tantrum Following Mild Criticism From Black Men

What a bum.

In the middle of the night last night, Donald Trump, our 72-year-old president, tweeted out some insults for CNN anchor Don Lemon and NBA great Lebron James.

Donald Trump, who just the other day failed his 6th grade geography quiz...

...felt that he, of all people, ought to weigh in on the intelligence of the two men.

Why? Because they hurt his feelings with some incredibly mild criticism of Trump's tendency to scream bloody murder about football players protesting police brutality, during a CNN interview about the public school James is funding in Akron.

Via Mediaite:

"We are in a position right now in America…where this race thing has taken over," James said. "Because I believe our president is kind of trying to divide us."
"Kind of?" Lemon asked.
"Is," James confirmed. "I don't want to say kind of. What I've noticed over the last few months is he's kind of used sport to divide us."

Oh wow, what a sick burn. How horrible of them to say something that is objectively true. Next, they will accuse him of having blond hair and being named "Donald."

LeBron also said that he was not interested in talking to Trump. Oh, the horror.

Lemon asked James what he would say to Trump if he were sitting in the room.
"I would never sit across from him," James replied.
"You would never? You don't want to talk to him?" Lemon asked.
"No. I'd sit across from Barack, though," he said, laughing

While most adult humans, especially presidents, would be able to handle a basketball player not particularly caring for them, Trump clearly could not. Perhaps because he had so hoped they would be friends.

Oddly enough, he ended his little conniption fit by saying "I like Mike!" -- ostensibly referring to Michael Jordan. Man, no one better tell him that Michael Jordan has also spoken out against police brutality and criticized the demonization of sports players who exercise their first amendment rights. He would be devastated. He might never recover.

Now, look. I know fuckall about sports. The only time I interact with sports is when I am annoyed that my regular bar is filled with people or when I find out that the Celtics won a thing and thoughtfully text my dad to say "Congratulations on your sports!" Also I have a very big crush on young Rosey Grier, whom I maintain is the platonic ideal of a non-toxic masculinity (and also way dishy, and with a lovely singing voice). But what I can tell you is that what LeBron James is doing with this school -- with this public school -- is freaking amazing.

Via Quartz:

At the I Promise school, tuition is free for all students, who were randomly selected among all Akron public school students between one to two years behind their peers in reading. Students get free uniforms, free meals and snacks during the school day, and free transportation to school. Every kid also gets a free bicycle and helmet, as James has said that having access to his own set of wheels gave him a way to escape from dangerous parts of his neighborhood and the freedom to explore during his childhood. And in a nod to the realities of the way schoolwork gets done in the digital age, every kid gets a free Chromebook, too.

On top of that, there's help for the parents to get jobs, finish their GEDs, a food bank, scholarships to the University of Akron, psychological help for the teachers, and all other kinds of great things. Like, this is a truly, truly amazing thing that he is doing here.

It says a lot about Donald Trump, as a human being, that he would actually jump all over someone who is doing something this wonderful, just because that person did not kiss the ring. It doesn't say anything we didn't know about him already, but it says a lot.


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Jim Acosta Is Through With Sarah Huckabee Sanders's Bullshit. Everyone Else Should Be Too.

White House journos, it's time to WALK OUT.

Yesterday's White House press briefing was remarkable. All of Donald Trump's intel and law enforcement chiefs came out, one by one, to say Russia is fucking with our elections right now. The orange elephant in the room was actually not in the room, it was Dumpster-Shit-In-Chief down the hall who believes Vladimir Putin's Russia can do no wrong. But it was good to see the ostensible adults in the room engaging on the issue!

But let's talk about what came after, during the "Show and Tell" section of the event, where journalists show the Trump administration how it is full of shit and Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells lies directly to their faces. In fact, we'll start at the end of the story:

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