It's almost Mueller Time.
Strap in, kids, we're headed for some turbulence. After only 15 months of breathless predictions that Mueller might be wrapping his investigation any second now, it looks like shit may actually, for real, hit the fan in the next two months. Rod Rosenstein is inching toward the exit and is likely to nope right out once Mueller submits his homework. Rudy Giuliani has definitively announced that Trump is making BYE BYE to any cooperation he might have given to the NO COLLUSION inquiry. And last night the Washington Post reported that Trump's real lawyers are staffing up.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone recently hired 17 lawyers to prepare for the twin impacts of the Russia probe and a wave of inquiries by the newly empowered Democratic House. No word on whether the president's lawyers are getting paid during the shutdown.
Time for a lawsplainer!
Cast your mind back nine months to a warm spring day when we all shared a good laugh at Steve Bannon's insane rantings on "How To Dissolve Russia Investigation In An Acid-Filled Bathtub." Bannon was breaking out in hives because Trump's then-lawyers John Dowd and Ty Cobb had allowed quit-fired White House Counsel Don McGahn and the rest of the goon squad to run their mouths to Robert Mueller. So Ol' Gin Farts hatched A PLAN to claw back the eleventy million hours of testimony by retroactively invoking executive privilege, telling The Post:
"The president wasn't fully briefed by his lawyers on the implications" of not invoking executive privilege, Bannon told The Washington Post in an interview Wednesday. "It was a strategic mistake to turn over everything without due process, and executive privilege should be exerted immediately and retroactively."
Yeah, it's a real dumb plan. But it's actually not far off what Trump's real lawyers wound up with. The new and improved version goes something like this:
This is NOT GOOD. This morning, ABC broke the news of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's imminent departure from the Justice Department.
Sources told ABC News Rosenstein wants to ensure a smooth transition to his successor and would accommodate the needs of [William] Barr, should he be confirmed.
Rosenstein apparently had long been thinking he would serve about two years, and there was no indication that he was being forced out at this moment by the president.
All the major news outlets have confirmed the story, so it's safe to assume that once the Senate rubberstamps Bill Barr for AG, Rosenstein is noping out of DOJ and heading back to Baltimore, where we will all pretend not to know who he is, in keeping with local custom. (Seriously, that's why they make movies here. Baltimoreans would rather die than acknowledge a celebrity.)
Bad enough that Barr, who expressed open hostility to the Special Counsel's investigation and called it "fatally misconceived," will be heading up DOJ. FFS, the guy was hired after "spontaneously" sending Trump's lawyers a memo theorizing that it is legally impossible for a president to obstruct justice by derailing a criminal investigation! Worse still, the GOP will now get to replace Rosenstein, giving direct supervisory authority over the Russia investigation to whichever craven hack kisses Trump's orange ass the hardest. Maybe Gregg Jarrett from Fox News to Deputy AG?
That said, let's not panic right away. Bill Barr may be willing to suck up to an authoritarian president to advance his own career, but he's no Meatball. Matthew Whitaker careens between debacles -- Big Dick Toilets, patent scams -- and only ever made serious money pimping himself out to conservative astroturf groups. Barr is an IRL respected attorney who isn't going to stumble into the sharp end of a congressional investigation by accident. He's smart enough to know that stomping in and shitcanning Mueller will likely net him hours and hours in front of Congress, in addition to millions of dollars in legal bills.
Putin's Caterer orders up another helping of courtroom insanity.
For sheer dumbassery, no one will top Paul Manafort's lawyers failing to redact their client's pleading yesterday. Kevin Downing, YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK. But Concord Management's attorney Eric "Hulk Smash" Dubelier is leaving it all on the field with his most recent filing in DC District Court. Putin's favorite troll farming oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin won't be presenting himself within the jurisdiction, but his lawyer is here, and he's putting on a hell of a show.
On Friday, Dubelier submitted a brief that cast Robert Mueller as Otter from the classic frat flick Animal House.
The Special Counsel's argument is reminiscent of Otter's famous line, "Flounder, you can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f**ked up . . . you trusted us. Hey, make the best of it."
While we dearly appreciated the chance to use all those fun Animal House GIFs Monday, on the inside we were extremely Oh, no Baby! What is you doin'? And yesterday ... was WORSE.
As counsel for the only one of 13 Russian defendants willing to defend itself in court, Dubelier seems to think he'll be able to knock loose more information on the Mueller investigation through discovery if he litigates like a rabid howler monkey. Judge Dabney Friedrich was not amused, however, and called his behavior "unprofessional, inappropriate, and ineffective." Naturally Dubelier responded by saying, "That's just your opinion!" and accused the judge of BIASSSS. How even can his client get a fair trial if its attorney acts like a right jackass and the judge calls him out on it?
Natalie V, Back For Season 3!
In Soviet Russia, government report clearing money-laundering oligarch WRITES YOU!
Get it? ... No? Okay, well keep that punchline in mind while we tell you a good joke about a bunch of thieving Russian oligarchs and their conniving lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, who just got indicted in New York for obstruction of justice. Yep, the same lawyer who dangled those sexxxxy Hillary Clinton dirts in front of Dipshit Junior's dumb face at the infamous Trump Tower meeting. Heckuva coincidence, huh?
We know you love the Carrie Mathison Russia posts Evan does. But Yr FDF is more explain-it-to-me-like-I'm-five style. So let's break it down slow in eight easy steps. Cool?
This defense is a bit ... UNORTHODOX.
Hey kids, PSA from your friendly neighborhood Wonklawyer. If ever you find yourself representing a Russian troll farm in federal court against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, DON'T DO THIS.
The Special Counsel's argument is reminiscent of Otter's famous line, "Flounder, you can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f**ked up . . . you trusted us. Hey, make the best of it."
For reals, federal judges will not be impressed with your granular knowledge of seminal 1970s frat house flicks, and are quite likely instead to tear you a new asshole for being "unprofessional, inappropriate, and ineffective." When the judge tells you to "knock it off," do not turn around and accuse said judge of "bias" against you. And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT tell the judge, "That's your opinion." Seriously, this will not end well.
When last we left Concord Management's bellicose counsel
Bluto Blutarsky Eric Dubelier, he was hinting darkly about naked selfies and accusing Robert Mueller of "thr[owing] a dart at the Federal Reporter" in search of case cites. Even for a guy representing "Putin's caterer" Yevgeniy Prigozhin, Dubelier's filings are shall we say over the top.
OPSEC yourself before you wreck yourself!
Hey y'all, it's naked selfie Friday! Who wants to go first?
Okay, fine. We'll let Vlad start with this motion where his minions ask the important question:
Could the manner in which [Robert Mueller] collected a nude selfie really threaten the national security of the United States?
LORDY DON'T LET THERE BE TAPES OF TRUMP'S NAKED ORANGE ASS! The country has been through enough! But in all seriousness, what the hell is this? Whose pink bits are part of the evidence in the Special Counsel's criminal case against the Internet Research Agency? Is this the pee tape, or what?
Back in February, Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for conspiring to ratfuck the American election. Remember the guys who dumped thousands of posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter propping up Jill Stein and telling black people not to vote in 2016? It's those guys.
Show Me On The Doll Where Meatball Hurt You: Letters To Matt Whitaker's Former Scammy Fraudy Patent Company!
Nice company Trump's fake thug acting attorney general keeps.
We know SO MUCH about fake acting attorney general Matthew "Meatball" Whitaker now! And just about any detail we have on the guy is disqualifying for the position of wiping our dog's ass, much less the highest law enforcement post in the land. But, you know, Donald Trump picks the best people, so ...
Whitaker was on the board of World Patent Marketing, a scammy fraudy Florida-based company that bilked would-be inventors (veterans!) out of shitloads of their hard-earned money (sometimes their life savings!), promising to promote their inventions and then making off with their CA$H. Sometimes Whitaker would mean-mail them some yell-y words if they complained about how they had lost all their money! Sadly, because the company was not above-board, the world has been denied the breezy benefits of inventions like the Masculine Toilet, which could have been the potty that would at last have kept the biggest penis-dongs among us safe from getting flushed down the toilet with the poops, because of how their owners may have big dicks but they're too dumb to stick their 18-incher anywhere but DOWN INSIDE THE WATER.
World Patent Marketing's scam is under investigation by the FBI, and the Federal Trade Commission shut it down in 2017, and determined that it bilked $26 million out of 1,504 customers in the three years prior. Whitaker joined the board in 2014.
Now, aside from the mean and aggressive emails Meatball sent a few dissatisfied customers, we don't have any reason to believe he PERSONALLY hurt all those customers. But just the same, Reason filed a request with the Florida attorney general for complaints on World Patent Marketing, perhaps to further establish what sort of character Meatball is, and what gutter trash he consorts with. Reason got 47 pages in response, and a good number of the complaints sound like this (bolding is Wonkette's, and also we should say [sic] throughout the transcripts of the complaints):
Very excellent journamalisming, The Hill bros!
Rudy Giuliani knows exactly how the Special Counsel investigation will end. Pretty soon the Grand Marshall of the Supreme Court will march down Pennsylvania Avenue and do LOCK HER UPS to Robert Mueller for destruction of evidence. Take it from the president's IRL, sharp-as-a-tack attorney!
"Mueller should be investigated for destruction of evidence for allowing those text messages from Strzok to be erased, messages that would show the state of mind and tactics of his lead anti-Trump FBI agent at the start of his probe," Giuliani said.
That quote is from a series of batshit phone calls Giuliani made to Hill reporter Buck Sexton and moldy hack John Solomon. Sexton looks and sounds like a low-rent Tucker Carlson on a bender. You can watch him waggle his stubbly chin at Rudy's legal stylings here and here. If for some weird reason that's up your alley.
John Solomon was recently moved to the Opinion section of The Hill after being repeatedly criticized by his colleagues for leaving out inconvenient details in his stories, such as the fact that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were highly critical of Hillary Clinton in their personal texts. So who better to massage Rudy's rantings into a coherent narrative that promotes the batshit theory that Robert Mueller personally deleted Page and Strzok's personal messages because he was OMG, HIDING SOMETHING!
TO THE FAINTING COUCH!
Meatball, ya big, dumb lyin' dickhead! Turns out Matthew "Big Dick Toilet" "Patent Scam" Whitaker may have made a little oopsie on his résumé for 30 years straight. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Acting Attorney General repeatedly claimed to have been named an Academic All-American as a tight end at the University of Iowa in 1990-1992, but does not appear on the list of recipients of the honor.
Whaaaaaat? A member of the Trump administration telling fibs? CLUTCH THE PEARLS.
In fact, Whitaker was named an All-District regional honoree, a large pool from which All-Americans are eventually selected. Whitaker falsely claimed to have received the honor on his former law firm's website and on the résumé he submitted to the patent scam firm in 2014 -- which, I Really Don't Care, Do U? But the Journal reports that the lie was included in his application for a federal judgeship in 2010, and in the 2009 press release announcing his departure from the US Attorney's office in Iowa. Lucky thing Whitaker's the highest unelected law enforcement officer in the land, not some maintenance worker, or he might get fired for that shit.
But perhaps we oversimplify a little.
Donald Trump may be a shitty criminal president, but he does have a talent for surrounding himself with people who come up with high-minded excuses for his shitty criminal presidenting. That explains why he picked Meatball McPeenerToilet as his acting attorney general, and it's probably why he chose William Barr to be the permanent replacement for Jeff Sessions. The Wall Street Journal reported that Barr sent Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein an unsolicited 19-page memo in June explaining why the Mueller investigation is bad and illegal and a "fatally misconceived" adventure in witch-hunting that could have "potentially disastrous implications" for the Executive Branch and all future presidents.
So yeah, Trump once again picked a guy who's gone on the record to call Mueller's investigation a WITCH HUNT. Heck of a thing!
We can guarantee this much: Donald Trump certainly hasn't read Barr's memo because, while it makes the case that Trump can't be accused of obstruction of justice -- or even investigated -- for firing James Comey and pressuring him to leave poor Michael Flynn alone, that argument uses a bunch of big lawyer words and refers to legal cases, and there are no pictures at all. So we guess someone must have let Trump know it was a good memo and Barr is a good guy who recognizes that this Rusher thing is all fake news. It's apparently not uncommon for former officials to send such memos on the issues of the day, because they just love to share.
Sit down, Wonkers, we've got some shocking news. Turns out the Big Dick toilet guy who flogged a scam patent company and spent years cashing wingnut welfare checks at a dark money PAC gives no shits about ethics and won't be recusing from the Mueller investigation. Unable to get a clean bill of health from career ethics officials at DOJ, Matthew Whitaker grabbed his chart and signed himself out. He's the coach, he's putting himself in, he's ready to play Murder the Mueller Investigation TODAY.
As Buzzfeed pointed out, Whitaker came in promising to follow all regular ethics procedures.
The weekend after Whitaker, who had previously served as Sessions' chief of staff, took over as acting attorney general, Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec emailed, "Acting AG Whitaker is fully committed to following all processes and procedures of the Department of Justice, including meeting with ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities, matters that may warrant recusals, etc."
And the ethics dorks gave him a clean bill of health, so we're good to go!
Actually, they told him that he was totally kosher vis-à-vis his friendship with Sam Clovis, one of the witnesses, and his prior discussions with the president about WITCH HUNT. But his prior teevee prognostications on the best way to stick a shiv in the Special Counsel's investigation do give the teensiest appearance of bias, so they said he should probably recuse on that basis.
Yes, even Cindy Hyde-Smith.
It's hard to imagine all 100 members of the Senate agreeing on anything, even a pro-mouthwash bill, but that's what happened Wednesday when the Senate unanimously passed a bill making lynching a federal crime. The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act was introduced in June by the Senate's three black members: Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Tim Scott. Along with at least one good macaroni and cheese dish at Senate potlucks, this is one of the upsides of having three black senators all at once.
If the bill gets through the House -- and it's sad that it didn't seem to be Paul Ryan's priority, as he was busy standing up for the oppressed Irish -- it would add a "lynching" section to federal civil rights law. It doesn't make for pleasant reading, but it will state that if at least two people kill someone because of the victim's race or religion, they can face life in prison if convicted. Someone like Tucker Carlson might suggest anti-lynching legislation is redundant when the act itself is arguably already covered under current hate-crime laws, but that's only because they're racist. Lynching occurred with such impunity that it's important to single it out now as something uniquely abhorrent under the law.
Prolly shouldn't have spent 30 years bragging about buying all those politicians, TBH.
If cops want to charge you with DUI, they don't have to prove that you knew the legal blood alcohol limit -- they just introduce the breathalyzer results. If they want to charge you as a drug dealer, they don't have to prove that you knew how much marijuana transforms a simple possession charge into intent to distribute narcotics -- they just put your reefer on a scale. And if you are a non-citizen who accidentally votes, the state of Texas will send you to jail for eight years, without having to prove that you knowingly violated the statute. Because ignorance of the law is no defense.
Unless you're a rich asshole trying to buy a politician, in which case the rules are different for you. Please enjoy this fine Yale Law Journal article on the subject, or you can just take our word for it that a campaign finance conviction requires the prosecutor to prove that the defendant knew the law and willfully chose to violate it. So if you are charged with violating the Federal Elections Campaign Act, the Dumbass Defense is your best friend.
President Dumbass is currently embroiled in a campaign finance scandal over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, ladies who inexplicably chose to bump their bits against that orange excrescence and his misshapen mushroom member. It's a weird world! The president's "attorney" Rudy Giuliani is busily arglebargling nonsense to any reporter he can reach, as all the best lawyers do.
Once again the courts say knock it off with the fuckery, you.
In what could be a big blow to Donald Trump's attempts to end asylum as we know it, a federal judge in Washington DC has overturned a rule aimed at excluding victims of domestic violence or gangs from seeking asylum in the US. Wednesday's ruling by DC District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan is one more case of the judiciary reminding Trump the executive branch can't just ignore immigration laws passed by Congress, thanks. Sullivan has had a busy week -- he's the same judge who told Michael Flynn to take his "I WUZ FRAMED" bullshit and ram it right up his Deep State. With his ruling telling the administration it just can't make shit up to please Stephen Miller, Judge Sullivan wins the week.
Is that weird? That seems weird.
Children's speech pathologists do a lot of things. They help kids overcome speech impediments, they help them speak and communicate more clearly, they assist with language comprehension, etc. etc. They are required, in the United States of America, to hold a Master's Degree in Communicative Disorders/Speech-Language Pathology from an accredited university in order to practice. In Texas and several other places, however, if they work for the state, they are also required to sign an oath swearing that they will not boycott Israeli products or advocate for a boycott of Israeli products to protest the treatment of the Palestinian people.
The Intercept reports that Bahia Amawi, a Texas elementary school speech pathologist who has been working in Texas schools since 1999, has been barred from working in public schools due to her refusal to sign this oath -- which is absurd and mostly unenforceable. (What? Are they going to stop by every state contractor's house to make sure they have some Sabra hummus in their refrigerator? Are they going to check bra tags to make sure they're from Victoria's Secret, even if Victoria's Secret does not even sell their bra size? What if they just don't happen to own a SodaStream because they don't have the counter space? What if they don't use Moroccan Oil because it weighs their hair down?) Besides that, of course, the oath is a clear violation of both her First Amendment rights and her rights as a consumer to buy whatever she damn well pleases.
And its billion dollar Putin penthouse!
It's not a lie if you just made it up on the spot and hoped it might actually true! Thus reads the family crest of the fabled House of Giuliani, a motto the patriarch strives to live by every day. On Sunday, he told CNN, "Up until November 2016, they could have had a conversation about Trump Tower Moscow, and it went nowhere [...] It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it."
In fact, CNN's Chris Cuomo revealed last night that Trump did sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Russian developer Andrey Rozov on October 28, 2015. That would be four months after officially announcing his intention to run for president on June 16 of that year. So your president spent at least a year simultaneously running for the highest office in the land while negotiating to build a tower financed by sanctioned Russian bank VTB.
Hey, remember all those times when Donald Trump said NO PUPPET, NO PUPPET, HILLARY CLINTON IS THE REAL RUSSIAN PUPPET?
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