I was in D.C. last week for the first time since Donald Trump proved that our electoral process is silly. It feels like Vegas now with all the images of Trump around. Then I remembered he has the same job as the guy in the Jefferson Memorial. I tried to rationalize it in my head: Jefferson had unprotected sex with enslaved women. Trump reportedly has unprotected sex with adult film stars who can more or less come and go as they please. I suppose that's an improvement.

But how did we get here? How did our institutions fail us? It's not so much that Trump is an unqualified, racist radish head. He's also ridiculously corrupt.

Aleksandr Burman, a Ukrainian who engaged in a health care scheme that cost the federal government $26 million and was sentenced to a decade in prison, paid $725,000 cash for a condo at a Trump Tower I in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. in 2009.

Leonid Zeldovich, who has reportedly done extensive business in the Russian-annexed area of Crimea, bought four Trump units outright at a cost of more than $4.35 million, three of them in New York City between 2007 and 2010.

And Igor Romashov, who served as chairman of the board of Transoil, a Russian oil transport company subject to U.S. sanctions, paid $620,000 upfront for a unit at a building adorned with the future U.S. president's name in Sunny Isles Beach in 2010.

Buyers connected to Russia or former Soviet republics made 86 all-cash sales — totaling nearly $109 million — at 10 Trump-branded properties in South Florida and New York City, according to a new analysis shared with McClatchy. Many of them made purchases using shell companies designed to obscure their identities.

If you have a calendar handy, you'll notice those dates are all prior to the 2016 presidential election. Trump wasn't even living under the radar at the time. He was the host of "The Celebrity Apprentice: Russian Money Laundering Edition." Why wasn't there more concern raised during the last (perhaps literally so) presidential election that Trump was possibly a Russian patsy?

Oh, right, Hillary Clinton might have mentioned it once or twice, but her voice is just so darn shrill. Who could listen? Besides, Trump countered these charges during the third debate with a dazzling display of rhetorical brilliance that would shame Lincoln, as Trump's presidency does daily. Maybe if Clinton could've mustered a smile or two when informing us of the existential threat to our democracy Trump's election would cause, we wouldn't be in this mess. Still, where was the vaunted fourth estate during all this? I know newspapers are facing cutbacks but you can't just let the interns run things for a whole year -- maybe when it's just midterms but not during the election people almost care about.

It's disappointing because the media is normally pretty good at raising red flags. Remember how they warned us of the dangers of having two qualified, intelligent people in the White House at the same time?

If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Bill Clinton will not become a regular at Cabinet meetings, his wife's advisers say. He will not be invited into the Situation Room. He will step away from his family's foundation work and may not even have an office in the West Wing, given the undesirable optics of a former president and husband looking over the shoulder of the first female commander in chief.

But the steps Clinton aides are planning to shape his new life do little to address a potentially thornier problem: Historically, when Bill Clinton does not have a job to do, he gets into trouble.

Wouldn't you give anything to have a bored Bill Clinton stirring up trouble in the Hillary Rodham Awesome White House right now? It's sort of like how I was once ambivalent about a "Will & Grace" revival. Then Trump won, the world went to hell, and I was desperate for the "Three's Company"-but-gayer multi-camera shenanigans I enjoyed in my twenties.

I swore I checked, but I couldn't find any major articles during the campaign wondering if Trump would install his Ivana-brand idiot kids in key White House roles. It wasn't a crazy idea: Trump famously said he'd run the country like a business, and the first three morons he inflicted on the world all worked for the Trump Organization, just like any normal crime family. Why was everyone suddenly surprised when Ivanka and her first husband Jared showed up for their unpaid work-studies in kleptocracy?

The Trump Foundation is a scam but you'll recall how the media was really concerned that the Clinton's actual, non-fake charitable organization might keep helping people with AIDS after Hillary's election.

There's also first lady Melanie Trump. Was she ever asked directly if she intended to move into the White House right away? Not an unreasonable question because she was the single mother of a then 10-year-old son. Maybe as a follow-up they could've asked if she even wanted to do the job at all. They grilled my girl Hillary back in 1992 when Bill was running. She was so prepared for the Benghazi hearings because of all the time she spent under the hot lights defending her tea and cookies policies.

The media obsessed more over what to call Bill if Hillary won the presidency than what we'd call the places where Trump might wind up imprisoning children.

First Lady is not an official title, and, although it has been a little too British and manorial for the United States all along, it has stood the test of time and is unlikely to fade away anytime soon. So First Gentleman will have to suffice, on the grounds of equivalency, even though it gives the perfect opening for asking how much of a gentleman he really is. (First Man or First Dude obviously won't fly, and the gender-neutral First Spouse isn't really parallel.) In a column this week, Miss Manners points out that protocol dictates that Bill would be addressed as Governor Clinton—the last, highest, non-exclusive position he held. So that, at least, would eliminate the confusion of two President Clintons announced at state dinners.

Seriously, I'm weeping. We could've had this and taco trucks for everyone. Instead, the media was more concerned with Hillary Clinton dying of Parkinsons AND Down syndrome (it's true; she's dead already), while today the New York Times graced us with this:

Just another normal day at the NYT. We guess if Hillary Clinton isn't renovating her kitchen without a permit or being asked for diplomatic passports and then saying no, the New York Times ain't particularly interested.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!


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

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