Besides how that's just true.
Happy Friday, it's Book Time! No, we have not read a book, what do you think we are, some kind of Dok who reads books?
(We do read books. Sometimes. SHUT UP, WE READ THE INTERNET ALL FUCKING DAY FOR YOU.)
Anyway, lots of hollerin' and hullabaloo about a new book from the Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig called Dare You To Write A Book Like This, Maggie Haberman, Haha You Can't. Just fooling, it is called A Very Stable Genius, and it is about how Donald Trump is A Very Stable Genius, or the opposite of that.
In an adapted excerpt published by the Post today, we learn in painstaking detail what really led then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call Trump a "fucking moron," a cuss truth that started Tillerson on the path to getting fired while he was in Africa cleaning up some Trump mess or another. We've heard a lot of different reporting over the years about the meeting that fateful day in the Pentagon, but none of it was a complete picture like what Leonnig and Rucker report, largely because many of the participants in the meeting vowed never to speak of it, according to the authors.
Y'all, it was baaaad.
Ken 'Yes That Ken Starr' Starr joins the defense.
Donald Trump just announced his all-star squadron of lawyers who'll defend him during his Senate impeachment trial. We can confirm that they've all attended law school at some point. You're stuck with hearing about these guys for the next few weeks, so let's quickly bring you up to speed.
Sekulow is Trump's personal lawyer. Wonkette has described him as a "talking hairpiece," which is an insult to decent Tribbles everywhere. He normally runs around spreading conspiracy theories or scamming poor people with shady charities. He's not fit to tie Johnny Cochran's shoes and Trump could really use a Johnny Cochran right now. Sekulow will lead Trump's legal team with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.
This poor sucker replaced Don McGahn in October 2018. He's not like Oliver Babish on "The West Wing," who agreed to stay on as White House counsel if President Bartlet agreed to cooperate fully with an investigation. There was no "Bring it on!" pep talk. The Democrats were set to take back the House, and Cipollone might've believed for a moment that Trump would stop criming. No such luck. He not only continued criming, he involved Cipollone in the criming.
Here a CRIME, there a CRIME, everywhere a CRIME CRIME.
Here's a funny thing that happened on the way to the Senate impeachment trial, which officially got underway with much formality yesterday: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its finding that yes, Trump's hold on Ukraine aid was CRIME CRIME CRIME CRIME CRIME. Just like all those impeachment witnesses said people all over Defense and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) thought it was!
Trump is his very own Baghdad Bob.
When Donald Trump did his presser the morning following Iran's missile attack on American air bases in Iraq (we stole 'em fair and square and they belong to us) on January 8, he was very clear that both the Americans and the Iraqis at the bases were completely unscathed, HOORAY.
Here, we've cued the video up for you:
Since he was reading from a teleprompter, Trump delivered the news in a relatively straightforward declaration:
I'm pleased to inform you, the American people [sniffsnort] should be extremely [audible exhale] grateful and happy [sniff!] no Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. [sniff] We suffered no casualties [snort], all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.
He went on to add that "No American or Iraqi lives were lost," which to our knowledge still appears to be true. But the stuff about no Americans being harmed is, we learned yesterday, pure uncut Trumpian bullshit. Turns out that in mere reality, 11 American troops were wounded in the attack, and were evacuated to American military hospitals in Kuwait and Germany. Defense One reports the injured US personnel will
be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation, several U.S. defense and military officials have confirmed[.]
The news of 11 casualties is rather different not only from what Trump said, but also from what Pentagon and White House sources said immediately after the attack, when they insisted the Iranian missile strikes had resulted in "no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera."
And now the administration is spinning furiously to explain there's no contradiction at all between the initial "no casualties" declarations and the inconveniently brain-injured soldiers being treated at military hospitals.
Donald Trump's re-election all but certain now.
Joe Biden is likely the Democratic nominee for president, unless something unexpected occurs, so Republicans need to start considering ways to attack him now that extorting foreign governments is off the table. Fortunately for America if not Donald Trump, his daughter-in-law, Lara, is on the job. Lara Trump is an adviser to the president's re-election campaign, which sounds like one of those "no-show" jobs that mobsters set up for their useless relatives. During a "Women for Trump" event in Iowa this week, Trump said she felt "sad" for Biden. This is a woman who is currently married to one of Donald Trump's sons.
TRUMP: Can we just talk about the pool of candidates the Democrats have? Now their frontrunner, they say, is Joe Biden. Did anybody stay awake and watch some of that debate you guys had here? If you did, I'm sorry. It put everyone to sleep in my house. But I have two young kids so that's tremendous at my house. We're very happy about that.
Trump's 1980s Joan Rivers impersonation was fine and all, but then she decided to make personal digs about the way Joe Biden speaks. This is a strange political choice because Donald Trump talks like a James Joyce novel printed backwards. He literally rambled on about toilets, showers, and dishwashers at a rally this week.
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.)
A federal judge in Maryland ruled Wednesday that Donald Trump's executive order giving state and local officials the power to reject refugee resettlement is "unlawful" and doesn't "appear to serve the overall public interest." The executive order, issued in September when the Stephen Miller administration announced the US would slash refugee admissions to the lowest level in modern history, had required that before any refugees can be resettled, state governors or local officials would have to give their express written consent.
In his ruling, US District Judge Peter J. Messitte wrote that
Giving states and local governments the power to consent to the resettlement of refugees — which is to say veto power to determine whether refugees will be received in their midst — flies in the face of clear Congressional intent.
If you're a nerd who enjoys reading court decisions, check it out. It's very clearly argued, and you get the sense Judge Messitte found the government's arguments insultingly bad.
Pressley publicly discloses living with alopecia.
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley just opened up to The Root about a personal health issue with inspiring directness and candor. She has alopecia and is now bald. She's one of 6.8 million Americans with the condition, but you can't help feeling like you're going through something like this alone. Pressley noticed the early effects of hair loss last fall. It progressed to the point that she started to dread waking up each morning and discovering the "sinkfuls of hair" she'd lost overnight. She described facing "an image in the mirror of a person that increasingly felt like a stranger."
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.
Imagineering new laws must be why they pay him the big bucks.
Lawrence Lessig has lost his damn mind.
The Harvard Law professor, who absolutely knows better, is suing the New York Times for what he calls "clickbait defamation," arguing in a lawsuit that "The consequences of this clickbaiting have been harmful to Lessig and his work."
Clickbait defamation, while surely a nifty phrase in the mind of Lessig, is most definitely not a thing. And this suit is dangerous, irresponsible, and very, very dumb.
What are we gazing at today, my dear ones?
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.
NO, NOT THAT ONE!
Wompity womp womp womp. Womp.
Well boy howdy, that Lev Parnas interview and alllllll those Lev Parnas texts sure are making some waves, all the way over to the nation of Ukraine! And wouldn't you know it, but Ukraine has announced a criminal investigation, just like Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been begging them to do for over a year now.
'Cept it is not an investigation into Joe Biden or Hunter Biden or how Hillary Clinton and Ukraine conspired to steal the election from herself and give it to Donald Trump so Nancy Pelosi could impeach him right in the balls, SAD TROMBONE.
It is instead a criminal investigation into whether former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was actually under surveillance, as batshit nutfart landscaper congressional candidate stinky Robert F. Hyde seemed to suggest in his WhatsApps with Lev.
And they want the FBI to help.
Honoring an American WWII soldier who saved Jewish troops, no less!
Here's a Nice Time break from all the ongoing madness: Congress is taking steps to honor a WWII hero, Roderick W. "Roddie" Edmonds, who after being captured during the Battle of the Bulge refused to tell a Nazi POW camp officer which of his fellow American soldiers were Jews. In 2015, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel recognized Edmonds, who died in 1985, as one of the "Righteous Among Nations," an honor given to non-Jews who helped Jews escape genocide.
Members of Tennessee's congressional delegation -- Republicans even! -- have introduced a bill to award Edmonds the Congressional Gold Medal, which is different from a Medal of Honor because that one's reserved for heroism in combat. But that doesn't take anything away from the courage Edmonds displayed in the face of very real danger.
McSally calls reporter 'liberal hack' on her way to serving as Trump's political hack.
You could almost feel sorry for Martha McSally (please don't). Arizona's junior senator was appointed to her job after voters already rejected her. Now she'll have to face Democrat Mark Kelly in a real election this year, and real elections are hard. She tried raising money like a good Republican. McSally Inc brought in more than $4 million in the final three months of 2019. Her total fundraising for the year was $12 million, and she rang in 2020 with more than $7.6 million cash on hand. That is objectively good news if viewed in a total vacuum.
Ruh-roh! Kelly, who rejected corporate PAC money and must soldier on with just "pocket change," outraised McSally. He brought in $6.3 million in the last quarter, and he's sitting on top of $13.6 million in cash. He's consistently outperformed her fundraising numbers, and she's the incumbent senator. Of course, Kelly has the advantage of not sucking.
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.
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