THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
Okay, NOW WE PANIC. Trump firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and shoehorning in partisan meathead Matthew Whitaker to murder the Mueller investigation during the lame duck session is DEFCON 1. The White House knows Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, and Eric Swalwell are about to investigate the shit out of them, and they're reasonably confident that the Special Counsel has indictments in the works for Don Jr. for lying to Congress and conspiracy to violate campaign finance law, among other things.
Which is why John Kelly called Sessions yesterday morning and told him to get out immediately, refusing even to let the Attorney General finish out the week. If you believe Vanity Fair, the White House expected Junior to be indicted as soon as today, so they needed the Mueller slayer in place to put the kibosh on it ASAP. And this time, they weren't going to take a chance with someone ethical. Enter Matthew Whitaker, a partisan hack who isn't afraid to plunge his hands into a mixture of slime mold and shit, right on up to the shoulders.
Here he is threatening a customer with civil and criminal penalties for complaining about the scam inventors company that paid him to sit on its board. The company was eventually fined $26 million for being the Trump University of patent scams.
And here he is calling the Mueller investigation a lynch mob.
And here's Whitaker's op-ed in CNN where he opines that, unless Mueller catches Trump handing Vladimir Putin a pile of rubles to hack voting machines, any Trump crimes are outside the scope of investigation.
Any investigation into President Trump's finances or the finances of his family would require Mueller to return to Rod Rosenstein for additional authority under Mueller's appointment as special counsel.
If he were to continue to investigate the financial relationships without a broadened scope in his appointment, then this would raise serious concerns that the special counsel's investigation was a mere witch hunt. If Mueller is indeed going down this path, Rosenstein should act to ensure the investigation is within its jurisdiction and within the authority of the original directive.
And here's Whitaker with his good pal Sam Clovis, that Godbothering sack of farts from the Trump campaign who green-lighted Papadopoulos to go play matchmaker with Putin. Trumpland tried to park Clovis at the FDA, until Mueller called him in for a series of chats with the grand jury. No, it is not appropriate for Whitaker to be supervising an investigation in which his former boss is a witness after going on television and opining on the outcome of said investigation.
Matthew Whitaker is the scum on the swamp who got paid more than $700,000 in dark money to run the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a "non-profit" that harassed Democrats for non-existent ethics violations and caped for the fossil fuel industry. Desmog reports,
FACT has come under fire for its own lack of transparency, with the Center for Responsive Politics calling attention to FACT's funding, which in some years came entirely from Donors Trust, an organization also known as the "Dark Money ATM of the Conservative Movement" and whose own donors include the notorious funders of climate denial, Charles and David Koch.
"In other words, an organization 'dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency' gets 100 percent of its funds from a group that exists mainly as a vehicle for donors to elude transparency," the Center for Responsive Politics wrote in 2016.
In 2014, FACT received $600,000 from Donors Trust — the only donation it reported that year, according to OpenSecrets.org. An additional $500,000 flowed from Donors Trust to FACT in 2015. And in 2016, Donors Trust gave $800,000 to FACT, tax records show.
In 2016, Whitaker earned $402,000 as FACT's director and president, according to the organization's tax filings. That followed reported compensation from FACT for Whitaker of $63,000 in 2014, and $252,000 in 2015.
All he ever wanted in return for his diligent partisan hackery was a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary in Iowa. So after Trump got elected, Whitaker got himself booked on Fox to slag the Mueller investigation in hopes of catching the attention of the Couch Potato in Chief. Only he overshot, because the president is a goddamn moron -- "Trump loves the guy. He's like six-foot-four and played tight end for Iowa's Rose Bowl team" -- and now he's running the entire Justice Department. We should definitely make the argument that Whitaker should recuse -- this isn't even a close case -- but without any expectation that Whitaker gives a shit about ethics or norms. He was sent to DOJ to kill the Russia investigation, and that's exactly what he's going to do.
The question is, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? Because the next six weeks when the GOP still controls both houses of Congress and people are distracted by the holidays is a really dangerous time. They are counting on you to be exhausted from the midterms, busy with your family, and put off by the weather. But don't.
The first protests are scheduled for today at 5PM. If you are in Baltimore, I, Yr FDF, will see you there. You need to find the protest in your town, and GO.
We have to shine a spotlight on this naked corruption so that the outrage doesn't die with the news cycle. Trump can't silently Saturday Night Massacre the Mueller investigation -- or he can't if we don't let him.
You're tired. And we're tired. But we're going to have to pull our shit together and shout to make sure this doesn't wind up buried under a mountain of nonsense. Lace up your marching boots, Wonkers. It's time to GET LOUD.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.