Better late than never.
The Great Unfucking continues apace! Yesterday the White House approved the promotion of Lt. Col. Yevgeny "Eugene" Vindman to colonel after Trump and his lackeys tried to torpedo his career in apparent retaliation for his role in the Ukraine impeachment scandal. Which makes TWO nicetimes posts in one day! See, the earth really is healing.
On February 7, 2020, two days after Trump was acquitted in his first impeachment, Eugene and his twin brother Alexander were unceremoniously fired and escorted off the White House grounds when they showed up for work. Subtle! The brothers were among the first to raise the alarm about the former president's "perfect, perfect phone call" in which he threatened to withhold congressionally allocated defense funds if Ukraine wouldn't gin up a fake investigation into Joe Biden and his son. At the time, Eugene was a legal advisor to the National Security Council on which Alexander was the Director of European Affairs.
Both brothers reported their concerns to John Eisenberg, the NSC's legal advisor, only to watch their careers go up in smoke because Eisenberg was up to his ass in the Ukraine fuckery. He was the one who made sure the transcript of the call got buried on the bin Laden server; he helped Barr hide the Ukraine whistleblower complaint from Congress; and then he signed off on routing the investigation of the whistleblower's concerns through the DOJ's Criminal Division, where Barr's stooge Brian Benczkowski was only too happy to bury it again.
Clearly he wasn't going to help the Vindman brothers. But he went one step further and tried to fuck them, according to a whistleblower complaint filed by Eugene in August. Lt. Col. Vindman says that in his capacity as the chief ethics advisor to the NSC, he went to Eisenberg with multiple allegations of impropriety by then National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien. O'Brien is alleged to have "engaged in demeaning and demoralizing sexist behavior against … female NSC professionals," forced staff to complete personal errands for him, and granted preferential access to business interests by mislabeling the meetings as "social calls."
After which Eisenberg allegedly told Vindman to back off and mind his own business. Vindman responded that it was unethical for O'Brien to take a taxpayer-funded trip with his wife to address his daughter's ROTC group at Brigham Young University, and that of course it was Vindman's business because he was the bloody ethics lawyer for the NSC.
Here's Eisenberg's performance evaluation of Vindman in 2019.
Yev is a top 1% military attorney and officer and the best LTC with whom I have ever worked. Functioning at the executive level, he advises White House senior staff with skill, tact, and judgment on matters of geostrategic importance. Sought by White House staff regularly, he can do any job in the legal field under unusual and constant pressure and scrutiny. Select now for SSC [Senior Service College] and promote immediately to COL [Colonel]. Absolutely unlimited potential!
And here's what he wrote in 2020, with the help of Michael Ellis, the former Devin Nunes aide who was all the way up the ass of every bit of Russia-Ukraine filth for the entire four years of the Trump administration.
Over time, LTC [Y.] Vindman displayed increasingly poor judgment and failed to learn from his mistakes. On multiple occasions, his unprofessional demeanor made NSC staff feel uncomfortable. Despite express guidance from his supervisor, he continued to add himself to meetings with senior NSC staff where he did not add value. LTC [Y.] Vindman's substandard performance—his lack of judgment, failure to communicate well with his superiors, and inability to differentiate between legal and policy decisions—caused him to lose the trust of NSC senior leadership. … With additional counseling and experience, LTC [Y.] Vindman's performance may improve. He would benefit from additional experience in a slower paced work environment subject to less pressure and scrutiny. In time, he may become a better attorney.
Oh, did poor Robert O'Brien feel "uncomfortable" when someone pointed out that misuse of government resources is both unethical and illegal? How sad!
Politico, which broke the story of Vindman's promotion, reports that the Army "conducted an investigation and found the evaluations to not be objective ... leading to the evaluations being deleted and never making it into the official records for the promotions board to consider" according to two sources. (Lordy, it's like Purim and Passover rolled into one.)
So Vindman's name was on a list of promotions headed to the Senate for approval. Unfortunately, the honor comes too late for his brother, who retired from the military last summer after Sen. Tammy Duckworth threatened to hold up all promotions above lieutenant colonel if Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wouldn't assure her in writing that the White House hadn't intervened to keep Alex Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient with shrapnel in his body from an IED attack in Iraq, off the list — an assurance she never got.
@AVindman’s turn to get his Eagles. Perhaps someone can sponsor a bill?— Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman (@Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman)1615895686.0
"I am deeply grateful for the trust and confidence the U.S. Army and Judge Advocate Generals Corps have placed in me with selection to promotion to Colonel," Vindman said in a statement released through his lawyer Mark Zaid. "They stood their ground despite intense pressure during the last Administration. I look forward to continuing my service to the U.S. Army and the Nation in positions of increasing responsibility."
Because here right matters. Eventually.
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Last one of these before the Biden administration!
Lindsey Graham is looking for a new shark.
You see, much like a remora, Graham has spent his life clinging to figures like John McCain and Donald Trump. These symbiotic relationships allowed Graham to benefit from the protection and spoils provided by his hosts. But with Trump leaving office, Graham went on Maria Bartiromo's Fox News den of scum and villainy to praise his outgoing boss, while begging for "unity" (in not punishing Trump) from President-Elect Joe Biden, who used to be his friend.
After confirming he will attend Biden's inauguration, the former Navy JAG and current Republican jag-off quickly shifted to his real goal: being against everything Biden proposes, much like he did during the Obama presidency. In the interview he said he opposes the Paris Climate Agreement (which Biden announced he will be rejoining), mask mandates to get Covid under control, the Green New Deal, healthcare expansion, and DC/Puerto Rico statehood.
Much like Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain, Graham just "can't quit" Trump:
GRAHAM: Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time. You're the most important figure in the Republican Party, you can shape the direction of the party, keep your movement alive. [...] You're leaving office with some of the most significant accomplishments in my lifetime. You brought order to chaos at the border. You rebuilt the military when it was on its back. You destroyed ISIS. You got five peace agreements [...] You got USMCA. You cut our taxes. [...] Just in a few months, President Trump will be looked at far different than he is today.
He did mildly plead with Trump not to pardon the insurgents who stormed the Capitol upon Trump's incitement:
GRAHAM: There's a lot of people urging the president to pardon folks who participated in the defiling the Capital. The rioters. I don't care if you went there and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capital. You interrupted the joint session of Congress, you tried to intimidate us all, you should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong. It would be, I think it would destroy President Trump and I hope we don't go down that road. They chose to go in that Capitol, defile the Capitol ...
While of course trying to absolve Trump of responsibility for said incitement:
GRAHAM: President Trump never said "go into the Capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress." That was the choice they made and they need to live with that choice.
Also somehow it was Nancy Pelosi's fault, somehow.
Graham demanded Joe Biden not to allow for accountability for Trump, under the faux guise of "unity":
GRAHAM: To Joe Biden, you talk about unifying the country. If you do not stand up against the impeachment of President Trump after he leaves office, you are an incredibly weak figure in American history. President Trump is trying to heal the nation. Pursuing impeachment after he leaves the office will further divide the country. It will ruin the start of your presidency, Joe Biden. You need to stand up to the "radical left" and tell Schumer to dismiss what I think is an unconstitutional attempt to impeach President Trump out of office. Stand down.
He even sent a letter!
My letter to Democratic Leader Schumer. The Senate should vote to dismiss the article of impeachment once it is r… https://t.co/tbPvLfSZIR— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1610899577.0
The gall of a spineless weasel like Graham to call someone else weak is astonishing. After every craven thing he's done in service of Donald Trump, while this tweet from 2016 still exists on his Twitter:
If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it.— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1462309410.0
Three years ago, the Washington Post made this video about Graham's whiplash-inducing about-face on Trump:
Here's an ad from Republican Voters Against Trump, about how much Lindsey Graham loved Joe Biden but then stopped loving him, for Trump:
And finally, here's former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who will also work in the Biden administration, calling Graham a "piece of shit."
That pretty much says it all!
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The GOP is very humanitarian and good. Obviously.
With just a few days to go before Christmas, the GOP has decided that putting the most minimal effort they can should earn them awards for their "courage." Like rotten children trying to do last-minute chores to stave off their well deserved lumps of coal, the GOP is trying to pretend it always does good.
An excellent example of this would be Wyoming GOP senator and third ranking member of Republican Senate leadership, John Barrasso, on "Fox News Sunday":
Barasso: COVID-19 stimulus could've been done 'if Pelosi didn't play politics' youtu.be
A week ago, after the Electoral College confirmed that Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, a reporter asked Barrasso whether or not Biden was now officially the "President-elect." Barrasso called that a "gotcha" question.
Asked why it’s a gotcha question he replied: “It’s what every senator is being asked. 3 weeks ago the transition oc… https://t.co/P8yX5GQTJo— Burgess Everett (@Burgess Everett)1607989424.0
Of course, Barrasso wasn't the only Republican having trouble answering that "tough" question, but it was notable due to his position in Senate leadership, even after Mitch McConnell conceded that Biden IS the President-Elect. A week later, Chris Wallace asked Barrasso the same "gotcha" question:
WALLACE: How, senator, is it a gotcha to ask who is going to be the president one month from today?
BARRASSO: Well, first, you know how the press is sometimes in the halls of Congress if you don't give a one-word answer, they're not satisfied. [...] I accept what has happened in the election and with the Electoral College. I was one of over 70 percent of the people of Wyoming proud to help and vote for President Trump. Over 70 million Americans have done that. He's done remarkable things. I don't believe we'd have a vaccine today if it weren't for President Trump's determination ...
BARRASO: ... and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but the Electoral College has now certified the election. We have that Constitution and I accept the outcome of the election.
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you directly: Will Joe Biden be the next president of the United States?
BARRASSO: Uhh ...Yes he will.
WALLACE: You accept that?
BARRASSO: I do.
WALLACE: Okay. [laughs] That wasn't so hard.
What a "profile in courage" Barrasso is for accepting reality! Of course, he had to couch it by giving praise to Trump for the development of the Covid vaccines despite both vaccine manufacturers clearly stating Trump had zero effect on their ability to make vaccines.
Barrasso went on to pretend like it's Republicans, not Democrats, who have been trying to get Covid relief to people.
BARRASSO: This is no fault of the American people. Chris, we should have done this months ago had not Nancy Pelosi played politics through the fall because of the presidential election. She's admitted as much. We've had a bill pretty comparable to what we are gonna pass today. We've offered it time and time again. The Democrats beat it down 40 different times. This has been wrong, the delay has been too long. We need to get it done now for Christmas.
This motherfucker. First, Nancy Pelosi passed the Heroes Act in May. It included $1,200 per individual for relief, money for testing/tracing of Covid-19, provided expanded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, and money for local/state assistance to ensure essential services were maintained. This was early enough after the original relief package that it would have helped Americans financially and reduced the spread of Covid up to now It also included oversight of these programs to prevent "small business owners" like the Catholic Church, Kanye West and Joel Osteen from being able to take PPP funds meant for real small businesses. Because nothing says "let's help everyday Americans" like giving money to tax-exempt prosperity gospel and ugly shoe-making douches.
Cynically, if GOP assclowns had actually cared about not being scumbags, it would have also been early enough that Trump and other Republicans could have been helped politically by it. But Mitch McConnell not only sat on that bill, but the only reason he's doing THIS bill is to try to retain the Senate majority.
TWO THINGS from the Senate GOP call today. — @senatemajldr overtly linked the need for direct payments to the Sena… https://t.co/hjs2Vjplxs— Jake Sherman (@Jake Sherman)1608144542.0
So in Republican alternate reality, Nancy Pelosi played politics by passing a bill in May but McConnell and Trump are "helping" by passing a bill that's much weaker in December. Neat.
Just in case you think we are gonna praise Chris Wallace for journalism this week, let's pump those brakes. With Trump's coup, massive a Russian cyber-attack (again) and the ongoing health and economic impact of this pandemic, what was Chris Wallace's prime concern?
Biden senior adviser @jrpsaki defends incoming Chief of Staff @jomalleydillon’s Glamour interview, in which she cal… https://t.co/OPGlgc2XJ2— The Recount (@The Recount)1608476755.0
Oh yes, FuckerGate. Because both sides do it, obviously! Republicans sit on their thumbs during a pandemic that's killed over 300,000 Americans, but a woman who works for Joe Biden called Republicans "fuckers." Oh, the humanity!
That'll be enough Sunday rundown this week, see you next time!
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Update Fri., Dec. 4: NOOOOPE! The following post is no longer operative, well, the background still is, but that doesn't mean it's not still good reading!
There's some crazy shit going down at the Justice Department! And we don't mean in Bill Barr's skivvies when he realizes that MAGAworld is about to turn its derp ray on him, too.
Someone's been trying to bribe the president with a yuuuuge political contribution in exchange for a pardon, and last night Judge Beryl Howell, chief of the US District Court in DC, unsealed a heavily redacted order describing it. Here's what we know so far.
At some point this year, probably during the summer, the government executed a search warrant on two offices and seized a massive trove of information on "over fifty digital media devices" and "totaling several terabytes of data." It's not clear what the feds were looking for when they started the raid, but what they came up with was allegedly evidence of "(1) a 'secret lobbying scheme' ... in which [redacted] and [redacted] acted as lobbyists to senior White House officials without complying with the requirements of the Lobbying Disclosure Act ("LDA"), 2 U.S.C. §§ 1601 et seq., to secure 'a pardon or reprieve of sentence for [redacted] ... and (2) a related bribery conspiracy scheme, in which '[redacted] would offer a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence for [redacted],' using [extremely long redaction] 'as the intermediaries to deliver the proposed bribe.'"
That's kind of confusing to read, but here's what it looks like in the document itself.
We can make an educated guess that at least one of the offices was occupied by a lawyer, since the order pertains to potential attorney-client communications swept up in the warrant. In late August, the government asked the court for permission to access those communications based on either the crime-fraud exception or, alternatively, a finding that there was no privilege because one of the parties to the communications was neither the lawyer nor the client. In plain English, attorney-client privilege only exists between the attorney and the client. It disappears if someone else is in the room (or on the email chain), and it also goes away if the lawyer is cahootsing with the client to commit crimes.
Judge Howell granted the motion on Aug. 28 "based on a finding that, notwithstanding the attorney-client relationship that [redacted] may have had with either [redacted] or [redacted], any communication related to the alleged LDA or Bribery-for-pardon schemes between or among those individuals, in which communications [redacted] was a participant or otherwise a recipient, is not protected by the attorney-client or any other privilege and is therefore reviewable by the government's investigation team."
At least one and probably two of those parties is a lawyer communicating with his or her client, but the privilege does not apply because whoever is in that fourth redaction bar was cc'd on the email chain. Similarly, this third party was communicating directly with the client, and those communications are not covered by any privilege.
Judge Howell goes into considerable detail explaining why this third party was not acting as an agent for the attorney and so "none of [the client's] email communications with [the third party] alone are privileged." This suggests that someone has attempted to shield those communications by arguing that Mr. Third Party is an agent of one or more of the attorneys here.
And now we come to the most confusing part of this filing. Please forgive the screenshots, since this PDF is too raggedy to cut and paste from. This is a discussion about who is an attorney for whom, and who is acting as purely political agent to obtain a pardon from the president by lobbying the White House Counsel's Office.
Similarly, this footnote seems to be the government trying to pick apart exactly which lawyer goes with which client. But note that someone thinks that he's entitled to the non-legal services of a lawyer "to assist in obtaining clemency" from President Trump in light of his "past substantial campaign contributions" and "anticipated future substantial political contributions."
Now, your Wonkette is not trying to get sued again. So we will just leave some interesting facts here for your consumption.
- In October of 2019, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman (aka "the Chucklefuckers") were charged with various financial crimes, including making an illegal strawman donation of $325,000 to Donald Trump's campaign PAC.
- Parnas and Fruman spent much of 2019 helping the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani try to gin up dirt in Ukraine on Joe Biden.
- Parnas and Fruman have variously claimed to have employed Giuliani as their lawyer, and also to have been assisting him in his legal representation of the president and thus covered by either attorney-client or executive privilege.
- As part of this representation, Parnas and Fruman reached out to multiple Ukrainian oligarchs, including energy magnate Dmitry Firtash.
- Firtash, who's fighting extradition to face bribery charges in an American court, is (or was) represented by attorneys Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova (aka "the Hairballs").
- Toensing and diGenova have described Lev Parnas as either a "translator" or as a person who "assisted" in their representation of Firtash, i.e., someone who would be covered by attorney-client privilege.
- Parnas claims to have gotten a personal loan of $1 million from Firtash in September of last year, indicating that he probably had personal contact with the oligarch unmediated by Toensing and diGenova.
- Giuliani, Parnas, Toensing, and diGenova (along with journalist John Solomon, who also claims to have been represented by those Hairballs and employed Parnas as his "translator") were part of the "BLT Club" that met in the backroom of the restaurant at the Trump Hotel in DC to plot to smear Joe Biden.
- On September 17, three weeks after Judge Howell ruled that these disputed communications were not covered by attorney-client privilege, the DOJ added new charges for Parnas and his associate David Correia.
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