I had missed this. But it’s a significant development. Sen. Lindsey Graham has oscillated between being a fierce Trump critic to being increasingly supportive of the President. But he now seems to have moved firmly into the Trump loyalist camp.
Trent Franks, who announced yesterday that he would resign in January and actually resigned today, reportedly repeatedly pressed a staffer to serve as a surrogate for $5 million. But he apparently meant “surrogacy” in the sense of having intercourse with Congressman Franks and getting pregnant.
I’ve wanted to, but haven’t had the time, to pull together a sampling of the rapid ramping up of demands on the right, particularly on Fox News, for President Trump to fire Robert Mueller. Yesterday, when FBI Director Christopher Wray was testifying, I was surprised to see just how aggressively several GOP Reps backed President Trump’s claims about the FBI’s reputation being in tatters.
Here CNN has put together a good quick sampling of where they’re going.
Remember this batshittery has one audience: Donald Trump. pic.twitter.com/kZTJLgea2r
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 8, 2017
[ed.note: I’m leaving this post intact. But the core factual premise was based on CNN reporting that turned out to be wrong. Specifically, the email was not September 4th but September 14th. A mere ten days. But it makes a huge difference since it meant this came after a major Wikileaks email dump. Thus, Futerfas’s statement, rather than being inexplicable did in fact make sense. And these weren’t secret documents but public ones. As I said, I’ll leave this as originally written. Because there’s no rewriting it. It now seems far more likely that the email was simply a supporter flagging attention to a Wikileaks dump that was in fact public.]
We’re currently looking into various aspects of this encryption key email to Donald Trump Jr. which I discussed below. Here’s one part we’re looking into that I wanted to flag. Trump Jr.’s lawyer Alan Futerfas released a statement in which he said this: “We understand that the media reported 12 hours prior to this email that the DNC emails had been hacked or leaked. We do not know who Mike Erickson is. We have no idea who he is. We never responded to the email.”
[ed.note: As noted in my editor’s note on the post above, CNN subsequently corrected this story. The correction – dating the email to September 14th, rather than September 4th dramatically changed what the email meant. See the editor’s note above for more detail. But the upshot is that this seems to have been simply an email from a supporter flagging public Wikileaks documents rather than an approach from a secret source. I’m leaving the post below in place. But read it with this in mind.]
This morning CNN released yet another story in the Russia investigation, noting that on September 4th 2016 Donald Trump, Jr., Donald Trump himself and others in the Trump inner circle got an email with an encryption key and a link to download what CNN called “hacked Wikileaks documents.” It was unclear from the story whether this was a real offer of hacked documents or simply a prank. Seemingly, it was unclear to investigators too. There was also no clear evidence either way whether any of the recipients acted on it, in other words, whether they tried or succeeded in downloading the documents.
Yet more. After CNN reported this afternoon about follow-on conversations after the June Trump Tower meeting, The Washington Post has another development. In a contact brokered by over-the-top publicist Rob Goldstone, an executive with VK (Russia’s top social platform, akin to Facebook) repeatedly pitched Trump aide Dan Scavino on setting up a page on VK.
From TPM Reader RM …
The one thing I think your piece needs to address is the personal interests or motivations for pushing rapprochement with Russia. We should keep in mind that the GOP’s position on Russia underwent a radical shift from hawkish to fawning. Had any other person won the GOP nomination, the position on Russia would’ve been as skeptical as that of the Obama Administration and maybe even more hawkish (particularly if former Romney advisors had influence on a hypothetical non-Trump nominee).
In recent months, Donald Trump Jr has made a run for the prize of Trump insider with most dogged effort to collude with Russia, even partly sidelining the efforts of Trump lawyer and enforcer Michael Cohen.
But perhaps Cohen has yet to cede the title.
It’s quite astonishing. In the FBI Director’s testimony this morning, GOP Congressman are openly backing the President’s claim that the FBI’s reputation is “in tatters.” In response Director Wray is avoiding the charge but simply not pushing back against it.
GOP Rep Says It's Understandable That the President Says the FBI's Rep is "In Tatters" pic.twitter.com/dVxYXaObag
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 7, 2017