Editor’s Blog

Prime AF Is Almost Here

We’re just a short time away from introducing Prime AF, our new Ad Free version of Prime. I want to thank all our current Prime subscribers who’ve asked to be notified when Prime AF is ready. So far that number is just under 3,000 subscribers out of our total of just under 30,000. That’s a great start. If you’re one of those 3,000 subscribers you will get an email as soon Prime AF is ready, along with instructions on how to upgrade and get a special discount if you sign before the end of January.

If you’re an existing Prime subscriber, I hope you’ll consider upgrading to Prime AF. Upgrade for no ads. Upgrade for the faster site. Upgrade because it’s critical to the future of our operation.

If you’d like to be emailed when you can sign up just click the thumbs up icon at the bottom of this post. Read More

Rudy Ups the Ante

Seemingly using the opportunity of the disputed Buzzfeed story, Rudy Giuliani is now conceding a maximal version of President Trump’s attempts to get a multi-hundred million dollar payday from Vladimir Putin for the length of the 2016 presidential campaign. Giuliani quotes Trump saying that negotiations for the Moscow Trump Tower deal were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won.”

During the time Trump was singing Putin’s praises on the campaign trail and getting Putin’s help with hacking and information campaigns, Putin was dangling a few hundred million dollars in front of Trump.

The Hotel Deal Is Really All That Matters

I still do not think we have a clear read of just what happened or is happening with that disputed Buzzfeed story about President Trump telling Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. My best guess is that it is some dispute about Trump ‘directing’ Cohen to lie versus simply having him, allowing him to lie, having his lawyers concoct a false story line with Cohen, etc. If you listen to Giuliani’s words today it sounds like he’s trying to pry open the possibility that Trump knew Cohen was telling Congress things we now know were lies but simply didn’t remember or didn’t realize they were lies. Those can be meaningful distinctions as far as Trump’s criminal liability goes. They are not terribly important distinctions in terms of our getting to the heart of what happened in the 2016 election or Trump’s relationship with Russia. None are as important as what Rudy Giuliani again freely admitted today, which is that throughout 2016 Trump was trying to finalize a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow from which he believed he’d reap hundreds of millions in profits over the coming years. Read More

Few Quick Questions About Books

This survey is now closed. The link to the survey has been removed and the original post is in italics below.

Could you answer four quick book questions for me? Super simple. Literally four questions. Takes under a minute. It’s some information that would be helpful for a few projects we’re considering, still very much in the brainstorming phase. Just click here. Thanks.

I closed this survey after we got over 6,000 responses. First, thank you to everyone who took a moment to fill out the survey. The results are fascinating to me and very helpful. I’m sharing the results after the jump. Read More

Don’t Expect the Mueller Probe To Do What Isn’t Its Job

The Buzzfeed brouhaha and the Mueller denial recall a basic point. Our most critical national and civic need is to find out the truth of what happened in the 2016 election and who President Trump really works for today. That imperative is far more important than whether any individual person or group of individuals is incarcerated or otherwise punished for crimes. But that is not the purpose of the Mueller probe. It never has been. The Special Counsel investigation is a criminal and counter-intelligence investigation. Its goal is to find out whether crimes were committed and to prosecute them. Read More

Team Mueller Calls Into Question Buzzfeed Report

In an unusual move, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller has issued a statement denying key elements of the Buzzfeed blockbuster that alleged President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress:

Read More

Rudy’s New Line

Last night Rudy Giuliani dramatically shifted his defense of the President, claiming that he’d never denied there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. That’s obviously false. He claimed it a million times. The point though is what he’s now claiming, or rather unwilling to claim. Giuliani now only claims that the President himself did not collude with Russia. Indeed, he makes a further, related claim that the only potential crime would be if President Trump was personally involved in the hacking of DNC servers and email accounts or paid those who did. Read More

Pro-Immigrant Trump

Trump’s companies ramped up its foreign worker visas to a 10 year high in 2018.

Was That Wrong?

GOP Rep says he was unaware of holocaust denier’s “previous associations” when they discussed eugenics today in the halls of Congress.

Please Give This A Read

We’re just days away from introducing the new ad free version of Prime (Prime AF). If you had already expressed interest in upgrading to Prime AF when it’s released I sent you an email last week with details about the new service, how to upgrade, why and a special discount for signing up early. If you haven’t, the details are below the fold. If you’re a current subscriber and care about the future of this site I’d ask you to take a moment to read through the post below. And thank you for doing so. Read More

Politics Aside, Pelosi Made the Right Decision on SOTU

Nancy Pelosi is clearly playing hardball by essentially disinviting President Trump from giving a State of the Union address at the end of January. It’s a good move in terms of political leverage and to make a point. But it’s good for a reason that goes beyond political posturing or negotiation. It’s the same reason it was a good thing that Democratic senators are refusing to move bills on non-budgetary issues until the shutdown ends. Read More

Good Stuff Here

Here’s the intro to Tierney Sneed’s preview of what oversight is probably going to look like in 2019.

Here’s one thing that struck me as I covered revelation after revelation about the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the Census: Under the surface of a controversial Trump administration move was an even messier and more ham-handed process than I would have guessed.

It made me wonder which of the other Trump scandals that have unfolded over the last two years are going to end up looking even more damning if and when real congressional oversight of his administration occurs.

Read the rest here (sub req).

A Bigger Mess Than We Knew

A judge’s ruling reveals the Trump administration effort to add a citizenship question to the census to be a much bigger scandal than it initially looked. These tip-of-the-iceburg moments could happen a lot this year, as the Democratic controlled House begins issuing subpoenas, Tierney Sneed explains for Prime members.

Don’t Negotiate with Hostage Takers

Republicans are desperate – and not even doing much or well to hide it – to have Democrats start negotiating with them about a wall. We’ve moved on from demanding the chunk of money. Now it’s wanting to negotiate, begging frankly. For all the atmospherics and strategies, the only important point to make is that the President is holding the government hostage to force his way. That has to stop. The shutdown bacillus that Newt Gingrich injected into our political system in 1995 must be eradicated. It was dormant for almost two decades until Republicans (neo-Gingrichites) returned to power in the House in 2011. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. And it’s the same principle we apply to all terrorists. You can’t negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, because it encourages the behavior.

Big

The William Barr confirmation hearing (sub. req.) is the day’s big news, but the federal court decision blocking the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the census may be the day’s most important and far-reaching news. Tierney Sneed is unpacking the ruling here.

Can We Trust Bill Barr?

Over the weekend, a friend sent me a link to an old Salon article that describes then Attorney General Bill Barr scrambling in the final weeks before the 1992 presidential election to push a probe into an obscure land deal in Arkansas that included then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton not as targets but as a potential witnesses. I’d vaguely remembered this chapter of the Whitewater drama and the eventual report that Robert Ray (successor to Ken Starr) released in 2002. So I looked it up this morning and was surprised to see that – Holy Crap – I wrote it! You forget a lot in 17 years! In any case, I’m curious why this isn’t getting more attention in Barr’s confirmation hearing. It’s directly relevant to the issues we’re dealing with today: an Attorney General putting his hands on the scale to protect the boss who gave him the job. Read More

Very Helpful

Allegra Kirkland walks us through the five times President Trump has met with Vladimir Putin since he became President.

‘I Never Worked for Russia’

Let’s Review Where We’ve Been

A ‘No’ Would Have Been Helpful Here

Critical Context for the FBI Probe of Trump

So many things have happened over the last two-plus years that simply defy belief that it can be essential to review them, to see what light they shed on new developments when arranged in order. Last night the Times reported that in the immediate aftermath of James Comey’s firing the FBI launched a probe into “whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

It’s worth reviewing the precise chain of events. Read More

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