I Can’t Keep Up

Trump Maladministration

First, be sure to read Will Bunch’s How the Trump family sold U.S. foreign policy to the highest bidder. He sums up a lot of stuff I’ve just been sputtering about.

In spite of the fact that the Kim-Trump summit may not happen — I’d bet against it — the White House had some fancy commemorative coins made to celebrate the great achievement of something something  denuclear something Nobel Prize. And some people don’t like them.

Part of the problem is the design. An official American coin with a likeness of Kim Jong Un on it that refers to him as “Supreme Leader” feels off, to say the least, given that his government is currently holding at least 120,000 of its own people in vicious camps designed specifically to hold and punish political prisoners. The coin also depicts Trump and Kim looking at each other eye to eye, as if they’re on equal footing — exactly the kind of status boost that the pariah regime in Pyongyang wants to achieve in this summit.

Not to mention the fact that it’s a tad premature to celebrate whatever it is that Trump thinks he is accomplishing that hasn’t happened yet. He had some sort of public appearance today in which he admitted the summit is not a sure thing. So the rendezvous in Singapore could fizzle, but we’ll always have the coin. See also How Trump Got Punked by Kim Jong Un.

And what about that Elliott Broidy? Paul Waldman explains,

A new article from the Associated Press lays out a remarkable campaign that Broidy and his partner George Nader waged in 2017 in order to obtain huge consulting contracts from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in exchange for which they would use Broidy’s connections to the new president to help the Saudis and the UAE in their conflict with Qatar, a U.S. ally that houses a critical American military base.

And as the Daily Beast reports, after years of trying with almost no success to obtain federal military contracts, in 2017, Broidy’s company, Circinus LLC, received millions of dollars in defense work. The Trump presidency has been very good to Broidy, and he may have also been very good to President Trump himself.

You might remember that Broidy is the guy for whom Michael Cohen paid  $1.6 million to a Playboy model, who then aborted his baby.

From the start, many parts of this story didn’t quite add up. Broidy is a very rich man, but not necessarily someone who has occasion to hang out with Playboy models, unlike some people you might be familiar with. And he was not a public figure, which makes the $1.6 million payoff seem wildly excessive. To put it bluntly, $1.6 million is “Keep this out of the papers because it’ll be a huge story” money, not “Don’t tell my wife” money. And why would Broidy, who has access to the most high-priced and discreet legal talent in the country, retain someone like Cohen to take care of this delicate matter for him?

See also Paul Campos, Hey, Look: More Evidence That Broidy May Have Been Covering for Trump in That Playmate Affair.

Today the EPA barred the Associated Press, CNN and an environmental group from covering a national summit on water contamination. Why? We all know Trump doesn’t like CNN, and the Associated Press broke the scoop about Broidy yesterday. That’s just a guess, though.

Evgeny A. Freidman, a major business partner of Michael Cohen, just agreed to cooperate with Bob Mueller as part of a plea deal.

See also Trump’s Lawyer’s Lawyer Is (Was) a Foreign Agent for Qatar. Sometimes I think the entire Trump Administration are just surrogates for Persian Gulf nations working through their issues. And Russians.

Earlier, the question of the day was, Did Rod Rosenstein cave? By now you’ve heard about how Rosenstein agreed to investigate the Russia investigation and possibly turn documents related to it over to the White House.  Or is he playing Trump like a five-cent violin? Charles Pierce:

For the moment, I’m going to give Rosenstein credit for being a gifted bureaucratic infighter and survivor who has played the president* like a five-cent violin. (There are precedents supporting this view to be found just this morning.) There are a dozen ways for Rosenstein to slow-play the review of any classified documents. I think the president* got played on behalf of all of us.

I hope so. Jennifer Rubin (Jeez, what got into her?) has an even-handed explanation of what might be going on with Rosenstein and Wray. And then she writes,

I would suggest a third take on the meeting: Wray and Rosenstein, with Mueller’s full backing, might be setting up Trump. We know Mueller is already pursuing an obstruction-of-justice inquiry that might relate to acts such as Trump firing former FBI director James B. Comey, falsely accusing him of illegally leaking confidential material, pressuring Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, helping draft a phony cover story to explain the June 9 Trump Tower meeting and conducting an extended campaign to smear, discredit and disrupt the work of the FBI and the special counsel. In that vein, wouldn’t a meeting directly ordering Wray and Rosenstein to conduct what amounts to a wild goose chase and to put confidential material into the hands of congressional allies be part of the pattern of possible obstruction they are investigating?

The latest is that a meeting has been set up with Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy, but with no one from the White House, and Director of National IntelligenceDan Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan, about these documents and the expanded investigation. I don’t yet know what to make of this.

Okay, what have I left out?

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  May 22, 2018 @6:53 pm

    As for the new JenRu, I think her Emotional Quotient (EQ) finally caught up to her IQ.

    As for Broidy's company:  Circinus LLC, huh?

    That name says it all, imo.

    Circ'in'us LLC. 

    'In' a circus!

    AND, only LIMITED LIABILITY!!!

    Drops mic…

    Talk amongst yourselves…

  2. uncledad  •  May 22, 2018 @7:53 pm

    I Can’t Keep Up

    Who can? I tuned into msnbc for a few minutes today, they were all over the map, North Korea, challange coins, obstruction of justice, EPA locking out reporters, the Russia scandal, etc…………I thought to myself: we have a president who paid a porn-star to keep quiet about an affair he had while the current first lady was home with a new-born, that was news month, now crickets!

  3. Bonnie  •  May 22, 2018 @8:49 pm

    Yeah, this just leaves an old woman like me breathless.  I would love to see Trump and family in jail for a very long time.

  4. KC  •  May 22, 2018 @9:29 pm

    Bonnie, it leaves a bit younger person like me breathless too.  Would any Democrat be given the breaks by the press Trump has, much less HRC?  I have my doubts. 

  5. freetofu  •  May 22, 2018 @10:31 pm

    Again, what I see you've been missing are articles and links from Tim Shorrock @TimothyS "a Washington-based journalist who grew up in Seoul and Tokyo and has been writing about North and South Korea since the 1970s,” who "will present breaking news and analysis on the Korea peace process, independent of the cold war, imperial framework of the mainstream media and the America-first (and Korea last) dogmatism of the Washington Consensus."

     

    I'll just leave it to you to peruse his twitter feed and site if you're interested, rather than load this comment up with links.

     

    Anyway, it was nice that Marshall made the unusual gesture of acknowledging the existence of the president of South Korea, but his statement that "President Trump chose to interpret a comment from a South Korean government official as a North Korean invitation to meet" implies that this was a misinterpretation, even though nothing in his link or anything else I've seen suggests that it was.

    Yes, it is a unfortunate that we didn't have a more competent president when Moon initiated these overtures, but it's also unfortunate that we see Republicans attacking the talks from the right at the same time that the Democrats attack them from, well, also the right… because, you know, war between North Korea and America would be a really bad thing, and there's been a lot of scary talk about it from a lot of people recently.

    Meanwhile, "Some in the U.S. government worry that Moon may be prepared to accept a less-stringent version of North Korean denuclearization than Washington wants and could be open to faster sanctions relief for Pyongyang, the officials said."

    To quote Mr. Shorrock: "Oh no, South Korea may have a different idea on denuclearization than the US! Horrors."

  6. freetofu  •  May 22, 2018 @10:32 pm

    testing… OK, I’ll just try pasting my comment here:

    Again, what I see you’ve been missing are articles and links from Tim Shorrock @TimothyS “a Washington-based journalist who grew up in Seoul and Tokyo and has been writing about North and South Korea since the 1970s,” who “will present breaking news and analysis on the Korea peace process, independent of the cold war, imperial framework of the mainstream media and the America-first (and Korea last) dogmatism of the Washington Consensus.”

    I’ll just leave it to you to peruse his twitter feed and site if you’re interested, rather than load this comment up with links.

    Anyway, it was nice that Marshall made the unusual gesture of acknowledging the existence of the president of South Korea, but his statement that “President Trump chose to interpret a comment from a South Korean government official as a North Korean invitation to meet” implies that this was a misinterpretation, even though nothing in his link or anything else I’ve seen suggests that it was.

    Yes, it is unfortunate that we didn’t have a more competent president when Moon initiated these overtures, but it’s also unfortunate that we see Republicans attacking Trump from the right on this at the same time that the Democrats attack him from, well, also the right… because, you know, war between North Korea and America would be a really bad thing, and there’s been a lot of scary talk about it from a lot of people recently.

    Meanwhile, “Some in the U.S. government worry that Moon may be prepared to accept a less-stringent version of North Korean denuclearization than Washington wants and could be open to faster sanctions relief for Pyongyang, the officials said.”

    To quote Mr. Shorrock: “Oh no, South Korea may have a different idea on denuclearization than the US! Horrors.”

  7. Swami  •  May 22, 2018 @10:49 pm

    Well, I've had the same suspicions as Paul Campos. It just doesn't make sense that Broidy would need to enlist Cohen to craft an NDA to cover an illicit affair with a former Playboy model. Broidy was a little too eager to acknowledge his guilt in an affair that he supposedly paid 1.6 million dollars to keep under wraps. 

     I don't know what game they are playing, but the truth will come out. This ex playboy model's tax return had better show that 1.6 million dollars, or somebody is going to jail.

    Bonnie…Have faith that the orange tufted bag of shit isn't going to get away with his crimes.  LOCK HIM UP! I know it's difficult going through the trials when it appears that corruption will prevail, but take comfort in the words of Thomas Paine…"These are the times that try men's souls".

  8. csm  •  May 23, 2018 @11:21 am

    It'll be interesting to see how Dolt 45 spins his abject failure on Korea denuclearization as a win to his followers.  And when they swallow it, and they will, it will rank up there with the top political bamboozlements of all time. Bigger than the “tax cut.”

    Of course, the media will give the Dotard an assist by mudying the waters as they always do by allowing implicit reporting equivalence between denuclearization, e.g. getting rid of nukes altogether, and dismantling of test sites, which Kim no longer needs.  Kim will laugh all the way to his new found legitimacy on the world stage and let the President Moron claim the world is safe and that the only thing standing between him and his Nobel is the deep state is which of course will be all the rage among the deplorables and further proof of their Fuhrer's omnipotence.

     

    Mel Brooks couldn't have come up with a more hilarious plot.

  9. doug  •  May 23, 2018 @12:37 pm

    I agree that Rosenstein and Mueller are playing Trump in a case of Obstruction. Further overt actions to block the investigation of Obstruction cement the existence and intent of obstruction. The choice is bad either way – If Trump doesn't stop the investigation he will be tried in court – if he does stop the investigation, Trump is certain to be convicted of Obstruction.

    Rudy seems to be crowing prematurely over what may be a true fact. Mueller and Rosenstein may have concluded that they can not try a sitting president. (They may be able to charge him, with the case suspended until the president is out of office.) I haven't seen anyone with legal gravitas weigh in on this point. IS Trump at risk of being tried for crimes exposed by Mueller and the Cohen investigation when he leaves office? If so, the Trump Family Syndicate Parade of Crimes is gonna get rained on – it's a question of when not if.

    Can a new president who pardons a sitting president for crimes against the nation be charged with obstruction of justice if that pardon is clearly the price for his appointment to the presidency by the president trying to escape justice? It's untested but it needs to be asked as a deterrent to pulling a Ford – Nixon pardon.

  10. Tom_b  •  May 23, 2018 @12:52 pm
  11. Dan  •  May 23, 2018 @1:20 pm

    I'll gladly nominate Trump for the IGNobel Prize!

  12. Tom_b  •  May 23, 2018 @1:52 pm

    “I’ll gladly nominate Trump for the IGNobel Prize!”

    He can share the stage with that GOP stooge that posited that sand and rocks washing into the ocean was the cause of seal level rise.

  13. doug  •  May 23, 2018 @3:18 pm

    And there's news that Cohen took 400K to set up a meeting w/ Trump. At this time, Trump needed Ukraine to back off on Manifort at the same time Ukraine needed anti-tank weapons. Both happened, but it's only coincidence. Cohen never registered as a foreign lobbyist.so if the report is true, he's nailed on that point. Letting the NYC taxi guy go w/ no jail time suggests the value of what he's selling the feds on Cohen.  

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44215656

    If the Trump-Kim medals are for sale, I should buy one. My daughter will have a valuable piece of history that didn't happen and the symbol of Trump's hubris  50 years from now may have a cash value.

  14. grannyeagle  •  May 23, 2018 @3:31 pm

    In the meantime, a sinkhole has appeared on the White House lawn. 

  15. Swami  •  May 23, 2018 @4:03 pm

    Yeah, grannyeagle..That's what happens when you drain the swamp.

  16. Lynne Larson  •  May 23, 2018 @6:40 pm

    I've saved up lots of popcorn, but now it's looking as if this movie will be too scary to watch.

     

  17. aj  •  May 23, 2018 @10:01 pm

    I wonder who wore the wire in the Wray Rosenstein Trump meeting? Rosenstein or Wray?

    If Nunes gives his peep show info to Trump's real lawyers wouldn't DOJ immediately know who gave it to team trump?

    Is this the ultimate obstruction set up?

  18. Tom_b  •  May 23, 2018 @10:19 pm

    Off topic: with multiple states working hard to save DACA, did you know some “fumb duck” attorney in Texas has sued the government for not ENDING DACA, because it was, said he, an illegal Obama thing? Can we just give Texas back to Mexico? See how they like being deported.

  19. bernie  •  May 24, 2018 @8:11 am

    Tom_b, I am not sure that Mexico would take them, but we should really ask them before we dump that Texas problem on them.  It would be the polite thing to do.

    Charles Blow's piece today in the NYT is to me stunning.  It speaks of the distortion of truth by the misuse of language.  I could not agree more,  We have entered an era of Trumpspeak, and he is but the icebergs tip.  Here is a tease:

    "But there is a strand of these that I find significant: the way Trump’s use of indeterminate language is a way of weakening the fundamental supports of truth itself. Truth is absolute. Things happened or they didn’t, at a particular time. They can be counted and accounted for.

    But not the way Trump constructs language. It is not just his outright lies that degrade our discourse; it is also his use of language that muddles to the point of meaninglessness, language that rejects exactitude, language that elevates imprecision as a device to avoid being discovered in his deceit."

    I especially like the phrase "his use of language that muddles to the point of meaningless."

  20. Swami  •  May 24, 2018 @11:19 am

    I hear you , bernie!  What you are conveying reminds me of listening to Obama describe the Iranian deal. I was thoroughly impressed with Obama's command in expressing the mechanics of the deal and the safeguards that were put into place to insure compliance with the agreement. For the entire time that Obama spoke of all the intricacies and aspects of the deal he didn't have to rely on a scripted teleprompter, or refer to notes. He knew what he was talking about and he covered every angle conceivable.

    For me, I was left with an impression that whether I had any knowledge of the particulars, Obama had covered every base, and I had an assurance that the information I was receiving was being delivered to me through a quality mind in a truthful manner. Contrast that with the abject stupidity emanating from Trump's reptilian brain, where the best he can offer is the mindless statement that the Iranian deal is the worst deal ever. Not a shred of supporting evidence to buttress his claim. And that is because the only support that claim could muster is grounded in ignorance, insecurity, hatred, and irrational fear.

    When I even think about Trump's monumental stupidity topped off with his arrogance it only intensifies my need and desire to call Trump a big bag of shit. A big, big, big, bag. Like…. to the 10th power.

  21. c u n d gulag  •  May 24, 2018 @11:45 am

    NK meeting with US not OK.

    What's every black-shirted tRUMP-a-LOON-pa goon going to do with their stash of tRUMP coins minted for the occasion.

    I guess there'll be no "Nobel Peace Prize…"

    On the other hand, with more women coming out of the woodwork every day with still more accusations of sexual abuse by "Dear Leader", tRUMP's probably still the leader for the (Not-at-all) Noble Piece (Of Ass ) Prize!

    The coins for that that will come inside a commemorative condom and wrapper. 

    Warning:

    It's a tRUMP Company-made condom, so use at your own peril.

    Swiss cheese probably has less holes…  

     

  22. Swami  •  May 24, 2018 @11:47 am

    Seems the big bag of shit got cold feet and bailed on the North Korean Summit.. Is he still eligible for that Nobel Peace prize?  We'll see. I guess now his only option is to completely destroy a few million people if he wants to save face.