I Can’t Keep Up

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?