The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Today’s Investigation Fun House News

At least the Joe Biden impeachment clown show in the House seems to be well and truly dead, for the moment, anyway. As in, like, they may start to say, “what impeachment?” At WaPo, Dana Milbank asks, How do you say ‘impeachment is dead’ in Russian?

Clearly, they will take dirt from any source, no matter how dubious. Even then, they have produced nothing that shows Joe Biden was involved in any way in the businesses of his son. Of course, Republicans don’t actually need any evidence to impeach the president, if they have the votes. But even the impeachment ringleader, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (Ky.), has tiptoed away from this goal. He told a group of us staking out the Hunter Biden deposition on Wednesday that “the purpose of this investigation [is] to create legislation” — legislation to stop “the Bidens from continuing to enrich themselves.”

Wagging two index fingers, Comer admonished: “The American people do not want families to peddle access to the tune of $200,000.” Asked whether his legislation would also target the Trump family, which peddled access to the tune of about $2 billion, Comer ignored the question as he walked away.

See also Republicans Are Basically Admitting the Hunter Biden Deposition Was a Bust at Rolling Stone.  And Philip Bump writes, Hunter Biden gives House Republicans the rebuttal they didn’t want.

At one point, a questioner pressed Biden to admit that there was a suspicious pattern in his father having met people with whom Hunter Biden or his partners ended up doing business. Biden rejected that framing.

“The pattern I see is that you literally have no evidence whatsoever of any corruption on the part of my father,” he said. “And therefore what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to make every single thing in business that I was ever involved in somehow corrupt.”

Of course they are. But I until they find some new tidbit to investigate they may have to stop for a while. I wonder, though, if Hunter will be the new Hillary Clinton, who endured about three decades of investigating, by my count.

Final arguments in the Fani Willis hearings are this afternoon. Maybe we can be done with this sideshow soon and get back to prosecuting people for racketeering.

There’s a hearing today on when the Mar a Lago documents case can begin. Jack Smith is asking for July 8. Recently there were news stories that said Trump wanted to move the Mar a Lago case up to this summer, presumably to interfere with Jack Smith’s J6 case, but now they’re back to arguing that it would be unfair to hold the trial in an election year. I assume Loose Cannon will side with Trump, but we’ll see.

Trump has only one week left to pay the E. Jean Carroll judgment. This is from Forbes:


Trump’s filing asking to pause the monetary judgment “simply asks the Court to ‘trust me’ and offers, in a case with an $83.3 million judgment against him, the court filing equivalent of a paper napkin; signed by the least trustworthy of borrowers,” Carroll’s attorneys wrote.


Trump’s attorneys argued “there is no cognizable risk” of Trump not paying the judgment against him, noting Carroll has previously “concede[d] that President Trump’s resources suffice to satisfy the judgment.” “Having argued to the jury that President Trump has great financial resources, Plaintiff is in no position to contradict herself now and contend that she requires the protection of a bond during the brief period while post-trial motions are pending,” Trump’s lawyers claimed.


Forbes estimates Trump’s net worth at $2.6 billion as of September. That includes just over $400 million in cash and liquid assets—enough to cover Carroll’s judgment alone, but not his total legal fines when combined with his judgment in the fraud case.

Trump has a long history of being sued for nonpayment and getting away with forcing the plaintiffs to accept pennies on the dollar. He may think he can get away with that in this case. I’m hoping he can’t.

The latest news from Gaza is particularly alarming. This would be the time for the Biden Administration to publicly break with Netanyahu’s government over it’s handling of Gaza. Getting aid to the people in Gaza has to be the priority now.

13 thoughts on “Today’s Investigation Fun House News

  1. True that normal rules of warfare do not apply when the general public of a group of fighters uses civilians as a shield.  Also true is that these civilians still retain the right to some level of humanitarian treatment as they have no way of controlling their own military arm.  Just because Hamas does not care about its civilian population is no excuse for the IDF not to care about them either.  

    The United States needs to quit vetoing the United Nations resolutions as a minimum.

    The U.S. House needs to pass aide to Ukraine with a stern message to Putin and Russia about the treatment of civilians and other apparent war crimes in that conflict. 

    As I recall my reaction to Oct. 7th was a solid prehension of a potential for genocide. So far that prehension has accumulated much factual basis.  The U.S. must act immediately as not to be an accomplice to such a horrific crime.


  2. Don't worry – there are no tricks here.

    Trump has two tricks: business bankruptcy (I think it's Chapter 11), and stiffing contractors.

    Here's the amazing thing about running a cash rich company into the ground: you get to pay yourself your salary, and special bonuses, for heading your company through this fraught time. And if your casino has a $300 million note against it, well, if the court decides you *could* pay a $30 million loan (and the casino might be worthless if liquidated), that's what the bank will accept.

    This is why Trump thinks he's "smart". People who invested in his casino business lost *everything*. (That's the other side of a bankruptcy – common stock is simply declared dead.)

    Note that if Trump did this deliberately – wiped out his common stock investors, while he paid his salary and bonuses – it's fraud and the SEC would have him by the short hairs. Ah, but who wants to investigate white collar crime like that? Sure, tons of mom and pop investors were kicked in the proverbial fork, but, I mean, Trump isn't a young Black juvenile or man with LOW RIDING PANTS or something ugly like that.

    Anyway: his other cheating method is to insist that a contract hadn't been fulfilled. Now, here's the thing: he doesn't have to win in court. He just has to keep delaying until the overextended contractor has nothing left to lose – maybe his house is already in foreclosure, and he's been kicked out, so he might as well take what he can get.

    That's when Trump will offer a settlement. The contractors never win a judgment, and that's why Trump pays pennies on the dollar.

    The courts already *have* a judgment against Trump.
    They're not in business with him, and don't care if they leave him penniless.
    They aren't a bank – they're not trying to maximize what they can get, if he remains in business.

    And they don't need to offer or accept a settlement. They have a judgment. If they were demanding $50k on a building worth $5million, they'd put a lien on it, I'm sure, but if they were trying to collect $2 million, I reckon they'd seize the building, auction it, and give back the change. That's the situation Trump is in.

    Worse, there are no clean, turnkey Trump businesses. They're all stuffed with branding. He probably can't sell a $5 million property for $5 million – especially not in NY! – and if the auction only brought in $2.5million, well, that's good for NY and it sucks to be Trump – he only gets the change.

    Of course, he could try to sell the properties himself, but dear lord, Mr. "If someone messes with me, I get revenge!" is not the person who wants to run his own fire sale :-).

    So: no, there's no way out of this. If he were in his 50s, he might get someone to post a bond for him, but in his 70s, with multiple criminal indictments, and a history of lying, cheating, and bankrupting, it won't happen. *He* is worthless – you can't expect him to pull off a new business deal while in the male equivalent of Camp Cupcake. Who will post a bond, meaning they expect him to pay them back, plus interest?

    For maximum delight, if he had any hope of keeping his business empire (as in, at all) he probably needs a half-billion liquidity over the next few months-to-years. He could collapse, entirely, because the courts will eventually start seizing and liquidating properties, and all he'll get back is the cash leftover after liquidation. It's entirely possible that the seized properties will never give him enough liquidity to keep the remaining properties afloat.

    The courts might be called upon to show sympathy for the poor guy, but remember, the judgment is not punitive – it's just corrective. They found that he inflated his assets to earn roughly $450million (including interest) in ill-gotten gains. They're just re-setting the game, so he is where he *should* have been, if he hadn't cheated.

    So they're saying "he's now in the precise position he should have been in, if he hadn't cheated." And if that means he'd be bankrupted and penniless, well, the correction will leave him that way, and it's not a bit of the fault of the state of New York.

  3. " the Joe Biden impeachment clown show in the House seems to be well and truly dead"

    Doubtful, Stump still wants it and FAUX still needs content. They never had any real evidence anyway, losing their star witness means next to nothing, it was a bullshit smear campaign a month ago and it will be more bullshit smear campaign next week. As long as Joe Biden is running for President their will be an impeachment inquiry. I wouldn't be the least surprised if they have the votes to take it to the floor and vote to impeach, this is Stumps GQP.

  4. Trump’s attorneys argued “there is no cognizable risk” of Trump not paying the judgment against him, noting Carroll has previously “concede[d] that President Trump’s resources suffice to satisfy the judgment.” 

     Yeah, that's because Trump testified under oath that he was sitting on 400 million dollars in cash and that it was growing substantially. It's like one commenter pointed out that if Trump says he's got 400 million in cash, you know that he doesn't. I think Trump's incessant lying is a big cognizable risk. You can't trust a chronic liar. Jesus kind of summed it up the best.. "He is the father of lies, and there is no truth in him."

  5. I'm pretty confident that the House will NOT even vote to impeach Biden. That's assuming that nothing changes as far as reliable evidence. The House barely agreed to investigate and only on the premise that an official investigation would give the committee legitimacy and subpoena powers that would prove Biden's guilt.

    The whole exercise was doomed to failure in the Senate (without evidence) but proceeding with the impeachment when the previous star of the show is/was parroting Russian propaganda opens the GOP up to ridicule on the floor of the Senate that would echo in the media. Joe's people did a nice turnaround on the border by sending POTUS to the border to push that the problem could be addressed it Trump was not standing in the way of a bipartisan bill. Biden needs to invest as much time as Trump does to message that Trump is playing politics with a real problem.

    Biden needs to counterprogram in the same manner on "crooked Biden." He needs to taunt Trump that he's not facing 91 criminal charges and he hasn't been impeached even once. Biden should demand that the House put up or shut up on impeachment. Don't let the Republicans in the House who bad-mouthed Joe for a year just go silent when their impeachment plan went bust.

    Biden announced that there will be air drops of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. It may not be a permanent solution but it's a start. I wonder if a larger-scale infusion of food and medical supplies by sea is possible. Israel would prohibit it but would they fire on US ships? Gaza is the one "thing" where I fault Biden. I'm hoping he will take an aggressive humanitarian stance in the SOTU address. Trump will take the opposite position, advocating for the extermination of women and children who don't count because they aren't Judeo-Christian. I'm not predicting Biden will be so bold, but I'd love it. Standing up for women and children should not be a controversial position.

      • USS Liberty:

        "Israel apologized for the attack, saying that the USS Liberty had been attacked in error after being mistaken for an Egyptian ship"

        Sounds familiar, they've killed 30,000 civilians and to hear Bibi talk every one was an accident, even when the bomb a hospital or open fire on a food convoy, everything is a "accident".

    • "Biden announced that there will be air drops of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. It may not be a permanent solution but it's a start"

      I admit it is better than nothing, it's real aid to Gaza (though today's drops are just food, no water or medical supplies) and a not too subtle signal to Bibi that the tide has turned. Though I would argue the time for signals to Bibi is well over. Biden needs to condition any further aid to Israel on an immediate cease fire and pullout of IDF forces. Biden should have been working with Arab states in the region on organizing a UN style governance of Gaza even before the IDF ever invaded. How they couldn't see this was going to happen is beyond me. I'm not sure if it's Biden or the people around him but he seems slow to act on many important issues, this situation and the Border are top of mind.

    • Biden has said that deliveries by sea are being considered (see my quoted weets below) but it is not only Israel which might attack them; multiple nations have fleets in the Mediterranean, including Iran.

  6. Alexandria Petri penned a hypothetical cognitive test for presidents and potential ones in the WP today.  A fun read.  

    Great example:

    21. If the blue house is made of bricks, the red house is made of bricks, and the orange house is made of bricks, what should the White House be doing to prevent civilian deaths?

  7. Eric Swallwell asked all the right questions of Hunter Biden during the impeachment inquiry.  Copied from Huffpost.

    SWALWELL: Any time your father was in government, prior to the Presidency or before, did he ever operate a hotel?

    BIDEN: No, he has never operated a hotel.

    SWALWELL: So he’s never operated a hotel where foreign nationals spent millions at that hotel while he was in office?

    BIDEN: No, he has not.

    SWALWELL: Did your father ever employ in the Oval Office any direct family member to also work in the Oval Office?

    BIDEN: My father has never employed any direct family members, to my knowledge.

    SWALWELL: While your father was President, did anyone in the family receive 41 trademarks from China?

    BIDEN: No.

    SWALWELL: As President and the leader of the party, has your father ever tried to install as the chairperson of the party a daughter-in-law or anyone else in the family?

    BIDEN: No. And I don’t think that anyone in my family would be crazy enough to want to be the chairperson of the DNC.

    SWALWELL: Has your father ever in his time as an adult been fined $355 million by any State that he worked in?

    BIDEN: No, he has not, thank God.

    SWALWELL: Anyone in your family ever strike a multibillion dollar deal with the Saudi Government while your father was in office?

    BIDEN: No.

    SWALWELL: That’s all I’ve got.

    • That is the greatest! Surprised he didn't ask: has your father ever been found liable for sexual assault and ordered to pay 85 million dollars!

  8. "In the coming days, the United States will carry out airdrops of aid to Gaza, redouble our efforts to open a maritime corridor, and expand deliveries by land. The aid flowing into Gaza is nowhere near enough. We all need to do more. And the United States will do more." – President Biden, March 1st

    "Together with Jordan, the United States airdropped the first package of aid into Gaza today. The amount of aid flowing to Gaza is not nearly enough and we will continue to pull out every stop we can to get more aid in." – March 2nd

    I do wish the administration would establish a presence on Bluesky and Mastodon. I hate going to Witter, but that's still where (some of) the news is.

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