Storms All Around

Stormy Daniels began her testimony today, and I take it she annoyed Justice Merchan this morning by being too gossipy. But I don’t know that she has to establish anything for the jury other than the, um, alleged encounter really happened.

Politico is reporting more about Israel weapons holdup.

The Biden administration is holding up shipments of two types of Boeing-made precision bombs to send a political message to Israel, according to a U.S. official and six other people with knowledge of the deliberations.

The U.S. has yet to sign off on a pending sale of Boeing’s Joint Direct Attack Munitions — both the munitions and kits that convert them to smart weapons — and Small Diameter Bombs, according to six industry and congressional sources with knowledge of the discussions.

While the Biden administration has not formally denied the potential sale, it is essentially taking action through inaction — holding off on approvals and other aspects of the weapons transfer process — to send a message to Israel, a U.S. administration official familiar with the process told POLITICO. The official, along with others, was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations.

There’s no reported progress on a cease fire agreement I can find. Israel appears to still be beginning its assault on Rafah.

6 thoughts on “Storms All Around

  1. Stormy Daniels testifies, Trump curses in an angry day in court – Judge expresses alarm at Trump’s cursing amid disturbing testimony about sex.

    Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress at the center of Donald Trump’s hush money trial, testified Tuesday about a disturbing sexual encounter she says she had with him, leading to angry, profane muttering from the former president that alarmed the judge.

    New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan called Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche to a sidebar during a midday break to say that Trump was “cursing audibly” and possibly intimidating Daniels, who had begun testifying, according to a trial transcript.

    “I understand that your client is upset at this point,” Merchan said to the defense attorney, according to the transcript, “but he is cursing audibly and he is shaking his head visually and that’s contemptuous. It has the potential to intimidate the witness and the jury can see that.”

    Blanche assured the judge he would speak to Trump. “I am speaking to you here at the bench because I don’t want to embarrass him,” Merchan said. “You need to speak to him. I won’t tolerate that.”

    Good. "Ah, but the strawberries…"

  2. I'm reading about the motion by the defense today for a mistrial based on Stormy Danials' testimony which I think they called "prejudicial." The judge denied with the comment that the defense could have objected more, with the clear implication that the judge would have sustained. Why? The prosecutor went down a bunch of irrelevant paths – that is, irrelevant to the charges of falsifying business records. Trump asking about STDs got in the record. What's up with not objecting? Perhaps the prosecution expected to provoke a string of objections to make it look like Trump is afraid of the truth. Bit the judge's basis for denying a mistrial points at  a failure by the defense. So that weakens any attempt after the trial to get the verdict tossed. But, as I read the pundits, the defense strategy looks to be more political than legal – trying to mitigate the loss of votes that may happen from a conviction.

    The proper legal strategy would have been to admit the encounters but try to say you were trying to protect your family. Denying both the long-term romance with McDougal and the encounter with Danials insults the intelligence of the jury. If/when the defense says that "even of you believe Trump is guilty of infidelity, he wasn't trying to affect the election" I think the jury won't buy it. So far, Trump hasn't allowed the defense to go down that path.

    Nothing matters in MAGA world, but how is this going to play with voters who will read gossip but can't be traumatized by real politics?

  3. I haven't read the transcript and I've only seen a little bit of the analysis, but I heard some things that I think are important.

    > Stormy was saying stuff that went beyond the prosecutor's questions. I think Judge Merchan at one point in a sidebar asked the prosecutor to interrupt the witness' long story tendency once the core question was answered. The jury picks up cues from the judge, so that element was not good for the prosecution. I doubt it will be fatal.

    > For the prosecution, Stormy's testimony had a couple of purposes. One, to show that Stormy doing the NDA with TFG was not for the money, but that she just wanted to "tell her story", but got threated by a goon, so she did the NDA to avoid being attacked. Whether that makes sense, I dunno. But a more important reason for including this witness is to let the jury know that based on the story she would tell, it's clear how important it was to the TFG campaign to quash it.  This is part of the link to the campaign law element in the case. And it doesn't even matter whether the story is true or not.

    > This trial is not about whether the allegation of a sexual encounter is true or false. The charges do not include rape or sexual assault. The case is about TFG being scared bleep less of her story coming out so close to the election, and then TFG directing the falsification of financial records to cover up the election crime. So the creepiness of the story is important. If her story was limited to  "Well I met him at a club in Manhattan and he called me a f-ing b**ch", then TFG might not have bothered doing the crime. 


  4. Nothing in this trial suggests the current head of the republican party is a respectable person.  This is tolerable to way too many republicans, but a large minority even in Indiana voted for Nikki Haley.  Nikki, of course, has ended her bid.  I interpret any vote for her is a vote for respectability, and a strong statement that many republicans want a party that commands some respect.  Trump has gone out of his way to disassociate himself from Nikki and her supporters.  How is this not a rejection of respectability.  Pence was his concession to respectability in his previous campaign.  It is apparent he is demanding only pure sycophants fill that role in his current bid.  Let me state I considered Pence as pure as the Ivory soap standard of sycophant.  

    It is amazing to watch how the current applicants try to better the 99.44 % standard of sycophant that Pence set.  It is hard for a person to show no indication at all of any respectability.  They are certainly trying their best though.

    The application for VP might as well state boldly and in all caps: (in Trump fashion) ONLY MORAL MORONS NEED APPLY!


  5. The Biden administration is holding up shipments of two types of Boeing-made precision bombs to send a political message…

    that the encampments are working?

    • I suspect it's the polls more than the encampments. The Gaza situation is costing Biden badly among younger voters, and he needs those younger voters to show up in November. He could also possibly lose Michigan from alienating Muslim voters. Also, I doubt very much that Biden actually approves of what Netanyahu is doing in Gaza. 

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