Crooks and Liars
Heart shaped boxes. Vases full of flowers. And so on and so on. Valentine's Day is this Friday. There are many though who don't want to discuss all the mushy, kissy stuff.
What are you listening to tonight?
As the country faces a constitutional crisis thanks to Attorney General William Barr going full Trump puppet in the Roger Stone case, Sean Hannity is gaslighting this blatant corruption as an instance of “draining the swamp.”
Last night, the Hannity show mostly focused on a pro-Trump perspective of the Democratic New Hampshire primary. But Trump ‘s Bedtime BFF and unofficial chief of staff said this during his opening comments:
I've written how Trump's style of threats are successful through the combination of big money, hidden leverage and mob lawyers. Today I want to illustrate how the GOP is using Trump Brand Threats™ to send a message to specific groups in order to get them to stop fighting--especially after a win.
It's hard to see now but there will be a time when Trump is no longer President. I'm not sure how it will happen but he and his GOP supporters are preparing for that future. These are the threats and messages they are sending now designed to avoid accountability after Democrats win elections:
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley insisted on Wednesday that President Donald Trump did not press for a reduced sentence for longtime friend Roger Stone although he tweeted the sentiment publicly.
During an interview on Fox News, Gidley was asked if “anyone at the White House” pressured Attorney General William Barr or the Justice Department to reduce Stone’s sentence.
“Unequivocally, no,” Gidley said. “The president addressed this yesterday in the Oval Office. He did not talk to Attorney General Barr about this before the sentence. In fact, the Attorney General and the DOJ made very clear that they made this decision before any tweet [from the president] went out. They made this decision on their own.”
But in a tweet just hours before Gidley's remarks, Trump praised Barr for "taking charge" of the Stone case, which prompted four career prosecutors to quit the case.
Gidley went on to argue that the president “has the right” to interfere in the justice system.
“He just didn’t,” Gidley said. “He didn’t make any comment, didn’t have a conversation with the Attorney General. And that’s just ludicrous. It’s just another scandal that the Democrats are trying to push forward. The media loves to try and trash this president.”
“Now that impeachment is over, now that Russia is over… they are looking for something else to grab onto,” he added. “Because they don’t want to talk about the successful policies of this president.”
It doesn't appear that Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren is dejected in the slightest by her showing in the New Hampshire primary. She has lost none of her fire and focus in coming for Donald Trump and his crime syndicate metastasizing through our government. At her rally last night once the New Hampshire results were in, she stood tall, pointed fingers and named names.SEN. WARREN: On a day when career prosecutors showed more backbone than almost every Republican Senator, standing up to this president, Americans of all political stripes are gravely concerned about the corruption of a Trump Justice Department that abandons the rule of law, to give sweetheart deals to criminals who commit their crimes on behalf of Donald Trump, and yes, Roger Stone, I'm looking at you.
It matters not in which office Senator Warren ends up. Roger Stone, Bill Barr, and Donald Trump should ALL be terrified of her.
Donald Trump is shredding the rule of law in this country. His AG overruled career prosecutors to reduce the sentence for his buddy Roger Stone after Stone committed crimes to protect him. Every Republican who voted to acquit Trump for his corrupt actions enabled and owns this.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 12, 2020
The two Johns (Avlon and Harwood) joined Kate Bolduan on CNN this morning to create a trio of blistering critiques of Donald Trump, Bill Barr, and the GOP Senators who are amoral and cynical enough to say Trump has learned his lesson from impeachment. What's for dinner? Heads on pikes sound good...
Bolduan's intro went thusly:BOLDUAN: President Trump unrestrained, unleashed and unrepentant, on a tear settling scores after his acquittal one week ago in the senate. Since then here's a bit of a reminder of what the president has done. He fired impeachment witness Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, fired Vindman's twin brother who had nothing to do with Ukraine policy or impeachment. He removed Ambassador Gordon Sondland. He vowed revenge, and then in quick succession he has attacked the judge and prosecutors' handling the criminal case of his long-time friend and ally, Roger Stone. All of this in the week since the Senate vote and Senate Republicans saying that they think that Trump had learned his lesson.
Oh, hey, Senators Collins, Thune, and Portman! Howzitgoin? Funny, today, apparently, GOP senators don't seem to be in the mood to talk to reporters about the revenge removals going on right now all over the place, and the protest resignations of those with spines and consciences. Bolduan asked CNN Correspondent John Avlon what this week's takeaways are so far. (Christ, it's only Wednesday.)
Sean Hannity, Donald Trump's pillow talk advisor...
"analyzing" why Obamacare wasn't repealed, and recommending "they" (Republicans in the Senate? Really?) better "be ready" to pass bills on prescription drug prices and pre-existing conditions.
Have you spoken to Mitch McConnell about that, Sean?
And I've got some ideas for what you can do with your praise for "healthcare savings accounts."
Hannity mentions "health care savings accounts" as an alternative to Obamacare. The most you can put into an HSA annually is $3,550 for individuals and $7,100 for families. The cap on a similar FSA is $2,650 annually. Giving birth in a hospital costs about $32,000. https://t.co/UCWz2uTOzZ
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) February 12, 2020
Far-right “constitutionalist” theories—the kind claiming that the U.S. Constitution’s text places severe limits on the power of the federal government, handing supreme power to local authorities—have been around for decades, but their multifarious claims and arguments have never been acknowledged by any American court, nor has their legitimacy ever been recognized by any federal or state authority. Until now.
The Trump administration has been quietly empowering far-right extremist ideology on public lands in the West, two recent investigative reports inform us. Under a policy declared last November by Bureau of Land Management acting chief William Perry Pendley, the BLM now defers enforcing the law to local “constitutionalist” sheriffs, creating widespread chaos and environmental destruction.
Well, Susan Collins, I hope all the money Mitch McConnell has promised in order to save your Senate Seat was worth it.
Because videos like this are FREE advertising for the Democrat who will take your place next January.RAJU: In light of the president's actions, do you think there's any lessons that he learned from being impeached?
COLLINS: I don't know which actions you're referring to. I've made very clear that I don't think anyone should be retaliated against.
RAJU: Has he learned any lessons?
COLLINS: There's a reason why in all the years that since George Washington was inaugurated as our first president, that we have never removed a duly elected president.
RAJU: You said the president learned his lesson. Do you think he learned any lessons?
— EMILY's List (@emilyslist) February 7, 2020
The Mueller investigation was, we thought, successfully undermined by William Barr, who is now helping Trump fix the sentencing for Roger Stone.
During Tuesday's live coverage on MSNBC, Nicolle Wallace noted that Trump "isn't smart enough" to do things in a clandestine way. He is trying openly to erase the work of Robert Mueller because what Mueller did is investigate and prosecute CRIMES by Donald Trump's people.NICOLLE WALLACE: There is something worth sort of reminding ourselves. With Trump, there are always patterns. The ends are always said out loud. They're never hidden. He's not smart enough to be sneaky about these. If you look at all of the effort, it is too not just to smear the Mueller campaign, it's to erase it. It's to forget it ever existed. What did the Mueller prosecutors do? They investigated crimes. And I think Lisa Page actually broke some news in that interview with you when you asked about the counterintelligence investigation. She said that really wasn't pursued so much by Mueller. What Mueller did was look at crimes. Where there were crimes, he investigated them. They are seeking, Donald Trump and Barr, to erase all of the crimes that were prosecuted by Mueller's team. And there is no other way... They're seeking to erase. It happened to reveal the people around him as felons.
The Ohio statehouse held a hearing yesterday on a bill that would allow sexual abuse victims of the Ohio State wrestling team's doctor to sue for damages. And guess what one witness said? Via Cleveland.com:
Adam DiSabato, a former captain of the OSU wrestling team during the late 80s and early 90s, told members of the House Civil Justice Committee that Jordan and other team officials knew about open-shower team facilities that facilitated sexual harassment and abuse of team wrestlers, an allegation Jordan has denied.
He also said Jordan called him repeatedly in July 2018, after media outlets quoted his brother, Michael DiSabato, saying Strauss’ abuse was common knowledge to those surrounding the wrestling program, including Jordan.
“Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling… begging me to go against my brother…That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on there,” he said.
“Are you guys going to do what you’re voted to do?” he told lawmakers later. “That’s the only reason I’m here.”
Remember, Jordan is the new ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary committee -- and if this is true, a man who actively tried to suborn legal testimony. Isn't that nice.
This isn't just breaking long-held norms and handing Trump the keys to the DOJ. This is also most likely Bill Barr actively interfering with a case to protect Trump and keep Roger Stone from talking about collusion, as Marcy Wheeler asserts.
CNN's New Day dug in to the news that Bill Barr was going to take over Stone's case.
"This is about so much more than just how long will Roger Stone spend behind bars. The message it sends is that Bill Barr is tampering with the integrity of the Justice Department. The Justice Department is different. It's different from all the other departments. It needs to stand apart. It needs to be free to prosecute cases independently without politics," former prosecutor Elie Honig said.
"And there are different rules for President Trump and his pals who can lie to investigators, who can tamper with witnesses than the rest of us," Alysin Camerota pointed out.
Honig said you couldn't ignore the pattern. "Roger Stone's not just any defendant picked at random. President's long-time friend, political ally convicted of lying to Congress to protect the Trump campaign. And let's not forget, DOJ softened its stance on Michael Flynn. They had come out asking for six months, then took it back and said probation is fine. You can't ignore that pattern."
Joe Scarborough was on a roll this morning about Trump interfering in the Roger Stone sentencing.
"He said he had nothing to do with the sentencing. It's a lie, he and Roy Cohn worked together to do this. By the way, if the president is tweeting it's a miscarriage of justice and your attorney general is Roy Cohn, what else do you have to say?"
"Ask Michael Cohen what the president telegraphs what he wants people to do, Roy Cohn or Attorney General Barr knew exactly what he was supposed to do and this is as staggering as it gets on the legal level," Mika Brzezinski said.
"So the president of course getting what he wanted from his Roy Cohn, went on Twitter last night and was lashing out at the four prosecutors. Just take that down, because really that's a lie, too. Just know that he lied in his tweet last night. He's going crazy, he's firing American heroes, kicking them out of his White House, he's asking for Vindman, a guy who is an American hero, literally an American hero, war hero, to be prosecuted for telling the truth about what Donald Trump did, and what Republicans senators said Donald Trump did.
"What are you thinking right now, Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander?" Mika said.
Senate Democrats tried again Tuesday morning three times to bring election security legislation to the floor. Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Oregon's Ron Wyden all tried to bring bills to the floor for unanimous consent. Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn was Moscow Mitch's henchwoman for this round.
"America is 266 days away from the 2020 election, and Majority Leader McConnell has yet to take any concrete steps to protect our foreign elections from hacking or foreign interference," Wyden said. He added that refusing to take the simple step included in one of the bills of banning states from connecting their voting machines to the internet is like "stashing our ballots in the Kremlin." Blumenthal warned that after the Senate Republicans' acquittal of Trump, "There is no doubt that he will only be emboldened in his efforts to illegally enlist foreign governments in his reelection campaign." Warner and Blumenthal have legislation that would require campaigns to notify law enforcement when foreign nationals offer assistance. "The appropriate response is not to say thank you, the appropriate response is to call the FBI."
Tuesday's DOJ drama was just the latest legal atrocity committed by the highest law enforcement officer in the nation, Attorney General Bill Barr. His own prosecutors recommended a 7-9-year sentence (out of a possible 50!) for his crimes, but noooooo...that was too harsh for Trump's buddy. Barr stepped in and changed the sentencing recommendation. In response? 4 US Attorneys resigned from the case in protest. (Side Note: Judge Jackson is under no obligation whatsoever to follow that reduced sentencing recommendation, but it is an astonishing — and impeachable — breach of ethics for Barr to have done this.)
As I write this, New Hampshire has yet to vote and AG Bill Barr is free styling his own Department of Justice. Our republic gone full bananas, so please encourage everyone you know to vote. We must win in November by an overwhelming majority.
No More Mister Nice Blog posits that American don't expect democracy to work in 2020.
The Rectification of Names gives us historical perspective on big, structural changes.
First Draft is asking us all to think.
Bonus Track: What Would Jack Do tells us what jack would do, and what we should all do!
Bonus-bonus Track: Homeless on the High Desert has an inspirational song up right now, a sort of School House Rock for the people who never vote.
Declaring the New Hampshire primary the "beginning of the end for Donald Trump," Senator Bernie Sanders declared victory in New Hampshire and vowed to keep the momentum going through South Carolina and Nevada.
The race was close, with Pete Buttigieg coming in second and Amy Klobuchar coming in third.
"We are going to unite together and defeat the most dangerous President in the history of this country," Sanders promised in his victory speech.
Hailing his "multi-generational and multi-racial political movement," Sanders vowed to take on "billionaires and candidates funded by billionaires."
"Health care is a human right, not a privilege," he roared to cheers from the crowd. He went on to address student debt, college costs, climate change, and
While perusing the internet this morning, I saw a list for "Great Love Songs For Valentine's Day." Most of the songs were the usual song a person would see on such a list.
But one stood out.
Sure, "Mary Jane" by Rick James is love song. But it's a love song about weed.
What are you listening to tonight?