49 thoughts on “Picture This”

  1. another oddity – they admit he lied but that he shouldn’t be thought of as a liar?
    wapo:
    The federal judge in retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s case has ordered that documents related to Flynn’s 2017 FBI interview be turned over by the government for his review, just days before Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced for lying to the FBI.
    [….]
    It wasn’t immediately clear why U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has ordered the FBI interview report – or “302” form — be shown to him. But one Republican lawyer surmised that the judge — who replaced another judge shortly after Flynn pleaded guilty a year ago — was concerned by allegations made by Flynn’s defense lawyer that the FBI misled Flynn about what he thought was an informal meeting with the agents at the White House.
    “They’re not changing the admission that he was lying, but they are saying there are mitigating factors,” Solomon Wisenberg, who served as deputy independent counsel in the Ken Starr investigation of President Clinton, told ABC News Thursday.
    It did not appear to be a move by Flynn’s lawyer to get the conviction tossed out, he added.
    “It’s reputation management,” Wisenberg speculated. “It’s his lawyer’s last chance to say there are mitigating circumstances.”
    Flynn is set to be sentenced on Tuesday.
    Prosecutors with special counsel Robert Mueller recommended in a filing that Flynn receive no prison time in exchange for they called his “significant” cooperation with the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    Flynn’s legal team responded to the special counsel’s filing Tuesday by echoing calls for leniency in Flynn’s sentencing.
     
     
     
    However, Flynn’s defense team also offered more information on the meeting in which Flynn has admitted he lied to the FBI. According to their filing, Flynn was not warned of the consequences of lying to the agents before his interview. The filing said that the agents were concerned that warning Flynn “might adversely affect the rapport.” In the defense’s explanation of the meeting, the filing references in a footnote the documents now being requested by the judge.
    […]
    The judge has not, as of now, altered Flynn’s sentencing date in light of his request for documents. The government has until Friday at 3 p.m. to submit the requested documents to the judge and to respond to the recent defense filing.

  2. I like Fridays because this is grand jury meeting day for Mueller.  At this point in time we have to be putting odds on when the inner circle of the SFB mob get indicted. 

  3. An informal (to the subject) encounter where everybody is joshing can easily lead to oneupmanship on the part of the subject that may easily be interpreted as admissions of guilt by the so-called interrogators. Such encounters are trash and should not go on the record.
    Damn it, if I can have an innocent person, break down in tears, admitting to being an enemy agent, within minutes of the start of an “interview” in a training situation… That is why we have rules!

  4. mr Kellyanne again in wapo:
    […]
     “Given that Trump has repeatedly lied about the Daniels and McDougal payments—and given that he lies about virtually everything else, to the point that his own former personal lawyer described him as a “f****ing liar”— why should we take his word over that of federal prosecutors?” Conway, a lawyer, wrote on Twitter.
    The former personal lawyer to which Conway was referring is John Dowd, who was quoted in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” questioning Trump’s credibility in colorful fashion. Dowd has disputed the account.
     
    George Conway, who has become a regular critic of his wife’s boss, also weighed in with an op-ed in The Washington Post that was published online Friday morning. The headline: “Trump’s claim that he didn’t violate campaign finance law is weak — and dangerous.”
     
    In the piece, which Conway wrote with two other lawyers, he argues that a federal campaign-finance case against Trump would be much stronger than the one brought in 2011 against former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.). Edwards, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2004, was tried on campaign-finance charges related to payments to a woman with whom he had an extramarital sexual relationship. He was acquitted on one count, and the judge declared a mistrial on five others.
    George Conway was back on Twitter on Friday morning, reacting to an interview of Cohen on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
     
    During the interview, Cohen told host George Stephanopoulos that his past loyalty to Trump had been a mistake.
     
    “I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty,” Cohen said.
     
    “Truer words were never spoken,” George Conway said in response.

  5. Why should we believe the testimony of proven liars ? When the prosecutor has corroborative evidence from other sources, then we can give at least some credence to the liar’s new story. 
     

  6. cnn:
    Fridays at the DC federal courthouse are typically days of high alert for the press corps trying to discern what special counsel Robert Mueller’s next legal action will be.
     
     
     
    But this Friday, court officials went to extreme measures to ensure it was as difficult as possible to figure out what Mueller’s team was doing as the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held a secret and mysterious argument about a grand jury subpoena challenge.
    An entire floor of the courthouse was closed to the public and press for more than an hour. During that time, attorneys secretly entered the courthouse to argue before three federal appellate judges over a grand jury subpoena.
    The mystery of the subpoena appeal appears to date back to early September, when CNN witnessed several lawyers from Mueller’s office entering a courtroom to argue against an unknown defense team before a trial-level judge who oversees federal grand jury-related cases.
    Clearly, a challenge related to Mueller’s grand jury investigation was underway.
    Shortly after, that judge, Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court, ruled on a case related to a grand jury subpoena, and the losing party attempted to appeal the ruling. The appellate court batted the case back down to Howell, who held a second sealed hearing on October 5. Though CNN was locked out of the courtroom while the arguments took place, the hearing featured the same team from Mueller’s office as before, which included top criminal law appellate lawyer Michael Dreeben.
    Mueller’s office declined to comment on the hearings.
    That same day Mueller’s team clashed in a sealed courtroom with an unknown opponent, Howell issued another ruling on the same grand jury subpoena challenge she had decided before, sending the losing party back to the appellate court to ask for reconsideration.
    Politico a few days later overheard an attorney at the appellate court discussing sealed Mueller court filings — and the mysterious grand jury challenge got its argument date set before a three-judge panel at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
    Argument day arrived Friday.
    Typically, DC Circuit Court arguments run smoothly, one after another until three cases have been argued publicly, starting at 9:30 am in a large, portrait-lined courtroom on the Fifth Floor of the federal courthouse on Constitution Avenue. But after Circuit judges David Tatel, Thomas Griffith and Stephen William — who coincidentally has written two books on Russian history — heard an immigration-related case Friday morning, the courthouse security went into lockdown mode.
    Tatel, Griffith and Williams took a brief recess, indicating they’d return to the courtroom shortly.
    Then, security officers cleared the appeals courtroom, allowing only about a dozen law clerks working for federal judges to stay behind, including at least one who assists Howell with her cases.
    Security guards also cleared the vestibule to the courtroom and checked the coat closet where attorneys coming to listen to arguments stash their belongings. They locked the door leading to the attorneys’ lounge on that floor and shooed the more than 20 reporters prowling the hall away from the elevator bank and told them to vacate the nearby stairwells. At one point, even an elevator wouldn’t open its doors on the fifth floor.
    The entire level of the building on which the appeals court is housed was locked down.
    For more than an hour, the press waited, staking out stairwells and exits. The gaggle of law clerks dispersed about an hour after the arguments started, and then silence. No recognizable attorneys were spotted coming in and out of the courtroom or even the building.
    No sign that it was Mueller’s office. No sign of defense counsel. The courthouse security had ushered the lawyers into and out of the building for their secret hearing completely under cover. The sealed hearing stayed confidential.
    And then, about 10 minutes after the court activity appeared to wrap for the day, a black Justice Department car rolled into Mueller’s office building, bringing attorneys including Dreeben and Zainab Ahmad back to their home base.

  7. vox:
    Paul Manafort, who served as the manager for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, provided advice to the president and senior White House officials on the FBI’s Russia investigation during the earliest days of the Trump administration. He gave guidance on how to undermine and discredit the FBI’s inquiry into whether the president, his campaign aides, and family members conspired with the Russian Federation and its intelligence services to covertly defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, according to government records and interviews with individuals familiar with the matter. Manafort himself was under criminal investigation by the FBI during this same time, a fact then known to the White House.
     
    Last Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller alleged in court filings that Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” to FBI agents and prosecutors, in violation of the cooperation agreement between Manafort and the special counsel’s office. Among those, Mueller charged, were lies by Manafort to investigators that he had not been in contact with anyone in the White House.
     
    “After signing the plea agreement, Manafort stated he had no direct or indirect communications with anyone in the administration while they were in the administration,” the special counsel said in a court pleading, “and that he never asked anyone to try and communicate a message to anyone in the administration on any subject.” Citing text messages, Manafort’s electronic records, and witness interviews, the special counsel wrote: “The evidence demonstrates that Manafort lied about his contacts.”
    Those contacts continued after Trump and his associates knew that Manafort was under investigation by the FBI; after he was indicted by two federal grand juries on more than two dozen felony counts of money laundering, bank fraud, tax evasion, and obstruction of justice; and after having been convicted by a federal jury of 10 of those felonies while awaiting trial on other charges. And now we have learned, thanks to reports from the New York Times and other media outlets, that those contacts continued (through Manafort’s attorney) even after Manafort became a cooperating witness against the president. The court filings, however, did not disclose any information regarding the subjects of the contacts between Manafort and the White House.
    Manafort advised administration officials in the spring and summer of 2017 on how to politically undermine the FBI and Mueller investigation in three ways, according to government records and interviews with three people with knowledge of the contacts. He also gave them advice on how some of the witnesses against both him and the president might be discredited. In short, Manafort and Trump were working together to discredit the investigators as well as potential witnesses.
     
    Manafort urged the president to attack the FBI
     
    First, Manafort advised the president and his political surrogates to more aggressively and directly attack the FBI and other elements of the federal law enforcement apparatus investigating his administration. The goal of Manafort’s advice was to “delegitimize” the investigation itself, one person familiar with the advice explained to me. 
    […]
    Manafort urged the president to attack the DNC
     
    Second, Manafort counseled the White House to allege — albeit with no evidence to back up said charges — that the pro-Western Ukrainian government had colluded with the Democratic National Committee to try to help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 presidential election.
    […]
    Manafort urged the president to attack Clinton and the Steele dossier
     
    Third, in early 2017, Manafort provided the White House specific information on how Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had sponsored research into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. More specifically, Manafort provided information to the White House as to how to discredit the so-called Steele dossier, a report written by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia desk for the British intelligence agency MI6, about alleged ties that Trump and his associates had to Russia. (Manafort provided background to the White House’s attorneys about specific allegations and information in the dossier that he said was suspect.)
    […]
    Manafort’s contacts with the White House continued even after his cooperation with Mueller. Without telling prosecutors, Manafort’s defense attorneys were secretly providing details of their client’s cooperation with the special counsel to the president’s legal team, in an apparent effort by Manafort to undermine the investigation or perhaps win a pardon from Trump. In the process, Manafort may have thus helped Trump tailor his answers to questions recently provided to the special counsel’s office.
     
    Harry Litman, a former US attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, has since commented: “The open pipeline between cooperator and suspect Trump may have been not on only extraordinary but also criminal. … What purpose other than an attempt to ‘influence, obstruct, or impede’ the investigation of the president can be discerned from Manafort’s service as a double agent? And on the Trump side, the communications emit a strong scent of illegal witness tampering.”
     
    In short, in trying to cover up and maneuver for a pardon, Manafort and others may have committed even more crimes. Each “discernible lie” Manafort told is a potential new felony charge of lying to federal investigators, perjury, obstruction of justice, or combination thereof. Of obvious interest to the special counsel is whether others, most notably White House officials, conspired with Manafort to lie, mislead investigators, and possibly obstruct justice, and what, specifically, the president of the United States knew about all of this.

  8. I am all for following the evidence wherever it leads especially if it leads to Trump.
    But the more I read the more convinced I have become that the republican apparatus at the highest levels were complicit in many of these dirty deeds. I am beginning to think that Mueller’s scope should be expanded to include the Republican Party and the rnc as well as highly placed republican campaign operatives.
    the question I have is who among them wasn’t on the take from the Russians?

  9. Is it just me, or is leaving town a strange way to avoid a government shutdown?
    I think that republicans have not gotten as much as they had hoped for out of the lame duck session. Like nothing.

  10. What?….   no breaking news yet?….
    just got back from seeing Bohemian Rhapsody….    LOVED IT!…  but was expecting to see what breaking news I missed.   Just have to be patient…  sigh.

  11. “is leaving town a strange way to avoid a government shutdown”
    jace, not if you’re the guy shutting it down.
    from the palm beach post:
    President Donald Trump is expected to spend 16 days at Mar-a-Lago over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, according to an alert issued by the Federal Aviation Administration this morning.
    The alert warns pilots to avoid the airspace over Mar-a-Lago during the more than two-week time frame, from Dec. 21 to Jan. 6, but does not indicate when Air Force One will arrive or depart Palm Beach International Airport.
    The upcoming visit would be longer than last year’s 12-day visit, putting Trump in Palm Beach a day earlier than his Dec. 22 arrival last year and four days later than his Jan. 2 departure. It would be his longest retreat at Mar-a-Lago, dubbed the Southern White House, since the president’s inauguration in January 2017.
    Trump’s extended stay means he will not be in Washington when the new Congress, including the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, is sworn in on Jan. 3. That event will mark the end of the GOP’s eight-year grip on the House, although Republicans slightly increased their Senate majority in the 2018 midterm elections.
    The president’s planned arrival date — Dec. 21 — is the final day for the White House and Congress to avoid a government shutdown. Trump has vowed to shut down the government if Democratic congressional leaders do not give him the money he wants to build a wall along the southern border.
    [continues]

  12. Ryan has checked out and McCarthy doesn’t know how to check in they might as well stay home for the holidays 

  13. After a grueling year of tweeting and golfing, mr trump has announced yet another vacation, this one to last only 16 days. This is a good time to indict, as to do so would not conflict with trump’s heavy schedule of indolence and sloth.

  14. I want y’all to be proud of me. This afternoon I went to Fort Jackson, got a haircut, then bought a new rubber tip for my primary walking-stick. Ah’m all set for the new year.

  15. RR
    It’s that movie time of year.  Just saw Green Book …. Great movie.  Love films where the audience leaves smiling and nodding at each other with “we just saw something great together” attitude.  Next week is Mary Poppins.  Still really want to see “The Favorite”
     

  16. I don’t believe in heaven nor hell but I have a profound respect for Karma. It is built into our very being.
    Jack
    Instant Karma’s gonna get youGonna knock you right on the headYou better get yourself togetherPretty soon you’re gonna be deadWhat in the world you thinking ofLaughing in the face of loveWhat on earth you tryin’ to doIt’s up to you, yeah you

  17. I caught the morning weather the other day, they were talking about the wind in western Kansas, OK and the Texas panhandle. Lubbock TX was getting wind gusts of up to 60 mph and breakfast wasn’t even on yet. Lord knows what it did when the wind picked up later in the day. Hope Colorado Bob had his chin strap tight cause if he didn’t  he needs a new hat.
    Jack

  18. Flatus, glad to see you are still kicking it. So how fancy is that walking stick?
    SJ hope you are doing well and things are better. Jace same to you. 
    I don’t post often but I do try to read the comments even if I’m a day late.
    Mrs Jack has one more  chemo treatment,  just after Christmas,  then a few weeks to recover and we can start seeing what the new normal will look like.

  19. Wonderful collection of music on this here thread.  John and Marvin are a great combo. 
    Jack, best to you and Mrs. Jack. Nasty shit that cancer thing. 
    Home visiting my sister and 92 year old uncle – another birthday and as far as I can tell he’ll be the longest lived ancestor on either side of my family. 
    Forgot to bring earbuds with me so rather than buy a $20 pair of Apple buds I shucked out $10 for a cheap pair of wireless ones at Wally World. Listening to the Allmans – Idlewild South. Wonderfully engineered album of incredible music. The new $10 earbuds sound better than the $100 studio headphones I had when I got the album back in the early 70s. Great music to drift off to sleep by. 

  20.  “Trump has vowed to shut down the government if Democratic congressional leaders do not give him the money he wants to build a wall along the southern border“ -above article
     
    …do i need to say, “i thought ‘Mexico is gonna pay for it’”?

    Yeah, i think i do.

  21. talk about scrooging Christmas!
    wapo:
    A federal judge in Texas threw a dagger into the Affordable Care Act on Friday night, ruling that the entire health-care law is unconstitutional because of a recent change in federal tax law.
     
    The opinion by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor overturns all of the sprawling law nationwide.
     
    The ruling came on the eve of the deadline Saturday for Americans to sign up for coverage in the federal insurance exchange created under the law. If the ruling stands, it would create widespread disruption across the U.S. health-care system — from no-charge preventive services for older Americans on Medicare to the expansion of Medicaid in most states, to the shape of the Indian Health Service — in all, hundreds of provisions in the law that was a prized domestic achievement of President Barack Obama.
    […]
    Later, the White House issued a statement on the ruling, saying: “We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place.”
    […]
    It was not immediately clear what the legal path will be from here. Technically, O’Connor granted summary judgment to the lawsuit’s plaintiffs — the Texas attorney general, with support from 18 GOP counterparts and a governor. Because the judge did not grant an injunction, as the plaintiffs had asked for, “it’s unclear whether this is a final judgment, whether it’s appealable, whether it can be stayed,” said Timothy Jost, a health-law expert who is a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University. Jost, an ACA proponent, predicted that a stay would lock in the law during appeals, saying that, otherwise, “it’s breathtaking what [O’Connor]’s doing here on a Friday night after the courts closed.”
    Major segments of the health-care industry also decried the ruling. “The judge got it wrong,” said Charles N. “Chip” Kahn III, president of the Federation of American Hospitals. “This ruling would have a devastating impact on the patients we serve and the nation’s health-care system as a whole. . . . Having this decision come in the closing hours of open enrollment also sows seeds of unnecessary confusion.”
    [continues]

  22. carl Hiaasen:
    Former ally David Pecker flips, and Trump probably flips out
     
    One shocking headline you won’t see in the National Enquirer:
    “TABLOID RAG RATS ON STUNNED PREZ”
    It would not be fake news.
    The Enquirer, which has aggressively adulated Donald Trump and savaged his enemies, is abandoning the president to save itself from criminal charges.
    Last week, the paper’s parent company, America Media Inc., officially confessed to what the Wall Street Journal reported before the 2016 election: The Enquirer paid $150,000 to former Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal to buy and then bury her allegation of an affair with Trump in 2006-2007.
    AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story to prevent it from influencing the election,” stated prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.[…]
    But Pecker’s bro-mance with Trump spawned “news” stories that were not only phony, but vicious, even by septic tabloid standards. It was the Enquirer that trumpeted a bogus connection between John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the father of Sen. Ted Cruz.
    At the time the story ran, Cruz was Trump’s main rival for the Republican presidential nomination. The Washington Post reported that, throughout the campaign, the Enquirer shared advance copies of pro-Trump stories with Cohen.
    Ironically, Pecker’s zeal to help his buddy get elected has brought only misery to the embattled, ever-seething president. Prosecutors assert that the hush money paid to Daniels and McDougal should have been reported as campaign contributions, since it was meant to affect the outcome of the election.
    AMI’s deal with prosecutors will spare Pecker and his editor from punishment, leaving Cohen alone to take the fall for the fiasco. And while it’s true that he flopped as a fixer, he was part of a team.

    While Trump loved all the splashy attention he got from the Enquirer, today he’s probably wondering if he should have spent more time sucking up to the dull old Wall Street Journal.
    These days, if you pick up the Enquirer at the supermarket, you’ll see headlines about Meghan and Harry, William and Kate, Joe and Mika, A-Rod and J-Lo, Blake and Gwen or, inevitably, Kim and Kanye.

    Not one scandalous peep, squeak or murmur such as this:

    “DAVID DUMPS DAZED DONALD AND MOVES ON”

  23. Jack, my walking stick is quite literally a stick. Originally a carved Nicaraguan staff that I shortened to its present length decades ago. I rounded the pointy head making it comfortable for my palm. The anti-skid tip is essential–they last about six or seven years. The final rustic product gains favorable attention wherever Rosie takes us; it resides inside the car. Going out to the mailbox, I use a simple stick crafted by our late daughter Alice. It is comfortable and has a special warmth.
    Season’s best to you and Mrs Jack!

  24. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will depart amid growing controversy over allegations that he violated ethics rules.
    Trump tweeted early Saturday that Zinke “will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years. Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation.”
     
     
     
    He did not specify whether Zinke resigned or was fired, and said he will announce a new secretary next week.
    [continues]
     

  25. Jamie…  we don’t go to the movies very often.  But whenever we do we always say “why don’t we do this more now that we have the time”.  Can’t wait to see Vice…  and think we’ll skip The Favorite and go directly to Mary Queen of Scots.
    We went yesterday to a 1:00 matinee.  There was only Rick and I and one other woman… we all sat together and she told us it was her 5th time seeing Bohemian.  Rick would like to go see The Mule.

  26. Jack…  so good to see you posting every now and then.  I miss your humor and your crankiness :).  Wishing you and Mrs Jack the very best!

  27. We are going to see Green Book on Tuesday and looking forward to it.
    We don’t go to the movies because it is so far away — it’s practically an all day trip

  28. ”He did not specify whether Zinke resigned or was fired, and said he will announce a new secretary next week.[continues]“ -above quoted article
     
    I already posted who Zinke’s replacement will be a few weeks, ago.  It should be in the archive if you’re curious.

  29. politico:
    Zinke’s likely replacement has been ‘the man behind the curtain’
    […]
    Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil, gas and water industries that rely on Interior’s decisions, is poised to become acting secretary following President Donald Trump’s announcement Saturday that Zinke will leave by the end of the year. And that’s already alarming environmentalists, some of whom had said they might prefer to see a distracted, scandal-plagued Zinke stay in the job.
    Berhnardt, who joined the Trump administration last year, has taken the lead in softening the department’s protections for endangered species, a move that will make it easier for oil and gas companies to drill on ecologically sensitive lands. “He knows how to make that agency work and he is why Interior is now considered ‘best in class’ in terms of agency performance,” said Stephen Brown, a lobbyist at RBJ Strategies.
     
    Green groups quickly called for more scrutiny of Bernhardt’s record.
     
    “The bottom line is that Bernhardt is too conflicted to even be acting secretary,” said Chris Saeger, executive director for Western Values Project, a conservation group that filed a lawsuit in July demanding access to Bernhardt’s official communications. “At the very least the American public deserves to know more about the man behind the curtain who is actually running the show at Interior and could soon be fully responsible for managing our country’s public lands, wildlife and natural resources.”
    “If Ryan Zinke was bad, his likely replacement, David Bernhardt, is even worse,” the Alaska Wilderness League said in a statement Saturday.
    […]
    The consensus is that picking Bernhardt — already confirmed by the Senate — would be the path of least resistance.
    [continues]

  30. Patd, loved the Walt Kelly “”Deck the Halls”. 
    Stinky Zinke. Literally, is there anyone in the SCROTUS administration who isn’t corrupt?  (And btw I KNOW the answer). 

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