Oh, friends, what you are seeing in this last week are the frantic last gasps of a man and his cronies who are beginning to understand that the noose is tightening around their necks too tightly now to break free. Let’s just plunge right in, shall we?
Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, after having already earlier pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations (making him the 33rd witch to be charged, if you’re counting), and he is singing like Billie Holliday about all Donald’s secrets—including that Don John continued to seek financing for his Russian property during the 2016 campaign (and blatantly lied about it), while he was proposing loosening sanctions on—wait for it!—Russia! Including a $50 million penthouse the very stable genius apparently promised to Putin.
Mueller is also investigating ties between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, Assange and Roger Stone, and Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, as well as Donny’s middle-of-the-night calls to Roger Stone during the campaign.
George Papadopoulous reported to prison, and Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of lying after striking a plea deal with federal prosecutors and says he should be sentenced immediately. He’s is said to be considering retrying Manafort.
And all of this is showing so very, very clearly that Donny is the central player in Mueller’s investigation—although apparently Ivanka and Donny Junior have major supporting roles too. Which explains Don John’s increasingly panicked tweets attacking it, including retweeting an image of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein behind bars, apparently because he “should never have picked a special counsel,” which Donald apparently believes to be a jailable crime. (Well, it may very well prove to be…but not for Rosenstein…)
Meanwhile, Jeff Flake—perhaps in an attempt to atone for his unconscionable support of Brett Kavanaugh—has refused to confirm any of Donny’s judicial nominees until Mitch McConnell allows a vote on the floor to protect Mueller’s investigation.
Here’s a handy li’l list of everyone who’s been charged and convicted (so far!) in the Mueller investigation.
In possibly related news, Deutsche Bank headquarters was raided by the German government—170 police and tax assessors—as part of a money-laundering probe related to the Panama Papers. You may remember Deutsche Bank as one of the only financial institutions that would still offer loans to inept businessman Donald Trump prior to his presidency.
Federal investigators also raided the offices of a tax attorney in Chicago who did work for Don John.
And in a related category…
Republicans Against the Law
Acting attorney general and Donny crony Matthew Whittaker is having a hell of a week. He was shown to have had early warnings of fraud accusations from a company he nonetheless continued to promote; recently revealed documents show he misled the Federal Trade Commission when he took over as the Justice Department’s chief of staff; and he’s being investigated for Hatch Act violations (along with five other of Donny’s White House staff).
Advocates for gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams in Georgia filed a federal lawsuit alleging widespread voting rights violations by GA sec of state Brian Kemp.
In a direct rebuke to Don John for his defense and support of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom U.S. intelligence has ascertained “with high confidence” directly ordered the murder of journalist Jamar Khashoggi, Congress voted 63-27 to end all aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and demanded a CIA briefing on Khashoggi’s murder after CIA head Gina Haspel was excluded from a prior one. MBS has become a pariah in the global community (to everyone except the president of the United States).
Meanwhile a neighborhood organization in DC has approved a motion to rename a section of the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi Way.
More and more Republicans are challenging Donny’s defense of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince the CIA has ascertained with “high confidence” ordered the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Republican Sen. Tim Scott says he will block confirmation of Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr amid racial controversy about Farr’s defense of voter ID laws that the courts said disenfranchised African American voters.
Republican Mia Love smack-talked Donald as she conceded in Utah.
Republicans in Texas are actually criticizing a fellow Republican for anti-Muslim actions: Tarrant County precinct chair Dorrie O’Brien is advocating removing vice chairman Shahid Shafi solely on the basis of his religion.
Crazy Sh*t that Regularly Happens Now
In a gross violation of journalistic ethics, FOX News actually coordinated its interview questions with the EPA for its interview with former department head Scott Pruitt and allowed Pruitt to see the questions ahead of time.
A journalist directly confronted Donald about his lie that the Obama administration had the same family-separation policy Donald’s administration enacted, to the world’s horror.
Social and Civil Rights Advances
A Dallas grand jury indicted the fired officer who killed an unarmed black man (Botham Jean) in his apartment.
In Saint Louis, four police officers have been indicted for the brutal, unprovoked beating of an unarmed black man (who happened to be an undercover cop) in a group protesting, ironically, the acquittal of another police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man.
The Miss Universe pageant has its first openly trans contestant (Miss Spain, Angela Ponce), after legal action in 2012 filed by a transwoman who was disallowed from the competition.
Ken Paxton (of all people) wrote an opinion that Gov. Greg Abbott can remove a Confederate plaque at the Capitol that offers misleading, nonfactual info about the purpose of the South’s rebellion.
Your Feel-good Stories for the Week
What, all the above wasn’t feel-good enough for you?!
Okay, how about this: Contributions to the NRA went down $55 million this past year, and membership dues decreased by $35 million.
After announcing that veterans whose benefits were shorted because of a VA error would not be getting the money they were owed due to ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs computer problems, the GOP administration backtracked after public and congressional outcry—veterans will receive the benefits they earned.
Finally, this sweet story about the unlikely friendship that developed between George H. W. Bush and Dana Carvey, the SNL comedian who regularly skewered him on the show, will remind you of a time when there were decent human beings in the White House.