indictment

Rudy’s Bizarre Adventure (Recollection Remix)

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Composite image: Donald Trump speaks to the National Rifle Association convention, in Dallas, Texas, 4 May 2018 (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters); Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., 5 May 2018 (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo); uncredited protest image of Vladimir Putin.

The intersection of #DimensionTrump and coming right out and saying it is itself a futile endeavor; something can easily go here about parallel lines, overlap, and single tracks. Meanwhile, there is a no longer confidential memo from John Dowd to Robert Mueller, in January, and it is worth reconsidering the last several months of presidential simmer and tantrum in light of what we learn. Steve Benen tries, today, explaining one particular aspect:

This was the first time Trump World acknowledged the president’s direct role in dictating the wording of his son’s statement to the New York Times. In fact, the president’s legal team and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders specifically told the public, on multiple occasions, that Trump had nothing to do with crafting that statement. Those denials, we now know, were plainly false.

Over the course of the last year, Trump and his team have already changed their story about the purpose of the meeting—more than once—and these new revelations take the evolving narrative in an even messier direction.

Asked about the contradictions, Rudy Giuliani told ABC News yesterday, “This is the reason you don’t let the president testify. Our recollection keeps changing.”

And there you have it. Something, something, mumble, murmur only goes downhill from there. Or not. Giuliani could stand at the bottom of a giant sinkhole and tout the merits of natural engineering, and for some reason people would try to take him seriously.

Oh. Right.

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The Plot Twist (Squeaky Gates)

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP Photo)

This is hard to overlook. Los Angeles Times reports:

A former top aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days—and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

Rick Gates departs U.S. District Court on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)The change of heart by Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Richard W. Gates III, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort’s, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case.

“Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,” said a person with direct knowledge of the new developments, adding that the revised plea will be presented in federal court in Washington “within the next few days.”

Caroline Orr, meanwhile, rightly recalls that “Gates was still making regular trips to the White House through at least June 2017”, noting the Daily Beast, circa June last:   (more…)

What Rosenstein Said

#PutiPoodle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies to the House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., 13 December 2017. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Via Bloomberg:

Beyond the 13 people indicted, Mueller announced the Feb. 12 guilty plea of a California man for identity theft, Richard Pinedo, who is cooperating with prosecutors. The indictment of Russian individuals and companies also suggests a broader conspiracy than Mueller charged, saying grand jurors heard about others involved in the scheme.

Richard Painter, who was the chief ethics adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said the lack of any evidence of collusion in the indictment wasn’t the final word by prosecutors.

“They’re charging what they know,” he said. “The contact with the Trump campaign might be unwitting in this case, but that doesn’t mean that the collaboration issue is finished.”

Now, just to make certain: We should probably bear in mind that neither, really is the question of this or that contact being unwitting truly closed. It seems a tawdry hair to split, except there is also the part about how—

This “information warfare” by the Russians didn’t affect the outcome of the presidential election, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters. Trump and his Republican supporters have repeatedly denounced the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and have denied any collusion. The indictment cites no instances of Russians coordinating directly with the Trump campaign.

—and this is important: Rosenstein did not say the information warfare “didn’t affect the outcome of the presidential election”.

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The Conservative Lesson

David Daleiden, of Center for Medical Progress.  Detail of photo by Charles Ommanney, ca. 2015.

A question arises: Is self-harm ever funny?

Certes, there are complications to the question; obviously, it is harder to justify self-harm if one also hurts others along the way, but here we’re not talking about going on a slashing spree amid a cutting habit. This one falls more under inspiring terrorists while wrecking your life for the sake of your own stupid masculinity.

Never mind.

Yesterday morning, via USA Today:

The videos show Planned Parenthood’s senior leadership partaking in a widespread and organized violation of state and federal laws forbidding partial-birth abortions and profiteering from the sale of fetal organs and tissues, which is why multiple state and federal investigations, including a select committee in Congress, continue to investigate Planned Parenthood’s abortion practice and financial interests in harvesting body parts. Contrary to the liberal shibboleth that the videos were “edited” (by which they mean to insinuate, “doctored”), the Center for Medical Progress has been far more transparent than any major news network in making the unedited conversations available to the public, and forensic analysis verifies their utility as evidence.

David Daleiden penned an op-ed in defense of his Center for Medical Progress, which is perhaps more familiar as the right-wing operation that doctored up some videos that succeeded in causing a ruckus. Congress held hearings, then slated some more because the first round was such a disaster. A terrorist murdered three people, wounded several more. Eleven states have investigated the infamous claims against Planned Parenthood, and all eleven have cleared the organization. In Texas, officials even convened a grand jury.

So Daleiden decided to … what? Pitch his case one last time? Rub it in? Set up for his victory lap?

That was Monday morning. A few hours later, Daleiden and co-conspirator Sandra Merritt got the news:

A Houston jury investigating alleged misconduct by Planned Parenthood declined to charge the women’s health provider, announcing instead felony charges for the leaders of the anti-abortion organization that targeted Planned Parenthood with it’s widely debunked series of “sting” videos in 2015.

The grand jury said they did not find evidence of illegal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood after reviewing the covert videos meant to misleadingly implicate the women’s health provider in the illegal trafficking of fetal tissue ....

.... David Daleiden, the 26-year old president of The Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt, founder and CEO of the fake tissue procurement company created to misleadingly gain entry into abortion clinics, were indicted for “tampering with a governmental record,” while Daleiden received an additional indictment for “the purchase and sale of human organs.” The first charge is a second degree felony and the second is a Class A misdemeanor. As the Houston Chronicle notes, a second-degree felony carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

(Tesfaye)

They did this to themselves.

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An Indictment in Texas

Ken Paxton speaks after he was sworn in as the Texas attorney general, Monday 5 January 2015, in Austin, Texas.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

It really is a strange tale, one notable not so much for public corruption or the fact of it being a Texas Republican, but rather for its bizarre dimensions, the twenty-first century imagining a dystopic marriage of convenience ‘twixt Mack Sennet and Rube Goldberg.

Or something like that. Sam Levine brings the update for Huffington Post:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has been indicted by a grand jury, multiple outlets reported on Saturday.

The indictments were handed down on Tuesday and will be unsealed Monday. Paxton faces three felony charges: two counts of first-degree securities fraud and a third-degree charge of failing to register with the state securities board ....

So, yeah. That’s going on.

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Image note: Ken Paxton speaks after he was sworn in as the Texas attorney general, Monday 5 January 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Levine, Sam. “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Indicted”. The Huffington Post. 1 August 2015.

The Rick Perry Show (Who’s Next?)

Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry adjusts his tie as he listens to his introduction from the side of the stage at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015. Reuters/Jim Young

Ladies and gentlemen, The Rick Perry Show:

Touting his military background and his upbringing in rural America, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Thursday that he’ll make a second bid for the White House.

Perry stood at a podium in front of a C-130 prop plane emblazoned with the words “Perry for President” and told the crowd at a hangar in this Dallas suburb that it’s time for an American “reset.”

“We have the power to make things new again. To project American strength again, to get our economy going again. And that is why today I am running for the presidency of the United States of America,” the longest-serving governor in Texas history said to loud applause.

Perry was accompanied by several military veterans, including Marcus Luttrell, the Navy SEAL made famous in the movie “Lone Survivor.” Taya Kyle, widow of Chris Kyle, the subject of the film “American Sniper” was also in attendance.

(Hunt and Frumin)

In honor of Governor Oops returning to the Republican Ringling, Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress notes some of the stranger beliefs Mr. Perry has expressed about the U.S. Constitution he hopes to preserve, protect, and defend.

And Simon Maloy responds to those notes with appropriately theatrical horror.

The Texas Oopsie Indicted Clown just jumped in the car.

Who’s next? Jeb? And then Bobby?

I get the argument about diversity, how more candidates is better. But isn’t there something missing from that formulation? Don’t they have to be good candidates? I mean, you know―at least a couple of them?

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Image note: Top ― Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry adjusts his tie as he listens to his introduction from the side of the stage at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Hunt, Kasie and Aliyah Frumin. “Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announces 2016 presidential bid”. msnbc. 4 June 2015.

Millhiser, Ian. “9 Completely Bonkers Things The Newest GOP Presidential Candidate Believes About The Constitution”. ThinkProgress. 4 June 2015.

Maloy, Simon. “oh god I didn’t realize Perry is an anti-17th amendment crank”. Twitter.com. 4 June 2015.

Benen, Steve. “Flubbing the details on Perry’s indictment”. msnbc. 25 August 2014.

A Quote: On Rick Perry and the Party of Accountability

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)

“Taking a step back, it’s hard not to notice the pattern: when Republicans find themselves in a difficult position, they reflexively try to blame the president whether it makes sense or not. Eric Cantor lost a primary? Blame President Obama. John Boehner failed to pass immigration bills? Blame President Obama. Bob McDonnell was indicted on corruption charges? Blame President Obama. Sam Brownback fared much worse than expected in a GOP primary? Blame President Obama. Chris Christie’s plan screwed up New Jersey’s finances? Blame President Obama.

“It’s getting a little silly.”

Steve Benen

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