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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 9,434

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Rosenstein threatened to quit after being cast as impetus of Comey firing, which was already decided


Back at work Monday morning in Washington, Trump told Vice President Pence and several senior aides — Reince Priebus, Stephen K. Bannon and Donald McGahn, among others — that he was ready to move on Comey. First, though, he wanted to talk with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his trusted confidant, and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, to whom Comey reported directly. Trump summoned the two of them to the White House for a meeting, according to a person close to the White House.

The president already had decided to fire Comey, according to this person. But in the meeting, several White House officials said Trump gave Sessions and Rosenstein a directive: to explain in writing the case against Comey.

The pair quickly fulfilled the boss’s orders, and the next day Trump fired Comey — a breathtaking move that thrust a White House already accustomed to chaos into a new level of tumult, one that has legal as well as political consequences.

Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation, said the person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Lots more:

Why Are the Times, the Post, and MSNBC on a Conservative Hiring Spree? (Slate)

MSNBC announced Monday that it has hired George F. Will as a contributor, adding yet another conservative talker to its rapidly expanding roster of them. Two weeks ago, the cable news network gave former George W. Bush adviser Nicolle Wallace a 4 p.m. show. Former Fox News star Greta Van Susteren took over its 6 p.m. slot in January. And it has reportedly offered talk radio host Hugh Hewitt a show, as well. MSNBC is giving out shows to conservative pundits like Oprah giving out G6s.
Will Oremus Will Oremus

Remember when the network embraced its liberal reputation with the tagline “Lean Forward”? These days it’s running ads suggesting that people might accuse it of conservative bias—and it’s only half-joking.

MSNBC isn’t the only major media organization that’s tacking rightward lately. The New York Times’ opinion section infuriated its liberal loyalists last month by giving the former Wall Street Journal never-Trumper Bret Stephens an op-ed column, which he promptly used to question climate science and criticize clean-energy policies. In a sign that demand for prominent conservative pundits has surpassed supply, the same Hewitt that MSBNC is pursuing also landed a major op-ed column two months ago, signing on with the Washington Post.

The realignment would make perfect sense if media outlets whose audiences skewed liberal were struggling in the Trump era. But it’s just the opposite. MSNBC just posted its highest-ever quarterly ratings, beating centrist CNN in prime time. The Times reported record-breaking subscriber growth. The Post is aggressively expanding amid record online traffic and ad revenue. The last two have been running PR campaigns aiming to capitalize on discontent with Trump’s election. And they’re all getting pushback from the left on each conservative hire, with some even publicly canceling their Times subscriptions to protest Stephens.

So what’s behind the conservative-commentator craze? Let’s consider the possibilities:

Lots more:


Senator Suggests a New Job for James Comey: Trump-Russia Investigator (Mother Jones)

As the fallout from the unexpected firing of James Comey on Tuesday continues to rock Washington, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) suggested a new job for the ousted FBI director: leading the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia.

"I think the intelligence committee ought to hire James Comey to direct our investigation," King said during a Wednesday morning appearance on CNN's New Day. "I'm going to float that today and see what kind of reaction I get."

King, who sits on the committee, argued that Comey would be a good fit for the position. "Already got his clearances," he said. "Knows the subject. Man of integrity."

As the fallout from the unexpected firing of James Comey on Tuesday continues to rock Washington, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) suggested a new job for the ousted FBI director: leading the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia.

"I think the intelligence committee ought to hire James Comey to direct our investigation," King said during a Wednesday morning appearance on CNN's New Day. "I'm going to float that today and see what kind of reaction I get."

King, who sits on the committee, argued that Comey would be a good fit for the position. "Already got his clearances," he said. "Knows the subject. Man of integrity."

Comey was scheduled to speak before the committee on Thursday. With his abrupt termination, it is unclear if he will still appear.

In the hours since Comey's firing was first announced, Senate Democrats have suggested that the president's decision was motivated by the FBI's ongoing Russia investigation and have called for a special prosecutor or counsel to take over the investigation in Comey's stead. Some Senate Republicans have also voiced their discomfort with the timing of Comey's dismissal, although top Republican leadership has yet to join calls for an independent investigator.

King acknowledged that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—who sent the memo that advised the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Comey—does have the ability to appoint a special counsel to handle the investigation, but he said he is unsure if an appointment from the Justice Department "rises to the level of restoring public confidence in this process."


Sally Yates said in hearing Monday she has confidence in Rod Rosenstein...think she still does?

Graham specifically asked if she knew him and had confidence in him. She said yes. What do you all make of that? I just got online and haven't seen anything since yesterday evening so don't know what might have happened since last night, but I would love to know what she thinks now.

Rachel just did whole show w/o any breaks; now Lawrence keeping her on.Anyone ever seen that before?

Not a single break tonight. I've never seen that - anyone else? And she and Lawrence have been discussing Comey since her show ended ten minutes ago. Lawrence just asked Rachel to stay on to ask questions of guest experts. Still no breaks.

Asking what is indefensible to GOP?

Mark Warner on soon.

Edited to add: O'Donnell kept her on first 15 minutes.

Rachel comment thread here! All about Comey. Link here to watch if you don't have cable/WiFi.

Go here to watch live streaming if you don't have cable or WiFi.

We have Rachel in 50 minutes...we should have a Rachel watching comment thread. Who's in?

Slayer of Ted Cruz, Defender of Justice: Sally Yates walked out of an Aaron Sorkin script on Monday

Slayer of Ted Cruz, Defender of Justice
On Monday, Sally Yates walked out of an Aaron Sorkin script and into liberals’ hearts.

Article includes some great tweets.
Stephen Colbert:
"Wonder Woman is in theaters June 2nd. But if you want a sneak preview, watch Sally Yates' performance in front of the Senate."

Very Long snip, then this:

Even the legal world’s most prominent critic of Yates’ move against Trump’s travel ban, former Office of Legal Counsel head Jack Goldsmith, seemed to approve of her testimony. In a post for Lawfare published Monday night, Goldsmith wrote that the legal arguments Yates made at the hearing for defying Trump’s executive order were different and “more defensible” than the ones she’d laid out in her Jan. 30 directive. Back then, Goldsmith had taken Yates to task for saying only she was “[not] convinced” the order was lawful—as opposed to saying she was convinced it was unlawful—writing that he didn’t think that uncertainty was a legitimate basis for refusing to defend it. On Monday, he noted, Yates was more forceful in her analysis, telling the senators in no uncertain terms she believed the order was unconstitutional. Goldsmith speculated in ways unflattering to Yates as to why she didn’t strike that note originally—“perhaps … she did not express herself well because she wrote the letter under time pressure,” he wrote—but ultimately seemed more convinced than before that her legal reasoning had been sound.

If Goldsmith was impressed with Yates’ lack of equivocation, the newest members of her fan club were likely reacting to something else: her precision. For nearly three hours, she maintained impeccable control over every word that came out of her mouth. When she started a sentence, you knew she had an ending already planned. When she was asked a question, you could tell she was actually listening and would respond to all of its particularities rather than reciting some stock answer she had brought to the hearing in her back pocket.

Yates was specific, too. At one point, she realized she’d made a mistake earlier in her testimony when she’d stated that she and White House Counsel Don McGahn had “two in-person meetings and one phone call” about retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn in the days before her dismissal from the Justice Department. After being asked to go back over that timeline, Yates caught her error and corrected herself. There had actually been two phone calls, not one: She’d forgotten that in addition to the substantive phone conversation between herself and McGahn on Jan. 30, McGahn had also called her on Jan. 27 to set up their second meeting.

“Sorry about that,” Yates said, signaling just how seriously she takes detail and accuracy even when making a minor procedural point.

This was the opposite of the posture Americans have gotten used to since the dawn of the new administration. Unlike Yates, President Trump and his circle prefer vagueness because it allows them to evade the truth more easily and to avoid getting caught not knowing things. There is a slackness to much of what Trump says—a simultaneously strained and effortless quality to the haze of incomplete thoughts, generalizations, and meaningless phrases that dribble out of him wherever he goes. When Trump does try to get specific, he tends to get things wrong. On the same day Yates sat before the Senate subcommittee and performed the legal equivalent of surgery, the president misspelled “White House Counsel” on Twitter.

Yates was already an avatar for the anti-Trump resistance before her performance Monday. Now it’s official: She is the Democratic Party’s new star. In the months ahead, she should expect to hear a lot of talk about what office she’ll run for and when. Liberals now know who Sally Yates is, and they really, really like what they see.


Sen. Kamala Harris Slams GOP Reps Health Care Claim: What The F**k Is That?

Sen. Kamala Harris Slams GOP Rep’s Health Care Claim: ‘What The F**k Is That?’
California Democrat draws cheers for her blunt talk.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had some blunt words for a Republican lawmaker who made an outrageous claim about health care last week.

“Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,” said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who voted for the American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare.

Harris didn’t refer to Labrador by name during the interview with Pod Save America, a progressive podcast hosted by former aides to President Barack Obama.

But it was pretty clear whom she was referring to.

“This guy, this congressman, you might as well say, ‘People don’t starve because they don’t have food,’” Harris said during the interview with Pod Save America released Monday. “What the fuck is that?”

The interview was recorded Saturday in San Francisco in front of a live audience, which erupted in laughs and cheers as Harris had moments earlier stopped herself from saying “bullshit.”

Harris then turned serious, telling the progressives to work on voting out Republicans who supported the Obamacare repeal, focusing especially on GOP lawmakers in districts that went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Listen to the full interview here. It begins around 42:30.


Correction: Republican bloodsuckers who sentenced poor to die didnt drink Bud Light

Yesterday, we reported that a passel of grotesque Dickensian caricatures gathered in the House of Representatives to vote, by a margin of 217-213, to let poor people die and to punish women for the blasphemy of having a vagina, effectively putting some 24 million Americans at the perpetual risk of poverty should they fall victim to accident or debilitating disease—a monstrous display of selfishness that, by their own admission, many of them performed solely out of adherence to partisan dogma and unabashed spite, and a ghoulish, symbolic bloodletting ritual that they then commemorated by drinking Bud Light. However, we have now learned that they did not, in fact, drink Bud Light.

We hereby offer this retraction.


Amid the rush to report on the passage of a bill that removes mandates to insure people with pre-existing conditions—which now includes everything from alcoholism to sexual assault—essentially defunds Planned Parenthood, and rolls back Medicaid protections for low-income families, and cover the celebration that President Trump had subsequently organized in the Rose Garden so that he and his fellow gloating jackasses could laugh at all the people whose wellbeing they’d put into jeopardy, just to prove that they’re big, strong boys, many writers—ourselves unfortunately included—seized upon sightings reported from inside the Capitol of a cart laden with Bud Light, and we irresponsibly repeated it.


We assumed, incorrectly, that this Bud Light was intended to be the cheap swill that would briefly douse the taste of brimstone licking the throats of these pasty wraiths as they boarded a bus headed toward their feast of bones, where they would cackle over their selfish destruction of millions of lives while slapping each other on the back, the utter hollowness inside creating a reverberating, tympanic sound that was barely discernible over their thick-tongued clucking about all the blood money they would reap and the aluminum crush of beer cans against skulls.

However, it turns out the Bud Light wasn’t actually for them.


In this era of “fake news,” it’s more important than ever to not let unverified rumor or libelous insinuation get in the way of the facts of the matter, which is that a bunch of soulless, greedy, waterlogged copies of Atlas Shrugged stuffed inside ugly suits stood around the White House yesterday, laughing and jacking each other off about how they’d successfully sentenced so many of their constituents to die just so they and their cronies could get a huge tax break, but while doing so, they most definitely did not drink Bud Light.


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