Wednesday :: October 17, 2018

Mueller Likely to Issue Russia Report After Midterms

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reported to be preparing a report on whether the Trump campaign was involved in Russian interference in the 2016 election after the midterm elections.

The report may not be public. (Will that stop Trump from tweeting out any statements that are favorable to him?)

I don't expect the report to find that Trump personally knew about or conspired with Russian attempts to sway the election. I doubt his aides took him seriously enough at that point to share such information with him.

What about obstruction of justice after the election? What about Don, Jr.?

I still wonder whether Kushner and the campaign's digital marketing director (hired by Kushner)who worked with the Facebook team to learn how to do microtargeting and ad placement on FB got immunity from Mueller.

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Tape Sufaces of Torture of Journalist Kashoggi Inside Embassy

Jamal Kashoggi was tortured for seven minutes before he was beheaded inside the Saudi embassy in Instabul. The Saudi kill squad played loud music as they cut off his fingers. This is according to Turkish sources who have obtained the tape.

Saudi Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi can be heard on one tape saying during Khashoggi’s torture: “Do this outside. You are going to get me in trouble,” according to the paper, which did not reveal how it obtained the tapes.

The Turkish report on the tapes is here.

The source said Khashoggi was “dragged from the Consul General’s office at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and onto the table of his study next door. The screaming stopped when Khashoggi was injected with an as yet unknown substance. Head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive. As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same.”

A New York Times report is here. His body has not been found. One Turkish columnist thinks it may have been vaporized. He also writes that "some of the killers are personal guards of Prince Salman."

Apparently, the Prince had an "army of assassins", including contractors hired from a U.S. firm (former U.S. military). [More...]

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Friday :: October 12, 2018

Mexico's Defense Minister Supports Legalizing Poppies

Mexico is considering legalizing poppy growing. The outgoing Defense Minister advocates for it. He says the new President may be in favor of it also.

In August, the legislature in the state of Guerrero approved a measure to decriminalize poppies. [More...]

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Wednesday :: October 10, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

Update: The death toll for Hurricane Michael is now at 16.

The judge in El Chapo's trial denied another continuance request. Looks like trial may actually begin Nov. 5. It will last weeks. I have been following it very closely, reading every pleading and court order since El Chapo arrived here (as well those in his predecessor cases in other districts, going back to 1993.) What I won't do is speculate on expected protected witnesses before they testify. I do plan on covering the trial extensively once testimony begins. If New York weren't so expensive, I'd do it in person.

Harvey Weinstein won a round and got one sex assault charged dropped this week. He's nowhere near home free (yet).

Time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Hurricane Michael and the Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael is scheduled to make landfall this afternoon. Last night it gathered strength and was designated a Category 4 storm. CBS reported (no link due to autoplay video):

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Hurricane Michael is packing even more punch: It strengthened into a Category 4 storm early Wednesday, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. According to the NHC's latest advisory, Michael could produce a life-threatening storm surge as high as 13 feet and dump as much as a foot of rain in some places.

Florida, Alabama and Georgia are in states of emergency. 375,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. [More...]

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Tuesday :: October 09, 2018

Nikki Haley Resigns

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley resigned today. Lots of people are asking why. And some think Trump will name Ivanka as her replacement.

Haley said she will not be a candidate in 2020. Is she looking towards 2024?

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Sunday :: October 07, 2018

Kavanaugh Sworn In: Trump Bloviates, SNL Laughs

Not as funny as last week's cold open on Kavanaugh with Matt Damon, but still quite good.

In real life last night, Donald Trump answered questions from a Fox News Host after his rally in Kansas. The depth of his fake news statements made my head spin. He can't really believe this stuff. I guess he knows his core, under-informed fanboy base can't be bothered to watch real news, which makes them over-susceptible to his nonsense.

We are three weeks to November. Please do your part to get out the vote. If you don't, your children and grandchildren may never forgive you.

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Friday :: October 05, 2018

Sen. Collins and Manchin Announce Support for Kavanaugh Nomination

The Senate voted today on the motion to invoke cloture on Judge Brett Kavanaugh and it passed by a vote of 51 to 49. It appears he now has the votes to be confirmed.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me) and Joe Manchin (D-WVA) both announced their intention to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Manchin's statement is here. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)announced her intent to vote against him. Murkowski is the only Republican to vote against Kavanaugh

Senator Susan Collins went on and on in a speech on the Senate floor. Highlights (from my listening to it live): [More...]

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Thursday :: October 04, 2018

New FBI Report on Kavanaugh: Back to Square One

Republicans assert the new FBI background report on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh adds no new details or confirmation of the improper sexual conduct claims against him that would disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court. They say it's time to vote. Indeed, a vote will likely occur Saturday.

The Democrats and accusers are angry, claiming the FBI didn't interview enough people -- i.e., those supporting the accusers' character and other high school and college classmates of Kavanaugh. However, the people Christine Ford said were present at the party where she was attacked were interviewed and none confirmed her account or even remembered such a gathering at which both Kavanaugh and Ford were present.

This was entirely predictable. [More...]

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Tuesday :: October 02, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

It's a jail day for me, an open thread day for you.

All topics welcome.

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Friday :: September 28, 2018

Trump Orders Supplemental FBI Investigation re: Kavenaugh

Donald Trump today ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, which is to completed within 1 week and limited to existing accusations.

Mark Judge sent this letter (signed under penalty of felony) to the Committee yesterday. In it he says he never saw Kavanaugh "act in the manner Dr. Ford describes."

Today his lawyer said he will cooperate with the FBI or any confidential law enforcement agency in the probe (she did not say he would testify before any committee.)

Also today, Judge submitted this letter, again under penalty of felony, denying all the allegations in Julie Swetnick's claim.

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Senate Committee Passes Kavenaugh, Flake Calls for FBI Investigation

1:51 pm: Sen. Flake says he has agreed with Democrats that the full Senate vote should be delayed for one week for the FBI to do "due diligence" by investigating existing accusations against Kavanaugh. But he's not saying the Kavanaugh committee vote should be delayed. The press is flummoxed, thinking they didn't vote. They did vote. They passed Kavanaugh on to the full Senate by a vote of 11 to 10. All Flake did was say he wants more information before the full Senate vote. If he changes his mind when the full Senate votes, Kavanaugh would not prevail. But today he votes with other Republicans to pass Kavanaugh's confirmation on to the full Senate.

The committee is now out of jurisdictional control. It's up to the full Senate now. All Flake has done is agree with Democrats that the full Senate vote should be delayed a week so the FBI can investigate pending (not future)allegations of accusers.

Original Post

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court at 1:30 pm ET. You can watch the vote live here or here.

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Thursday :: September 27, 2018

Kavenaugh Comes Out Strong and Angry

For those who thought it was all over, think again. Brett Kavanaugh is angry, very angry. And he's credible.

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Senate Hearing Today With Ford and Kavanaugh

The Senate Hearing on Christine Ford's allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh begins at 10:00 am. I will be in court by 8 am MT, so I'm putting the thread up early. It's meant to be a live thread for your comments as the hearing is happening and your thoughts on it afterwards.

The Judiciary Committee has posted these items:


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Wednesday :: September 26, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

The finale to El Senor de los Cielos was very good. I watched it twice, just to make sure I didn't miss anything. They killed off the one good cop, and the only Cuban spy with a conscience, but everyone else survived, except Lightning, the boxing champ, and he died of old age.

Aurelio's fingers moved, but he didn't wake up from his coma. I take that as a sign they haven't decided yet whether Rafael Amaya is gone for good or coming back for Season 7.

The finale of Big Brother is tonight. It's been a better season than most. I happen to like Julie Chen. She's left The Talk but is sticking with Big Brother. It wouldn't be as good a show without her. And she's not intimidated by what's happening to her husband. She now signs off BB as "Julie Chen Moonves" which she never did before.

There's quite a few more significant topics in the news this week I haven't gotten around to writing about yet. Hopefully, you will pick up on them and keep the discussion going.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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