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Barr's Presser and Release of Mueller Report

Update: Barr's remarks are here. The 448 page Mueller Report is here.

It's tempting to get excited about today's release of the Mueller report. Personally, I expect so many redactions, edits and topic deletions, I'm not excited at all.

The showrunner, Attorney General William Barr, will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. ET. Once the report is released, you can most likely find it on the Special Counsel's website

Yesterday, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia and Mueller's office laid out the plan for releasing the Mueller report in a filing in Roger Stone's criminal case (available here). They say there will be a separate version with fewer redactions for "some members of Congress" that will be made available at a secure location. [More...]

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Kirstjen Nielsen's Resignation

Once again, Donald Trump has catered to his underninformed, xenophobic voter base. He met with Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen Sunday and asked for her resignation, which she readily provided. She'd had enough.

While the 30-minute meeting was cordial, Mr. Trump was determined to ask for her resignation. After the meeting, she submitted it.

What happened? [More...]

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New Book Trashes Jared and Ivanka for Self-Dealing

As inexperienced, untalented, and "bubble-ized" as we all know the Trump offspring to be, the new book "Kushner, Inc" shows just how much Donald Trump has imperiled the nation with his nepotism and the tawdry list of characters he has appointed and fired. It's hard to take sides when they are all so appalling.

White House staffers mocked Kushner as the “secretary of everything” for his wide-ranging meddling and derided Ivanka Trump’s team as Habi – “home of all bad ideas”.

...John Kelly, formerly Trump’s chief of staff and homeland security secretary, is quoted as dismissing the couple as “just playing government”.

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Trump Vetoes Funding Bill

Donald Trump has issued his first veto in response to Congress's rejection of his emergency declaration of a border crisis.

It's unlikely Congress will have the votes to override the veto. Still, at least some Republicans refused to go along with Trump's shenanigans.

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Trump Wants $8.6 Billion for Worthless Wall

Donald Trump is asking Congress to pass his budget bill includes $8.6 billion to help pay for his worthless wall.

I do not want a wall. We do not need a wall. Mexico will not pay for a wall. America will not see a dime from El Chapo. Instead, Americans will pay $60,000. a year to warehouse him at Supermax in Florence (assuming that's where he is designated to serve his sentence.) [More....]

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Trump's Most Deranged Speech Yet?

Donald Trump went off-script today in his speech at Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. It may have been the most deranged speech he has given yet (in addition to making out with the American flag -- I pity the poor thing.)

"Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border. Think of that. True story told to me by the Border Patrol. Think of how evil that is."

..."They are embracing open borders, socialism, & extreme late-term abortion...lawmakers in NY cheered as they passed legislation to allow babies to be ripped from the womb of their mothers. Right up to the very moment of death... the will execute the baby."

If you had any doubt that the United States is leader-less and running on empty,this speech is all you need. [More...]

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Former Campaign Staffer Sues Trump

Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign staffer, sues Donald Trump for a forcible unwanted kiss and lower pay than males and non-African American employees received.

The Complaint is here. In the Introduction, Johnson alleges

Plaintiff Alva Johnson brings this lawsuit to hold the President of the United States, Defendant Donald J. Trump, accountable for his sexually predatory conduct.

The Complaint recites the long litany of such claims against Donald Trump. She is suing the Trump campaign and Trump individually on her behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated.

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Mueller Report Almost Done

The Special Counsel (Team Mueller) report on Russia and the Trump Campaign should be out soon.

I wonder if Donald Trump, Jr. gets a pass.

While I don't expect that his father will get indicted, I think he will receive the distinct dishonor of being the man who sits at the desk in the Oval Office with the most number of indicted aides during his time there, ever.

My next thought: I wonder if the next person to occupy the office will insist on fumigating it first, and all new furniture. I sure would.

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Un-President's Day #3 Open Thread

Oh well, at least most people have the day off.

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Trump's State of the Union

Has anyone thought of taking their blood pressure before and during Trump's State of the Union speech? Mine would rise so much I'm not going to risk it by watching.

If you are watching, please fill us in.

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Trump to Announce Temporary Deal on Shutdown

Donald Trump is making an a announcement that he has reached a deal to re-open the government for three weeks with border wall funding put to the side.

Press conference live here.

He claims Democrats agree a border wall is a necessary part of a security plan. Really?

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Trump's Border Speech

Here is the text of Donald Trump's prime time border speech to the nation.

Repeating anything Donald Trump says just spreads his fear-mongering agenda and keeps it alive. I'm done with that. Just as I'm done with hearing his voice (the mute button is there for a reason).

Yes, it's important to read the legal documents (executive orders, proclamations and the like) he signs but it is absolutely a waste of time to read or listen to what he says or writes about them. He doesn't have the attention span to read the fine print and probably can only understand the Cliff Notes version.

Donald Trump doesn't even understand the government shutdown. I have no interest in watching a speech written by staffers who are pulling the strings of the puppet with a desk in the Oval office who acts like he was elected King.

If America is in a crisis, it's because of Donald Trump -- not refugees and asylum seekers or drug traffickers at and below the southern border.

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Judge Berates Flynn for Attempt to Minimize his Crime

The Atlantic is correct: Michael Flynn's lawyers badly miscalculated when they filed their sentencing memorandum claiming the FBI's failure to warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie to the FBI during a voluntary interview was mitigation for sentencing.

Judge Emmet Sullivan, however, who was set to issue Flynn’s sentence on Monday, was not sympathetic. “How is raising these points consistent with accepting responsibility?” he asked Flynn and his lawyers as they stood before him at the lectern on Tuesday. He then lambasted Flynn for lying to federal agents on White House grounds while serving as the president’s top national-security adviser in January 2017, and for lying about his lobbying work for the Turkish government. “Arguably, you sold out your country,” Sullivan said.

He added that while he would take Flynn’s 33-year public-service career and cooperation into account when sentencing him, he would not try to hide his “disdain” and “disgust” for Flynn’s crimes, and asked the government at one point whether Flynn’s conduct rose to the level of treason.

Flynn's sentencing was continued to March. He's still cooperating (in the case of his partners working with him on behalf of Turkey to "remove" the cleric Turkey believes is responsible for the 2016 coup against President Erdogan from PA to Turkey)for prosecution who were indicted a few days ago.

The Judge may cool off by March, but his lawyers' attempt to minimize his conduct after he pleaded guilty by portraying him as a victim of the FBI was a poor strategy.

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Trump Denies Telling Cohen to "Break the Law"

Donald Trump today denied telling Michael Cohen to break the law.

“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” he said. “He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid.”

"Advice of counsel" as a defense is rarely successful. By asserting it, a defendant may end up waiving his attorney-client privilege. The D.C. District Court held in the Manafort case:

"Communications otherwise protected by the attorney-client privilege are not protected if the communications are made in furtherance of a crime, fraud, or other misconduct." [More...]

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Gov't Sentencing Memo on Cohen: Mostly Bluster

The US Attorney's office for the SDNY berates Michael Cohen for his "selective cooperation" in its latest sentencing memo. It then repeatedly asks for a "substantial sentence"

Except, don't miss the part where it says it concurs with the Probation Department that his guideline range is 51 to 63 months. It also says probation is recommending a downward variance to 42 months. It then agrees he should receive some sort of downward variance for his cooperation:

And while the Office agrees that Cohen should receive credit for his assistance in the SCO investigation, that credit should not approximate the credit a traditional cooperating witness would receive, given, among other reasons, Cohen’s affirmative decision not to become one. For these reasons, the Office respectfully requests that this Court impose a substantial term of imprisonment, one that reflects a modest downward variance from the applicable Guidelines range (my emphasis).

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