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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Stephanie Mencimir: Our unlikely bond only grew stronger when we were both diagnosed with cancer this spring. On paper, Robin Stublen and I should never have been friends. He was a Donald Trump-supporting self-identified redneck who hated Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, thought liberals were ruining the country, was deeply offended by NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, and supported oil drilling off the coast of Florida, where he lived. I am a bleeding-heart liberal who fears what Donald Trump is doing to the country, thinks it's about time that political protests hit the NFL sidelines, and abhors oil drilling off the coast of Florida, even though I don't live there and never will. Improbably, though, we were friends, at least until this month: Robin died on December 19 at the age of 61. read more

Friday, December 22, 2017

There are some important things the public doesn't know about the so-called "Trump dossier," such as whether the FBI used information from the dossier to win court permission to spy on Americans. But the most important question about the dossier is the simplest: Is it true? In a seven-hour interview with the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly declined to answer whether the bureau has been able to verify the substantive allegations in the dossier, or even to identify a substantive allegation that has been corroborated, according to sources familiar with the questioning. read more

A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly -- and perhaps criminally -- mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans. A subset of the Republican members of the House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes of California, has been quietly working parallel to the committee's high-profile inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. They haven't informed Democrats about their plans, but they have consulted with the House's general counsel. read more

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló says he plans to mobilize 5.3 million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland to shake up the midterm elections in states ranging from Florida to California. Rosselló, a Democrat and member of the island's pro-statehood New Progressive Party, is infuriated about a Republican tax plan that he says could hobble the island's economy even as thousands of residents remain without power and water three months after Hurricane Maria. "Everybody has seen the damage of the storm and yet policy decisions go in the opposite direction of where they should go," Rosselló said in an interview with Politico on Tuesday. "We're not just going to stand by. We are going to take action." read more

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday said "nobody knows" whether the Republican tax cuts will spur enough growth to pay for themselves "because that's in the future." Ryan's comment came just hours before House Republicans were scheduled to hold a final vote to pass a bill containing massive, permanent corporate tax cuts, and temporary tax reductions for individuals. Appearing on NBC's Today show, Ryan, R-Wis., was asked if the tax cuts would add to the deficit at all because of the growth the GOP expects it to generate. "Nobody knows the answer to that question because that's in the future," he replied, "but what we do know is that this will increase economic growth." read more


#19 I imagine this is what Trump has in mind: Get rid of Rosenstein (and McCabe, Baker and anyone else who worked Comey) and replace him with a Trump loyalist during the Christmas recess:

And while it's true that any permanent replacement for the DAG position would be required to go through a Senate confirmation hearing, Rosenstein would in the meantime be replaced by someone else. One path would involve turning next to the attorney who's next in line at DOJ, Rachel Brand... . Other paths available to the president include finding a Senate-confirmed official somewhere in the administration (Trump would not be restricted to picking someone from DOJ) under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, or an admittedly longer shot but picking anyone inside or outside of government to serve as Acting DAG as a recess appointment if the Senate is out of session for 10 days in a row.

In short, the president has one move he can make in which the benefits to him might outweigh the costs. Since Rosenstein is his own political appointee, Trump has great discretion in deciding whether to remove him and can do it quickly and directly. And by removing Rosenstein but not touching Mueller, Trump can claim that he is in fact not trying to interfere with the Russia investigation at all: Indeed, it could be very hard to prove otherwise, which insulates him significantly from further obstruction charges. Firing Rosenstein but keeping Mueller gives the president the ultimate political and legal protection, and the crystal ball-gazers need to consider it.

"Sorry that kills your narrative."

Nope, you know Donnie's always got to be special:

Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump www.washingtonpost.com

Donald Trump, Felix Sater and the Mob: Lawyers Push to Unseal Court Documents They Say Could Show Fraud by President www.newsweek.com

Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership
An insider describes the Bayrock Group, its links to the Trump family and its mysterious access to funds. It isn't pretty. www.bloomberg.com

Why Robert Mueller Has Trump SoHo in His Sights
The Russian money trail leads right through the president's troubled project in downtown Manhattan. A series of e-mails reveals new details. www.vanityfair.com

Will Donald Trump's ties to a criminal hurt his campaign? www.washingtonexaminer.com

Trump swam in mob-infested waters in early years as an NYC developer www.washingtonpost.com

Just because the WSJ elected not to run the story does not mean it is true.

Trump's mob ties are real, and many outlets touched on them:

Yes, Donald Trump has been linked to the mob www.politifact.com

A scary list of Donald Trump's mob ties in Atlantic City and New York www.rawstory.com

Donald Trump and the mob www.cnn.com

Donald Trump walks out over questions about his mafia connections during BBC Panorama interview www.independent.co.uk

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