Live Feed: LTG McMaster’s Press Conference

LTG McMaster, the Assistant to the President-National Security Advisor (APNSA), is scheduled to hold a press conference at 11:30 AM EDT. As BettyC wrote this morning, the President’s 7 AM tweets seem to have completely undercut the statements of LTG McMaster, his senior deputy Dina Powell, and Secretary of State Tillerson from late yesterday afternoon/early yesterday evening. I would expect that this morning’s press conference will be a further attempt to redirect and conduct crisis communications to manage these reports rather than to create further crises.

Here is a link to the (now correct) live feed:

292 replies
  1. 1
    Calouste says:

    We’ll see if McMaster has any honor left or whether he is just a chump.

  2. 2
    germy says:

    I think “redirect” is the key word here.

  3. 3
    The Moar You Know says:

    If he has anything like the brain he’s supposed to have the only thing he can say is “I quit”. I’m betting that intellect of his is overrated and he stays.

  4. 4
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Calouste: anybody with honor or dignity would have quit on their first day, or even earlier.

  5. 5
    Adria McDowell (formerly Lurker Extraordinaire says:

    Hey sir,

    Resign your position as head of NSC and drop that retirement packet. It ain’t gonna get better.

    Signed,

    Every grunt, POG, and leg that’s ever had a bad CO

  6. 6
    rikyrah says:

    Preet Bharara is on the Warpath Against Trump

    by Martin Longman
    Mon May 15th, 2017 at 01:20:33 PM EST

    Preet Bharara is the inspiration for the character played by Paul Giamatti on Showtime‘s hit program Billions. I’m not sure how he feels about that since the portrayal isn’t entirely sympathetic, but it’s an indication of Bharara’s reputation in certain powerful circles, as well as of the importance of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. As the show indicates, the Southern District covers Wall Street, and investigating the richest people in America for possible indictment is not a job for the weak kneed.

    After coming into office, Trump quickly asked for the resignations of the currently serving U.S. Attorneys, but he made an exception in Bharara’s case. He explicitly asked Bharara to stay on, which may have been an acknowledgement of his reputation or simply admiration for his status as a fellow celebrity. I don’t know.

    What was more significant was that the president quickly changed his mind and fired Bharara, and that this decision came at a time when rumors were circling that Bharara might be investigating him or his cabinet.

    At first, Bharara expressed his astonishment and displeasure but was fairly muted about it. That’s changing now.

    Over the weekend, he had a piece published in the Washington Post that called for “a truly bipartisan investigation in Congress” of Russian interference in our election. It also called for “an independent and uncompromised special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.”

    And then today, Bharara took to Twitter to comment on rumors that Trump is thinking about firing a bunch of his senior staff.

  7. 7
    Calouste says:

    @MobiusKlein: There’s that. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that his sense of duty overrode his honor when he took the job, bit it is clear now that he is just asked to put up a front for the indefensible, just to get stabbed in the back the next day.

  8. 8
    Immanentize says:

    Is anyone else here a fan of Was Not Was? This whole thing is making me think of one of their songs:

    JFK told Kruschev I’ll leave Castro alone
    If you take away those missles
    They’re too damn close to home
    The CIA, the Cubans and the underworld bosses
    Decided that was it, they had to cut their losses

    At eleven miles an hour
    Such a deadly speed
    Eleven miles an hour
    At the time and place agreed
    They pulled their limousine
    Down Elm Street slow and clean
    Lead fell like a shower
    At eleven miles an hour

  9. 9
    Bernie says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Yes, because everyone’s answer should be to run away, instead of staying in a position where you might be able to mitigate some of the damage. Way to put party above country.

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s Morally Repugnant Argument About the ‘Undeserving Sick
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 16, 2017 7:02 AM

    For decades now the Republicans have leaned on the idea of the “undeserving poor” to garner support for their attempts to do away with the social safety net. We’ve seen it in everything from Ronald Reagan’s reference to “welfare queens” to Romney’s attempt to define almost half the country as simply voting for Democrats because they give people “free stuff.”

    We are now witnessing that same kind of argument being employed in order to defend Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare. Arguments are starting to surface about the “undeserving sick.” The groundwork for that was laid by Paul Ryan in his power point presentation about how those with pre-existing conditions are driving up the costs of insurance for those who are healthy.

    It was first and foremost a ridiculous claim in which Ryan demonstrated that he either doesn’t understand how insurance works or thinks he can fool the rest of us into not understanding. But underlying the argument is the idea that those who need medical care can/should be cordoned off from the rest of us who are healthy, as if any of us at any given moment might not face the reality of a change into which group we belong. That set up the “us vs them” way of framing things.

    As I wrote recently, Rep. Mo Brooks took it the next step.

    In a CNN interview, Representative Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, makes the case for Trumpcare in much starker terms: It will free healthy people from having to pay the cost of the sick. “It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy,” explained Brooks. “And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

    In other words, the Republican health care bill protects “people who lead good lives” from those who don’t. The latter are the “undeserving sick.”

  11. 11
    Это курам на смех says:

    @Immanentize: Does polonium change the flavor of ice cream?

  12. 12
    clay says:

    @The Moar You Know: It’s possible that he’s just smart enough to think he can fix this. (By “this”, I mean this whole fucking mess that the country finds itself in.) Or, at least, think that he’s the thumb in the dyke to prevent something worse.

    If he quit, who knows? Trump might try to appoint Flynn again!

  13. 13
    cervantes says:

    The generous interpretation is that McMaster was trying to put out the fire with the country (possibly Saudi Arabia) that provided the intelligence. I.e. his motive was not to protect Orange Julius so much as to tamp down the consequences of the incident. What he might say this morning, however, is hard to imagine.

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    @Calouste:

    We’ll see if McMaster has any honor left or whether he is just a chump.

    Smart money is on chump. That’s the problem with trumpsubstantiation.

  15. 15
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah: this is so true. I’ve been blowing this horn in my work since the ’90s. My friend and I came up with a term for it — Prison Keynesianism –. Half the poor will be in prison while the other half are employed as police and prison guards. See, also, Clockwork Orange. Race will be a factor.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    If this muthaphucka here doesn’t go down and STFU

    The Hill

    @thehill

    JUST IN: Mitch McConnell supports Merrick Garland to replace James Comey as FBI director http://hill.cm/zn2Dcc6
    9:01 AM – 16 May 2017

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    Carrie Johnson‏Verified account @johnson_carrie

    BREAKING: Two friends of Merrick Garland tell me he “loves being a judge and he intends to remain on the bench” despite calls to run FBI.

  18. 18
    Immanentize says:

    @Это курам на смех: Mistake made! I read plutonium, not polonium!! polonium will never be used for that purpose. Too valuable. Radioactive waste is much more useful. Two birds and all that. But I think that people use tea or coffee to mask the bitter metallic aspects.

    Now the Bulgarians and their ricin umbrella — that was spy craft!

  19. 19
    Corner Stone says:

    Any D who says with a straight face that Garland is the right pick to head FBI needs to be having a Come to Jesus meeting ASAP.

  20. 20
    Walker says:

    @rikyrah:

    This is a Republican ploy to open up a seat on the D.C. Court

  21. 21
    Calouste says:

    @Roger Moore: It was a rhetorical question.

  22. 22
    Jeffro says:

    @rikyrah: Mitch is a douche par excellence and I hope someday karma catches up with him. Someday soon.

  23. 23
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I can’t see that podium without thinking of Melissa McCarthy.

  24. 24
    clay says:

    @rikyrah: Has anyone asked Garland if he even wants or would take the job? It’s hard to see how any half-way intelligent person would leave a lifetime, influential judgeship to join the self-immolation of the Trump administration.

    Until Garland says anything, I’ll assume that Repubs are just spitting into the wind when they mention his name.

    EDIT: Ah, I see your follow-up post. That’s what I figured.

  25. 25
    Edward Marshall says:

    Is this the right feed? It says Spicer from April.

  26. 26
    Immanentize says:

    Garland would be a super FBI head. His work in Oklahoma City was definitely a management success and filled with integrity. But I doubt he would answer the call from Trump only to be fired in a month.

  27. 27
    Jeffro says:

    Nickel bet McMaster resigns…comeoncomeonpleaseberightforonce…

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    As I mentioned to Adam the other day, there might have been a time when a patriot could try to make the argument that it was better to serve your country from inside this admin. But we are very, very far beyond that point now. There are no checks on what Trump may/will do next. The after action clean ups or trying to repair breaches with allies/friends will always be undermined by Trump himself. Any time you are asked to come out and make a statement you should say sure thing, in 24 hours.
    There is no honor in serving this administration. You can’t save the country from Trump.

  29. 29
    Calouste says:

    @Immanentize: Polonium was used to assassinate a Russian dissident on London a few years back. And the amounts you need are so small that taste won’t be a concern. Still very expensive though.

  30. 30
    Elie says:

    I cant think why he would have a press conference. What can he say?

    This whole regime is dangerously incompetent and unstable without any sign of righting itself. Things will continue to get worse – I see catastrophe ahead without instruments to save us because the Congress is dysfunctional and corrupt. I hope that changes before it’s too late

  31. 31
    Chyron HR says:

    @rikyrah:

    This is just an excuse to recycle their “We did what the liberals wanted and they’re STILL complaining” arguments from last week.

  32. 32
    rikyrah says:

    Trump’s Leak to Russians Was Worse Than Reported
    May 16, 2017
    By Taegan Goddard

    Erick Erickson says he knows one of the sources who told the Washington Post that President Trump gave classified information to the Russian foreign minister and “the source is solidly supportive of President Trump, or at least has been and was during Campaign 2016.”

    “But the President will not take any internal criticism, no matter how politely it is given. He does not want advice, cannot be corrected, and is too insecure to see any constructive feedback as anything other than an attack. So some of the sources are left with no other option but to go to the media, leak the story, and hope that the intense blowback gives the President a swift kick in the butt. Perhaps then he will recognize he screwed up. The President cares vastly more about what the press says than what his advisers say. That is a real problem and one his advisers are having to recognize and use, even if it causes messy stories to get outside the White House perimeter.”

    “I am told that what the President did is actually far worse than what is being reported.”

  33. 33
    Immanentize says:

    @Calouste: yes. I totally agree I fixed my comment as soon as I could . I read it wrong. Sorry….

  34. 34
    Kay says:

    It’s weirdly fascinating waiting to find out just how much Republicans and the wealthy people who bankroll Republicans will trade for a tax cut.

    They made this trade. Now we’re all going to pay for it. The only question is how much we’ll pay- the amount we’ll have to sacrifice to get the top 1% their tax cut.

  35. 35
    rikyrah says:

    How Trump Hurts the Spying Business
    New York Times
    May 16, 2017

    The man seated across from me had been a spy for the United States for several decades. Recruited by a C.I.A. officer, this man, at great risk to his and his family’s lives, had provided critically important intelligence that formed the basis of innumerable raw intelligence reports, some of which found their way into the President’s Daily Brief.

    We met because he wanted to tell me something. With tears in his eyes, he explained that he was drawn to work for us by the idea of America — that America stood for justice, decency and freedom and against tyranny, oppression and injustice. He said that he agreed to divulge critical secrets about his government’s leaders and his country’s capacities — not because the agency had compromising material on him (it did not) and not for money (he was paid, but not much), but because he believed in America.

    This man’s story is hardly unique. Many people agree to become spies for the C.I.A. because they see a stark difference between our ideals and the repressive and brutal regimes of their own countries.

    A friend told me recently about one of his best recruits, a full-fledged member of a terrorist organization. This person was captivated by the prospect that after his days of spying against terrorists were over, he might be able go to the United States and pursue the American dream. He, too, viewed America as embracing the world’s downtrodden and dispossessed, not their oppressors, and offering everyone the opportunity to succeed.

    Both of these men romanticized America, and no doubt the C.I.A. officers who recruited them played on their somewhat exaggerated image of this country. But that image of the United States as the “last best hope of earth,” proclaimed by our leaders for decades, is an enormously effective recruiting tool, not least because it has always had a ring of truth.

    I am reminded of these recruits, and many others like them, when I hear the Trump administration lavish praise on autocrats, when it tries to close our borders to refugees from war-torn countries and when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proclaims that the United States must de-emphasize human rights.

    This departure from decades of bipartisan foreign policy is rightly criticized for ignoring the critical role that “the American idea” plays in promoting our interests abroad, particularly when it comes directly from the president and the secretary of state.

  36. 36
    Tom says:

    Taking the other side of this argument, McMasters was a tank company commander who fought one of the most brilliant tactical actions of the first Gulf War. He has been widely regarded as being one of the Army’s best senior officers. I’d far rather have him in this thankless position that whatever piece of compromised imbicility would be brought in to replace him (if the Vatican turns her down, Calista Gingrich would be available).

  37. 37
    LAO says:

    Has he said anything of interest? Can’t watch — my computer is acting all tetchy.

  38. 38
    opiejeanne says:

    @The Moar You Know: Can he quit, though? He was active duty when he was appointed and I thought someone explained to us that he had no choice to turn down the appointment because of that.

  39. 39
    Tom says:

    @Corner Stone: I disagree. There is a great deal of honor in trying to mitigate the damage that Trump is doing and will continue to do, no matter how thankless the task or ultimately unsuccessful the outcome may be.

  40. 40
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    Congressional Republicans could do a lot. Congress has huge power. They decided not to, because they want to cut taxes.

    They have not done one thing to rein in Trump. This is a straight-up trade. They’ve decided ordinary people will take all the risk and that’s okay, in return for tax cuts.

  41. 41
    GregB says:

    In times of crisis that we find ourselves in, I rest easier knowing that Invanka Trump is one of the top advisers to the President.

  42. 42
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Adria McDowell (formerly Lurker Extraordinaire: What if McMaster was the individual who saw the threat that the Russians could have blackmailed Trump and was the one who approved the leak to the media, to achieve what Adam described yesterday? From that perspective, he did the nation a service. Is that a task we want put in the hands of another compromised flunkie, like Flynn?

  43. 43

    @Edward Marshall: Yeah, I got a pre-Easter Sean Spicer press briefing.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @opiejeanne: He can announce his retirement and thereby his resignation. He had been told prior to this appointment that there would not be a 3 star command or 4 star promotion for him and he should prepare for retirement from his then assignment of Deputy Commanding General, US Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Director of US Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC).

  45. 45
    Tom says:

    @Jeffro: Today would be good.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rikyrah:

    I still say that Garland’s response to the offer will be one of the three I told G to give when the company that had laid him off asked him to come back for less pay and a lower title: No; Hell, no, or; Go fuck yourselves.

  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    Administration Scales Back Obamacare Options For Small Biz
    Published MAY 16, 2017 9:39 AM

    Small businesses will no longer be able to use a platform on the HealthCare.gov Obamacare exchanges to offer their employees insurance plans, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

    The move to scale back the enrollment portal, known as the Small Business Health Options Program (or SHOP), has minimal practical import — it was used by some 8,000 employers to cover a cumulative 40,000 employees, according to the Journal — but symbolically it represents the Health and Human Service Department’s efforts to wind down certain administrative aspects of Obamacare, while Republican lawmakers seek to repeal parts of the law.

    The roll back of the SHOP exchanges was announced by the Trump administration Monday in a statement in which Seema Verma, the director of Centers for Medicare/Medicaid, said that the “goal is to reduce ACA burdens on consumers and small businesses and make it easier for them to purchase coverage.”

  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Garland would be a terrible choice to head FBI, even if it weren’t just a transparent ruse to get him off the federal bench. However, as a sitting federal judge, he’d be an excellent choice to head an independent commission to investigate the trump/Russia business.

  49. 49
    Kay says:

    John McCain‏Verified account
    @SenJohnMcCain
    Time Pres spent sharing sensitive info w Russians=time not spent on Ukraine, Assad atrocities& election interference

    Blah, blah, blah. Congressional Republicans do nothing.

    Time spent making weak and ineffective complaints about Donald Trump = time not spent doing anything about Trump

  50. 50
    JPL says:

    @Kay: True! McConnell also wants Garland at the FBI, in order to put a conservative on the 11th circuit court. Trump would fire Garland after being on the job for a week.

  51. 51
    GregB says:

    Oh and Merrick Garland has said he has no interest in being Mitch McConcsciousless’ stooge.

  52. 52
    Bruce K says:

    Given the circumstances of the intel exposure … there have to be two witnesses, right?

    That’s the bar set by Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution. “Two witnesses to the same overt act.” (Or confession in open court, but given the cheeto, fat chance of getting that.)

    And if you could get a few Republicans who actually remember their oath was to the Constitution, and take the time to read it, then they might realize that if Article III, Section 3 applies, then that means Article II, Section 4 applies … right?

  53. 53

    Hate to say, I told you so but the brass is not going to save us. That includes McMaster, along with Kelly and Mattis.

  54. 54
    Calouste says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think Garlands’ best response would be to pretend he is interested, draw things out for a bit, and them say no anyway

  55. 55
    amk says:

    Turns out, Hillary's email server was more secure than Trump's mouth.— OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) May 16, 2017

  56. 56
    Barbara says:

    @rikyrah: I will say it to anyone. A lot of our power is actually very soft, the result of having earned the trust and sometimes the admiration of people around the globe. That kind of power cannot be enforced, it can only be used. Think about it this way. Would the USA ever let a sovereign nation build military bases on our soil? Yet, many nations have extended to us that very privilege. Trump can bellow whatever he wants about doing this or that to ISIL, but if Turkey won’t let us use their airspace or Bagram Air Force Base, or Saudi Arabia wants advance notice for any fighter jets taking off in order to give permission, well, Donnie won’t be able to take his war very far. I am sure Erdogan will be delivering that very message. Trump is an idiot.

  57. 57
    Zach says:

    This is the wrong link. Here’s the live feed – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOABDwKlPG8

  58. 58
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Sorry – deleted that one. Out of date.

    McMaster’s presser is here.

  59. 59
    Betty Cracker says:

    @GregB: Thank dog! I thought he’d be too smart to fall into their trap, but it’s good to have confirmation of that.

  60. 60
    Adam L Silverman says:

    So it is looking like this is going to be all about the President’s first foreign trip.

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    Why is McMaster giving the agenda for the trip? Is this usual that the NSA briefs the press on things like this?

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kay: I believe this is what you are looking for:

  63. 63
    Lizzy L says:

    I don’t think we need to worry about Garland — he likes his current job. Mitch McConnell is trolling. Weak sauce, dude.

    I think it’s very likely that McMaster was the leaker. At some point we might even know for sure who it was. Maybe sooner rather than later…

  64. 64
    Zach says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This is quite an itinerary for a first foreign trip. Where’s the time for golf??

  65. 65

    @Kay:
    Tax cuts are a side issue. Gorsuch would have had no effect on tax cuts, and Gorsuch is the only thing McConnell has gone balls-to-the-wall for. This is about voter suppression and gerrymandering. It’s about white power. McConnell knows damn well how Republicans got the presidency despite a massive popular vote loss, he knows that same election rigging applies to all Republican power, and the rest of the Republicans know it, too. Ryan is a true Randian, but he is very much in the minority.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    I think we can tell from the way McMaster laughed off how “Sean tells me there may be other questions” huh huh huh, that we aren’t going to get any new news from this.

  67. 67
    rikyrah says:

    NBC News‏Verified account @NBCNews

    Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort got a $3.5 million mystery mortgage, but paid no tax http://nbcnews.to/2pGneB4

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Zach: Good catch. Sorry bout that. I have fixed it up top. Thanks!

  69. 69
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Corner Stone: Visualize, if you can, a world in which the President does his job and we don’t worry that he will tell our adversaries the country’s deepest secrets. Recall President Obama. Would be totally normal.

    In this case, trying to run the clock out.

  70. 70
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s always about the leakers with these guys, never the underlying action.

  71. 71
    Betty Cracker says:

    McMaster is flat-out lying. Leaks are the danger! Not Trump’s big goddamned mouth.

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Zach: I do not know. Golf, despite having lived in St. Andrews, is not really my thing.

  73. 73
    amk says:

    @Adam L Silverman: so, the usual nothing to see here bluster then?

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: This has been known for a while.

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    Ah, more non-denial denials. McMaster isn’t helping himself here.

  76. 76
    Betty Cracker says:

    Ask him why they had to run to the IC and clean up after Trump!

  77. 77
    hovercraft says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Yes this is normal, it’s just that normally it’s a non event because no one really cares about it. Yesterdays shitstorm is what’s making it a newsworthy event, plus since it’s Twitlers first foray into the world as pres, there was more interest than normal.

  78. 78
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    McMaster hiding behind classification. Easy to do.

  79. 79
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: If Trump declassified information, the Washington Post did not leak the information. I think it was Clapper who clarified, that you can’t leak information that is not classified. The Russian media was in the room.

  80. 80
    opiejeanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks. That clarifies it for me.

  81. 81

    @Betty Cracker: He is giving your governor competition for the Lex Luther role.

  82. 82
    Immanentize says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Military leaders rarely translate well to political leadership. For every Ike there are a hundred MacArthurs or Hagues or Norths or (McMaster/Kelly/Mattis). It’s just a very different skill set to lead by example rather than fiat.

  83. 83
    Betty Cracker says:

    “If the president did it, it’s appropriate.” Fucking lies and cover.

  84. 84
    hovercraft says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    As has been said repeatedly, everything and everyone Twitler touches turns to shit.

  85. 85
    rikyrah says:

    Mazel Tov Cocktail‏Verified account @AdamSerwer

    Sally Yates says Flynn’s name was left unredacted by intel agencies—not at the request of Obama officials. http://www.newyorker.com/news/.....ally-yates

  86. 86
    Zach says:

    McMaster is not good at this. Revealing that Trump made the decision, on the fly, to share confidential information… that could have been avoided.

  87. 87
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    McMaster’s talk so far is bullshit—a bullet-point itinerary with occasional rah-rah cheerleading about how awesome this or that speech is going to be. Also, he just said Trump is going to “meet bilaterally” with somebody. Good job.

    (I’m about five minutes behind on the DVR.)

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @amk: He’s answering questions now.

    @Corner Stone:
    From LTG McMaster’s perspective, or anyone with this type of reported leak, the imperative in the crisis communication is to not make it worse. As in not even accidentally give anything else away. Hence the non denial denial yesterday. Or, perhaps, the denial of things that weren’t actually reported yesterday. So far he’s done a pretty good job, but the question is whether he’ll be able to maintain that as he takes more and more questions on the same topic. As much as we all want to know what is going on, the smartest thing that LTG McMaster can do is follow the age old briefing guidance: be seen, be quick, be gone.

  89. 89
    tobie says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    McConnell knows damn well how Republicans got the presidency despite a massive popular vote loss, he knows that same election rigging applies to all Republican power, and the rest of the Republicans know it, too.

    Amen to this. This is about a lock on power forever and ever. The GOP did this by cheating–voter suppression for sure, and ballot rigging perhaps–and they’ll do anything to keep a stranglehold on this nation, Constitution be damned.

  90. 90

    @Immanentize: Pakistan also provides a lovely example of the inefficacy of military brass in civilian leadership.

  91. 91
    hovercraft says:

    The Western Wall is part of Israel, and then he ducks the follow up, says that’s a policy question.

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    McMaster is bad at this. Of course, given the material he has to work with…

  93. 93
    Zach says:

    Q: If it was OK for Trump to say in front of a member of the Russian media, can you repeat the information with us today?

  94. 94
    rikyrah says:

    You have no credibility dude. Nobody believes your bald azz.

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betty Cracker: He was already asked this. He said he had no knowledge of what was done by Bossert.

  96. 96
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    “Wholly appropriate” will be today’s meme.

  97. 97
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: At this point it is the smartest thing he could do.

  98. 98

    @rikyrah: What, aren’t you impressed by his shiny bald pate and glib lies?

  99. 99
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    This bullshit about ” all of this has been know by the media for months” doesn’t make sense. If the president chose to declassify, then how could it have been in the media for months. I’m not buying his bullshit, then again I may be more skeptical than most.

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    Terrell J. Starr‏Verified account @Russian_Starr

    Know that what Donald Trump is doing to America no black person in the history of blackness could’ve ever gotten away with. Удачи!

  101. 101
    raven says:

    @hovercraft: sheeeeet

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    @hovercraft: It’s normal for the person in McMaster’s position briefs on trip agendas? I guess I did not know that.

  103. 103
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Probably. But it won’t end the questions.

  104. 104
    JPL says:

    What breach of information? The f.king Russian media was in the room at the time. It’s okay for the citizens of Russia to know, but not us. wtf…

  105. 105

    @rikyrah: Neither could any woman of any color, or any other minority for that matter.

  106. 106
    rikyrah says:

    Quote of the Day
    May 16, 2017

    “Their credibility is completely shattered. They’ve engaged in serial lying to the American people on issues big and small –beginning with the crowd size photos. It’s unprecedented for an administration, from the top on down, to embrace a strategy of deception and lying. Even people who have built up reputations for integrity over a lifetime of public service, they risk squandering it in this administration.”

    — GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, quoted by Politico, on the Trump White House.

  107. 107
    hovercraft says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    No, they need Ari Fleicher or Tony Snow they were world class liars who didn’t look like they were lying even though you knew they were lying.

  108. 108
    Zach says:

    @hovercraft:

    If the president chose to declassify, then how could it have been in the media for months.

    It also undercuts Trump’s whole argument that this was for humanitarian reasons. Yes, everyone knows for months that USA takes laptop bombs SUPER seriously and probably everyone else should as well… no reason to tell Russia WHY we know this.

  109. 109
    Immanentize says:

    @schrodingers_cat: well played, friend. ☺️

  110. 110
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    And that’s it.

  111. 111
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack (phone): Mahmoud Abbas if I understand correctly. The President and his staff, including his bankruptcy attorney the US Ambassador to Israel have all pissed off the Israelis over the past week. The ambassador has referred to the Western Wall as being in occupied Palestinian Territory. His itinerary includes a speech that will, supposedly, be about Palestinian national determination. His forward prep team has briefed the Israelis to expect him to be coming with an outline/ideas for a peace agreement and that he expects them to respond accordingly (as in snap to).

    Expect Israeli intelligence to start leaking like a sieve.

  112. 112
    amk says:

    @rikyrah: yup, mcmaster seems to be just fine by defending the indefensible.

  113. 113
    hovercraft says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I’m not sure if it’s always him but I know that this was already scheduled before last nights shitstorm, Hallie Jackson was saying last night that the WH wouldn’t answer whether it would still happen or if he’d run and hide. I guess they chose to just bs their way though, after the hiding amongst the bushes and turning up the TV’s to cover their wailing.

  114. 114
    Immanentize says:

    @Corner Stone: McMaster was directed to brief on the travel arrangements then go out and get some Burger King for the boss Another person pwnd by Trump.

  115. 115
    Zach says:

    Well, McMaster made news: Trump’s decision to reveal until-then-code-word-classified intel was made on the spot; no consultation with intelligence community ahead of time.

    Could’ve easily been avoided by saying “I can’t discuss deliberations within the intelligence community”

  116. 116
    Steeplejack says:

    “It’s those pesky leakers!” The Scooby-Doo defense.

  117. 117
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah, about 30 seconds after I posted my comment. It was a bullshit PR dog-and-pony show for a flailing fail parade, but I guess that’s about what I expected.

  118. 118
    Chris says:

    @Immanentize:

    @schrodingers_cat: Military leaders rarely translate well to political leadership. For every Ike there are a hundred MacArthurs or Hagues or Norths or (McMaster/Kelly/Mattis). It’s just a very different skill set to lead by example rather than fiat.

    I’ve seen this in microcosm with my old ROTC roommate (as dogmatic and authoritarian a conservative as you please) becoming the leading whatever-it’s-called in charge of all the other front desk workers in his college dorm. The general review from the people beneath him was that the guy didn’t understand that he wasn’t in the military (or even ROTC), but insisted on running things as if he was. Or trying to, at any rate.

    Small example, but I have no trouble at all believing that the same thing happens in positions that actually matter.

  119. 119
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hovercraft: The new US Ambassador to Israel stated it was in contested and occupied Palestinian territory earlier in the week. One of the many reasons that the Israelis are pissed off at the President and his people.

  120. 120
    MCA1 says:

    @Corner Stone: Generally speaking, I agree. It’s a runaway train, and you might think you’re a wonderful brakeman, but that’s not going to help. The only possible reason for someone like McMaster to stay on would be as a mole for someone in the GOP power apparatus who wants a tightly documented impeachment case built, with a few silver bullets sprinkled in for good measure. He could be a patriotic hero if he intentionally took down Drumpf from inside the administration. If his reason for remaining is other than that, though, he’s been trumpsubstantiated.

  121. 121
    rikyrah says:

    The New York Times‏Verified account @nytimes

    Young black Democrats, ready to run in 2018, are rejecting the view that their party must court white voters

  122. 122
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Hey, Bibi, how’s that whole “building a foreign policy on trust of an administration full of white nationalists and anti-Semites” thing working out for you, you fucking wanker?

  123. 123
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hovercraft: There has been speculation for months about the reasons laptop, tablet, and other electronic devices ban on flights from select countries from the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. If this is the information, specifically the specifics of the potential threat, that was shared, then in a general way it was known. What is not publicly known is where this information was found, who found it, and who shared it with the US.

    Richard Engel has reported that his sources tell him that the President told the Russians whatever he told them in order to signal his willingness to work with them/ingratiate himself with them:

    Josh Marshall, rightly I think, argues that this type of attempted ingratiation with Russian officials is a sign of a much larger problem.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/e.....the-puppet

  124. 124
    JPL says:

    @MCA1: He’s a good soldier. Why did Powell stay?

  125. 125
    GregB says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I assume later on today Trump will stab our Kurdish partners in the back and will launch Gulen out of a cannon to get a warm attaboy from Strong Leader Erdogan.

  126. 126

    @Adam L Silverman: I am so old that I remember Prime Minister Netanyahu trying to undermine President Obama at every available opportunity. He should love T, no? Didn’t he want an R in the WH?

  127. 127
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Bibi and his patron Sheldon wanted this, and now they’re faced with this moron who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the round, but has decided that since every president for the last 50 years has failed to achieve peace he will do it just like that. I have no sympathy for Bibi and his racist friends who have done nothing but make a difficult situation more difficult and unsolvable at every turn. The Likudnicks and their Russian neanderthals are just like the GOP refusing to understand that they cannot fight demographics forever, it’s two states or lose control of Israel.

  128. 128
    rikyrah says:

    May 16, 2017
    Health Care Puts House in Play

    PPP’s new national poll finds that Republicans are facing significant backlash over the health care bill that’s having the effect of firing up Democrats and putting them in position to make major gains in the House next year.

    Democrats now have a 49-38 lead overall on the generic Congressional ballot, up from 47-41 a month ago. Even more notable though is that among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to turn out in the 2018 election, the Democratic lead balloons to 27 points at 61-34. The outcome of lower turnout midterm elections often hinges on which side is more engaged, and Democrats have the clear advantage at this point on that front- 63% of their voters say they’re ‘very excited’ about voting in next year’s election, compared to only 52% of Republicans who say the same.

    The American Health Care Act has been a complete disaster politically for Republicans. Only 25% of voters support it, to 52% who are opposed. Even among Republican voters there’s only 49% support for the measure, while Democrats (76%) are considerably more unified in their opposition to it. Voters say by a 20 point margin that they’re less likely to vote for a member of Congress who supported the AHCA- just 27% say they’re more likely to vote for a pro-AHCA candidate, compared to 47% who are less likely to vote for one.

    The health care debate has left Congress with a 15% approval rating and 68% of voters disapproving of it. Paul Ryan (25/59 approval) and Mitch McConnell (21/55 approval) are both very unpopular individually as well.

    The current health care debate is also stoking new found respect for the Affordable Care Act. By a 53/27 spread, voters say they prefer the current ACA to the new AHCA. And just 29% of voters say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act at this point, to 64% who would prefer to keep it and make fixes as necessary.

  129. 129
    amk says:

    @Adam L Silverman: the puppet being more loyal than the puppeteer himself?

  130. 130
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Couldn’t watch, but I guess the lingering question “does LTG McMaster have any integrity left?” has been answered.

  131. 131

    @JPL: That defense didn’t quite work in the Nuremberg trials.

  132. 132

    @Gin & Tonic: No. That is the collateral one offers when one agrees to work for T and his R enablers.

  133. 133
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: Yes.

    And I will state, for the record, that part of the solution to this ongoing crisis and set of problems has to be the institutional Democratic Party and a variety of center left to left of center organizations and groups fully embracing and empowering the people of color and demographic diversity (religious, ethnic, LGBTQ, female, etc) within the Democratic coalition, giving them the authority and responsibility, and letting them lead. You can’t count on this amazingly diverse demographic coalition to show up and vote if the folks they’re voting for, the folks those people hire or appoint (when they get appointment power), etc don’t reflect that diversity.

  134. 134
    Barbara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: But, but, his son in law is Jewish! A descendant of actual Holocaust survivors! And his grandkids are being raised as Jews! And all of his accountants have been Jews! Therefore, Trump is Israel’s BFF and Israel should totally stop talking smack about Donnie’s team! I mean, that is the level of thought that goes into this stuff for Trump. Not that I think Israel always has virtue on its side (an understatement).

  135. 135
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Nor should it.

  136. 136
    Timurid says:

    @hovercraft:

    Well, there is an Option C, but “ethnically cleanse the Palestinians and become North Korea on the Mediterranean” does not sound like a good time…

  137. 137
    amk says:

    twitler is boyd crowder.

  138. 138
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I’m thinking more puppy than puppet, he lives for that treat he gets when he’s good boy.

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I think there may still be two lanes on this issue. Some suggest he has been Trumped and the Dignity Wraith claims another persona. Others seem to say, this is what he has to do and he’s the best person we could have in that position right now.
    IMO, McMaster performed poorly yesterday when he read his previous statement out loud. And he performed very poorly today in that he knows the truth, can’t say it to the press, and so answers in ways that make it evident this story is worse than what we have seen in reporting.

  140. 140
    geg6 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Fuck Israel. Their asshole PM did his best to de-legitimize the previous president and his first SoS. And also did what he could to prop up Dolt 45. Fuck him and fuck them. I hope Dolt sells them out, too.

  141. 141
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: Also, the Adelson’s will give testimony in the legal case against Bibi when they arrive in Israel this week.

  142. 142
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @GregB: At this point anything is possible.

  143. 143
    MCA1 says:

    @Corner Stone: I just want someone either in the media or among Democratic lawmakers to start shouting “There’s a RAGING FIRE going on! And all you can talk about is who called the fire department?” No one’s calling them on this bullshit obsession with leakers. They won’t stop until someone outside liberal blogs points out how ludicrous it is.

  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    “Wholly appropriate” will be today’s meme.

    It makes me wonder if his team told him that any time he got hit with a tough question the phrase “wholly appropriate” should be employed. Because it doesn’t really mean anything, one way or the other.

  145. 145
    rikyrah says:

    Why Trump Looks So Compromised by the Russians
    by Martin Longman
    May 16, 2017 11:36 AM

    Less than a week ago, Politico Magazine published Susan Glasser’s piece: Russia’s Oval Office Victory Dance. At the time, there were three main narratives. First, there was the timing. Coming the day after the president unceremoniously fired FBI director James Comey for (many suspected) investigating his ties to Russia, it seemed a little inopportune to meet with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the White House. Second, since the American press was barred from the meeting there were no photographs. Yet, a Russian photographer was allowed in and his pictures quickly appeared on the Russian wire services, which even top Trump officials admitted was a boneheaded blunder, especially because it revealed that the controversial Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak was also in attendance. And, third, there was the question of why the meeting was happening at all, since it isn’t customary for our head of state to meet with another country’s foreign minister. Glasser explained this last part:

    The chummy White House visit—photos of the president yukking it up with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak were released by the Russian Foreign Ministry since no U.S. press was allowed to cover the visit—had been one of Putin’s asks in his recent phone call with Trump, and indeed the White House acknowledged this to me later Wednesday. “He chose to receive him because Putin asked him to,” a White House spokesman said of Trump’s Lavrov meeting. “Putin did specifically ask on the call when they last talked.”

    The meeting was Lavrov’s first in the White House since 2013—and came after several years of the Obama administration’s flat-out refusal to grant him an Oval Office audience, two former senior White House officials told me. “The Russians were begging us for years to do that,” one of the former officials said. “They were constantly pushing for it and we were constantly saying no.”

    This was interesting on several levels. Even before Russia was caught breaking into our political parties’ virtual filing cabinets and trying to affect the results of our presidential election, our government’s policy was to shun Sergey Lavrov. But Trump quickly granted the request. Originally, Lavrov was planning to come no closer to DC than Fairbanks, Alaska where he and Kislyak did in fact attend the Arctic Council. But suddenly he was being welcomed into the inner sanctum of the Oval Office with a photographer in tow.

  146. 146
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: To quote the oldest living former head of Shin Bet when discussing Netanyahu: ayn strategiq, raq takteeq/ no strategy, only tactics.

  147. 147
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hovercraft: I have no sympathy for them either. I was just reporting so you all could decide. Fair and balanced like…

  148. 148
    Corner Stone says:

    “Absolute right”
    “Wholly appropriate”

    A new drinking game or buzzword bingo session?

  149. 149
    Seanly says:

    @rikyrah:

    I would say that the Democratic Party doesn’t need to court racist white voters. I’m white and I vote straight Democratic at this point and I don’t want to see my party courting racists. We should court people on a progressive, inclusive, and empathic message that addresses their economic, security, environmental, judicial, and fairness concerns. How many times do those of us not in the party leadership need to shout that the way to win is not to be Republican Lite?

  150. 150
    Brachiator says:

    What a day. My local Starbucks could not process food orders because its payment systems were hacked (they graciously handed out free coffee). Cyber pirates may be holding Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” hostage. And I also have to deal with Moron-in-Chief in the White House. And it’s only Tuesday. Damn. I picked the wrong week to give up amphetamines.

  151. 151
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    BillO is that you? What have you done with Adam, I could have sworn that he could take you, did you poison him?

  152. 152
    rikyrah says:

    The Fallout From Trump’s Leak to the Russians: A Question of Competence
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 16, 2017 10:19 AM

    Last night we learned that Trump revealed classified information to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador during his meeting with them in the Oval Office last week. Before discussing the fallout from that leak, it is important to be clear about exactly what happened.

    First if all, what the president shared with the Russians wasn’t U.S. intelligence, it came from an unnamed ally.

    The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

    The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.

    Secondly, the Washington Post describes what the president leaked as “code-word information.” Amy Zegart explains:

    There are three basic levels of classified information. Confidential information is defined as anything that could reasonably be expected to “cause damage” to American national security if shared without authorization. Secret information is one step up, considered to have the potential to cause “serious damage” if revealed. Top Secret information is a higher classification level still, comprising anything that could reasonably be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage” to U.S. national security if revealed.

    Code word is beyond Top Secret. It limits access to classified information to a much narrower pool of people to provide an extra layer of security.

  153. 153
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @amk: I don’t know. The President has had very strange, as in way outside of the mainstream of either party and either party’s ideological spectrum, regarding the Soviet Union, NATO, and how the US should interact with them since the mid 1980s – shortly after he took a trip to Soviet Russia, partially at the insistence of Roger Stone. At least as he publicly began stating them then. He has consistently held these positions ever since. There is a lot of speculation regarding why he has these views, when he developed them, etc. At this point it really doesn’t matter. For all his being erratic, he is consistent on these positions and in adapting his pro Soviet cooperation views to pro Russian cooperation views after the fall of the Soviet Union.

  154. 154
    GregB says:

    If General McMaster is the one who has to tell Pres. Low-T that he can’t send the 82nd Airborne into Chicago, then I will understand his abasing conduct.

  155. 155
    MCA1 says:

    @JPL: Because as foolish as W was, he wasn’t a brainless single-celled organism with zero impulse control and a narcissism more powerful than a black hole that destroyed everyone who ever came into contact with him. He wasn’t a very good president, but he also wasn’t a walking, talking existential threat to the republic and every human within a large radius that was fundamentally incapable of being influenced positively by experts around him.

  156. 156
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Barbara: It is interesting that the only Jews he knows either have a lot of money (or that have a lot of money and he’s now related to), work with money, are his lawyers, and/or are his doctors.

  157. 157
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Another piece of news is that Trump is planning to visit sites of all three Abrahamic (I think his minions use the word “great”) religions to emphasize unity. I think I’ve seen something like this surmised or said before.

    I am finding myself without words more and more frequently these days. Here’s a try.

    The vainglory of arranging a trip to show the US President as the Great Unifier of the Abrahamic religions is beyond parody. Trump plans to give a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia and hold a tweet-fest with children in a state that clamps down on social media. The trip to Masada has been canceled, due to summer heat they say, but he is going to the Western Wall. I suppose he will school the Pope on Catholicism.

    I guess it will be a way to get news coverage.

  158. 158
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @geg6: Would you please, in the future, take the time to tell us how you really feel? Thanks!

  159. 159
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Corner Stone: It means “we will decide, you STFU.”

  160. 160
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hovercraft: Just checking to see if everyone was awake.

  161. 161
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @GregB: Considering that other than the rear detachment, they are forward deployed all over the place, I don’t think they’re going to get the nod regardless.

  162. 162
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: He won’t be going to any religious sites in Saudi. He is not Muslim and cannot be taken to the holy sites in Mecca. I doubt the Israelis are dumb enough to create the security nightmare that would ensue if they allowed him to visit the Temple Mount/Harem es Sharif. So I don’t see him visiting any Muslim holy sites on the itinerary.

  163. 163
    D58826 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Trump plans to give a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia

    He can barely recite “Jesus Loves Me’ and he is going to talk on Islam. Did the editors of the Onion join the WH nat. secuirty team w/o telling any one?

  164. 164
    hovercraft says:

    PPP Poll Has Support For Impeaching Trump 48-41, Health Care Issue Gives Dems 49-38 Lead Over GOP

    Only 40% of voters approve of the job Trump is doing to 54% who disapprove. For the first time we find more voters (48%) in support of impeaching Trump than there are (41%) opposed to the idea. Only 43% of voters think Trump is actually going to end up serving his full term as President, while 45% think he won’t, and 12% aren’t sure one way or the other.

    Voters are both having buyer’s remorse about the outcome of the 2016 election and wishing they could return to the good old days of 4 months ago. By an 8 point margin, 49/41, they say they wish Hillary Clinton was President instead of Trump. And by a 16 point margin, 55/39, they say they wish Barack Obama was still in office instead of Trump.

    Fuck them, these morons refused to listen and now they have buyers remorse? Fuck them, it’s too late now.

    One thing hurting Trump is that Americans expect honesty from their President and his aides, and they feel like they’re not getting it. Last week Trump tweeted that it was unreasonable to expect his press staff to always tell the truth, but 77% of voters say they do expect the President’s Press Secretaries to tell the truth all the time compared to only 14% who say that isn’t that expectation. Only 38% of voters say they consider Trump to be honest, to 55% who say they don’t think he is. And a majority of voters (51%) outright say they consider Trump to be a liar to 41% who say they disagree with that characterization.

    One issue that’s not going away is Trump’s failure to release his tax returns. 62% of voters continue to think he needs to release them, to only 29% who think it’s not necessary for him to. 61% would even support a law requiring candidates for President to release 5 years of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot, with just 28% opposed to such a provision.

    When it comes down to it voters don’t think Trump has delivered on the core promise of his campaign- just 34% think he has ‘Made America Great Again,’ while 55% think he has not.

    Yes it’s PPP but still we’re not four months in, Twitler hasn’t yet gone overseas and insulted anyone yet, just think how bad it will be at 6 months ( the new 100 day benchmark according to Twitler and his apologists).

  165. 165
    scav says:

    So, Trump was apparently bragging about his all the best top secret classified information that was totally reported in the media for months in order to impress the Russians and also to take care of their poor people in danger on planes because the Russians apparently couldn’t read our best top secret classified published in newspapers for months information. Are the Russians impressed yet? Could we maybe round up enough spare change so they can get a newspaper subscription and free up Trump’s time so he can get back to the important stuff like tax breaks and perfecting his golf swing?

  166. 166
    Chris says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Trump plans to give a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia

    Ah Christ. This is really going to suck.

  167. 167
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I can’t help thinking of the ghosts of Leonid Brezhnev and Yuriy Andropov looking and this, slapping their foreheads and saying “It was that easy?”

  168. 168
    Kay says:

    Apparently Team Trump called Trump “the leaker in chief” during the campaign.

    If political media knew this, shouldn’t they have told the public? Jesus Christ. Give people a fighting chance.

  169. 169
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    You make good points. My point was rhetorical: when two parties meet, it is by definition bilateral. And it’s a tell when a speaker starts larding up his speech with redundant and “fancy” verbiage to becloud the underlying meaning (or lack thereof) of what he’s saying. That was just the biggest clanger that struck my ear.

    As for McMaster’s presentation in general, I think it will only fan the flames. At one point—when asked about the city named in the leak (or “leak”) in question—he said (paraphrasing very loosely) something like, “Hey, we could all probably name some cities in ISIS-held territory, and the president didn’t tell the Russians anything that wasn’t already available from open-source reporting.” But he won’t name the city, and his statement is at odds with the fact that the White House staff was running around yesterday trying to scrub the transcript from Trump’s meeting with the Russians.

    I was glad to see in the aftermath on MSNBC that Kristen Welker said the press is going to keep arguing for the release of the transcript, since there are apparently no problems with it. // (My snark, not Welker’s.) I wish one of the reporters had asked McMaster point blank in the press conference to name the city. That would have been a priceless moment.

  170. 170
    SgrAstar says:

    @rikyrah: Of course yrtl wants Garland at the FBI. That would open up an opportunity for the evil empire to appoint another federalist society hack to an important court- the DC Circuit, and trump has shown that he’ll fire an fbi director gratuitously.

  171. 171

    @Kay: Political media==propaganda arm of the GOP

  172. 172
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Remember he famously didn’t want black people handling his money, and whenever he visited his c*a*s*i*n*o’s they had to hustle away the blacks people who were doing anything to do with money.
    He openly says that he only allows Jews to handle his money, nothing anti-Semitic there.

  173. 173

    @Adam L Silverman: What about the religious right and white nationalist view? Putin has been pretty popular among those circles if Thinking Housewife is any indication.

  174. 174
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Hasn’t anyone on his security detail seen The Kingdom?

  175. 175

    @Seanly:

    We should court people on a progressive, inclusive, and empathic message that addresses their economic, security, environmental, judicial, and fairness concerns. How many times do those of us not in the party leadership need to shout that the way to win is not to be Republican Lite?

    We are already doing these things. Describing the party leadership as ‘Republican Lite’ is ludicrous. Hillary had an extensive platform that was as or more liberal and progressive than Sanders’, with the biggest differences being that Sanders wanted to destroy rather than regulate the banks, and his regularly stated belief that minorities should shut up and stand in the back because class warfare was more important than their problems.

  176. 176
    Kay says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I learned watching A Handmaid’s Tale that “mayday” comes from the French words for “help me”

    For some reason I think about that a lot :)

    They didn’t help us.

  177. 177
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Hoocoodanode?

  178. 178
    Chris says:

    @hovercraft:

    “Well, no! I’m saying nice things about them! How can that be antisemetic?”

  179. 179
    Bruce K says:

    I put on my lawyer hat to think about the ramifications of the cheeto declassifying stuff on a whim and then revealing it to foreign representatives whose agendas are wildly divergent from the best interests of the United States.

    Now, my lawyer hat’s got a lot of dust and rust on it, but the conclusion I draw is this:

    If, absent the on-the-spur-of-the-moment declassification, the cheeto’s actions fell within the scope of Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, and within the scope of 18 USC 115 (Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities), then wouldn’t those actions be treasonous regardless of the declassification?

  180. 180
    Douglas says:

    @Kay:

    Apparently Team Trump called Trump “the leaker in chief” during the campaign.

    If political media knew this, shouldn’t they have told the public? Jesus Christ. Give people a fighting chance.

    What, and risk their access? Next you’ll be asking them to consider whether something is actually newsworthy instead of trying to get the most clicks.

  181. 181
    hovercraft says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Trump plans to give a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia

    See you’re a hater, where was your criticism of Obama when he went to Cairo and gave a speech about Islam? What you’re failing to grasp is that Obama could only manage to give one speech about Islam, (his own religion), but Twitler is a truly great leader who understand all three Abrahamic religions, and will bring them together as no one else in history has been able to do, just you wait and see. All this mishegas will be forgotten when he achieves everlasting peace for the entire world.

  182. 182
    opiejeanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: What’s stopping the Russians releasing the transcript of that meeting, or a video?

  183. 183
    Suffragette City says:

    After watching McMasters last night and today, have we reached the level of All the President’s Men yet?

  184. 184
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    ayn strategiq, raq takteeq/ no strategy, only tactics.

    And not even tactics, really…just flailing, flailing away.

  185. 185
    Corner Stone says:

    Can’t wait for foreign press to have a few rounds with Trump while he’s on his trip.
    Actually, I am still surprised he is actually going to go through with this foreign trip. i thought he would find some excuse to “reschedule”.

  186. 186
    Corner Stone says:

    Sen Heinrich (D-NM) is a cutie patootie.

  187. 187

    @hovercraft: All this Abrahamic religions this and Judeo-Christian that, is bullshit. There is no love lost between Sunni-Shia or Protestant and Catholic, forget this pantheistic love fest. It only exists in the imaginations of these religious fundie think tanks.

  188. 188
    Seth Owen says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Watching McMasters try to cope with this makes me think he owes the various senior officers he castigated in Dereliction of Duty an apology. While I am loathe to second-guess him because we simply don’t know enough, I think we do know enough to re-evaluate his own second-guessing of the military during the Johnson era. If anything, McMasters faces a much less morally ambiguous situation than they did. Johnson was no Trump.

    I think McMasters has a narrow window to save his reputation, probably measured in days.

  189. 189
    hovercraft says:

    @Chris:
    Yes I know, it’s like when people tell me how articulate I am, and how I don’t sound black, it’s a real compliment.
    I’m sure every Jewish person appreciates being told they are smart and good with money!
    He just knows how to flatter people, I’m sure his shtick will go over really well on his travels.
    Do you think he’s packed travel sized picture of his inaugural crowds and his electoral map to distribute to the people he meets on his travels?

  190. 190
    Bruce K says:

    @Suffragette City: I think we’re beyond All the President’s Men here. Cripes, it’s starting to sound like we’re at about a quarter past The Manchurian Candidate at this point.

  191. 191
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yup. Her portrayal = TFW the satire is so on the nose it feels more truthful than the reality.

  192. 192

    @Kay: Vichy Times is still out there soft pedaling the damage.

    ETA: How is Handmaid’s tale. T supporters are in a tizzy about it.

  193. 193
    Jeffro says:

    Two easily impeachable offenses in less than a week.

    Hey GOP leaders: we are going to make you pay for enabling this dangerous clown. Just a heads-up!

  194. 194
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: Tracking on your point. In this case I think it is a tell. The President has repeatedly made it clear that he despises multilateral negotiations and agreements and only likes bilateral ones. I think it has something to do with his understanding that all agreements must be zero sum and that he cannot be the one left holding the zero. It is like a tic with him and as a result he repeats it often.

  195. 195
    Barbara says:

    @opiejeanne: What’s stopping them? That they haven’t figured out the best way for extracting maximum advantage from the information. Keeping it quiet might be more valuable than releasing it. Otherwise, nothing.

  196. 196
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Jeffro: That remains to be seen. That takes us showing up to polls in a midterm, something Democrats are allergic to and Republicans do as a matter of course. And it will take us showing up to the polls in huge numbers, to overcome the gerrymandering and various vote suppression measures. Not to mention our current AG.

    We did it before, in 2006. But that’s one midterm out of many. It remains to be seen if that was a fluke, or something we can repeat with Trump.

    We’re hugely motivated. But so are they. If both bases show up and nobody else, we lose. It’s going to take more then us to finally break their grip.

  197. 197
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I talked about that last night. A concerted effort for penetration, and thereby influence, at all levels on the American right. Including the extreme right – political, religious, and social. Just as has been the case in Europe.

  198. 198
    Corner Stone says:

    @Seth Owen:

    I think McMasters has a narrow window to save his reputation, probably measured in days.

    Measured in sound bytes. It only matters how it plays on TV. That’s all that counts anymore.

  199. 199
    MattF says:

    @hovercraft: Ugh. There was a bunch of people I hung around with, some years ago. I got very weary of the constant requests for financial advice. I finally settled on “Buy low! Sell high!”

  200. 200
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Douglas: This was not a state secret and was often covered in reference to his John Barron and John Miller personas for dealing with the NY tabloid and non tabloid press in the 80s and 90s.

  201. 201
    hovercraft says:

    @Bruce K:

    The Manchurian Candidate

    We’re beyond that too, it’s like we’re living an amalgam of Manchurian and Dr. Strangelove.

  202. 202
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @opiejeanne: Nothing.

  203. 203
    jonas says:

    @hovercraft:

    it’s two states or lose control of Israel.

    They’ve considered these two options and gone with nr. 3: Turn Israel into a Jewish apartheid state.

  204. 204
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: Pretty much.

  205. 205
    Jeffro says:

    Also had no idea that Russia – the country that hacked our election – is an “ally” now, per McMaster today. You ok with that, McCain? Graham? Bueller? Bueller?

    Picture a world where China hacks the RNC and installs President Generic Democrat…PGD then goes on to profit from all her businesses (that are now able to charge double, and are always full of foreign diplomats looking to curry favor with PGD)…and then PGD brings Chinese agents into the Oval Office AND tells them classified info. A week after firing the FBI Director for continuing to look into what China did to help get PGD elected. What say ye, brave Republicans? “It’s legal for the President to leak classified info whenever she wants”, right?

  206. 206
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Seth Owen: It is what it is.

  207. 207
    hovercraft says:

    @Jeffro:
    The Turtle has said explicitly that all this shit doesn’t matter, all that matters is getting more right wing nut jobs onto the courts and tax cuts, deregulation and gutting the safety net, everything else is just noise, eyes on the prize.

  208. 208
    jonas says:

    @hovercraft:

    Trump plans to give a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia

    Given that the Saudis will be the last group he talked to before making the speech, he’ll probably practically convert on the spot to Islam. Remember the Israelis are pissed now because the last person to talk to Trump was Mahmud Abbas and now Trump’s declaring that East Jerusalem is part of the West Bank and everything. Tomorrow he’ll order bombing the Kurds because of something Erdogan says.

  209. 209
    Mike J says:

    @rikyrah: Never heard any Dem say he should step down from his lifetime appointment and take a job where trump could fire him and replace him on the court. This was Republican ratfucking from the get-go.

  210. 210
    MJS says:

    @Corner Stone: We’ll see if the foreign press gets any access to Trump. Romney crapped the bed on his trip abroad during the 2012 campaign, and Mittens is significantly more intelligent than Trump. This has the potential to be highly entertaining, in a disaster movie kind of way.

  211. 211
    JMG says:

    @MJS: Press access in Saudi Arabia isn’t much of an issue. But Rome and Tel Aviv could be wild.

  212. 212
    Chris says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    It only exists in the imaginations of these religious fundie think tanks.

    The opposite, I’d say. You can find interfaith initiatives and attempts to build bridges and all that stuff between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, but it generally comes from the non-fundie parts of the religion that the fundies excoriate as traitors, in no small part because they do stuff like this.

  213. 213
    MJS says:

    @Mike J: I believe Heitkamp tweeted that it was a great idea when first floated. Not sure if she walked that back yet.

  214. 214
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Netanyahu deserves every piece of shit diss from President Dolt that he gets, but I wish I could think of something else besides “we told you so!”

  215. 215
    oldgold says:

    McMaster said:

    “He made the decision in the context of the conversation.”

    That is a euphemism for he BLURTED IT OUT!

  216. 216

    @Chris: Actually I was thinking about the Jews for Jeebus and the evangelicals being buddy buddy with RW Jewish pols in Israel.

  217. 217
    jonas says:

    @MJS: Oh, Trump will be positively jazzed on this trip. Ever seen a Saudi royal palace? Now *that’s* some fucking gilt. The wealth. The autocracy. The splendor. The graceful sweep of those huge white robes they wear. All the construction projects staffed by dark half-slaves working in the sun with no OSHA inspectors hanging around. Trump’s going to be in a state of constant near-orgasm.

  218. 218
    amk says:

    How insecure must you be to feel like you have to brag about the awesome intelligence you have access to WHEN YOU ARE THE U.S. PRESIDENT?— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) May 16, 2017

  219. 219
    Shalimar says:

    Erdogan just congratulated Trump on his yooge electoral win. It’s May. Will Trump ever have a meeting with anyone where he doesn’t tell them about his yooge electoral victory?

  220. 220
    amk says:

    Shorter McMaster: 1. It never happened. 2. OK, it happened, but wasn't a big deal. 3. OK, it was a big deal, but only b/c it leaked to press— Timothy Noah (@TimothyNoah1) May 16, 2017

    just about right.

  221. 221
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Corner Stone: It would be nice if McConnell went to Jesus rather soon; or at least decided to focus on preparing for that likely not too distant event and got out of government.

  222. 222
    Jeffro says:

    @ArchTeryx:

    We’re hugely motivated. But so are they.

    ah…while they are not turning on Trumpov in huge numbers, yet, there’s some evidence to suggest that here on Day 117 of his presidency, he’s already losing some supporters...

    Why should these numbers make Republicans on the ballot in 2018 very nervous? Well, history. And, specifically this line from Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones: “Since 1946, when presidents are above 50% approval, their party loses an average of 14 seats in the U.S. House in the midterm elections, compared with an average loss of 36 seats when presidents are below that mark.”

    And – I’ll have to look up the source – but I believe he was down to the mid or low 80s (instead of the mid to low 90s) in support from Republicans generally. I know he was at about 44% disapproval with white voters as well. If that becomes 50/50 support…

    But you’re right, Dems will have to make a positive case for change and for what they truly stand for.

  223. 223
    different-church-lady says:

    …rather than to create further crises.

    KNEE-SLAPPER!

  224. 224
    amk says:

    McMaster arguing for dismissal of the charges against his client on grounds of diminished capacity— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 16, 2017

  225. 225
    CMAC says:

    People on here are seriously stupid. Most of you are trying to make a crime out of a normal run of the mill meeting with foreign government reps because your master CNN and Liberal news papers told you there was a crime committed. They can say anything about POTUS at this point, and everybody jumps on the false info like rabid dogs. The Gen. just told you this is a non story but you guys want soooo bad for the POTUS to fail, you are disappointed, and calling the Gen. a liar. I wish everybody on here cared that much about the REAL crimes Hillary, and Obama commited emailing, or mishandling classified info, and cutting back room deals with Iran. For sane people it is easy to see this is all about witch hunting. All of these attempts will never work, or amount to anything. DONALD TRUMP IS POTUS and will be POTUS for the next 8 years, DEAL WITH IT! Or don’t, who cares..

  226. 226
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Probably true. Everything’s a deal, and there are only two seats at the table.

  227. 227
    MCA1 says:

    @hovercraft: The fact that after the rushing waterfall of firsthand evidence that’s been on display over the last 4 months, 4 in 10 Americans polled still “disagree with [that] characterization” of Trump as being a liar is so saddening. I mean, how can that be? Two minutes of exposure to this cretin makes it alarmingly clear that he is the Terminator of lying. We’re broken as a country.

  228. 228
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @amk: Is this a trick question?

  229. 229
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Guessing that there’s betting out there that has high odds of him doing something offensive towards each religion in each country he visits.

  230. 230
    Jeffro says:

    @oldgold:

    McMaster said:

    “He made the decision in the context of the conversation.”

    That is a euphemism for he BLURTED IT OUT!

    Someone should ask Spicey…or better yet, Trumpov himself…”what’s the process that the president goes through, mid-sentence, to make the determination whether or not to share classified intelligence with representatives of a hostile foreign power?” And then when the laughter dies down in the WH press room…if it ever does…go, “No, seriously Sean, what the fuck?”

  231. 231
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Erdogan just did a reverse Trump handshake on the President. Well played, well played indeed.

  232. 232
    Wapiti says:

    @Seth Owen:

    Watching McMasters try to cope with this makes me think he owes the various senior officers he castigated in Dereliction of Duty an apology. While I am loathe to second-guess him because we simply don’t know enough, I think we do know enough to re-evaluate his own second-guessing of the military during the Johnson era.

    I frankly don’t think that the moving catastrophe that is the Trump regime has hit the point of “engaging in a land war in Asia that costs 50,000 American lives.” In McMaster’s defense, the military allows lots of training on the difference between “this is a stupid order” and “this is an illegal order”. I think McMaster is dealing with stupidity so far – he hasn’t really faced a “this may be legal but is gravely immoral – it’s time to visibly dissent” crisis.

  233. 233
    Another Scott says:

    @Tom: Trouble is, it has been clear for years that Trump has no respect for our systems in government. Even moreso during the transition. Anyone joining his administration would merely be lending his personal honor and accomplishments to someone who would (and has) trash it all in a heart-beat.

    McMaster had to see all of this long ago…

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (Who hasn’t read the whole thread, or seen the press conference, yet.)

  234. 234
    MattF says:

    @Tenar Arha: It’s the trifecta!

  235. 235
    Chris says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Ah, that.

    I always figured that as basically just an “enemy of my enemy” thing. Kind of like how thirty years ago, they were cheering on the jihadists in their war against the godless, but that fell apart pretty quickly because, well, Muslims are still infidels and that’s no better than being godless.

  236. 236
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Jeffro: No, they really don’t. This isn’t the time for a “positive case”. Voting against Trump is all the case they need to make. But we have to show up – and bloody independents need to show up too, and/or the Republicans need to stay home. All those stars align, we sweep the midterms. If they don’t, we may gain, but the gains will be minor and the Rs keep Congress, and the wrecking train will roll unmerrily along.

  237. 237
    Corner Stone says:

    “Legendary triumph”

    Ok. We’ll be doing joint airstrikes with Turkey against the Kurds by the end of May.

  238. 238
    hugely says:

    @Bernie: I agree with Bernie, but im not a Bernista. He is taking on a tough assignment on behalf of our country is how I see it

  239. 239
    TenguPhule says:

    @Bernie:

    instead of staying in a position where you might be able to mitigate some of the damage.

    That presumes you might be able to mitigate.

    Trump won’t let you. Because he’s Trump.

  240. 240
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    His grip fu is good.

  241. 241
    different-church-lady says:

    @CMAC: Knock it off, Doug J.

  242. 242
    Peale says:

    @Tenar Arha: Israel “Someone told me that Jews in this country are farmers. I never thought I’d see the day when a Jew would get his hands dirty since it makes it too difficult to count his money.”

    Saudi Arabia: “As long as you continue to use these weapons on each other, we’ll be glad to sell you more. The few of you guyz the better.”

    Vatican: “How holy can that water be?”

  243. 243
    hovercraft says:

    Conway: I Didn’t Defend Trump For ‘The Money’ Because I Didn’t Earn That Much
    “The notion that I am serving for ‘the money’ or a ‘paycheck’ is absurd,” she wrote. “As campaign manager, I made a fraction of what other consultants have made on unsuccessful presidential campaigns.”

    Conway claimed she “walked away from dozens of opportunities for millions of dollars” to work in Trump’s administration and “would do it again.”

    I guess that makes her a true believer? She what fell out of love with Rafael and fell for Twitler? Talk about fickle!

  244. 244
    Lyrebird says:

    @hugely: I’m voting with hugely for now. Would not describe his demeanor as glib, either…. McM looks like a man who’s been pacing back and forth muttering expletives over and over.

    Whether he’ll help or has helped, I don’t know. I’m grateful he is trying to do some sort of job protecting national security, unlike the head of the Republican administration. (Compare body language in the TASS photo where leaker and foreign agents are yakking it up.)

  245. 245
    different-church-lady says:

    @oldgold: I’m so old I can remember when republican voters thought an imprudent decision on how to handle classified information qualified you for prison.

  246. 246

    @jonas:
    Hell, Bibi is pushing for 4. genocide.

    @MCA1:

    I mean, how can that be?

    ‘Fuck you, liberals. I will never admit you are right about anything. Besides, Trump said what everyone knows is true, that hordes of Mexican rapists, drug dealers, and murderers are pouring over our border, that black lives do not matter, that the Chinese are stealing our jobs, and that Muslims are terrorists coming to America to kill us all. That makes him the most honest man in Washington.’

  247. 247
    wuzzat says:

    @Jeffro:

    ah…while they are not turning on Trumpov in huge numbers, yet, there’s some evidence to suggest that here on Day 117 of his presidency, he’s already losing some supporters…

    Unfortunately, most of the support that he’s losing is from people like Ann Coulter, who is mostly concerned that he hired his “democrat” daughter and son-in-law and hasn’t set all the Mexicans on fire and built a wall from their smoking corpses yet. That kind of disappointment doesn’t translate into D votes.

  248. 248
    TenguPhule says:

    @Tom:

    . I’d far rather have him in this thankless position that whatever piece of compromised imbicility would be brought in to replace him

    If things really go into the shitpit, making sure all of Trump’s serving officers are military imbeciles could mean the difference between democracy and dictatorship. We don’t want any competent people on his side if the balloon has to go up.

  249. 249
    TenguPhule says:

    @different-church-lady: What, last year?

  250. 250
    Bill Arnold says:

    Couple of things:
    (1) Re stuff like Kevin Drum’s piece on Trump’s (actual) Brain A Public Service Announcement, I am strangely reminded of Sakyo Komatsu’s odd/unsettling story “The Savage Mouth”, where a guy eats himself, saving for last the parts of the brain that are needed to perform eating. An probably-illegal pdf can by found by searching on the quoted title plus “type:pdf”, or it is anthologized in the collection “Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories” available used.

    (2) The Atlantic piece from yesterday is a bit out of date already, but worth it for the vivisection-style invective:
    The Terrible Cost of Trump’s Disclosures

    But that is not the half of it. Tillerson casually said of Trump in an interview on Meet the Press on Sunday “I have to earn his confidence every day.” One does not earn Donald Trump’s confidence by calmly conveying to him some unpleasant but essential truths. Rather, one earns his confidence by truckling to him, and by lying to everyone else. Now, what Tillerson, Powell, and McMaster said are not quite lies, but they are the kind of parsed half truths that are as bad, and in some cases worse. This is how one’s reputation for veracity is infected by the virulent moral bacteria that cover Donald Trump. Friends will watch, pained and incredulous, as they realize that one simply cannot assume that anything these senior subordinates of the president say is the truth. And having stretched, manipulated, or artfully misrepresented the truth once, these officials will do it again and again. They will be particularly surprised when they learn that most people assume that as trusted subordinates of the president, they lie not as colorfully as he does, but just as routinely. Perhaps the worst will be the moment when these high officials can no longer recognize their own characters for what they once were.

  251. 251
    hovercraft says:

    @Corner Stone:

    “Legendary triumph”

    Someone pointed out last year that Twitler is such an easy mark, and he’s dealing with career politicians. Putin has been running Russia for 15 years and before that he was in the bureaucracy for years and he’s been in intelligence for decades. Xi has been working his way up through the party for decades. Putin has been pulling his strings flattering him for months, Xi slapped down his overtures towards Taiwan and when he backed down, he rewarded him with patents he’s been trying to get for decades in China, these people are playing him like the dolt he is, and he thinks that foreign policy is the one area where he’s excelling. This idiot doesn’t know that it’s not just the haters who have no respect for him, but world leaders all know that all you have to do is flatter him and he’ll give you what you want and proclaim that he’s achieved something great.

    Obama’s riff about his challenging life deciding whether Meat Loaf or the women had won was prescient, this moron has no idea how in over his head he is.

  252. 252
    different-church-lady says:

    @TenguPhule: As of the next Trump rally too.

  253. 253
    scav says:

    Have we heard from any famous CEOs explaining how giving away trade secrets and ratting out suppliers is top-notch innovative SOP (done on the fly! without notifying the board or legal!) in all the most profitable All-American bigly businesses? Are such sound bites being lined up?

  254. 254
    MCA1 says:

    @ArchTeryx: Yes and no. I don’t think it’s necessary at the moment to do anything other than show clips of Trump leading “lock her up” chants and then show last week’s meeting with his handlers with yesterday’s WaPo headlines superimposed to flip a ton of seats.

    I would, however, prefer that Democrats use the opportunity presented right now to start re-appropriating some things Republicans have been getting away with claiming themselves the sole proprietors of for a quarter century now. Like “statesmanship” and “serious foreign policy expertise” and “patriotism” and “respect for the Constitution.”

    There’s nothing stopping Tom Perez and co. from rolling out a new Democratic Contract for America that (i) re-establishes that the Democratic Party is the only one that gives a rat’s ass about the economic well-being of anyone outside the top .1%, or their health security, or rebuilding American infrastructure, (ii) lays out a vision for some achievable goals in those areas, and (iii) brands Republicans as traitors who will put party over country at all costs, claiming for Dems the mantle of serious stewards of the republic. Republicans have forfeited a ton of previously claimed (albeit never earned or backed up) moral high ground positions here, and if Democrats just use anti-Trump fervor to win a single midterm instead of insisting that those positions are theirs and theirs alone, it may be enough to win that midterm, but it’s not taking full advantage of the openings presented here.

  255. 255
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Bernie: Not just no, but HELL no … Luban quotes Arendt:

    If you are confronted with two evils, thus the argument runs, it is your duty to opt for the lesser one, whereas it is irresponsible to refuse to choose altogether. Those who denounce the moral fallacy of this argument are usually accused of a germ-proof moralism which is alien to political circumstances, of being unwilling to dirty their hands. …

    Politically, the weakness of the argument has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil. …

    aaanad here we are at your stop, Gen. McMaster!

    ETA: Sadly, b/c the nym might indicative, I must note that this is about -serving-, not -voting-.

  256. 256
    Barbara says:

    @hovercraft: There is no real mystery to KAC. She transferred from Cruz to Trump when Rebekah Mercer directed her to. And even if Trump pays a pittance, the Mercers pay a lot. She will be gone either when/if Trump tells her to go or Mercer does.

  257. 257
    LAO says:

    well, this is going to be interesting.

    Israel was the source of the intelligence Trump disclosed to Russians in the Oval, NYT reports https://t.co/mNYrEsxkVU— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 16, 2017

  258. 258
    jonas says:

    @Shalimar: I’m sure his staff told him to constantly bring that up. He’ll have Trump eating out of the palm of his hand.

  259. 259
    The Moar You Know says:

    @CMAC: I’m supposed to believe you’re a conservative and you didn’t misspell one single word?

    TRY HARDER

  260. 260
    germy says:

    Sopan Deb‏Verified account @SopanDeb 21h21 hours ago

    Amazing. Trump’s body man Keith Schiller accidentally showed Mattis’s phone number. A Wa Po reporter called it.
    http://wapo.st/2qlhH1e

  261. 261
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: I keep seeing references to Israeli intel twitter that is supposedly full of juicy tidbits regarding the President and his activities. I have yet to actually see a link or find it.

  262. 262
    Jeffro says:

    @Bill Arnold: Or as we refer to #2 here at BJ (h/t Betty): “Trumpsubstantiation”

  263. 263
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    Apologies if it’s been covered already, but according to Talking Points Memo, Cornyn has dropped out of the FBI job search… yet another one not interested in taking a big bite outta that steaming shit sandwich…

    First Gowdy… now Cornyn…

    Good lord… Trump’s rapidly becoming radioactive to his own party…

  264. 264
    Jeffro says:

    @ArchTeryx: Sorry, but I guess we disagree. Dems can (and should) rile up the base with anti-Trump messages. But smart Dems will cover that base AND talk about the positive things they, and the party, stand for. Everyone already knows Trump’s a shitbag.

    @wuzzat: I don’t think that’s correct, but I’ll do more digging. The hard core Coulterite base still loves him. It seems to be the folks who didn’t like Trumpov, but couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary, who are peeling off ever so slightly.

  265. 265
    Chet Murthy says:

    @JPL:

    Why did Powell stay?

    To cover his reputation in shit he can never wash off, for all posterity?

  266. 266
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ideally, Trump’s last. He should be denied re-entry at the border for being a known enemy of the United States.

  267. 267
    TenguPhule says:

    @LAO: Six dicks, one very big cleat golf shoe.

  268. 268
    Jeffro says:

    @MCA1:

    There’s nothing stopping Tom Perez and co. from rolling out a new Democratic Contract for America that (i) re-establishes that the Democratic Party is the only one that gives a rat’s ass about the economic well-being of anyone outside the top .1%, or their health security, or rebuilding American infrastructure, (ii) lays out a vision for some achievable goals in those areas, and (iii) brands Republicans as traitors who will put party over country at all costs, claiming for Dems the mantle of serious stewards of the republic. Republicans have forfeited a ton of previously claimed (albeit never earned or backed up) moral high ground positions here, and if Democrats just use anti-Trump fervor to win a single midterm instead of insisting that those positions are theirs and theirs alone, it may be enough to win that midterm, but it’s not taking full advantage of the openings presented here.

    Amen and amen. The “American Values” or “American Prosperity” platform. We’re the ones looking out for the Constitution and a strong economy for all Americans, after all.

  269. 269
    different-church-lady says:

    @MCA1: I see you’re still operating on the theory that just under half the electorate is something other than bat-shit insane.

  270. 270
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    In this case, trying to run the clock out.

    Cheryl, its the Doomsday Clock.

  271. 271
    Lizzy L says:

    Breaking News NYT:

    The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information.

    I bet they were really pissed off and embarrassed when the WaPo got ahead of them yesterday.

  272. 272
    Corner Stone says:

    @LAO: It’s going to get a lot more interesting now that the IC has determined the bullshit McMaster was spewing today is not accurate.

  273. 273
    Wjs says:

    So McMaster writes Dereliction of Duty and goes into great detail writing about how the president and his advisors blundered into a long and costly war made worse by their incompetence and their lies to the American people.

    Karma’s a bitch, ain’t she?

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    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Keep looking!

    @TenguPhule: I’m crying from laughter…or maybe real tears?

  275. 275
    LAO says:

    @Corner Stone: This was never going to end well for the US. Would you trust Trump. Fuck no.

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    LAO says:

    Well, this can’t be good. Can anyone here read Russian?

    (1/3) If you're wondering what Trump told Russia, TASS is reporting it and it sounds like an awful lot of detail… https://t.co/KhAR4OgtlP pic.twitter.com/oTb8o1YJHi— Greg Fish (@gfish3000) May 16, 2017

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    jl says:

    So, looks like when Trump launches a nuke to see if the system works (in the vital interests of national security, of course), or because he gets pissed in the middle of negotiation with NK, it will be OK since WWII killed more people. And it’s black letter legal since no specific US or state or local code forbidding it (‘no controlling legal statute’). And McConnell will come out and assure his donors that the tax cuts for the super rich and big crony corporate pals won’t be delayed.

    Midterms are the only solution. Priority number one has to be to fight the coming voter suppression effort tooth and nail. And second to GOTV so much that no voter suppression effort will be big enough to work.

    Edit: Hey, he hasn’t committed a formal crime, so stop the partisan attacks, OK? That is the standard now. Very dangerous.

  278. 278

    @Jeffro: and @MCA1:

    a new Democratic Contract for America

    We already did. Repeatedly. The Democrats talk constantly about helping everyone but the 1%, and the need for the rich to pay taxes. Obama and Clinton certainly did. There are no more gains to be made in this area. Either the media is not reporting it, people don’t listen, or people have other priorities (like preserving systemic racism). Your choice.

  279. 279
    Bill Arnold says:

    Interesting edginess from Susan Rice: Susan Rice: We can’t allow Trump ‘Twitter wars to become shooting wars’:

    “If we cannot find our way to put country over party, and democracy over demagoguery, even in the face of such a dangerous external threat, then we might as well hang up our leadership cleats and resign ourselves to becoming a second-rate power,” she said.

  280. 280
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    Congressional Republicans could do a lot. Congress has huge power. They decided not to, because they want to cut taxes.

    They have not done one thing to rein in Trump. This is a straight-up trade. They’ve decided ordinary people will take all the risk and that’s okay, in return for tax cuts.

    I know, Kay. You tell the truth.

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    TenguPhule says:

    @hovercraft:

    The Turtle has said explicitly that all this shit doesn’t matter, all that matters is getting more right wing nut jobs onto the courts and tax cuts, deregulation and gutting the safety net, everything else is just noise, eyes on the prize.

    No matter how this ends, Turtle Soup is definitely going to be on the menu.

  282. 282
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    Now Raw Story is reporting that Merrick Garland, after McConnell suggested him for the FBI job, has said NO… whoa… people are RUNNING AWAY from that one…

  283. 283
    TenguPhule says:

    @LAO: Israel has a really good wetwork reputation. Just saying.

  284. 284
    dogwood says:

    @MJS:
    It wasn’t Heitkamp that tweeted approval for a Garland at the FBI. It was Klobuchar, and I called her office.

  285. 285
  286. 286
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Actually Israel’s wetwork has been consistently bad for years. The reputation they have is rightly deserved by the French DGSE.

  287. 287
    Stan says:

    @Kay:

    …learned watching A Handmaid’s Tale that “mayday” comes from the French words for “help me”

    yeah, “M’aidez” is the imperative ‘help me’

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    Steeplejack says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Thanks for that link! I read that piece last year and then cursed myself often because I didn’t bookmark it and couldn’t find it again.

  289. 289
    ruckus says:

    @rikyrah:
    Motherfuckers have never heard of fucking CANCER??? Or any other numerous conditions/diseases that strike even extremely healthy people when they least expect it? I’ve just decided this moment that I’d like each and every republican to develop cancer, starting today and tomorrow lose any healthcare insurance they have. And whichever cancer is the worst for that person is the one they develop.
    Fuckem each and every one of them.

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    hugely says:

    @TenguPhule: see now, that was amusing without having to resort to eliminationist rhetoric…

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    J R in WV says:

    @hovercraft:

    …Xi slapped down his overtures towards Taiwan and when he backed down, he rewarded him with patents trademarks he’s been trying to get for decades in China, these people are playing him like the dolt he is…

    Patents are reserved for a new inventions of some sort, that no one has ever been able to devise before, like a process to make a vaccine, or a device that can play chess, successfully. This is not something Trump can do.

    On the other hand, a trademark, like “Trump!” can be registered by anyone who wants the trademark.

  292. 292
    ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    How many of them would benefit from the tax cuts they are voting on?
    The answer is most if not all of them.

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