Politics postsThursday February 28, 2019
Meadows By a Nose
“Who was your favorite [GOP congressman during the Michael Cohen hearings]? Was it Paul Gosar of Arizona, the guy whose entire family made a commercial for his opponent the last time he ran? (Gosar struggled so long with the phrase, ‘pathological liar’ that he gave Cohen to opportunity to ask,‘Are you referring to me or to the president?’) Was it jacketless Clay Higgins of Louisiana, who once filmed a campaign spot at Auschwitz? (Cohen mentioned at one point that he'd consulted some documents that were stored in boxes. Higgins demanded that a warrant be served on the boxes only to be told that Robert Mueller already had examined the contents and returned the boxes to Cohen.)
”Was it Bob Gibbs of Ohio, who seemed to drift away to Oz in the middle of his sentences, or Carol Miller of West Virginia, who was simply appalled at being a part of this when the committee could be discussing ‘neo-natal abstinence syndrome,’ a condition afflicting newborns due to their mother's drug use in utero? A worthy topic, surely, but hardly the provenance of the House Oversight Committee. And everybody kept yielding time to the egregious ranking Republican member, Jim Jordan of Ohio, or to Jordan's fellow Freedom Caucasian, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and those two jamokes couldn't get out of their own way. ...
“As for Meadows, well, he thought he had something going with an item regarding contracts with foreign clients on a disclosure form that Cohen had signed, only to have Cohen point out that, contrary to Meadows's obvious reading deficits, the form referred only to foreign governments, for whom he had not worked. Meadows thundered away that Cohen was dodging the truth only to have a copy of the form pop up all over the Intertoobz in about 15 minutes, just long enough for Congresswoman Katie Hill to read it into the record and make Meadows look like a fool.”
Charles P. Pierce, “The Republican Party Completely and Utterly Disgraced Itself at Michael Cohen's Hearing,” Esquire. The key quote for me comes from Steve Lynch, a Democrat who represents Massachussett's 8th district (Tip O‘Neill’s former hunting grounds), and who said, “I don't think any of them asked any questions about the possible criminal actions by the president.”
This seems to be the core of the pro-Trump defense on Twitter and TV today https://t.co/Zk0FAb9bUB— David Frum (@davidfrum) February 27, 2019
Michael Cohen Speaks
Here's a good sum-up of today's congressional hearings with Trump's former personal attorney, now right-wing bete noire, Michael Cohen.
Scorecard after 4 hours:— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) February 27, 2019
-Democrats: elicited information from the witness implicating the president in a crime and suggesting he had foreknowledge of the Wikileaks dump and a Russian plot to provide Trump campaign with dirt on Clinton
-Republicans: proved Cohen may write a book
Basically, Democrats were interested in searching for truth, Republicans in obfuscating it. Maybe more charitably: Democrats were interested in what the witness had to say, Republicans in tarnishing that witness—and even the hearing itself—in order to discount what the witness had to say.
Headlines as early as last night said Cohen would call Trump a racist and a con man, but that's been obvious all of Trump's life to anyone paying attention. It was obvious in 2015 and 2016 when he was campaigning for president. He began on a racist note. Hell, the one thing Trump isn't a con man on is his racism. That's why racists support him no matter what. He's their last best hope.
Current New York Times headline:
Cohen Says President Told Him to Lie About Hush Money Payments
Trump was deeply involved in hush-money plan, Cohen says
Ford called Watergate “our long national nightmare.” What's this? “Our shallow, stupid reality show”?
A David Ferrie Vibe
The other night I read Jeffrey Toobin‘s New Yorker piece on Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi, and who knew what and when about the Wikileaks documents dumps that affected the 2016 presidential election. Also how. If there’s a what and when, the next question is how.
They seem like small-timers, by the way. They‘re sad little men scurrying along the sidelines and trying to get into the game. Doesn’t mean they‘re not the key to unlock this thing.
I didn’t know Corsi's oeuvre. I didn't know, or I'd forgotten, he was the man who co-wrote the swiftboating attack on John Kerry. Which is odd, given Corsi's supposed distaste for the Bush family. “Stone told me,” Toobin writes, “that he and Corsi first connected when they exchanged e-mails about their Kennedy books and bonded over their mutual disdain for the Bush family.” Toobinn doesn't clarify.
Much of the piece is about the quackery and the scurrying, and I began to flash on Joe Pesci's character from “JFK”—that kind of crazy marginality—when I was reminded of Stone's potential importance in the case:
For a person who is usually categorical in his statements, Stone is cautious when describing Trump's involvement in the quest for WikiLeaks' documents during the campaign. “I have no memory of ever talking about WikiLeaks with him,” Stone told me in Fort Lauderdale. ... Stone's indictment speaks of an unnamed person, possibly Trump himself, who “directed” a senior campaign official to tell Stone to find out what was coming from WikiLeaks.
There's also this good sum-up of the Russian affair so far:
The Russians helped Trump, and the Trump people lied about the Russians. But why did so many people lie to Mueller and the other investigators? Were they lying to cover up crimes—or were they lying simply because they are liars?
How awful that we have to spend so much time on idiots like Stone and Corsi. We have to parse the meaning of Stone's tweets like he's James Joyce. This is the most infamous one, from August 21, 2016: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary.”
Did Stone write “the” instead of “be,” meaning it was going to be Podesta's time in the barrel? Or was Stone saying “the Podestas' time,” referring to John and his brother, Tony?
What these quacks have created in the smithy of our soul.
Bastard of the Senate
“The two forces that characterized Mr. McConnell's career, obstruction and increasing the power of corporate money in our democracy, have worked hand in hand to diminish the Senate and paralyze American politics. The flood of outside money incentivized obstruction over cooperation, and a new generation of Republicans embraced Mr. McConnell's obstructionist tactics.”
former Harry Reid aide Adam Jentleson in a New York Times Op-Ed “How Mitch McConnell Enables Trump: He's not an institutionalist. He's the man who surrendered the Senate to the president.” Not much new was learned, but it's one of the most important messages Americans can hear on this Presidents Day. Kentucky, are you listening?