Deep Politics Forum

Full Version: USA under presidency of a know-nothing, neo-fascist, racist, sexist, mobbed-up narcissist!!
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
AMY GOODMAN: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has defended President Trump's unfounded claim that millions of people illegally voted, supposedly costing Trump the popular vote. He lost by what? About 3 million votes to Hillary Clinton but won the Electoral College. This is Kansas Secretary of State Kobach being questioned by reporters.
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: I think the president-elect is absolutely correct when he says the number of illegal votes cast exceeds the popular vote margin between him and Hillary Clinton at this point.
REPORTER: What tangible evidence is there that that actually happened?
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: Well, this is the problem with aliens voting and aliens registering. There's no way you can look on the voter rolls and say, "This one's an alien. This one's a citizen. This one's an alien." Youonce a person gets on the voter rolls, you don't have any way of easily identifying them as aliens, and so you have to rely on post-election studies, like the Cooperative Congressional Election survey, where you get data from aliens themselves saying, "Oh, yeah, I voted." ... It does appear that aliens do vote in very large numbers.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in November, right after the election. In February, he again claimed there was widespread voter fraud in the presidential election. Here he is, sparring with CNN anchor Kate Bolduan.
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: Of the 30 states, we have about 3 million people who are registered in more than one state. And that's not a crime.
KATE BOLDUAN: Right, including
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: That's just an administrative bookkeeping
KATE BOLDUAN: Right, including president's son-in-law, including the president's treasury secretary.
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: Exactly, yeah. And many of your viewers are probably registered in more than one state. But what is a crime is if you actually vote in both of those states or in more than two states.
KATE BOLDUAN: Of course it's a crime.
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: And every year, thousands
KATE BOLDUAN: But where is the evidence of this
KATE BOLDUAN: widespread, rampant millions of people voting? If it had happened, why haven't we seen it, Secretary?
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: Well, itwell, actually, if youmaybeI don't know if your network has covered it, but in my state, just people voting in Kansas and another state, my office prosecutes it. I just got that prosecutorial authority a year and a half ago. We've already filed nine cases.
KATE BOLDUAN: Yeah, from the notes that I saw, you have nine cases.
SECRETARY OF STATE KRIS KOBACH: And we have six guiltyguilty pleas.
KATE BOLDUAN: Right, six guilty pleas, one dismissed
KATE BOLDUAN: two pending. That's as January 25th.
KATE BOLDUAN: Nine cases does not rampant widespread voter fraud make.
AMY GOODMAN: So that was CNN host Kate Bolduan questioning Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas. Ari Berman?
ARI BERMAN: Well, it's important to note, first off, that Kobach is really the leading architect of voter suppression efforts nationwide. He's not just the secretary of state of Kansas. He's been going all around the country trying to put in place suppressive voting laws. So, one of the laws that Kansas has in place, for example, is proof of citizenship for voter registration. You have to have a passport, a birth certificate or naturalization papers to be registered to vote in Kansas, if you register after 2013. Most people don't carry around those documents with them when they go to register to vote. So, in Kansas, one in seven new registrants have been blocked from voting because of this one law alone. And Kobach says he wants to see proof-of-citizenship laws in every state, which would have an unbelievably suppressive effect on voter registration and disenfranchise millions of people. So Kobach has been going all around the country claiming that voter fraud is widespread, trying to build support for President Trump's lie that millions of people voted illegally, to then put in place policies, like proof of citizenship for registration, that make it very, very difficult to register to vote.
And it's interesting. You know, for my New York Times Magazine article, I looked into all of Kobach's claims about voter fraud. And I found, number one, that noncitizen registration is exceedingly rare nationwide. There's no reason why a noncitizen would register to vote and risk a felony and deportation. The second thing is that Kobach is the only secretary of state in the country with the power to personally prosecute voter fraud cases. So he can actually bring these cases. And of all the cases in Kansas, he's only convicted one noncitizen of voting. So if it was so widespread, you would think that in Kansas, where he has prosecutorial power, he would be able to show this, but he has not shown this. And this entire commission is predicated on this gigantic lie that millions of people voted illegally. And Kobach is the one who's whispering in Trump's ear, telling him this, and then trying to prove this evidence. That's why he wanted this data from all 50 states, even though there's no evidence to show that voter fraud is widespread.
AMY GOODMAN: So let's talk more about your New York Times Magazine piece, Ari Berman, "The Man Behind Trump's Voter-Fraud Obsession." Give us Kris Kobach's history.
ARI BERMAN: So, Kris Kobach is interesting because before he was a leading proponent of voter suppression, he was a leading proponent of restricting immigration. And most people think of these issues as separate. They think of immigration, and they think of voting. But what Kobach has tried to do is combine these two issues. So, first, he drafted all of these anti-immigration laws, like Arizona's SB 1070, which was the "papers please" law, where police could stop anyone and check their citizenship based on reasonable suspicion if they were in the country illegally. He went all around the country drafting these laws. Then he became secretary of state of Kansas and started drafting anti-voting laws. And basically what he was saying was that all of these people were in the country illegally and that they were voting illegally, as well. So he combined anti-immigrant sentiment with policies that would restrict voting rights.
And I think the goal here is twofold. First, it's to try to boost the Republican Party in terms of eliminating the pool of voters who could be citizens and then eliminating the electorate itself, but, number two, to try to preserve America's shrinking white majority. He is looking at the demographics of the country. He's seeing how the demographics of the country are changing. He's seeing how white people are becoming a minority in many states. And they're pushing both anti-immigrant policies and voter suppression policies to try to protect the Republican Party and try to protect the shrinking white majority in this country.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about his connections to white supremacist, right-wing groups.
ARI BERMAN: Well, this was really alarming. So, since 2003, 2004, Kobach has been counsel to a group called FAIR, Federations for American Immigration Reform, which is called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, really the main group that's promoted restricting immigration. The founder of that group, John Tanton, who was an ophthalmologist in Michigan, has said unbelievably racist things about Latinos, has said there is going to be an explosion of whites against Latinos in the U.S., has republished a book called Camp of the Saints, a French novel that's unbelievably racistSteve Bannon is one of its friends. So, that's one of Kobach's influences.
Another influence was Samuel Huntington from Harvard, who was a longtime professor there, known for his work The Clash of Civilizations. But Huntington really had two very radical ideas that influenced Kobach. The first was that there's such a thing as too much democracy. After things like the Voting Rights Act were passed, Huntington worried about the effect that, quote-unquote, "the blacks" would have on the political system. The second thing Huntington denounced was the Hispanicization of the U.S., the idea that Latino immigrants were threatening Anglo-Protestant-Christian values in the U.S.
And so, Kobach talks about the rule of law. He talks about voter fraud. He talks about these things
AMY GOODMAN: Huntington was the mentor of Kobach at Harvard.
ARI BERMAN: Was the mentor of Kobach when Kobach was at Harvard. So, Kobach talks about all of these things, like the rule of law and voter fraud, like it's just these commonsense things. But you scratch right below the surface, and you realize that his intellectual influences are really leading proponents of white nationalism and white supremacy in the U.S.
AMY GOODMAN: His relationship with Sheriff Joe Arpaio when he was there in Arizona?
ARI BERMAN: He had a very close relationship to Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, who branded himself "America's toughest sheriff" and was subsequently sued by the Justice Department for racial profiling and held in contempt of court by a federal court. Kobach was really the guy who sold Arpaio on the idea of mass deportation. Kobach had this idea called attrition through enforcement, which really became known as self-deportation. And the idea is, you make life so miserable for immigrants that they will just leave the U.S. So, Kobach is really the guy who ended up getting Arpaio in all this legal trouble by claiming he had this authority that he never had.
AMY GOODMAN: What about those who say the point of this commission is simply to identify and then suppress votes of those you don't want to be voting? Where does this commission go now, with 44 states refusing to either fully or partly comply with the information request from Kobach's commission?
ARI BERMAN: Well, I think Trump's commission is still going to make the argument that voter fraud is widespread, rampant and massive, and we have to put in place all of these policies to try to suppress votes in reaction to that. But the point is, we're seeing they're not even going to get the data to be able to do this kind of analysis. So, to me, this entire commission is a sham. The fact that all of these states have refused to hand over the data means that this commission, in my view, should be disbanded. It serves no purpose at this point.
AMY GOODMAN: Kristen Clarke, do you see that happening? Where do you see this commission going and your complaint going?
KRISTEN CLARKE: Well, we hope that they will revoke the election integrity commission. We believe that it has a baseless mission, which is to substantiate the president's false allegations about widespread vote fraud. They have put together a dream team of voter suppressor proponentsnot just Kris Kobach, but Hans von Spakovsky. It's also rumored that Ken Blackwell, former secretary of state of Ohio. I mean, these are folks who have made a career out of erecting barriers to the ballot box around our country. Ken Blackwell, during his tenure as secretary of state, rejected voter registration forms that he thought were not printed on the right paper weight. Hans von Spakovsky is someone who has championed voter ID laws and championed laws that seek to make it harder for people to vote, including taking away the right to vote from people with a criminal history. When you peel back the layers, the goal of this commission is clear. It is intended to lay the groundwork for voter suppression laws across our country.
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed this Hatch Act complaint against Kris Kobach, but we think that the commission, as it stands today, is illegitimate. You have states around the country that are saying that they will refuse to participate. We intend to continue to bring pressure on other states to discourage them from turning over data or information of any kind to this illegitimate commission. We know that there are folks in Congress who are introducing legislation, calling for the defunding of the commission and calling for revocation of the commission. I think those are important points. This is a waste of taxpayer dollars, at the end of the day.
And all of this is coming at a time where we're seeing the Justice Department turning the clock back on federal civil rights enforcement, including enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. We need to return our focus in this country to doing work that brings people into the process, and get to a place where all eligible Americans are able to participate in our democracy. And the commission runs against that important goal.
More than 100,000 protesting Trump and his policies/'ethics' in Hamburg at G20 meeting! Police expected 20,000 [number of police]. Anti-Trump and anti-Capitalist protesters everywhere in the city. Police chief calling for reinforcements.


[Image: image2-3-700x470.jpg]Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is facing backlash after indefinitely postponing rules aimed at forgiving student loans in the case of fraud. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr(CC BY-SA 2.0)
What do the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, and Environmental Protection Agency have in common? They've all faced lawsuits for putting the brakes on Obama-era regulations.
Just this week, the attorneys general from 18 states and Washington D.C. sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying borrower defense rules that were scheduled to take effect on July 1.
The rules were designed to protect student loan borrowers who had been defrauded by their institution and offered a streamlined process for filing claims. This would make the institutions themselves responsible for any cancelled student loan debt as well as prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses which limit students' ability to take their disputes to court.
The borrower defense rules intended not only to alleviate an unfair burden on students, but also increase accountability for institutions were drafted after a chain of for-profit colleges declared bankruptcy in 2015.
It comes as no surprise that for-profit colleges were displeased by this and in March, the California Association of Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education; DeVos cited this legal challenge as reason for the postponement, adding that the rule would cause "a muddled process that's unfair to students and schools, and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs."
Spearheaded by Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, Thursday's lawsuit argues that the delay violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In defense, DeVos cited section 705 of the APA, which makes allowances for such delays when "justice so requires."
Unfortunately, justice is never so clear cut.
In April, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the Department of Energy under similar circumstances. A total of six Obama-era energy efficiency standards were delayed and Schneiderman argued that the APA had been violated.
The same month, the Department of Labor came under fire for delaying a long-awaited rule that would significantly decrease the permissible exposure limit to silica dust for construction workers.
On Monday, a federal court cancelled the EPA's attempt to delay implementation for new regulations on methane emissions.
With the Trump administration seeking to freeze regulations across several agencies, the APA is being put to the test and it's increasingly important to understand how it works and why it's necessary. We've compiled videos that break down the APA and offer some insight into the significant role government agencies play in modern lawmaking, as well as one on the opposing view that these agencies are too heavily involved in legislating.

Trump the Climate Rogue Is Outmaneuvered and Cold-Shouldered at G-20 Conclave

Posted on Jul 8, 2017
By Juan Cole / Informed Comment
German Chancellor Angela Merkel ran rings around Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg, where pictures show Donald sitting alone and being ignored by other heads of state when he bothered to show up (he sent Ivanka to sit in for him at one session). Trump abruptly and mysteriously disappeared toward the end of the summit, not bothering to address it as has been the custom with regard to previous US presidents.
The G20 groups the twenty wealthiest countries in the world, which among them account for 85 percent of global GDP, 75% of world trade, and 66% of the world's population. Some observers have condemned the body as unfair, since no one elected it and the poorest one third of the world are not represented.With the US absent from climate discussions because Trump withdrew from the Paris Accords, the remaining 19 members of the G20 were able to craft a much stronger statement on climate change and addressing it than the US would normally allow. US governments are typically deeply beholden to Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal.
The danger was that Saudi Arabia in particular might balk, but the kingdom seems to be more afraid of Merkel and her allies than it is of Trump. Besides, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has already admitted that oil is over with, and he is looking for a soft landing for the Saudi economy by turning oil wealth into investment wealth before the black gold comes to be recognized as worthless (it already is worthless, but most people just don't realize it yet).
The G20 communique said,
"We recognise the opportunities for innovation, sust ainable growth, competitiveness, and job creation of increased investment into susta inable energy sources and clean energy technologies and infrastructure. We remain c ollectively committed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through, among others, increased innovation on sustainable and clean energies and energy efficiency, and work towards low greenhouse-gas emission energy systems. In facilitating well-balanced and economically viable long- term strategies in order to transform and enhance o ur economies and energy systems consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, G20 members will collaborate closely.
After noting the withdrawal of the US, it added,
"The Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible. We reiterate the importance of fulfilling the UNFCC C commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation incl uding financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigatio n and adaptation actions in line with Paris outcomes and note the OECD's report "Inv esting in Climate, Investing in Growth".
Americans who put Trump in the White House sent America's strategic strength and diplomatic soft power whirling down the toilet.
The renewed Franco-German partnership a the heart of Europe, on the other hand, is now in the cockpit of the world on big issues.


[Image: image2-4-700x470.jpg]An exceptional American. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.
Whether it's Barack Obama or Mike Pence, progressive firebrand Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or staunch conservatives like Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), there is one thing politicians from across the spectrum agree on: The United States is the greatest ever.
It's a common theme in speeches and beer commercials especially when Independence Day or one of the other patriotic holidays rolls around.
Americans are certainly not the first people who think they are better than others. Throughout history, and even today, it's a belief that has been widely shared by other countries and the behavior engendered by this belief has generally not ended well. A German proverb says that "arrogance comes before the fall" and the Germans certainly know a thing or two about thinking they were superior and how that worked out.
Even without debating the merits of the claim that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of the world, there are some obvious problems with American exceptionalism.
One main issue is simply that believing we are better might prevent Americans from adopting things that have worked elsewhere. For example, there is no healthcare debate in which some politician doesn't declare that the "American healthcare system is the greatest in the world." That statement is only correct if one were to add "…for the pharmaceutical industry" or "…for incredibly wealthy people" or some sentence qualifier along those lines.
Or, if you believe that some supernatural being is favoring the US over all other countries, you might think it's OK that it is the only industrialized nation without mandatory paid maternity leave. After all, if God wanted American women to get some paid time off after giving birth, HE would say something.
This isn't to say that there aren't many things the US does exceptionally well.
Even though the country is ruled by an anti-science party, amazing research is still being conducted in the US every day. Some of the brightest people from around the world flock to American universities to study and many end up staying.
The United States is a nation of innovators and, with relatively little red tape, a great place to start a business that has an opportunity to change the world. With its music and movies, America also continues to entertain the world. And, for a few more years at least, the US economy is still the largest.
On the other hand, the country is also tops when it comes to imprisoning people, spending money on defense, shooting folks during traffic stops or blowing up Afghan wedding parties with drones.
In other words, just as in any other country, there is lots of good as well as plenty of bad. American exceptionalism, by inducing people to only look at the positives, reinforces their belief in US superiority, while discouraging paying attention to the many things that require improvement.
The trouble is, only a thin line separates good old-fashioned patriotism from chauvinistic nationalism.
President Donald Trump's campaign has revealed some really dangerous undercurrents that could spell serious trouble in the not-so-distant future.
At home, the nationalist movement is picking up momentum, buoyed in part by Trump's rhetoric. The president has promised these people that he would restore America to the greatness of an unspecified time presumably one in which only white people ran the country. Now he has to deliver.
With demographics trending against those who believe that what makes America exceptional is its white Christian heritage, there is certainly potential for an uptick in violence against the "others."
At the same time, minorities pushed into a corner by domestic policies could turn increasingly aggressive as well.
And for as long as countries have claimed to be exceptional, they have used force to make their point. As Trump has already found out when launching missiles at Syria, there is no better way to get Americans to rally around the flag than attacking somebody. As so many other leaders before him, he could be tempted to boost his abysmal poll numbers, which he cares a great deal about, by directing America's unquestioned military superiority at somebody else.
One major problem is that the world's current pariahs North Korea and Iran pack much more of a punch than Afghanistan and Iraq, the last two victims. And even the wars with those two countries haven't exactly worked out well.
Imagine if the US were to somehow dial back the nationalism and resist the temptation to use violence to prove America's greatness. By not going down the same path as all those other countries who thought they were "better," the US could achieve something truly … exceptional.
Donald Trump's Climate Change Denial Ignites Grass-Roots Resistance

Posted on Jul 12, 2017

By Denis Moynihan
[Image: proteststru_590.jpg]
As "Russiagate" becomes a full-blown conflagration threatening to consume Donald Trump's presidency, his denial of human-induced global warming continues to threaten a planet already on fire. The world reeled on June 1 when Trump made good on his campaign promise to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. Since then, governments around the world, from the largest nations to the smallest hamlets, have joined together in criticism of the move, vowing to accelerate their own commitments to combating climate change, with or without Donald Trump and the U.S. The time remaining to prevent irreversible climate change is short.Donald Trump was notably isolated at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg last week. Over 100,000 protesters marched despite a massive and at times violent police crackdown. Inside, the 19 other world leaders took a stand against Trump's rejection of the Paris climate agreement. Yet, as the group Oil Change International pointed out this week, the G-20 nations, collectively, provide $72 billion in subsidies annually to the fossil-fuel industryfour times what they spend on renewable energy.
"While it's excellent that the other G-20 leaders put Donald Trump in a corner," Oil Change's Alex Doukas said on the "Democracy Now!" news hour, "it's not enough to simply confront his climate denial. These leaders have to act. They need to be putting their money where their mouths are." Oil Change details the subsidies in a report published during the recent summit, "Talk is Cheap: How G20 Governments are Financing Climate Disaster." Oil Change is calling on G-20 governments to end all fossil-fuel subsidies by 2020, and move the funds into support for renewable energy.
Most of the pollution released since 1988 comes from just 100 companies, according to another just-released report, the "Carbon Majors Report 2017." It notes, "Since 1988, more than half of global industrial greenhouse gasses (GHGs) can be traced to just 25 corporate and state producers." China's state-owned coal industry tops the list, along with others like Saudi Arabia's and Iran's petroleum companies. Corporations like ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron also are among the worst polluters. As the G-20 wrapped up, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she "deplored" the U.S. government's exit from the Paris agreement. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, made his exit to Istanbul, Turkey, to receive a lifetime achievement award from the World Petroleum Congress, where he called the oil industry "marvelous," before heading to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, back at home, the impacts of global warming are everywhere. In the North American West, from near the Mexican border up into British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska, wildfires are raging. The U.S. government's interagency National Wildfire Coordinating Group listed 109 active wildfires in the U.S. alone. In Phoenix last month, when temperatures reached 120 degrees F, smaller jets were unable to take off or land, and American Airlines canceled close to 50 flights, all because the air was too hot. At higher temperatures, asphalt can melt, making runways unusable.The Union of Concerned Scientists just published a comprehensive study on the increasing impacts of sea level rise on U.S. coastal communities. "By 2035, about 170 communitiesroughly twice as many as todaywill face chronic inundation," the report states. By 2100, the number climbs to almost 500 communitiessome as large and economically vital as Galveston, Texas, most of greater New Orleans (we've seen what one hurricane can do there), Miami and Boston. Climate change, along with human overpopulation and consumption, is responsible for the Earth's sixth mass extinction, which scientists this week labeled an ongoing "biological annihilation."
There is even more breaking news about climate changeice-breaking news. A section of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has broken off; that's an iceberg the size of Delaware, four times the size of London. Scientists predict that if all Antarctic ice melts, global sea levels could rise by as much as 160 feet. The climate action group has launched a petition to name the new iceberg "Exxon Knew 1," referring to allegations that ExxonMobil covered up its research on climate change for decades.
Because many of the polluting corporations among the Carbon Majors are publicly traded, they can be influenced by shareholder actions. The movement to shift money from fossil-fuel corporations toward renewable energy is called "Divest/Invest." As of December 2016, investors have pledged to move over $5 trillion. While the U.S. government has withdrawn from the global climate action pact, under the banner "We Are Still In," seven states, including California and New York, have been joined by hundreds of cities and thousands of businesses and universities, committed to reducing carbon emissions.
Donald Trump may have won the Electoral College in 2016, elevating his climate change denialism to dangerous heights. But the resistance is real, strong and growing, and that cannot be denied.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Don Jr.?

Posted on Jul 12, 2017 Truthdig

[Image: donjrhannity_590.jpg]
Donald Trump Jr. sits for an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday in New York City. (Richard Drew / AP)

Scanning the headlines published this year by mainstream sources like The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vox, The Daily Beast and other outlets could well give news consumers the impression that we are thisclose to a ruinous reveal about the Trump administration's alleged ties to the uppermost echelons of Moscow's business and political elite.
Given that setup, it's not surprising that this week's media coverage from several such publications about Donald Trump Jr.'s fateful June 9, 2016, meeting with a woman described by an associate of the Trump camp as a "Russian government attorney" who could offer damaging information about Trump Sr.'s then-presidential rival Hillary Clinton cast the story as a bombshell of apocalyptic proportions.
To wit, here are just a few picks from an array of dramatic, even cinematic headlines posted Tuesday and Wednesday: "Trump's Defeated Defenders Can Only Whimper" (Bloomberg View); "The Donald Trump Jr. Emails Change Everything" (Vox); "Trump Aides Freaking Out Over Don Jr.'s Russia Email: The Sum Of All Fears'" (The Daily Beast); "Is Donald Trump Jr. Our Era's Fredo Corleone?" (The Boston Globe); "Could Trump Jr.'s Meeting With a Russian Attorney Count as Illegal Conspiracy?" (The Washington Post); "Red Curtain Falls: Trump Jr. Emails Show Russia Ties" (The Guardian).
And then there were the headlines about other headlinese.g., "Is Donald Trump Jr. Really the Fredo of His Family? An Investigation" (Vanity Fair); "Comparing Donald Trump Jr. to Fredo Corleone Is Grossly Unfair. To Fredo." (Slate).
Of course, it was the president's eldest son himself who served as the most important source of published information about the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya facilitated by British music publicist Rob Goldstone, now dubbed by The Daily Beast as "the Playboy Who Could Bring Down Trump." According to reports, Donald Jr. decided to exercise at least a modicum of control early Tuesday by beating his ink-stained antagonists to the punch and tweeting out key details The New York Times was just about to break:
[Image: DEdm15cXgAAa6sC.jpg:small][Image: DEdm3ylXUAAa83C.jpg:small][Image: DEdm3zKXsAAm7pD.jpg:small][Image: DEdm3zPWsAQurCg.jpg:small]
[URL=""][Image: LjrJJB9a_bigger.jpg]Donald Trump Jr.

Here's my statement and the full email chain
5:00 PM - 11 Jul 2017
  • [URL=""]
  • [URL=""]
    17,11317,113 Retweets[/URL]
  • [URL=""]
    32,83432,834 likes[/URL]

Twitter Ads info and privacy

View image on Twitter[Image: DEdnhw-WsAEbW9N.jpg]

[URL=""][Image: LjrJJB9a_bigger.jpg]Donald Trump Jr.

Here is page 4 (which did not post due to space constraints).
5:01 PM - 11 Jul 2017
  • [URL=""]
  • [URL=""]
    12,70012,700 Retweets[/URL]
  • [URL=""]
    20,65920,659 likes[/URL]

Twitter Ads info and privacy

So, Donald Trump Jr. may have denied the Times a scoop, but that couldn't insulate the Trump administration from the impact of the paper's multipart story backed by Donald Jr.'s confirmation (per the NYT):
The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father's former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The documents "would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father," read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, "This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
If the future president's eldest son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father's campaign he gave no indication.
He replied within minutes: "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."
Four days later, after a flurry of emails, the intermediary wrote back, proposing a meeting in New York on Thursday with a "Russian government attorney."
Donald Trump Jr. agreed, adding that he would most likely bring along "Paul Manafort (campaign boss)" and "my brother-in-law," Jared Kushner, now one of the president's closest White House advisers.
On June 9, the Russian lawyer was sitting in the younger Mr. Trump's office on the 25th floor of Trump Tower, just one level below the office of the future president.
[...] The Justice Department and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are examining whether any of President Trump's associates colluded with the Russian government to disrupt last year's election. American intelligence agencies have determined that the Russian government tried to sway the election in favor of Mr. Trump.
The reaction to Donald Jr.'s admission from that faction of the press that President Trump has referred to as "the enemy of the people" was consistent with its previous coverage of the Trump White House.
What was different this time around, however, was the response from sources on the right. Instead of circling the wagons, a good number of conservative outlets and pundits seemed to be eyeing the horizon.
The Drudge Report's homepage on Tuesday registered the newswith a grabby, regionally appropriate metaphor:
[Image: drudge2_600.jpg]
Tuesday's homepage at the National Review, the editors of which have been far from united in their takes on Trump, could have been mistaken for any number of left-leaning publications but for the Lena Dunham giveaway:
[Image: nationalreviewfront_600.jpg]
Rumors of pandemonium at Breitbart's editorial meeting made their way onto CNN's radar, although Breitbart's homepage gave off no such distress signals:
Raheem Kassam, editor-in-chief of Breitbart London, reacted to the story of Donald Trump Jr.'s newly-released emails in a way that wouldn't typically be expected from someone at the far-right outfit, which is a reliable supporter of President Trump.
"So like, this is straight up collusion," he wrote in the news outlet's internal Slack, according to a transcript of the conversation obtained by CNN. "Right?"
[...] Some staffers were seemingly left astonished. Writing in the company Slack, senior editor Rebecca Mansour reacted with only one word: "Wow." Amanda House, the outlet's deputy politics editor, wrote only, "???????"
The New York Post, for its part, got personal with this choice made by its editorial board:
[Image: trumpjridiot_600.jpg]
The White House made predictable noises via Sarah Huckabee Sanders and, inevitably, the president's Twitter account:
[URL=""][Image: kUuht00m_bigger.jpg]Donald J. Trump

My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!
12:19 PM - 12 Jul 2017
  • [URL=""]
  • [URL=""]
    23,79023,790 Retweets[/URL]
  • [URL=""]
    106,972106,972 likes[/URL]

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Donald Jr. made an appearance Tuesday on one of the Trump family's designated safe spaces, "Hannity":
Fox News stalwart Sean Hannity, like right-wing radio baron Rush Limbaugh, held the pro-Trump line, pointing out on his show that Donald Jr. had not done anything that Hillary Clinton hadn't in her own run at the White House. (The Clinton comparison was one, incidentally, that was also tracked by Consortium News' Robert Parry.)
Given that the many mediated takes on Donald Jr.'s extracurricular campaigning activities and their ultimate significance ranged from garden-variety "opposition research" to "potential treason," arriving at a reasonable conclusion that might prove to be more accurate than those currently on offer from self-interested pundits or politicians stuck in damage-control mode presents a unique challenge. Good thing Truthdig columnist, former judge and legal expert Bill Blum took a moment from his summer break to weigh in via email:
This story is the worst Russia news yet for the Trumps, and it has indictment potential for Don Jr. and possibly Jared [Kushner] and [Paul] Manafort. Among its many provisions, the Federal Election Campaign Act makes it a crime for a foreign national to contribute anything of value to an election campaign. It is also unlawful for an American to receive or solicit anything of value from a foreign person. Donald Jr.'s emails are close to a confession of a violation of these provisions. I don't think we're quite there yet, but I suspect [special investigator] Robert Mueller will discover more than the emails. Jr.'s smartest move has been to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
Insights provided by investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler in this clip from The Real News Network are also worth considering:

If anything is certain in this morass, it's that Donald Trump Jr. has ensured he'll remain under heavy media scrutinyas well as, Politico suggested Tuesday, under investigation by special counsel Mueller, to whom Donald Jr. has handed a "smoking gun." Really, he hasjust ask the crack team of "veteran prosecutors and white-collar defense attorneys experienced in Washington scandals" consulted by Politico specifically for that piece.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post is busy deciding between "smoking gun" and "distraction."
Trump Jr. at least has the assurance, granted by the National Review's latest headlines, that what he did is decidedly "not treason," even if it's "not defensible, either."
Did Donald Trump Jr. Break the Law With His Russian Meeting?
While every campaign seeks damaging information on political opponents, Donald Trump Jr. meeting a foreign national represents a departure from the norm

Haaretz and The Associated Press Jul 12, 2017 1:20 PM

Fact check: Did Donald Trump Jr. break the law with his Russian meeting? Pictured: Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by host Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel AP Photo/Richard Drew
Poetic justice and historic irony as Trump Jr.'s emails explode in his father's face
Opinion In Netanyahu's world, George Soros' politics justify throwing him to Hungary's anti-Semitic dogs
WATCH Trevor Noah roasts Donald Trump Jr.'s 'failed attempt at Russian collusion'
The email to Donald Trump Jr. just before the general election campaign offered a meeting with a Russian lawyer who would provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." The younger Trump wrote back: "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."
While every campaign seeks damaging information on political opponents, the interaction between the president's son and a foreign national represents a departure from the norm. Legal experts are divided on whether what happened could be a crime.
President Trump has been quick to defend his son, both retweeting Fox New's Jesse Watters who claimed Trump Jr. is "the victim here" and tweeting, "This is the greatest Witch hunt in political history. Sad!"
skip - Tweet
What do we know about the meeting?
Details of the previously unknown meeting on June 9, 2016, among attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort emerged over the weekend. Kushner, who is Trump's son-in-law and was a key figure in the campaign, and Manafort, a campaign chief, attended at Trump Jr.'s request.

An email exchange Trump Jr. posted to Twitter on Tuesday gives more details about why the meeting was arranged. A music publicist friendly with the Trump family said in those emails that Russia was supportive of the Trump campaign and that a "Russian government attorney" had dirt on Clinton to share.
The emails included a message from the publicist, Rob Goldstone, that the attorney had "some official documents and information" to provide, but Trump Jr. said he received nothing.
Does this show the campaign colluded with the Russians?
First, it's important to remember that there's no law, per se, against "collusion." Trump advocates have been reminding people of this for weeks. However, some attorneys say that the events described in the emails could amount to a conspiracy to break campaign finance law.
Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a criminal defense attorney who represented White House officials during the independent counsel investigation of President Bill Clinton, said Trump Jr. and others involved in the meeting are "exposed to the conspiracy to commit election fraud." He said they appeared to be working together to illegally solicit a foreign campaign contribution in the form of opposition research.
Wait, don't all campaigns seek opposition research?
Trump Jr. made this argument Monday on Twitter, writing sarcastically, "Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent... went nowhere but had to listen."
Indeed, presidential campaigns typically have entire teams of employees devoted to digging up dirt on their opponents. And longtime political strategists recall being inundated with offers from all sorts of people to share tips that campaigns might find useful.
So, what makes this different?
No one has stepped forward to say they experienced anything quite like the Trump Jr. interaction with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York.
Terry Sullivan, who was Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential campaign manager, wrote on Twitter, "Running @marcorubio camp lots of random people asked to meet to share 'secret oppo' I was just never dumb enough to meet w/ them." He added: #ButWeLost
Campaigns tend to be timid about handling materials that could have been obtained illegally. When a former congressman helping Al Gore prepare for a presidential debate received an unsolicited package of George W. Bush's debate preparation materials, he turned it over to the FBI.
What about the interactions could be illegal?
Foreign nationals are prohibited from providing "anything of value" to campaigns, and that same law also bars solicitation of such assistance. The law typically applies to monetary campaign contributions, but courts might consider information such as opposition research to be something of value.
Larry Noble, a former general counsel to the Federal Election Commission, said the newly released emails "put meat on the bones" of a possible criminal campaign finance violation. The emails show that the younger Trump knew the Russian government was offering the information and "give a clear indication he was soliciting it." As for whether the offer involved something of "value," Noble said that could be established if the Russians put resources into obtaining the information or even sent anyone over to relay it to the Trump campaign.
Noble, Jacobovitz and other lawyers argue that the Trump campaign saved money by not having to do that opposition research on its own, arguing that what Russia offered was essentially an "in-kind" campaign contribution. The goods don't need to have been delivered, they say, to trigger the solicitation provision.
Does everyone agree on that?
Tom Fitton, president of the conservative Judicial Watch, said "it would be an absurdist interpretation of the law" to consider what Trump Jr. did a crime. "The law does not cover talking politics," he said. "If it did, pretty much every political meeting would be considered an in-kind contribution that needs to be reported."
Bradley A. Smith, a former Bill Clinton-appointed Republican Federal Election Commission member, also says "a meeting does not a conspiracy make."
Opposition research might have a marketable value, Smith added. "But if someone simply comes to the campaign and says, 'I have some information you might find interesting,' I don't think we've had a solicitation by the candidate or campaign."
"There's no illegality in the meeting," one of President Donald Trump's private attorneys, Jay Sekulow, said on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." He said there is no law on the books that Don Jr. may have broken.
Opposition research might have a marketable value, Smith said. "But if someone simply comes to the campaign and says, 'I have some information you might find interesting,' I don't think we've had a solicitation by the candidate or campaign."
What happens next?
There are multiple probes into the Trump campaign and its interactions with Russia during the 2016 election, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and by Senate and House committees.
Trump Jr., who hired an attorney this week, said Monday that he is "happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know," referencing the Senate intelligence committee. Kushner and Manafort agreed weeks ago to cooperate with the congressional probes.
A lot of very good and important information on Trump on this other thread: