Report: McGahn Refused To Issue Statement Denying Trump’s Desire To Fire Mueller

160px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_Trump_(cropped)Yesterday, there was a troubling story in the New York Times that President Donald Trump had two conversations with witnesses in the Mueller investigation about matters touching on their statements to investigators. Both former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House CounselDonald F. McGahn II reportedly were the subjects of inquiries by Trump that raised concerns over witness tampering and, in McGahn’s case, eliciting a false public statement. As I explained this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, I do not view the accounts as establishing witness tampering violations but the conversations were clearly inappropriate and ill-advised. Moreover, they can be legitimately pursued by the Special Counsel and fit a narrative that is being advanced by critics. The failure to respect legal and ethical boundaries has been a constant and continuing problem for this White House. Nevertheless, there is an obvious defense to such charges and, as I explained on MSNBC, people are again ignoring the actual criminal elements to this offense. Putting that aside, there should be concern that this is yet another tripped wire that should have been avoided.

First and foremost, I am not especially concerned about the account involving Priebus if the current facts are accurate.  Trump reportedly asked Priebus how his interview had gone with the special counsel’s investigators and whether they had been “nice.” It was exceptionally ill-advised to ask the question.  Trump should avoid all discussion, even passing references, to the role or statements of witnesses in the investigation.  Nevertheless, it is hard to see why this would be a case of witness intimidation or tampering.

The McGahn matter is a bit more serious.   According to reports, Trump told an aide that McGahn should issue a statement denying a New York Times article that the president once asked him to fire the special counsel.  McGahn reportedly refused and reminded the president that he had indeed asked McGahn to dismiss Mueller.  Trump reportedly noted that it was not true, as reported, that McGahn threatened to resign, but McGahn said that he did indeed make that threat to high-ranking officials at a time (though perhaps not to Trump himself).

The incident bears uncomfortable semblance to the role Trump allegedly played in crafting the misleading statement from Air Force One on the meeting of Donald Trump Jr. with Russians in Trump Tower.

Is this another self-inflicted wound?  Yes.  Is it witness tampering? Probably not.  Trump was seeking a public statement to spin a scandal.  McGahn had already given his account to Mueller.  There is a difficult line to draw between what is political and what is prosecutable.  The White House is a political operation and a president is allowed to direct statements in response to damaging stories.  For a prosecutor to target a president, he needs to find an act that is well within the heartland of the criminal code. There are obvious defenses to this claim.

The federal code states in pertinent part:

18 U.S. Code § 1512 – Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant

(b)Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to—

(1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;

(2) cause or induce any person to—

(A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding;

(B) alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding;

(C) evade legal process summoning that person to appear as a witness, or to produce a record, document, or other object, in an official proceeding; or

(D) be absent from an official proceeding to which such person has been summoned by legal process . . .

Notably, the code contains an express defense and is provable under the lower standard of a preponderance of the evidence:

(e) In a prosecution for an offense under this section, it is an affirmative defense, as to which the defendant has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, that the conduct consisted solely of lawful conduct and that the defendant’s sole intention was to encourage, induce, or cause the other person to testify truthfully.
It is lawful for the President to seek a public statement denying wrongdoing and he can claim that he was objecting to aspects of the story, including McGahn’s threat to resign.
The encounter however opened up another avenue for inquiry for Mueller.
What is also striking is that leaks continue to occur in the White House from Trump inner circle — leaks that are clearly designed to undermine Trump.  Many of these stories reflect a degree of hostility as well as close proximity to the President.

408 thoughts on “Report: McGahn Refused To Issue Statement Denying Trump’s Desire To Fire Mueller

  1. Late4Dinner asked me was I was “no longer complaining about FISA warrant abuse”.
    I did note a few days ago that she inaccurately replied to me about a statement I did not make about FISA warrant(s).
    Now she evidenently “needs” to know why I did not mention FISA warrant abuse when she seemed to think that I did, or should have, mentioned it, in those posts a few days ago.
    This is one of the dumber questions she’s posed recently, and is related more to her playing games than any real request for an answer.
    So I’ll give that dumb-ass question the response that it deserves, and anticipate some sort of convoluted analysis from her as to why I wrote this comment.
    Then we can continue with that game if she has another few hours remaining on today’s shift, or she’ll pick it up again tomorrow, or maybe a few weeks from now.

    • Tom Nash, you want it? You got it. Here it is: You are no longer talking about the FISA warrant abuse of Carter Page because there was no FISA warrant abuse of Carter Page. By the end of “the game,” you will no longer be talking about any of the issues that you’re currently raising because each and every last one of the issues you’re currently raising will go the way of the FISA-warrant-abuse-of-Carter-Page issue that you’re no longer talking. This makes you substantially better than most of your fellow Whack-A-Mole moles; some of whom are still popping up out of Whack-A-Mole holes with further blather about Seth Rich. Kudos to Tom Nash for leading by example.

      • Late4Dinner has a bad habit of telling others what their conclusions are.
        Also, if there was an announcement that Late4Dinner now sets the agendas for topics she wants covered, I missed that announcement.
        This recent exchange with L4D started because she directed a comment to me that had nothing
        to do with what I said.
        Then she comes back
        a couple of days later to ask why I DIDN’T say what she apparently thought I said when she misdirected the comment to me.
        Now we’re down to resurrecting a discussion I engaged in a few weeks ago, and she evidently wants to review the archives, wants me to resume a discussion from a few weeks ago.
        I can easily answer her question about why I haven’t followed the agenda she set for my required participation.

        • Tom, the entire process involving FISA warrants weren’t to get at Carter page, they were to get Trump. The attitude of the FBI officials towards the investigation becomes clearer if one looks at the Nunes Memorandum. In brief, from an earlier posting.

          There has been additional evidence of wrong-doing by the FBI and DNC since this was first posted.

          * Andrew McCabe confirmed that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information.
          * The four FISA surveillance applications were signed by, in various combinations, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein.
          * The FBI authorized payments to Steele for work on the dossier. The FBI terminated its agreement with Steele in late October when it learned, by reading an article in Mother Jones, that Steele was talking to the media.
          * The political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials, but excluded from the FISA applications.
          * DOJ official Bruce Ohr met with Steele beginning in the summer of 2016 and relayed to DOJ information about Steele’s bias. Steele told Ohr that he, Steele, was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected president and was passionate about him not becoming president.

          • Allan,..
            -Page has called for the release of the actual FISA warrant application since the spring of 2017.
            You probably saw that the New York Times is now trying to get the applicatiom released…they started a process in early February.
            If they (and/or) others are ultimately successful, it could be months or years down the road before we see the application itself.

        • Tom as mentioned just a bit earlier, Diane doesn’t use facts, she supposes. Suppose A+B =C (1+2=3) Unfortunately, A, B, and C can be any integers so supposing doesn’t do any good unless one lives in a land of fools and is a fool themselves.

  2. We constantly hear our leftist friends engaging in shaming where the term “white privilege” is used to demean anyone that is caucasian. Without question, those that do so are playing a racist game and playing with fire that one day might burn their homes down.

    Nonie Darwish an immigrant recognizes this problem created by the left and doomed to failure.

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12016/tyranny-of-shaming

    Tyranny of Shaming

    American Race Wars as Seen by an Immigrant

    by Nonie Darwish

    This worth a read to any fair-minded person that wishes to end the hostility that is created by the race baiters and place things in their proper perspective.

    One quote:

    “Several generations of Americans seem to have been brought up on the false premise that if someone loves this country, its liberties, its culture and its way of life or God, they must be “racist.” If they are white and not Democrats, the assumption goes, they must be “racist.” As the majority of the population of America happens to be white, whites are supposedly the face of America: “racists” holding on to their guns and Bibles and depriving the rest of the country of a socialist Utopia.

    Generations of Americans also seem to have been brought up with an exaggerated view of “white privilege” — to the degree that at this point it is probably a bit of a lie, as though achieving success and wealth in America were due to the luck of the skin-color lottery rather than, as Justice Clarence Thomas has been arguing, to hard work. …

    …it was under this white majority that millions of oppressed people from around the world, of all colors and creeds, were rescued from tyranny, Sharia law, slavery, discrimination, Islamism and a miserable existence under corrupt, war-torn and famine-stricken nations. Instead, many seem to want to bring much of that here.

    How could politicians who advocate displacing white people in America to make them a minority think it is a good thing? This logic is cruel towards great citizens of a great nation that did so much good in the world. “

    • Displacing white people in America to make them a minority???

      Playing with fire that one day might burn their homes down???

      It was under white majority that millions . . . were rescued from . . . slavery . . . ???

      Worth a read to any fair-minded person that wishes to end the hostility???

      • As I said the leftists engage in shaming and creating concepts that should not exist.

        I note your ?? at the end of chosen sentences. I assume that is because you cannot intelligently respond and don’t really understand what the writer has said. I don’t care how the demographics turn out in the end. I do care about Democrats that purposely try to change the demographics to garner votes while forgetting they were and remain the party of slavery though the meaning of the word slavery has changed slightly.

  3. Late4Dinner,…
    – Open Secrets presents the data in several different formats and by different categories.
    An organization usually isn’t lumped in for comparison with individual companies when ranking the amount of campaign and lobbying spending.
    One of their most interesting is the ranking of biggest overall spenders since 1989.
    That list is largely made up of unions….public service unions, the NEA, etc.
    I can’t log in for hours at a time, and I’m not seeking to write lengthy daily columns.
    As time permits, I may include the list of the 1989-to-present biggest spenders
    in a future comment.

    • Unions cobble together money from workers who have ever decreasing wages as a result of the political activity of Koch and other richest 0.1% er’s in the population. The workers democratically elect their leadership which then makes decisions that will benefit MILLIONS of families. The impact of the political decisions are in the neighborhoods and states where the workers’ families live.
      The Koch’s and others like them, use inherited money or money derived from the profits of consumers (without their permission) to create oligarchy in the U.S. They are small in number and apply their political clout in places where they have never lived nor deigned to visit.
      It is an egregious, false equivalency to compare the political activity of the two.

      • “Unions cobble together money from workers who have ever decreasing wages as a result of the political activity of Koch and other richest 0.1%”

        Unions force their members to give a portion of their wages to the Democratic Party. That is the Stalin way. Your money or your job (life). That practice should be ended and might be in due course.

        Thank goodness for those with money. If you, your children or your grandchildren need a job do you send them to a welfare family looking for work?

        • Often the so-called concern about the influence of money in politics is one-sided.
          That is, the “concern” is not about the money per se, but only about the money used to back candidates/ policy issues that they oppose.
          For example, they can “overlook” the fact that Wall Street money overwhelmingly went to Hillary in 2016, or that her $Billion+ campaign outspent Trump by 2-1.
          Publications like Mother Jones or Huffington Post, mentioned earlier in this thread, aren’t exactly the best source for objective or comprehensive reporting.
          In spite of what one or two obsessed commentators here claim, there are many other big money players in politics beside the Koch brothers.
          Using words like “oligarchy” or “Koch” or “the .1%” hundreds of times in these threads does not change that fact.

          • Linda’s mindset is locked into an autocratic type of regime that agrees with her. Unfortunately, historically when that regime comes to power Linda will soon be out in a cold gulag, in a jail or have her head chopped off. I don’t think there will be any loss if the third thing happened. There isn’t very much up there.

        • Allan,…
          Given that the Koch Bros. workforce is likely to be non-union, they probably don’t have the same opportunity to extort campaign contributions from their workforce via union dues.
          Overall union membership is at or near a 60 year low, and “public service” unions ( as opposed to unions representing workers in the private sector) seem to be more active as mega-donors on the political scene.

          • Georgia Pacific is privately owned by the Koch’s. It produces paper goods, cups (Dixie) etc. It uses advanced manufacturing techniques employing American labor. Almost all the labor is unionized and is paid at the highest level of manufacturing jobs. It is reported that their collective bargaining and relationships with the unions are very positive.

            From Wikipedia, I will copy their awards and charity. Take note how many of Linda’s friends don’t do anything near what the Kochs have done and continue to do. Reality punches Linda in the face all the time and that is why all she can do is yell oligarch because there is little to her words.

            “In 2009, the EPA awarded Koch subsidiary Georgia-Pacific its SmartWay Excellence award, “an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing air pollution,” and specifically commended Georgia-Pacific. The award states:

            In, 2008, 93% of Georgia-Pacific’s freight was hauled by SmartWay Transport Partners, an increase of 47% over the previous year. Of the 145 carriers Georgia-Pacific uses, 104 were SmartWay carriers, an increase of 33% over 2007. In 2008, Georgia-Pacific experienced tremendous growth in its intermodal shipping. Georgia-Pacific was able to work with its customers to increase lead-time and create more intermodal freight shipments without significantly impacting customer’s needs, thus increasing intermodal loads by 39% in 2008 as compared to 2007. Georgia-Pacific uses advanced software to pack loads more efficiently and increase cube utilization in its trailers. The company also reduced empty loads by 10%, increased utilization of local fleets, and established an idling reduction policy in place at its 12 distribution centers. In the summer of 2008, Georgia Pacific held a fuel conservation summit to explore ways for shippers and carriers to work together to further reduce fuel consumption from its freight transport operations.[11]

            In 2010, Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, donated 682 acres (2.76 km2) near Wauna, Oregon, to The Nature Conservancy.[12]

            The Georgia-Pacific Foundation Scholarship Program for Employees’ Children has awarded nearly $10.5 million in college scholarships to children of the company’s employees between 1988 and 2013. Speaking to the Demopolis Times, vice president Kelvin Hill said of the program, “A well-educated workforce is crucial to the long-term success of our mill. When we support education, we’re helping create the workers that our business and the state of Alabama will need.”[13]

            Through its Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade program, the company awards volunteer fire departments around the United States more than $100,000 annually, and as of 2013, has awarded over $1 million since the program began in 2006.[14]”

            • I should have added that the money the unions forcibly collect from the well paid and treated Koch employees go to badmouthing good policy and the Koch’s as well.

            • Thanks for the information.
              I incorrectly assumed that the workforce of most-not-all of the Koch Industry companies was non-union.

                • Workers, by law, have the right to vote to authorize unions to represent them. If the Kochs tried to intimidate workers relative to their votes, they would be in violation of the law. The Koch’s adherence to American law has been reviewed and found wanting by critics, in other forums. At the national and state level, the Koch’s work to destroy unions. Their success is measured in the fact that labor receives the lowest share of national income in U.S. recorded history and, in the accumulated wealth of the richest 0.1% which is at the point that has historically resulted in power upheavals..

                  • Why should a worker that is a member of a union be forced to pay money to a fund that supports Democratic candidates if he supports the other side?

                    As I mentioned earlier the Kochs owns Georgia Pacific which is unionized. The plants are modern, have American workers and are among the highest paid level for manufacturing jobs. Most of the workers are unionized and the relationship with the unions is very positive. How do any of these facts match with what Linda would like to tell us?

                    We have also heard from Linda about how Koch is part of a plan to incarcerate people. From Wikipedia: “In July 2015 Charles Koch and his brother were praised by President Obama and Anthony Van Jones for their bipartisan efforts to reform the criminal justice system.[61][62] For roughly a decade Koch has been advocating for several reforms within the prison system, including the reduction of recidivist criminals, easing the employment process for rehabilitated persons, and the defense of private property from asset forfeiture.[62][63] Aligning with groups such as the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Coalition for Public Safety, and the MacArthur Foundation, Koch believes the current system has unfairly targeted low-income and minority communities all while wasting substantial government resources.[62][64]
                    In February 2016, Koch penned an opinion piece in The Washington Post, where he said he agreed with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about the unfairness of corporate welfare and mass incarceration in the United States.[65] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Koch

                    One cannot trust anything Linda says. Very often she and her sources are factually incorrect.

          • Tom Nash said, “Given that the Koch Bros. workforce is likely to be non-union, they probably don’t have the same opportunity to extort campaign contributions from their workforce via union dues.”

            Extortion??? Here’s an idea: Suppose that the employees of Koch Industries might have something to do with creating the wealth that the Koch Brothers lavish on contributions to political candidates. Further suppose that Koch Industries does not “extort” that wealth from its employees. Instead, Koch industries pays its employees wages, salaries and other compensation in exchange for their productive labor. The foregoing suppositions seem reasonable enough to be admitted without objection.

            How then does the dreaded “extortion” charge get trotted out to lambaste the collection of union dues from the members of various labor unions? Could it be, shall one suppose, that the dreaded “extortion” charge is leveled because the Koch Brothers don’t get to decide how labor unions spend the money they collect from their members’ union dues? Because the Koch Brothers are presumed not to employ the members of labor unions. Whence the Koch Brothers are further presumed not to pay wages, salaries and other compensation that gets “extorted” from their employees in the form of union dues.

            Well . . . Whose money is it, anyhow???

            • Union members have no control over the causes/candidates that a portion of their required union dues are used for.
              That is arguably like “taxation without represensentation”.
              The employees of a company obviously have no say in the choices of the company owners’ contributions to political candidates/ causes, nor should they have a say in where the owners’ political cotributions go.

              • So why should the owners of a company have a say in the political contributions to which their employees’ union dues go?

                BTW, you’re wrong about union dues without representation. In fact, there’s no representation without union dues.

                • There are plenty of examples of public servive unions making very large political contributions.
                  Those decisions….where those contributions go
                  …are not made by “owners”, they are made by the union mamagement.
                  The commemt I made about “taxation without representation” was spevifically about THAT PORTION of the union dues that goes for political candidates/ causes

                  It was not a blamket statement that unions don’t represent union members.

              • Consumers should demand the Koch’s et. al. stop corrupting free enterprise. Profits employed to get a political system to dismantle free enterprise e.g. carried interest and extended patent protections, rather than improving products or lowering prices, reflects a descent into the ugliness of colonialism. Mnuchin and his wife and, Betsy DeVos and her brother, are the poster children.

                • “Consumers should demand the Koch’s et. al. stop corrupting free enterprise”

                  Linda, Time to answer the questions about Koch. Take the test.

                  a) you are lying
                  b) you are ignorant
                  c) all of the above

            • “Suppose that the employees of Koch Industries might have something to do with… Further suppose that Koch Industries does not…”

              There we have it, Diane’s logic and proof, SUPPOSE. In other words, all Diane does is suppose a few facts that are incorrect and from those faced we are Supposed to trust her conclusions.

              Diane lives in fantasy land.

        • It is a pathetic situation when the donor class pays people to defend them on blogs. The U.S. donor class lacks the honor and integrity to identify the paid promotion for their anti-democracy views, a duplicity that is fully expected. At this blog, those telling the truth about the richest 0.1% do it for free in service to the U.S. and the world’s 99%.
          The only forgiveness warranted for those carrying the donor class’ water, is financial desperation.

          • Linda, you lie continuously or you are ignorant of the truth. We have all heard your comments on Koch, incarceration and corporate welfare. Here is a bit from Wikipedia copied from my earlier posting.

            We have also heard from Linda about how Koch is part of a plan to incarcerate people. From Wikipedia: “In July 2015 Charles Koch and his brother were praised by President Obama and Anthony Van Jones for their bipartisan efforts to reform the criminal justice system.[61][62] For roughly a decade Koch has been advocating for several reforms within the prison system, including the reduction of recidivist criminals, easing the employment process for rehabilitated persons, and the defense of private property from asset forfeiture.[62][63] Aligning with groups such as the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Coalition for Public Safety, and the MacArthur Foundation, Koch believes the current system has unfairly targeted low-income and minority communities all while wasting substantial government resources.[62][64]
            In February 2016, Koch penned an opinion piece in The Washington Post, where he said he agreed with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about the unfairness of corporate welfare and mass incarceration in the United States.[65] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Koch

            One cannot trust anything Linda says. Very often she and her sources are factually incorrect.

            • ALEC Exposed… Democracy Now…Jane Mayer’s book, “Dark Money”…PR Watch…UnKochMyCampus.org,…
              CAP is funded by the Waltons, corporations, Bill Gates, etc. CAP’s proposal for universities, published in Forbes 2016, was written by a former employee of New America which is funded by arrogant, 0.1% er’s like Gates/ Eric Schmidt (founder of Google),… Alignment with CAP shouldn’t convince anyone of the presence of noble motives. The recent N.A. firings, chronicled by media, demonstrate what plutocratic money buys. CAP’s university scheme could have been written by Republican Marco Rubio because he introduced legislation that was very similar. David Koch is on the Board of the Aspen Institute which sponsors Gates-funded groups like the Senior Congressional Education Staff Network.
              The richest 0.1%’s plan to rip off the middle class (achieving it through ownership of state and national politicians like Pence) was exposed this evening by 60 Minutes in its interview with Erik Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos. (Of note, the schemes of the anti-democracy bullies are rejected by the schools that their kids attend.)
              Bill and Melinda Gates, Schmidt and the Koch’s assume they are geniuses on all subjects and, that they have the right to unfettered exploitation. Allan, if they are entrepreneurial geniuses why haven’t American workers seen a real wage increase in 30+ years? Why is America’s crumbling infrastructure continuing to be a drag on productivity? One would think a genius globalist could start a business that provided jobs in countries like India and continents like Africa, instead of selling the poorest families on a product like schools-in-a-box ,with an expected return of 20% for Zuckerberg, Gates and other wealthy corporatists. The lack of imagination of the donor class is staggering. They stockpile money at a rate that threatens future economic growth.
              The MacArthur Foundation (rich heirs) gave an award for “research” on the value of grit in success. That, from people who started life on 3rd base. Rhetorically, what are the odds they oppose tax spending for budget items like kids’ healthcare, worker sick leave, worker safety, etc.? What are the odds they vote for politicians who pass legislation to corporatize education, rip workers off of their pensions, and the Social Security and Medicare they earned, while expecting politicians to deliver on carried interest for hedge funds that drag down GDP by an estimated 2%?

              • Let’s get it straight, Linda. You never stop with your soundbites and in this case soundbites that do not relate to the question at hand, the Kochs and what they have done. You lied or are ignorant of the truth. Stick to the subject. Once again I will provide some facts and you can dispute the facts, apologize or remain ignorant. Quoting the earlier comment:

                Linda, you lie continuously or you are ignorant of the truth. We have all heard your comments on Koch, incarceration and corporate welfare. Here is a bit from Wikipedia copied from my earlier posting.

                We have also heard from Linda about how Koch is part of a plan to incarcerate people. From Wikipedia: “In July 2015 Charles Koch and his brother were praised by President Obama and Anthony Van Jones for their bipartisan efforts to reform the criminal justice system.[61][62] For roughly a decade Koch has been advocating for several reforms within the prison system, including the reduction of recidivist criminals, easing the employment process for rehabilitated persons, and the defense of private property from asset forfeiture.[62][63] Aligning with groups such as the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Coalition for Public Safety, and the MacArthur Foundation, Koch believes the current system has unfairly targeted low-income and minority communities all while wasting substantial government resources.[62][64]
                In February 2016, Koch penned an opinion piece in The Washington Post, where he said he agreed with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about the unfairness of corporate welfare and mass incarceration in the United States.[65] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Koch

                One cannot trust anything Linda says. Very often she and her sources are factually incorrect.

  4. The Conspiracy Fallacy

    by David Paxton

    Writing refutations to the arguments of conspiracy theorists seems as difficult and brave as clubbing seals. But anyone who has ever publicly expressed even moderate support for military intervention has inevitably encountered various leaps of logic from the keyboards of conspiracy theorists. Their personal imperviousness to sensible debate and their theory’s superbug-like inability to die off suggests there is something to be said for trying to understand their process, if it can be called such. Besides, I like clubbing seals.

    Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    This is advice conspiracy theorists simply cannot take. Everything is deliberate.

    Cui bono: “as a benefit to whom?”

    This is the logic that says umbrella salesmen make the rain. A conspiracy theorist’s favourite.

    Furtive fallacy: Significant facts of history are necessarily sinister

    This is a form of paranoia, it’s not the acceptance of conspiracy theories as much as feeling the necessity for them to exist.

    The denial of the first example, the overuse of the second and the possible affliction of the third are all common features in conspiracy theory argument. I think another one is also often evident and although related to ‘cui bono’, constitutes a distinct fallacy. This is to be called the factum ut faciat or the made to make fallacy. (I’ve added Latin for extra pretension) It is defined below:

    “Faciens hoc ergo factum ut faciat hoc” (“made this, therefore made to make this”) is an informal fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) that states “Since event x caused event y, event x must have been instigated to bring about event y.” The fallacy lies in coming to a conclusion of causality based solely on the outcome of events, rather than taking into account other factors that suggest the outcome is incidental or requiring evidence to demonstrate intention.

    The following is a simple example: The chip pan fire caused the house to burn down, therefore the chip pan fire was started with the intention of burning the house down.

    A prime example of contemporary usage would be: “America couldn’t have invaded Iraq in 2003 without the public anger from 9-11. Therefore 9-11 was an inside job undertaken to enable the war in Iraq”

    So, when you hear something along the lines of ‘Obama withdrew troops from Iraq and created ISIS deliberately to create the chaos to er…. put them back in’, asserted without evidence, know that this is the factum ut faciat fallacy.

  5. Trump’s “good people” and self-described Christian- Erik Prince. He sat down for interviews for a book written about him. The book describes his wife dying of cancer. The former nanny with whom he was having an affair shows up at the wife’s funeral, pregnant. She and Prince marry a year later. (from Politico’s review of the book)

    • Linda – can’t be any worse than Jesse Jackson coming to the WH to counsel Bill Clinton on his sexual problems and having his pregnant mistress on his arm.

    • From the Wikipedia article on Sergei Skripal:

      “Sergei Viktorovich Skripal (born 23 June 1951) is a former Russian military intelligence officer who acted as a double agent for Britain’s intelligence services during the 1990s and early 2000s. In December 2004, he was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and later tried, convicted of high treason, and imprisoned. He settled in the UK in 2010 following the Illegals Program spy swap.

      On 4 March 2018, Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting from Moscow, were poisoned with a nerve gas. They remain in a critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital. The poisoning is being investigated as an attempted murder.”

      Linda, it’s possible that Skripal may have acted as an intermediary between Steele and his Russian informants. But Skripal, himself, would not have been one of Steele’s Russian informants. It’s also possible that Skripal gave no assistance to Steele’s compilation of the dossier. Meanwhile, the attempted murder of Skripal could be in retaliation for his past cooperation with the Brits well before 2016.

      • Skripal lived quietly in England for 8 yrs. Recently, he told police he feared for his life. The net on Russian interference in U.S. elections is tightening. If Steele was M16’s Russian desk manager, while Skripal was spying and then later, Steele wrote a dossier that “has resulted in one murder” in Russia, astute investigators would be examining possible connections. If the death is unrelated to the primary international topic that is on everybody’s radar, finding the reason for the murder, is imperative.

        The floated suggestion that Putin would step so far from established diplomatic boundaries to punish Skripal’s daughter for a one-word Putin insult on Facebook, would make him unhinged. Funders of political groups like Freedom Partners or the national Chamber of Commerce could be asked,
        “if a Facebook commenter wrote that you steal from the poor, and someone replied ‘nice’, would you have that person killed with an exotic nerve gas (produced in one of very few labs in the world, capable of its creation) knowing it was untraceable to you?” One hopes (expects) the answer to be “no”. If not, it reflects a very scary situation.

  6. While the nation focuses on the Trump reality t.v.show, the Koch’s man, Mike Pence is on deck. On Jan. 28, 2018, Charles Koch was quoted as saying to political donors, “We’ve made more progress in the last 5 years than I had in the previous 50…My challenge to all of us is to increase the scale and effectiveness of this network by an order of magnitude…If we do that I’m convinced we can change the trajectory of this country.”
    The “network” includes ALEC’s parallel government, State Budget Solutions, the State Policy Network and the American City and County Exchange. The accomplishments resulted in the U.S. as the most imprisoned population in the world, labor’s share of national income at its lowest point in recorded U.S. history and the middle class fleeced on a grand scale of money intended for public education. Ohio, 7th largest state in the nation, provides example.

    Turley tells us money isn’t the problem. The Black Alliance for Education Options increased its funding by a factor of 4 in two years, gratis of the Waltons, Bill Gates and the Bradley Foundation with links to the Koch’s.

    Blog readers can form their own opinions about the significance of commenters at this site who, both defend Russia and American oligarchs.

  7. Wow, what a fun day!! And the appearance of so many Dim bots really makes my heart swell – because this means that you mo fos feel scared. See, your biggest enemy is not the in your face Repubs it’s the Progressives who refused and will continue to refuse to vote for your masters.

    • “In your face Repubs” – On March 18, $1000 will buy an opportunity to hobnob with Russophiles, Oliver North and Republican congressmen. $2,700 will allow a corporation or a person to upgrade to VIP at Erik Prince’s Virginia fundraiser for Rohrbacher. BTW, Rohrbacher’s government e-mail won’t let you send a message to him unless you live in his district but, his campaign takes money regardless of location. Note to Prof. Turley …money buys access.

        • Paul C. Schulte,..
          – If these folks only knew that they might be able to go to a $300,000+ George Clooney fund raiser, they’d kick themselves for not skipping a few hundred of these cheap events, and saving up for a chance to dine with a Democratic Hollywood oligarch.

        • Republicans own the House, Senate and Presidency and a majority of the governorships. Where’s their legislation to take money out of the political process? Oh right, they’ve got blog lawyers/professors telling us that money doesn’t affect politics which explains why even though citizens opposed the tax scam bill, bank deregulation, privatization of public schools, Social Security and Medicare, the military, and veterans’ hospitals, those citizens can’t seem to get Republican politicians to do their bidding instead of the bidding of the Koch’s, Mercers, etc.

          • You dodge every question ever put to you, then pose your own stock questions and pet phrases, with slight variations, again and again and again.
            And again. If you’re ever to become an effective propagandist, you’ll need to get some new material to work with.

          • With any luck and a ton of money to spend, the Democratic candidates should have some opportunities for gains in the mid-term elections.
            Gotta hurt when your candidate(s) outspend the opposition, and still lose.
            The so-called opposition to the influence of money in the political process expressed by people like Linda can be very selective.
            The “bad money” is used to elect those she dislikes, and the “good money” in politics that supports her preferred candidates and causes.

          • Linda – it costs at least $1 million to run a Senate general campaign in Arizona. I am sure it is more in California. You either have to be able to self-fund, like Trump or you have to eat a lot of rubber chickens, like the Clintons. She raised 1.2 billion, yes billion dollars and still lost. How sad is that? Money doesn’t always talk. People can make up their own minds about who to vote for. For instance, I did not vote for Senator for my state, neither candidate was worthy. Sadly, one had to win. Still, I had no part in his victory. I have been helpful in getting rid of our junior Senator though. He will be gone this year. I have a candidate picked, but I do not know if she will win the primary or the general.

            • What the money is spent for, answers the question about how much it “costs”. Citizens expect Congress and the President to focus on the scenario that would eliminate the need for or, shift the source of, the money.

                • Paul,
                  Actually, there is evidence that they do. There are more Dems than Repubs in the country. The Democratic Party published a survey listing areas of priority. Overturning Citizens United and changing campaign finance is one of them.

                  • Are the Democrats advocating the same for labor unions? Are they siding with those that do not wish their money to be forcefully taken and spent on Democratic campaigns?

                  • Linda – this would be the Democratic party that allowed Hillary to stab Bernie in the back and suck money from the state parties?

        • It also buys time with Putin and previously with Stalin. Linda forgets all these little things. Obama seems to have money around and loves power, but is that power for the good of the American people or the good of people elsewhere?

          There seem to be connections all over that even endanger secure areas within the country. Consider Obama’s permission for Gulftainer at Port Canaveral (Project Pelican) right next to the U.S defense and space nerve center with connections to the Iraqi Jafar family and connections to a subsidiary of Rosatom who is the majority owner of Uranium One. Of course, the Clintons are mixed up in all of this as well.

          Few people know or understand the risks taken when people from hostile or potentially hostile countries take control of our ports.

          Linda seems to support those that might threaten our nation and our culture.

          • I can’t accuse Linda of forgetting anything; that implies that she ever knew anything in the first place.

            • She has a lot of soundbites that conflict with one another and conflict with reality. Stalin is dead so she lacks updates.

          • The “our” nation is the “majority rule/minority rights” democratic republic not, the richest 0.1%’s oligarchy, even if the latter, spins self-interest, selling it as “support for the United States of America”.

            Based on outcomes, we can deduce Allan’s “national culture” is defined as donor class exploitation- the share of national income going to labor is at its lowest point in U.S. recorded history and, the U.S. is the nation with the most imprisoned population in the world. One out of 5 American children live in poverty. 99% of Americans are one catastrophic medical expense away from bankruptcy.

            Allan’s warning about port risk is at odds with the viewpoint of free trade, globalists- those of American descent, but no national allegiance. The issue for oligarchs is which corporate owner gets to take profit from ports. (Port labor may get a better wage from German owners.) Anti-taxation, limited government businessmen surely don’t expect the public to pay security costs for monopolistic or oligopolistic enterprises like ports? They wouldn’t want to be hypocritical free-loaders at the government trough while disparaging welfare queens. …Wait, we’ve already established they are exploiters.

            • No, Linda, I perceive our natural culture to be represented in the words of the Declaration of Independence. Our unalienable rights “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” and the spirit of the American people.

              You believe in Stalin’s democracy where 51% of the people can vote to enslave the other 49% while Stalin counts the ballots.

                • Kimp, you really ought to read the Constitution more carefully and read a bit of history while you are at it. That is part of the preamble. The Constitution then lists the duties of the three branches. The preamble itself had no significant legal meaning. It wasn’t even discussed on the floor of the Constitutional Convention.

            • I happen to agree with you on the corporate freeloaders! That’s wrong! BUT, can you explain in your own words, what your opinion is on “welfare queens”???

              For example, do you think the rest of the country should pay extra when a single woman has a child out-of-wedlock, and lacks the education, job, or adequate funds to support the kid??? What about if she then has a second, third, or fourth child out of wedlock.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

              • Squeeky,
                Better to ask that question of the (1) Republicans making abortion illegal (2) Republicans driving down wages so men and women can’t afford birth control (3) Republicans cutting funding for Planned Parenthood (4) corporatists outsourcing jobs (5) pro-birth advocates and, those who shame women for use of birth control i.e. evangelicals. BTW- evangelicals won’t ante up to prevent malnourishment nor provide child healthcare so, they are not pro-life.

                • The “Republicans” are not here on this forum. You are. Sooo, either answer my question, or continue to avoid answering, as you usually do. In case you have Attention Deficit Disorder issues, i will repeat what I asked you:

                  can you explain in your own words, what your opinion is on “welfare queens”???

                  For example, do you think the rest of the country should pay extra when a single woman has a child out-of-wedlock, and lacks the education, job, or adequate funds to support the kid??? What about if she then has a second, third, or fourth child out of wedlock.

                  C’mon, put your Big Girl Panties on and answer a question, for once. Because you are still refusing to answer my very basic questions about how Paul Ryan is destroying Social Security in detail, and how come people are even talking about slashing pension benefits in the first place.

                  Just FWIW, If you are a sincere person, one who is actually trying to help your cause, then you should know that you aren’t doing very well. Plopping out phrases and terms like “ALEC” and “slashing pension benefits” without any ability to discuss those issues, convinces nobody.

                  If OTOH, you are just a silly troll, then you are doing a great job!

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

                • Though some people are totally against abortion Republicans as a whole are not. The ability to have an abortion will not disappear. If federal funding for Planned Parenthood is stopped abortions will continue. As we have seen wages go up with Republicans that rely on the marketplace and become stagnant with Democrats that do not. Our present President is working to stop outsourcing something the former President encouraged with his policies.

            • “99 % of Americans are one catastrophic medic al expense away from bankruptcy”.
              At least she’s got some new material, even if the claim is wildly inaccurate.
              The same “oligarchy” theme is there, but her latest post forgot to include the word “Koch”.
              A major oversight for such a rote propagandist as Linda.

              • “new material” for the Koch/Russia fans.
                Russophile Rohrbacher’s fundraising event on March 18 features two Congressmen to attract donors. One is Rep. Tom Garrett. Guess who funds his campaign? Answer- the Koch’s and NFIB (the organization’s biggest funder- Koch-linked Freedom Partners). And, guess what “freedom”, NFIB fights for? Answer- free to be sick without pay. (Guardian, Feb. 11, 2018)

                • From the article linked above:

                  The left-leaning Center for Media and Democracy has posted on NFIBexposed.org, its new website, a study that reveals how consistently the NFIB lobbies on issues that favor large corporate interests rather than small-business interests; its thoroughly partisan agenda; and the millions it receives in secret contributions from groups associated with Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers.

                  The NFIBexposed.org website . . . chronicles how 98 percent of NFIB’s campaign contributions so far in the 2012 election cycle have gone to Republicans, and how 100 percent of its advertising budget supported either Republicans or opposed Democrats.

                  Looking at all donations since 1989, the NFIB is ranked third highest on Opensecrets.org’s list of political “heavy hitters,” based on the percentage of its contributions going to Republican candidates. NFIB’s 93 percent is higher than Koch Industries with 90 percent; Exxon Mobil with 86 percent; and the National Rifle Association with 82 percent.

                  • For some perspective…Open Secrets ranks NFIB #554 in $ amount of campaign contributions.
                    They are ranked# 105 in lobbying spending.
                    Maybe Late4Dinner will give us a profile of the 553 organizations that outspend NFIB in campaign,contributions, and the 104 that outspent it in lobbying.
                    I’ll watch for that series in one of her fiture daily columns that she publishes here in these threads.

                    • From Wikipedia…”NFIB has a membership base of over 325,000 small businesses”.
                      That sounds pretty sinister.😯

                    • If guessing is allowed–which it used to be–I’ll guess that most of 553 “organizations” that outspent NFIB were probably Fortune 500 corporations. However, on the odd chance that my guess is wrong, I promise to pretend to be perfectly delighted with that prospectively errant surmise.

                    • Tom, thanks for putting the numbers in perspective. Diane copies little segments of a long article written by people unaware of the intricacies of the subject matter so what she implies is too often totally false.

                    • Tom,
                      One of those small businesses that NFIB tried to recruit (minimal dues to make the organization look representative, a parallel to the dues of ALEC politicians) told the guy recruiting, ” I’m not signing up, you push policies for big businesses”. The business owner who related the story to me had a body shop in a small Ohio town.

              • Trump’s “good people”
                Pruitt’s EPA gave a politically-appointed, senior official (formerly a political consultant for Koch entities) an ethics waiver so that he can get paychecks from clients who have direct stake in the EPA’s work, while he simultaneously picks up full-time pay from taxpayers.

              • “99 % of Americans are one catastrophic medic al expense away from bankruptcy”.

                If they have real insurance they are covered. ObamaCare was making middle America go into bankruptcy just paying the premiums.

                Linda doesn’t realize that our health care costs are as high as they are because of government intervention.

                • From the HuffPost article linked above:

                  Wendell Potter, author of “Deadly Spin, An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans,” said he recalled from his days as an insurance company executive that NFIB was available for message-laundering.

                  “The industry has known that it can typically rely on the NFIB to carry its water,” he said.

                  More than a dozen years ago, when the insurance industry was working to kill legislation that would have established a “Patients’ Bill of Rights,” Potter recalled, “they knew that messaging from them wouldn’t work,” so the industry partnered with NFIB.

                  “It was an organization that had the perception of representing small business and it really was representing the interests of the insurance industry,” Potter said.

                  NFIB’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act is the perfect example, he said. Obama’s signature law “will enable more small business to offer coverage to their workers and get some tax exemptions for doing that,” Potter noted. “In the past, small businesses have not enjoyed the same benefits from the tax point of view that the larger companies have.”

                  So, in fact, NFIB was “working against the interests of small business,” Potter said.

                  Mother Jones recently noted that the NFIB lobbied heavily against Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy, even though “[o]nly 3 percent of small businesses net more than $250,000 a year, the lowest income that would be affected by Obama’s tax plan.”

                  “They’re actually throwing the voice of big businesses,” said Graves. “That has an impact on media coverage. The media will highlight the perspective of the NFIB as if it were representative of small business.”

                  • The spin you throw is so often out of bounds that it is hard to comment on what you think was said by third parties that know little about healthcare.

                    If I were a small business (as defined) looking to grow larger I would most definitely not support ObamaCare which prevented small businesses from expanding and hiring more employees. When the US was in a bad financial state one wanted to push for higher employment and expanding our industry. Obamacare did the opposite. In other words from a purely economic point of view, Obama should have first worked on the economy holding healthcare legislation for a later date.

                    Obamacare bribed or threatened the parties that were needed to pass the bill. Therefore, you would have to be very specific in your claims. You live off of spin so its difficult to have an honest discussion with you.

  8. al·leg·ed·ly
    əˈlejədlē/
    adverb
    adverb: allegedly

    used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof.

    which neatly ties up the value of reportedly, purportedly and alleged in the propaganda industry or in the court rooms.

    The result is a big fat zero.

    • So I’ve been puttering around whacking one Whack-A-Mole mole at a time in one Whack-A-Mole hole at a time, while Linda whacks the whole Whack-A-Mole table seven Whack-A-Mole moles at a time in seven Whack-A-Mole holes at a time with each and every last strike of her mallet. That is way far too awesome for jealousy. OMG, I can’t think of the word for it. I’m dumfoonert.

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