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Oh, just a light madness check-in

Fucking hell, what a week. Welcome to the dark American joke: What do a serial rapist and cop who murders a black man while he's complying with said cop's orders have in common? They're both walking around today totally free of consequences. And as you scan every other column of the day's newspaper, are you starting to think maybe we don't live in the America your middle school Civics textbook promised? Me too, Resisters...me too.

Ugh. Anyhow, let's catch up on the madness.

Hey, I dunno if you saw this, but the President of the United States is under FBI investigation! For obstruction of justice! Everybody's yelling at teevees and getting lawyers and lawyers for their lawyers, are you supposed to get a present for your lawyer's lawyer at Xmastime, or is just a card fine? Asking for a Bloated Orange Asshole...


Trump Acknowledges He Is Under Investigation in Russia Inquiry

(NYT) President Trump acknowledged publicly for the first time Friday that he is under investigation in the expanding inquiry into Russian influence in the election and appeared to attack the integrity of the Justice Department official in charge of leading it. In an early-morning tweet, the president declared that he is being investigated for his decision to fire James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director. And he appeared to accuse Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, of leading a witch hunt.

"I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017 "

The tweet was the first explicit acknowledgment by the president that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel for the Russia inquiry, had begun examining whether Mr. Trump's firing of Mr. Comey last month was an attempt to obstruct the investigation.


Ezra Klein: Republicans are about to make Medicare-for-all much more likely

(Vox) On Friday, McConnell reportedly “delivered a private warning to his Senate Republicans: If they failed to pass legislation unwinding the Affordable Care Act, Democrats could regain power and establish a single-payer health-care system.”

History may record a certain irony if this is the argument McConnell uses to successfully destroy Obamacare. In recent conversations with Democrats and industry observers, I’ve become convinced that just the opposite is true: If Republicans unwind Obamacare and pass their bill, then Democrats are much likelier to establish a single-payer health care system — or at least the beginnings of one — when they regain power.


Lobbyist for Russian interests says he attended dinners hosted by Sessions

(Guardian) An American lobbyist for Russian interests who helped craft an important foreign policy speech for Donald Trump has confirmed that he attended two dinners hosted by Jeff Sessions during the 2016 campaign, apparently contradicting the attorney general’s sworn testimony given this week.

Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign. But Richard Burt, a former ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, who has represented Russian interests in Washington, told the Guardian that he could confirm previous media reports that stated he had contacts with Sessions at the time.


Josh Marshall: "The WaPo Obstruction Blockbuster and the World of Hurt To Come"

(TPM) After marveling at the lede of this new Washington Post bombshell – Mueller investigating Trump for obstruction of justice – I went back and read the whole piece again. You would think that news would be enough for a single piece. But when you read it all the way through the picture it paints is actually considerably more dire.

One key point is that Mueller did not start this obstruction investigation. According to the Post, that probe began “days after Comey was fired on May 9…” Mueller was appointed on May 17th. Reading the Post piece closely, I do not think it explicitly says that the probe began prior to the 17th. But the wording and logic of the piece strongly suggests that is the case.


Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say

(Washington Post) The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

The move by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s own conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

Trump had received private assurances from former FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.


Senate Judiciary Committee opens investigation into Trump for firing former FBI Director James Comey

(Raw Story) The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will investigate President Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

According to the report, senators want to know if Trump acted improperly when he allegedly fired Comey to influence an investigation into Russia’s hacking of the 2016 U.S. election.

“The Judiciary Committee has an obligation to fully investigate any alleged improper partisan interference in law enforcement investigations,” Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in a statement. “It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Mr. Comey’s removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis.”


Tweet from David Frum

David Frum ✔ @davidfrum

No background checks
No licensing
No registration
No permit req’d for concealed carry of long guns
Open carry long guns & handguns

8:50 AM - 14 Jun 2017

Julian Englis

Most Trump real estate now sold to secretive buyers

(USA Today) Since President Trump won the Republican nomination, the majority of his companies’ real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

Over the last 12 months, about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before.

USA TODAY journalists have spent six months cataloging every condo, penthouse or other property that Trump and his companies own – and tracking the buyers behind every transaction. The investigation found Trump’s companies owned more than 430 individual properties worth well over $250 million.


Former GOP Rep Bob Inglis: I helped impeach Clinton -- Charges against Trump more serious

(WaPo) House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) asserted last week that if the president were a Democrat, the House wouldn’t be pursing impeachment. He must know that’s not true.

If FBI Director James B. Comey had angered a President Hillary Clinton by restarting the investigation into her private email server and she had fired him, Republicans would be howling. Rightly so.

Instead, Donald Trump won the election. Comey was pursuing an investigation into Russian meddling. It angered President Trump, and he fired Comey. But rather than howling, Republicans are whimpering. The chair of the Republican National Committee has even called for a halt to all investigations of collusion with Russia. That’s a problem.


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