We Watched Robert Mueller’s 7-Hour Testimony So You Don’t Have To
We’ve said it before, we may never say it again: It’s Mueller Time.
Today, former special counsel Robert Mueller was dragged off his couch to testify before members of Congress, despite his repeated public claims that he had nothing to say. Honestly, we get it.
Mueller was subpoenaed and, unlike a number of Trump associates who have ignored legal requirements to appear, the 74-year-old showed up at 8:30 a.m. for two separate hearings. The first, before the House Judiciary Committee, focused on the Mueller Report’s findings on obstruction of justice, and how Trump’s associates, and potentially (probably) (definitely) the president himself, attempted to influence Mueller’s investigation. The second, before the House Intelligence Committee, concerned Russian meddling, and how much Trump and his campaign knew about and encouraged attempts to influence the presidential race.
Democrats spent most of their time asking Mueller yes or no questions that would lead him to restate the more damning details of the 448-page report. Republicans spent their time screaming at an old man and calling Mueller and the investigation “un-American,” “disruptive to the American people” and a “perpetuation of injustice” intent on destroying the president. (Bob Mueller is a lifetime public servant and veteran who has a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Navy Commendation Medal and served as FBI director in the aftermath of 9/11.) He’s also a Republican.
Mueller answered probably 70 percent of questions with fancy lawyer ways to say “no comment,” such as “that’s classified,” “that’s outside my purview,” “I cannot adopt that characterization,” “it’s in the report” and “I won’t speak to that.”
And though the hearings largely confirmed information that very invested watchers have long known, there were a few moments when Mueller appeared to affirm that Trump’s behavior could meet the standard for obstructing justice — always reiterating that he was barred from making that call. As a reminder, Mueller has said his team followed guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that states a sitting president cannot be indicted. For that reason, Mueller has said that he didn’t necessarily decide that Trump didn’t obstruct justice, but that he decided not to decide.
Here are some of the biggest moments from both hearings:
Mueller confirmed that his report did not “totally exonerate” the president
You know how the women’s national team scored in the first 12 minutes of nearly every World Cup match? This was kind of like that, but if the game ended in a tie and your opponents just fouled you the whole time.
Nevertheless, just minutes into the hearing, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) got Mueller to vocalize one of the most distorted elements of his investigation: whether or not he exonerated the president of obstructing justice. Here is their exchange:
Nadler: So your report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct?
Mueller: That is correct
What about total exoneration? Can you totally exonerate the president?
… But he clarified repeatedly that he didn’t decide not to prosecute, he decided… not to decide
“Decided not to decide” is the “we were on a break” of the Mueller investigation and its aftermath — repeated often and honestly kind of annoying after a while. But for a moment — we thought we’d get a different answer when Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California explicitly asked Mueller if he would have indicted the president if it weren’t for the Office of Legal Counsel guidelines against indicting a sitting president:
“I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Lieu asked. “That is correct,” Mueller replied.
This felt like an explosive moment — that Mueller had escalated his go-to statement of “we decided not to decide” to “we decided but couldn’t pursue it.” But Mueller quickly qualified his answers.
“The only thing I want to add is I’m going through the elements with you. That does not mean I subscribe to what you’re trying to prove through those elements,” he said.
After taking a short break, Mueller took a moment before his second hearing to further clarify the earlier statement, reiterating that the OLC guidelines influenced their decision — you guessed it — not to decide whether to prosecute or not, and that it would not be correct to say he would have prosecuted if it weren’t for those guidelines.
Mueller appeared to agree with statements implying Trump obstructed justice
One time I saw my colleague’s boyfriend hooking up with a co-ed at my younger cousin’s birthday, but only mentioned that I saw him at a college party, which was incriminating enough that if homegirl couldn’t read between the lines, she didn’t want to know. This felt kind of like that. The Mueller Report details 10 instances in which Trump potentially obstructed justice. One involves instructing his White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller. (He refused — later saying Trump had asked him to do some “crazy sh*t.”) But later, Trump reportedly asked McGahn to create a false record stating that Trump had never asked him to fire Mueller. McGahn again refused. Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond asked Mueller if he believed Trump wanted to falsify records to cover up the fact that he attempted to hamper the investigation. Also known as obstructing justice.
“I believe that to be true,” Mueller said.
“So it’s accurate to say the president knew that he was asking to deny facts that McGahn ‘had repeatedly said were accurate.’ Isn’t that right?” Richmond followed up.
“That’s correct,” Mueller said.
Trump could be charged with a crime after he leaves office
To be fair, Mueller wasn’t saying, “Trump specifically should be charged” when he leaves office, just that it becomes an option when he does. But in eliciting this response, Buck accidentally got Mueller to confirm that these woes won’t leave Trump once he leaves the office.
Mueller said Trump’s written statements to his questions were “generally” untruthful
There were very few moments when Mueller said anything he hasn’t already written in the report. That was until Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida got to him. Mueller asked Trump for an in-person interview throughout the investigation, which the president repeatedly refused. Mueller reiterated today that he did not subpoena the president because he knew Trump would put up a legal fight and it wasn’t worth prolonging the investigation another year to force him to show.
Mueller said that was “generally” fair to say, but declined to say whether he felt the president was “credible” in his answers. Yes, this exchange felt like a Bachelorette contestant trying to deny he has a girlfriend without saying “I don’t have a girlfriend.”
Mueller denied Republican claims that his prosecution team was pro-Clinton
Nobody misses Hillary Clinton more than the GOP. In his questioning, Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong implied members of Robert Mueller’s team had conflicts of interest because they appeared to favor Hillary Clinton politically, demonstrated either through donations to her campaign or prior affiliations with her and her associates. (She and Bill have been in Washington for 100 years. Show me who hasn’t.) Mueller defended his team, noting their political affiliation is not relevant to their ability to investigate issues of national importance.
In “25 years I have not had occasion, once, to ask somebody about their political affiliation. It is not done,” the former special counsel said. “What I care about is the capability of the individual to do the job and do the job quickly and seriously and with integrity.”
He wouldn’t say if he thinks the president should be impeached
Who among us hasn’t complained endlessly about a colleague while recoiling at the thought of them being fired? In May, Mueller made a public statement stating he could not make a determination about whether to prosecute the president, there are other ways our government can pursue deeper investigation. Many on the left saw this as an explicit nudge to begin impeachment proceedings, as only Congress can. But today, Mueller largely demurred from that question.
Responding to Rep. Mike Johnson’s assertion that the report “does not recommend impeachment,” Mueller said he was “not going to talk about recommendations.” When Johnson pushed him to confirm he did not make any conclusion that impeachment would be appropriate, Mueller doubled down: “I’m not going to talk about that issue,” he said.
Mueller never wanted to be Trump’s FBI director
Sure, we all love when an early-season favorite makes a return in the show’s later years (with a notable exception to Aidan the SATC movie.) But looks like in this case, it was never gonna happen. One of Trump and his supporters’ main beef with Mueller is that he is “compromised” and biased against the president, partly because, as they claim, Mueller wanted to be FBI director (again) but Trump didn’t offer him the job. Reminder: Mueller was already FBI director, for 11 years. Today, Mueller confirmed he had no interest in the job. He simply advised the president about what it entails.
The Russians interfered in our elections in a “sweeping and systematic fashion,” a fact the president still denies
Nothing unites a room of awkward acquaintances like a shared enemy. Mueller affirmed Russia’s malice in opening statements to both committees and became most animated when lawmakers asked him about the dangers of the election interference. Asked by the intelligence committee if the investigation into Russian meddling was a “witch hunt,” as the president has characterized it, Mueller said “I like to think no. No.” He confirmed several times that Russian meddling was designed to benefit the Trump’s bid for the presidency and that his campaign was aware of this fact, and that characterizing the idea of Russian meddling as a “hoax” is absolutely incorrect.
Mueller condemned Trump’s love affair with WikiLeaks and criticized “boosting” of election interference
These moments brought us Mueller’s most full-throated critique of the president. Trump is on record praising WikiLeaks and encouraging the Russians to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s emails. Yeah, remember that time a candidate for president — and the eventual president — urged a foreign power to interfere in our elections? You bet your butt that came up in the second hearing on Russian meddling.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) quoted Trump’s love letters to Wikileaks — ultimately responsible for releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee that compromised Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Here’s a selection:
“Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks.”
“This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove.”
“Boy I love reading those Wikileaks.”
When Quigley asked Mueller if he found those statements disturbing, Mueller replied: “Problematic would be an understatement,” and that Trump gave a “boost” to “what should be legal activity” — actions that “certainly calls for an investigation.”
Trump’s campaign associates attempted to benefit financially from the presidential election and lied to cover it up
Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff pummeled Mueller with yes or no questions related to the Trump campaign’s coziness with Russians throughout the election. Schiff got Mueller to confirm that: Russians had multiple contacts with multiple members of the Trump campaign, that members of the campaign attempted to benefit financially, that Paul Manafort was hoping a Russian oligarch would forgive his debt, and Trump hoped to make money from a Trump Moscow tower. And, perhaps most damningly, that the campaign lied to cover it all up.
Basically I feel like there was a lot in the #muellerhearing today that will matter in the history books but maybe won't change the cable news narrative in the short term.
While some Democrats are already renewing calls for impeachment following the hearing, Trump and his supporters are also celebrating. The hearing today offered no bombshells but confirmed and elucidated the president’s support of election interference and likely attempts to block an investigation into his associates inappropriate and in some cases criminal, affiliations with foreign agents — all things we already knew.
Here’s What We Learned From Robert Mueller’s First IRL Statement
Everyone shut up! Robert Mueller has something to say. Today, the man behind the curtain came forward in a very rare public appearence to get a few things off his chest. When a man of power, well-tailored suits, and possibly information to kick Trump out of office speaks, we listen with bated breath.
So what did we learn?
He Is Resigning And Closing The Special Counsel’s Office
Unfortunately, the “he” in this case is Robert Mueller and not Donald Trump. With the conclusion of the Special Counsel report, Mueller is closing the office and retiring to private life. I doubt there’s going to be a big bash with goodbye tequila shots for his departure. More likely there will be a solemn greeting card from CVS passed around the office that everyone has to sign.
He Did Not Clear Trump
While Trump’s fingers are about to fall off from tweeting NO COLLUSION NO OBSTRUCTION 200 times a day, Mueller restated that this was not the point made by his report. “If we could say with confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” he said.
Take your time untangling the double negatives, but basically, he is saying Trump is up to some shady stuff. He emphasized that his office chose to follow a Justice Department policy that states a sitting president cannot be indicted “even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view,” Mueller said, adding: “Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider.”
As such, the report states that Mueller’s team “determined not to apply an approach that that could potentially result in a judgment that the president committed crimes.” Def thought that’s what they’ve been doing for two years, but okay.
So because Trump could not be indicted, Mueller determined it would be inappropriate to pursue any conclusion that would result in charges. Why? Because any trial that could prove guilt or exonerate Trump would have to wait until after his presidency or it would, obviously, impact his ability to govern. (Is that what we’re calling it?) However, the hottest tea from today’s statement — or at least, tea that’s become lukewarm since the report and Mueller popped in the microwave for a minute — relates to whether the office determined that he did not commit a crime. Mueller encouraged us to highlight and underline the parts in his report that say “we can’t say he didn’t commit a crime” and to rest assured that if they had determined “no obstruction,” they would have said so.
Today’s statement also affirms that Attorney General Bill Barr dramatically understated how limited Mueller felt by the Justice Department’s policy. Barr had previously suggested that Mueller found no evidence of a crime and the policy barring him from bringing charges was almost irrelevant. Based on Mueller’s report and statements today, that is not the case. The policy, it seems, had a definitive impact on the investigation.
He’s Not Going To Testify
What we read is what we’re going to get. Despite many of us wanting an extensive Sparknotes version of the report, Mueller is being an annoying English teacher and is like “the text speaks for itself.” He does not want to testify any further and kept referring to his report as the final word. He’s pretty clear about that. It’s like his old man version of constantly reminding everyone he studied abroad. We get it.
Mueller's statement about whether he will or won't testify is so confusing. In it he: 1. says his report is his testimony 2. says he will not add anything addition if he does testify 3. says he does not want to speak about other departments 4. does not expressly refuse to testify pic.twitter.com/Jv5BwFSQj7
Some folks, especially the Democrats (duh) believe this is Mueller advocating for an impeachment. When Mueller reiterated that his office was unable to make a determination on obstruction of justice or suggest a penalty for any wrongdoing they did find, he noted that “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” he said. Incidentally, that process is impeachment.
If that’s what the tea leaves are saying, so be it. Happy to clear my important schedule of watching RHONY re-runs and watch an impeachment hearing. Nancy Pelosi continues to stall on impeachment, but many lawmakers (especially ones running for president, which is most of them) took Mueller’s words as a call to arms.
What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral. Now it is up to Congress to hold this president accountable.
We need to start impeachment proceedings. It's our constitutional obligation.
It's time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings and follow the facts. Robert Mueller clearly expects Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and take steps that he could not. We can't let the president defy basic accountability measures built into our Constitution.
Everything We Know About The Mueller Report So Far
Well, the Mueller report is officially here. Kind of. This report has been in the making for so long, I really thought it was just going to end up being the last Game of Thrones book. Now, two important things to realize: yes, this is the actual report — not the summary of the report told to us from Trump’s BFF. But, it should also be known that a solid chunk of it is redacted due to grand jury material, sensitive intelligence, matters affecting ongoing investigations and to protect “peripheral third parties.” Am I the only one who feels like with a report this important, we should take Bethenny Frankel’s point of view and just mention it all?
Okay, but it’s time to break this down and see what’s what — so far.
1. The Report Does Not Exonerate the President (But It Also Doesn’t Say He Committed a Crime)
The report states that “the evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intents are difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.” So basically they’re like, “we’re not saying he committed a crime, but we’re also no not saying that.” This is awkward because Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein both told us he did not obstruct justice, and Barr has further stated that the Special Counsel did not find “corrupt motive” so he will not pursue charges.
In a press conference before releasing redacted version of the Mueller report Attorney General Barr emphasized that it found no collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Moscow pic.twitter.com/HTEwtcOR6b
2. Trump Had Zero Chill When He Found Out About Mueller
According to the report, when Trump found out about Mueller’s appointment he said, “Oh my god, this is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.” Sounds like something someone who is 100% innocent would say. Like, you know how if you secretly borrowed your roommates top, but she is complaining that there’s a stain on it, you’d be in a panic that you did it? This is kind of like that, but with our country.
Trump’s reported reaction when he was told Mueller was appointed: “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.” pic.twitter.com/J1AN9SGM7O
Basically, he wanted this to happen so that Sessions could watch over the Mueller investigation and probably stop anything that was developing or give him a heads up. Which, spoiler alert: is unethical. He also asked former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller (sounds obstruction-ey to me), but McGahn refused to follow through on Trump’s order. The report also recounts McGahn calling up then chief-of-staff Reince Priebus (TBT) and told him that Trump was trying to get him to do “crazy sh*t.” Sounds about right.
4. Trump’s Team Knew Russia was Meddling — But There was No Criminal Conspiracy
The investigation found multiple links between individuals in the Russian government and Trump’s team, but it wasn’t sufficient enough to bring criminal charges to said individuals. It also found out that people on the Trump Campaign did lie to the Office and to Congress about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals. Those lies were charged as violations of the federal false statement statue.
Additionally, they realized that people on his Campaign deleted emails during the time period surrounding the infamous June 9th meeting. But her emails!!!!
Mueller Report says some Trump campaign officials deleted relevant communications or communicated using apps that feature encryption and delete data, which meant special counsel’s office could not corroborate some witness statements. pic.twitter.com/c90XwK42iO
5. They Couldn’t Prove the Trump Tower Meeting was Unlawful
You know, that meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer. I guess they were just discussing where to go in the Hamptons. The report states that: “the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond unreasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful.” That’s like saying Ursula and Curella de Vil met up just to talk summer plans, but whatever.
Hope Hicks wanted to disclose that Russians had offered Don Jr. information helpful to the campaign.
But the President nixed that, explicitly ordering Hicks to issue a statement that falsified the true purpose of the Trump Tower meeting: pic.twitter.com/B7xTAqLlAK
6. There’s Not Enough Evidence to Say Trump Told Cohen to Lie
The report quotes: “The evidence available to us does not establish that the President directed or aided Cohen’s false testimony.” This contradicts that huge bombshell story published by BuzzFeed News. Side note, the report also revealed that Cohen emailed the wrong address for Russian government officials and got so desperate he reached out to their general informational address. The White House is a pre-school. If you’re going to try and obstruct justice, at least double check before you hit send.
Michael Cohen tried to get in touch with the Russian government about Trump Tower Moscow but sent it to the wrong email address and then took two days to realize it pic.twitter.com/CvLT8zhX5m
7. Mueller Left The Obstruction of Justice to Congress
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.”
So basically, he left it up to Congress (specifically Nancy Pelosi) to either pursue charges or just let the whole obstruction thing slide. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has already requested Mueller testify “on or before May 23rd,” so it’s safe to say this sh*t is far from “game over”.
What People Are Getting Wrong About The Mueller Report
Well, the book report we all have been waiting for is here — and by that, we obviously mean the Mueller report. If you’re unfamiliar, first — welcome to The Sup, and second — this was Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two year investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign and what Russia’s got to do, got to do with it, baby (shout out to Tina Turner). While the report is finished, it is still not released to the public (or the Democrats), so we’re just getting all of the information about it so far from Attorney General William Barr. Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s been said about it so far and what is still going on with the President.
Did not imagine a world where they were able to indict Aunt Becky before Donald Trump.
First, the most major news (and what you’ve probably been hearing the most about) was that the summary says Mueller found that neither Donald Trump nor his campaign conspired with Russia. The summary also states that the report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime but also does not exonerate him,” — whether this conclusion comes from the fact that a sitting president can’t be indicted or because Mueller truly is TBD on the issue is still…TBD. This means that this is looking less like a series finale and more of a mid-season finale, if you will. Further proving that this entire presidency seems to be written by the Pretty Little Liars writing room.
While this alludes to the fact that Trump’s team did not collude with Russia, the report did find that Russia was meddling with the 2016 election — bringing up the Russian troll farm and the targeting of Democrat’s e-mails. Another mention of Russia involves “multiple offers” from “Russian-affiliated” individuals… if this was a game of Clue, the answer to this would be: it was Trump and Russia, in Trump Tower, in 2016.
Another important thing to note? This was just one of the many, many investigations going on in regards to Trump, his team, and his family. From his confidant Roger Stone who was arrested at the beginning of this year due to the Mueller investigation in regards to communications with Wikileaks, to multiple real estate deals and the fact that the Trump Foundation was basically just a mountain of illegal activity. Oh, and we can’t forget the case about the hush money that may have been used to pay off women (like Stormy Daniels) to stay silent during his 2016 campaign. Most of these investigations are still ongoing in the Southern District of New York, which is totally separate from Muller and his investigation. Essentially, there are more investigations than Friends episodes: “The One Where the President Benefits From Business Deals With Foreign Governments.”
Back to the Mueller Report, another thing to question: is this the truth, or is this the truth care of Barr’s opinion?
The main issue, as previously mentioned, is that no one else has been able to see this report. Democrats are demanding this happen — because… no duh? You can’t just expect someone to say ‘and none for Gretchen Weiners, bye’ without seeing that there were really none for Gretchen Weiners. Not backing down on this, there has been talk about subpoenaing and taking the Trump administration to court if the documents do not become available for everyone involved.
It is important to remember that these findings are care of Barr and Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s review of Mueller’s report. They used three pillars to determine if there was an obstruction of justice: 1) there was obstructive justice 2) the conduct was related to a prosecution or an investigation, and 3) the conduct was “done with corrupt intent.” They said none of Trump’s actions met their standards for any of those, but didn’t give that much info about how they made that conclusion.
Barr wants to “release as much as possible” from the report but Mueller is allegedly not going to be involved with the scrubbing of information (removing information related to ongoing investigations or grand jury material). Cut to the Dems basically getting black pages with the words ‘The’ and ‘And’. If they need help, I’ve put together a lot of blacked out weekends in college to remember which Taco Bell I left my iPhone in.
The major takeaway is that while this doesn’t completely grant ‘total exoneration’ to Trump and his team, it is very good news for them — especially for a President that just needs a few buzzwords to tweet in all caps.
No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!
Michael Cohen And Paul Manafort May Have Just Gotten Trump Impeached
In case you were just out yesterday living your best news-free life in the last few weeks of summer, allow us to update you on the Kardashian-level drama that dropped in on the White House. Two people very close to Trump and supporting actors in the soap opera that is our country, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, are now facing prison time. This means Trump should be nervous as hell right now and we should all break out the popcorn.
First, in Virginia, we’ve got Manafort. Trump’s former campaign manager was found guilty yesterday of tax evasion and bank fraud. Minutes after, in New York, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations. To add a cherry on top, Cohen admitted he made all those unlawful contributions (specifically to silence women who `had criminally hot-goss on Trump) “at the direction of a political candidate.” Who could this candidate be, I wonder?
What does all this actually mean for our president? His personal lawyer pleaded guilty and his campaign manager was convicted. I’m not a detective, but this isn’t a great look. Besides just the fact that people incredibly close to him were breaking the law, this is the first time Trump has been attached to anything potentially criminal as president. Before yesterday, the investigation into Russian interference with our election was focused on people on the edges of Trump. Cohen’s confession that he was following the orders of the president by using campaign finances to pay off a porn star and a former playboy model now paves a clear path to actually implicating Trump.
Regardless of how the president tries to frame all of this on his Twitter or at his rallies, referring to Manafort as a “good man” and calling the investigation a McCarthyism throwback “witch hunt,” Cohen’s guilty plea and Manafort’s conviction mean Trump is walking on some seriously shady eggshells right now. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator and possible 2020 candidate, released an anti-corruption platform Tuesday. She added that the era of Trump “has given us the most nakedly corrupt leadership this nation has seen in our lifetimes.”
If we’ve learned anything about Trump so far, though, we know he was born without a sense of shame and he’s not afraid to fight back when it’s clear to everyone (ok, just the majority of the country) that he’s wrong. The next step could possibly be pardoning Manafort or revoking more security clearances, but his behavior has been unpredictable so far. The good news is, yesterday led us closer than ever to the truth. In a time when facts are alternative, the undeniable evidence in these cases with tapes, recordings, and documents are key. Don’t pop the champagne yet, but maybe put it on ice.
The 4 Craziest Moments From The Trump Putin Summit
Yesterday a very special one-on-one took place and no it wasn’t on The Bachelorette. This was a political one-on-one between our president and national embarrassment Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin, our real president the leader of Russia.The two met in Helsinki, Finland and had a private meeting that has left the entire world more anxious than the Handmaid’s Tale finale. It was like seven minutes in heaven but instead of wondering if there was kissing going on in there, we’re speculating treason. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what Former CIA Director John Brennan had to say:
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
Despite the FBI saying that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and literally indicting 12 Russians in the hack of the DNC just last week, Trump has basically decided to believe Putin who said they didn’t, basically be cause he said so. It’s a real “he said- American intelligence agency said” situation that actually isn’t hard to take sides on at all! Trump didn’t come outright and say this but the shady SOB didn’t deny it and let his buddy stand next to him and say they didn’t interfere with the US election. You are the company you keep, sweetie! Don’t believe me? Here’s what Michael Steele, the former head of the Republican National Committee had to say:
“My people came to me…they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
That’s how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler.
Perhaps we should have seen this one coming because Fox News is simply a propaganda channel suckling at the teat of Trump. But it still is wild to see Putin sitting down for an interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace like he just won American Idol or something. While Wallace was arguably tough on Putin at times and Putin was incredulous a journalist was asking him legitimately thorough questions, the whole interview was like a nightmare fan fiction diary entry of Trump’s.
But does that mean Fox loved the summit? Let’s let Fox Bussiness’ Neil Cavuto speak for himself:
Both sides are freaking out over Trump siding against the US and calling his the T word. (Traitor.) It’s truly the first moment of people reaching across the aisle and agreeing that things are very, very bad. Even Paul Ryan released a statement being like, “Trump, honey, no.”
There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”
Of course, will any of this outrage from Republicans lead to action? I’m willing to place a million Russian rubles on “no.”
6 Signs Michael Cohen Is About To Flip On Trump
The running theme of Michael Cohen, personal attorney to President Trump and former Executive Vice President at the Trump organization, has been ride-or-die loyalty to all that is The Donald. In a bros-before-hoes frat boy declaration, Cohen once declared that he would “take a bullet” for Trump, which is pretty impressive considering not even all members of the secret service were prepared to die for him
During George Stephanopoulos’ ABC interview Saturday night at the Manhattan hotel where Cohen has been living, his loyalty seemed to be waning. Speculations that Cohen could flip have been floating around since April, when the FBI raided his offices and homes. The President, of course, couldn’t resist offering up his own opinion, tweeting in April that “most people will flip if the government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that.” Sorry, but we’ll see about that.
Cohen Says His Loyalty is To His Family
When Cohen was asked directly who he would choose if prosecutors forced him to protect either President Trump or his family, Cohen said that his family is “his first priority.” What about taking a bullet for your boy, Cohen? When Stephanopoulos reminded him of his bullet vow, Cohen said, “To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.”
No Compliments for Trump
Cohen was sure not to praise the president at all during the interview, and he even dared to criticize the way that Trump has been publicly resisting the federal investigations. He defended his own cooperation by adding, “Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I will defer to my new counsel, Guy Petrillo, for guidance.”
He Won’t Be a Punching Bag
Cohen emphasized that everything he says during the investigation will not be out of loyalty to Trump, but rather the advice of his lawyer, Guy Petrillo. Once Petrillo formerly assumes his position, the previous joint defense agreement between Trump and Cohen is over. This means that Trump and Cohen’s lawyers will no longer be allowed to share documents or other information with each other, and they could start playing real dirty. When asked what he’ll do if Trump’s legal team attempts to undermine his previous work to protect the president, Cohen said, “I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy. I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.”
The one thing we’re all interested in: the $130,000 payment Cohen gave to porn star Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels nearly two weeks before the 2016 election so that she would keep quiet. The transaction could possibly be a violation of campaign finance law, which would mean bad things for Cohen. When asked before if Trump told him to pay Stormy off and promised to pay him back, Cohen said he acted on his own will. Not anymore, though. Cohen said “I want to answer. One day I will answer. But for now, I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.” All I can gather from this is that Trump and Cohen were at brunch and Trump was like, “Hey can you cover up a porn star affair for me? I’ll just venmo you.” He never venmo’d.
He Respects the FBI and The Mueller Investigation
Trump called the FBI break-in of Cohen’s home, “attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” Cohen, however, disagreed. “I don’t agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI. I respect the FBI as an institution, as well as their agents.” He also refused to call the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.” “As an American,” he said, “I repudiate Russia’s or any other foreign government’s attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process, and I would call on all Americans to do the same.”
He Just Wants His Life Back
Cohen said he hopes the interview is the first steps toward regaining his name, reputation and life back. Cough up the details on Stormy, and maybe we’ll be with you, Mike.
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New York Ruined Rudy Giuliani’s Birthday
I hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend, because Rudy Giuliani definitely did not. The heroic 9/11 NYC mayor-turned-Trump lawyer turned 74 on Monday, and he went to a Yankees game to celebrate. So cute, such a fun birthday idea! So many prime Instagram opportunities! Things were going great, until the stadium announcer wished Rudy a happy birthday, and the crowd responded by loudly booing. Ouch.
Yeah, so maybe New Yorkers don’t feel the same way they did about Rudy Giuliani 15 years ago. After helping New York pull through 9/11, Giuliani was the TIME Person of the Year for 2001, and he was considered a top Republican Presidential hopeful as recently as 2012. Unfortunately, he got bit by the Trump bug a couple years back, and has subsequently lost his goddamn mind. Last month he officially joined the Trump legal team, which would normally be prestigious if approximately 734 people hadn’t turned down the job before him. Like, I’m confident I could’ve been hired as Trump’s lawyer with a little resume padding and way worse morals.
WATCH: Rudy Giuliani gets booed at the Yankees game in NY on his birthday.
Even though much of the country is trash, New York City is definitely not Trump country. In the 2016 election, more than 80% of voters in Manhattan and The Bronx voted for Hillary, signaling that Rudy Giuliani has tragically lost touch with the people that used to love him so much. Sad! Rudy is famously a huge Yankees fan, so that has to cut deep. Honestly though, Rudy probably still enjoyed the game, and now I am craving a large plate of baseball stadium nachos. Who’s the real loser here?