Suborn Again

There’s a scene in All the President’s Men that a few folks like us were reminded of Friday night. It’s October 1972, before the election, and Woodward & Bernstein publish a major scoop: Nixon campaign treasurer Hugh Sloan has testified to a grand jury that Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman controls the campaign’s illegal slush fund.

And just as they break out the champagne in the Washington Post newsroom, all hell breaks loose.

Sloan’s lawyer denies the testimony. The White House and allies pile on, casting doubt on all other Watergate stories. Mark Felt — Deep Throat — worries that other Watergate source will run for cover, lacking confidence that Woodstein will get their facts right.

(“Woodstein” was the duo’s conjoined nickname. This stuff started long before Brangelina.)

Funny thing about that story: Haldeman did control the slush fund. But Sloan had never testified about it. Nobody asked.

What brought that episode to mind Friday night was Robert Mueller’s office issuing a vague denial over Buzzfeed’s story that Donald Trump had told his fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress — suborning perjury, as legal geeks call it. If proven — and Buzzfeed suggested there was plenty of corroborating evidence — that would be an impeachable action, a smoking gun. Maybe not as much fun as the Pee Tape, maybe not as treasonous as, well, everything else, but hey, they nailed Capone on income taxes. You work with what you got.

As it stands Saturday morning, Buzzfeed’s story remains unconfirmed by other news outlets. Mueller’s nonspecific denial is notable for the fact that his office never comments about anything. Nor does it leak — everyone suspects the Buzzfeed’s sources are in the Southern District of New York, where the feds are also investigating Trump shenanigans. And Buzzfeed’s editor is standing by his reporter’s story.

We, however, are neither a reporter, a prosecutor, nor a member of a relevant House committee, so we can say it: Well, duh. Donald Trump is a known idiot. He ran the family business like a personal fiefdom. He is the brand. Sophisticated maneuvers like plausible deniability are foreign to him. Of course he told Cohen to lie. Not that he needed to — the relationship with your fixer presumes much — but he would want to make sure.

Also, as TPM’s Josh Marshall reminds us, Trump wrote Junior’s denial about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russkies. Trump has, y’know, a personal interest in how this goes down. Some shit you don’t delegate.

But what we know doesn’t make a documented case, and you need that if you’re a prosecutor, or a congressional committee — or a reporter. We used to be one. We entered journalism school a year after the movie came out. There’s a reason that scene immediately came to mind: We once lived in fear of it.

13 comments:

11:14 am • Sunday • January 20, 2019

Psychiatrists are gonna have to invent a whole new diagnosis to begin to describe the Rapeublinazis’ unique combination of sadistic malevolence, cruelty, stupidity, and incompetence.

11:14 am • Sunday • January 20, 2019

Oooh, what do the Very Serious People over at Bullshitico think?

11:33 am • Sunday • January 20, 2019

And Rudy’s out of the gate Sunday morning saying of course Trump may have talked with Cohen before the testimony — but he didn’t tell Cohen to lie, nosiree Bob. It all must have been about which tie to wear.

2:18 am • Monday • January 21, 2019

MAGAboy is exhausting.

3:02 pm • Monday • January 21, 2019

Watched ATPM again alongside The Post, an exercise I recommend.

7:23 am • Wednesday • January 23, 2019

Addendum for the 2010 “Journey into Manhood” series: in a move that shocked pretty much nobody, one of the founders has announced that the program didn’t work for him:

https://truthwinsout.org/pressrelease/2019/01/41364/

10:35 am • Wednesday • January 23, 2019

@al2o3cr: I saw a headline or two about that in passing, but I hadn’t made the connection — probably because the headlines didn’t include the program name.

12:41 pm • Friday • January 25, 2019

Not sure if anyone else has seen this, but an episode of the 1950s teevee show Trackdown featured a con artist named Trump that comes to town and creates a social hysteria among the rubes to convince them to build a wall. You cannot make this crazy shit up:

“Narrator: The people were ready to believe. Like sheep they ran to the slaughterhouse. And waiting for them was the high priest of fraud.

Trump: I am the only one. Trust me. I can build a wall around your homes that nothing will penetrate.

Townperson: What do we do? How can we save ourselves?

Trump: You ask how do you build that wall. You ask, and I’m here to tell you.”

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trackdown-trump-character-wall/

1:38 pm • Friday • January 25, 2019

Conspiracy truth time: The treasonous Tdumpists know that Johnny Law is about to catch up with them and send them to the slammer for the rest of their miserable lives, so they’ve decided to destroy the US government via the shutdown, the ultimate insider attack.

Congressional Rapeuplinazis also want to destroy the US government because it ended prayer in schools and told the wimmins and blacks and hummuhsekshuls and Messicans that we’re fully equal under the law. That’s why the GOPnazis are on their knees with their asses in the air begging Prezinazi AntiChrist to pound them hard with his limp mushroom thimble.

It’s a smashing sucksess! For neo-Confederate traitors.

2:32 pm • Friday • January 25, 2019

D: Cave!
T: Wall!
D: CAVE!
T: WALL!
D: WALL!
T: CAVE!
D: Cave it is.
Not only is it Treason Season, but Cave Season as well.

4:00 pm • Friday • January 25, 2019

@ManchuCandidate: Anything to get out of talking about MAGAboy.

4:03 pm • Friday • January 25, 2019

@nojo:
True. He reminds me of a particularly smary bully who kicked my ass a few times.

4:03 pm • Friday • January 25, 2019

That should be enough time for Mueller to get Mar-a-Lardass into a double-wide electric chair.

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