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.
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.
Oooh, what do the Very Serious People over at Bullshitico think?
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.
MAGAboy is exhausting.
Watched ATPM again alongside The Post, an exercise I recommend.
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:
@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.
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.”
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.
D: Cave it is.
Not only is it Treason Season, but Cave Season as well.
@ManchuCandidate: Anything to get out of talking about MAGAboy.
True. He reminds me of a particularly smary bully who kicked my ass a few times.
That should be enough time for Mueller to get Mar-a-Lardass into a double-wide electric chair.
¡ANDREW! • Other Useful Exposure Notifications @nojo: Apparently they have cliff divers to entertain patrons while they enjoy their meals. Mr. A!…
NOJO • Other Useful Exposure Notifications @¡Andrew!: So that’s not the waterpark? Been here eight years, still get my landmarks confused.
¡ANDREW! • Other Useful Exposure Notifications I saw that Casa Bonita is reopening in Denver OMGOMGOMG!! Y'all are so lucky--it'll be mass…
¡ANDREW! • Other Useful Exposure Notifications America Is An Out-Of-Touch Gerontocracy, And I’m Glad I Don’t Live There "These has-been…
¡ANDREW! • Other Useful Exposure Notifications Can we get a proof of life from Merrique "let them eat endless investigations" Garlandtoinette?…
MANCHUCANDIDATE • Bye! And the drips keep on coming. With each lame denial comes another revelation about Justice Ruckus.
MANCHUCANDIDATE • Bye! @¡Andrew!: Before we found about why Thomas goes as the Crow flies (in a private jet.)
¡ANDREW! • Bye! Survey Finds Nearly 6 In 10 Wealthy Americans Living Fraud To Fraud WASHINGTON—Noting that the…
NOJO • Bye! @¡Andrew!: From what I’m seeing in bits and pieces, yeah, Licht. CNN under Zucker was bad…
¡ANDREW! • Bye! @nojo: When life gives you Lemons (shrug). Not particularly sad, since: 1. Who still watches…