Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick for C.I.A. director, faced the Senate Intelligence Committee for the first time on Wednesday as her confirmation hearings began. Lawmakers addressed her with an unusual line of questioning: What is your moral character?
On today’s episode:
• Matthew Rosenberg joins us from Washington, where he covers intelligence and national security for The New York Times.
We’ve recently seen the head of the F.B.I. be ousted because he ostensibly wouldn’t take a loyalty oath and refused to close an investigation. Could this happen again? Could it be far worse?
They stopped far too short here in opening up questions of harkening back to the Third Reich and Hitler and his government commanding people to commit genocide. We all know there’s a line one can’t cross and use the defense that “I was commanded to by the authorities.”
So the real question is: will Haspel stand up to Trump to prevent moral atrocities which Trump may want to inflict, whether this may extend to areas like torture or, perhaps, far worse?
With Alivia Clark, David Kaye, Thomas Kopache, John Oliver.
'Iran Deal' is the worst deal of all time in Donald Trump's Eyes. But John Oliver Explains Why It Is Better Than No Deal. Because this deal strictly forbade Iran to develop any sort of nuclear weapons. And all of their declared nuclear sites have close monitoring, as well as any suspected site could be monitored within 24 days of the request. The sad part is, top advisers of Trump administration are also against the deal. That is why John prepared a new ad with catheter cowboy to explain the matter to Trump and scheduled it on his favorite Sean Hannity's show.
This would be funny if it weren’t so painfully true. The idea of placing ads on Hannity is pretty intriguing though.
Since joining President Trump’s legal team, Rudolph W. Giuliani has repeatedly made attention-grabbing TV appearances in which he has antagonized Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. The strategy is reminiscent of one that Mr. Giuliani has used before — 30 years ago, as a prosecutor in New York City taking on the Mafia.
On today’s episode:
• Michael Winerip, who covered Mr. Giuliani’s rise as a Manhattan prosecutor in the 1980s for The New York Times.
• Mr. Giuliani’s revelation that President Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer for a $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels, may expose the president to new legal and political troubles.
• In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Giuliani suggested it was possible that other women had received hush money on behalf of Mr. Trump and that the president might invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the Russia investigation.
So the implication here is not so much that Trump is bringing in someone who has been a champion for him, but that he’s brought in someone with experience prosecuting massive corruption and criminal enterprise similar to the mafia.
The New York Times has obtained the list of questions that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel looking into Russia’s election interference, wants to ask President Trump. The wide-ranging queries offer a rare view into an investigation that has been shrouded in secrecy.
• The Times reports that Mr. Mueller’s team shared with the president’s lawyers a list of at least four dozen questions, the majority of which focus on possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.
If his attorneys couldn’t have guessed all of these questions by themselves, they should be fired. The real secret is to know the hidden questions to things they’re aware of, but no one knows they’re privy to.
After being blocked for months by lower courts, President Trump’s executive orders that restricted travel from several predominantly Muslim nations have finally reached the Supreme Court. The justices seem focused on one question: Should the president’s authority have anything to do with his personal beliefs?
On today’s episode:
• Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times.
Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing.
George Will writes a searing and blistering take down of Vice President Mike Pence–not that there are nice things to be said about Trump.
If you were in Las Vegas and could win $1 million by placing a simple prop bet on whether Trump enjoyed some pee play with Russian hookers in Moscow in 2013, would you bet yes or no? You know where you’d put your money. Even Mitch McConnell would take that bet.
If Trump is laundering money, and he probably is, the Russians know about it. So do Michael Cohen’s gangster friends.
I read the story about Trump’s empire the other day and remarked about how screwwy the situation seemed and wondered where the investigation into his businesses and taxes was and why we hadn’t heard much about it. Well it seems to be coming out in more force.
In this article, Chait indicates what is only incredibly obliquely implied in that Washington Post article: Trump is likely laundering money for Russian concerns for he can’t honestly have the native cash flow from honest dealings to be spending the way he has. This is a much more stark take on this recent financial reporting.