First few reactions to Trump's remarks!


The children play in the "dirt:"
We first heard about Trump's remarks while watching Chris Matthews play Hardball.

Chris was highly exercised. We were reminded of the remarkable evenings in early 2000 when he went on and on, then on and on some more, misstating every possible fact about Candidate Gore's 1996 visit to the Buddhist temple.

Back in early 2000, the liberal world just sat there and took it. Everyone wanted to get on Hardball back in those days! There were very few cable shows at that time, so who cared if Bush ended up in the White House and people ended up dead in Iraq?

We recalled those Buddhist temple rants as Chris sputtered and bellowed last night. At one point, we saw him say this:
MATTHEWS (6/12/19): A Perry Mason moment from the president. "So what if I did?"

President Trump, in a stunning admission, says he is willing to accept the help of a foreign government in future elections and accepting dirt on a political rival from a global rival is not interference. Think about that.
But did Trump actually say that? Moments later, Matthews returned from a break, at which point he said it again:
MATTHEWS: Back with tonight's breaking story, the shocking admission from President Trump that he thinks it's okay to take political dirt on his opponent from a foreign government.
We'll offer several quick reactions to the hubbub about what Trump said. We'll start by directing you to last evening's post by Kevin Drum.

What Trump actually said: As Drum noted in his post, it isn't entirely clear that Trump said "it's okay to take political dirt on his opponent from a foreign government."

What happened in Trump's exchange with George Stephanopoulos happens remarkably often. First, Stephanopoulos asked a somewhat fuzzy question. He didn't specifically ask Trump about taking information from a foreign government.

Trump then gave an even fuzzier reply, as is his norm and his wont. He talked about the possibility of taking information from "somebody from Norway." Foreign governments weren't explicitly mentioned.

In this manner, Trump was never placed firmly on the record about the practice of taking information from a foreign government. But so what? In another entirely typical move, the entire press corps began to describe the conversation as if he explicitly had!

Drum noted this fact in last evening's post. This is very much the way our ridiculous pundit corps works. Anthropologists say that this was always the best our limited species could do.

Speak like a child: It's embarrassing to see the way the press corps talks about receiving "dirt," eschewing such grown-up terms as "negative information."

In the emails which set up the Trump Tower meeting, the word "dirt" was never used. Donald Trump Junior was offered "sensitive information," not dirt.

Big boys and girls will often decide to use their grown-up words. The children of the mainstream press corps propagandize you by deep-sixing the word "information" (or the phrase "negative information"), turning instead to the highly emotional, heavily loaded term "dirt."

It's embarrassing, but everyone does it. Reporters even put "dirt" inside quotation marks in news reports. See the first paragraph of this report from today's New York Times.

What is a "foreign national?" Do we really think it's against the law to take information during a campaign from a "foreign national?" If so, what the heck what Christopher Steele doing in 2016?

Steele was himself a foreign national. He was seeking negative information about Trump from other foreign nationals, presumably from Russians.

But the children who people our pundit corps seem unable to draw the distinction between "foreign nationals" and "foreign governments." They often seem to have made a sacred vow never to draw the most basic distinctions at any point in their lives.

Trump actually gets something right: In our view, our pundits corps had an embarrassing evening last night. They almost seem to have taken a vow never to make clear sense.

One person who did make clear sense at one point was commander in chief Donald Trump. He drew an instant sane distinction in this exchange with Stephanopoulos:
TRUMP (6/12/19): I'll tell you what. I have seen a lot of things over my life. I don't think, in my whole life, I have ever called the FBI in my whole life. I don't—you don`t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office. You do whatever you do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Gore got a stolen briefing book. He called the FBI.

TRUMP: Well, that's different, a stolen briefing book. This isn't a stolen—this is somebody that said, "We have inflammation on your opponent."
Oof! Trump actually got that one right! Presumably, there's a difference between receiving stolen information and receiving information which has been legally observed or obtained.

For the record, Donald Trump Junior was never told that the Russkie lawyer would be offering stolen information. According to the Mueller report's account of the meeting, she never did.

Donald Trump actually got that one right! As his conversation continued, we'd even say that he may have gotten the better of this exchange as well:
STEPHANOPOULOS (continuing directly): The FBI director says that's what should happen.

TRUMP: The FBI director is wrong.
Every pundit has agreed to be shocked, just shocked, that Trump would say such a thing. But there's no reason why a president had to defer to the head of the FBI on any particular point.

If Trump thinks Director Wray is out over his skis on this matter, he has every right to say so. Judging from what we see on cable, many former intelligence types think they belonged to some royal guild whose judgments must never be challenged.

Sad! It wasn't all that long ago that it was liberals and progressives who reflexively doubted the judgments and pronouncements of powerful insider orgs like the CIA and the FBI. Now, because of Donald J. Trump, we act like there's no possible way the great public servants who people such orgs could ever display imperfect judgment or be wrong about some point.

Final point:

For ourselves, we're eager to see the results of the Inspector General's probe of the intelligence community's investigation of the Russkies and Trump.

We liberals today! We seem to find it hard to believe that a great man like Comey the God could have done something unwise or wrong in his conduct of this probe. We're behaving this way even after observing Comey's reckless behavior in attacking Candidate Clinton—and in the face of Mueller the God's squirrelly conduct over the past few months. (What the bleep's wrong with that guy?)

The Inspector General is just one person, but we're curious to see what he says. After that, we'll be curious to see the results of the Barr probe.

Meanwhile, could the children pretty please maybe stop saying "dirt?" It's a thoroughly childish term of propagandistic importuning—nothing more, nothing less. We think it's time for Chris to start using his indoor voice, and for the rest of these lost boys and girls to start using their grown-up words.

In fairness, experts say our limited species was wired to function like this.


  1. Can't you just extrapolate one from the other?

  2. “Foreign governments weren't explicitly mentioned.”

    Your post is right on cue, Bob, but a bit ill-advised:

    From the interview:
    “Stephanopoulos: Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?
    Trump: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. I don't- There's nothing wrong with listening.”

    Unless China and Russia are the names of a couple of 400-pound Norwegians, it’s clear that Stephanopoulos was referring to the governments of China and Russia.

    1. Oof!

      To be fair, seems like Somerby has dementia.

  3. “Do we really think it's against the law to take information during a campaign from a "foreign national?"

    Mueller investigated the Trump Tower meeting as a potential violation of campaign finance law. His decision not to pursue charges was not based on a view that such an interaction was hunky-dory.

    It might also be instructive to find out how Somerby knows Trump is right about the info that Veselnitskaya brought to Trump Tower. How do the President and the blogger know it wasn’t stolen, given that the DNC and Podesta emails released by Wikileaks *were* stolen?

    And surely the difference between Steele and Veselnitskaya is clear.

  4. Trump's remarks were heard by most liberals as an invitation to interfere in the next election, a willingness to receive "oppo research" from any foreign country that wants to provide it. Given his pay-to-play administration, the quid pro quo is obvious too.

    Somerby thinks the cable pundits are getting this wrong. No. Somerby is the one who is wrong. And Somerby doesn't react like any liberal. His post today is a rehash of conservative talking points and he is once again defending Trump. He couldn't do better if he were an actual Republican wearing a MAGA hat.

    Kevin Drum will probably recant once he reads what others are saying, since he too has it wrong but has a somewhat open mind. He reads his comments, for one thing. He is a centrist Democrat, not a liberal/progressive, so this is par for the course for him.

    The issue about whether the info is stolen or not is a red herring. You can't receive true non-stolen info from a foreign source and it doesn't matter if it is a govt agent or a private individual or a corporation or Vladimir himself speaking directly to Trump. None of that is allowed.

    1. An excerpt from my memoirs succinctly sums up this very issue:

      "... and it was at this moment that I decided to finally execute my plans.

      So without any more hesitation, I proceeded out into the night.

      However, I began to have second thoughts. I reminded myself of the time and effort I had expended in my creation.

      Is this the right thing to do? 'Yes,' I reassured my doubting mind.

      So, I then pointed my fanny high into the night sky and reluctantly released my gaseous creation. It was now free to fend for itself."

    2. Corby, you might want to have a look at this. It might change your mind about the whole "Russiagate" farce, but somehow I doubt it. Given its title, I'd be surprised if you don't dismiss it out of hand.

      How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election

      Pretty compelling stuff, and you can find even more in the comment section.


    3. Right, Leroy. I have no interest in conspiracy theories.

    4. Leroy and his comic books.

    5. If you think the Trumpistas colluded with Russia to win the election, then you yourself are subscribing to a conspiracy theory. Given your comprehension skills, I doubt you had time to fully read the link I posted. Whatever.

      Too bad the Dems have been hanging their hat on this one for so long, pulling the wool over (almost) everyone’s eyes, with help from our esteemed msm “journalists.” Hillary sucked as a candidate. I held my nose. Electoral college? What stinkin’ Electoral college? It was the Russians, stupid!

      Russian bots influenced the election? Ha ha! If that’s true, then we really are doomed anyway. I loathe Trump as much as the next guy/gal, and while Somerby doesn't come right out and say it, he's obviously quite alarmed by the Mango Mussolini. Accusing him of practically wearing a MAGA hat makes me wonder – could you be a bot? Hm.


    6. 8:32 if you are going to offer up an empty word salad, such as you have, it better include an offer to toss my salad.

      Your link is utter piffle. It does not make a single significant accurate assertion. The author of the piece is the clown Larry Johnson, who peddles in false or inaccurate assertions:

      -in July 2001 he wrote an op ed titled "The Declining Terrorist Threat", one may recall September 2001

      -suggested torture for captured terrorists

      -claimed Michelle Obama made a speech ranting about "whitey" and that there was a videotape

      -accused John Kerry of war crimes by editing together audio clips from an interview to make Kerry say "I personally raped for pleasure", dim view this guy has of his targeted audience's cognitive abilities, although perhaps the one case where he was accurate

      -is the source for the false claim that British intelligence agency had wiretapped Trump during the 2016 campaign and had done so at Obama's request

      8:32 you have been duped.

      It is neither a conspiracy nor controversial that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, there are details in the Mueller report and other sources - mere media coverage of his rallies provides as much. That the collusion can be proven to be at odds with the law is what is uncertain.

      Dems have not been "hanging their hats on this one", 2018 was a historic election for Dems, who did not run an anti Trump campaign (they did not need to), they ran mostly on the health care issue, as they continue to do.

      Mueller's report is damning enough to warrant impeachment, Dems have a responsibility to not allow a precedent where presidents are above the law or ethical norms.

      Voter suppression largely was responsible for Hillary's loss, some due to Russian interference, but Republicans have an array of voter suppression tools they have been using for years. If you want to tickle your conspiracy bone, look into voting machines.

    7. "his campaign colluded with Russia, there are details in the Mueller report and other sources"

      What page? Back up this claim. (You can't. It's false.)

    8. The Mueller Report, Volume 1, pages 51-198.

      "Hey Russia, if you are listening"

      Quid pro quo, no enforcement of sanctions.

    9. 6:51: pathetic. Mueller report does not have any evidence of collusion or conspiracy.

      Feel free to prove me wrong with sources.

    10. Lib Zombies are reduced to quoting jokes on the stump as evidence of collusion. As entertaining as Trump is he doesn't come close to providing the amusement of these bozos.

    11. Just scanning through the Table of Contents from the Mueller Report:

      7. Interactions and Contacts with the Trump Campaign .....

      33 a. Trump Campaign Promotion of IRA Political Materials ...…
      33 b. Contact with Trump Campaign Officials in Connection to Rallies

      D. Trump Campaign and the Dissemination of Hacked Materials


      Dimitri Simes and the Center for the National Interest ........ 103
      a. CNI and Dimitri Simes Connect with the Trump Campaign ...............…
      103 b. National Interest Hosts a Foreign Policy Speech at the Mayflower Hotel
      105 c. Jeff Sessions's Post-Speech Interactions with CNI ..............
      107 d. Jared Kushner's Continu ing Contacts with Simes ...108

      b. Contacts during Paul Manafort's Time with the Trump Campaign .............. 134

      b. High-Level Encouragement of Contacts through Alternative Channels ....... 146

      7. Contacts With and Through Michael T. Flynn ................ 167

      C. Russian Government Outreach and Contacts......................180

      The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for Campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved U.S.-Russian relations. Section IV of this Report details the contacts between Russia and the Trump Campaign during the campaign and transition periods, the most salient of which are summarized below in chronological order.


      Too bad Donald J Chickenshit was too much of a lying sack of shit coward to agree to interview with Mueller. But yeah, we're all dumb zombies.

    12. mm

      I regret to inform you that you are a dumb zombie. Contacts are not collusion and conspiracy, fool. How dumb are you really?

      You sit there and bold out contacts. Contacts is not conspiracy.

      The claim was "his campaign colluded with Russia, there are details in the Mueller report and other sources"

      That claim is false. no one is saying that the Trump campaign did not have contacts with Russia. Nor would anyone say that about Clinton.

      For instance you can look at Clinton's conspiracy and collusion with Ukraine to defeat Trump as an example of collusion and conspiracy, not to mention contacts.

      But here, regrettably, you have shown yourself to be a fool by mistakenly thinking contacts prove some sort of conspiracy or collusion.

      What you need to worry about is what the Democrats are doing for the people of America. For the people they expect to vote for them! What are they doing for the people? How are they solving the people's problems? By going on about impeachment and collision where there is none?

      The establishment Democrats are a joke! They made people like you, someone who is probably a good and smart person, into a dumb zombie!


    13. Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges

      I guess Rachel hasn't brought that one up, huh?

    14. Yeah, sure. Every campaign has hundreds of meetings and contacts with Russian government intelligence operatives and then proceed to lie about those contacts when questioned by FBI investigators. Happens all the time, nothing to see here, move along everyone. Too bad Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, and his idiot son Don Jr, were too much of sniveling cowards to talk to Mueller and explain how innocent all his was.

      You can play the dumb fuck routine all you want, don't expect the rest of us to play along, OK asshole?

      Separately, on August 2, 2016, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met in New York City with his long-time business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel's Office was a "backdoor" way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine; both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump's assent to succeed (were he to be elected President). They also discussed the status of the Trump Campaign and Manafort's strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states. Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik, and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.

    15. "...who the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence"

      Kilimnik has intelligence and he's a businessman, and you got no intelligence and you're a dembot.

      Perhaps it's time for you, dembot, to take a hard look at your life. What went wrong?

    16. mm

      That is not proof of collusion or conspiracy!

      What is the matter with you?

    17. Very sad to see these well-meaning Democrats played so,so deeply for fools.

      mm - your foolishness is bringing our country down.

      I know you mean well.

      It's very, very sad.

    18. 4:07 your comment is spot on but your error is in believing you're talking to people who care about anyting except race and sex grievances. That is the entire Democrat party now. Ask yourself why the propaganda on all major sources sounds so unhinged and detached from reality and you'll only find the explanation in race and sex grievance. The Democrat party is no place for a liberal.

    19. So in other words when you bolded those words you were thinking that because the Mueller report said that Trump officials lied about their contacts with Russia which impaired the part of the investigation that had to do with election interference, therefore Trump colluded and conspired with Russia?

      Do you realize how monumentally stupid that is?

      Don't answer. I know you don't know.

      Anyway, have a good weekend.

    20. 4:31

      Yes, it's very crazy. Many of these people are my friends. Slowly, they got played, like a frog in boiling water.

      The ramifications are going to continue to be brutal. It's impossible to continue with the same structure and leadership and focus solely on identity.

      Obviously traditional Democrat voters who felt like the Democrats identified with working people, have left or are leaving and we'll have totally left en masse soon.

      It's just a matter of whether or not they will fix it in their own house or who will step in to fill the void that, I hate to say it, but the zombified fools like mm opened.

    21. Sad? Meh. Foaming at the mouth dembot dead-ender is one of the most pleasant scenes delivered by this ingenious Algore's invention.

    22. Democrats reduced to Mcarthyism. Incredible!

    23. 12:16
      Dems have not been ‘hanging their hats on this one’, 2018 was a historic election for Dems…

      You’ve misapprehended what I meant. The Dems have been hanging their hats on introducing impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump under charges of collusion with the Russians. It seems to me that there’s so much more to go on regarding impeachment.

      Please tell me: Does an impeachable offense based on Russian collusion, delivered in the Mulller report, actually deliver? Impeachment still seems out of reach in that regard.

      As a result, we’ve had two years of breathless reporting by our msm over what has essentially become a dead letter, after two years and million and millions of dollars. Who knows, other impeachable offenses may be uncovered. Obstruction of justice springs to mind but… What was being obstructed? And if I’m proved wrong, no one will rejoice more than I.

      Johnson’s article seems credible, since he links extensively to his sources. I notice you don’t attempt the same endeavor, which is too bad. But, a final thought.

      Why the f**k isn’t he entire Congress screaming for impeachment under the 25th? In fact, ironically I suppose, the WahoPost has a whole list of “lies and misstatements” to cull from. I wonder if they read newspapers.

      Seriously, think about that question. That dude’s head is full of lubricated marbles, swirling about in completely random motions, and Congress is furrowing their brows over Hillary Clinton’s stolen emails.

      Gimmee a break.


    24. "The 25th of what?"

      I know, I was reaching. DT ain't going nowhere, far as I can tell. And Pence would be even worse.


    25. 7:46

      The main concern pushing impeachment is the obstruction issue.

      Some sad commenters here want proof that Mueller provided evidence of collusion. Mueller, while not finding it criminally prosecutable, did provide an entire volume of evidence of collusion.

      Yes the Mueller report delivers. At best Mueller had his hands tied a bit, even so there is enough to warrant impeachment.

      Trump was not joking about Russia finding the emails. There are other sources of other misdeeds as well, other ongoing criminal investigations even. Issues surrounding Rosneft are concerning, for example. There is plenty more to investigate.

      Larry Johnson is a complete fraud, fickle and out for a buck, he only seems credible to those he dupes. The few sources, besides himself, that he sites are either unremarkable and not dispositive, or conjecture on the part of other cons.

      Larry Johnson not credible

  5. Always nice to have a traitor as president.

  6. Bob,
    Always keep in mind the rationale you established for Trump ever since he was elected.
    Every time he does or says something you consider stupid.
    Type:"Trump is nuts".

  7. "Sad!"

    Yes, Bob. You're presenting an exceedingly convincing case for quitting your liberal zombie death-cult, and becoming a normal human being.

    Why don't you do it, Bob.

    1. Death-cultists are rocking in the corner because Bob said he wants to know the different ways the corrupted intelligence community operated in their failed attempt to enlist foreign countries to defeat Trump.

  8. Somerby: What is a "foreign national?" Do we really think it's against the law to take information during a campaign from a "foreign national?" If so, what the heck what Christopher Steele doing in 2016?

    Me: Yes. Indeed, we KNOW it's illegal to accept campaign CONTRIBUTIONS from foreign entities. And the contribution can be anything of value - not just cash. It's legal for your campaign to buy hats from China. But if a Chinese national were to donate a pallet-load of hats, and you were to accept it, that's a crime.

    In the case of accepting "information" from "Norway" you'd have to pay Norway fair value for the information and declare it in your campaign expenditures where watchdogs could audit it, in particular the fair valuation.

    When you pay for the Steele Dossier, that's a campaign expense. When you accept free "dirt on Hillary" from Russia, that's a campaign finance violation.

    1. "you'd have to pay Norway fair value for the information"

      Hmm. Liberals, monetizing information. Why am I not surprised.

      So, that information is Noway's property then, right?

      And what if your candidate Creepy Joe travels to Norway and breathe Noway's air - does he have to "pay Norway fair value" for the air he consumed, and declare it in his campaign expenditures, blah, blah, blah?

      Tell me, dembot; inquiring minds want to know.

  9. Here is Kevin drum admitting to being wrong, just as I predicted he would do:

    "I guess I might as well fess up to being wrong and be done with it. "

    Somerby will never retract his statement because his purpose was to defend Trump, not to say anything truthful.

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