Question(s) for the day!


As the excitement builds: The question for the day is this:

Will Donald J. Trump allow the materials to be released by the magistrate judge? As of last night, he was suggesting that that would be his wish.

Or will he allow himself to be overruled by his super-cautious lawyers? Will he play the silly old trick where the cautious lawyers manage to hold the eager client back?

Final question:

If something embarrassing or potentially incriminating appears on the list of items removed from Mar-a-Lago, will Donald J. Trump say it was planted? Please remember this:

He only took the fifth this week because he finally saw that all the unfairness, and all the fake news, meant that he basically had to!

For extra credit only: If someone says that something was planted, is there any actual way to prove that the person's statement is false? 

(Putting it a different way: How much of what we accept as true is based upon the question of who we trust?)


  1. "If someone says that something was planted, is there any actual way to prove that the person's statement is false?"

    Does Somerby think this defense has never been used by crooks before?

    1. Bob plays his readers. And of course, it IS possible to show a negative didn’t happen, givin a set of circumstances.

    2. You can't taken ideas from scientific hypothesis testing and generalize them to whether or not Trump stole some documents.

      Criminals who claim that evidence was planted get convicted all the time. The OJ verdict is an example of jury nullification, not a winning argument about planted evidence. No one thinks OJ was innocent.

  2. "Or will he allow himself to be overruled by his super-cautious lawyers?"

    What is the evidence that Trump has ever been advised by "super-cautious" lawyers? His lawyers were the ones advancing conspiracy theories and spearheading the plot to keep him in office using illegal means (such as fake elector lists). His lawyers are the ones being disbarred and censured by judges for frivolous suits.

    Where on earth does Somerby get the idea that Trump's lawyers are "super-cautious"?

    1. Somerby was saying that this would be a trick on the part of himself and his lawyers.

    2. "Will he play the silly old trick where the cautious lawyers manage to hold the eager client back?"

      This suggestion still makes no sense because (1) Trump has no super-cautious lawyers, (2) Trump does what he wants regardless of what any lawyer advises him to do, (3) his lawyers deal with depositions by keeping him out of them, not by playing games within them, because Trump is a habitual liar who cannot negotiate a deposition without exposing himself to perjury.

      The idea of such a "trick" is ludicrous, absurd, and Somerby's suggestion of it is about as ignorant of Trump's prior behavior as you can get. To the point that Somerby is just throwing spagetti at the wall with his suggestions, not saying anything credible on this topic.

      Trump took the 5th because he is a crook and couldn't lie his way out of anything in court. He doesn't have to claim his lawyers advised him to take the 5th. He will say the trial is a hoax before he says that. Lawyers don't tell a big man like Trump what to do, cautious or otherwise. Trump is proud of his wrongdoing, he thinks he is clever, he has ultimate contempt for courts and other people. He won't play a lawyer trick that makes him look weak. It isn't in his nature.

    3. Trump is obviously going to call the warrant part of a hoax. He doesn't need to suppress it in order to claim he is being set up. If they then find classified materials, he can claim they were planted, as Republicans are already doing. It gains Trump nothing to say his lawyers have advised him not to release the warrant. Further, this is no longer Trump's discretion now that Garland has asked the Court to release it, ostensibly for the public good given the rumors circulating about it. Garland can legitimately claim that FBI agents are being put in danger by withholding this information in the warrant.

      So Somerby's suggestion is stupid and makes no sense at all. Cecelia will, of course, defend Somerby, as she no doubt defends Trump too.

  3. Does Somerby think the word "embarrassing" is the right one to use when considering whether Trump retained and has been using documents containing nuclear information, with some of the highest classification codes (ones Trump cannot have declassified himself because they require a second signature?

    Does Somerby think that Merrick Garland would create this furor by searching Mar-a-Lago without a good reason?

    As Digby points out, at least one foreign spy has been arrested trying to infiltrate Mar-a-lago. It is not a secure facility of the type required for the storage of highly classified material. But Somerby is worried that Trump might be "embarrassed," never mind that an actual threat to our national security may exist -- and was considered sufficiently likely that a judge approved a search warrant.


  4. Oh, dear. How 'bout this one, dear Bob:
    will this bombshell end up the way all other countless Orange Man Bad Bombshells did? described, for example, in this Scott Adams' tweet:

    1. or will it end up like the 1/6 Committee hearings, which are driving Americans with any sense away from Trump and his supporters?

  5. Trump took the 5th because answering might tend to incriminate him, because he is a crook.

    Why is Somerby raising the possibility that documents were "planted" by the FBI? Only a Republican die-hard Trump supporter would do that. Only Fox News. Only the kind of asshole who sits around under his pear tree in a MAGA hat thinking about The Storm and sending money to Dear Leader.

    Trump is fundraising off this situation. He sent around a message with a string of numbers saying: here are the nuclear codes and asking for donations in those amounts. I hope Somerby sent in the largest amount -- Trump is going to need it for his defense fund.

  6. "(Putting it a different way: How much of what we accept as true is based upon the question of who we trust?)"

    Here is the step that Somerby keeps missing. Trust is earned, not bestowed for no reason. Earning trust is based on a track record during which statements are compared against reality -- which can be known and is not a matter of opinion.

    Was the mainstream media right about Watergate? Yes, eventually they got pretty much everything right about a complicated event that was being actively concealed by wrongdoers. Did the FBI take down legitimate gangsters when it went after NYC organized crime bosses? Yes. Did the press get it right about Trump's collusion with Russia (yes, based on the Mueller report), about Iran contra, about Hillary's email (eventually right, after claims against her were investigated) and so on? Yes.

    Somerby routinely confuses the portion of the media that reports on stories with the portion that publishes editorials and interprets the news (e.g., opinion columnists). Those writing opinion do not get it right, but the reporting pretty much does, over time.

    Based on the reporting, there was a search warrant served on Trump, the FBI took out multiple boxes of materials covered by the warrant. This was after a subpoena failed to result in return of materials that belong to the government (i.e. the American people, not Trump). Garland has asked to have the warrant made public. Trump has not released it.

    These are all facts reported by the press. There is also some speculation about what types of materials were described in the warrant, based on sources described by reporters. This info is more tenuous but is likely to turn out to be true, because contrary to Somerby's hints, the mainstream media is still cautious about its sources.

    I would believe nothing coming from Fox News, even though Somerby thinks they know things. It is much harder to separate the disinformation from actual information over there.

    But the solution is not to throw up one's hands, figuratively speaking, and say "what's a poor boy to do?" and then either believe all the bunk or nothing at all (Somerby's preferred approach), claiming that the mainstream press is no different than the right wing noise machine, and by extension that the left is just as crazy as the right -- something that is not true. Claiming that Fox interviewed Lara Trump about poolside documents provides no evidence that the left is just as bad as the right.

    I'm willing to believe that Somerby is hopelessly confused, but I think it is more likely that he plays word games and mind games here to try to confuse leftish voters about Trump and the upcoming elections. Disinformation can be confusion too, and Somerby seems quite adept at confusing himself and suggesting that we join him in his nihilistic pose instead of getting behind Biden or whoever else the Democrats nominate, like the rest of the liberals are doing.

    Somerby is the untrustworthy source here, and he has been since at least 2015 when Trump first sought nomination. Russia was buying quite a few left-wing figures then. Why not Somerby among them? If Bernie can take Russian money, why would it be beneath Somerby to ease his retirement writing nonsense for foreign meddlers? It isn't as if Somerby has ever shown any sensitivity to ethical concerns.

  7. Trump is trying to further sell out his country by selling nuclear secrets. This is more likely to be true than the government allegedly picking on him.

  8. Bob doesn't want to live in a world where something can be true if Sean Hannity questions it.

  9. “For extra credit only: If someone says that something was planted, is there any actual way to prove that the person's statement is false?

    (Putting it a different way: How much of what we accept as true is based upon the question of who we trust?)”

    Anonymouse 12:58pm, why do you think Bob brought up Trump taking the fifth?

    Anonymices are deaf and dumb to anything Bob says because that’s literally their job.

    1. FBI and other government officials swear an oath. The court was involved in issuing the warrant. They too swear oaths of office and attest to the truth of documents they sign, as when requesting a search warrant. It doesn't mean they never lie, but it means they are less likely to be lying than the former president, who was caught in more outright lies than any former president in our history, who cannot be trusted not to take the 5th in a deposition because he would lie and be tried for perjury.

      And Somerby has the gall to ask who we should trust in this matter! And you call anonymous commenters deaf and dumb!

      Are you really this big an idiot? Seems so, based on the evidence.

  10. Anonymouse 1:47pm, I’m going to give you more credit than you give me. You aren’t dumb, you’re store-bought.

  11. Trump's now saying the records they found art Mar-a-Lago were planted.
    The "party of accountability" strikes again.

  12. "Seeking to deflect attention from reports that the classified documents he had kept in his Florida home might have contained materials related to nuclear weapons, former President Donald J. Trump claimed on Friday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had done the same thing.

    “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!”

    But the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, which preserves and maintains records after a president leaves office, confirmed on Friday afternoon that Mr. Obama had not kept his documents — classified and unclassified — as required under the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

    The National Archives “assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act,” the statement said. "

  13. As you probably know, the warrant and list of items taken were recently released, but they are not that helpful, because

    1. The warrant doesn't include the justification for the raid. I find it hard to believe that something enormous justified the raid, because so much time has passed. However, we will wait and see.
    2. The list just mentions documents and boxes, but doesn't really tell us much about their character

    It has been published that some classified material was taken. This may be slightly embarrassing, but AFAIK it isn't illegal. Former Presidents have the highest security clearance.

    1. If treason had been committed a year ago, would that make it less serious? It might mean that a crisis is not imminent, but it would still be a major crime against our nation, one that should be prosecuted.

      David, are you aware that the titles of classified documents are often themselves classified? There is a separate marking for the title and for each paragraph and each page, not simply for the entire document. A stray piece of info in a title can provide clues to an enemy, especially in highly technical or very sensitive situations (the ones with the highest security classifications).

      You are incorrect that the president is allowed to take classified information simply by virtue of having a high clearance. There are laws against mishandling and taking classified documents -- that makes it illegal. And no, the biggest consequence is not embarrassment. There are real threats to national security that result in documents being classified. It is time-consuming, costly and difficult to handle classified material, so they only classify things when there is a reason for them to be classified. And no, Trump does not have the ability to declassify materials dealing with nuclear topics, that takes review by another organization to declassify.

    2. Back in the 1970s when I worked with classified materials, there was a general who put a classified document into his briefcase and went home with it, without checking it out through security staff and without transporting it or storing it properly at home.

      When this was discovered, it triggered an audit of our organization as well as the one the general worked in, there was required retraining of staff, discipline for those found to be at fault in the incident, a review of the potential harm that may have arisen, and scolding of the security staff, since everything like that is ultimately their responsibility, if only in failing to prevent what happened.

      It was a big deal! It was treated like a major breach of security and there were serious consequences for those involved from the clericals up to the scientists and their managers, and it was a blemish on the entire organization, potentially affecting their ability to bid on and be awarded highly classified work in the future. That is how seriously classified documents are taken within the research community.

      Trump's cavalier attitude toward such things is not just adolescent but borders on treason. The inability of Republicans to understand why this is important astounds me, but perhaps shouldn't, given their stupidity about much of the rest of life. Given Trump's lifestyle of crime, it seems entirely possible that his actions were deliberate and his intentions to make money at our nation's expense by selling secrets to those who are not friends of our nation. Trump was entrusted with our country's well-being and he instead plundered it. This is more of the same.

      The General in my experience suffered no serious consequences because it became clear his actions were unintentional. In Trump's case, he was asked for these documents back via subpoena and has been in communication with the DOJ about them, but it is clear he has refused to return them and would not have done so, short of this action. Why? What possible need can he have for such documents within the scope of his present life? None. The illegitimate uses are many and it seems very obvious this was no accident, but a deliberate action with some benefit to himself. I hope they prosecute Trump to the hilt. He deserves it.

    3. Former Presidents have the highest security clearance.


  14. Not everyone is excited about what is happening with Trump. Some of us are dismayed, appalled, shocked, and saddened. Trump has done real harm to our nation and this seems like more damage, again to our national security. It makes me value Biden and appreciate his steady hand with foreign affairs. But it also angers me that Somerby is treating this like some sort of circus -- and that he is implying that Democrats are happy about any of this, including those who host cable news shows.

    1. I've been sanctimonious at various points in my life too.

    2. I think you need to look up the word sanctimonious, if you think it means sad, or any of the other feelings mentioned by 7:23. Or were you referring to Somerby? The word doesn't apply there either.

    3. It doesn't take much to be morally superior to a man who commits treason by stealing classified documents for resale to the highest bidder.

  15. This is today's excitement, Somerby, you goof:

    "“He promised a new social safety net. He pledged to develop a robust plan to fight global warming. He vowed to reduce the gap between rich and poor by making the wealthy ‘pay their fair share,’” the New York Times reports.

    “And along the way, Joseph Biden often said as he battled Donald Trump for the White House in 2020, he would prove that democracy still works in America.”

    “With final House passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on Friday, President Biden is poised to deliver the latest in a series of legislative victories that will ripple across the country for decades — lowering the cost of prescription drugs, extending subsidies to help people pay for health insurance, reducing the deficit and investing more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs.”

  16. "David Rohde: “For Americans who wish to look, their worst fears about Donald Trump are being confirmed. He recklessly handled some of the country’s most important secrets, including, apparently, information related to nuclear weapons. Tens of millions of Americans, undoubtedly, will continue to believe his conspiracy theories. But the steady compilation of facts by the January 6th committee, the Justice Department, and the F.B.I. is creating a post-November, 2020, record of negligence that exceeds Trump’s actions earlier in his tenure.”

    “The Mar-a-Lago search warrant showed that Trump has grown more rash, thoughtless, and heedless—and more unfit than ever for the Presidency.”"