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January 24, 2023 08:03 AM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche


27 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Great White RINO Hope Sighted in Ohio! From TalkingPointsMemo

    As the aftershocks of the fierce speakership battle roil the chamber, Republicans’ anger turns inward, the opposing camps fighting each other. Unified Democrats, stuck in the minority, stand back and watch the spectacle. 

    This is not the story of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) woes. It’s the implosion radiating from the Ohio House of Representatives where a dark-horse candidate, Rep. Jason Stephens (R), triumphed over Rep. Derek Merrin (R) — with the help of the Democrats. 

    Merrin has decidedly not conceded gracefully. Amassing the Republicans who did not vote for Stephens and calling them the “Republican Majority Caucus,” he anointed himself the true leader of his party.


  2. Trump, Manafort, Deripaska, Russia. Via Heather Cox-Richardon.

    Highest level arrested FBI officer.

    Charges against McGonigal—who is one of the highest ranking FBI members ever charged with a crime—stem from his connection to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin. The United States sanctioned Deripaska in 2018 for working for the Russian state to destabilize Ukraine. Deripaska was also a close associate of political operative Paul Manafort, who ran Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Manafort was convicted in 2018 of a number of crimes associated with his ties to Russia. Trump pardoned him.

    McGonigal, along with Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who has worked as an interpreter for U.S. courts, is charged with violating sanctions by taking money from Deripaska to investigate one of his rivals, and with money laundering. In a separate indictment, McGonigal is accused of hiding multiple cash payments from a foreign intelligence official and of trying to get the sanctions on Deripaska removed.

    As Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel points out, the Department of Justice is pursuing this case so far as about public corruption, not about national security. But it is surely significant that the man who was supposed to be in charge of protecting the U.S. from Russian oligarchs went to work for one as soon as he left the FBI, and perhaps sooner. And that oligarch was connected to Trump’s 2016 campaign manager. 

      1. So he led a double life? So did Manafort, Flynn, Roger Stone, and others. I recall Papadoupoulos ended up getting busted because he got liquored up at a dinner or social event and got mouthy. An Australian intelligence agent overheard and tipped off the FBI.

        1. We spent 4 years investigating something that the person in charge of the investigation was guilty of doing. That's awesome. What's that thing Republicans do like accuse the left of doing what they are actually doing? Seems the sword cuts both ways. Is that whataboutism I am hearing? Are the "others" you refer to Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Wray, Strozk, Page, Steele and the array of "current and former" intel officials?

          1. The person in charge of the Mueller investigation was Robert Mueller. Double agent McGonigal was “one of the sources who triggered the investigation”, per your Newsweek source. He was never “ in chage”. 
            Here’s a reminder of all of the Trump cabinet and campaign officials indicted in the Mueller reprt. 

          2. The Newsweek article places more blame/authority on McGonigal than is deserved in several respects.

            First, McGonigal isn't a source of information; if anything, he was deciding based on information provided. In the case of Papadopoulis, initial reports came from a foreign intelligence service. In the case of Carter Page, reports were coming from the field. His own role as coordinator did not place him in a position to inject information to trigger investigations, and nothing here suggests investigation decisions were altered to go against Trump. In fact, just the opposite; McGonigal is connected here to Deripaska — the same man Manafort was working with to boost Trump.

            Second, I believe the allegations against McGonigal post-date his work for the FBI and certainly his involvement with the Trump-Russia connection. Was his connection to Deripaska in place during any part of his FBI tenure? Hopefully that comes out at trial or through solid journalistic investigation.

            So, yes, it's sad that a former high-ranking FBI official was co-opted by a sanctioned Russian oligarch. But it's just that, and any hand-wringing by the right appears to be nothing more than Trump's puppet tears right now.

    1. I just saw a few minutes ago what was hiding at Pence’s place. I laughed. So far, it’s running 2 to 1 Republicans over Dems on who has the most papers they shouldn’t have. The National Archives needs to have a chat with Congress about giving it enough money to hire enough staff to figure out where the materials are and get them catalogued. I also saw an interview with former Congressman Charlie Dent. His beef was that an absurd amount of stuff is classified unnecessarily. He spoke about being called into classified briefings on items he’d already read about in the NYT or Wa-Po.


      1. I'm hoping there will be a full review of the paper collections of those working in Trump's Sad!-ministration.  It would be delightful to learn if the sloppy handling of documents extended to Special Assistants to the *resident (Ivanka & Jared).  It may also be an issue for reputed Presidential wannabes like former Sec. of State (Mike Pompeo), former Ambassador to the UN (Haley), and former National Security Advisor (Bolton). 

    1. "Classified" is a pretty broad category, from daily briefing to super-top-security-nuclear-don't-take-out-of-the-room.

      Secondly, there is a tendency to classify everything, and never declassify.

      Since we don't know which category we're talking about, we don't really know anything.

    2. What If… ? Via Ian Milhiser:

      What if, and just hear me out here, presidents and vice presidents handle tens of thousands of documents and it is actually both very common, and not that big a deal, that a handful of classified documents are sometimes misfiled?

      1. Pretty much this. Except that it really should be a Big F'ing Deal. Either classification means something — and it often does — or we should ditch the whole system. And if it does mean something, then someone(s) should always be conscious of every such document as it moves around. That obviously isn't and hasn't been happening.

        CNN had a great article detailing the chaos in the Biden VP offices as his staffers were packing boxes. Classified documents were flowing around them as Biden rushed to do last-minute diplomacy. Given how lax the handling regime was — no fault of Biden himself, just "everyday" procedure — it's no wonder documents were packed at random and sent here or there.

        I think by now it's obvious that there need to be some serious procedural updates in controlling these materials. And Trump still needs to be prosecuted for refusing to handle them properly.

  3. Political observation of the day – Pete Buttieg got Secretary of Transportation which looked like a solid springboard for Governor, Senator, or even President again. Good solid substantial high level job.


    There are so many things going wrong in transportation. He inherited all of the disfunction but that's how politics work, you're graded on what happens when you're in charge using what you inherited.

    Now, maybe he can effectively fix these issues. If so, that's a gigantic plus for his political future. But if he's not able to improve things, this may end up being the capstone of his career. Which would suck because I think he's smart and wants to make things better.

  4. Republican Agenda… vi Rachel Bitecofer.

    18 Biden districts won by Rs in 2022. Good luck holding any in 2024.

    The 2024 Republican Agenda:

    ✔️ 'Nowhere to Run' national abortion ban
    ✔️ 'Work Till You Die' cuts to Social Security & Medicare
    ✔️ 30% McCarthy Tax on everything you buy. 

    1. I think this assessment is correct and that Republicans lose the House again in 2024, if not sooner. But the 2024 Senate slate is a rough road for Democrats. On a statewide basis Democrats really have to start wearing away at "red" state stagnancy; given the stalemate in the current Congress I'm not sure how they can do that unless Republicans really start hacking away at Social Security, Medicare, and farm aid. Well – maybe the 30% national sales tax idea. But all of these things are Republicans shooting off both feet, not Democrats having an opportunity to advance.

  5. Now Vice President Pence has found classified documents.

    If you have any ability to think for yourself, you must realize by now that all politicians will lie to you as long as they think they can get away with it. Obama, Bush, Trump, Biden, Clinton, it is natural for these people.

    Be sure to adhere to Political Commissar DavidThi808, and not read or respond to “the troll”, because it may detract from his lame economic analogies.

    Remember do as your told!

    1. If you have any ability to think for yourself, you must realize by now that all politicians will lie to you as long as they think they can get away with it. Obama, Bush, Trump, Biden, Clinton, it is natural for these people.


      Funny how that's what you say now, as if you have always said that, and yet you've been sucking Trump's mushroom on this blog for over 6 years and repeating every pro-Trump talking point at every turn.  Now you want to cop out and say that they're all bad, when you used to say they're all bad, except for Trump?  

      I'm surprised you didn't try to lump Mike Pence in with the radical left, since you and your friends wanted to hang him on 1/6/2021.

        1. Powerful Pear says:

          January 24, 2023 at 3:41 PM MST

          you must realize by now that all politicians will lie to you as long as they think they can get away with it.

          Powerful Pear says:

          January 25, 2023 at 11:12 AM MST

          What lie did I tell?

          You're lying right now.  Besides, you ran for office, such as that run was.  So, you're a politician.  So, you'll lie if you think you can get away with it.  Though, with you, the word "think" is being used very loosely.


  6. According the Denver County Clerk’s website, the Elections Division is done checking petitions for all the city-wide races. They are still working on 1 candidate from a district race.

    Here are the city-wide candidates who made it on the ballot, in no particular order. Ballot placement will be determined in a couple of weeks.

    Mayor (20 candidates)

    Ken Simpson

    Jesse Parris

    Ean Tafoya

    Andre Rougeot

    Alex Cowans

    Kelly Brough

    Debbie Ortega

    Thomas Wolf

    Leslie Herod

    Aurelio Martinez

    Lisa Calderon

    Chris Hansen

    James Walsh

    Paul Fiorino

    Trinidad Rodriguez

    Mike Johnston

    Al Gardner

    Robert Treta

    Kwame Spearman

    Auditor (2 candidates)

    Timothy O’Brien (incumbent)

    Erik Clark

    Clerk and Recorder 

    Paul Lopez (incumbent) – uncontested

    City Council  at-large (9 candidates – 2 will be elected)

    Jeff Walker

    Dominic Diaz

    Travis Leiker

    Sarah Parady

    Will Chan

    Tim Hoffman

    Marty Zimmerman

    Penfield Tate

    Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez

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