News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Mueller Indictment, Obama and the Dossier, and Much, Much More

Rober Mueller (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Why is this man smiling?

Good Monday morning.

Here’s what is on the president’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The president will then meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
  • In the afternoon, the president will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  • Later in the afternoon, the president will meet with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
  • In the evening, the president and the first lady will participate in Halloween at the White House.

Our train is now approaching Indictment City

An indictment is expected today in RUSSIA-gate. Or rather pretend “RUSSIA-gate.” I am skeptical that whoever is indicted will be busted for anything that has to do with RUSSIAN interference in the 2016 election, which was the pretense for appointing a special counsel in the first place. Politico warns how disastrous this indictment is for President Trump, because of course it is.

While the target and nature of the charges remain unknown, the expected indictment — from a special counsel appointed after Trump abruptly fired his FBI director out of frustration with the Russia probe — could make Monday one of the most politically consequential days of this presidency.

CNN also reports darkly on the leak of imminent arrests:

A mood of fateful anticipation is cloaking Washington, with possible arrests imminent after the federal grand jury in the Russia investigation approved its first charges.

By taking one or more people into custody, a prospect first reported by CNN Friday, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller would create a new, perilous reality for the White House, reflecting the gravity of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and alleged collusion by President Donald Trump’s associates.

How did we learn about the impending arrest/indictment anyway? Leaks, very serious leaks. Gov. Chris Christie says the leak of the indictment could be criminal. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was also mad about the leaks.

“Make no mistake, disclosing grand jury material is a violation of the law. Somebody violated their oath of secrecy,” Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, told Fox News on Sunday. Eh, he’s not going to do anything. Remember what a bang-up job he did with the Benghazi investigation?

According to a report on Saturday, the special counsel is looking at suspicious wire transfers by short-lived Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The transfers took place around 2012-2013. How is this related to interference with the 2016 election? I don’t know Paul Manafort and he’s probably shady-as-hell, but the government is supposed to be investigating RUSSIAN interference, not punishing anyone connected to Trump with a colonoscopy of their life and business.

The call is coming from INSIDE THE BEACON

Friday afternoon news dumps, you’ve got to love them. I hate them because they ruin my weekend and force me to pay closer attention to the news when I’m supposed to be rejuvenating. Or meal prepping. Or on the sporting clay course.

Washington Free Beacon revealed they are the “Republican party” that hired Fusion GPS to run oppo reports on Trump and other candidates that aren’t Marco Rubio during the 2016 Republican presidential party.

All of the work that Fusion GPS provided to the Free Beacon was based on public sources, and none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier. The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele. Nor did we have any knowledge of the relationship between Fusion GPS and the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie, and the Clinton campaign.

The Federalist, a media outlet that probably does not hire third-party muckrackers because they employ people with legit investigative skillz like Sean Davis, reports that Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) machine paid the law firm Perkins Coie almost a million dollars during 2016. Perkins Coie is the same law firm working for the DNC and the Clinton campaign that served as a cut-out to hire Fusion GPS, which then hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to get dirt on Trump from RUSSIAN intelligence. Yes, that’s a mouthful.

Former president Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show.

The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been independently verified. Lawyers for Steele admitted in court filings last April that his work was not verified and was never meant to be made public.

Davis explains: “The group [OFA] reorganized again after the 2016 election and planned to use its staff and resources to oppose President Donald Trump. During the entire 2016 campaign cycle, the group spent only $4.5 million, according to FEC records.” So what did Obama know and when did he know it? One million in legal fees is an awful lot of money for a group that only spent $4.5 million in 2016.

WFB’s revelation of its relationship with Fusion GPS was most likely hastened because Fusion GPS was fighting a subpoena from the House of Representatives for its bank records which would have revealed its clients. An agreement was reached and approved on Saturday between the two parties and we do not know the details.

Historical picture of the day:

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, flanked by (from Left) Sen. Alan Cranston (D.-Calif.), daughter Kara and actor Rob Lowe, waves to an enthusiastic crowd as he departs the Amtrak station in Bakersfield, Calif., on Oct. 30, 1988. Dukakis is enroute on a tour of California for his political campaign. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Other morsels:

New study shows staggering disparity in media coverage around Uranium One, DNC-dossier stories

Kevin Spacey apologizes after accusation of sexual misconduct

Puerto Rico moves to cancel Whitefish power contract after uproar

Menendez files motion for mistrial in corruption case: report

Sexual Misconduct in California’s Capitol Is Difficult to Escape

2 Frenchwomen Accuse Prominent Islamic Scholar of Sexual Assault

Ginsburg Vows To Stay On SCOTUS As Long As She Can

CNN Has Given Nancy Pelosi More Air Time Than Many Paid Contributors

George Washington Becomes The Latest Victim Of PC Culture

Kushner took unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia

2 Navy SEALs Investigated for Murdering Green Beret, Report Says

Butter-loving France facing a shortage

Cop Fired After Wearing Confederate Underwear Gets $55,000 Settlement

Roger Stone vows legal action over Twitter suspension

Man dressed as Santa Claus shoots people at Halloween party in Texas

New Jersey Gov. Christie says “no one has told” Trump he’s under investigation

Massive rally in Catalonia backs Spanish unity

JFK assassination files reveal Hoover’s frustration over Oswald’s death, Soviet reaction

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!