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Sic Transit

Michael Cohen has hired a new criminal lawyer, a former high-ranking SDNY prosecutor named Guy Petrillo. Peter Strzok was reportedly escorted out of the FBI building Friday afternoon. For the moment, he appears still to be employed by the FBI. We now have James Comey fired. Andrew McCabe fired and apparently in line to be prosecuted. Peter Strzok appears to be on the cusp of being fired and the President’s lawyer has demanded that he be imprisoned. Big picture, folks, big picture.

What?

Curious what on earth this means. From deep in a Politico article on family separation and Secretary Nielsen …

But Kelly’s status in the White House has changed in recent months, and he and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another. According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.

What on earth does that mean? My best guess is that standard pattern of continuing to enable Trump and prepackaging a later explanation for why you didn’t really support any of it.

Racist Demagogue

This requires an explicit mention.

The use of the word “infest” to talk about people is literally out of the Nazi/anti-Semites’ playbook for talking about the Jewish threat. It was also a standard for talking about Chinese in the western United States and it remains part of the vocabulary for talking about Romani (Gypsies) in parts of Europe. This is the most hard-boiled kind of racist demagogic language, the kind that in other parts of the world has often preceded and signaled the onset of exterminationist violence. The verb “to infest” is one generally used to describe insects or vermin (rats), creatures which are literally exterminated when they become present in a house or building or neighborhood.

Listen

Audio of children newly separated from their parents at the border. Listen here.

The Press Conference

DHS Secretary Nielsen just finished her press conference on the family separation policy. It was aggressive, dishonest and included a turbulent exchange with reporters. Here are a few snippets of video I found noteworthy.

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Very Odd

Sen. Blumenthal says in today’s hearing that he sent a letter to FBI Director Wray on May 8th asking about the Giuliani issue. He says he’s received no reply. Blumenthal also read into the record a pretty detailed explanation of Nunes’ admission that got a leak from the FBI New York field office right after the Weiner laptop was found. But somewhat bizarrely, Blumenthal didn’t actually ask about that. He asked for assurances that there were no on-going leaks to either Giuliani or Nunes, which of course allowed Wray to completely ignore the whole issue. Not sure I understand the logic of that approach to the question.

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"You Guys Are Finally Going to Get that Bitch"

This is notable. According to testimony in the IG Report, one reason for the harsh criticism of Secretary Clinton in James Comey’s June 2016 statement was to assuage the concerns of FBI employees who said “You guys are finally going to get that bitch. We’re rooting for you.”

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Don't Believe the IG Hype

It’s refreshing to see at least one Democratic member of Congress roundly address Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) apparent role pushing to restart the Clinton emails investigation in the final weeks of the 2016 election. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called Nunes “the President’s fixer in Congress.” But I would be highly, highly skeptical of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s suggestion that the Rudy Giuliani/New York field office leaks are still under investigation. I’ve even seen some people speculating that he may be signaling the existence of a criminal probe that his office had to avoid interfering with. Again, be highly, highly skeptical.

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Hostage Situation

President Trump just made the terms pretty clear. The kids can see their parents again if Democrats agree to fund his wall. That’s actually what he’s saying here. If Democrats will support his bill to fund a wall the kids can go free.

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