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And He's Out

Matthew Petersen, the star of that cringeworthy video struggling (and mainly failing) to answer the most basic questions of trial procedure, has withdrawn his nomination to serve as a federal judge.

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The Plot Against Bob Mueller

On Friday, I noted that there is clearly a move afoot to fire Bob Mueller (Prime access). But it is less a conspiracy or planned course of action than a rising tide of fear and anger with different pro-Trump factions trying to delegitimize Mueller for its own sake and, if at all possible, goad President Trump into firing Mueller in a fit of impulse rage and fear – much as he did six months ago with James Comey. Paradoxically, Trump is himself part of the effort to ramp him into taking action. Chaos and fear are as much a part of it as planning. It’s more Lord of the Flies than Ocean’s Eleven. Still a key part of what is happening is not only that pro-Trump Republicans are trying to lay the groundwork for Mueller’s dismissal. They’re trying to goad Trump into taking the plunge. Because only the President can make this happen. Everything else is preparation and encouragement.

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Who Are They?

Yesterday I read one of those articles I was semi-used to in the Bush era and now am very used to in the Trump era. Trump has a new “labor” advisor. His name is James Sherk. His big issue is federal workers are paid too much and have too many job benefits. They also don’t work enough, according to Sherk. Trump has empowered him to fix the problem by cutting salaries and benefits for federal workers. In other words, James Sherk seems like a really nice guy.

Federal workers, you’re welcome.

So I figure I’ll look James up on Linkedin and see what his background is. It was a good hunch.

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That Sinking Feeling

Behind the new faux controversy over Mueller getting Trump transition emails is a key and probably too little discussed aspect of the Russia story: Mueller’s team has some of the most accomplished and aggressive prosecutors and legal minds of their generation. They’re facing off against a team of has-beens, 3rd or 4th rate lawyers and in some cases simple incompetents. Why? Because Trump values sycophancy above competence and because none of the top lawyers were willing to work for him. 

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The Plot Is Afoot

I think we’re seeing signs that the ground is being laid to fire Bob Mueller and end all investigations into President Trump and Russia. I’m not saying it will happen or that the effort will be successful. But the effort is clearly afoot. Here are the indications (Prime access) as I see them.

Dangerous

When you’re this openly demanding that senior FBI officials be fired, you know the move to the purge is well underway. This is very dangerous stuff. All about giving President Trump impunity from the rule of law.

Your Reminder: This Is Not Normal

The extraordinary comments this morning from President Trump – even though they have become par for the course from him – remain extraordinary. He castigated the FBI and dismissed the Russia collusion investigation that the FBI is conducting as a “scam.” He made the remarks to reporters he was leaving the White House to … address the FBI at Quantico.

The key sections (transcript via White House):

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