Monday, November 20, 2017

Last Call For The Village Idiots

The wave of women coming forward claiming sexual harassment by men continues unabated as the Weinstein Effect rolls on, this time two veteran journalists face the music: NY Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush, and long-time PBS host and interviewer Charlie Rose.  Thrush has been suspended pending an investigation by the Gray Lady.

The move came after the website Vox published a report containing allegations from four female journalists that Mr. Thrush, who was hired by The Times in January to cover the Trump administration, had acted inappropriately toward them. Mr. Thrush was a star reporter at Politico before joining The Times.

The women cited in the Vox article described Mr. Thrush’s behavior as including unwanted kissing and touching. Three of the women were not identified by name. The fourth, Laura McGann, wrote the article, which was presented in the first person.

“The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times,” The Times said in a statement on Monday. “We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended.”

The Times began an inquiry into Mr. Thrush’s behavior last week after learning that Vox planned to publish its article about him, according to a person briefed on The Times’s response.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Thrush said: “I apologize to any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately. Any behavior that makes a woman feel disrespected or uncomfortable is unacceptable.”

Mr. Thrush’s byline has been among the most recognizable this year at The Times, where he was one of six reporters covering the White House full time. In addition, Random House recently announced that it would publish a book about President Trump by Mr. Thrush and Maggie Haberman, another White House reporter for The Times and a former colleague of Mr. Thrush’s at Politico.

In a statement on Monday, Random House said, “This matter recently came to our attention and we are looking at it closely and seriously.”

Charlie Rose too is suspended as his show is being pulled by PBS.

Talk show host Charlie Rose has been accused of sexual misconduct by eight women, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Rose, who has long hosted an interview show on PBS and also co-anchors “CBS This Morning,” is accused of making sexual advances toward multiple women — some of whom worked on his show. He is also accused of groping women and walking in front of them while naked.

A PBS spokesperson said the network is immediately suspending distribution of the program, which is produced by an independent company, in response to the allegations.

“PBS was shocked to learn today of these deeply disturbing allegations,” the spokesperson said. “PBS does not fund this nightly program or supervise its production, but we expect our producers to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect.”

CBS suspended Rose after learning of the allegations, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Flint.
“He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim,” said Reah Bravo, one of the women who spoke to the Post. Bravo worked for Rose’s interview show starting in 2007 and says he made multiple advances when the two were alone together.

Several women described Rose putting his hands on their legs. Another said he repeatedly made lewd early morning or late-night phone calls to her. One woman said Rose groped her breasts while they were driving in a car together. Rose reportedly also gave women shoulder rubs without their permission, an action one source told the Post was known among staffers as “the crusty paw.”

The incidents date from the late 1990s to 2011, and the women ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the incidents they describe.

I would imagine that both Thrush and Rose are done, and rightfully so.  Just another reminder that it's not just right-wing lechers like Bill O'Reilly who need to be gone, but plenty of folks on the left and center too.

When Trump loses his job, let me know.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

The biggest question in Washington right now is the identity of Robert Mueller's next indictment targets and their timing.  Mueller's team has so far done a stellar job of keeping those cards close to their vests, befitting his company of hand-picked all-star federal prosecutors, but the hints we've learned from and since the first round of indictments points towards two places, the first being the Trump White House itself.

Six months into a special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, White House aides and others in President Trump’s close orbit are increasingly divided in their assessments of the expanding probe and how worried administration officials and campaign aides should be about their potential legal peril, according to numerous people familiar with the debate.

Some in the West Wing avoid the mere mention of Russia or the investigation whenever possible. Others take solace in the reassurances of White House lawyer Ty Cobb that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will be wrapping up the probe soon and the president and those close to him will be exonerated. And a few engage in grim gallows humor, privately joking about wiretaps.

The investigation reached a critical turning point in recent weeks, with a formal subpoena to the campaign, an expanding list of potential witnesses and the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates. Some within Trump’s circle, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, have already been interviewed by Mueller’s investigators, while others such as Hope Hicks — the White House communications director and trusted confidant of the president — and White House counsel Donald McGahn are expected in coming weeks.

One Republican operative in frequent contact with the White House described Mueller’s team “working through the staff like Pac-Man.”

Of course they are worried,” said the Republican, who insisted on anonymity to offer a candid assessment. “Anybody that ever had the words ‘Russia’ come out of their lips or in an email, they’re going to get talked to. These things are thorough and deep. It’s going to be a long winter.”

The smart money remains on former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son being rolled up, unless of course the Flynns are already cooperating.  And while Mueller is definitely moving up the ladder towards Trump himself and that Mueller has been dealing with the White House for months, today we learn that the other location now under scrutiny is the Justice Department.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned.

In particular, Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, according to a source who has not seen the specific request but was told about it.

Issued within the past month, the directive marks the special counsel's first records request to the Justice Department, and it means Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein played key roles in Comey's removal. And Sessions has since faced withering criticism from Trump over his recusal and Rosenstein's subsequent appointment of Mueller.

Mueller's investigators now seek not only communications between Justice Department officials themselves, but also any communications with White House counterparts, the source said. Before this request, investigators asked former senior Justice Department officials for information from their time at the department, ABC News was told.

The latest move suggests the Special Counsel is still actively digging into, among other matters, whether Trump or any other administration official improperly tried to influence an ongoing investigation.

There have always been three avenues for Mueller to proceed down in this investigation: Trump's long history of criminal money laundering, the attempts to collude with the Russians on intelligence theft and election interference, and the obstruction of justice efforts meant to try to cover up the first two sets of criminal acts.  Mueller demanding documents from the DoJ means a very serious effort to investigate the obstruction of justice angle, and it means that Attorney General Jeff Sessions must now be considered directly in the crosshairs of Mueller and his team.

It's going to be a long, cold winter for the White House indeed.

Chillin’ Like A Trump Villain

Light posting this week as I have some time off, but I should have at least one post a day or so.

I should be back on a regular schedule next week.

Who won't be around next week, Chuck Manson. Quite dead, helter skelter, blah blah blah, enjoy the void, so there's that.

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