Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of twelve. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:37 PM, for 9h 11m 53s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 73.2% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred twenty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
On this day in 1759, George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis are married in New Kent County, Virginia. On this day in 1921, ‘Janesville women abhor salacious entertainment’: “On this date the Janesville Federation of Women decided to “censor” movies and vaudeville in the city. Members of this organization praised and promoted what they considered “better offerings.” They were zealously critical towards those of a “salacious” nature. No follow-up ever determined whether the women were successful in their quest or if the increased publicity for “salacious” shows backfired.”
Recommended for reading in full —
Rachel Maddow contends we’ve seen that “In a year, Republicans went from caring about the Russia investigation to caring about undermining it. And the FBI in that time has become oddly compliant“:
In a year, Republicans went from caring about the Russia investigation to caring about undermining it. And the FBI in that time has become oddly compliant. pic.twitter.com/zJeiUaHHhz
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 6, 2018
Jennifer Rubin contends Senate Republicans become Trump accomplices in manipulating the system:
“The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended Friday that the Justice Department investigate for possible criminal charges the author of the now-famous “dossier” alleging the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 election.
The move by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) marks a major escalation in conservatives’ challenges to the FBI’s credibility as the agency investigates whether any Trump associates committed crimes. Another Republican, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), joined in the letter to the Justice Department.
Their letter makes what is called a criminal referral to the Justice Department, suggesting it investigate the dossier author, former British spy Christopher Steele, for possibly lying to the FBI. It is a crime to lie to FBI agents about a material fact relevant to an ongoing investigation.”
This is an outrageous political stunt, one with no legal ramifications and obviously designed to take the heat off the White House as damning reports bolstering an obstruction-of-justice claim and questioning the president’s mental fitness have sent the White House spinning.
(Grassley & Graham have two possible strategies: create a diversion, and also forestall release of the transcript of the ten-hour testimony from FusionGPS executives about the dossier as that those executives have requested. By enoucouraging an investigation into dossier author Steele, Grassley & Graham will be able to say that must withhold FusionGPS’s transcribed testimony about the dossier ‘pending the outcome of an investigation.’ That testimony, if released, would by the account of those who gave it leave Fox, Breitbart, and Trump’s defenders with no credible reply. See The Republicans’ Fake Investigations, linked here on 1.3.18)
Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder, and Norman L. Eisen ask Did Trump Obstruct Justice?:
….Of all the elements that must be proved to establish the offense of obstruction, the one that is most critical is corrupt intent: Did Mr. Trump wrongfully intend to obstruct the criminal and congressional investigations? The facts contained in these reports strongly suggest he did.
We now know, for example, that the president took aggressive steps to prevent Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Justice Department’s investigation because he needed Mr. Sessions to protect and safeguard him, as he believed Eric Holder Jr. and Robert Kennedy did for their presidents. This shows that from the outset the president was concerned that he needed protection from the impact of any investigation. In fact, when the president’s efforts were unsuccessful, he purportedly responded by saying, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” perhaps suggesting that Mr. Trump wanted the attorney general of the United States to act as his personal criminal defense lawyer — a startling view into his state of mind.
Equally significant are new revelations that the president had drafted a letter to the F.B.I. director at the time, James Comey, describing the Russian investigation as “fabricated and politically motivated.” Those disclosures support that the president’s statements to the press and the public in connection with firing Mr. Comey were misleading. The president, of course, publicly claimed that Mr. Comey was fired because of his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. This matters because attempts to cover up the truth are classic indicators of a culpable state of mind under the obstruction statutes.
In this same vein, the Wolff book claims that the president’s lawyers believed that his efforts aboard Air Force One last summer to shape his son Donald Jr.’s statement about a meeting at Trump Tower with Russians was “an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation’s gears.” Mr. Wolff also asserts that one of Mr. Trump’s spokesmen quit over the incident because of a concern that it was obstruction of justice. That was a wise move. If the president knowingly caused his son to make a false statement to interfere with the investigations or cover up the facts, that alone could constitute obstruction of justice….
(See also from the same authors, as linked here on 10.19.17, Presidential obstruction of justice: The case of Donald J. Trump.)
Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller report More departures on horizon for struggling White House staff:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Already setting turnover records, President Donald Trump’s White House is bracing for even more staff departures and an increasing struggle to fill vacancies, shadowed by the unrelenting Russia probe, political squabbling and Trump’s own low poll numbers.
Entering a grueling year that is sure to bring fresh challenges at home and abroad, Trump faces a brain drain across a wide swath of government functions, threatening to hamstring efforts to enact legislation or conduct even basic operations. Some departures are expected to come from senior ranks — the staff churn that makes headlines — but more are likely among the lesser-known officials who help to keep the White House and Cabinet agencies running.
In Trump’s first year, his administration’s upper-level officials have had a turnover rate of 34 percent, much higher than any other in the past 40 years, according to an analysis by Kathryn Dunn-Tenpas, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The study found that 22 of the 64 senior officials she tracked have resigned, been fired or reassigned.
Anecdotal evidence among more junior officials — the White House wouldn’t release data — suggests similar departure rates, and White House aides acknowledge difficulty filling roles in the administration….
(Rats, a listing ship, and rising waters…)
“You have to be at peace with the fact that something might happen, and you might not make it through,” says Alexandra de Steiguer, the caretaker for the Oceanic Hotel, in Brian Bolster’s short documentary, Winter’s Watch. De Steiguer has spent the past 19 winters tending to the 43-acre grounds of the hotel, on Star Island, which sits 10 miles off the coast of New England. In the long, wintry off-season, she is the island’s sole inhabitant.
Winter’s Watch explores de Steiguer’s relationship to extreme isolation. Its meditative imagery contemplates the beauty of absence, while de Steiguer reflects on the unique challenges and rewards of solitude. “There are no other distractions,” she says. “You have to decide how to fill your days….and yet it is peaceful, and I can use my imagination.”
The hulking—and possibly haunted—hotel bears a striking resemblance to The Shining, but de Steiguer maintains that “if there are ghosts out here, they are being extremely kind to me.” Rather, she has embraced what she calls “the great waiting of winter.”
“Being alone here and seeing the struggle of winter makes me feel connected to the web of life,” she says. “Winter has a quiet exuberance. You have to look into the bones.”