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Mama said knock you out

The world is going to hell, Houston and surrounding areas in Texas are underwater, and Donald Trump, the actual president, used the occasion to pardon Joe Arpaio, one of the most evil, vicious scumbags in all of America. Oh, and there is a shitload of new news in the investigation into whether Donald Trump and/or his campaign conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 election, in exchange for … (???). Because there’s so much news, let’s just start … somewhere!

Robert Mueller is IN YOUR ASS, Paul Manafort!

As Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on the Texas coast, news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller is starting to play a game of Fun With Subpoenas, in his efforts to squeeze lower level Trump people and get them to flip on people higher up, whose last names likely rhyme with “Hump.” We all know Paul Manafort has taken metric ass tons of money from foreign Russian interests and Russia-aligned Ukrainian interests. Mueller had ordered an early morning raid on former campaign chief Paul Manafort’s home in Virginia, likely because he was worried Manafort would try to destroy evidence.

Now, Mueller is going to PR people who worked with Manafort on an “international campaign,” to find out what dirty dirt they know about him. As NBC reports, the “stated goal” of this campaign, which went from 2012 to 2014, was to get Ukraine into the European Union:

The inquiry into the lobbying campaign appears to be part of a larger investigation into his work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, his offshore banking transactions, his tax compliance and his real estate dealings, people familiar with the probe have told NBC News. […]

At the time, Ukraine was run by a pro-Russian political party that had paid Manafort $17 million for consulting in 2013 and 2014, according to Manafort’s latest foreign lobbying disclosure filing, which he filed belatedly under Justice Department pressure.

These are the payments that, when exposed, led Paul Manafort to finally register as a foreign agent. Of course, Manafort has made lots of OTHER weird money from creepy bad guys in his life, and Mueller is looking into all of that too, so stay tuned for more subpoena news!

Robert Mueller is IN YOUR ASS, Michael Flynn!

Oh, but those are not the only subpoenas Robert Mueller is playing with! He also sent some out to a PR firm asking about work it did for disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, in his screwy dealings with the increasingly authoritarian government of Turkey. But even juicier than that is news, reported by Shane Harris in the Wall Street Journal, that Mueller is looking into whether Flynn actively worked with Russian hackers to get Hillary Clinton’s Whitey Tape mythical 33,000 missing emails:

The effort to seek out hackers who were believed to have stolen Mrs. Clinton’s emails, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was led by a longtime Republican activist, Peter W. Smith. In correspondence and conversations with his colleagues, Mr. Smith portrayed Mr. Flynn as an ally in those efforts and implied that other senior Trump campaign officials were coordinating with him, which they have denied. He also named Mr. Flynn’s consulting firm and his son in the correspondence and conversations.

When news of this effort broke, the collective reaction here at Wonkette HQ was “Huh!” Peter Smith, who committed suicide not long before his name started appearing in the newspaper, was this crazy old Republican Clinton-hating conspiracy crank, and it was difficult to tell whether he was actually in the room working with Flynn and others, or whether he was just a weirdo on the internet claiming to have friends in high places. The fact that Mueller is investigating this seems to suggest it could be pretty big!

The WSJ reports that on the other side of the pond, Russian hackers were picked up in U.S. intelligence (that Mueller has been looking into) “discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn,” so it looks like this may all be the same story. The fact that “Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails where she explains how she masterminded the Benghazi attacks with her best pals Huma Abedin and Sidney Blumenthal” is A FUCKING MADE UP STORY is irrelevant. Michael Flynn, like Peter Smith, is a conspiracy theory-addicted crank. If he was working Russia to get to the real truth about #PizzaGate, it would still be collusion, even if Russia’s only role was to look at the blueprints and say, “Dude that pizza place does not even have a basement, what is wrong with you?”

Is it possible that, with all these subpoenas going out, Trump might have partially used his pardon of Sheriff Joe to send his pals Manafort and Flynn a message that he’s ready to issue shiny gold-plated pardons with their names on them?

Yes, especially since Trump went to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and asked him to kill the investigation into Arpaio, just like he did with former FBI Director James Comey vis a vis the Russia investigation. We sense a pattern here!

Obstruction of justice say WHAT?

Obstruction of justice say “HEY GIRL!”

Any other weird Trump-Russia news?

Oh, there’s just this bizarre thing about how during the 2016 campaign, as Trump was lying and insisting he had NOTHING to do with Russia, the Trump Organization was actually working very hard behind the scenes to make a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. The deal, which obviously never came to fruition, was being pushed by Felix Sater, a creepy criminal Russian-American Mafia guy who just happened to work in Trump Tower, for the Trump Organization, and longtime Trump lawyer Michael “SAYS WHO?” Cohen. The Washington Post has the full story, which you should read!

OK cool, are we done now?

Until 6:00 PM, when the next batch of news is dumped on our face!

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[NBC / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post]

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