Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska May Have Probed Vladimir Potanin Using Ex-FBI Agent Who Was Thorn In Trump’s Side


The indictment alleges that Deripaska retained a former FBI agent and a former Russian diplomat to investigate the assets of a rival oligarch, which Forbes found likely refers to Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s second-richest person.


Last Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice dropped a bombshell when it indicted a former FBI agent and a former Russian diplomat and interpreter on charges of money laundering and violating sanctions to help sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The 21-page indictment reads like the script of a mobster flick: the defendants refer to their sanctioned client as “our friend from Vienna,” “you know whom” and “the big guy.”

But the most striking allegation is that Deripaska sought to retain the former special agent, Charles McGonigal, and the former diplomat, Sergey Shestakov, to conduct an investigation into another, unnamed Russian oligarch with whom Deripaska was “contesting control over” a “large Russian corporation” in the spring of 2021. The effort allegedly involved looking into the rival oligarch’s assets outside of Russia and the possibility that he held another passport besides his Russian one.

A person familiar with the situation told Forbes that “probably [the oligarch] is Vladimir Potanin.” Vladimir Potanin is one of Russia’s richest people with an estimated $27.5 billion fortune. The “Russian corporation” likely refers to Norilsk Nickel, one of the world’s largest producers of nickel and palladium, also known as Nornickel.

“Deripaska was collecting materials to file a lawsuit in London [against Potanin] in order to force a new shareholder agreement for Norilsk Nickel to be concluded on the same terms,” the person added. A representative for Deripaska did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s not the first time that Deripaska and McGonigal have been in the spotlight: They were both involved in the FBI investigation into the contacts between Russia and Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign. An FBI deputy assistant director stated in 2020 that an email from McGonigal in 2016 regarding Trump campaign advisor George Padadopoulos’ claims to have “political dirt” on Hillary Clinton helped spark the Trump-Russia investigation, while the FBI reportedly attempted to recruit Deripaska as a potential informant, given that he had previously employed Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, as an adviser. In a post on his Truth Social platform on Tuesday, Trump said of McGonigal: “May he Rot In Hell!”

Starting in 2018, the indictment alleges, McGonigal began working with Shestakov and an “employee and agent of Deripaska” cited as “Agent-1.” The indictment lays out the lengths to which McGonigal and Shestakov allegedly went to dig up dirt on the rival oligarch. The effort began in August 2021, when the two defendants, working with “Agent-1,” drafted and executed a contract with a Cyprus corporation that would in turn pay a New Jersey-based firm—owned by a friend of McGonigal—$41,790 a month and $51,280 upon execution of the contract for “business intelligence services, analysis, and research relevant to the [Russian corporation], its business operations and shareholders.” Between August and November 2021, the New Jersey-based firm received a total of $218,440 in payments wired from a Russian bank, according to the indictment.

As part of the investigation, McGonigal allegedly retained a subcontractor to carry out a “soup to nuts” investigation of the oligarch and the Russian corporation. In October 2021, the subcontractor told McGonigal that a third party had located “dark web” files that revealed “hidden assets valued at more than $500 million” and “other information that McGonigal believed would be valuable to Deripaska.” The indictment further alleges that McGonigal and Shestakov negotiated with “Agent-1” to obtain funds from Deripaska to purchase the dark web files between late October and late November 2021; FBI special agents seized their personal electronic devices on November 21, 2021.

The feud between Deripaska and Potanin dates back to April 2008, when Deripaska’s Rusal purchased a 25% stake in publicly traded Nornickel from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in a cash-and-stock deal—estimated to be worth $14 billion—that included giving Prokhorov a 14% stake in Rusal. Prokhorov was Potanin’s original partner in Nornickel, with the two men cofounding banking group Oneximbank in 1993 and later acquiring Nornickel through the infamous loans-for-shares scheme in the 1990s—an arrangement in which Potanin and other businessmen provided financial backing for the reelection campaign of Russian president Boris Yeltsin, in return for stakes in state-owned energy and commodities assets obtained at bargain prices if Yeltsin won. (He did.)

Soon after the 2008 deal closed, Deripaska and Potanin clashed over Potanin’s influence over Nornickel’s board, the company’s share buyback plan and purchases of assets from Potanin’s Interros. They first reached a truce that December, when Rusal dropped its legal claim against Nornickel over the company’s share buyback. But the battle had flared up again by August 2010, when Rusal filed a request for arbitration against Potanin’s Interros in the London Court of International Arbitration and launched a website named “Save Norilsk Nickel” the following month.

Another Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, stepped in two years later to cool the tensions. He and his partners, fellow billionaires Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov, purchased a 6% stake in Nornickel for $1.5 billion in December 2012. Abramovich, Potanin and Deripaska then agreed to form a board with Potanin and Deripaska nominating four members each plus one for Abramovich. The deal, set to last for a decade (it expired on January 1, 2023), also kept Potanin as Nornickel’s CEO and committed Nornickel to a new dividend policy.

But the deal came under strain in 2018, when Potanin attempted to buy part of Abramovich’s shares in Nornickel—a move challenged by Rusal and halted by a London court in June 2018. Abramovich later sold some of his stake to Potanin in early 2019. By August 2020 Potanin was calling the agreement a “relic of the past” in an interview with Reuters.

Things appeared to have calmed down by April 2021, when Rusal stated it was “satisfied” with a decision by Nornickel’s board to buy back shares worth $2 billion. It was around that same time, the U.S. indictment alleges, that Deripaska had begun to seek an investigation into his rival oligarch in the spring of 2021. For his part, Potanin began expanding his empire after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February, re-purchasing Russian banking group Rosbank from French firm Société Générale last April and snapping up Russian bank Tinkoff Bank two weeks later, both for undisclosed amounts.

As recently as last July, Potanin was publicly musing about a potential $60 billion merger between Rusal and Nornickel, months before the January 1, 2023 expiration date of the 2012 agreement. But it became a non-starter after Potanin was sanctioned by the U.S. on December 15, 2022. Deripaska had already been sanctioned by the U.S. in April 2018. (Both men have also been sanctioned by the U.K., but the EU has only sanctioned Deripaska while leaving Potanin untouched—potentially due to Europe’s dependence on Nornickel’s nickel and palladium exports.)

The latest salvo in the Deripaska-Potanin fight came on October 21, when Rusal filed a lawsuit in London’s High Court against Potanin. “Rusal’s claims are based on Mr. Potanin’s failure to fulfill his duties as Norilsk Nickel’s managing partner and CEO,” Rusal said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “Under the management of Mr. Potanin, Norilsk Nickel lost a number of assets that played a key role in [the] group’s activities. This resulted in Norilsk Nickel and its shareholders suffering significant losses.” (Potanin owns 37% of Nornickel through his investment holding company Interros, while Deripaska has a 45% stake in publicly traded En+ Group, which in turn owns 26% of Nornickel plus 57% of Rusal.)

In the statement, Rusal also claimed that it “continuously tried to enter in constructive dialogue with Mr. Potanin for an out-of-court settlement” but “these attempts have been unsuccessful.”

Whether that “constructive dialogue” includes Deripaska’s alleged illegal investigation of Potanin’s assets or not, the war between the two oligarchs shows no signs of fading away.

Additional reporting by Elena Berezanskaya.

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Will THIS GUY Expose Hillary’s FBI Conspiracy To Steal Election From Herself To Frame Trump For Russia Stuff?

Here’s an interesting story to know about, against the backdrop of new House Barely Speaker Kevin McCarthy caterwauling about how Adam Schiff LIEEEEED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE about Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia and TREEEEASON PARAPHRASED Trump’s very perfect call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, back in more innocent days when Trump was just extorting Ukraine to help him steal the 2020 election in exchange for protection from Russia.

Goddamn, that impeachment seems so much simpler to explain these days, don’t it?

The former top intelligence guy for the FBI’s New York field office, Charles McGonigal, has just been charged in federal courts in both DC and Manhattan with a number of very interesting crimes. For example, after he left the FBI, secretly working for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska investigating a rival oligarch, and also working on Deripaska’s behalf to get him off the US sanctions list, itself a violation of the sanctions. Also hiding $225,000 in other bribes from a different dude while he was working at the FBI.

So that’s weird, yeah?


Charles McGonigal, 54, who retired from the FBI in September 2018, was indicted in federal court in Manhattan on charges of money laundering, violating U.S. sanctions and other counts stemming from his alleged ties to Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his role at the FBI, McGonigal had been tasked with investigating Deripaska, whose own indictment on sanctions-violation charges was unsealed in September.

A second indictment, filed in Washington, accused McGonigal of hiding payments totaling $225,000 that he allegedly received from a New Jersey man employed decades ago by an Albanian intelligence agency. The indictment also accused him of acting to advance that person’s interests.

It seems bad for one of the former top intelligence guys at the FBI to be indicted for taking secret bribes and secretly working for the interests of one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, yeah? Especially one of the closest oligarchs to Vladimir Putin, Paul Manafort’s former boss, who was seemingly very close to the Russian operation to steal the 2016 election? Is that bad? Paul Manafort, of course, ran the Trump campaign, and pretty much every Russia report produced by the US government has concluded that he was integral to the NO COLLUSION!

Oh, and what was Manafort’s previous work for Deripaska? Propping up pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

Trump Goon Paul Manafort Made $10 MILLION A YEAR To ‘Benefit Putin.’ Totally Normal!

It’s Manafort. It’s Always Been Manafort. And The Senate Intel Committee Seems To Agree!

NO COLLUSION! NO COLLUSION! You Know, Except For ALL THIS F*CKING COLLUSION!

Hey, Paul Manafort! Remember All That Shit You Pulled To Sell The World On The Ukrainian Dictator? Robert Mueller Remembers!

Most of the regular news reporting on this is extremely dry and weeds-y and virtually unreadable to anyone who isn’t obsessed with this stuff, but this excerpt about McGonigal, way down at the bottom of the Washington Post‘s article, is some extremely important context we will briefly explore:

McGonigal was an expert on Russian intelligence activities targeting the United States, as well as U.S. efforts to recruit Russian spies, said several former intelligence officials who worked with him and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters.

His position at the New York field office would have given him direct access to past and current recruitment efforts, work that was coordinated with the CIA, these people said. McGonigal was well-known at the CIA among officers who dealt with Russia and counterintelligence matters, and he knew the details of some intelligence operations targeting Russia, former officials said.

McGonigal has not been charged with espionage, but the former officials who worked with him said his knowledge and experience would have put him at high risk of being recruited by a foreign government.

Rightwing weirdos are already pretty sure this guy — this guy! Not the last guy or the guy before that, this guy! — will be the key to unraveling the Deep State conspiracy where Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia and the FBI in order to steal the election from herself for the sole purpose of destroying the life and presidency of God-fearing patriot and humble servant Donald Trump. They are pointing to the fact that in 2016, he was head of Cybercrimes at the home office in DC, and was one of the first people who knew about allegations from Trump campaign idiot George Papadopoulos that the Russians had big dirt on Hillary that they were going to deploy against her.

Trump himself is raaaaaaaging over McGonigal’s arrest on Truth Social:

“The FBI guy after me for the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, long before my Election as President, was just arrested for taking money from Russia, Russia, Russia,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on Tuesday. “May he Rot In Hell!”

Yeah OK, buddy, mash your meds up in some ketchup and swallow them.

What’s more interesting to us is what happened later in 2016, closer to the election.

As Heather Cox Richardson explains, October of 2016 was when then-FBI Director James Comey moved McGonigal into that position as head of counterintel at the New York field office. And what was happening in October of 2016, specifically regarding the New York FBI field office? That was the one that was as intent on skullfucking the Clinton campaign as Russia was, the one that seemed to be leaking fake bullshit about Clinton to Rudy Giuliani, who was babbling on the radio that the FBI was going to “revolt” if she wasn’t indicted.

Fox News was cumming itself at the time screaming that Hillary’s indictment was coming, apparently sourced from some dumb bucktoothed idiot types at the New York office who were furious Main Justice wouldn’t sanction their investigation into the Clinton Foundation, since it was based on debunked, Breitbart-funded bullshit from that dumb Clinton Cash book.

As Cox Richardson reminds us, when James Comey went before Congress in 2018, he said he was worried that if he didn’t blabber forth 11 DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION about the “re-opening” of the Hillary emails investigation, after some “new” (not new) emails were found, that the New York office would leak it. And more:

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates was clearer. She told the inspector general that Comey and other FBI officials “felt confident that the New York Field Office would leak it and that it would come out regardless of whether he advised Congress or not.”

Yeah, so anyway!

Radicalized FBI Sleeper Cell Probably Led By Rudy Giuliani

James Comey Strikes Again (And Again And Again And Again)

Anthony Weiner’s Dick Explodes All Over Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Uh Oh, Did Adam Schiff Do TREASON COLLUSION With The Whistleblower’s Report? (No)

One more thing from Cox Richardson about what McGonigal did after his stint at the NY FBI office:

We also know that after McGonigal left the FBI, he went to work for Brookfield Properties, the multibillion-dollar real-estate company in New York that handled the bailout of Jared Kushner’s 666 Fifth Avenue by a $1.1 billion, 99-year lease—all paid up front—thanks to the Qatar Investment Authority.

And also went to work for Oleg Deripaska, which seems to tell us something about what kinda guy this dude is.

So yeah, huh! Weird stuff.

As she points out, these indictments aren’t about any of that stuff, but we kind of feel like — based on context clues — this guy might NOT end up being the guy who exposes the Deep State conspiracy where Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia and the FBI in order to steal the election from herself for the sole purpose of destroying the life and presidency of God-fearing patriot and humble servant Donald Trump.

We could be wrong.

Talking Points Memo has the indictments and much more on the charges related to the Albanian intelligence thingie, should you want to dive into the weeds.

Also here’s some MSNBC reporting on all this:

www.youtube.com

[Washington Post / Daily Beast / Heather Cox Richardson]

Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter right here!

And once that doesn’t exist, I’m also giving things a go at the Mastodon (@[email protected]) and at Post!

Have you heard that Wonkette DOES NOT EXIST without your donations? Please hear it now, and if you have ever enjoyed a Wonkette article, throw us some bucks, or better yet, SUBSCRIBE! Don’t use Paypal for your new monthly donations for the moment, though, we are having some long and boring ISSUES.

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Checks & Imbalances: Ivana Trump’s Will, Donald Trump’s Customers

Today we look at Ivana Trump’s will and election-denying secretary of state candidates paying the former president.

This is the web edition of the free Checks & Imbalances newsletter, usually sent to inboxes on Fridays. You can subscribe here. Please support this work, if you can, by subscribing to Forbes.


Ivana Trump Left Behind $34 Million. Here’s What Is In Her Will

“Ivana Trump left behind $34 million of assets when she died in July, according to previously unreported probate documents. Her will specified that most of that should be split between her three children, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump. She also left two properties for friends, and tried to leave another for an ex-husband, Rossano Rubicondi, but he passed away before she did. Donald Trump, Ivana’s wealthier ex-husband, got nothing,” reports Dan Alexander.

The most prominent asset in Ivana’s estate is a New York City townhouse, located a half block from Central Park. Her heirs are currently trying to sell it, asking $26.5 million. It’s unclear whether they will get that much. Regardless of the final price, the proceeds will be split evenly between Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric, according to their mother’s will.

It will not be an insignificant sum for these younger Trumps, whose father has been willing to lend them money but hesitant to hand over major pieces of his $3.2 billion empire. In 2019, Forbes estimated that Don Jr. and Eric were worth about $25 million apiece, while Ivanka was worth more like $375 million, having started her own fashion brand and married into another rich family. Since 2019, the three children have ditched their 7.5% stakes in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., part of a massive sale that allowed each of them to cash out more than $10 million apiece, according to Forbes estimates.

Watch: Senior editor Dan Alexander joins “Forbes Talks” to break down Ivana Trump’s will and beneficiaries.


Tip Me

Any tips or suggestions? Email me at [email protected] or call/SMS/Signal 202.804.2744. Follow me on Mastodon at @[email protected]. Thanks!


Loose Change

FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11. Since that day, eight political committees have refunded a total of $29,000 in contributions that came from the cryptocurrency exchange’s top two executives, Sam Bankman-Fried and Ryan Salame. Many of the politicians and PACs that benefited from Bankman-Fried and Salame’s largesse pledged to donate the funds they received to charity, Popular Information reported in December. Campaign-finance disclosures that would confirm if they’ve done so are due at the end of January.

*****

Within two days of the death on Jan. 8 of pro-Trump vlogger Diamond, her sister Silk launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Christian platform GiveSendGo. It had raised $110,000 as of Thursday night. All funds will go to Silk for the purpose of “preserving Diamond’s legacy.”


Watch: Ways And Means Committee Chairman Calls For Biden And Other Democrats To Work With GOP

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) joins “Forbes Newsroom” to discuss how he’ll run the House Ways and Means Committee as chairman and where he can work together with Democrats.


Continuing Irresolutions

Updates on Checks & Imbalances’ previous reporting

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) plans to fill his party’s vacancies on the Office of Congressional Ethics’ board within 30 days, Punchbowl reported on Wednesday. As part of the rules package that passed mostly along party lines on Jan. 9, House Republicans reinstated term limits for board members. The change would remove two or three Democrats but no Republicans from the board.

*****

House documents confirm that Florida Republican Byron Donalds has set up a legal-expense trust to reimburse his campaign for the $300,000 it’s spent on his legal fees, as a spokesperson for Donalds previously claimed.

Donalds, by the way, seems to have benefited from backing Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker of the House, landing a spot on the Financial Services Committee as well as two influential GOP internal panels, Punchbowl reported on Thursday.

*****

The campaign for former Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) remains open to receive restitution from its one-time treasurer, Andrew McCrosson, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement in 2011. McCrosson’s latest payment to the campaign was $3,100 in November, according to records with the Federal Election Commission. McCrosson, who is about 72 years old, has paid back $206,000 of the $458,000 he was ordered to pay in restitution.


Watch: ‘Where’s George?’: Long Island Legislator Outlines His Plans To Hold George Santos Accountable

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is resisting mounting calls to resign, despite admitting to falsifying most of his resume and facing local, state, federal and international investigations. Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan has been one of Santos’ most-vocal critics on Long Island and just launched a campaign titled “Where’s George.” Lafazan joins Brittany Lewis in “Forbes Newsroom” to discuss.


Tracking Trump

The campaigns for three secretary of state candidates who denied the results of the 2020 presidential election spent $81,000 at properties owned by Donald Trump, according to a report published on Tuesday by government watchdog Issue One.

All three of these Trump-endorsed candidates lost, preventing them from being in a position to put their thumb on the scale for Trump’s 2024 candidacy.

Watch: Your correspondent joined Brittany Lewis in “Forbes Newsroom” to discuss this report.

*****

“A lavish New York townhouse once owned by the late Ivana Trump is on the market for $26.5 million. Purchased for $2.5 million soon after her divorce from Donald Trump, the six-story, 8,725-square-foot home reflects Ivana’s big personality, her whimsical style and her passion for interior design with gold leaf, crystal chandeliers, pink marble and animal-print wall coverings,” reports Brenda Richardson.

*****

“LIV Golf and the CW Network reached a multiyear agreement to bring the Saudi-backed PGA Tour rival to American broadcast television, the parties announced Thursday morning, following reports earlier this week that the parties were nearing an agreement,” reports Derek Saul.

*****

The campaign for a candidate for state representative in Arizona spent $220 at Trump Winery in Virginia on Halloween 2022. Eight days later, Republican Jennifer Treadwell lost her election, pulling in just half of the winner’s vote total.

*****

Richard Kofoed, who allegedly used embezzled money to support Trump’s campaign and lead a lavish lifestyle, had two meetings at the White House the day before the riots at the Capitol, according to visitors logs the House Jan. 6 committee released. Some of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s text messages, which the panel also made public, claim Kofoed and his wife, Stacy, were staying in the swankiest suite in Trump’s D.C. hotel at the time.

*****

Behgjet Pacolli, a member of Kosovo’s parliament who previously served as that country’s president, foreign minister and first deputy prime minister, chatted with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, according to a photo Pacolli posted in November. Pacolli is also the president and CEO of Mabetex Project Engineering, a Swiss-based construction firm.

*****

Judicial Watch held its annual roundtable at Trump’s Miami resort this week. Trump attorney Christina Bobb was among the attendees, along with Jenna Ellis, a prominent peddler of Trump’s Big Lie. The nonprofit Judicial Watch describes itself as “a conservative, nonpartisan educational organization that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.” The former president delivered the keynote. According to one attendee, Ivanka Trump was with her father at Doral on Thursday.

*****

The 917 Society’s “mission is to educate the next generation on the great values and norms given to them by the U.S. Constitution.”

On Jan. 28, the nonprofit will host a dinner “celebrating the Constitution” at Mar-a-Lago, the private club of the former president. Tickets are $750.


Across Forbes


In Closing

“My last will and testament I leave my heir

My share of Roc-A-Fella Records and a shiny new beach chair”

— Jay-Z, “Beach Chair”



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PSA: New GOP House Oversight Chair James Comer Is A F*cking Clown

Good morning! Welcome back to the Joe Biden classified documents story, which is worse than Donald Trump’s classified documents because Hunter Biden’s laptop and Hunter Biden’s penis and because Republicans are deeply unserious and deeply unwell people.

In every way, the Biden classified documents story — while still infuriating for a number of reasons — is a how-to class on “What To Do If You Accidentally Took Some Classified Docs Home And Found Them In Your Backpack.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump stole a far greater number of classified documents, and has spent the entire time since investigators started asking lying about it and ducking subpoenas. Nobody in the general public has any idea what kind of nefarious purposes Trump had for those documents, but it is Trump, so no matter how horrifying the truth ends up being, we will not be shocked.

Gallant Found Few More Classified Docs In Garage And Gave Them Back. Goofus Should Still Go To Prison.

Biden ‘Surprised’ Classified Docs Found At His Think Tank, But He WOULD Say That, Now Wouldn’t He?

This weekend, the Biden administration continued being obscenely transparent about this and revealed that on Thursday, Biden White House lawyer Richard Sauber found a few MORE classified docs from Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, house. (This is batch three.) So of course they told us immediately, because they are good and they are well-behaved and when they find classified documents they always tell the teacher immediately!


Sauber found the document because Biden’s personal lawyers called him when they found that other classified doc next to the garage in Wilmington. So he went out there to help turn it over to the Justice Department. One thing led to another and they checked this other box, blah blah blah.

“Because I have a security clearance, I went to Wilmington Thursday evening to facilitate providing the document the President’s personal counsel found on Wednesday to the Justice Department,” Sauber said. “While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them.”

He added, “The President’s lawyers have acted immediately and voluntarily to provide the Penn Biden documents to the Archives and the Wilmington documents to DOJ.”

Again, this is what you should do in the unlikely event you ever find a document with classified markings in one of your piles of junk mail. Returning classified documents is easy and fun!

You don’t go on the radio and call the special counsel appointed to investigate a “terrorist” and paint a target on their family; you don’t lie and say you declassified those documents in your brain; you don’t baselessly insinuate that maybe the FBI/Deep State planted those documents, and you don’t lie to the National Archives and Justice Department to conceal the fact that you are still hiding a shitload more classified documents you stole.

None of this changes the fact that Kentucky Fried Pigshit Person Rep. James Comer, new chair of the House Oversight Committee, told Jake Tapper this weekend that he will be investigating Biden’s classified documents, but not Trump’s. Why? Refer to what we said about how Republicans are deeply unserious and deeply unwell, and add how they are where integrity goes to die.

Also remember that the entire thing James Comer is famous for is heavily breathing in frustration in November because reporters wouldn’t focus their questions on Hunter Biden. If we could keep this about Hunter Biden, OK? We think it’s pretty important to keep this about Hunter Biden! Hunter Biden!

Tapper played a clip of Comer saying in November that the Trump documents case would “not be a priority” for him, and asked:

“Do you only care about classified documents being mishandled when Democrats do the mishandling?” Tapper asked.

“Absolutely not,” Comer responded. He added, “At the end of the day, my biggest concern isn’t the classified documents, to be honest with you. My concern is how there’s such a discrepancy in how former President Trump was treated, by raiding Mar-a-Lago, by getting the security cameras, by taking pictures of documents on the floor, by going through Melania’s closet versus Joe Biden where its like — okay, your personal lawyers who don’t have security clearance, they can go through, they can just keep looking and keep looking and determine whatever is there. That’s not equal treatment, and we’re very concerned and there’s a lack of trust here at the Department of Justice by house Republicans.”

“Why was Mar-a-Lago raided, but the president’s home not?” asked Comer, as disingenuously as every other square-faced white-haired southern Republican who looks like he’s dressed in drag for a Young Newt Gingrich lookalike contest. He told Tapper that “With respect to investigating President Trump, there have been so many investigations of President Trump. I don’t feel like we need to spend a whole lot of time investigating President Trump because the Democrats have done that for the past six years.”

To which we reply oh go fuck yourself.

Also, if Comer moves those goalposts any faster he’s going to poke somebody’s eye out.

All these questions have been asked and answered. Gallants who cooperate in every way are treated with respect. Goofuses who lie and obstruct investigations get their asses raided. It’s real fuckin’ simple. And if Melania has to buy new underpants, well, Wonkette has already done the journalistic work of finding out where the closest Walmart to Mar-a-Lago is.

Hope You’re Happy: Melania Had To Get New Underpants

Here’s the entire interview if you like hick yokels with grins that make people uncomfortable.

www.youtube.com

Things are about to get so much stupider. You can tell by looking at James Comer’s face, it is the face of “getting stupider.”

[NBC News / Mediaite]

Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter right here!

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McCarthy to try again for House speaker, with Trump backing

House Republicans will open the second day of the new Congress much like the first — with leader Kevin McCarthy trying to become House speaker despite losing in multiple rounds of voting that threw the new GOP majority into chaos.

It was the first time in 100 years that a nominee for House speaker could not take the gavel on the first vote, but Mr. McCarthy appeared undeterred by the gravity of the moment. Instead, he vowed to fight to the finish, encouraged, he said, by former President Donald Trump to end the disarray and pull the Republican Party together.

The House is scheduled to convene Wednesday after the stalemate essentially forced all other business to a standstill, waiting on Republicans to elect a speaker.

“Today, is that the day I wanted to have? No,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters late Tuesday at the Capitol after a series of closed-door meetings.

Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump wants him to stay in the race and told him to bring an end to the House Republican chaos and pull the party together.

The former president “wants to see the Republicans united to be able to accomplish the exact things we said we’d do,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Asked if he would drop out, Mr. McCarthy said, “It’s not going to happen.”

It was a tumultuous start to the new Congress and pointed to difficulties ahead with Republicans now in control of the House.

Tensions flared among the new House majority as their campaign promises stalled out. Without a speaker, the House cannot fully form — swearing in its members, naming its committee chairmen, engaging in floor proceedings and launching investigations of the Biden administration. Lawmakers’ families had waited around, as what’s normally a festive day descended into chaos, with kids playing in the aisles or squirming in parents’ arms.

But it was not at all clear how the embattled GOP leader could rebound to win over right-flank conservatives who reject his leadership. It typically takes a majority of the House to become speaker, 218 votes — though the threshold can drop if members are absent or merely vote present, an strategy Mr. McCarthy appeared to be considering.

Mr. McCarthy won no more than 203 votes in three rounds of voting, losing as many as 20 Republicans from his slim 222-seat majority. Not since 1923 has a speaker’s election gone to multiple ballots, and the longest and most grueling fight for the gavel started in 1855 lasting two months and 133 ballots during debates over slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.

“Kevin McCarthy is not going to be a speaker,” declared Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., one of the holdouts.

A new generation of conservative Republicans, many aligned with Mr. Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda, want to upend business as usual in Washington, and were committed to stopping Mr. McCarthy’s rise without concessions to their priorities.

In many ways, the challenge from the far-right was reminiscent of the last time Republicans seized power in the House, when tea party Republicans brought hardball politics and shutdown government after winning control in the 2010 midterm elections.

As the spectacle of voting dragged on, Mr. McCarthy’s backers implored the holdouts to fall in line for the California Republican.

“We all came here to get things done,” the second-ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise, said in a speech nominating Mr. McCarthy for the vote and urging his colleagues to drop their protest.

Railing against Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda, Scalise, himself a possible GOP compromise choice, said, “We can’t start fixing those problems until we elect Kevin McCarthy our next speaker.”

But the holdouts forced a third and final round of voting before Republican leaders quickly adjourned Tuesday evening.

“The American people are watching, and it’s a good thing,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who nominated fellow conservative Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio as an alternative for speaker.

Mr. Jordan, the Mr. McCarthy rival-turned-ally, was twice pushed forward by conservatives, but he does not seem to want the job. The Ohio Republican is line to become Judiciary Committee chairman, and he rose during the floor debate to urge his colleagues to instead vote for Mr. McCarthy.

“We have to rally around him, come together,” Mr. Jordan said.

In all, a core group of 19 Republicans — and then 20 — voted for someone other than Mr. McCarthy. The first ballot sent votes to Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mr. Jordan and others, while Mr. Jordan alone won the votes on the next two ballots.

The standoff over Mr. McCarthy has been building since Republicans appeared on track to win the House majority in the midterm elections in November. While the Senate remains in Democratic hands, barely, House Republicans are eager to confront Biden after two years of the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress. The conservative Freedom Caucus led the opposition to Mr. McCarthy, believing he’s neither conservative enough nor tough enough to battle Democrats.

To win support, Mr. McCarthy has already agreed to many of the demands of the Freedom Caucus, who have been agitating for rules changes and other concessions that give rank-and=file more influence in the legislative process. He has been here before, having bowed out of the speakers race in 2015 when he failed to win over conservatives.

Late Tuesday, pizza, Chick-fil-A and tacos were carried into various meeting rooms at the Capitol after the failed votes as Mr. McCarthy supporters and detractors hunkered down to figure out how to elect a speaker.

“Everything’s on the table,” said Mr. McCarthy ally Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. — expect, he said, having the leader step aside. “Not at all. That is not on the table.” Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., the chairman of the Freedom Caucus and a leader of Mr. Trump’s effort to challenge the 2020 presidential election had said earlier it was up to McCarthy to meet their demands and change the dynamic.

Democrats enthusiastically nominated Hakeem Jeffries, who is taking over as party leader, as their choice for speaker — a typically symbolic gesture for the minority but one that took on new importance with Republicans at odds with each other.

While Mr. Jeffries won the most votes overall, 212, it was not the majority to become speaker.

Mr. McCarthy focused on Mr. Jeffries’ total late Tuesday, saying if he could win 213 votes, he would have the majority, so long as others were absent or simply voted present.

It’s a strategy former House speakers, including outgoing Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Speaker John Boehner had used when they confronted opposition, winning the gavel with fewer than 218 votes.

Mr. McCarthy said late Tuesday at the Capitol: “You get 213 votes, and the others don’t say another name, that’s how you can win.”

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The Mistake That Still Haunts Kim Kardashian. Tabs, Tues., Nov. 29, 2022



Republican donors are bailing on Donald Trump … for now. (The Economist)

Meanwhile, elected Republicans are willing to ignore blatant white supremacy and anti-semitism in their ranks if it gains them power. No, this isn’t an article from 1992. (Popular Info)

United Furniture Industries fired thousands over text and email just before Thanksgiving. Pre-reformed Scrooge was a better boss. (The Daily Beast)

A record number of fir trees in Oregon and Washington are dying in what researchers have called a “Firmaggedon.” Yeah, I know that sounds goofy AF. They’re scientists not branding experts. (Oregonian)


Killer whales in the Columbia River! (Also the Oregonian)

Have Americans finally realized the only good billionaires are fictional superheroes with Bat Caves or armored suits? (Salon)

Rick Caruso spent $104 million on his failed campaign for Los Angeles mayor. Put in perspective, that is about 366 times the annual salary of the job he tried to buy. Columnist Gustavo Arellano notes that Caruso’s $104 million is also “a year’s rent for 1,375 people at the most affordable apartment at his luxury 8500 Burton development. The $6,300 a month for those units is way above L.A.’s $1,532 median rent. If Caruso wanted to stretch out his cash, he could put up 5,690 people for a year at that median price — not the 30,000 people he promised to house in 30 days, but something.” (Los Angeles Times)

The outdoor dining shed is a lingering reminder of the pandemic that is likely to endure. Have you eaten in one of those things? I feel as if I missed that whole scene. (Curbed)

Washington state spends millions sending children with disabilities to an “obscure network of private schools.” The results are horrible. (Seattle Times)

What’s next for two-time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? We wouldn’t mind an album of holiday standards. (The Nation)

When women venture capitalists fund women entrepreneurs, future male investors keep their distance. Grrr. (Forbes)

Good news regarding my dream of self-driving cars. (Forbes)

Model Ireland Baldwin fell in love with the Oregon coast. Who can blame her? (Eater)

Some fun background from Adam Ragusea on my favorite holiday drink. I look forward to trying the recipe from the video, but I can’t wait three weeks, though. I’m drinking it tonight.

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Wonkette Weekend Chat: How Freaking Scary Are Republicans?



A QAnon MAGA conspiracy theorist wanted to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi but settled for beating her elderly husband with a hammer. This is today’s GOP and it’s freaking scary. Robyn and I will do our best to make sense of this garbage fire. But fascism is coming for us and we’re all hiding in the spooky abandoned house.

This week’s Wonkette chat is live at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET. Like, share, subscribe, pitch us some dollars for doughnuts on Patreon.

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