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Old 09-05-2018, 09:55 PM
Jonathan Chance is offline
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Taking Bets: Who is the 'insider' who wrote the NYT Opinion Piece?


So the New York Times ran an opinion piece today. It was presented anonymously because the author is a 'senior administration official' who could lose his or her job.

We can debate the ethics of whether it should be run in another thread. Right here and now I want to kick around who wrote it? Generally, in Washington speak, a 'senior administration official' is someone at the presidential advisor or cabinet level. Not always, but generally.

So let's play the game.

I'm thinking maybe Mnuchin. Dude's rich as fuck - possibly richer than Trump - and is likely frustrated as hell with Trump's economic policy choices. What's Trump going to do? Fire him into his life of incredible luxury?

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 09-05-2018 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:12 PM
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Elaine Chao, one of the few cabinet members with any experience in the executive branch as she served as W’s Secretary of Labor for 8 years. So, she’s seen what a normal administration looks like .
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:17 PM
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Regarding the "lodestar" thing: Henry Kissinger used it, quite recently, while speaking about McCain. I'd venture it's much more likely to be someone recalling that speech, consciously or unconsciously, rather than Pence or someone deliberately trying to imitate Pence's style.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:34 PM
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I'm going with Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:38 PM
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I'm going with Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.
I second DNI Coats.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:35 PM
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I’m guessing Bill McGinley, the cabinet secretary.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:37 PM
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Regarding the "lodestar" thing: Henry Kissinger used it, quite recently, while speaking about McCain. I'd venture it's much more likely to be someone recalling that speech, consciously or unconsciously, rather than Pence or someone deliberately trying to imitate Pence's style.
Why not Pence? He is practically a perfect fit. His fawning isnt real, though I hope that's obvious. What else precludes Pence?
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:46 PM
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Why not Pence? He is practically a perfect fit. His fawning isnt real, though I hope that's obvious. What else precludes Pence?
Too much potential for exposure. Nope, Pence will happily and quietly remain Trump's bootlicker until the last day of his term.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:48 PM
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Too much potential for exposure. Nope, Pence will happily and quietly remain Trump's bootlicker until the last day of his term.
And, Pence, I think, really wants to wind up as President when Trump leaves the office, one way or the other. I suspect that whoever this is recognizes that his political career is likely over, or will be very shortly.
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Old 09-08-2018, 06:55 AM
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Why not Pence? He is practically a perfect fit. His fawning isnt real, though I hope that's obvious. What else precludes Pence?
I don't think it was Pence. I have read on one of those political gossip websites that he and Nikki Haley want to be the political nominees in 2020. I agree that Pence wants the Presidency, but to get the GOP nomination he'll have to be accepted by Trump's base. If he were revealed to be the author of the piece, that isn't going to happen.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:23 AM
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I'm not an HR professional, but if someone under you writes an op-ed saying that you're an incompetent asshole and you can't narrow it down to 100 people, then you probably are an incompetent asshole.

I think Dumb Donald is going to force every one of his subordinates to write a letter to the NYT asking them to void the secrecy agreement and publish the author's name. Hopefully the Times would ignore a forced request even if coming from the author.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:15 PM
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Well the talk on Twitter is that it's Mike Pence since he's used the term "lodestar" a number of times since 2011 and it was used in the op-ed referring to McCain. It's too odd a word to be chance ( unless it's a deliberate red-herring from another writer). It makes sense it would be Pence - he wants Trumps job, likes conservative policies, and generally sees himself as a white knight. And he can't be fired.

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Old 09-05-2018, 10:37 PM
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So the New York Times ran an opinion piece today. It was presented anonymously because the author is a 'senior administration official' who could lose his or her job.

We can debate the ethics of whether it should be run in another thread. Right here and now I want to kick around who wrote it? Generally, in Washington speak, a 'senior administration official' is someone at the presidential advisor or cabinet level. Not always, but generally.

So let's play the game.

I'm thinking maybe Mnuchin. Dude's rich as fuck - possibly richer than Trump - and is likely frustrated as hell with Trump's economic policy choices. What's Trump going to do? Fire him into his life of incredible luxury?
Nah. Mnuchin's a self-absorbed, self-important crook. Trump is the best thing that's ever happened to him; that and his ability to slither away cleanly from his past criminal banking exploits.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:43 PM
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Well, the educated guess of Lawrence O'Donnell is also Dan Coats, and that's probably right.

O'Donnell's choices came down to Coats or Pompeo. I speculated Pompeo in another thread, but I think O'Donnell is correct. So I'll vote for Coats, too.
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Old 09-05-2018, 11:16 PM
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The issue is that I can't see any of the people I view as a "grown up" being stupid enough to admit to the things mentioned in this Op Ed.

KellyAnne Conway
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Old 09-05-2018, 11:55 PM
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Clues:

Is at jeopardy of losing their position if their identity got out - ergo, not McGahn or Pence or someone like that

Discusses the early days of the cabinet - ergo, one of the early hires

Mentions McCain as an inspiration for the article - likely military and a traditional Republican. Coats, Mattis, Pompeo, and Kelly are all reasonably likely.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 09-05-2018 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:27 AM
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Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Reasons: Too many insults from Trump: so he has a reason to write it, likely already on the way out: so not worried about being outed. Becoming more friendly lately with Pence: so that "lodestar" word could come from his interactions with the vice president.

And Sessions attended the funeral of John McCain. I did notice many articles pointing out at how the funeral looked like if it was one of the biggest meetings of the resistance against Trump ever assembled.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:48 AM
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Rachel Maddow implied that it could be Pence, and while he can't be "fired", he could certainly have his life made miserable if it turns out he's this version of Deep Throat.

(One wonders if Pence knows where that phrase originated, but that's a discussion for another day.)

Maddow also referenced an out-of-print 1960s novel called "Night of Camp David", about a president who goes insane, and you can't get a copy on Amazon right now. The ones I saw earlier were priced at $75 for mass market paperbacks.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...+of+camp+david

ETA: Even the Reader's Digest Condensed Book version is unavailable! Those people will get to read a condensed version of one of my all-time favorite books, "Intern" by Doctor X, later revealed to be children's science author and physician Dr. Alan Nourse.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 09-06-2018 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:17 AM
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Rachel Maddow implied that it could be Pence, and while he can't be "fired", he could certainly have his life made miserable if it turns out he's this version of Deep Throat.

(One wonders if Pence knows where that phrase originated, but that's a discussion for another day.)

Maddow also referenced an out-of-print 1960s novel called "Night of Camp David", about a president who goes insane, and you can't get a copy on Amazon right now. The ones I saw earlier were priced at $75 for mass market paperbacks.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...+of+camp+david

ETA: Even the Reader's Digest Condensed Book version is unavailable! Those people will get to read a condensed version of one of my all-time favorite books, "Intern" by Doctor X, later revealed to be children's science author and physician Dr. Alan Nourse.
Holding my copy right now. Think it might be reissued anytime soon?
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:28 AM
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Rachel Maddow implied that it could be Pence, and while he can't be "fired", he could certainly have his life made miserable if it turns out he's this version of Deep Throat.

(One wonders if Pence knows where that phrase originated, but that's a discussion for another day.)

Maddow also referenced an out-of-print 1960s novel called "Night of Camp David", about a president who goes insane, and you can't get a copy on Amazon right now. The ones I saw earlier were priced at $75 for mass market paperbacks.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...+of+camp+david

ETA: Even the Reader's Digest Condensed Book version is unavailable! Those people will get to read a condensed version of one of my all-time favorite books, "Intern" by Doctor X, later revealed to be children's science author and physician Dr. Alan Nourse.
Holy hell, I think I read that exact RD Condensed Book edition... is "Intern" the story that has, as one of its subplots, the intern getting involved with a nurse to the point of marrying her, only to break up with her when she loses (one or both of) her legs?
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:57 AM
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Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Reasons: Too many insults from Trump: so he has a reason to write it, likely already on the way out: so not worried about being outed. Becoming more friendly lately with Pence: so that "lodestar" word could come from his interactions with the vice president.

And Sessions attended the funeral of John McCain. I did notice many articles pointing out at how the funeral looked like if it was one of the biggest meetings of the resistance against Trump ever assembled.
Nope, Sessions doesn't track for me. First, I simply don't think Sessions is very intelligent, so as much as Trump despises and insults him, Sessions remains loyal. Second, he is at least complicit with Trump and probably majorly culpable in the disastrous child separation policy both he and Trump gleefully twirled their evil mustaches over until it backfired, as well as other initiatives he's begun to roll back protections on civil rights while at the same time providing increased pathways to legal remedy for those who wish to discriminate against others on religious grounds that he would not have been able to without Trump. Sessions is a big part of a problem he truly sees as a solution.

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Old 09-06-2018, 12:48 AM
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Mentions McCain as an inspiration for the article - likely military and a traditional Republican..
Sessions is a former Army Reserve officer who served on the Armed Services committee with McCain
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:49 AM
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I'm thinking maybe Mnuchin. Dude's rich as fuck - possibly richer than Trump
Oh, hell, I'M probably richer than Trump, because my bank account has a positive balance.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:53 AM
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The Weekly Standard has an analysis on who they think are top 4 likely and why (including linguistic analysis). They finger Kudlow, Hasset, Coats, and Pompeo as most likely.

https://www.weeklystandard.com/micha...administration
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:54 AM
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Some rando nobody who works more than five miles from the building has ever heard of (and who won't seem very "senior"), but who wants to maximize their value in the future. So not someone who has reached the likely pinnacle of their career.

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Old 09-06-2018, 01:04 AM
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Some rando nobody who works more than five miles from the building has ever heard of (and who won't seem very "senior"), but who wants to maximize their value in the future. So not someone who has reached the likely pinnacle of their career.
I highly doubt the NYT would have run with such a piece from a "rando nobody...has ever heard of."
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:15 AM
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Just in case the identity does ever come into the public, I'll come down on Coats just for the sake of possible future ego points.
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:06 PM
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I highly doubt the NYT would have run with such a piece from a "rando nobody...has ever heard of."
That would be my best guess too. But you never know.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:48 PM
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That would be my best guess too. But you never know.
Without doing any further research than that one article, my takeaway is that there was a point in time when the source was an intern, and some materials were from that time in his career, but that at the point in time at which the article was written, the source was not an intern and was appropriately described, and nearly all of the material that was used in relation to him was not from when he was an intern. That's not a case of them lying about the identity of the person, that seems to be a case of them failing to note that in one instance, they were discussing the "early years" of that person's career. That would be misleading, but could just as well be an oversight as an intentional act to deceive.

Really, if there was any fishy business going on at NYT, someone would leak it to a different news agency, because it would be going against acceptable journalistic standards for that business and all of the employees would be opposed to that. As your link suggests, any sort of questionable handling within the newspaper will be raised in the media and reported on, because it harms their industry, and so it was.

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Old 09-06-2018, 05:25 PM
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Without doing any further research than that one article, my takeaway is that there was a point in time when the source was an intern, and some materials were from that time in his career, but that at the point in time at which the article was written, the source was not an intern and was appropriately described, and nearly all of the material that was used in relation to him was not from when he was an intern. That's not a case of them lying about the identity of the person, that seems to be a case of them failing to note that in one instance, they were discussing the "early years" of that person's career. That would be misleading, but could just as well be an oversight as an intentional act to deceive.
You've either misread or misunderstood that one article.

All the quotes from that guy were from the "early years" of the guy's career. The guy was "a 2009 college physics-engineering graduate who E.I.A. said was hired as an intern in summer 2009 and upgraded to general engineer in March 2011". The emails "captured conversations between summer 2009 and April 2011". The article was written on June 27, 2011.

No one who reads an article in the NYT with quotes from “one official”, an “energy analyst”, or “one federal analyst” would assume this was referring to a guy who was a year and a half out of college (and had apparently been promoted from intern status within the last month), even leaving aside the actual intern quote.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:16 AM
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Some rando nobody who works more than five miles from the building has ever heard of (and who won't seem very "senior"), but who wants to maximize their value in the future. So not someone who has reached the likely pinnacle of their career.
I really think that if this is not some sort of planted story by the administration itself (and Trump seems genuinely to be having a meltdown over it); that we should take the Times editors at their word that the person responsible for the piece is indeed a 'a senior official in the Trump administration'. For me this means most likely someone in the cabinet structure and much more likely from the national security and/or intelligence establishment such as Pompeo, Coats, Haspel, Mattis or Neilsen (or a deputy thereof), rather than from one of the economic or Treasury-related areas of responsibility. We can pretty much eliminate out of hand such worthies as Perry, DeVos and Carson, right?

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Old 09-06-2018, 02:53 AM
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Put me down for one of the invisibles - a member of the White House staff, a butler, member of the Secret Service, or similar. Someone who sees everything and usually says nothing. I expect that the NYT is being deceptive in their description of the author.
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:23 AM
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Put me down for one of the invisibles - a member of the White House staff, a butler, member of the Secret Service, or similar. Someone who sees everything and usually says nothing. I expect that the NYT is being deceptive in their description of the author.
If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.

So your contention is that they are bluffing and risking their entire business - since that would effectively destroy their credibility - on this.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/40...ump-presidency
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:46 AM
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If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.
He would have to be very stupid to sue anybody for libel, wouldn't he? (Oh...) Would that not give the New York Times the right to haul in every single administration official who has ever dealt with Trump, and force them to give an honest accounting of his behavior? Not to mention, I think they'd probably get to depose the president himself, exposing him to all kinds of personal legal problems.

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Old 09-06-2018, 04:00 AM
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If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.

So your contention is that they are bluffing and risking their entire business - since that would effectively destroy their credibility - on this.
No, I said deceptive, not dishonest.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:17 AM
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No, I said deceptive, not dishonest.
It would be dishonest to call a Secret Service agent "a senior official in the Trump administration". That would not be deceptive.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:32 AM
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Robert Lighthizer
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Lighthizer was previously a deputy U.S. trade representative under President Reagan, and has since worked as a trade attorney in Washington, D.C.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:02 AM
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If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.

So your contention is that they are bluffing and risking their entire business - since that would effectively destroy their credibility - on this.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/40...ump-presidency
Libel for an opinion piece? Highly unlikely. The editorial staff undoubtedly had their lawyers go over this backwards and forwards to make sure the NYT was insulated from civil litigation. I haven't read the piece, but I would bet that there were disclaimers and wiggle-words out the ying-yang preceding it.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:13 AM
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Libel for an opinion piece? Highly unlikely. The editorial staff undoubtedly had their lawyers go over this backwards and forwards to make sure the NYT was insulated from civil litigation. I haven't read the piece, but I would bet that there were disclaimers and wiggle-words out the ying-yang preceding it.
I think the issue was whether the Times would face legal exposure if they intentionally misrepresented who the anonymous author was, as opposed to what the opinion piece actually said. The Times represents the author as being a well-known, senior Administration official; a few posters have guessed that the Times basically might be lying and inflating the importance of the White House butler.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:34 PM
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I think the issue was whether the Times would face legal exposure if they intentionally misrepresented who the anonymous author was, as opposed to what the opinion piece actually said. The Times represents the author as being a well-known, senior Administration official; a few posters have guessed that the Times basically might be lying and inflating the importance of the White House butler.
They didn't say anything about "well known", just that he is known to them.
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The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.
I wouldn't be surprised if it's someone in a deputy secretary position. That's more where a deep state, sorry "steady state" guy would be.

Last edited by CarnalK; 09-06-2018 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:12 AM
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It's going to end up being a "nobody." And by "nobody," I mean not a top-level name, nobody most people even here will recognize. High enough in position that The Times had a duty to run it because it shows there's a virtual mutiny and separate government going on and they'd be derelict not to run it once they knew who it was.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:12 AM
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I think the "lodestar" reference is a reverse Canary Trap, which is to say it was put there intentionally to make Trump distrust Pence. If Pence is willing to be bootlicker in chief he's obviously easily manipulated but how does one break Trump's hold on him? Easy, make Trump think he's disloyal, Trump will take it from there. Once that seed is planted Trump cannot and will not let it go. And if that's the case, should the cabinet decide it's time to have that 25th amendment discussion again, they'll be able to go to Pence and maybe just maybe Pence will be swayed. Come on Mike, you can do it. Just close your eyes and think of Mother.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:49 AM
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I think the "lodestar" reference is a reverse Canary Trap, which is to say it was put there intentionally to make Trump distrust Pence...
Agree. Trump's paranoia is now off the chart. What an environment to work in.
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:08 AM
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Whoever it is has to have frequent access to the President's desk, and daily knowledge of what's going across it for signing. I'd say that lets out Sessions for one, and probably Pence -- doesn't he get stored in a closet when they don't need him for a photo op or funeral? It's either someone signficant on the White House staff itself, or very high up in the national security apparatus.
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:14 AM
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Probably someone that none of us have heard of before. Who knows how many senior positions there are.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
Probably someone that none of us have heard of before. Who knows how many senior positions there are.
About 1000 presidential appointments. Some with and without congressional approval requirements. But a lot of them just won't count because they're off site.
  #47  
Old 09-06-2018, 07:03 AM
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Conway based on the fact her husband keeps going after Trump in public
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
Conway based on the fact her husband keeps going after Trump in public

I am thinking George Conway by way of Kellyanne. It's been rumored that she says she "needs a shower" every time she has to defend The Donald. Do I believe she actually said that? I don't know. I give it about a 51/49 percentage-wise.
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:47 AM
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PredictIt betting market bettors think it's Coats -- the betting line for "Will DNI Coats still be DNI at the end of 2018" went from ~90 to ~40 the day the Op-Ed came out. That seems like the best guess.
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Nah. Mnuchin's a self-absorbed, self-important crook. Trump is the best thing that's ever happened to him; that and his ability to slither away cleanly from his past criminal banking exploits.
Mnuchin was one of my first guesses and I still think it’s a possibility. Because his family - excluding his golddigging attention whore wife- hates Trump. And they may have been pressuring him to take a stand. Of course, this situation has existed for a while and he never did anything before, so maybe not.

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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Too much potential for exposure. Nope, Pence will happily and quietly remain Trump's bootlicker until the last day of his term.
Pence would be a fun choice, but a bit too on the nose.

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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Reasons: Too many insults from Trump: so he has a reason to write it, likely already on the way out: so not worried about being outed. Becoming more friendly lately with Pence: so that "lodestar" word could come from his interactions with the vice president.

And Sessions attended the funeral of John McCain. I did notice many articles pointing out at how the funeral looked like if it was one of the biggest meetings of the resistance against Trump ever assembled.
Sessions may agree with the sentiment but I don’t think he’s the writer. I don’t think he has time to hang around the Oval Office snatching papers off Trump’s desk, he’s too busy tirelessly working to oppress minorities and destroy our civil liberties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
Conway based on the fact her husband keeps going after Trump in public
I, as well as a lot of people, have always suspected that she has always hated Trump. But I don’t think she has the reflective insight to recognize that Trump’s policies are ungrounded by moral principles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
PredictIt betting market bettors think it's Coats -- the betting line for "Will DNI Coats still be DNI at the end of 2018" went from ~90 to ~40 the day the Op-Ed came out. That seems like the best guess.
I think it’ll turn out to be Coates.
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