Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, March 16, 2017

De Blasio Avoids Criminal Charges

Politico NY:

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides will not face criminal charges for their role in soliciting donations for the mayor's campaign and an affiliated nonprofit group, prosecutors announced on Thursday morning.

In separate statements, the Manhattan district attorney's office and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District announced they had concluded their months-long investigations into whether the mayor or his aides had acted illegally in soliciting donations and providing special access to donors who gave to de Blasio or his nonprofit group, the Campaign for One New York

This all be assures that de Blasio will win re-election in November:

Bradley Tusk, a former aide to Michael Bloomberg who has publicly encouraged Democrats to challenge de Blasio, said the mayor is now likely to coast to re-election.

"Although the city deserves far better than this, the people best positioned to succeed in a Democratic primary are now unlikely to run, and we should therefore expect four more years of Bill de Blasio," Tusk said in a statement.

If Tusk is throwing in the towel against de Blasio, well, that's a pretty good sign de Blasio's re-election is all but a done deal.

Friday, February 24, 2017

De Blasio To Be Questioned Today By Federal Prosecutors In Corruption Probe

Today's the day:

The NY Times sets the stage:

Ending months of anticipation and speculation, Mayor Bill de Blasio will meet on Friday with federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who have been investigating the mayor’s campaign fund-raising for nearly a year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A grand jury has heard evidence in the case, some of the people have said, but it remains unclear whether the investigation, focused on whether the mayor or others in his administration traded beneficial city action for donations to his 2013 election campaign or to his now-defunct nonprofit political group — or both — will result in charges. Either way, the interview is an indication that the expansive criminal inquiry is most likely in its final stages.


The mayor is expected to be questioned on Friday morning in a conference room at Kramer Levin’s offices in Midtown Manhattan, according to the people with knowledge of the planned session, which they said is expected to last about four hours. The prosecutors and agents want to question the mayor about more than a dozen topics.

In addition to investigating whether the city took any action on behalf of Mr. Indig as a result of his support for the mayor, the prosecutors and agents are also likely to focus on a number of other donors who have come under scrutiny, including two who have been of intense interest to prosecutors. They are Harendra Singh and Gina Argento.

The Times also has a bit a "new" news:

In recent weeks, investigators appear to have focused on a relatively new area in the inquiry, looking into the mayor’s relationship with a Brooklyn businessman who hosted a fund-raiser for him in October 2013, after the Democratic primary but before the general election, according to two of the people. Like others interviewed for this article, they declined to comment because they were not authorized to discuss the continuing investigation.

In recent weeks, investigators appear to have focused on a relatively new area in the inquiry, looking into the mayor’s relationship with a Brooklyn businessman who hosted a fund-raiser for him in October 2013, after the Democratic primary but before the general election, according to two of the people. Like others interviewed for this article, they declined to comment because they were not authorized to discuss the continuing investigation.

 Louis Flores on what may be going on here:

You can bet Hakeem Jeffries, Scott Stringer, Ruben Diaz Jr and other potential challengers are watching what happens today and ensuing days closely.

So far, no serious challenger to the embattled de Blasio has emerged but clearly an indictment of de Blasio on corruption charges will set off a free-for-all in the Dem primary.

It's difficult to say what indictments of current and/or former aides do to de Blasio's 2017 re-election chances - it all depends on how much residual damage is done to de Blasio if/when that happens.

De Blasio has led a bit of a charmed life these past few months, having much of the news around the corruption investigations buried under an avalanche of Trump news while de Blasio attempted to become the local face of opposition to Trump's policies on immigration, health care, etc.

Other pols - including Governor Cuomo - have attempted similar anti-Trump PR efforts recently (see here and here, for example.)

Both Cuomo and de Blasio are using the Trump election for their own ends of course (Cuomo as rationale for 2020 White House run, de Blasio as rallying cry and distraction from his corruption woes), but in another way the Trump election has helped de Blasio out - it's given Cuomo something else to shoot for instead of de Blasio himself.

For the last few years Cuomo has spent much of his free time looking for ways to torture de Blasio, including looking for potential challengers to the mayor for 2017, but with the Trump administration ensconced in Washington, Cuomo appears to have lost his relish for de Blasio combat and begun setting his sights on a 2020 run instead.

As a result, de Blasio appears to have a pretty easy time of it in his re-election bid - barring criminal charges and/or residual damage some to him by criminal charges on people around him that is.

But that could all change today.

We'll know soon enough. 

As the Times reported, the questioning of de Blasio today means the investigation is about to come to a close.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Barring Indictment, De Blasio Looks Like He'll Get A Fairly Easy Run At Re-Election

Two pieces of New York City mayoral race news today.

First, as expected, Hakeem Jeffries declined to run against de Blasio:

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat, said Tuesday he will not run for mayor of New York City — leaving one less potential challenger for Mayor Bill de Blasio as he faces re-election later this year.
"The stakes are so high in Washington D.C. right now, and I want to be part of the effort to turn the situation around," Jeffries said in an interview. "It would be a dereliction of duty to abandon ship at the moment when times are tough."


Jeffries said de Blasio has benefited from the election of President Donald Trump, and the palpable anger and fear in New York City toward the president. More than 80 percent of the city's voters voted against Trump, and de Blasio has positioned himself in the city as standing up to Trump on immigration and other issues.

"The phenomenon has benefited the mayor because it's taken a lot of attention off of City Hall," Jeffries said.

Jeffries said "top-tier candidates" are still looking to the investigations to see if they "potentially change the dynamic."

"It's not clear to me that there's a meaningful candidate prepared to step forward at the moment," he said.

Next up, GOP hopeful/real estate developer Paul Massey had a press conference today that, well, let's just say didn't go so well.  Here's a play-by-play in tweets:

And so, we appear to have two potential challengers to de Blasio taken out of the equation in one day.

It's been rumored for a while now that Jeffries, who has been elevated into the Democratic leadership in the House, was going to decline to run for mayor, so that announcement wasn't much of a surprise.

But the Massey presser, well, that was a bit of a surprise to me.

Given that we're now in the Trump Era, it was going to be a heavy lift for Massey, a Republican real estate developer, to win post November 2016, but to be honest, I always assumed he was a bit more serious as a candidate than what showed up today.  How could he not have an answer for the stop-and-frisk issue?

You can see the whole Massey presser here at his Facebook page - assuming they don't take it down to try and undo some of the damage.

Go on and watch it and you tell me if he's somebody who can win a mayor's race in NYC during the Trump Era - from what I see so far, it's unlikely.

As for other potential opponents, Scott Stringer has apparently all but ruled out a run (barring something extraordinary coming from the Southern District of New York on de Blasio) and the air around Ruben Diaz Jr. has grown awfully quiet on that front as well.

That leaves this guy who raised $750 last quarter and left the mainstream Democratic conference in the state Senate to join the breakaway, Republican-allied Independent Democratic Conference, a group of faux Dems growing increasingly unpopular in the Trump Era:

And maybe this guy:

Councilman Dan Garodnick, a Manhattan Democrat who lost his bid to become the City Council Speaker in 2014, has talked with donors, consultants and others about running for mayor. Garodnick has told these people he would want a one-on-one race with de Blasio and would be interested if he saw a path, but isn't sure if there is one.
Asked about the conversations, Garodnick declined to comment. "I am exploring my options as I am term-limited," he said. Garodnick had previously denied he was considering a mayoral run.

Oh, and an ex-Jet with about as much chance of winning City Hall as the Jets had of winning the Super Bowl last year.

And there was that rumor about Hillary Clinton maybe running for mayor, but that's pretty much bullshit.

None of this is going to matter in a race against de Blasio where he has managed to make labor peace with the cops, other unions (including the UFT) have endorsed him, and he continues to enjoy popular support in the black community.

So from what I can see, the biggest opponent de Blasio appears to have for re-election right now is U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

No wonder the UFT jumped aboard the de Blasio Express when they did. 

Barring something coming from Bharara, it looks like de Blasio is going to waltz to November relatively unscathed.

Somewhere Bradley Tusk weeps.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

If This Was What Day One Of The Trump Administration Was Like...

Joe Scarborough, GOP shill and Trump bootlicker, on how Day One of the Trump administration went:

Here was the "failing" New York Times (as Trump likes to term it) on how Day One went in a piece entitled With False Claims, Trump Attacks Media on Turnout and Intelligence Rift:

WASHINGTON — President Trump used his first full day in office on Saturday to unleash a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd.

In a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency intended to showcase his support for the intelligence community, Mr. Trump ignored his own repeated public statements criticizing the intelligence community, a group he compared to Nazis just over a week ago.

He also called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and he said that up to 1.5 million people had attended his inauguration, a claim that photographs disproved.

Later, at the White House, he dispatched Sean Spicer, the press secretary, to the briefing room in the West Wing, where Mr. Spicer scolded reporters and made a series of false statements.

He said news organizations had deliberately misstated the size of the crowd at Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Friday in an attempt to sow divisions at a time when Mr. Trump was trying to unify the country, warning that the new administration would hold them to account.

 The statements from the new president and his spokesman came as hundreds of thousands of people protested against Mr. Trump, a crowd that appeared to dwarf the one that gathered the day before when he was sworn in. It was a striking display of invective and grievance at the dawn of a presidency, usually a time when the White House works to set a tone of national unity and to build confidence in a new leader.

Instead, the president and his team appeared embattled and defensive, signaling that the pugnacious style Mr. Trump employed as a candidate will persist now that he has ascended to the nation’s highest office.

Here's what Day One looked like on the Washington Mall as hundreds of thousands protested Trump as part of the Women's March :

Millions across the country (and the world) took to the streets in similar protests:

Day Two picked up where Day One left off, with embattled Trump shills still spewing lies, propaganda and horseshit:

If this is how the beginning of the Trump administration is going, imagine what will happen when there is a real crisis to handle?

Some are worried that Trump has rendered truth and facts moot, that he has inaugurated a post-truth society wherein his deplorables will always believe him over their lying eyes and continue to go to the mattresses to protect him:

There's something to this, of course, but Trump is beyond the campaign now and while there will be a certain percentage of deplorables who stick with him no matter what, there is a level of incompetence and insanity going on here that anybody who isn't completely incompetent and/or insane themselves will eventually see (if they haven't already.)

It's clear from yesterday that Trump is in way over his head, that he is incapable of growing into the job and that he is going to govern abysmally.

It is also clear from yesterday that A) the opposition to Trump is large and growing and B) many in the media are not going to take bullshit from the Trumpsters lying down without calling them on it.

Conservatives and wingers want Trump to get on with the job of gutting the government - but the fatal flaws in Trump's character may be the best defense against that:

In sum, Benjamin Dixon on how best to combat Trump:

And would add: