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#1 AnBr

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:04 PM

The Obama White House Quietly Left Trail Of Russia Intel So Trump Couldn’t Destroy It

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At the Obama White House, Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.

It also reflected the suspicion among many in the Obama White House that the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia on election email hacks — a suspicion that American officials say has not been confirmed. Former senior Obama administration officials said that none of the efforts were directed by Mr. Obama.

"What the Nazis were doing was not describing what was true, but what would have to be true to justify what they planned to do next." — Hannah Arendt in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism

"No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity." Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1821

“Nixon and his successors hid behind ideology and obscured the contradictions by pursuing a strategy I would call 'no-fault bigotry.'” — William Greider

“It’s not ‘Nation Building’, We are Assisting them in Building their Nation” — Marco Rubio on Iraq

“I should apologize for all of my stories that you wished were true and turned out not to be.” — Andy Borowitz

“Republicans want smaller government for the same reason that crooks want fewer cops: it's easier to get away with murder.” — James Carville

"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics." — Robert A. Heinlein, Postscript, Revolt in 2100

"As long you have racism, as long as you have Islamophobia, as long as you have rampant misogyny, you're going to have the wellsprings of fascist sensibility." Chris Vials

#2 AnBr

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:07 PM

WaPo: It’s now political suicide for Republicans if they don’t call for deeper investigations on Russia

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President Trump's Russia problems just got a whole lot worse.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice in 2016, according to The Washington Post, conversations that run directly counter to Sessions's assertions during his confirmation hearing to be the nation's top cop.

In that Judiciary Committee hearing Jan. 1o, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) asked Sessions whether he was aware of any contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence officials. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians,” Sessions replied.

"What the Nazis were doing was not describing what was true, but what would have to be true to justify what they planned to do next." — Hannah Arendt in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism

"No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity." Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1821

“Nixon and his successors hid behind ideology and obscured the contradictions by pursuing a strategy I would call 'no-fault bigotry.'” — William Greider

“It’s not ‘Nation Building’, We are Assisting them in Building their Nation” — Marco Rubio on Iraq

“I should apologize for all of my stories that you wished were true and turned out not to be.” — Andy Borowitz

“Republicans want smaller government for the same reason that crooks want fewer cops: it's easier to get away with murder.” — James Carville

"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics." — Robert A. Heinlein, Postscript, Revolt in 2100

"As long you have racism, as long as you have Islamophobia, as long as you have rampant misogyny, you're going to have the wellsprings of fascist sensibility." Chris Vials

#3 AnBr

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:11 PM

"Oh, hey, here’s a clip of Jeff Sessions yelling at Bill Clinton for perjury in 1999"
"What the Nazis were doing was not describing what was true, but what would have to be true to justify what they planned to do next." — Hannah Arendt in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism

"No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity." Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1821

“Nixon and his successors hid behind ideology and obscured the contradictions by pursuing a strategy I would call 'no-fault bigotry.'” — William Greider

“It’s not ‘Nation Building’, We are Assisting them in Building their Nation” — Marco Rubio on Iraq

“I should apologize for all of my stories that you wished were true and turned out not to be.” — Andy Borowitz

“Republicans want smaller government for the same reason that crooks want fewer cops: it's easier to get away with murder.” — James Carville

"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics." — Robert A. Heinlein, Postscript, Revolt in 2100

"As long you have racism, as long as you have Islamophobia, as long as you have rampant misogyny, you're going to have the wellsprings of fascist sensibility." Chris Vials

#4 LFC

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 09:10 PM

View PostAnBr, on 02 March 2017 - 08:11 PM, said:


Bonus hypocrisy!
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#5 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 05:59 AM

View PostLFC, on 02 March 2017 - 09:10 PM, said:



Bonus hypocrisy!

A pity RWers are immune to that.
Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#6 LFC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 10:56 AM

View PostProgressive whisperer, on 03 March 2017 - 05:59 AM, said:

A pity RWers are immune to that.

It's a feature in them, not a bug.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#7 LFC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 03:49 PM

If this is where the info on Trump's Russia connections is going to live then I'll put in this recent update. Over at the Trump Administration thread I had posted something about two more of Trump's associates having direct contact with the Russian ambassador. One is now shifting his story. I think it makes pretty clear what Putin's pay-off was for helping Trump, or at least his first installment. Of course they'll say it's nothing but then they lie conversationally.

Quote

In a significant reversal, a Trump campaign official on Thursday told CNN that he personally advocated for softening the language on Ukraine in the GOP platform at the Republican National Convention, and that he did so on behalf of the President.

CNN’s Jim Acosta reported on air that J.D. Gordon, the Trump campaign’s national security policy representative at the RNC, told him that he made the change to include language that he claimed “Donald Trump himself wanted and advocated for” at a March 2016 meeting at then-unfinished Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Gordon claimed that Trump said he did not “want to go to World War III over Ukraine” during that meeting, Acosta said.

Yet Gordon had told Business Insider in January that he “never left” the side table where he sat monitoring the national security subcommittee meeting, where a GOP delegate's amendment calling for the provision of “lethal defense weapons” to the Ukrainian army was tabled. At the time, Gordon said “neither Mr. Trump nor [former campaign manager] Mr. [Paul] Manafort were involved in those sort of details, as they've made clear."

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#8 LFC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 03:59 PM

It's a little long but here's Josh Marshall's summary of what we know about Trump's connections with Russia and what he calls the most innocent explanation for much of the current scandal. At the end, however, he admits that there are a few known things that don't fit. And the chance of even bigger scandals lying hidden at this time seems to be ever greater. I thought this was a good explanation Trump's love affair with Russia.

Quote

5: So by 2015, this gets you to a pretty clear storyline: Sanctions wrong; Russia good; Putin good; Putin strong. To me this provides a fairly satisfying explanation for most of what we've seen over the last year and a half: Trump's weirdly fawning attitude toward Putin, hostility toward Russia sanctions, insistence on the obviousness of 'getting along' and 'making a deal' with Putin. It also gets us most of the way to explaining why he has so many people in his orbit with conspicuous on-going communications and relationships with suspicious figures in the Russian intelligence world or the criminal underworld. The point we cannot understate with Trump is the man's bullheadedness and the iron equation of what's good for Trump being right, good and obviously the best. The final reason this theory makes sense to me is that Trump's world is pervasively disorganized and corrupt. That's less fertile ground for conspiracies than influence operations, which is easy to reconcile with what I've set forth above. It also gives some explanation or some logic to the fact that Trump's Russia-infused coterie includes a lot of people who just seem like idiots. Why did Carter Page go on Chris Hayes' show last night? Why is he on TV at all? That simply makes no sense. Why did Michael Cohen take a meeting with a shady pro-Russian Ukrainian parliamentarian - with Felix Sater in tow! - right as the Russia story was engulfing his boss's presidency? Seriously, why?

Again, I think what I've described here gets you most of the way toward an explanation of at least most of the facts we currently know. And it requires no fantastical facts not currently in evidence: no extortionate sex tapes, no treasonous deals with Putin. It all comes more or less together by long association, interest and some specific and clear characteristics of Trump's personality. It's not clear these broad outlines require anything illegal or any one thing beyond putting personal financial interest above the national interest. To me, this seems obvious with Trump. It requires little imagination. And, as I've said, I think his mind doesn't really distinguish between these things. What's good for Trump is right. Everybody wants to do what's right. And if they don't, they should.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#9 LFC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 04:06 PM

The Donald and his legion of Trump-fluffers start flailing. Sad.

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President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted an old photo of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N) with Russian President Vladimir Putin, writing there should be an investigation into Schumer "and his ties to Russia and Putin."

"We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin," the tweet reads. "A total hypocrite!"

The photo captures a scene from a 2003 meeting between Schumer and Putin to mark the occasion of New York's first Lukoil gas station opening. The two are shown eating Krispy Kreme donuts, according to the AP photo caption.

Schumer (whose move with sending Mitch McConnell's own later back to him was priceless) was in good form when he responded.

Quote

Happily talk re: my contact w Mr. Putin & his associates, took place in '03 in full view of press & public under oath. Would you &your team?

I'm liking Chuck Schumer more and more.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#10 LFC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 04:20 PM

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, was just in a long meeting with FBI Director James Comey. He left ... unimpressed. It sounds like Comey is suddenly holding important information close to the vest. He sure picks an "interesting" time and topic to clam up. At each sensitive turn I find I have less and less faith in Comey and the FBI to act in the national interest rather than as partisan tools.

Quote

Emerging after a three-hour meeting with FBI Director James Comey, and speaking after committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) midday, Schiff told reporters that the committee knew “less than a fraction of what the FBI knows,” and said he “absolutely” learned of intelligence on Thursday that he had not been made aware of as a member of the “gang of eight” – that is, the leaders of both parties in both the House and Senate and of both chambers' intelligence committees.

“I don’t think at all that we’ve gotten the kind of quarterly briefings that we should have been getting. Not now, not in the summer, not in the fall and not even to this day,” he said.

Schiff accused the FBI of withholding information from the committee and raised the possibility of subpoenaing FBI officials if they were not more forthcoming.

“In order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we're going to need the FBI to fully cooperate, to be willing to tell us the length and breadth of any counterintelligence investigations they are conducting,” he said. “At this point, the director was not willing to do that. There were repeated questions about the scope of any investigation they were doing, individuals that may be the subject of any counterterrorism investigation. And the director declined to answer those questions. It was unclear whether that decision was a decision he was making on his own or a decision that he is making in consultation with the Department of Justice.”

He added later: “We are better off getting that through the voluntary cooperation of the FBI than having to contemplate whether we need to subpoena the FBI.”

Schiff isn’t alone in his frustration with the FBI. On Thursday morning, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) complained to reporters about Comey’s lack of forthrightness with legislators, even in private.

“I am tired of reading about innuendo. Somebody is leaking this crap,” Graham said. “And it’s putting people like me in a terrible spot. So I’m going to meet with the FBI director today, and I’m going to look him in the eye, and he’s going to tell me there’s an investigation or there’s not, and if he doesn’t tell me, he’s going to have a hard time.”

Schiff did say after his meeting with Comey that he was “convinced” that a special prosecutor was needed to investigate Russian interference in the election.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#11 LFC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 06:22 PM

View PostLFC, on 03 March 2017 - 04:06 PM, said:


First Schumer and now he's powerlessly lashing out at Pelosi. Apparently she did actually meet the ambassador at a covered, official meeting. Trumpty Dumpty whined furiously on Twitter!

Quote

Trump appeared to delete the tweet twice and then tweeted a final version with "hereby" spelled correctly.

Quote

I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it.

Trump's tweet included a link to a Politico story, which fact-checked Pelosi's claim that she had never met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The outlet pointed out the two are seen in a photo together. Her spokesman later told the outlet she was referring to a "one-on-one" meeting with him.

Pelosi quote tweeted her response to Trump's call, pointing out, like Schumer, that her meeting was official and photographed by the press.

Quote

@realDonaldTrump doesn't know difference between official mtg photographed by press & closed secret mtg his AG lied about under oath.

Poor Trump. He's having one bad day after another. Sometimes you just have to screech "WAAAAHHHH! SHE has to be investigated!" Pathetic.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#12 LFC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 06:24 PM

View PostLFC, on 03 March 2017 - 03:49 PM, said:

If this is where the info on Trump's Russia connections is going to live then I'll put in this recent update. Over at the Trump Administration thread I had posted something about two more of Trump's associates having direct contact with the Russian ambassador. One is now shifting his story. I think it makes pretty clear what Putin's pay-off was for helping Trump, or at least his first installment. Of course they'll say it's nothing but then they lie conversationally.

Here's an RNC delegate has been consistent on Trump being the one who backed off the party's stance on Ukraine. Putin certainly got what who he paid for!

Quote

Until Thursday, the Trump campaign team’s official line was that it played no role in softening language regarding Ukraine in the GOP platform during the Republican National Convention last summer in Cleveland.

But then J.D. Gordon, the Trump campaign’s national security policy representative at the RNC, told CNN that he had personally advocated for altering an amendment on Ukraine, providing vindication to the Republican delegate who initially proposed it.

“That’s a pretty big leap, isn’t it?” Diana Denman, a former Vice Chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party who served as a delegate for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the convention (pictured above), told TPM in a Friday phone call. “J.D. is the one that stopped it and pulled it.”

Denman’s original amendment calling for the U.S. to provide “lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine was tabled after Gordon and Matt Miller, another campaign official who's since gone to work in Trump's Department of Veteran’s Affairs, intervened, saying they needed to “clear it with New York,” according to her version of events.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#13 HockeyDon

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 07:03 AM

View PostLFC, on 03 March 2017 - 04:20 PM, said:

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, was just in a long meeting with FBI Director James Comey. He left ... unimpressed. It sounds like Comey is suddenly holding important information close to the vest. He sure picks an "interesting" time and topic to clam up. At each sensitive turn I find I have less and less faith in Comey and the FBI to act in the national interest rather than as partisan tools.

I'm more curious at this point if what they're really after is information regarding FBI investigations into 45's ties to Russia. Both during the campaign and after. Comey refusing to disclose that information seems more proper. It seems a lot more like a fishing expedition about "terrorism" suspects. Of course we all know what a broad brush "terrorism" is.
Well, fuck.

#14 cmk

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 09:19 PM

The party of nationalistic chest-thumpers turns out to be the party of traitors. Quelle surprise.
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#15 baw1064

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 10:45 PM

View Postcmk, on 05 March 2017 - 09:19 PM, said:

The party of nationalistic chest-thumpers turns out to be the party of traitors. Quelle surprise.

Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels...
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#16 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 06:11 AM

Robert Kuttner, HuffPo: The Search For Trump’s Smoking Gun

Nothing new here, but — by Gad, Sir! — a short, useful and punchy summary.

Quote

So what would be sufficient?

One thing would be evidence of an explicit deal. We know that intensive investigations by the FBI and CIA, with help from the NSA, are continuing, to determine the exact extent and specificity of contacts and mutual commitments between the Trump campaign and Putin. It obviously enrages Trump, as an autocratic CEO accustomed to total power, that he can’t turn these off; and that the more he tries, the more leaks he invites.

But it will not be sufficient for these investigations to document more winks and nods and tacit bargains. What’s needed is some kind of smoking gun, in the form of an explicit quid pro quo.

Quote

But there is one other potential set of revelations that could endanger Trump’s presidency: As Deep Throat didn’t quite say, except in the movie version of All the President’s Men, “Follow the money.”

Follow the money. Trump’s entire career has been about money ― making as much money as possible, often in smarmy ways.

So the other set of revelations that Trump must be fearing are disclosures that the Russians either put money into Trump’s pocket or found ways to put money into his campaign. This also has to be a focus of ongoing investigation.

The Russians have been helping to finance the campaign of the French ultra-nationalist Marine LePen, whose revisionist views on Russia and flattering comments on Putin are eerily reminiscent of Trump’s.

The Russians, famously, not only use disinformation and disruption and attempted blackmail. They use money.

No wonder Trump is coming unglued, worrying that Obama bugged his office. The security agencies didn’t need to bug Trump. They bugged the Russians. If they stumbled on Americans doing political deals with the Russians, it was by accident.

Reality is a hallucination caused by alcohol deprivation.

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God is not dead. He was merely voted out of office.

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#17 LFC

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 04:53 PM

More on the "innocent explanation" by Marshall. Marshall isn't saying the explanation is good or favorable, just the lowest level of Russian ties that a reasonable person could accept. Here's the setup of the piece which smells like a pretty desperate defense by the Trumpies.

Quote

Friday afternoon, TPM Senior Editor Catherine Thompson keyed in on this statement from White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders: “The big point here is the president himself knows what his involvement was and that’s zero. And I think that he’s the primary person that should be held responsibility and he had no interaction and I think that’s what the story should be focused on.”

This does seem like a significantly new position and one to take note of.

There's a lot going on in these two brief sentences. They can be summarized as follows: 1) The President is clean. 2) If others are dirty, that's not the President's problem. 3) If others are dirty, it doesn't matter because the President is clean.

I am dubious that the President will be able to maintain this standard considering there's little evidence that any of his foreign policy and national defense ideas do not come from his advisors. But it's a clear statement of where the President and his top staffers want to set the bar, where they feel confident setting the bar, or at least where the feel the least unconfident setting the bar.

He moves on to cite something he remembered by Norman Mailer from many years ago which could fit with Trump's current mess.

Quote

In this talk or interview, Mailer described his theory of why the CIA tried to cover up certain elements of the Kennedy Assassination. As Mailer saw it, the CIA had tried to cover up elements of the assassination not because they were implicated but because they couldn't be certain they weren't. The early 1960s CIA was tied up with so many crazies and bad actors - far-right anti-Castro emigre crazies, double agents, La Cosa Nostra, double agents who might really be triple agents, domestic right wing groups, domestic left wing groups - that it was impossible for them to know whether one of those trails from the Kennedy murder might not lead back to them.

Whether this was an accurate read of the CIA and the Kennedy assassination, I have no idea. But it always struck me as a piercing and perhaps profound insight into human nature and the inherent messiness of knowledge and complex, opaque organizations. If some version of my 'innocent explanation' is accurate, one can easily imagine the Mailer Standard comes into play.

He goes on with a bit of interesting detail on just how badly he and his associates have been tied to the seediest of the Russian underworld. He finished up with this, basically tying it back to Mailer's hypothesis; even if Trump never did anything directly himself, he and his have tied themselves to so many crooked characters that there could be one or dozens of bad storylines that tie back to Trump even without them realizing it. Again this is giving Trump the greatest benefit of the doubt reasonable, which basically makes him out as a useful idiot.

Quote

Now, are all these moving parts connected together in some dark puzzle? I have no idea. But look at it through the prism of the Mailer Standard. Trump did put Manafort in charge of his campaign and foreign policy operation as they started to congeal in the spring of 2016. Let's assume you're Donald Trump and your hands are clean, as far as it goes. Or let's assume you're someone with half a brain and you're charged with protecting Donald Trump. How confident are you that a thorough look at that skein of Putin-aligned oligarchs, deposed strongmen, billion dollar real estate deals, Russian organized crime and mysterious peace deals wouldn't turn up something at least awkward and possibly quite bad?

Right, me neither.

Indeed, to the extent Trump really is an improbable innocent bystander on all of this business, that means he's probably even more in the dark, intentionally or otherwise, about just what was going on.

What it all amounts to is that Donald Trump doesn't need to have any deep dark secret for it to make every sense in the world for him to resist at all costs the kind of investigation even many Republicans are now demanding.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

#18 golden_valley

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 05:02 PM

View PostLFC, on 06 March 2017 - 04:53 PM, said:

Again this is giving Trump the greatest benefit of the doubt reasonable, which basically makes him out as a useful idiot.

Useful idiot...I suspect this is it. Trump may or may not know where the money that financed his big projects comes from or even if the people he worked with have links to more nefarious Russian businesses. The people around Trump know how to manipulate him and can keep him in the dark about the nature and extent of their own ties and/or promises to Russian agents thus giving him plausible deniability while still undermining the integrity of our elections and government.

#19 LFC

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 01:21 PM

Probably unimportant in and of itself but it seems that the contacts with the Russians is just an endless flow from the Trump Tap.

Quote

A report that President Donald Trump briefly met Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign is recirculating this week amid renewed scrutiny of contacts Trump staffers had with Russian officials before the election.

Though it garnered little attention when it was published in May 2016, a Wall Street Journal report noted that Trump “warmly greeted” Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors before a VIP reception at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., held ahead of a foreign policy speech. During that April address, Trump called for an “easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia.”

White House officials told Bloomberg News on Wednesday that the meeting was little more than a cursory hello and that Trump attended the reception for just five minutes. But the encounter breaks with the Trump team’s insistence that the President had "zero" contact with Russian officials during the 2016 race.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 03:40 PM

Yet another Russia connection. Of course there's an innocent explanation but this just continues to feed into the question, "who involved with Trump HASN'T had contact with major figures in Russia?"

Quote

In March 2014, the U.S. government sanctioned Dmitry Rogozin—a hardline deputy to Vladimir Putin, the head of Russia’s defense industry and longtime opponent of American power—in retaliation for the invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Eighteen months later, the National Rifle Association, Donald Trump’s most powerful outside ally during the 2016 election, sent a delegation to Moscow that met with him.

The meeting, which hasn’t been previously reported in the American press, is one strand in a web of connections between the Russian government and Team Trump: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn both denied speaking with the Russian ambassador, which turned out to be untrue; former campaign manager Paul Manafort supported pro-Russian interests in Ukraine; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson won an “Order of Friendship” from Putin; and then, of course, there’s the hacking campaign that U.S. intelligence agencies say Russian launched to tilt the election in Trump’s favor.

Meeting with Rogozin, a target of U.S. sanctions, is not itself illegal—as long as the two sides did no business together—explained Boris Zilberman, an expert on Russian sanctions at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. But, he noted, it is “frowned upon and raises questions… those targeted for sanctions have been engaged in conduct which is in direct opposition to U.S. national security interests.”

Which raises the question: Why was the NRA meeting with Putin’s deputy in the first place?

The NRA had previously objected to the parts of the U.S. sanctions regime that blocked Russian-made guns from import into the United States. But curiously, David Keene, the former NRA president and current board member who was on the Moscow trip, insisted the meeting with the high-ranking member of the Kremlin government had nothing whatsoever to do with geopolitics.

“Rogozin is chairman of the Russian Shooting Federation and his Board hosted a tour of Federation HQ for us while we were there,” Keene told The Daily Beast. “It was non-political. There were at least 30 in attendance and our interaction consisted of thanking him and his Board for the tour.”


So maybe, just maybe, this wouldn't mean much on its own but this sure sounds bad. I guess nationalism would be good for the gun business and anti-Americanism isn't a deal-breaker for the NRA when profit is involved.

Quote

But Rogozin is no ordinary Russian official, and his title extends far beyond being merely the chairman of a shooting club. His portfolio as deputy prime minister of Russia includes the defense industry. One issue where Rogozin seems particularly interested is cyberwarfare, which he has heralded for its “first strike” capability. And he’s well-known in Russia for being a radical—often taking a harder line than Putin himself.

Rogozin was the leader of the ultra-right party called Rodina, or Motherland, and famously believes in the restoration of the Russian Empire, including what he calls “Russian America” (i.e., Alaska).

Quote

Still, Rogozin stayed loyal to Putin and soon was appointed Russian ambassador to NATO at the time of the Russia-Georgia War—his main responsibility at the time was to prevent Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO. Today his Motherland party is back in the parliament, trying to unite right-wing movements in Europe.


One point of view...

Quote

“It is disconcerting that they would be meeting [with a Russian official] about anything given their vocal support of the president,” said Rep. Mike Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential elections. “Due to the NRA’s opposition to sanctions, it defies credulity that they wouldn’t have discussed sanctions and their extraordinary support for Donald Trump’s campaign.”

“Russia is not America’s friend. And it’s stunning to hear that while they were attacking our democracy, one of the largest organizations supporting Trump was cozying up with a sanctioned Russian in Moscow,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee panel that oversees the CIA.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"Didn't vote for Hillary Clinton? Then you own [insert horrible act here]."

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer





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