It was very strange to see the supposed very talented and brilliant and highly educated folks in the “mainstream media” fall for the Trump memo like a sack of potatoes. Before they had even seen the memo or knew what it said, they called it “controversial” and suggested it was “explosive.” Oh really how the hell do you know if you’ve never even seen it? Well, after the memo was released it turned out to be a big flat flop, and in fact hurt the president’s argument more than it helped (see my prior post).
So why hype up, distract the idiotic US press over a worthless memo? Is Trump really just a stupid fool, or is he someone who knows how to play the media like a bunch of idiots and get maximum attention or distraction?
While the memo saga played out, we learned that Trump refused to enforce a law that was passed by Congress and signed by him to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference. That’s right, the president said he just didn’t feel like enforcing a law that he signed and promised to enforce against his Russian buddies.
In addition, we learned that three top Russian intelligence agents traveled to the US right before Trump made his decision not to enforce the sanctions law against Russia. Could it be that one of Trump’s buddies had a few meetings with the Russians to coordinate how they were going to refuse to enforce US law to benefit the Russian government? No, that would just be a conspiracy theory!
We also learned that Dutch Intelligence watched the Russian hacking of our 2016 election in real time while it was happening in 2016. We therefore know for certain that there is direct evidence proving that the Russians attempted to illegally interfere with our presidential elections.
Meanwhile, a Russian hacker, Pyotr Levashov, who the US suspects was involved in 2016 US election hacking was extradited from Spain to the United States. Strangely, most of the “mainstream media” reports simply claimed that the guy was just a “spammer” and just liked to put out computer viruses and made little mention of the fact that he is suspected of participating in US election attacks on behalf of the Russian government.
So you see, there really is a method to the Trump madness. Too bad the press is too stupid to figure it out.
In case you missed it, Congressman Nunes, the retiring head of the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence, decided he wanted to release a memo which he claimed showed the FBI favored Clinton over Trump during the 2016 election. Intelligence Community professionals slammed the moved and claimed it was dangerous to release classified information.
Trump, announced in his typical boisterous fashion that he couldn’t wait to release the memo, and this morning tweeted in part, “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.”
So this was set up by Trump and Nunes as a “devastating blow” to the “credibility of the FBI.” Leaving aside the fact that a sitting president is taking the extraordinary step of directly attacking the highest profile federal law enforcement agency, the memo quite clearly does nothing to help Trump’s position. Making the whole show over releasing it a rather odd performance by Nunes and Trump.
First, the memo is an attack against the FBI for investigating Carter Page, one of Trump’s flunkies. Basically, it suggests the Page investigation was just a witch hunt initiated in the run up to the 2016 campaign, and was started based on the “Steele Dossier” that was released in 2016. Steele has been attacked by Republicans as a Hillary Clinton political hit man. Interesting news if that was true. But it’s not. The reality is the memo confirms that Page was under investigation for being an agent of the Russian government since 2014, and possibly as early as 2013. This is long before Trump announced he was going to run for president and “build the wall.”
Second, the memo attacks Steele as an unreliable source because Steele talked to the media and not because Steele’s information was false. In other words, attack the messenger.
Third, the Nunes memo claims that FBI agent Strzok, who has been the latest target of the Trump crowd as the “Hillary Clinton FBI mole,” had a clear bias to Clinton, and therefore had motivation to attack Trump. This bias, the memo claims, led Strzok to initiate an FBI counterintelligence investigation against Page and another Trump flunky,
Papadopoulos. This again would be interesting if true. The problem with this thinking is that it would be a bit strange for a supposed Hillary Clinton “FBI agent pro democrat spy” like Strzok to try to reopen the Clinton email investigation a week before the 2016 election–which if you recall caused significant political damage to Clinton just before an election. Kind of strange for a Hillary Clinton suck up, no?
Fourth, Nunes and the Republicans claim the FBI was out to get Trump. The memo, however, really only focuses on attacks against Carter Page as “unfair” and “biased.” It’s a bit strange to say an attack on Page is an attack on Trump, especially since Trump and his flunkies have been in the media repeatedly saying that Page was only a low level volunteer nobody during the campaign. So what would investigating a low level volunteer have to do with Trump?
Fifth, the memo’s secondary target, the Steele Dossier, was created by a company called Fusion GPS. The memo claims that Fusion GPS and the Steele Dossier is essentially a democrat hit job against Trump. Which would be strange because Fusion GPS was originally contracted by a republican group that wanted to find dirt on Trump, not democrats.
This whole memo saga has been quite strange. The Trump crowd played it up like it was going to be a knock out blow, but it’s not. Democrats were outraged, but it seems to have helped their case more than hurt it. And the Intelligence Community didn’t want the memo released because they said it distorted facts, but the memo is a big nothingburger. Seems like a lot of posturing and theatrics and drama over nothing.
We’ve heard recent news that there is a “wave” of Republicans retiring from Congress and refusing to run for reelection in 2018. In fact, some are calling it a record number of retirements, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a hundred years. The conventional wisdom is that there is a Democrat “wave” coming in the mid terms and the Republicans would rather go back to the private sector (or wherever) rather than battle it out.
But buried in this news story is the fact that, in addition to low level congress critters, high level and extremely powerful committee chairs (and even the Speaker of the House!!!) are also announcing their retirement at an extraordinary pace. The committee chairs usually come from safe districts, are very well funded, and stand a very strong chance of winning reelection even in a tough political climate. So why are 9 of the most powerful politicians in the U.S., including the the person third in line to be president, also retiring and walking away?
It could be the “wave” everyone is talking about. Or it could be that these more powerful Republicans, who see a lot more information than the low level congress critters, know that there is big trouble brewing for the Republican party in terms of the Mueller investigation. Could it be that a slew of indictments against the President’s team are coming down such that they will destroy Republican chances of reelection and fundamentally destroy Trump’s presidency? Could it be that for congressmen like Nunes and Gowdy, two retiring chairmen who were also members of Trump’s political campaign and/or “transition team,” also see that they may personally have some exposure if Trump’s team goes down?
We don’t know, but there is a strong possibility that these retirements are due to something far more interesting than an upcoming “tough election.”
The big news out of the Comey congressional hearing today is that the FBI confirms it is now investigating ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian intelligence services. In response to the hearing, Donald Trump tweeted that Russia “did not influence” the electoral process. It’s a flat out lie. But more importantly Trump’s tweet appears to all but certainly confirm that Donald Trump operates the White House as the American propaganda arm of Russia. He has disrespected the White House and has cheapened the Office of Presidency.
Sadly, the Republican stooges during the congressional hearing could not even bring themselves to mention the bear in the room–Russia’s attempts to influence our presidential election. Instead, all they could muster was a half-baked attempt to show that the leakers were the “bad guys” . . . . pay no attention to the leak itself, though, comrade Americans! Representative Nunes the House Intelligence Committee chair humiliated himself, and showed himself to be a sick kiss up. It’s almost as if the Russians have something on him as well.
It was also funny to watch Congressman Trey Gowdy put on his best self-righteous prosecutor show to be outraged at the release of information by members of the intelligence community. Nevermind that the information proved that one of Trump’s top minions, Michael Flynn, was a pathological and public liar. Nope, Gowdy was upset that classified information was leaked! Nevermind that Gowdy himself incompetently leaked the name of a CIA source in 2015, thereby exposing classified information. Do you think he will ask for himself to be arrested for releasing classified information? Or maybe just for being a huge suck up and imbecile?
This follows a long line of recent examples of Trump pushing Russian propaganda. Most recently, we had the Trump White House pushing the lie that the British were wiretapping Trump during the election. When the British became upset, however, they had to backtrack significantly. It seems our allies don’t like it when we tell lies about them. Especially when the lies are manufactured and pushed by the Russians.
The underlying takeaway from the hearing today, however, is that Russia interfered with our elections. The intent clearly was to hurt Hillary Clinton and to help Trump.
It is also clear that members of the Trump entourage were well aware of the hacking and were even aware of specific instances of hacking. The best of example of this is Roger Stone, a core Trump flunky, who publicly began talking about the leaking of John Podesta’s (a Hillary flunky) e-mails before they were even leaked to the public. In other words, a Russian source was obviously keeping Stone (if not Trump himself) updated on all of their hacking.
The FBI is on the record now as investigating the Trump campaign, and even Trump himself, for their involvement in the Russian hacking scandal. Stay tuned.