Open the door, let ’em in

This is a genuine scoop by CNN tonight.  In case you don’t want to click on it, the article basically says that the Russians bragged that they could use Flynn to influence Trump.

Meantime, Pence is using Facebook to beg Trump worshipers for donations to defend Trump against all those mean people who are trying to destroy him.  I wonder if Pence includes himself among the mean people.  After all, he’s the one who knew Flynn was dirty and hired him anyway.

So far today…

These are all verified reports:

(1) Trump appears to have passed the contents of James Comey’s laptop to the Russians during that infamous Oval Office meeting.  This is in addition to sharing top-secret Israeli intelligence that really really REALLY shouldn’t have been shared.  Gee, we’re finding out more and more about why that meeting was supposed to be a secret, aren’t we?

(2) Well, I already told you about Paul Ryan a couple of times, but I do find it interesting that an actual audio recording of the conversation he tried to deny having surfaced yesterday, after having been rumored to exist for several months.

(3) It’s now absolutely clear that Pence could not have been ignorant of Flynn’s foreign entanglements — there’s just no way — yet he hired him anyway during the transition.  And then lied about it later.

(4) Flynn is now flirting with contempt of Congress charges by refusing to answer a subpoena to appear before…which committee was it?  I’m losing track.

(5) The twit (Chaffetz) will leave Congress and join Fox sometime around June 30.  That is, of course, unless he freaks out again and decides to do something else, like hang around and continue to give us all a goddamned headache.  Word has it that his departure is not unrelated to Russian kompromat.  Certainly he’s not going to try to tell us it’s because he has a sore tootsie or that the tumbling Fox gave him such a great deal that he couldn’t refuse.  Or will he?

It’s not noon yet as I write, so this may not be all for today.  Stay tuned.

P.S.  there’s one guy on Twitter who wrote an entire thread last night about some dark figure (not Putin?) who is supposedly blackmailing Trump.  Nothing in the thread made sense; it was all about this person forcing Trump to fire McMaster and keep Sean Spicer(?), and create a special counsel to investigate Russiagate (???!!??) and dark mutterings about snuff movies and slavery involving the entire GOP, and etc, etc.  Be aware that we’re going to be seeing more and more of this shit as things intensify in the coming days/weeks.  Don’t fall for it.  These people are wasting our time for the thrill of 5 minutes of fame.  If you doubt this, I have to add that this same guy wrote a thread last week about how “they” were shutting down his Twitter account.  Kind of ironic, since he was writing an entire thread by himself at the time with no interference.

Open Mouth. Insert Foot.

Originally posted 5/6/17; updated and re-posted 5/8/17 after a considerable amount of new information came to light

I heard about this yesterday or the day before (5/6/17), but had to take some time to ponder it because…well, it doesn’t make sense.

Sometime in the past few days the Trump administration claimed that it had warned Flynn to cease having contact with the Russians, and that this had taken place during the transition period.

Since the transition period was the same time that Flynn apparently didn’t tell Pence (who headed the transition) about his Russian contacts, which was the official reason Flynn was fired…well, you try to put it together.  (5/8/17 update: Sally Yates stated that indeed Pence “was not aware” of Flynn’s continued Russian contacts; however, I’m still having trouble with this because Rep. Cummings sent a letter to Pence in NOVEMBER telling him of Flynn’s Russian buddies.  Did Pence think Flynn just stopped talking to these people?  Really?  What about all those other members of the Trump team who were also reassuring Russia that the sanctions would be lifted?  Sorry, kids, this still makes no sense.  I’m not saying Yates is lying because why would she.  But I’m saying someone in the Trump administration is lying big time, because Flynn later sat in with Trump on calls to Moscow, sans the level of security clearance needed to do that, and he was kept fully 3 weeks after Yates alerted the Trump administration about what sounds like Flynn’s treason.)

It also kicks the silly Obama excuse (we hired him because Obama didn’t vet him!) to the curb, because if, according to this new fairy tale, the Trumpsuckers knew about Flynn’s Russian buddies and warned him about them, and hired him anyway…again, you try and put it together.  (5/8/17 update: this morning, prior to Yates’ testimony, someone from the former Obama administration announced that Obama himself had warned Trump about Flynn in their meeting 2 days after the election.  Sports fans, this Obama excuse is dead.)

This administration is reminding me more and more of an 8-year-old trying to explain away a misdeed in the principal’s office: the truth is pretty transparent, but still they are trying to make us believe that there’s nothing to see here, they didn’t do it, Obama did it, “fake news” did it; whatever.

Oh BTW…if you see a video clip or read a “quote” from Dianne Feinstein claiming that Trump is in no way connected to Russia, it’s genuine fake news from right-wing media.  They took one quote out of context from a fairly old interview (couple of months ago), and are trying to run with it.  Trip them.

Page the Flynn-flam man

In the past week focus in Russiagate has swung wildly from zeroing in on Carter Page, who not only keeps incriminating himself during interviews, but apparently also transmitted to the Russians some recording of Trump asking the Russians to help with his campaign, (and this coincided with Trump publicly asking the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails during a Presidential debate*), back to Michael Flynn, who accepted money from foreign governments even after being told not to.  Apparently in addition to other investigations of Flynn (one of which the White House is obstructing by refusing to release certain documents), the Pentagon is also now investigating him.  All of which means that it sucks to be Michael Flynn right now.

One wonders when the focus will shift back to Manafort, who we have not heard a whole lot about in a while.  And how about Giuliani?  He was supposed to be in handcuffs at least 2 weeks ago.  Haven’t heard a word lately.

As for Nunes, he’s disappeared for the time being.  Chaffetz keeps speaking in mazes and hasn’t taken leave yet, it seems (guess that tootsie wasn’t so sore after all).  McCain and Graham were full of shit to begin with.  Burr has had an ethics complaint brought against him.  And it goes on and on and on, and almost everyone in Congress whose behavior has been weird has R-(state) after their name.  A few, like Nunes and Chaffetz, have gone downright squirrelly, but according to them we’re supposed to believe that nothing is wrong.  Sing along with them: “It’s just another day in paradise,” and go happily about your business.  At least, that’s what they’d like you to do.

Put all this together and I have just one piece of advice to help sort it out: it’s not just one person who is the key to this.  It’s ALL of them.  (Otherwise how did they all end up in one administration, and one Republican Congress, together at the same time?Add to that at least 4 decades of Republican-party corruption and you have your answer.

And then there’s Comey.  The only thing I can say for him is that Obama stuck by him, and I trusted Obama.  But I can also say that Comey’s dragging his feet…or is he?  Word has it that there are two Russiagate grand juries in progress, and one is nearly done with its work (since all the news last week was about Flynn, I’m guessing this grand jury was focusing on something related to him).  Stay tuned.  In the end it may turn out that Comey sacrificed his reputation for the sake of the Republic, but that sounds a bit too melodramatic to believe.  Still, Obama stuck by him — and Trump has made at least one threat to fire him.  To me, that says a lot.

Once again, to anyone feeling lost and confused, all I can advise is never lose sight of the fact that just about everyone on the Trump administration has Russian connections, and so do an awful lot of other people in the Republican party.  This will get you through all these wild changes of focus on the part of the investigations and in the media.

It will also help you deal with any attempted distractions thrown out by Trump or others in his circle, and those are pitched out almost daily.  Never expect to read about any of that here because I can pride myself on being almost immune.  Not that I won’t slip up now and then; I will (and I already have).  But keep this in mind: if you don’t read about it here eventually, it’s a distraction.  Don’t bother with it.

*I’d like to point out once again that not only did Trump publicly ask the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails, but at the last debate, when his poll numbers were in the toilet and we were all looking forward to Madame President, Trump stated that we should just hand him the election now.  Somehow no one seems to remember this anymore, but I do, and I believe he said it because he knew the election was fixed.  Also remember how from October on he kept crying about the election being fixed in Clinton’s favor.  Just always keep in mind that Trump is nearly transparent.  Whatever he whines that someone else is doing (and they’re usually not), you can bet he’s doing himself.  As in, he knew what the Russians were up to, AND he asked them to do it.

P.S. It’s now Sunday, the beginning of week 3, and no one has been arrested.

A Twitter Thread You Must Read

Seth Abramson

He tweeted all night long

I guess Trump spent the night tweeting that Flynn should get immunity from prosecution because this whole Russia affair is a “witch hunt,” which only begs the question why Trump himself doesn’t ask for immunity.  Of course he hasn’t been called yet to testify, but the possibility remains.

In a way one almost feels sorry for him.  He never had a clue this investigation could or would happen.  He honestly thought that as president, all his troubles would disappear.  He thought he could wave his presidential wand and/or Uncle Putie would issue a threat to the American public, and everyone would bow to him and all “fake” news would disappear.  And in his perfect world, the only news that would be left would be Fox News, Breitbart, the National Enquirer, and the right-wing radio brigade.  There would be no one who would not dutifully cling to the official story.  Congress would grovel and be terrified of the mighty Trump and his right-wing fact-creating machine, and would cease to be any kind of threat.  And thus Trump would be able to go back to his accustomed looting and his weekend golf outings, undisturbed by facts or danger of exposure.  Heck, why not start campaigning for his second term right now?  After all, Uncle Putie’s election-eating machine is in place to make that happen (again), and it sure beats working.

But reality has struck.  Somebody tweeted last night that the former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele told some group to start cultivating Pence (who is also on the verge of some serious trouble, but that’s for another post), because Trump isn’t going to last long.  And it has nothing to do with Flynn or anyone else being given immunity and singing like a tweetie-bird.  It has to do with stubborn facts, and an intelligence community and a fourth estate that keep spewing them.

Flynn — probably because of his lawyer’s daft statement about Flynn’s need for immunity (which lined up with Trump’s) — was denied immunity by the Senate Intelligence Committee early today.  That’s one of three; we’ll see what the FBI and the disgraced House Committee do.  (Slight update: the House Committee is probably too paralyzed to do anything coherent, but Rep. Schiff did state today that he did not see the need for immunity, since no one is being prosecuted at present.)

At first I was alarmed about that, but then I realized that because of one Republican senator, the Democrats actually have a working majority on the Senate Committee.  They are not going to give Flynn immunity and then do a softball hearing with him, during which he can say anything, even claim he was the one who cut down the cherry tree, and they can’t touch him for it later.

The Committee must have smelled a rat, so they left Flynn out in the open and vulnerable.  As Rachel Maddow stated last night, they must have other ways of getting at the truth, (see video link in article) meaning Flynn is just not that important in the overall scheme — at least, he is no more important than Pence, Bannon, Tillerson, or any of the rest.  His case is not outstanding enough to give immunity, and besides, as Rep. Schiff said, no one’s being prosecuted at present, so why jump the gun?  You know, “no one asks for immunity unless they’re guilty,” (a quote from Flynn himself).  And no one tweets about it at 3:00 a.m. or whenever it was, unless they are guilty.

Worse, actual facts, (as opposed to propaganda), are as resilient a cockroaches.

As I reported last night, there was another tweet that claimed that “reliable sources” felt that Trump would resign shortly.  But as of today, when one of three entities Flynn asked for immunity has denied him, I doubt the stupid Trump still feels he’s in that much danger.  The logic seems to be that Flynn will tell some tall tale under immunity and get away with it — as will Trump and his administration — but without it, he will plead the 5th (which is probably the only amendment to the Constitution, outside of a sentence fragment of the 2nd amendment, that Trump knows).  Either way, in Trump’s view, Trump wins.

Hell, Trump’s probably thinking he should have slept last night, not spent the night tweeting like a guilty 8-year-old anticipating a morning meeting with the school principal.  Now he’ll probably happily fly to Mar A Lago and go play golf, and once again hand the taxpayers the tab, oblivious to the fact that a Flynn without immunity is more dangerous to him than a Flynn with immunity.

It would be nice if he found at the end of the weekend that he has no Presidential seat to go back to, but right now it seems like a distant dream.  It is good to know, however, that this possibility is being worked on.   However arcane the process seems, right now it looks like no one who is being investigated is going to be given a soft landing.

Congress, that is all we ask.

More rockets bursting in air

Yesterday I came across a tweet from a “White House staffer” that claimed that we should watch for Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation any day now, because “the knives are out” for Nunes at the White House.  As I know at least some of the White House leakers are actually minions of Bannon, I was skeptical.  It didn’t seem to make any sense.  Why would the White House be gunning for someone who was making an utter fool of himself trying to defend them?

And now, this: Strap in tight

Okay, now I get it.  (Note: Latest word has it that Nunes has denied everything and is not recusing himself.)

A few minutes later another bomb burst, this time about Flynn (who was peripherally involved in the Nunes situation, but that’s the least of his problems).  For two weeks we’ve been hearing that Flynn was about to flip.  Now it appears he has:

Flynn, WSJ

Shoes are dropping and rockets are bursting faster than I can type today, and I’m sure there’ll be more.  All I can promise is that I’ll post things as quickly as I can make sense of them and find reliable sources to refer my readers to.

P.S. for what it’s worth: White House staffer tweet