Ignore that leak behind the curtain

Twitter seems to have gotten ahead of itself today.  Everyone’s acting like something big has happened, but they are talking only about the aftermath and not mentioning what actually happened.  I’m guessing this is because nothing much has happened.

Yes, Rosenstein is probably going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation (probably to avoid a run-in with Trump when Trump orders the DOJ to fire Mueller?), and it’s said he’ll be replaced by someone who was actively supporting the deplorable Ted Cruz during the presidential campaign.  Whether this means she is Russia-free or not remains to be seen.  But is that the big event they’re all aftermath-tweeting about?  Doesn’t seem like it.

UPDATE: Seth Abramson just tweeted that Trump had tweeted an implicit threat to fire Rosenstein, and that this is felony witness tampering.  But Abramson also tweeted that no one but himself picked up on this, which leaves us back at square one.  (BTW, I have Trump blocked so I saw none of this.)

Since no one but Abramson picked up on this, we’re still wondering why Twitter is all excited, so…

The White House staff is reportedly lawyering up, and it’s been confirmed that even Trump’s lawyer has hired a lawyer for himself.   Is this starting to sound like a skit from Monty Python yet?  Yes, but it’s not big news.  The White House staff has sounded like a  skit from Monty Python since well before they were actually in the White House.

Steve Bannon is now said to be under investigation for obstruction of justice, as he’s been physically threatening White House staffers (??? how is this connected?).  Bannon can never be counted on to keep it classy, so no, this is not big news.  (Interesting tweet on this subject that has nothing to do with obstruction of justice, but a lot to do with plain old thuggery: Bannon physically threatening people)

One person called Trump “mobbed up” in a comment.  This dovetails with what someone else posted yesterday (or the day before), something to the effect that if Trump’s mob connections had been revealed before the election, perhaps we would not be in the crisis we’re in.  True.  But still…old news.

Someone else tweeted jokingly that Pence is writing a draft of his first speech as president, although Pence seems destined to get no nearer the big chair in the oval office than he is right now.  Too many lies have spewed from his mouth, you see, and sometimes lies have consequences even if you claim to be all Christian and stuff.

So what’s going on?  I still don’t know, but the current excitement seems to have started late yesterday when the DOJ sent out a mysterious statement advising that U.S. citizens not believe any reports sourced to foreigners or unnamed foreigners.  Or something like that.  Um…okay.

Twitter erupted instantly, setting off an avalanche of jokes, but there were also many guesses as to what the cryptic statement meant.  Some guessed that Pence (see above) had leaked false information to WaPo, and this was the DOJ’s attempt to counteract it.  But WaPo is not foreign and neither, at last check, is Pence.

Lots of other guesses focused on the possibility that a foreign government has a “pee pee tape” and is about to…ahem…leak it.  That seems more likely.  But it’s now more than 12 hours since that weird communication from the DOJ, and nothing has happened.

Certainly Trump seems even more discombobulated than usual; apparently he spent the entire night tweeting (see Seth Abramson paragraph above).  In response to what Trump had tweeted, the often-hilarious pundit Tea Pain posted this:

Only believe Putin

Nice summary.  But I still don’t know why this is such a “fun Friday,” as one person called it.  No one has been arrested yet but a few dozen New York mobsters, and while Trump definitely has mob connections, no one has said anything about those arrests being associated with him.

Now when the arrests of Trump staffers and other politicians start, that will be fun.

 

 

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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.

All sorts of tiddly $#*%

Nothing dramatic has happened this morning; just a steady drip, drip, drip.  No flood.

Trump is preparing to get on a plane to somewhere, not that anything he does or says really matters.  There is the odd report that he is paranoid that Pence will “take over” while he is gone, and certainly there has been a uptick in rumors of Pence funding his presidential campaign for 2020, etc.  But the fact is there has also been a sharp uptick in reports that Pence knew Flynn was crooked well before he allowed Flynn to become national security advisor to Trump.  So if I were Pence, maybe I wouldn’t be thinking about 2020, but surviving 2017 as a free man involved in politics instead.

As for Pence taking over, I doubt it.  Nothing dramatic will happen in Trump’s absence;  Washington is too scared right now.  Apparently Ryan is hiding under his desk after finding out that he had been recorded saying that the Russians were paying Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Trump.  It’s said he’s now wondering what else he uttered that was recorded, and in typical Republican fashion who did it.  Right.  Let’s never face our own crimes, let’s worry about who exposed them.

Anyway, the Rohrabacher situation reveals that Russian influence in Washington may go back further than previously thought, and that the Republicans in particular have been identified by the Russians as sitting ducks.  (For a scathing Wisconsin editorial about our darling Ryan, read hereThis is interesting too.)

So that’s one thing that’s scaring the Republicans.  The other is Robert Mueller, who has now requested Congressional investigations halt, or at least curtail their activities.  Social media reacted to this request with fear and outrage, particularly since a story was planted yesterday about how the law firm Mueller worked for was connected to the Trumps or those associated with them.  People, people…

At this point there probably aren’t too many major law firms that haven’t had dealings with the Trumps and/or their associates.  That doesn’t mean Mueller himself did.  Also, the timing of this story suggests that it came from either the Russians or Trump’s camp.  Put all of that together and I say that unless Mueller starts doing things obviously pro-Trump, don’t panic.

The request that the Congressional committees dial back their investigations is no big deal considering the amount of interference and obstruction various Republicans on those committees were subjecting them to.  Remember all those questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails in at least two of the public hearings that were supposed to be about the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia?  It could be that Mueller saw that too, and decided the committees were just trying to score political points and deflections.  And he’s right on that.  Enough, already.  Let’s not let the inmates run the asylum, as the old saying goes.

Anyway, the little explosion this morning is that Trump signed financial disclosures for 2016 against the advice of his attorneys.  Why was he advised against signing?  Because the disclosures were false.

The other little explosion is that Julian Assange is a free man (odd that this happened at the same moment a massive cyber-attack on social media was in progress); he can leave the embassy now because the Swiss no longer want to question him about the possible rape charge.  It’s said the FBI may have had something to do with this, which is interesting.  It does seem that Assange’s even more vulnerable to Putin now if he doesn’t toe the mark.  So really, he may be free, but he isn’t free, and he will never be free.

And so that’s where we are at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2017.  Trump’s about to be in the thin air, Pence is stranded on the ground, Ryan is hiding under his desk, Mueller’s sniffing around, Assange thinks he’s free, and nobody’s is going anywhere for a while.

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.