21 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-13-18

  1. The dominoes continue to fall. Let’s hope this one is next.


    “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump — including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it.

    In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election “to help Trump’s chances of victory.”

    Brennan also swore that he did not know who commissioned the anti-Trump research document (excerpt here), even though senior national security and counterintelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    Last week, Nunes (R-Calif.) released a declassified memo exposing surveillance “abuses” by the Obama DOJ and FBI in their investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. It said the agencies relied heavily on the uncorroborated dossier to take out a warrant to secretly surveil a Trump adviser in the heat of the 2016 presidential election, even though they were aware the underlying “intelligence” supporting the wiretap order was political opposition research funded by Clinton allies — a material fact they concealed from FISA court judges in four separate applications.

    Nunes plans to soon release a separate report detailing the Obama State Department’s role in creating and disseminating the dossier — which has emerged as the foundation of the Obama administration’s Russia “collusion” investigation. Among other things, the report will identify Obama-appointed diplomats who worked with partisan operatives close to Hillary Clinton to help ex-British spy Christopher Steele compile the dossier, sources say.

    “Those are the first two phases” of Nunes’ multipart inquiry, a senior investigator said. “In phase three, the involvement of the intelligence community will come into sharper focus.”

    The aide, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said Nunes will focus on Brennan as well as President Obama’s first CIA director, Leon Panetta, along with the former president’s intelligence czar, James Clapper, and national security adviser, Susan Rice, and security adviser-turned U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, among other intelligence officials.

    “John Brennan did more than anyone to promulgate the dirty dossier,” the investigator said. “He politicized and effectively weaponized what was false intelligence against Trump.”

    Attempts to reach Brennan for comment were unsuccessful.”


  2. The narrative is collapsing.


    “Former CIA director John Brennan is having trouble keeping his Trump-Russia stories straight. On Meet the Press this past Sunday, host Chuck Todd asked MSNBC’s new national security analyst about George Papadopoulos, a volunteer adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and his reputed ties to Russia.

    The question should have been a simple one to answer, for anyone who has been following the twists and turns of the Russiagate narrative. For over a year, press reports had proclaimed that the FBI’s July 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia connections had originated with a dossier compiled by an impeccable British intelligence source who alleged that Russia had compromising material on the Republican candidate. Further, the document alleges that Trump aides had committed serious crimes in coordination with Russian officials. But the so-called Steele dossier, named for the former British spy Christopher Steele, who allegedly authored it, proved to be opposition research that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee paid the Washington, D.C. strategic communications firm Fusion GPS millions of dollars to produce and distribute to the press.

    Just as the dossier’s credibility began to wane—none of the allegations regarding Trump have been verified—a New York Times article from Dec. 30, 2017 corrected the record to show that the FBI’s inquiry into the Trump team’s possible ties to Russia in fact had nothing to do with the Steele dossier, or Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as the paper had been reporting for the past year. No, it began after a meeting between Papadopoulos and the Australian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer, in a London bar, back in May 2016. At that meeting, Papadopoulos, who, according to the Times, was in contact with Russian figures who were apparently connected to official Russian channels, told Downer that he had inside information the Russians were about to release thousands of emails damaging to Hillary Clinton. After the hacked DNC emails appeared in June and July, according to the Times, the Australians decided to pass on news of Papadopoulos’s boasts to their “American counterparts.”

    Todd asked Brennan if the intelligence on Papadopoulos came “through the C.I.A. via the Five Eyes thing,” referring to the intelligence-sharing relationship between the five English-speaking powers, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Brennan’s response, though, went off-script.”

    “Brennan continued: “I wanted to make sure that every information and bit of intelligence that we had was shared with the bureau [FBI] so that they could take it. It was well beyond my mandate as director of CIA to follow on any of those leads that involved U.S. persons. But I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the bureau.”

    In other words, the FBI investigation didn’t start when the Australians, according to the Times—or the Brits, according to Brennan’s most recent version of the story—contacted the FBI after the Papadopoulos-Downer meeting. No, it started when the director of the CIA decided to start an investigation, when Brennan passed on information and intelligence to the FBI, and signaled that the bureau better act on it.

    The former CIA director has some questions to answer, then. What precisely was his role in initiating the FBI probe into the Trump team’s possible ties to Russia? Will he disclose where the intelligence actually came from? Was it volunteered by one of America’s closest allies, or did U.S. officials request to search allies’ databases for the communications of American citizens? If so, under what authority were American allies being used to help an American intelligence agency spy on a domestic political campaign?”

    “Given the potential consequences, legal and institutional, of violating the fourth amendment rights of an American citizen for the sake of enabling one presidential campaign to spy on another, it’s hardly surprising Brennan would want to put some distance between himself and the Steele dossier. He told Chuck Todd that while he heard lots of rumors about it, he didn’t see it until December 2016. “Well, it was not a very well-kept secret among press circles for several months before it came out,” said Brennan. “And it was in late summer of 2016 when there were some individuals from the various U.S. news outlets who asked me about my familiarity with it. And I had heard just snippets about it. I did not know what was in there.”

    That makes no sense. In July, Brennan alerted the FBI to the possibility that Russia is seeking to interfere in the presidential election. In August, he briefed the White House and then congressional leaders on Russia’s attempts to influence the election for the purpose of putting Trump in the White House. In December, the CIA assessed that Russia had done exactly that. But for five months, Brennan didn’t bother to look at a document widely discussed for months by the Washington press corps that deals explicitly with the issue that has the director of the Central Intelligence Agency setting off fire alarms at the FBI, Congress, and the White House?

    Nonsense. Brennan’s problem now is that the more distance he tries to put between himself and the sketchy dossier, the more he highlights the CIA director’s role in promoting the collusion narrative inside the Beltway bureaucracy.”


  3. Some wife beaters are more equal than others……..


    “Delaware senator Tom Carper, a Democrat who has admitted to hitting his ex-wife hard enough to give her a black eye, will not be commenting on the scandal surrounding spousal abuse by now-resigned White House official Rob Porter.

    The accusations from Porter’s two ex-wives of domestic abuse, which were bolstered by a photograph of one of them with a black eye she says was caused by Porter, was the top political story this week in Washington, D.C. Carper, however, has been silent.

    “We do not have a comment on Porter,” said a Carper spokesperson.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm….. indeed.


    “Note the date and time: January 20, 2017, 12:15 p.m. Trump had just been sworn in as president minutes before. Was Susan Rice commiserating with friends while he took the oath of office? Ruminating on the legacy of the Obama years? Planning her next career move? Texting angrily to someone about how much she hates Trump? Getting plastered?

    Nope, she was thinking about Russiagate, intently enough that she wanted to get something down on the record where she knew the National Archives would record it about a meeting that had been held more than two weeks before. In her final moments as a White House employee, this is what Susan Rice was focused on.”


  5. Due process should still matter, even if the person is guilty as accused. For justice to prevail, it’s required.


    “Yes, Porter’s ex-wives accuse him of various abuses which, if true, would make him a terrible person and a criminal. They are serious charges. But Rob Porter denies them, completely, and without reservation. He has worked with many people for years who have never seen any indication of any of this activity; they have seen the opposite.

    Who do you believe?

    I recall my mom, a judge who dealt with many kinds of cases, including family law, telling me two things when she swore me in in her courtroom. Number One was, “Don’t become one of those $%#%&@ LA lawyers.” Well, I clearly did not listen to that. But I did listen to her second bit of advice: “Everybody lies.”

    That’s pretty cynical, but it’s true. Criminals lie. Cops lie. Kids lie. Businesspeople lie. Wives lie. Husbands lie. Not all the time, not every time, but there is no category of people that never lies. In every case, there are two sides. At least one party’s story is untrue.

    So, who is lying here? The ex-wives? Porter? Maybe you feel comfortable crucifying those who choose to believe Porter’s denials, based on their knowledge of him, merely because he was accused. Well, I would expect that from liberals. But if this is now somehow “conservatism,” count me out.

    Here’s the issue his White House co-workers faced. Exes lie about each other and make up abuse claims all the time. That may or may not be happening here, but it’s not unreasonable to take that into account when being asked to blackball a co-worker who has demonstrated zero tendency toward such activities in the entire time you worked with him. There was apparently a police report but no charges – this case has not been adjudicated in what used to be where we tried cases, court. I guess the new courtroom is social media.


    Cue the liars to falsely accuse me of somehow defending spousal abuse simply because I dare to point out the perspective of Porter’s co-workers and to stand up for due process. So predictable, so lame.

    And it was not a cut-and-dried perspective. Yes, there was a restraining order, but that is typically an ex parte proceeding – a proceeding where the restrained party does not appear and offer his side of the story – and the evidentiary standard is very low, as it should be. My mom used to issue these all the time. It simply keeps the parties apart for a while (though they can effect gun rights). It is not supposed to ruin their lives because it doesn’t adjudicate anything.

    Another White House staffer, David Sorensen, resigned after he was accused by an ex of abuse. Except he says she abused him. I spoke to a source who knows both of them personally; my source believes David. According to the WaPo, so does her bridesmaid and Sorensen’s first wife. And so did his ex, when she denied being abused during the divorce proceedings. But regardless, I thought we believed the victims? Oh wait, is that true only if their plumbing is correct, and if they help create a narrative that undercuts Trump?

    To quote Ray Donavan, where does he go to get his reputation back? Or is David Sorensen just another example of acceptable collateral damage in the liberals’ and conservafrauds’ campaign to destroy Trump and get their power and prestige back?

    Pardon me if I’m spoiling the lynch party, but I’m old school conservative. I think if you want to punish someone you need to prove your charges in a forum where the accused gets to tell his side of the story. Sorry if that gets in the way of your short-term partisan advantage, but I’m committed to blind justice no matter how uncool and inconvenient you think it is.

    Except this has nothing to do with justice. This manufactured outrage over Porter is a perversion of the right of due process into one where “credible accusations” – they are always credible if they help the liberal or Fredocon agendas – are enough to trash third party political opponents who refuse to play along. This whole uproar is designed not to deal with Porter, who none of us heard of before the media needed to change the subject last week, but to try to stop Trump’s momentum. They want Kelly out because it will hurt Trump and his administration and maybe bring chaos back to the White House.

    They want that, desperately.”


  6. The futile search to find spotless candidates who don’t consider the voter deplorable, stupid, lazy, irrelevant or dispensable led us to Trump. I’m becoming more thankful by the day that he is able to withstand the pressure of constant bombardment from the press and political enemies.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. From the article:

    At the same time, emphasize the horror of a man mistreating women. Do not let the boys and young men around you ever, even for a millisecond, see you waving away or justifying sexual predation, misogynistic comments, or violence against women by a sports figure because he plays for your team or a politician because he belongs to your party or an entertainer because he makes you laugh. Your hypocrisy cannot only point the next generation away from Jesus, but may also point them toward the way of predation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Did Flynn actually do anything wrong?

    Or is it as many suspect, he took a plea after Mueller took him to the cleaners in lawyer fees defending himself? Or maybe the threat to pursue his son if he didn’t?


    “Special prosecutor counsel Bob Mueller has one significant scalp on the wall: that of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI and has yet to be sentenced. But, in a brilliant column, Byron York reviews the sequence of events as we have tortuously come to know them. Based on what we now know (or think we know), it is highly doubtful whether Flynn did anything wrong at all.

    It is a given that there was nothing wrong with Flynn’s talking to the Russian ambassador, or discussing sanctions with him. As the incoming National Security Advisor, Flynn had many such conversations with foreign diplomats. Sanctions were a perfectly legitimate topic for them to talk about, as Stephen Hadley said:

    So even if Flynn discussed the hot issue of U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak, that was OK. “I don’t have a problem with that,” former Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley said in February 2017. “I don’t see what would be wrong if [Flynn] simply said, look, don’t retaliate, doesn’t make sense, it hurts my country, it makes it harder for us as an incoming administration to reconsider Russia policy, which is something we said we’d do. So just hold your fire and let us have a shot at this.”

    And, as Byron notes, the FBI said that it found no wrongdoing in Flynn’s conversations with Ambassador Kislyak.

    So, what is the problem? Why on Earth would Flynn lie to the FBI? Maybe he didn’t:

    [FBI Director James] Comey went to Capitol Hill in March to brief lawmakers privately. That is when he told them that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe Flynn had lied, or that any inaccuracies in Flynn’s answers were intentional. And that is when some lawmakers got the impression that Flynn would not be charged with any crime pertaining to the January 24 interview.

    So what changed? The answer apparently has a lot to do with Sally Yates, the disgraced former Acting Attorney General, an Obama holdover who later was fired for insubordination. Yates promoted the far-fetched theory that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act and therefore might be subject to blackmail by the Russians. Of course, while that theory might provide a flimsy motive for lying to the FBI, it wouldn’t prove that Flynn intentionally said anything that was untrue.

    Why would Flynn plead guilty to a single count if he was innocent? That seems like a logical question to those who have never had the full might of the federal government directed against us. Our friend Howard Root could explain what it feels like to have the inexhaustible resources of the federal government committed to putting you in prison, as a political pawn. Flynn has said that he was nearly broke as a result of having to pay lawyers to defend him against the special prosecutor’s counsel’s vendetta, an entirely plausible claim. With the Trump administration taking a hands-off approach–theoretically proper but entirely unhelpful, if you are Michael Flynn–it isn’t hard to see why he might plead guilty to something he didn’t do.”


  9. Here’s the York piece…. more required reading.


    “In March 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed a number of Capitol Hill lawmakers on the Trump-Russia investigation. One topic of intense interest was the case of Michael Flynn, the Trump White House national security adviser who resigned under pressure on Feb. 13 after just 24 days in the job.

    There were widespread reports that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about telephone conversations that he, Flynn, had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition in late December 2016. On Jan. 24, 2017, two of Comey’s FBI agents went to the White House to question Flynn, and there was a lot of speculation later that Flynn lied in that interview, which would be a serious crime.

    “The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy,” the Washington Post reported in February. “Lying to the FBI is a felony offense.”

    There was also a lot of concern in Congress, at least among Republicans, about the leak of the wiretapped Flynn-Kislyak conversation. Such intelligence is classified at the highest level of secrecy, yet someone — Republicans suspected Obama appointees in the Justice Department and intelligence community — revealed it to the press.

    So in March, lawmakers wanted Comey to tell them what was up. And what they heard from the director did not match what they were hearing in the media.

    According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional. As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the Jan. 24 interview.

    Nine months later, with Comey gone and special counsel Robert Mueller in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI in that Jan. 24 questioning.

    What happened? With Flynn awaiting sentencing — that was recently delayed until at least May — some lawmakers are trying to figure out what occurred between the time Comey told Congress the FBI did not believe Flynn lied and the time, several months later, when Flynn pleaded guilty to just that.

    None of those congressional investigators has an answer; they’re baffled by the turn of events. But they know they find the Flynn case troubling, from start to finish.

    The questioning in that Jan. 24 interview apparently revolved around the Flynn-Kislyak phone conversations. The first thing to remember is that it appears Flynn did nothing wrong in having those talks. As the incoming national security adviser, it was entirely reasonable that he discuss policy with representatives of other governments — and Flynn was getting calls from all around the world.

    So even if Flynn discussed the hot issue of U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak, that was OK. “I don’t have a problem with that,” former Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley said in February 2017. “I don’t see what would be wrong if [Flynn] simply said, look, don’t retaliate, doesn’t make sense, it hurts my country, it makes it harder for us as an incoming administration to reconsider Russia policy, which is something we said we’d do. So just hold your fire and let us have a shot at this.”

    Indeed, it appears the FBI did not think Flynn had done anything wrong in the calls. On Jan. 23, the Washington Post reported that the FBI had reviewed the Flynn-Kislyak calls and “has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government.” (The calls had been intercepted by U.S. intelligence because the U.S. monitored the Russian ambassador’s communications — something which Flynn, a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, surely knew.)

    Still, Flynn’s conversation had the attention of the Obama Justice Department, and in particular of deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who reportedly believed Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, a 218 year-old law under which no one had ever been successfully prosecuted. (Two people were charged in the 19th century, but the cases were dropped.)”


  10. This one is obligatory I guess

    An interesting opinion for a confessed Christian lady/former WH aid on a not really “reality” tv show..


    “Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman continued to reveal more White House secrets on Celebrity Big Brother on Monday.

    In the most recent episode of the CBS show, Manigault Newman—who usually goes by just Omarosa—told her fellow houseguests that Vice President Mike Pence would be a worse president than Donald Trump. She added that Pence believes Jesus tells him to say things.

    Omarosa said: “As bad as y’all think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence. Everybody that’s wishing for impeachment, you might want to reconsider.”

    She continued: “We would be begging for the days of Trump back if Pence became president. He’s extreme. I’m a Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things…Scary.”

    Director of Communications for the White House Public Liaison Office Omarosa Manigault Newman waits for the beginning of an event October 26, 2017 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. On Celebrity Big Brother Monday night, Omarosa slammed vice president Mike Pence. Getty

    Omarosa also said that she has seen the administration’s plan on illegal immigrants and warned her fellow contestants on the show that the crackdown gets “more aggressive.””


  11. One of the problems with ascertaining the truth about whether or not Rob Porter beat his ex-wives is that sometimes abusers are known as kind and good to those outside the home. That’s often why victims of abuse are not believed, because the abuser seems like such a great person.

    And then there is the matter that yes, his ex-wives might be lying out of spite.

    I don’t know one way or the other in his case, but the fact that there was a police report at one time does throw some weight behind the ex-wives’ story. And I agree about due process. These various men being accused should not automatically lose their jobs unless the evidence is strong enough.

    Liked by 1 person

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