43 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-19-18

  1. Despite the lies and semantics of the NYTimes and certain other parties, the truth is Trump was right, he was spied on by the Obama admin. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t being honest.


    “Katie wrote about it this morning. It’s confirmed, folks. The FBI had a spy embedded with the Trump campaign. She added the bureau did not have enough evidence to launch a criminal investigation, so they executed a counterintelligence probe instead in July of 2016. The code name was “crossfire hurricane.” This was the investigation signed off by FBI agent Peter Strzok. Sztrok was a top counterintelligence agent before being transferred to human resources after his extramarital affair with bureau lawyer Lisa Page was made public and the two’s texts, which numbered in the tens of thousands, were riddled with anti-Trump and pro-Hillary sentiments. Once then-FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Trump in May of 2017, Robert Mueller took over the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein oversees him.

    The Page-Strzok texts formed the basis of inquiry into the FBI’s role in all of this. How impartial were they? The texts were so problematic that Mueller removed him in August of 2017. The two discussed how they felt the FBI was going too hard on Hillary as well; Strzok was also involved in that investigation as well. Was the bureau in the tank? The optics weren’t good, especially when reports came that Strzok was presented with evidence that the former first lady’s email server was breached and did nothing about it. But the main focus was the text Strzok sent about a meeting with then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe in which he referenced an “insurance policy” against Trump. Many have alleged this is a reference to the Trump dossier, which was used to obtain a spy warrant against Carter Page, who was a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign. This is unsettling because the dossier was a bankrolled project by Democrats. The Clinton campaign hired research firm Fusion GPS, who then contracted former MI6 spook Christopher Steele to compile dirt on Trump. Still, the counterintelligence probe into Russian collusion and the Trump team, in which there is still zero evidence, moved forward:

    Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly. One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts.

    That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race.[…]

    The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.[…]

    They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

    Pavlich, citing The Washington Post, added that there was also a secret source feeding the FBI information:”


  2. Why the need for our govt to use foreigners for this work?

    And what did our govt pay this guy a million bucks for that there’s no record of?


    “Halper’s September 2016 outreach to Papadopoulos wasn’t his only contact with Trump campaign members. The 73-year-old professor, a veteran of three Republican administrations, met with two other campaign advisers, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.

    Papadopoulos now questions Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’s thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.

    According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

    Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.

    Halper first contacted Papadopoulos by email. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message sent to Papadopoulos’s personal email account, he offered the Trump aide $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.

    Papadopoulos accepted the proposal, flew to England, and met with Halper and one of his assistants. He delivered the paper electronically Oct. 2 and received payment days later, according to documents TheDCNF reviewed.

    Halper’s encounters with Papadopoulos were not the only encounters that the professor had with the Trump campaign.”

    “Neither Halper nor Turk responded to numerous requests for comment. A phone call placed to a number listed for Halper was answered by a man who claimed Halper was not available. A message left with the man was not returned. Halper also did not reply to a detailed list of questions about his interactions with Trump campaign advisers.

    Halper’s resume provides mixed clues about why he might have reached out to Papadopoulos.

    On one hand, he worked on several geopolitical policy projects as a contractor for the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank. Federal records show he has been paid $928,800 since 2012 on four separate research projects.

    At the time of the Papadopoulos meeting, Halper was working on a project related to China and Russia’s economic relations. There are no public records of Halper releasing reports on Turkey, Cyprus and Israel.”


  3. Huh.

    “In an ironic twist given the Russia probe’s focus on election meddling, Halper was also linked to a Reagan-era scandal dubbed “Briefing-gate.”

    Halper was one of several Reagan White House officials linked to the scandal, which involved campaign briefing materials stolen from Carter’s campaign. Prior to the 1980 election, stolen Carter-campaign briefing papers containing classified information ended up in the hands of Reagan’s campaign officials.

    The theft was not revealed until 1983. Halper was not directly implicated in stealing the documents, but he was identified as one of the campaign advisers who handled and disseminated them.”


  4. Good news.

    And really, just go, leave now.


    “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appears to be losing his grip on power over a restive House Republican conference just a month after announcing he would retire from Congress.

    Members of the far-right Freedom Caucus teamed with moderate Republicans on Friday to sink the farm bill, a major legislative priority and legacy item for the lame-duck Speaker.

    In a related development, a band of 20 centrist Republicans are revolting against Ryan, circumventing leadership by using a rare procedural tactic to force a series of immigration votes.

    Ryan reinstated Father Patrick Conroy as the House chaplain last month after Catholic Republicans and Democrats publicly ripped his decision to force the chaplain to step down.

    The outgoing Speaker had hoped to use his final months in office raising money for his party and campaigning to defend the House majority in a critical midterm election year.

    Instead, he’s facing increasing intraparty divisions on several fronts largely due to a power vacuum he created once he publicly announced his retirement on April 11, according to several Hill GOP sources.

    “It’s difficult to close deals when you are a Speaker who’s announced you are leaving in a few months,” a senior GOP source said Friday after the farm bill went down. “If you have somebody who’s going to be stepping down eight months in advance, a lot of people are not going to care what you have to say.”

    Added a GOP lawmaker: “The shelf life of a former anything in Congress, including Speaker, is about 30 minutes. That could not be refuted with a thousand examples — it’s just the way it is.””


  5. I’ve been flipping back and forth all morning between political news and the royal wedding; it’s dizzying. Time to go dig in the garden and get something real accomplished!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m off to the nursery to buy some plants for my planters. That’s as political as I’m getting today!


  7. The FBI didn’t spy on the Trump campaign. They were investigating reports of illegal activities. It’s what law enforcement does. They must have had some justification after all Mueller has about 20 indictments and 6 guilty pleas so far. I may have my numbers off but regardless of numbers, its obvious there was an investigative need.


  8. HRW, The Trump Cult can not handle the truth that is obvious to most us and is clearly reported by all but the Cult media.

    There is money to be made in the Cult media. Hannity was always an idiot. However, people like Tucker Carlson and Byron York were actually thinking conservatives, but are now making good money by acting like Trumpers and repeating the cult myths.


  9. Fourteen months ago, when people here started defending Trump regarding this story which no White House aide would defend, I knew we were no longer dealing with rational adults, but were instead confronted by a very odd personality cult. We now have a large percentage of our population fully invested in the cult. Facts don’t matter to them. Logic doesn’t matter to them. They are too blind too remember what the FBI does when presented with evidence of criminal activity. They root for Russian corporations that have been indicted by Mueller for interfering with the election. It is very strange. Fortunately, it is also very funny.


  10. Chas, you missed it (“the” wedding). It was on at 4 a.m. our time, so would have been on at … 1 a.m. your time?

    I’m sure they’ll rerun it plenty — or watch it on YouTube.


  11. Examples should be made. Time to drop the ax on yet another criminal leaker…..


    “The mysterious law enforcement official behind the leak of confidential documents on Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s business dealings is facing new pressure as sources debunk his rationale for leaking — and one report suggests it won’t be long before he’s caught.

    The leaker could face up to five years in jail if identified and prosecuted.

    The individual, who has not been named, came forward in an interview with The New Yorker on Wednesday, taking responsibility for disclosing records that show Cohen used a shell company to receive payments from firms seeking access to the Trump administration — including AT&T and a New York-based investment firm linked to a Russian oligarch.

    The official told The New Yorker he did it out of concern over allegedly missing files. The documents in question are known as “suspicious activity reports,” or SARs, and were filed by a bank that Cohen used. Banks are required to file such reports when they notice transactions that may break the law — and such records can be accessed by law enforcement.

    The leaker claimed that two SARs detailing more than $3 million in additional transactions were missing from the database maintained by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN).

    “I have never seen something pulled off the system,” the official reportedly said. “That’s why I came forward.”

    But it now seems the files were merely restricted, not missing.

    A FinCEN spokesperson, without directly citing the Cohen records, undercut the leaker’s story in a statement on Thursday — explaining that the agency can limit access to certain records when asked by law enforcement.

    “Under longstanding procedures, FinCEN will limit access to certain SARs when requested by law enforcement authorities in connection with an ongoing investigation,” a FinCEN spokesperson said.

    Fox News has learned that FinCEN limits access to SARs but does not delete or remove them from the database. In such cases, users trying to view a restricted file are told that it is unavailable for viewing at that time.

    Further, BuzzFeed confirmed that Treasury Department officials restricted access to those files and did not remove them. “


  12. More winning.


    “The U.S. and China have finally reached an agreement on trade, defusing rising trade war tensions, White House officials announced Saturday.

    Following two days of bilateral consultations on trade, representatives from Washington and Beijing reached a consensus on trade, with the latter agreeing to take “effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China,” a joint statement explained.

    An increase in exports to China would “meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development,” as well as “help support growth and employment in the United States,” according to the statement.”


  13. I knew there had to be another reason besides his tough defense that I always liked Kendrick Perkins. It turns out he doesn’t watch anything made after 1960 either.


  14. Interesting piece at the LA Times about the different reactions between Parkland and Santa Fe on the school shootings.


    Santa Fe, unlike Parkland, says the issue behind the latest school shooting isn’t guns


    … There was no outcry against firearms in Santa Fe after a gunman killed 10 and wounded 13 others Friday. Guns didn’t come up at a prayerful vigil attended by 1,000 people that evening. On Saturday, there were no protests, and local leaders don’t expect any Sunday. …

    … Polls show the U.S. remains deeply divided about guns, and the responses in Parkland and Santa Fe help explain why.

    Residents in both cities say something needs to be done about school shootings, but there’s no agreement on what that something should be. …

    … Like many in Santa Fe, the pastor didn’t fault guns. He faulted himself, and society. Schools need help to improve security, but that won’t prevent shootings, he said. Neither will prayer alone, he added.

    “We have created a culture that does not value life, that does not honor God, that does not respect authority. We are reaping the consequences of those actions, and that’s not going to be reversed by a security guard or a metal detector,” he said. …

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Benjamin Wittes with an interesting thread:


  16. A fine summary of today’s presidential activity:


  17. You know you’re nearing your target when you start taking flak. They can’t have their scam exposed.


    “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Saturday warned Republicans that their efforts to uncover the identity of a secret FBI source in a possible attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is nearing a legal line.

    Schumer tweeted support of Sen. Mark Warner’s, D-Va., statement cautioning Republicans to stop pressing the Justice Department for more information about a source that is presumed to have helped the FBI and Mueller’s probe into potential Trump campaign dealings with Russia.

    “@MarkWarner’s statement here is on the money and a severe warning to right wing Republican Congressmen who are trying to obstruct Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation and could be coming close to crossing a legal line,” Schumer tweeted on Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Get digging.


    “US President Donald Trump sharpened Sunday his accusations that his presidential campaign was “infiltrated” or spied on for political purposes, saying he would officially “demand” a Justice Department investigation.

    The president has repeatedly cast the probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by his campaign as a politically driven “witch hunt,” while offering no evidence.

    “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes,” he tweeted, “and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!””

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ricky,

    Again, just because you and some anonymous twitter twit say it’s true, doesn’t make it so. If Trump lied 28 times, it shouldn’t have been hard to point some out. And yet…. Nope.

    But you keep buying it.

    Now the Podesta stuff? True

    The money paid to McCabe’s wife’s campaign? True

    The DNC refused to hand over the server? True

    It’s a witch hunt? True

    No evidence of collusion by Trump? True

    Hillary deleted 33, 000 emails? True

    $20 million for the found nothing probe? True

    Your source is a flat out liar.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Good news.


    “As we noted yesterday, the leftstream media is busily trying to spin the Obama FBI’s spying on the Trump campaign.

    Today, President Trump has announced that his will formally demand that his DOJ investigate “whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

    The Hill reports:

    Trump has spent the last few days sounding the alarm on Twitter about claims that an FBI informant was embedded within his campaign. He has alleged, without evidence, that the FBI sought to spy on his campaign for political purposes, which Trump argued would be a scandal “bigger than Watergate.”

    The New York Times reported Friday that an FBI informant met with two former Trump campaign advisers, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, after they’d received information that those two had contacts with Russia.

    Trump’s calls for an investigation into the matter come as House Republicans have pushed for access to documents that reveal the identity of the informant who gave investigators information about possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    If the Obama administration weaponized the FBI, NSA, and / or other executive agencies for political purposes, it’s, as President Trump noted yesterday, “a very big deal.””

    Liked by 1 person

  21. AJ, I had actually started the count, but quit. You have inspired me. From bottom (first) Tweet to top, let’s see how many I can find.

    First Tweet:
    1. ‘Getting ridiculous’ – nothing ridiculous about meetings to discuss illegal foreign involvement in campaign.
    2. “Failing NYT” It is setting records for revenue. Trump has elsewhere claimed credit.
    3. ‘Crooked NYT’ The NYT is liberal, not crooked. Running a fraudulent university is crooked.
    4. ‘boring story’ He didn’t find the story boring either as it sent him into this fit.
    5. “Most expensive” Other investigations have been longer and more costly.
    6. ‘Witch Hunt’ Witch Hunts don’t produce many indictments and several guilty pleas.
    7. “Nothing on Russia” I believe the indictment of the Russian persons ran about 40 pages. Somewhere around 13 persons and entities were indicted.

    Second Tweet:
    8. ‘Witch Hunt’ See 6 above.
    9. ‘Angry’ Democrats. No evidence of that. Today, I am sure they are quite amused.
    10. ‘Heavily Conflicted’ No evidence of that.
    11. ‘Democrats’ Many of the prosecutors gave to Democrats. They live in a Democrat town. Trump has given more to Dems than all prosecutors combined. He also lived in a Democrat town. Does he think he himself is still a Democrat?

    I don’t know what “collussion” is so we will keep moving.

    12. “No Obstruction”. These 6 stupid Tweets could be Obstruction of Justice. Plus he confessed to obstruction in the first 10 minutes of the Holt interview, not to mention all the leaning on Comey, Rosenstein, Wray, etc.

    Third Tweet:
    13. No one knows if Hillary deleted the emails. If we assign to her all the acts of her family and aides, then Trump gets assigned the Trump Tower meeting to try to collude with the Russians.
    14. Hillary didn’t get $145,000,000. If we assign to her the receipts of her foundation, do we assign to Trump the bribes and ‘pay for play’ money paid to Cohen, Lewandowski, the Kushners, Trump’s hotels, his resorts, etc?
    15. Hillary didn’t contribute to McCabe’s wife’s campaign. He almost corrected his own lie here.

    Fourth Tweet:
    16. ‘Witch Hunt’ See 6 above.
    17. “Has given up on Russia” Trump’s own lawyers leaked to the press that Mueller still wants to ask him about Russia collusion. We know Mueller is also working on Roger Stone and other leads.
    18. ‘Dems FISA Abuse” Whatever you think about the FISA orders, they were applied for and signed under both Obama and Trump. The FBI not the Dems instigated them.
    19. ”Fraudulent Dossier” It was raw, but has proven pretty accurate and is in no way fraudulent. It was assembled by a former British agent. AJ, Try listing the things in The Dossier that have been proven wrong. It won’t take long.

    Fifth Tweet
    20. ‘Broke into homes” All searches were per court orders.
    21. ‘And offices’ See 20.

    I missed 7 somewhere. I think it is because I am somewhat unfamiliar with Podesta and “the server”. Still 21 lies in 6 Tweets is quite an accomplishment, even for the World’s Biggest Liar.


  22. While the IG gets their investigation up and running, Sharyl Attkisson is already hard at work.

    THIS is what Investigative Journalism looks like. Nice to know there are still many good ones left.


    ““Collusion against Trump” timeline”

    “On the other side, evidence has emerged in the past year that makes it clear there were organized efforts to collude against candidate Donald Trump–and then President Trump. For example:

    Anti-Russian Ukrainians allegedly helped coordinate and execute a campaign against Trump in partnership with the Democratic National Committee and news reporters.
    A Yemen-born ex-British spy reportedly delivered political opposition research against Trump to reporters, Sen. John McCain, and the FBI; the latter of which used the material–in part–to obtain wiretaps against one or more Trump-related associates.
    There were orchestrated leaks of anti-Trump information and allegations to the press, including by ex-FBI Director James Comey.
    The U.S. intel community allegedly engaged in questionable surveillance practices and politially-motivated “unmaskings” of U.S. citizens, including Trump officials.
    Alleged conflicts of interests have surfaced regarding FBI officials who cleared Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information and who investigated Trump’s alleged Russia ties.
    But it’s not so easy to find a timeline pertinent to the investigations into these events.

    Here’s a work in progress.

    (Please note that nobody cited has been charged with wrongdoing or crimes, unless the charge is specifically referenced. Temporal relationships are not necessarily evidence of a correlation.)
    “Collusion against Trump” Timeline”

    Liked by 2 people

  23. AJ, If you will do the 8 conspiracy theories, I will do the 26 unnecessary capitalizations. It would probably be good experience for each of us.


  24. I actually got 35 unnecessary capitalizations, so I have a higher combo lie & unnecessary capitalization count (56) than does the author (54).


  25. Who’s up for some lame duck huntin’?


    “Haley Byrd says the buzzards are circling:

    Top Republicans in Congress and the White House have in recent days entertained a plan to push House Speaker Paul Ryan out of his post over the summer, in an effort to clear the way for his presumed successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to assume the speakership.

    A source involved in the conversations and who has discussed the idea with President Donald Trump told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Trump believes there is merit to the plan, but has not formed a final position. McCarthy has been weighing the effort alongside a small group of trusted advisers, considering the pros and cons of forcing Ryan’s hand, and debating the best time to launch the effort. As of last week he had not spoken to Ryan about the idea, the source said.

    Nothing surprising about that. No sooner had Ryan announced his retirement at the end of this term last month than grumblings from inside the caucus (almost certainly from peopled allied with McCarthy, if not from the man himself) began appearing in news stories about how the GOP couldn’t sustain the new arrangement for long. “Members won’t follow a lame duck, he’ll have no leverage to cut deals, and the last thing they need in this environment is 6 months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back,” said one source to Axios of Ryan’s delayed exit. Another Republican predicted that he’d be gone by the end of the July, a timetable that seems newly prescient. Donors weren’t thrilled with the idea of Ryan lingering for months either: “As a donor, would I ever give him a dollar if he’s not going to stay around?”

    Liked by 1 person

  26. We need some help from a writer or teacher: When he capitalized something that is not a word (Collussion), does that count as an unnecessary capitalization?


  27. AJ @ 7:03 That Rosenstein is a sharp one. Any bird-brained directive from Trump is going to be combined into that existing IG effort.


  28. AJ, Sharyl Attkisson is an actual journalist who was spied on by the Obama admin because she wasn’t as sycophantic as the rest of the press corps, but if you don’t see how everything she says is negated by Donald Trump capitalizing words in tweets, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. The Times acknowledges that to this point Mr. Rosenstein has been smarter than that very angry 5th grader. I wish him well. However, if Trump starts firing people that will start an interesting new chapter in the farce.


  30. HRW, Please note that 21 lies in 6 Tweets does not even register with Trump cultists. Our Trumpkins here are about as well-informed as the ones who live around me. It is sort of like living in a zombie movie. Most of us outside of the cult are wondering if the cultists will “snap out of it” when Trump leaves office. The majority view is that they will remain in a fog and someone new will eventually be anointed to lead The Cult, though there may first be some nasty infighting.


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