Category Archives: Election Integrity

Robert Mueller III appointed special counsel in Russia probe

When he was confirmed as deputy attorney general and became the acting attorney general for purposes of the Trump-Putin campaign investigation, Rod Rosenstein said he sees no need for a special prosecutor in Russia probe: “One source says Rosenstein isn’t inclined to make a change unless the FBI investigation appears to be imperiled.”

That was before Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and threw Rod Rosenstein under the bus by initially (falsely) asserting that he was acting on the recommendations of a memo prepared by Rosenstein. Trump blames everyone but himself for his problems. The Justice Department just blamed him. The Justice Department tacity admitted that:

[Trump] had badly damaged the credibility of the FBI’s Russia investigation by announcing the probe would now be handled by a special counsel, former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III.

The bombshell revelation represents a startling admission of fault for the administration — if not the White House directly. This was a Justice Department decision about which the White House reportedly learned shortly before it was announced.

“What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

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What the Trump administration knew about Michael Flynn, and when they knew it

I have said from the beginning the White House cover story that Gen. Michael Flynn was fired for “misleading” Trump transition team chairman Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia and his being an undisclosed foreign lobbyist for Turkey smelled to high heaven of bullshit.

Then acting attorney general Sally Yates notified White House counsel that Flynn was under investigation by the FBI, and the White House did nothing for 18 days. It only became an issue after the Washington Post reported the story. If not reported by the media, Flynn would still be in his job.

Now we learn that the Trump transition team was informed by Gen. Michael Flynn himself that he was under investigation by the FBI even before Donald Trump named him as his mational securty adviser.

There is no credible scenario in which Vice President Mike Pence,  the Trump transition team chairman, was not also fully apprised of the facts by Trump transition team lawyers. Both Trump and Pence knowingly hired a man they knew was under investigation by the FBI and was compromised by his foreign entanglements. Mike Pence has some splainin’ to do under oath.

The New York Times reports that the Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House:

Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.

Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.

Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Mr. Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.

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Witness Intimidation, Obstruction of Justice, and Impeachment

I am still on vacation visiting relatives during what has been a busy news week.

The most important developments from last week were the New York Times report on Donald Trump’s insistence of personal loyalty from FBI Director James Comey, as if he is a mafia Godfather insisting on the code of omertà; Trump’s interview with Lester Holt of NBC in which he essentially made a public admission of obstruction of justice; and Trump’s threatening Tweet to fired FBI director James Comey about “tapes” of their alleged conversations.

Trump cannot control his own destructive impulses from acting out on intimidation of witnesses and obstruction of justice — Count One of the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon.

Here is a good summary from New York Magazine. Trump Asked Comey for Loyalty a Day After He Was Warned About Flynn:

Unsatisfied with his press office’s handling of the fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey, on Thursday night President Trump took matters into his own hands — and made things much, much worse.

Though their story kept shifting, for days White House officials stuck to their claim that Comey was fired because the president and top Justice Department officials felt he was doing a bad job, not because of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible Russia ties.

Then in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump proclaimed that he had actually decided to fire Comey regardless of what Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended — and the Russia probe was on his mind.

“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said [self], ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,’” the president said.

Trump speaking about himself in the third person is your first clue that this Dude is bonkers.

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James Clapper destroys Trump talking point about collusion, says US institutions are ‘under assault’ from Trump

In March, Former Director of National Intelligence Clapper said during a March 5 Meet the Press interview that he had not seen any evidence of potential collusion through the time he left office on Jan. 20.

“There was no evidence whatsoever, at the time, of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” said Clapper.

Just like our Russia blog trolls who post comments on this blog, later that month, Trump tweeted about Clapper’s March statement:

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Trump again tweeted last week:

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James Clapper finally had enough of Trump’s mischaracterizaton and misuse of his statement and set the record straight last week. James Clapper doesn’t know if there was collusion between Trump and Russia:

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he does not know if there was collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia and that he was not privy to the details of the counterintelligence investigation.

I don’t know if there was collusion or not,” Clapper said during an interview Friday with MSNBC. “I don’t know if there was evidence of collusion or not, nor should I have.”

Clapper said it would have been former FBI Director James Comey’s discretion to notify him of any evidence of collusion and said it was his practice to always “defer” to the director.

It’s not surprising or abnormal that I would not have known about the investigation, or more importantly the content of that investigation,” Clapper said.

When he testified last Monday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with ousted Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Clapper also appeared to cast doubt on the president’s interpretation of his comments when he said he “was not aware of the counterintelligence investigation Director Comey first referred to during his testimony before the House intelligence committee on March 20th.”

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Donald Trump’s delusional ‘voter fraud’ commission is a farce

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million votes, even while he won the presidency with an electoral college victory. Without evidence, Trump tells lawmakers 3 million to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote.

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In pursuit of the delusions of our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief, Donald Trump today issued an “Executive Order Establishing of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.”

Yeah, that’s not at all what this executive order is about. It is about Trump trying to validate his delusions that he won the popular vote but for voter fraud by millions of Americans. It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment rather than humor this madman.

The Hill gets this right. Trump signs order launching voter fraud investigation:

The commission will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will serve as vice chair, the White House announced during Thursday’s press briefing.

So a GOP led commission with Kris Kobach, the GOP’s dark prince of voter suppressions efforts serving as vice chair. Oh hell no!

This commission has zero credibility and no self-respecting Democrat or election integrity expert or academic should agree to serve on this farce of a commission. Boycott this commission.

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Thank God it’s sine die!

No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” –Mark Twain

One of the worst legislative sessions in recent years mercifully came to an end on Wednesday evening. Thank God it’s sine die! Now bar the windows and doors of the capitol before they can come back and do any more harm.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona Legislature ends session with tax, welfare bills on final day:

State lawmakers ended their 2017 session Wednesday with a tax-break flourish, approving two tax-credit bills worth millions of dollars aimed at spurring business development, and a revision of a controversial cash-aid program for poor families.

The 122-day session ended at 6:58 p.m., a rare daytime close from a Legislature that has extended debate late into the night and into the morning in recent years. Lawmakers applauded the daylight end as a sign of the more genial tone of this year’s Legislature.

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