Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

The GOP war on law enforcement and the rule of law to obstruct justice

The Republican Party has abdicated its constitutional duties and patriotic loyalty to country, and instead has sworn fealty to an egomaniacal authoritarian madman who is the titular head of their party. GOP members of Congress are complicit in a conspiracy to cover-up and to aid and abet obstruction of justice by the Trump administration. They are accessories to a crime.

The Washington Post editorializes today, GOP leaders’ complicity grows as their members undermine the rule of law:

A FOREIGN power interfered in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. law enforcement is trying to get to the bottom of that story. Congress should be doing everything possible to make sure the investigation can take place. Instead, to protect the president of their party, who may or may not be complicit, Republican leaders in Congress are allowing and encouraging the baseless slander of the investigators.

It is a new low for the leadership, and one that could do lasting harm to the nation.

Cravenness in the Republican leaders’ response to Donald Trump is nothing new. During the presidential campaign, few stood up to his nativism and ugly ethnic slurs. Since he became president, even fewer have stood by their previous commitments to U.S. leadership abroad and fiscal responsibility at home. As he has trampled long-established norms, such as releasing annual tax returns, we’ve heard not a peep from the Article I branch.

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Donald Trump Jr. transcript of testimony to be released, his dissembling and lies to be revealed

What would have been the big development of the day in the Russia investigation got buried by late breaking news in the evening.

The Washington Post reports, Senate panel to release interviews with Trump Jr., others involved in meeting with Russian lawyer:

The Senate Judiciary Committee intends to release transcripts of its interviews with President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., and others who participated in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer allegedly promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday that the committee would disclose “all witness interviews that we have done related to that meeting,” making them available to the public “for everyone to see.” The committee’s interviews, which were conducted behind closed doors, are complete, he added.

Grassley said the transcripts must be redacted first. It was not immediately clear when that process will be complete. Two of the five transcripts still require legal vetting as well, he said. When asked whether public testimony from these witnesses has been ruled out now, the senator said, “I wouldn’t say anything’s off table, but (it’s) not likely.”

Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) said Thursday she was “delighted” by Grassley’s intentions.

The committee spoke with Trump Jr. in September, and in the last several months has also interviewed other participants in the Trump Tower meeting, including music promoter Rob Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, U.S.-based Russian real estate employee Ike Kaveladze and Anatoli Samochornov, the translator for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who answered the committee’s questions in writing.

Oddly, “The panel never spoke with President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, or with his former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Both also attended the Trump Tower meeting.”

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Special Counsel closes in on Trump inner circle in obstruction of justice investigation

Our Confederate Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, is in legal jeopardy as Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in on the obstruction of justice leg of his investigation.

Sessions was directly involved in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. According to Axios.com, “at the public urging of President Donald Trump — Sessions has [also] been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed. Scoop: FBI director threatened to resign amid Trump, Sessions pressure:

  • Wray’s resignation under those circumstances would have created a media firestorm. The White House — understandably gun-shy after the Comey debacle — didn’t want that scene, so McCabe remains.
  • Sessions told White House Counsel Don McGahn about how upset Wray was about the pressure on him to fire McCabe, and McGahn told Sessions this issue wasn’t worth losing the FBI Director over, according to a source familiar with the situation.
  • Why it matters: Trump started his presidency by pressuring one FBI Director (before canning him), and then began pressuring another (this time wanting his deputy canned). This much meddling with the FBI for this long is not normal.

McGahn has been informed about these ongoing conversations, though he has not spoken with Wray about FBI personnel, according to an administration source briefed on the situation. Trump nominated Wray, previously an assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, last June to replace James Comey as director.

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FBI investigating the NRA for Russian collusion

The lobbyist organization for the merchants of death, the National Rifle Association, is under investigation by the FBI to determine whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the NRA to help Donald Trump win the presidency. McClatchy News reports, FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump:

The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.

It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.

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Disclosure of the Torshin investigation signals a new dimension in the 18-month-old FBI probe of Russia’s interference. McClatchy reported a year ago that a multi-agency U.S. law enforcement and counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s intervention, begun even before the start of the 2016 general election campaign, initially included a focus on whether the Kremlin secretly helped fund efforts to boost Trump, but little has been said about that possibility in recent months.

The extent to which the FBI has evidence of money flowing from Torshin to the NRA, or of the NRA’s participation in the transfer of funds, could not be learned.

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Tea-Publicans are failing to address the threat Russia poses to future U.S. elections and national security

Last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein put an end to the bullshit being pulled by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley by releasing the transcript of testimony from Fusion GPS on the Steele dossier. GOP’s crazy Russia probe conspiracies are crushed in Fusion GPS transcript.

What you may not have seen reported is six House Democrats who serve as ranking members on their committees sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling him and other Republicans out for stonewalling their efforts to “investigate, hold public hearings, and advance legislation” concerning the Trump-Russia investigation. Top Democrats accuse GOP of ignoring Russia threat:

Six senior House Democrats on Tuesday said Republicans “put President Trump ahead of our national interests” by failing to address the threat they said Russia poses to future U.S. elections and national security.

“Rather than pursue the truth on behalf of the American people, House Republicans have waged an aggressive campaign to shut down congressional and criminal investigations into Russia’s attack,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan.

Signing the letter were Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee; Rep. Maxine Waters, the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee; Rep. Elliot Engel, the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee; Rep. Bob Brady, the ranking member of the administration committee and Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee.

The Washington Post reported, Democrats go it alone on Russia probe after partisan breakdowns:

Democrats are striking out on their own this week over all but one of the congressional investigations into Russian meddling, independently releasing reports and transcripts, and attacking Republicans they accuse of intentionally undermining active probes in deference to President Trump.

Senior Democratic officials in the Senate, frustrated by what they consider a Republican campaign to discredit the law enforcement and intelligence agencies investigating the president, cleared their members to release the interview transcript of one of the Russia investigation’s most sensitive witnesses and, separately, to publish a report detailing the disinformation and intimidation tactics the Kremlin deploys against democracies globally.

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Sen. Feinstein releases Fusion GPS transcript of testimony (Updated)

I’ve had my differences with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) over the years, but today she stepped up and proved herself to be a true patriot, putting an end to the partisan bullshit being pulled by her committee chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, who is trying to smear British spy Christopher Steele and the “dossier” he prepared for Fusion DPS while not releasing the transcript of testimony by Fusion GPS before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Grassley, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, issued a criminal referral last week for Christopher Steele, asserting he had lied to federal authorities about his contacts with the media and urged the Justice Department to investigate

Sen. Feinstein essentially determined, “Screw you Chuck, I’ll just release a redacted transcript of testimony on my own.” Respect, Dianne! Democratic Senator Releases Transcript of Interview with Dossier Firm:

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday unilaterally released a highly anticipated transcript (.pdf) of the committee’s interview with one of the founders of the firm that produced a salacious and unsubstantiated dossier outlining a Russian effort to aid the Trump campaign.

The interview, with Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS, took place last summer and was expected to shed light on the origins of the firm’s work, its concerns about the Trump campaign’s activities, and what the F.B.I. may have done with the information.

“The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves,” Ms. Feinstein said. “The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice. The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.”

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