Tag Archives: obstruction of justice

Guess who’s coming to dinner

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling (ret.), the former commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, along with Molly K. McKew, who advises governments and political parties on foreign policy and strategic communications, have co-authored an important piece at POLITICO that you really should read to understand the nature of the war that we are in with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

That’s right, “Make no mistake: Hacking the 2016 election was an act of war. It’s time we responded accordingly.” Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor (snippet):

Russia’s cyber warfare capabilities are just one element of an arsenal of hybrid, asymmetric means the Kremlin has focused on expanding since its cyberattacks against Estonia in 2007 and its invasion of Georgia in 2008. In 2013, the Russian chief of the general staff General Valery Gerasimov outlined this concept of warfare, emphasizing that “the role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.” Putin polished what they had learned in earlier operations and put these on full display a year later, as Russia seized and then annexed Crimea, and then launched an invasion of eastern Ukraine fronted by local proxies backed by the Russian military.

While it has become quite popular to debate whether or not what is referred to as “the Gerasimov Doctrine” was intended to be military or security doctrine or not, the way of war Gerasimov discussed is, in fact, how the Russians now fight. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in March 2018, General Mike Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command, was asked about Gerasimov, and he responded succinctly and with candor: “Russia has a doctrine that … sees these activities below the level of conflict as part of the full spectrum, with the intent that if they can undermine a target country using these means … never having to use military force, that’s their objective.”

Gerasimov has since updated his thinking on the uses of hybrid warfare to erode the will of the enemy, saying that “spiritual resources—the nation’s cohesion and desire to confront the aggressor at all cost,” were one of the most important determiners of victory or defeat in these new shadow wars. Confusing the enemy has always been a doctrinal tenet of Russian war-fighting, so this new approach just replaces the old “Maskirovka” (deception) as a primary objective. The more you read about how Russia has tested and adapted these tactics in its near-abroad, the harder it is to deny that the Kremlin’s attack on America is no outlier but rather one more entry in an ongoing, evolving playbook that is yielding more success than anyone wants to admit.

So where are the air-raid sirens and the calls to arms from those who vow to protect and defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic?

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Trumpkins in Congress fall in line to protect their ‘Dear Leader’

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Devin Midnight Run Nunes (R-CA) who has actively conspired with the Trump White House to obstruct justice  — the House Intelligence Committee released its final Russia report, disputing the intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election with the aim of aiding Trump — on Thursday rejected a motion to subpoena the interpreter present at President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent private meeting. GOP votes down Dem motion to subpoena interpreter from Trump, Putin meeting:

The motion was offered by Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee.

“It is our motion that the interpreter be subpoenaed to come and testify in closed session before our committee,” Schiff said during a public hearing on China’s threats to American government.

Schiff argued that the interpreter could have witnessed a key exchange which would shed light on national security matters.

“I regret that we have to request this in today’s meeting. We requested a business meeting next week, but that request has been declined. This may be our last opportunity before we go into an extended recess to vote to subpoena the interpreter and find out if there are any other national security problems that arose from this meeting,” Schiff continued.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agrees the White House needs to explain what, if any deal, was agreed to privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit in Finland. Flake supports Dem demand for notes from Trump-Putin meeting.

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GOP House Freedom Caucus wants to impeach Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

The radical GOP House Freedom Caucus continues to aid and abet a conspiracy to obstruct justice in defense of their “Dear Leader.” If not indicted by prosecutors, these Republicans need to be removed from office by the voters. America needs to drain the swamp of these traitorous rats.

POLITICO reports, House conservatives prep push to impeach Rosenstein:

House conservatives are preparing a new push to oust Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to three conservative Capitol Hill sources — putting the finishing touches on an impeachment filing even as Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering in the 2016 election.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, in fact, had the impeachment document on the floor of the House at the very moment that Rosenstein spoke to reporters and TV cameras Friday.

Conservative GOP lawmakers have been plotting to remove Rosenstein for weeks, accusing him of slow-walking their probe of FBI agents [Peter Strzok and Lisa Page] they’ve accused of bias against President Donald Trump.

Peter Strzok testified in closed session for 11 hours, and open session this week for almost nine hours. Republicans made fools of themselves in pursuit of their conspiracy theories. Lisa Page testified in closed session on Friday. Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page said to be ‘cooperative’ during Capitol Hill meeting about anti-Trump texts. The witnesses are cooperating.

What these Trumpkins are actually complaining about is that the Department of Justice and FBI are not turning over prosecutorial evidence in an  ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump campaign — information Congress is not entitled to receive in an open criminal investigation — so that they then can provide the evidence to the Trump defense team and to selectively leak information (as they did with the Strzok and Page emails) to the GOPropagandists at FAUX News aka Trump TV and other right-wing media outlets. This is entirely illegitimate and inappropriate, and constitutes obstruction of justice.

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Grand jury indicts a dozen Russian intelligence agents for DNC hack

Yet another Donald Trump conspiracy theory is thoroughly rebuked by the Russia investigation. Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller officially rebuke a major Trump conspiracy theory:

Trump has regularly cast doubt upon the idea that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by the Russians — or that it was hacked at all. At one point he even reportedly dispatched a conspiracy theorist to meet with then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo. (Pompeo is now secretary of state.)

At his first presidential debate with Clinton in September 2016, Trump added a number of other potential perpetrators, despite clear indications from the intelligence community that it was Russia.

“I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was,” Trump said. “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay? You don’t know who broke into DNC.”

He said something similar in the second debate, just two days after the intelligence community issued a joint statement saying it was “confident” Russia was responsible. He expanded his doubts to suggest there wasn’t any hacking.

“I notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians are — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” Trump said of Clinton. “Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia is because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia.”

Today, Robert Mueller said “I’ll see your idiot conspiracy theory and raise you a dozen Russian intelligence agents. (Say hello to your pal Putin for me in Helsinki).” Mueller probe indicts 12 Russians for hacking Democrats in 2016:

A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring to hack Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new indictment in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The indictment includes charges of conspiracy by the Russian intelligence officials against the United States, money laundering and attempts to break into state election boards and other government agencies.

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Putin’s puppet and his fellow traveler enablers in Congress attack federal law enforcement, undermining the rule of law and obstructing justice in defense of ‘Dear Leader’

Not since the Army-McCarthy “red scare” hearings in 1954 (with Donald Trump’s future lawyer Roy Cohn alongside Sen. Joe McCarthy) has there been such an abusive congressional hearing that went so completely off the rails as yesterday’s joint House Judiciary and Oversight Committees hearing kangaroo court show trial “to investigate the investigators,” featuring the FBI’s counter-intelligence chief Peter Strzok, the subject of right-wing media’s wild conspiracy theories, in order to assassinate his character and attempt to discredit the FBI and the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation in defense of their “Dear Leader.”

As Rick Wilson writes at The Daily Beast, Republicans Thought Peter Strzok Would Be a Punching Bag. He Just Knocked Them Out.

Those who forget the lessons of televised congressional hearings are doomed to repeat them, which is why the morning segment of the Capitol Hill show trial of veteran FBI agent and former head of the Bureau’s Counterespionage division Peter Strzok turned into a disaster for Republicans.

Donald Trump’s congressional enablers, sycophants, and political suck-ups wanted a punching bag, but Strzok instead delivered one of the rarest of moments: the full Joseph N. Welch.

Welch, the chief counsel for the U.S. Army during the infamous McCarthy hearings in 1954, had reached a breaking point. After McCarthy’s tendentious badgering reached a fever pitch, Welch delivered a famous rejoinder that ended the Wisconsin senator’s career. Watched by millions on live television, Welch went full beast-mode.

“If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so,” said Welch. “I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me… You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

This morning, it was Strzok’s turn. After an hour of drama-queen badgering from Trey “Benghazi” Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte, Strzok issued two passionate statements that will be the takeaways from an otherwise disorganized and contentious shitshow of a hearing before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.

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Trump’s rose goes to appellate court judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

“Dear Leader” in his reality TV show “Supreme Court Nominee” rose ceremony gave his rose to a white male Washington “swamp” insider,  District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a man who is on record having said the words that Donald Trump most wants to hear: in 2009 Kavanaugh said indicting a sitting president “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national-security crisis,” and later wrote that “Congress should pass laws that would protect a president from civil and criminal lawsuits until they are out of office.”

In other words, Trump is putting his thumb on the scales of justice to protect himself from the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation, an obvious conflict of interest that undermines the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Has Trump extracted a loyalty oath from Judge Kavanaugh?

No senator should enable this. Period.

The Los Angeles Times has a good backgrounder on Judge Kavanagh. Brett Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran, has inside track to a Supreme Court nomination:

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran with a reliably conservative record, has the inside track for the Supreme Court nomination to be announced Monday evening by President Trump.

The federal appeals court judge, 53, has lived and worked nearly his entire career in Washington, including in past Republican administrations, and he is well-known and respected by the conservative lawyers in the Federalist Society and in the White House counsel’s office.

But some activists on the right have rallied against him, citing his close ties to the Republican establishment and several court rulings that they believe did not go far enough in a conservative direction. [Will they fall silent now?]

Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, making him the only finalist for the nomination with an Ivy League education. Last year, Trump said he was drawn to his first appointee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, because he had degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford.

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