The GOP assault on the Special Counsel is appeasement of Russia

The Washington Post today has an exclusive report about how our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief is leaving the U.S. vulnerable to continuing cyber war attacks from Russia because he does not want to believe the intelligence that Russia engaged in a cyber war against the U.S. in the 2016 election. Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked:

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.

The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.

Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and he has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.

His administration has moved to undo at least some of the sanctions the previous administration imposed on Russia for its election interference, exploring the return of two Russian compounds in the United States that President Barack Obama had seized — the measure that had most galled Moscow. Months later, when Congress moved to impose additional penalties on Moscow, Trump opposed the measures fiercely.

Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it, administration officials said.

This is the equivalent of ordering the U.S. military and intelligence agencies to “stand down” and to do nothing in response to the cyber war that is being waged against this country by Russia. This is not just appeasement, but it makes Trump a collaborator with Vladimir Putin in his war against the U.S. (like Vichy France). Some would dare call it treason.

Trump is supported in his appeasement of Russia and collaboration with Putin by the conservative media entertainment complex, in particular FAUX news which has morphed into Trump TV, where Sean Hannity has appointed himself chief propaganda minister for Trump. For months now, Trump TV has been trying to undermine the credibility of congressional investigations and the special counsel’s investigation into the Russian cyber war against the U.S. during the 2016 election and any cooperation and collusion (conspiracy) with the Trump campaign.

Trump is also supported in his appeasement of Russia and collaboration with Putin by Tea-Publican members of Congress who, taking their marching orders from the Trump White House and their talking points from the propagandists at Trump TV, are also trying to undermine the credibility of congressional investigations and the special counsel’s investigation into the Russian cyber war against the U.S. during the 2016 election and any cooperation and collusion (conspiracy) with the Trump campaign. The GOP has emerged as Putin’s fifth column in America.

Heather Digby Parton at Salon lays out in detail how the Republicans try to destroy Mueller inquiry: Will it work? (excerpt):

Robert Mueller’s investigation is getting close to the president and his family now. And as I wrote earlier this week, the Republicans are fighting back. They are not only calling for Mueller to resign over the bogus Uranium One scandal and for palling around with James Comey, they are demanding more investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails and calling the FBI itself corrupt and downright treasonous.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, a Trump ally, said on talk radio this week that Mueller was staging a coup d’état and “we’ve got to stop the coup before it becomes successful and these yahoos throw us into a civil war.” Donald Trump Jr.’s legal team is calling for an investigation into Reps. Adam Schiff, Jackie Speier and Eric Swalwell, California Democrats and members of the House Intelligence Committee, for alleged leaks to the media.

Everyone in the Congress and the right-wing media is rending their garments over FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, who worked on the all-important Clinton email case and the Russia investigation. He was dismissed by Mueller last summer when the latter found out that Strzok had privately texted his prosecutor girlfriend that Trump was an “idiot” and a “douche,” among other perfectly reasonable observations.

The New York Times reported last night that the texts showed concerns about Trump winning, which was also perfectly reasonable if you happened to be working on a case in which it became clear that a presidential candidate had extremely suspicious ties to the Russian government. The Times points out that these texts were found during the current investigation by the Department of Justice’s inspector general into, yes, the Clinton email investigation and the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

It’s unprecedented for the DOJ to release documents such as this before an investigation is finished, but everyone assumes that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doing a solid for his president by getting it out there. It’s only a matter of time before someone asks for an investigation to look into the Strzok matter as well, although — despite Trump loyalists’ hysterical assertions to the contrary — FBI agents are allowed to have political views. Indeed, most of them are conservative Republicans.

Finally, Axios has reported that Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, read a Fox News article which said that a senior Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr, “demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump ‘dossier’ had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed.” Ohr’s wife apparently worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election, and Sekulow now wants Jeff Sessions to appoint a different special prosecutor to investigate Mueller’s investigation over possible conflicts of interest. There are so many investigations and calls for investigations that they’re all chasing each others tails.

We know the point of all this: Create as much smoke as possible to obscure what’s really happening, which is that the Mueller investigation is coming closer to the president. Trump’s allies in the media and the Congress are trying to discredit Mueller and potentially lay the groundwork for his firing and a series of presidential pardons, if it comes to that.

Trump and his allies attack any independent institution that challenges the president’s power, whether it be the political opposition, the media, the courts and now the Department of Justice. This is dangerous business. It’s not just that the president’s team exerts executive prerogatives. They use every tool at their disposal (and create new ones out of whole cloth) to degrade and discredit any threat to Donald Trump’s dominance.

That’s the mark of an authoritarian leader, and it’s not how things normally work in the American system. We have all these competing centers of power, which are often in opposition but generally depend on a respect for each other’s roles and a sense of responsibility to preserve the integrity of the system. The president is not adhering to those norms. The press is trying to keep the pressure on, but the other independent institutions have not yet been fully put to the test. It’s only a matter of time before they are. We have no idea if they will meet the challenge.

Which brings us to the disgusting display put on by Tea-Publicans on the House Judiciary Committee this week in oversight hearings on the Department of Justice. Justice Dept. Official Defends Mueller as Republicans Try to Discredit Him:

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein adamantly defended the character and impartiality of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, as he came head-to-head on Wednesday with an increasingly aggressive campaign by Republicans to discredit the inquiry.

The Republicans’ [conspiracy theory] effort received a fresh jolt from the release one night earlier of text messages exchanged last year between an F.B.I. agent, Peter Strzok, and an F.B.I. lawyer, Lisa Page, describing the possibility of an election victory by President Trump as “terrifying” and saying that Hillary Clinton “just has to win.” Mr. Mueller removed Mr. Strzok from the Russia investigation as soon as he learned of the texts, a step that Mr. Rosenstein praised.

Nonetheless, Republicans used the messages as fodder to attack the impartiality of Mr. Mueller during an appearance by Mr. Rosenstein before the House Judiciary Committee.

* * *

[T]he swelling campaign to undermine Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which has dominated conservative media for days, appeared to have little effect on Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees Mr. Mueller. Mr. Rosenstein said he would only fire Mr. Mueller if he had cause under Justice Department regulations — and he said nothing that has happened so far met that standard.

Instead, Mr. Rosenstein mounted a step-by-step defense of Mr. Mueller’s conduct. He noted that department rules prevented Mr. Mueller from taking political affiliation into consideration when hiring for career positions, and he distinguished between officials holding political views and making investigative decisions out of bias. He said Mr. Mueller would be careful not to allow the latter.

“We recognize we have employees with political opinions. And it’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions,” Mr. Rosenstein said after Representative Steve Chabot, Republican of Ohio, read out the names of members of Mr. Mueller’s team and political contributions they had made to Democratic causes.

“I believe that Director Mueller understands that, and he is running that office appropriately,” Mr. Rosenstein added.

Asked by Representative Bob Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who chairs the committee, why he remained satisfied with Mr. Mueller, Mr. Rosenstein replied:

“Based upon what I know, I believe Director Mueller is appropriately remaining in his scope and conducting himself appropriately, and in the event there is any credible allegation of misconduct by anybody on his staff, that he is taking appropriate action.”

Mr. Rosenstein’s stance signaled that despite the mounting assault on Mr. Mueller by Mr. Trump’s supporters, the fundamental dynamic surrounding the special counsel had not changed: If Mr. Trump were to try to fire Mr. Mueller based on any developments so far, the president would likely first have to fire or force the resignation of Mr. Rosenstein and then hunt for a replacement willing to carry out his orders, echoing Richard Nixon’s so-called Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate scandal.

Idiot Tea-Publicans “repeatedly pressed Mr. Rosenstein to appoint a second special counsel to investigate political partisanship in the department in its handling of the Trump-Russia investigation or in last year’s decision not to charge Mrs. Clinton with a crime over her use of a private email server while secretary of state — an idea that has been promoted heavily by commentators on FAUX News (aka Trump TV) and elsewhere in recent days.”

Mr. Rosenstein said he could not appoint another special counsel without a credible allegation of a potential crime to investigate.

* * *

Republicans see further evidence of bias in an email sent by Andrew Weissmann, one of Mr. Mueller’s top deputies, in January telling the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, that he was “so proud and in awe” of her decision not to defend Mr. Trump’s travel ban in court.

Democrats say the pattern is becoming clear: As Mr. Mueller moves closer to Mr. Trump’s inner circle, Republicans try to discredit federal law enforcement and undercut the eventual findings of the special counsel. The Republican effort may also be intended to blunt the political repercussions should Mr. Mueller be fired, Democrats say.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the Judiciary Committee’s senior Democrat, called the new Republican demands “wildly dangerous” to American institutions.

“I understand the instinct to want to give cover to the president,” he said. “I am fearful that the majority’s effort to turn the tables on the special counsel will get louder and more frantic as the walls continue to close in around the president.”

The New York Times editorialized the other day Fox News v. Robert Mueller:

If only we could dismiss Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham and the other well-paid propagandists at Fox News as though they were harmless drunks at the end of the bar, ticking off their conspiracy theories to anyone who will listen. Unfortunately, the guy sitting on the next stool is the president of the United States, and he’s all ears.

President Trump watches cable news for four to eight hours a day, according to a report in The Times last weekend. Mr. Trump has disputed that number, but not the fact that his TV diet consists overwhelmingly of Fox’s sycophants, who have now gathered around one insistent message aimed at their No. 1 fan: Fire Robert Mueller now.

That would be a tremendous mistake, one that ought to alarm any true liberal or conservative. It would strike at the very idea that no American is above the law.

* * *

To put it mildly, this is insane. The primary purpose of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is not to take down Mr. Trump. It’s to protect America’s national security and the integrity of its elections by determining whether a presidential campaign conspired with a foreign adversary to influence the 2016 election — a proposition that grows more plausible every day.

If the president’s supporters are upset about how close that investigation is getting to the Oval Office, they should ask not whether any F.B.I. investigator has ever held an opinion about politics, but rather why Mr. Trump chose as his closest advisers people with a tendency to talk to Russian officials and then fail to tell the truth, again and again, about the nature of those communications.

* * *

When the propagandists say, “Get rid of Mueller,” it’s not the truth they’re trying to protect; it’s Mr. Trump himself. Any genuine interest in objective reality left the building a while ago, replaced by a self-sustaining fantasyland.

* * *

None of these attacks or insinuations are grounded in good faith. The anti-Mueller brigade cares not a whit about possible bias in the Justice Department or the F.B.I. It simply wants the investigation shut down out of a fear of what it might reveal. But if your man is really innocent, what’s the worry?

The Washington Post editorializes today, Republicans are worried about the integrity of Mueller’s team. That’s overblown.

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III began his investigation of Russian election interference to bipartisan praise. Both Democrats and Republicans lauded the former FBI director as the ideal candidate to conduct a politically tricky investigation with rigor and honesty. Yet as Mr. Mueller’s probe has continued, allies of President Trump have turned to attacking a man whose integrity and credibility they had previously considered unimpeachable. There is no basis for their criticisms.

* * *

Neither Andrew Weissmann’s nor Peter Strzok’s activities should cast doubt on Mr. Mueller’s investigation. Federal agents and prosecutors are not forbidden from holding political beliefs or giving campaign donations. The measure of their integrity is whether those beliefs infect their work, and there is no evidence that happened in either Mr. Strzok’s or Mr. Weissmann’s case.

Mr. Mueller’s decision to remove Mr. Strzok from his team after learning of the text messages should be heartening to those concerned for the investigation’s fairness. And Mr. Strzok’s conduct is already the subject of an ongoing internal probe into the Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. When its work is complete, the Office of the Inspector General should release as much of its report as possible to give the public a full accounting of any misconduct. The inspector general and the Justice Department should also clarify the circumstances behind the department’s unusual public release of Mr. Strzok’s messages in the midst of an ongoing investigation.

Some supporters of Mr. Trump have returned to their calls to appoint a second special counsel to investigate Ms. Clinton or the Justice Department itself. But none have pointed to any factual basis for such an investigation, which would require a showing of a possible crime.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein gave a vote of confidence to the special counsel’s work before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, affirming Mr. Mueller’s integrity and clarifying that he has seen no reason to remove him from office. We are glad to see Mr. Rosenstein stand firm in support of the special counsel he appointed despite the onslaught of partisan attacks. In doing so, he is upholding no less than the rule of law.

While Tea-Publicans are attempting to undermine the Russia investigations, they have literally done NOTHING to secure our elections from cyber attacks in 2018 or to defend the U.S. against ongoing cyber war from Russia. This is appeasement.

16 responses to “The GOP assault on the Special Counsel is appeasement of Russia

  1. Frances Perkins

    If a Democratic President did the exact same actions kowtowing to Russia, Fox commentators would be screaming treason and impeachment.

    • One of Bill Clinton’s biggest mistakes was signing the 1996 Telecommunications Act which allowed Rupert’s Faux News to exist.

  2. what ever happened to trump criminally colluding with russia to alter the 2016 election? that was muellers mandate instead he has to fire f.b.i. agents running interference for hillary clinton so she can beat bernie sanders. no charges of trump/russia election fraud collusion. (maybe because their isn’t any?) russian hacking of dnc that may have minorly benefited trump campaign is not a crime trump committed.

    • Fore Sure Not Tom

      The investigation is underway, you don’t get charges until the investigation is over. He fired those agents to avoid claims of bias.

      I don’t get the Mueller attacks, are the right wing nuts saying that Mueller is planting evidence? He’s a war hero, not an L.A. cop.

      There’s already overwhelming proof of collusion and even worse, obstruction of justice. And it’s likely, based on who Mueller hired, that there’s a lot of money laundering, not just Manafort.

      You won’t hear this on Fox News, Captain. They’re programming lineup is designed to program you.

      • “He fired those agents to avoid claims of bias.”

        He fired those agents because their bias became too obvious to ignore. Had they been low key about it, they would still be working there.

        “There’s already overwhelming proof of collusion and even worse, obstruction of justice.

        You keep saying that, yet there is ZERO evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians. Of course, if you keep saying it, perhaps your personal wish fairy will grant you your wish…or maybe not.

        “You won’t hear this on Fox News, Captain.”

        No, he won’t…because it is not true.

        • sorry not tom but I have to agree with steve on this one. how many times was jill stein on msnbc’s maddow, last word and hardball before the 2016 election besides none! not tom the best way we have to get at the truth is the dialectic. thesis anti thesis synthesis. I would get news by listening to both sides fox/cnn and even some times msnbc(but not often.) fox puts on real liberals to debate not tame ones. on msnbc all I see are anti trump tame republicans trying to keep their news jobs. fox used to put on tame democrats ;but realize it was BORING!

          • For Sure Not Tom

            You realize that Steve is a full time troll and part time stalker and admitted racist who pulls his posts directly from his ass. If you don’t believe me, ask him for a source and watch him squirm and whine.

            And you also realize, I hope, that there is no law requiring you to choose between Fox and MSNBC and CNN.

            You’re falling for the us vs. them cable news fallacy. Cable news is a not a good place to get your information. You’re basically arguing that Fox is more entertaining.

            Entertaining should not be your primary criteria for news.

          • This response to For Sure Not Tom is out of sequence because there were no “reply” options available.

            “You realize that Steve is a full time troll…

            Hardly “full time”. I am a troll, to be sure, but I only spend a few minutes a day here. The Captain knows who I am; he has been posting here longer than me. We go back a few years.

            “…and part time stalker…

            You and Liza are funny as hell. You two post 80%-90% of everything that is posted here and if I respond more to you than others, you paranoids say I’m stalking you. The size of the egos you two have is astounding. You aren’t worth stalking but if you two think you are that important then go ahead and think what you think. Just remember that you both make yourselves sound silly when you do.

            “… and admitted racist…”

            No, I have never admitted to being a racist. That is something you and your cronies here called me after I pointed out some truths to you. I realize that it is important to you to call me names and belittle me so that you don’t have match wits with me, but you should know that I couldn’t care less. I recognize who you are and what you are, and I am not trying to impress you.

            “…who pulls his posts directly from his ass.”

            Talk about wishful thinking…you stopped responding to me because you couldn’t figure out how to best me in our exchanges and you gave up in a fit of pique. Frankly, I prefer you not responding because then I don’t have to waste time responding to your drivel, but you don’t seem to be able to persevere in your efforts to ignore me.

            “If you don’t believe me, ask him for a source and watch him squirm and whine.

            You try so hard to pass disinformation off as facts, yet you don’t quite make it. You see, unlike you, I know the difference between opinion and fact. Most of the time, I post opinions on this blog. On those occasions when facts are required, I work at a handicap because I can’t post conservative news sources without them being deleted, or possibly, my being banned from here. And, in any event, even when I do post sources, you refuse to acknowledge them and claim I am posting lies. So when you whine about me not posting sources it rings very hollow.

            “You’re basically arguing that Fox is more entertaining.”

            No, he’s not. He is saying that Fox News provides a more informative type of discussion as opposed to your favorite sources where conservatives are rarely ever seen, and those that are seen are weak conservatives.

            Have you ever noticed that there aren’t many trolls on conservative sites? That is because liberals only like hearing from like-minded people. They don’t like facing any other perspective unless they create it. Liberals like echo chambers that reinforce their opinions. People like Liza are petrified of hearing contrary facts and opinions…that is why she prefers sites where conservatives are banned. And you…you take it personally whenever someone pops your little opinion bubble, and you strike out with insults and name calling.

            Anyway, the Captain is sharper than you give him credit for. I have been impressed with his ability to look past the BS and getting to the heart of the matter. I rarely agree with him, but I respect what he has to say.

        • The Washington Post’s national security pundit David Ignatius begs to differ. “The Russia facts are hiding in plain sight” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-russia-facts-are-hiding-in-plain-sight/2017/12/14/81de3c56-e106-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.ff2df608af98

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Here’s a full rundown of everything Trump/Russia. Bring a lunch, it’s a long read, and maybe a gas mask for the smoke and a fire extinguisher.

            http://billmoyers.com/story/trump-russia-timeline/

            The right wing media is lying.

          • not tom your right it was a long read ;but not one article had evidence that trump conspired with russia to rig the 2016 election. both america and all other countries try to influence elections ;but that is not a crime as israel’s crook netanyahu proved during obamas terms in office. by the way america rigs election all the time and if that fails we send in the marines like in the dominican republic the cia in chile and to this day central america. got any evidence putin sent in the kgb or their marines to stop hillary from campaigning in wisconsin or put a gun to her head to make her say she was going to put coal miners out of business? or made obama tell white working class to get over it their good paying manufacturing jobs were not coming back! please give proof on which voting machines were hacked and sabotaged to give trump the win in wi. mich. penn. ohio fla. n.c. or az by russia

          • For Sure Not Tom

          • This response to “censored” is out of sequence because there were no “reply” options available.

            You are correct about Not Tom and the article he posted. It didn’t have any evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians. And if Bill Moyers – one of the most virulent left wingers there is – couldn’t find anything, it is not there to be found.

            And you know you bested Not Tom in his argument because he resorted to his childish tactic of posting some video or song that he thinks makes fun of you. That is his idea of clever and it means you struck home and can’t rebut you. When he is losing an argument, Not Tom resorts to name calling and insults because he thinks it makes you less credible.

            Anyway, your thoughts are right on target and, as usual, you’re not saying what Not Tom wants to hear.

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    The entire GOP, desperate to give their corporate and billionaire masters an ill advised and destructive tax break, are helping Russia make a laughingstock of American democracy.

    The GOP is no longer allowed to call themselves Patriots or invoke the name of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

    After Mueller’s done with the Trump/Kushner crime families, we need to look into COLLUSION between the GOP and the right wing media. Trashing a decorated war hero to save the ample ass of Donald Trump? FFS GOP, what have you become?

    • Don’t know what the GOP has become or how much further they can slide into the sewer but it started with Reagan’s 11th Commandment to not speak ill of another Republican. This led to decent Republicans remaining silent as more and more corporate backed lunatics & charlatans (Steve King, Newt Gingrich, Louie Gohmert, etc.) to slither in the door & put Party over Country. All in service of their wealthy & corporate masters.

    • “After Mueller’s done with the Trump/Kushner crime families…”

      I see what you doing now: You are slowly realizing that Trump is going to come out of this clean, so you want attach other people to him that may be guilty in order to pretend you were right. Well, it won’t work because you have spent to much time stating that Trump is the guilty one. It is far too late to try and cover your silly ass on this subject.

      “…we need to look into COLLUSION between the GOP and the right wing media.”

      You should be careful what you ask for, Tom. If collusion exists, it is between democrats and the leftist media, which makes up the bulk of media today.