Tag Archives: Special Counsel

Can we officially call it a constitutional crisis now? (Updated)

Donald Trump “went there” this morning on the Special Counsel’s Russia probe.

Trump is, once again, setting up Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to be the fall guy by signaling he is now ready to pull a Nixonian “Saturday night massacre” if the Attorney General does not do as he is directed by the president, a clear violation of the independence of the Department of Justice from undue influence over criminal investigations by the chief executive. With Robert Mueller closing in, Trump is in a panic and is abusing the powers of the presidency to obstruct justice in order to protect himself.

Chris Cillizza at CNN reports, Donald Trump just tweeted something new about the Russia investigation — and it’s huge:

President Donald Trump has made his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, special counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election he is leading crystal clear over the past year. But he took that critique to new heights on Wednesday morning, suggesting that Sessions needed to step in and end the investigation.

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That seems like a pretty clear directive, no?

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House GOP Freedom Caucus are accessories to a conspiracy to obstruct justice

Our do-nothing GOP Congress is readying to leave town today for a five-week August recess. (When they come back in September, they have scheduled only 12 legislative days to fund the government and avert a government shutdown. What could possibly go wrong? McConnell, Ryan pitch Trump on plan to avoid shutdown).

But before leaving town, the wild-eyed radicals of the House GOP Freedom (sic) Caucus (it would be more accurate to describe them as the GOP Fascist Caucus) decided to file articles of impeachment — not against the Putin-loving traitor who stood on a stage last week in Helsinki and committed treason by siding with the former KGB agent over the unanimous consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies, and Putin’s own admission in the same press conference that he ordered the Russian attack on the U.S. election to aid Donald Trump — but rather against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who is overseeing the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.

As I have previously explained:

These authoritarian Trumpkins are requesting to see the prosecutor’s evidence in an active ongoing criminal investigation of  the president and his associates, information they are not entitled to receive in the oversight function, so they can then turn that evidence over to Trump’s legal team and to selectively leak it to the GOPropagandists at FAUX News aka “Trump TV,” as they have already done with information the DOJ has previously inappropriately turned over to the committee under unprecedented threats from these authoritarian Trumpkins.

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Dezinformatsiya or doublespeak, Donald Trump is Orwellian

Russian asset Donald Trump is fully invested in Papa Joe Stalin’s dezinformatsiya (disinformation) black propaganda. He is turning America into George Orwell’s dystopian vision in 1984.

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars no less — patriots who have served their country honorably in military service — Trump slammed the news media as “fake news” for not upholding his preferred interpretation of the success of his administration. The New York Times reports:

“Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” Mr. Trump said at the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as part of the crowd booed and hissed in the direction of the press corps.

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” the president added.

Winston Smith in 1984 lamented:

The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right.

A spokeswoman for the V.F.W., which is nonpartisan, said in a statement after the event that organizers were “disappointed to hear some of our members boo the press.”

This is the pernicious power of black propaganda — even the minds of patriots can be confused and warped by a dangerous demagogue.

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September forecast: possible government shutdown over Trump’s border wall

Martin Longman at the Political Animal blog brings up a topic no one is currently talking about, but should rightly be concerned about. Will the Government Shut Down in October?

Stan Collender, who is one of the best analysts on the congressional budgeting process, has put up a doomsday clock at his blog. It says that the Republicans have 69 days left before the government shuts down again, but the real number is less than half of that when you take into account weekends, vacations, and days when no votes are scheduled.

Or as the POLITICO Playbook correctly pointed out this morning, 14 legislative days until the government shuts down:

IT MIGHT PUT YOUR MIND at ease that August recess is around the corner, but Congress has 14 legislative days before the government shuts down Sept. 30. Yes, just 14 legislative days — including today — in session to pass a bill to keep the government open.

If you talk to top Republicans privately, they’ll brush it off, and say that there is no way PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will want a confrontation roughly a month before the election in order to get money for his border wall. A down payment to continue to build the wall will be enough to keep Trump happy, some top Republicans say.

Can they be so certain?

IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH IMAGINATION to see the president unhappy with a small pot of money for his signature wall. If the right goes crazy, saying Congress isn’t backing the president’s top immigration proposal, the president might get riled up. Remember: last time the president threatened to veto a spending bill his own staff had a hand in negotiating. Republicans will also be on the brink of electing new congressional leaders, which adds another complication into the mix. There isn’t much room for error, as you can see. And the president and his advisers believe that his immigration policy is a net positive for Republicans across the country.

OF COURSE, the uncomfortable reality for Republicans is that they will almost certainly need Democratic votes to get a government-funding bill across the finish line. And there are a healthy number of Democrats who don’t want Trump to have any money for his border wall.

MOST LIKELY at this point: Congress will try to use September to pass a stop-gap measure to fund government until the end of 2018.

“Stan Collender puts the odds of a October 1st shutdown at 60 percent.” Collender clearly has little confidence in this miserable do-nothing GOP Congress and an increasingly erratic and unpredictable president.

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Obstruction of justice in plain sight by Donald Trump and his co-conspirators in Congress

Late Saturday night, the government released a redacted version of the FISA Court warrant application for Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

The application has been the basis of an elaborate conspiracy theory concocted by Donald Trump and his collaborators in Congress that his campaign was “spied on” by the FBI and intelligence agencies only after the Steele Dossier, a claim for which there is no basis or evidence. It also resulted in the discredited “Nunes Memo” from the House Intelligence Committee, which was entirely refuted by the Democratic minority memo.

Trump ordered the FISA Court warrant application released — the first time any such secret evidence in the FISA Court has ever been released —  in a pathetic attempt to revive his discredited conspiracy theory and renewed his attacks on the FBI and intelligence agencies,  after a week in which he sided with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence community and was forced to walk it back at least four times, before returning to attacking his intelligence community over the weekend.

What we are witnessing is obstruction of justice in plain sight by Donald Trump and his co-conspirators in Congress. This crime is continuing and is ongoing.

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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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