Monday Open Thread | A Post on ‘RussiaGate’

From Facebook:
Doug Blackmon
Yesterday at 1:38am ·

“RussiaGate” has become a catastrophic failure of leadership—and a debacle from which the Trump presidency will not recover

—“Trump is a suicide vest strapped around the body of the Republican Party”—-

#trumprussia

By Douglas A. Blackmon

A little more than a week ago, I said on CNN and wrote here that—based on reporting I’d just completed in Washington D.C.—it was clear that the controversy surrounding Russian contacts with advisors to President Donald J. Trump and his campaign team was about to become much more serious, much more directly focused on the president himself, and have deeply troubling consequences for our democracy.

The revelations of the past seven days have confirmed all that, and will be remembered as the point when an extraordinary but perhaps still manageable political embarrassment for the Trump administration mushroomed into the most serious controversy to engulf a presidency since Watergate.

Based on what we know already, and new revelations that will soon illuminate more key events in this sequence, our country faces a dramatic constitutional exigency. This crisis now is directly about the President himself, and one for which he now bears complete responsibility. Bluntly stated, it has become a catastrophic failure of conduct and leadership—and a debacle from which the Trump presidency will not recover.

What I couldn’t say last week was that, earlier the same day, I spent more than four hours conducting Sally Yates’ first media interview since being fired by President Trump as acting U.S. Attorney General. With me in the interview was The New Yorker magazine’s White House correspondent, Ryan Lizza, whose profile of Yates will appear on Monday, May 22. (I have known Yates for more than 25 years. To read a profile I wrote of her in February, look here: http://slate.me/2l1ROhR)

During our interview, and subsequent conversations in the following days, Yates never disclosed any classified details of the ongoing investigation or specific new bombshells. But by the end of that long series of questions, answers and clarifications, important contours of the scandal—the boundaries of what is known or not known and the enormous scale of the stakes involved—became much more clear to me. Combined with that and other reporting, it became apparent that the Trump-Russia scandal was far more serious than understood when the first revelations of the investigation occurred, and since then have only grown more ominous. These observations are my own, based on my interviews with Yates, national security experts, and other people close to these events, as well as close reading of congressional testimony, publicly available documents, and disclosures by trusted fellow journalists.

To understand why this is so serious, it’s important first to realize what is truly important to the inquiry—and escape some of the distractions of the past six months. Why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November, or exactly how Russian interests attempted to disrupt and influence our electoral process is important, but ultimately not what matters most. Whether former Trump campaign officials and advisors failed to disclose past business dealings with interests in Ukraine, Russia and Turkey is a question that will be answered, but not a defining one. That President Trump and his family have had past business dealings or allegedly engaged in personal hijinks in Russia is hardly important at all.

No, this is an investigation about one thing: the now undeniable fact that a Russian espionage conspiracy accomplished an objective that has never previously occurred in American history—compromising the highest levels of U.S. government, penetrating the White House, establishing influence and leverage over the president’s National Security Advisor, and planting false information with the Vice-President of the United States—who then unwittingly repeated those fictions to the American people.

Read the rest at the link above. Please share.

Posted in 2016 Elections, History, Obstruction of Justice, Open Thread, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

Former First Lady Michelle Obama Exploring in Italy

Posted in Barack Obama, Current Events, Michelle Obama, News, Open Thread | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sunday Praise & Worship | Sounds of Blackness

Sounds of Blackness is a Grammy Award-winning vocal and instrumental ensemble from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota who perform music from several genres music including gospel, R&B, soul, and jazz. The group scored several hits on the Billboard R&B chart and Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the 1990s. One of the group’s current members is Cynthia Johnson, who rose to fame with Lipps, Inc.

The group was founded in 1969 by Russell Knighton at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the group was called the Macalester College Black Voices. It was in 1971 when current director Gary Hines took leadership over the ensemble, and the group name was officially changed to Sounds of Blackness (SOB).

The group had acquired local celebrity status throughout the years though never signed with a record company because of various reasons including the fact that many companies were not comfortable with the group’s name. Some companies even suggested to Hines that the group’s name be changed to “The Sounds of Music.”[citation needed]

Posted in Christianity, Current Events, Gospel, Inspiration, News, Open Thread, Politics, Praise, Spirituality, Worship | Tagged , , , , | 40 Comments

Saturday Open Thread | White House lawyers research impeachment

Washington (CNN)White House lawyers have begun researching impeachment procedures in an effort to prepare for what officials still believe is a distant possibility that President Donald Trump could have to fend off attempts to remove him from office, two people briefed on the discussions tell CNN.

White House officials believe the President has the backing of Republican allies in Congress and that impeachment is not in the cards, according to the people briefed on the legal discussions. Even Democrats have tried to calm impeachment talk out of concern it is premature.

But lawyers in the White House counsel’s office have consulted experts in impeachment during the past week and have begun collecting information on how such proceedings would work, a person briefed on the matter told CNN.

The White House originally did not comment for this story. After publication, a White House official said “it’s not true” that White House lawyers are researching impeachment procedures.

One outside attorney close to the office of White House counsel Don McGahn cast doubt on impeachment preparations, saying it wouldn’t be something McGahn would authorize.

The legal discussions are part of a broader internal effort to bolster the president’s legal defense, which has become more complicated with the Justice Department’s appointment of a special counsel to pursue the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Earlier this week, close advisers to the President, including lawyer and surrogate Michael Cohen, visited the White House to discuss his need to hire personal attorneys for Trump.

Posted in 2016 Elections, Current Events, Espionage, FARA, FBI, HACKING, News, Open Thread, Politics, Racketeering, RICO, Russia, sanctions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Trayvon Martin Awarded Posthumous Degree in Aviation

MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) — Trayvon Martin was awarded a posthumous Bachelor’s Degree in aviation five years after he was fatally shot in central Florida.

Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, accepted a degree in Aeronautical Science on his behalf during a graduation ceremony at Florida Memorial University on Saturday. In a statement, the university said it was honoring the steps the 17-year-old took toward becoming a pilot before his death.

“Because your son has come to mean so much to so many, his story has resonated across the nation. Because as Dr. Martin Luther King once said, ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again,’” said the school’s Vice President & Provost, Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital. “While we cannot restore the loss you have suffered, please accept this small token as a monument that Trayvon is loved and that his life matters to us.”

“To say that we’re thankful is an understatement,” said Tracy Martin. “I think this shows what this community, how they feel, how they believe in our family, believe in our foundation, how we’ve worked together, it was a heartfelt moment when they called Trayvon’s name to accept the degree for him, it was very touching. This was a day that we planned for as parents, we just wish that we would have watched him walk across the stage.”

Posted in Black Lives Matter, Current Events, News, Open Thread | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Friday Open Thread | Two Tweets. Same Day. Amerikkka.

The way they do our lives….

Posted in Current Events, JusticeForTerenceCrutcher, News, Open Thread, Police bruality, Police violence, Politics, Racial Oppression, Racism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Thursday Open Thread | #BettyShelby found not guilty in death of Terrence Crutcher

A crowd gathered outside the courtroom after a jury found Tulsa police Officer Betty Shelby not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, last year. “Bring her out,” the crowd yelled, referring to the officer. “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

Betty Shelby, the Tulsa police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year, was found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter by a jury late Wednesday.

The jury deliberated for nine hours before announcing its verdict. Juror #22, who was the foreman, was crying as the verdict was read.

Shortly after the ruling, a small group gathered to protest the verdict.

“You don’t deserve to die because you’re black,” a young white woman yelled outside the court. “We need better training for police officers!”

Behind her, a group of people chanted “hands up don’t shoot” as they walked down the streets.

Shelby, who is white, was charged last September with felony manslaughter in the shooting of Terence Crutcher, 40.

Police said Crutcher failed to obey commands, and Shelby testified she thought Crutcher was reaching for something in his SUV.

Posted in Black Lives Matter, Current Events, News, Open Thread, Police bruality, Police violence, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 60 Comments