Saturday Open Thread | #JeffSessions discussed Trump campaign matters with Russian ambassador

Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed issues related to the Trump campaign with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during the 2016 election, current and former US officials told The Washington Post on Friday.

The officials’ assessment was based on communications between Kislyak and Moscow that were intercepted by US spy agencies.

Since it emerged in March that Sessions, a prominent Trump campaign surrogate, had failed to disclose his contacts with the Russian ambassador, he consistently said he did not discuss anything related to the Trump campaign with Kislyak, and that all their conversations took place within the scope of his duties as a US senator.

One US official told The Post Sessions’ statements were “misleading” and “contradicted by other evidence.”

Another official said the intercepted communications between Kislyak and the Kremlin, in which he spoke of two conversations he had with Sessions, indicate that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” conversations about the Trump campaign’s platform on matters related to Russia, and how the Trump administration would approach the crumbling US-Russia relationship.

The Post’s report contradicts previous statements Sessions has made, at times while under oath.

When he was asked whether he communicated with the Russian government at his January confirmation hearing, Sessions said he was “not aware of any of those activities.”

He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

After it emerged in March that Sessions had, in fact, had at least two conversations with Kislyak during the campaign, he was forced to recuse himself from any current or future Department of Justice investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

“I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” Sessions said when he announced his recusal in March.

And when he was asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee in June about his conversations with the Russians, Sessions narrowed his answer and said he had “never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.”

Posted in 2016 Elections, Current Events, Espionage, FBI, HACKING, News, Open Thread, Politics, Russia, Treason | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Vivian Cash — First Wife of “I Walk the Line” Johnny Cash

BLACK IS AN INVISIBLE COLOUR

Y’all know I’m a country girl. I grew up on a farm. I’m a Native Texan. I like cowboys, big hats, big trucks and country music. :) Country music is in my blood. My Twitter pal @GrooveSDC says his family are ‘black red necks’, I tweeted to him, I guess I’m a black red neck too. :) I loved listening to Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson.

Until yesterday, I never knew, Vivian Cash, first wife of Johnny Cash existed. What a gorgeous woman. And those 4 beautiful daughters belong to Johnny and Vivian. You learn something new everyday. Talk about shocked!

……….

I used to say I like every kind of music except Country. That was until my good friend Steve Abel made me sit down and listen to ‘Johnny Cash at San Quentin’, recorded live at the infamous prison. I was an instant fan.

So when “Walk the Line”, the Johnny Cash biopic, was released in 2005 I was eager to see it. I thought it was a great movie, with some brilliant scenes, like the one where Ma and Pa Carter see off Cash’s dealer with shotguns as he quits cold turkey. They seemed to epitomise the best of White Southern Christian Decency, in contrast to the usual treatment we see of Southern hypocrisy, malice and racist cruelty.

The romance between Johnny Cash and June Carter was of course the main thread of the movie. It winds around his protracted wooing of her and ends with a caption celebrating their 35 year partnership on and off stage after she finally agrees to marry him. His first wife Vivian is portrayed as a woman just never suited to be his wife and who drove him away with her bitterness, jealousy and resentment. I remember idly wondering what she was really like, and whether this was a fair portrayal of her character, as the story moved back to his great love for June.

The Cash sisters. Rosanne is in the red and Kathy is in the dark blue.

Vivian Cash & daughter Roseann Cash

Watching the movie for a second time the other day I was again swept up in what a nasty, bitter woman Vivian was, even as another part of my mind again questioned the representation. In the garden with my wife the following day, we began deconstructing the movie as we worked. As we talked through different elements of the plot, I began to feel more and more uneasy. Later I decided to google Vivian Cash. I found a review of her book ‘I Walked the Line’, written after the film came out. Not surprisingly it gave a very different story to the film, suggesting that their marriage had been very happy until June stole John away. What WAS surprising, though, was when I looked at photos of Vivian. Turns out that she was a black woman.

You’d never know from reading any of the articles about her.

You’d certainly never know from watching the movie, where she is played by Ginnifer Goodwin.

In fact the only thing I found in my admittedly brief search that referenced her ethnicity was a newspaper headline from when he was busted for drugs that says “ARREST EXPOSES JOHNNY CASH’S NEGRO WIFE”. Presumably exposes her for the sin of being black in the USA.

Interestingly, in contrast to the newspaper article from the time, the film shows him leaving court alone and coming home to her censorious displeasure. It is shortly after this arrest that the chronology of the film shows them separating.

I’d noticed before that there are almost no black people in the film. Two shoe shiners are the sum total are far as I remember. I imagine the director, James Mangold, justifies this by saying that there are no black characters who are important to the story. That is if you don’t include his first wife.

Suddenly the treatment of Vivian makes complete sense. In the world of American Country music, of course the black woman is the villain of the story – even when her husband leaves her and her four daughters for another woman. June and John are considered one of the most iconic couples in country music history, and no black woman is going to undermine that narrative. Her character has to be destroyed. But even that is not enough. Her very identity is robbed from her, made invisible by whitewash.

They say that black is not a colour, it is the absence of light. That certainly seems to be true in Hollywood.

Posted in Country Music, Current Events, News, Open Thread | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Friday Open Thread | Trump asking advisers about ability to pardon aides, family members & himself

President Trump has asked advisers about “his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with” the Russia probe, the Washington Post reports citing a source familiar with the discussions. Another source said Trump’s lawyers were “discussing pardoning powers among themselves.”

Per several aides, Trump’s lawyers are “are actively compiling a list of [special counsel Robert] Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work.”

“The president is also irritated by the notion that Mueller’s probe could reach into his and his family’s finances.”

Beschloss: If Trump thinks he can easily pardon himself/fire Mueller—could be Constitutional crisis that’d make Watergate look like a minor event

Trump “has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.”

Trump’s lawyers declined to comment. Mark Corallo, the spokesman for his legal team, resigned Thursday, the Post reports.

Posted in 2016 Elections, collusion, Current Events, Espionage, HACKING, News, Open Thread, Politics, RICO, Russia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 98 Comments

Thursday Open Thread | Trump slams AG Jeff Sessions in NYT Interview

President Donald Trump said he never would have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general had he known he’d recuse himself from the Russia investigation, and warned that special counsel Robert Mueller would cross a red line if he expanded the investigation to include Trump family finances, in a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times on Wednesday.

“Sessions should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.” President Donald Trump

“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” Trump said. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”

Trump also accused former FBI Director James Comey of lying, and said that when Comey warned him in January that a former British spy had compiled a dossier of sensational allegations against Trump, he interpreted it as a threat. “In my opinion, he shared it so that I would think he had it out there [as leverage],” Trump said. Trump went on to say Comey’s testimony before Congress was “loaded up with lies,” though he did not specify them.

Despite reports that Mueller may be investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice for firing Comey, Trump said he didn’t believe it. “I don’t think we’re under investigation,” he said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Trump was also critical of Mueller, alleging conflicts of interest by him and lawyers in his office, and said the Russia investigation should not delve into his family’s finances. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia,” he said.

Speaking about Russia, Trump dismissed recent reports that he had a second, previously undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent G-20 meeting, saying they exchanged “pleasantries” between dinner and dessert, that they talked for about 15 minutes and the subject was Russian adoptions. “Which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don had in that meeting,” Trump said, referring to a June 2016 meeting attended by his son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer who had offered them damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Trump again denied he had knowledge of that meeting, and said he didn’t need any help at the time. “There wasn’t much I could say about Hillary Clinton that was worse than what I was already saying,” he said.

Posted in 2016 Elections, collusion, Current Events, Department of Justice, FBI, News, Politics, Russia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 88 Comments

Wednesday Open Thread | ‘A timeline of treason’: Keith Olbermann connect the dots

Raw Story

Longtime broadcaster Keith Olbermann’s latest episode of “The Resistance” put recent revelations about Trump campaign collusion with the Russians into chronological order, revealing a “timeline of treason” during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“The sheer volume of information in this one thread of the Trump campaign conspiracy is so overwhelming that only when viewed chronologically does it make any sense,” Olbermann of the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Natalia Veselnitskaya. “Or does it become clear that it is, in short, a timeline of treason.”

Going back to the spring of 2015, the veteran broadcaster recalled the tick-tock of revelations of collusion. The timeline doesn’t just contain the actions of Donald Trump, Jr. but also those of his father, President Donald Trump.

Olbermann closed the segment by addressing White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, saying, “your client can turn himself in any time now.”

Posted in 2016 Elections, collusion, Current Events, Espionage, HACKING, impeachment, News, Open Thread, Politics, Russia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 111 Comments

Breaking News: Trump had a second undisclosed meeting with Putin at the G20

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin a second time during the G-20 summit earlier this month, a White House official confirmed to NBC News Tuesday.

Trump spoke to Putin at the end of a couples-only social dinner at the summit in Hamburg, Germany, the official said, reiterating it was a social dinner. Pull-asides are typically less formal than official bilateral meetings, which Trump and Putin also shared.

The White House did not previously disclose or offer a record of what was discussed during the meeting, which was first reported by Ian Bremmer, president of the international consulting firm Eurasia Group.

During that Friday night dinner, Putin was seated next to first lady Melania Trump.

Trump and Putin’s first face-to-face meeting as world leaders came while in Germany, with the bilateral lasting over two hours. During that meeting, Putin denied meddling in the 2016 presidential election, though it still remains unclear whether or not Trump accepted the Kremlin’s version of events. Russian officials, including Putin, have indicated that Trump accepted Putin’s denial.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump “heard” Putin’s denial “and he moved forward with places they thought they could work together.”

The Trump-Putin relationship has been highly scrutinized amid ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the election, which includes a probe into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia. Trump and his team have repeatedly denied those allegations.

Posted in 2016 Elections, collusion, Current Events, Foreign policy, HACKING, News, Open Thread, Politics, Russia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Tuesday Open Thread | Reince Priebus was at Trump Tower for Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting

Palmer Report

With each passing day, the number of people who attended Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian government representatives grows. First it was four. Then it was six. Now it’s eight, with the eighth and final person being identified only as a male and a U.S. citizen. But one may not have to look very far to find that individual’s identity: Reince Priebus, who is confirmed to have been in the building.

On the morning of the meeting in question, which is confirmed to have taken place at Trump Tower, an Associated Press reporter named Jonathan Lemire tweeted that he had just seen Reince Priebus walking into the building (link). This isn’t proof that Priebus was in the boardroom for the meeting, but it in confirmation that he was in Trump Tower for the meeting. There was no other reason for him to have shown up there. There was a RNC fundraiser in New York that day, but it was at a different building.

CNN is reporting tonight that Donald Trump Jr.’s attorney has coughed up some details about the eighth person at the meeting, insisting that the person was a “U.S. citizen” and was “not employed by the Russian government” while referring to the individual as having been a man (link). Junior’s attorney was attempting to make things sound more innocent by confirming that the eighth person wasn’t yet another Russian government representative. But instead, he ended up offering a description that just happens to fit Reince Priebus.

It’s important to note that during the time of this meeting, Priebus was still the Chair of the Republican National Committee, and he wasn’t working for the Donald Trump campaign in any way shape or form. So if he was in the meeting, it means the titular head of the Republican Party was officially in on the plot to conspire with the Russian government to rig the election on Donald Trump’s behalf. Look for proof soon that Priebus was not only in Trump Tower for the meeting, but physically in the meeting as well.

Posted in 2016 Elections, collusion, Current Events, Espionage, HACKING, News, Open Thread, Politics, Russia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 76 Comments