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”—-


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:

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.

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77 Responses to Monday Open Thread | A Post on ‘RussiaGate’

  1. rikyrah says:


    Sources: WH staffers “audibly gasped” when news broke of today’s WaPo story that Trump asked intel officials to deny #TrumpRussia collusion.

  2. Watch live. Authorities suspect deadly explosion at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester UK was caused by a suicide bomber.

  3. Liza says:

    Black ROTC cadet stabbed to death by member of ‘Alt-Reich Nation’ racist Facebook group
    Elizabeth Preza ELIZABETH PREZA
    22 MAY 2017 AT 06:06 ET

    A black ROTC cadet set to graduate from Bowie State University this week was stabbed to death by a white University of Maryland student who’s a member of a racist online hate group, the Baltimore Sun reports.

    Richard Collins III, 23, was visiting UMD this graduation weekend when he was attacked by Christoper Sean Urbanski, 22. Collins and two friends were awaiting an Uber ride around 3 a.m. Saturday morning when an “intoxicated and incoherent” Urbanski stabbed him. Authorities who reviewed videotape of the incident described the attack as unprovoked.

    Police charged Urbanski, a member of the Facebook group, “Alt-Reich Nation,” with first-degree murder Sunday. The FBI is investigating the stabbing as a possible hate crime.

    “Making a determination of motive especially if it’s a crime based on hate it’s something that has to be done with the totality of the circumstances,” FBI Special Agent Gordon Johnson told ABC News. Johnson also described the victim as a “national treasure.”

    “This is a terribly, terribly dark time for [the family], and we can’t forget about that,” Johnson said.

    Family spokesman, the Rev. Darryl L Godlock, said Collins will be remembered as a bright and funny family man who hoped to follow his veteran father’s footsteps. Last Thursday, Collins was commissioned into the Army as a second Lieutenant. He was set to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday.

    “He wanted to make his parents proud of him so he went into the military to serve his country,” Godlock said. “It was a great opportunity for him to advance forward and make the most out of his career.”

    “[Collins] wanted to be a general of the United States Army, that was his ultimate goal,” friend and classmate Vidal Adams said. “He was the definition of a leader.”

    Police originally said there was no indication race played a role in Collins’ murder, but University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell told the Root they’re investigating the Facebook group “Alt-Reich Nation,” of which Urbanski was a member.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Mueller Will Get Up in Trump’s Businesses
    by Martin Longman
    May 22, 2017 1:10 PM

    Michael Flynn will reportedly plead the Fifth Amendment and refuse to cooperate with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign. This is hardly a surprise. Flynn’s lawyers need to negotiate with prosecutors, not blowhard politicians.

    In other news, reporters Kevin Hall and Nicholas Nehamas of McClatchy have a piece today on the likelihood that the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller will look extensively at business activities and real estate holdings of The Trump Organization. As a casual observer, I think this is actually one of the president’s greatest vulnerabilities, and not necessarily because it will prove collusion or cooperation between his campaign and the Russian government.

    Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his exhaustive exposure of Trump’s fraudulent philanthropic endeavors. Had Trump not become the president, he would have likely been in court quite often trying to defend his actions on that front. As it is, he had to pay a settlement on his fraudulent Trump University scheme. His business empire offers a rich menu for any prosecutor, and his best protection may be that Mueller is somewhat constricted in what he can pursue. Order No. 3915-2017 authorizes Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated” with the Trump campaign and “any matter that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” That might prevent Mueller from going too far off the reservation, but it might not. If he discovers felonious behavior in the routine analysis of Trump’s business operation, that would arguably still be a matter that arose directly from the investigation.

    As for Trump’s more straightforward yet less certain vulnerabilities, the article lists some obvious inquiries:


    Over the weekend, I wrote about the news that Michael Caputo has been called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. He’s an interesting character and you should keep your eye on this less celebrated part of the puzzle.

    Also, for those of you who can’t enough of this stuff, Lawyers for Good Government has put together a 33-year-long timeline of Trump’s connections to Russia. You’ll have time to peruse it because James Comey isn’t testifying until after Memorial Day.

  5. Liza says:

    Melania is mad. These two have a problem. She must be in some agreement to stay while he is occupying the Oval Office.

    🚫🍊🖐🏻— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) May 22, 2017


  6. rikyrah says:

    Will the Media Treat Ivanka Trump the Way They Treated Hillary Clinton?
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 22, 2017 2:20 PM

    During Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, this happened:

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will donate a combined $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs that was the brainchild of Ivanka Trump.

    The announcement by World Bank President Jim Young Kim came during a visit to Saudi Arabia by President Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

    But the big difference, at least so far, is one of transparency. Before being confirmed as Secretary of State, Clinton and the Obama transition team released a Memorandum of Understanding to which she would be held accountable on any questions related to the foundation. Throughout her tenure and then during the campaign, Clinton was scrutinized relentlessly. Particularly related to the latter, Paul Glastris summarized:

    Thanks to the publishing of these investigations—most of which took many months of dogged effort to produce—we now have a tremendous amount of granular information about the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with the State Department and with the federal government generally. In virtually every case we know of, it’s clear that Hillary and her staff behaved appropriately.

    What do we know about Ivanka Trump’s role in the Women Entrepreneurs Fund, how it will operate, or what safeguards have been put in place to ensure it won’t raise questions of quid pro quo? The truth is, we know almost nothing.

    Apparently the idea of the fund was Ivanka’s and she is the one who proposed it to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. While the Wall Street Journal article on this story suggests that Ivanka does not control the fund and is not raising money for the it, I guess that we’re all supposed to simply accept the idea that it was merely a coincidence of timing that the contributions from Saudi Arabia and UAE were announced during Trump’s visit—and specifically during an event in Riyadh with Ivanka.

  7. Hey, Chicas. I’ve been heartbroken all weekend. A Dr here shot and killed himself. I cried so hard after hearing the news. He was known for his compassion for the poor. Always doing what he could to help the less fortunate.

  8. rikyrah says:

    President Pakled
    Liberal Librarian
    May 22, 2017

    Most mornings I peruse Twitter to see what fresh hell Donald Trump has unleashed on us. Today it didn’t take too long.

    Trump on reports he shared Israeli intel with Russia.. during meeting with Netanyahu: “I never mentioned the word Israel.”

    — Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 22, 2017

    You can be forgiven for having a spit take. In one quote, Trump confirmed both that he told Russia about secret intelligence, and that the source of the intelligence was Israel. “Don’t worry, guys, I didn’t say it was YOU (wink).”

    It really is getting hard to write about this man. It’s almost as if he wants to get out of this job so badly he’ll do anything to get impeached, but his party in Congress still has to gut healthcare and the tax structure, so he’s stuck in the job.

    Oh yes, the broader GOP. While the Trump White House has become “Reservoir Dogs” as directed by Ed Wood, Jr., don’t forget that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell still have their Randian boners up, wanting to undo the New Deal and Great Society in their totality, as well as obliterate Barack Obama’s legacy, making him an unperson. Of course, Trump’s travails have sucked up all the oxygen from the political room, so that’s good; healthcare “reform” is as good as stalled in the Senate, and tax “reform” is a non-starter. However, they can still do a lot of damage on the periphery, by undoing regulation or keeping regulation and just not enforcing it. And then we have our friends in ICE who have been taking too many lessons from the Gestapo now that their hands have been freed by their Fuhrer.

  9. rikyrah says:

    In Saudi Arabia, Trump Sounded Just Like Any Other Republican War Hawk
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 22, 2017 10:13 AM

    During the 2016 campaign, foreign policy was one of the areas in which Trump sounded different from traditional Republicans. He eschewed the whole idea of “regime change” and campaigned on the idea that the U.S. shouldn’t be inserting itself in Middle Eastern conflicts.

    On the other hand, he embraced the growing movement of Islamophobia in this country, including the idea that terrorism was a natural outgrowth of the Muslim faith. That was the basis for his proposed “Muslim ban” and his hints at the idea of developing a Muslim registry.

    Due to that background, many people are experiencing a bit of whip lash at his remarks in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, including things like this:


    That sounds an awful lot like the kind of thing George W. Bush said after 9/11. The key for Republicans has always been where you draw that line between good and evil. That’s where Trump began to sound an awful lot like the Republican war hawks.

    But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

    From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

    Rhetoric like that will allow Senators like Cotton, Graham and McCain to jump back on the Trump train. Seeing Iran as the evil force in the Middle East puts U.S. foreign policy back on track to take sides with Sunni Muslims (primarily in the Gulf States) in their ancient battle with Shia Muslims (primarily in Iran). It ignores a fundamental reality that the editorial board of USA Today identified.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization, is Sunni. The same goes for al-Qaeda, the group founded by Osama bin Laden that brought down the World Trade Center on 9/11.

    The bulk of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi citizens. And the Saudi government has long supported an ultra orthodox form of Islam known as Wahhabism, which has been a kind of gateway drug to radical Islam.

    To be sure, much of the reason that Sunni extremism dominates the world of terrorism is that it is the much larger of the two predominant sects. But radical Sunnis have been more aggressive than militant Shiites, such as Hezbollah, in attacking Western homelands.

  10. rikyrah says:

    What Can Brown Do for the Democratic Party?
    by D.R. Tucker
    May 21, 2017 11:00 AM

    Assuming, improbably as it may seem now, that Donald Trump survives and runs for a second term (hey, stranger things have happened), who will Democrats embrace as their post-Barack Obama, post-Hillary Clinton champion?

    It’s not too early to speculate: the 2020 Democratic presidential primary will be here before you know it, and we could once again bear witness to a street fight between the party’s “establishment” and “progressive” wings. Of course, it’s just as likely that Democrats will decide to avoid a divisive primary by uniting around a consensus candidate.

    If he chooses to run–and if he survives a right-wing effort to deny him a third term next year–one wonders if Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown will be embraced as the individual to unite the Democratic Party’s various factions. History has proven that a divided Democratic Party is ripe for the pickings–and if party members are brawling amongst themselves again, the White House will stay in Republican hands.

    Last year around this time, I speculated that Clinton would select Brown as her running mate. I noted:

    Brown is Bernie without the bombast, a bold progressive voice who understands that the Democratic Party has always stood for the interests of the disenfranchised, disparaged and downtrodden; like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, he can articulate the woes and frustrations of the put-upon middle class, and coherently explain how progressive policies can redress those grievances. The selection of Brown could accomplish two mutually important goals for Clinton: he could appeal to the more rational members of Sanders’s fan club while also attracting support from working-class voters who might respond to populist appeals, but who haven’t swallowed the last drop of Donald Trump’s Kool-Aid.

    Brown nailed the difference between earnest and ersatz populism in a USA Today op-ed earlier this month:

    Populism doesn’t preach hate. Populism preaches hope — hope that all workers will have the opportunity to build better lives for their families. I hear that same hope all over Ohio, from the young, diverse workers at a software company outside of Cleveland, to coal country, where people aren’t willing to give up on their hometowns.

    I heard it in Cincinnati, where I met with janitors who had just signed their first union contract. One woman told me this was the first time in her 30 years of working she would be able to take a one-week paid vacation.

    A true populist looks out for people like her, because populism values work and it respects the people who do it — every last one of them. Our society doesn’t value work the way we once did; Americans work harder and have less to show for it.

    If you want to call yourself a populist, you better be ready to stick up for the little guy — whether she punches a time clock or earns tips. Whether she works in a call center or a hospital or on a factory floor. Whether he is a contract worker or a temp.

    And you better be willing to be straight with the people you serve. A true populist tells the truth, because she respects people’s intelligence.

    Of course we’ve always had cynical politicians. They — and the media that cover them too — often confuse popularity with populism. Populism and popularity may share the same Latin root, but not the same political home. An opportunist politician divides people and kowtows to the powerful. He spreads blame instead of solutions, and lies about bringing back an idyllic past that never was. And he often treats those with less power and privilege with disdain.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Trump White House clashes with federal ethics watchdog
    05/22/17 11:20 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Up until quite recently, Walter Shaub worked in relative unanimity. Shaub is the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, an independent, non-partisan office, which tries to prevent conflicts of interest among high-ranking federal officials, and he’s worked off and on at the office for 20 years.

    But Donald Trump’s election has brought Shaub into the spotlight in unexpected ways.

    It was Shaub who balked publicly in response to Trump’s decision to maintain ownership of his business ventures while serving as president. Soon after, he raised concerns about the president moving forward with cabinet nominees before the Office of Government Ethics could complete an ethics review process – and then blew the whistle when Trump’s nominees pushed back against the government’s ethics requirements with “a ferocity we’ve not previously seen.”

    Last week, we learned that it was Shaub’s office that stood its ground when Trump’s attorneys “wanted him to submit an updated financial disclosure without certifying the information as true.” And this week, the New York Times highlights the latest skirmish in this ongoing saga.

    The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose any ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists who have work in the White House or federal agencies.

    The latest conflict came in recent days when the White House, in a highly unusual move, sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers. In the letter, the administration challenged his legal authority to demand the information.

  12. rikyrah says:

    New: @dccc expands their list of GOP house seats to target. Bold-faced names now in Dem crosshairs: Nunes, Hunter, Brat

    — Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) May 22, 2017

  13. rikyrah says:

    TFW you find out Clarence Thomas joined liberals to strike down NC congressional maps.

    That’s how racist it was.

    — Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) May 22, 2017

  14. rikyrah says:

    Bannon has left the trip…couldn’t handle being around so many Muslims and Jews…you could see it on his face.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Illinois lawmakers pass law to make Obama’s birthday a state holiday

    — All Things WSB-TV (@AllThingsWSB) May 22, 2017

  16. rikyrah says:

    Mississippi Republican faces pushback following ‘lynching’ comment
    05/22/17 10:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Local officials in New Orleans last week finished removing Confederate-era monuments from prominent positions in the city, which, not surprisingly, was the subject of some debate. But the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, highlighted a Republican lawmaker who made clear what he intends to do if a similar effort is launched in his home state.

    State Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, in a Facebook post wrote that Louisiana leaders removing Confederate monuments should be “lynched” and compared their actions to Nazis.

    The GOP representative of District 46 wrote the following in a Facebook post: “The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”

    I’ll gladly concede that random state lawmakers say ridiculous things with some regularity, and as a rule, turning each incident into a national news story is a Sisyphean task.

    But there’s a legitimate conversation underway about the future of Confederate monuments in much of the South, and the fact that sentiments such as Karl Oliver’s still exist – from an elected lawmaker, publishing online for the public to see – are a reminder about the state of the debate in some corners.

    The fact that this Mississippi Republican represents the community of Money – the same town in which Emmett Till was lynched in 1955 – makes Oliver’s statement that much more striking.

  17. Liza says:

    And the hate crimes never stop…

    URGENT: Alt-Right white supremacist walks up and stabs a young Black soldier, #RichardCollins, to death.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) May 22, 2017


  18. Ametia says:

    We’re being assaulted on all fronts by #45 & his cabal. Now they’re focusing on taking down AMERICA’s SAFETY NET. Watch them

  19. rikyrah says:

    Dirty Deeds: The Trumpist Threat to Clean Air and Water
    by D.R. Tucker
    May 22, 2017 8:00 AM

    Presumably, Donald Trump didn’t bring the hack he hired to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, along with him to Saudi Arabia because the fossil-fuel fetishist wouldn’t want to leave that petrostate.

    The New York Times, presumably trying to reduce the public’s contempt towards its decision to hire climate-change denier Bret Stephens to foul its op-ed page, has tried to repair the damage by focusing on the damage Pruitt’s policies will inflict upon our planet:

    In just the last three months, with Mr. Pruitt in charge, the E.P.A. postponed a long-planned rule requiring companies like Devon [Energy] to retrofit drilling equipment to prevent leaks of methane gas — a major contributor to climate change — and to collect more data on how much of the gas is spewing into the air.

    The Interior Department, meanwhile, announced this month that it would reconsider a separate rule limiting the burning of unwanted methane gas from wells drilled on federal and Indian lands, a process called flaring. That announcement came the same day the Senate narrowly rejected industry calls to repeal the same rule.

    Interior officials have also announced their intention to repeal or revise a contentious rule requiring companies like Devon to take extra steps to prevent groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a drilling technique in which chemicals and water are forced into rock formations.

    Environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund are outraged by these moves, and have vowed to fight any rollbacks in court.

    “Devon is doing to the oil and gas industry what Donald Trump did to the Republican Party, pushing the whole agenda into a world of extremes,” said Mark Brownstein, a vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund.

  20. rikyrah says:

    How Cities Can Protect Immigrants in the Age of Trump
    Cincinnati’s new ID program could be a model for other progressive cities.

    by Timothy Broderick
    May 22, 2017

    Heavy rain loomed on the horizon, but the crowd standing outside Woodward High School in Cincinnati, Ohio was unfazed, wearing smiles that could weather hurricanes. Showers wouldn’t drive them away. People had already waited hours for the ID drive to begin, some arriving before dawn, others camping overnight. The line started at the school’s double glass doors, wound around the entire building, and stretched out onto the street.

    “It was incredible,” said Margaret Fox, director of Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati (MARCC), a nonprofit that has spent decades fighting on behalf of the city’s marginalized communities. “I cry each time because it’s kind of like a scene at Ellis Island. Men, women, and children. Babies in strollers.”

    MARCC, with the help of Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio, sponsors the MARCC ID, an identification card rolled out last August that serves as valid identification for any Cincinnatian. While target populations for the ID include former felons and homeless individuals, most cardholders are undocumented immigrants hoping to insulate themselves from the rising xenophobic policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration.

    For undocumented immigrants, living without identification is a dangerous prospect. A simple run-in with the police can initiate the deportation process, even for non-criminals. Since public offices and services in Cincinnati — law enforcement included — recognize the MARCC ID as valid identification, obtaining the ID curtails the risk of deportation.

    Municipal IDs like the MARCC ID are a new tool cities are employing to defend the rights of the undocumented. “The MARCC ID does not allow any holder to obtain any services or benefits that are not available to the holder under federal, state, or local laws,” said Fox. The ID helps immigrants access those benefits.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Trump is Being Taken Apart, Step By Step
    by Martin Longman
    May 17, 2017 1:30 PM


    It’s obviously not just Comey who is crippling the president with leaks. There are leakers very close to the president, perhaps even in his inner circle. There are people leaking throughout the intelligence community and the Justice Department. They are doing so, most of them, because of sincere alarm and for patriotic reasons. And the result is this:

    In interviews, multiple White House officials indicated they feel under siege — unsure who in the intelligence community was leaking, how much damaging information was out there, when the next proverbial shoe would drop and what Trump might say.

    Staffers shuttled back and forth among West Wing offices debating what to say without divulging confidential material or getting anything wrong. A deflated and exhausted Sean Spicer, who continues to read reports that his job is in jeopardy while he works 12 hours every day in his office, huddled in his office with chief of staff Reince Priebus.

    There was a pervasive sense, another official said, that “we are kind of helpless.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Trump’s Ship is Going Down
    There aren’t enough life rafts on this boat to save anyone but the women and children.
    by Martin Longman
    May 20, 2017 7:00 AM

    I don’t remember a time when someone on President Obama’s staff said something like this about their boss:

    “Every day he looks more and more like a complete moron,” said one senior administration official who also worked on Trump’s campaign. “I can’t see Trump resigning or even being impeached, but at this point I wish he’d grow a brain and be the man that he sold himself as on the campaign.”

    Or this:

    “If Donald Trump gets impeached, he will have one person to blame: Donald Trump,” one of those administration officials said.

    Trump spent the hours before leaving on his nine-day foreign adventure screwing every pooch in the Western Hemisphere. And he left his administration shell-shocked, distraught, and downright angry. He also made a pretty iron-tight case for removing him from office.

    David C. Gomez, a former FBI assistant special agent in charge, said Trump’s comments demonstrated a profound inability to grasp the potential consequences of his words.

    “In terms of potential criminal activity, it’s amateur night at the White House,” Gomez told The Daily Beast. “These guys—and Trump especially—don’t know how to not implicate themselves.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Flynn’s Job Was to Set Up Back Channel Access Between Putin and Trump
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 18, 2017 10:01 AM

    The bombshells dropping on the Trump presidency are coming at a fast and furious pace right now. I’d like to focus on the latest one from the New York Times.

    Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.

    Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.

    Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Mr. Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.

    If you’ve been paying attention to this story all along, the first thing that should grab your attention is that Flynn told White House Counsel Don McGahn that he was under federal investigation on January 4th. That was not only a full two weeks before Trump’s inauguration, it was three weeks before Sally Yates told him that Flynn could be compromised because of his lies about meetings with the Russian ambassador. That puts some of his reaction to her in a whole different context.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Trump Is Ignoring America’s Looming Cybersecurity Threat
    Our federal agencies are woefully underprepared to withstand a major cyberattack.

    by Anne Kim
    May 19, 2017

    The “ransomware” attack that crippled computer systems around the globe last week shows once again just how vulnerable the world’s computer systems are to criminals and hackers.

    The so-called “WannaCry” virus — which threatened to delete a victim’s files absent a $300 ransom — exploited a weakness in the Windows operating system that a simple software update could have blocked. Government computer systems were among the hardest hit, including Russia’s Interior Ministry and Britain’s National Health Service, which had to shut down 16 hospitals. Reports are already circulating of a second potential global cyberattack, Adylkuzz, which works by stealing processing power from victims’ computers.

    So far, U.S. government systems seem to have been spared – but how ready are federal agencies to withstand a cyberattack?

    The answer: Not as much as they should be.

    After the 2015 discovery of a massive breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which compromised the personal information of 21.5 million people, President Barack Obama tasked a 12-member presidential commission with devising a national cybersecurity plan. The commission’s report, issued last December, included a long list of to-dos for the next Administration, citing an urgent need for “ambitious measures to put the federal government’s cybersecurity house in order.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Comey firing story contains giant contradiction
    Rachel Maddow shows how a request for more resources preceding James Comey’s firing was widely reported in the media but is adamantly denied by the Department of Justice – an irreconcilable contradiction.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Flynn inquiry calls for espionage expertise
    Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney, talks with Rachel Maddow about what is means to be an espionage prosecutor and why one might be assigned to the the case of disgraced Donald Trump NSA Mike Flynn.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Can the Trump-Russia special counsel be undermined by Trump?
    Neal Katyal, former US acting solicitor general who helped draft the special counsel regulations, talks with Rachel Maddow about the ways in which Donald Trump might seek to undermine or eliminate the Trump-Russia special investigation.

  28. rikyrah says:

    How might Donald Trump try to end the special investigation?
    Rachel Maddow looks at some ways by which Donald Trump could try to get in the way of the Trump-Russia special investigation or eliminate it entirely.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Trump-Russia probe turns to White House adviser as it speeds up
    Devlin Barrett, national security reporter for The Washington Post, talks with Rachel Maddow on another busy news day about new reporting that the Trump-Russia investigation has moved to a White House adviser close to Donald Trump.

  30. rikyrah says:

    In Saudi Arabia, Trump retreats from years of posturing
    05/22/17 08:00 AM—UPDATED 05/22/17 08:12 AM
    By Steve Benen
    There was a fair amount of interest in Donald Trump’s speech in Riyadh yesterday, with the American president addressing dozens of Muslim leaders from the region. The ambiguity surrounding the purpose of the remarks only heightened the curiosity: what exactly would Trump – with a record of hostility towards Islam in general and Saudi Arabia in specific – do with this platform?

    As it turns out, not a whole lot. The Republican’s speech in Saudi Arabia, by any fair measure, turned out to be pretty conventional, which inadvertently told us something important about Trump.

    The speech during the initial stop of the president’s first foreign trip was a stark contrast to his previous comments on Islam. As a candidate, Trump frequently criticized the religion, saying, “I think Islam hates us” and “there’s a tremendous hatred there.”

    In Riyadh, Trump said, “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.”

    Perhaps the most provocative portion of the speech came when Trump strayed from the prepared text: he was supposed to reference “confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism,” but he instead said “confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism.” A senior administration official said soon after that the slip was not deliberate, but rather, was the result of the president being “exhausted” on his first full day abroad.

    Regardless, the story here is less about a conventional speech and more about the fact that Trump retreated from his previous postures. Remember, Trump rose to prominence in Republican presidential politics by attacking Islam relentlessly, including his call for a notorious Muslim ban, which his White House tried and failed to implement a few months ago.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Saudi Arabia, UAE pledge $100 million to fund backed by Ivanka Trump
    05/22/17 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    About a month ago, Ivanka Trump boasted about a new initiative: in addition to her White House duties, the president’s daughter is helping raise money to “benefit female entrepreneurs around the globe.” As part of the endeavor, Ivanka Trump had already begun soliciting contributions from international donors.

    It wasn’t long before legal and ethical questions arose – when the president of the United States’ daughter starts asking for money from prospective donors abroad, scrutiny is inevitable – prompting Ivanka Trump to make clear that the World Bank would manage the investment fund; she was merely championing the worthy cause.

    The story took an interesting turn over the weekend with new “pay-to-play” concerns. NPR reported:

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will donate a combined $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs that was the brainchild of Ivanka Trump.

    The announcement by World Bank President Jim Young Kim came during a visit to Saudi Arabia by President Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

    Some context is in order. It was just last year, for example, that Donald Trump said he was outraged that the Clinton Foundation accepted charitable contributions from Saudi Arabia, which, the Republican said, wants “women as slaves” and to “kill gays.” He added at the time, “Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

    And yet, here we are, watching Trump’s daughter raising money accepting a sizable charitable contribution from Saudi Arabia.

    What’s more, it’s important to consider the motivation behind the donation. The Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum noted, “The announcement that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will donate money to her fund was a ‘pay to play’ far more blatant than anything Hillary Clinton ever dreamed of.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Shorter @vermontgmg: Trump is screwed. But read it all, because Garrett is the expert on Mueller & Comey.

    — Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) May 21, 2017

  33. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: AP Source: Michael Flynn to decline Senate Intel committee subpoena, invoke 5th Amendment later today.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 22, 2017

  34. rikyrah says:

    Goldman Sachs exec ends bid to join Trump administration
    05/22/17 09:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Two months ago, James Donovan, a longtime Goldman Sachs executive, became Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as deputy to the Treasury secretary, serving just below Steve Mnuchin. On Friday afternoon, that nomination came to a rather abrupt halt.
    James Donovan, the Goldman Sachs executive who was poised to become deputy Treasury secretary, is backing out of consideration.

    Mr. Donovan, 50, recently told administration officials that he could not take the job because of unexpected family matters that required more of his attention.

    While Donovan is hardly a household name, and his nomination wasn’t considered a major development, his withdrawal is a story with a fairly broad reach.

    For example, Trump, after having used Goldman Sachs as a punching bag for much of the campaign, had chosen seven veterans of the Wall Street giant to work on his team. With Donavan stepping aside, and Anthony Scaramucci also walking away from an administration job offer, there are now five prominent Goldman Sachs executives remaining on Team Trump.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Trump’s Russia scandal is becoming a corruption scandal— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) May 22, 2017

  36. rikyrah says:

    White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) May 22, 2017

  37. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😐😐😐

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