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05/17/17 11:31 PM
memyselfandi wrote:glencar wrote:I'm concerned about the future of the MSM at this point. Every night there's some new garbage getting breathlessly reported.Maybe Trump should stop being such a garbage president all the time and the MSM wouldn't have so much garbage to report.
glencar wrote:I'm concerned about the future of the MSM at this point. Every night there's some new garbage getting breathlessly reported.
05/18/17 12:34 AM
05/18/17 04:08 AM
05/18/17 04:55 AM
05/18/17 05:27 AM
memyselfandi wrote:Braincake wrote:victalac wrote:Christ, what a stupid move.No, it's a great move. Trump is always three steps ahead of the Democarats.This puts the focus on the special investigator and takes it off the President and the Congress so they can get some work done. There is nothing for him to find, so the sooner he can get it done and clear Trump's name, the better. Trump wants this over. Comey and the Dems want to drag it out as long as possible. Like Muddy said, they want a bogeyman.Of course, when the investigator comes back and says that Trump had no connection with the Russians, the Dems will screech and flail and claim that it was all a conspiracy. Because that is all the Democrats do.It almost certainly wasn't Trump's move to appoint the special prosecutor. The deputy AG probably did it to try to save his reputation and he did it without telling Trump ahead of time.If this was Trump's decision, it certainly would be an interesting reading of the situation to view this as some 3-D chessmaster move when Robert Mueller and Jim Comey were BFFs working together against the Bush administration on their post-9/11 domestic surveillance program.
Braincake wrote:victalac wrote:Christ, what a stupid move.No, it's a great move. Trump is always three steps ahead of the Democarats.This puts the focus on the special investigator and takes it off the President and the Congress so they can get some work done. There is nothing for him to find, so the sooner he can get it done and clear Trump's name, the better. Trump wants this over. Comey and the Dems want to drag it out as long as possible. Like Muddy said, they want a bogeyman.Of course, when the investigator comes back and says that Trump had no connection with the Russians, the Dems will screech and flail and claim that it was all a conspiracy. Because that is all the Democrats do.
victalac wrote:Christ, what a stupid move.
05/18/17 05:31 AM
Dad Of Two wrote:Lefties are going to end up hating Mueller and the MSM will look worse than it already does because there's nothing to find. That is, unless they look at Hillary.
05/18/17 07:34 AM
Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with
Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and
emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race,
current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told
undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by
FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the
U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and
Six of the previously
undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between
Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, and Trump
advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser,
three current and former officials said.
between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two
discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump
and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national
security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved
relations, four current U.S. officials said.
January, the Trump White House initially denied any contacts with
Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. The White House and advisers
to the campaign have since confirmed four meetings between Kislyak and
Trump advisers during that time.
people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no
evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in
the communications reviewed so far. But the disclosure could increase
the pressure on Trump and his aides to provide the FBI and Congress with
a full account of interactions with Russian officials and others with
links to the Kremlin during and immediately after the 2016 election.
White House did not respond to requests for comment. Flynn's lawyer
declined to comment. In Moscow, a Russian foreign ministry official
declined to comment on the contacts and referred Reuters to the Trump
spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington said: “We do not comment
on our daily contacts with the local interlocutors.”
18 calls and electronic messages took place between April and November
2016 as hackers engaged in what U.S. intelligence concluded in January
was part of a Kremlin campaign to discredit the vote and influence the
outcome of the election in favor of Trump over his Democratic
challenger, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Those discussions focused on mending
U.S.-Russian economic relations strained by sanctions imposed on Moscow,
cooperating in fighting Islamic State in Syria and containing a more
assertive China, the sources said.
of the Senate and House intelligence committees have gone to the CIA
and the National Security Agency to review transcripts and other
documents related to contacts between Trump campaign advisers and
associates and Russian officials and others with links to Putin, people
with knowledge of those investigations told Reuters.
U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it had appointed former FBI
Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged
Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign and possible
collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Mueller will now take
charge of the FBI investigation that began last July. Trump and his
aides have repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia.
In addition to the six phone
calls involving Kislyak, the communications described to Reuters
involved another 12 calls, emails or text messages between Russian
officials or people considered to be close to Putin and Trump campaign
of those contacts was by Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch and
politician, according to one person with detailed knowledge of the
exchange and two others familiar with the issue.
was not clear with whom Medvedchuk was in contact within the Trump
campaign but the themes included U.S.-Russia cooperation, the sources
said. Putin is godfather to Medvedchuk’s daughter.
Medvedchuk denied having any contact with anyone in the Trump campaign.
am not acquainted with any of Donald Trump's close associates,
therefore no such conversation could have taken place," he said in an
email to Reuters.
conversations during the campaign, Russian officials emphasized a
pragmatic, business-style approach and stressed to Trump associates that
they could make deals by focusing on common economic and other
interests and leaving contentious issues aside, the sources said.
of previous election campaigns said some contact with foreign officials
during a campaign was not unusual, but the number of interactions
between Trump aides and Russian officials and others with links to Putin
“It’s rare to
have that many phone calls to foreign officials, especially to a country
we consider an adversary or a hostile power,” Richard Armitage, a
Republican and former deputy secretary of state, told Reuters.
Beyond Medvedchuk and Kislyak,
the identities of the other Putin-linked participants in the contacts
remain classified and the names of Trump advisers other than Flynn have
been “masked” in intelligence reports on the contacts because of legal
protections on their privacy as American citizens. However, officials
can request that they be revealed for intelligence purposes.
U.S. and allied intelligence and law enforcement agencies routinely monitor communications and movements of Russian officials.
Vice President Mike Pence and others had denied in January that Trump
campaign representatives had any contact with Russian officials, the
White House later confirmed that Kislyak had met twice with then-Senator
Jeff Sessions, who later became attorney general.
also attended an event in April where Trump said he would seek better
relations with Russia. Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s
son-in-law, also attended that event in Washington. In addition,
Kislyak met with two other Trump campaign advisers in July on the
sidelines of the Republican convention.
fired Flynn in February after it became clear that he had falsely
characterized the nature of phone conversations with Kislyak in late
December - after the Nov. 8 election and just after the Obama
administration announced new sanctions on Russia. Flynn offered to
testify to Congress in return for immunity from prosecution but his
offer was turned down by the House intelligence committee.
(Additional reporting by John Walcott in Washington, Natalia Zinets and
Alessandra Prentice in Kiev and Christian Lowe in Moscow; Editing by
Kevin Krolicki and Ross Colvin)
05/18/17 07:39 AM
After an extraordinary 10 days, the tenure of the chief executive may have deteriorated beyond his ability to repair it.
After an astonishing week of revelations, Donald Trump’s presidency appears to be on the verge of collapse.
what has happened just in the last 10 days: a string of damaging
stories about a president unprecedented since at least the Nixon
On May 8, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates appeared before Congress,
offering testimony under oath that contradicted White House statements
about Michael Flynn’s firing as national-security adviser, and which
indicated Trump had waited 18 days after learning Flynn had lied to the
vice president and might be subject to Russian blackmail before firing
The Scandals of Donald Trump: Presidential Edition
On May 9, Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey,
who was overseeing an investigation into Russian interference in the
election and possible Trump campaign collaboration on it. Trump cited a
recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who
criticized Comey’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton as
too harsh. But that rationale was nonsensical on its face, because Trump had argued Comey was too lenient.
On May 10, amid reports that Rosenstein was livid about being fingered as the motivation for Comey’s firing, the White House changed its account
and said there were other factors. Meanwhile, a flood of press reports
indicated that Trump had actually fired Comey because he was upset about
the Russia probe, and angry that Comey had told Congress that Trump’s
accusation of “wiretapping” against Barack Obama was bogus.
On May 11, The Economist published an interview
with Trump in which he betrayed near illiteracy about key economic
issues facing the White House and his own proposed policies on them.
Later that day, the president gave an interview to NBC News’s Lester
Holt in which he directly contradicted the vice president and White House spokeswoman,
admitting that the Russia probe was a factor in Comey’s dismissal.
Trump also said that Comey told him three times he was not under
personal investigation, and had asked Trump to meet for dinner in an
attempt to keep his job. Later that day, Comey associates told the press
that the president had lied, that Trump had invited a reluctant Comey
to the meal, and further that Trump had demanded (but not received) a
pledge of personal loyalty from the FBI director.
On May 12, Trump appeared to threaten Comey,
saying he “had better hope that there are no ‘tapes’” of their
conversations. The administration then refused to confirm or deny the
existence of recordings made in the White House, claiming
(preposterously) that the president’s position was clear. Later that
day, Trump released a letter from lawyers that was intended to prove he
had no business dealings in Russia. But the letter was widely mocked for
writing off more than $100 million in income as “a few exceptions,” and tax experts said the letter proved nothing.
The weekend was eerily quiet.
On May 15, Politico published a story about Trump’s news consumption that indicated his staffers were routinely passing him fake news stories, both to manipulate him and out of fear that giving him real news might upset him. Politico also said Trump was unable to tell real news from fake, falling for a photoshopped Time cover before his staff intervened to tell him it was forged. Later that day, The Washington Post broke the news that during a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, Trump had shared highly sensitive classified information obtained from an ally who had not authorized its sharing.
On May 16, The New York Times and others reported that the source of the intelligence is Israel. Later in the day, the Times was
the first to report on a memo that James Comey wrote after meeting with
Trump on February 14 (the day after Flynn’s firing), in which Comey quotes Trump as asking him to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn and his ties to Russia.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn
go,” Trump reportedly told Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let
It is difficult to assess the relative danger of each
of these stories, because in any normal administration any of them could
consume weeks if not months of attention as the press and politicians
ferreted out each loose end. In this case, each seems to be supplanted
by a new self-inflicted casualty within hours. Nonetheless, the Comey
memo revealed Tuesday might be the biggest.
For one thing, it ties
together several of the Trump scandals. It takes in the questionable
ties to Russia, Trump’s alleged tampering with investigations into his
own aides and administration, and even his obsession with leaks—before
he was blurting sensitive intelligence to Russian officials, he was
reportedly telling Comey that reporters who received leaks from his
government ought to be jailed.
For another, it might offer the
most solid proof of clear wrongdoing on the part of the administration.
Time and again, Trump’s errors have been dismissed—even, incredibly, by
his own aides and defenders—as the work of a man who simply has no idea what he’s doing. He doesn’t understand the gravity of Flynn’s duplicity. He didn’t think firing James Comey would be a big deal. He didn’t intend to make a liar of his vice president; it just slipped out! Even
in the case of the classified information, National-Security Adviser
H.R. McMaster, while refusing to state that what Trump shared was
classified, said the president wouldn’t have known its status either
way. These repeated lapses, taken together, create a case that Trump is
simply not up to the job of the presidency.
Yet if Trump did in fact ask Comey to
drop an investigation into Flynn, it crosses a line from simply
bumbling into potential criminal action. As my colleague Matt Ford writes,
the memo has fed into “a growing consensus among legal scholars that
the president may have committed obstruction of justice, an impeachable
offense.” Obstruction of justice was one of the charges in Bill
Clinton’s 1998 impeachment, and if Richard Nixon had not resigned, it
would have been a charge against him as well.
administration issued a weak, unsigned denial Tuesday night, saying that
the memo did not accurately record what happened. (Wednesday morning, a
“senior White House official” told NBC
that Trump wasn’t really telling Comey to end the investigation, an
excuse that directly contradicts Tuesday night’s spin.) That statement
effectively dared Comey to prove the White House wrong. It also dared
Congress to subpoena the memo and to ask Comey to testify, and members
are already moving forward on both counts.
The prospect of impeachment remains far away, though the willingness to speak the word has gravitated
from wild-eyed left-wing blogs to off-the-record conversations with
lawmakers. Representative Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, said that
if the allegations in the Comey memo are true, they are grounds for
impeachment. Senator John McCain, a Republican, said at a dinner Tuesday
that the Trump revelations had reached “Watergate size and scale.”
White House reporters are filling column inches up with ever more dire
and despairing quotes from administration staffers. “I feel like running
down the hallway with a fire extinguisher,” one told The Daily Beast, while another said, “I don’t see how Trump isn’t completely fucked.”
problem Trump faces is that investigations, once begun, tend to
snowball—even if one asks the FBI director to kill them and then fires
him. Consider the Clinton administration: While a special prosecutor
appointed to investigate the 1978 real-estate deal known as Whitewater
found no wrongdoing on that count, that investigation eventually led to
Clinton’s impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Already, each new
Trump scoop seems to beget still more salacious news.
The president does not help his own case. While it is fashionable to compare Trump to Nixon—a comparison Trump recently seems to be courting,
from his hobnobbing with Henry Kissinger to his “tapes” threat—Nixon
was a far more careful, strategic operator. His lies took time, and
secret tapes, to unspool. Trump, however, keeps confirming his critics’
suspicions to the entire world. When the White House insisted Trump had
not fired Comey over the Russia probe, Trump said he had. When the White
House rebutted the classified-info disclosure, Trump implicitly
admitted it, tweeting that he had an “absolute right” to do so. Where
Nixon insisted he was not a crook, Trump boasts of his crookedness 140
characters at a time.
Even a hypothetical impeachment is far away. After all, it took more than two years from the first Washington Post story
on Watergate until Nixon’s resignation. But even without formal
removal, it is difficult to see how the Trump presidency moves forward
at the moment. The president’s first major legislative initiative, a
repeal and replacement of Obamacare, collapsed ignominiously, an
unprecedented loss for a new president. The White House has since tried
to revive the bill, which narrowly passed the House and now awaits
action in the Senate, though its prospects were unclear even before the
fearsome fortnight of bad news. No one now believes an overhaul of
taxes, the second priority, will happen any time soon. Congress also
seems deeply reluctant to fund Trump’s top campaign promise, a wall on
the border with Mexico. Meanwhile, Trump’s initiatives from the
executive branch, particularly on immigration, have been repeatedly
smacked down by federal courts.
For the time being, the pace in
Washington will only get worse for Trump. Democrats are emboldened to
throw sand in the gears. Republicans, who have stuck with Trump through a
series of crises, are starting to break with him. Even if he is not in
personal jeopardy, the president risks being a lame duck less than four
months into his first term as president. Trump is in no position to save
himself. He knows little about his work and shows little interest in
learning it—Reuters reports
that National Security Council staffers insert his name at periodic
intervals into briefing papers to keep his attention—and his staff, an
oddball mix of true believers, political rookies, and fourth-rate
hangers on, does not have the chops to whip him into shape.
has nearly run out of credible defenders. Because the White House has
lied or drastically changed its story about so many things—from the
inconsequential, like crowds at the inauguration, to the crucial, like
Comey’s firing—its staff and spokespeople carry next to no credibility.
Even if they did, rumors that Trump will fire several of the principals
pop up weekly. (He is reportedly furious even at his son-in-law Jared
McMaster, a decorated lieutenant general who was drafted
as national-security adviser in the wake of Flynn’s firing, is the most
respected Trump staffer, in part because of his perceived independence.
But McMaster’s attempts to spin the classified-information fiasco,
which were legalistic at best and misleading at worst, have undermined even him, my colleague Rosie Gray reports. (Even as he rubs the press the wrong way with his defenses of Trump, McMaster is reportedly grating on the president as well.)
Vice President Pence has been a near non-entity in recent weeks, and
his most notable moments have been when Flynn made a liar of him in
January and then when Trump made a liar of him on the Comey affair last
It has become clear that Flynn should never have been hired
as national-security adviser. He was known to be a bad manager, espouses
conspiracy theories, and failed to declare overseas lobbying work as
legally required. President Obama personally warned Trump not to appoint
him to the post, and Flynn was eventually fired for lying. Trump’s
continued fidelity to Flynn, to the point of endangering his presidency,
is a great mystery.
All of this may be overstated. The
avalanche of bad news has come so quickly that it is difficult to catch a
breath and assess the seriousness of the stories, or where they are
Moreover, we’ve seen this all before. On August 3, this magazine—and this writer—announced, “The Donald Trump campaign is unraveling.”
It was true, and yet it didn’t matter. Despite the turbulence, and
thanks to a well-timed letter to Congress from none other than James
Comey, Trump managed to win the presidential election in November,
losing the popular vote but easily winning the electoral vote. The
campaign showed that Trump is incredibly resilient. He survived a
succession of crises that would have ended the candidacy of any other
presidential hopeful—especially the release of a tape in which he
bragged about committing sexual assault.
In part, Trump benefits
from a double standard. Because he is not a career politician and
because his reputation for crassness was well-established before he ran,
he received a pass for some of his actions. This is true even now.
While Hillary Clinton’s careless handling of classified information was
perhaps the decisive factor in her November loss, Donald Trump appears
to have handled far more sensitive information far more carelessly, even
if, as he says, he was within his legal rights to do so. Yet
although his position is precarious he is not finished. It is much
harder to remove an elected president than it is to defeat a candidate,
for reasons both legal and cultural.
And yet it’s hard to see clear seas
for Trump in the near future. Trump will soon depart for his first
foreign trip as president. He has reportedly expressed “dread” about the tour and asked to have it shortened. It’s no wonder. Trump has repeatedly shown himself to be a pushover in face-to-face encounters with foreign leaders, and this series of meetings should be especially fraught.
will first head to Saudi Arabia, where he will give a speech on Islam
that is sure to court controversy, and where he might attend a meeting
with the president of Sudan, an accused war criminal.
From there he goes on to Israel. Although he has positioned himself as a
great friend of the Jewish state, his administration was embroiled in a series of diplomatic controversies—over
the location of the U.S. embassy, control of the Western Wall, and a
speech at Masada—even before reports that Trump had leaked Israeli
intelligence to Russia, realizing a long-held fear of Israeli
Later in the trip, Trump will attend a summit of NATO
leaders. Although it is typically a stronghold of American friends,
Trump has lambasted the alliance and developed a chilly relationship
with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The bad domestic news will
not rest while Trump is abroad. The investigation into Flynn, in
particular, seems to be moving at a more rapid pace. A grand jury in
Virginia has recently issued subpoenas for some Flynn records, and
members of Congress have effectively accused him of breaking the law by
failing to ask permission for or retroactively declare payments from the
Russian and Turkish governments. Federal prosecutors have also sought
records from Paul Manafort, who documents show lobbied for the Russian
government before serving as Trump’s campaign chairman for a spell in
summer 2016. Carter Page, another former Trump aide who is the subject
of multiple investigations, is publicly dueling with law enforcement via
lengthy letters that cite Maroon 5 lyrics. You couldn’t make it up—though given how bizarre the real news has been, why would you even try?
drip-drip of legal developments hints at why Trump faces a different
challenge in recovering from his present situation than he did from
bouncing back on the campaign, or during his famously up-and-down
business career. As a businessman, Trump could cut bait or declare
bankruptcy and start over again. As a candidate, he could simply change
the subject, or wait for Hillary Clinton to hand him a gift. As
president, however, there is no bankruptcy and no way to walk away.
Legal investigations are slow and methodical, but they are also harder
to distract than voter attention. If anyone can survive the present
crisis, it must be Trump. But he seems increasingly frustrated and
hard-pressed for ideas that don’t make his situation worse.
05/18/17 07:40 AM
05/18/17 07:52 AM
05/18/17 08:00 AM
Romber Rulz wrote:This slow drip of stories is bad news for Trump.
05/18/17 08:08 AM
05/18/17 08:09 AM
05/18/17 08:12 AM
05/18/17 08:16 AM
05/18/17 08:23 AM
05/18/17 09:37 AM
05/18/17 09:41 AM
05/18/17 09:45 AM
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