Brennan Adds Fuel to the Fire

 Posted by at 2:15 pm  Politics
May 242017
 

Former CIA Director, John Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday.  He added fuel to the fire building under Donald Trump, aka Putin’s [R-RU].  Equally important, he resisted attempts by House Republicans to twist his testimony into providing a false appearance of innocence for Trump.

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Former CIA Director John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that Russia "brazenly interfered in the 2016 election process," despite U.S. efforts to warn it off. Brennan testified in an open session of the committee, one of a handful of congressional committees now investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Brennan said he told his Russian counterpart, the head of Russia’s FSB, last August that if Russia pursued its efforts to interfere, "it would destroy any near-term prospect for improvement in relations" between the two countries. He said Russia denied any attempts to interfere.

In his opening statement, Brennan also recounted how he had briefed congressional leaders in August of last year, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about the "full details" of what he knew of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Brennan said he became convinced last summer that Russia was trying to interfere in the campaign, saying "they were very aggressive."

Brennan said he is "aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign." Brennan said that concerned him, "because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals," and that it raised questions about whether or not the Russians "were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals." Brennan added he didn’t know if "collusion existed" between the Russians and those he identified as involved in the Trump campaign… [emphasis added]

From <NPR>

First, note that the "gang of eight" know about both Russian interference and Trump campaign Russian contacts in August, and Republicans refused to release the information to the public.

Second, note that the CIA does not investigate crime.  They gather intelligence and turn it over to the people who do investigate crime, the FBI.  Brennan would not know if collusion existed, because even considering that determination was outside of his purview. 

Lawrence O’Donnell covered Brennan and interviewed former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin.

Note how Trey "Benghazi Barf Bag" Gowdy tried to get a No from Brennan, trying to box him in.

I think Trump was "suborned" before the urine was dry on the hotel room sheets.

RESIST!!

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May 242017
 

We have a couple days of cool weather, and they couldn’t have come soon enough for me.  I expect Store to Door to deliver my groceries between now (12:15) and 3:00 PM.  This evening Wendy will be here, and has plenty of stink to remove from the heat-waved TomCat.  Please expect no more than a Personal Update tomorrow, as I have an an appointment with a new Prosthetist.  My old one moved out of town, so the new one will need to familiarize herself with George, Stumpy and me in order to get approval for my annual upgrades.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): So, What About Those Oval Office Tapes? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

For us, the best option may be impeachment in 2019, if we can take the House. Presenting Trump’s agenda is a less difficult win that stopping the same agenda under Pence. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: Donald J. Trump’s foreign trip hit a snag on Tuesday, when the remaining countries on his itinerary announced that they would rather “wait a month” and meet with the next President instead.

“It makes no sense for us to roll out the red carpet for Trump when there is going to be a completely different guy in the White House in a month,” Hendrik van der Valde, a travel minister for the Belgian government, said. “We very much look forward to hosting the next U.S. President, be it Mike Pence or Paul Ryan or whoever.”

Citing the exorbitant costs of hosting a President, the Belgian said it “would be insane” to spend such sums on someone who “only has a few weeks left” in office.

LOL Andy! Those foreigners sure are smarter than we are! RESIST!!

From CNN: Conditions are right for a major Democratic wave to sweep out the House Republican majority next fall, according to Nathan Gonzales, who runs the "Inside Elections" campaign tipsheet.

"The midterm elections are still nearly a year and a half away, and the political dynamics could yet change, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that history and the current environment are merging together for a potentially great set of elections for Democrats in November 2018," writes Gonzales in a piece published Wednesday morning.

God knows we need it! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Republicans still don’t believe it.

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May 232017
 

It’s another hot humid day, and I did not get much sleep last night.  Tomorrow and Wednesday will be cooler, but it will take a day or too for the excess heat in the interior hallways and bathrooms of the building to moderate.  After my morning Trump making on the throne at 5:45 AM, I had to change my shirt, as the one I had on was wet.  I have a reason for not covering the Manchester Arena attack.  I had MSNBC on for three hours last night through Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell, and none of them covered any other news.  They repeated mostly the same information over and over and over again.  I would never downplay the tragic loss suffered by the dead, the injured, the traumatized and their families.  They have been in my thoughts and prayers.  However the losses from that one incident cannot begin to compare to the tragic losses of both life and human suffering that the policies Republicans have wanted for many years will bring.  Therefore, I’ll cover other things that need covering.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:07 (average 5:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): This is How Low the Trump Apologists Will Stoop | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

Republicans could not be more desperate to project their Fuhrer’s treason away. One cannot stoop lower than fronting the story with Scumbag Sean and Newtered. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Because he never stops being an entitled jackass:

President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would give states new power to limit a range of benefits …

… The White House also is expected to propose changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though precise details couldn’t be learned. SNAP is the modern version of food stamps …

Every penny spent to provide for the needs of sick seniors or hungry children is a penny Republicans can’t give to a billionaire. RESIST!!

From NY Times: 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 the names of former lobbyists who have been granted waivers to 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.

Mr. Shaub returned a scalding, 10-page response to the White House late Monday, unlike just about any correspondence in the history of the office, created after the Nixon Watergate scandal.

“O.G.E. declines your request to suspend its ethics inquiry and reiterates its expectation that agencies will fully comply with its directive,” Mr. Shaub wrote in a letter he also sent to every federal agency ethics officer, six members of Congress who oversee government operations and the inspector generals from agencies governmentwide. “Public confidence in the integrity of government decision making demands no less.”

Kudos to Schaub and O.G.E. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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May 212017
 

I seem to be spending most of my time documenting Trump scandals involving his status as Putin's [R-RU] Pervert Pawn, and that is a full time job!  However, there is one area in which Trump's performance is as bad as it is for treason: incompetence.  The following article by Jefferson Morley lists and documents six things the Fuhrer does not know about his job.

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For President Trump's admirers, his disregard for the traditional ways of Washington is just his way of getting things done. “To the new president, Washington niceties are cobwebs on a summer porch, distracting, inconvenient, in the way of his higher purposes,” writes Robert Charles on Town Hall.

But in the past week, Trump’s “higher purposes” have been all but eclipsed, by a week of low deeds that mired his already embattled presidency in a swamp of dysfunction. He fired former ally James Comey as FBI director, all but admitted obstruction of justice by saying he acted to end the FBI investigation into his dealings with Russia, and then shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister. Along the way, he contradicted his own aides’ explanations of his actions, confirming that White House statements cannot be trusted. 

All of a sudden, the cobwebs of Washington seem more like spiderwebs, and Trump resembles nothing so much as the fly who can’t extricate himself from its sticky strands.

What Charles calls “niceties” are, in fact, a set of laws and customs that empower and constrain the American president. Imagining that these arrangements are liberal trickery, Trump thinks what he has thought all along: that he can ignore them and achieve his goals.

That was true when his goal was winning the presidency. Now that he is trying to deliver action for his voters and allies in Congress, Trump is learning the price of ignorance: he cannot achieve his “higher purposes" because he doesn't understand the nature of his job.

1. The president is not a CEO.

Trump seems to believe what UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told ABC’s “This Week": “The president is the CEO of the country. He can hire and fire whomever he wants. That’s his right."

Actually, the president is not the chief executive officer of the government. Unlike a corporate CEO, Trump has no ownership rights in the enterprise he runs, the federal government. The executive branch is not a family business, despite Jared Kushner’s determination to give Chinese investors a different impression.

The president does have the right to fire the director of the FBI, but the Bureau’s employees do not work for the president. As James Hohmann of the Washington Post notes, FBI agents swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution, not serve the president. The Bureau’s website explains why:

“It is significant that we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity. … A government based on individuals — who are inconsistent, fallible, and often prone to error — too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other. … The American colonists were all too familiar with the harmful effects of unbalanced government and oaths to individual rulers.”

In other words, the authors of the U.S. Constitution wanted to make sure the president was not a king or a CEO. Oblivious to this historical truth, Trump fired FBI director Comey, transforming a man who helped him get elected into an enemy who now wants to go public.

From <Alternet>

I shared just the first of six things listed.  Click through for the other five.  My favorite is 6.

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May 202017
 

I had another night with very little sleep.  The humidity is extreme, and it will take time to get used to the noisy AC again.  Tomorrow it will reach 85°, and on Monday, the day of my Oncologist appointment, 90°.  The last time I was out of my building, I was bundled up with a heavy shirt, a sweater and my hoodie.  I also have a Prosthetist appointment on Thursday, so I’ll be a bit scarce next week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:02 (average 4:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Robert Mueller, the former F.B.I. director named to investigate the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, will have broad discretion to prosecute any crimes he uncovers. But an equally important part of his mandate is lesser known: his duty to write a report on his findings.

In this respect, Mueller, as a special counsel designated by the Justice Department, differs from other federal prosecutors. Most U.S. Attorneys operate by a rule of put up or shut up—that is, they either bring criminal prosecutions or say nothing at all.

Click through for much more. That’s one report I can’t wait to read! RESIST!!

From NY Times: President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

He bragged about it to his owners. How little the fool knew. He’s under far more investigation now than before. RESIST!!

From The Rachel Maddow Show: 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.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all. Stay tuned. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Can science survive in the US?

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18 New Russian Contacts

 Posted by at 11:48 am  Politics
May 192017
 

Back in the old days, Pence put on his very best pseudo-Christian disguise and lied with pretended piety that there had been absolutely no contacts between the Trump Campaign and Russian operatives. It’s not so easy for him to tell that lie today, because example after example of both Russian contacts and Pence’s lies about them have surfaced. Jonathan Landay just reported eighteen new ones.

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The previously 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 Russia.

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.

Conversations 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…

From <Reuters>
Photo credit: politico

Rachel Maddow covered the story in two segments.In the first she sets up the background, as only she can, and expands on Pence’s lies.

In the second, she discusses the Russian contacts with Jonathan Landay.

One thing is clear.  As the noose around the Trump Residency (He NEVER was or will be President) tightens, replacing him with coconspirators like pseudo-Christian Pence or Lyin’ Ryan is moving America out of the frying pan and into the fire.

RESIST!! 

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