When the Levee Breaks

If you’ve been giving political news programs a miss lately (understandable!), perhaps you didn’t see Rachel Maddow’s summary on Friday of the latest developments in the case of crackpot NatSec Adviser Flynn and Russian interference in the U.S. election. IMO, it’s worth the 12-minute investment:

According to CNN, on Friday, Trump claimed to be “unaware of reports that…Flynn may have spoken about sanctions with the Russian ambassador before the inauguration.” That beggars belief, given that Trump’s primary approach to presidentin’ consists of angrily live-tweeting coverage of his administration.

Of the Flynn matter, Trump said he’d “look into that,” which isn’t reassuring. But Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats are treating this matter with the seriousness it deserves. Via The Hill:

“The President and his National Security Advisor have given the Russians the impression that whatever they do, they are not to worry, because the Trump White House will not stand against their aggression,” Pelosi said in a statement on Saturday.

“General Flynn should be suspended and have his intelligence clearance revoked until the facts are known about his secret contacts with the Russians,” she said.

Pelosi also called on the FBI to further investigation Trump’s relationship with the Kremlin, and urged Congress to launch an “outside commission” to examine the ties.

“President Trump’s kowtowing to Vladimir Putin is endangering our national security and emboldening a dangerous tyrant,” Pelosi said. “What do the Russians have on President Trump that he would flirt with lifting sanctions and weakening NATO?”

[snip]

“This action would be deeply troubling under any circumstances, but considering Russia’s effort to tip the election toward President Trump, the General’s actions are disqualifying,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

“If he did so, and then he and other Administration officials misled the American people, his conduct would be all the more pernicious, and he should no longer serve in this Administration or any other,” House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said.

It’s not just Flynn: Priebus, Pence and Spicer also trotted forth to repeat the lie that sanctions weren’t discussed prior to the inauguration, as Maddow’s segment makes clear. And evidence is emerging that Flynn — the crackpot who was a close Trump adviser throughout the campaign — was collaborating with the Russians before the election, when the Russians were trying to put Trump in the Oval Office.

Does anyone think Trump wasn’t aware of Flynn’s activities? I suppose it’s possible. But that’s disqualifying in its own right. Imma call my congresscritters and ask them to support an independent commission to look into this matter.

As Maddow says, this is a well-sourced story. Trump may not grasp the seriousness of it beyond the threat to his ego. But as more comes out, the craven shits in the Republican Party Before Country Party may begin to comprehend the risk to their own political careers.

Gutless rodents like Ryan and McConnell would auction off their own mothers for a tax cut for the 1%. But if they think Trump is going down, they’ll desert him like the rats they are — they never liked the bastard anyway. Here’s hoping the dam crumbles and sweeps the whole sorry bunch away.

Optional soundtrack for post:

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208 replies
  1. 1
    Manyakitty says:

    Yes. Also, too, excellent musical accompaniment.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    I haven’t listed to the video yet, but Pence and Trump were receiving intelligence briefings. They knew, or should have known. Flynn doesn’t make policy, so someone else must have told him, to calm down the Russians.

  3. 3
    germy says:

    Will it break or will it be a slow trickle?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swhEa8vuP6U

  4. 4
    Big Ole Hound says:

    This whole crew who has taken over our government are LIARS and if the press doesn’t use that word we all will never know. The Trump camp started this crap and the press let them get away with it starting a year ago and now it’s just a way of life.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    As Maddow says, this is a well-sourced story.

    Well-sourced is a British masterpiece of understatement there. This story is the proverbial trickle that turned into a damn waterfall (to go along with your levee theme).

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    Executive summary of the investigation results:

    “No, you’re the puppet.”

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    Oh, I hope. And love the Led Zep song. Used to great effect in some recent film on financial self-dealing. (The Big Short?)

    Best part is, Trump is going to have no goodwill to fall back on (beyond crazed Republican partisans) once the dominoes start falling.

  8. 8
    Lapassionara says:

    Thanks, Betty.

  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    The funny thing, to me anyway, is that I don’t see how they get Flynn without getting Pence and/or Trump. First of all, Pence had access to the readouts of Flynn’s calls for weeks before he went on national TV and lied to everyone’s faces. And for Trump, it’s the old Iran Contra saw – either he knew about it and is lying or he was unaware and is not in control of his administration because of mental illness. There aren’t any grey areas here. Flynn is dirty, he’s going to be cooked. Who goes with him?

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone: A more interesting thought is, if Flynn is hung out to dry, whether he starts dishing the dirt.

  11. 11
    JMG says:

    Sorry to spoil the fun, but who’s going to take Flynn down? The Justice Dept. and AG Sessions? The House Oversight Committee? This cannot be allowed to go further, because it would reveal the President is a Russian asset.

  12. 12
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, Flynn must be un-fireable because of how much he knows. Fire him and you bring the entire White House down. I suppose a competent administration could maybe thread that needle, but obviously…

  13. 13
    germy says:

    Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Asked in an interview whether he had ever done so, he twice said, “No.”

    On Thursday, Flynn, through his spokesman, backed away from the denial. The spokesman said Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

  14. 14
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Feels like there are loads of scandals but none of them go anywhere. But I’m being silly since Trump hasn’t even been President for a month as yet. Something eventually is going to stick and bring his regime down. Patience.

  15. 15
    PaulW says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The Republican higher-ups will do everything in their power to obstruct to keep at least Pence – their safety valve – in place. But sooner rather than later they’re either gonna have to cut Flynn – and screw Trump in the process – or else go full Reichstag Fire to shut down the whole nation so they can stay in control.

  16. 16
    amk says:

    Swiss voters say FU to their rw’ers and relax their citizenship rules.

  17. 17
    Corner Stone says:

    @JMG:

    Sorry to spoil the fun, but who’s going to take Flynn down?

    That’s kind of the beauty of it, isn’t it? Someone wants Flynn gone. And although they may have suspicions about how deep Trump is in the tank for Vladdy P, they don’t know all the things that Flynn knows.
    Trump can’t fire Flynn (AGAIN!) because the man is literally out of his mind into full on crankpot mode, and I don’t think there is any deal you can make with Flynn that he would stick to after it starts eating at him for a while.
    But if Flynn stays either 1)investigations go full swing or B)the administration does nothing and tries to BS its way to the other side.

  18. 18
    Mike J says:

    If Russia cut their losses with Flynn in the usual Putin manner, would Trump flip out or understand the favor?

  19. 19
    PaulW says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    they don’t go anywhere because right now they don’t hurt the Republicans in charge of Congress. the second they find out how screwed they are – or Trump does something so violent they can’t ignore it – they will let those scandals loose and use them to cut Trump down.

  20. 20
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Baud: But her emails and Benghazi!!!!!!

  21. 21
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @amk: Nice.

  22. 22
    Big Ole Hound says:

    One of these idiots will get caught lying in the cover up. Hopefully some brave journalist will stand up and let the world know…and with stand the attack on his integrity that will surely follow.

  23. 23
    GregB says:

    The Democrats need to Benghazi the shit out of this Russian connection.

    Russia, Russia, Russia.

    Over and over and over.

    Trump knew and there are at least 4 flunkies who are direct conduits.

    Russia, Russia, Russia.

  24. 24
    Spanky says:

    It’s impossible that Flynn would a) unilaterally make a policy decision for the administration of this magnitude, and b) initiate communication with the Russians without being directed to do so. It’s not in his makeup to go so far outside the chain of command.

    So it’s not a question whether others in the administration knew, it’s which ones. And I’ll bet all of them, Katie.

  25. 25

    @JMG: Sadly, this is what I think too. A limited number of people have the power to act on this, and none of them is principled enough to do it. The whole R party in DC is rotten.

  26. 26
    debit says:

    I think this shows (again) just how ignorant Trump was about the power of the presidency. He must have been under the impression that they could be as dirty as they wanted to be, but once he was sworn in he could make it all go away.

  27. 27
    rikyrah says:

    well sourced?
    that’s putting it mildly.
    NINE sources😵😵😵😵

  28. 28
    amk says:

    @Big Ole Hound: Unfortunately, I see none, zero journo, doing that at this point.

  29. 29
    Tazj says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I know. I keep thinking this has got to be it now, something has got to make even Republicans come to their senses.

  30. 30
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Tazj: Scary because Republicans have no senses to come to. Trump and his folks are going to have to mess up so bad that Republicans have no choice but to shake him loose. It’s going to have to be something epic.

  31. 31
    Timurid says:

    @Tazj: They just rubber stamped Jeff Sessions as AG. Jeff Sessions. Because Osama bin Laden was unavailable. They don’t know from senses…

  32. 32
    Hal says:

    And in today’s edition of “Can you imagine if Barack Obama did this…”

  33. 33
    lollipopguild says:

    @Patricia Kayden: She was also going to put a bunch of people from Goldman Sachs in her administration and let them run the country for us.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ryan and McConnell are at this point accessories after the fact.

  35. 35
    Peter says:

    If congressional Republicans were interested in doing their jobs, Flynn would already be in front of an Oversight committee to answer these charges.

    That might not ever happen. But if and when Democrats take back the House, that should be the first order of business. And until that time and thereafter, we should use it as a club to beat them with.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @lollipopguild: Edward Snowden said as much.

    He needs to hang for stupidity alone.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Peter: They’re apparatchiks, not United States Congressmen. Chaffetz is disinclined to exercise any oversight over SCROTUS.

  38. 38
    Gator90 says:

    @Tazj: It’s not a question of their senses, IMO. It’s a question of their loyalties. Republican officeholders are loyal to the Party, and to their individual careers. As others have alluded to above, the only hope for some semblance of justice is substantial conflict between those two loyalties.

  39. 39
    Gin & Tonic says:

    John Schindler, who has many, many contacts still in the intelligence community, is reporting (in The Observer of all places) that “the community” is starting to withhold top-secret information from the WH because they think it’s filled with moles/Russian assets.

    Adam can elaborate, but I think Langley has used Schindler in the past when they want news to get out with no fingerprints.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The head mole is Donald.

  42. 42
    cmorenc says:

    @PaulW:

    The Republican higher-ups will do everything in their power to obstruct to keep at least Pence – their safety valve – in place.

    Not necessarily so. President Paul Ryan is next in line according to the constitution, if Trump and Pence are both forced out.

  43. 43
    john carter says:

    Flynn has more to worry about than making a deal with Congress. As a retired, commissioned officer, he can be recalled at any time. The Army takes a “serious” view of potential traitors, and that’s what the Flim Flam Flynn has done. Life at hard labor in Leavenworth would be his best sentence. The worst is also an option to him.

  44. 44
    Tim C. says:

    I hate to say this, but it simply doesn’t matter. All this is known, but the simple fact of the matter is that the GOP has no bottom. McCain and Grahm will do the usual remarks about “deeply concerned” and then do nothing. the rest of the party will either do nothing, not care, or deny it happened. It will take a lost war or a crashed economy to get any movement from the GOP away from Trumpism. So…. give it a few months.

  45. 45
    Spanky says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Adam can elaborate, but I think Langley has used Schindler in the past when they want news to get out with no fingerprints.

    Oh, good job, G&T! Just blew Schindler’s cover!

    Yeah, I’m thinking the “no fingerprints” is really “you know damned well who has the info, and there’s more to come”.

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @john carter: Still subject to the UCMJ, he is.

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tim C.: Then every last one of them is a traitor who should face the consequences of treason. The GOP needs to go the way of the NSDAP and the CPSU.

    Oblivion.

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:

    @lollipopguild:

    She was also going to put a bunch of people from Goldman Sachs in her administration and let them run the country for us.

    Whew! Thank goodness we dodged *that* bullet!

  49. 49
    john carter says:

    @ Villago Delenda Est

    I’m pretty sure the Army won’t be as forgiving or lenient as (Republican controlled) Congress!

  50. 50
    Timurid says:

    My fear is that this ends like Iran-Contra. A bunch of big names get the ax, but POTUS survives because they never find 200% definite proof of his involvement.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Timurid: Then the successor issues pardons to those who are about to flip and implicate him. Yup, we’ve seen this scenario before.

  52. 52
    john carter says:

    Pretty sure Treason is NOT a pardonable offense!

  53. 53
    cmorenc says:

    @GregB:

    The Democrats need to Benghazi the shit out of this Russian connection.

    The reason the GOP was able to Benghazi Hillary Clinton was because they had the majority in the House of Representatives, and for a time the Senate too. The reason the GOP was able to Whitewater/Lewinsky Bill Clinton was because hey had the majority in the House of Representatives and for a time the Senate too.

    See a pattern here? And a piece missing from the current situation as it relates to Trump and company?

  54. 54
    JPL says:

    @Tim C.: I disagree. They will pass their tax bill, and privatize medicare and social security. At that point, they will approach Trump with binders filled with information about his Russian connections, and tell him to resign for health reasons.

    Medicare and ACA will no longer exist.

  55. 55
    Taylor says:

    @john carter: Since we are not at war, it is technically not treason.

    My impression is that Congressional Republicans are as much outside charted waters as everyone else, and are basically going to try to ignore all of this and hope it goes away.

    Assuming this is the case, I am not sure what leverage the IC has to bring to bear. I’m convinced they took down Torricelli, do they have that kind of dirt on McConnell and Chaffetz? Nice Congress you got there, shame if anything happened to it? Seems far-fetched.

  56. 56
    germy says:

    @cmorenc:

    The reason the GOP was able to Benghazi Hillary Clinton was because they had the majority in the House of Representatives, and for a time the Senate too. The reason the GOP was able to Whitewater/Lewinsky Bill Clinton was because hey had the majority in the House of Representatives and for a time the Senate too.

    See a pattern here? And a piece missing from the current situation as it relates to Trump and company?

    They also had the MSM willing to play along for shits, giggles and ratings.

  57. 57
    geg6 says:

    @Timurid:

    The only thing that makes me hesitate to agree is the difference between Reagan and Drumpf. Reagan had vast quantities of good will, both in Congress and government and among the public. Donnie Boy does not have those resources.

  58. 58
    ThresherK says:

    Okay, time to start listening to more CBC, and not just because it’s CFL training camp time.

    At ~8:30am (ET) NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro had an interview with CBC journo Rick Mercer, and this CBC fellow ate NPR’s fucking lunch. Paraphrased:

    Mercer: “If NAFTA is rescinded, there’s a trade pact between Canada and the USA which will still be in force.

    “The fact that we’re talking about what will happen when our PM and your Prez meet is baffling. It’s supposed to be a cordial conversation and a friendly photo op. That’s what it’s been like for 150 years; we’re best friends. But the USA has become unpredictable. We are baffled by what you’ve elected.”

    Garcia-Navarro: (Half-laughs, like she’s never heard this before.) “What do you thing Trudeau will pitch to Trump?”

    Mercer: “We are your best friends. Justin Trudeau wants to get in and get out without causing any kind of international incident. We have no idea what Trump will do.”

    Garcia-Navarro: “These are different men. Will they get along?”

    Mercer: “They will at the very least pretend they get along. Even Donald Trump realizes that if the story in two days is The USA is in a war of words with Canada, people are gonna say If Trump can’t get along with Canada he can’t get along with anyone! Trump realizes what’s at stake here.

  59. 59
    khead says:

    First time I’ve turned on Meet the Press in I-can’t-tell-you-how-long and I find Jim Webb conspiring with Chuckles to see if they can give me a rage stroke.

  60. 60
    john carter says:

    From wikipedia…and other sources
    …treason was specifically defined in the United States Constitution, the only crime so defined. Article III, section 3 reads as follows:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

    The crime is prohibited by legislation passed by Congress. Therefore, the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states “whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

    Added:
    The requirement of testimony of two witnesses was inherited from the British Treason Act 1695.

    It doesn’t matter if we’re at war.

  61. 61
    Tokyokie says:

    @GregB: Not just Russia, Russia, Russia, all the time, but in doing so reminding America that Democrats put country before party, and the GOP has become the party of treason. I wish we could take things so far as to demonstrate that those who wave the flag the most are the ones most likely to be traitors, but for now, branding the GOP as the party of treason is sufficient for me.

    I concluded a few weeks ago that the shitgibbon is too mentally unstable to be useful to Putin as an asset. Therefore, Putin needs to have a high-level mole to act as a minder of the man-baby. And I thought the minder needed to be someone the shitgibbon trusts implicitly (i.e., someone who backed him early on) and had influence over him, as well as somebody who understands Russia’s strategic interests and who has an understanding of intelligence and is able to read in between the lines of intelligence briefings. The only person who fits that profile is Flynn, and nothing he has done since the election can be seen as inconsistent with that suspicion.

    Needless to say (but I’ll say it all the same), the events of recent days have strengthened my beliefs along these lines. If my suspicions are correct, then forget the Cambridge Five, Flynn would be the highest-ranking foreign agent ever to infect a Western democracy. Yes, it’s that bad.

  62. 62
    germy says:

    @geg6:

    Reagan had vast quantities of good will, both in Congress and government and among the public. Donnie Boy does not have those resources.

    Isn’t he polling around 88% favorability with repub voters?

  63. 63
    JMG says:

    @germy: That’s a little less than one-third of all voters. Dems rating just the opposite, independents (remember, few independents are really that, they just don’t like the idea of identifying with a party even though they vote with it) also unfavorable as of now.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @john carter: Define enemies.

  65. 65
    john carter says:

    Defining enemies will be no problem – determining them will be.

  66. 66
    Timurid says:

    @geg6:

    The bad news is that elites are more invested in Trump than they ever were in Reagan. Back in the day, Reagan was just one Republican of many. Today, Trump is the one Republican with the balls to be their King. All the others just want to be President, which is not enough for them anymore.

    The good news is that Reagan’s associates liked and respected him enough to take one for the team. Nobody likes Trump, and anyone in his inner circle that gets pushed under the bus might decide to take him along for the ride.

  67. 67
    Dave says:

    @germy: He is and that won’t drop quickly however I doubt they will ever seriously recover the lost support. That would require competence they don’t seem to possess. And it is competence issues that will slowly wear that support down.

  68. 68
    hovercraft says:

    Joy Reid showed a clip of Stephen Miller ( WH aide), protege of Robert Spencer,on MTP, refusing to say he has confidence in Flynn, he told Todd the Toad to ask the Shitgibbon and Rinse Moron about their confidence in him. Funny that a group who hates and disdains government is struggling to run it and are fighting like a bag of cats, shocking, some might even say SAD !

  69. 69
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Jill Stein.

  70. 70
    danielx says:

    Commentary/link from (though I hate to quote it) from one Andrew Sullivan. I guess my response to brother sullivan is: why are we not supposed to bring up the glaringly obvious point that the president is crazier than a shithouse mouse?

    Also too, because I’m scanning old photos, one of the daughter unit and her faithful feline guardian back in the day

    Then there is the obvious question of the president’s mental and psychological health. I know we’re not supposed to bring this up — but it is staring us brutally in the face. I keep asking myself this simple question: If you came across someone in your everyday life who repeatedly said fantastically and demonstrably untrue things, what would you think of him? If you showed up at a neighbor’s, say, and your host showed you his newly painted living room, which was a deep blue, and then insisted repeatedly — manically — that it was a lovely shade of scarlet, what would your reaction be? If he then dragged out a member of his family and insisted she repeat this obvious untruth in front of you, how would you respond? If the next time you dropped by, he was still raving about his gorgeous new red walls, what would you think? Here’s what I’d think: This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional. If he kept this up, at some point you’d excuse yourself and edge slowly out of the room and the house and never return. You’d warn your other neighbors. You’d keep your distance. If you saw him, you’d be polite but keep your distance..

    Well, yeah.

  71. 71
    Spanky says:

    @john carter: No, define “Enemies”, as stated in the Constitution. Hint: Russia is not an “Enemy”.

  72. 72
    ThresherK says:

    @danielx: I’m a sucker for calicos and torties.

  73. 73
    NeenerNeener says:

    @ThresherK: Won’t Rick Mercer be surprised when the result of the Trump/Trudeau meeting is Donny Boy going on endlessly about the Hudson Bay Company potentially dropping Ivanka’s merchandise. Trump doesn’t understand or care about how the US looks to the world now.

  74. 74
    Emma says:

    What the freck is wrong with some people? The defeatism in some of the comments is just depressing. Yes, the Republicans in Congress won’t do anything. Yes, the 27% will always support Trump. But the same way the election weaponized the rage in a lot of women who weren’t particularly political before, a constant drumbeat of “treason, treason, treason” may shift some of the fence-sitters and both-side-the-samers. We’ve been handed a weapon. It’s up to us to make sure Democratic politicians use it!

  75. 75
    Neldob says:

    @lollipopguild: She was not Pure.

  76. 76
    randy khan says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Feels like there are loads of scandals but none of them go anywhere. But I’m being silly since Trump hasn’t even been President for a month as yet. Something eventually is going to stick and bring his regime down. Patience.

    Yeah. It’s been 24 days (if you count today and the inauguration each as full days). It just seems like forever.

  77. 77
    randy khan says:

    @danielx:

    I didn’t think we were talking about the colors of the walls in Cole’s house.

  78. 78
  79. 79
    JPL says:

    Cecily Strong played a judge last night on SNL, and said this “You’re doing too much. I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me.”

    @danielx: So cute.. The daughter not Sullivan..

  80. 80
    Dave says:

    @Emma: Agreed. Obviously things can still go very wrong and significant damage will be done regardless but I’m fairly optimistic that this will be more a last gasp Battle of the Bulge moment than a long-term victory for authoritarianism. Of course it will take longer than it should of course GOP members in congress won’t act until they feel it’s the better electoral choice but I’m now moderately optimistic. That could change of course but not the time for we are doomed.

  81. 81
    JMG says:

    Don’t get me wrong. The opposition to Trump has been incredibly heartening. But we must prepare ourselves for what comes next — armed federal officers at every polling place in minority or student neighborhoods in 2018 to check for “fraud.” The Republican party hates and fears constitutional democracy. Look at how they run from a few hundred angry citizens.

  82. 82
    D58826 says:

    @Gin & Tonic: the link to the article – http://observer.com/2017/02/do.....n-embassy/

    There is more consequential IC pushback happening, too. Our spies have never liked Trump’s lackadaisical attitude toward the President’s Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.

    In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

    Since NSA provides something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our government, what’s being kept from the White House may be very significant indeed. However, such concerns are widely shared across the IC, and NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.

    What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.

    My bolds.

    And the GOP is very very very quiet. Funny how one server in the basement of a house in NY generated so much outrage but a mole in the Situation Room is just normal operating procedure.

  83. 83
    john carter says:

    Spanky
    online dictionary definition
    noun, plural enemies.

    a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.

    an armed foe; an opposing military force:
    The army attacked the enemy at dawn.

    a hostile nation or state.

    a citizen of such a state.

    Please? If Russia is not our enemy, what is it? Was Vietnam our enemy? Or any of the other countries we invaded or the regimes we dislikie?
    Do we then have NO enemies? If so, why all the fuss?

  84. 84
    chris says:

    @ThresherK: Rick Mercer isn’t a reporter, but more like Colbert/ Stewart/ Sam Bee. He has a weekly show and his Rants are on youtube.

  85. 85
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @john carter: Yes it is. The president has the power to pardon all Federal crimes except in impeachment cases. Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 1. Lots of folks convicted of treason have been pardoned…from the Whiskey Rebellion, through Fries Rebellion (Fries himself), the Civil War (many Confederate traitors pardoned by Andrew Johnson), right on down to WWII (“Tokyo Rose”).

  86. 86
    ThresherK says:

    @NeenerNeener: What Trump does cannot be predicted, nor his motivation, goals and attention span. That crack about “he believes whoever last had his ear” sounds worringly prophetic.

    But boy, NPR is going full guns to sand off the crazy.

    So I’m gonna go more to the CBC. It’s much easier than when I was young and needed a genuine radio and worried about E-skip and sky-wave propogation and such.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @debit:

    ..I think this shows (again) just how ignorant Trump was about the power of the presidency. He must have been under the impression that they could be as dirty as they wanted to be, but once he was sworn in he could make it all go away.

    You make a very good point. Trump may be acting like the shady businessman he’s always been. Cutting corners, making deals without regard to policy or ethics.

    He’s running the country like a corrupt business, which ironically is exactly what his supporters want.

    ETA: his craziest supporters are so deep in alternate fact denial that they are blaming every screw up on deliberate sabotage by Obama administration holdovers. This is especially true with the Muslim immigration ban inclusion of green card holders.

  88. 88
    WereBear says:

    @Emma: We’ve been handed a weapon. It’s up to us to make sure Democratic politicians use it!

    I completely agree.

    Fascist takeovers need pure Prussian competence and ruthless violence, or at least one of the two. So far our society doesn’t have a big enough pool of Brownshirts to call upon, especially in blue states where young people have a chance of a future; and the competence level is down the sub-basement.

    Classic Hitler bureaucracy: set them against each other. So busy conspiring against being stabbed in the back they won’t stab the dictator there.

  89. 89
    ThresherK says:

    @chris: I’ve got to go look him up. I knew nothing of him before today. And of course the NPR interviewer didn’t say the magic words “satire”, “Daily Show” or “Colbert Report”.

  90. 90
    tobie says:

    @JMG: The threat of voter intimidation is real but our response has to be to do everything we can to register voters, to stand as a line of defense if their voting right is challenged and, if nothing else, to be at precincts likely to be threatened to document and to bear witness.

  91. 91
    Another Scott says:

    @hovercraft: NK fired a missile yesterday, but Donnie know’s what’s important.

    Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 49 minutes ago

    Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!

    6,206 replies 3,524 retweets 20,485 likes

    Heckofajob, Stevie!

    /facepalm

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  92. 92
    hovercraft says:

    Maxine Waters dismisses Spicey as a joke who no one takes seriously, says the SNL portrayal is spot on, so let’s enjoy him while we can. She also said that she would not be comfortable sitting down with the WH or any of the current cabinet, since she knows they don’t respect her, her culture, her people, let them show that they are uncomfortable with their pasts, that they have changed, and then perhaps she can sit down with them. Jeff Sessions she basically said is beyond redemption.

  93. 93
    Peter says:

    @ThresherK: Be warned: I love the CBC, but its coverage of US Politics is abysmal. They have almost nobody with actual expertise, so they wind up parroting whatever the Village consensus is.

  94. 94
    Emma says:

    @JMG: ONLY if the states allow it. Elections are state-run. I don’t see California and New York or Massachussetts and others letting that happen without a fight.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @john carter: This may help.

    The Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war. Acts of dis-loyalty during peacetime are not considered treasonous under the Constitution. Nor do acts of Espionage committed on behalf of an ally constitute treason.

  96. 96
    Another Scott says:

    @Emma: Yup. We can’t get demoralized yet. Congress hasn’t passed any legislation yet – we can and must still fight them. We must make them beat us, not simply roll over for them.

    The Women’s March Twitter feed is a good antidote.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  97. 97
    Aleta says:

    KAC is a decoy. We need to keep the press focused on the crimes that are punishable with jail. Every person who’s invited to work for T or P, or be nominated, or is asked to support them in Congress, should be reminded frequently of the cost of getting entangled with them.

  98. 98
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @JMG:

    … it would reveal the President is a Russian asset.

    You’ve cosen the wrong word in there… asset is too dignified… I think you were looking
    for stooge… a Russian stooge… and puppet or dupe would be permissible…

  99. 99
    Yarrow says:

    The Republicans will continue to slow walk this. The longer the do, the further down the food chain it’ll go. Pence knows. So do McConnell and Ryan. Who else knows about the Russian espionage stuff? Let them slow walk it. Take all the time they need to get sucked into the orbit of fail that is Trump. He’ll take them all down. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people.

  100. 100
    Corner Stone says:

    This can’t be true, can it? Flynn playing golf with Trump today along with a known RUS operative?
    Got it off something on Malcolm Nance’s twit feed.

  101. 101

    @JMG: Let me guess, you were a supporter of the Senator from Vermont during the primaries.

  102. 102
    Baud says:

    @Emma:

    Yes, the 27% will always support Trump.

    There’s a longstanding fantasy in liberal culture and history of a working people’s revolution that will take on the elites. Any such attempt would, of course, require converting Trump voters to the cause. You and I know it’s impossible, but fantasies are hard to give up, so expect to hear a lot more complaints about how this-or-that won’t be enough to cause Trump’s base to abandon him.

  103. 103

    @Emma: I am sure JMG kept yes butting HRC chances during the run up to the election. Remember, whatever the Democrats do or don’t do its never enough.

  104. 104
    lollipopguild says:

    @Neldob: She was not PURE enough for all of the people who ride on Majic Sparkle Purity Ponies.

  105. 105
    ThresherK says:

    @Peter: Ah, crap. I guess it’s time to just go listen to the satirists who sound more like journos than the Beltway Inbreds who interview them.

    Aside from Mercer, do you have any Canadian satirists to recommend?

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    Hmmm, posted something about Trump, Flynn and a russian playing golf today. It disappeared so maybe something bad in the link?
    Anyway, this can’t be true, right?

  107. 107
    Another Scott says:

    @JMG:

    But we must prepare ourselves for what comes next — armed federal officers at every polling place in minority or student neighborhoods in 2018 to check for “fraud.”

    Hyperbole much?

    There aren’t enough “armed federal officers”, nor is there enough money in the relevant federal budgets, to do that. Not to mention that voting is controlled by state laws.

    Let’s not go overboard, ‘K?

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  108. 108
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone: The silencing has already begun.

  109. 109
    chris says:

    @ThresherK: He can be very funny. So can the CBC but don’t get your hopes up too high. For more than 50 years I have alternated between “Oh yes!” and throwing the radio out the window. The low point for me was a few years ago when an interviewer let crazy Lord Monckton babble unchallenged about climate change for 10 minutes. But I still recommend As It Happens (6:30ET), for all its faults it’s still pretty good.

  110. 110
    Mike in DC says:

    25 days come Monday. Waiting for his Rasmussen numbers to drop below 50. Then every poll will have him underwater.

  111. 111
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @GregB: Yes…

  112. 112
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    On Meet the Press right now, Jim “Neither Party Will Have Me But I’ll Suck Up to the One That’s the Opposite of the One that Kicked Me to the Curb” Webb is VERY concerned that the Democrats are just being so, darn obstructive to the President by malinging and demonizing the people advising him when they have not done the soul-searching they need to do to see why they lost in the first place!

    Who the fuck asked him for his Goddamned opinion? And why is he even on the TeeVee anymore?

  113. 113

    @Another Scott: Doom and gloom, spread doom and gloom. No matter what we do we are doomed. That’s JMG’s mantra.

  114. 114
    Yarrow says:

    @Taylor:

    do they have that kind of dirt on McConnell and Chaffetz?

    They have something on McConnell. I don’t know what it is, but his body language told the tale. When the Russian stuff was first sort of “breaking” into the news (last fall) McConnell said he wouldn’t investigate. Then other Senators said they would call for investigations. A day later McConnell made a statement to the press saying he’s changed his mind and would direct the committee to investigate. But he looked like a man with a gun to his head. Like someone forced him up there to say that. They have something on him or his wife and/or her family. I’d never seen him look like that. He did not want to be there saying they would investigate. Not at all. What do they have on him?

  115. 115
    Baud says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    And why is he even on the TeeVee anymore?

    Re-read your first paragraph. That’s why.

  116. 116
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @D58826:

    And the GOP is very very very quiet.

    Just win, baby. Some stinkin’ rich people gonna get richer, and that’s all that matters.

  117. 117
    JMG says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: If you want to be on the Sunday morning shows yourself, just start talking about how Democrats need to be more like Republicans. They always have room for that message.

  118. 118
    ThresherK says:

    @chris: I’ll try that.

    PS As an SCTV fan from way back, I’m also prepared for CBC things that can’t possibly seem real, but are.

  119. 119
    john carter says:

    @Omnes Omnibus
    Good Point.
    He would be tried under espionage.

  120. 120
    Haydnseek says:

    @Baud: Flynn will sing like a fucking canary. He doesn’t have anything like the fortitude of that all-stand up guy Scooter Libby.

  121. 121
    Doug R says:

    @Emma: That’s the spirit.Remember 2006! Have you had enough?

  122. 122
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Well, I was feeling ok til I read your comment. Now I’m feeling kinda gloomy for some reason.

  123. 123
    Aleta says:

    @JMG: Is the pay better than what I’m getting for protesting?

  124. 124
    Yarrow says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Probably because he claims to represent the aggrieved and oh, so special White Working Class. No one ever cares about them or talks about them or has any interest in them at all. Particularly the white men–so overlooked. Thank goodness for Jim Webb for keeping their issues, which are so important and so different from any other segment of our society, front and center.

  125. 125
    Baud says:

    @Aleta: I hear the cocktail parties are swankier.

  126. 126
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow: White men? In the U.S.? I thought that was a legend.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Emma:

    Those of us in blue states need to concentrate on making sure our entire House delegation goes Democrat. We only need to win about 25 seats to flip the House, and California alone has 14 House Republicans.

    It’s not going to be easy, though, because the Kochs and the Mercers are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars all across the country to try and prevent that and to flip some Democratic seats in purple and red states. But we have to make the effort.

  128. 128
    El Caganer says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Maybe John McCain was unavailable.

  129. 129
    Baud says:

    @El Caganer: Haha. John McCain is always available.

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    But since Russia is not an ally, the shit Flynn is doing is still an actionable crime, even if it’s not legally treason, yes?

    Flynn’s actions keep reminding me that Benedict Arnold betrayed the fledgling US because he felt unappreciated.

  131. 131
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Quite possibly espionage., but not treason.

  132. 132
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: Sometimes the legends are true….

    This is interesting:

    White House adviser Stephen Miller would not say on @MeetThePress that Mike Flynn has the confidence of the president. @chucktodd— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) February 12, 2017

    You know Trump can’t just get rid of Flynn. Putin has kompromat on Trump and Trump is beholden to the Russian mob and bankers. They own him. He gets rid of Flynn and Trump’s whole house of cards comes crashing down. I have no idea how this is going to play out but it’s going to be ugly.

  133. 133
    Tripod says:

    James Baker doesn’t get out of his crypt to have a polite chat about carbon taxes or staff organization.

    Good luck Donnie! We’re all counting on you….

  134. 134
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow: I still say that Trump at some point will seek a taxpayer bailout to eliminate his conflicts of interest. For the national interest, of course.

  135. 135
    Baud says:

    @Tripod: Baker seems more like a “Shut the fuck up, Donnie” kind of guy.

  136. 136
    Tripod says:

    @Yarrow:

    Flynn was his go to when Trump was befuddled about currency policy.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Since IANAL, I’m happy to publicly refer to what Flynn is doing as “treason.” Let conservatives and Republicans try and split that hair and say, Well, technically it wasn’t treason for Flynn to provide US intelligence to the Russians since we haven’t declared war on Russia. Make THEM explain that shit for once.

    I am not expecting people with the training to know better to follow my inflammatory lead, though.

  138. 138
    Dave says:

    @Yarrow: And how much does Flynn know? If he finds himself in serious hot water will he flip on others?

  139. 139
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: How would that work?

    @Tripod: And he was upset when Flynn didn’t know!

  140. 140
    Doug R says:

    @ThresherK: Rick Mercer used to work for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a Canadian satire news show that started in 1003, FIVE YEARS BEFORE The Daily Show. It’s a play on an old CBC weekly news show This Hour Has Seven Days.He now has his own show weekly that appears just before This Hour Has 22 Minutes. One of his most popular bits was “Talking To Americans” where Mercer would talk to Americans revealing ignorance, kind of like “Jaywalking”.. He still does rants, and here’s his latest one on the upcoming Trudeau Trump visit

  141. 141
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow:

    Trump: Congress, pay off my debts.
    Republicans in Congress: OK.

  142. 142
    tobie says:

    @Baud: I’m kind of curious why Baker chose to come out of retirement and start counseling the White House. Is he on a mission to rescue the Republican party which knows that its failing and flailing President will take it down? Who sent him?

  143. 143
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    Has anyone read this yet? I have not, but plan to when we return from the Indian buffet. From this guy, who is rumored to be connected to people who know stuff. Heh.

    ETA: A scan shows it’s already been linked – becuase G&T stays on top of this stuff – and quoted later, which demonstrates why sensible posters read threads before posting; that category seems to exclude me. ::Blushing::

  144. 144
    gene108 says:

    @Timurid:

    My fear is that this ends like Iran-Contra. A bunch of big names get the ax, but POTUS survives because they never find 200% definite proof of his involvement.

    Iran-Contra involved selling weapons to a country we do not like, in order to fund malitias in a bunch of Central American countries, the average American could not find on a map.

    I was in middle school, when Iran-Contra broke and what I remember about the Republicans PR effort was (1) they were funding “freedom fighters” against the Communist War Machine and (2) that somehow the law passed by a Democratic controlled Congress was a bad law, and therefore it was justified to violate it.

    Conspiring with Russia to undermine our elections and effectively subordinate our standing in the world to their’s is a lot less esoteric, with regards to who got hurt by the corruption.

  145. 145
    Yarrow says:

    @Dave: I’d expect him to. He’d flip others to save himself. But maybe he’d go down fighting? Would Vlad have him…eliminated? Would he give him safe haven in Russia? How would it all play out?

  146. 146
    XTPD says:

    @Mnemosyne: IIRC Arnold was being legitimately shafted out of payment and recognition, and turned traitor at least in part to pay the bills.

    Flynn is just an authoritarian suckshit.

  147. 147
    Gindy51 says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: Trump is Putin’s Useful Idiot. For now….

  148. 148
    Doug R says:

    @Baud: “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

  149. 149
    Greg says:

    So just to get this straight, the last six Republicans to occupy the presidency.

    Nixon – Treason
    Ford – Pardoned Nixon’s Treason
    Reagan- Treason sprinkled with dementia
    Bush 1- covered Treason
    Bush 2- war crimes
    Orange Shit Weasel- Tried to cover Treason, so far.

    Did I miss anything?

  150. 150
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: Ha! That’s pretty straightforward. We’ll see. Depends how bad this gets. Republican Members of Congress want their tax cuts. But they also want to be reelected. The more protests against him and the less popular he is, the more they’ll distance themselves. Paying off his debts is not a way to endear themselves to the public.

  151. 151
    Tripod says:

    @Baud:

    Tillerson’s reports back to the home office must be of concern.

  152. 152
    Baud says:

    @Greg:

    To be fair

    Carter: History’s greatest monster
    Clinton: Blow job
    Obama: Muslim

    Both sides!

  153. 153
    westyny says:

    @germy: I would think the MSM would be very happy with their ratings over this spectacle.

  154. 154
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud:

    Obama: Muslim

    You forgot Kenyan!

  155. 155
    D58826 says:

    @Greg: (sigh) You obviously did not get the alternative version of Websters (the Kellyann edition) dictionary that defines these actions as the highest form of patriotism. After all they all wore flag pins on their jackets. What more proof do you need.

  156. 156
    WereBear says:

    @Doug R: Unless they are Republicans.

  157. 157
    Aleta says:

    What I don’t understand is, did Flynn believe that the encryption used between himself and the Russians was secure against the US? Did he trust it because he’d used it before, been assured by the Russians? Or had he been told by T’s legal servants that the communication was not entirely illegal and he’d be protected? Or did he believe that friends within the intelligence service would keep this quiet?

  158. 158
    sigaba says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s going to be hard to get Democratic wins in the Central Valley and State of Jackson.

  159. 159
  160. 160
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    Isn’t there supposed to be a writers forum today?

  161. 161
    FlyingToaster says:

    @XTPD:

    Arnold was being legitimately shafted out of payment and recognition

    .

    He was shorted on payment like every other officer in the Continental Army, because the Continental Congress had run out of cash.

    Arnold was pissed because he was passed over for promotion — by that same Continental Congress. They were unhappy with the profitteering he engaged in when appointed Military Governor of post-occupation Philadelphia. After a court-martial which acquitted him of embezzlement, but a CC hearing which found that he owed Congress (precursor to insider trading), he maneuvered himself into command of West Point. During this whole time he was negotiating with British Intelligence to switch sides.

    I don’t think his actions were legitimate; he was after the money, and went with the British because they wouldn’t charge him for robbing the ‘rubes.

  162. 162
  163. 163
    Emma says:

    @Doug R: No. Look. Hillary lost the election in the Electoral college, a lot of it through vote suppression. That’s the fight now.

  164. 164
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Flynn’s actions keep reminding me that Benedict Arnold betrayed the fledgling US because he felt unappreciated.

    I am a bit sympathetic to Ben Arnold. He had good reasons to want to be appreciated.

    He was a very promising leader. Led the US to a major victory, early in the war. He was badly injured in combat, and thus was stuck struggling financially, because his military career was over due to the injury and the injury limited him physically.

    There can be case made that the Continental Congress should have treated him better.

  165. 165
    dm says:

    @Aleta: I expect he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong before the election, and after the election he “knew” that since he was acting on behalf of the President-to-be, it wasn’t wrong by definition, in much the same way that “a President can’t have a conflict of interest”, or the Nixonian “if the President does it, it’s not illegal”.

    Also, there’s probably some “those rules don’t apply to people like me” in there as well.

  166. 166
    Baud says:

    @gene108: I appreciate the motivation. The actions taken went way beyond the spectrum of acceptable responses.

  167. 167
    Corner Stone says:

    @Doug R:

    Rick Mercer used to work for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a Canadian satire news show that started in 1003,

    Now that’s what I call one hell of a career!

  168. 168
    Tripod says:

    He already screwed with Putin on that phone call, told him to forget new START, it was a lousy deal negotiated by Obama, and then started in on his popularity.

    Vlad’s bosses are going to start asking uncomfortable questions about this particular project.

  169. 169
    dm says:

    @Yarrow:

    @Baud: How would that work?

    Probably using a minor corollary of the “too big to fail” theorem.

  170. 170
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Baud:@Yarrow:

    Under normal “both sides do it” circumstances, I’d agree that was the only explanation. Given the current state of affairs, I don’t know who dug him up to be interviewed or why he is salient at all right now. He’s putting himself out there to be interviewed for a reason.

    It makes me wonder what Webb’s ties to the Trump regime–heck, the fucking Kremlin at this point–might be…

  171. 171
    XTPD says:

    @FlyingToaster: I actually did recall that the CC wasn’t really “at fault” w/r/t Arnold, but I didn’t remember what exactly; thx for background info.

  172. 172
    Kathleen says:

    @westyny: It would give them an excuse to display their “Both Sides” chops by revisiting Hillary’s email scandals at the same time. ETA WIN!!!!

  173. 173
    Brachiator says:

    @D58826:

    The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.

    In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway?

    This is a foreign policy crisis on at least two points. If the unreliable Flynn gets the full briefing, his determination of what the president eventually sees gives him an unacceptable amount of power, and obviously blinds the president.

    That intelligence agencies censor the material they send to the president is unacceptable. Their reasons are sound, but they are ultimately substituting their judgement for that of the commander-in-chief, again blinding him and making it more difficult for him to make the best decisions (assuming he were capable of making good decisions).

    Other world leaders also get intelligence data, and are not hampered by similar constraints. But it also suggests that they might be wary when discussing security issues with the US.

    The ultimate beneficiary of this includes Russia and China. The US president, the supposed leader of the free world is rendered less effective and allies cannot trust the US, leaving Russia and China more free to pursue their own national interests.

    Meanwhile, the dopes who voted for Trump keep believing that his scattershot, bumbling actions are keeping America safe.

  174. 174
    sukabi says:

    @Corner Stone: the correct answer should be “All of them Katie.”

    A girl can dream.

  175. 175
    Gretchen says:

    @Baud: I wondered that when I saw that the Chinese have a $93 million note on Trump Tower coming due soon. So if he doesn’t have the cash, will that be a national security problem we need to bail him out on?

  176. 176
    sukabi says:

    @germy: funny how audio recordings can screw up the memory isn’t it?

  177. 177
    sukabi says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: now to be fair, we actually don’t know they accessorized AFTER, could have been during or prior to….

  178. 178
    Alan Barney says:

    @PaulW: Listened to a new guy on TV today. Williams I think, Senior Whitehouse Spokesman,,, he is scary.

  179. 179
    PST says:

    I realize that this thread is about played out, but I just saw today’s Gallup tracking poll. Trump is now at 40 percent approval and 55 percent disapproval — a new low. If you look at the data points right, they look like shallow exponential curves might fit better than straight lines. That particular levee could be springing a leak, surely a matter of concern to CYA Republican politicians.

  180. 180
    PST says:

    @Doug R:

    Rick Mercer used to work for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a Canadian satire news show that started in 1003,

    He was the first Canadian host to interview Leif Erikson.

  181. 181
    Death and Gravity says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: i’m all with you on sending the entire Republican party apparatus from the county on up into oblivion. problem is, about 10,000 very wealthy people and their families and 30% of the electorate need to go with them. I am not certain that this problem has a solution.

  182. 182
    trollhattan says:

    @ThresherK:
    More of a BBC World Service guy but my car’s Sirius gets CBC and sometimes I listen to that. Pretty much all the sane world is scratching its collective head over our present insanity jag, and not with a “gee, this is fun” sense of wonder.

  183. 183
    trollhattan says:

    @Alan Barney:
    Is he by chance the guy with the faux WF Buckley accent? Some Trumper of that description has been on the radio (including BBC) and the pomposity is unmatched, but I don’t know the name.

  184. 184
    sukabi says:

    @tobie: or alternative theory…he’s been a GHW Bush man forever, it’s possible that he’s been placed there on the inside to facilitate the spooks’ investigations….

  185. 185
    Yarrow says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Well, he’s not salient, but who knows why he showed up. Book to sell? Someone cancelled? A favor was owed? He’s probably putting himself out there to be interviewed because more publicity is good for him.

  186. 186
    Death and Gravity says:

    @JMG:

    You what number is a “little less than a third”? 0.31, that’s what.

    0.88 * 0.31 = 0.27

    And we’ve seen that number before.

    America will never be safe until the 27% is drowned in the well … or somehow prevented from voting; I don’t care which.

    And for “America”, read “the entire human species”.

  187. 187
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    A limited number of people have the power to act on this, and none of them is principled enough to do it.

    If the USA does not act, the Europeans have most or all of the dirt. The Republicans can be forced to act … to step down or take over.

  188. 188
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I think Mercer first came to fame for nicknaming King Ethelred “the Unready.”

  189. 189
    bemused senior says:

    @sigaba: the immigration raids should help. Already seen articles interviewing growers who voted for Trump and didn’t believe he would actually deport undocumented workers. 70% of Central Valley farm workers are undocumented.

  190. 190
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Yeah, Flynn must be un-fireable because of how much he knows. Fire him and you bring the entire White House down. I suppose a competent administration could maybe thread that needle, but obviously…

    I think a competent admin would have never allowed an obvious crackpot like Flynn near them. I mean the guy was fired for fighting.

  191. 191
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Taylor:

    Since we are not at war, it is technically not treason.

    As the world’s primary super-power we have not been a declared war for more than 70 years. We need to update our legal definition of “treason”. Then again, that word has been attached to the actions of Nixon when he messed with the VietNam negotiations, and Regan-hostages, and we were not at war.

    At any rate, what Flynn and his co-conspirators did with the phone calls was purely illegal.

  192. 192
    Brachiator says:

    My, my, my. Potential trouble with the upcoming White House Correspondents Dinner

    Turmoil grows over White House correspondents’ dinner

    Washington (AFP) – It is supposed to be a light-hearted gathering of journalists, celebrities and the president, where differences are put aside for good-natured jibes.

    But amid a bitter war of words between the Trump administration and the Fourth Estate, plans for the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in April have been thrown into turmoil.

    After President Donald Trump’s repeated barbs against the “dishonest media” and “fake news,” some journalists and media outlets are thinking twice about their participation in the April 29 dinner, a tradition that dates back to 1921.

    “How can media clink glasses with a White House that makes clear its contempt for press freedom and its admiration for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin methods?” tweeted David Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic.

    The association, which organizes the annual event that raises money for journalism scholarships, said the dinner will be held as planned.

    Yeah, they’re raising money for a worthy cause, but the press and the powers that be are supposed to be in opposition.

  193. 193
    Tripod says:

    @sukabi:

    Tillerson was their inside man.

    Baker is negotiating the terms for the Conducătors removal.

  194. 194
    Brachiator says:

    Trump supporters pushed the alternative fact that the world did not respect Obama, and were yearning for a strong white man to represent America again. Well, Germany, weighs in:

    Germany elects ‘anti-Trump’ candidate as president

    A German parliamentary assembly has elected Frank-Walter Steinmeier to become the country’s next president by an overwhelming majority.

    Mr Steinmeier, Germany’s former foreign minister, strongly criticised Donald Trump during the US election campaign.

    When asked in August about the rise of right-wing populism in Germany and elsewhere, Mr Steinmeier criticised those who “make politics with fear”.

    He cited the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, the promoters of Britain’s exit from the European Union, and “the hate preachers, like Donald Trump at the moment in the United States”.

    The daily Berliner Morgenpost billed Mr Steinmeier as “the anti-Trump president”.

    He was elected with 931 of 1,260 votes. The German president has little executive power but is considered an important moral authority.

  195. 195
    Another Scott says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t think we should get carried away about these PDBs. The applicable word, I think (but I’m no expert) is brief.

    The CIA has declassified lots and lots of them over the years.

    E.g. 18 September 1972.

    There is no discussion of “sources and methods” that I can see. Donnie and Flynn and all the rest aren’t going to be able to turn the PDB over to Vlad and then Vlad will be able to instantly know how the CIA figured out what it figured out. (Of course, it would be a huge betrayal if it were to happen.) What’s in the PDB doesn’t determine what the professionals in the IC do every day.

    Even the White House can’t go rummaging around everything they might want. They, too, require a “need to know” and have to follow the law (or risk severe consequences).

    Just my $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  196. 196
    Another Scott says:

    @Millard Filmore: Adam had a January thread with a pointer to the USMC Small Wars Manual which had some interesting statistics. In short, not declaring war isn’t a new phenomenon by any means – it’s been rare throughout our history.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  197. 197
    Seth Owen says:

    @FlyingToaster: Old Benedict is pretty familiar in these parts, being a Norwich native and all. We even had a musical that premiered here about him!

    The fact is that he was, indeed, a legitimate war hero. A man of immense charisma, military talent and skill. He could be said to have been the man, after Washington, most responsible for winning the war, due to Saratoga.

    He was also, indisputably, a man of low character, driven primarily by ambition, rather than noble sentiments. As such, he had no trouble lending his takents to either side, to the extent that he led a raid that resulted in the razing of New London, a community he knew well, having grown up just a dozen miles away, and a massacre in Groton, across the river.

    A fascinating man, and a despicable one.

  198. 198
    sukabi says:

    @Tripod: isn’t Tillerson balls deep with the Russians, including as part of his Exxon package owning part of a Russian oil company? Doesn’t seem like he’d be a reliable inside source for our spooks…now for the Russians, perfect inside man.

  199. 199
    J R in WV says:

    @john carter:

    Wrong. There are no limits on the Presidential power of pardon.

    It would be interesting for President Trump to attempt to pardon himself, preferably during an impeachment proceeding. That’s not a judicial thing, so you can’t pardon yourself out of impeachment. I guess you could escape criminal charges post-impeachment, perhaps…

  200. 200
    Ian says:

    @cmorenc:
    Trump’s incompetence is the only thing saving medicaid, medicare, and SS. imho.

  201. 201
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Scott:

    I don’t think we should get carried away about these PDBs. The applicable word, I think (but I’m no expert) is brief.

    The issue isn’t the brevity or the level of secrecy. It’s the filter and who applied it.

  202. 202
    jharp says:

    “Priebus, Pence and Spicer also trotted forth to repeat the lie that sanctions weren’t discussed”

    Good. Now all we have to do is win back the House in 2018 and get a new Speaker who can take over when Trump and Pence get sent packing.

  203. 203
    Booger says:

    To get back to the important things: Do you suppose John Bonham knew he was making the drum intro for the ages when LZ recorded that?

  204. 204
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Brachiator: It sounds like the right thing to do would be for a bunch of journalists to buy tickets, raise that money… and then not show up. Or send guests in their place, people like DREAMers or muslims. :)

  205. 205
    misterpuff says:

    @germy: Flynn can’t remember conversations from Christmas 6 weeks later. Either dude is lying or senile, neither a good look for National Security Advisor.

  206. 206
    Coin operated says:

    @Tokyokie:
    Late to the party, but QFT!!!

    I concluded a few weeks ago that the shitgibbon is too mentally unstable to be useful to Putin as an asset. Therefore, Putin needs to have a high-level mole to act as a minder of the man-baby. And I thought the minder needed to be someone the shitgibbon trusts implicitly (i.e., someone who backed him early on) and had influence over him, as well as somebody who understands Russia’s strategic interests and who has an understanding of intelligence and is able to read in between the lines of intelligence briefings. The only person who fits that profile is Flynn, and nothing he has done since the election can be seen as inconsistent with that suspicion.

  207. 207
    RM says:

    @Mnemosyne: If the Feds don’t do anything to help with the flooding out here (and with Lord Dampnut being such a vengeful jerkbag it’s sadly likely) then with a little luck that might be enough to flip house seats.

  208. 208
    AnotherBruce says:

    @danielx: Thank you, Andrew, for stating the bloody obvious. Now can you tell me how that fifth column a mere decade ago played out? Shut your mug, you Tory asshole. You’re as much to blame for the mess we are in as anybody. Please, kindly, go to hell.

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