We Are at War. It is High Time That Our Leaders Begin Acting Like It!

Last July, when the hacking into the DNC became public knowledge, I wrote that we are at Cyber War. That what had happened was an act of war, though confined to the cyber domain. Today’s events are just the latest reinforcing example that we are at war, even if it is not formally declared. Russia has long believed that they were, at least, in a new cold war with the US and the West. Beyond that, however, is that Andrey Krutskikh, a senior advisor to Vladimir Putin, described the conflict this way:

According to notes of Krutskikh’s speech, he told his Russian audience: “You think we are living in 2016. No, we are living in 1948. And do you know why? Because in 1949, the Soviet Union had its first atomic bomb test. And if until that moment, the Soviet Union was trying to reach agreement with [President Harry] Truman to ban nuclear weapons, and the Americans were not taking us seriously, in 1949 everything changed and they started talking to us on an equal footing.”

Krutskikh continued, “I’m warning you: We are at the verge of having ‘something’ in the information arena, which will allow us to talk to the Americans as equals.”

Putin’s cyber adviser stressed to the Moscow audience the importance for Russia of having a strong hand in this new domain. If Russia is weak, he explained, “it must behave hypocritically and search for compromises. But once it becomes strong, it will dictate to the Western partners [the United States and its allies] from the position of power.”

Krutskikh’s comments may have been a precursor of a new doctrine for information operations announced publicly by the Kremlin in December. The senior administration official described the Russian strategy: “They think of information space as a domain of warfare. In the U.S, we tend to have a binary view of conflict — we’re at peace or at war. The Russian doctrine is more of a continuum. You can be at different levels of conflict, along a sliding scale.”

What does all this have to do with the events of today? It is part of the necessary prologue to be able to answer John’s question about Congressman Nunes. It’s not that Bannon has anything on Nunes. It is that Nunes’s <strike>business partner is tied</strike> is connected to Putin:

And that may, perhaps, explain why this morning Congressman Nunes disclosed, without authorization, classified information pertaining to US SIGINT collection. Congressman Nunes does not have declassification authority in regard to that information. He then went and briefed the President on what he had just leaked because he thought the President needed to know it. This is curious for two reasons. 1) This is not the job of a Congressman who is chairing a committee that oversees executive branch agencies and activities. 2) The President, as the President, has the ability to know anything he wants to know that is being done, or has been done, by the US Intelligence Community. That he did not seem to know this, that he does not seem to have been briefed on it, means that he and his subordinates either couldn’t be bothered knowing or, because of the counterintelligence investigation – its scope and who may be its targets – this information had been compartmented from the President to protect sources and methods. If it is the former, it shows how inept the President’s advisors and staff are. If it is the latter then Congressman Nunes has dug his hole even deeper. Interfering with and obstructing a Federal counterintelligence investigation is not something that the FBI looks kindly upon.

Moreover, the real takeaway for today is why the President and so many of his people were in ongoing contact with Russians and other foreign targets of both routine and specifically targeted US SIGINT collection.

Before anyone asks me what happens now? The answer is I do not know. I know what should happen both overtly and covertly. Overtly Congressman Nunes should be removed from his chairmanship and the committee. Covertly he should have his access to classified material cut off and the RNC and the California GOP should be firmly explaining to him why he is not standing for reelection in 2018. But the truthful answer is we have to wait and see.

Congressman Schiff is trying to prevent his committee from being blown up by the committee chair. A man who is not particularly smart and who has a Russian <strike>partner</strike> distributor connected to Putin. Here too, like so many times that I’ve remarked on this stuff, I can once again place a key player in all of this within <strike>no more than two</strike> three links to Putin or those in his orbit. Director Comey will now become very, very circumspect with what he does and does not brief the Congressional Gang of Eight because key members, Congressman Nunes specifically, cannot be trusted with any sensitive information. Congress’s oversight of the Intelligence Community is now compromised.

Additionally, Congressman Schiff has stated that he has seen hard of evidence of collusion between the President’s team and the Russians. It is unclear if he is referring to the Trump Organization, Trump-Pence Campaign, Trump Transition, the current Trump Administration, or some combination of them.

As I wrote last June in my post on cyberwar, Russia has declared that they are in a state of war with the US. They are acting like it. The US has key leaders from one of its two political parties (the GOP), as well as from one of its fringe, gadfly, spoiler parties (the Greens) who are continually demonstrating that they are providing aid and comfort to the enemy. As I’ve written before, we are fully in a Constitutional crisis and have been for months. We are at war and have been for well over a year. The Republic is in peril. It is far past time for our leaders to begin acting like it!






252 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m just in from the gym when I started this, so going to clean up and scarf down some chow. Back in a bit.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Damn, such a swell thread but it’s sleepy time soon!

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: No worries. The war will wait.

    I heard once that the Senate investigation is being taken more seriously. Any hope there?

  4. 4
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Moreover, the real takeaway for today is why the President and so many of his people were in ongoing contact with Russians and other foreign targets of both routine and specifically targeted US SIGINT collection

    You’re all so suspicious. Why? I checked with some True Progressive™ friends, and the answer is simple: “To promote fraternal cooperation and harmony between the American and Russian peoples”, of course. That and something about providing a badly needed counterweight to the American hegemon.

    Мир и дружба!

  5. 5
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    Reposting from below: I was terribly confused to read that Nunes appeared to announce that he’d provided the WH with TS/SCI while some may be investigatory targets. And publicly announced information that is normally extremely compartmentalized.

    I checked and there was no alcohol missing so I read Schindler’s twitter feed to learn he was, shall we say, somewhat disturbed by the turn of events.

    I share your belief that the constitutional crisis began months ago, and that it’s not at all clear what the next phase will be. It seems even some of the pros are confused. Comey must be steaming – unless it was his deza to trap a mole (or whatever the actual technical term is in that specific situation)…
    Speaking of actual:

    JΞSŦΞR ✪ ΔCŦUAL³³º¹‏
    @th3j35t3r
    #BuckleUp It’s gonna be a rough few weeks America. And that’s about all I’m gonna say on the matter, aside from… keep the bubbly on ice

  6. 6
    Pogonip says:

    This is quite interesting, Adam. Please expand on your thoughts as developments continue.

  7. 7
    mike in dc says:

    Well, if we are at war, the silver lining is that we can use the word TREASON in its proper legal context. ;)

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: Sorry, just got in around 8:30. Took care of the dogs, saw John’s post, dove right in. We can confab offline tomorrow if you’ve got questions.

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    If we are at war, the word ‘treason’ becomes applicable.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: Yes, but. The CI investigators now know that, at least, Nunes if provided with compartmented, classified information will run right to the President with it, as well as divulge it to the press. Now it is possible, because it is an old CI trick, that they fed him, and only him, this to see what he’d do. If that’s the case, then he was one of the subjects of the CI investigation and he’s now confirmed for them that he’s off the reservation.

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    The Republic is in peril. It is far past time for our leaders to begin acting like it!

    But the government’s leaders are the enemy placing the Republic in peril. So it begs the question, now what?

  12. 12
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Aw man you know it’s cool.

  13. 13
    jacy says:

    And what are the actual chances that Nunes is removed? What are the chances that anything happens to him at all? It just seems like there are no brakes on this train — and it’s loaded with nuclear weapons and heading for a canyon where the bridge is out……

  14. 14
    Wag says:

    For the past few months I’ve been feeling like I’m reliving my childhood and the slow motion downfall of Nixon. Over the past few days I’ve been overcome by the speed at which this whole thing is unraveling. The GOP needs to step up and take out any and all who are inviting this mess

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: It is quite possible that that was the case. As I just replied to Baud:

    The CI investigators now know that, at least, Nunes if provided with compartmented, classified information will run right to the President with it, as well as divulge it to the press. Now it is possible, because it is an old CI trick, that they fed him, and only him, this to see what he’d do. If that’s the case, then he was one of the subjects of the CI investigation and he’s now confirmed for them that he’s off the reservation.

  16. 16

    @Davis X. Machina: yeah, I’m gonna wait for Snowden and Greenwald to weigh in before I make up my mind (to do the opposite).

  17. 17
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    So, what Nunes did is wrong. Should Schiff have announced what he did, or was that not classified info from an on-going investigation?

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Not all of them.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Baud says:

    I hope the eventual HBO docudrama on all this is entitled But Her Emails.

  21. 21
    cain says:

    Arrest every one of these assholes. EVERY. ONE. OF. THEM. Democrats need to forget all kumbayaa when everything goes down and go full metal jacket because I suspect the entire Republican party and alt-right media has been infiltrated by Russian intelligence. We need a complete utter reset. We are indeed at war and it sadly seems to be against Republican leadership.

  22. 22

    @Wag: Since the Nixon hearings, the GOP has deteriorated so they’re not capable of protecting themselves by cutting out the collaborators. They’re both too stupid and too evil.

  23. 23
    JMG says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That was my thought as well, and I know so much less than you. Seemed like a real simple security trap out of counterintelligence 101. BTW, as a simple (in every sense) Congressperson, Nunes is of no value to Russia in a swap and has no confidential information too sensitive to reveal in a trial. So the death penalty’s on the table for him.

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: You give millennials a good name, M4.

  25. 25
    randy khan says:

    It’s hard to even begin to think how deep the Republican Party is in this. It is terrifying.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while): No, because Schiff very carefully answered. He did not say what the information was. Just that he had seen concrete information/evidence that was more than circumstantial. Schiff knows his business. He is a hero here. He is looking out for everyone’s best interests, even those who refuse to recognize that there is a problem.

  27. 27
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Major Major Major Major: McCarthyite!

  28. 28

    @Baud: I’m on the older end, is why.

  29. 29
    PaulW says:

    Please tell me Nunes did enough stupid sh-t today to warrant immediate arrest and getting dragged off in handcuffs.

    The GOP idiots in Congress will keep treating this real-life ongoing scandal like a work of bad fiction until they realize they are going to be held accountable for their BS.

  30. 30
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Never trust anyone under 30.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: Penetration at all levels.

  32. 32
    Tokyokie says:

    We are at war and have been for well over a year. The Republic is in peril. It is far past time for our leaders to begin acting like it!

    They are acting like it. It just happens that they’re playing for the other side.

    Oh, and my money’s on Manafort to be the first rat to roll over on the other rats.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Ah, got it. And yet at RW sites, such as National Review, Nunes is sort of being toasted.

  35. 35
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Phrasing!

  36. 36
    PaulW says:

    @randy khan:

    It’s hard to even begin to think how deep the Republican Party is in this. It is terrifying.

    This is how bad it is. The current Republican Party thinks it is better to side with a publicly corrupt failed businessman con artist and that con artist’s equally corrupt foreign allies than to side with the protection and defense of our nation’s best interests.

    They’re viewing this as an argument of Putin and trump vs. Democrats and Obama/Clinton… and they hate Democrats/Obama/Clinton more than they love the USA.

  37. 37
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He is a hero here. He is looking out for everyone’s best interests, even those who refuse to recognize that there is a problem.

    ]

    Nice subtweet, dude!

  38. 38
    Davis X. Machina says:

    It’s no wonder the GOP feels a magnetic tug towards Putin.

    Putin is a product of a world where the organs of the State can be reliably be deployed to serve the interests of the Party. After all, the Party, not the State, is the Vanguard of the Revolution. And that’s been the case here since at least Newt’s speakership.

    Any good Party member — GOP or CPSU, doesn’t matter — would recognize that world view in another.

  39. 39
    PaulW says:

    Don’t forget this bit, kids: trump’s people have been hanging out and making deals with questionable Russian associates who are so dodgy that the FBI have been keeping them under surveillance since 2013 (or earlier).

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    @PaulW: Cleek’s Law is an unbreakable law.

  41. 41
    John Weiss says:

    Alla this mess leaves me with few good emotions. I’m horrified, sad and angry. To think that America could come to this pass! I want my shining city back. I’m taking some days off. It would be good for the liars and traitors to stew in their own juices, but they’re stewing all of us in their repugnant juices.

    How do we get rid of this ?

    jw

  42. 42
    guachi says:

    My mother and aunt both said separately that they were really impressed with Schiff.

    Also, I was perplexed by things Nunes said. It certainly sounded like he was blabbing classified stuff to the press.

  43. 43
    cain says:

    I would really like to smoke some weed, but I can’t cuz I’m waiting on a job interview and I don’t want to spoil it by having to possibly take a urine test. Then again, it is a virtual job, and coming from California, it’s likely that won’t be an issue.

    In any case, I just can’t believe what I’ve been hearing and seeing these few months. It seems absolutely nuts. Surely people believe there is something remarkable going on and it is not politics as usual?

  44. 44
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    Upon further review (no pun intended), the NRO is not toasting Nunes. It was the utterly execrable site BellGab (a site sort of about paranormal stuff that’s gone completely Pepe).

  45. 45
    Chet Murthy says:

    @guachi:

    My mother and aunt both said separately that they were really impressed with Schiff.

    Assuming we survive with our democracy semi-intact, I’m gonna be looking at him real closely — called his office to thank him, and said “and if he ever thinks about higher office …” His staffer laughed, said “I’m in a federal facility, and hence could not discuss that, sir”.

    LOL

  46. 46
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    I’m ready for him to be POTUS, stat.

  47. 47
    sanjeevs says:

    Manafort must have an awful lot of dirt on the Congress (both sides) given that he has been working as a lobbyist for decades and for at least the last 12 , directly with Putin.
    Netanyahu must have a lot on Congressmen too – AIPAC has been collecting this stuff for decades. Remember when Netanyahu came to the WH and Trump was pretty much openly saying Israel has a free hand now.
    This is going to be rough.

  48. 48
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Baud: They ought to drop Game of Thrones and call the new series Trumpistan, have Peter Dinklage play the Donald.

  49. 49
    debbie says:

    @PaulW:

    Not just how deep, but how quickly the GOP has moved from anti- to pro-Russia! Makes me think that someone — maybe even Trump — is a real-life version of the Manchurian Candidate.

  50. 50
    cain says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    @Baud: They ought to drop Game of Thrones and call the new series Trumpistan, have Peter Dinklage play the Donald.

    I dunno, those hands look pretty big.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    And we’re back! And clean!

  52. 52
    Jeffro says:

    @jacy: well not just in regards to Nunes, but with regards to how the brakes get applied at all… I’m hoping against hope (we have been expecting to see this time and again for months now and the Republicans keep disappointing us ) that at the last, when it is discovered that the president and those around him colluded with a hostile foreign power to take over our government (especially to take it over primarily so that they could enrich themselves) … at that last moment the Rs might finally put their country Ahead of their party and let the facts fall where they may

    Remember we don’t have to convert all Republican congressman and Senators … just enough who feel that they cannot live with this going on any longer …

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while): America’s longest published journal of genteel white supremacism.

  54. 54
    philadelphialawyer says:

    We are NOT at war.

    The real issue is two fold.

    One part is legal. Email hacking, of anyone or any organization, in the USA, is, despite what the Glen Greenwalds of the world might think, a Federal crime. That is the parallel with the Watergate break in. Burglary is a crime. Not an acceptable campaign tactic. Ditto with hacking the DNC and Podesta’s emails. Those are crimes. Whoever did the hacking is a criminal. If the Russians did it, then they committed a crime. But most espionage and hacking and disinformation and interference in politics by the intelligence services of one country is a “crime” under the laws of the put upon country. So what? That doesn’t make it “war.” Don’t you think the USA hacks Russia’s and China’s and everyone else’s computer, thereby breaking the laws of those countries? If Trump or anyone on his staff was complicit in the hacking, then they too committed crimes. And that should be a subject of criminal investigation. If Trump himself was complicit, impeachment should be considered.

    The other aspect is political. Trump, it seems, was elected at least in part because of Russian interference in our election. Even if he and his staff were not complicit, that should have some bearing on his political standing. His “mandate,” if you will.

    The least interesting thing is that Russia did this. That is part of our adversarial relationship with them, and is to be expected. And it is quite alarmist to claim that it somehow must mean “war.”

  55. 55
    debbie says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    Only dragons can help us now.

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Smells better over here. Thanks.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chet Murthy: I don’t tweet.

  58. 58
    sanjeevs says:

    Adam
    Those notes on Krutskikh’s speech were very interesting.
    I saw up close how Duterte rose in the Philippines. He was not that well known until 6 months before the election. Then he rose up , swept aside the ruling party (in spite of the best economic growth the Philippines has ever had). I saw myself how middle class , university educated people were suddenly all in favor of a corrupt police gunning down drug users (not even pushers) on the street.
    And this was all done via social media campaigns.
    Google and Facebook have a lot to answer for. If they don’t clean up their cesspools we are doomed.

  59. 59
    kindness says:

    Speaking of the Green Party, I frequently see articles/pieces in the media asking Trump voters if they are sorry for voting for him/would they vote for someone different now knowing what they know. The dim bulbs that are Trump voters of course routinely say no they’d do it all the same again. How about those people that voted for Jill Stein? If they were asked the same thing, I wonder what they would say. Their votes could easily have turned the election the other way. They never seem to like that pointed out.

  60. 60
    Jeffro says:

    Pelosi: Nunes is “deeply compromised”

    I’d say she gets it.

  61. 61
    weaselone says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Adam, is it possible that the FBI has learned most of what they need to know about these Russian associates and that this release of information to Nunes was meant not to just trap him, but these contacts at the White House? These people have proven to have a potent combination of stupidity and arrogance. If the FBI gave this information to Nunes with the expectation of him bringing it to the Trump Admin, is it also possible the FBI is now watching these White House officials and the Russians under surveillance very closely to see if the information is further passed along to the Russians in some manner? If that happens, I would imagine it would give the Justice Department some cases so solid, that even the Civil War Attorney General probably couldn’t sweep them under the rug, not to mention provide leverage that the FBI could use to expose some of the higher up in the Trump camp.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @John Weiss: Stay informed. And while hope is not a strategy, don’t give up hope and give into despair. Do whatever you can – as in are able and/or comfortable to. If that means organizing for candidates for off year 2017 elections or the 2018 elections or just going to a school board meeting or, if you see someone being targeted because of the color of their skin or perceived religion, go to their aid. This is how the line will be held. The world is watching. They’ve watched millions of Americans come out and publicly repudiate travel bans and other administration actions. That’s heartening at home and a good sign to those abroad. And make sure to vote. Vote in local elections this year. Vote in the midterms next year. And make sure that everyone you know votes.

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @philadelphialawyer: Vietnam wasn’t a war either.

  64. 64

    @kindness: I think Sarandon and people like Cornell West are unrepentant. I know Johnson voters who don’t regret it.

  65. 65
    Anya says:

    I was thinking this investigation is not going anywhere because the GOP in congress will engage in cover up and the media will play it’s usual “both sides” game or make it all seem like a partisan agrument. But Luke Russert (lil hack in training) gave me hope. His tweets that gave me hope were RT’d into my TL. Read this thread:

    Okay—-real talk thread—-this Nunes story is insane. In my 7 years covering the Hill, never saw something like this from Intel Chair— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) March 22, 2017

  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @philadelphialawyer: I am not an alarmist and I do not play fast and loose with doctrinal terms and terms of operational art. We have been attacked, overtly and covertly, by a hostile foreign power. Primarily through the cyber domain. We are at war.

  67. 67

    @Adam L Silverman: hope is not a strategy but it can be a damn good tactic.

  68. 68
    Waldo says:

    @Jeffro:

    Rs might finally put their country Ahead of their party …

    No hope of that, but they might put self-preservation ahead of the party and the prez — which is almost as good.

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: de nada

  70. 70
    debbie says:

    Why isn’t part of the real takeaway the fact that Nunes told Schiff he and the other committee members would not be given specifics until the IC submitted their reports? Can he even withhold information like that?

  71. 71
    david says:

    “We are at war and have been for well over a year.”

    Yep. And, the US has seemingly yet to fire one shot back. And, does anyone even know how a Cyber War plays out? Is it possible to ‘shut off’ the source, especially since it can originate from virtually anywhere? How will Wikileaks be nullified or taken down? Or the army of Putin-bots on Twitter? Or the ‘fake news’ farms that flood Facebook? All of which can be replicated and redeployed at will?

    Also, this is only one issue to be resolved. How does the US define and battle the Propaganda War? In addition to the Cyber War, you have a machine in the US that’s been built up for over 4 decades, from AM radio to Fox News to Breitbart and Alex Jones, etc. From gutting the Fairness Doctrine to deregulating ownership rules for radio stations to allowing foreign ownership of television… how to you corral THOSE horses and get them back in the pen?

    Bin Laden forever changed the US without firing a single bullet. Fifteen years later, Putin is doing the same thing, also without firing a single bullet. Makes that $600+ billion annual defense budget look like a total waste of money.

  72. 72
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No, it wasn’t. Not sure what your point is. And Vietnam at least involved a shooting situation (not with Russia, but with North Vietnam and the VC). What we have here is instead squarely in the realm of Spy versus Spy. It simply is not war. And the Krutskikh quote doesn’t make it so. The USSR and the USA were not at war in 1948. In fact, the USA and the USSR were NEVER at “war.” Cold War is not war. Great Power rivalry is not war.

  73. 73
    Central Planning says:

    @Baud: Corollary: Never trust anyone over 30.

  74. 74
    efgoldman says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I checked with some True Progressive™ friends, and the answer is simple: “To promote fraternal cooperation and harmony between the American and Russian peoples”, of course.

    Glennie? Are you sock puppeting DXM? Glennie?

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @weaselone: I do not know. I know CI investigations take a long time. And 8 months is not a long time.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Neither was the Cold War. From what Adam is saying, Russia sure seems to think they’re engaged in a second one of those right now even if the current administration refuses to recognize it.

  77. 77
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Nonsense. Under your theory, virtually every act of espionage is an act of war.

    War is a legal state. Not one of “doctrine” or “operational art.”

    Again, virtually every act of espionage can be described the way you are describing these acts. That doesn’t mean there is a war.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Weiss: @Adam L Silverman: What Adam said. Do the little everyday things. My grandfather had a philosophy about home-ownership that can be adapted: Do one thing for your home everyday. Do one thing every day. Call your rep. Donate if you can. Etc. In a year, you will have done 365 positive things.

  79. 79
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Quite so. Steinistas see themselves as burdened with glorious purpose.

  80. 80

    @david:

    And, does anyone even know how a Cyber War plays out?

    The only winning move is not to play.

  81. 81
    Lizzy L says:

    Off-topic, and I apologize:

    Josh Marshall reports that Trump and the Republican leaders are making a new promise to the conservatives, to get them to vote YES on the AHCA.

    The Senate will add a provision gutting Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) rule once the House passes the bill and sends it their way. The EHB rule, which the current House GOP repeal bill retains, requires that insurance plans have to cover a basic minimum of health care services, including emergency room visits, hospitalization, outpatient services, maternity care, mental health and substance abuse services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services, lab tests, preventive care like vaccines, and vision and dental care for children. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), the deputy whip in the House, told TPM he received assurances Wednesday from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that he would amend the bill when it comes to the Senate to include a provision stripping out EHBs. McConnell’s office did not respond to TPM’s attempt to confirm Hudson’s account. Hudson said he was further promised that the White House would back the move. “The president personally guaranteed that he would publicly call for it,” he said. Politico later reported that White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is working with the House Freedom Caucus on the details.

    If this happens, it will probably pass. And people will not be able to get the care they need. I know two chronically ill people who may be in mortal danger — would be, for sure, if they lived anywhere but California, and that may not save them.

    I am so frightened for my friends, and so angry. I loathe these people. I try not to.

  82. 82
    jonas says:

    Remember, it’s not the collusion with the Russians, it’s the LEAKING that’s the real crime here, right Rep. Nunes? By his own committee’s and GOP colleague’s standards, based on their questioning of Comey the other day, Nunes must commit seppuku by dawn tomorrow. Schiff will serve as his second.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    So why were the Rosenbergs executed for selling secrets to the Russians?

  84. 84
    bupalos says:

    @philadelphialawyer: There is standard espionage garnering intelligence, and then there are acts of intrigue designed to destabilize a country and its institutions and levers of power. I’m not sure what to call this, but it’s way beyond run-of-the-mill espionage.

  85. 85
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Exactly. That’s what I’m keeping my eye on.

  86. 86
    cain says:

    I called my representative Susan Bonamicci. and told the aid there about voting against the ACA which definitely they are going to do, Most of Oregon representatives except for that asshat, Greg Walden are solidly blue. Unfortunately, I got into a bit of a rant regarding this thing by Nunes.. the aide didn’t have much to say but did thank me all the same.

  87. 87
    Barbara says:

    My theory on why Nunes did this was to begin building an alternative public narrative for Trump and possibly himself when news about significant contacts picks up. It seems high risk but maybe that was his only recourse. “Oh, you mean THOSE contacts. They’re just my good buddies. What? They’re spies? You’re kidding!”

  88. 88
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @philadelphialawyer: And Cyber War isn’t declared war either.

  89. 89
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Right. It isn’t. So, again, we are not at war. I agree.

  90. 90
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @philadelphialawyer: No, war is not a legal state. War is about one state actor attacking another state actor. What the Russians did and are continuing to do goes well past espionage. The US was attacked. It was not a kinetic attack, but it was attacked nonetheless. And the attacks were part of a campaign plan in service of a very specific set of strategic objectives.

  91. 91
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @bupalos: Acts which the USA engages in on a routine basis. Without any one thinking that the USA is “at war.”

  92. 92
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: They were convicted of and sentenced to death for espionage.

  93. 93

    @Lizzy L: there is absolutely no chance that the parliamentarian lets them strip the EHB regs under reconciliation; they’d have to get rid of her.

  94. 94
  95. 95
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: War is defined by international law. It is of course a legal state. Your DOD double talk doesn’t that.

  96. 96
    replicnt6 says:

    @philadelphialawyer: We bomb the shit out of people that we’re not at war with, that doesn’t mean that bombing the shit out of something isn’t an act of war.

  97. 97
    debbie says:

    @Lizzy L:

    It needs to be pointed out very loudly and very often how this plan doesn’t jibe with Trump’s campaign promise to cover everyone. Trump has lied and Trump has broken his promise to the people who supported him.

  98. 98
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Mnemosyne: Espionage.

  99. 99
    Chet Murthy says:

    @philadelphialawyer: Not sure if you’re Boris, Natasha, Vladi, or just dumb-as-rocks Cletus.

    Espionage != attacking the democratic legitimacy of (so far) US, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, France, Hungary (v. successful), Ukraine, and the list goes on and on. By attacking their elections.

  100. 100
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @replicnt6: Agreed. Bombing is an act of war. Computer hacking? Not so much.

  101. 101
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Chet Murthy: US routinely interferes in elections. Not the same as “war.”

  102. 102
    Anya says:

    @kindness: I can’t find the article but I saw a little purity pony who voted for Trump out of spite and anger (because he wanted to punish the DNC for stealing the primary from Sanders). He’s now horrified and ashamed. To his credit, he regrets his vote and realizes that he supported a bigot who’s targetting brown and black people. He said at the time when he voted for Trump, he didn’t think he was going to win. TSTL.

    On the personal front, my little cousin (who shall remain dead to me) voted for Jill Stein. He was smug about his vote. The day after Trump’s win, he wrote me a three page long email explaining why he voted for Stein. These days, he’s regretful. He sent me three unanswered emails where he’s pledging to do everything in his power to “resist Trump” and never waste his vote again. I’ve spent hours explaining to that kid the importance of his vote. He’s in a state where his vote mattered so fuck him. I am still bitter.

  103. 103

    @philadelphialawyer: yeah, what would a polisci PhD who worked at the War College know about war

  104. 104
    Lee says:

    So it seems that there are quite a few Republicans that have been compromised (both elected and not).

    It would be rather naive to believe that no Democrats are compromised.

    Or did the Russians put all their eggs in one basket?

  105. 105
    debbie says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    Times change and methods change. Keep up.

  106. 106
    cmorenc says:

    @PaulW:

    This is how bad it is. The current Republican Party thinks it is better to side with a publicly corrupt failed businessman con artist and that con artist’s equally corrupt foreign allies than to side with the protection and defense of our nation’s best interests.

    The GOP Senate leadership has been hoping to slow the possible downfall of Trump just long enough to enact the most important parts of their agenda before they have to risk alienating his rabid base by turning on him. They’d rather be working with President Pence, but if they are seen to be helping push Donnie overboard too much too soon, Trump’s working-class base that may express their alienation by deciding to sit on their hands in 2018 and 2020, even if most of them are still much too culturally alienated from the democratic party to turn out to vote for their candidates instead.

  107. 107
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @philadelphialawyer: I actually not only teach this stuff, but I advise senior leaders on it. Legal semantics are wonderful, but there are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. I’m intimately familiar with the legal, ethical, doctrinal, conceptual, scholarly, and practical literature regarding war and warfare. You want to be pedantic, great. Nock yourself out.

  108. 108
    efgoldman says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    Should Schiff have announced what he did, or was that not classified info from an on-going investigation?

    By Schiff going public, he is forcing Comey and/or whatever US attorney is involved to investigate and either prosecute or publicly bagging it.
    If Comey has even a grain of integritude and self-respect left, he’s got to follow thru.

    ETA: I don’t think for a minute that Granny Starver or any of their “leadership” will take any action whatsoever unless and until there’s an indictment, and maybe not even then. They’ve got stonewalling tools that Tricksie Dicksie Nixie and his gang that shouldn’t shoot straight (pace Breslin) could only dream about.

  109. 109
    Kirk says:

    @PaulW:

    It’s possible that Nunes will be legally safe by way of the Speech and Debate clause. My personal feeling is that it’s not, but it’s the chair making an official presentation to the public so it might.

    Adam, I’m having trouble tracking two steps based on what I’m seeing. I might be tired and missing the obvious but what I see is:

    Nunes is part owner of the Alpha Omega winery. One of the distributors for that is the Yerevan Arafat Brandy factory, mentioned in the tweet in your original post. the YABF is part of Gagik Tsarukyan’s MultiGroup Holding. Gagik Tsarukyan is Armenian, and apparently a close friend of Serzh Sargsyan, president of the Armenian Republic and close working partner with the other members of the Eurasian Economic Union to include Vladimir Putin.

    I count more than two steps. And at least one is indirect: “one of the distributors”.

    Now if YABF is the majority or greater distributor and Gagik is directly connected to Putin it gets tighter. But I haven’t seen the data to consolidate those. Do you know where we might see it?

  110. 110
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: And who’s been deployed in a war zone in an operational capacity? Not much at all.

  111. 111
    Chet Murthy says:

    @philadelphialawyer: I agree with you. And y’know, following your reasoning, it does follow that

    (a) since we provided Israel with the F16s and bombs that they used to take down the apartment buildings in Beirut (when Bin Laden was a youth there)

    (b) therefore, it’s only justified that Bin Laden takes down our skyscrapers (with most likely fewer deaths)

    and (c) since it’s just tit-for-tat, we don’t need to go hunt him down and snuff him

    right? right? right?

    ETA: On the off-chance that you’re not Vladi: have some pride in your country, ffs. When we’re attacked, it doesn’t matter whether we engage in similar attacks. We DO NOT TOLERATE being attacked. ffs. Where did you grow up? In a Leninist collective? I went to a shit school in a small town in Texas and even I learned that.

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    But it was just “spy vs spy” stuff, which you’re saying is no big deal. So if that’s the case, why did the US feel it was necessary to execute them?

  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: He’ll follow through. Remember, Comey, for Comey, is the last upright and honest man in DC.

  114. 114
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kirk: I don’t. I’m working off of Dworkin’s analysis of the financial documents he has amassed and made public.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    More to the point, when the US overthrew the government of Chile and installed a dictator who was more to their liking, did the Chileans feel that the US had waged war on them?

    ETA: The Iranians still refer to the US as the Great Satan for our role in overthrowing their democratically-elected government and putting the Shah back on the throne. Would the Iranians be wrong in feeling that the US had committed an act of war against them by doing that?

  116. 116
    Kirk says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thank you. I’ll go track that tomorrow.

  117. 117
    Steve in the ATL says:

    In light of this knowledge, why the fuck did Comey have a trump/pence sign in his yard? Is he also pro-Putin?

  118. 118
    efgoldman says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Putin is a product of a world where the organs of the State can be reliably be deployed to serve the interests of the Party.

    Originally. But now, replace “party” with “oligarchs and mafia” for the correct, current picture.

  119. 119
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    they fed him, and only him

    The info that Nunes had certainly took half the committee (the Ds) by surprise.

  120. 120
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kirk: If you find something more, drop me a link. But even if its two or three links away, that’s still too close. If it was just Congressman Nunes, then it would be “hmm, that’s strange”, now on with my day. But I can, using only open source reporting and documentation, place the President, members of his immediate family, senior members of his business, senior members of his campaign, senior members of his transition, senior members of his administration, and several former, formal senior advisors and/or staffers who are now informal advisors within one, two, and three links to Putin. That should not be the case.

  121. 121
    jonas says:

    @jonas: @Adam L Silverman:

    the attacks were part of a campaign plan in service of a very specific set of strategic objectives.

    Conducting politics by other means, as Clausewitz would put it.

  122. 122
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Mnemosyne: If you want a full-throated defense of the Westphalian nation-state these days, you look to the left, not to the right, which was heretofore the case from time immemorial.

  123. 123
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Millard Filmore: And the Rs too. The question is who was Nunes’s source that provided the info. I mean at a certain level it is commons sense for anyone who has worked in the national security world and understands how SIGINT works, but he specifically indicated he had a source explain this to him. And as chair of the Intel Committee he should have already understood how this worked.

  124. 124

    @Davis X. Machina: so hard to find good help these days.

  125. 125
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @debbie: Nunes says he doesn’t have it. He’s just seen it.

  126. 126
    Lizzy L says:

    @Major Major Major Major: The VP can overrule the parliamentarian. From Salon, March 10:

    According to the 1974 law that established reconciliation, [Ted] Cruz said, “It is the presiding officer — the vice president of the United States — who rules what’s permissible under reconciliation and what is not.” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and vice chairman Jim Jordan used their lunch with President Donald Trump to encourage him to include provisions in the bill that would not be allowed under Senate rules. Politico reported that they told the president that he could circumvent the Senate parliamentarian if Republicans are ruled out of order. Were Republicans to overrule the parliamentarian, it would leave it up to Pence to make a decision. Though Democrats would likely dispute Pence’s ruling, it would all come down to a floor vote to settle the change.

    @debbie: What makes you think they care?

  127. 127
    randy khan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That does not make me feel better. But I’m sure that you knew it wouldn’t.

  128. 128
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jonas: Yep. Look I understand Philadelphialawyer’s argument and point. At one level he or she is correct. But for practical purposes he or she is wrong. We have the following types of war:
    Total War
    Interstate War (what we normally think of as war)
    Low Intensity War/Warfare, which covers the following:
    Revolution
    Rebellion
    Civil War (which is formally defined and determined by the International Committee of the Red Cross)
    Insurgency
    Terrorism

    Think of these like nesting dolls. In a total war or an interstate war you may actually find one, several, or all of the lower intensity forms of war going on. However, you can’t stuff an interstate war into a terrorism campaign.

    Then there are ways or forms of war:
    Nuclear
    Conventional
    Cyber
    Irregular
    Unconventional
    Asymmeteric
    Guerilla
    And I would put Bernard Fall’s war among the people in here. Though you could argue that it is simply a nice way to refer to insurgency and counterinsurgency.

  129. 129
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Russia is not that big a country, and it’s a giant pain in the ass to do business in, even when you work for a Giant Evil Corporation. Just sending a fairly simple package required two different carriers because Russia decided they didn’t like FedEx the week I was sending our package, so they sent it all the way back and I had to re-send it with DHL. I had less trouble sending packages to and from China.

    The fact that all of these senior Republicans just happen to have had the path smoothed for them to do lots of business in Russia seems awfully coincidental to me. Much too convenient.

  130. 130
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Been thinking of this lately, too. Apropos of, a discussion by Timothy Burke entitled”Fighting for the Ancien Regime”. He makes the point that educated progressives, while they’re not the “owners”, are most definitely part of “the Establishment”, right down to (his example) ” The manager of a local dance company in a Midwestern city who only makes $40,000 a year and is an African-American vegan lesbian with a BA from Reed”.

    Our opponents, it seems, are the very rich (who think they can dispense with nation-states and democracy) and ethnic nationalists (who want to pull it all down, b/c they think they’re getting a raw deal).

  131. 131
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: I’d rather have you upset that I told you the truth.

  132. 132
    debbie says:

    @Lizzy L:

    You don’t think the Trump voters won’t care when they lose coverage? When it hits them personally (instead of the elites they’re busy hating), they’ll definitely care.

  133. 133
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Vietnam wasn’t a war either.

    Not legally, no. Korea wasn’t, either.
    When peasants in black pajamas, toting AKs, show up on Capitol Hill, it’s a different thing.

  134. 134
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: Coincidence takes a lot of work.

  135. 135
    amk says:

    The depth of depravity the gopee has dived into just to seize and retain power is stunning.

  136. 136
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: The problem is that we don’t declare war anymore. And haven’t since WW II. We authorize the use of military force or we allow the President to act on a finding under executive authority for 30 to 90 days at a time. It doesn’t mean that the actual conflicts aren’t war even if Congress won’t pass a declaration of war. And then we come up with euphemisms to explain what it is we are actually doing. This, like so many other things, is no way to run a superpower.

  137. 137

    @Lizzy L: you’re letting those guys have the last word on this? ;)

    IIRC they don’t even have to follow her advice, but the parliamentarian has only been overruled once. Second time for everything!

  138. 138
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Our opponents, it seems, are the very rich (who think they can dispense with nation-states and democracy) and ethnic nationalists (who want to pull it all down, b/c they think they’re getting a raw deal).

    Both the American and French Revolutions were bourgeois in nature.

  139. 139
    jonas says:

    I can imagine the meeting now:

    Vlad: “So, what haff you guys got for me on zis idea to undermine American elections?”
    Menacing intelligence agent: “We haff discovered ultimate American weakness to exploit!”
    Vlad: “Yes? Tell me?”
    Menacing intelligence agent: “Is Republican voters. Especially kind they call ‘disgruntled blue-collar type person’. Also voters they call ‘bros of the Bernie.’ Zey vill believe any bullshit about how Hillary is stupid cow.”
    Vlad: “Ha! Ha! Stupid cow! Dat is good! And vat about the billions of rubles spent to discover weakness in voter tallying systems and electronic voter systems?”
    Intelligence agent: “Oh, after 20 minutes, it vas clear stupid voters were all that was needed, so we spent rest on peeing hookers.”
    Vlad: “That gives me an idea….”

  140. 140
    Lizzy L says:

    @debbie: Trump will personally assure them that it was all Obama’s fault, that they’re going to get something much better, that we had to destroy the village in order to save it, and that Democrats are their enemy, and they need to vote for Republicans in 2018.

    Will they? Fuck do I know. But I wouldn’t bet against it.

  141. 141
    randy khan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t looking for you to make me feel better. I may not like the truth, but I prefer it to the alternative.

  142. 142
    efgoldman says:

    @debbie:

    Trump has lied and Trump has broken his promise to the people who supported him.

    And at least for the time being, it means not one fucking thing to them

    Fuckem

  143. 143
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jonas: How did you get the transcripts from the intercepts?//

  144. 144
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    We refuse to send original artwork to the Russia office because we have no assurance that we would actually get it back. They never did return the reproduction artwork that we sent them and ignored all of our requests. And these are people employed by the Giant Evil Corporation in Russia!

  145. 145
    Barbara says:

    @Mnemosyne: Exactly so. Any senior government official who is offered a great investment opportunity with a Russian business concern should politely decline. Nunes is an idiot.

  146. 146
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: The Cold War wasn’t a war either. I am repenting of my pedantry on the word treason. There common usage and legal usage. As long as they don’t get conflated I am now cool with using the common usage in regular conversation. I was wrong before.

  147. 147
    efgoldman says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    US routinely interferes in elections. Not the same as “war.”

    You have chosen your nym well, grasshopper. You are playing at every cliche of the mythical Philadelphia lawyer.
    If you have an actual, useful point to make, for fuck’s sake make it and move on. Otherwise shut up and let the grownups talk. Your act is tiresome.

  148. 148
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: In Russia Giant Evil Corporation employs you. Or something like that.

  149. 149
    PIGL says:

    @Mnemosyne: because of The hysterical anti-Communism that prevailed at the time, coupled I believe with less savoury prejudicial factors. I do not think the trial of the Rosenbergs is a very good example for your point. In time war people may be executed for treason. However the fact that someone was executed does not imply that a state of war exists, certainly not in the legal sense under discussion.

  150. 150
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No need to repent, precision when dealing with technical terms and concepts is important. I think, however, the issue isn’t legal versus common usage. It is there may be a range of technical definitions in between.

  151. 151
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Russia is not that big a country

    Geography sez bzzzzt.

  152. 152
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: A habitual contrarian being contrarian? Cue my shock.

  153. 153
    jonas says:

    Drip…drip… with each drop that ultimate piece of fake news, the Steele Dossier, starts to come into sharper focus. Maybe Adam is right and the footage of Trump frolicking with peeing hookers is staged somehow, but by then hopefully we’ll be talking about who’s drafting the articles of impeachment.

  154. 154
    amk says:

    @Mnemosyne: Politically they are a big country now, given how they are fucking with functioning democracies around their borders and across the borders. All it took for them was to bait the rw loons and the lw loons.

  155. 155
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I am repenting because I was an ass about it.

  156. 156
    jonas says:

    @Adam L Silverman: How do you think Nunes got them? Uh oh, I’ve said too much.

  157. 157
    PIGL says:

    @amk: indeed. I tend to side with Philadelphia lawyer in so far as I think the United States had better be more concerned with its fifth column than with the activities of the Russians. The Russians cleverly took advantage of trends in conservative American politics that have been developing for 40 years, but which I doubt they caused. If the oligarchs had not hopelessly corrupted the GOP Putin would’ve had nothing to work with.

  158. 158
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Dude! Idunno about everybody else, but I thought it was kinda fun! I mean, bantering with you is fun; bantering with Boris/Natasha/Cletus? Uh … not so much.

  159. 159
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jonas: Activate your exfil plan now!!!!!

  160. 160
    J R in WV says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    How much have the Russians paid you? That’s what you sound like. The person most plugged into the security apparatus of this nation disagrees with you. Certainly people were accused of treason during the Viet Nam war… which is the term for the conflict.

    What are your credentials? PhD in what? Served with whom?

  161. 161
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Kirk:

    It’s possible that Nunes will be legally safe by way of the Speech and Debate clause.

    I thought that only applied to statements made on the floor of the congress chambers, as seen on CSPAN, not to statements in general.

  162. 162
    Chet Murthy says:

    @PIGL: This is completely true. And I’ll be calling my Senators to remind them that I expect “no on cloture, no on the full vote” on Gorsuch. “And could you please give a speech demanding a vote for Merrick Garland?”

    But at the same time, I’ll point out that at this time, when the entire legitimacy of the R administration and Congress (remind them that Dem candidates for congress were attacked by doc-dumps also), I expect them to be 100% in resistance against ANY R agenda whatsoever. Until this is FULLY SORTED, I expect 100% resistance.

    Gorsuch is important. the AHCA is important. Hell, as they say , “what fresh hell?” every day. Every day. But Russia is important too.

  163. 163
    EBT says:

    @Mnemosyne: Why were their Christian co-conspirators not?

  164. 164
    Lizzy L says:

    It may be contrarian of me — but I think talk of impeachment NOW is ridiculous. The Republicans would have to do it, and they are not going to do it until they are finished pulling the social net apart, destroying all efforts to deal with climate change, and hoovering all the money upwards. They need Trump to sign off on that, which he will do. After that’s done, they will not give a flying fcuk what happens to him and may even impeach him if the Russian thing begins to look unpleasant. It’s only been two months, folks, they’ve got months and months more damage to do.

    Yeah, I’m not having a good night.

  165. 165
    zhena gogolia says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    Oh, come on.

  166. 166
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    Google tells me they have a population of less than 144 million. That is not a large country.

  167. 167
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy: Thanks, but expecting laymen to know and apply the legal definition of treason was a bit much. The laymen got, and were right about, the spiritual part.

  168. 168
    EBT says:

    @philadelphialawyer: You have defined one way that war can be defined. I think the mere fact a whole shit ton of people define what Adam calls as “war” means that is an equally valid definition. Words have meaning and seeing as this isn’t a courtroom the law doesn’t have shit to say in it.

  169. 169
    PIGL says:

    @J R in WV: i think this is uncalled for. There’s lots of reason to be wary of talk of war specially when it originates within the USA. Mr. Silverman has a very nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the matter but all too many Americans use the term “war” indiscriminately. Although in a doctrinal sense Russia’s activities may qualify as acts of war…that doesnt mean one would be justified in marching on Moscow.

  170. 170
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    Now I’ve read many more of your posts all explaining how we aren’t at war with the Russians, because stuff, even though they appear to have harmed us greatly, but are at war with Syria and Yeman, who haven’t a chance of harming us other than a single gnat or louse harms a large animal. Bullshite is all I can say.

    Again, how much have the Russians paid you, so far? It isn’t enough, if you are in fact present in this country. But I suspect you live far, far from Philadelphia. Far!

  171. 171
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lizzy L: His admin is falling apart after two months. Do you think it can survive?

  172. 172
    Kirk says:

    @Millard Filmore: Once upon a time, probably. But the John Murtha and William Jefferson cases muddied that a lot.

    The more obvious is how the appellate court of the DC circuit gave the clause as the reason for tossing Wuterich’s suit, which in turn was based on Murtha’s statements at a news conference and subsequent news interviews. Only appellate so it didn’t get the full test, but it’s there as the first level of precedent.

    Jefferson, well, basically since some of the business by which he got his cold cash was done in the office, the courts wound up tossing evidence and even charges aside due to the clause.

    So yeah, I think it might apply.

  173. 173
    zhena gogolia says:

    @zhena gogolia: @J R in WV:

    JR in WV is right, this should have been хватит нести хуйню

  174. 174
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PIGL:

    Philadelphialawyer was claiming that espionage — “spy vs spy” — is not a big deal and so we certainly shouldn’t be freaked out at the level of cyber espionage the Russians have employed against us. My point was that the US considers espionage a death penalty worthy offense when it affects our national security and national interest. I think having a presidential administration full of people with close personal and economic ties to Russia is against our national interest, nu?

    @EBT:

    There was definitely a lot of anti-Semitism involved. But see my above comment for why I think it’s ridiculous to dismiss Russia’s cyberattacks on us as “spy vs spy” stuff that isn’t very serious.

  175. 175
    Lizzy L says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: A sane answer would be No. But we’re not in sane territory. Survive — for how long. Until 2018? Possibly. Until 2020? Maybe not.

  176. 176
    different-church-lady says:

    Wait… did we declare victory in the war on terror at some point I wasn’t looking?

  177. 177
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PIGL:

    that doesnt mean one would be justified in marching on Moscow.

    At least not until winter is over!

    The legal definition is important, but as I indicated in comment # 128 there are lots of types of war and lots of ways of war. And most of them aren’t covered by the legal definition. They are terms of art and practice. And this is just how we, in the US and other western countries, understand them. It doesn’t even begin to get into different cultures and societies understanding what is and is not war. I’m not recommending we launch a kinetic strike against Russia. I am suggesting that our leaders recognize and grasp the depth and breadth of what has been done by the Russians against the US and take appropriate measures as a result.

  178. 178
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: We’re still stuck with Mississippi, so it could limp along for a bit…

  179. 179
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Can anyone possibly believe Russia’s intent is benign? If not, then it’s war.

  180. 180
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Schiff is looking better and better w/ every passing day…

  181. 181
    ruemara says:

    Republicans have betrayed America. That is the only thing to think and say about this. I do not know that any Republican left in office has the honor and ethics to do what is right.

  182. 182
    Kirk says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Agree about the multitude of too close links. That noted, I have to massively correct my previous. I based that on what Dworkin showed in his tweet. Instead the connection goes this way.

    Alpha Omega Winery has 11 non-US distributors plus a US-wide and one for almost every state. The Russian distributor is Luding Trading company. I do not know what Luding’s share of AO’s sales is, but that company is the largest wine distributor in Russia, accounting for 18-19% of that market. Luding is also the distributor for YABF alcohols. The YABF link to Putin still exists.

    I have not found (yet) who owns Luding so can’t follow that any further at this time. I also still have to read through what Dworkin says.

    But at this point it’s a much less powerful story.

  183. 183
    Adam L Silverman says:

    And to think I had planned to write about the failed, early morning North Korean missile test and then the attack at Westminster today. As the resident national security professional can I haz a break?

  184. 184
    Chet Murthy says:

    @PIGL: @J R in WV: I think there’s two things Boris/Vladi/philadelphialawyer is doing: one is defensible, the other, well, if he’s an American, he should leave.

    (1) [defensible] “war” is a term of art, and he’s defending his interpretation. Sure sure sure, whatever, buddy.

    (2) [indefensible] “it’s just spy-vs-spy, and besides, we do things like this all the time” — note how -fast- he went here.

    #1 I can -understand-, except that if he were an American, he’d know that we’ve been at literal daggers drawn with the Russians for decades, without war being declared. So y’know, sure it ain’t “artillery barrage at dawn”. But it’s a damn sight more than peace.

    #2 though is unforgivable in a fellow citizen. The only people who get a say in our system of government are Americans, and only for American reasons/goals/motives. No furrin influence allowed.

    So I think JRinWV is RIGHT on target: “philadelphialawyer, how much is Putin payin’ you? And is warm yet, were you are? The sun should be peeking above the horizon a few hours each day, right?”

  185. 185
    J R in WV says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Where did you hear that Comey had a Trump sign in his yard? Sounds unlikely to me.

  186. 186
    Timurid says:

    @philadelphialawyer: Stealing the enemy’s new missile plans is ‘Spy vs. Spy.’ Taking over the enemy’s government is war.

  187. 187
    PIGL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: i know you’re not recommending military retaliation in the traditional sense ( I will not try to copy your technical language … I got off the bus with Keegan). And I don’t deny the situation is grave…it’s deadly. However. I think it’s fair to say that the United States has a history of escalation and that overzealous interpretation of the word war as “bombs away” has been contributory .

  188. 188
    amk says:

    @ruemara: The party of ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘moral values’ stands exposed as a stinking sewer and not one repub is there to clean it up even a bit.

  189. 189
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Kirk: Wow! You make me look like a duffer … so … I’m with you.

  190. 190
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kirk: Okay, thanks. I’ll edit it above for accuracy.

  191. 191
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lizzy L: Two choices: curl up in a corner and whimper or do something. I recommend doing something.

  192. 192
    PIGL says:

    @ruemara: this is the point I have been try to make. The United States clearly has both external and internal enemies. of the two, the internal are the more dangerous….at least so it seems to this foreign observer.

  193. 193
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kirk: Edited! Thanks again.

  194. 194
    Suffragete City elftx says:

    Although Nunes’ own words dispute it, I did see a twitter person posit that his disclosing confidential intel would be legal if the President had declassified it and given the ok.
    I do think his show today was orchestrated by the White House.

  195. 195
    sanjeevs says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Climategate looks like an early forewarning of what happened here. Russian hackers hack into emails then have it disseminated via the Right Wing Noise Machine.

  196. 196
    Lizzy L says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: What makes you think I am not doing something? I come here to hang out and bitch/scream sometimes. I’m damn busy away from BJ. Not curling up, I assure you.

  197. 197
    Chet Murthy says:

    @PIGL: Yep. And if this Russia thing weren’t happening, we’d still be up in arms about fascists, Nazis and white supremacists (but I repeat myself twice ;-) taking over our government. Thing is, at least for now, the Russia thing is hot, and it has the advantage of being really, really simple to explain.

    ETA: and then there’s the kleptocracy and kakistocracy. So much fail. So much fail.

  198. 198
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PIGL:

    I think it’s fair to say that the United States has a history of escalation and that overzealous interpretation of the word war as “bombs away” has been contributory .

    Well, sure, but there’s such a thing as underreacting, too. Having a hostile foreign power take control of one’s government never turns out well.

  199. 199
    PIGL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: by the way isnt waiting for the end of winter the very worst thing to do? What’s the term? Rasputsina? The unfreezing of the mud in spring.

  200. 200
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sanjeevs:

  201. 201
    J R in WV says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Russia is not that big a country

    Geography sez bzzzzt.

    But I don’t think Mnemosyne was speaking of geography, but of the size of the country in terms of businesses and number of cities and of companies and of people. In those terms, as well as GDP, Russia is quite small.

    Russia is 12th or 13th in gross GDP, and 47th in GNI per capita.

    The USA is 1st or 2nd in gross GDP, and 11th in Gross National Income per capita, because outliers like Qatar and Macao and Saudi Arabia come way out on top with small populations and giant incomes. Still way ahead of Russia by any reckoning.

    But Russia is pretty wide in terms of time zones, but again, empty space doesn’t really count, like Montana and Wyoming in red states with no one home.

  202. 202
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lizzy L: I didn’t say you weren’t doing anything.

  203. 203
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m not recommending we launch a kinetic strike against Russia.

    I can’t believe that the intelligence community couldn’t find a Cheetoh-stained 12 year old to write a virus or Trojan horse to take out Wikileaks and/or Russian intelligence.

  204. 204
    Timurid says:

    Setting aside Russia for the moment… the AHCA is an act of war in and of itself.
    That thing will kill more Americans than Al Qaeda and ISIS ever have and ever could in the future.
    Osama bin Laden got shot in the face for much less than what Paul Ryan is trying to do…

  205. 205
    J R in WV says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Thanks…

  206. 206
    PIGL says:

    @Mnemosyne: well this is the thing I wonder about. I’ll take it as read that the Russians affectively interfered in the recent elections. But who exactly has taken over? The tea party? The Koch brothers? The Russian mob? Some other factions of the oligarchy? Is there a tacit division of authority as between foreign policy and internal affairs? how deep does the collusion go how far is it spread how much is conscious how much is facultative? Don’t know how I could ever get to the bottom of it.

  207. 207
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PIGL: You really want to invade Russia during winter?

  208. 208
    Lizzy L says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My bad. Meet you on the barricades.

  209. 209
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Third time is the charm?

  210. 210
    PIGL says:

    @efgoldman: No kiddink. It does make you wonder about the effectiveness of western counterintelligence, doesnt it? What good is all this surveillance and signals intelligence if they can’t nip stuff like this in the bud?

  211. 211
    burnspbesq says:

    @guachi:

    I was perplexed by things Nunes said.

    Nunes is from Fresno, where the “water” is minimally processed runoff from big commercial farms. It’s hardly surprising that his cognitive processes are a little funky.

  212. 212
    jonas says:

    Trey Gowdy is a very poor, and stupid, man’s Adam Schiff. With bad hair.

  213. 213
  214. 214
    PIGL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: i think the best time is June through September, at least if one is going to follow the conventional routes. Otherwise those as survive January and February will find themselves hopelessly stuck in the mud or drowning in the Pripet marshes. The best plan is to stay home. Or else attack France, instead.

  215. 215
    burnspbesq says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    I’d be pretty happy to vote for Schiff instead of Newsom next year.

  216. 216
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @PIGL: I am sure Canada will save us, right? They get everything they need without doing anything weird. Right?

  217. 217
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @J R in WV:

    Where did you hear that Comey had a Trump sign in his yard? Sounds unlikely to me.

    Saw a photo of it. i thought it was on this very blog.

  218. 218
    PIGL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: we have not been able to save ourselves.

  219. 219
    Chet Murthy says:

    @burnspbesq: For Governor? Yeah, I’m in with that.

  220. 220
    EBT says:

    @Mnemosyne: Then you and I are 100% on the same page on the two topics.

  221. 221
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @PIGL: So, save yourself. Then save us.

  222. 222
    Yarrow says:

    @Lizzy L: Lizzy L, take heart. The noose is tightening. I’ve said for some time that the IC is going to take him out. The sooner the Republicans recognize this, the better it will be for them. They are refusing to see and it’s going to get ugly. So many of them are up to their eyeballs in illegal activity and in many cases collusion with Russia. The IC will continue to make it more and more difficult for them unless they do their fucking jobs and begin the process of impeachment or functional equivalent to rid our country of the orange disaster administration.

    The very best option for the Republicans was to distance themselves early on and get rid of him as quickly as possible. They have refused and continue to refuse to do that, hoping they’ll be able to walk a fine line and escape unscathed. This will not happen. At some point, and it’s not far in the future, some very choice bit of dirt will drop and this time it will be about a fairly high ranking member of Congress. It will be a warning. They need to do their jobs or they will pay by losing their jobs and worse.

    So have confidence. It’s not just up to Congress. We have more and much stronger institutions that are still patriots and they are putting our country first.

  223. 223
    burnspbesq says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    If you take a realistic 21st century view of what constitutes “arms,” it becomes extremely difficult to dispute that what is happening between the United States and Russia is international armed conflict within the meaning of the Geneva Conventions.

  224. 224
    Yarrow says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Thru the Looking Glass…: Schiff is a hero. A patriot. I watched his whole opening statement today because I’d missed it on Monday. Wow. He’s the real deal.

  225. 225
    Elie says:

    @PIGL:

    I think that the game (and the capabilities that we see) are not necessarily what we think it is.

    I have suspected for a while that some number of the GOP Congress and or Senators are compromised. We are in a real hall of mirrors and the game I believe is unbelievably serious with all that we hold dear and value (as far as our governance) at stake. I am also sure that our western allies probably have a stake in the outcome and have a role as well (just my guess — what do I know?)

    I am so anxious and when I read about Nunes today, I had a sinking feeling that we were on a new level. This is an administration unrivaled in corruption but the entire GOP is corrupt and has been for probably some time. I take comfort from my speculation that the warriors of light and goodness may not all be apparent and their work to save us risky in ways we cannot know.

    This will be written about one day — hopefully about the heroes who saved us ….

    Meanwhile, back in my day to day reality in state and county Democratic politics, the Berniites are still grinding away about the Banks and the billionaires and we are gonna take over the Democrats…. sheesh

  226. 226
    amk says:

    Trump is not only conducting a coordinated disinformation campaign – he's now fundraising off of it. I wonder how much kickback Nunes gets? https://t.co/QXWGyyUct3— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) March 22, 2017

  227. 227
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: True.

  228. 228
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PIGL:

    What good is all this surveillance and signals intelligence if they can’t nip stuff like this in the bud?

    This is the key issue: signal to noise ratio.

  229. 229
    PIGL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: we arm-chair Guillaume’s do tend to overlook that.

  230. 230
    frosty says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    .. as they say “what fresh hell?”

    Not “they”, but Dorothy Parker. Among many of her great quotes: “What fresh hell can this be?” every time she answered her doorbel.

  231. 231
    frosty says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    As the resident national security professional can I haz a break?

    Magic 8-Ball sez “No”

  232. 232
    Yarrow says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Kirk: Check out this info from the Los Angeles Times about Nunes’ net worth and where it’s invested:

    Nunes is the 383rd wealthiest member of Congress with a minimum net worth of $51,002. Nunes, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, has at least $50,000 invested in Napa Valley’s Alpha Omega Winery, LLC.

    It appears that almost all of his net worth is invested in this winery. How odd.

    Also of note is that the winery has links to the largest Russian wine distributor but only to one European country–Switzerland. No distribution to any of our allies in Europe? Why is that?

    It seems unlikely given how Russia operates that the largest company in any industry has no involvement with Putin.

  233. 233
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: I’d seen that on his net worth.

  234. 234
    frosty says:

    @Yarrow: Nunes is the 383rd wealthiest member of Congress with a minimum net worth of $51,002.

    I call bullshit. He doesn’t have a 401K? He doesn’t have a house? Or is he underwater on the mortgage. If he’s a congressman with only $50K net worth, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a Russki connection.

  235. 235
    Jack the Cold Warrior says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    The Cold War was not a War? Tell that to the crews of over 75 recon planes shot down by the Russians and Chinese. Or to the crew of the USS Pueblo. Or the soldiers killed in hushed up firefights on the East German and Czech border. Or the East German and other Warsaw Pact civilians killed in the Hungarian, Czech, and Polish Uprisings, or while trying to escape to the West.

    Or the millions of Americans who served during the Cold War (like my 2 brothers and I. And we were infantry, little bro medic in a combat unit).

    Get your nose out of legal briefs and read some God damned History.

  236. 236
    Elie says:

    @frosty: @Adam L Silverman: @Yarrow:

    Ruh Roh — something is VEWY fishy….

    My thought is that this is just getting going — Hoo-Boy….

  237. 237
    Yarrow says:

    @frosty: If you look at the whole list, some people have a negative net worth because of various liabilities. For some reason his disclosures didn’t show that. Maybe he owns his house outright.

  238. 238
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    A very interesting question is whether Russia has funded any of Breitbart. So far I have nothing tangible (and Mercer/CA is not Russia) but if anyone has any tidbits, particularly anything related to Bannon, would be interesting.

  239. 239
    Jack the Cold Warrior says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    To this reply you made to philly lawyer:

    HAND SALUTE !!!

  240. 240
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Anya: who has not done dumb things in their youth.
    How long did Mr. Cole vote R?

    Your cousin admitted error, and we need allies.

  241. 241
    TenguPhule says:

    @Timurid: From your lips to a constituent’s ear.

  242. 242
    Aleta says:

    At least in the past, cyber war was defined as being a different thing than cyber conflict between two countries. Cyber war was said to be an act like completely taking over a lot of computers and/or bringing down an entire power grid for more than a few hours, maybe long enough to disrupt commerce, banks, gas stations etc.

    Because cyber attack takes so long to trace, it’s taken months for cybersecurity experts to be able to say what they are now: that the Russian government was behind the hacking, did steal emails and put out false information to manipulate the election, did disseminate propaganda to affect people’s thoughts and it would seem votes.

    My understanding is that trying to influence another country’s election, which goes on a lot, has not been called an act of war previously.

    History-wise it’s said to be dangerous to be too quick to call something an act of war. My guess is it’s because that has been used to get us to engage with troops (like the Gulf of Tonkin).

    Now we’re seeing how many Tr people, campaign and admin., have taken Russian money in exchange for influence. I don’t know yet where that falls, espionage for sure, traitors. Traitorgate. I want this admin. brought down.

  243. 243
    TenguPhule says:

    @Yarrow:

    The IC will continue to make it more and more difficult for them unless they do their fucking jobs and begin the process of impeachment or functional equivalent to rid our country of the orange disaster administration.

    The IC is going to have to wetwork some of the worst Republicans as examples in order to get anything useful from the other ones.

    That’s how far into treason the GOP is in. Nothing less then certain painful death is going to motivate them to turn on their Russian masters.

  244. 244
    hugely says:

    @Jack the Cold Warrior: im with you Jack, my fathers generation and classmates suffered maybe not all directly at the hands of the Russians, but some did. The SAM that shot down Sen McCain was built where and operated by whom? I really dont understand how this tribalism has blocked their patriotic muscle memory – my dad voted for lord little hands – its really weird. This is not just some random “political chicanery”, the Russians caused many American deaths and fucking put polonium in tea – they are the bad hombres… WTF

  245. 245
    Jack the Cold Warrior says:

    @hugely:
    Thank you. Since its been 25 years since we drew down our forces at the end of Cold War I, people forget that we had over 300,000 soldiers in Western Europe alone for most of that era. Millions of Americans served from 1947-1992…

    The pity is the Russian people are a great people, but they have never had a real working democracy, just tyrannical czars, dictators, and now an immense kleptocracy…

  246. 246
    liberal says:

    @hugely: Yeah, how dare those evil Soviets interfere with us while we murdered millions of Vietnamese!

  247. 247
    liberal says:

    @Jack the Cold Warrior: or the millions of Indochinese we murdered. Or the hundreds of thousands of Indonesian Communists and non communist Chinese that Suharto murdered. Or…

  248. 248
    liberal says:

    @Adam L Silverman: so we’re at war with Iran, given our likely role in Stuxnet? And if we’ve droned Oakistan, which we have, does that mean we’re at war with them?

  249. 249
    Ruckus says:

    @PaulW:

    more than they love the USA

    They don’t love the USA. They wouldn’t be trying to rob and destroy it if they loved it.

  250. 250
    hugely says:

    @liberal: agreed tovarish, all of those are bad things too. I am just perplexed by the average GOP voter who very quickly forgot that we had/still have an adversary in the Russians which had real consequences for actual Americans. Now we will justify anything (even criminal “treasonous” behavior) to make sure “that bitch” doesn’t become president.

    BTW I used to be a self righteous undergrad bemoaning the imperialistic behavior of the US as well but I grew up and learned about nuance and shit. We probably have a better chance of avoiding those types of negative actions (Iraq/Mess-o-potamia, Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Hawaii, etc) if we had adults running the country and all political parties.

    I have seen your nym before cant remember if u are straight up troll, Stein supporter, or Doughy Pantload type of provocateur

  251. 251
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: Actually CA’s parent company’s largest stakeholder outside of the Mercers is a Putin aligned Ukrainian oligarch.

  252. 252
    Jack the Cold Warrior says:

    @liberal:

    Yeah, we did bad. But- Soviet Union killed of 30 million OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE just under Stalin. At the height of the Cold War, the USSR had over 30,000 nuclear weapons.

    The US-NATO containment policy caused the USSR and communism to fail. Saving Western Democracy.

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