The Lajes’ Protocol: Known Nunes and Unknown Nunes

As Betty wrote this morning, and as I’ve written about here and here, Congressman Nunes and his staff have put together a cherrypicked memo, based on classified information provided to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by the Department of Justice and the FBI. They are threatening to release it against the objections of the DOJ and the FBI. The purpose of the memo, and the selected leaking by Congressman Nunes and his partners in crime – Congressman Meadows and Jordan of the Freedom Caucus, Congressman Gaetz and DeSantis of Florida, and others –  is to accuse senior career officials of the the DOJ and FBI of acting improperly in an attempt to undermine these two agencies and by extension Special Prosecutor Mueller and his investigation. From yesterday’s reporting we now have confirmation that the central charge of Nunes as stated in his memo involves now Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s allegedly using information from the Steele Dossier to get a FISA warrant for Carter Page. Either Congressman Nunes, despite chairing the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, doesn’t understand how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approves or extends warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or he’s being disingenuous in pursuit of political objectives.

Former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa, who worked counterintelligence investigations, has done a couple of twitter postings explaining the process. She also went on CNN today to explain how this all works. The video and the timelines are below, but the Bottom Line Up Front, is that the DOJ and FBI have an internal team that vets FISA warrant applications for warrants and extensions to approved warrants before they’re brought before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. One of the reasons that the FISC approves over 90% of the warrant applications brought before it, is because the ones that don’t survive a high level of presubmission review scrutiny don’t make it to the FISC.

Here’s the video:

Here are the narrative explanations, but for those that would rather not read tweet storms, she also wrote an explainer about this at Just Security.

This first one is in regard to the overall FISA warrant application process:

This second one is basically the narrative rundown of the video above:

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

Willie Horton Reboot
Buh Bye Rodney

129 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Adam, last sentence of first graf starts with “either” but doesn’t have an “or.”

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Welp, McCabe is stepping down from FBI.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Thanks, I fixed it. I took a phone call while I was writing and clearly my train of thought left the station without me.

  4. 4
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    The lessons Republicans learned from Watergate and Iran / Contra are: circle the wagons, obstruct obstruct obstruct, lie lie lie, and never back down. Probably the only way Trump leaves before 2020 is from a medical problem. The best we can hope for is a Dem wave in 2018 so we can least find out what happened through, we hope, relentless investigations. The Republicans may be able to brazen this out we’ll see…..

  5. 5
    VOR says:

    As I understand it, one of their big complaints was the unmasking of names for Susan Rice. I’m of the opinion that the National Security Adviser ought to be able to see any information they damn well please – that’s their job.

  6. 6
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    It’s a good thing you weren’t around in 2013 when the Snowden crap started (or were you?). You would have been pulling your hair out.

  7. 7
    Ryan says:

    “Either Congressman Nunes, despite chairing the House Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence, doesn’t understand how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approves or extends warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”

    or he does, but it’s in his interest to act otherwise. Certainly, this charge sounds as plausible as Uranium One, Clinton’s email server, Improper Unmasking, Fast and Furious, and all the other wingnut phantoms thrown up by the Alternative “Media.”

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: Actually he hasn’t finalized what he’s going to do. It is assumed he is retiring sometime in March or April once he becomes fully eligible for retirement. It is not clear yet what he is actually going to do, though I expect he will.

  9. 9
    Ten Bears says:

    Have we forgotten they were under scrutiny because they were engaging in treason?

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    Key Republicans hedge on protecting Mueller from Trump
    01/29/18 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    When multiple news organizations confirmed that Donald Trump took steps to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a Washington Post analysis noted that the revelation “will create fresh momentum for Congress to take up bipartisan bills to protect Mueller.”

    And in theory, that makes sense. A separate Washington Post piece added that the president targeting Mueller ‘has long been a red line” for most congressional Republicans, though they’d prefer not to act on it. The question is whether “they may be forced to” act in light of new revelations.

    There are two bills in Congress, both of which have some Republican support, that would protect Mueller from being fired by Trump. But neither bill has been seriously considered by leadership.

    Up until this point, Republicans had given Trump the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn’t launch a constitutional crisis. From their perspective, why take action and cause a confrontation with the president (and jeopardize their agenda) if they don’t absolutely have to? Now they may have to.

    …………………..

    As Politico noted, this seems to be the common view among many Republicans on Capitol Hill right now.

    Robert Mueller found little momentum Friday, despite reports Trump attempted to remove the man investigating his campaign’s contacts with Russia last year.

    Democrats described new urgency to protect Mueller after news that Trump ordered top White House lawyer Don McGahn to fire the special counsel, who is also investigating whether Trump has attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation. But the Republicans who control Congress kept mostly silent about the prospect of another attempted Mueller firing – and about the future of two bipartisan bills designed to prevent it.

    There’s no rush, Republicans say, because they don’t see an ongoing threat by Trump to fire Mueller.

  11. 11
    Patricia Kayden says:

    So much mess that it’s hard to keep up.

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @VOR: Even that has a significant and difficult process to get approval.

  13. 13
    Arm The Homeless says:

    From previous thread:

    McCabe retiring. Shit is getting real

    Peter Alexander
    Peter Alexander
    @PeterAlexander
    BREAKING: Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director & a frequent Trump target, stepping down.

    https://twitter.com/PeterAlexander/status/958028593988292609?s=17

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: MSNBC is reporting he’s going on “terminal leave” status. I don’t know anything else but for what they just broke in with from Pete Williams.
    He had planned to leave at retirement level in mid March but supposedly due to relentless pressure is taking his leave time to get there.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    The bar has already been lowered too much for Trump
    01/29/18 12:30 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Donald Trump spoke on Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he lied repeatedly about his record and was booed for attacking journalists. Some pundits nevertheless praised the president’s appearance, not because it was necessarily impressive, but because he managed to act “more like a normal president.”

    It sets the stage for tomorrow night’s State of the Union address, and the reaction from many commentators that we already know is coming. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) published a prediction this morning:

    “I predict that the President will read prepared remarks and pundits will swoon like it’s the Gettysburg Address.”

    It’s hard to blame the senator for his pessimism. After all, we have seen some evidence along these lines.

    A few weeks ago at the White House, Trump hosted a lengthy, televised discussion with lawmakers about immigration policy. During the conversation, the president briefly endorsed the opposite of his stated position, only to be pulled back by a House Republican leader who had to remind Trump what he was supposed to think.

    And yet, because expectations for this president are so low, he drew some media praise. Trump managed to go an hour in public without insulting key constituencies or creating an international incident, and so, benefiting from an overly generous curve, he seemed at least mildly impressive.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: I read, I didn’t comment as I was a front pager at another site. I think I did my first guest post here sometime in 2014.

  17. 17
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Corner Stone: That’s interesting, and not exactly in a good way.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ryan: Actually, thanks to G&T for the heads up, I went back and finished my thought. So you can read it up top.

  19. 19
    Starfish says:

    Should that be “unknown” in the title?

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ten Bears: In Page’s case he was under scrutiny because he was on intercepts of two Russian spies that had been rolled up a few years before. The Russian spies were talking about him and explaining just how stupid he was, so stupid they weren’t sure they could use him as a directed, active asset, but could use him as an unwitting one.

  21. 21
    Ryan says:

    “When multiple news organizations confirmed that Donald Trump took steps to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a Washington Post analysis noted that the revelation “will create fresh momentum for Congress to take up bipartisan bills to protect Mueller.””

    Then they are not paying attention. They are pretending that the parties are identical, when in fact, the Republicans are acting in such a craven matter, they no longer are interested in performing even their oversight role over the executive.

  22. 22
    Ryan says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Just saw it, totally agree.

  23. 23

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Arm The Homeless: @Corner Stone: Now I’m tracking. I had done a quick keyword search for news about him after CS’s comment, but couldn’t find anything. Again, this is not surprising. Terminal leave will off ramp him to his full retirement. He probably has so much paid time off built up that by the time he burns through it, he’ll be well past the fully vested date.

    To be honest, this isn’t surprising. He really can’t go any higher in the FBI as a career employee – even one serving in a political appointment billet. If he retires now, he get’s his full retirement and he’ll quickly be picked up by a white shoe law firm, as well as likely being named a senior fellow at a think tank or two. Waiting doesn’t get him anything in terms of future earning potential. And he’s been talking about doing this in this way for several years.

  25. 25
    MJS says:

    @Corner Stone: I assume there is some level of confidentiality expected from recent FBI retirees, but I also expect that McCabe didn’t sign an NDA with Trump, so who knows what we’ll learn from McCabe. Here’s hoping we see him on Rachel soon after his retirement.

  26. 26
    Starfish says:

    @rikyrah: Jay Rosen has a piece on why the pundits do that.

    If nothing the president says can be trusted, reporting what the president says becomes absurd. You can still do it, but it’s hard to respect what you are doing. If the president doesn’t know anything, the solemnity of the presidency becomes a joke. That’s painful. If they can, people flee that kind of pain. In political journalism there is enough room for interpretive maneuver to do just that.

    This is “normalization.” This is what “tonight he became president” is about. This is why he’s called “transactional,” why a turn to bipartisanship is right now being test-marketed by headline writers. This is why “deal-making” is said to be afoot when there is barely any evidence of a deal.

    What they have to report brings ruin to what they have to respect. So they occasionally revise it into something they can respect: at least a little.

  27. 27
    charluckles says:

    They had a tremendous amount of knowledge about hinky business going down in the Trump campaign. Comey and the FBIs communication with the media and Congress in regards to the Clinton and Trump campaigns was disgraceful at best. I suppose that’s common thought, but I am outraged at what those FBI affair emails seem to suggest. An FBI that felt totally self-assured that Trump would never win and an FBI that felt it needed to put a check on Hillary Clinton and then they interfered in the election.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Starfish: I don’t kow what you’re talking about.

    Thanks for catching that.

  29. 29
    Immanentize says:

    I just want to mention that McCabe taking his accrued leave now until his retirement is not so very unusual in any field. But I suspect he was happy to figure out which day he could leave such that his accrued time lasted until his date of retirement. In other words, his leaving now is not a big surprise, but the pressure he was under to do so as soon as possible may be part of a criminal conspiracy….

  30. 30

    @rikyrah: Isn’t it ironic, that there is a higher bar to become a permanent resident of this country than to become its president. Sad.

  31. 31

    Here’s one of my senators, a Democrat. Timing suggests that this has to do with McCabe stepping down.

  32. 32
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Do you not know how put a long post below the fold? Or do you just refuse to do it?

  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    McCabe can go any time he likes. IMO, it’s the “why now” that matters. Personal? A nice offer elsewhere? Great for him!
    However, I’d like to hear him say it. I doubt he’ll be vocal about this either way, but again IMO, if he says nothing then it will be easy to suspect the worst.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:

    Nunes’ designated purpose in shoveling dirt is to muddy the waters. His actions are not undertaken in a vacuum, he is a willing, malleable and complicit servant/stooge.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @charluckles:

    I suppose that’s common thought, but I am outraged at what those FBI affair emails seem to suggest.

    Which emails and what do they seem to suggest?

  36. 36
    Librarian says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Adam, please. There’s no apostrophe in “gets”.

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Death Panel Truck: I refuse to do it.

  38. 38
    Starfish says:

    @Death Panel Truck: He doesn’t kow how to spell so cut him some slack.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Librarian: Youll live.

  40. 40
    Epicurus says:

    Either Congressman Nunes, despite chairing the House Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence, doesn’t understand how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approves or extends warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or he’s being disingenuous in pursuit of political objectives.

    I’ll take Door #2, Monty; what do I win?

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Starfish: Thak you!

  42. 42
    burnspbesq says:

    Either Congressman Nunes, despite chairing the House Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence, doesn’t understand how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approves or extends warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or he’s being disingenuous in pursuit of political objectives.

    Those things are not mutually exclusive.

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The 101st Fighting Pedants are after there pound of flesh today!

  44. 44
    catclub says:

    @Ryan:

    “create fresh momentum for Congress to take up bipartisan bills to protect Mueller.”

    Yep, all those statements need to be prefaced with “this latest outrage, under what used to be called normal circumstances, would”

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: Apparently. Who kew?

  46. 46
    Starfish says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The 101st Fighting Pedants are after there pound of flesh today!

    This really should be one of the rotating taglines. I forget how to submit suggestions to add new ones.

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    @Death Panel Truck: I would not mind a long post above the fold if those twitter-clouds did not waste space in such an irritating manner – and take longer to load.

    Maybe if the twitter storyline was converted to one image it would not be so bad.

    I also would like a pony.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @catclub:

    I also would like a pony.

    Let me make a call.

  49. 49
    Immanentize says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    Do you not know how put a long post …

    Is this some kind of Asian linguistic stereotyping effort a la Charlie Chan?

  50. 50
    Immanentize says:

    @Librarian: There is, as Betty C. call’s it, in the Greengrocer’s world.

  51. 51
    catclub says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I was just reading a memo that taking terminal leave, right up to the retirement date, is frowned upon,
    but is not quite forbidden ( maybe I will check the illegal part).

    goes checking:
    ++Which is the right choice? Taking the lump sum. The simple reason is that you’re not supposed to take leave on your way out the door. The comptroller general has ruled that federal managers cannot grant an employee “terminal leave” if they know in advance that the employee is going to separate from federal service when the leave is used up. ++

  52. 52
    Immanentize says:

    @catclub: I would be interested in learning more about this memo — is it a DOJ memo?

  53. 53
    Suzanne says:

    @Corner Stone: This seems bad.

  54. 54
    jc says:

    Nunes and the Freedom Caucus freaks are manufacturing this selective smear campaign (Deep State Secret Society, oh my) because they know that the gullible Trump-voting base will fall for it and make a stink. It’s how they roll. And they’ll keep trying to get away with this crap unless the Dems kick them in the teeth, figuratively.

  55. 55
    tobie says:

    Last week we were all praising Christopher Wray for protecting the independence of the FBI and not bowing to pressure from Trump to fire McCabe. That now seems like a deliberate and misleading leak from the Wray camp. My guess would be that he kicked McCabe to the curb and with that weakened yet another pillar of our democracy (i.e., the idea that the law is supreme over any individual including the head of state).

  56. 56
    Librarian says:

    @Immanentize: There’s none in “calls”, either.

  57. 57

    Personally, I think Nunes doesn’t want the memo released, because then it can be debunked. He just wants to keep threatening to release it, like McCarthy’s list of communist plants.

  58. 58
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: If you’re making calls about ponies, I want one too! (please)

  59. 59
    Immanentize says:

    @Librarian: Glad you got the joke!

  60. 60

    @catclub: Where I worked, taking terminal leave up until the last day was a neutral sort of thing. I would expect it to be so in other parts of the government, but I don’t know that for a fact. It could be that Trump knew McCabe had his retirement planned and made noise so he could take credit for running him out. Or it could be that McCabe, as a possible witness against Trump, decided that he would be slimed less if he left now.

  61. 61
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: Actually you were the person I was going to call. So much for that idea.

  62. 62
    Steeplejack says:

    What is the “Lajes’ protocol”? Is it somehow related to the Lajes Field Honor Guard?

  63. 63
    Suzanne says:

    @tobie: Or McCabe was threatened.

  64. 64
    Yutsano says:

    @tobie: McCabe had been planning his retirement for a year. If he wants to be done all we can do is wish him well and hope his acting is somewhat competent.

  65. 65
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: LOL! We have one up at the ranch, but he’s a stinker! So maybe we can palm him off on someone else!

  66. 66
    tobie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: CNN is reporting that McCabe was asked to step down this morning. He went home on Friday expecting to come back to work on Monday. As far as I can tell the only person in the FBI who can remove the Deputy Director is the Director, which would be Wray.

  67. 67
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The 101st Fighting Pedants are after there pound of flesh today!

    Oh, you!!

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    1-800–BRONIES.

    (Not intended to be an accurate statement.)

  70. 70
    tobie says:

    @Suzanne: @Yutsano: As I just posted, CNN said he was removed from office. He didn’t choose to use his vacation days till his retirement.

  71. 71
    catclub says:

    @Immanentize: so not actually a memo, but a google search for “terminal leave federal retirement”

    finds the link I quoted – and others. Also I updated my post.

  72. 72
    Yutsano says:

    @NotMax: I’ll laugh if that number actually works.

    No I’m not going to try it.

  73. 73
    Steeplejack says:

    @catclub:

    Interesting, because I’m just now seeing Sean Spicer blowharding on MSNBC that this is no big deal: you just back out how many days of vacation you have left from your end date and there you go.

    By the way, this is the first time I have seen Spicer on MSNBC, so I wonder if this is the beginning of his “rehabilitation.” Also, his memoir, The Briefing, will be out in July, so we’ve got that to look forward to.

  74. 74
    Miss Bianca says:

    @tobie: FWIW, I was not one of the ones throwing bouquets around about Wray. I trust no one – absolutely no one – who has consented to take a post in the Trump Administration. I figure that to a man or woman they are either corrupt, incompetent, or have crappy moral values – or are a creamy and delicious blend of all of the above.

  75. 75
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize:

    taking his accrued leave now until his retirement is not so very unusual in any field.

    Since I have a pretty significant amount of accrued leave, and am starting to think about retirement, I’ve started researching this. I’m not a big fan right now of the idea of a lump sum, because of the tax implications, but my HR deapertment is telling me that’;s what I have to do because of the way pension is calculated/paid (I’m one of those dinosaurs with a defined-benefit pension.)

    I’m far from an expert yet, but most people I know with accrued leave have worked up until their separation date and taken the lump sum payment.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: I’ve mentioned Lajes here before, but something of an inside joke. Nunes has been trying to relocate as much of the US’s foreign intelligence and intelligence collection capability to Lajes since he got to Congress. His family from there, he still has relatives there, his family still has business and property holdings there. Even before the insanity he’s created over the past year, he’d already pissed off just about anyone who is anyone in the US intel community, as well as our British allies over this as it would relocate everything we’ve got colocated in Britain.

  77. 77
    catclub says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    after there pound of flesh today!

    ‘after three pound of flesh’
    ‘after they’re pound of flesh’
    ‘after theri pound of flesh’ (my typo specialty)
    ‘after their pond of fish’

  78. 78
    Served says:

    There’s a chance McCabe is a sacrificial lamb to keep Trump off Mueller and Wray for the time being.

  79. 79
    Steeplejack says:

    @Librarian:

    Jesus, it was part of the joke about greengrocer’s spelling, i.e., lots of misplaced apostrophes.

  80. 80
    Chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Read somebody elsewhere (think it was LGM) say that in Russia, Trump is not infrequently referred to (on the street, by regular people, that is) as “our сука in the White House.”

    Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I find it plausible in the extreme.

  81. 81

    @Chris: Sounds about right. That’s what my Russian friend was telling me. She was in Russia this fall.

  82. 82
    catclub says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I’m far from an expert yet,

    for a simple thing it is quite complicated:
    Do you get paid your regular salary and also any 401k matches for (say) two months, plus get two more months service to calculate the final
    pension amount?

    OR: Do you get (say) two more months of annuity, plus the lump sum of leave accrued (two months salary)?

    I think door two is slightly better.

  83. 83
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    @Adam L Silverman: At least the black dude isn’t POTUS anymore, that’s the main thing.

  84. 84
    Steeplejack says:

    @Chris:

    Why not just say “our bitch in the White House”? Or is there some nuanced interpretation of сука that means we should all individually go to Google Translate to find the answer?

  85. 85
    tobie says:

    @Miss Bianca: I agree that anyone who chooses to work in an executive function with this administration should be treated with suspicion. They’re not doing this work out of patriotism. They are collaborators.

  86. 86
    Chris says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Ah, I might just be remembering what you said, then.

  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    This is interesting.

  88. 88
    Steeplejack says:

    Man, that was a long segment with Sean Spicer. Craig Melvin asked him a few good questions, but Spicer mainly just bloviated the same way he did in the White House.

  89. 89

    Looks like McCabe’s leaving could be almost anything. Does seem strange that he would choose to leave on a Monday. I guess we’re going to have to wait for more information.

  90. 90
    Immanentize says:

    @catclub: thanks!

  91. 91
    HAL says:

    Preserving the Presidency of Donald Trump at all costs is an odd hill to die on. Nunes must be banking on a lucrative post Congress offer from the Koch brothers to be willing to go this far. An all out assault on the fbi as an organizational whole just seems stupid and short sighted.

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I guess we’re going to have to wait for more information.

    Somebody needs to find Cheryl ASAP and get her medical attention of some kind. She’s clearly had a bad fall and hit her head.

  93. 93
    jl says:

    Nunes needs to go after that Deep State unfair to Trump loser ratfink James Madison. Madison started this wild talk about being able to impeach, convict and remove a president for pardoning and firing people for the ‘corrupt’ motive of protecting himself from so-called ‘laws’.

    Stop the Madison anti-Trump coup plotting!

    Edit: and Madison has not done any great work lately, and no one is talking about him anymore.

  94. 94
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack:

    but Spicer mainly just bloviated the same way he did in the White House.

    I was a little miffed they invited him on for any reason. However, I gave him the chance to truthfully answer the first question. When he started his “Trump Defense Mode” package I put it on mute and went and made a glass of chocolate milk. That segment did seem to last forever.

  95. 95
    J R in WV says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    Fuck you for being a picky republican bastard.

    How do you like your pie, hot or cold? Fruit or not? With Ice cream on top, or on the side, or not at all?

  96. 96
    Steeplejack says:

    I forgot for a moment that Craig Melvin is mostly an idiot. He just played the snippet of Hillary Clinton reading from Fire and Fury and then asked former Senator Barbara Boxer: “What does that accomplish? What does that do besides just fuel the partisan divide?”

    To her credit, Boxer started her response with “I think we need to lighten up about it, frankly.”

  97. 97

    @Corner Stone: I agree that the probability is that McCabe has been forced out, but the info swirling around right now is just too varied, and the possibilities are too many.

    I’ll wait.

  98. 98
    SFAW says:

    @Librarian:

    There’s none in “calls”, either.

    Nor in “useless pedantry,” as far a’s I know.

  99. 99
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: In case it was not clear, that was a jab at the BJ jackals’ commenting policy. Rule #1 is that we never wait for more information or context but immediately trot out the worst possible take on any ill defined event.
    Rule #2 is to greet new Front Page posters with any/all variations of FU! Now where are your pet pics?
    Rule #3 is all dogs are good dogs, and in fact, the best dogs.

  100. 100
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m not sure about the emails in particular, but so far the revealed communications indicate a lack of interest in investigating Trump at the very same time they were going whole-hog after Hillary Clinton. Some of this was due to the fact that they believed Trump would not win the election, so were disinclined to spend resources on him.

    This is what the references to an “insurance plan” from the GOP come from. They’re trying to spin it as a “we’ll take down Trump one way or the other” when in fact it was “We’re letting Trump off easy because he’s an unstable racist bastard with obvious criminal ties, so let’s maybe not spend all our time investigating someone who won’t be president.”

  101. 101
    zhena gogolia says:

    Hey, I’ve met her. Nice lady.

  102. 102
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steeplejack: There is no nuanced interpretation of that word that I’m aware of.

  103. 103
    SFAW says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    This is interesting.

    I think Figliuzzi should do a test run now, not wait for the memo to be released.

    Traitors all the way down. Ryan, McConnell, Nunes, King, Jordan, Dense, Kushner, Shitgibbon …. I’ll run out of pixels before I run out of names to include.

  104. 104
    Chip Daniels says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    She needs a “source” to give us the observation that the whole world is laughing at us?

    Those Brazilian game show hostesses with the rhinestone pasties are laughing at us. African dictators are shaking their heads, alternating between pity and schadenfruede.

  105. 105
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    If – and that’s a big contingency – the story of the Trump-Russia collusion is that Page and Manafort were compromised, but nothing more than that, then I don’t see why the Republicans (or even Trump) are making such a big deal out of the investigation. If that’s all there is, I’m not saying that it’s not significant news, but it’s not something that really should be a problem for Trump or the Republicans. They could just respond by letting the investigation play out, taking steps to reduce vulnerabilities to similar things in the future, and moving on pretty unscathed.

    But that’s not how Trump or the Republicans are responding. I wonder why.

  106. 106

    @Corner Stone: I was not aware of Rule #1! Very helpful!

    I have a post in preparation to meet Rule #2 later this week. Actually, I did when I came on as a front pager.

  107. 107
    jl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I think the word itself is a euphemism. Too high class for Trump. Russian doesn’t have anything for ‘dipshit’? It is reputed to be an expressive language. My attempts to learn it have been so disastrous I wouldn’t know.

  108. 108
    different-church-lady says:

    Exhuming McCarthy.

  109. 109
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Cheryl’s been violating the “rules” from the get-go.

  110. 110
    oldgold says:

    Someone should ask the Republicans who see no urgency in protecting Mueller, if they only purchase fire insurance after seeing flames.

  111. 111
    Steeplejack says:

    @HAL:

    Preserving the Presidency of Donald Trump at all costs is an odd hill to die on. Nunes must be banking on a lucrative post Congress offer from the Koch brothers to be willing to go this far.

    I think (hope) that the answer is a more existential threat: Nunes, and the Republican leadership in Congress, may be so deep in kompromat and/​or receiving Russian or Russian-adjacent funds that he fears what Mueller and the FBI will find as an offshoot of the Trump investigation.

  112. 112
    jl says:

    @oldgold: They don’t mind having arsonists in the family?

  113. 113
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @oldgold: “Do you only purchase fire insurance after seeing the flames, or do you think it might be wise after receiving several threats that someone is about to burn your house down?”

    Let’s make it clearer.

  114. 114
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Agreed. It left me so spent that when they went to the Possum Queen at the White House I switched over to the Music Choice jazz channel. Somebody else will have to tag in.

  115. 115
  116. 116
    jl says:

    @Steeplejack: We’ll have to see where the NRA lead goes. And, I remember seeing news reports last summer about regional GOP operatives and campaign consultants sho had contacts with, and maybe getting data from those mysterious email hacker related sites in ex-Soviet countries. One guy worked on GOP campaigns in Florida. That story seems to have completely dropped out of the news. I wish I remembered the name of the guy. I search for news stories on it once in a while out of curiosity, but have never found anything.

  117. 117
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    That was slightly irritated sarcasm. I don’t see the point of dropping in Russian—or any foreign language—rather than the English translation unless there is some nuance that would be lost or that needs to be flagged. It just comes across as some “Look, I can do Cyrillic!” affectation.

  118. 118
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I think (hope) that the answer is a more existential threat: Nunes, and the Republican leadership in Congress, may be so deep in kompromat and/​or receiving Russian or Russian-adjacent funds that he fears what Mueller and the FBI will find as an offshoot of the Trump investigation.

    Its got to be way too late for that. My guess is that Mueller already knows enough to hang them all, and this part of the process is political. As in NO MISTAKES.

  119. 119
    efgoldman says:

    @Immanentize:

    I just want to mention that McCabe taking his accrued leave now until his retirement is not so very unusual in any field.

    One of mrs efg’s uncles, a senior inspector in the MA DMV, accrued almost to full years if paid leave he took before his retirement. I don’t think they can do that any more.

  120. 120
    Steeplejack says:

    @Millard Filmore:

    It’s probably too late for what Mueller has found (or will find). But their strategy now is to tar the FBI and the investigation so that when the information comes out it can be discredited as a “witch hunt.”

  121. 121
    Corner Stone says:

    @jl: I think you may mean Aaron Nevins.
    How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative
    “Learning that hacker “Guccifer 2.0” had tapped into a Democratic committee that helps House candidates, Mr. Nevins wrote to the hacker to say: “Feel free to send any Florida based information.”

    Ten days later, Mr. Nevins received 2.5 gigabytes of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents, some of which he posted on a blog called HelloFLA.com that he ran using a pseudonym.

    Soon after, the hacker sent a link to the blog article to Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, along with Mr. Nevins’ analysis of the hacked data. ”

    That is the WSJ but I am sure you can find more about him if that’s the incident you are referring to.

  122. 122
    SFAW says:

    @Steeplejack:

    It just comes across as some “Look, I can do Cyrillic!” affectation.

    Спасибо for that, товарищ

  123. 123
    different-church-lady says:

    @oldgold: They’re arsonists, and they’re not doing it for the insurance money — they just enjoy watching things burn.

  124. 124
    Mike G says:

    of the Freedom Caucus

    It’s long past time to acknowledge that use of “Freedom” as a political has become a sad joke, just as back in the day “People’s” came to stand for all manner of regimes unrepresentative of their populations.

  125. 125
    efgoldman says:

    @jl:

    Madison has not done any great work lately, and no one is talking about him anymore.

    Professor Pierce talks about him all the time.
    Of course, to know that someone would actually have to read and comprehend.

  126. 126
    low-tech cyclist says:

    This was extremely interesting reading, Adam – thanks for posting this!

  127. 127
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Steeplejack: Agreed. The Republican Party will turn from discredit Mueller into full Treason mode. This country’s crash, both politically and economically, will be spectacular.

  128. 128
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I resemble that remark.

  129. 129
    Corner Stone says:

    @zhena gogolia: That’s ok. We all know you’re fakin’ it til you make it.

Comments are closed.