Russiagate / Repub Venality Open Thread: Easy Remit, for Willing Accomplices

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy, who is also a top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has yet to issue a subpoena as chairman since he took the oversight gavel last June. The South Carolina Republican also brushed off calls by Democrats to pursue the money trail as part of the Russia investigation.

“Isn’t that what Bob Mueller is doing?” Gowdy told CNN when asked about the matter…

In addition to the calls for subpoenaing Deutsche Bank, Democrats point to the comments from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, who told the House Intelligence Committee last year that it should probe Trump’s real estate deals in Florida and New Jersey, as well as Kushner’s real estate dealings in New Jersey.

Democrats have also raised an interest in foreign transactions in places that include the Cayman Islands and Cyprus, particularly surrounding former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. In April 2017, Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois traveled to Cyprus to investigate how Russians used money laundering, a trip that came following an Associated Press report that Treasury officials obtained information regarding financial payments Manafort may have received through Cypriot banks…

Sen. Ron Wyden, ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has for months been frustrated with the lack of access to Treasury FinCEN documents. The Oregon Democrat recently fired off a letter for more Treasury documents, this time to obtain records about a lucrative 2008 real estate deal between Trump and a Russian billionaire that raised questions among Democrats about potential money laundering and suspect business dealings.

But Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has declined to join Wyden in these efforts. And he has rejected Wyden’s requested to review Trump’s tax returns in a private session.

“We’re not going to do that,” Hatch said in the Capitol. “He doesn’t want to give up his tax returns, and I believe he’s right.”…

Thanks to Schiff, we can fairly surmise that McConnell and Ryan knew much of what the intelligence community knew—that Russian operatives were sabotaging Clinton with the knowledge and complicity of the Trump campaign, and the connivance of specific Trump aides. And yet when the Obama administration, in the weeks before the election, asked the leaders of both parties to join a united front against Russian efforts to tip the scales of a U.S. election, “at least two GOP lawmakers [were] reluctant to accede to the White House requests.”…

We can’t know for certain whether Ryan was one of the other GOP lawmakers who joined McConnell in extorting the Obama administration this way. But we know he didn’t take a stand against McConnell; and we know he understood full well that Russia was engaged in an influence operation on Trump’s behalf long before the election…

It has been pretty apparent all along what these GOP leaders were up to, but until now it was impossible to be certain that McConnell et al weren’t healthily skeptical of questionable intelligence. Now we can say with a high degree of confidence that they knew basically everything and still stood in the way of efforts to do anything about it. It’s the height of depravity for Trump to shrug off Russian efforts to help him win the election after basking in them on the campaign trail, then pillory Obama for not doing more to stop it all. But if that is his position—his excuse for leaving the country defenseless—then the fact that Ryan and McConnell were his witting accomplices, working to assure the Russian operation ran its course, has to be revisited, too.

Meanwhile, of course, they can always get worse…

26 replies
  1. 1
    The Dangerman says:

    ….the dumbest members of the GOP caucus…

    Dumbest? No. Most corrupt? You betcha.

    ETA: I’m not sure who I want to see perp walked more, Nunes or Jared (not counting Donald, who can only get impeached, not perp walked)? Nunes will cry but Jared’s going to need a pacifier to suck on (the Jar jar Binky).

  2. 2
    John Revolta says:

    Conaway gives me a big fat pain in the nexus.

  3. 3
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    “We’re not going to do that,” Hatch said in the Capitol. “He doesn’t want to give up his tax returns, and I believe he’s right.”…

    WHY? Why is Trump right to not give up his tax returns, Sen. Oral Hack. Give me one non bullshit reason? Put up or shut up asshole.

    It’s high time these treasonous, corrupt fuckers were voted out and exposed. Lock them up after a fair and speedy trial.

  4. 4
    efgoldman says:

    They will be shocked, SHOCKED at what comes out when the Dems get majorities in one or both houses, and Schiff, for instance, controls the committee.
    Not to mention the thunderhead of indictments building, and building…..

    ETA: Wasn’t Schiff a prosecutor in a previous life?

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    The good thing about having a Kindle is that when I pre-order a book by one of my favorite authors, it automatically downloads on the release date.

    The bad thing is that I now have a book by one of my favorite authors just sitting there taunting me because it’s 10 o’clock at night and I have to work in the morning. Le sigh.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: Schiff, as a US Attorney, actually successfully prosecuted an espionage case against a Federal law enforcement official.

  7. 7
    Bailey says:

    It’s a relief for these GOP Reps that Mueller is leading an investigation — it takes the heat off of them to perform any oversight in even a half-ass competent way.

    Other than the fact that it represents a shambolic breakdown in government norms and operation, I see almost zero reason for the House Intelligence Committee to even exist, particularly is it relates to Trump-Russia. All they’re going to do is call witnesses that all refuse to answer questions while Mueller is doing the heavy lifting.

  8. 8
    Mike J says:

    @Adam L Silverman: A Federal law enforcement official who was in the pocket of the Russians.

  9. 9
    Mike J says:

    Chubb also backed out of Carry Guard.

  10. 10

    My Frontline generator makes about as much sense as the news nowadays.

    And now the president Officially authorized ‘the program.’

    It’s repeated to the Hill to be historic.

    I think that was the same way you can see that we have to make sure that the administration does want to do it.

    But at the end of the Malheur occupation. Ammon and the largest earthquake in northern Berlin City Panetta pledge allegiance to his followers-

    We are not in the middle and the regime is dysfunctional.

  11. 11
    scott (the other one) says:

    Look, I’m glad that prominent national Democrats believe in the rule of law and being circumspect and judicious…but at what point is someone, elected official or journalist, going to ask the obvious question, which is: are McConnell and Ryan really THAT in desperate lust with tax cuts for billionaires, or does Putin have something on them too?

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Any motherfucking GOP lawmaker who isn’t interested in following up on every aspect of Donald’s life to find the truth is probably an accomplice to treason.

  13. 13

    @The Dangerman:

    Dumbest? No. Most corrupt? You betcha.

    ¿Porqué no los dos?

    @scott (the other one):

    are McConnell and Ryan really THAT in desperate lust with tax cuts for billionaires, or does Putin have something on them too?


    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Any motherfucking GOP lawmaker who isn’t interested in following up on every aspect of Donald’s life to find the truth is probably an accomplice to treason.


    (well, OK, we can nitpick about the legal definition of “treason”, but they’re definitely accomplices to a conspiracy to undermine American democracy and various other felony offences)

    Anyway, mostly making this post because this WaPo video kinda just… knocked the wind out of me.

    An hour-by-hour comparison of Trump and Obama responding to school shootings

    I miss having a real president.

  14. 14
    PeakVT says:

    @scott (the other one): I doubt they are compromised in any way. They are simply defective human beings, desperately in lust with sucking up and punching down.

  15. 15

    @PeakVT: It’s certainly the simplest proposition. Remember that Ryan was fantasizing about starving granny back in college.

  16. 16

    @PeakVT: They were apprised of the Russian interference in the election and did nothing. They’re (at least on a figurative level) traitors, and they’re certainly guilty of many major offences, almost certainly felony ones (as I mentioned above) and possibly even capital ones. Ultimately I think that’s what’s going to end up getting Trump taken down if anything – a bunch of high-ranking Republicans being charged with capital crimes is likely to change their perspective on how valuable he is mighty quick.

    And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is part of what Mueller is building towards – he’s running his investigation entirely like a mob takedown investigation, basically starting with minor players and using them to solidify the case against the higher-ups. Given that this is New York real estate we’re talking about, I’m almost certain the mob is in fact involved – probably the Russian mob, given Trump’s history of debt to Russian sources – so this seems like a reasonable strategy.

    Beyond this, we shouldn’t forget that the Russians illegitimately obtained RNC emails, which likely gives them kompromat on a number of high-ranking GOP officials. We still don’t know what information was in the emails they obtained, because they haven’t been released. But it’s entirely their style to coerce concessions from foreign politicians through this method. Adam can probably explain much more about this, though if you search through his “Maskirovka Slips” series you’ll undoubtedly learn a lot of what he’d be saying either way. (I should probably re-read those myself – I’m sure I’ve forgotten a number of crucial details.)

    This investigation is likely to go on for years. I doubt we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg yet – the way Mueller managed to keep Papadopoulos being a secret government informant wearing a wire under wraps until Mueller wanted the news to come out seems indicative of how tight a ship he’s running and how ambitious an investigation he’s running. The level of corruption we’re seeing now is unprecedented in at least post-WWII America, and I have good reason to suspect most of it touches Russia’s interference with 2016’s election – which means most of it is covered under the scope of Mueller’s investigation. I won’t be surprised at all if the likes of McConnell and Nunes wind up frog-marched out in handcuffs, and I won’t be very surprised if others like McCarthy, Ryan, et al. do, either.

    But they’re also horrible people. Hence my flippant “yes” response – Scott phrased it as an either/or question, but both halves are almost certainly true.

  17. 17
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    So happy you are to have another grandchild. I am going to be a grandma for the first time come September/October. So exciting. Except for the part we’re my daughter is a twelve hour drive away in Canberra.

  18. 18
    Gvg says:

    I think Ryan, McConnel, Nunes and Hatch have financial ties to Russia. I think their finances as well as Trumps need to be investigated. Blackmail or bribe? Both probably, but I think bribes would work just fine with them. They have no loyalty to us. We have to get rid of them.
    Supposedly it’s mathmaticly impossible to take the Senate with enough to impeach in just 1 election, but that changes if we have a bunch of special elections to replace arrested Senators. I see no other explanation for the top GOP’s unrealistic blindness and disloyalty.

  19. 19
    mainmata says:

    Um…Li’l Wilbur, the “Sleepy” of Drumpfs cabinet, used to own the Bank of Cyprus, once the preferred laundromat of the Russian mafia and oligarchs before the government slapped a confiscatory tax on them. All Mnuchin has to do is lean over the Cabinet table and ask Li’l Wilbur how it’s done. Oh and BTW, the money being laundered through Cyprus and Deutsch Bank was going to the Trump Organization and also Prince Jared.

    That’s the real reason, Trump is always in a flop sweat about the investigation. He knows there was a quid pro quo and he knows that Mueller knows too.

  20. 20
    clay says:

    @mainmata: Surely, Ben Carson would be Sleepy?

  21. 21
    mainmata says:

    @Gvg: I understand your POV but I think it’s a lot simpler and sadder than that. Ryan, McConnell, Nunes and Hatch but also Grassley and most other Republicans really do admire and pay obeisance to wealthy, authoritarian strongmen like Putin not for money but because of his values. Their donors do too because they too aspire to being the same thing but don’t have the cold, murderous ruthlessness that Putin has. Basically, the vast majority of the GOP Congressional caucus (HOR and Senate) are happy to sell the country out to Russia in exchange for them staying in power so that they can execute their masterplan to transform the US into a neo-feudal state (or Jim Crow for everyone, it amounts to the same thing).

    That’s why turnout for Democrats this year needs to be 200% of normal because that’s what may allow for just eking out a victory.

  22. 22
    Just one more canuck says:

    @clay: clearly, they’d all be “Dopey”. Or “Sleazy”, the eighth dwarf

  23. 23
    Anonymous At Work says:

    @efgoldman: That’s why this is extremely dumb on their part. Democrats win either chamber and decide to hold public hearings on ALL this information, with everything made public? Republicans have leverage to make this all top secret closed-door hearings and use a he-said/she-said approach to the records and testimony that follows.

  24. 24
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @Major Major Major Major: pResident uses actual English language constructs. Unpossible.

  25. 25
    No Drought No More says:

    Here’s my edit to that article. It serves to provide the only platform democratic candidates need embrace, too, in 2018 and beyond. By confronting the republican party with a righteous, indignant, and candid, brass tacks patriotism, the emerging truth will consign the GOP to historical infamy forever. [I know, I know, it will re-group].

    That is, if- and only if- the rank and file henceforth demand of their candidates the courage to speak a bitter truth that strikes to the heart of Russian Conspiracy. Were it not for the party’s radio silence since March of 2003 (for the sake of protecting Dick Cheney’s lawless ass, so far as I can gather), the thought they aren’t up to defending America would not unduly concern me. But it does.

    My edit: “..Now we can say with a high degree of confidence that [TRUMP AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SHOT CALLERS] knew basically everything and still stood in the way of efforts to do anything about it. It’s the height of depravity for [TRUMP AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SHOT CALLERS] to shrug off Russian efforts to help him win the election after [THEY ALL BASKED] in them on the campaign trail, then pillory Obama for not doing more to stop it all..”.

  26. 26
    Geeno says:

    @Just one more canuck: “Gropey” and “Sleazy” I would think.

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