Nancy Pelosi’s Questions On Russia

Nancy Pelosi released a remarkable statement last night. Since she is a strategist, we can analyze it in terms of a strategy, a refreshing change from the last two years.

We have become accustomed to the idea that Donald Trump and his people have connections to Russia. The news has trickled out, first to surprise, now to boredom. But the number and type of connections are remarkable for a President of the United States, and they may well have been unlawful.

The general outlines of the story have been visible since the 2016 Republican primary, and there is a circumstantial case that Trump has been working with Russians and Russian money for a long time and had Russian help in the 2016 election. We have become inured to this and no longer hear it.

Pelosi’s statement is short and to the point.

The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people.  It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it.

In the face of 37 indictments, the President’s continued actions to undermine the Special Counsel investigation raise the questions: what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially? Why has the Trump Administration continued to discuss pulling the U.S. out of NATO, which would be a massive victory for Putin?

Lying to Congress and witness tampering constitute grave crimes.  All who commit these illegal acts should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.  We cannot allow any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from appearing before Congress.

The Special Counsel investigation is working, and the House will continue to exercise our constitutional oversight responsibility and ensure that the Special Counsel investigation can continue free from interference from the White House.

Why did Pelosi release that statement last night? Certainly to further rattle Trump, after her victory over his demand for his wall. But I think there is more to it.

Robert Mueller’s team first established that there was a Russian operation to interfere in the 2016 election. Now Stone’s indictment connects that operation to the Trump campaign.

There is little evidence to support a counternarrative. The New York Times diagrams more than 100 contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians from the his announcement of candidacy in June 2016 through his inauguration. That is far more than can be accounted for by coincidence, and several of his campaign operatives have been charged or found guilty of lying about these contacts. If the contacts were innocuous, there would be no reason to lie.

Russia, sadly, is our adversary. After the Soviet Union broke up, there was a period of time in which Americans could believe that our two countries could work together. The two countries’ interests will always diverge, and Vladimir Putin is currently emphasizing those divergences.

Partnering with an adversary, with their illegal help in a campaign, is something new in a president. Further, we now know that Trump continued negotiations to build a Trump Tower Moscow, with bribery of Vladimir Putin, through most of 2016.

Trump’s behavior toward Russia since becoming President is also abnormal. He refuses to criticize Russia or Putin and has said that he takes Putin’s word over that of the American intelligence services. He is weak in supporting NATO’s mutual assistance Article V and disruptive at NATO and other international meetings. His domestic actions, notably the recent government shutdown, are damaging to the country. All of this can be read as favorable to Russia.

And we become inured to this because it continues, now for two years. But inordinate Russian influence on the President of the United States must be stopped.

That is what Pelosi is telling us. She has been at leadership briefings on the investigations into Russian influence and thus knows more than has been made public. She is an acute politician and understands that the people must be brought along in something this serious. Although it can be argued that much of Trump’s behavior as president qualifies for bringing impeachment now, there are additional qualifications that I believe Pelosi is considering.

One is that an impeachment investigation could interfere with Mueller’s investigation of crimes. Trials and jail for the guilty may be the best way to heal the nation. Pelosi’s statement recognizes the problem while leaving the heavy lifting to Mueller’s investigation.

The country is not prepared for the consequences of what we may learn. If Trump is clearly connected to Russian actions and influence, he should be removed. But Vice President Mike Pence was selected by Paul Manafort. Publicly, he has managed to stay relatively clean of Russian interaction, but it is hard to believe that an investigation would completely absolve anyone in the administration. Further, there is evidence that Russian influence extends into the Republican Party.

A worst-case scenario would be that Russian influence deeply contaminated the 2016 election and much of the Republican Party. Besides the President and Vice President, Senators and Representatives would have to be removed from office. There is a clear line of presidential succession to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, but the states would have to deal with replacing members of Congress.

There would be questions of legitimacy of the judges and Supreme Court Justices nominated and approved by those Russian-influenced officials. Trump supporters would be up in arms, although I think this factor has been exaggerated.

It would be a difficult time. That is why some are suggesting that we wait for the next election. But that is a form of ignoring the problem, just as letting the torturers of the Iraq War off in the name of national unity was. We are seeing bad actors who should long ago have been punished, like Roger Stone and Eliot Abrams, resurfacing. This time we need to deal fully with the problems.


Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.

147 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    pat says:

    Max Boot at WaPo has a scary piece about how we are about to give away the store to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Kim in North Korea.

    Putin must be celebrating every single day.

  3. 3
    Cowgirl in the Sandi says:

    This is a really excellent, thoughtful post. Thanks Cheryl. It gives us much to think about.

  4. 4

    Well put, thank you as always. Interesting days, more interesting ones still ahead.

  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    What a great post. There is still a lot of denial, particularly among the media, some of whom may even be compromised by Russia themselves. I think she knows exactly what you say, that it is worse than many people can even imagine, and the country needs to be led along by baby steps. If half of Congress was arrested all at once, that would also cause many to lose confidence in all government – the “they’re all crooked” that Russia also pushes. She is trying to show that Democrats believe in government and can operate it cleanly and constitutionally. If she can do that and have more successes like this week’s, 2020 should be a massive blue wave election.

  6. 6
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: I hope that, if there are any Democrats who are tied to Russia, they will take Nancy Pelosi’s statement to heart and resign before their part of the scandal breaks wide open, putting party before their own personal self-interest.

    I don’t think Democrats are involved to the level of Republicans — not even close. But I would have to guess that the number will be non-zero. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the laws of human nature are on my side.

  7. 7

    @WaterGirl: That’s a good point. There probably are a few Democrats who have taken Russian money. But yes, I think it is the Republicans who are much more compromised. Don’t forget, when Russia stole all those emails that Roger Stone negotiated with WikiLeaks about, they also stole Republican emails. We haven’t seen any of the Republican emails.

  8. 8
    Mary G says:

    @WaterGirl: Of course, Tulsi is a prime candidate and there may be others less obvious. Wilmer is almost certainly at best a useful idiot. But the House Democrats held together beautifully the last two years, and Democrats don’t love money the way Republicans do and are much more likely to be openly gay or whatever, so there is less to blackmail them about.

  9. 9
    Mikeindublin says:

    I’m still waiting for the voter registration roll hacking of 2015-2016 to come to light with Mueller connecting the dots from Putin to Stone then to Trump and his campaign.

    That to me is the smoking gun.

  10. 10

    @Cowgirl in the Sandi: @Major Major Major Major: @Mary G: Concurred; fantastic post. One of the things that keeps me coming back here is the informed perspectives of the FPers and many commenters. And of course the snark.

  11. 11
    Ruckus says:

    @Mary G:
    There will always be those who oppose liberalism. They believe it’s not in their best interest. And their best interest is all they believe and understand. This is an experiment in governance. It has a lot of rough edges and it has a lot of history of exceptionalism that hurts progress. Because if you are exceptional then you don’t need progress. Or something like that. And this nation is currently broken, war couldn’t stop it but 50-60 yrs of bullshit seems to be able to make a rather large dent. But it also has ways of being, like Lincoln said, of the people, by the people, for the people. We have to remind people of that and get them to the voting booths, to make sure they can live and fulfill the idea that we are a nation that respects all the people, believes in all the people and is responsible to and for all the people.

  12. 12

    @Mikeindublin: I don’t think there will be one smoking gun. I think there have been multiple Russian initiatives from multiple Russian sources to multiple American targets.

  13. 13
    Quinerly says:

    Great post. Thanks.

  14. 14
    Luthe says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yeah, at this point we’re up to a smoking 21 gun salute.

  15. 15
    piratedan says:

    @WaterGirl: would you believe that a certain Independant Senator from a New England state perhaps?

    I fully believe that HRC was such a strong candidate that Putin wanted absolutely nothing to do with that he pulled out all of the stops and played multiple angles here…. Stein, Sanders, Trump, The Media (Print and TV and Radio), Social Media and the tried and true trope of misogyny and willing partners of the GOP itself all fed into a perfect storm to allow Trump to squeak in and I’m still not sure that we’ve learned about everything and I wouldn’t be shocked to learn if actual votes were over, under counted in addition to the suppression we saw at hand.

  16. 16
    West of the Rockies says:

    As Brian Williams (I know…) would say, “It gets your attention when you put it like that.”

  17. 17
    Brachiator says:


    I hope that, if there are any Democrats who are tied to Russia, they will take Nancy Pelosi’s statement to heart and resign before their part of the scandal breaks wide open, putting party before their own personal self-interest.

    Bernie Sanders, but he’s not a Democrat.

  18. 18
    WaterGirl says:

    @piratedan: Nothing you listed there would surprise me in the slightest.

    Since I don’t think of Wilmer as a democrat, I wasn’t even referring to him. Besides, he would never put country or anything else ahead of Bernie. I hope his 15 minutes is over the night of the Iowa caucus.

  19. 19
    kindness says:

    I think the chances of getting any Republican to voluntarily step aside are tiny. Once the crimes come out at least impeachment is doable.

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    I read every word. Concur with you, Cheryl.

    It just explains too much. McConnell’s and Ryan’s GOP putting party before country every chance they got.

    I agree that there should be arrests and trials. I also think all Trump judges should be discharged. Fruit of the poisoned tree. That goes double for the two Supreme Court justices.

    I truly wonder if we will ever have documentary evidence that there was tampering in the swing states. Not even an Electoral College victory.

  21. 21
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    Excellent post. Thank you. I’m grateful for Nancy’s shrewdness and strength, and I appreciate your analysis. I hope that the full sordid story comes to light sooner rather than later, and that there are palpable consequences for the miscreants.

  22. 22
    Bill Arnold says:

    A worst-case scenario would be that Russian influence deeply contaminated the 2016 election and much of the Republican Party.

    Looking at national-level Republican behavior, there is clearly some compromise and a realignment is necessary. (Climate change action cannot be deferred/blocked by Republicans much longer, another concern.)
    I haven’t the discipline (e.g. a well-jailed submind to avoid contamination by mental malware. :-) to examine the conspiracy-spaces takes on this. So here are a few free-association potential samples (with some self-censorship :-):
    “The Russians were manipulated into supporting Trump.” [Narrator: they will not be happy.]
    “R. Mercer is a crypto-Progressive – even his own daughter doesn’t realize it.”
    “S. Bannon’s secret agenda is …”
    Frank Herbert, Dune (1960s):

    Bene Gesserit performs another function.” “Politics!” he said.
    “Kull wahad!” the old woman said. She sent a hard glance at Jessica.
    “I’ve not told him. Your Reverence,” Jessica said.
    The Reverend Mother returned her attention to Paul. “You did that on remarkably few clues,” she said. “Politics indeed…

    There were a few other stories in that era with a similar theme. And of course many similar old and new conspiracy theories. Not all involving only homo sapiens…

  23. 23
    Yarrow says:

    This time we need to deal fully with the problems.

    Yes, we do. Excellent post. Thanks, Cheryl.

    OT–In case anyone has missed it, Schlemazel’s niece Laura linked a Facebook post about his passing in a comment in the RIP thread. Link to her comment in that thread. You do not have to be on Facebook to see it and if you click on the “comments” link under it you can actually read the nice comments.

  24. 24
    Mike in NC says:

    As Adam has said again and again, there was Russian penetration on multiple levels: Congress, the NRA, evangelical churches/prayer breakfasts, right-wing media, etc. I still believe Trump himself became a KGB asset on his first trip to Moscow in the 1980s. He can smell money like a shark smells a drop of blood in the water.

  25. 25
    Spanky says:

    Concur 100% Cheryl. Perhaps it should alarm me, but I find it (bitterly) amusing that Mike Pence is starting to look like the smart one in the White House. His hands appear (so far) to be clean.

    ETA: I should have been clearer that he *appears* to be clean gauging from MSM reporting. We’ve seen otherwise here in the intertubes, iirc.

  26. 26

    @Mikeindublin: I think we’re going to find out that a large part of the 2016 process was bogus. I have, in fact, been convinced of this since it became clear what the results were going to be November 8, 2016. I should note that I have a background in IT; I’m finishing off a degree in the subject. I still have a few classes left before actually getting the degree, but this makes me infinitely more qualified to discuss the subject than most journalists (I remember a particular bit of garbage from The Nation that referred to “layers of metadata”, which is not a thing that actually exists) or politicians.

    It is my considered opinion that anything that involves electronic voting machines that do not feature a paper trail should be considered no more valuable a method of ascertaining the actual vote totals than throwing darts at a dartboard. Less valuable, actually; people will know the dartboard is random without having to investigate further, but people actually trust EVMs. There are far too many things that can go wrong with EVMs to list them all, but the short version is that they output a series of ones and zeros that may bear no relation to the actual votes input by voters. It is perfectly possible to program machines that tell voters they’ve recorded votes for Abrams while actually recording votes for Kemp, and it is equally possible for ill-intentioned hackers to access the software and “nudge” totals without anyone being the wiser. (Abrams, we might note, is some ten to fifteen percent more popular than Kemp is in GA right now according to a recent poll, which i’ll find later if someone reminds me.)

    The thing about the ones and zeroes recorded by computers is they can be changed, and there is no permanent record that this has occurred. Hacking EVMs is literally so easy that a child can do it. DEFCON, the yearly IT security conference, has an EVM available for people to attack at its Voting Village, and some thirty children between the ages of eight and sixteen breached them in the 2018 conference, some in as fewer as ten minutes.

    I think somewhere along the line we’re going to find convincing circumstantial evidence that the vote totals and/or voter rolls were messed with, either during the primaries or during the general. In fact, I wouldn’t even be entirely surprised to learn that such evidence has already been uncovered, but officials don’t want to talk about it because it would undermine faith in the process.

    EVMs are actually worse than useless. If they were simply useless, there would be clearcut evidence that they didn’t function as intended and would be rejected. However, they have a veneer of legitimacy that can and no doubt has resulted in illegitimate vote totals being accepted as accurate. I’m trying to avoid outside links because I don’t want to go into moderation, but this xkcd is pretty much 100% accurate. (Be sure to read the title text!)

    I could go into numerous other issues with the technical details of 2016 coverage, but I’ll stop at one: the conflation of all the Democratic-related email stories. From the election coverage, you’d think Clinton’s use of a private email server endangered national security and may have even led to Benghazi. In fact, Clinton’s server was never breached, while the U.S. State Department server was. A reasonable case could be made that Clinton’s email server actually enhanced national security (at least until November 8, 2016), since her server wasn’t penetrated. What was penetrated was the DNC server, through a phishing attack smooth enough that it even seems to have fooled John Podesta’s email team (alternatively, they saw through the attack, but miscommunicated what Podesta should have done). Podesta actually did exactly what he should have: recognising a potential attack, he emailed his IT team. The attack could’ve been sidestepped if he’d had two-factor authentication enabled, but by the time it happened, it was already too late. (This is, however, one reason I think passwords are obsolete. They are woefully inadequate as a defence against many common forms of attack.)

    I should add one of the commonly forgotten aspects of the 2016 story is that the Russians also breached RNC email accounts. The full extent of the breach still isn’t public knowledge, and we don’t have any idea what its contents were. But there has to have been some kompromat in there.

    I could go on about this subject for pages more, but I have some schoolwork to get done. Maybe later. Really, EVMs are quite possibly the worst idea in mainstream politics, and there’s incredibly stiff competition for the mantle.

  27. 27
    Yarrow says:

    @Spanky: Mike Pence’s hands are not clean at all. He was handpicked by Paul Manafort and he was a chair of the transition team with Michael Flynn. He has plenty to hide.

  28. 28
    SFAW says:

    Besides the President and Vice President, Senators and Representatives would have to be removed from office.

    In general, your post is pretty good, but I can’t tell whether you think this has even the minutest chance of happening. If so, via what mechanism? I figure it has the same chance of success as the Jets do of winning next week’s Super Bowl, but I’m pretty cynical.

    I mean, if there were a Just God, a slew of lightning bolts might work, but short of a coup, I guess I just don’t see how it could happen.

    ETA: A limited set of goals, such as removing Traitor Turtle, Graham, a few others, might be within the realm of possibility. But, still …

  29. 29
    WaterGirl says:

    @Yarrow: I couldn’t see the comments because i was not logged in to Facebook.

  30. 30
    SFAW says:


    I’m trying to avoid outside links because I don’t want to go into moderation, but this xkcd is pretty much 100% accurate. (Be sure to read the title text!)

    If by “title text” you mean the text box that appears when you mouseover: I absolutely agree.

  31. 31

    @SFAW: The senators and representatives would have to be removed at the state level, probably by impeachment or whatever other state mechanisms exist. I believe that they can also be ejected by other senators and representatives. If massive crimes are found, public opinion will shift.

  32. 32
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Yarrow: That was nice of her. Oddly enough, he’s remarkably similar to the mental picture I had formed of him from his comments.

  33. 33
    WaterGirl says:

    Funny, the headline for the most recent post at LGM is: THE ENTIRE REPUBLICAN PARTY NEEDS TO BE DESTROYED, PART THE ZILLION.

    I’m on board with that!

  34. 34

    @SFAW: Expulsion from Congress

    Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution provides that “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”

  35. 35

    @SFAW: Yep. It’s sometimes referred to, erroneously, as “alt text”, which is an artefact of ancient versions of Internet Exploder that would display alt text as a tooltip, resulting in many developers creating tooltips that only functioned in IE. Alt text is the text that displays before the image loads, which also tells search engines (and visually impaired readers) what the image represents.

  36. 36
    Yarrow says:

    @WaterGirl: I wasn’t either but I could click on the comments and read them. Maybe different browsers have different settings?

  37. 37
    feebog says:

    Outstanding post Cheryl, thank you. Yes, Nancy Pelosi knows more than we do, and Robert Mueller knows more than Nancy Pelosi. When this investigation is completed (assuming it is allowed to) the majority of this nation will be shocked at the corruption of this President and his administration. What I’m wondering is what percentage of the true believers on the right will simply try ot explain this all away. I look at what happened at the Lincoln Memorial last weekend and shake my head in amazement that anyone could think the Covington HS kids were anything but rude mocking little shits. But there are plenty of RWNJs who insist Nathan Phillips was the aggressor and poor little Nick was just trying to defuse the situation by smiling at him. These folks are delusional and will never be convinced Trump is a Russian asset. Not going to be pretty.

  38. 38

    @WaterGirl: Judy fucking Woodruff, yesterday

    We still don’t know a lot of things.

    I don’t remember HRC being afforded that courtesy.

  39. 39
    rikyrah says:

    skeptical brotha 🌈 (@skepticalbrotha) Tweeted:
    what is #CoryBooker’s path to the presidency in a race including #KamalaHarris and what is his rationale for running? anyone?

  40. 40
    WaterGirl says:

    @Yarrow: I opened Chrome just now (instead of my usual Safari) to prove that the browser didn’t make a difference. But it did! The entire page displayed completely differently in the two browsers. Color me surprised!

  41. 41
    Yarrow says:

    There would be questions of legitimacy of the judges and Supreme Court Justices nominated and approved by those Russian-influenced officials. Trump supporters would be up in arms, although I think this factor has been exaggerated.

    Definitely agree dealing with the judges is essential. I’m particularly focused on Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, both of whom clerked for Kennedy. One of Kennedy’s sons worked for Deutsche Bank and the other is buddies with Peter Thiel, who spoke at the Republican convention. There is something off about that whole deal.

  42. 42
    rikyrah says:

    Nancy Smash was absolutely on point. She is putting it out there because she knows the Articles of Impeachment are coming sooner than later

  43. 43
    WaterGirl says:

    @schrodingers_cat: They are all complicit.

  44. 44
    Yarrow says:

    @WaterGirl: Well there you go! Go figure, huh?

  45. 45
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: So what’s your take on that? Should there be only one black candidate? I say no, but I’m asking because there are a lot of things that we white people just don’t get.

  46. 46
    SFAW says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I understand that it’s theoretically possible. I just have a tough time believing it’s feasible. The combination of red state voter insanity/tribalism, combined with Senatorial corruption, indicates to me that it’s much more than highly unlikely.

    I would LOVE to be wrong about that, but electoral history does not reassure me, even with the 2018 results.

  47. 47
    Gravenstone says:

    @rikyrah: Not all presidential candidates are actually aiming for that office. Let him run if he so chooses.

  48. 48

    Two other things about IT security before I bugger off for awhile:

    Email is not secure. I don’t understand why people trust a protocol that dates back to the Nixon administration to safeguard their financial records, and other sensitive data. In fact, it’s generally sent in cleartext by default, which is just baffling.

    Wi-Fi also isn’t secure. If you’re using it at home on a system with a random sequence of letters and numbers as your password, you might be OK. Never use unsecured public Wi-Fi for any reason, and think really hard about using any public system where strangers can learn the password. Even if you’re logged into websites HTTPS, that’s not enough. A determined enough hacker can breach the security protocols rather quickly, and many are out there, particularly in crowded urban centres, sniffing for ways to breach into bank accounts and the like.

    Really, if you’re transmitting data over the air, you shouldn’t have any confidence in its security. Mobile security is very nearly an oxymoron.

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @rikyrah: Why shouldn’t he run?

  50. 50
    zhena gogolia says:


    Actually, if you just click on the “Comments” you can see them. I’m not on Facebook but I could read them.

  51. 51
    Mary G says:

    @Yarrow: Thank you for linking back. It’s odd to see a picture of a person you’ve known for years online. He looks nothing like I imagined. I’m bad at imagining.

  52. 52

    OT: My front page lol about the stable genius in WH is being down voted by his fans. Give it a thumbs up, if you like it.

  53. 53
    hitchhiker says:

    So …

    Pelosi is strategic, so we can trust that she’s doing and saying things for reasons that are part of her long range plans.

    On the day she forced trmp to swallow political defeat at her hands while watching the FBI take his old friend Roger into custody and seize the electronics and paper records from that old friend — on that day, she chooses to make a flat statement about trmp and the criminals he’s surrounded himself with.

    The gist of the statement is, “We see your crimes, and we’re coming for you.”

    I read that set of facts as Pelosi putting not just trmp but also the right wing, the mainstream press, wobbly Democrats, the waiting public, and especially Republicans in congress that she is not playing. This isn’t a political scandal of the Clinton variety; it’s a dead serious emergency for the republic, and one which she has no intention of failing to meet with everything she’s got.

    It’s one of the most hopeful signs we’ve had in such a long time.

  54. 54
    WaterGirl says:

    @zhena gogolia: That worked for me in Chrome, but not in Safari. I could not find the word comments anywhere on Safari. Totally blocked.

  55. 55
    WaterGirl says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Vote is 43 up and 12 down.

  56. 56
    HRA says:

    HRC was targeted by Putin for the reason stated in this article.

  57. 57
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mary G:

    I hate to say it, but he’s too handsome to be called Schlemazel.

  58. 58
    sm*t cl*de says:

    A worst-case scenario would be that Russian influence deeply contaminated the 2016 election and much of the Republican Party. Besides the President and Vice President, Senators and Representatives would have to be removed from office.

    It caused some amusement here at stately Maison d’Etre when Trumpcorp designated the opposition leader of Venezuela to be the legitimate President of that country because the last Venezuelan election was contaminated. I look forward to other world leaders referring to “Legitimate President Clinton”.

  59. 59
    Mary G says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Good to know. People have called me paranoid because I won’t put any important passwords, like my bank accounts, on my tablets or phone because I read that it was unsecure years ago. They say all the problems have been fixed, but hacking pays better on the bad side than the good.

  60. 60
    zhena gogolia says:


    It’s so hilarious to me that he thought people in Russia needed Hillary Clinton to tell them not to like Putin.

  61. 61

    @WaterGirl: Good it was 35 up and 12 down when I checked it last. Usually down votes for FP lols are few and far between.

  62. 62
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Mike in NC: KGB(The FSB as it is now referred too) has always been doing that. God I hate say this but we may need another J.Edgar Hoover, to clean this Augean Stable.

  63. 63
    WaterGirl says:

    @HRA: Interesting! I imagine Putin carries a grudge for a long time, if by long time you mean forever.

  64. 64
    FlipYrWhig says:


    From the election coverage, you’d think Clinton’s use of a private email server endangered national security and may have even led to Benghazi.

    I think the composite email story — which I have to think millions of people believed and probably still do — was that Hillary Clinton was told not to run her email a certain way because of National Security, did it secretly anyway to cover her tracks because she’s sneaky and thinks rules don’t apply to her, and then was hacked, which was a justifiable crime because it was That Bitch’s comeuppance. I guarantee that the number of people in the general public who think the DNC and John Podesta emails came from the private email server is roughly 95%, and huge swaths of the media seemed to believe this too. Why “email” was such an irresistible hook for disparate stories I don’t think I’ll ever know.

  65. 65
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mike in NC: And Putin can no doubt smell greed from a mile away. A match made in heaven. Unfortunately that has left the rest of us in democracy hell.

  66. 66
    Another Scott says:


    As I commented yesterday, the first sentence of Nancy’s statement still doesn’t parse quite right to me:

    The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials [ and … ] to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people.

    Presumably any campaign for office will have campaign officials that want to influence the election so that their candidate wins. And we saw in NC that local races can be twisted to subvert the will of the people (via collecting partially filled out absentee ballots).

    What’s bad about this case with Donnie is who he was “coordinating” with. And she left that out.

    Or is the and … I’m looking for just Roger? I don’t think she thinks that.

    Why didn’t she say “Russia” or “Putin” there??

    Curious. There seem to be an awful lot of dogs that aren’t barking…



  67. 67
    Elizabelle says:

    @zhena gogolia: Schlemazel/Mark does NOT look like the little ray of darkness he described himself as.

    What a good guy.

  68. 68
    Ruviana says:

    I’d like a little background on how post-USSR Russia’s and our interests so diverged. I’ve read a good bit about the whole Yelsin/Putin era (if it can be called that) but is it just what seems to be Putin’s anger at being in a subordinate position in some ways? In reading about Putin I’ve started thinking of him as “Trump but with brains and craftiness.” He really has some of the same tics and pressure points. He really does want to Make Russia Great Again. is it more than that?

  69. 69
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: As I said on the other thread, I think you caught something there that I did not.

    My list of possibilities would be Russia, media, republican party, not just one person. It is interesting to speculate. Not sure what you mean by the “awful lot of dogs that aren’t barking”.

  70. 70
    Mary G says:

    Somebody’s pissed off:

    ALERT: @Norad_Northcom says: An E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System, two F-22 and two CF-18 fighter jets from the North American Aerospace Defense Command positively identified two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers entering the Canadian ADIZ# today.— JJ Green (@NATSEC09) January 26, 2019

    And/or trying to lay claim to the defrosting Arctic and all its resources.

  71. 71
    boatboy_srq says:

    @pat: Can’t give away what’s already gone, nor to the people who already received it.

  72. 72
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: It’s not clear who you think is pissed off. Russia? US? Canada?

  73. 73
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Ruviana: It’s probably coincidental, but it started about the same time Shrub called Putin “Pooty-poot”.

  74. 74
    Ruviana says:

    @boatboy_srq: Lol. To be fair that’s what I call him too since it makes me laff.

  75. 75

    @Ruviana: I have been thinking, for at least six months, about writing a post, maybe more than one, on Russia’s current status. And then Trump upsets another applecart. I will continue to try.

    A short answer is that Putin feels that the United States took advantage of Russia while it was trying to recover from the Soviet times in the 1990s. To go further back, he has said that the great geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century was the breakup of the Soviet Union. In some ways, he does want to make Russia great again, but he also is quite happy with having a great deal of money and power.

    His popularity in Russia is going down. The economy is staggering and completely dependent on selling natural resources. His intervention in Ukraine isn’t having the effect he hoped for. Russia is a distinctly little brother to China, and China treats him that way. And his flirtation with Trump is going sour. So he’s bragging about a bunch of superweapons that will probably never be produced and won’t have much of an effect on the balance of power. The most he can do is to disrupt things in other countries.

  76. 76
    Mary G says:

    @WaterGirl: Putin. His puppet had a bad Infrastructure Week.

  77. 77
    Another Scott says:

    @WaterGirl: I was trying to allude to the Sherlock Holmes story where one of the clues was that “the dog didn’t bark” (because it knew the perpetrator).

    Mueller’s indicted a bunch of Russians, he has indicted a bunch of Americans for lying about their actions in trying to cover up their interactions with Russia, etc., etc. But Nancy didn’t mention Russia there. Either:

    1) it was a late edit and not caught
    2) she knows that we would be thinking of Russia and/or Putin and didn’t feel the need to say it
    3) she knows the “coordination” involves much more than has been reported thus far and doesn’t want to mess up Mueller’s investigation.
    4) something else

    Dunno. It just seems to me like something is missing.



  78. 78
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: Thanks. Once Russia sent planes where they didn’t belong, there was plenty of room for everybody to be pissed off, which is why I wasn’t sure. Hopefully his puppet will have nothing but bad infrastructure weeks going forward.

  79. 79
    Ruviana says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Thanks! This sounds sort of like what I was imagining. I still see the outcome of the break-up as a number of missed opportunities for the U.S. and for Eastern Europe.

  80. 80
    bemused says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I think the Russian rot has long tentacles into GOP and fervently hope all the culprits are exposed in a reasonable period of time, not decades from now.

  81. 81
    HRA says:


    I believe being a trained KGB gives an allowance for keeping a grudge. He blamed HRC for the opposition that showed up after her speech about him.

  82. 82
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: When I write, whenever there’s a sentence that doesn’t make sense, or seems to have a word missing, or the subject and verb tense doesn’t match, you can be pretty sure that’s a sentence that I had edited. Carelessly.

    Hard to know here whether Nancy was about to say something and thought better of it or if there is something more to it. Given how strategic Nancy is, I can completely see her thinking about whether to reveal something further in her statement or hold back until she has given people a basic information platform for people to plug further information in to.

    It’s so hard to be patient!

  83. 83
    Bumper says:

    Sorry for off topic but I’m in Seattle (UDistrict) and looking for info on the possible Seattle meetup today. If someone could point me in the right direction, that would be much appreciated. If it’s not today that’s ok too. I’m here to see my son and thought I’d pop into a meetup later if there is one.

  84. 84
    raven says:

    @Bumper: So I’ve been talking to a few of the Seattle peeps…and some can do Saturday and others can do Sunday..

    So in grand Balloon Juice tradition, ¿Por que no los dos?

    The Saturday plans are still fluid so those can be discussed. For Sunday, we’re meeting at Indo Cafe on Aurora just south of 145th at 6pm. Parking could be a bit tight but we could probably figure that out.

    Come Saturday. Come Sunday. Come to both! I’ll be available for all the shenanigans!!!

    Now to get some green balloons…

  85. 85
    Plato says:

    When the trumpturd is gone, one way or the other, hopefully the whole checks and balances concept and the so called norms get some real legal teeth making the indictment process not so dependent on one special prosecutor.

    The meme that the country cannot survive if the king president is impeached has to die.

  86. 86
    Mr. Kite says:


    This isn’t a political scandal of the Clinton variety; it’s a dead serious emergency for the republic, and one which she has no intention of failing to meet with everything she’s got.

    QFT. Absolutely, I agree. Pelosi is not playing, she is on a mission to save the republic. How do we help her best?

  87. 87
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bumper: Adding to what raven said:

    @Dan B: Right now we’re in the where and when for Saturday. Chandala Thai looks cute but I’m not sure they could handle a large group. They also close rather early so that’s another factor. But just my thought process there.

    @Yutsano: Chandala Thai has handled a group of 10 with 6 toddlers. They do chase people out at 8:30. Spice Room has handled 12 people (Got Green volunteers) and stays open later. Columbua City is a cute neighborhood.

    the comments are listed in order. checked the thread for a final, okay we’ll meet here at this time. did not find that.

    Chandala Thar
    Phone: (206) 588-1225

    Spice Room
    Phone: (206) 725-7090

    They might have green balloons, so you could phone and see if they are there.

  88. 88
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Done.

  89. 89
    eemom says:


    The meme that the country cannot survive if the king president is impeached has to die.

    The NYT or the WaPo, can’t remember which, has an op ed up on that meme. Who’s the author, you ask? Fucking Robert Redford.

    One thing I really, REALLY despise about human nature is its propensity to star fuckery, which is what encourages egomaniacal Hollywood assholes to play the part of political sages. It is quite sickening.

  90. 90
    FlyingToaster says:

    @WaterGirl: I suspect it’s because there’s a signifcant amount of Russian money that’s ended up in PACs, and people on both sides of the aisle are likely to have to deal with the fallout. Not to mention the entire (mal-)administration…

    So she edited it out, recognizing that everyone inside baseball will know what she’s talking about, but it should stay off of the Sunday morning shows until there are hearings.

  91. 91
    WaterGirl says:

    I am turning off the computer for the night, but I wanted to post a reminder for anyone who’s interested:

    There will be a live Q & A thread about the new website rebuild from 1-3 on Sunday. Come with questions, concerns and your one new thing you would really like to see.

  92. 92
    geg6 says:

    I’m so angry at this point that I just want these motherfuckers to suffer. However that comes about is fine with me. Every one of them. Traitors, all of them. All trace of them and their apparatchiks and disgusting fans. I despise them all. I have never felt this way before, not even having lived through Nixon, Reagan and W. I continue to be surprised by how much I hate these people.

  93. 93
    WaterGirl says:

    @FlyingToaster: As Preet would say, Stay Tuned!

  94. 94
    Ken says:


    your one new thing you would really like to see

    Warning to newcomers: Don’t ask for eaded-thray omments-kay.

  95. 95
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @eemom: Agreed. Even my wife (who is politically aware but not obsessive in the way I am and also a lot more polite), responded with “WTF does Robert Redford have to say on this topic? -and who cares what he thinks about it anyhow?”

  96. 96
    Ken says:

    Expected reaction from the 27%: “She’s angry because Trump totally owned her on the shutdown and getting his wall. He’s winning bigly and she’s going to be in jail by the end of March.”

  97. 97
    HRA says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    I think he did not want negative words to be spoken about him anywhere.

  98. 98
    Peter VE says:

    Pelosi wrote: “there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election”. Perhaps if the Clinton campaign had made a deliberate coordinated attempt to influence the 2016 election, they might have won.

  99. 99

    @Ruviana: Absolutely! I was fairly involved in all that, and the US made some major mistakes. We should have offered something like a Marshall Plan to Russia. Instead, we sent neoliberals to set up a system that worked to the benefit of the oligarchs. It’s kind of ironic that Putin sees the US as taking advantage, when he and his buddies profited so greatly.

  100. 100
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This is a wonderful thread, Cheryl. Thank you.

    Haven’t read through all the comments yet, but I assume they’re equally as wonderful!

  101. 101
    susanna says:

    Completely enjoyed and feel informed with your post, Cheryl.

    And I expect the powers that be to start looking into the voting machines, the registration manipulations and get planning so there’re changes for the 2020. Really hoping this is far, far along the pipeline already.

  102. 102
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    Elliot Abrams?! He’s in this too?

    Isn’t he connected to some big conservative columnists too? Shades of the Reagan admin!!

  103. 103
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Peter VE:

    Ochen’ ostroumno.

  104. 104
  105. 105
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Mary G: I’m very worried about massive voter suppression and many more Russian cyber attacks..

    The GOP senators, esp Mitch, seem to feel so secureu–like they know the fix is in!!

  106. 106
    Plato says:


    Only old white guys can save the republic. Another meme that has to die.

  107. 107
    Chyron HR says:

    @Peter VE:

    Thanks for sharing, Pytor.

  108. 108
    Amir Khalid says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:
    Well, Robert Redford once played Bob Woodward in a movie. So I guess that means Redford is qualified to write op-ed pieces.

  109. 109
    Mr. Kite says:

    Trump supporters would be up in arms, although I think this factor has been exaggerated.

    How literally do you mean that? Arms, I mean.

  110. 110
    Bumper says:

    Thank you all. Looks like there wasn’t anything confirmed for tonight. Maybe I can catch tomorrow’s meetup

  111. 111
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Amir Khalid: Lol. It’s amazing what *qualifications* validate old white men opining.

  112. 112
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Yarrow: Not on Facebook. Could only see photo and 2 sentences.

    It’s always strange how a photo makes the person more ‘present.’

  113. 113
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Peter VE: Поцелу́й мою́ жо́пу.

  114. 114
    Another Scott says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: “neoliberals”

    I’m sure you know that that word will set off a bunch of hackles. ;-) E.g. When People Were Proud to Call Themselves ‘Neoliberal’.

    Was it all (or muchly) Jeffrey Sachs’s (and similar economic advisers) fault? That seems to be a common view. I dunno. Sachs naturally says no. I suspect that it’s very complicated, but Sachs and his colleagues probably deserve some blame.


  115. 115
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): IIRC there was extensive discussion at democraticunderground and other sites about tampering with GA vote in 04 and earlier. Odd numbers showing up. Similar oddities in some areas in OH in 04.

    There was discussion that the voting machines used throughout the US were made by GOP owned companies.

    Just like with voter suppression concerns, dems got concerned about this after elections–then nothing until just before the next one.

    We seem to have begun to try to deal with voter suppression on a on-going basis.

    The voting machine problems seem to have been viewed as ‘too technical for you (us) peons to understand or deal with’!!!

  116. 116
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Yarrow: Brother involved with Russian company? Something similar to W Ross involvement with money-laundering Cyprus bank? And Tillerson joint deal with major Russian firm?

  117. 117

    @Another Scott: It was Jeffrey Sachs and a few other grifters from Harvard.

    I go back and forth on this. Bringing the Soviet economy into a relationship with the rest of the world would never have been easy, but there was some clear self-interest involved with the others, and Sachs was high on his own supply of economic ideas.

    Thanks for the link. I had never seen anything from Sachs on his role. I do agree that more funding from the US would have helped, but too many in Congress just wanted Russia to suffer. It was hard to get them even to fund work to secure Russia’s nuclear weapons. Perhaps Sachs’s account is accurate, but I will never be able to respect him.

  118. 118
    hitchhiker says:

    @Another Scott:

    I think Pelosi’s statement is crafted in exactly the same way W’s insinuation about Saddam and 911 was. Remember?

    Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. September the 11th changes the strategic thinking, at least, as far as I was concerned, for how to protect our country. … September the 11th should say to the American people that we’re now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home.

    I’d guess that a great many Americans still believe that Saddam was involved in 911, just on the strength of how often W juxtaposed them in his comments.

    He was being sneaky, though. I think Pelosi did not explicitly say that Stone AND the Kremlin took steps together because that is still not a case that Mueller has quite made, tho’ he gets closer and closer.

    What she did do was express the thoughts right next to one another, inserting Russia into the middle of a string:

    Stone and many other trmpies cheated. Then they lied about their cheating. ALSO all the events related to Russia since the election have tended to favor Putin’s plans at the expense of America’s. The crimes of Stone and others are serious, and will be prosecuted. Mueller’s work will be protected.

    The mention of Mueller at the end brings it back to Russia, and the implication is that there is more to learn. She’s softening the ground without getting ahead of what’s publicly known.

  119. 119
    Gvg says:

    @Amir Khalid: i would like to point out that the actor is actually speaking up, the political experts aren’t. I don’t like famous actor worship either but someone has to speak first.

  120. 120
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @rikyrah: Read somewhere few yrs ago that there had been an earlier strong belief in dem party circles that Booker would be the 1st black to run for president.

    IIRC he wrote a book about his time as a black student at a prestige predominantly white university.
    I believe he is also a friend of Rachel Maddow.

  121. 121
    debbie says:

    Frontline (PBS) has done some excellent reporting on Putin:

    Putin’s Way

    Putin’s Revenge, Part 1

    Putin’s Revenge, Part 2

    I recommend all of them, but Putin’s Way, particularly, focuses on the utter evil of the man.

  122. 122
    HumboldtBlue says:

    It’s not my place to be correcting someone of your stature, but I think you mean inure, not enure. I didn’t even know enure was a word.


    Inure means to habituate or cause someone or something to become accustomed to or less sensitive to an unpleasant condition through practice or repeated exposure. Inure is a transitive verb, used with an object. The related noun is inurement, the gerund is inuring.

    Enure is (1) a legal term meaning to happen, to be applied, to come into effect, to serve as a benefit to a person (2) an older variant of inure. While the spelling of the legal term can sometimes be found as inure, the trend is toward reserving the spelling of the legal form as enure.

  123. 123
    debbie says:


    Were you able to see the comments?

  124. 124

    @HumboldtBlue: Thanks! Maybe I am just that old! I will change it for the kids.

  125. 125
    PeterVE says:

    @Chyron HR: That’s Pyotr Ivanovich, Comrade!

  126. 126
    chris says:

    @Gvg: Yes. Why do I get the impression that no one has read Redford’s piece? Alyssa Milano once remarked that the people telling her to shut up because she’s just actor are the ones that need to STFU because they just put a TV star in the Whitehouse.

    But how do we, as citizens, fix this? Our most powerful tool is still the electoral process. We must not be distracted from the opportunity we have in 2020 to reject hatred and division and choose civility and progress. Let’s not talk about impeachment or put all our hopes on the special counsel: The former is mired in Washington politics, and the latter will be once the report is released. Let’s stay focused on taking back our country with the power of our votes. Link

    Seems pretty ordinary to me and he’s an ally with a long reach.

  127. 127
  128. 128

    @Cheryl Rofer: @Another Scott: Sachs’ involvement in the shock therapy in the former USSR makes it very difficult for me to trust him completely, particularly if he’s yet to own up to its real-world effects. But one thing I find utterly baffling is that at some point he went from textbook neoliberalism (actual neoliberalism, rather than Internet Purity “Left” neoliberalism) to regularly making pronunciations that wouldn’t at all feel out of place in a Noam Chomsky tome. I don’t have an explanation for why this occurred.

    @Ladyraxterinok: Yep. The problems have been known for a long time, and some of us have been attempting to sound the alarm for a long time with little success. I actually suspect the main thing that’s changed since ’04 is that a larger number of tech-savvy people are in positions of power now. I hope it’s enough for meaningful reforms to get implemented before the planet is a smoking wasteland – their implementation could literally be the difference between meaningful action on climate and not. (Last year’s awful results in Brazil underscore this. IIRC, the entire “election” was conducted using EVMs, and the country contains something like 30% of the world’s rainforests. This stuff is all related more closely than people like to think.)

  129. 129
    debbie says:


    I don’t disagree with him. I want him out, period. But starting the impeachment process would get Trump all kinds of sympathy, and not just from his base, and maybe even a second term. Just vote the fucker out, fumigate the White House, and move on.

  130. 130
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: You confirm what I thought was happening.

    It seemed at the time that the US was going to help in a major way,. And then—nothing!

    And then the news was all about the rise and rule of the Russian mafia. With zip about missed opportunities for an actual ‘new world.’

  131. 131
    chris says:

    @debbie: I think he’s saying the same thing Nancy Pelosi is, no impeachment before the facts come out. I’ve no doubt they will but the when is up in the air. A blue wave is necessary because no matter what happens McConnell et al. need to go. President Harris/Warren/JoeBob is going to need large majorities to fix shit and the Republicans need to be forced back under their rocks.

  132. 132
    debbie says:

    Andy Borowitz on Facebook:

    Pelosi Sends Trump LEGO Wall for Desk as Consolation Prize

  133. 133
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): IIRC Sachs was touted as Wilmer’s economics advisor. That’s when I 1st heard of him and read up about him on internet. Didn’t and still don’t know enuff about economics to be able to assesses the effects of his work. It did sound a bit ‘off.’ (Maybe the result of the viewpoint of the sources I read.)

  134. 134
    debbie says:

    Yeah, I know it’s the NYT, but the chart of contacts between Trump et al. and Russia in this article is pretty striking. Has this been discussed yet?

  135. 135
    Kris says:

    In addition to Sachs, there was Andrei Shleifer and a few others, all with the blessings of Larry Summers. His protection of Shleifer was one of the reasons he got booted from the Harvard presidency. See


    I think Putin probably thinks of his interference here as a partial payback
    , although as the the FP post says, he was greatly benefited by what happened to Russia in the 90’s.

    I also have lost trust in most economists because many of them appear all to willing to sell their expertise for a price, with a few exceptions.

  136. 136
    Bill Arnold says:


    I hope it’s enough for meaningful reforms to get implemented before the planet is a smoking wasteland – their implementation could literally be the difference between meaningful action on climate and not.

    This recent piece is interesting. (No idea why https isn’t working (using European vpn endpoint)):
    Russia Wants to Undermine Trust in Elections. Here’s How Rhode Island Is Fighting Back (Abigail Abrams – January 26, 2019)
    It’s about risk-limiting audits:

    Amid this uncertainty, Rhode Island is pioneering a means of protecting its election results through a procedure called a “risk-limiting audit.”

    Basically sample size is adjusted:

    Risk-limiting audits are generally more accurate and efficient because they use the margin of victory and statistical principles to determine how many ballots need to be sampled — so a close margin of victory would require more ballots to be counted while a higher margin means fewer ballots are needed.

    And audits need to be possible, so

    All of these methods can be adapted to different states’ specifications, but the one fundamental requirement for risk-limiting audits is a voting system with a paper trail.

    All obvious stuff, but nice to see explained clearly.

  137. 137
    HumboldtBlue says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Glad to help.

    And wow, the website is acting odd today.

  138. 138

    @debbie: I linked it in the top post. The time sequence is sort of interesting, although the contacts listed are only the ones we know about, so that’s a limitation.

  139. 139
    WaterGirl says:

    @debbie: Yes, in Chrome I was able to see the comments that I was not able to see in Safari.

  140. 140
    Captain C says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: A good summary of what happened is that Sachs and his crew gave crappy advice (and quite possibly didn’t know nearly enough about Russian and Soviet history, politics, and economics to have made a positive difference even if they were giving good advice), but the Russians themselves were the ones who enthusiastically looted their own country (with the help of sketchy banks et al.) and would have done so regardless. Also, I remember reading, in 1996, about lots of American aid, including consultants, going to ensure Yeltsin’s re-election over the then still-just-out-of-power Communist Party, which was looking better given the ongoing looting under Yeltsin’s drunken watch.

  141. 141

    @Captain C: I can largely agree with that, except I would say that there never was what I would call “lots of American aid.” Many consultants, perhaps, but they would have been American, so the money, outside of their hotel, meal, and other expenditures while in Russia, stayed in the US.

  142. 142
    J R in WV says:


    I have my BSCS degree, and about a third of a MS degree, and 25 years of experience from IBM mainframes to Internet based systems, database design, software project leadership, etc.

    I agree with everything (((CassandraLeo))) says about electronic voting equipment.

    Diebold went into the Voting Machine business, after capturing a large portion of the ATM business. Diebold ATM devices capture a paper trail of every transaction, to the cent, that every user institutes. Their voting machines do not. Where does that take us? Isn’t this an obvious threat to our democratic form of government?

  143. 143
    J R in WV says:


    If these office-holders are indicted/convicted of criminal behavior, do you still not think they will lose their offices? I do.

  144. 144
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @FlipYrWhig: The DNC hack came immediately after Trump’s “Russia, if you’re listening” speech, if I recall correctly. The obvious implication is that the Russians and Wikileaks knew from the very start that the Republicans would be looking for anything they could name as “Clinton emails”, and it didn’t really matter that much which specific emails they were–any emails somehow related to Clinton would be the Clinton emails. They couldn’t get the emails Trump was talking about from the private server; nobody could; but it just didn’t matter.

    It was also a repeat of an old play, as climate scientist Michael Mann has been reminding everyone lately: the “Climategate” fiasco of 2009 was the Hillary emails prefigured. Russian hackers stole a huge dump of emails from a climate group at the University of East Anglia (including correspondence with climate scientists all over the world, as such things will), channeled it through Wikileaks (among other places), and climate denialists went through the whole thing with a fine-toothed comb and found a couple of sentences they could take out of context to imply that some huge fraud conspiracy was going on. Media coverage concentrated entirely on the supposedly troubling shadows and questions raised by the email dump rather than on the criminal behavior that led to them being distributed. Extended investigation of the scientists involved revealed no wrongdoing. Donald Trump even went apeshit over how the climate hoax had been exposed–he probably had the whole business somewhere vaguely in the back of his mind in 2016.

  145. 145
    SFAW says:

    @J R in WV:

    If these office-holders are indicted/convicted of criminal behavior, do you still not think they will lose their offices? I do

    Given the tribalism of their supporters, and considering Duncan Hunter et al. made it through this time, while under indictment (yes, I realize “indictment” does not necessarily equal “conviction” in the eyes of voters), I am less optimistic. In addition: although the Rethug caucus is a “target-rich environment” vis-a-vis prosecution for corruption/criminality, it will take a while to get more than a handful.

    But, gotta start somewhere. My preference (for now): McConnell and Nunes. As the saying goes: “A journey of 1000 convictions begins with the indictment of those two traitorous motherfuckers.”

    ETA: OK, so technically, the journey began a year ago, with Papadopoulos (I think). Still …

  146. 146
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Sorry, I generally skip NYT links; someone here might catch me at it and shame me! The only reason I even saw it was that the chart was on my FB feed. What surprised me was that Carter Page only had three contacts. I had thought his contacts were what triggered all of the surveillance, so I was expecting more dots.

  147. 147

    […] Nancy Pelosi released a remarkable statement last night. Since she is a strategist, we can analyze it in terms of a strategy, a refreshing change from the last two years. We have become accustomed to the idea that Donald Trump and his people have connections …Read More […]

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