And While We’re Talking About Russians…

John Sipher has an excellent explanatory post up, “Is Trump a Russian Agent?: Explaining Terms of Art and Examining the Facts.”

As I’ve been coming to believe, Sipher feels that Trump is more a useful idiot than a fellow traveler. (Sorry for the obsolete terminology; I’ve read too much old spy stuff.)

But he things it’s possible that one or another of Trump’s associates may be actively working with the Russians. Paul Manafort is a shoo-in, and Carter Page a definite possibility. I still would like to know exactly how Page got to be one of Trump’s early “foreign policy advisors.” He was really nobody, and his writings were cray-cray. But, in the useful idiot department, more than one of Trump’s crime cartel were happy to have Russian help, never bothered to report the contacts to the FBI, and lied about them. (And yes, I know about Sam Clovis and a few other people connected to Page, but unless you have a step by step connection from Page to all those folks, I’ve probably read it.)

Sipher also feels that the counterintelligence part of the Mueller investigation is unlikely to come to light. I think Adam may have said as much. I think that is the probable outcome, but I also think that a good way to foil continuing interference from the Russians would be to get as much out as possible. We’re doing information warfare here, and the best way to blunt the opponent’s offensive is to tell everyone what it is. That has to be balanced against revealing sources and methods, of course, but I think that concern has gone too far in the direction of secrecy.

Ultimately Trump must be brought to account, whether through impeachment or in the 2020 election.

 






62 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Yes, he is a Russian Asset. Why are we even debating this?
    Ridiculous.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    Agent? No.

    Commodity? Yes.

    Flunky? Certainly.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    Wendy Williams’ estranged husband Kevin Hunter is FIRED from her show and has been given 48 hours to clear out from their marital home – while the $215K Ferrari he bought for his baby mama is towed away

    Kevin Hunter was fired as executive producer on Wendy Williams’ show after she served her philandering husband divorce papers last week
    The 47-year-old was also fired as Wendy’s manager and he was given 48 hours to remove his belongings from their New Jersey home, a source told DailyMail.com
    The TV show host decided she had enough after Hunter’s baby mama Sharina Hudson was photographed by DailyMail.com driving around a brand new Ferrari
    Hunter and Hudson had been living the high life at a hideaway in New Jersey, going for dinner dates, dressing in designer gear and driving flashy new cars
    ‘Wendy saw the photos of him and Sharina on the Daily Mail… she was furious. That’s what tipped her over the edge, she was like, he’s gotta go’, a source said
    Hunter publicly apologized in vain on Tuesday, admitting he was not ‘proud of his recent actions’ and was ‘trying to right some wrongs’
    Hunter’s statement came as the $215,000-plus gold Ferrari Portofino he gifted Hudson was seen being towed away – a day after he was hit with the papers
    Wendy was seen apartment hunting in NYC on Tuesday as she revealed Monday she was moving out of her sober living home and was ready to start a new life

    By RYAN PARRY WEST COAST EDITOR FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and CHEYENNE ROUNDTREE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
    PUBLISHED: 13:53 EDT, 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:29 EDT, 16 April 2019

  4. 4
    different-church-lady says:

    Ultimately Trump must be brought to account, whether through impeachment or in the 2020 election.

    Losing re-election does not bring him to account. It merely ends the current circumstances.

  5. 5
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @different-church-lady: Agreed. Losing re-election needs to be followed by Lady Justice punching him in the face with the law.

  6. 6
    VeniceRiley says:

    Sipher also feels that the counterintelligence part of the Mueller investigation is unlikely to come to light. I think Adam may have said as much. I think that is the probable outcome, but I also think that a good way to foil continuing interference from the Russians would be to get as much out as possible. We’re doing information warfare here, and the best way to blunt the opponent’s offensive is to tell everyone what it is. That has to be balanced against revealing sources and methods, of course, but I think that concern has gone too far in the direction of secrecy.

    This. ALL OF THIS! How can they balance the continuation of our democracy against keeping it all secret; thus allowing it to happen again? It has to get out so we can scream about it without sounding like unhinged CT.

  7. 7
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    I feel bad about being queasy about Pussy Riot’s methods with regard to protesting at Russian Orthodox churches. I should have been supportive of their methods.

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    He’s never going to be impeached so we can stop that noise right there. What we can do is select a better alternative to 100% fake orange juice in the White House. And get our voters out. And outvote them.

  9. 9
    Steeplejack says:

    [. . .] it’s possible that one or another of Trump’s associates may be actively working with the Russians. Paul Manafort is a shoo-in, and Carter Page a definite possibility.

    My question about Carter Page is, if he is as idiotic as he seems in his public appearances, how effective can he be “actively working” with the Russians? And if he’s some super genius faking the idiot persona, how does that work better than, say, just staying below the radar and not drawing attention?

    (I know, I know, in the age of Trump don’t assume anything beyond basic stupidity unless absolutely necessary.)

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    Imma let you finish, but I have some hopeful news about yesterday’s fire at Notre-Dame: there is photographic evidence from today’s post-fire assessment that shows that the Rose Windows are still in place!

    They will almost certainly need repairs and conservation work, but they’re there:

    https://www.curbed.com/2019/4/16/18400170/notre-dame-fire-cathedral-paris-france

  11. 11

    @Steeplejack: A couple of Russians did try to recruit him, but they decided he was, um, a poor subject. But different Russian intelligence organizations compete, so who knows. I tend to think it would be a poor idea to recruit him, but it’s not clear to me that all the possible Russians involved would agree with me.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rikyrah:

    Did you see the story about author Sherrilyn Kenyon’s divorce? It’s pretty bonkers. She has even more details on her website that didn’t make it into this story, like her former assistant/husband’s side piece (allegedly) pretending to be her on social media.

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/juliareinstein/sherrilyn-kenyon-lawrence-poisoning-plot-lawsuit

  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That is CRAZY!!!!!

    Real life is often stranger than fiction.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    ‘It’s a girl!’ Hoda Kotb, 54, reveals she has adopted a second daughter, Hope Catherine – as she tearfully admits she thought she had already ‘gotten everything in life that she deserved’

    The Today co-anchor shared the happy news on Tuesday morning, calling into the show in order to surprise her co-workers on air
    Hope Catherine was born over the weekend, and it is thought that Hoda went to get her either on Sunday or Monday
    Hoda, who adopted her daughter Haley Joy in February 2017, recently opened up about the possibility of adding another child to her family
    ‘We don’t know when, but it is something that is important to me and to Joel,’ she said of raising another child with her partner Joel Schiffman
    When speaking to her colleagues about the adoption, Hoda said that she felt as though her heart ‘grew ten times’ when she held Hope for the first time
    Hoda was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42 years old and came out of treatment unable to conceive
    She has previously said that she believed for a long time motherhood just wasn’t in the cards for her
    By CHARLIE LANKSTON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

    PUBLISHED: 08:41 EDT, 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:45 EDT, 16 April 2019

  15. 15
    gene108 says:

    @Yutsano:

    I used to think winning in 2020 would be enough, but if you look at the arc the criminality of Republican Presidents, it has gone from Watergate, which seems quaint right now, to Iran-Contra, to lying about the WMD’s in Iraq, to being a Russian asset, self-enrichment in office, and more.

    Heads from this Administration need to roll, or else the next Republican administration will put this one to shame, with regards to the levels of corruption they will engage in.

    In short, not only do Republicans tilt hard right, after every Presidential election loss, they also become more corrupt.

  16. 16
    piratedan says:

    there needs to be a reckoning, or an accounting, or whatever term you want to use for the actions of these folks for breaking the law. The impunity with which they have done so and the disdain that they hold our supposed national ethos in should be a qualifier on just how much in the way of punishment they receive. I would be okay with using the very same detention facilities that they have used for asylum seekers with a different, possibly even more humane staff to monitor them.

    I would also be okay with simply dropping them on an remote island and simply erasing them from the national consciousness too.

    They’ve earned their criminality.

    oh, and bankrupt them, they’ve been in thrall in service to being rich and powerful, let’s remove them from any further “temptation”.

  17. 17
    Brachiator says:

    Ultimately Trump must be brought to account, whether through impeachment or in the 2020 election.

    Hope we can also boot the GOP out of the Senate and make more gains in the House. The Republicans are complicit in giving aid and comfort to the Russians.

  18. 18
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @piratedan: Dump probably thinks he’s so tremendous bigly at building that he could build a Dump Tower Uninhabited Island out of sand and rocks.

    Maybe we can test that.

  19. 19
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Brachiator: Republicans are also guilty of going to Moscow to suck the Kremlin’s ass on the 4th of July.

  20. 20
    Emma says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is amazing. Amazing!

  21. 21
    Wjs says:

    1. Trump is stupid

    2. Trump is bad with money

    3. Trump is easy to flatter

    4. Trump has a weakness for attractive women who are willing to have sex with him

    5. There is definitely a pee pee tape

    Everyone knows about items 1 – 4 so they have exploited his vulnerabilities and now have leverage over him. 5 is just my hunch.

    This ain’t rocket science. The GOP is willing to trade 20 years of electability for 4 years of looting.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Emma:

    I emailed Subaru Diane 😜 to let her know since I have her email address. I thought she would want to know ASAP that the fire was bad and damaging, but not as hopeless as it looked from the outside.

  23. 23
    Leto says:

    @Yutsano: @gene108: This. All of this. Take back the presidency, take the Senate, and add more to the House. Let Mango Mussolini fly off in shame, then unseal the indictments and hammer away at him. Can’t indict a sitting president? Fine. Get our voters out and remove him from office at the ballot box, then let the DoJ and state AG work him over. The Trumpov name needs to become synonymous with Benedict Arnold. It needs to stay toxic for eternity.

  24. 24
    The Dangerman says:

    @rikyrah:

    …as the $215,000-plus gold Ferrari Portofino … was seen being towed away

    That is all kinds of wrong. Just give the tow truck driver the keys, get him a few hours of insurance, and make his year.

    I think they might have one of those at the Vegas Speed Track but, sadly, I don’t fit.

  25. 25
    dww44 says:

    Cheryl Rofer, I sort of get it that we the public aren’t going to get to see much of the Mueller Report. But, what about Congress itself? Under what statutes or precedents would they be able to get the unredacted report? After all, what good is oversight if the AG, handpicked by the President, is allowed to block access to a report that involves the President. Can they bypass the AG/Justice Department and get it directly via the Courts? What is the likelihood that this can and will happen?

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My cousin (high school age) posted a bunch of photos of Notre Dame she took right before the fire. I’m not on Facebook but my son showed me. They were so lucky to see it before it burned and to get out before it burned.

    I’m not sure about the rose windows. I saw some controversy about that report and then some photos showing damage. The last I heard was almost intact.

    The image of one of the young priests inside while it was burning saving some of the relics and passing them via a human chain out to safety is pretty inspiring.

  27. 27
    No One of Consequence says:

    It’s a simple thought experiment really: If Donald Trump *were indeed* a Russian asset, how would he be acting any differently?

    If there isn’t much daylight between asset/independent then, well…

    – NOoC

  28. 28

    @dww44: IANAL, but what I am reading seems to say that Congress (or committees thereof) can demand the whole report. How that will take place, and how much time it will take, is another question. But we know, and it’s been summarized in many articles, this one by Sipher the latest, that Trump has done many things worthy of impeachment. Some of his close associates have pleaded guilty to felonies. The Democratic House has begun investigations that might as well be impeachment investigations. And, of course, there are leaks. I think we’ll see the whole report one of these days.

  29. 29
    dexwood says:

    Maybe one of those tanker planes can dump water on this raging Trumpster fire. Must act quickly.

  30. 30
    catclub says:

    @piratedan:

    there needs to be a reckoning, or an accounting, or whatever term you want to use for the actions of these folks for breaking the law.

    I would be pleased and amazed if there is any reckoning. There was incredible pressure to NOT look into the Bush era torture. It was characterized as ‘criminalizing political differences’. There will be even more pressure whenever Trump leaves office not to go after an ex-president, since that is what banana republics do ( they will tell us). never mind, that Trump has no problem going after Hillary Clinton as much as he can.

    never mind that Trump has a long string of criminality starting before he was president.
    being pres will be his stay out of jail card. (Does an ex-president in federal prison keep his Secret service security detail?)

    I would be so happy to be worng.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    @MomSense:
    This BBC photos+graphics piece is helpful. And per the piece, “The Archbishop of Paris says all three of the cathedral’s famed rose windows have been saved, but other, smaller windows, closer to the seat of the fire, have been badly damaged.”

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MomSense:

    It sounds as though some of the other (not as old) windows may have suffered worse damage, but that the fire crews made protecting the Rose Windows a priority.

    The Twitter thread by a firefighter that someone linked to yesterday was very enlightening. A lot of people don’t understand the triage that goes into fighting a fire, especially one in a historic building. Sometimes the less important areas have to be sacrificed so you can safe the more important ones.

  33. 33
    tobie says:

    I don’t want to get my hopes up too much but apparently US District Court Judge Reggie Walton has responded to an FOIA request by BuzzFeed for the unredacted Mueller report by saying:

    Yet Walton said in court Tuesday that he may demand a copy of the unredacted report so that he can determine whether the redactions were made properly.

    “That’s something we will have to work through. I’ll have to think about it,” Walton said, per Politico.

    Walton was appointed by George W. Bush. This could get interesting.

  34. 34
    Geoboy says:

    @Leto: Hey, hey! Benedict Arnold was a very competent general whose performance was one of the principal reasons why Burgoyne’s army was defeated and captured in 1777. Traitor though he was, he doesn’t deserve the ignominy of being compared to Trump.

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    @rikyrah:

    Hoda was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42 years old and came out of treatment unable to conceive
    She has previously said that she believed for a long time motherhood just wasn’t in the cards for her

    Not a big morning TV watcher and don’t know much about Hoda, but what the hell, I wish her well. Lots of wonderful kids waiting to be adopted. Maybe her example will induce other families to open their hearts and homes and adopt.

  36. 36
    Hoodie says:

    My guess that the Mueller report likely makes Trump look like a narcissistic, grasping idiot who was easily manipulated by promises of dirt on Clinton and a Trump Tower in Moscow, the latter of which was probably more important to him as a backup plan because he thought he wasn’t going to win. The Russians wanted an easing of sanctions arising from the Crimea invasion and an end to the Magnitsky Act, but I doubt they really thought Trump could deliver one that. More likely, they wanted to sow chaos, and what better chaos agent than Trump. Trump might really believe there was no collusion because he really didn’t care about the dirt on Clinton (he could just make that up all by himself, anyway) and the Trump Tower deal never closed. He deluded himself into thinking everything would turn out ok because he always makes the best deals and people love him when he does.

    My dad, who was a professional salesman, said that there is a type of salesmen who believe their own bullshit, and that they can be particularly successful selling to people who suffer from the same disease, i.e., people who have inflated notions of their own importance. The latter is consistent with the Trump voters I know, they think they know something when they’re just pig ignorant and have no grasp of the complexity of the world around them. I think Trump lives mostly in the vacuum between his ears and, to a certain degree, has deluded himself into believing that he’s as wonderful as he makes himself out to be. If this were not the case, he would be depressed at his pathetic worthlessness and might blow his brains out. Because of this, his entire life is a never-ending series of rationalizations, which create a positive feedback loop because the rationalizations beget even more stupid, depraved actions. All abetted by the fact he’s wealthy and has a bunch of enablers who shelter him from consequences for their own selfish reasons.

  37. 37
    Wag says:

    @rikyrah:

    Who is Wendy Williams, and why should I care?

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @catclub:

    FWIW, I think the Republican miscalculation here is that they didn’t draw enough Democrats into their scheme. They were able to get away with their war crimes in Iraq by first getting Democrats like John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, and Hillary Clinton to climb onto the Iraq war bandwagon so they would take the brunt of the blame from both sides. And that worked like a charm all the way to 2016 because powerful Democrats had an incentive to protect their own asses.

    They didn’t do that this time. As far as I can tell, the only Democratic politicians implicated are marginal figures like the guy in Chicago that no one outside of Chicagoland has ever heard of. So people like Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu and, yes, Dianne Feinstein have no reason NOT to investigate, because none of them are guilty of a damn thing.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Wag:

    Do you need to know the people involved to enjoy the schadenfreude? 🤔

  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    @Wag:
    Lead singer for The Plasmatics.

  41. 41
    Jay says:

    NoMoreMisterNice Blog lays out the scam Faux is running on Bernie and Pete,

    “Of all the people in Paris, this is the guy Fox asks about the Notre-Dame fire? That’s not an unfortunate mistake — Fox wanted Karsenty on the air, and also wanted Shepard Smith to shut him down. Fox has it both ways: A Muslim-bashing rumor is fed into mainstream discourse for the core audience, but then advertisers, as well as gullible dupes in the mainstream political culture, see Smith rebuffing Karsenty. Lather, rinse, and repeat with Cavuto and Bill Donohue, a veteran right-wing provocateur and verbal bomb-thrower.

    Don’t fall for it. It’s not responsible behavior on Fox’s part. It’s Fox pleasing the base while fooling the alleged sophisticates.”

    https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2019/04/do-fox-news-two-step.html?m=1

  42. 42
    Leto says:

    @Geoboy: I will concede that there are slight variations to traitor. A sliding traitor scale. Trumpov will take over for Arnold, but not by much. The scale of betrayal is just as bad.

  43. 43
    J R in WV says:

    @rikyrah:

    I am SO GLAD I don’t know who any of these people are – except for the Ferrari Portofino!

    ;-) !

  44. 44
    Jay says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Booman Tribune has dove deep into Carter Page.

    It’s worth going there and pulling up some of his columns on Carter Page.

    He’s more connected than you think.

  45. 45
    debbie says:

    It has to be Ivanka.

  46. 46
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @trollhattan: the who????

  47. 47
    debbie says:

    @rikyrah:

    Kathy Lee destroyed her health.

  48. 48
    Amir Khalid says:

    @CliosFanBoy:
    Not The Who; their lead singer is Roger Daltrey.

  49. 49
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    …[W]hat I am reading seems to say that Congress (or committees thereof) can demand the whole report. How that will take place, and how much time it will take, is another question.

    The bigger question is what happens when Congress so demands, Cheetoh Benito directs his Consigliere-General to refuse to hand it over, & the criminals installed by Yertle in the courts uphold his right to do so. Frankly I hope Bobby 3Styx &/or the IC have squirreled away a few thumb drives containing the document & are prepared to discreetly drop them by the appropriate Congresional offices – as I fear that is the only way anyone other than the Tang DyedNasty will ever see the real contents.

  50. 50

    @Uncle Cosmo: Yes, all that. That’s why I specified “how much time it will take.” I do think it will leak, although I can’t give you a timeline on that either.

  51. 51
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Thanks for that. Part of the memorial service for EFG on Saturday was the Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First?” so this gave me a smile.

  52. 52
    debbie says:

    @Wag:

    Seriously, kids, she’s an African American daytime talk show host. You’d hate the show, trust me. It’s very girly.

  53. 53
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I suppose it depends on how long it takes to make its way through the courts. And on that note –

    @tobie: Am I paranoid to think that said trip through the courts will be put on hold while Judge Walton takes his sweet time “reviewing the redactions” – & that the extra delay is precisely what the Judge intends?

  54. 54
    geg6 says:

    @trollhattan:

    No, that’s Wendy O. Williams.

  55. 55
    B.B.A. says:

    Get it straight – Trump is a Russian asset. Bernie is a Russian agent.

  56. 56
    Fair Economist says:

    Trump went to great lengths to speak to Putin secretly, with even the US government not knowing what was said (but the Russian government knowing) These are not the actions of a useful idiot.

    He is an asset, at the least.

  57. 57
    dww44 says:

    @debbie: Actually that 4th hour with Kathy Lee Gifford was mostly a giggly talk show, but after Matt Lauer was ousted as co-host of the Today show, Hoda became his replacement. So now, she’s on NBC every weekday morning from 7 to 9 a.m. and then from 10 to 11 a.m,now co-hosting with Jenna Bush Hager. Hoda is actually an appealing TV personality.

  58. 58
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I do think it will leak, although I can’t give you a timeline on that either.

    My impression of the DJT administration behavior and timing on the Mueller report release is that they’re fully aware of the strong possibility of leaks and are staging things over time the way they are in part to discourage leaks.
    They won’t succeed if anything important is held back so it’s mostly time-buying. IMO.
    This is akin to Kremlinology (K-West :-) though.

  59. 59
    Dan B says:

    @Jay: There is an interesting discussion taking place on some blogs about Bernie and Pete on Fox. There are good points made about Fox being in trouble with “respectable advertisers” and the desirability of reaching some Obama 2x + Trump 1x voters.
    It seems to me that winning elections so you can hamstring one sided media with some camel nose under the tent legislation that leads to a Fairness Doctrine 2.0 is a viable argument. But it is wrestling with a pig nonetheless.

    The other consideration is that propaganda changes brain structure when it’s repeated endlessly so these one off appearances may have little impact. Once people make a change in their tribe it becomes critical to their identity. We’re dealing with Cult Media here. Attempt but verify. If you don’t have capacity to verify then don’t attempt.

  60. 60
    encephalopath says:

    I don’t think it matters whether Trump was actively collaborating with the Russians to ratfuck the election. He was always going to open to doing whatever they wanted from him because he was taking the money for laundering left and right. He desperately needed to have that money to continue flowing through his properties.

    That alone makes him too compromised to ever act in the interests of the U.S. as president. The man simply can’t ever be trusted.

  61. 61
    jonas says:

    @Wjs:

    This ain’t rocket science. The GOP is willing to trade 20 years of electability for 4 years of looting.

    The success of some Dem candidates in 2018 notwithstanding, I think the jury is still out on whether rampant corruption and being compromised by hostile foreign powers will hurt the GOP’s long-term prospects. Hell, a Republican president took the country to war based on made-up bullshit, killing thousands of US military and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, ran the economy into the ground, and the two next presidential races were *still* competitive. Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a drug.

  62. 62
    jonas says:

    @encephalopath:

    I don’t think it matters whether Trump was actively collaborating with the Russians to ratfuck the election.

    He knew they were doing it. He just stood back and cheered the entire time. And apparently, as Adam Schiff points out, his supporters think that’s totally ok. It sucks to be governed by a bunch of traitors who somehow figured out how to thread the “sell your country out, but do it so it’s not technically illegal” needle, but here we are, apparently.

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