Life imitates snark!
"can we lift that please?" pic.twitter.com/JIgl91XxrW
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) September 23, 2020
But does it separate?
My work here is done…
Adam L. Silverman is a consulting national security subject matter expert specializing in low intensity warfare (asymmetric, irregular, and unconventional warfare, revolution, insurgency, terrorism), civil affairs, psychological operations, and cultural considerations for strategy and policy.
He routinely provides operational support to a number of US Army, DOD, and other US Government elements. Dr. Silverman holds a doctorate in political science and criminology from the University of Florida, as well as masters' degrees in comparative religion and international security. Full professional bio available here: https://www.balloon-juice.com/adam-silverman-bio/
Adam Silverman has been a Balloon Juice writer since 2015.
Some of you may have notice that DougJ and I have butted heads in the comments to one of the RBG posts. I took that head butting and decide to nuke him from orbit, which was uncalled for. While I’m sending him an email directly to apologize, and I’ve deleted the really offensive comment I left in reply to a comment he left for me, since I did it in public, he also deserves an apology in public. So here it is:
I am very sorry for escalating whatever minor annoyances we were causing each other in comments. Regardless of past interactions, online and offline, my response was over the top and uncalled for. You didn’t deserve it, especially as I’m sure you’re as on edge about tonight’s news as I and everyone else are.
Senator McConnell has placed his marker on the table.
ABC news is reporting that the President will announce his nominee shortly.
BREAKING: Pres. Trump is expected to put forth a nominee to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat in the coming days, multiple sources close to the president and with direct knowledge of the situation tell @ABC News. https://t.co/NpSSjiSOLo
— ABC News (@ABC) September 19, 2020
I expect that the President will announce his nominee no later than Wednesday and that Senator McConnell will have that nominee up for a vote before the full Senate no later than the Wednesday after that so that the new justice can be seated before the Supreme Court starts its new term in October. And to try to do sort of a judicial nomination shock and awe campaign by moving so quickly that no one can respond to what McConnell is doing.
I’ve seen Senator Murkowski’s statement, and it was nice to read, but the simple reality is that for Senators Collins, McSally, Gardner, Tillis, and Graham it is ride or die. They cannot let go of the tiger that is the President and his base at this point because it will not get them the Democratic votes to either save them in the case of Collins, McSally, and Gardner, nor to open up their reelection campaigns from the statistical ties that Tillis and Graham are in. Abandoning the President and his base of supporters on this will cost them more support and votes, then trying to look like they’re standing on principle.
The question is not what can be done to stop it, though I definitely believe as much hell as possible should be raised over what Senator McConnell is going to do. The question is what you are willing to do after Senator McConnell does what he is going to do to install a sixth conservative associate justice on the Supreme Court.
I expect there will be violence over this. Violence between senators. Violence directed at senators. And violence between Americans. I’m not calling for it, but as a nat-sec professional who works on low intensity warfare, this is what I expect.
Updated at 10:30 PM EDT
I just want to clarify and elaborate a bit on what I think is likely to happen. I expect that the violence directed at senators will come from the hard core and extreme right. It will be directed at the Republican senators who are being reported as potentially not supporting the President and Senator McConnell on confirming a new justice before the election and the inauguration; Gardner, McSally, Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Graham, Grassley, and Alexander. It will start with threatening emails, voicemails, and direct messages. And it may escalate to actual attempts at physical intimidation to send a message: get or stay in line or else… Similarly, I expect that violence between Americans will originate from the same direction. Some MAGA asshole will decide to gun his car through a vigil being held in memory of RBG or a demonstration and rally to demonstrate to Senator McConnell and his GOP majority that they have to abide by the rules McConnell established in 2016. Or that, as we’ve seen with the MAGA truck/vehicle rallies in Portland, that those supporting the President will show up and pepper spray and paintball those standing vigil for RBG or rallying to pressure McConnell and his GOP majority to not be hypocrites. This violence will be stochastic terrorism, but if it happens, I expect it will originate on the hard core and extreme right.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural, and feminist icon has died. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from cancer.
Architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation’s highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.
Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that i I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
She knew what was to come. Ginsburg’s death will have profound consequences for the court and the country. Inside the court, not only is the leader of the liberal wing gone, but with the Court about to open a new term, Chief Justice John Roberts no longer holds the controlling vote in closely contested cases.
Though he has a consistently conservative record in most cases, he has split from fellow conservatives in a few important ones, this year casting his vote with liberals, for instance, to at least temporarily protect the so-called Dreamers from deportation by the Trump administration, to uphold a major abortion precedent, and to uphold bans on large church gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. But with Ginsburg gone, there is no clear court majority for those outcomes.
Senator McConnell will now get his career long wish: to establish a permanent conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In January 2019, I wrote this as part of a post about Senator McConnell:
And he telegraphed during the hearings for Brett Kavanaugh that he’s gearing up to leverage another potential Supreme Court vacancy* in 2019 or 2020 as a political weapon in the 2020 presidential and senatorial elections.
* I’m expecting, provided Justice Ginsburg completes her recovery as expected and remains healthy, that the administration in conjunction with Leonard Leo from The Federalist Society and Senator McConnell will try to replicate with Justice Thomas what they did in the summer of 2018 with Justice Kennedy. Specifically, they’ll create a retirement and subsequent Supreme Court vacancy during the late summer to early fall of 2020 that the President and Republican senators can campaign for reelection on. Thereby replicating the dynamic that Senator McConnell created and the President leveraged in his campaign that it was necessary to elect him, in this case reelect him, and to reelect the GOP majority in the Senate to ensure that the Democrats don’t appoint the next Supreme Court justice, change the balance of the Supreme Court, and destroy the Constitution and thereby the United States.
The above analysis was based on an assessment I did for someone as the Kavanaugh hearings was coming to an end. That assessment is attached here:
Now we wait to see what Senator McConnell decides to do, as well as the effects of RBG’s passing on the 2020 elections.
May her memory be for a blessing.
This is what professionals do!
Nora Dannehy, top aide to John Durham’s Trump-Russia investigation, quietly resigns amid concern about pressure from Attorney General William Barr https://t.co/uablnX5lS1
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) September 11, 2020
From The Hartford Courant (emphasis mine):
Federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, a top aide to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham in his Russia investigation, has quietly resigned – at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done, colleagues said.
Dannehy, a highly regarded prosecutor who has worked with or for Durham for decades, informed colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Haven of her resignation from the Department of Justice by email Thursday evening. The short email was a brief farewell message and said nothing about political pressure, her work for Durham or what the Durham team has produced, according to people who received it.
Durham, who has never even acknowledged that Dannehy was in Washington working for him, had no immediate comment on the resignation.
Durham recruited Dannehy to join his team after he was appointed by Attorney General William Barr more than a year and a half ago to examine the the FBI’s legal justification for a disputed counterintelligence investigation that looked for ties between President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian efforts to meddle in the election.
Dannehy is a career prosecutor who worked closely with Durham before leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office about a decade ago for a corporate position in the defense industry. Durham persuaded her to return to the justice department and, within weeks, join his team in Washington in the spring of 2019.
Colleagues said Dannehy is not a supporter of President Donald J. Trump and has been concerned in recent weeks by what she believed was pressure from Barr – who appointed Durham – to produce results before the election. They said she has been considering resignation for weeks, conflicted by loyalty to Durham and concern about politics.
Durham is notoriously circumspect and neither he nor members of his team have revealed anything about the direction of their work. But Durham associates, none of whom have specific knowledge of the investigation, have said recently that it is their belief he is under pressure to produce something – perhaps some sort of report – before the presidential election in November.
The thinking of the associates, all Durham allies, is that the Russia investigation group will be disbanded and its work lost if Trump loses.
More at the link.
We already know, from the findings in the fifth and final volume of the Republican majority Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which shares oversight of the US Intelligence Community (IC) with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), has concluded that the US Intelligence Community, the DOJ, and the FBI acted reasonably and responsibly and that there was sufficient predicate to open the investigations into what Russia was doing and whether the President, his campaign, his campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business, members of his family involved in both the campaign and the business, and several outside senior advisors to the President during the campaign were somehow compromised by Russia during the 2016 campaign.
The SSCI’s conclusions tells us, if anyone had a question about it, that AG Barr is on a snipe hunt to try to produce an October Surprise to help the President get reelected. We also know that the conspiracy theory that AG Barr’s basis, his predicate for creating Durham’s investigation, is partially rooted in the debunked conspiracy theory that Secretary Clinton and her campaign, in conjunction with the Obama administration and senior Obama administration officials – VP Biden, APNSA Rice, AG Lynch, FBI Director Comey, DNI Clapper, DCI Brennan, and others – were conspiring with the Ukrainian government to interfere in the election to harm the President and his campaign and to blame it on Russia by creating a hoax that Putin was interfering on behalf of the President’s campaign. The fifth volume of the SSCI’s investigation report into Russian active measures and the 2016 election states unequivocally that this conspiracy was created by the Russian Intelligence Services and provided to Paul Manafort by his GRU handler, Konstantin Kilimnik, and that Manafort than provided it to the President and many of his senior appointees, aides, and surrogates. Moreover, we now know that the person responsible for pushing this conspiracy theory right now has been designated as a Russian intelligence officer who has been running the President’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as usefully idiotic asset!
Now we wait to see what the effect of Deputy US Attorney Dannehy’s resignation has. This is definitely a brush back pitch. Whether it actually changes AG Barr’s behavior is something we’ll have to wait to see. AG Barr has made it clear that he doesn’t feel that the DOJ’s rules regarding releasing information that could affect an election within 60 days of an election. Dannehy’s resignation is a warning shot. Now we have to wait and see if Barr receives the message.
(Photo of Rudy Giuliani and Andrii Derkach Reviewing “Evidence Against VP Biden” Posted on Derkach’s Facebook Page)
Today, the US Treasury Department placed sanctions on Ukrainian member of parliament Andrii Derkach. And while that would itself be news, of a kind, the real news is the designation and descriptor that the Treasury Department used to described Derkach (emphasis mine):
Treasury designated Andrii Derkach (Derkach) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13848 for his efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Derkach, a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services. Derkach has directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in an attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election. Today’s designation of Derkach is focused on exposing Russian malign influence campaigns and protecting our upcoming elections from foreign interference. This action is a clear signal to Moscow and its proxies that this activity will not be tolerated. The Administration is working across the U.S. Government, and with state, local, and private sector partners, to make the 2020 election secure.
“Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to counter these Russian disinformation campaigns and uphold the integrity of our election system.”
From at least late 2019 through mid-2020, Derkach waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election, spurring corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the United States designed to culminate prior to election day. Derkach’s unsubstantiated narratives were pushed in Western media through coverage of press conferences and other news events, including interviews and statements.
Between May and July 2020, Derkach released edited audio tapes and other unsupported information with the intent to discredit U.S. officials, and he levied unsubstantiated allegations against U.S. and international political figures. Derkach almost certainly targeted the U.S. voting populace, prominent U.S. persons, and members of the U.S. government, based on his reliance on U.S. platforms, English-language documents and videos, and pro-Russian lobbyists in the United States used to propagate his claims.
More at the link.
What the Treasury Department’s press release does not say is who, exactly, Mr. Derkach is partnered with in his activities against the United States as a Russian Intelligence Services officer. We know the answer to that because Derkach and his American accessories have been very up front about their activities. Derkach’s two main partners in his endeavors, which The Department of the Treasury has now stated unequivocally are the endeavors of the Russian Intelligence Services, are Rudy Giuliani and Chanel Rion, the far too credulous reporter from One America News Network (OANN).
From The Washington Post (emphasis mine):
Dec. 5, 2019 at 5:45 p.m. ESTAdd to list
Giuliani did not make any immediate public comments on the meetings in Ukraine.
But in tweets hours later, he drew connections between future U.S. aid and investigations by Ukraine into former vice president Joe Biden — issues that are already at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Giuliani tweeted that U.S. assistance to Ukraine on anti-corruption reforms could face a “major obstacle” until the “conversation about corruption in Ukraine” is resolved. Giuliani alleged “compelling” evidence of criminal misdeeds by Biden, but gave no specifics.
Part III of "Ukrainian Witnesses Destroy Schiff's Case w/ Rudy Giuliani" to air Saturday, Dec 15 at 10pm EST! pic.twitter.com/9sQifKS9Fx
— One America News (@OANN) December 6, 2019
Rion has her own issues, which I won’t get into here, but quite simply she is the poster girl for the counterintelligence concept of MICE: Money, Ideology, Compromise, and Ego. Rudy Giuliani is definitely one of the poster boys for MICE! He’s constantly chasing money to maintain his lavish lifestyle and pay alimony; his ideology has been all over the map for years, but basically comes down to whatever benefits Rudy Giuliani; he’s carried on multiple affairs and tries to keep them secret and he’s constantly chasing shady security consulting contracts in the post-Soviet states and the Middle East, so there’s a lot of compromising information on him out there; and his ego is ginormous!
What the Treasury Department makes clear today in their press release announcing the imposition of sanctions on Derkach, is that both Rudy Giuliani, who is the President’s personal lawyer, and Chanel Rion, who is one of his favorite reporters, have both been compromised by a Russian Intelligence officer and are being used by him to interfere in the 2020 US election to the benefit of Russia. It is important to keep in mind that both Giuliani and Rion most likely believe that they are using Derkach, not being used by Derkach, though the reality is the direction of control runs the other way. The Russians have watched and assessed exactly what bait they needed to use to attract Giuliani and Rion, as well as others like Congressman Nunes and his catspaws Derek Harvey and Kash Patel, the latter of whom is now embroiled in the new DHS whistleblower allegations just as he got himself wrapped up in the Ukraine phone call when Nunes placed him on the National Security Staff during 2019. All of these people are convinced of their own superior intelligence and the righteousness of their cause and they are desperate to be important and be world changing figures, which makes them ripe for manipulation and easy to control.
It also means that the cornerstone of the President’s impeachment defense was supplied by the Russian Intelligence Services via Derkach to and through Giuliani as the President’s pro bono personal lawyer and Rion and her reporting. And which is also being used by Senators Johnson, Grassley, and Graham in their attempts to use their Senate committees to dirty up VP Biden prior to the election.
Rudy Giuliani – America’s Mayor, Mr. a Noun, a Verb, and 9-11, the first name in cybersecurity, coveter of the position of Secretary of State, and the President’s pro bono personal lawyer – is being run as an asset by Andrii Derkach, a US identified Russian Intelligence officer who is overseeing an ongoing, active measures campaign to subvert the 2020 US election to the advantage of Russia in a war that Putin believes Russia has been fighting against the US since at least 2014. Rudy Giuliani has betrayed his country. Rudy Giuliani is currently acting against the United States on behalf of Russia’s Intelligence Services. Rudy Giuliani is a clear and present danger to the safety and security of the United States.
There’s a LOT in this book, which comes out Tuesday, 9/15. Woodward conducted 18 interviews with Trump, and CNN has obtained copies of some of the audio tapes, which you can listen to above. THREAD on the key highlights in Rage, w/ @jamiegangel @elizabethstuart:
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) September 9, 2020
From CNN (emphasis mine):
President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book “Rage.”
This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on February 7.
In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. “Pretty amazing,” Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times “more deadly” than the flu.
Trump’s admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was “going to disappear” and “all work out fine.”
The book, using Trump’s own words, depicts a President who has betrayed the public trust and the most fundamental responsibilities of his office. In “Rage,” Trump says the job of a president is “to keep our country safe.” But in early February, Trump told Woodward he knew how deadly the virus was, and in March, admitted he kept that knowledge hidden from the public.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Woodward reveals new details on the early warnings Trump received — and often ignored.
In a January 28 top secret intelligence briefing, national security adviser Robert O’Brien gave Trump a “jarring” warning about the virus, telling the President it would be the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency. Trump’s head “popped up,” Woodward writes.
O’Brien’s deputy, Matt Pottinger, concurred, telling Trump it could be as bad as the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 Americans. Pottinger warned Trump that asymptomatic spread was occurring in China: He had been told 50% of those infected showed no symptoms.
Asked by Woodward in May if he remembered O’Brien’s January 28 warning that the virus would be the biggest national security threat of his presidency, Trump equivocated. “No, I don’t.” Trump said. “I’m sure if he said it — you know, I’m sure he said it. Nice guy.”
He also disclosed a clandestine and highly classified new nuclear weapons program* to Woodward on tape!
Woodward reports on Trump’s tensions with military leaders, writing a Mattis aide heard Trump say in a meeting, "my f—ing generals are a bunch of pussies" because they cared more about alliances than trade deals. Mattis asked the aide to document the comment in an email.
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) September 9, 2020
And, of course, we’ve got further confirmation of Jeffrey Goldberg’s reporting from last Friday too!
Both Secretary Mattis and DNI Coats had serious, significant concerns about the President, his abilities, and his allegiance! (emphasis mine)
Mattis is quoted as calling Trump “dangerous” and “unfit” to be commander in chief. Woodward writes that Coats “continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump.” Woodward continues, writing that Coats felt, “How else to explain the president’s behavior? Coats could see no other explanation.”
Woodward also has assessments of the President from Dr. Fauci:
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s top infectious disease expert, is quoted telling others Trump’s leadership was “rudderless” and that his “attention span is like a minus number.”
“His sole purpose is to get reelected,” Fauci told an associate, according to Woodward.
Woodward was also able to get his hands on the love letters, or, at least, copies of the love letters between the President and Kim Jong Un.
Woodward obtained the 27 LETTERS Trump and Kim Jong Un exchanged in 2018 and 2019. Kim flatters Trump by repeatedly, calling him "Your Excellency," and writes in one letter that meeting again would be "reminiscent of a scene from a fantasy film."
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) September 9, 2020
As many of you know, I’m generally not a big fan of Bob Woodward’s books. He never cites sources and many of us in the nat-sec world that have had to refer to his books in our professional work have speculated that his modus operandi is that if you refuse to talk to him on or off the record, that he’ll just make stuff up to fit and support the narrative he’s creating. In this case, however, he has tapes. 18 hours of tapes of the President from interviews the President chose to sit for. And tapes, which the President in his own, charming fashion, will spend the next two months loudly, repeatedly, and often incoherently, but definitely angrily denying are actually of him. He’ll tell anyone and everyone who’ll listen or give him air time that he doesn’t think that’s actually him on the tapes. Just as he’s done with the Access Hollywood tape.
I expect that between The Lincoln Project, VoteVets, Don Winslow, and several other groups, as well as the Biden campaign, will have all of this teed up and ready to go in advertisement over the next two months. Including, if they can get permission to use them, the audio from Woodward’s tapes of the President.
ETA: Audio at the CNN link.
* Would one of our New Mexican readers please do a welfare check on Cheryl? Thanks, The Management…