Russiagate Open Thread: Late Friday News Drop…

Judge Ellis let the Manafort jurors go home at 5pm, because one of them had an evening engagement…


 
Meanwhile, looks like this is the next guy up:

The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars, according to three people familiar with the probe.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors are scrutinizing a plan that Broidy allegedly developed to try to persuade the Trump government to extradite a Chinese dissident back to his home country, a move sought by Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two of the people.

They are also investigating claims that Broidy sought $75 million from a Malaysian business official if the Justice Department ended its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government. The Malaysian probe has examined the role of the former prime minister in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the fund…

As part of their efforts, prosecutors have subpoenaed casino magnate Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chairman and longtime Trump friend, for copies of records and communications related to Broidy.

An attorney for Wynn, Reid Weingarten, declined to comment, saying only that Wynn is cooperating with the Justice Department.

“Steve Wynn is completely cooperating with the investigation and he certainly has no reason to believe that anyone acted improperly in anything he knew about or was involved in,” Weingarten said in a statement…

Yes, these links have been reported before (read the whole thing!), but if the Justice Department is officially looking into the details of transactions between high-ranking Chinese officials, Malaysian businessmen with grift-friendly reputations, and big-time American casino operators looking to set up business in Hong Kong / Singapore / Shanghai… things are about to get UUUUUUGHHLY.

(And that’s not even considering the Saudi finance connection, FWIW.)



That God Damned Parade

Every time I think about it it just infuriates me. Only someone who has never spent a minute in the military or who has no friends who have ever served would think this shit is a good idea. From the top to the bottom it’s a ginormous pain in the ass.

Logistically, it’s a god damned nightmare. We’re talking interruption of training and maintenance schedules that have been in place for a LONG time- officers from the company level on up to regimental have been planning training and field exercises for at least a year in advance. The logistics of getting everyone to the parade, billeting and feeding, fueling, staging areas, security, etc. And that doesn’t even get into what track vehicles do to civilian streets. Then at the lower levels it’s just a fucking giant god damn hot poker up the ass- multiple inspections, extra time preparing, etc. And I’m missing about a gazillion details.

All to feed the ego of some pompous narcissist who needs to compensate for his tiny dick.








Dogs- Smarter Than Trump Voters

And better, too:

“Donald was not a dog fan,” Ivana Trump wrote in her 2017 memoir, Raising Trump, recounted his resistance to her bringing a poodle named Chappy home. “It’s me and Chappy or no one!” she said to him.

The poodle, however, soon showed that the feeling of dislike was mutual. When the real estate developer went near her closet, “Chappy would bark at him territorially,” Ivana Trump wrote.

Would Donald Trump ever do something selfless like this:

Dogs- DEFINITELY NOT DEPLORABLE!








John Brennan Responds

Perhaps Trump thought he would silence John Brennan, former head of the CIA, by revoking his clearance. Perhaps he just wanted to lash out and hurt him for this tweet.

Or maybe it was this one.

But whatever the provocation was, Brennan has struck back in a New York Times op-ed.

As a retired CIA employeed, Brennan would have had to submit the text for declassification. The CIA seems to have turned it around in record time.

A few notes from the op-ed. But read the whole thing. It’s short.

Before, during and after its now infamous meddling in our last presidential election, Russia practiced the art of shaping political events abroad through its well-honed active measures program, which employs an array of technical capabilities, information operations and old-fashioned human intelligence spycraft.

What Brennan couldn’t say is that the intelligence about these operations came from multiple countries’ spy agencies, including a number of European agencies that know the Russians very well.

Having worked closely with the F.B.I. over many years on counterintelligence investigations, I was well aware of Russia’s ability to work surreptitiously within the United States, cultivating relationships with individuals who wield actual or potential power. Like Mr. Bortnikov, these Russian operatives and agents are well trained in the art of deception. They troll political, business and cultural waters in search of gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters. Too often, those puppets are found.

I can’t help but think that this refers to Maria Butina’s infiltration of the NRA, under Alexander Torshin’s guidance. And there may be more. This tweet isn’t proof of anything beyond Torshin’s interest in a wide range of American institutions. Again, Brennan probably needed to leave out specifics.

Back to the op-ed:

Director Comey and I, along with the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael Rogers, pledged that our agencies would share, as appropriate, whatever information was collected, especially considering the proven ability of Russian intelligence services to suborn United States citizens.

Having worked in a national security organization, I can’t emphasize enough how strongly the people in those organizations feel they are doing their best to protect the country. There has been a lot of criticism over the years of the less creditable motivations that some of them may carry. I recall the first time (during the Reagan administration) a DOE official told me that I was “just a contractor” and therefore less worthy of trust. That stung all the way down to the core of my being. I was working for the security of the United States. Whatever Comey’s and the others’ faults and limitations, I can absolutely see them coming together on this.

Brennan can read the papers as well as any of us can, and probably better, with the information he has and cannot divulge. That information doesn’t go away with the security clearance. He speculates here about the possible charges.

The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets. A jury is about to deliberate bank and tax fraud charges against one of those people, Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. And the campaign’s former deputy chairman, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.

As they say, read the whole thing.



Out of My Room, Nazi

Via Vox, this is just delicious:

Speaking of Nazis, Trump continues to be a power mad sociopath (fyi- I think Brennan is a fucking putz):

This fucking guy.








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: What Has Trump Got Against Dogs?

It would be ridiculous to suggest that this adorable puppy would be a good POTUS. On the other hand, the guy currently squatting in the Oval Office certainly isn’t fit to be there, and he’s not even soothing to look at!

In President Trump’s singular lexicon, there is no more vicious put-down than likening an adversary to a dog…

… Trump, an avowed germaphobe, has long had an aversion to dogs.

“Donald was not a dog fan,” his first wife, Ivana, writes in her memoir, “Raising Trump.” “When I told him I was bringing Chappy with me to New York, he said, ‘No.’ ”

But Ivana persisted, bringing her poodle with her when the couple moved in together.

“It’s me and Chappy or no one,” she recalls telling her husband

Chappy, it turned out, did not much care for Trump, either. Ivana writes that when Trump approached her closet, her poodle would bark at him territorially.

Trump is the first modern president not to have a dog — or any pet — in the White House…

…[P]residential historian Douglas Brinkley suggested that Trump has no pets “because he has no sense of giving and warmth and caring to any other animal but himself. Having no pet is another manifestation of his narcissism.”…

I personally suspect Trump hates dogs because (a) he suspects they’re on to him; and (b) he’s angry that the average dog gets positive attention — even from total strangers! — which Donald very badly wants to believe should be directed at him, Donald Trump. Pretty ladies would let Chappy the poodle jump in their laps, they’d pet his hair, but when Trump tried the same kind of physically affectionate greeting, well…



Russiagate Open Thread: Roger Stone, Wonderful Human Being

You look at him, and wonder: That is a human being?

Remember, Roger Stone got his professional start working for Tricky Dick…

Also, per TPM, this happened:

Let’s see if this MSNBC clip will embed for me…

(Well, if not, you’ll have to click on the link.)