Russiagate Open Thread: No Collusion, If You’re Careful to Ignore All Evidence of Collusion

I started a post about Burr’s original interview some days ago, under the header “Republican Partisan Chooses His Words *Very* Carefully”. That was the windup for this pitch:

… “If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said…

Here’s an extract from the CBS interview:

… “I’m not going to tell you that what we set out to do — which was to understand what happened in ’16 — is what’s extended the life of the investigation,” Burr said in a rare interview with CBS News. “I think it’s a better understanding of what happened and how coordinated and organized the effort was.” …

He made clear that the investigation is not compiling the story of one pivotal election, but of something larger, more complicated and, from a counterintelligence perspective, more nefarious. The final report may be so highly classified, he said, that a meaningful portion may not be made public at all…

Burr, a Charlottesville native, had been named a national security adviser to the Trump campaign in October — as it happened, less than an hour before the “Access Hollywood” tape became public, and soon after the Obama administration released its first statement on Russia’s election interference efforts…
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Kids These Days Open Thread: Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Edition

Anything originating on Reddit must be closely inspected for “intent”, but if this is true, it seems like the most counter-intuitive method of trolling one’s parents since the early days of Straight edge:

Ethan Lindenberger, frustrated by years of arguments about his mother’s anti-vaccination stance, staged a quiet defection on Reddit.

The Norwalk, Ohio, teenager needed advice, he said, on how to inoculate himself against both infectious disease and his family’s dogma. At 18, he was old enough, Lindenberger explained. He wanted to get vaccinated. But he didn’t know how…

As anti-vaccination movements metastasize amid outbreaks of dangerous diseases, Internet-savvy teenagers are fact-checking their parents’ decisions in a digital health reawakening — and seeking their own treatments in bouts of family defiance.

At least three self-described teenagers from different states told Reddit they have a common problem: Their parents are staunchly opposed to vaccination, and they fear for their health if they do not take action. Different state laws affect how old minors need to be to make their own medical decisions…

For Lindenberger, the tension over vaccines started years ago after he began to notice his mother posting anti-vaccination videos on social media, he told The Washington Post on Sunday. His friends were getting vaccinated. So what was happening in his house?

Lindenberger read scientific papers and journals. He pulled up Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies on his phone at the dinner table, hoping his mother would relent and get him and his four younger siblings — now ages 16, 14, 5 and 2 — vaccinated.

“I looked into it; it was clear there was way more evidence in defense of vaccines,” he said.

His mother, Jill Wheeler, resisted; she claimed there were autism risks from vaccines, a common argument used by anti-vaccination groups that has been widely debunked.

Wheeler was angered by his pursuit, she told Undark, an online science magazine. “It was like him spitting on me, saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it,’ ” she told the site.

Wheeler did not respond to a request for comment from The Post…

Second major media siting:



Toxic Target Open Thread: Certified Doctors Join In the Mockery


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SotU Warmup Open Thread: Well-Aged Vegetables At the Ready


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I don’t intend to watch, but I’ll probably be scanning my favorite twitter feeds.

Let’s check in with a couple prominent professional ex-Repubs, shall we?

Jen Rubin, in the Washington Post, “Can we skip to the State of the Union response?”:

Trump’s State of the Union also suffers because he has become a bore — regurgitating the same points, incorporating no new ideas or information (for he is incapable of learning) and spouting the same know-nothingism. He is drearily predictable.

With near-certainty, Trump will utter repeatedly debunked lies, lots of them. He’ll talk about national unity but take no responsibility for the deep divisions he has caused nor for the racism and hatefulness he has exhibited. He’ll make a slew of unfounded foreign policy pronouncements attributing newfound (and nonexistent) respect in the world to his own brilliance. (He seems not to notice that he is the subject of international derision and an endless source of frustration to allies.)

At least with a teleprompter, he can avoid the kind of word salads — or as Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) calls them, “word vomit” — he tossed up in his interview with CBS’s Margaret Brennan….

Abrams can remind the country that we aren’t consigned in perpetuity to a president entirely lacking in intelligence, empathy and decency. About a year from now the presidential primary voting process begins. Voters will have a chance to find Trump’s replacement — someone new, interesting, grounded in reality, personally decent and inspirational. When we see the Trump vs. Abrams contrast on Tuesday, we’ll get a taste of what it might be like to have a president we can respect, maybe even admire. Abrams’s appearance should underscore that 2020 will be the ultimate change election.

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Expansive Target Open Thread: “… Executive Time!”


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It’s the Oval Office Occupancy version of “… The Aristocrats!”

Why it matters: This unusually voluminous leak gives us unprecedented visibility into how this president spends his days. The schedules, which cover nearly every working day since the midterms, show that Trump has spent around 60% of his scheduled time over the past 3 months in unstructured “Executive Time.”

– We’ve published every page of the leaked schedules in a piece that accompanies this item. To protect our source, we retyped the schedules in the same format that West Wing staff receives them….

Yeah, this is “news” only in the sense that the Very Serious Media Village Idiots have now decided it’s important to notice. I personally prefer Bess Levin’s take from back in October:

Back in January [2018], Axios obtained an inside look at Donald Trump’s schedule, revealing that the president of the United States was doing far less work than in the early days of his term, and demanding large blocks of “Executive Time,” a euphemism created by Chief of Staff John Kelly so that White House aides didn’t have to write dick around on Twitter and shout at the TV on official documents. Now, nine months later, Politico has revisited Trump’s schedule, and it turns out that the most powerful person in the world is somehow doing even less work every day than he was earlier this year. Moreover, when Trump does deign to do his job, it’s mostly in the form of signing ceremonies and shouting at aides to craft policy around something he saw on Fox & Friends
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