President Trump’s Speech to the CIA – Updated with Transcript

The President is introduced at the 25 minute mark.

Updated at 5:35 PM

Here’s the transcript from C-Span. It was compiled from uncorrected closed captioning – as in some of the seeming errors are transcription, not in what the President said.

PRESIDENT TRUMP

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY, VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE. IT IS TRUE, THIS IS MY FIRST STOP OFFICIALLY. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE SPEECHES. ALTHOUGH THEY DID TREAT ME NICELY ON THAT SPEECH YESTERDAY. [LAUGHTER] I ALWAYS CALL THEM THE DISHONEST MEDIA, BUT THEY TREATED ME NICELY. [LAUGHTER] BUT I WANTED TO SAY THERE IS NOBODY THAT FEEL STRONGER ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AND THE CIA THAN DONALD TRUMP. THERE IS NOBODY. [APPLAUSE] THE WALL BEHIND ME IS VERY SPECIAL. WE HAVE BEEN TOURING FOR QUITE A WHILE. AND 29? 28, WE HAVE TO REDUCE IT. WE APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE IN TERMS OF SHOWING US SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL. AND YOUR WHOLE GROUP, THESE ARE SPECIAL AMAZING PEOPLE. VERY FEW PEOPLE COULD DO THE JOB YOU DO. I AM SO BEHIND YOU. I KNOW SOMETIMES YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN THE BACKEND YOU HAVE WANTED, — THE BACKING YOU HAVE WANTED. YOU ARE GOING TO GET SO MUCH BACKING, YOU ARE GOING TO SAY, “PLEASE DON’T GIVE US SO MUCH BACKING. MR. PRESIDENT, WE DON’T NEED THAT MUCH BACKING.” YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE IT. THE MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT GENERALLY SPEAKING, BUT ALL OF IT. THE MILITARY GAVE US TREMENDOUS PERCENTAGES OF VOTES. WE WERE UNBELIEVABLY SUCCESSFUL GETTING THE VOTE OF THE MILITARY. EVERYBODY IN THIS ROOM VOTED FOR ME, BUT I WILL NOT ASK YOU TO RAISE YOUR HANDS. [LAUGHTER] BUT I WOULD GUARANTEE A BIG PORTION, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH. [APPLAUSE] WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH. IT TOOK ABOUT 30 SECONDS TO FIGURE THAT OUT. WE KNOW, WE ARE ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH. BUT WE ARE GOING TO DO GREAT THINGS. WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING THESE WARS FOR LONGER THAN ANY WAR WE HAVE EVER FOUGHT. WE HAVE NOT USED THE REAL ABILITIES THAT WE HAVE. WE HAVE BEEN RESTRAINED, WE HAVE TO GET RID OF ISIS. WE HAVE TO GET RID OF ISIS. WE HAVE NO CHOICE. [APPLAUSE] RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM — AND I SAID IT YESTERDAY, HAS TO BE ERADICATED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. THIS IS EVIL. AND I CAN UNDERSTAND THE OTHER SIDE, WE CAN ALL UNDERSTAND THE OTHER SIDE. THEY CAN BE WARS BETWEEN COUNTRIES, THIS IS SOMETHING NOBODY CAN EVEN UNDERSTAND, THIS IS A LEVEL OF EVIL WE HAVEN’T SEEN. YOU ARE GOING TO GO TO IT AND YOU ARE GOING TO DO A PHENOMENAL JOB, BUT WE ARE GOING TO END IT. IT’S TIME. IT’S TIME RIGHT NOW TO END IT. YOU HAVE SOMEBODY COMING ON WHO IS EXTRAORDINARY. FOR THE DIFFERENT POSITIONS OF SECRETARY OF THIS AND SECRETARY OF THAT AND ALL THESE GREAT POSITIONS, I HAVE SEEN 5, 6, 7, EIGHT PEOPLE. AND WE HAD A GREAT TRANSITION. WE HAVE AN AMAZING TEAM OF TALENT. BY THE WAY, GENERAL FLYNN IS OVER HERE. PUT UP YOUR HAND. [APPLAUSE] AND — HE WAS THIS POLITICAL GUY WHO TURNED OUT TO BE THIS SUPERSTAR. WE DON’T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT HIM. WE HAD SUCH A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS. WHEN I AM INTERVIEWING ALL OF THESE CANDIDATES THAT REINCE AND HIS WHOLE GROUP IS PUTTING IN FRONT, IT WENT VERY QUICKLY. AND IN THIS CASE IT WENT SO QUICKLY, BECAUSE I WOULD SEE SIX OR SEVEN OR EIGHT FOR SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. SIX OR SEVEN OR EIGHT PEOPLE FOR A CERTAIN POSITION. EVERYBODY WANTED IT. BUT I MET MIKE, AND I WAS THE ONLY GUY WANTED TO MEET. I DIDN’T WANT TO MEET ANYBODY ELSE. HE WAS APPROVED, ESSENTIALLY. WHAT THEY’RE DOING A LITTLE BIT OF POLITICAL GAMES WITH ME. HE WAS ONE OF THE THREE. LAST NIGHT, AS YOU KNOW, GENERAL MATTIS AND GENERAL KELLY GOT APPROVED. [APPLAUSE] AND MIKE WAS SUPPOSED BE IN THAT GROUP, IT WAS SUPPOSED BE THE THREE OF THEM. THEY RESPECT THAT MILITARY SENSE. POLITICAL PEOPLE, THEY ARE NOT DOING SO WELL. WE ARE GOING TO GET THEM ALL THROUGH, BUT SOME OF THEM WILL TAKE LONGER THAN OTHERS. I HAD A GROUP OF NINE DIFFERENT PEOPLE. I DIDN’T MIND CANCELING EIGHT APPOINTMENTS, THAT WASN’T THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD. I MET HIM AND I SAID HE WAS SO GOOD. NUMBER ONE OF HIS CLASS AT WEST POINT. I’M A PERSON WHO STRONGLY BELIEVES IN ACADEMICS. I HAD AN UNCLE WHO WAS A PROFESSOR AT M.I.T. WHO DID A FANTASTIC JOB SO MANY WAYS ACADEMICALLY. HE WAS AN ACADEMIC GENIUS. AND THEN THEY SAY, IS DONALD TRUMP AND INTELLECTUAL? — AN INTELLECTUAL? AND TRUST ME, I’M LIKE A SMART PERSON. [LAUGHTER] HE WAS ESSENTIALLY NUMBER ONE AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL AND HE RAN FOR CONGRESS. AND ANOTHER THING HE DID WAS A HOME RUN. PEOPLE LIKE HIM. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, EVERYBODY RESPECTS HIM. WHEN I TOLD PAUL RYAN I WANTED TO DO THIS, HE WAS FEELING PERSON WHO WASN’T TOTALLY THRILLED. HE SAID I DON’T WANT TO LOSE THIS GUY. BUT YOU WILL BE GETTING A TOTAL STAR, YOU ARE GOING TO BE GETTING A TOTAL GEM. HE’S A GEM. AND I JUST — [APPLAUSE] YOU’LL SEE. YOU’LL SEE, AND MANY OF YOU KNOW ANYWAY. AGAIN, WE HAVE SOME GREAT PEOPLE GOING IN. THAT THIS ONE IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT’S GOING TO BE VERY SPECIAL. BECAUSE, IF THIS IS ONE THAT I HAD TO NAME — IF I HAD TO NAME THE MOST IMPORTANT, THIS WOULD BE ONE OF THEM. YOU DO THE JOB LIKE EVERYBODY IN THIS ROOM IS CAPABLE OF DOING, THE GENERALS ARE WONDERFUL AND THE FIGHTING IS WONDERFUL. BUT IF YOU GIVE THEM THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BOY DOES THE FIGHTING BECOME EASIER, AND BOY DO WE LOSE SO FEWER LIVES AND WIN SO QUICKLY. THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE TO DO. WE HAVE TO START WINNING AGAIN. WHEN I WAS YOUNG — AND OF COURSE I FEEL YOUNG, I FEEL A COME 30, 35, 39. — I FEEL LIKE I’M 30, 35, 39. FIVE STUNTS, SEVEN STOPS, SPEECHES IN FRONT OF 15,000, 19,000. WHEN I WAS YOUNG WE WERE ALWAYS WINNING THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY. WE WOULD WIN WITH TRADE, WE WOULD WIN WITH WARS, AND AT A CERTAIN AGE I REMEMBER HEARING FROM ONE OF MY INSTRUCTORS, THE UNITED STATES HAS NEVER LOST A WAR. AND THEN AFTER THAT IT’S LIKE WE HAVEN’T WON ANYTHING. THE OLD EXPRESSION, TO THE VICTOR BELONG THE SPOILS. YOU WOULD USE TO SAY KEEP THE OIL, I WASN’T A FAN OF IRAQ. BUT I TELL YOU, WHEN WE WERE IN, WE GOT OUT WRONG. I ALWAYS SAID IN ADDITION TO THAT, KEEP THE OIL. I SAID THAT FOR ECONOMIC REASONS. BUT IF WE KEPT THE OIL YOU PROBABLY WOULDN’T HAVE ISIS, BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THEY MADE THE MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE. BUT OK, MAYBE WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE. THE FACT IS WE SHOULD HAVE KEPT THE OIL. I BELIEVE THAT THIS GROUP IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT GROUPS IN THIS COUNTRY TOWARD MAKING US SAFE, TOWARD MAKING US WINNERS AGAIN, TOWARD ENDING ALL OF THE PROBLEMS. WE HAVE SO MANY PROBLEMS THAT ARE INTERRELATED THAT WE DON’T NEED TO THINK OF, BUT ARE INTERRELATED TO THE KIND OF HAVOC IN FEAR THAT THIS SICK GROUP OF PEOPLE HAS CAUSED. I CAN ONLY SAY I AM WITH YOU 1000%, AND THE REASON YOU ARE MY FIRST STOP IS BECAUSE AS YOU KNOW I HAVE A RUNNING WAR WITH THE MEDIA. THEY ARE AMONG THE MOST DISHONEST HUMAN BEINGS. [APPLAUSE] AND THEY SORT OF MADE IT SOUND LIKE I HAD A FEUD WITH THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. I WANT YOU TO KNOW, THE REASON YOU ARE MY NUMBER ONE STOP IS EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. AND THEY UNDERSTAND THAT TOO. I WAS A CLEANING THE NUMBERS, WE DID A THING YESTERDAY, DID A SPEECH — DID EVERYBODY LIKE THE SPEECH? [APPLAUSE] WE HAD A MASSIVE FIELD OF PAPER. I GET UP THIS MORNING AND I TURN ON ONE OF THE NETWORKS AND THEY SHOW AN EMPTY FIELD. I MADE A SPEECH, I LOOKED OUT, THE FIELD LOOKED LIKE ONE MILLION, ONE POINT 5 MILLION PEOPLE. THEY SHOWED A FIELD WHERE PRACTICALLY NO PEOPLE WERE STANDING. AND THEY SAID DONALD TRUMP DID NOT DRAW WELL. IT WAS ALMOST RAINING. BUT GOD LOOKED DOWN AND SAID WE ARE NOT GOING TO RAIN ON YOUR SPEECH. WHEN I FIRST STARTED I SAID, OH NO, THE FIRST LINE I GOT HIT BY A COUPLE OF DROPS. THIS WAS TOO BAD, BUT WE WILL GO RIGHT THROUGH IT. BUT THE TRUTH IS IT STOPPED IMMEDIATELY, IT WAS AMAZING. AND THEN IT WALKED OFF AND IT POURED AFTER I LEFT. WE HAVE SOMETHING THAT’S AMAZING, BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE. IT WENT ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT. AND BY MISTAKE I GET THIS NETWORK — AND IT SHOWED AN EMPTY FIELD AND SAID WE TO 250,000 PEOPLE. NOW THAT’S NOT BAD, BUT IT’S A LIE. WE HAD TO UNDER 50,000 PEOPLE LITERALLY — WE HAD 250,000 PEOPLE LITERALLY AROUND THE LITTLE BALL WE HAD CONSTRUCTED. THE AREA AROUND THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT WAS PACKED. I THINK THEY ARE GOING TO PAY IT BIG PRICE. HERE’S ANOTHER ONE THAT IS INTERESTING, IN THE OVAL OFFICE THERE IS A STATUE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING. I ALSO HAPPEN TO LIKE WINSTON CHURCHILL, I THINK MOST OF US LIKE CHURCHILL. REAL ALLY. AS YOU KNOW THE CHURCHILL STATUE WAS TAKEN OUT, THE BUST. AND AS YOU PROBABLY ALSO HAVE READ, THE PRIME MINISTER IS COMING OVER TO OUR COUNTRY VERY SHORTLY, AND THEY WANTED TO KNOW WHETHER I WOULD LIKE IT BACK. I SAID ABSOLUTELY. I HAVE BEEN ON THEIR COVER ABOUT 14 OR 15 TIMES. I THINK WE HAVE THE ALL-TIME RECORD IN THE HISTORY OF TIME MAGAZINE — IF TOM BRADY IS ON THE COVER, IT’S ONE TIME. I’VE BEEN ON 15 TIMES. I THINK THAT’S A RECORD THAT COULD NEVER BE BROKEN. I WILL SAY, THEY SAID — IT’S VERY INTERESTING. THEY SAID, DONALD TRUMP TOOK DOWN THE BUST, THE STATUE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING. AND IT WAS RIGHT THERE. BUT THERE WAS A CAMERAMAN THAT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. SO TIME MAGAZINE WRITES A STORY ABOUT I TOOK DOWN — I WOULD NEVER DO THAT, BECAUSE I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING. BUT THIS IS HOW DISHONEST THE MEDIA IS. BIG STORY, THE RETRACTION WAS WHERE? WAS IT A LINE, OR DO THEY BOTHER PUTTING IT IN? I LOVE HONESTY, I LIKE HONEST REPORTING. I WILL TELL YOU FINAL TIME, ALTHOUGH WHEN YOU LEAD IN THE THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN TRYING TO COME IN, BECAUSE I AM COMING BACK, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE YOU — WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GET YOU A LARGE ROOM — A LARGER ROOM. [APPLAUSE] AND MAYBE, MAYBE IT WILL BE BUILT BY SOMEBODY WHO KNOWS HOW TO BUILD, AND WE WON’T HAVE COLUMNS. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT? WE GET RID OF THE COLUMNS. BUT I JUST WANTED TO SAY I LOVE YOU, I RESPECT YOU, THERE IS NOBODY I RESPECT MORE, YOU ARE GOING TO DO A FANTASTIC JOB AND WE ARE TO START WINNING AGAIN AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE LEADING THE CHARGE. SO THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH, THANK YOU. I’LL BE BACK. I’LL BE BACK. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE] (music)

The Devolution of a Superpower into a Client State in Two Pictures

Officials of the Japanese and Chinese governments have agreed to move forward with talks on another economic partnership as the prospects for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations are unclear.

The officials met in Tokyo on Wednesday, with Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Keiichi Katakami and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan attending.

They agreed on advancing talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. The 16 member countries include Japan, China, and Southeast Asian countries, but not the United States.

US President-elect Donald Trump says he will take America out of the TPP deal.

Observers say China wants to make RCEP the basis for trade rules in the Asia-Pacific region.

They also say Japan wants RCEP to enable free trade at the same level as the TPP.

A Palestinian delegation to Moscow transmitted a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that asked him to work to prevent the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as American President-elect Donald Trump has announced is his intention.

The delegation was headed by Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization. They met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other senior officials to deliver their message from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Erekat said, “I came with an urgent message from Mahmoud Abbas. We request that President Putin use all the tools at his disposal to prevent Trump from relocating the embassy, because, for us, this is crossing a red line.”

Lavrov said that his country was interested in aiding in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He announced to the press, “We will do our best to help launch direct and substantive talks between Israel and Palestine. As you know, we were ready to host the leaders of Israel and Palestine in Moscow last September. We are ready for it at the present moment, as soon as both sides are able to confirm their readiness.”

Erekat responded, “The President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, accepted the offer of Russia’s president to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow. And our agreement for this suggestion is still in force”

 

When a longstanding regional partner (Japan), whose security you have guaranteed against their largest regional rival (China), decides that it is now time to partner with that rival against their protector you are no longer a superpower. When the leadership of one of the politically, economically, and militarily weakest nationalist movements (the PLO) in the last 100 years turns to your current rival/competitor (Russia) and asks them to get you to do something, you are now a client state.

We are off the looking glass and through the map…

The Inaugural Address of the 45th President of the United States

Excellent Read: “Back on the Mekong Delta… “

From the Washington Post:

CA MAU, Vietnam — It could have been 1969 again as Secretary of State John F. Kerry stood on the bow of the small boat chugging up the Bay Hap River on Saturday, the wind billowing his sleeves and his eyes darting left and right toward banks shrouded in dark foliage.

As a young Navy lieutenant, Kerry commanded a Swift boat along this stretch of churning brown waters in the middle of a free-fire zone. Here, he earned a Silver Star for his heroics when he leapt ashore after an ambush to pursue a fleeing Viet Cong with a grenade launcher and shot him dead.

Now, some 48 years later and with the rapid approach of sunset on a political career spanning almost four decades, Kerry was about to be yanked back to that time, and come face-to-face with a Viet Cong soldier who had taken part in the ambush.

Aides escorted Vo Ban Tam to greet Kerry on the dock, beside a row of blue tourist boats. Tam at 70 is three years younger than Kerry. He was Viet Cong in the communist stronghold of Ca Mau, one of the enemy lying in the tall grasses waiting to entrap unprotected, thin-skinned river patrol boats like Kerry’s.

Tam apparently had been tracked down by U.S. consulate officials and invited to meet the U.S. secretary of state he once tried to kill.

Speaking through a translator, Tam said that he had known the man whom Kerry had chased and killed in the firefight of Feb. 28, 1969.

His name was Ba Thanh, and he was 24 years old.

“He was a good soldier,” Tam told Kerry, explaining the training and skill required to handle an R-40 grenade launcher…

Kerry’s encounter with Tam was the emotional peak of his two-day stop in Vietnam on ­Kerry’s final trip as secretary of state. His office in Foggy Bottom is packed and ready to be shipped to Boston.

It is doubtful the longtime senator from Massachusetts will ever run for public office again, but he will continue to work on climate change and ­environmental issues, and he is particularly concerned about the effect of rising sea levels and hydroelectric dams on the rivers in the lower Mekong Delta. When he wasn’t looking at the ­riverbank for some familiar marker from long ago, he was engrossed in conversation with a local ­scientist who said the effect of rising salinity and dams upstream brought once-in-100-year drought last year and threatened livelihoods…

Breaking News: We Are In Uncharted Territory

Yesterday I wrote this:

While I cannot prove it, it is logical to reason that this information was provided to the McClatchy reporters so that it would be reported before the inauguration on Friday. By getting the information out now, the purpose of the reporting is to make it much more difficult for the incoming Administration to shut this investigation down or to interfere in how it is conducted.

For good, bad, or otherwise this is not going away. And the President-elect and his team seem unwilling to even try to provide reasonable explanations to knock the suspicions back. The longer this drags out the worse it will be. For all of us.

The New York Times has now reported:

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.

And:

The counterintelligence investigation centers at least in part on the business dealings that some of the president-elect’s past and present advisers have had with Russia. Mr. Manafort has done business in Ukraine and Russia. Some of his contacts there were under surveillance by the National Security Agency for suspected links to Russia’s Federal Security Service, one of the officials said.

Mr. Manafort is among at least three Trump campaign advisers whose possible links to Russia are under scrutiny. Two others are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.

And (emphasis added by me):

The decision to open the investigations was not based on a dossier of salacious, uncorroborated allegations that were compiled by a former British spy working for a Washington research firm. The F.B.I. is also examining the allegations in that dossier, and a summary of its contents was provided to Mr. Trump earlier this month.

Representatives of the agencies involved declined to comment. Of the half-dozen current and former officials who confirmed the existence of the investigations, some said they were providing information because they feared the new administration would obstruct their efforts. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.

As Ambassador (ret) McFaul stated:

The New York Times’ reporting now confirms not just yesterday’s reporting by McClatchy, but also some of Heat Street‘s reporting on this from last November.

As I’ve written several times: we are off the looking glass and through the map. We have never had a President sworn into office when he and his team are facing two investigations. One from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the other a counter-intelligence investigation conducted by the US Intelligence Community. It also gives credence to Congressman Elijah Cummings’, the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, statements yesterday.

 

Guest Post From Cheryl Rofer: The Department of Energy, What Does it Do? 🤔

(Not Cheryl Rofer!)

Fails Dancing With The Stars, Wins Nuke Prize

by Cheryl Rofer

According to the New York Times, Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, presidential aspirant, and now Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Energy, um, didn’t know what the Department of Energy does when he accepted Trump’s nomination. “Sure I’ll be Ambassador for Oil and Gas,” he said. Twitter is meeting this revelation with humor and “We’re all going to die.”

In a better world, like the one we’ve been living in the past eight years, Cabinet secretaries actually know something about the organizations they are leading. It’s time to disrupt that fusty idea. We have Betsy DeVos, who wants to eliminate public education, as Education Secretary, a fast-food executive as Labor Secretary, and so on. Rick Perry has advocated eliminating the Department of Energy, so he was the natural pick.

Does that mean we are all going to die? That’s not so much the purview of the Energy Secretary. The President has a military guy who carries around the “football,” which is the most immediate starter of nuclear wars. As far as policy goes, the Secretaries of State and Defense have much more to say about starting wars nuclear and conventional. And, surprisingly for this administration, they actually seem to have responsible views on nuclear weapons. Here are excerpts from James Mattis’s and Rex Tillerson’s testimony to Congress. They are quite different from what Donald Trump has tweeted, and much more like the policies that Obama has followed.

Mattis almost says something that the arms control community has wanted to hear from the president:

the role of nuclear weapons is “[t]o deter nuclear war and to serve as last resort weapons of self-defense.”

Change that to

the only role of nuclear weapons is “[t]o deter nuclear war and to serve as last resort weapons of self-defense.”

and a lot of arms-controllers would be very happy.

The Secretary of Energy is in charge of building and maintaining nuclear weapons, so there is some concern about accidents and such, but fortunately it will not be Rick Perry handling the wrenches or working the gloveboxes. A big downside of someone like Perry is that there is no way he can play the role Ernie Moniz did in developing the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Now the question is how much influence Mattis and Tillerson will have on their boss.

Shaping the Operational Environment: McClatchy Reports that the US Intelligence Community is Investigating Ties Between the Trump Campaign and Russia

Among all the other news, big, medium, and small was this important report:

McClatchy has reported that:

The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said.

The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said.

Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.

And:

The working group is scrutinizing the activities of a few Americans who were affiliated with Trump’s campaign or his business empire and of multiple individuals from Russia and other former Soviet nations who had similar connections, the sources said.

 

ETA: I want to emphasize something important I failed to above or below in the original post: this probe started months before anyone in the US Intel Community new anything about the oppo research documents that were leaked last week:

The informal, inter-agency working group began to explore possible Russian interference last spring, long before the FBI received information from a former British spy hired to develop politically damaging and unverified research about Trump, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the inquiry.

(we now return you to the original post)

While I cannot prove it, it is logical to reason that this information was provided to the McClatchy reporters so that it would be reported before the inauguration on Friday. By getting the information out now, the purpose of the reporting is to make it much more difficult for the incoming Administration to shut this investigation down or to interfere in how it is conducted.

For good, bad, or otherwise this is not going away. And the President-elect and his team seem unwilling to even try to provide reasonable explanations to knock the suspicions back. The longer this drags out the worse it will be. For all of us.

As I wrote last week before the President-elect’s press conference:

As a national security professional, what I would like to see is the President-elect address the now long standing and ongoing allegations regarding his connection to Russia. If the allegations are spurious, as he and his team have claimed every time they’ve come up, or if there is a straightforward and simple explanation that can be made, he needs to make it. I think a lot of the foreign, defense, and national security policy concerns that many across the political spectrum have with the President-elect’s longstanding policy preferences dating back to 1987 arise from all of the smoke around the claims of Russian connections and interference for Russia’s, not the US’s, not the President-elect’s, interests.

The sooner the President-elect and his team can either provide evidence for why the allegations and rumors are spurious or provide a simple and straightforward explanation for the seeming preference for Russia and the abandonment of the post WW II and post Cold War international order the better.