Livin on Phat Pockets on Flat With the Gat

Well, well, well:

Almost two weeks after President Donald Trump’s tweets accusing his predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower, the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee tried to offer some support by saying that the president’s team was caught up in a U.S. surveillance net.

Representative Devin Nunes said Wednesday that the intelligence community collected multiple conversations involving members of Trump’s transition team during legal surveillance of foreign targets after he won election last year. After Nunes went to the White House to brief Trump, the president told reporters “I somewhat do” feel vindicated by the latest development.

The committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, said Nunes’s decision to go to Trump before informing other members of the panel “casts quite a profound cloud” over whether the committee can conduct a proper investigation.

Nunes said he was “alarmed” to discover that the identities of Trump aides were revealed in intelligence community documents. “Details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in an intelligence community report,” he said, adding that he didn’t know if Trump’s “own communications were intercepted.”

First off, let’s dispense with the nonsense that Trump should feel vindicated. He claimed he was wiretapped, he wasn’t. This was routine surveillance on known bad actors and his team got caught up in it because… they were consorting with known bad actors. It’s the difference between me having my microwave take pictures of me in my underwear screaming “FASTER” while I nuke a hotpocket and me being accidentally picked up on a recording of drug dealers when I went to buy crack. Instead of being validated that he was in fact being wiretapped, a more clever man would wonder if maybe he should spend so much time hanging out with crack dealers. Donald Trump is not a clever man.

Second, Rep. Adam Schiff is about to fucking explode:

I’d like to know what kind of shit Bannon has on Devin Nunes, because at this point it has to be in the “live boy” territory.

Meanwhile, addled old warmonger Walnuts almost killed a man rushing to the cameras to throw in his two fucking cents, and while it contains a bit of the pox on both houses bullshit, what he is calling for would be HIGHLY entertaining:

Congress no longer has the credibility to independently tackle a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and President Trump and his associates’ ties to Moscow, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday.

“It’s a bizarre situation, and what I think, the reason why I’m calling for this select committee or a special committee, is I think that this back-and-forth and what the American people have found out so far that no longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone,” McCain told MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren. “And I don’t say that lightly.”

McCain’s comments come amid an increasingly bitter feud that erupted between members of the House Intelligence Committee earlier Wednesday, after the panel’s chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) claimed that he had seen evidence that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally surveilled members of Trump’s transition team.

The inadvertent surveillance, Nunes said, was not tied to ongoing Russia investigation.

The committee’s top Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) fired back, blasting Nunes for routing the committee before briefing Trump himself on the apparent findings and saying that the move “casts quite a profound cloud” over the panel’s investigation.

And why the fuck not? We spent ten days investigating Bill Clinton’s Christmas Card list, who knows how many hundreds of millions on other sham investigations into Bill and Hillary, why not spend a couple million to lift up Putin’s kilt and see if we find Trump down there on his knees?








Open Thread: An Unprecedented Drain on the National Coffers

Nearly half of the additional money, $26.8 million, would pay to protect President Trump’s family and private home in New York’s Trump Tower, the documents show, while $33 million would be spent on travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state.”

The documents, part of the Secret Service’s request for the fiscal 2018 budget, reflect the costly surprise facing Secret Service agents tasked with guarding the president’s large and far-flung family, accommodating their ambitious travel schedules and fortifying the three-floor Manhattan penthouse where first lady Melania Trump and her son, Barron, live…

The budget requests reflect a potentially awkward contrast between Trump’s efforts to cut federal spending in many areas and the escalating costs of his freewheeling travel itinerary. Trump jetted to Mar-a-Lago on Friday for his fifth post-inauguration weekend trip, one day after the White House released a federal budget proposing deep cuts to many government programs.

Former agents said the requests indicate that the agency had to adapt to offer full protection for a president and first family who appear to have placed few limits on their personal travel and living arrangements….

Some of the public funding could potentially become revenue for Trump’s private company, the Trump Organization, which owns the Trump Tower that agents must now protect. The Defense Department and Secret Service have sought to rent space in Trump Tower but have not said how much space they’re interested in, or at what cost. Neither the Secret Service nor the Trump Organization have disclosed how much public money, if any, is being spent toward Trump Tower space or other costs…

The Secret Service’s protection costs are only a fraction of the total public spending devoted to safeguarding Trump properties. New York police spent roughly $24 million toward security costs at Trump Tower between the election and inauguration, according to police figures provided to The Post.

At Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach County officials say their sheriff’s office has spent more than $1.5 million toward overtime for deputies guarding the exclusive resort Trump has taken to calling “the southern White House” and “winter White House.”

County officials have proposed levying a special fee on the resort, saying they would have to otherwise raise taxes on local residents to help cover its high security costs. The Coast Guard has also paid to provide round-the-clock patrols of the resort’s two coastlines, including through the use of a gun-mounted response boat that, according to agency budget documents, costs $1,500 an hour…

SO MUCH FOR FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, REPUBS!



Turning Americanese

Posted without comment:

During a panel discussion on “Anderson Cooper 360” Monday evening, Lord and seven other commentators discussed the president’s baseless claims that President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. When the conversation turned to Trump’s credibility, Lord appeared to be the lone guest unwilling to call the president a liar.

On an average day, that might have been par for the course for Lord, who has established himself as a reliable Trump booster since joining CNN as a paid analyst in the summer of 2015.

But Lord’s interlocutors weren’t having it. Hours earlier, FBI Director James B. Comey had snuffed out Trump’s wiretapping allegations, testifying under oath that there was “no information” indicating Obama had spied on his campaign. Even Comey was calling Trump a liar, they argued.

Lord saw it differently, repeating the claim by some Trump backers that he didn’t mean what he said about wiretapping and therefore couldn’t be lying.

Trump, he said, was speaking “Americanese” when he tweeted that Obama had orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot against him. The president’s supporters knew what he meant, but Washington insiders didn’t and blew it out of proportion.

Cooper and other guests seemed baffled.

My head hurts.








Early Morning Open Thread: Not Lookin’ Good Right Now, Our Roger

Politico, “Roger Stone takes center stage as Congress lines up Russia probe witnesses”

On Monday, Schiff placed Stone front-and-center as he questioned FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers.

Schiff made the most of his opportunity Monday during the committee’s first public hearing of its probe into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow officials on the alleged digital meddling campaign that bruised Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The lawmaker pressed Comey on whether he knew who Stone is and if he was aware of Stone’s interactions with suspected hackers.

Comey said he was “generally” aware of who Stone is but wouldn’t comment on his reported activities.

“I’m worried we’re going to a place I don’t want to go, which is commenting on any particular person,” Comey added. “So I don’t think I should comment. I’m aware of public accounts.”…

Stone, who is in the midst of promoting a book on last year’s election, has a ready explanation for each action that has drawn the attention of lawmakers. He will gladly share them if asked.

“I don’t have to be subpoenaed,” Stone told POLITICO in an interview last week. “I’d come voluntarily, but if they want to issue a subpoena to get a headline, that’s fine, too. I’m anxious to speak, the sooner the better. I would like to put an end to this myth about collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”…

The document sent to Stone requests he retain pertinent documents from the campaign. However, [Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr] Burr said there is no timeline yet for bringing in Stone.

“Sometimes the people that want to talk the most are not the ones who are the most valuable,” he said.

CNN has a helpful timeline of every incident where “Trump adviser Roger Stone repeatedly claimed to know of forthcoming WikiLeaks dumps”.

I’m quite sure ol’ Roger is busy at what he does best — massaging his every source, promising to rat out all his associates, attempting to make sure that never happens. Still, like Mr. Pierce, I can dream!



Long Read(s): Kellyanne Conway Is Having A Moment

It may be, as some Conway-skeptics have hinted, that she’s pushing her narrative hard because she’s feeling “shut out” in the latest battles among the Trump cabal’s inner circle. It may be that her husband has just been, per the NYTimes, chosen to head the civil division of the Justice Department… placing him in charge of a crucial office charged with defending Mr. Trump’s contentious travel ban and lawsuits alleging that his business activities violate the Constitution.” (And the photo of the happy couple the Times picked for its header speaks volumes.) Or it may just be the exigences of long-form journalism, where multiple stories on the same subject emerge simultaneously because such reporting takes time.

In any case, here’s hoping (/snark) that her sudden celebrity doesn’t lead her boss and idol to feel overshadowed, because we know how he’s prone to lashing out under such circumstances .

Olivia Nuzzi, in NYMag, on “The Real First Lady of Trump’s America“:

On the third floor of the West Wing, one flight past the stairwell portrait of President Donald Trump talking on his Android phone, is an office once occupied by Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Barack Obama; Karl Rove, senior adviser to George W. Bush; and First Lady Hillary Clinton. By cramped White House standards, it’s an expansive space, complete with a desk, a conference table, a couch, a bookshelf stocked with a single copy of The Art of the Deal, a duffel bag full of family photos and a couple of pairs of Spanx — and, through the blinds, a view of the Washington Monument. And on this February day, its current tenant, Kellyanne Conway, was explaining how her life had changed in the nine months since she joined the campaign of the man who would ultimately become the 45th president of the United States — for one thing, she now answers to “Blueberry.”

That’s because she’s one of the only officials in the White House, other than President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, to have Secret Service protection — which staffers receive at the special request of the president, who has famously referred to her as “my Kellyanne.” She got the protection, Conway said, after she was sent a suspicious white substance. And then there were the threats. “Most of them are online,” she remarked, “and most of them are very explicit and graphic, and they’re sometimes people who have a history of following through but for whatever reason weren’t prosecuted.”…

Conway laughed with her assistant, a 26-year-old College Republicans alum named Catharine Cypher, as she tried to explain the absurdity of hearing the stoic armed men who follow her around refer in all earnestness to the whereabouts of one Miss Blueberry… “Oh my God, there’s no privacy! It’s crazy, it really is crazy.” And it can get complicated. “I have two friends, who both — well, one is Ann Coulter. She started dating her security guard probably ten years ago because she couldn’t see anybody else,” Conway said. “And you know Rebekah Mercer?” she asked, referring to the Republican megadonor who, with her father, Robert, bankrolled Trump’s campaign and pushed to install Conway as its campaign manager. “Her younger sister, Heather Sue, married her security guard. She was like, ‘Well, I didn’t see anybody else, so one night, I, you know, I invited him in!’ ” Conway’s got a running joke about one of her own agents. “If Blueberry has an affair, it’s with Secret Service! It’s with Joe.” She deepened her voice to mimic his: “ ‘Ma’am? Blueberry, horsepower!’ ” (Coulter and the Mercer family did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
Read more



Thursday Evening Open Thread: Same As It Ever Was

Our own Southern Beale went to that Nashville rally:

What a bizarre event.

Trump’s campaign started robo-calling supporters in a four-county area 48 hours ago offering free tickets. The optics they were going for, of course, was, “thousands of people lined up to get in,” which isn’t as hard as it sounds when your venue is the Municipal Auditorium, not exactly the largest rink in town. However, they got the crowd they wanted: thousands of people were, indeed, lined up … all the way down James Robertson Parkway, all the way up to the state capitol, all the way around the building. I’m guessing there were 15-20,000, but I’ve heard other figures that are higher. Let it be said: most if not all of these folks could have fit inside the Titans’ football stadium. But that wouldn’t have provided Trump with the necessary ego-gratification that comes with a “standing room only/thousands turned away” narrative…

Click over to SB’s blog for more — including photos of the event.
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Apart from catching up, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



So Much for the McDonald’s Heart Healthy Low Sodium Diet

Because this is salty as fuck:

Oh my.