Ambassador Taylor’s Opening Statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

The Washington Post has obtained and published Ambassador Taylor’s opening statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The link to it is here. And the pdf can be directly accessed from Balloon Juice below.


Open thread!

Monday Morning Open Thread: Speaking Truth

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Readership Capture


Women Spilling the Tea

When asked earlier this week what she was saying to Trump in the photo he posted on Twitter (which she subsequently used as the background photo on her own Twitter page), Pelosi said she was probably asking why “all roads lead to Putin.”

Pelosi isn’t the only woman who’s telling the truth. In a podcast interview, Hillary Clinton spilled more piping hot beverages than a wildly ill-advised first-grade class field trip to the Russian Tea Room:

In a conversation on former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Clinton suggested the Russians are leveraging a number of top U.S. politicians. She suggested Russia had kompromat on Trump. She accused 2016 Green Party nominee Jill Stein of being a “Russian asset.” And she suggested Russia might back Gabbard as a third-party candidate.

“They’re also going to do third-party again,” Clinton said. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

“And that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset,” Clinton said. “Yeah, she’s a Russian asset — I mean, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed.”

At another point in the interview, Clinton wagered that Russia does in fact have some compromising material on Trump, suggesting that’s why so many of Trump’s decisions have erred in a pro-Russian direction.

“I don’t know what Putin has on him, whether it’s both personal and financial,” Clinton said. “I assume it is.”

The endless scandal shit-storm that is the Trump administration is numbing. This week, two iconic women — one the most powerful elected official in the Democratic Party and the other the popular vote winner in the last election — accused the president of being under the control of a foreign autocrat, and it wasn’t even the lead story in a major daily.

Open thread.

A Badly Executed Mob Shakedown: The President’s Ukraine Mess Is Just An Extension of His Russia Mess

On Friday I wrote the following in an email explaining what is actually going on with the Ukraine mess that the President has made:

I amazed that all of this current brouhaha is just a really bad Russian mob shakedown. The play here is to get Parnas’s and Fruman’s boss in the Russian mob, Dmitri Firtash, off of house arrest and out from under the extradition warrant to the US so he can go back to Kyiv and take over the Ukrainian natural gas industry, strip it of every last penny, then crash it on behalf of Putin and the Russian mob. This then forces Ukraine to buy natural gas from Russia, which allows Putin to then further knuckle Ukraine by sucking resources out of Ukraine to create leverage to force Ukraine back into his orbit. As was reported last night, Giuliani is on Parnas’s payroll and has been for a while. Parnas is on DiGenova’s and Toensing’s payroll, who are working pro bono with Giuliani on behalf of the President, though they’re using him as their translator for their legal work for Firtash. Parnas and Fruman report to Firtash in regard to Russian organized crime activities. Firtash works for the Kyiv born Semion Mogilevich, who is the titular head of the Bratva. Mogolivech works for Putin who is the functional krysha/roof/protector of the Bratva. The Biden stuff is simply disinformation recycled from the Russians from 2014 as part of the maskirovka.

Earlier this evening, Andrew Weiss, who is the Vice President for Studies of The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is in their Russia and Eurasia Program, tweeted the following explainer that really delineates all the parts of the network I was describing in my email from last Friday. (I’m going to put the first half above the jump and the second half below it).

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