Andrew McCabe Broke Some News Today

Apparently a lot of news! McCabe did an extended interview with Nicolle Wallace this afternoon. I’d like to highlight a couple of important items that were revealed.

The question that didn’t get asked, and even if it did, I’m not sure McCabe would have answered it, is whether he’s got a copy of the four page draft that the President wrote to justify firing Comey? If McCabe has a copy, that’s going to make his lawsuit much, much easier. And if he doesn’t, the discovery is going to be amazing.

McCabe apparently made some other news in his chats with the former DOJ and FBI officials who Wallace had booked as her contributing commentators for the remainder of the segment.

According to Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for National Security (that’s the counterintelligence and counter-terrorism division), McCabe related to Figliuzzi and former DOJ spokesman Matt Miller in the green room before the show that he didn’t open new investigations into the President. Rather, he added the President to the existing and ongoing counterintelligence investigation into the Russian active measures campaign against the US. Figliuzzi also related that McCabe informed them that he also added the obstruction of justice investigation into the President’s actions to that ongoing investigation into the Russian active measures campaign against the US. It is this counterintelligence investigation that Robert Mueller inherited when he was appointed as the special counsel.

I know everyone is stressed right now, especially given CNN’s somewhat credulous reporting and The Washington Post‘s much tighter reporting that the Special Counsel is winding down his investigation. And what that may or may not mean. I know others are still angry that no one was doing anything to stop this from happening as it was happening. What was revealed today, however, confirms what we knew: that something was, indeed, happening. Specifically a counterintelligence investigation had been opened into the President’s campaign, his business, a number of people within the President’s orbit, and then ultimately the President in regard to the Russian active measures campaign against the US.

I have no idea what next week is going to bring, let alone March, but I do know something about counterintelligence and counterintelligence investigations. And that something includes that these things are designed to be completely compartmented, not to leak, and to take as long as they take. Because the purpose of them is to identify, delineate, and then stop the threat to US national security. Sometimes this means prosecutions. A lot of times it doesn’t. The Venona counterintelligence investigation lasted from 1943 until 1980 and the materials it produced weren’t declassified until 1993!

At this point we don’t really know whether the Special Counsel is, indeed, finishing up. Or whether he’s just streamlining for the next phase of the investigation he’s pursuing. Or if he’s just handing everything off to the career prosecutors in the appropriate Federal districts, as well as the appropriate state (New York and Maryland) and local (Washington DC) prosecutors who will bring the rest of the indictments and carry out the rest of the prosecutions based on the work that the Special Counsel’s Office has been conducting for the past two years. But we do know that some people, even as we’ve discovered that they are flawed, working in Federal institutions that don’t always get it right, stood up and made difficult decisions to ensure that the appropriate investigations were opened and situated in a way that they could be conducted.

I’m going to leave the last word here to former US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce Vance:

Everybody take a deep breath and cut yourselves and everyone else a little slack. This is a marathon, not a sprint. And as BettyC has highlighted for us all, there’s a new sheriff in DC and she takes her responsibilities as the leader of the co-equal legislative branch of government very seriously. As do her deputies.

Open thread!

PS: I fully expect that if Attorney General Barr tries to bury Special Counsel’s work so it never sees the light of day that it will leak. And before that happens, as was the case with Jeff Sessions and Matt Whitaker, I expect information to leak about Barr and his past actions and activities. As was the case with the leak about Sessions’ contacts with Kislyak that forced his recusal and the leak that the company that Whitaker had been involved with was under Federal investigation, something will be leaked about Barr as a warning shot across the bow. Sessions was smart enough to get the message. I’m not sure if Whitaker was, but it really didn’t seem to matter. We’ll have to wait and see if Barr is as smart as Sessions.



Roger Stone Pursues the Path to Martyr-dumb!

Bless his heart…

National security correspondent Dan Murphy has the chain of transmission:

Stone has already deleted the instagram post, and, of course, thrown an employee under the bus. Long time members of the party of personal responsibility never seem to take personal responsibility…

To be serious here for a moment, a simple google image search for Judge Amy Berman Jackson, returns dozens of images of her. To find one with a cross hairs image or logo near her head meant that whomever went looking for an image for Stone’s post had to specifically either be looking for an image like that or trying to create one. Which is not surprising given that Stone has a long history of positing material with anti-Semitic themes or borrowing them from people and our sites that do. Here’s just one example. Also, why does it look like Rudy has a squirrel crawling around in his flight suit? Ewww!!!

In regard to Roger Stone, as they say in the south: that boy ain’t right!

This will definitely not get Judge Jackson removed from the case, but it is likely to get Federal law enforcement to overreact. Especially as some of the people who follow the conspiracy theories that Stone promotes tend to take them to heart and then take violent action as a result of them.

Though it is interesting to watch the seeming political evolution of former Congressman Joe Walsh:

Open thread!



Bibi Netanyahu Calls for War or Combat Against Iran

The US held and participated in a summit in Warsaw today. It was originally supposed to be solely about Iran and held at the urging of Israel. Where you see Israel in that sentence, read Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. The US’s allies, especially our EU and NATO allies, pushed back and made it clear they weren’t on board for an anti-Iran summit and they were still displeased that the US unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA. Then Bibi decided to tweet and open his mouth.

This first tweet was deleted and replaced with the second one:

The Hebrew word for war is milchamah. The Hebrew word for combat is lichimah. For those non-Hebrew speakers/readers here, Hebrew is based around three letter roots. So milchamah and lichimah share the same three letter root of a lamed (l sound), chet (ch/guttral “h” sound), and mim (m sound). They’re obviously linguistically related and they’re not normally interchanged, though sometimes they are just as we will sometimes interchange war and combat. However, when we do this in English we almost always do it within the context of an actual war. And while I’ve never had this discussion with a native Hebrew speaker, I’d expect it would work the same way in Hebrew. The Israelis, as reported by Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC, are claiming this is a matter of a bad translation in the tweets. I find this hard to believe given that Netanyahu is a fluent English speaker as he lived in the US for a significant amount of time growing up. (Full disclosure: I used to be non-native fluent in Hebrew and non-native functional in Arabic. I have used neither language in a very long time and I’m lucky to be fluent in English on a good day!)

The problem here is that when Bibi made remarks tot he press he specifically used milchamah (war) in his spoken remarks to the press (emphasis mine):

Netanyahu made the comments during an off-the-cuff interview with reporters on a Warsaw street, shortly after meeting Oman’s foreign minister.

“From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran,” Netanyahu said.

“What is important about this meeting — and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those — is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,” he added.

Although Netanyahu used the Hebrew word “milchama,” or war, his office later changed its official translation and said he was referring to a “common interest of combatting Iran.”

He has long used tough language against Iran. But his latest comments, which appeared to include a call for war, went beyond his standard rhetoric. Netanyahu’s office later issued a clarification, saying his remarks had been mistranslated.

I don’t think this was an accident and I don’t buy the explanation of the walk back. I think Bibi knew exactly what he was doing. That during the week of the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution, he was attempting to create a provocation. His word choices and uses here, including the walk back, are a feint to see if he can draw Iran into doing something that can be declared to be offensive.

Bibi Netanyahu is very willing to actually fight a war against Iran until there are no Americans left to die for his warmongering, megalomaniacal monomania. He is perfectly willing to sacrifice as much American blood and treasure as necessary to achieve his goals against Iran and within the region. As are Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates to achieve theirs. Of course, other than destroying Iran, those regional objectives are at odds. The Israelis and the Saudis both seek to be the regional hegemon, which is one of the reasons that Iran must be destroyed because it also aspires to regional hegemony. As does Erdogan in Turkey.

The President’s point man on the Middle East is his son in law, who appears to be an asset of Netanyahu from long time familial connections, as well as bin Salman and bin Zayed.  Jared is an idiot from a family with a lot of money, money that was used to buy his educational credentials. Unfortunately he thinks he’s a world historic and world history making figure.

Also, Rudy Giuliani is at this summit because he’s a paid agent for the Mujahedin al Khalq (MEK), which positions itself as the legitimate government of Iran in exile. In reality it is a cult and a terrorist group.

No good will come of any of this.

Open thread.

ETA at 3:55 PM:

In case anyone, like the President, the Vice President, Congressman McCarthy, etc, was unclear, I’m Jewish and yes, I’m criticizing Israel’s prime minister and, at least, one of his and Israel’s current government’s policies. This is not anti-Semitic. If you think it is or that I am or are considering stating that I am, you can go fuck yourselves sideways with a hanukiah!



Five Questions Regarding Governor Northam (D-VA)

I’m not here to pick a fight with BettyC, but I have some questions regarding this breaking news about Governor Northam. This isn’t a defense of him, of the picture in the yearbook, but I have some questions that are concerning me.

1) Is that him in that picture, if not who is it, and/or is it something that was put on his page by the yearbook staff?

2) Why didn’t his own in house oppo team turn this up when doing their own pre candidacy oppo review.

3) Why didn’t Perriello’s or Gardner’s oppo teams turn this up?

4) Is this in any other copies of the yearbook?

5) Who tipped off Big League Politics?

6) If this is him, when is he resigning?

I’m especially interested in questions 2, 3, 4, and 5. Every candidate or, really, potential candidate has their opposition research team (oppo) do as deep a dive as can be done on themselves to ensure there are no gotcha surprises either during the campaign or, should the candidate be successful, once in office. Governor Northam has held elected office for twelve years. So why didn’t his own internal oppo review, let alone the oppo researchers working for Tom Perriello or Corey Gardner, his Democratic primary opponent and Republican general election opponent respectively, find this? Given that Gardner ran on a fusion neo-Confederate/Trumpist platform, you’d think his team would have been looking for anything to help immunize him against the accurate charges being made about his own character. Moreover, why didn’t the oppo researchers of any of Northam’s other opponents ever find this starting with his first run for office in 2007?

I’d also like to know if there are any other copies of this yearbook that have survived until 2019. And, if so, is this picture on his page in these other copies. Or did either the person who tipped off Big League Politics or someone at Big League Politics doctor the copy that The Virginia Pilot and The Washington Post are reporting on? And that leads to the question of who the person was who tipped off Big League Politics?

I’m not in any way suggesting this isn’t bad. Nor that if it turns out that this is, indeed, Northam’s page and that is Northam in the picture, either in black face or in the Klan outfit, he should try to brazen this out. If he’s either of the two men in the picture, he’s got to go. But I find the timing curious, given the past 48 hours where Republican officials, elites and notables within the conservative movement that controls the Republican Party, and conservative news and other conservative media outlets have attempted to paint Northam as a baby killer, proponent and supporter of infanticide. Since that largely hasn’t worked, I find it interesting that this would drop right now. Especially as it isn’t going to bring a Republican into the Virginia governor’s mansion. Rather, Northam would be back filled by Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. Who is more progressive, is African-American, and isn’t having any of the Virginia GOP’s neo-Confederate bullshit.

Updated at 6:30 PM EDT

Here’s Northam’s statement. So that answers question #1 and makes question #4 moot. It’ll be interesting to see if he can survive this or if he eventually resigns.

Update 2 at 11:00 PM EDT

I expect he’ll be resigning tomorrow morning.

Open thread!



The Special Forces of Liberty is My USO Tour Cover Band Name! MAGA-Dopes on Patrol Edition

As we make our way through this long Friday afternoon waiting to see what, if anything, comes from the sealed documents/indictments that the Special Counsel’s Office filed yesterday and trying to make sense of why the President thinks the Federal government can negotiate “cash on hand” contracts (Narrator: the Federal government cannot negotiate cash on hand contracts), we should check in on the MAGA-Dopes and their ongoing, low intensity warfare campaign of terrorism across the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Let’s start with the snark…

We interrupt this snark for the actual factual information, from Courthouse News (emphasis mine):

HOUSTON (CN) — Christian activists who tried to stop Houston libraries from hosting “Drag Queen Storytime” because it allegedly promotes the LGBT community’s “secular humanist” religion lack standing, a federal judge ruled Thursday, dismissing the lawsuit.

Three Christian men, including a pastor, sued Houston Public Library Executive Director Rhea Lawson and Mayor Sylvester Turner in October 2018 after an online petition and a protest outside a city library did not persuade Lawson to cancel the events that the library advertised as “an imaginative storytelling experience.”

“Picture books and songs shared by vibrant performers will excite and instill a love for reading for the entire family,” the library said on its website for the story hours it hosted once a month from August to December 2018.

Lead plaintiff Tex Christopher said in the lawsuit that “‘gay marriage’ is ‘fake marriage’” and that, as a Houston taxpayer and library cardholder, he has standing because the library specially ordered books for the story hours and made flyers for them.

“The plaintiffs believe that LGBTQ ideology is immoral, obscene and subversive to human flourishing and that the LGBTQ ideology is inseparably linked to the religion of Secular Humanism,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs said in the complaint that the library was “brainwashing the children of Houston” while denying Christian groups’ requests to host Christian-related events.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal dismissed their lawsuit Thursday for lack of standing and failure to state a viable First Amendment Establishment Clause claim.

Rosenthal said the men could not prove the threshold issue that they had been injured by the story hour because it’s unclear from their pleadings that any of them attended the events.

“The plaintiffs assert the very opposite: they purposefully avoided ‘Drag Queen Storytime’ because of its alleged immorality and potential to harm their children. Instead of witnessing the event, the plaintiffs ‘researched [it] online,’” Rosenthal wrote in a 19-page order.

Rosenthal said their allegations of injuries are much broader than “Drag Queen Storytime” in Houston libraries, and that shutting down the events here would not redress their grievances.

She said they are using the litigation to “protest the gay-rights movement and the legal rights federal courts have recognized for members of the LGBTQ community.”

Plaintiff Chris Sevier is also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit in Lafayette, La., that led that city’s library director in October 2018 to “stand down on planning a Drag Queen Story Hour” while the litigation is pending, court records show.

Rosenthal also rejected the plaintiff’s claim that they have standing because they pay sales and property taxes in Houston that were used to fund the story hours.

“The plaintiffs allege the purchase of children’s books and creation of a flyer but fail to allege that either were ‘a measurable appropriation’ of the Library’s $40,000,000 budget, or both cost more than a de minimis amount. These costs, individually or in the aggregate, do not confer standing,” wrote Rosenthal, chief judge of the Southern District of Texas.

She refused to credit the Christians’ claims that because the LGBT community practices the religion of secular humanism, “Drag Queen Storytime” violates the Establishment Clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

The judge found that even if she accepted that secular humanism is a religion under the Establishment Clause, there is no evidence that any drag queens discussed it at the events.

“Because the plaintiffs do not allege facts that do or could show that the event is a religious activity, there is no issue of establishment of religion,” she wrote.  

In his original complaint, Christopher said he sued “in his capacity as a community leader,” and that he and his co-plaintiffs, including De Factor Attorney Generals and Special Forces of Liberty, “have been violently and/or viciously persecuted by the LGBTQ church and devout members of the Secular Humanist religion for refusing to respect and endorse a worldview that is objectively immoral, obscene, and subversive to human flourishing.”

We now return you to the regularly scheduled snark.

I really do not want to know what evidence that Christopher submitted in support of his claim that he’s be violently and/or viciously persecuted by the LGBTQ church and devout members of the Secular Humanist religion.

Unfortunately one of the Special Forces of Liberty, or was it one of the De Factor Attorney Generals – who can keep them straight without a program? – decided to take his 2nd Amendment rights out for some exercise…

From The Independent (emphasis mine):

Donald Trump supporter reportedly armed with a gun barged into a Texas library in an attempt to stop a drag queen reading books to children.

James Greene was arrested on suspicion of trespassing after refusing to leave Houston’s Freed-Montrose Library, but claimed he was detained for being a “white Christian” and accused staff of satanism.

He had entered the building to protest against Drag Queen Storytime, a programme of events in which performers read children’s stories to families.

The conservative radio host has previously been banned from the library for filming children during similar demonstrations.

Footage filmed by Mr Greene and posted on YouTube shows him remonstrating with police officers as they ask him to leave the building. Another clip shows him being handcuffed in the libary’s car park.

He added: “He was previously banned for filming children at the library, and has been known to cause disturbances. Several officers had to escort him out.”

Mr Greene later recounted the incident in a Facebook video, wearing a Make America Great Again hat in front of a cardboard cut-out of Mr Trump. He claimed he was “arrested for being a white Christian” and accused a librarian at Freed-Montrose of being a “satanist”

Of course he did…

Bless his heart!

Remember, the only thing that can stop a bad MAGA hat wearing guy with a gun is a Drag Queen with a children’s story book.

Alright children are we ready? Good! See James be creepy at the library. See library officials ask the strange men who likes to act out in front of children in public to leave. See James threaten the nice library officials. See the library officials call 911. See the police officer ask James to leave. See James refuse because he’s a white, Christian man and this is Texas by God! See James get taken into custody and not shot because he’s a white, Christian man and this is Texas by God! And every one lived happily ever after. Now who’s ready for another story?

While I wish it wasn’t the case, this kind of stupid behavior will eventually stop when one of these morons pulls this stuff on a financially well off, professional ethnic and/or religious minority who both conceal carries and lives in a Stand Your Ground state. At that point they will learn the hard way that the old maxim that “God made man, Samuel Colt made all men equal” doesn’t just apply to white guys. And then things are going to get really exciting.

Open thread!