Thursday, January 31, 2019

Intelligence Chiefs Appointed By Trump Tell Congress He's Wrong-- About Virtually Everything


Mattis and Kelly by Nancy Ohanian

A new poll from Morning Consult offered some more bad news for Trump and his congressional enablers-- and for xenophobes in general. Just 31% of voters support shutting the government down again to force Congress to pay for Trump's vanity-wall, while 58% are opposed to another shutdown. Only 38% like TRump's idea of declaring a state of emergency to build his wall and a majority of Americans oppose it. The latest poll from Quinnipiac-- the one that shows voters trust Nancy Pelosi more than Trump, 49-42%-- shows the minority of Americans who support Trump's wall has shrunk from 43% to 41%, while the 55% of voters who oppose it has remained rock steady.

And it isn't only voters who have no stomach for another shutdown over this idiotic wall of Trump's. Miss McConnell (R-KY), who is unpopular back home and across the country-- and is up for reelection next year-- has changed the famous quote about people who refuse to learn hard lessons: "There certainly would be no education in the third kick of the mule." Yesterday, Jordain Carney reported that "Senate Republicans are signaling they will do just about anything to prevent a second shutdown after the White House was widely seen as badly losing the political fight over the closure that ended with President Trump’s retreat on Friday. Republicans are in no mood to be dragged back into another partial closure in mid-February, the deadline to get a deal on spending for roughly a quarter of the government. The Senate Majority Whip, John Thune (R-SD) characterized a shutdown as a "pox on all of our houses" and McConnell told the media that he "doesn't like shutdowns. I don’t think they work for anybody, and I hope that they would be avoided. I’m for whatever works, which means avoiding a shutdown and avoiding the president feeling that he should declare a national emergency." This comes just when Trump is doubling down and demanding a wall that now includes the coasts of Alabama and Louisiana. He also flipped out on his own intelligence officials:

Shane Harris reported for the Washington Post this week that the intelligence chiefs, testifying before Congress, all took issue with Trump's dangerous fantasies. Trump appointees Gina Haspel (CIA Director), Christopher Wray (FBI Director), Dan Coats (Director of National Intelligence) and others "threw cold water" on Trump's self-serving bullshit that the U.S. and North Korea "will achieve a lasting peace and that the regime will ultimately give up its nuclear weapons."

The distance between the intelligence community and the White House extended to areas that have ignited fierce political debates in Washington.

None of the officials said there is a security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where Trump has considered declaring a national emergency so that he can build a wall.

Coats noted that high crime rates and a weak job market are likely to spur migrants from Central America to cross into the United States. But he also sounded optimistic that Mexico will cooperate with the Trump administration to address violence and the flow of illegal drugs, problems that Trump has said Mexico isn’t addressing sufficiently.

Officials also warned that the Islamic State was capable of attacking the United States and painted a picture of a still-formidable organization. Trump has declared the group defeated and has said he wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria as a result.

Coats noted that the terrorist group has suffered “significant leadership and territorial losses.” But it still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, he said, and maintains eight branches, more than a dozen networks and attracts thousands of supporters around the world.

The officials assessed that the government of Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon, despite the Trump administration’s persistent claims that the country has been violating the terms of an international agreement forged during the Obama administration.

Officials told lawmakers that Iran was in compliance with the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as some officials had previously said privately. But Iranian leaders are discussing reneging on the deal if they fail to reap the economic benefits it was supposed to bring after international sanctions were lifted, Haspel said. The Trump administration has reimposed U.S. sanctions.

Intelligence officials largely sidestepped lawmakers’ questions about why certain White House staffers were given security clearances after problems were discovered in their background checks that might ordinarily keep personnel from obtaining access to classified information.

Officials also warned, as they did last year, about Russia’s intention to interfere with the U.S. political system via “information warfare” waged largely on social media, which stokes social and political tensions to divide Americans. Other countries are likely to employ those tactics, as well, Coats said.

“We expect our adversaries and strategic competitors to refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other’s experiences, suggesting the threat landscape could look very different in 2020 and future elections,” the intelligence director said in his written statement.

Trump continues to equivocate on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election on his behalf, contradicting the unanimous assessment of all the top intelligence officials currently serving.

At last year’s threats hearing, leaders focused much of their remarks on Russia, unanimously concluding that the country was trying to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections by sowing discord and confusion via social media, as it had two years earlier in the U.S. presidential race.

Last week, Coats emphasized in a national intelligence strategy document that U.S. spy agencies were turning their main focus away from fighting global terrorist networks toward countering Russia and other state adversaries seen as geopolitical threats to the United States.

The United States will be challenged in coming years, the strategy concluded, by nations that exploit “the weakening of the post-WWII international order and dominance of Western democratic ideals” and “increasingly isolationist tendencies in the West.”
Trump went ballistic and it didn't help any that Stars and Stripes, widely read by members of the armed forces, then reported that the intelligence agencies directly contradicted the idiot in the White House and that "their analysis stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s almost singular focus on security gaps at the border as the biggest threat facing the United States...The intelligence assessment, which is provided annually to Congress, made no mention of a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, which Trump has asserted as the basis for his demand that Congress finance a border wall. The report predicted additional U.S.-bound migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with migrants preferring to travel in caravans in hopes of a safer journey."

A glimmer of hope. Greg Sargent thinks Trump's hysteria and rage will give the Democrats an opening to solve this mess. Trump's childish tweeting "is actually restricting the maneuvering room Republicans will have in these bipartisan conference talks, which are focused on finding a compromise on Department of Homeland Security funding that will avert another government shutdown in mid-February. Trump is letting it be known that he will continue to define 'border security' as a 'wall' or 'barrier'-- that is, as a down payment on a large and monolithic superstructure that fulfills the fantasy he promised his supporters. That could make it harder for Republicans to accept a deal that spends billions on real border security, just not quite to Trump’s specifications, without enraging the base. But this gives Democrats an opening to go into these talks with a reality-based agenda to address the real problems at the border. And the early signs are that they are going to do just this.
Democrats will propose hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding to address the humanitarian crisis at the border, with upgraded facilities that are better equipped to deal with just-arrived asylum-seeking families and children, including additional medical care and counseling. Democrats will also push for around half-billion in money for additional judges to unclog court backlogs.
Democrats will propose to increase the amount of border security money to a point higher than the $1.3 billion they originally offered but less than the $5.7 billion Trump wants. (I was unable to obtain the exact figure.) However, this would not be wall or barrier money. Instead, it would be for things such as increased personnel and more sensors along the border, and drug-scanning technology at ports of entry.
That border security investment would also include more money for Homeland Security personnel who would focus on investigating human trafficking, something both sides agree is a serious problem.
Democrats will also push to include funding in a related bill that provides more than a half-billion dollars for investments in economic aid and shoring up institutions in Central American countries, to address the terrible civil conditions prompting these migrations of asylum-seekers.
All that said, there doesn't appear to be much of a chance for an immigration deal in Congress in the next 3 weeks. The joint committee isn't getting anywhere, primarily because no one in Congress trusts Trump at all-- on anything. Everyone wants border security but Trump wants an expensive-- an opportunity for massive graft-- and ineffective wall as a monument to a presidency that will be quickly written off as the worst in American history. He seems willing to destroy the well-being of the country if he doesn't get it. And Pelosi and Nadler are still refusing to begin impeachment hearings. That new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters trust Democrats more than Señor Trumpanzee on border security, 50% to 41%, up from a 49% to 44% 2 weeks ago. And Gallup found that the Trump-contagion is spreading rapidly to congressional Republicans. The party's favorability has dropped from 45% to a dismal 37% since September.

And the worst part about this for Republicans up for reelection next year is that the largest decline in favorable ratings of the Republican Party has come among independents, from 41% to 29%. That kind of favorability rating from independents is a death sentence for congressional Republicans in any district that isn't at least R+6. Republicans just cannot win elections without support from independent voters and 29% favorability indicates they do not have it.

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At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mcturtle was around when gingrich shut down the government in a similar hissy fit. THAT worked out soooooo well for the Nazis.

you'd think that he would have learned.

At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Short bursts:

The Establishment clearly isn't heeding the Will of the People if the polling is to be believed. Why? No one seems to know - at least they aren't admitting it.

McTurtle will shut down the government again if Trump tells him to.

Trump's "intelligence" officials turning on him tells me that they see Hair Furor ignoring his Stalingrad.

Coats on ISIS: Reminds me of Condi warning that Saddam had drones that could reach the United States. A cobra can only strike so far.

Are we going to see the CEO of Google announce that $4700 of ads on their system helped to RE-elect Trump in 2020? I can see where Russia has a motive to do this, but I still don't see that they were successful. All I hear are a lot of wild claims.

Don't care what was in Stars and Stripes. The democraps will once again fail to do their duty.

The Republicans might collapse next year? Have they called obamanation yet? He managed to turn them around in two years last time he picked them up off the floor! They still have time for him to pull his magic!

At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


if you didn't know that condi, cheney, Rumsfeld and bush were lying in order to gin up a pointless war (well, it was for oil), you are definitely a candidate to be a democrap voter. From anthrax to yellowcake to al tubes to mushroom clouds to those drones... all lies... and all so clearly lies... you had to be an American to believe them.

obamanation resurrected the Nazis immediately after Franken was seated. That gave the democraps 60 and he knew they would need the illusion of a republican cabal blocking everything or they might actually have to do shit. He NEEDED the Nazis.

Of course, you needed to be a democrap voter (eeg flatline) to believe the charade.

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think that appointed members of the Intelligence Community should set this country's policy despite what the elected representatives tell it to do, you need to read up on the Constitution.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:44, there is truth there.

But when the one giving the orders is a retarded Caligula and the elected "representatives" are all bought and paid for... well, I guess we're just fucked.

and nobody should have to tell anyone that trump is a fucking dipshit. Except in America where EVERYONE is a fucking dipshit.

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:22, democraps don't FAIL. They REFUSE to do their jobs.

Fail implies that they tried.


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