Friday, February 17, 2017

The GOP's Great Putin-Gate Coverup


Philly Congressman Brendan Boyle struck twitter gold yesterday with his comparison between how Republicans reacted to Watergate and how they're reacting to Putingate. So far, Ryan, McConnell, Burr, Nunes and Chaffetz are all about a coordinated effort at covering up the Trump-Putin connection. As House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrtat Adam Schiff told Greg Sargent, he wants to make sure Nunes doesn't put up "any artificial limitation of the scope of the investigation.... We ought to investigate Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador... Any of the Russian contacts with the Trump campaign surrogates, which include Flynn, have to be a necessary part of our investigation."

People aren't forgetting Rand Paul's statement so fast-- that there should be no investigation of Flynn while the GOP retains control of Congress. On Tuesday he told Fox viewers that "it looks like the president has handled the situation, and unless there’s some kind of other evidence of malfeasance, this sounds like something that was internal White House politics, and it looks like the president’s handled it. I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party... We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do like repealing ObamaCare if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense."

As one Twitter wag put it on Wednesday, Kellyanne Con-Man and Spicy-Spice are trying to make Trump supporters believe "Michael Flynn died in the Bowling Green Massacre."

And Nunes was on Fox yesterday focusing on leaks, which he blamed on Obama administration holdovers still working for the government. "I think most of this is probably from people who were in the old administration, but there still could be some people that have burrowed in and are providing classified information to the media." Trump's solution? Another nefarious billionaire.
President Trump plans to assign a New York billionaire to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies, according to administration officials, an effort that members of the intelligence community fear could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.

The possible role for Stephen A. Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, has met fierce resistance among intelligence officials already on edge because of the criticism the intelligence community has received from Mr. Trump during the campaign and since he became president. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump blamed leaks from the intelligence community for the departure of Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, whose resignation he requested.

There has been no announcement of Mr. Feinberg’s job, which would be based in the White House, but he recently told his company’s shareholders that he is in discussions to join the Trump administration. He is a member of Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council.

Mr. Feinberg, who has close ties to Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, declined to comment on his possible position. The White House, which is still working out the details of the intelligence review, also would not comment.

Bringing Mr. Feinberg into the administration to conduct the review is seen as a way of injecting a Trump loyalist into a world the White House views with suspicion. But top intelligence officials fear that Mr. Feinberg is being groomed for a high position in one of the intelligence agencies.

Mr. Bannon and Mr. Kushner, according to current and former intelligence officials and Republican lawmakers, had at one point considered Mr. Feinberg for either director of national intelligence or chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service, a role that is normally reserved for career intelligence officers, not friends of the president. Mr. Feinberg’s only experience with national security matters is his firm’s stakes in a private security company and two gun makers.
The Trumpist contingent in the White House wants Feinberg in the mix because Trump doesn't fully trust Pompeo (CIA) or Coats (DNI), who were pushed on him by McConnell, Ryan and Pence. The Deep State is getting nervous and is already accusing Trump of trying to "politicize" the intelligence services.

Meanwhile, Ted Lieu, who has become Trump's most outspoken and effective antagonist in Congress, released a resource guide, Speaking Truth To Power, for federal employees who wish to break the Administration’s communications blackout on federal agencies. The guide explains how to safely and responsibly share information, and encourages employees to "Know Your Rights" and "Know Your Options." In the "Know Your Rights" section, federal employees can learn about which federal laws apply to them. In the "Know Your Options" section, employees can learn about how to safely disseminate information to agency inspectors general and the press. The resource guide also includes links to an in-depth list of federal whistleblower statutes and information about agency inspectors general. Don Beyer (New Dem-VA) co-wrote it with Ted. "We believe the American people have a right to know how their government works," explained Lieu. "The Trump administration has strapped a muzzle on federal agencies and attacked legitimate whistleblowers. Should federal employees wish to break that silence, we want this to be a resource for the safe and responsible disclosure of information." Trump is no longer as enthusiastic about leaks and whistleblowers as he was during the election campaign.

Note: the U.S. intelligence community has never been a friend of progressives or of democracy-- and, come on, has never been apolitical. You know that; we all know that. They may hate Trump now, but they're not our friends and never have been. Be careful.

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At 10:27 AM, Anonymous wjbill said...

The conservative co-conspirators must be held accountable. Both in and out of official government positions.
And by the way .... how come no one is talking about the new word secondarily?

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yes, it is incredible that we are depending on the intelligence community to assist in getting rid of Trump. They are our main hope at this time. Yikes. But good for them to take on this task of saving America from the Orangeman!! They have a lot more ethics than the Republican party, again a scary statement but true for the moment. The press is taking this on, too, and needs to continue to do so.

But as Rachel Maddow said to the Connecticut Senator the other night, it is up to Congress to actually do something.

The press can expose and the America people can scream and carry on but Congress is the vehicle to actually do something!!! They do not appear even close to being up to the task.

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reporters, journalist, anyone? How about asking Trump "If as you say, a judge can be held responsible for any terrorist attack based on their ruling, then will you take responsibility for any killings by mentally unstable people allowed to now own get guns?"

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only the LGBTQ community is properly served by Professor Maddow anymore. Comcast only allows this because of the ratings she draws with such community news and views. Should that drop, I hope she's wisely invested that $30k a day she gets paid.


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