Friday, March 29, 2019

Following Trump, Republicans Continue To Destroy The U.S. Intelligence Infrastructure-- Now They're Smearing Adam Schiff


"The Russian hoax is finally dead," Trump lied on Thursday in Grand Rapids. "The collusion delusion is over." Most Americans are well aware he is neither exonerated nor vindicated and fully 75% of the public insist the whole Mueller Report be made available to the public, not just a few words, chosen to make it appear the Trump didn't do much wrong. This morning, Susan Glasser mused at the New Yorker about how remarkable it is that "Trump triumphant has sounded like Trump at every other point in his Presidency: angry and victimized; undisciplined and often incoherent; predictable in his unpredictability; vain and insecure; prone to lies, exaggeration, and to undercutting even those who seek to serve him... There was no new Trump, no moving on. What was striking was how little celebration there was from the President, although he did talk a few times about the 'beautiful' outcome... Trump appears to have been freed from the fear of impeachment and removal from office, but he remains the public figure he has always been: a weird combination of perpetual victim and perpetual bully, whose one constant is to remain on the attack... [T]he story of Trump and Russia won’t go away. For Trump, it’s a key to his victimization narrative-- look at what the evil deep state tried to do to me. The President is all about the politics of grievance. For Democrats, even if the politics of impeachment have fizzled, the Trump-Russia story remains proof of Trump’s unfitness for office. It also remains unresolved by Barr’s short summary, which, after all, is just a few paragraphs of declarative legalese after two years of waiting. So, yes, Washington is less different than you would think after Mueller. Trump watched Schiff’s speech on Thursday morning, and he didn’t like it. He called him 'Little Pencil Neck' Schiff to the cheers of his Michigan crowd on Thursday night. The fight will go on."

Anyone who's read DWT for more than a week knows we're not exactly an Adam Schiff cheering squad over here. In fact, he's my congressman and I've never voted for him. Too conservative for me-- and for a hugely progressive district like mine (CA-28, which includes West Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, East Hollywood, Silverlake, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Atwater, Glendale, Burbank, Sunland-Tujunga...). However, now that he's under intense fire from not just the illegitimate make-believe "president" and his neo-fascist lie machine, but from the venal Republican monkeys in Congress who enable him, I'm reassessing my Schiff strategy.

He's certainly under no electoral threat from a Republican here. Trump is almost universally detested in this area and his attacks on Schiff make Schiff stronger. The PVI is a nice solid D+23 and in 2016 Hillary beat Trump 72.1% to 22.3%. There are "Impeach Trump" signs up all over the district. I guess the GOP strategy is to create another Democratic boogey man-- like Pelosi and AOC-- making them look less sexist in their attacks, maybe.

Yesterday Trump tweeted this bullshit about "knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking," which is the kind of crap from him people just roll their eyes about. It drives Trump mad(der) that Schiff keeps reminding people that he has NOT Been exonerated and that, as he said in the Washington Post, "undoubtedly there is collusion." Kellyanne Con-man-- or was it Hannity?-- first brought up the idea of a resignation campaign and when Trump made it clear he's on board, GOP clownish congressional leaders McCarthy and Scalise-- not to mention Pence, Giuliani and Trumpanzee, Jr.-- piled on, demanding he is unfit to chair the House Intelligence Committee. It's like a bizarro world mirror image of the actual unfitness of Devin Nunes, who was forced to recuse himself for months after he was caught colluding with Trump about collusion with Putin.

Yesterday, Politico's Kyle Cheney reported on how Schiff is responding to the GOP barrage of bullshit, especially after all 9 Republican members of the Intelligence Committee demanded he resign as chairman. Right wing lunatic Mike Conaway (R-TX): "We have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties."
Conaway said Schiff's insistence that there was ample evidence of collusion were "incompatible with your duties as the chairman of this committee." And he said the findings in special counsel Robert Mueller's report-- which haven't yet been viewed by any members of Congress-- "conclusively refute" Schiff's allegations.

The typically soft-spoken Schiff responded angrily, accusing Republicans of ignoring voluminous evidence of the Trump campaign's efforts to accept Russia's help in the election. He noted that Donald Trump Jr. met secretly with a Russian lawyer who he hoped would provide dirt on Hillary Clinton and told an associate he would "love" the Russian government's help.

He also noted that Trump helped dictate a false story about the meaning of his son's meeting and, during the campaign, openly asked Russia to obtain Clinton's emails — a comment Trump later construed as a joke.

Schiff said that Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort allegedly provided polling data to a Russian intelligence-linked associate and that his former national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI about his post-campaign conversations with Russia's ambassador.

"You might think that’s OK. I don’t," bellowed Schiff. “I think it's unethical. I think it's unpatriotic. I think it's corrupt and evidence of collusion.”

“I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to conspiracy is another matter,” he continued, adding, “But I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, is OK. And the day we do think that's OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day America lost its way.”

The attack by the Republican committee members on Schiff is a continuation of a similar assault launched by Trump-- who called on Schiff to quit Congress in a tweet earlier in the morning-- and other Trump allies who accused Schiff of fomenting claims of conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Democrats have rallied around Schiff in recent days. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dismissed the GOP attacks, and Democrats’ House campaign arm elevated Schiff on Wednesday to be its national frontline finance chair.

At her weekly press conference Thursday, Pelosi delivered an unprompted defense of Schiff as she railed against Trump and the Republicans who have called for his ouster.

“What is the president afraid of? Is he afraid of the truth? That he would go after a member, a chairman of a committee, a respected chairman?” Pelosi said. “I think they’re just scaredy cats. They don't know what to do so they have to make an attack. It's their own insecurity. Their own fear of the truth.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also offered strong praise for Schiff.

"The American people have seen Mr. Schiff demonstrate on a regular basis responsibility, thoughtfulness, rationality, and a commitment to finding the truth," Hoyer told reporters Thursday. "Apparently all four of those aspects upset the president."

Schiff argued that he still believes there is ample evidence of collusion and said he’s long insisted such evidence may or may not rise to the level of a criminal charge. He said he accepts Mueller’s decision not to charge any Americans in Russia’s election interference efforts but said he still finds the Trump campaign’s posture toward Russia and efforts to accept its help as troubling.

In the middle of a transcontinental flight back to L.A. yesterday, Ted Lieu, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, summed the situation up expertly and clearly: "Adam Schiff has done a terrific job as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He has identified inappropriate conduct by Trump and his associates, and sought to inform the American people. He is doing his job and history will remember him well."

Jim Himes of Connecticut is one of the most senior members of the committee. We spoke yesterday and he noted the irony of the Republicans' baseless attack on Schiff: "The Republicans can celebrate that President Trump’s activities didn’t cross the line of criminal conspiracy and that it’s unclear that he obstructed justice. Yay. But the people who brought you 10 Benghazi investigations and who continue to fetishize Uranium One and the Clinton email server have no standing to criticize Adam Schiff or anyone else doing real oversight."

Needless to say, the disgraced fraud, Devin Nunes, who destroyed the bipartisan functionality of the committee while he chaired it-- and is busy suing an on-line cow now-- chimed in as well, with no sense of irony, saying that "we should not be used as a platform to spread false information and bizarre conspiracies." Now watch this:

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At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In practice, the president *IS* above the law. cheney/bush skated on multiple war crimes, as did obamanation. trump skates on everything.

if Schiff wants to do something about it, he can (his 'craps are in the majority for the next 22 months). But Pelosi will forbid it. So, as always, all the democraps can do is talk. And they don't even do that very well.

all hat and no cattle. all spit and no teeth. all horse shit and no fertilizer.

YOUR party of choice to lead the nation out of the 40-year neoconservative, neoliberal, neo-Nazi vector... sleep well all you lefties who have held your noses for the past 4 decades. you deserve this.

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought DWT was too critical of Schiff. He may not be the most progressive congressman of all, but he has been consistently determined to do the right thing and has led the charge against tRump and his idiot allies when no one else has had the cajones to do that. So, that is my rant and I am thankful for Schiff. Try having John Barrasso, Mike Enzi and Liz (dickless) Cheney for your representatives.

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz Cheney proves that one doesn't have to possess a dick to be one.

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you fans of Schiff, just ask yourself what he COULD be doing as chair of the intel committee, who he should be subpoenaing, investigations he should be pursuing... and is not. Wanna know why? Pelosi. Adam Schiff, your hero, serves at the pleasure of Pelosi and Pelosi's donors.

We know now that he can give a lucid speech. We also know that talking is about all he CAN do or risk the ire of Pelosi and Pelosi's money.

A good rule of thumb: when wondering why the house democraps are so hapless, spastic, timid and so obviously corrupt -- just look at Pelosi. There you go.


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