Graham and Grassley Are Seeing Christopher Steele’s Ghost Where Mike Flynn Lurks

I get it. Trump is making us all crazy. But Chuck “Ethanol flipflop” Grassley and Lindsey “Trump’s best golfing buddy” Graham are going nuts not because of Trump but because of Christopher Steele. They’ve just written a letter to Susan Rice asking her why she emailed herself a letter, memorializing a January 5, 2017 meeting about the Russian hack, just before she left the White House.

In this email to yourself, you purport to document a meeting that had taken place more than two weeks before, on January 5, 2017. You wrote:

On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.

That meeting reportedly included a discussion of the Steele dossier and the FBI’ s investigation of its claims. 1 Your email continued:

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book”. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book. From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.

The next part of your email remains classified. After that, you wrote:

The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.

It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation. In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed “by the book,” substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed “by the book.”

It pains me that two top Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are too fucking stupid to see that, in fact, the FBI proceeded quite cautiously with the Russia investigation, not inappropriately, as they suggest. It pains me still more that they think this is all about the dossier.

7. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey or Ms. Yates mention potential press coverage of the Steele dossier? If so, what did they say?

8. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey describe the status of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, or the basis for that status?

9. When and how did you first become-aware of the allegations made by Christopher Steele?

10. When and how did you first become aware that the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded Mr. Steele’s efforts?

It’s certainly possible, given what I laid out here, that DOJ was prepping the second FISA application for Carter Page (though if the reauthorization were dated January 9, the application would have had to have been submitted by January 2).

But there are other reasons why you’d expect to have this meeting on January 5 and why Rice would want a record of it for posterity (the meeting generally probably relates to this story about the way Obama protected information on the investigation in the last days of the Administration).

As reporting on the discovery of Mike Flynn’s conversations about Russian sanctions with Sergey Kislyak make clear, the conversation wasn’t discovered in real time. Rather, after Putin didn’t respond to the December sanctions against Russia, analysts sought to figure out why. Only after that did they discover the conversation and Flynn’s role in it.

For Yates and other officials, concerns about the communications peaked in the days after the Obama administration on Dec. 29 announced measures to punish Russia for what it said was the Kremlin’s interference in the election in an attempt to help Trump.

After the sanctions were rolled out, the Obama administration braced itself for the Russian retaliation. To the surprise of many U.S. officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Dec. 30 that there would be no response. Trump praised the decision on Twitter.

Intelligence analysts began to search for clues that could help explain Putin’s move. The search turned up Kislyak’s communications, which the FBI routinely monitors, and the phone call in question with Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general with years of intelligence experience.

So it would be right around this time when law enforcement concerns about the incoming National Security Advisor would have arisen.

Update: This story confirms that the January 5 meeting was partly about the Flynn phone call.

On Jan. 5, FBI Director James B. Comey, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. briefed Obama and a small group of his top White House advisers on the contents of a classified intelligence report showing that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump. That’s when White House officials learned that the FBI was investigating the Flynn-Kislyak calls. “The Flynn-Kislyak relationship was highlighted,” a former senior U.S. official said, adding that the bureau made clear “that there was an actual investigation” underway.

And, in a very significant way, the investigation did not proceed by the book, almost certainly because of Mike Flynn’s (and possibly even Jeff Sessions’) potential compromise. Back in March, Jim Comey admitted to Elise Stefanik that the FBI had delayed briefing Congress about the counterintelligence investigation into Trump because it had, in turn, delayed telling the Executive Branch until February.

Stefanik returned to her original point, when Congress gets briefed on CI investigations. Comey’s response was remarkable.

Stefanik: It seems to me, in my first line of questioning, the more serious a counterintelligence investigation is, that would seem to trigger the need to update not just the White House, the DNI, but also senior congressional leadership. And you stated it was due to the severity. I think moving forward, it seems the most severe and serious investigations should be notified to senior congressional leadership. And with that thanks for your lenience, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Comey could have been done with Stefanik yielding back. But instead, he interrupted, and suggested part of the delay had to do with the practice of briefing within the Executive Branch NSC before briefing Congress.

Comey: That’s good feedback, Ms. Stefanik, the challenge for is, sometimes we want to keep it tight within the executive branch, and if we’re going to go brief congressional leaders, the practice has been then we brief inside the executive branch, and so we have to try to figure out how to navigate that in a good way.

Which seems to suggest one reason why the FBI delayed briefing the Gang of Four (presumably, this is the Gang of Eight) is because they couldn’t brief all Executive Branch people the White House, and so couldn’t brief Congress without first having briefed the White House.

Which would suggest Mike Flynn may be a very central figure in this investigation.

Because the National Security Advisor was suspected of being compromised (and because the Attorney General had at least a conflict), the FBI couldn’t and didn’t proceed normally.

Plus, there’s one other issue about which Obama should have discussed normal procedure with Yates and Comey on January 5. Two days earlier, Loretta Lynch signed an order permitting, for the first time, the sharing of EO 12333 data in bulk. Among the first things I’m sure FBI would have asked for would have been EO 12333 data to support their Russian investigation. Yet doing so would expose Trump’s people. That’s all the more true given that the rules permit the retention of entirely domestic communications if they have significant counterintelligence value.

So one of the first things that would have happened, after signing data sharing rules the government had been working to implement since Stellar Wind, would have been the prospect that the very first Americans directly affected weren’t going to be some powerless Muslims or relatively powerless Chinese-Americans, but instead the President’s closest associates. Given what we’ve seen from the George Papadopoulos case, the FBI likely bent over backwards to insulate Trump aides (indeed, it’s hard to understand how they wouldn’t have known of Ivan Timofeev’s outreach to Papadopoulos before his interviews if they hadn’t).

Just before this meeting, FBI and DOJ had discovered that Trump’s most important national security aide had had surprising conversations with Russia. That clearly raised the prospect of necessary deviations from normal practices with regards to intelligence sharing.

Yet Grassley and Graham are seeing Christopher Steele’s ghost behind every single solitary action. Rather than the real challenges posed when top officials pose real counterintelligence concerns.

Update: Kathryn Ruemmler, representing Rice, pretty much confirms Grassley and Graham have gone on a wild Steele chase.

“There is nothing ‘unusual’ about the National Security Advisor memorializing an important discussion for the record,” Kathryn Ruemmler, a counsel for Rice, said in a statement. “The Obama White House was justifiably concerned about how comprehensive they should be in their briefings regarding Russia to members of the Trump transition team, particularly Lt. General Michael Flynn, given the concerning communications between him and Russian officials.”
Ruemmler added: “The discussion that Ambassador Rice documented did not involve the so-called Steele dossier. Any insinuation that Ambassador Rice’s actions in this matter were inappropriate is yet another attempt to distract and deflect from the importance of the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in America’s democracy.”

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

64 replies
  1. Domye West says:

    Very informative, thanks. Grassley and Graham are so disappointing to me, I had hope they would turn out to be better than this

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    My assessment is that Chuck and Lindsey are experiencing Helsinki syndrome. My reference is the critique by Dr. Hasseldorf, “Hostage Terrorist, Terrorist Hostage: A Study in Duality.”

  3. orionATL says:

    are distinguished senators grassley and graham seeing steele’s ghost behind every obama admin action, or are they putting up a cardboard cutout of steele for all to stare at, hoping to draw attention away from flynn (and inevitably trump)?

    the reality seems to me to be that where flynn was, trump effectively was. flynn was likely acting on trump’s orders or at least with an understanding with trump, thus the need to disract attention.

    about manifort. if trump did whisper that manifort could do him in if he talked to mueller, was manifort only involved with trump in the spring-summer of 2016, or did manifort quietly continue to work with trump, flynn, and the russians thru fall 2016 and into early 2017?

    • Domye West says:

      All great questions. I think they are absolutely trying to use Steele to distract from the non-Steele Russia news. I would give up my left but to see ALL of the data/information they collected on Flynn and his conversations with foreign governments.

      I think the question of *when* Manafort actually stopped working for/with Trump is a fantastic question.

    • Charles says:

      I have this strong suspicion that Dana Rohrabacher is not the only Kremlin employee in the Congress. Too many congressmen are behaving weirdly, as if the possibility that Russia has leverage over our president is not something to take seriously.

       

      I wish each Republican congressman’s constituents would start asking him/her whether they work for the American people or the Russian oligarchy.

      • TarheelDem says:

        The difficulty here is that the old reflexive anti-communism that drove anti-Russian propaganda against domestic political adversaries in, for example, the Democratic Party, no longer is as salient because the people who grew up in that environment are over 40 years old . Those who grew up with the Cold War hysteria are at least 65 years old.  And half of those people see the Democrats as communist and Putin as the authoritarian nationalist autocrat that he is.  And they like that because it’s just like Trump.

        As for the question that you ask consituents to ask, how can they tell?  They haven’t caught on to how their economic interests have been sacrificed even as the politicians become very wealthy.

        • Charles says:

          I am deeply opposed to xenophobic approaches. The Cold War hysteria seriously damaged the US by depriving it of talent, by directing the nation’s energies into senseless wars, and by dividing the American people. The wounds are still evident. I also think we need to be raising awareness that the Russians may very well consider the attack on our elections as sauce for the gander. We, after all, kept Yeltsin in power long after it was clear he was not who the people wanted or needed.

          But xenophobia is normally a right-wing preserve. For Republican Senators to be promoting the interests of a foreign nation and accepting that nation’s help at suppressing the center-left of this country is profoundly shocking. It is like the final scene in Animal Farm, where we learn that oligarchs are the same the world over, and realize that we are in common cause against them all.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As you explain, Mr. Obama was being simultaneously direct and cautious, as in the oxymoron, “all deliberate speed”.  Something this president can neither understand nor mimic.

    The implications of this meeting – obvious to Grassley and Graham, but presumably ignored for partisan reasons of their own – is that the Russians might well have infiltrated the Trump campaign.  Obama’s caution was that there might come a time when the DoJ and FBI could not fully communicate with a Trump administration because those compromised by the Russians would be leading figures in it.

    Shame on Grassley and Lindsey for this partisan deception, but shame is as foreign to them as good government.

  5. pseudonymous in nc says:

    It’s ironic that Flynn taking the plea deal (meaning Mueller only needed to disclose a very limited statement of facts) temporarily takes the spotlight off him and the Kislyak exchanges in terms of the daily news cycle, and gives G&G more of a window to fixate on Steele and Carter bloody Page. But Mueller probably prefers that the transition months are out of the headlines right now, while he has both Flynn and Papadopoulos cooperating.

  6. DMM says:

    Why would it be so odd for Putin not to respond to last second sanctions by an outgoing administration, esp. when the office is changing partisan hands to someone who has already expressed a desire to work with him. The idea that of course he should respond *right now!* rather than wait 3 weeks is absurd, and fails to grasp very basic tenets of diplomacy and international relations during governmental transitions.

    I’m decidedly not team Trump, but this absurdity looks like an excuse to go fishing for some “explanation” of bogus, contrived expectations. Discussion between an incoming administration and major foreign powers occur every time there’s a presidential transition to set the stage for a new working relationship. Obama, e.g., sent McFaul during the 08-09 transition for just this purpose.

      • Trip says:

        Here’s an interesting bit of perspective from the way-back time machine:

        GOP leaders were quick to frame the new sanctions as too little, too late.

        “While today’s action by the administration is overdue,” House speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, “it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia. And it serves as a prime example of this administration’s ineffective foreign policy that has left America weaker in the eyes of the world.”

        Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two of Russia’s fiercest critics, echoed Ryan but also called for tough Congressional sanctions.

        “Ultimately, [the sanctions] are a small price for Russia to pay for its brazen attack on American democracy,” the two men said in a joint statement. “We intend to lead the effort in the new Congress to impose stronger sanctions on Russia.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/29/barack-obama-sanctions-russia-election-hack

  7. Rapier says:

    ” Discussion between an incoming administration and major foreign powers occur every time there’s a presidential transition”

    Well that may be true in some vague sense but whatever it is that Trump was bringing in, isn’t wasn’t an administration. There has never been a character like Mike Flynn doing whatever the hell it is he was doing, as part of an administration. That isn’t to say other administrations haven’t had sleazy influence peddlers buzzing around them like flies as an administration is “incoming”, but there has never been piece of work like Flynn as National Security Advisory to a President.

    And doing this shit.
    https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/12/07/michael-flynn-serial-doublecrosser/

    Are we really supposed to respect Mike Flynn? That’s a rich one.

  8. JacobLadder says:

    Sure, Flynn could be easily confused with Steele, if Flynn had lied to the FBI then went behind their backs and into the arms of Bruce Ohr at the DOJ, after the FBI cut him loose. Other than that they’re exactly alike!

    Or are they? Byron York reporting tonight that apparently the FBI never even believed Flynn lied to them. It was Andrew Weissman’s hero, Sally Yates, and Obama’s DOJ who TOLD them he did. You will recall of course Comey told lawmakers in March that the agents who interviewed Flynn didn’t believe he lied to them, or made any intentional inaccuracies. So what’s up? Well, coincidentally enough, Mueller’s agreed to postpone Flynn’s sentencing hearing. So maybe he’s found something rotten in the Yates patch. You never know.

    • Benny says:

      Gosh, it almost never happens that you believe someone ISN’T lying to you and then find out they DID.  And people ALWAYS plead guilty to lying when in fact they didn’t.   And Byron York/the Washington Examiner is an unimpeachable source when it comes to all things Trump.

      And Mueller’s sentencing postponement couldn’t POSSIBLY be to insure Flynn’s continuing cooperation with the investigation.

      Yeah, keep waiting for that Yates indictment.

       

       

  9. Behemoth says:

    Well done! Though the fourth question in the letter is germane if “Trump/Russia Investigation” were replaced with “Flynn/Kislayk Investigation”. The apparent fact that the meeting wasn’t memorialized until 15 days later, just before the transfer of power, seems a bit curious and merits an explanation.

    I think there’s a less kosher explanation of the memo that is worth considering, if only to send it into the dustbin. It’s not clear if they had the transcripts of the phone calls between Flynn and Kislayk at the time of the meeting, but they were at least aware the phone calls had happened and harbored suspicions about them. Within a week, someone within the government leaked the existence of the suspicious calls to Ignatius (possibly some or all of the contents, possibly Sally Yates’s theory of the crime – the Logan Act – and possibly not). He published his Op-Ed on 1/12. If memory serves, there was already a bit of furor over that leak by Inauguration Day.

    The second paragraph in the letter seems a bit odd – thou doth protest too much and all – but I’m not a lawyer. It’s possible such a preamble is normal in a meeting between four participants with legal backgrounds and a National Security Advisor, when discussing a sensitive investigation.

    I do wonder whether the letter was an attempt to insulate the participants – the president foremost – against potential blowback from the leak. Another more nefarious reading is that they had the transcripts of the calls and were deciding how to put pressure on Flynn. The means they settled on was a criminal violation of the Logan Act.

    To be clear, Flynn lied. The FBI erred in its preliminary judgement that he didn’t materially lie. I think that became apparent to Mueller when his office obtained the transition e-mails. It’s a good thing he was charged with and admitted to lying to the FBI. Feel free to pour cold water on the speculations I offered; I’m not convinced by them but I can’t discount them.

    • Trip says:

      The delay is curious. I recall Comey testifying that he made notes and sent emails to himself (and others) concurrently (to the Trump loyalty test). However, it’s possible that in the chaos of transition, the unusual circumstances, and perhaps personality (?), the delay was caused by simple procrastination? She may have transcribed hand notes prior to this. She also may have had concerns about the security of emails, and that info being outed. I’m not making excuses, I’m playing devil’s advocate.

  10. GKJames says:

    Are Grassley and Graham about stupidity or desperation? Isn’t their obsession with Steele precisely the distraction they’re aiming for? The instant they acknowledge the counter-intelligence nature of the project, their Deep-State anti-Trump conspiracy theory evaporates.

  11. Trip says:

    It’s interesting that US tax dollars pay for committees, but the committees are no longer operational/functional. While running, they had all of these closed door sessions, blacking out the public’s access, yet there is now a persistent airing of these supposed classified issues in letters, but only as they pertain to advantage Trump.

    I think they should bring all the goddam witnesses back, including Kushner, and everyone else who got the privilege of cover, and question them in the light of day, on live video. The letter writing campaign of partisan one-sidedness is reaching the nadir of silliness and absurdity.

    • orionATL says:

      “… I think they should bring all the goddam witnesses back, including Kushner, and everyone else who got the privilege of cover, and question them in the light of day, on live video…”

      that is a first rate suggestion!

  12. Trip says:

    Has anyone asked G&G about the lack of official security clearances in the WH? Porter was denied due to routine screening and exceptions. Kushner was unable to be honest in paperwork, even though he was given first, second, and third chances. If there had been a crowd of appointees with the same circumstances in the last administration, they would have lost their minds. Now it’s just SOP. The absence of concern is glaring. Why isn’t the press holding their feet to the fire on this very current ongoing issue?

    • bmaz says:

      Likely far more than just the rolling series of false SF-86 responses as to Kushner, he likely is very compromised financially due to the status of multiple of his “investment properties”.

      • Trip says:

        Oh, no doubt, but the serial lapses, over months and months of accurate information, causes them no worry. Meanwhile, they hammer Rice for documentation, because of a short span in delay, which signifies ‘guilt’ of a nefarious nature.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Indeed.  He’s been married to Ivanka for some time, and its a close family business.  Aggressive tax positions unsupported by the accounting, tax fraud, money laundering, mail and wire fraud are among the possibilities.

        The clearance process is not a court of law.  Reasonable suspicion (in Hoover’s day, gossip and innuendo) about such serious issues are often enough to nix a clearance.  That’s especially true of the sort one would need to see presidential papers and go on special Mid-East assignments.

        It seems likely that McGahn has been playing a game of musical chairs regarding the close Trump associates who are destined never to get a permanent clearance.  The music is likely to stop and the absence of enough chairs will only become apparent when leaks and publicity or congressional oversight (after change of control) out this administration’s discarding a meaningful clearance process for those working inside the White House.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          According to today’s Senate hearing, the FBI completed a partial assessment of Rob Porter’s clearance in March, a draft final in July, gave the WH additional information in November, presumably pursuant to WH’s counsel’s questions, and closed the file in January.  It did, however, provide unspecified additional information in February, which seems to be the date the WH admits finally “knowing” about Porter’s clearance problems.  A typical Trumpian fiddle.

          In all likelihood, public records and internet searches, and interviews of present and past immediate family would have been done by the March date, and WH counsel informed.  All of that and more would have been in the July 2017 draft final, which would seem the latest date when the WH COS would have been informed.

          “Houston, we have a problem,” is probably the sort of thing Don McGahn never wants to hear, and he would keep it to himself as long as possible. But he could not have reasonably kept it from the COS after July.

          Porter’s status as the scion of a holder of an endowed chair at Harvard and friend of a former president, and as an outstanding example of Republican meritocracy, would be cause for thoroughly checking the FBI’s results.  But the FBI knew it was handing McGahn a hot potato – and lots of others, too – and would have done its checking by July.  Delays after that are on the WH.

          The WH’s reaction reminds me of the initial corporate response when a senior middle manager, following a string of overtures, gave his female secretary an anatomically correct birthday cake, with accurately placed whipped cream frosting: “But he makes a lot of money!”  In that example, at least, saner heads prevailed.

          The WH’s response is more like, “Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.”  Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.  But it’s a lot less funny.

        • earlofhfuntingdon says:

          The issue is not simply Rob Porter’s alleged serial sexual abuse.  It’s not even about who knew what and when about the Porter case and the not too much discussed three dozen more cases.

          It is about the utter chaos, incompetence and mismanagement in this White House.  It is about throwing out the rules and lying about it.  It’s about doing so unless and until the public furor rings too loud, and then throwing blame against the wall and onto the lowest people on the totem pole.  That starts and stops with Donald Trump, not John Kelly or Don McGahn.

          Note to Stephanie Rhule: If you don’t believe the White House story about who inside the White House knew what and when, stop repeating the WH claim that the president did not know.  As for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she lies more than Donald Trump.  It’s her job.  Yours is not to believe her and to find a more credible explanation of the facts.

          • Trip says:

            I so agree with this @earl. I’m no fan of Kelly, I think Porter is a POS, but this is ALL Trump. No matter how many feces he flings at others. Clearly, all this ‘put the fault on Kelly’ are Trump leaks. While Trump STILL can not bring himself to condemn domestic violence in an abstract way, even.

            The same goes for Michael Cohen paying off the porn star. Did anyone hold his feet to the fire as to WHY he did? Like, are you admitting she had an affair with Trump that he wanted to cover up and you paid for it? (GOP party of transparency) Otherwise, what was the ‘service’ she provided to you?

            That answer might make his wife and family a tad squirmish. Hubby/dad paying for some strange on the side. (Aside from the origin of source in the financing)

            • bmaz says:

              I too agree with Earl. Will note that Porter seems to have engaged in physical and emotional abuse, even spousal abuse. Not sure what has been reported constitutes sexual abuse though.

              • Trip says:

                I didn’t imply that, perhaps it wasn’t clear. My mention of Cohen was more an illustration of how, voluntarily or involuntarily, Trump has others take the blame for his actions. Kelly; being railroaded for complete responsibility, when that should be shared by Trump. Cohen; admitting he paid, not saying anything further, but maybe fears being disbarred (along side covering for Trump)? How much extra did he make being the go-between? (some kind of deal-broker fee?). The Trump WH never ever lets anything rest at Trump’s feet.

                You would know better, but isn’t this a bribe by Cohen?

                • bmaz says:

                  Didn’t think you intended to say that, but the wording was “serial sexual abuse”, so was just making sure all were on same page (not the Carter Page!). As to whether it is a violation of something, my guess is yes it is. Though think it more likely a campaign finance violation of some sort than actual bribe per se..

                  • Trip says:

                    Oh, I just reread that. I actually didn’t realize that’s what @earl wrote (I thought physical abuse). I think maybe that was just a brainfart. Happens to the best of us.

                    • bmaz says:

                      No worries, I knew what Earl meant. That is the beauty of EW, a lot of us have been here a very long time. And we know each other. But it was past the time window where Earl could have corrected it on his own, so I thought it appropriate to clear it up.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Good point.  The public evidence relates to physical and psychological abuse, not sexual abuse, although they often accompany each other.  The honeymoon would seem to be particularly cruel and foreboding time to reveal one’s inner demon.

      • Trip says:

        Speaking of finances and conflicts, read the Forbes story:

        “He does not forget his friends,” said Emin Agalarov, who helped broker the infamous Russia campaign meeting in Trump Tower, according to Donald Trump Jr. When President Trump announced a travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries, it was hard to miss that the ban excluded Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates–all places where he had previously pursued business deals. In May the prime minister of Georgia made a visit to the White House, where, according to two of Trump’s former business partners, the president asked about his old project in the former Soviet republic

        The real money in the Trump empire comes from commercial tenants like the Chinese bank. Forbes estimates these tenants pay a collective $175 million a year or so to the president. And they do so anonymously.Federal laws, drafted without envisioning a real estate billionaire as president, require Trump to publicly disclose the shell companies he owns–but not the hundreds of businesses pouring money into them or even the extent of the money involved.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2018/02/13/trump-conflicts-of-interest-tenants-donald-business-organization-real-estate-assets-pay

         

  13. Trip says:

    Oh brother. The zombie dossier that just won’t die. This info will provide more fodder for G&G and the gang:

    Former Senior FBI Official Is Leading BuzzFeed’s Effort to Verify Trump Dossier
    Anthony Ferrante coordinated the U.S. government’s response to Russian election interference. Now he’s helping a news site defend itself from a Russian billionaire’s lawsuit.

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/02/12/former-senior-fbi-official-is-leading-buzzfeeds-effort-to-verify-trump-dossier/

     

    • orionATL says:

      well, after a year and a half of official washington gasping and gossiping about russian realpolitik, it’s about time somebody did this. there’s nothing like a lawsuit hanging over your head to provoke action.

      it will be interesting to see how the team goes about verifying what was recalled and written up from what i assume were mostly phone conversations.

      • Trip says:

        What do you do with portions of disinformation? Confirm the tales being spread? Buzzfeed posted the dossier with the disclaimer of unverified allegations. I wonder, if in the end, that will be their undoing in a civil case. An attorney, here, would have to chime in. Because they published it, not believing that the information was ‘truth’, but that it hadn’t been verified by the source, and they acknowledged that.

      • lefty665 says:

        You think that just because we have not heard about it that no one, especially those with national technical means, has established the lack of veracity in the Dossier?

        Marcy is right. Don’t be a fool, give up on the Dossier.  All you do is enable the Repubs every time you say or write the word. Move on to real issues, and there are some.

         

        • orionATL says:

          lefty blows hard:

          “You think that just because we have not heard about it that no one, especially those with national technical means, has established the lack of veracity in the Dossier?”

          a) as usual, you have absolutely no facts to support that statement.

          b) even taken at face value your statement is absolutely irrelevant to the american political context.

          c) yesterday you got caught out here trying to peddle two rightwing memes. and that’s not the first time rightwing “facts” have showed up in one of your comments.

          where are you coming from?

  14. lefty665 says:

    Sure validates your posts that the Dodgy Dossier is the perfect whipping boy for the Repubs to use to cast widespread aspersions. No matter where else they go (or dead end) their roads always lead back to it.

    WTF, the FBI (or someone) was not watching Russian ambassador Kislyak and his communications in real time? That was SOP for decades. Heads did not roll?

    Part of what Betrayus pled guilty to was retaining his notes of meetings with Obama and disclosing them to his girl friend. The prosecution assertion was that meetings with the President were born classified. It seems likely that Rice’s last minute email about the meeting with Obama was not wholly within a secure email system.  Does she have criminal exposure?  How about Comey with his leak of his Trump meeting notes via his buddy at Princeton?

     

    • orionATL says:

      lefty sez:

      “Part of what Betrayus pled guilty to was retaining his notes of meetings with Obama and disclosing them to his girl friend. The prosecution assertion was that meetings with the President were born classified. It seems likely that Rice’s last minute email about the meeting with Obama was not wholly within a secure email system.  Does she have criminal exposure?  How about Comey with his leak of his Trump meeting notes via his buddy at Princeton?”

      you know, lefty, i hear the that the republican staff on grassley’s senate judiciary comm has an opening for a sharp political researcher. you’d be the perfect choice.

      • lefty665 says:

        Thanks for repeating my factual and relevant post, not that it needed it. As for the gratuitous comment you made because you had nothing sensible to say (as usual), I’m comfortably semi-retired and not looking for new work. Nor am I looking for work that would put me back on I-95 and taking orders from anyone, especially a Repub.

  15. wayoutwest says:

    I wonder if Susan Rice will be the first to flip once the Obama/Clinton/Comey conspiracy investigation gets underway. She seemed to understand that the slime trail was exposed leading directly back to these high-level players. Rice’s memo to herself was a stupid and transparent attempt at sandbagging and she won’t escape it.

    The Nunes memo implosion has sucked most of the air out of the snowflake witch-hunt with much of their energy now dedicated to sand-bagging, deflection and projection. The best diversion was started earlier when the clever dodge of the Russians feeding Steele disinformation tried to make the perpetrators of the smear appear as victims.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly what drugs are you on? This is a forum for open and reasonable conversation. It is not a forum for ignorance and trollery.

      • Rayne says:

        Do you think if we take wayoutwest aside and squeeze them hard they’ll give up some of those supercalifragilisticexpialidocious hallucinogens they’re on? Because wow. WOW. They’re seeing a totally different universe.

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