Five Data Points on the Sessions News

As you no doubt have heard, Jeff Sessions met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year, then told the Senate Judiciary Committee he had either not talked about the election with any Russians (a written response to Patrick Leahy’s question) or not talked with Russians as a surrogate of the campaign (an oral response to Al Franken).WSJ describes the probe as reviewing stuff in spring of last year, so before the July contact with Kislyak. Thus far, Sessions, his spox, and anonymous Trump official have offered three conflicting explanations for Sessions’ non-disclosure, including Sessions’ own, “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Already, Democrats are demanding Sessions’ resignation and more Democrats and some Republicans are calling for him to recuse himself for the FBI counterintelligence investigation. The Twittersphere is calling for prosecution for perjury.

Update: WSJ had originally said Sessions and Kislyak spoke by phone, then corrected to in-person. According to this, he had one of each, with a phone followup several days after the in-person. Which means there’d be a transcript.

Jeff Sessions will almost certainly not be prosecuted for perjury

Which brings me to my first data point. Jeff Sessions is not going to be prosecuted for perjury. And that’s true for more reasons than that he is the AG.

First, it’s a hard crime to prove, because you have to prove that someone knowingly lied. Right now Sessions is all over the map, but he’s also dumb enough to be able to feign stupidity.

Plus, lying to Congress just doesn’t get prosecuted anymore. Remember, Alberto Gonzales lied in his own confirmation hearing in 2005, claiming there were no disagreements about Stellar Wind. It was always clear that was a lie, but even after Jim Comey confirmed that was the case with his May 2007 SJC hospital heroes performance, AGAG stuck around for another three months. And while his lie has often been cited as the reason for his departure in August 2007, I believe that the proximate reason is that he refused to do something Bush wanted him to do, at which point the White House threw him under the bus.

Plus, there are already at least three Trump officials who lied in their confirmation hearings — Mnuchin on his role in robosigning, DeVos on her role in the Prince family foundation, and Pruitt on his use of private emails. None of them are going anywhere.

Finally, in 2013, Holder’s DOJ went way out of its way to protect former DOJ official Scott Bloch from doing time after he lied to the House Oversight Committee. That precedent will make it all the harder to hold anyone accountable for lying to Congress in the future.

The timing of this roll-out gets more and more interesting

Now consider the timing of how all this rolled out.

In another blockbuster (revealing that the Obama Administration squirreled away information on Trump’s advisors to protect informants IDs from him, but also to ensure incriminating information would be available for others), NYT reveals that, after Putin’s non-response to Obama’s December 28 sanctions raised concerns, the FBI found Mike Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak on January 2.

On Jan. 2, administration officials learned that Mr. Kislyak — after leaving the State Department meeting — called Mr. Flynn, and that the two talked multiple times in the 36 hours that followed. American intelligence agencies routinely wiretap the phones of Russian diplomats, and transcripts of the calls showed that Mr. Flynn urged the Russians not to respond, saying relations would improve once Mr. Trump was in office, according to multiple current and former officials.

On January 10, the Trump dossier began to leak. Al Franken actually used that as the premise to ask Sessions about contacts with the Russians.

On January 12, David Ignatius published the first word of the Flynn-Kislyak calls, alerting anyone dumb enough not to already know that the FBI was going through Kislyak’s ties with Trump officials.

This had the effect of teeing up Flynn as a target, without giving Sessions (and other Trump officials) that their contacts with Kislyak were being scrutinized. And only after Flynn’s departure has this Sessions stuff come out.

I imagine someone in the White House Counsel’s office is now reviewing all the metadata and transcripts tied to Kislyak to see who else had curious conversations with him.

The claim Kislyak is the top spy recruiter

CNN’s version of this story and a separate profile of Kislyak insinuates that Session’s contact with Kislyak by itself is damning, because he “is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington.”

Current and former US intelligence officials have described Kislyak as a top spy and recruiter of spies, a notion that Russian officials have dismissed. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that “nobody has heard a single statement from US intelligence agencies’ representatives regarding our ambassador,” and attacked the “depersonalized assumptions of the media that are constantly trying to blow this situation out of proportion.”

Even aside from the fact that two Democrats — Joe Manchin of his own accord, and Claire McCaskill after she claimed never to have spoken with Kislyak — have also had contact with him, this seems like a red herring. No matter what Kislyak’s intention, it is still acceptable for someone to meet with a person presenting as a diplomat (for example, no one used to care that Saudi Arabia’s Bandar bin Sultan was running ops when he was Ambassador to the US).

Moreover, if current and former US intelligence officials are so sure Kislyak is the master spook in the US, why wasn’t he at the top of the Persona Non Grata list of 35 diplomats who got ejected at the end of December (though, as I’ve noted in the past, the Russian press was talking about him being replaced).

The delayed preservation request

Yesterday, AP reported that Don McGahn instructed White House officials on Tuesday to retain information relating to Russian contacts.

One official said McGahn’s memo instructs White House staff to preserve material from Trump’s time in office, and for those who worked on the campaign, relevant material from the election.

But the timing of this actually raises more questions. Preservation requests first went out February 17. Reince Priebus admitted knowing about it on the Sunday shows February 19. Sometime during the week of February 20-24, Sean Spicer with Don McGahn conducted a device check with White House staffers to see whether staffers were using Signal or Confide, the latter of which automatically deletes texts, the former of which can be set to do so (after Spicer warned everyone not to leak about the device check, it leaked).

And yet, McGahn only gave preservation instructions on February 28?

Now it’s possible the White House didn’t receive one of the letters sent on February 17 (which would raise other questions), which seems to be the implication of the AP report. But if it did, then McGahn sat on that preservation request for over 10 days, even while being involved in activities reflecting an awareness that staffers were using apps that thwarted retention rules.

Some things can’t be prosecuted

Contrary to what you may believe, thus far none of these reports have confirmed a smoking gun, and the NYT pointedly makes it clear that its sources are not claiming to have a smoking gun (which may not rule out that they have one they’re not yet sharing).

The nature of the contacts remains unknown. Several of Mr. Trump’s associates have done business in Russia, and it is unclear if any of the contacts were related to business dealings.

But consider that smoking guns may be different depending on what they are. That’s true because somethings may be perfectly legal — such as investments from shady Russians — that nevertheless pose a serious counterintelligence risk of compromise going forward.

Its all the more true when you factor in the role of Sessions and Trump. For some of this stuff (including the September meeting with Kislyak) Sessions will be protected by Speech and Debate. It’d be very hard for DOJ to prosecute Sessions for stuff he did as a Senator, even assuming you had someone else in charge of the investigation or department.

Likewise, other crimes may not rise to the level of criminal prosecution but would rise to the level of impeachment. Which is why this passage from the NYT is so interesting.

Obama White House officials grew convinced that the intelligence was damning and that they needed to ensure that as many people as possible inside government could see it, even if people without security clearances could not. Some officials began asking specific questions at intelligence briefings, knowing the answers would be archived and could be easily unearthed by investigators — including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which in early January announced an inquiry into Russian efforts to influence the election.

If FBI judged it could not prosecute Trump or his close associates for something but nevertheless believed the evidence constituted something disqualifying, what they’d want to do is preserve the evidence, make sure SSCI could find it, and provide tips — laid out in the NYT, if need be — about where to look.

And any things that did rise to the level of criminal charges would be a lot easier to charge if someone besides Sessions were in charge.

This seems to be very methodical.

Update: February for January preservation date requests corrected. h/t TN.

49 replies
  1. Charles says:

    “This seems to be very methodical.”

    Very true. It almost seem like a giant sting operation, designed to sweep up an entire network of people who, whether they knew it or not, or whether their motives were political or financial or both, had compromised themselves.

    It just gets more interesting.

    • Jg says:

      I am new here, and just wading in.

      It occurred to me that CIA or the previous admin could have given the dossier to MI6 as a way of breaking the story without the story being that dems let loose. They could have told mi6 to give to McCain so that the senate committee would be alerted.  Even the timing of Lindsay graham townhall with McCain, scheduled for weeks? And graham says a special prosecutor is needed, then the sessions stuff comes out, extending the story. Feels like a gallery of curated truths.



      • Charles says:

        Speculation without foundation is the most fertile soil for conspiracy theories that lead nowhere.


        At the time that McCain passed the dossier to the FBI, “The FBI apparently was already aware of the memos, or at least most of them.”  There isn’t agreement about where McCain got the dossier, Maybe from David Kramer of ASU, maybe from Sir Andrew Wood. But by that time, the FBI already had long had the information or, at least, most of it… and had requested a FISA warrant. 

  2. Ben says:

    It seems like a set up as when Chafetz publicly stated Trump’s emolleument issues were nothing just prior to him taking oath.  Multiple allegations and proof like granite, or his supporters will arrange the Last Waltz.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Characterizing a sitting ambassador as a “spy” is certainly a misdirection.  As ambassador, Kislyak is the most watched Russian in America, which might make it a tad harder for him to surreptitiously spy on America or Americans.  In fact, his duties include acting on behalf of the Russian head of state and foreign office, reporting to them whatever he learns that might be of interest to them, and influencing every American, especially those in power inside the Beltway, to act in support of Russian interests.  Characterizing his role as being a “top spy” is nonsense.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Repeating from the previous article, avowed racist Jeff Sessions has again put his credibility into question.  During his confirmation hearing, Sessions attempted to turn aside a hypothetical question about Trump campaign contacts with the Russians by claiming that he had no recollection about Russian contacts, then offered that he himself had no contacts with Russians, then that he could not comment.  A performance worthy of Joe McCarthy.

    Sessions made a categorical “no contacts” answer to a hypothetical question, a rookie mistake, let alone coming from a former federal prosecutor and long-time Senator.  Sessions then apparently confirmed his answer in writing without qualification.

    Whether Sessions responses constitute perjury or whether he should resign are not the immediate questions.  Whether the inconsistency and apparent deceit merit formal investigation is the question.  I think the answer to that is a robust yes.  Imagine the GOP response had a Clinton made such obvious missteps.

    There is a there there in Sessions’s conduct.  But what else is happening in Trumpland while CNN and others are engaged in this feeding frenzy? What about the renewed bombing of Yemen? Or Trump’s institutionalizing his weakness as a leader by delegating more of his authority as C-in-C of the US armed forces (NOT the country) to his generals?

    • emptywheel says:

      Or even China.

      The dossier says Trump was happy to have focus on Russia bc China is where Trump’s real corruption is. We missed his cozying up to Bob Dole on One China bc people falsely reported the only change he made to the platform pertained to Russia.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        China would seem a much more obvious focus.  Whatever’s at stake with Russia, move the decimal point to the right for China.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        There’s also the issue of parsing, a la Clinton’s argument over the meaning of “is”.  Sessions needn’t have met to discuss Trump’s “campaign”.  The topic could have been, oh, about what Trump might do in office to favor or disfavor Russian interests.  What Russia might do in exchange could have been left to Russia’s imagination.  There are many permutations.  All could be described as not about Trump’s campaign, making a part of what Session said true.  Not the categorical denial, of course, which was really stupid.

  5. harpie says:

    Heh. First time I read this it was “Four Data Points… ”

    That’s really not fair…I’m already confused enough! ;-)

    • emptywheel says:

      Every single time I try to number data points in the headline they grow. I should learn my lesson.

      I added the bit about Kislyak being the top spy (or not).

  6. trevanion says:

    Very useful head-scratching. The NYT is being led by the nose in a particular direction. No shocker there. But Flynn would have known that his calls were being transcribed, by many ears, even if local.  It is infantile for those reporters to write “the nature of those contacts remains unknown.”

    Whatever the agenda of those giving dictation to the stenographers, the element about the non-response from Vlad triggering some a-ha FBI analysis on a specific January date has all the aspects of a smokescreen, as though to artificially create a timeline. Especially so with the linkage to the dictation now saying that the 44th WH being “convinced” of things– with Q’sA’s being dutifully archived by the boy scouts for future use. From one perspective the story certainly is titillating in terms of damnation. But from another, it has the strange odor of alibi. Such a sequence does not match reality except in television shows. Perhaps when trying to noodle all this through one should consider the potential element that those across the river nudging this “thing” forward may have themselves some unclean hands at a particular juncture months before, no matter how big and butt-ugly whatever this overall “thing” is turns out to be.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump is the archetype of the executive who wants what he wants because he wants it.  That extends to himself, of course, and to the hiring his direct reports, senatorial advice and consent be damned.  The idea that Trump needs to vet his people before he nominates them, has to fight for their appointment, and has to defend them in office, must seem foreign, indeed illegitimate, to the Donald.  Hence, Sessions’s missteps here must seem much ado about nothing.  He should be wrong.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      So now we hear that the Trump transition team turned down ethics training.  I imagine that was right after the White House staff turned down training in avoiding sexual molestation in the workplace.  No doubt they already knew what they needed to know.  No doubt they were determined to break the mold, and almost certainly the law.

  8. harpie says:

    “If FBI judged it could not prosecute Trump or his close associates for something but nevertheless believed the evidence constituted something disqualifying, what they’d want to do is preserve the evidence, make sure SSCI could find it, and provide tips — laid out in the NYT, if need be — about where to look.”

    What did Comey share with the Senate Intelligence Committee [plus Schumer] during their meeting on Friday [the day before recess] afternoon, February 17?

  9. klynn says:

    I’ll reread, but I thought I read three meetings, two at the Convention and one at his office. The two casual meet-ups at the Convention were the meetings that are being noted as more of an issue because Sessions’ role at the Convention was less Senator and more team Trump surrogate. I would add to your timeline the GOP vote a few days ago regarding access to Trumps tax returns.

  10. Kevin Hayden says:

    “why wasn’t he at the top of the Persona Non Grata list of 35 diplomats who got ejected ”

    Perhaps they find him more useful where he’s at? As in, maybe they have undetected listening devices or a double agent on his staff?

    Guessing, of course.

  11. Avattoir says:

    The same Sessions who ‘forgot’ he talked no less than 3 times to the highest Russian government official in America during last year’s presidential election campaign ‘remembers’ he wasn’t wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat at those times.

    We look forward to when the same Sessions whose image at the RNC in Cleveland last summer will be plainly depicted wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat while he spoke there with the highest Russian government official in America, tells media that he remembers intending to wear his Senator hat to the RNC that day, but on finding his staff forgot to pack it, or someone deciding that wearing it might send a wrong message, he put on his Trump hat, by mistake, figuring no one would imagine he chose to put on a Trump hat at the RNC that was formally nominating Trump as his party’s candidate for POTUS, but instead everyone would see that, in his mind, he was wearing his Senator hat.

  12. greengiant says:

    Sessions recused. Unanswered questions what did Sessions have to do with Carter Page becoming a so called “advisor” to Trump. A problem I have seen with these management by cult operations is that delegation while requiring results pandering to the dogma runs swiftly into errors of logic and mathematics. Bannon and Trump manage by lying at all times with multiple versions so they set the expectation of being illogical and untruthful. They don’t have to keep track of their lies. One lie is as good as another. It works until they violate the rule of law and get caught at it.

    • Avattoir says:

      WINNING!! Today we party and plunder over the unquestionably great news of an official unconditional surrender of “recusal” from … ?

      DoJ has some ass in its cooker? DoJ doesn’t HAVE a cooker. Comey Central attends to the cooking. Comey Central has some ass in its cooker? According to every Congress critter willing to talk at an iphone held by a cable news jock, No. But accordingly to No One, Yes – only [,] No One knows.

      IAE, Sessions didn’t recuse one elf hair from the kitchen.

      I’m old enough to have seen as an adult every published or televised brick in the road to the wizard of Watergate. I remember the first early edition report of a house having fallen the night before on some “Cubans … & others” caught ratting about inside DNC offices. The wizard was wicked and his palace was packed with flying monkeys; but Congress was majority D, D gavels in both chambers & all committees.

      The phrase that dominated not just news but home, school & zeitgeist about Watergate for years then & thereafter was “non-denial denial”. Now, from the administration that breaks all norms, comes the ‘non-recusal recusal’.

  13. harpie says:

    2/28/16 Jeff Sessions becomes the first senator to endorse Donald J. Trump for president.
    3/3/16 Mr. Trump announces Mr. Sessions will lead his national security advisory committee.
    6/14/16 The Democratic National Committee says Russian hackers penetrated its computer systems.
    Week of July 18 Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, is among a small group of diplomats who chat with Mr. Sessions after an event during the Republican National Convention.
    Week of July 18 Trump team works to change GOP party platform on Ukraine.
    7/22/16 WikiLeaks posts 20,000 emails sent or received by D.N.C. officials.
    7/25/16 The F.B.I. announces it has begun an investigation into the D.N.C. hacking.
    7/27/16 During a news conference, Mr. Trump says, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing” in an apparent reference to Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.
    9/5/16 Obama met w/Putin at the G20 summit, where they discussed sanctions that US imposed on Sept 1, which Putin said were inconsistent w/future cooperation.
    9/7/16 Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper publicly suggested for the first time that Russia was behind the DNC hack.
    9/8/16 Mr. Sessions meets privately with Mr. Kislyak in his Senate office.
    9/8/16 Trump told a Russian TV network he didn’t think Russia was behind the hack.
    10/7/16 The Obama administration accuses the Russian government of interfering with the United States election process.
    11/8/16 Mr. Trump is elected president.
    Early December/16 U.S. intelligence agencies conclude that Russia was behind the D.N.C. hacking and that it took the action in favor of Mr. Trump.
    12/29/16 President Obama announces sanctions against Russia for trying to influence the election.
    12/29/16 Michael T. Flynn discusses sanctions with Mr. Kislyak in a or several) phone call, according to officials who saw a transcript of the wiretapped conversation.
    12/? /16 Kushner and Flynn meet with Kislyak at Trump Tower
    1/10/17 At the confirmation hearing for attorney general, Senator Al Franken, a Democrat, asks Mr. Sessions what he would do if “there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign.” Mr. Sessions replies: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have —did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”
    1/17/17 Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, asks Mr. Sessions in a written questionnaire whether “he had been in contact with anyone connected to any party of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day.” Mr. Sessions replied, “No.”
    Late 1/17 Meeting of “the three men associated with the proposed [Russia/Ukraine peace] plan [at] the Loews Regency in Manhattan
    2/8/17 Mr. Sessions is confirmed as attorney general.
    2/13/17 Mr. Flynn resigns as national security adviser after reports that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations with Mr. Kislyak.
    2/17/17 Comey meets for more than 2 hours with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee + Schumer
    3/1/17 The Washington Post reports that Mr. Sessions met twice with Mr. Kislyak.
    3/1/17 (late evening) Mr. Sessions says in a statement, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
    3/2/17 Congressional Republicans begin breaking ranks and joining Democrats in demanding that Mr. Sessions recuse himself from overseeing an investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
    3/2/17 Mr. Sessions announces he is recusing himself from any investigations related to the Trump campaign.

  14. molee says:

    I would add to that timeline the date that Comey announced the FBI was re-opening investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. Obviously we don’t fully understand the connection but it feels deeply connected to this whole narrative. (Plus awesome job on the timeline!)

  15. Jg says:

    That is impressive work on the timeline.

    Today Politico reported that only 30-40 people are confirmed. There should be hundreds in place. I’m left wondering if they are terrified of hiring from the pool of bureaucrats that read the intel Obama spread to the intel wiki, as reported in nyt. Why the hell would they not hire anyone, even republican hacks?

    Re Comey – it does seem like he wanted to stick his neck out and talk about ongoing investigations with way too much zeal. Perhaps because he knew CIA were not letting on and he wanted to be seen as being forthcoming to congress.

    Just guessing.

  16. lefty665 says:

    One unabashedly good thing we could have reasonably expected from Trump was getting us off the track to war with Russia. The Dems in their hysteria to displace their loss on the (de)merits to THE RUSSIANS have made some very strange bedfellows. McCain and Graham are simply the tip of the iceberg. The new McCarthyism, think “Are you now or have you ever been, did you go to meetings, did you carry a card, did you hold parties in your back yard” is scary.

    So far we have seen nothing about any of the contacts with Kislyak that indicate there was anything more than normal diplomatic schmoozing going on. “Don’t get your knickers in a twist, things will be better after we get in office” kind of stuff.  All we’ve seen from the DNC and Podesta email hacks is the truth. The Dem elites rigged the DNC and primaries for Hillary, Citi staffed the Obama administration, and other corruption.  Like Harry Truman said “I tell the truth and they think it’s Hell”. We are rabidly anti-Russian, assuming they did it, evidence of which we have as yet seen zero, nada, zip so far, because they showed us what the Dems were saying and doing behind the scenes while maintaining public piety. That is world class hypocrisy even Sessions could not match.

    The neocons and neolibs, anti-Russian warmongers of both parties, at the behest of the cats who get fat from war, with help from their embedded bureaucrats, are doing all in their power to keep us on the path to war. In combination with the Never Trump Repubs and tantruming Hillarites we are in a bizarre rampage against what little sanity Trump offers. Get a grip folks. Am I sorry to see Flynn go? No, he was as much dingbat as anything. Has Sessions been a liar and hypocrite for the 30+ years I’ve known anything about him? Yes. Now we are hearing that Kushner was along on Flynn’s meeting with Kislyak. These are all small potatoes.

    What this is about is continuing on a track to war with Russia. People of good conscience need to step up and ask the 2017 equivalent of  “Have you no sense of decency?”


    • John Casper says:


      The AG isn’t held to a higher standard than a sub-cabinet level DoD political appointee?

      Does that square with their respective access to classified information?

      • lefty665 says:

        We’re done kid, I’ve told you that before.  Go grow up, learn some civility. Once you’ve done that, come back and we can have a reasonable conversation.

    • John Casper says:

      @lefty665 @9:38 p.m.

      I’m sorry you don’t find my comments sufficiently nurturing.

      The way this works, when you comment, others can respond.

      Since you admit the elites control both parties; since you know GOP controls the executive branch and both chambers of Congress, how does war with Russia end up being the Dem’s fault?

      If you’re “done,” why do you keep repeating it?

      Have you heard of Melody Beattie’s “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself?”

      Where did you learn “some civility?”

      How old were you?

      Thanks in advance.


      • lefty665 says:

        You recently demanded personal information from me, then called me a liar when I declined to provide it. The incivility is all yours kiddo. Grow up. Until then, we’re done.

        • John Casper says:




          Here’s a link to the thread.

          The “personal information” was what you volunteered: “I have worked in, administered and supported rehab programs for 40 years, but I have never been a client in one. You?”

          As I explained, based on a prior comment you made defending Trump’s cabinet choices, that omitted his Sec. of Health and Human Services–Tom Price–I replied “doubt it.”

          I’ll ask again. How could someone as well informed about politics as you, who claimed he “worked in, administered and supported” the industry for “40 years,”  not mention HHS? Even if you cashed out your retirement, friends, co-workers, people you hired in the industry, still depend on HHS.

          Your response, “That was a pretty good ‘graph, thanks for re-posting it.”

          You’re welcome.

          If you “worked in, administered and supported” the industry “for 40 years,” why did you ignore these follow-up questions?

          “What were the three largest–by budget–rehab programs you administered? What years did you administer them? What were the names of the accrediting agencies for those three?”

          Please link to all the prior ew threads where you felt you were a victim of any lack of civility, no matter how small?


  17. Peacerme (Katie Jensen) says:

    I want to make sure to clarify….it doesn’t feel like the lead up to war with Iraq because I think we are gearing for war withRussia, I mean because it feels like a cabal. A grand collusion. Again.

  18. dc says:

    Timeline is awesome. Sure looks like the changes to GOP platform was the quid pro quo for the publication of the DNC hacks by Wikileaks, brokered by Sessions and Kislyak. You should add the trump tweets regarding Russia to see how they interact with the timeline. When Obama was pres, Russia was bad. Then in 2014-15 he changed his tune…

  19. klynn says:

    harpie, thank you for the timeline. I would add March 21st when Trump announced a portion of his foreign policy team.

    “The advisory team, headed by US Senator Jeff Sessions, includes terrorism expert Walid Phares, energy industry executive Carter Page, international energy lawyer George Papadopoulos, former government inspector general Joe Schmitz, and former Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, he told the Post in an on-the-record editorial board meeting, according to the media company.”

    It has been interesting to read all the articles explaining how Carter Page got on the list…

  20. John Casper says:

    @lefty665 at 9:43 p.m.

    High marks for gender fluidity.

    It’s “not my job to cure your ignorance or to provide your education. I’m not your” Daddy.

    Since you brought her up, my Mom has passed on.

  21. Les says:

    They had the Donna Brazille resignation and the Weiner probe re-opening the FBI’s Hillary email investigation during October 28-31.

    Judging from the offers the Trump administration made to Russia on Ukraine and Syria, they’re not doing them any favors.

  22. martin says:

    Notwithstanding all previous comments, I want to add my own .02 in regards to lying to Congress.

    Being an old fashioned kind of person, something from my past strikes me as relevant to this discussion. When I was a wee lad, I tried, as most children do, to lie to my mother. What I didn’t know was, the purpose of a willow branch, hanging in the kitchen. Upon my mother discovering the truth,…I soon found out, and as the dozen red welts on my legs and butt blazed for 2 days, it burned into my consciousness the point of the branch on the wall. Every time I saw it brought immediate memory of each whack on my body. And why. Of course you too know why. Lesson’s learned. Which brings me to my point.

    At any kind of judicial hearing or function, where witness’ are called, the witness must affirm an oath. To wit.
    “Do you solemnly (swear/affirm) that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under pains and penalties of perjury)? “unquote

    Now, as emptywheel has pointed out, for the most part, in Congressional hearings, this oath has become a standing joke, as every Congresscritter already knows.. hahahahahahahaha.. NO ONE will ever be held accountable to that oath. Which means…you got it. It’s totally meaningless now. Which means..there is no incentive to actually tell the truth anymore. So what happens? They lie through their teeth while laughing inside their head. Hence Sessions/other appointees lies. This whole “confirmation” testimony bullshit has now become a fucking charade.
    All I know is this. It’s too bad every witness who swears to tell the truth, never had a mother like mine. Perhaps, someone should hang a willow branch over the witness stand as…well… a reminder. Or, they could actually follow the rule of law. Ha. Congress. Rule of law. Hahahahahahahaa… nevermind. hahahaha.

    ok, nuff bla. carry on.

  23. Peacerme (Katie Jensen) says:

    John Caspar, (and remember you) I have been around as a long standing lurker and reader of Marcy since her first blog, and remember well the firedoglake days. I remember following every thread and reading impatiently waiting for Marcy’s book. I have given copies and read it. It’s “feels”, since I am intuitive (another word for bullshitter) and fascinated by Marcys longstanding ability to outline facts and to pay attention to assymmetrical information. My intuition as a therapist doesn’t add much to discussion but there is no lack of appreciation. Over the years I have had my share of financial troubles but I donate here as I can. The criminal element of the RNC never fails to overwhelm me. How long and to what end will they take this country? I do not doubt Dems have a criminal collusion either, but it floors me that they (a central group in the RNC) can shape shift as only true sociopaths do.

    • John Casper says:


      Great to hear from an FDL’er. Honored that you remember me.

      Sorry about the financial stuff. Lurking helps ew’s traffic numbers, keep doing it. Calling your local, state, and federal reps helps. Those people who answer the phones appreciate hearing from a kind, caring person such as you.

      Democratic capitalism depends on and needs your “intuition as a therapist.”

      Wall Streeter’s love to whine that “markets abhor uncertainty.” So do workers. The anxiety that Trump is milking is why we need therapists.

      “Functional societies are a form of capital.”

      A federal job guarantee and Obamacare on steroids, such as “A Progressive Health Care Proposal from a Tea Party Democrat,” would help.

      If you’re still licensed, that health care link would free up federal dollars so more people could afford to pay you.

      It’s a vast understatement to call ew an international treasure. Hope you follow her Twitter feed. It’s screaming funny, in addition to all the other good information.

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