The Long-Delayed Jeff Sessions Reveal

Today (or yesterday — I’ve lost track of time) the WaPo reported what has long been implied: there’s evidence that Jeff Sessions spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about campaign-related stuff, contrary to his repeated sworn comments.

At first, I thought this revelation might relate to Richard Burr’s assertion that Devin Nunes made up the scandal about which Obama officials had unmasked the identity of Trump officials who got sucked up in intercepts of Russians.

“The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes, and I’ll wait to go through our full evaluation to see if there was anything improper that happened,” Burr said. “But clearly there were individuals unmasked. Some of that became public which it’s not supposed to, and our business is to understand that, and explain it.”

After all, one of the things the Senate Intelligence Committee would do to clear Rice is figure out who unmasked the identities of Trump people. And there’s at least circumstantial evidence to suggest that James Clapper unmasked Jeff Sessions’ identity, potentially on the last day of his tenure.

But Adam Entous, one of the three journalists on the story (and all the stories based on leaks of intercepts) reportedly said on the telly they’ve had the story since June.

Which instead suggests the WaPo published a story they’ve been sitting on since Sessions’ testimony.

The WaPo story cites the NYT interview in which Trump attacked Sessions for his poor answers about his interactions with Kislyak.

Trump, in an interview this week, expressed frustration with Sessions’s recusing himself from the Russia probe and indicated that he regretted his decision to make the lawmaker from Alabama the nation’s top law enforcement officer. Trump also faulted Sessions as giving “bad answers” during his confirmation hearing about his Russian contacts during the campaign.

Officials emphasized that the information contradicting Sessions comes from U.S. intelligence on Kislyak’s communications with the Kremlin, and acknowledged that the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions.

Many people took this interview as an effort on Trump’s part to get Sessions to resign.

And the WaPo goes on to note that the disclosure — by these same journalists — of Mike Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak led to his resignation.

Kislyak was also a key figure in the departure of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to leave that job after The Post revealed that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak even while telling others in the Trump administration that he had not done so.

And all of a sudden, we get this confirmation that Sessions has been lying all along.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d be happy to see Jeff Sessions forced to resign. But if he does, Trump will appoint someone more willing to help the cover up, someone who (because he wouldn’t have these prevarications about conversations with the Russian Ambassador and therefore won’t have to recuse) will assume supervision of Robert Mueller.

So while I’m happy for the confirmation that Sessions lied, I have real questions about why this is being published now.

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.

61 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Lots of speculation about whodunnit, but most of the chatter points to the Trump administration.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/even-republicans-assume-trump-leaked-kislyak-intercepts-to-force-out-jeff-sessions/

    However, JeffBo is the reason that Trump has been able to avoid the direct questions as long as he has. I don’t see JeffBo resigning if for no other reason than the replacement offered by the Trumpies will get ripped in the Senate despite the best effort of the GOP.

  2. Bobbie says:

    I am willing to assume the recording exists. I am willing to assume the WaPo claims of the recording’s content are fairly accurate. I am not particularly willing to assume that Kislyak was truthfully relating the contents of that conversation with his communication to Russia, although its probably more likely than not.

    Were the Russians playing a long enough game that this intercepted communication was intentionally planted false info? Doubtful but possible.

    Problems; Probably Kislyak knew his communication to Russia was being recorded. Certainly he had the ability to relay that info in a secure manner. (If this actually happened it would be fairly important info, info that I would think Russia would want to keep secure.) Was Sessions dumb enough, at the time of his confirmation, to think that the content of his conversation (s) with Kislyak was unknown and would remain unknowable? This stinks!

    If the WaPo actually had this since June then it was leaked since June. Do we think Trump leaked it back in June? I don’t. Its sourced to current and former US officials. I don’t think Comey leaked it but is this the info that Comey referred to when he talked about having reasons to believe that Sessions would recuse himself?

    What are the probable results of this leak?
    (1) Sessions resigns or is removed.
    (2) Citizen distrust and confusion regarding the government is increased. Distrust amongst elected officials, the administration, and the IC is increased. (Here we must observe that, regardless of the veracity of Kislyak’s rendering of the intercepted conversation, Russia wins either way.)
    (1) and (2) are not mutually exclusive.

    So who gains in regards to (1)? And why do they think that gain is greater than the damage to the US noted in (2)?

    Its not at all clear to me that Trump or Sessions loyalists gain with regards to (1). In June, who thought this was a good thing to leak? How does it really help Trump? If he uses it as an excuse to fire Sessions he has to admit the veracity of it which lends yet more fire to collusion between his campaign and Russia. Session loyalists certainly can see no gain in the leak.

    Who comes to mind? Bannon, simply because he really just wants to blow things up? Pence because he wants to be President? (neither of these are former but former could be Comey or a host of now-gone lower echelon IC folks as confirmers if not original leakers.)

    Or, if we want to go way into the weeds, are there Russian agents in the IC who leaked it? In many ways that makes the most sense to me, the Russians don’t mind (1) at all and they love (2). Hate to think it but I do wonder. (And how was the intercept achieved? We assume from some US IC tap, but it could have come from a Russian source that we think is our double but who really is not; another real possibility.)

    This recording should not have been leaked! It should have been available to Mueller and probably to the Congressional investigations but not to citizens. It should have been compartmentalized in IC and gamed regarding everything I mentioned and probably many other possibilities. I would think most in the IC would realize that. If it was not leaked by a Russian IC mole then it likely was not leaked by the IC. Of course this leaves any members of Congress who were read in, or else administration folk. I don’t think we know if any members of Congress were read in.
    I suppose there are folks in both places who think that (1), and the bringing down of the Trump administration, are worth the pain of (2) but they would, I think, have to believe that absent leaks, Mueller will not do his job.

    • Willis Warren says:

      Re:  the long game

      It’s possible.  The Russians could be running a soviet era campaign that was never abandoned.  Maybe the Koch brothers are part of the plan.  It’s their fault we have this idiot in the white house.  They destroyed the Republican party and made it into this “we can’t trust government” debacle that it is.

      They got all their money from Stalin, after all.

      Even if it isn’t true, it’s still reality.  We have Republicans that are looking the other way while a President does Russia’s bidding all to destroy a health care bill before vacation.

      In all seriousness, this is very scary stuff.  If Trump fires Mueller, we’re beyond Watergate.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      “If it was not leaked by a Russian IC mole then it likely was not leaked by the IC.”

      I can envsion it being a leak from IC.

      Two cases:

      Double agent having to prove ‘worth’.

      Or (my theory for many years), a rogue group within US IC that is really an enemy within. They have no allegiance to *any* government on the planet. Money is their lifeblood. They believe they are supposed to do what they do. They do not care about damage. They are in it for the long haul (forever). It’s members will folow the program even though there is no clear end goal. They follow the program seemingly knowing that no end goal will be reached within their lifetime. Yet they do it anyway.

      I know that is not logical, but somehow, these ‘people’ are not logical. At least from a self-interest viewpoint.

      This group essentially is an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). Not a software APT, but a wetware APT.

      Note the double agent could be a member of the rogue group. Likely very many exist.

      Black budgets are also a problem.

  3. Willis Warren says:

    The question at this point is what is America going to do?  we pretty much have all the information we need.  Russia helped Trump win, Trump is vulnerable to blackmail, and Trump is doing Putin’s bidding in his policy decisions.

    What do we do?

    At what point is this no longer a chain of command issue and when do the grown ups step in?

  4. lefty665 says:

    As much as I despise Sessions, he gives weasels a bad name, this selective unmasking of contacts is equally disgusting.  Lets get them all out on the table and set a standard.  Who did Jeb! or his surrogates talk to, or Cruz, or Hillary (do CGI bribe conversations count?) or Bernie (much as I loved him it seemed his interests stopped at the waters edge)?  It is not just the dreaded Ruskies, it’s all them furriners, the Irish, Icelanders, Israelis and Iraqis too. Is it ok if it is our allies, not ok if not? Our diplomats talk to foreign candidates. Is that ok? If it is good for the goose, is it not good for the gander too?

    Or is this all just part of the elite tantrum because Hillary lost?  No one is talking much about the fact that we have revealed NSA’s ability to read Russian diplomatic traffic. Any bets they can still get into it? Is there any concern about compromising our national technical means? Obama charged a half dozen people under the Espionage Act for far less egregious breaches. What will you think if Trump gets an AG who will charge Brennan, Clapper, et al under the Espionage Act too? That comes under the heading of  “I’ll see your Mueller and raise you 3”.  Remember, Trump’s mo is attack when under pressure. Roy Cohn was his mentor. Firing Mueller may be just the tip of the iceberg.

      • lefty665 says:

        Do you not care about our national interest and the security COMINT provides the country?  I encourage you to get over your tantrum and to acquire a concern about exposure of NSA’s skills at executing its traditional primary mission, reading the Soviets, now Russians, mail.  Kim Philby did that long ago and was convicted of espionage.  There are no indications that current breaches, apparently done by US officials, are any less damaging.

        I also encourage you to get your head up and think beyond taking down sessions and about the disconcerting potential for Trump to raise the stakes. He has been under extreme pressure since November 9th. What makes you think his response will be limited to ditching Sessions and replacing him with someone who will fire Mueller?  From his perspective that likely only alleviates the symptoms, it does not solve the problem.

        If you do not think there are other, and bigger, issues here than Sessions and Mueller it seems you are at best either profoundly naive or simply overcome with anti Trump lust.

    • Bobbie says:

      Agree about the potential breach of US intel methods IF we assume Kislyak did not know his communication method was insecure AND if the intel came from some type of US IC tap and not from a Russian asset.

      Can’t make those assumptions either way right now.

  5. orionATL says:

    1. all i want to know is the details of what sessions and kislyak talked about – each and every time they met. in particular, did those conversations involve, as i would expect, removal of sanctions. removal of sanctions is clearly the quid pro quo for russia helping trump defeat clinton.

    2. sessions was acting on direct or clear implicit orders from trump.

    3. given his closeness to trump from early on in the campaign, sessions is now a major witness against trump and the trump campaign. just how stupid can trump continue to be about these holes he keeps digging for himself.

    4. keep clearly in mind –

    trump is mad at sessions because sessions recused himself,

    leaving trump without the junkyard dog he expected to protect him from discovery about russian matters, whether about his campaign or about loans, property sales, and money laundering.

    trump is not mad at sessions for lying about seeing kislyak.

    5. all politicians lie. it is essential to playing the game. (same for all of us humans :) )

  6. person1597 says:

    The data dump delay question might stem from synchrony wrt Trumpie pardon processes.

    Suppose El Jefe’s pardon strategy towards Sessions is designed to clear the cloud of recusal?

    Knowing what Sessions did wrong might logically preceed an exoneration.

    Made whole by The Donald’s pardon, the AG would be ungagged re ru, hence free to do The Donalds bidding, even as a zombie AG.

    No Saturday night massacres amongst the undead!

  7. orionATL says:

    willis [email protected]:14

    i just wanted to underscore that much of the conversation is about who disclosed this latest tattle on sessions or how we know the truth of what kislyak reported. i don’t care about those details. i doubt they talked about the shrimp and the sauce.

    i only want to know what business details about russia helping trump were discussed.

    the meeting in trump tower with dt, jr. was june 9. when was the next trump/russia get together? what chronology can be put together?

    • Willis Warren says:

      I’m on board with that, essentially.  But I think we need to focus on the central issue here:  Donald Trump is president.  That’s a bad thing.  It’s also a bad thing that he’s vulnerable to blackmail from Vladimir Putin.

      All other politics is irrelevant in this matter.  Bringing up Clinton, or Obama, or anything else only obscures the biggest political story of my lifetime.

      I believe that Mueller is holding back his arrests precisely because he knows Trump will pardon the foot soldiers.  So, he’s going for the big score, getting Trump removed from office.  Trump knows this.  This is a very dangerous time for America and there’s very few people out there who seem to care for the right reasons.

      Forgive my sense of urgency on this matter.  We seem to be wanting the same things.

      • lefty665 says:

        “…only obscures the biggest political story of my lifetime.” Experience teaches us that these things take time, regardless of our opinions on whether they are for better or worse. Mueller is still assembling and organizing his team. It will take awhile for them to collect information, analyze it, collect more information based on that, analyze that, draw conclusions and present findings whether to the AG or a grand jury. As an example, special prosecutor Kenn Starr spent four years (8/94-9/98) investigating whether Bill could keep his pants zipped.

        I respectfully suggest that you would be well advised to temper your sense of urgency with a dose of procedural reality.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Do not panic. The wheels of justice grind slowly, and finely. Comey is not directly concerned about Trump. Likely the voters will deal with that issue before anything happens in a material fashion wrt Comey investigation.

  8. orionATL says:

    willis [email protected]:09

    i understand your sense of urgency. it is warranted. we are in a very dark time, and a very, very UNSTABLE one.

  9. orionATL says:

    [email protected]:54 and 11:06

    unctuous hypocrite.

  10. person1597 says:

    The Game Of Pardons plays out nicely in Trumpistan. Forgiveness is a powerful elixir.

    Just think of the dirt Trump and Poot have in reserve… Cheney must be jealous!

    Acquisition through inquisition… No kompromat left behind…

    To begin with, Sessions’ reanimation would be key to mechanizing a compliant polity.

    Imagine Nunes unshackled from ethical constraints. Or Flynn purged from purgatory to resume his rightful place aside the throne. Or Kobach unchained… Sheeze.

    Bad actors respawned as zombie minions in every branch of government. All inthralled in homage to El Jefe. Improbable?

    Then who holds Trump’s card? A zombified Article I branch? Whatta laff. Obsequious acquiescense to absolute authority could, once again infect the body politic. It kind of already has taken hold with “The Base”.

    The locus of control is going vertical. Unless congress intervenes, that locus may reach the heavens.

    Must-See Donald DietyTee-Vee.

    Oh…

  11. person1597 says:

    Dems’ new slogan… “Vote for us…We’re not zombies”…

    Better unforgiven than undead.

  12. dc says:

    Kushner should realize now that any conversations he had with Russian nationals, if later discussed over surveilled communication paths, are probably already known. So he will face the same jeopardy Sessions faced when testifying before congress Wednesday. Trump’s pardon assertion is permission to lie.

    • Bobbie says:

      yet another reason the leaks are bad? Its unlikely that conversations Sessons or Kushner had with Russians were illegal. Lying under oath about them are. When a perp knows what an investigator knows it makes lying under oath much less likely.

       

  13. bmaz says:

    I know everybody has pardon fever currently, but there are huge downsides for any Trump pardons that make them far less likely than you think. First, while the old saw that an acceptance of pardon constitutes and admission of guilt, that is fairly debatable, especially if the pardoned person never has to rely on the pardon in a formal court proceeding to avoid guilt. That said, the stigma sure carries the implication of root guilt. The Trump family and their immediate circle would be pretty reticent about that.

    More importantly, a pardon to any or all would immediately remove their criminal liability, and thus ability to invoke the 5th Amendment right to silence. Any such person could immediately become a very damaging witness against Trump himself. And if they perjure themselves, the pardon will not protect against that. Part and parcel, such a scheme by Trump could very well be seen as part of an obstruction scheme.

    Trump is crazy and you never know what he may do at any given time, but blanket pardons would be a pretty fraught path for him to go down.

    • Bobbie says:

      “More importantly, a pardon to any or all would immediately remove their criminal liability.”   I think that depends upon the wording of the pardon; Ford’s “any and all” would do what you say, a more specific pardon might not.

      • bmaz says:

        The phrase “any and all” referred to people, not scope of pardon. It is axiomatic that a pardon only pardons per the descriptive language in it.

        • Avattoir says:

          I retain a degree of confidence that Trump is at least as likely to screw up with using the pardon power as he screwed up with his various travel bans.

        • Bobbie says:

          Disagree,it clearly referred to offenses, not people.

          Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

          • bmaz says:

            As to your previous comment – None of us can do but read between patently obvious lines. If you think the instant reports read anything other than intercept, please identify how and why.

            As to this instant point, come on, you are making my point for me. I described specificity of persons and descriptions of offenses. You are citing to me a specific person and specific description of offenses. That was my point,thank you for reinforcing it.

  14. harpie says:

    How do pardons actually get done? Do they have to get run passed the lawyers? Is there any paperwork required, or would a Presidential tweet do?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The president’s pardon power extends only to federal crimes. Normally, there is a formal process involving a request by the perp and a review of the issues at multiple levels, all before a request hits the president’s desk.

      Most pardons are for post-appeal convictions.  Various issues are considered, such as the severity of the crime, who it hurt, the perp’s credible contrition and any restitution made, and so on.  Ordinarily, the perp will have served part of his or her custodial sentence.

      Political exceptions routinely come up, such as Clinton’s pardon of financier and Democratic fundraiser Marc Rich.  Richard Nixon’s pardon by Gerald Ford is probably sui generis, in that it was issued before any prosecution or conviction and included crimes committed or that might have been committed.  It had the earmarks, never proven, of a political deal to avoid Nixon’s (and hence the GOP’s) Senate trial.  It also stopped further investigations of the totality of his crimes and kept undocumented those crimes and the identities of others who might have been involved.

      That said, the world now knows of Trump’s searing disdain for process or the restriction of his ego in any form.  Predictably, Trump will ignore normal process as well as the rationales for it.  If he makes a mistake, and opens himself to further jeopardy by, say, removing a witness’s 5th amendment jeopardy, thus enabling her to talk and incriminate someone close to Trump, he would likely invent some pardon or attempt further action in order to foreclose the risk.

      Trump’s use of the pardon power for any but the most ordinary, benign case is likely to be extensively challenged.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Yep. And he should pardon Reality Winner now. Will not happen of course. But it would give him cover.

        It is amazing how much the rogue group has infiltrated. DOJ people (not saying Sessions, do not believe he is that clued in), want to argue that RW should not be able to defend herself in court. That if something is classfied, even if publically known, the defendant can not use in court. It is an attack on FIRST AMENDMENT. The rogue group does not want anyone to *THINK and COMMUNICATE*.

        https://theintercept.com/2017/07/21/justice-departments-demand-for-extreme-secrecy-in-reality-winner-trial-contested-by-defense/

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, as to Winner, that is about it. She has a bit of sad sympathetic character to her, but still, not very bright, and no President ever would pardon her. It is not even conceivable.

              As to whether Trump can pardon himself, it is an open question. I think the best argument says no, out of the common law theory that no man can be his own judge. But there is nothing definitive.

  15. SpaceLifeForm says:

    OT: Senator Wyden calls for better email security by US government

    https://threatpost.com/senator-calls-for-use-of-dmarc-to-curb-phishing/126931/

    “I write to ask you to take immediate steps to ensure that hackers cannot send emails that impersonate federal agencies,” Wyden wrote. “The threat posed by criminals and foreign governments impersonating U.S. government agencies is real.”

    “Government-wide implementation of DMARC has had a huge impact in the United Kingdom. In 2016, the U.K. required all government agencies to enable DMARC. As a result, the U.K.’s tax agency has stated that it reduced the number of phishing emails purporting to come from that agency by a staggering 300 million messages in one year,” he wrote.

    • P J Evans says:

      A couple of those phishing messages ended up in my inbox. (As a US citizen who’s never lived in the UK, I had no trouble identifying them as spam.)

  16. SpaceLifeForm says:

    OT: Cloud insecurity and lose half months pay

    When you can diff two sets of data after someone screws up twice and find classified info.

    Intentional?

    https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2017/07/swedish-transport-agency-worst-known-governmental-leak-ever-is-slowly-coming-to-light/

    Last March, the entire register of vehicles was sent to marketers subscribing to it. This is normal in itself, as the vehicle register is public information, and therefore subject to Freedom-of-Information excerpts. What was not normal were two things: first, that people in the witness protection program and similar programs were included in the register distributed outside the Agency, and second, when this fatal mistake was discovered, a new version without the sensitive identities was not distributed with instructions to destroy the old copy. Instead, the sensitive identities were pointed out and named in a second distribution with a request for all subscribers to remove these records themselves. This took place in open cleartext e-mail.

  17. harpie says:

    Thanks, EoH @6:44pm! Very informative. And [email protected]:55, too.

  18. JG says:

    From A trump perspective, what would be so bad about pardoning and choosing not to run again? I wonder what the effects are on a witness’s compellability when they have filed for a pardon which is still being considered. Timing wise it could get in Mueller’s way as they wrangle over legalities. I suspect Trump wouldn’t care about effects of pardon once he is out of office and not in the eye of a shit storm, imho. He would take any potential legal route which was designed to stall for a couple of years, again imho.

  19. person1597 says:

    Is the likker cabinet open again?

    “NOTE: In 1974, a law professor named Charles L. Black published an extraordinary brief volume, entitled, Impeachment: A Handbook. ”

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/impeachable-offense

    “Suppose a president were to announce and follow a policy of granting full pardons, in advance of indictment or trial, to all federal agents or police who killed anybody in line of duty, in the District of Columbia, whatever the circumstances and however unnecessary the killing. This would not be a crime, and probably could not be made a crime under the Constitution. But could anybody doubt that such conduct would be impeachable?”

    Ask TheDonald. It sounds like something he would do. And will the Freedom Caucus take umbrage over such a law and order initiave? Hardly!

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for Trump pardoning himself, he does it every morning, in a bad imitation of Dale Carnegie. I’ll bet Spacey’s is better.

    I agree with bmaz. Were a president able to pardon herself, it would permit her to engage in unlimited crimes under federal law, including egregious self-dealing and self-enrichment, then scoff at any liability. A better recipe for social, political and legal disaster would be hard to imagine (apart from neoliberalism).

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Quaint of the Grifter-in-Chief to use the commissioning of a $13 billion dollar aircraft carrier – needed to project US power and to restrain others from doing the same – to ask his naval employees to politicize themselves, call their congresscritters, and demand more money and the “reform” of health care.

    It’s another splendid example of Trump telling other people to do his job, one he has no idea how to do himself.  This example also violates the usual rules barring military personnel from taking overt political positions.  I’m sure it was a suggestion, though, one all Navy personnel could ignore without peril.  After all, most of them have parents, brothers and sisters trying to get by themselves, family who would be harmed by what this president asks.

    BTW, Mr. President, your staff should have informed you that Navy personnel already have great medical care.  (Unless you plan on cutting it to save money for other billionaires.)  But there are tens of millions of other Americans without it, and millions more who cannot afford to use theirs, a plight you are intent on making worse with your usual exuberant cruelty.

    The GOP might want to consider the host of reasons why gutting access to medical care, while leaving “health insurers” profits untouched, is not a great thing politically, economically or socially.  There are some things worse than incurring the wrath of the Mercers and the Koch brothers.

    • bmaz says:

      It is incredibly violative of the civilian/military separation line. Insanely and disgustingly so. Though Trump pretty consistently uses the military as his own personal props and a skirt to hide behind. This is far from his first offense, and it shows a profound lack of respect.

      On another note, I am watching Trump’s new honey badger carnival barker Scaramucchi on Tapper’s CNN show. What a belligerent and insulting load of in your face bullshit and duplicity. Amazingly contemptuous of the American people and Rule of law.

  22. Schuey says:

    More Trump Russia nonsense Marcy can’t you cover more interesting stuff like in the past this horse has been dead since the beginning let it go, Hillary lost.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there “Schuey”, how ya doing? Don’t you think it is a bit rich, condescending and, frankly, assholey, of you to blithely wander into our blog and tell us what to do and what to talk about?

      Because that is exactly what I think. If you want to dictate what is discussed, get your own blog. This one owes you nothing.

  23. maybe ryan says:

    Entous got the McCarthy/Ryan tape scoop as well (the “Putin pays Trump/no leaks” tape.) I had believed then that that leak came from the FBI, to tell Ryan to stay out of the way of the investigation. But another plausible explanation is that someone on team Trump was warning Ryan that he’s implicated too. On the one hand, frightening Ryan about what they have on him seems most likely to make him want to shut things down completely. On the other, it’s hard to see that leak coming from the Trump side, since it was damaging to Trump.
    Still very intrigued to know who was taping. There were no foreign participants in that conversation, so a legal CIA recording seems out, and as Marcey has pointed out, nothing about the administration’s actions suggests they had any clear view of what was going on. FBI? Did they have a warrant related to someone there? For what? Something that hasn’t leaked a year later? Seems unlikely to have been done on someone’s own private initiative (the Evan McMullin theory.) Sure he is ex-CIA, but how would he have done it? (A self-rigged wire seems technically demanding, and where is it transmitting or recording? Some sort of iphone function?) and wouldn’t you be scared shitless to do that to v. powerful people if no one had your back? That just seems like a lot to do if you’re a guy with no particular plan and no particular backing.

    I always found it surprising Entous didn’t detail who else may have been present. At least when I read those stories, the list of names present was not conclusive.

    I still find that one of the most extraordinary stories of the year, given too little attention. The actual taping of an internal House GOP discussion, somewhat incriminating, and we have neither knowledge nor any solid speculation on who or why. Yeah, it came out in the worst week possible for getting attention, since there were another 5 bombshells that week, including Comey’s dismissal.

    That very fact – that it was leaked in a week when it was guaranteed to be overshadowed, makes it seem like a message someone was sending. But again, who?

  24. Bobbie says:

    BMAZ you said, “More importantly, a pardon to any or all would immediately remove their criminal liability.” And yes, that is accurate for whatever, and only whatever, that pardon pardoned them for. I gave Ford/Nixon as an example that complies with your statement. Your followup apparently referred back to your original quote and not to my comment. I don’t think we really are disagreeing in much here.

    Regarding intercept, if a Russian (or other non-American) asset (double or not double) intercepts something and gives it to us is that a “US intelligence intercept”?

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