The Text about Flynn Wasn’t the Substantial Role in the Russian Attack — It Just Linked the Grand Bargain to It

Having spoken to a number of journalists about my post revealing I spoke with the FBI about someone on Russia-related matters, I want to clarify something about my deliberately oblique post. The text I received just over 14 hours after polls closed — reporting that Flynn had been tasked to speak with “Team Al-Assad” within 48 hours — was not directly related to the “significant role” this person played in the Russian attack on the US, at least as far as I have been able to understand.

On the contrary, this text is something I’ve puzzled over ever since, because — as the substance of the text came to be corroborated by both Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn — I couldn’t understand how he had learned of it so quickly.

The “significant role” I believe this person had in the Russian attack on the US is at least facially entirely separate from the subject of the text, though I do find it really telling that someone I believed had been and was subsequently involved in the attack on the US was in the loop on the foreign policy payoff so quickly.

All that said, it and some related comments inform why I have argued, since May 2017, that the “Russia” story is actually as much about Jared’s “Peace” “Plan” as it is about payoff to Russia in the form of sanctions relief.

As I explained, I included the text in the oblique post because of reports that seem to confirm we’re closing in on the deal that Trump turned to implementing just hours after the election.

Here’s another example, a follow-up from Adam Entous on an earlier report on Donald Trump’s New World Order. He describes how Mohammed bin Zayed told an American shortly before the election — that is, shortly before this text was sent to me — that Vladimir Putin might be willing to make a deal on Syria in exchange for sanctions relief.

During a private meeting shortly before the November, 2016, election, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, floated to a longtime American interlocutor what sounded, at the time, like an unlikely grand bargain. The Emirati leader told the American that Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, might be interested in resolving the conflict in Syria in exchange for the lifting of sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Current and former U.S. officials said that bin Zayed, known as M.B.Z., was not the only leader in the region who favored rapprochement between the former Cold War adversaries. While America’s closest allies in Europe viewed with a sense of dread Trump’s interest in partnering with Putin, three countries that enjoyed unparallelled influence with the incoming Administration—Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E.—privately embraced the goal. Officials from the three countries have repeatedly encouraged their American counterparts to consider ending the Ukraine-related sanctions in return for Putin’s help in removing Iranian forces from Syria.


It is unclear whether M.B.Z.’s preëlection proposal came from Putin himself or one of his confidants, or whether the Emirati leader came up with the idea. But the comment suggested that M.B.Z. believed that turning Putin against Iran would require sanctions relief for Moscow, a concession that required the support of the American President.

Entous is asking similar questions as I am about this effort: did my source learn of Flynn’s tasking from the Russians or from someone else? I honestly don’t know.

But Entous and I are seeing the same thing in recent events. That over the next two weeks, Trump looks poised to deliver on his end of the grand bargain.

On June 8th, Trump called for Russia to be readmitted to the Group of Seven industrial nations. (Russia was expelled four years ago, after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.) Then, during a dinner at the G-7 summit in Canada, Trump reportedly said that Crimea was Russian because the people who lived there spoke Russian. Several weeks later, when asked whether reports that he would drop Washington’s long-standing opposition to the annexation of Crimea were true, Trump responded, “We’re going to have to see.”

What I hoped to add to this story by revealing that text is the evidence that the grand bargain tied closely, in the person that I discussed with the FBI, with the election attack.

114 replies
  1. Willis Warren says:

    He’s probably going to pull us out of NATO completely if we’re stupid enough to give him a second term. Maybe even before if he can get reassurance he won’t be impeached.

    • Silence Hand says:

      Trump making trouble for NATO is, IMO, a smokescreen.  NATO, shmATO.   None of that involves money that directly goes to Trump, so it’s really not such a big deal.  Of course he sees international relations as a big shakedown racket, but that’s nothing new. If he can stoke the grievance politics machine some more with his talk of bad, greasy, kind of stinky Europeans cheating the U. S. of A, so much the better.

      The more relevant picture probably relates to corrupt business relationships ensuring DJT and his spawn harvest immense chunks of money from energy sector deals the like of which the world has never seen.  This is essentially what Flynn and basically all of Trump’s foreign policy team were at work on before and just after the election, and it’s had to get put off until now.   With NATO as a distraction for all of us, Trump and Putin are setting up the financial grift of the millennium (or, at least that’s Trump’s picture, however deluded).

      Think of it as a con. How much does it cost the grift to cut in the POTUS? We’ll soon see.

        • Silence Hand says:

          Seriously?  Well, nanny-nanny boo-boo back at you.  We’ll see, won’t we?

          Hey, a dragonfly!

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah. I concur. Undermining the EU economically and NATO’s strength politically is a key deliverable — the payoff isn’t obvious to us because it may already have been made in any one of numerous methods. The same deliverable is why the Brexit referendum happened as Brexit peeled away a key member armed with Trident.

        • Silence Hand says:

          To be clear, I’m not arguing that weakening NATO isn’t an apex Russian goal, and one that recruiting Trump as an asset serves over the long and short term.  I’m arguing that Trump himself is far more concerned with the “Grand Bargain” that happens to deliver massive financial windfall to him and his family.

          I doubt that Trump has the stones to go head-to-head with the military on maintenance of the alliance, however.  For him (and again to be clear, not the Russians), NATO is basically just something like NAFTA that he can bash as a ripoff of his aggrieved base. Of course I could be wrong, but I don’t see NATO pullout happening. Among other things, this would be something like a 4 alarm fire for key defense contractors. That’s probably a constituency that ultimately means something to Trump et al.

          Also, I don’t equate the EU and NATO in all of this.  The EU is clearly something Trump and Putin plan to dismantle.

        • Rayne says:

          Do I agree with you that Trump is in it for himself? Yes. He’s a narcissist and incapable of more than transactional relationships, which is exactly why he was the perfect tool for Putin’s aims. He’s predictable as hell and his ~13 years as a television personality also proved his ability to act to script in front of cameras.

          But I can’t agree with your perspective on the EU and NATO. There is no daylight between them; economic security of the EU is tightly entwined with its political sovereignty and military security.

          I also believe you are placing too much faith in Defense Department. It has been compromised by white nationalists within its ranks for decades.

        • Dev Null says:

          I also believe you are placing too much faith in Defense Department. It has been compromised by white nationalists within its ranks for decades.

          Rayne, I’ve seen squibs for the past 15 or so years claiming that white nationalists have been flocking to DoD, but I’ve never seen follow-up reports or any quantification of the extent of infiltration. Ditto local law enforcement.

          Might you have pointers to authoritative studies? Keywords fine, I can use google. I’ve just never found anything.

          Vaguely remember a report from early in Obama’s Admin about right-wing terror … that conservatives raised such a stink about that the report was squashed / withdrawn / something.

        • Rugger9 says:

          I’ll agree about the Zoomies, and ground zero for them is the USAFA (look at the chaplain list).  The Army is less of a problem (due mostly to being more front-line on average than the Chair Force deployments and the USMA doesn’t have the same chaplain problem) and the Navy / USMC officers tend toward independent thinking since being at sea (and on your own) does that.

          However, it is a problem because of the authority inherent in the system.  All officers are aware of illegal orders and what they should do with them, but if anything can be determined from recent history, there are always brown-nosing ring-knockers looking out for their future flag.

        • Dev Null says:

          Thanks, Rayne. you remind me of a big kerfluffle at the USAF Academy 2-3-4 years ago, thanks. I saw the Army Times column when it came out. Maybe I’m jaded, but I didn’t find it especially compelling. OTOH:

          Nearly five percent of those polled left comments complaining that groups like Black Lives Matter — whose stated goal is to raise awareness of violence and discrimination towards black people — weren’t included among the options for threats to national security.

          … which means about 50 out of 1131. Not sure whether I should consider that a lot or a few. As metrics go, hating on BLM probably undercounts; but it sounds VERY white supremacist / nationalist / whatever.

          Will take a look at the Splinternews article … link-rich, as you say, thanks.

          I was hoping for a RAND or MITRE study or something similar, but perhaps nothing of that sort exists. Surprising; I’d think that DoD would have commissioned a study at an FFRDC. At one time racism in a potential recruit was considered disqualifying, or so I’ve read, which if true makes the absence of a study even more surprising.

          OT but tangentially related, Seth Rogan on twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

          Others pile on.

          Don’t know the writer, just passing it along.

          And totally OT, Vice reports that BBC Panorama has a report on Trump, predator of teens. Passing this along because of an exchange a few weeks ago in re Lisa Bloom’s client “Jane Doe” and “Maria”.

        • Dev Null says:

          To clarify (slightly), the Army Times report is an example of what I consider to be a squib. I’m looking for a deep dive with a solid methodology and solid analysis. (haven’t followed up on the Splinternews links yet.)

        • Rayne says:

          Knock yourself out. My best source would be SPLC but you may not share the same opinion. Quite honestly, I don’t know that a research paper would uncover this kind of social group given both pressure to conform and appear to be cooperative within the military and the group’s goals which rely on secrecy.

        • Dev Null says:

          After a quick skim of the Splinter essay, and a quick skim of the links in the Splinter essay … y’know? if this is all there is … I’m disappointed in Our Team®.

          The suppressed 2009 DHS report (which The Intercept links to) provides no numbers or methodology, which might explain why it was suppressed: it’s opinion and prescription / proscription, not a statistical study.

          And ZOMG the report neglects to cite peer-reviewed references. WTF?

          Might have missed a link at Splinter etc, but … the essays I read talk about “hundreds” of white nationalists, at most. OK, even *one* Nazi in the services is too many, but still … I’m underwhelmed.

          Consider the Army Times article: “5% white nationalists” in the services, according to one of the links which cited the article. According to, US active-duty personnel amount to about 1.3M individuals.

          Five per cent is 65K (65000) white nationalists in the services.

          None of the posts I’ve read makes claims for thousands, much less almost a hundred thousand.

          The SPLC article The Intercept links to is anecdata. “… a series of investigations” there might have been, but the SPLC is cherry-picking the gut-wrenching stuff.

          Call me a numbers weenie (guilty as charged, Officer!) but none of this hangs together. You’d be mocked, possibly even ridden out of town on a rail, if you presented this at a numbers-oriented-discipline convention. (To my shame, I’ve been there, done that, which might explain my discomfort.)

          And what I take to be the implicit claim that if DoD worked harder, DoD could get the number of white nationalists down to bupkis …

          … it’s, uh, not a credible claim IMO.

          Sure, DoD could do better. Maybe a lot better. But hundreds, if that’s the total, sounds pretty good to me.

          The problem (with trying to drive to zero) is the 80-20 rule: you can get to 80% easily. The next 10% (which get you to 90%) require work. The next 5% (which get you to 95%) are super-hard.

          The last 5% verge on impossible. There will always be ‘lone wolves’.

          Point being, unless you know how bad things are – and my take from these essays is that we don’t – you don’t know where you are going and/or how to get there.

          Parenthetically, Трамп’s pardon of white nationalists today doesn’t help.

          That said, I was struck by this comment in (one of) The Intercept’s article(s):

          “If you look at the history of law enforcement in the United States, it is a history of white supremacy, to put it bluntly,” said Simi, citing the origin of U.S. policing in the slave patrols of the 18th and 19th centuries. “More recently, just going back 50 years, law enforcement, particularly in the South, was filled with Klan members.”

          Lordy, Ah buhlieves! It’s consistent with what I’ve read about the history of policing in America.

          I have a lot more confidence in this statement than I have in the claim that there are 65K white nationalists in the services.

          Still … no numbers, no methodology.

          Numbers and methodology would go a long way here.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Absolutely.  The Free State of Colorado Springs is riven with fundamentalist christians who would be happy to secede. It was once the polar opposite of the People’s Republic of Boulder.  Housing prices that begin to rival SFO’s are turning it rightward.

          The USAFA seems to find the Springs a comfortable home.  Curtis LeMay still lives.

        • posaune says:

          Interesting.    Colo Springs is the location of a bunch of adoption agencies and adoption law firms.   Can’t help but wonder if some of the children ICE can’t find have been “placed” there.

        • Dev Null says:

          Curtis LeMay still lives.

          For some definition of “lives”.

          You had me going there…

          The Free State of Colorado Springs is riven with fundamentalist christians who would be happy to secede.

          Reminds me of the joke that made the rounds when John Connolly seceded from the Dems: “he raised the average IQ of both parties”.

        • Robert says:

          In my professional career, I had occasion to visit several DoD facilities. One of the things I noticed was that the cafeteria areas would have a number of large screen televisions and these were almost always tuned to Fox News. These experiences date back some years, but I would be surprised if anything has changed.

        • Dev Null says:

          None of the DoD cafeterias I visited had TVs tuned to Faux Propaganda Network. But I haven’t visited many DoD cafeterias. Single digits…

          That said, I interacted with a non-trivial number of service peeps who were really, really conservative.

        • Dev Null says:

          @SilenceHand: “Rush Limbo …”

          (replying to myself because your post doesn’t have a “reply” button.)

          And Jerry Boykin something.

          I’m not saying “there’s nothing here”, I’m saying “something is going on, but I’m not getting the Big Picture.”

        • Dev Null says:

          Not sure that this surprises anyone given the candidate’s reputation, but … yet another White Nationalist Republican candidate (Seth Grossman):

          There was some other news last night, apparently, but the NRCC officially un-endorsed its candidate in #NJ02 after @mmfa found Facebook posts where he linked to white nationalist essays

          When one major party’s candidates run around spouting near-neo-Nazi rhetoric, and the national party sanctions those candidates only when they regurgitate neo-Nazi rhetoric …

          … what next? In the context of the current thread, will it be “It’s unfair to discriminate against neo-Nazis by barring them from military service”?

        • Dev Null says:

          Minor clarification: The correct statement is “I don’t remember TVs at all.” That could be because there were no TVs, or it could be because we were continuing meetings over lunch, and found a table not exposed to a TV.

          And Jerry Boykin was a LTG. He is also a Christianist. I wasn’t suggesting that he had a talk radio show broadcast to the troops; I was pointing to him as yet another example of high-ranking Christianists in the services.

        • Silence Hand says:

          I respectfully disagree with you about the magnitude of the problem of white nationalists within DoD; I tend to agree with Dev Null about the “softness” of the argument being made.  It’s an important issue to explore more fully and with good sourcing, and I don’t think the Splinter piece (as thought provoking as it is) clears the bar on this.

          I also don’t see the defense industry letting go of NATO engagement.  For sure, it’s profoundly weird to find myself rooting for the military-industrial complex, but that’s one thing providing a tremendous amount of inertia in any NATO pullout / dismantling.

          Of course, DJT may also do his handlers’ bidding on NATO regardless.  I just don’t think that this is his personal or political priority.  Having NATO as an example of AMERICA GETTinG CHEATED!1!!!1  is, moreover, too politically expedient for him to actually move to get rid of it.  He just wants to push ’em around a little.  Again, we’ll see.

          If you’re right about white supremacists in DoD, though, we’re well and truly f**ked; America is basically over.

        • Rayne says:

          I didn’t provide the Splinternews piece as an end-all-be-all. It contained a number of links for DevNull to follow. I am NOT chasing this issue because I don’t have time for it. I do know that for much of the late 1990s-2000s I ended up on a mailing list operated by a right-wing Christianist organization which constantly pushed both white nationalist and U.S. military content on a near-daily basis. It’s out there yet and it’s only one group. You and DevNull want more and better content? By all means, go to it. Find it.

          DJT has already been using the cost of maintaining a base in Germany as an argument to pullout of the European theater. At the same time he is increasing military presence and spending on the Mexican border in lieu of actual wall funding from Congress. It’s happening under our noses and with little argument from the military-industrial complex because they are going to be engaged in contracts closer to home.

          And in the Middle East as contractors if Flynn, Prince, et al have their way.

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          Don’t feed the trolls tryin’ to hijack the thread. You are absolutely correct that the military is NOT to be relied upon to come down on the side of non-executive orders to enforce anything (like Trumpty’s removal from office).


        • Dev Null says:

          Don’t feed the trolls tryin’ to hijack the thread

          I’ve been commenting here longer than you have (I think), and you’re the first person to call me a troll.

          I am always surprised when requests for hard information are considered evidence that I am discounting the claims, rather than evidence that I am trying to buttress the claims with hard evidence.

        • Silence Hand says:

          1) It’s an important issue, and one I’m assessing.  To be continued.  Christianists certainly love to wrap themselves in military trappings, but my understanding from active duty and retired officers and NCOs (Army, Navy, Marines; not Air Force) is that this does not represent how things are in the larger force.  It’s a problem, though – conservative politics, which are there in abundance, are a dark channel through which Christo-Fascism can and does flow.  Odd, considering that our military is essentially a socialist state-within-a-state.

          2) Interesting point about the border.  I’d thought of it as an exercise in pure Keynesianism.  Still, I doubt that Lockheed and General Dynamics are envisioning making their bacon there.

          3) Mild disagreement is not trolling. The overall issue here relates to the “grand bargain” that MW is highlighting with big red flares. My larger point is that this is the central thrust of Trump’s administration, with NATO an afterthought at best.

           Perhaps as a side effect of the occasional appearance garden variety trolls, a few of the otherwise excellent regular commenters on this forum occasionally take it as such.  I would kindly ask @NorskieFlamethrower to watch the hair trigger on that torch.  Not that I’m advocating for “civility” or anything…

        • SHIFTLOCK says:

          NATO should call Trump’s bluff and take Crimea back from Putin.  The conflict would force Trump to go to war with his puppet master.


  2. Matthew says:

    I certainly find it suspicious that as much as Trump likes to say that Russia is a “witch hunt” he doesn’t do himself favors in giving special treatment to Russia. Either it’s just because he’s clueless and genuinely likes dictators or he is just bought.

  3. Trip says:

    Netanyahu and Putin came to some grand bargain earlier. This is why Dershowitz is actually another Giuliani working pro bono for Trump, while acting as an unregistered lobbyist for a foreign country: Israel. I wouldn’t be shocked if the ex-members (maybe some current) of Mossad were involved in hacks/leaks, in coordination with the Kremlin.

    *Along with the Mercers, the Kochs, Kissinger and some of the old neocons as puppeteers.

      • Dev Null says:

        from your first link:

        That these people would engage in such activities is worrisome enough. That an Israeli-Jewish organization would do it on behalf of an anti-Semite is even more appalling.

        Over the river and through the Looking Glass …

        In my less sane (hey, it’s all relative) moments I wonder if we’re seeing the curtain slowly pulled back on a world-wide collusion of oligarchs. (Is there a collective noun for oligarchs?)

        • Silence Hand says:

           I wonder if we’re seeing the curtain slowly pulled back on a world-wide collusion of oligarchs

          This.  I think we’re looking at a potential major consolidation of wealth, and thus power, on the horizon.  For me, the bizarre and truly scary thing here is that each of these bazillionaires considers themselves a very stable mega-super-genius playing some kind of 3D chess.  Until, of course, they end up on an all-expenses paid indefinite stay at a Saudi luxury hotel.  Seth Abramson’s take on all of this is really jolting.

  4. Jesus Macaraeg says:

    Here are some particulars from the Center for American Progress which you probably already know:

    “Seychelles + UAE + George Nader + Michael Flynn = Middle East Marshall Plan?” (The Moscow Project, 4/6/2018):

    ACU Strategic Partners (Alex Copson), Tom Barrack, Eric Prince, IP3 (Bud McFarlane).

    [I have removed the link shortener URL and replaced it with the ultimate destination URL. Avoid methods by which readers might be tracked including unique IDs in URLs. Welcome to emptywheel. / ~Rayne]

  5. Pete says:

    “As I explained, I included the text in the oblique post because of reports that seem to confirm we’re closing in on the deal that Trump turned to implementing just hours after the election.”

    A week or so ago – actually before your “Putting a Face on…” post you tweeted (or perhaps it was a comment here) that it felt like something big was imminent.

    I think many, including me, have felt that way as well (and perhaps hoping it would be a Mueller surprise). but it looks like this “Grand Bargain” is moving along nicely and Trump-NATO and Trump-Putin makes my skin itch.

    Can anything stop it or at least throw a monkey wrench into it’s progress?

    The Kavanaugh distraction.  How timely.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      Jon Kyl going around as the lead shepherd for the Supreme Court fight is another ugly sign that the GOP is co-opted.

      Kyl was as hawkish as they come in the Senate, and hated by the Russians:

      So now he’s nicey nice with Trump on the eve of the Putin meeting?

      Kyl wasn’t just chosen from his lobbying gig to be the public face of Trump’s Supreme Court campaign because he has a lot of buddies in the Senate. Kyl was chosen as a symbol of how the GOP has sold out it principles on Russia.

      • Dev Null says:

        GOP … principles.

        I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.

        If there was one principle I thought Republicans stood for, it was hating on Russians.

        [considers] uh, hating on blacks and the poors, and hating on Russians.

        Two principles. If there were two principles Republicans stood for, those principles were hating on the blacks and the poors, and hating on Russians.

        [reconsiders] uh, tax cuts.

        Three principles. If there were three principles Republicans stood for …

        Now we’re down to tax cuts and hating on the blacks and the poors…

        Gotta say, I did not see that one coming.

        Which of these things is real?

        Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and …

        GOP principles.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          I get the riff to Santa, the Grinch and Marvin the Martian and the oxymoron of “GOP principles” — but just to be clear, I said sold out principles on Russia.

          Kyl was a lightweight throughout his congressional career, but rekindling the flame of circa 1957 anti-Russia-ism was his lodestar, his security blanket, his Teddy bear. He’s thrown it all overboard now by embracing Trump, and I have little doubt that before long he’ll be doing the Sunday talk show circuit saying that Russia in 2016 was actually helping Clinton and it’s a good thing that Trump has now made Putin his ally and turned his back on the West.

        • Dev Null says:

          I said sold out principles on Russia.

          Got that. That’s why “3 principles” went to “2 principles”.

          I was saying – in my apparently obscure and convoluted way – that Republicans bashed Dems on Russia (nee Soviets) for so many decades that I had come to believe that Republicans were serious. Now I realize that Russia was merely a convenient cudgel for hating on Dems.

          “I don’t see any principle at all, sir.”

          Hard to imagine the GOP ditching “tax cuts” and “hating on the blacks and the poors”, though. Those really do seem to be bedrock GOP principles.

          I get the riff …

          Any joke one must explain is a failure, so I failed multiple times. In order of appearance: Princess Bride, The Spanish Inquisition, the Honest Lawyer, and Apocalypse Now.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          I think the anti-Russia feeling was real and deep. In international development, there was no easier way for a kleptocrat dictator to make trouble for his opposition than to run to someone like Kyl or Dan Burton and whisper how some opposition advisor had taken an undergrad course once with a professor who wrote a book of critique of Marxist theory. The reflexive paranoia was astonishing.

          It was not nearly as transparent as the supposed worries about budget deficits. Those guys were crazy and idiots, but they felt the hatred of the Rooskies deep in their viscera. Yet now it has melted away like tears in the rain.

        • Dev Null says:

          … the anti-Russia feeling was real and deep.


          Those guys were crazy and idiots, but they felt the hatred of the Rooskies deep in their viscera. Yet now it has melted away like tears in the rain.

          If “hatred of the Rooskies” “melted away like tears in the rain”, perhaps that hatred wasn’t “real and deep”?

          I must be missing a point. Your second para seems to gut and filet your first para.

          eg remember that as recently as 2008 John McCain was willing to risk war with Russia over Ossetia. And Obama was a wimp for, well, wimping out on Ossetia.

          In 2012, Mittens called Russia “our No.1 geopolitical foe”.

        • Silence Hand says:

          Well, the GOP has always had a thing for The Authoritah, and the fantasy that Putin will ride in bare-chested on a white stallion to rescue them from Barack the Magic Negro has been around and swelling for some time.  Yeah, there’s been quite a lot of Putin-fellating going on in the party even before Trump-mas.  It’s just that now the mainstream party is strapping on the knee pads.

      • Dev Null says:

        David Corn has a post up at MoJo today (11 July 2018) that touches on your point – not Kyl, but Republicans in general.

        In the past, it would be unthinkable for Republicans to go so light on Russia or any other overseas foe. But one reason they can get away with this is that the story has shifted. Though the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller commands media attention, there has not been a major public examination of the Russian attack. The probe conducted by the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee devolved into an acrimonious clown show, with Republicans focused mainly on diversions (such as the FBI’s use of secret surveillance warrants). The Senate Intelligence Committee’s inquiry, which is ongoing, has been a quiet affair, with few public hearings. When the committee issued a preliminary finding noting that it has concluded that the US intelligence community was correct to assess that Putin had tried to help Trump, it released the report on the afternoon before July 4—a move guaranteed to attract less attention.


  6. klynn says:

    If I were a member of the G-7, I would float, “Since you are such a ‘man of the people choosing’ how about we get third and fourth party observers (one UN related, one an INGO that does election monitoring) to monitor a ballot measure that allows the Crimean people to vote again on their independence. This time, make it a clean vote and clarify if the 2014 ref vote was valid and add the third choice of total independence to the new referendum.”

  7. Trip says:

    And so it begins:

    CNN Politics
    ‏Verified account @CNNPolitics

    Sen. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat, says he could vote either way on President Trump’s Supreme Court justice pick

  8. zonefreezone says:

    EW you screwed the pooch in your Oblique Post; don’t make it worse.

    Tacky to drag Adam Entous into it although I’m sure you cleared it with him. Right?

    • bmaz says:

      Listen, just about every comment you have posted here has been that of an antagonistic jackass. And this is certainly one of them. You add no worthwhile content and are consistently hostile to the proprietor and editors of this blog, not to mention other commenters. You are very close to being toast. Clean up your act or get out.

      • zonefreezone says:

        I’m surprised you have the time to review the posts of every commenter who “gets out of line”.

        How do you accomplish that?

    • Rayne says:

      You’ve had 47 posts here under one email address, three accounts and two names. Interesting that your own guesstimate as to number of comments you’ve published here is so accurate, as if you were keeping track.

  9. mrtmbrnmn says:

    Intriguing analysis, Marcie… NATO’s sellby date has long ago expired. EUnuch’s soon will. Flynn actually met with the Russian Amb on behalf of Satanyahu the week before he was perjury trapped for meeting with the same Russian Amb. regarding sanctions against Russia. A “Grand Bargain” that has Putin pretending to elbow Iran out of Syria (a bit) in exchange for US lifting sanctions against Russia (for defending Crimean rights against the crypto-Nazi/US Kiev coup) is a far far better “Grand Bargain” than the obscene one in which Obama offered up the human sacrifice of Social Security and Medicare to the GOP Undead in 2011 in exchange for some chump change funding.

    • Rugger9 says:

      You are a moron of the MAGAT variety.  Sell out yourself and move to the Soviet Union Russia since you love it so much.  Just make sure Kaiser Quisling paid you up front, he has a habit of stiffing his servants.

      • Rayne says:

        While I feel your frustration with our infrequent visitor mrtmbrnmn’s unrefined and uneducated remark lacking adequate sourcing, please avoid ad hominem comments. Thank you.

  10. Northern Neighbor says:

    I found emptywheel through the recent article in the Washington Post by Margaret Sullivan.  A salute to you Marcy Wheeler for your moral integrity.

    As for the Adam Entous link to his in depth article, it provided context and supported your point of view with a great deal of detail I have not seen elsewhere.

    Interesting times indeed for our U.S. cousins.  We keep seeing your president tweet about “Fake News”, and yes there will always be suspect information out there – but the reader should always check the sources.

    One characteristic that Canadians are always accused of is politeness…..we do have our opinions of what we see but…….

    I will be following emptywheel for sure – thanks neighbor!


  11. harpie says:

    More Flynn news:

    Kaitlan Collins [CNN]: “WSJ: Michael Flynn and two others launching a global consulting firm.”

    Laura Rozen: “Wild. Flynn and his son are going into business with Nick Muzin and Joey Allaham, who lobbyied for Qatar until last month”

    Ben Wieder:

    The principals of the firm Flynn is joining are currently being sued by former Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy for their role in alleged hacking of Broidy’s e-mails

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Tells you a lot about their clientele if they’re anxious to hire an admitted felon to be a public spokesperson.  Before they know what his sentence will be.  That’s juice and payback at work.

    • harpie says:

      oh! [hahahaha], it was all just a misunderstanding!


      Mike Flynn’s lawyers say he won’t be joining new lobbying firm, calling an earlier announcement a ‘misunderstanding’


      Rushing out to influence peddle again prolly wasn’t going to help sentencing in an influence peddling felony. 

  12. Drew says:

    Admitting my own ignorance (and not being in intelligence circles) Can someone enlighten me on a minor point? The text in question refers to A 1 as a characterization of the quality of the source of his intel. That must have a specific meaning to those who are initiated. What is that meaning?

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    MTP is full of crap framing Dem opposition to Kavanaugh as a function of “confirmation bias.”  Katy Tur should know better.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As digby points out, from this WaPo story, Rudy 9-11 is representing billionaire president Donald J. Trump for free.

    I just know the Don has told his accountants and will report that in-kind income on his famous tax returns.  (He might make an argument that the representation has no or negative value.  But unlike Chuck Todd, the Don’s accountant should not take that at face value.)

    Copying Paul Manafort, Rudy is simultaneously representing foreign clients, and has decided that he need not register as a foreign agent under the newly enforced Foreign Agents Registration Act.  Mr. Giuliania must not have spent much time reading Paul Manafort’s indictments.

    Rudy admits that Brazil and Columbia are among his foreign clients.  Presumably, Rudy chose two of his least offensive clients.  According to the WaPo, his other clients include a city in the Ukraine and an opposition group in Iran.

    Rudy gives two reasons for why he thinks he needn’t register as a foreign agent:  A)  He is not charging the Don for his services.  See, Manafort, Paul.  B)  He is not representing them in front of the USG.  Is Rudy saying that having free access to the WH and working directly for the President is not the USG?  He would have to look long and hard to find anyone who agrees with him on that.

    It would seem essential that Rudy Giuliani, as the president’s lawyer, disclose his full list of foreign clients.  As with Manafort, the potential for conflicts of interest and active wrongdoing is considerable.  Being able to say that he represents the president is also of considerable marketing value to Mr. Giuliani.  His ready access to the WH and the president give him rare sources of information and substantially enhances his visibility and reach elsewhere. Those are a lobbyist’s principal assets.  That’s probably income he should declare on his tax returns.

    • cat herder says:

      Why should Rudy worry about “laws” when he knows Prezident Reality Show can pardon anybody for anything anytime he wants? Laws and courts and judges and Special Counsels aren’t going to matter a damn bit six months from now. May not even exist in any recognizable form.

      Just look what they’re doing right now with the thousands of abducted kids. Just ignore the court order. Who’s going to enforce it? Seal Team 6 gonna shoot it out with the Secret Service?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ordinarily, the president’s lawyer would care a lot because his knowledge and use of laws and legal process are how he gets the president out of jams.  Would that he were persuasive enough to convince the president to stop getting into jams in the first place.  But this is Donald Trump.

      Rudy’s not doing that and he probably no longer knows how.  He is waging a PR battle.  That’s why he doesn’t care what the facts, or the law and the procedures are.  Besides, the Don will fuck up something and invalidate any strategy.

      His only out is to work the ref.  He is trying to manipulate the American legal system as if it were some alderman standing in the way of a profitable mid-town property development.  When bribes don’t work, slander him, put someone else in, or threaten his family by demonstrating cruelty and unhinged behavior as often as possible.

      The Don is a lot less generous with pardons than he lets on.  He issues them rarely, ignores process, and makes shit up.  But his pattern is to give pardons to people who are like Ollie North: proud of their crimes and happy to commit them again.  That turns the purpose of a pardon on its head, but it creates a Trump friendly culture.  See, working the alderman.

      As for everybody else, they are dependent on a common understanding of facts, laws and processes.  Trump will be gone, his GOP will lose power, and pieces will need to be picked up.

  15. Dev Null says:

    @Rayne: The site isn’t giving me a Reply button, so replying here.

    Knock yourself out.

    No idea what this means in context. “Find your own sources”? That’s why I asked. I haven’t found sources I find compelling.

    My best source would be SPLC but you may not share the same opinion.

    As a numbers guy, I found the SPLC articles disappointing.

    Quite honestly, I don’t know that a research paper would uncover this kind of social group given both pressure to conform and appear to be cooperative within the military and the group’s goals which rely on secrecy.

    DoD has invested quite a few $ into social science research. I haven’t looked in a while, but last I remember DARPA was running multiple social science programs, and MITRE had multiple social science research reports. That being the case, I expected to find DoD-commissioned FFRDC investigations into “effects of racial bias on unit cohesion” or whatever weaselly words provide sufficient cover.

    Not claiming to be any sort of authority, but I think I have a reasonable idea of what will pass the giggle test in the numbers community … because I worked in that community for almost four decades.

    To put it bluntly: like it or not, nothing I’ve read passes the giggle test.

    That’s a problem for Our Team®.

    • Rayne says:

      “Knock yourself out” means I do NOT have time to chase this. I have anecdotal evidence including observations from friends and family who were in the military along with reports like that Army Times and Splinternews piece and a decade-plus of emails from one Christianist group. My gut tells me you’re not looking in the right spots or the information isn’t available publicly

      As for “Our Team®” — I have no idea whose team that is.

      • Dev Null says:

        I do NOT have time to chase this.

        I wasn’t asking you to to “chase this”, Rayne. You posted a claim. I asked if you had seen hard evidence.

        You haven’t, I gather.

        I have anecdotal evidence …

        Got that. So do I. But anecdotal evidence takes you only so far.

        “Our Team” …

        Sorry, my bad. I thought that was obvious. I meant: the good guys. Not-neo-Nazis. Not-white-nationalists. Not-white-supremacists. These days, maybe even not-Republicans.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        Again Rayne, you have given this person far too much of your valuable time and space and, frankly, exposes this person as far too sensitive to criticism of the military for a problem that is obvious. As a Vietnam vet I believe that the relationship between the military, corporations and right wing ideology is and has been a controlling factor in our politics on the larger scale since at least 1946 and that the balance of the command level officer class can be described as “fascist”.

        • Dev Null says:


          OK, I get that you’ve been here longer than I have. I followed EW at FDL but never commented … rarely read comments.

          Fascist. That’s rich. You have no idea what you are talking about.

          I can’t even…

          Honestly, it says more about you than it says about me that, knowing nothing about my political leanings except what you have read here, you come up with the (ahem) batshit insane label “fascist”.

          Nothing I have written – nothing – remotely qualifies as fascist, nor leans fascist.

          bmaz, that’s not even damning with faint praise. You’re not required to either to praise or damn me, needless to say, but your silence is suggestive.

          If you’d prefer that I stop commenting here – if you feel that my contributions (such as they are) have been net negative – just say so. I will happily scoot along in that case and trouble you and Rayne and EW (and commenters) no further.

        • bmaz says:

          Hi there “Null”.

          You have already been a dick to Rayne (and several commenters). Now me. You smug twatwaffle. Care for strike three?

        • bmaz says:

          Norske, don’t do this. You have been around since early FDL. You know we make our own editing and moderating decisions. That is on us, but it is not on others to demand. We will police this site as best we can.

        • Silence Hand says:

          Thank you.  From my own experience, moderating a reasonably high-quality forum is analogous to running cadmium rods into a nuclear reactor.   Mostly needs a light touch if anything’s gonna happen, but sometimes you gotta scram the pile.

          That said, my vote FWIW (not much) is that Dev Null added something to the discussion, though as always text in boxes has no tone and can come across in unintended ways. I make this kind of mistake all the time, which is why I read a lot and pretty rarely comment

  16. Palli says:

    I keep double posting because I don’t trust skills-please excuse my ineptitude and comment on the

  17. Rusharuse says:

    Lemon sauce . .
    Ol’ Don Lemon has a source (e, i, e, i, o!). Source says Cohen will flip becoming Trumps “John Dean”. Turns out the real John Dean also knows this saucey source and agrees that he/she is the real deal- knows Watergate very well and Deans role in it. Real John Dean thinks this source believes Cohen can really take Trump down, and advised “if you kick the King better make sure it’s a mortal blow”!
    We live in hope!

  18. Mitch Neher says:

    On July 25th, 2017, shortly after the Trump Tower meeting was first reported in the press, on July 9th, 2017, the Congressional Republicans finally added Obama’s EOs for the Crimea and Ukraine annexation sanctions against Russia to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. At the time, it seemed as though the Republicans were genuinely worried about Trump conspiring with Putin. Apparently Israel and Saudi Arabia really can change the tune that the GOP had been singing about Putin, Russia, The Crimea and The Ukraine.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      The linked article above shows that The CAATSA authorizes the President to delay or to waive sanctions against Russia if the President certifies to Congress that the delays or waivers further the vital national security interests of the United States. IOW, it’s always in the fine print. They all knew this was coming. They laid the groundwork for Trump in the CAATSA.

  19. Trip says:

    @Marcy, where’s the new trouble? We want it. Is it a Junebug the terrorist dog story, or a Marcy Wheeler thorn to power story? Please spill.

  20. Trip says:

    Kyle Griffin‏Verified account @kylegriffin1

    Quite interesting to watch John Kelly’s face in the background as Trump says that “Germany is totally controlled by Russia.” (via ABC).

    Dusty‏ @DustinGiebel

    This is a great chart that puts NATO spending in context, the U.S. spends 5% of our defense budget on European security. [2017 data] EUROPE, The place where the two world wars took place. NATO has it problems, but it is cost effective
    US direct spending on European security in perspective, 2017 (currentUS$bn)

  21. Trip says:

    Interesting, if true:

    Qatar funded Zionist Organization of America
    ….Blue Diamond Horizons is a company controlled by Mike Huckabee, the Christian Zionist former governor of Arkansas.
    Huckabee, who happens to be the father of Donald Trump’s White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, opposes any Israeli withdrawal from Jerusalem and has suggested Israel should annex the West Bank…..Qatar has been reaching out to some of the most extreme supporters of Israel as part of its effort to curry favor with the United States. For more than a year, Qatar has faced isolation and blockade by regional rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Trump administration initially expressed strong support for that blockade, labeling Qatar a sponsor of “terrorism.” Doha fears that under the influence of the Saudi-led bloc, the US could withdraw its massive Al Udeid air base from Qatar, making the tiny state vulnerable to invasion from bigger neighbors.In order to fight back, Qatar is competing with its Gulf rivals for US affections, and like those rivals it views the support of Israel and its lobby as the fastest route to Washington’s heart…One of the key concessions Qatar has made is to suppress an explosive Al Jazeera documentary revealing the inner workings of the US Israel lobby.
    As The Electronic Intifada exclusively revealed in March, the film identifies a number of lobby groups as working directly with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques.

    What’s in Al Jazeera’s undercover film on the US Israel lobby?
    The leading neoconservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies is functioning as an agent of the Israeli government, Al Jazeera’s forthcoming investigation on the US Israel lobby will reveal.According to a source who has seen the undercover documentary, it contains footage of a powerful Israeli official claiming that “We have FDD. We have others working on this.” Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military intelligence officer, is said to state that the foundation is “working on” projects for Israel including “data gathering, information analysis, working on activist organizations, money trail. This is something that only a country, with its resources, can do the best.”Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, commonly known as FARA, US organizations and individuals who work on behalf of foreign governments are required to register with the counterintelligence section of the Department of Justice. A search on the FARA website shows that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies is not registered.  Al Jazeera’s film reportedly identifies a number of lobby groups as working with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques. The documentary is also said to cast light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical of Israel.

    • Trip says:

      Interesting older article in 2015, from Slate on FDD. It called itself non-partisan, but all of the Democrats dropped out eventually:

      Aug. 18 2015
      The Little Think Tank That Could

      Inside the small, pro-Israel outfit leading the attack on Obama’s Iran deal.

      During the last 18 months, FDD’s experts have testified 17 times before Congress in opposition to the interim and now final agreement. By contrast, experts from the Heritage Foundation, whose budget—$113 million in 2013—is more than 15 times the size of FDD’s, and which also opposes the agreement, have not appeared at all…But it has conducted its research from a particular vantage point and with a relatively narrow focus. Its research and advocacy have centered on the Middle East and in particular on conflicts and issues that impinge on Israel. And its positions have closely tracked those of the Likud party and its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—not just on the Iran deal, but on the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the desirability of a two-state solution. …In their writings, FDD experts have endorsed a view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is in accord with, or sometimes even to the right of, the views of Netanyahu and the Likud party. In November 2007, FDD Senior Fellow Andrew McCarthy wrote in National Review that the Bush administration, in trying to forge a two-state solution, was “hellbent on granting statehood to savages who worship ‘martyrdom.’ ”

  22. Trip says:

    Manafort’s a big cheese in the rathole:

    Carrie Johnson‏Verified account @johnson_carrie

    Mueller team has *had it* with Paul Manafort’s bid to delay his July 25 trial. In new doc, they cite recorded jail phone call where M says he is being treated like a “VIP”, doesn’t have to wear prison uniform and gets his own laptop to review discovery materials.

    Carrie Johnson‏Verified account @johnson_carrie

    Carrie Johnson Retweeted Carrie Johnson
    UPDATE Judge Ellis orders lawyers for government and Paul Manafort to appear in court Tuesday afternoon, July 17, for oral argument on whether to move the trial or delay it.

  23. FriendlySuggestion says:

    Did you have any temptation to talk to them before Spring of 2017? I’m guessing everything was kind of on fire at that point. Cant blame you.

    How close were you and Julian anyway? I’d assume you knew about his RT deals, but probably didn’t think he’d go that low.

  24. Bernard says:

    I just posted this comment on a different thread, but you haven’t let it through. Which leads me to believe that I’m right. So I’ll be blasting that out through my own networks as soon as I am able, unless you disconfirm —- I think that Alexandra Chalupa is your unnamed source. This is her MO. We saw it with the faked Russian hack of her Yahoo account. Her drops to Isikoff. We know she hates Manafort and Trump. We know the access and credibility she has to the centrist/Clintonist crowd. It’s Chalupa. You should come clean.

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