Dragons Caught in the Crossfire: On the Genealogy of the Current and Future Mueller Investigation

As I laid out last week, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

Lawfare has one of the best summaries of the Russian hack indictment on Friday. It does an excellent job of laying out what the indictment shows technically and legally. But I really wish it didn’t start with this passage.

This was the investigation over which the president of the United States fired James Comey as FBI director.

This is the investigation Comey confirmed on March 20, 2017, when he told Congress, “I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”

This was also the investigation that multiple congressional committees have spent more than a year seeking to discredit—most recently Thursday, when two House panels hauled the former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Department, Peter Strzok, a career FBI agent who worked on the Russia probe, up to Capitol Hill for 10 hours of public, televised, abusive conspiracy theorizing. When the president of the United States derides the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt,” and when congressional Republicans scream at FBI agents, this is the investigation they are trying to harass out of existence.

I get the sentiment. I get criticizing Republicans for attacking the “Mueller probe” (or whatever you want to call it). I’ve criticized the Republicans for doing that myself. But it is assuredly not the case that Friday’s indictment is the “investigation over which the president of the United States fired James Comey as FBI director” or the investigation Comey confirmed in March of 2017.

The investigation that resulted in Friday’s indictment is, rather, the result of investigations conducted primarily in San Francisco and Pittsburgh. At the time Comey confirmed the counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s camp and at the time Comey got fired for not shutting the Trump counterintelligence investigation down, those San Francisco and Pittsburgh investigations were totally separate. Those two investigations almost certainly had little if any involvement from Peter Strzok (indeed, they involved a bunch of FBI cyber agents, a division of FBI that Strzok never tired of mocking in his texts to Lisa Page). The DOJ press release from Friday states that explicitly.

This case was investigated with the help of the FBI’s cyber teams in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and San Francisco and the National Security Division.

Those two investigations (plus the separate one noted in Philadelphia that started later, as I understand it from what a lawyer who represented a witness in that investigation described to me) got moved under the Mueller umbrella sometime in or just before November, and now the GRU officer part of the investigation will be moved back to Pittsburgh where it started, to languish forever like some other nation-state hacker indictments investigated by Western District of Pennsylvania.

There are several reasons, besides exactitude, I’m harping on this point.

First, House Republicans, working in tandem with the President, have made the CI investigation Comey confirmed the end-all and be-all of the investigation, a way of simplifying it so as to villainize and discredit it. An entire stable of right wing journalists and members of Congress are trying to discredit something in the early stages of the investigation — whether it’s the inclusion of the Steele dossier among other evidence to obtain a FISA order on long-time suspected Russian asset Carter Page, the use of a lifelong Republican operative to conduct interviews in the least intrusive way, or the fact that even as he was losing the fight to investigate aggressively, Peter Strzok shared a widespread belief that Trump was not fit to be President. They believe that if they can do so, they can claim everything downstream of those actions is tainted. They’re doing so even while launching conspiracies off of stories that clearly show the existence of four counterintelligence investigations focused on the Russian operation, just one of which is known to have targeted Trump’s people.

“Crossfire Hurricane” was one of the code names for four separate investigations the FBI conducted related to Russia matters in the 2016 election.

“At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Page on Oct. 14, 2016, less than four weeks before Election Day.

Four days later the same team was emailing about rushing to get approval for another FISA warrant for another Russia-related investigation code-named “Dragon.”

The GOP is literally bitching that the FBI was expediting FISA applications targeted at likely Russian targets during an ongoing Russian attack.

It is important to show how each of these attacks on the CI investigation into Trump is bullshit.

  • It is common to use information from consultants like Steele or paid informants in FISA applications. Their credibility is measured, in significant part, based on past credibility. And whatever you think about the impropriety of using oppo research (as DOJ also did with Clinton Cash) and whatever the likelihood that in this case Steele’s intelligence network got fed disinformation, it is the case that in 2016, Steele’s track record with the DOJ was far more reliable than a host of other consultants that presumably get included in FISA applications.
  • The FBI is permitted to use human informants at the assessment level (and when Stefan Halper interviewed Papadopoulos, it appears to have been a full investigation), and using a Republican operative like Halper to question George Papadopoulos was both less likely to affect the election in any way, and legally less dangerous for Papadopoulos than an undercover FBI officer would have been.
  • Strzok definitely believed Trump was unfit to be President, but (as I noted), he fought to use more aggressive investigative methods with both Hillary and Trump, and he lost that fight both times.

Ultimately, when you ask people wielding these complaints as if they’re a big deal what investigative steps against Page (after he left the campaign) or Papadopoulos (when he remained on it) would have been acceptable, they start to scramble, because (and I say this as someone who exposed herself to significant FBI scrutiny by going to them as a witness) these were reasonable steps to take. And the other favorite suggestion — that Trump would have responded to a defensive briefing — ignores that Trump hired Mike Flynn as his National Security Advisor even after President Obama gave him far more explicit warnings about the counterintelligence concerns about Flynn at the time.

At some point, GOP hoaxsters have to commit to whether they think it is legitimate to investigate suspected Russian spies or not, and if so how.

It is equally important to note that — as is demonstrably the case both with the GRU indictment rolled out Friday and with the information I provided — there is a ton of really damning evidence that never touched Peter Strzok. As I explained the other day, you can put information I provided to a team that had nothing to do with the Mueller team at the time I spoke to them, together with several other pieces of information Mueller obtained via other means (some of it was public!), and get right to the question of Trump conspiring with Russians to win the election.

Treating a range of investigations as only one investigation plays into the Trump game of discrediting an overly simplistic caricature of the investigation.

The other reason those covering the Russian investigation should be far more careful with what the investigation consisted of over time is, without understanding where the investigation came from, you can’t understand where the investigation is going. There have been a slew of reports reading dockets and citing anonymous DOJ and Trump sources. Some show an awareness of why prosecutors get added to dockets in particular cases. Others completely ignore things that are in the public record.

It is my well-educated opinion that we’re seeing several things with recent developments. First, where possible, Mueller is handing off things (the Concord Management and GRU hack prosecutions) that don’t need to be politically protected. He has also handed off issues (the Cohen search) that don’t relate directly to conspiring with Russians, even while any prosecution there could result in cooperation on the conspiracy case; though note, Mueller’s reported investigation of inauguration funding would also implicate Cohen. I suspect, eventually, he’ll hand off things that amount to garden variety corruption, as distinct from graft tied directly to the election money laundering.

But when reports say Mueller is preparing to wrap it up, I suspect the reality is Mueller is close to taking steps that will lay out a case for conspiracies with Russia involving people very close to Trump, which will make it much harder for Trump to refuse an interview without putting himself at risk to be indicted personally. Those steps will show what a farce six months of Trump-planted stories emphasizing a focus on obstruction have been. That prosecution Mueller’s team will see through, I imagine, not least because that’s precisely why he included four appellate specialists on his team, including Solicitor General star lawyer Michael Dreeben.

Update: Tweaked the San Francisco/Pittsburgh discussion because it was confusing several people.


June 15, 2016: Likely start date for FBI investigation into hack of DNC/DCCC (the genesis for Friday’s indictment)

July 31, 2016: Peter Strzok opens up Operation Crossfire

October 21, 2016: Carter Page FISA approved

January 12, 2017: Carter Page FISA reauthorized

February 18, 2017: Reuters describes a tripartite division of investigation, with DNC hack investigation in Pittsburgh, Guccifer 2.0 investigation in San Francisco, and Trump CI investigation in DC

Early April, 2017: Carter Page FISA reauthorized

May 2017: I learn of Philadelphia investigation targeted in some way at Guccifer 2.0

May 17, 2017: Rod Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller to take over Operation Crossfire

June 29, 2017: Carter Page FISA reauthorized

August 2, 2017: Mueller investigation includes, at a minimum, George Papadopoulos obstruction, Paul Manafort graft, collusion (including June 9 meeting), and obstruction

October 5, 2017: Papadopoulos pleads guilty (waiving venue)

Mid-October, 2017: Technical witness preparing for interview with Mueller’s team

October 30, 2017: Papadopoulos guilty plea unsealed

Early November, 2017: Mueller adds cyber prosecutor Ryan Dickey

November 2, 2017: WSJ reports DOJ will prosecute GRU hackers, reports that Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Philadelphia, along with DC remain in charge of investigation

December 1, 2017: Mike Flynn pleads guilty

February 12, 2018: Richard Pinedo pleads guilty, waives venue

February 16, 2018: Internet Research Agency (Concord Management) indictment

February 20, 2018: Alex van der Zwaan pleads guilty

February 22, 2018: Paul Manafort indicted in EDVA, refuses to waive venue

March 1, 2018: NBC reports that Mueller — not main DOJ — will prosecute GRU hackers

April 9, 2018: Michael Cohen searches executed by SDNY; SDNY investigation, covering taxi medallion fraud and hush money payments, is likely just part of his criminal exposure

May 3, 2018: Mueller adds Uzo Asonye to EDVA team prosecuting Paul Manafort at request of Judge TS Ellis

June 22, 2018: Mueller brings in DOJ team to prosecute Concord Management, freeing up tech-focused Mueller prosecutors

July 13, 2018: Mueller indicts GRU hackers, sends prosecution back to Pittsburgh

146 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    “At some point, GOP hoaxsters have to commit to whether they think it is legitimate to investigate suspected Russian spies or not, and if so how.”

    Rand Paul is already at the point of “well, everybody spies, and we ended up with a result we wanted, so what’s the big deal?” That doesn’t make him a t-word, but it does hint at the fallback position in the context of upcoming developments that are going to need some degree of political protection, and won’t get it from large parts of the GOP, especially the cadre of idiots and zealots trying to impeach Rosenstein.

    • emptywheel says:

      I know this is an unpopular opinion. But one reason I wrote this post is bc the press has been so shitty on these details that it’s unsurprising that Paul believes what he hears. Unless things break soon I’m going to be in DC in two weeks trying to reach out to Republicans for that reason (and I suspect Rand may get a talking to from another Republican on this issue).

      The impeachment circus on Rosenstein may make Republicans take sides soon, which will be interesting to watch.

      • Trip says:

        I think you give Rand Paul far too much credit.  He is a duplicitous asshole (who says one thing, does another) who pretends that he holds principles dear, but who caves to every.single.vote. contrary to his own “principles”. Then he twists himself into a knot to make it seem like there was a great reason compatible to his “high held standards” to vote that way, which is just out and out bullshit.   He is a libertarian in the spirit of the Koch brothers which is screw everybody, I’m gettin’ mine, hook or crook.

      • SteveB says:


        Your idea of reaching out to GOP people seems to me to be a noble and worthwhile endeavour.

        Even assiduous followers of the twists and turns of the multiple strands of the investigation(s) can easily become bewildered and fail to appreciate the significance of telling particulars. The matters you have highlighted today clearly undermine the Trumpian counter narratives, but it has taken you explicitly pointing it out for me to appreciate the point, and I’m fairly certain that many others are likely to be in similar positions on this or other aspects.

        If you are successful in enlightening any proposed interlocutor that’s clearly worthwhile, but even if you are rebuffed by all, they cannot subsequently claim that they were not in a position to become as well informed as possible about matters of the gravest importance, and that they chose to ignore thorough honest and independent analysis.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        The sense I get is that the main news outlets are still not treating this as a unified story. As a result, at any one outlet, one story might written by a national security reporter, the next by a White House reporter, and the next by a court reporter, all of them in their own silos and nobody tasked with tying things into the main event.

        You can cover a Super Bowl with separate beats for the sports, local, and business angles, but that approach will fail with a major story like this.

        Ultimately, I see this as a failure at the editorial level – they need a single senior editor making the assignments, setting the ground rules, and assembling the background research necessary to get everyone on the same page.

        Dean Baquet’s blow off excuse for the NY Times overkill of the Dershowitz Martha’s Vinyard story makes it extremely clear that nobody at the Times is seeing this a unified puzzle. I suspect the Trump camp is using this fractured approach to their advantage, and if something major breaks soon, the media is going to be hopelessly unprepared.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          No one at the NYT wants to see it.  How would they cover it in a reliable, don’t rock the boat, he said-she said way when so many of the bad guys are on one side of the aisle. The owners, a few issues aside, are reliably Republican.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          That’s true, and there’s also a ton of bureaucratic inertia at the Times (and a lot of other outlets). Ultimately, you need a top news editor who is willing to stake his or her job on betting that there’s a need to break down the walls between departments, bring reporters together, and have them report to a single person (or maybe a tight committee) when there’s a story for the century.  Baquet, for sure, isn’t going to make that bet and risk his standing with Sulzberger, who has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t have the stomach for making any waves and would rather be wrong than accused of being anything other than meticulously balanced.

      • boog says:

        This post seems like the most hopeful thing that I have read in years.

        And this comment from the author tops it:

        Unless things break soon I’m going to be in DC in two weeks trying to reach out to Republicans for that reason 

        Thank you Marcy. You are the goddamned best.

        • Rayne says:

          Hey Boog – welcome to emptywheel. I note you have two accounts here now; perhaps you created a second one because your first comment appeared “lost” to you, waiting for moderation. Please pick one account and stick with it as using more than one account constitutes sock puppeting. Thanks.

        • snotboogs says:

          rayne – of course it is sock puppeting, or whatever I infer that term to mean. You are awesome too. Thanks for writing and the work you do. Especially putting true coherence to the most recent immigrant policy effrontery. I don’t use email, or the other social platforms, usually a hard no on commenting forums. But I don’t have a legitimate need to comment other than to heap praise and encouragement where it might help. Note the handle, some iteration of snotboogie, is a pop-culture shout out to the opening scene of the television series, the wire. “If snotboogie doesn’t even supply an email address, why do you let him comment? got to. this is america, man”.

        • bmaz says:

          Fine. This is the one you will stick with then, I presume?

          Assuming so, cool. And I too look forward to further comments.

      • Buford says:

        thank you for doing what you are doing….I am fairly new here, and I can see that you are a patriot…you not only “talk the talk, but you walk the walk”…rare these days in journalism…my point is…thank you…

      • orionATL says:

        emptywheel –

        i think this ia a sensible and potentially very helpful offer you have made. i hope you are taken up. on it and are able to share your knowledge with staff or congresscritters who are operating in good faitth.

        i don’t know about national politics, but in local politics it is interesting how politicians of quite different viewpoints can come to an agreement when there is an issue that obviously affects the entire community. this even seems to hold on occasion at the state level – when the problem is as clear as the nose on your face.

        good luck in your journey.

    • cfost says:

      I agree. This is a long-considered and carefully crafted long term GOP survival strategy. It is also very dangerous to our country. What the GOP wants is to keep their efforts at gerrymandering and election fuckery unnoticed in the background.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I don’t suppose Rand Paul would be so blithe if it were his re-election that was upset because of foreign interference.  If the same interference were caused by Democrats, he would be screaming for political pitchforks.

      His comment also misses the substance entirely. Perhaps that was the intent.

      That the US has long interfered in foreign elections is a truism.  That it has lied, corrupted and murdered to achieve its political ends is, too.  What we did and do, and a realistic appraisal of why – not some notional anti-communism cover story – are separate but important issues that need to be addressed.

      What’s happening now is the slow-motion destruction of US foreign policy and the multiple alliances that it depends on and which depend on it.  All in pursuit of foreign policy goals desired by Russia.  Those are global issues for which the US is responsible, if it fails to clean up its own house.

      That there is criminality and corruption in the Trump empire, White House and campaign, and almost certainly in the GOP, is not caused by Russia.  Putin is taking advantage of it.  That’s for the US to clean up, too.

  2. RWood says:

    “In other words, stay tuned. This indictment represents a tightening of the ring in the story of criminal prosecution for the 2016 election hacking. The government has now alleged that the social media manipulations by Russian actors constituted a criminal conspiracy. It has alleged as well that the hacking of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails were crimes conducted by officers of the Russian state. The question remains: Who, if anyone, helped?”

    The timing also bothers me. The 12 indictments came just before his private meeting with Putin, and regardless of the heads up Trump was given, its hard for me to accept that as unplanned. They boxed him in well with the public announcement. Will the next round come based on Trumps actions post that meeting? Is it reasonable to expect some Americans to be named in those coming indictments? If not soon, when? The window between now and the 30 day pre-election cut-off date for DOJ action is rapidly closing.

    • bmaz says:

      For what  it is worth, there is no law that things stop before an election. Those are DOJ guidelines, but can be waived or altered. And, in this case,  the entire world is already aware of the investigation, so I am not sure that the standard application of such PIN guidelines applies. Mueller may still stay within them, but not sure it is the given as many dopes in the press claim.

      • RWood says:


        I remember a comment in another thread that Mueller was not bound by that 30 day rule as there was no law enforcing it, but most thought he would still respect it. Like you, I see no reason to at this point. If anything I find myself thinking he may as it would be to his advantage to have a “deadline” that “forces his hand”.  If Mueller were to think as a political animal (I know), and Trump were to further paint himself into a corner after his meeting today, will it influence the release date of the next round of indictments?  If Trump runs his mouth tonight (I KNOW!) will Mueller move quickly, or wait to drop the hammer and then go quiet using the 30 day rule as cover?

        Not sure why I’m worrying about this, Mueller has played every card with perfection so far. He’s obviously building an ironclad case. I think when the hammer falls it will be with the force of Thor himself wielding it.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Given that election integrity itself was and is at stake, the rationale for suspending public action near an election would not seem to apply.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah. And as Marcy kind of already touched on as to “others” in the 2016 election, and unlike the 2016 Presidential election, it is not clear that any current targets are in the line of fire specifically. My bet is Mueller keeps running his investigation at full speed, but may hold off on major charging announcements for a month or so before the general election.

    • emptywheel says:

      Zero of the targets are on the ballot.

      And there are some other possibilities that explain the timing that I won’t go into.

      • Steve in Manhattan says:

        I’m not sure if it would cause any change in Putin’s behavior, but do you think the timing of the indictments might be an attempt to alter the outcome of the “summit” – limit the damage?

      • Boog says:

        Is making a deliberate effort to force a target to expose vulnerabilities, a realistic investigative practice? It seems there is precedent for Trump going to Putin and receiving a story/strategy in the recent past. Why not agitate him prior to the meetup, in the hopes that it causes mistakes to be made?

        Also is there any slim possibility in the world of legal/security/global intrigue that the Trump Putin one on one is covertly recorded? Russia, at least, will record it, right?

  3. orionATL says:

    my, my:

    “… as distinct from graft tied directly to the election money laundering…”

    – emptywheel

    i can’t wait to read this chapter.

    • Steve in Manhattan says:

      I don’t understand people who wonder if Cohen will be our John Dean. Dean’s actions were genuinely motivated by love of country, and I think Cohen’s actions, in addition to being merely for the love of Cohen, will ultimately disappoint those of us who want to see justice done through to the highest level.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        James McCord may be a better comparison, if Cohen ever flips.

        McCord ended up giving up key evidence after he was convicted for the Watergate break in. He was angry that the White House didn’t come up with sufficient compensation for keeping his mouth shut during the trial.

      • bmaz says:

        John Dean was motivated by saving his ass and making bank as best he could. He did the former mostly, the latter to an incredible extent. If he was the hero he loves to paint himself as, and as the public too gullibly buys into, he would have spoken up long before being caught.

        • Trip says:

          bmaz, he was on as a cable talking head one day within the past year, and he tried to sell that Nixon didn’t know about the break in. I don’t believe him.

        • emptywheel says:

          Yeah, he and I had an exchange about this recently (that he subsequently deleted). But that’s also a lesson in not ruling out how good a witness an asshole can be.

          As I never tire of pointing out, Addington was my favorite Libby witness.

    • orionATL says:

      i am not interested in who “flips” or, more tediously, who will (might) flip – not now, not earlier, not later. if it happens and is useful, fine.

      i am interested in what this phrase might imply: was money laundered to use in the election (very interesting)? was money laundered post-election as an opportunistic spin-off (less interesting)? who laundered? who benefited?

      i am most interested in what mueller puts on paper, either as a blunt statement or as a clear implication to be followed up on by interested parties (like a dem house of reps in january).

  4. Bob Conyers says:

    This sentence is pretty tough for me to unpack:

    “The investigation that resulted in Friday’s indictment is, rather, the result of an investigation that at the time Comey confirmed the counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s camp and at the time Comey got fired for not shutting the Trump counterintelligence investigation down was two investigations being led out of Pittsburgh and San Francisco, with help in DC. ”

    If I get it right, it’s saying “The investigation that resulted in Friday’s indictment is, rather, the result of two earlier, separate investigations. During the period when Comey confirmed the counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s camp and later was fired for not shutting down that counterintelligence investigation, these two investigations were being led out of Pittsburgh and San Francisco, with help in DC. ”

    Does that represent what’s happened?

    For those of us who aren’t as well versed in the details, I think a basic chart might help. Maybe done as a graphic with the watermark “not for use without attribution” all over it, of course….

    • emptywheel says:

      Shorter version is that until around October or November of last year, the DNC hack investigation lived in SF and Pittsburgh. Then it moved to Mueller, and now it’s moving back to Pittsburgh.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        Thanks, that clarifies things.

        FYI, the link in your timeline to the February Reuters article goes to a list of Men’s Wimbleton winners, not an article on the DNC hack invesigations.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          Thanks. That article suggests the Pittsburgh DNC hack investigation was pretty far along by February 2017, which makes me think they either had a really easy time of it, or else they had been on the case going back well into 2016.

          Which suggests to me that there was alarming info available to the top people in the US government, Obama probably should have pushed harder, and McConnell’s refusal to cooperate was really scary. But this is all based on a sketchy understanding, so I hope more details come out before too long.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        It might be worth a post delineating in broad terms the kinds of counterintelligence investigations that never cross over into indictments, the ones with indictments but never expected to go to trial, and the ones where there’s a desire to have trials or expulsions/swaps in lieu.

        (Concord Catering is trying to complicate these things, of course. And Putin seemed very engaged with that during this morning’s national humiliation.)

  5. cfost says:

    Sounds like you are pointing out to us (and them) that certain members of the press have been lazy with the facts. It also sounds like the GOP (via a PR campaign) and Fox (via a brute-force propaganda campaign) are trying to make the facts irrelevant. Seems like Trump would gladly silence all press except Fox, if he could. So, thank you for being so careful, and for sharing your insights.

  6. In Praise of Limestone says:

    I wish I wish Melville and others were alive to read you. Others? Hawthorne, and Hammett. And Mary McCarthy.

    Also, much love for your fight for the right use of the word “traitor.”

    “The investigation that resulted in Friday’s indictment is, rather, the result of an investigation that at the time Comey confirmed the counterintelligence investigation …” Clean this sentence up….Make it clear, please, more than one sentence, possibly. I understand it but it’s hard to comprehend on first reading.

    Get plenty of sleep. Eat well. Don’t be shredded by your exasperation with idiots.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Marcy was clear IMO. She was pointing out that lawfare was conflating the Mueller investigation with a *different* investigation. And that Goppers want to make it appear that there is only *one* investigation. If there is only one investigation, it is easier to attack.

      As Marcy noted, there are at least 4 investigations.

      In my book, there are at least 13 investigations.

      But, what do I know? Maybe my count is low.

  7. Kokuanani says:

    When I read this [e.g.,”press is so shitty on the details”], I get frustrated anew that you’re not on MSNBC every night to straighten out their muddled thinking. I don’t know where the Congresscritters go for their “information” [or where their staff go], but they should spend their “valuable research time” here.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The whole world now agrees with Strzok that Donald Trump is unfit to be president.  It’s one reason Vladimir Putin finds him so useful.

  9. RWood says:

    Usefulness is coupled to competence. So obviously there are limits when dealing with Trump. Putin could give Trump a two sentence script and my guess is he would still try to spin it for his own gain, off the cuff and on camera of course, with the results being another word-salad that Mueller can use to implicate him.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Putin earned his stripes managing agents.  He knows their limitations and what and how they can be used.

      Trump is most effective when his job is to cause chaos.  He does that admirably and without needing instructions.  That he might also be useful in other ways is a collateral benefit.

      Putin has acquired an added benefit, one he might well have predicted. The current GOP has gone all-in for Trump. It has become his and he theirs. Before his win, that was not true. It is now. Look at how much of Congress is bending itself to protecting Trump – and the GOP – for some of this madness.

      No, with Trump, Putin has ended up with the winning lotto ticket.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not much US participation there, or Canadian for that matter.  The UK’s Data Commissioner, a British Columbian politician and data specialist, was brought in to strengthen a mediocre department.

      So far, she is behaving like Eliot Ness.  If the Tories and business lobby don’t get to her, she might continue to do that.  But what happens to her job post-Brexit?  What rules would there be for her to enforce?

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        We will see how this plays out. But the timing of the recent indictment by US and this article both pointing to Russia…


        Christopher Wylie wrote:

        Something I [Christopher Wylie] reported to US/UK intelligence months ago has been revealed publicly today. British authorities now confirm Cambridge Analytica systems were accessed in Russia. The FBI was given this information and I have been helping their investigation.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        “The Untouchables” think they are untouchable.

        So far, no leaks from those doing their job.

  10. cfost says:

    Been looking at timelines, this one and the one on “The Russian Hack.” Trump’s famous “Russia, if you’re listening” speech was in Doral, FL on 7/27/16. I seem to recall Russian oligarchs’ jets appearing on tarmacs with Trump’s jet. And Miami has been a RU mob hangout. So I wonder if anyone has researched the flight plans posted by RU oligarch jets, and what correlation there might be with Trump’s flight plans at that time. Also, has anyone researched what equipment might have been installed on these jets (Trump’s and the oligarchs’)? In this day of ambiguous warfare, what’s to keep an oligarch from deploying his own personal AWACS jet? And what’s to keep him from passing messages through a third party intermediary, whether human or technological?

  11. PeasantParty says:

    Thank you, Marcy. I can’t wait until the money laundering basket gets emptied into the floor of public scrutiny. I have been trying to catch anything and everything Bill Binney puts out, and he still maintains there was no hack. As I told C. Tuttle yesterday, it may be the specific legs of these investigations he is speaking of. Then again, confusion rules the day with all of these political shows when simple facts would serve better.

    To me the most important part of all this is to find where Election Integrity flew out the windows. The people of this country have lost so much faith in any election, even the local mayor, or county counsel. Hopefully, as you dig and share with us this country can change.

  12. RobBob says:

    Marcy, you seem to be laying out a two week window (from today) in which you expect significant movement from Mueller (“unless things break soon I’ll be in DC in two weeks talking to Republicans”)… This may be a stupid question, and I apologize if I’m misreading your meaning here, but is there something specific you expect in the next few weeks? Further indictments, this time focusing on Americans? Or is it simply that you’ll be in DC in two weeks and plan to get proactive if things haven’t moved in the meantime?

    It almost seems like a foregone conclusion that a Stone indictment is imminent, unless the ratfucker already flipped (unlikely, it seems, given his media appearances the past few days). I’ve been wondering when that would happen… I was a little surprised it wasn’t included Friday, but if the plan is to establish the underlying crime first, that makes a little more sense.

    • mister bunny says:

      I don’t think that’s what she meant in that comment. I read that she has plans to reach out to DC Republicans in two weeks clarifying some of the details of the cases. If “something breaks” (perhaps something related to the info she provided, or something else entirely), then either she would be too busy to do the clarifying work, or perhaps the breaking news would accomplish the clarification on its own. Either way, I don’t read anything into the two week window apart from her travel plans.

  13. Ben says:

    I would love for someone to break this down into a catch phrase the voter can get his teeth into. The Greedheads can make hash out of anything that isn’t intuitive.

  14. Ben says:

    That satellite latency bug has been circulating surmising the hack was really a leak. Just more data designed to confuse and conflate

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Meanwhile, the Don’s cardio exercise from walking through the rough on his Turnberry golf course was a little less strenuous than he claimed. He used a normally forbidden golf cart for his rounds.

    I wonder whether it had four-wheel drive – the height of the rough is legendary – and whether he had the usual letter from his doctor allowing him to use a cart. Or did he just say, “The club secretary will have nothing to say, Mr. Bond. I own the club.”

    At least Mr. Trump used cash to buy it. Whose money it was, I think, has yet to be determined.

    • Michael says:

      “Ahhh, the manly game of golf; you can dress like a pimp and nobody cares! … Ride in the cart. Hit the ball. Ride in the cart. Hit the ball. …. ” – Robin Williams stand-up; “The manly game of golf” (See it on YouTube)

      Payments? Wouldn’t be surprised to learn Rump took a page from Pruitt’s book: put the bite on his security detail. He is so tight. A lot of people are saying[TM] that his butt squeaks.

  16. Rebecca Bailey says:

    I lurk, I read and I learn. Thanks Marcy for all your hard work and intelligent analysis. Thanks to those who post such thoughtful and informed comments. I will go back to my lurking now. 😉

  17. 200Toros says:

    I have a co-worker who recently finished several years service as an intelligence analyst for a Navy SEALS team. After t’s recent performance at the NATO summit, I asked him, “can you think of any way that t could better serve Russia’s interests, than what he is doing now?” He thought about this and said, “other than immediately pulling out all US troops from Europe, then no, I can’t think of anything else. He is following Putin’s direct orders to destabilize NATO, as far as I can tell.” He has expressed the firm opinion that t is a bought-and-paid-for Russian asset, and the greatest threat to national security that our country has every faced. t is now acting openly, with no pretense, especially in his campaign rallies, as a Russian agent, to further their interests, at the expense of ours. Frightening time in history. FWIW. Thank You to ALL at EW for fighting the good fight!

  18. pdaly says:

    In keeping with the forboding tone of the above, I was reading about “governance of the ethics of research involving humans in the military” and came across the mention of the Belmont Report as well as The Common Rule (45 CFR 46). According to this article, 15 federal agencies, including DoD, have signed on to the Common Rule in 1991. It supposedly provides “uniformity” in how research on humans is governed, with subparts discussing “vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, human fetuses and neonates, prisoners, and children.”

    What caught my eye: “The Common Rule was revised in January 2017 with an effective date for July 19, 2018.”
    No mention of what those changes may be.

  19. pdaly says:

    Oh, and this nonchalant mention of gene editing with the use of the technology called CRISPR caught my eye, too:
    “Currently, there is no specific regulation barring the enhancement of service members for military purposes although the Department’s current emphasis on optimization as opposed to enhancement suggests general weariness regarding permanent gene editing for service members. Nevertheless, research into human performance optimization and by extension biomedical enhancements is very active within the DoD. As discussed, using CRISPR, it is possible to creat semi-permanent gene enhancements. As public acceptability of gene editing for somatic versus germline therapies shifts, enhancements could become fully in compliance with the Department’s policies.”

    • Sabrina says:

      Interesting catch with respect to both comments posted. It’s possible (and probably likely) that those updated guidelines are just that- updated. However, coupled with a permissive stance on CRISPR editing, as well as the way this admin tends to privatize and sell everything to the highest bidder, it’s very possible that CRISPR editing will be used as a revenue stream. It’s not the first time a new tech has been used without understanding the long term downstream effects.

      If CRISPR does go into use, agriculture is one of the easiest bets in terms of financing, and I don’t think they’d get into genetic enhancement of the human genome since the backlash from the (fairly) responsible scientific community would be fierce.

      As an aside, the cynic in me is looking at the change in defining vulnerable populations (the comment right before this one that I’m replying to), and my first thought was that this admin seems to relish abusing vulnerable populations (immigrants, of course, but also land protection and indigenous protections)- if money can be made, so much the better.

      Of course, that’s all VERY speculative, which can be dangerous without any evidence to back it up. Got me thinking though- maybe something to keep an eye on down the pipeline with respect to research guidelines I encounter in the future (NIH, etc).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Jean-Claude van Damme.  Jason Bourne’s successors.  The theme has been popular in sci-fi circles since Captain America.  Sounds like the technology is catching up.  Control and disposal are always a problem.  I especially like this self-serving line:

      “As public acceptability of gene editing for somatic versus germline therapies shifts, enhancements could become fully in compliance with the Department’s policies.”

      One might ask how voluntary or informed is that enhanced “public acceptability,” and whether the concept of “public” is as contorted as the idea of Trump’s “public” (only those who voted for and still support him) and the DoD’s repeatedly narrowed view of what civilian deaths constitute “collateral damage.”

      • Sabrina says:

        That’s a fair point. I am under the impression that the US DoD is looking at human enhancements, and somatic cell line germination would be a much easier way than via tech- the throughput required for the integration of sensor data along with real time computation is ridiculously high (ie. the computations would be made based on sensor data and then there would be the production of a digital downstream signal). You could get rid of all of that complexity by “augmenting” (however you define that, but speaking from a defense perspective here) human sensory experience, anything in the afferent or efferent processing streams or CNS. After all, the brain’s “throughput” compared to that of a computer system is exponentially larger.

        My main concerns here definitely lie in the passage you highlighted- the governments definition of what this is compared to that of the average person (and compared to those in the scientific community) could radically differ.

        Hence, I’ll be keeping my eye on any changing guidelines with respect to human participants in studies- if there is a way to monetize a more permissible set of guidelines, I fear the US admin as it stands currently would not hesitate to take advantage of that.

        Note: I know this is OT of the original thread, my apologies, but nonetheless an important point- based on behavior patterns in this administration, scientific “boundaries” (guidelines) may well be up for grabs with everything else.

        Edit: My initial thought was that the scientific community as a whole would stop any type of monetization in this area, but then I remembered that the AA of Pediatrics (along with the APA too, I believe) condemned the trauma caused to children by the immigration “zero tolerance” policies and how poorly that’s effected any real change- and then I worry that those organizations may not be enough to stop sweeping reform in controversial, untested genetic manipulation of subjects. Scary thought.

        • pdaly says:

          I agree. The guidelines were originally from 1991 and had to be updated.  A brief search on the internet shows the updated guidelines have had several delays in the adoption date. Could be innocent delays but I was thinking of the black box that is the Appendix E of the Army Field Manual.

          For completeness’ sake, the corrected quote is “As public acceptability of gene editing for somatic versus germline therapies shifts, so may acceptance of somatic enhancements. It is thus conceivable that in the future, enhancements could become fully in compliance with the Department’s policies.”

          Captain America and Jason Bourne occurred to me, too. But also, Blade Runner with its off world fighters designed with limited lifespans as a safety feature for the regular humans.
          Will military recruits have the requisite scientific background to understand and give consent to any genetic experimentation on them for military enhancement?
          As an added wrinkle, in”wartime” is informed consent even necessary?
          Or can safety concerns over genetic enhancements be waived away?

  20. pdaly says:

    oops. I copied that last sentence incorrectly and missed the edit countdown clock. It SHOULD read:

    “As public acceptability of gene editing for somatic versus germline therapies shifts, so may acceptance of somatic enhancements. It is thus conceivable that in the future, enhancements could become fully in compliance with the Department’s policies.”

    from “Ethical Issues of Using CRISPR Technologies for Research on Military Enhancement” by authors Marsha Greene, Zubin Master, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 02 July 2018, pp 1-9.

  21. x174 says:

    as to dragons. . . how about goodlatte, gowdy, and ryan?

    “without understanding where the investigation came from, you can’t understand where the investigation is going” (emptywheel).

    i mentioned a mcclatchy article that suggested February 2016 might be the best place to begin looking for relevant evidence of trump-russia collusion
    [McClatchy, Why did FBI suspect Trump campaign adviser was a foreign agent? (14 April 2017)

    with Trump the trail of evidence could lead back to 1987 with the Soviet Union

    as for what Putin was doing in the 1980s:
    “….A third [point of view] says simply that the goal of the KGB in Dresden was to contact, entrap, compromise, and generally recruit Westerners who happened to be in Dresden studying and doing business. Other versions suggest that the KGB was focused on recruiting East Germans who had relatives in the West. Some versions of the story have said Putin traveled undercover himself to West Germany on occasion.

    Not only is it likely that Putin engaged in some or all of these activities, it is virtually inconceivable that he did not. [. . .]. As for entrapping, compromising, and recruiting Westerners or people with connections to the West, that too was a permanent assignment for anyone in the KGB.”
    [Atlantic, How the 1980s Explains Vladimir Putin (14 February 2013) https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/02/how-the-1980s-explains-vladimir-putin/273135/%5D

    btw, mt: thanks for toeing the line.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ah, Trumpy meets his boss in Helsinki.

    The body language in the early press photos is stilted, with Putin’s chair several feet farther away from Trump’s than before. Trump seems to be attempting to be friendly and charming, in an aluminum siding salesman sort of way, but is letting Putin take the lead in setting the tone.

    Putin is stiff and withholding, suggesting his acolyte has disappointed him. That would be a spy handler’s routine manipulation of a guy whose need for acceptance and approval he wears like a long red tie that falls below the end of his zipper.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That Republican dentist politician (I assume he’s seen Marathon Man and avoids asking people whether they feel “safe”) claimed to be an expert at reading body language, presumably because of the range of facial expressions elicited by his dentistry.  His office must have given away a lot of oil of clove.

        As you’ve read, even the MSM notes the stilted body language from Vlad.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall during their two-hour two-on-one meeting.

        • Trip says:

          Yeah, that guy was nuts.

          But I agree with you on the body language between puppet and master. I just couldn’t resist the joke. I’m sorry.

        • Trip says:

          BTW, In my opinion…Greatest use of a dentist in a spy film (hilarious Arkin and Falk):

          Vince Ricardo: “Serpentine Shelly. Serpentine!”
          Sheldon: “I have flames on my car. I HAVE FLAMES ON MY CAR!”
          Sheldon: “There’s no reason to shoot at me, I’m a dentist”.


        • bmaz says:

          That idiot is Paul Gosar, he is from AZ, although thankfully not my district. How did he get where he is? He was Sarah Palin’s dentist.

    • Watson says:

      Note the photo of their seated handshake. Trump has an obnoxious practice of pulling the other person off-balance toward him. Putin seems to have anticipated this domination tactic by placing a firm grip on the arm of his chair with his left hand.

  23. Trip says:

    Either stupid or a hand-off, (happened a year ago), San Antonio Express News, via RS:

    Plutonium went missing in San Antonio, but the government says nothing
    Losses of civilian nuclear material are usually disclosed but when the government loses nuclear bomb ingredients it stays mum
    Two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio, Texas, in March 2017 with a sensitive mission: to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab there. Their task, according to documents and interviews, was to ensure that the radioactive materials did not fall into the wrong hands on the way back to Idaho, where the government maintains a stockpile of nuclear explosive materials for the military and others…..But when they stopped at a Marriott hotel just off Highway 410, in a high-crime neighborhood filled with temp agencies and ranch homes, they left those sensors on the back seat of their rented Ford Expedition. When they awoke the next morning, the window had been smashed and the special valises holding these sensors and nuclear materials had vanished.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The absence of routine security protocols suggests gross incompetence, that the retrieved materials were not what they were sold as being, or it was a hand-off.

  24. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump performs well as a paid attendee at Vlad’s press conference.  Staid, quiet, looks as if Putin is saying something important.  I wonder if that’s what he had in mind when he said he had no goals and low expectations for this meeting.

    What questions would the journalist who was removed from the briefing room have asked?

    Putin will give up the Crimea just after Israel returns the West Bank to the Palestinians.

    Putin talking about combating “transnational crime” is a hoot.  A considerable part of it is Russian-related.  It is like the City of London moaning about the scourge of international money laundering, when it lies at the heart of it.

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A joint US-Russia working group on cyber-security?  Inmates running the asylum.

    Vlad lost the Don when he said, “Good evening.”

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Don “reads” his speech from a script.  Must have a good earphone: he can’t read that fast.

    “Our relationship has never been worse.”  Curtis Le May and John Foster Dulles must be rolling in their graves.

    “That changed about four hours ago.”  Kim Philby must be dancing in his.

    “I’ll always do…what is best…for…the…American…people.”  The lag in his delivery is a tell he does not believe what he says.

    • Michael says:

      One should note:
      1) Rump, and Rump alone, will decide “what is best for the American people”.
      2) Rump does not so much as dog-whistle about what he believes is best for the American people, so that subject is unarguable.

      He’s getting the hang of politician-speak.

      Man: This lemonade is delicious. I’ll have another glass, please!
      Boy: That’ll be 5-cents.
      Man: But the sign says, “All-u-can-drink for 5-cents.”
      Boy: That’s right; one glass is all you can drink for 5-cents.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “The crisis in Syria is a complex one.”  The Don’s delivery suggests that sticking to a script bores the shit out of him.

    Putin’s arms must be longer than I thought.  Trump continues to move and speak even when Vlad is scratching his nose.

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The probe is a disaster for this country.  None of it affected his campaign.

    No collusion…zero collusion…no collusion…zero collusion…no conclusion.  The president seems obsessed with that position.

    It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.

    • Pete says:

      Will be curious to see if this is the start of a Trump effort to shut down Mueller based on his distorted perception this is the source of his claims that the “witch hunt” is the reason for historic bad relations with Russia and a disaster for MAGA.

    • Trip says:

      I don’t make a habit of clicking on links I’m unfamiliar with, so I won’t, but are you saying the CIA put Trump in office?

      • Bob In Portland says:

        The opposite. The CIA was working hand-in-glove with the DNC and Clinton, as I wrote elsewhere over a year ago. If you don’t want to go to the article, I’ll give you a list: 9/11, anthrax letters, BCCI, Noriega, Pan Am 103. In every case he turned away from any possibility of CIA involvement, as if Iran-contra never happened, as if Noriega’s money-laundering, drug dealing and arms shipments had nothing to do with Iran-contra. Not only did he not seem to notice that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, the FBI’s Operation Green Quest, which was looking into the sources of funding for 9/11, was shut down by him. The whole Russiagate was designed to give President Clinton a casus belli for a war with Russia. When Clinton lost the operation was turned into an attack on Trump to get him to go along with the long-standing rollback strategy. Hasn’t worked, which is the best I can say about Trump.

        • Bob In Portland says:

          What part is batshit? That Mueller was the prosecutor in those cases and didn’t see the intelligence fingerprints? Or that the CIA wasn’t involved in any of them?

          It doesn’t really matter because without reading you have nothing useful to say.

        • Rayne says:

          You’ve made repeated ad hominem remarks. Knock it off.

          I note you have 69 approved comments to date under this identity, the first made the month after the 2016 election. Since then your comments have aligned rather interestingly with a certain hostile state’s positions. Don’t think it isn’t obvious you’re not here to learn something rather than dilute threads.

        • Anonymous patient says:

          Bob in Portland is a notorious [Russian] troll who used to post at another blog I follow. He claims to be a retired union worker, perhaps Post Office, who knows. He no longer participates at the blog I speak of, which I don’t want to name for fear of drawing him back there.

          Please pay no attention to him whatsoever, as his role is simple disruption.

      • Trip says:

        Did you read it? I don’t know Bob from Portland, so no clicky.

        Did it say that the CIA put Trump in office? If so, why? I’m not saying I’d believe it, just curious what the angle is.

        • William Bennett says:

          I’ve maintained all along that the Dark State had to torpedo HRC’s campaign so that Trump would win, otherwise their nefarious plan to take down his presidency would never have stood a chance!

      • Bob In Portland says:

        But it’s true, and you’ve spent the last couple of years falling for it. This was my initial post on Russiagate, from April 2017. No clickey no know-ie.

        By the way, has anyone here noticed that the DNC is backing over fifty candidates with intelligence backgrounds for Congress this time around? Google it.

        Or continue to putter around with the minutiae of Russiagate and not see the false flag in front of your faces.

        • Trip says:

          Oh FFS. Explain Trumps affinity for dictators and Putin specifically. Thanks for letting me know to avoid you in the future.

          If anyone is making an argument for war with Russia, it’s Trump and his behavior. Which I do not support.

        • Bob In Portland says:

          Trump’s affinity for dictators? Have you checked who the US has and hasn’t backed in coups over the last sixty years?

          In the first Clinton-Sanders debate in 2016 Hillary said that she would create a no-fly zone over Syria. Who’s planes were flying over Syria? What State Department orchestrated the fascist coup in Ukraine?

          Hmm, let me see, I don’t see that Trump was part of that debate.

          So sorry, but your Goldwater Girl has never changed.

          It’s weird how on one hand everyone says that Trump is Putin’s bitch and on the other hand says that Trump wants to go to war with him. But I guess if that fits into the conspiracy theory you are buying I guess that’s just the way it is.

          You can either read my posts and expose me as irrational, or you can read them. Links below.

        • Trip says:

          Lots of assumptions:

          Never was a fan of H Clinton, but that doesn’t mean I buy into that crap.

          Putin was secretly using mercenaries to attack the US in Syria. But that’s cool, right?

          I didn’t say Trump wanted to go to war with Russia, but he is making the best argument yet for it (That a US president has been completely captured by a foreign adversary). He’s making the warmongers jobs easier. And he has hired people like Bolton.

          The US is hypocritical, no doubt, on dealings and plots as it relates to dictators. But Trump has taken it to a new level where he actually admires the brutality and sadism and seeks to recreate the authoritarianism and cruelty on his own people.

          Trump IS NOT, nor has he ever been a diplomat or great thinker. If he admires and kisses these people’s asses, it’s not because he has some grand plan of world peace. It’s because there is something in it FOR HIM, to the detriment of most.

        • Bob In Portland says:

          Putin was invited into Syria by the standing government. The US wasn’t supposed to be there. At all. Surely you’ve gleaned that over the last seven years. ISIS was created by the House of Saud, Qatar and the US. If you don’t understand how the US has been using Wahabbism as a means of destabilizing the Middle East over past decades you probably have no business voicing your opinions publicly.

          I will never defend Trump or his policies. From where I sit Trump is a sociopathic narcissist. That’s why whenever he sees anything positive he takes credit for it.

          I am merely pointing out that Trump is the unfortunate result of years of reaction in this country. Today’s Democratic Party is the result of the Clintons seizing control of the party and pushing it and its policies to the right. Cui bono?

          It’s a shame that you are arguing about Trump, because, aside from the hogwash of the Russiagate okeydoke, I believe that Trump is as awful or worse than you believe.

          I am talking about the Democratic Party. I do believe I’ve mentioned about the fifty DNC candidates for Congress who have intelligence backgrounds (military intelligence, CIA, State Department). Now I can’t remember there ever being such a wave of any other vocation (with the possible exception of lawyer) that has flooded an election cycle. That should tell you what the Democratic Party has become.

        • Trip says:

          The Dems moved right and the Republicans moved Nazi.

          That doesn’t mean I buy the conspiracy of the CIA out to get Trump, in the service of Clinton.

          There is smoke and fire everywhere with Trump and his associations. He acts like a guilty/compromised man.  It’s not because of the Clintons. It’s because of Trump.

          Because the CIA was involved in fuckery in the past doesn’t mean that they are now.

        • bmaz says:

          It is not true, and you are full of shit if you think it is. Maybe you haven’t commented on this before because you really don’t know the evidence or understand the law.

        • Bob In Portland says:

          bmaz, you can’t say what is or isn’t true, not honestly, without reading what I’ve written. The links are below. Your closed-mindedness is not a very good advertisement of any analytical skills you pretend to have.

        • bmaz says:

          I have no idea what psychotropics you are on, but I read as much of your horse manure as possible. It is the exact trooferism horse shit I noted earlier. The batshit you are purveying is not what we do here.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Whatever Vlad and the Don talked about in private, it was not what they talked about in public.

    • Bob In Portland says:

      If I were a betting man I would guess that Putin explained to him about the slo-mo coup that’s been going on.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump: “Strzok’s hearing was a total disgrace for the FBI.”  Putin will be scratching the Don behind the ear for that one.

    Vlad the Impaler is telling the US – if it is a democracy (does he know something we don’t?) – that the investigations into the 2016 election can only be dealt with in the courts. (He ignores Congress.)

    Vlad seems to think US judges are as beholden to Trump as his judges are to him.  Not yet, but Trump has taken a big step in that direction.  He recently decreed that appointed administrative law judges not be hired through a competitive process but as political appointees – making them subject to dismissal at will.

    ADLs are a tremendously important part of how the federal bureaucracy works.  Previously, they served fixed terms, having been appointed through a competitive assessment.  It gave them some independence from the executive branch.

    That was an essential attribute of their employment.  Every day they decided cases for or against an executive branch agency that has found itself in conflict with a citizen or employee.  Under Trump’s decree, a judge that makes a decision against an agency can be fired at will.  Fair and impartial justice just took another explosive volley from the SS Trump.

  31. Willis Warren says:

    I would just like to remind everyone that the first Russian attempt to interfere in our elections via the Facebook was back in 2008 when they backed Rand’s dad, Ron Paul.

    It’s therefore unsurprising that the libertarians are backing Putin.  They’ve slowly been going fascist since 2008.  Remember the crying nazi guy?  His name is Chris Cantwell and I used to debate him (mostly about the state and private property) on Facebook libertarian groups.

  32. Trip says:

    We are so fucked. Excuse my extreme potty mouth, but Trump is Putin’s bitch. No need for niceties.

  33. BillT says:

    The country is under attack from within by our president and his GOP comrades.

    It was shocking to see Trump blow and swallow Putin on worldwide TV and then minutes later GOP idiot Issa blow Trump on CNN.

    Hopefully Mueller will release the hounds of truth in August or September!   The sooner the better.

  34. Trip says:

    Trump and Putin together: Trump’s narrative made them sound like star-crossed lovers held back from realizing their love by family forces, FFS. Maybe they can “Romeo and Juliette” themselves in Act V, scene 3.

  35. Michael says:

    “Germany is totally controlled by Russia…”
    A forensic sketch was “a total con job”
    [Appointment of SC was] “totally unconstitutional”
    “…totally prepared to walk away” [from talks with N.K.]
    [IG report] “totally exonerates me'”
    “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier ”
    ad nauseum

    As though preceding verbs with “totally” necessarily makes statements stronger. Yeah, like totally.

  36. Bob In Portland says:

    This is in reference to bmaz, who says that my point about Robert Mueller is batshit crazy and a “conspiracy theory”. And that he won’t read it.

    However, he has thoroughly swallowed the conspiracy that Russia conspired with Donald Trump to throw the 2016 elections. Maybe that conforms more to his/her belief systems.

    I can confidently say that Donald Trump may be the worst President ever, and he is doing his best to end FDR’s legacy. All I have reported on is what has happened, with expectations of what will happen. Hillary was going to go into a full-court press against Russia. Trump wasn’t. The only thing that the Deep State, if you will, could gain with Clinton that they couldn’t get with Trump was a war with Russia.

    bmaz is apparently a closed-minded twerp, and so be it. But I warn generally to watch out for people who announce that they won’t look into something because they already know.

    So here are the two pieces I’ve written about Russiagate and Mueller. Read them or don’t:



  37. x174 says:

    just read a bloomberg piece which describes the incredible details of Friday’s 12 indictments. the straightforward questions that arise from the ability of mueller et al to identify the individual russian gru agents and their actions points to emptywheel’s wittgensteinian assertion

    “without understanding where the investigation came from, you can’t understand where the investigation is going”

    “If, however, the U.S. or its allies watched the attacks in real time, it’s not clear why the GRU was allowed to steal and distribute the Democrats’ information without the U.S. government’s interfering. Was the information the U.S. was receiving about the GRU’s methods so valuable that any effect the hacks could have had on the campaign were of secondary importance to U.S. intelligence? Were the campaigns, Democratic and Republican ones, briefed as U.S. intelligence watched the Russian hacking operation unfold? Was the Obama administration briefed? These questions arise inevitably if one believes the hacks were monitored.”

    Bloomberg, Russia Hacker Indictments Should Make the Kremlin Squirm

    this information combined with Comey’s apparent throwing hrc under the bus days before the election raises disturbing questions as to where exactly the investigation came from and when precisely it started.

  38. Kathleen says:

    Marcy…great interview on “On the Media”   Then right after they did an interview with Jonathan Landay on Reiner’s “Shock and Awe” film.  Generally not so inspired by “On the Media” although having you then Landay on gives those of us who want to believe in the good guys and gals hope.

    • Trip says:

      Dc clothesline, the great publication that said the shooter, Edgar Welch, at Comet Pizza  (Pizzagate) was an actor. Why not just link to Alex Jones? All of the kids killed in Newtown were actors, blah blah blah

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