And/Or: An Ominous Sign for WikiLeaks in the Joshua Schulte Indictment

There’s been a lot of attention paid to the language in the GRU indictment from Friday showing WikiLeaks asking to receive stolen Hillary emails in time to cause maximal outrage among Bernie supporters.

On or about June 22, 2016, Organization I sent a private message to Guccifer 2.0 to “[s]end any new material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.” On or about July 6, 2016, Organization 1 added, “if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [DemocraticNationalConvention] is approaching and she Will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.” The Conspirators responded,“0k . . . i see.” Organization I explained,“we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.”

But I want to look at a minor–but potentially significant–detail in the Joshua Schulte indictment describing how he provided CIA’s hacking tools to WikiLeaks. The description of Count Two, Illegal Transmission of Lawfully Possessed National Defense Information, reads like this:

In or about 2016, in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere, JOSHUA ADAM SCHULTE, the defendant, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, and being entrusted with information relating to the national defense, to wit, certain portions of the Classified Information, which information the defendant had reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation, did knowingly and willfully communicate, deliver and transmit, and cause to be communicated, delivered, and transmitted, that aforesaid information to a person not entitled to receive it, to wit, Schulte caused the Classified information to be transmitted to Organization-1.

(Title 18, United States Code, Sections 793(d) and 2.)

The “and” there was pointed out to me by GDingers on Twitter.

As GDingers noted, the suggestion that Schulte knew a foreign nation (unnamed, but surely Russia if DOJ had any specific one, backed by evidence, in mind) would benefit, along with the US being damaged, is a fairly strong statement, one implicating WikiLeaks as well.

Moreover, that language didn’t have to be in the indictment. Here’s what the statutory language looks like:

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; [my emphasis]

The statutory language uses “or.” DOJ chose, in this indictment, to use “and.” As Secrecy News’ Steven Aftergood suggested via email, asserting both in the indictment sets a higher mens rea bar for proving Schulte’s guilt. DOJ didn’t have to do so, but they did.

So along with exposing Schulte to 130 years of potential prison time — a life sentence even accounting for how it will work in sentencing — DOJ wants to prove that Schulte leaked CIA’s hacking tools not just to hurt the United States but to help another nation, possibly Russia by name.

That bodes poorly for Schulte. But it also suggests a different kind of role for WikiLeaks than prior discussions have made out.

Update: Nerdyatty suggested that this is a DOJ practice. Except that Count One, charging a different part of 18 USC 793, maintains the “or” of the statute:

… with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation … [my emphasis]

Which tracks this language from the statute:

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation,

[snip]

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, [my emphasis]

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101 replies
  1. Willis Warren says:

    Stolen from twitter

    http://volokh.com/posts/1253899387.shtml

    For those unfamiliar with the rule, federal court precedent says that if a federal criminal statute makes it a crime to do “A, B, or C,” the indictment should allege that the defendant did “A, B, and C.” That is, the prosecutor should switch the “or” to “and”, replacing the disjunctive with the conjunctive. Why do that? The cases say that the reason is to avoid uncertainty: If the indictment uses “or,” then the defendant has no notice of what the government is charging. If the indictment uses “and,” then there is no uncertainty. But here’s the trick: The government only needs to prove one of the theories at trial, and the conviction will be upheld on appeal so long as only one of the theories has been proved.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Boolean logic says if you use AND, *all* must be true.

      Boolean logic says if you use OR, *only one* must be true.
      This may be a future appeal avenue.
      And, it may be intentional.

      Note: Boolean logic is not well understood by those that learned from Humpty Dumpty.

  2. Avattoir says:

    It’s an L1 eye-opener (among many, but prominent) that “and” means ‘and’, but if you’re reading “and” where only “or” is provided for, “and” can mean the first, or the second, or both.

    So, Aftergood’s line about ‘a higher intent’ doesn’t actually come up in practice.

    • emptywheel says:

      Two non-lawyers trying to read a conjunction.

      How should I describe the different treatment of these two counts? That they’re less sure of Count Two, and might only want to argue that it would help another country who could use the tools?

          • Avattoir says:

            It’s a hedge! Prosecution thinks, We’re pretty confident we have this dude on one, but depending on how one sees the available evidence, hey, the other way might look stronger. But we civil service attorneys don’t even have to decide: leave it to the jury! And if the jury likes it both ways, that potentially can affect the sentence.

            • emptywheel says:

              Ah, gotcha. Will note accordingly. But is it significant that the conjunction is different for the two 793 charges?

              • Avattoir says:

                {Final Jeopardy background music ’til I can find the statute and time to return to this … do DE do de / do DE do}

                • bmaz says:

                  JEOPARDY BING!!

                  The answer is, again, a jury question!

                  And thus the importance of jury instructions.

                  • Avattoir says:

                    Sheesh, good thing it’s Final Jeopardy, because bmaz’ buzzer skills are way better than mine.

                    Now it comes down to, how much did each of us have to wager, and how much of that did we? If bmaz put up that old cactus, I fold.

                    • posaune says:

                      I attended a wedding (prominent NYC architect) where the processional was the jeopardy theme.   Marriage lasted about a year.

              • Avattoir says:

                There are actually 3 charges under 793, but I’ll assume you mean Count #1, under 793.b, and Count #2, under 793.d, because Count #3, under 793.e appears to be drafted in a way that entirely omits the either of anomalous dichotomy, so presumably the government will argue is ‘saved’ from any defect in this respect by the count having specifically cited the subsection.

                So the answer is ‘no’, as in ‘no difference that’s NECESSARILY involved, because, again: in each count the government’s drafting from a subsection of the law that uses “or”, which, per our theme, can be be adequately described as per the exact word in the statute or by “and”.

                Still, that doesn’t NECESSARILY mean this difference you’ve noted is merely an immaterial drafting glitch. It COULD be that the there’s something in the evidence that the prosecutors think forces a choice on Count #1, whereas the evidence on Count #2 doesn’t force that stark a choice.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    Good article from 2008.  Lots of familiar names we no longer see here.  Did you ever replant a saguaro cactus in honor of Grandpa Pricky?

                    • bmaz says:

                      Nope, but there is a palo verde tree that sprouted up there. We have a couple of other saguaros though.

                      And, yeah, some of the folks are missing now. Notably Skdadl, who passed away. Others just don’t comment so much these days, but are still around. We visit with Randiego and family when we are in SanDiego, and they are all doing well. William Ockham is around too.

  3. Anura says:

    When the Vault 7 leaks first came out, I remember there was a lot of disinformation trying to push stuff off as being about faking attribution, when it just didn’t make any sense at all – Marble and Umbrage were immediately pushed as being about faking attribution, when the former did a find and replace in source code to encrypt strings and the latter was a collection of malware techniques available to the general public, and neither would have been useful in faking Russian malware. Everything that I saw in Vault 7 seemed pretty benign, as far as malware is concerned, but I’m not really qualified to do serious analysis.

    I was hoping to find a nice analysis of all of both the technical details of Vault 7 and the disinformation that surrounded it but my search skills fail me, as most sites seem to just be repeating the Wikileaks lines about faking attribution. Anyone here have any links?

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      The Vault7 *DOCUMENTATION* specfically referenced creating False Attribution. Only a tiny tidbit of actual computer *SOURCE CODE* was ever revealed (Vault8) , and it was purposely missing key parts to prevent others from using the specfic malware.

      The Vault7 *DOCUMENTATION* also referenced techniques to really hide. Double encryption, randomly named (DNS) Command and Control servers.

      • Anura says:

        Can you please link to the documents that reference falsifying attribution? Umbrage and Marble were both released with Vault 7; Umbrage is just documentation, and Marble isn’t sophisticated.

        Hiding attribution and detection is generally expected as part of a malware library. Umbrage and Marble are both used for these purposes. If you want to fake a malware attack to look like Russia, it’s probably a lot easier to just use Russian malware.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          It was Marble. No, I am not going to point it out. You can find if you want to put in the effort.

          I am not doing your homework.

          • Anura says:

            Marble has nothing to do with faking attribution; that was the disinformation I was referring to. The only thing it does is obfuscate strings; it does a find and replace in the source code and replaces strings with an encrypted version of that string to evade anti-malware software. The documentation showed examples with strings in multiple languages, but that doesn’t indicate that they were faking the attribution for that language, it means that they can target systems IN those languages.

            Every malware developer uses a string obfuscation tool. It’s like a screwdriver. I mean, you can just leave the screws out, but people will notice if you do.

            By doing a very procedural find and replace within the source code it can lead to similar patterns between the binaries of different malware, which means that if other malware was made with Marble someone may be able to detect the pattern and attribute it to the same team.

            No one would think that it would be about faking attribution unless they don’t know what they are looking at. It’s not even that sophisticated; it uses regular expressions to do a find and replace, which regexes are not even capable of properly parsing the source code.

  4. Desider says:

    Again a non-lawyer, but…

    The focus of the Mueller investigation is Russian conspiracy/collusion/whatever. The charges may be stronger for leaking classified info, but the *foreign* purpose helps the agenda, and presumably helps with knock-on effects and shared evidence/rulings/testimony with other cases.

    But besides a legal battle, this is first a political battle, and Mueller only gets one bite at the cherry (to get to his end report) while his opponents search for any and every excuse to shut him down.

    So I imagine prosecutors *have to* inform the accused which parts of the statute he’s accused of, but I also imagine they’ll be taking the Russian portion of the case more seriously than an otherwise slam dunk case of leaking secrets might bring. Reality Winner was convicted(pled?) for much less with no big motive required.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      There are many investigations.
      The Mueller investigation is *one* of them.
      This article is about a different one.

  5. Sabrina says:

    Sorry to be OT, but thought this was interesting- an article regarding election management systems that were sent out with, essentially, remote-access capabilities.

    Though the official statement is that the outcome was unaffected in the 2016 election, information like this, along with statistically improbable (though not impossible, to be fair) margins of victory in key states, and the hacking we do know about already via indictments does make that claim a bit suspect. It gives the appearance of vote counts being based on problematic procedures  around the actual vote- “non-vote” factors (for lack of a better term). This includes everything from voters whose addresses or other info were incorrect, keeping them from voting on Election Day; CA/AIQ “psychological profiling” and other means to discourage turnout; gerrymandering; and the flat-out disproportionate weighting system of the EC compared to the popular vote. Between actual ratfcking (what an apt term that is!) and this myriad of b.s. within the voting systems themselves, it would have almost been more surprising had Trump NOT won the election (Hindsight really is 20/20 in this case, and we still don’t have all the answers- just enough to sow doubt in much of the US electoral process).

    As a Canadian, I’d like to think we’re protected from all this, but we’re not (Ontario just elected a populist premier who’s railing against the establishment and within a week of assuming his position is trying to slow asylum claims to the province along with seeking to privatize everything. But hey- very marginal tax cuts for the middle class, so clearly it’s a fair trade!). So, if the US goes down, we’ll probably sink with the rest of the ship (or get annexed by the US of Russia as a new territory! Jesus.)

    Note: I usually try to be reasoned and not alarmist, but sometimes there’s such an avalanche of awful news from the US that it’s hard to hold on to the thought that it will all be okay once this administration is out. Anyway, here’s the link:

    https://motherboard.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/mb4ezy/top-voting-machine-vendor-admits-it-installed-remote-access-software-on-systems-sold-to-states

    • orionATL says:

      this is extremely interesting. it discredits any absolute statement about u. s. voting machines being disconnected from the internet.

      why can’t we, or at least senator wyden, know the jurisdictions (counties/states) on which remote access was installed? and when removed, if ever? and operational in 2016?

      thanks

      • Sabrina says:

        Yes, exactly. I too wonder what can be done by congress, assuming a couple Rs caucused with the Dems to enact some sort of protective legislation.
        At this point, I don’t know if there is enough info left to forensically figure out exactly how many vote totals (and associated voter info) were altered (“influenced” is probably the better word) and exactly what the impact was on the election outcome. I don’t think the uncertainty here will ever go away entirely, and as such there will always be room for “well, they interfered, but the outcome was unaltered” arguments.

        Combine this info with Rayne’s post on “unconventional warfare”. The (willful or not) blindness of the US in favor of traditional warfare munitions stockpiles begins to explain *how* the US had strongly unguarded IT infrastructure and yet STILL continues to funnel money into traditional munitions. Definitely a case of reinforcing the door while the burglars make off out the window.

        Hoping increased attention to this will refocus priorities on where the real danger lies; until then, election results will seem suspect. I’m hoping for a blue wave to restore democratic integrity, but it’s doubtful while the electoral voter systems are potentially this compromised.

  6. Trip says:

    Can someone break this down in the most basic form for non-legal eagles?

    “And/Or” is Assange is legal jeopardy, based on the indictment? “And/Or” is it a possibility versus a rock solid proposition?

    If the latter, I wonder whether this will become the cause célèbre for the GOP, adoring fans, people like Greenwald, the left that turned right, Fox News and the Trump cult.

    I’m not sure if martyrdom is the way to go (whether or not he is an un-indicted coconspirator). The shield of self-identified victimhood has been a very effective methodology for Trump and associates.  The present purgatory is probably the worst punishment for Assange; legally deserving or undeserving:
    although it goes against the right of US due process. However, I’m not certain Assange is a fan of due process, based on the Wikileaks links which declared Clinton guilty of things (ex. pizzagate, sans court and process).  Still, all are entitled. I’m just not sure if they would or should elevate this to some hero status.

  7. Buford says:

    I have a question….As we keep finding out that there were russian spies among us, and there was co-operation by some Americans, will this start to morph from ConFraudUS, into some kind of Spying allegations, under some of our Spy Laws?

    • Avattoir says:

      Would that make you feel better?

      This isn’t, or isn’t primarily, about ‘spying’, at least not in the movie or traditional senses. It’s about manipulating the levers of the American electoral system, thru data theft, planting falsehoods and providing huge amounts of money to the favored candidate and members of his political party up for election.

      I mean, it was asked and answered: in the Helsinki press conference, Putin was specifically asked 1. did he want Trump to win, and 2. did he work towards bringing that about? He said “Da”, and said it twice: once to each question.

      All the cases in which SC Mueller is primarily interested describe components = in some instances conspiracies within a greater one (like a Russian nested doll), in others crimes, and still others acts which divorced from criminal conspiracy would not be on their own criminal, to defraud Americans of an honest election.  Our host here, with her powers of observation, saw coming, and called it appropriately, every step by the OSC appears to have confirmed that’s where its headed, & so no one here now should be the least surprised that that’s where this will all end up.

  8. Trip says:

    This is yesterday’s tweet, may have been addressed, but interesting nonetheless for those who haven’t seen it:

    Adam Klasfeld‏Verified account @KlasfeldReports

    In the case of troll farm tied to the man known as “Putin’s chef,” the company’s attorneys begin their motion to dismiss with a pull-quote from this opinion by none other than Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
    https://twitter.com/KlasfeldReports/status/1019308036031156225

    Ignorance of the law is now gonna be a thing for foreigners?  What a troll.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Ought to be a disqualifying opinion.

        The admission also displays Kavanaugh’s crude arrogance and suspect judgment.  What federal circuit judge would admit holding that opinion – outside of a Skull & Bones confessional – if he even dreamt about getting on the Supremes?

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Corrupted over time.

          https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Brett_Kavanaugh

          As an attorney working for Ken Starr, Kavanaugh played a lead role in drafting the Starr Report, which urged the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh led the investigation into the suicide of Clinton aide Vince Foster, after the 2000 U.S. presidential election, in which Kavanaugh worked for the George W. Bush campaign in the Florida recount, Kavanaugh joined Bush’s staff, where he led the Administration’s effort to identify and confirm judicial nominees.

          [If one thinks he would not try to overturn a presidential impeachment, one is smoking really bad stuff]

          [Confirmation *MUST* be stopped]

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          What most jumps out from that 2016 AEI interview is Kavanaugh’s arrogance.  He grew up in a charmed family, went to an elite DC secondary school, and Yale College and Law School.  He worked for a white shoe firm back home in DC, was an acolyte to Ken Starr, a White House aide, and an absurdly inexperienced and unprepared appointee to the DC Circuit.

          At the time of that interview, though, Kavanaugh had spent ten years on the DC Circuit.  He had finally become his own man and nobody else mattered.  On the Supreme Court, he would be Scalia on steroids, with all his jesuitical certainty and lack of self-doubt, his ueber-conservative views of executive power and his right to legislate from the bench.  He would be a more dangerous appointment than Neil Gorsuch, intentionally so.

          The Democrats should work long and hard to keep him off it, disrupting government, if necessary, to delay a vote until after November.  Any delay in further empowering Brett Kavanaugh would be a good thing.  He will endanger America as Main Street Americans know it.

      • harpie says:

        Jed Shugarman has an interesting thread [and linked article from April] on this:

         2:26 PM – 18 Jul 2018 I think Kavanaugh meant “there was *NOT* nearly universal consensus” that the independent counsel ruling was wrong. Kavanaugh is turning out to be a solid Trump appointee… / 4/ I explain here why Scalia’s historical assumptions were wrong. Some of the evidence is from my new research, but much of it has been available to Scalia and Kavanaugh for a long time. It’s just inconvenient. [Stare Scalia Republican senators’ obsession with Antonin Scalia is leading them to make sloppy mistakes. 4/27/18 https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/republican-senators-obsession-with-antonin-scalia-is-leading-them-to-make-sloppy-mistakes.html ] / […] / 6/ “..to view the independent counsel system as an unwise and unconstitutional departure from historical practice and a serious threat to individual liberty.” If Kavanaugh thinks there is “nearly universal consensus” that Scalia was right, he lives in a sealed ideological bubble.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Telephone call from Moscow, Mr. President.”
    “Good evening, sir. How may I be of service?”
    “That’s why I called, Donald.”
    “Donald, why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?”

    (h/t Tom Sullivan at digby’s place.)

  10. bmaz says:

    Eart @ 12:03 – Yeah, We like the Gaslamp District quite a bit, but always stay further north in or around La Jolla. Dog Beach is pretty awesome though. We have to get Puppy Q over there one of these days.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Windandsea Beach is priceless, as long as the tide is out.

      Puppy Q would enjoy Dog Beach.  No leash.  On a good day, you can wade the river.  Good coffee around the corner at the Lazy Hummingbird, Santa Monica and Abbott.  Great food co-op at Voltaire and Bacon.

      • bmaz says:

        Windansea is exactly the area we usually stay in. There are a couple of older hotels no more than a block, if at all, off the beach that you can still book fairly reasonably and walk everywhere on the beach and La Jolla restaurant and nightlife district easily.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Yep, all rocks to the south but you can walk north along the beach to the edge of La Jolla Cove.  Don’t feed the seals.

          A little cooler than Phoenix or the road to San Diego in mid-summer (notwithstanding the date ice cream stand).  Have a drink with an umbrella in it next time you visit.

          • bmaz says:

            I ALWAYS stop at the date shake joint. There is a date place on I-10 near 29 Palms too. Date shakes are incredible.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        What about further north and a place like “Woods Cove” right in the middle of Laguna Beach? I haven’t been there in 42 years but I still have memories of walking my 4 year old son along the rocks and tide pools.

          • Kick the darkness says:

            Oh, so the shake shack you guys mean must not be the one off PCH by Crystal Cove state park.  Don’t get all the way down to Dog Beach much anymore, life got busier, but great memories of sleeping kids, stinky dogs and a sandy car on the ride back home.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Dog Beach is in Ocean Beach, on the point adjacent to the outflow of the San Diego River – divided by a seawall, the other side of which leads to the Pacific Beach bays and marinas.  A rare, no leash beach where dogs can run free, like everybody else in Ocean Beach.

              The date ice cream and shake shack we were talking about is on I-8  between San Diego and Phoenix, on the Arizona side, I think.  Middle of the desert, so not much competition.

                • bmaz says:

                  Here is something on topic for you: You have appeared here as both “Worried”  and “Rob” in the space of 24 hours. That is called sock puppeting, and is not permitted here. Pick a screen name and stick to it.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The ghosts inhabiting the Republican Party seem convinced that they cannot act to oppose Donald Trump because his base is so solidly behind him.

    How exactly does that work?  The president is untouchable AND Republican congresscritters must actively promote him despite his abject performance in favor of Mr. Putin – and his disorienting American foreign policy to promote Putin’s ends?  Profiles in what?

    The Republican Party is more than a single newbie politician.  A little, oh, leadership from senior Republican politicians, expressing opposition to the president’s wrongful conduct, might help separate the presidential chafe from the Republican Party wheat.  Who better to oppose the president with action than the Senators who are not running for re-election?

    Unbeknownst to us, the US is now the new Philippines and the new Russia.  Even mild opposition to the president is a ticket to a ditch in Manila or a topple off a high balcony in Moscow.  Or so his party fears.  That fear alone should make them act.  But no.

    • Willis Warren says:

      I think there’s that political fear, but I feel most of it is coming from the Koch network.  Yesterday, they got dark money even further hidden from the FBI, which is being conflated with the NRA reveal… but seems coincidental to me.  Between tRUmp and the Kochs, I think the Kochs have a more longterm stable, less dependent-on-racist-shitheads base.

      There’s a chance that a lot of Republicans fear the money they’ve taken could be from the Russians, too.

      Also, I have a sneaky feeling that the Republicans don’t want any real investigations into election hacking because they’ve been doing it themselves.  I remain skeptical about the 2004 election results.

      • Trip says:

        Koch/Russia

        Fred Koch had worked for Stalin, where — under Stalin’s first five-year plan — Fred Koch helped build up the Russian, the Soviet oil refineries and really gave huge muscle to the oil industry in the Soviet Union.

        https://www.npr.org/2016/01/19/463565987/hidden-history-of-koch-brothers-traces-their-childhood-and-political-rise

        The Koch Brothers’ Tangled and Far-Reaching Web
        The Kochs spend tens of millions trying to shape federal policies that affect their global business empire.

        ….Koch was a pioneer importer of Russian oil to the United States, including a 2002 shipment of Russian crude that Koch sold to the U.S. government to help fill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And though it opposes a cap-and-trade solution to global warming for the United States, Koch makes money trading emissions credits under a similar program in Europe.

        https://www.alternet.org/story/150547/the_koch_brothers%27_tangled_and_far-reaching_web

        The Kochs’ Dark Money Reaches All The Way To NRA, Religious Groups
        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/koch-brothers-2014-election_us_564b7680e4b06037734b3987

      • Bob Conyers says:

        One thing that puzzles me is the actions of retirees, like Corker and some of the House members, who probably are looking at the end of their careers. If they’ve taken any shady NRA money or something like that, I have to assume they’re so far down on the list that their legal liability is small, and I wouldn’t even assume they’ve actually done anything illegal at all. What’s keeping them in line?

        For that matter, someone like Susan Collins has to know that she’s getting primaried no matter what. Some Paul LePage type will be going after her for the GOP, and will be able to get a ton of money. Why is she acting like Mitch McConnell owns her soul? I doubt she has any serious risk of criminal charges either, and if reelection was her main concern, I have to assume she’d be better off cutting a deal with the Democrats like Angus King did.

        Something has happened in the GOP since the vote to kill Obamacare that has turned it from a party that is 90% pro-Trump to 99%, and I still can’t put my finger on it.

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          What seems simplest to me is that Russian money has been distributed to everyone in the GOP, through NRA contributions, thanks to Butina and Torshin’s efforts. Nunes (transition) knew earliest, some/all of leadership knew later, then eventually rank & file found out.

          Add a dash or two of Novichok and stir.

        • posaune says:

          I agree.   It’s mind boggling.   Almost exactly one year ago when McCain arrived to vote “no” from his sickbed.   Back then, it felt as though there was a little string of hope– with Collins and Murkowski’s votes against.   But then came the tax ‘reform’ bill and they both went with it.   Seems that since then, ALL GOP been bought off.  Honestly, this sends shivers of dread up my spine.   What is it that we don’t know yet?   They don’t even care to make any pretense of ethical behavior — running to hide the NRA they have all taken.   It makes me weep — I feel so grief-stricken to witness this.   Is there not ONE Republican with a conscious or sense of ethics?  Not ONE?   Not ONE who realizes he or she is a public servant?    It’s all so biblical in the breadth and depth of destruction.

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            The Blackmail Metadata will come out.

            But, they have to believe in their small minds that all is ok.

            That is how a corrupted brain must function.

            They have to believe that they are *safe*. Otherwise, there will be even more problems.

  12. Willis Warren says:

    I’m curious about Marcy’s warning about tRUmp fearing further attacks.   She’s mentioned a couple of times that Putin may be threatening more attacks, but has been vague.  While I agree that tRUmp fears Putin more than Mueller, would further cyber attacks be something he even comprehends?  he doesn’t even understand why the FBI not being given a server is a stupid claim.

    Maybe you have insider information, but this seems like something that doesn’t follow from the rest of your work.  Any insights?

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I doubt it’s cyber attacks in the sense of threats to voting machines or even things like the electrical grid. My guess is that it’s a threat of releasing information, far worse than just a video of him in a compromising position.

      It may also be that Putin has segments of the GOP in his pocket, like the envangelicals, and he’s warned Trump that they’ll desert him and leave him exposed if he doesn’t bow and scrape. And for that matter, there may well be large sums of money that the Trump businesses need which will vanish at a very bad time for Trump.

      • Willis Warren says:

        Well, Karl Rove got all the Republicans to put on a unified front in 2004, there was no dissent for Iraq, any Bush policies, etc… I think in closed doors they realize they have no popular support, so they must appear to be 100% unified and fidelity to their ideas is key.

        But, that 2004 election… there was some voter suppression, some ballot stuffing in the south, lots of voting machine irregularities that got poo pooed as conspiracy theories.  Still, I remain skeptical that Bush’s support was that strong.

        Also, I’m on record as saying that tRUmp was just supposed to run as an agent provocateur and disrupt the election, claim fraud, etc…  and that he was complicit in the attack on our election (which is paramount to treason).   I imagine the plan was to get the “2nd amendment folks” to rise up, even.

        Yes, I’m serious.

        • greengiant says:

          The chance of riots seems higher now if Trump is pushed from office, or so they tell me. Compare that to election night protests and women’s march. Sign of the times, the troll/bot presence here and in other media. I don’t see any recent defectors from the Trump cult, George Will speaking out is great but he never drank the kool-aid did he? The money is in the 16 million new voters in 2020 and over 100 million who didn’t vote in 2016. Trump’s ethnic purging is too little, too late. The older the US citizen dependents of illegals are the more likely they are to remain in the US and vote. Thus the Trumpian Hitler channeling “breeding concept” tweet to dog whistle the base, and the repeal of refugee status for hundreds of thousands.

        • Palli says:

          You didn’t mention tabulation fraud in 2004. Study the Election in Ohio and the complacency of the DNC. A travesty ignored by the “let’s-all-get-along” democratic centrists.  The citizen-led litigation over those election crimes never got national attention and planes fall from the sky.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Speaking of Trump money (or lack thereof)

        https:// www. google. com/amp/ https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-trump-late-property-taxes-20180718-story,amp.html

        But records show that between last November and this April, Trump’s company failed to pay property taxes on time in New Jersey, New York, Illinois and California.

        [Hmmm, Blue states]

        In Florida, the company also missed a Nov. 30 deadline to pay its taxes early and claim a 4 percent discount. For the first time in at least nine years, the company waited until January to pay taxes on the Mar-a-Lago Club, two mansions and three golf courses. That wait increased the company’s bills by $23,500, records show.

        [Strike three. If you can’t knock it the fuck off with the tracking in URLs they’re going to moderation from here on out. /~Rayne]

        • Michael says:

          Knock on Google’s door in order to access an article on the Chicago Times site? What up wi’ dat?!

          (Puts me in mind of a current TV advert: “Mom washes the dishes before she puts them in the dish washer. So what does the dish washer do?”)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump’s primary concern would be attacks on himself, not the US.  If he were concerned about that, Bolton would not have fired the cyber-security czar and eliminated his position.

      Bolton doing that is unbolting the gates to the city, leaving the drawbridge down, and lighting torches to show the way in.  Fine with Trump, as long as the invaders leave his castle untouched.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Nice picture. Smart attackers upon arriving at such a view would question what they are seeing. And retreat.

        Note I said ‘smart’.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      And how sweet is it that Trump is excluding the State Department from handling his new Russian initiatives, taking their management inside his WH-based NSC instead?  After having fired the NSC’s generally admired head of Russian matters, who will he substitute?  Jared?  All in the family, the Corleone family.

      As with everything about this president, This.Is.Not.Normal.  Digby points to this excellent CJR article: Getting the Trump-Putin Story Right.

      As the “broad investigation” [of Trump’s perfidy] has broadened and deepened, it becomes clear to those with open eyes that the problem is far bigger. It is in fact not a problem but a condition. It is a feature, not a bug—a deeply engraved feature, a web of assumptions, a crisis of credulity that has long prevented news organs from coming to grips with the immensity that has overtaken the United States of America at the hands of Donald Trump and his cronies. And even now, as Trump embarrasses and revolts a wide swath of the American nation, some of our top journalists fail to identify the pattern.

  13. Trip says:

    This was in reply to Willis upthread:
    One more link (the others in moderation), between Kochs, Russia and evangelicals:

    How US Evangelicals Fueled the Rise of Russia’s ‘Pro-Family’ Right
    An alliance is born between anti-gay, anti-abortion American groups and the Russian Orthodox Church.The trip to Dallas grew out of an increasingly close friendship between church leaders and a small circle of American and European Christian businessmen in Moscow. Alfeyev’s visit was organized by Jerry Fullinwider, an oil executive and elder of the Highland Park church who, until recently, had business interests in Russia. Fullinwider, a member of the Koch brothers’ circle of major donors—those who have given more than $1 million to Koch-related causes—met Alfeyev through his friend Bob Foresman, head of Barclay’s Capital in Russia. This select group of businessmen has unusual access to Alfeyev. In an interview for this article, Fullinwider described having dinner at Alfeyev’s private residence on a recent trip to Moscow. “He’s a real busy guy,” says Fullinwider. “He’s very, very hard to get in touch with unless you have a special number and you know the main guy who handles….The push to deepen ties with American evangelicals, to present a united front, coincides with the church’s broadening influence within Russia. In State Department cables published by WikiLeaks in 2010, then–US Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle described a meeting with Alfeyev in which the bishop admitted that the Russian Orthodox Church “has been extending its reach further into heretofore secular areas of society” like education. “Calling the ROC ‘a significant actor’ in the life of the country,” Beyrle wrote, “Hilarion said that Patriarch Kirill is ‘not only symbolic,’ but can also influence major currents in Russia, including its political development.”
    https://www.thenation.com/article/how-us-evangelicals-fueled-rise-russias-pro-family-right/

    So these religious activists worked in concert to restrict societies, both in Russia and the US, started with Oil business and at least some Koch connection.

  14. Willis Warren says:

    Trip, my holy fucking grail is connecting the Kochs to the Russians. I have some success at connecting the libertarians to Russian trolls, but what if the Kochs were ALL ALONG RUSSIAN SPIES????? I think I just shit my pants fantasizing this.

    • Trip says:

      Willis, my first comment never made it out of moderation, but the Koch’s were importing Russian oil and selling it to the US, at least up until 2002. Fred Koch made his fortune in the Soviet Union, which was left to the Koch brothers.

      After revisiting these articles, I have to wonder, again, how much control the Kochs exercise in Russia, instead of vice versa. The NRA, and the religious right pushes, all within the Koch universe.

      *As an aside, one of the older articles I linked to mentioned that the Kochs gave campaign donations to Cuomo.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Launder money out of US, via middlemen (Ex: Panama), to Russia, laundered back in via NRA to US to influence elections.

        Profit!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Koch-Russia connection goes back to the family business’s founder, Fred C. Koch.  Unlike nearly all his peers, except Armand Hammer, he was doing business in Russia as early as the Great Depression.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Past time for John F. Kelly, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton to resign.  They and their staffs are enabling a dangerous man. Staying is not making the US safer. 

    In the absence of congressional oversight – in fact, in the presence of congressional support – they’re abandoning a dangerous administration is supporting the Constitution.  It would be doing their jobs.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Safe to assume that Vlad the Impaler discussed with Renfield Trump that he was unhappy about the twelve insurrectionists about to stand trial in Montenegro – for attempting a pro-Russian coup – and told him to make a public issue of it.

    Donald, via Faux Noise, dutifully obliged.  In his interview with Carlson, Trump claimed that little Montenegro, in effect, was not worth the sweat on an American soldier’s brow, an attitude that was also a stab at all of NATO.

    Trump then quickly characterized the Montenegrins as “aggressive”.  All 600,000 of them.  And their lovely seacoast that disaster capitalists have been trying to monopolize since before Daniel Craig made Casino Royale.

    Trump’s choice of “aggressive” was precious, but not accidental.  On the day of that interview, the international crime of aggression came into effect at the ICC in the Hague.

    A crime of aggression, under which politicians and military leaders can be held individually responsible for invasions and other major attacks, comes into force at the international criminal court, reviving global legal powers last exercised at the Nuremburg [sic] and Tokyo war crimes trials of the 1940s.

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      I noticed that Carlson seemed to feel obligated to mention Albania also, apparently to divert attention from the odd choice of Montenegro as an example.

      Don’t forget it was Montenegro’s PM who Trump shoved at last year’s NATO meeting. So Trump may have had his orders back then, and just needed a little refresher from Putin in Helsinki.

      Carlson fed him the question just like Butina fed him the question on sanctions in 2015 at FreedomWorks. This has been in play for a very long time (no news to anyone here, I suspect).

  17. Willis says:

    I’m aware of the Russian Koch history. But what I want is hard proof of collusion. Charles is nutso libertarian. That simply doesn’t line up with Stalinist Russian philosophy. The Dugin era is closer, imo, as every ancap is really a fascist in disguise

    • Trip says:

      Willis, the John Birch society was active in McCarthyism, they were rabid anti-communists, and then in  later years began advocating against democracy, which they argued eventually turns into socialism and communism (which hurts profit). With the Kochs making a lot of their oil fortune by skimming, they surely aligned with kleptocracy. Since Russia’s economy is based on oil revenue, this would explain the partnership. The Kochs have been active in promoting hard right religion,  and limiting freedoms of “The people”. I still think the Kochs, Cheney, Exxon, etc. influenced Russia. Their ideology satisfied the greed of the oligarchs, the Kremlin, etc, the strict religion replaced communist ideology with a reason for the masses to behave and obey authority. I think if Mueller was ever allowed to, or cared enough to cross the real red line, he’d find the Kochs behind the Russians, not the other way around.  You’d find the Lukids in the mix, as well.  Of course the oligarchs and Putin would be keen to the ideas of making themselves filthy rich while robbing the people blind. Look at the Mercers, Bannon, Flynn, DeVos, Prince et al. Their plot was to put religious propaganda into schools. Bannon even touted a worldwide religious war. The Mercers were accused of funding Brexit. I think the Kochs with Russia is a partnership.

      http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/30/koch-brothers-fatherpolitics.html

      The closest of I’ve come to a “spy”, was  Michael Roman, brought on by Gates. But he was a Koch spy, not Russian:

      The mysterious oppo researcher working in the White House lawyer’s office
      Michael Roman, best known as a shadowy operative who oversaw a research unit for the Koch network, now occupies an unusual and undefined role in the Trump administration.

      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/11/trump-oppo-researcher-roman-403138
      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/28/michael-roman-leaves-white-house-oppo-559165

      His main function appeared to be repressing votes.

      • Trip says:

        Correction: Brought on by McGahn, not Gates.

        Roman also wrote pieces for Breitbart.

        (Separate thought to above comment): And as much as the Bush fluffers try to argue how much different he is from Trump, the schemes in influence go back to his administration.

      • Trip says:

        One more thing I forgot to note: He’s ex-CIA. There’s both your deep state and shadow government in one swoop. But it isn’t opposing Trump’s administration, it’s running it.

  18. BobS says:

    Does anyone know anything about Pat Lang’s (Sic Semper Tyrannis) crowing about the Chinese hacking Hillary Clinton’s server?

  19. Trip says:

    And…another win for Nazi-yahu:
    Israel Passes Law Anchoring Itself as Nation-State of the Jewish People

    Adalah, a legal center that campaigns for Arab rights in Israel, said in a statement, “This law guarantees the ethnic-religious character of Israel as exclusively Jewish and entrenches the privileges enjoyed by Jewish citizens, while simultaneously anchoring discrimination against Palestinian citizens and legitimizing exclusion, racism, and systemic inequality.”
    Yael German, a lawmaker from the centrist opposition party Yesh Atid, said before the vote that the law was “a poison pill for democracy”
    Empowered by the ascendancy of a friendly American administration led by President Trump, and increasingly allying itself with illiberal democracies in Europe, Mr. Netanyahu’s government has sought to exercise more control over the news media, curtail the authority of the Supreme Court and undermine the police amid attempts to thwart or minimize the effect of multiple corruption investigations against the prime minister. The police have already recommended that Mr. Netanyahu be charged with bribery in two cases….Unlike previous drafts of the nationality bill, the version that passed omits any mention of democracy or enunciation of the principle of equality, in what critics called a betrayal of Israel’s foundational document, its Declaration of Independence.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/world/middleeast/israel-law-jews-arabic.html

  20. Curious says:

    Edit: Q: Why was my comment above removed? That text was easily readable and no way I could have shortened it. I also wrote about something I thought was important, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered posting it. I had to think about it tough, as it was a little complicated and unclear to me.

    To add to something I should have elaborated on earlier:

    Regarding ‘injury’, pertaining to the notion of injuring the United States. If taking the ‘intent’ out of the very notion of “an injury of the United States”, what is then left should there be a disconnect between an intent and the notion of there being an injury?

    I suppose the idea of ‘injury to the United States’ is a well known concept in law and I wish I knew more about what that usually meant as it seems a little unclear what an injury might be, when not obviously being about something utterly terrible like general violence.

      • Curious says:

        I would like an answer from the one removing it.

        As for Trip, the comment I posted was up for a very short time I doubt you even read it.

        • Rayne says:

          I’m not certain how/when your comment was modded out as there are multiple team members behind the scene; a quick analysis of it in the mod bin shows it was

          11 Kb
          1315 words long
          10 paragraphs
          7 minutes estimated reading time

          A comment this long isn’t a comment. It’s a blog post you should write and publish at your own site and then link here. Comments of this size can also act like a denial of service to other readers and commenters, especially those on mobile devices. To date you have 28 comments here, under two different accounts (sockpuppeting is not permitted – stick to a single account), and about 30% of them approach the limit of reasonable length.

          Be concise; this site does not provide a guaranteed forum.

    • bmaz says:

      Listen, I scotched your comment. Because it was trollish crap.

      And if you want to come back, I will likely do it again.

Comments are closed.