Hidden until Now: Trump Admitted 2016 Russian Interference in Lavrov-Kislyak Meeting
[NB: Note the byline, thanks!]
If you though the dam was beginning to crack after House Speaker Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry would begin on Tuesday, or after the release of the July 25 memo on Wednesday, or the release of the whistleblower complaint followed by acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire’s testimony yesterday, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The Washington Post published this article at 8:26 p.m.:
Trump told Russian officials in 2017 he wasn’t concerned about Moscow’s interference in U.S. election
Here’s the first two grafs:
President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to three former officials with knowledge of the matter.
The comments, which have not been previously reported, were part of a now-infamous meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which Trump revealed highly classified information that exposed a source of intelligence on the Islamic State. He also said during the meeting that firing FBI Director James B. Comey the previous day had relieved “great pressure” on him.
We’ve known about this particular conversation Trump had with Lavrov and Kislyak. We’ve known he damaged a source in the process while admitting to obstruction of justice.
But we didn’t know there was more to this conversation — like admitting he knew the Russians ‘aided’ his election, or airing out our dirty foreign policy to a country with which we have not had good relations. “Unconcerned,” WaPo’s team said; sure, why would Trump be worried at all about the contributions that ensured his occupation of the White House? It’s simply a matter of fact, right?
And we didn’t know Trump’s lack of concern about election interference in front of Lavrov and Kislyak, which offered an implicit permission slip to continue interference here and elsewhere.
Nor did we know that White House officials hid the rest of this Oval Office conversation, limiting its access to a very small need-to-know circle. It’s not clear whether this meant the contents of this highly-sensitive conversation were retroactively classified and squirreled away in the code-word classified system set aside for sensitive intelligence information where the July 25 Trump-Zelensky conversation transcript had been stored.
We don’t know now whether Special Counsel’s Office had any inkling the content of this particular conversation may have been hidden, or that other transcripts responsive to its investigation may have been locked away in that code-word classified system.
If Trump knew about this at all, and any of this hidden content was responsive to Mueller’s investigation, it’s yet another obstructive act.
Any of the White House officials who enabled this content sequestration process may also have obstructed justice if the hidden material was responsive to requests or subpoenas. Who knew about these material, when they learned about it, and why they didn’t come forward sooner will be a subject of the impeachment inquiry.
We also need to know what other exposures are contained within and without the code-word classified system and whatever other ad hoc retention system was employed by a small cadre of White House staff.
What else has been used as leverage against the U.S. that we the people and our representatives know nothing about?
What’s additionally worrisome: we’re learning in a rather slapdash fashion as the proverbial rats flee the sinking S.S. Trump — like the ‘three former officials with knowledge of the matter’ cited as sources for this story. How many of them have already been monitored by foreign intelligence, marked as potential assets, witting or unwitting, because they are known to have participated in this secret content sequestration process?
How many of these ‘former officials with knowledge of the matter’ have been silent because of Trump’s obsessive use of nondisclosure agreements?
How many of them have talked among themselves — neaning others under Trump’s NDAs — about this secret content sequestration process and its contents?
How many of this circle of need-to-know or in-the-know are also GOP leadership like Senator Mitch McConnell or Senator Lindsey Graham? How many of them have already been compromised because of this knowledge?
It’d certainly explain a few things like McConnell’s refusal to do anything substantive about election security. Or Graham’s about-face after a round of golf with Trump.
If you’re reading this, Speaker Pelosi, ramp up the impeachment team. Get that full House vote organized to authorize the inquiry and the necessary personnel. It’s past time.
I know Marcy’s on a much-deserved road trip but damn, I really wish she was near a keyboard and WiFi right now to beat on this topic. I miss her pixels.
I don’t think the House is going to be able to move fast enough while all this crap spools out. House Dems need to develop a communications team to deal with this and quickly or the public is going to be really frustrated. They’ll alternately see this moving too slow and too fast if there isn’t good communications about the process.
EDIT: See what I mean?
Rayne, this is what I have been thinking about: what do I tell my Rep besides “tell leadership to stop being so confusing [Etc.].” We need some Marcy roadmaps and she is mapping it on the road lol.
The House Dems already have effective communicators among their ranks, that’s the frustrating part. Like Ted Lieu and Eric Swalwell and Brian Schatz — they are succinct, suited to a fast-paced approach, and they have a solid grasp on the problems. What they need are some dedicated staffers to construct a snappy infrastructure to help propel their takes so that they become a consolidated narrative which can beat back the right-wing monkey horde’s fog of obfuscation.
If we had such a system the public could maintain pace.
Yes, you nailed the problem right there: lacking such an infrastructure or plan, the great communicators are effectively siloed into niches at this point, have been all along. This is part of my issue, as folks like my rep and others I attend to also do well at twitter comms, press appearances, and so forth. But they get drowned out with each successive Politico-type piece on dem confusion or shifting ‘strategery.’ So I am left to say ~’Thanks, rep, you are doing great, but can you get leadership to _________, because otherwise it thwarts your efforts and message.’ (HJC members have been listing-out clear, simply-phrased violations, like emoluments, abuse of power, etc., for a bit now.)
If they are confusing a high-information and sympathetic citizen, what is the fate of the general public?
1. the problem is too many congresscritters feel the need to comment. unfortunately as hearings routinely show many are not particularly articulate or can focus acutely on the matter at hand.
2. some key issues for consideration phrased in moral language:
a. trump is a compulsive liar. this must always be emphasized numero uno. what the man says simply cannot be trusted.
b. trump is a cheat. he has always cheated to get ahead, business or politics.
c. trump is unpatriotic. he puts his personal interests above that of the nation.
d. trump is secretive, hiding his self-serving or illegal activities from the public, e.g., his taxes, the moscow tower deal, his woman-hopping, his collusion with the russians.
having made the general case for these moral deficiencies, spokesmen can particularize them to the details of an impeachment inquiry. if dems aren’t willing to speak in moral language but instead choose legalese, they will not educate the public sufficiently to effect the 2020 election or impeachment.
Refusing to follow subpoenas, and telling others not to follow them, is something else that goes into an article of impeachment.
(I think it’s obstruction, at the least.)
Schatz is a Senator (D-HI).
I omitted pointing that out. He’s still necessary as a communicator. Schatz can talk about what he sees from the Senate side. Right now we have the perception the Senate isn’t willing to do anything but Schatz makes it clear that’s not the case. And unlike Elizabeth Warren who is both a senator and on the campaign trail, what he says can’t be construed by the right-wing monkey horde as campaign propaganda.
I think it is important for reps to get out in front of their local news cameras with coordinate messaging and create enough interest to become a daily saga/segment of local news coverage that viewers count on to stay informed.
Cable news is far to biased and does not have enough viewers and to create the groundswell needed.
AOC has managed to get around the cable news bias. Probably need to develop a social media channel with an assist from AOC — maybe an Instant Pot Impeachment hour every evening, M-F, running on YouTube with mirrors on Instagram and Twitter.
We can’t double down on what we know doesn’t work.
YouTube videos will not find their way to people not interested in the topic or even politics.
Local news is what a huge percent of Americans turn on when they get ready for work in the morning and before they go to bed at night.
It is not “doubling down” it is reaching out to a chunk of voters that otherwise will continue to be uninterested and educated and therefore not participating in the process.
And yet YouTube is exactly the tool being used to promulgate right-wing propaganda and radicalize sympathizers. So far going to cable hasn’t worked for Congressional Dems. I can’t see investing more effort there.
The challenge is messaging infrastructure, including microtargeting the audience. It worked for the Russians. There’s nothing to stop Congress from ensuring constituents receive updates on what their tax dollars are doing.
I don’t know how mine thinks he communicates with us. I get robocalls for group phone meetings, and that’s about it.
I’m not sure I follow?
Micro-targeting worked brilliantly for Russia’s misinformation campaign because they were able to reach individual (and likely voters) that had left trails that showing they were ready to be manipulated. A person would have to be triggered by something in the messaging for it to work.
Its seems to me a tedious way to spread what should be a main stream message.
Your local morning or evening news programming reaches an much larger audience than cable news, with programming that in theory, should be of interest to all.
I think the Dems messaging should clearly fit into that category and as I said think it would be worthwhile for representatives to try to get in front of their local news cameras as often as they can as a way to keep it alive and expand the base beyond the same old crowd
I think we both agree that cable news has its place but it mostly serves those who are already engaged. Both sides make a lot of noise but I have a feeling that they just cancel each other out.
Getting broadcast coverage would be good – a lot of people can’t afford cable. (Or cable in their area is unreliable if it exists at all – rural areas mostly don’t have it, though they’re likely to have satellite dishes.)
Agreed. Once the damn breaks, the volume of stuff will overwhelm reporters and their readers.
The Dems and the press need some sort of triage for it, so that the most important items are not buried in all the debris.
Yeah, it does feel like we’re getting new information almost hourly.. It’s just so crazy right now =(
>Once, the damn breaks!
That’s what my driving instructor always used to say
I salute you.
“…he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries.” This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Trump has been mouthing this excuse (and similar outrageous versions and excuses) for every kind of bad behavior–“good people on both sides,” “I like heroes who aren’t captured,” “they should go back to where they came from,” etc. since the beginning. He is a puppet in a Transnational Crime Syndicate and should be removed from office ASAP. Good for WaPo and good for the reporters. Bring on the whole dirty mess. It’s about time this stuff was aired–none of it is legitimately hidden. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the vote was tampered with, and the election was stolen from Hillary. Whoever bears the responsibility for that should be punished. I think Robert Mueller, who spent a good part of his career successfully prosecuting career criminals, would agree with me .
Thanks, Rayne. I had prepared these excerpts from the “Anonymous” NYT Op-Ed of old for the prior thread on this when I saw your comment that you were about to publish.
Anon’s comments remarkably match what the whistle blower identified, and tonight’s reporting confirms, to be a chronic problem.
While the excerpts are tailored towards text as to Trump’s infirmities for office and his enablers’ unconstitutional work-arounds, plenty other of the words may apply here.
I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
(internal link removed, emphasis added)
Trump’s GOP enablers-cum-coconspirators could long ago have taken affirmative, constitutionally-appropriate actions (including impeachment). Instead they chose to risk our national security, and, indeed, our democracy itself.
Bunch of smug cowards and their NYT facilitators.
Adding: “one way or another” it’ll be “over” with a bunch of their asses in witness chairs.
GMTA, Eureka! Over the last few days, I had been wondering what had become of “Anonymous,” and whether he or she was still around. I’ll vote for idiots.
Thanks for posting that here, it belongs here. Yes, that Anonymous Op-Ed Writer is one of these enablers. They didn’t protect the republic, they perpetuated his bullshit. They’ve heightened our anxiety because we’ve never been able to trust these un-elected nameless persons to provide continuity and consistency while the tangerine mangled hellbeast ran amok.
I’m re-reading Jim Dalrymple and Jason Leopold’s BuzzFeed article published shortly after the Lavrov-Kislyak meeting.
It’s right between the lines there — amazing that it was so close to being revealed but several people in that same article must have actively covered it up even as they was working on the story. Frustrating as hell because I’ll bet they could almost taste the story but couldn’t nail it down because of the conspiracy in front of them.
Wow, this was a great re-read: everything new is old again, and the old is so clear.
And WTF meds must they have him on now, given the scenes from our White House depicted therein.
By “tonight’s reporting” I also mean this one:
White House restricted access to Trump’s calls with Putin and Saudi crown prince
They don’t know where the call info was sequestered, i.e. don’t know if it was put in the same SCIF as Zelensky call.
But possibly more important to the natsec issues IDed by Marcy’s recent post, I recalled from earlier today that:
MSNBC: “Bloomberg: Russia hopes the US doesn’t release transcripts of President Trump’s conversations with Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. [link]”
So are we getting the leaks about the RU & KSA calls because Putin has come-a-trollin?
“Three hours ago” (so ~11pm) and updated at 1238am today, NYT — with ample pro-Trump source content– followed up on CNN story to confirm these calls went to the SCIF:
White House Classified Computer System Is Used to Hold Transcripts of Sensitive Calls
internal links removed
Two additional points from CNN:
2nd point perhaps more important; thought it noteworthy that they said Bolton’s name.
The second point should be incorrect: the data and those who have access to it should have corresponding levels of classification and clearance.
If correct, it is an admission that the codeword classification was wrong. It was intentionally misused to allow Trump staff to hide information and to disseminate it only to insiders loyal to Trump personally.
What it means is people were allowed to access that system who had no real clearance to do so.
Need-to-know access is necessarily prone to interpretation. The gatekeepers have sets of rules but, just like at the WH gate, they can snap to order when a big-wig pays a visit.
classification isn’t supposed to work that way.
Let’s separate the DCIF (a facility) from the information storage (physical or digital).
Access to a SCIF does not require TS/SCI clearance, though whoever is managing the SCIF needs to exercise controls over what the visitor sees and can access. You need to log in and out of a SCIF, and those access records must be maintained for at least two years (five years if there is an investigation for some reason). Conceivably, SCIF access records from August 2017 or earlier have now been deleted…I’m sure that the Trump enablers are running the clock a month at a time.
All of the phone records may or may not be marked (and logged) as TS/SCI — the “transcript” that I’ve seen online was originally paragraph marked “(S/NF)” — SECRET/NO FOREIGN. Storing that level of information on a TS/SCI system or in a container in a SCIF is not good practice, but exactly what you would expect from the Trump enablers.
To me, there is some urgency for obtaining the access records for the SCIF, and for any means used to hold the information — physical or digital. The DNI IG, based on the contents of the WB document, *should* already be on top of this, and the House Committee also.
If you want to run your own SCIF, I highly recommend the following — It is more than just brick, mortar, and wiring:
“SCIF” not “DCIF” in the first sentence. And I should have written “ICIG”, not “DNI IG”.
Some places where they handle classified material have literal vault doors. (Friend worked in one as a contract computer expert – he said it was kind of weird working in a place where all the emergency exits said “Mosler”.)
It’s not a SCIF. It’s SCI in a specialized computer system dedicated to SCI handling — at least that’s the gist I get from the whistleblower’s declassified remarks in the once-classified annex to their complaint:
And from NYT’s report (can’t believe I’m relying on them, ugh):
Transcripts from telephone conversations may/may not be classified, but they are being pulled from normal handling and stored in a computer reserved for material with highest classification.
Who has access? How do they access? Do DNI rules and regs require non-disclosure of the the SCI system?
My guess at this point is that we’re up against the first two Fight Club rules: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. And these two rules have been enforced by DNI rules+regs, Trump’s non-disclosure agreements, and fear of setting off a Trump rage fest.
Jim, if you read this, I’m more convinced the metaphysical question isn’t how to reverse the arrow of time and preserve the Second Law of Thermodynamics with retroactive classification, but the dead/alive transcript-cat in Schoedinger’s plausibly deniable SCI. Is it classified/not classified? It’s both classified/not classified until you open the classified box.
I’d just finished Jim’s post and comments and was about to ask a question of your convos as to the CNN snippet:
I’m trying to understand how your technical admin convo relates to person-access and this quoted snippet (and potential Trump admin witnesses).
Is the snippet just supposed to be admin- apologia (“Oh no, not a problem, people could get to the info”) or pointing to some ad hoc secret cadre(s) (maybe differentially composed depending on the doc) who could get in. Or both.
Like Jared could consult the MBS
spankcall bank but appropriate State Dept. officials could not — or didn’t even know about it (hypothetically, of course). Yet they say special clearance “not necessarily needed”…
I’ve crossed my brain transferring questions from one page to another and back again and I can’t go back lol so do with it what you can. You were hungry for some scrambled eggs, right?
Also, FWIW, I had also used the “SCIF” acronym not realizing that a server or computer (system) didn’t count as a “facility.”
Adding: I’ll link this over there where I had intended to put the original Q.
And I don’t know if the preceding paragraph* where they say John Bolton’s name is a non sequitur or a primer.
*quoted upthread at: https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/09/27/hidden-trump-admitted-2016-russian-interference/#comment-807583
My theory is that only people who knew the transcripts were in the SCI system could ask for them, and the number of people who knew were very small (your ad hoc secret cadre). This knowledge was itself the passcode though I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a list of approved persons provided to the system administrator so that only those who knew would actually have access to transcripts pulled on demand.
Pompeo may have known having been CIA director and then Secretary of State. This is a question he should be asked. Now you can see why Pompeo went to State — he was already inside the tent, would require no additional person to be added to the cadre. I wonder if current CIA director Haspel knows about this ‘partition’ or ‘file’ in the SCI system; was she selected because she’s already got a lot of background in ‘managing’ iffy material, like destroying torture videotapes?
I envision a well-camouflaged treehouse, access to which is only granted by a rope ladder tossed to the person who knows the treehouse is there. Really not eager to see Pompeo climbing the ladder let alone Jared of the Uncanny Valley.
Thanks– that’s what I was looking for, your impressions of how the scales intersect. I like your treehouse metaphor.
Given e.g. Jared’s legendary insecure practices (WhatsApping etc.), I wondered hypothetically if any of them might have even just snapped pix of screens or docs as needed, too, diluting any access trails. I guess it depends on who is really running the infosec chop-shop over there and who wants in and for what.
Chilling point about Haspel; agree the Pompeo move makes sense– they’ve towed him around the admin to wherever he could make the most difference in the continuous ratfuck-coverup process.
Pompeo’s State Dept. is so deep in this, a whole post could be dedicated to the “irregularities” (I’ve forgotten more examples than I recall by now).
Yes. It is a metaphysical conundrum. The convos themselves may not be classified (and certainly wouldn’t properly be), but one would need the highest code-level of classification to look into the box where they have been placed.
Which brings us to hearsay. The whistleblower can tell us there’s a box but they can’t tell us everything about the process of putting content in and getting it out of the box.
Correct. It’s the SCI information that is stored somewhere. However, reporting in the media and comments here have talked to the “SCIF” as if it was the container for the transcripts and other material.
Within a SCIF there can be several information systems, including stand-alone, which is what the system in question sounds like. Some of these may have removable bootable storage that is locked up in a security container when the machine is not being used.
The main networked system for TS is JWICS (Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System). I’ve never seen a JWICS terminal located outside a SCIF. The other common networks are SIPRNet (up to SECRET) and NIPRNet (UNCLAS and FOUO).
Managers/custodians of facilities and storage are notorious (at least the good ones are) for not tolerating excess holdings. The more there are, the greater likelihood that something might go missing. I can imagine how ticked off they might be if some political hack wanted to store political information that was unclassified or classified below TS in the SCIF containers or systems.
The reason the SCIF access logs could be important is that they would confirm the presence of politicals in the SCIF at particular dates. Access to security containers would also be logged — sometimes down to the document level. Containers within the SCIF may have TPI (two person integrity) requirements. Logons to JWICS, SIPRNet, and stand-alones would also be recorded.
One of the WaPo sources said that the restrictions were on a need-to-know basis; perhaps we the people should file a class action lawsuit as needing to know.
Ugh of course he did. I’m not convinced he and kush are clear on at least foreknowledge of Khashoggi. This stuff doesn’t come out if focus is only on Ukraine call.
I’m worried that focusing on “only Ukraine call” and getting articles sent to Senate as fast as possible will not only miss stuff like this, but make others in WH thinking of flipping or leaving the sense that they can wait it out. It’s all connected as Marcy and others have paid out this whole admin.
Again usual decrying of Dems fumbling and lack of bareknuckle unified messaging and actions.
People know where D’s stand on healthcare (useful). They were elected as a check on Trump and his corruption, and now that they have something they are fumbling it. Forget the imaginary 0.0005% “independent” Trump voter they are worried about upsetting, and work on getting more PoC elected and combat voter suppression instead if they are worried about winning.
Dude. The very first bill the House Dems worked on addressed voting — literally House Resolution 1. It passed the House on March 8th. Since then it’s been sitting on Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s desk.
Quit whining about the Dems, especially since you aren’t distinguishing between the House Dems or Senate or state governors or legislators, or the party as a whole or the DNC. What the hell are you doing about voting rights in your own state since the states administer voting? Have you done anything to help your fellow citizens who aren’t registered? And what are you doing to take back the Senate so that bills like HR-1 get passed in both chambers instead of collecting dust on Moscow Mitch’s credenza?
Drops mic. Blows kiss to the peanut gallery. Leaves stage to prep for second act.
Disclaimer: speculation on my part based on an undoubtedly somewhat muddled understanding of what’s going on, BUT–if GOP forces Trump to resign for the good of the party and its oligarch infrastructure, by say Christmas, what happens to the ‘official’ impeachment hearing? There’d be immense pressure to fold it, wouldn’t there? I’d almost rather its scope be limited, in that event, so that all the other (too many to count) crimes of this admin. can be exhaustively examined, over the next few years if need be, without a whiff of ‘we did that already, let’s move on.’ Once Trump is gone, there need to be exposure and hearings on the funding, leadership, dark money, and foreign alliances of the criminal enterprise known as the Republican Party–ongoing, exhaustive, take-no-prisoners hearings. I hope Dem leadership gets that.
All these contingencies should be well mapped out and responses prepared. I’m hoping and guessing that the Democratic House leadership is aware of the possibilities.
Still, not everything can be anticipated. Quarterback sneak…
In Nixon’s case, the House Judiciary Committee published a “final report” laying out everything (including testimony). It was released to the public and even had a mass-market paperback edition of several hundred pages.
Do you actually think that Trump would respond to a ‘good of the party’ appeal?
Trump seems to care nothing for the good of the World or the US. Trump IS the GOP in his mind. The other Repubs are just chess pieces that he moves around or sacrifices to achieve his goals, not that Trump is good at chess… I would not be surprised if Trump destroys the GOP in order to win reelection in 2020.
“Who knew about these material, when they learned about it, and why they didn’t come forward sooner will be a subject of the impeachment inquiry.”
Do we know this will be a subject? I’m very concerned about trial balloons being floated for a vote before Thanksgiving. That’s very little time, and anything that touches on looking at classified material makes me think there will be a lengthy court battle to get people to talk.
The fact that this is about Russia, and the trial balloons are also talking about a Ukraine-only impeachment, makes me wonder about scope.
I think the logical thing for Pelosi to do is to give up on the fast track, Ukraine focused impeachment idea. I’m not sure she’ll bow to logic, though. I wonder whether we’re going to see a rush to impeachment driven by an artificial deadline that ends up leaving a huge swath of issues uninvestigated.
Trump has already also involved China, so it won’t be just about the Ukraine.
At this point, that server, which has to contain of the most tightly-held secrets we have, is compromised by a President who either can’t or won’t stop divulging secrets to foreign powers. I honestly don’t know how you can have a “clean team” or a Judicial Master review something like that, but someone’s going to have to figure out a way to do it.
I have no doubt there are all kinds of deeper connections between Ukraine and elsewhere.
But does Pelosi care? If she commits full steam ahead to an impeachment vote in 6-7 weeks, that means an investigation is shuttered in about 4-5. How far can the House get in that time?
I hope that events reveal even more dirt. But my fear is that Pelosi’s response will be to just use that to argue there is enough out there already, get the vote over with. If Trump stonewalls and forces issues into the courts, Pelosi will likewise argue that we need to get the vote over with.
Everything, no matter what, will be a drive to get the vote over with, becoming its own imperative beyond any logic or tie to reality.
They can’t get anywhere in that time. They won’t even get the lawsuits filed on the continued obstruction by then. It is a joke.
And I know I am a broken record on this, but they still haven’t even voted on a formal inquiry resolution yet so as to bulletproof their legal arguments to courts.
Trump’s attempt to govern through proclamation seems to be contagious.
The House leadership is keenly aware of rules and process. If it is not holding a vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, it does not mean they don’t need one. It suggests they’re still hedging their bets, and appeasing the right (it’s never the left) for reasons that remain a mystery.
Pelosi is still very much personally against it, and it shows, despite her little speech.
I started to form an answer to your talk of mystery, but I remembered that you actually have no end of good reasons why.
It is really kind of amazing/stunning/maddening….whatever. There have been some of us screaming about this from before the Mueller Report dropped. The theory isn’t hard. The House Dems just keep getting it wrong.
There’s a Barbara Tuchman quality to it, to be sure.
It’s starting to fell like the summer of 1974, to me. There are shoes being held up, waiting.
This series of remarks remind me of the song:
“All the federales say, ‘Could a had him any day’.
And they let him slip away,
out of kindness, I suppose”.
The Ukraine stuff *is* about Russia and 2016, though– the 2020 elements are merely throughline (albeit complicated by Trump’s now being responsible for US foreign policy, with a history independent of, and in conflict with, his needs). Their whole plan has been to frame Ukraine for 2016, and those elements lurk in the whistle-blower report and Zelensky call memo. In fact– and I’d bet Marcy has better to say on this, obviously– it’s possible they were even planning to use the CIA tools stolen by Joshua Schulte and given to WikiLeaks to help with all that.
That’s partly why I am less alarmed, though still concerned, obviously, about scope: it seems Russia has to come in at least here and there, beyond Trump’s recapitulating a reliance on foreign assistance; I worry more about emoluments and gross abuses of power being dropped off.
My surmise is that the Dems can– and some seem to plan to– link back into RU and other offenses via the fresh Ukraine story hook (cf. Maxine Waters’ recent press appearances).
The WaPo reveal only helps. Trump tells his handlers he doesn’t mind their interference, but is too junior in the ranks to demand more…so he has to reply on implicature (that statement and the rest of the conversation as we know it, though parts are bolder), but this time *as a submissive*, not as the mob boss to folks like Michael Cohen. And this time he has to run as an incumbent with the responsibility but not the acumen to somehow juggle US diplomacy with Ukraine (and RU) with his needs from and debts to different RU-Ukraine factions.
I am struck by how Trump’s Lavrov-Kislyak meeting loosely mirrors the Zelensky call, with Trump then in the submissive but potentially powerful position to deliver (in that case, RU demands) that Zelensky was in during the July 25th call.
If they frame Ukraine for 2016, Trump could be “justifiably” draconian to them policy- wise and please Putin at the same time.
Don’t you think that Trump’s comments about not caring that Russia interfered with our election pretty much burns the alternate conspiracy angle?
“he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries”
There isn’t even an “if” available to him if the statement is accurate.
If the statement can be corroborated or even better proven, it shows from day one Trump knew damn well this was Russia’s play and it seems that it would be a huge hit to his deep state conspiracy defense.
This should be a source of outrage for those who defended them.
Of course I’m saying “should” as in the real world
Yes, that was my initial impression as to it showing Trump’s theory of mind. But like you say, there may be room for rats to squeeze through. Heck they’ll chew through it and those who want to ride the conspiracy attraction will eat the reflux.
Eureka, I agree, and would add that the Russia plot line goes even further. The fired prosecutor was pro-Russian, a Russian agent, who got into power as a result of Manafort’s actions.
Trump was trying to push Russia’s interests by discrediting people on the side of the good guys, or at least forcing them to do Russia’s bidding in exchange for military aid. The whole scheme was part of the anti-EU and pro-Russia element of the administration.
Trump wanted Russia’s help in 2016.Now for 2020 he wants the help of anti-Russia Ukraine.He is willing to trade military aid, including anti-tank missiles useful against Russian tanks for dirt on Joe Biden.If I were Trumps handler, Putin, I don’t know if I would be so happy with this plan.I might remind him which side of his bread was buttered and send him a bit of a warning.I might release a bit of compromising information.
I don’t think you see the squeeze play at work here. The Russians are ‘bad cop’, pummeling the crap out of the east side of Ukraine, while ‘good cop’ Trump offers a weapons-based quid pro quo. Ukraine’s Zelensky, who campaigned on anti-corruption, is stuck in the middle, may be forced into a compromise to get weapons to fight back Russia while his image becomes as battered as the eastern front.
If Zelensky caves in and gets Trump his made-up dirt in exchange for lethal aid, AND Trump wins re-election by using the dirt, Russia gets to keep their useful tool in the White House AND they gained more ground in eastern Ukraine at the same time.
That’s the game. Ask yourself what happened to the Javelin missiles we gave Zelensky’s corrupt predecesor, Petro Poroshenko. Fat lot of good those did at stopping Russia’s aggression.
Why do I think a lot of them ended up with the Russians? /s
BobCon expressed my concerns more succinctly. @Rayne I am complaining about house/Senate official leadership and dnc specifically those left over from previous political cycles. I dont know what I can do other than give money.
Do you ever attend public hearings on redistricting in your state? Have you researched how the vote is administered in your state? Have you asked your state legislators what they are doing to ensure redistricting will be nonpartisan and fair after the 2020 census, or what they are doing to assure voting rights via state legislation? I’m sure there’s much more you could do if you tried.
Even joining Indivisible or Swing Left group meetups to see what’s been done is better than the broad brush whining at all Dems. It’s a more effective use of your energy.
Let’s not forget that Bill Barr is racing against the clock to slap together the deep state conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon, Sean Hannity, Judge Jeanine, Lindsey Graham and Aaron Mate. Right now he is in Italy, presumably personally tracking down Joseph Mifsud.
Yes, the most feared person in this investigation is Bill Barr
Bill successfully landed the Mueller plane by misrepresenting the facts.
Will he be successful in navigating Trump Airways crash landing?
I must admit his Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) should be renamed the Office of Bogus Counsel (OBC)
On that note…anyone savvy with wiki might want to check William and Donald Barr’s wiki’s. They have been updated/edited in the last week and 24 hours.
A lot of activity, mostly in August for Donald, in August and September for William.
Someone should add direct links for both Barr profiles to Jeffrey Epstein. You have to know he is part of this whole deal.
Someone was helping to “land the planes” in Scotland too.
Now that we know so much more I wish I had taken notes on every comment or situation that made me itchy and check them off against the incredibly busy timeline of events.
Trains, Planes, and AutomobilesGolf, Planes, and “the best” Homes (from the 26th IIRC):
Cathleen Decker: “Trump’s company, seeking to revive a money-losing golf course in Scotland, gets approval to build 550 homes there, from @partlowj [link]”
I haven’t figured out yet how that went down when the entire voting population was against that development. Was somebody on the development commission bribed, I wonder?
I bet yes. (It’s how California keeps getting more subdivisions in areas that are right up against wild land that will burn, or next to rivers that flood.)
the latest is in an area of San Diego county that burned in 2003 – there’s one road out, and some of the people there said it was very bad then. Now there’s a developer who’s gotten a permit to add 700 homes in the area, with still just the one road in and out. The current residents, the ones who were evacuated in 2003, are Not Happy At All, and they say that people are going to die because of the added load.
WaPo on May 23: “Barr has tapped John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, to investigate the origins of the Russia probe. Separately, the Justice Department inspector general is examining the handling of various aspects of the case. Barr has said the inspector general’s work is expected to be completed in May or June.”
Barr’s sitting on a pile of disinformation, but he has to be conflicted. Now that the whistle-blower has shone the light on parts of the disinformation-producing operation, releasing to create a counter-narrative it also has the potential to implicate him.
So if WH lawyers have been squirreling away Trump’s dirty diapers in this secret diaper bin since pretty near the beginning, isn’t there a pretty good chance that Don McGahn knows about/participated in some of that squirreling away.
If part of what was in there is Trump’s conversation with Russians in his office basically giving them a pass on election interference, isn’t there a good bet something he and Mueller talked about MIGHT have been covered by that knowledge and yet not divulged by McGahn?
I have no doubt that McGahn was involved in the discussions, maybe Cohen too, which is why the Palace doesn’t want McGahn in front of a committee. Probably Parscale would learn of it for his coordination purposes next year and he was the point person for electronic work in 2016 and likely coordinated things then. Yet, he is someone who seems to be curiously un-interviewed by investigators. I don’t think Ghouliani was since he would have blabbed out something by now in a Freudian slip.
Pompeo sold out his oath like Flynn did. Like Powell and Petraeus did at a lower level and this is something the ambitious military types will do if the opportunity (or flag rank) beckons, dating all the way back to Benedict Arnold.
So much for “The Russia Hoax”! I’m expecting headlines with the general message “President Confirms Accuracy of Mueller Report”, “Trump Admits to Getting Election Help from Russia”, “President Now Confirms Russia Hoax Was No Hoax”, etc. The last several years of Fox News reporting just went down the tubes.
The New York Times will get right on that!
As youve probably noticed, they havent made a single peep about the Lavrov meeting permission slip delivered by Trump that leaked out in the WP article last night after 8p. No wonder those dudes were bellyaching. Must have been looking at each other like, wow, we’ve landed the moby dick of compromise.
I can’t wait for Cohen’s, Will’s, MoDo’s, Friedman Unit’s, Maggie H’s and Cillizza’s columns on these bombshells, will they pull the sheets over their head or will they do the “nothing to see there” two-step?
Will David Brooks spare time from his vast spaces for entertaining mansions to opine all is well?
Pretzel logic on steroids will be on display here and could be useful for future writer’s block breakthroughs.
Acknowledging the fact of Russian interference is an important admission, to be sure, but it is not the same as admitting that the campaign solicited or welcomed Russian interference. Mind, I think they did! But all this new quote reveals is that Trumpelstiltskin was being deceptive when he kept claiming in public that such interference never took place. And one more lie don’t much change the length of the sequoia tree that is his (mixed-metaphorical) nose. It does all start to sound like an especially grim fairy tale for grown-ups: the shadow of That Hideous Strength looming over all so that language itself becomes mere babble.
Sorry if that went off the rails. My main hope at present is that the House does NOT limit its articles of impeachment to a single count or a single incident, but instead rolls out a long litany of evils that can be prosecuted one by one, dragging the many crimes into the light and forcing the compromised Senators to cast vote after vote rejecting facts, truth, and the American Way until they can vote no more – with maybe just a few cases reaching the threshold of persuading the all-too-few honest Republicans left in the room to cast votes the other way.
Perhaps it’s not just one person driving these disclosures. Perhaps there are more patriots.
Hey, lookee here, the second John Solomon leaves The Hill, they run a decent op-ed.
The Red Coats have come.
Barr is in Italy digging up more dirt to muddy up the muddy waters.
Our once illustrious Governor, the Mittser is “troubled”
Very troubled, so troubled that …. fil in the blank
amazing from “the hill”, that piece of pandering corporate pulp directly responsible for running multiple stories leading to the firing of ambassador yuvanovitch.
but this is good stuff:
“…In every major scandal I investigated in my career, there was always a common phenomenon: Whenever the scandals broke, all the good guys in government with knowledge of the issue came out of the woodwork, and we found each other. We formed an investigative network to assist each other and root out the corruption. That happened in the defense scandals of the 1980s, the Iran-Contra scandal, the John Tower investigation, the FBI scandals under Louis Freeh — like Waco and Ruby Ridge — the FBI crime lab scandal of the late 1990s, and many others…”
this is true. don’t fuck with an institution like state or other members of the intelligence community. incredibly, this apparently can even be said of the white house staff. with their informal networks and long term insider knowledge, if you get some ones of these institution’s members united against you for your misconduct just take last rites.
Trump was “unconcerned.” Uh huh. That’s not a Trump word, it’s a WaPo word. It doesn’t convey Trump’s demeanor or behavior, merely what WaPo editors wish it were.
The MSM may think it unseemly – but so is the president – but they have to discard their style manuals and report what Trump actually says and how he says it.
Regarding NDAs used by Trump to silence public employees performing their official duties, to keep secret what they may learn about his conduct of the people’s business, they are almost certainly unenforceable.
Rules existed before Trump entered office to protect legitimate government secrets. Trump demanding and using NDAs should be added to the list of his abuses of office. Congress needs to make that explicit in clarifying legislation, and that that was true as of the time Trump became a public employee.
Substitute “Disinterested” with “I don’t give a S**t, F*cking do it…the US does it too.”
I wonder what thoughts went through Robert Mueller’s mind as he read this WaPo article over his morning coffee.
“So this is what they were trying to hide.”
About Trump and/or his staff’s abuse of high security servers to hide his embarrassing or criminal acts, I’ll leave it to Adam Serwer: https://twitter.com/AdamSerwer
Wouldn’t it be good for all of us if the ICIG would investigate the President’s secret server? That server does involve, as the OLC opinion puts it, the funding, administration, and operation of an intelligence activity. It is exactly the sort of thing the ICIG should take an interest in.
Am I wrong?
I’m a poet (long time reader, first time poster), so the headline “Trump’s Secret Server” would ring like justice to me.
Rayne, [you may see this already, but] I just added something to our Weintraub/FEC discussion:
Silly for the Washington Post to pretend our foreign election interference has been limited to Voice of America broadcasts.
It’s *always* been the Volume I issues – right from the start. Focus on obstruction and coverups have been distractions and the recipe for lazy acceptance.
The obstructions and coverups are to keep the Russia stuff from being investigated thoroughly – they’re a cover-up for it. But they’re still impeachable crimes.
This morning I learned that Trump’s new moniker for Democrats is “Savages.” So, I decided to take that as a nod to provide this new rendition of an old favorite:
Putineers Хейтить [heitit’]
(Let’s give a shout out to the Moscow Mitch Club and to all the Putineers:
Don, Bill, Rudy, Mitch, Matt, Jim, Devin, Doug, Mark, Lindsey, John, Steve, Sean, Stephen, Tucker, Jarrod, and all the others, near and far.)
Who’s the leader of the club
That’s made for you and me
Hey there, hi there, ho there
You’re as welcome as can be
Moscow Mitch, (Donald Trump)
Moscow Mitch, (Donald Trump)
Forever let us hold our ban it high
Хейтить [heitit’], Хейтить [heitit’]
Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree
I’m old enough to have learn that song watching it as a kid. (Not sure that one line scans.)
The one that translates to hate? Or the one that says ban it? Or the one that says Moscow Mitch? Keep in mind, this is a new rendition.
The one that translates as hate. The others are all excellent. (That line is four beats, all equally accented, in the original.)
I have shown 4 symbolic representations, each intended to have a double beat, to compensate for that. So, instead of 4 quarter notes, it would be 8 eighth notes. In the end, they would be equivalent.
Excellent! It works beautifully. I called my father and sang it too him. We both had a good laugh. Thank you.
Oops, grammar patrol. That is “to” him not too him. Ha.
I think my brain is running solely on fumes now. But at least I’m still fuming ;-) I think I might have misspelled Deutsche on a previous post. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter any more. Sometimes, we just gotta let go…
Thanks – it’s not clear from reading.
This is one of my favorites of your lyrical (& poetic) stylings, SL.
Curse you SL!
I’m old enough to have seen that (first person, not second hand) on a B&W TV, so it is a short leap to a bona fide ear worm.
It always earworms me.
Something to consider. Mike Pompeo graduated first in his class from West Point. He served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. He graduated from Harvard Law School and was an editor of its Law Review. He worked at a white shoe law firm, served in Congress and as Director of the CIA. He is now the Secretary of State, which traditionally makes him, along with the SecDef, one of the most important members of the Cabinet.
But like the similarly well-educated and experienced Attorney General, William Barr, he has gone all in for Trump (as he has been all in for the Koch Machine since law school). He appears to be aiding and abetting all he does, without restraint. That appears true of GOP Senators and Representatives.
What is wrong with American elites and is it fixable?
With Pompey, it’s all about personal gain and/or pushing for the second coming of Jesus. His Rapture beliefs require a world war to usher in the Millennium.
Great question. I think the American elites were led astray by Milton Friedman and the Chicago School and the influence of Ayn Rand acolytes.
With highly intelligent people, the only way for them to set aside their intellect is with religious-like faith.. When you examine the right wing of politics, what is seen is a continued faith in their ideology.
Mike Pompeo, The Secretary of Trump https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/08/26/mike-pompeo-the-secretary-of-trump
No matter what Trump has said or done, Pompeo has stood by him. As a former senior White House official told me, “There will never be any daylight publicly between him and Trump.” The former official said that, in private, too, Pompeo is “among the most sycophantic and obsequious people around Trump.” Even more bluntly, a former American ambassador told me, “He’s like a heat-seeking missile for Trump’s ass.”
LOL (the ending)
T. Ulrich Brechbuhl has a history with Pompeo, he was on the call, mentioned in the wb complaint and has also been subpoenaed.
“T. Ulrich Brechbuhl is the current Counselor of the United States Department of State, holding the position since May 1, 2018. He replaced Maliz E. Beams. He was appointed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He serves under President Donald J. Trump.
He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986. He was a classmate of Pompeo’s at West Point, and helped Pompeo found Thayer Aerospace.
Brechbuhl is identified in a 2019 whistleblower complaint as someone who listened in on President Donald Trump’s July 25, 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This was not standard protocol, as “a former White House official said it was extremely unusual for a State Department official to be on what was supposed to be a standard congratulatory call from the president to another world leader”.
T. Urlich’s job description.
‘The Counselor of the United States Department of State is a position within the United States Department of State that serves the Secretary of State as a special advisor and consultant on major problems of foreign policy and who provides guidance to the appropriate bureaus with respect to such matters. The Counselor conducts special international negotiations and consultations, and also undertakes special assignments from time to time, as directed by the Secretary. Currently, the Counselor holds under law a rank equivalent to that of Under Secretary of State. Unlike the other Under Secretaries of State, the Counselor currently does not require Senate confirmation.”
I think the NDAs should be also included in the investigations – most likely as obstruction.
Sorry, Accidentally fatfingered my username above. Apologies.
During a Q&A session at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival, in regards to an impeachment trial, former Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he “heard someone say if there was a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes. That’s not true. There would be at least 35.”
Useful information if a secret vote were possible. Politicians always play to the crowd.
Sarah Kendzior said this on twitter, 23 Feb 2018 – Yep!
“Trump doesn’t want to get caught and be punished, but he delights in being caught and going unpunished.”
Saw this last night on Democracy Now. Interesting.
James Risen: Whistleblower Complaint Shows “Trump Is a Habitual Criminal” Abusing His Office
James Risen: I Wrote About the Bidens and Ukraine in 2015. The Right-Wing Media Twisted My Reporting
Saw this on Marcy’s twitter.
Collusion After the Fact
Mueller’s report incomplete?
Who paid for Rudy’s jaunts, and who is footing Barr’s Roman Holiday?
Also, too, why hasn’t Mick Mulvaney’s name been mentioned in all this talk of withholding defense $$$$. The WaPo stated that Trump told Mulvaney to “hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before” the call.
Did he ever repeat the lie Trump told administration officials to tell lawmakers if asked? “Administration officials were instructed to tell lawmakers that the delays were part of an “interagency process” but to give them no additional information…”
Beginning to think it’s these hidden reports of the Kislyak-Lavrov convo ( and I’m willing to bet there’s even more than just this), that got McCabe to convince RR to appoint Mueller and start a CI investigation into Trump.
Trump must have really thought he was in the clear.
Whatever became of the counter-intelligence findings of the FBI people embedded in Mueller’s operation? Will they ever see the light of day?
One other random thought…
Almost 2 weeks ago things were looking mighty f—ing grim with that Yahoo report basically detailing all the ways the Russians had pwned our counterintel services, especially the FBI. I almost thought it was like the IC waving the white flag and letting the assets know they’re on their own.
Then Asha Ragnappa posts some depressing tweet about “democracy was fun” this past Monday, and I’m really freaking out.
And then, Tuesday happens, and it’s been a roller coaster ever since. What changed? Was this a hail Mary that actually seems to be working? Or was this an FBI sting, playing possum to try to embolden the foreign actors to become sloppy and catch them contacting their US conspirators?
Maybe a little of both?
If it’s more the latter, then there are a whole more shoes that are gonna drop before this is over.
First things first…. Get Barr
Rudy Giuliani was on Face the Nation this morning acting as if he hasn’t heard about Sept. 27th Washington Post story. He referred to “the Russia collusion hoax” and Margaret Brennan let the comment pass, though she did try to confront him on his other nonsense. Lindsey Graham made an appearance as well and used the same interview tactic as Rudy: just keep talking and don’t let the interviewer get a word in.
Yes, it is the Blah, Blah, Blah tactic for the administration and friends. Perhaps they took lessons from Kellyanne. She is the queen of blah, blah, blah.
Remember her response about violating the Hatch Act:
Jim Jordan tried the same technique with Jake Tapper on CNN yesterday (Sunday) but didn’t come off so well. The more rapid fire your delivery, the more you sound like a snake oil salesman. Plus, Jordan’s phobia about wearing a suit coat or sports jacket was on display as well. Maybe you can get away with that in the halls of Congress if you want to convey the impression of a hardworking, overheated, sweaty palmed man of the people, but in a TV studio setting it’s like showing up in your pyjamas. Jordan’s body language was interesting, too. He sat hunched over as if wilting under the barrage of Tapper’s pointed questioning.