Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Monday, January 14, 2019

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU READ THAT THE FBI OPENED AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER THE U.S. PRESIDENT WAS WORKING ON BEHALF OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT?

How about never. As in, I have never read anything close to this, except in possibly a John LeCarre spy novel, and yet here we are talking about the fact that the FBI suspected for good reason that a sitting U.S. president was working on behalf of a country hostile to the United States, Russia. 

Meanwhile, according to one of my commenters, the right wing bloggers are talking about a fake claim that Senator Elizabeth Warrn had a racist piece of pottery on her kitchen shelf. 

I'm not making that up. 

That is the equivalent of shoving their fingers in their ears and shouting "LA, LA, LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" Because they'd rather talk about lies and fake videos than what was reported last night.



From the Daily Kos:


 "Move over Tea Pot Dome scandal and move over Watergate, there’s a newer, bigger, more dangerous political scandal coming to light—the FBI initiated an investigation into whether Donald Trump, President of the United States, is working on behalf of the Russian government, against American interests. 

Repeat: the FBI opened a counterintelligence operation because they had reason to believe the president was not acting in the interested of the United States. If true, it amounts to nothing short of treason. 

To gauge just how big this scandal truly is, let’s look at reactions from legal experts, former U.S. Intelligence officers and journalists. First up, Frank Figliuzzi, former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He’s somebody who understands precisely what it would take for the FBI to take the drastic step of opening a criminal investigation into the sitting President of the United States. 

Figliuzzi says the FBI would never open such an investigation based purely on Trump’s behavior, that they would have other hard evidence, such as damning audio intercepts." 

 'The FBI is privy to all kinds of intel ... if you’re going to open a case on the POTUS, you're going to have more than just unstable behavior … you're going to have something that gives you at least a reasonable suspicion if not specific and articulable facts.' 

 "Take a listen to Figliuzzi, who made clear that in his 25 years with the FBI, specifically working on counterintelligence, there is much more to this story than the public knows now."

More:


Evan McMullin, former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer, had this to say. 




Former FBI Director James Comey, who’s dismissal was part of the reason for the investigation, had something a little more subtle to say.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti made an urgent plea to Republicans to act accordingly. This is bigger than holding power. This is about the fabric of the nation.

Can any elected official explain *why* the American people should not be alarmed that the FBI thought Donald Trump might be acting to advance Russia’s interests over our own?

Republicans, you are Americans first.
Your country needs you.







Legal expert Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare has pulled together several critical pieces, revealing new information about Congressional testimony related to these cases and revisiting older testimony from Comey and others. In short, Wittes now believes that the Department of Justice’s investigation into whether Donald Trump obstructed justice isn’t so much a stand alone case, but rather an offshoot of the existing investigation into collusion. That Trump’s actions in 2017 were not simply obstruction, but rather part of the collusion itself. This is a brief summary of Wittes’ conclusion, but do yourself a favor and read the extensive post itself. 
Would not a sequence of overt interferences in the investigation by Trump himself, culminating in the decapitation of the investigation’s leadership and boasted about both on national television and—later—in an Oval Office meeting to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and flagged in a draft letter to Comey as specifically connected to the Russia probe, raise all kinds of red flags within the parameters of the existing investigation the FBI was already conducting? This was, after all, one heck of “link” between an “individual[] associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government”!
The reporting Schmidt shared with me about Baker’s testimony suggests rather strongly that the FBI did not think of the Comey firing simply as a possible obstruction of justice. Officials thought of it, rather, in the context of the underlying counterintelligence purpose of the Russia investigation. At one point, Baker was asked whether firing Director Comey added to the threat to national security the FBI was confronting.
“Yes,” Baker responds.
In short, the FBI was doing their job, investigating Russian operations against the United States of America, something they have been tasked with for decades, and during the course of that investigation, people connected to Donald Trump began appearing on the radar. And then Donald Trump’s own actions and words bolstered the case and the urgency of the agency to get to the bottom of it, for the sake of our national security. 
This isn’t a big political scandal, it may turn out to be the biggest political scandal in the history of this country—a fact made clear by Natasha Bertrand, national security expert and politics writer for The Atlantic.

Stepping back for a minute: If no other reporting existed on Trump/Russia, the fact that the FBI started a CI investigation to determine whether or not the sitting president of the US was either comprised by or an agent of Russia, it would be the biggest political story...ever.





Trump's reaction to this hydrogen bombshell of a report?

He tweeted that James Comey is "a total sleaze."


MORE HERE IN THIS POLITICO REPORT.

22 comments:

Shaw Kenawe said...

Charlie Pierce, Esquire:

"There Is a Bombshell of a Word in the New York Times Report on the Trump FBI Investigation
This is the most astounding evidence of Oval Office criminality since the release of the "smoking gun" tape in 1974.

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE
JAN 12, 2019
imageGetty Images
Deep in The New York Times's latest bombshell is one singularly deadly word, a lethal bit of shrapnel aimed directly at the vitals of a criminal—and possibly treasonous—presidency. The word is tucked into a sentence that, at first glance, seems to be a perfectly anodyne statement of the current facts. Indeed, it's tucked into a sentence that would be an unremarkable bit of knee-jerk newspaper balance if this explosive charge of a word weren't placed right the in the middle of it. That word is "publicly," as in:

No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.
Notice where that sentence, which functions as the casing for the bomb, is placed in the story. It is placed after the following paragraphs:

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.
The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.
Each of those paragraphs, taken by itself, would be a gobsmacker. Taken together, they are the most astounding evidence of Oval Office criminality since the release of the "smoking gun" tape in 1974. The counterintelligence apparatus of the FBI looked at the conduct of the president* of the United States and determined it appropriate to look into the possibility that he was being run by a foreign power. They thought there was enough there to wonder if the president* was a threat to the security of the nation.

And then, there's that word, "publicly."

This is not a word chosen idly, not in a piece as judiciously written as this one. Clearly, the Times printed pretty much all it was given by its sources, but the implication of that "publicly" is that investigators likely know far more than what appeared in the newspaper.

Otherwise, "publicly" is empty verbiage. To have written simply that, "No evidence has emerged that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government official," would have sufficed for the purposes of journalistic balance. But by dropping that fatal "publicly" in there, the Times and its sources likely are giving us a preview of coming attractions. (Judging by his manic episode on the electric Twitter machine on Saturday morning, the president* knows this, too.) And the one thing about which we can all be sure is that is whole megillah is nowhere near as weird as it's going to get."

Infidel753 said...

John LeCarre? If you wrote a spy novel with this plot, every publisher would reject it as being luridly unrealistic.

Gotta hand it to Putin, in a way. The guy's got chutzpah. And it's paid off for him big time, at least for a while.

Meanwhile, according to the Trumpanzees, the biggest scandal facing the country is that a Congresswoman called Trump a bad name. Either that or another one dancing on a rooftop.

Dave Miller said...

Shaw... this is bad news for Pres Trump so it must all be fake news.

I'm sure you remember when he said HRC couldn't be Pres because she'd be under investigation and unable to perform the duties of the office. But that was then.

Here's the attitude of the right. Any investigations of Trump are politically motivated and carried out by agents of the "Deep State." If guilt is found, it was a rigged system.

If HRC was investigated and not found guilty, it's because there was never a serious investigation of her.

Up until now, if law enforcement arrested or investigated someone, the conservatives figured they must be guilty or they wouldn't be investigated. Now they only believe that for ppl of color and Dems. Any investigation of trump, or his political allies is pure poppycock, made up BS and as I said earlier, "Fake News."

They're an interesting lot.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, that's called a defense mechanism. It's what people who cannot bear to face reality use. The AOW, WYD, and Mother Ship know deep inside that Trump is in deep doo-doo and probably betrayed America to the Russians. At least 16 people from the Trump campaign were in contact with the Russians during the campaign and many of them lied about that contact.

The rabid righties will not face those facts. They'd rather talk about a fake story on Elizabeth Warren's pottery on her kitchen self. They're really, really interested in that, not in the fact that their president, according to the FBI investigations, MAY HAVE betrayed America.

This is the biggest story about a US president I've read in my lifetime!!!!

Rightwinger Frankie said...

No evidence has ever emerged that President Trump had ever been in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. Not from the New York Times, Not from any Democratic politician, and certainly NOT from you!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dear RW Frank,

The operative phrase in your comment is "No evidence has ever emerged..."

Neither you, nor I, nor anyone knows what Mueller has on Trump. But it's looking really, really, really bad. When the FBI needs to investigate a sitting POTUS for possible treason, they usually have some pretty damning reason to.

We'll wait to see what "emerges" from Mueller's investigation.



Dave Miller said...

RW... in fact, the Times report said no evidence has "publicly" emerged. Did you read the post?

Also, there've been no leaks from the Mueller investigation, so of course info has not emerged. Unlike the very public Trump defense from Mayor Rudy, Mueller's team has been totally quiet, preferring to let the indictments and guilty pleas from Trump's campaign team speak... for the moment.

In time we will learn what he has found, if indeed anything. Then people can decide if what he has is serious, or nothing to worry about.

But to characterize the investigation now as not producing evidence is to display a fundamental misunderstanding of the investigation, the English language or both.

Rightwinger Frankie said...

So if you suggest to “ wait and see” then why spend a 1000 words posting what you think is true, when it May Indy not be true???

Shaw Kenawe said...

Frank,

You missed the part where the report stated that the FBI WOULD NOT initiate an investigation into whether or not a POTUS was working on behalf of a foreign government if it didn't have a compelling reason.

We'll wait and see what those reasons were. But there were reasons! You should be alarmed at that.









Right-winger Frankie said...

No, you missed the part where he is INNOCENT until proven Guilty

skudrunner said...

Didn't the FBI investigate -H- but of course she was innocent until proven guilty and all they could prove was she was incompetent.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Frank, you didn't accurately read what I wrote. The fact is that the FBI would not open an investigation into whether or not the Trump was colluding with the Russians unless there was compelling evidence to investigate. There is nothing about GUILTY or NOT GUILTY when the FBI opened the investigation. They have NOT come to a conclusion that we the people know of. YET.

PS. Innocent until proven guilty applies to a court of law, not public opinion. The rabid right wingers have always decided that Hillary was guilty of everything even though no court of law found her guilty of anything.

Individuals not involved in jury durty or any judicial responsibilities can have an OPINION on whether someone is guilty or not. For example, millions of Americans had the opinion that OJ Simpson was GUILTY! even though a jury found his NOT GUILTY. I'll bet even YOU believed he was guilty.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skudrunner, the FBI concluded, after extensive investigations, that no charges should be brought against Hillary. Comey revealed, right before the 2016 election that the FBI reopened the case into Hillary's emails, but the FBI DID NOT reveal that it was also looking into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russians. That affected the election outcome.

Hillary Clinton was not indicted for anything. Much your and the rest of the Clinton haters' disappointment.

Meanwhile:

16 with close ties to Trunp's campaign had contact with the Russians.(And yet the Republicans' president, DJT, lied again and again and again that no one in his campaign had ANYTHING to do with Russia. That was and is a colossal LIE.)

SIXTEEN!

One of them, Mike Flynn, lied about it and is facing jail. Manafort is IN JAIL, Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself for lying about being in contact with Russians.

It's curious how you NEVER speak about that, isn't it, but are still whining about Hillary being found NOT GUILTY of anything.

Anonymous said...

Psychiatrist: Trump Supporters Think Like Five Year Olds

skudrunner said...

I guess I missed the news that DJT was indited. Somehow some close ties to WJC were indited and jailed while he was in office.
I am not saying trump did't do anything wrong but our laws are innocent until proven guilty and so far noting has been proven but in the press he is guilty until proven innocent.


Shaw Kenawe said...

So far Trump's NSA, Mike Flynn, has been charged with a felony and is awaiting sentencing.

Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, about whom Ted Cruz said Trump could never have won the GOP nomination, is in jail and indicted with a total of 25 different counts of financial and other crimes.

Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, was indicted on similar charges to Manafort. But in February he agreed to a plea deal with Mueller’s team, pleading guilty to just one false statements charge and one conspiracy charge.

George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, was arrested in July 2017 and pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. He got a 14-day sentence.

Michael Cohen: In August, Trump’s former personal lawyer pleaded guilty to 8 counts — tax and bank charges, related to his finances and taxi business, and campaign finance violations — related to hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with Donald Trump, as part of a separate investigation in New York (that Mueller had handed off). But in November, he made a plea deal with Mueller too, for lying to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.


Why do you bring up Bill Clinton's administration and what happened 24 years ago? Do you believe Trump is as crooked as Clinton and that's why you compare them?

Clinton was a scoundrel, but HE DID NOT HAVE THE FBI INVESTIGATING HIM FOR POSSIBLE COLLUSION WITH A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT -- RUSSIA -- AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A POTENTIALLY TREASONOUS CRIME.

Do you actually believe that talking about what Bill Clinton did makes Trump look good? HINT: It doesn't.

For 8 long years we heard Goopers suggest that President Obama was the Manchurian candidate, a Muslim, a homosexual, a foreigner, etc. Not one of those things is true. Not one.

This IS true: The GOP supports a president who has and is being investigated by the FBI for a number of corrupt reasons.

President Barack Obama was never investigated for ANYTHING. And yet for eight years, the Goopers claimed he was guilty of all manner of corruption.

You Goopers need to take a good hard look at the Liar, Cheat, and Fraud you and Russia foisted on America, not the president whom you spent 8 years trying to discredit and destroy with lies.

Rational Nation USA said...

Very interesting indeed. And time keeps a flowing along. If only one could be Rip Van Winkle!!

Steve said...

Investigation does NOT MAKE YOU GUILTY!

Shaw Kenawe said...


Steve wrote: "Investigation does NOT MAKE YOU GUILTY!"

Yeah.

I remember how the Goopers said that when Hillary was being investigated. NOT!!!!

You seem to not understand, Frank, that there has to be some compelling reason out there that made the FBI need to open an investigation into whether or not Donald J. Trump was working on behalf of a hostile country, Russia. They don't open these sort of inquiries on whims. There's something they heard, read, or saw that alarmed them and made them think that the Republican president was betraying his country to the Russians.

You and your copatriots are not alarmed by this latest developmebt.

The rest of the country -- the woke Americans -- are.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I meant to address the above comment to "Steve." But I'm guessing "Steve" and "Frank" are one and the same WYD's escapee.

skudrunner said...

Ms Shae, I didn't know obama the great was a homosexual. Do you have any proof to that or is it just rumor?

Why are you bringing up -H- being investigated, that was years ago. It does seem there was compelling reason for the FBI to investigate -H- and all they could determine is she is incompetent which is not a crime.
Trump is bad but it could have been worse. We could have -H- the incompetent at the helm. This would please the elected elite because they woundn't have do do anything, just like the last 50 years.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Dear skud,

The fine people you hang out with at the usual rabid right blogs claimed Mr. Obama had a male lover, among other despicable lies.

Keep pretending Trump hasn't betrayed America and isn't colluding with Russia while you continue to trash the previous president -- Barack Obama -- who had the cleanest administration America has known in years and years.

What is it about the Republican Party that their presidents are always crooks or corrupt or dumb?

Nixon, Reagan, Bush,Jr., and now Trump. Aren't there any honest people left in the GOP?