Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Bridge of Lies Leads Back to the White House

Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo:

"People who don't even appear to be that close to the action keep getting pulled under for what seem like needless deceptions. When we see this kind of pattern, the answer is usually that the stuff at the center of the scandal is so big that it requires concealment, even about things distant from the main action, things that it would seem much better and less damaging simply to admit."


"a two-month WhoWhatWhy investigation has revealed an important reason the Bureau may be facing undisclosed obstacles to revealing what it knows to the public or to lawmakers.

"Our investigation also may explain why the FBI, which was very public about its probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, never disclosed its investigation of the Trump campaign prior to the election, even though we now know that it commenced last July.

"Such publicity could have exposed a high-value, long-running FBI operation against an organized crime network headquartered in the former Soviet Union. That operation depended on a convicted criminal who for years was closely connected with Trump, working with him in Trump Tower — while constantly informing for the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and being legally protected by them."

From The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza:

“The evidence is now clear that the White House and Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have worked together to halt what was previously billed as a sweeping investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election.”

They believe what we don’t know can’t hurt them. Their aggressive cover-up indicates there must be a lot to cover up.

Pulitzer Prize winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston asks you this question: Why do you think Trump appointed Putin’s and Russian mobsters’ favorite money launderer as our new Secretary of Commerce?

The Guardian reports here on Wilbur Ross’s partnership with the Russian mobster in the Cypriot bank where Russian mobsters launder their money.

Bloomberg reports here on the network of Russian oligarchs who Trump has ties with.

USAToday, the very middle American newspaper that caters to the great silent majority, is beginning to describe Trump’s behaviors and connections as criminal. They’ve also noticed that he is a pathological liar. You can read their story here.

"Trump told reporters in February: "I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all.”

Yet in 2013, after Trump addressed potential investors in Moscow, he bragged to Real Estate Weekly about his access to Russia's rich and powerful. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” Trump said, referring to Russians who made fortunes when former Soviet state enterprises were sold to private investors.

Five years earlier, Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. told Russian media while in Moscow that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets" in places like Dubai and Trump SoHo and elsewhere in New York.

Not only is Trump lying about his collusions and entanglements with Russia and Putin and Putin's criminal underworld, he is very aggressively preventing others from telling the truth about these things. Read more complete reporting on this at New York Magazine.

When Devin Nunes (who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and is responsible for driving it into the ditch) discovered that former acting AG Sally Yates was going to speak about things that might tend to implicate President Trump he acted like a perfect henchman and immediately put the kibosh on her testifying. Congress's newspaper, The Hill, goes into that duplicity and mischief here.

Politico is also reporting that Sally Yates planned to discuss what she had learned in her investigation of the Russia-Putin-Trump-White House conspiracy, (read Politico's article here) but the Republicans have muzzled her and derailed the committee. It’s bizarre for an oversight committee chair to think it’s his job to help the people being investigated get off the hook. Judging by the way Republicans hounded Secretary Clinton over recent years, it seemed like they felt it was their job to get innocent people on the hook by simple persistence. In both instances their method involves ignoring facts, facts that tend to incriminate Trump and his co-conspirators are ignored or buried, and facts that exculpate any Democrat they want to jail are ignored and dismissed.

It appears that White House officials are feverishly wiping incriminating material off their phones and computers (reported by The Independent of London) which means they would prefer to go to prison for obstruction of justice than be hung for treason. Covering up and lying and obstruction is what sent various Watergate conspirators to jail while their boss retired to his expensive home with its view of the ocean. This might happen again.

This isn’t just a foreign conspiracy, it has its domestic skulduggery too. American conspirators also worked to divert Americans’ attention away from the fealty Trump owed to the Russians and strong-arm the FBI into derailing the Hillary Clinton campaign, which was Putin's ultimate goal. Trump’s little helpers in this were the ubiquitous Rudy Giuliani and private global security tycoon and private army contractor Erik Prince, who used their deep leverage within the FBI to corrupt the investigatory process. (Reported at Huffington Post)

Rachel Maddow has been all over this story, synthesizing and explaining the many complex threads of the conspiracy as they come to light. Last night she turned her attention to Trump son-in-law and male model Jared Kushner:

A good daily routine to follow if you want to track this story is to watch Rachel Maddow's nightly reporting on it.

ThePalmerReport tends to stick its neck out on big stories, sometimes goes out on a limb. Right now Palmer is speculating that Michael Flynn has already cut a deal to testify. (Read the PalmerReport on Flynn's alleged deal here)

ThePalmerReport is also saying that the FISA warrants list Trump as a Russian agent. Since FISA warrants are so highly classified, we have to be skeptical.

Regarding another Palmer story, that Devin Nunes is heavily invested in a winery with Russian connections, SNOPES lists it as unproven. But it is curious when a winery which a congressman has invested much of his wealth in has its only overseas markets in Russia and Switzerland. Russia being a major source of money to be laundered and Switzerland being a major money launderer. It makes people wonder. Maybe, probably, Devin Nunes wasn’t and isn’t on the hook because of this investment, but this kind of company looks a lot like a hook for the kind of criminal transactions Russia engages in. And we are left wondering how many baited hooks have snagged prominent Republicans and White House officials and appointees.

MotherJones explains how Devin Nunes’ is compromising his constitutional role to serve as a check and balance on the president’s power, and how this endangers a crucial constitutional balance. (Especially if the White House itself is in the grip of Russian agents.) Instead of checking and balancing Nunes is carrying water for the president, running interference, blowing smoke, setting up diversions and distractions, discrediting his committee, deceiving the public and behaving like the president is his boss.

The Daily Beast has this: “The White House has found its stooge in Nunes.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R/NC) calls Nunes a bungling Inspector Clouseau, a clown.

The brazenness of the White House’s cover up is hard to believe, but it is consistent with Trump’s sense of impunity. Remember during the campaign when he said he could shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. This is who he is.

The Week, on Trump's brazen impunity, his belief that presidents are above the law.

Meanwhile, POLITICO is reporting that the House Republicans are all in with Devin Nunes and his bizarre mishandling of his chairmanship duties. Which, in the words of Kurt Cobain, "smells like team spirit." It smells, certainly.

Something is rotten when a major political party chooses partisanship over national security and national sovereignty concerns. It sounds as if the GOP decided if the only way to regain the power that appeared to be slipping away was to collude with a foreign enemy and its spy network, well, they'd collude with a foreign enemy. Which is what Quisling did in Norway by collaborating with the Nazis. It's what Petain did in France. It's surprising that the ultrapatriotic Republican Party would embrace treason this way. Some of them appear to have done just that and others are busily covering it up.

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