Russia Monitor: The Waters Are Deep, Uncharted & Full Of Dead Carp


“Well, for one thing, everyone’s wrapped up in the guessing game. But the underlying problem remains: Republicans don’t want to know what’s wrong and don’t want to conduct oversight. There can be no better reason to throw them out of power than their unwillingness to perform basic duties — defending our constitutional system of elected government…”

— Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post (9/7/18)


By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (9/10/18)

Dear Fellow Readers,

We’ll begin where we left off with the last edition with commentary on the New York Times Op-Ed written by someone senior in the Trump administration: We’re In Uncharted Waters. Don’t Be Too Quick To Condemn ‘Deep State Throat.’

Washington Post columnist Max Boot reminds us the anonymous author:

“…excoriated the president for “half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions” that are “detrimental to the health of our republic.””

But as Boot pointed out, “the only thing the two sides agreed on, it seems, is that the author, who has been dubbed Deep State Throat, is a coward. Is the anonymous author a coward as many say?

“Those around him have concluded – as made clear not only by Woodward and Deep State Throat but also by chroniclers as disparate as Michael Wolff and Omarosa Manigault Newman — that Trump is both morally and intellectually unfit for the job. His own aides have reportedly called Trump a “liar” (lawyer John Dowd), a “moron” (then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson), an “idiot” and “unhinged” (White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly) and “dumb” (then-economic adviser Gary Cohn), and have likened him to a “fifth- or sixth-grader” (Defense Secretary Jim Mattis). Trump’s unhinged reaction to the anonymous op-ed — he thinks it’s “TREASON” to criticize him — only confirms those withering judgments.”

As Boot struggles to decide on his own view he manages to offer one of the most valid assessments yet:

“The Times op-ed writer apparently is trying to have it both ways by speaking out publicly while still trying to stymie the president in private. Perhaps that’s not a tenable approach, but I am willing to cut some slack to anyone in a position of power who is working to save America from the most reckless, corrupt and unqualified president in our history. We don’t know how best to resist this demagogue, so a little humility is in order. The only people who should come in for withering scorn are all the Republicans in Washington who are cynically acting as Trump’s enablers even though they understand just how dangerous and destructive he is.

“We advocate giving the author some slack, as Boot reminds us, it is the Russpublicans that enable Trump for their own self-serving, cowardly and complicit reasons. Is someone speaking out from the inside really simply a coward? Haven’t all of the remedies offered by the Monday morning quarterbacks been tried and swept aside in a few news cycles? Why so much effort to denounce the author while ignoring the Russpublican Congress and forgetting the subject of the accusations…”


What too many are missing

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin gets right to the important point that many are missing: Stop Looking For The Anonymous Writer. Start Looking At Trump.

“In true Washington fashion, the anonymous New York Times op-ed sparked an irrational, unproductive search for the author’s identity. If an unnamed “senior official” told us WWIII was about to break out, we wouldn’t spend our waking hours trying to find the official; we’d be trying to figure out whether he was right, what the consequences might be and how to stop it or ameliorate its ill effects.”

From deep in the dark and tangled forest, let’s remember, the subject being kicked around is invoking the 25th Amendment because Trump is incapable. The 25th Amendment discussion is held against a backdrop of the increasing discussion of impeachment because of Trump corruption.

From all the pundits, do we really believe one more denouncement from a sometimes critic like Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) or one more book attacking Trump’s mental health from inside like Omarosa Manigault’s ‘Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House’ is the thing that will tip the scales‘A never-ending cycle’: Book, Op-ed Show How Some Trump Aides Work To Curb His Instincts.

How bad is it when an anonymous author is dismissed by both sides because the accusations are not breaking new ground. Imagine how bad things are when a New York Times Op-Ed about invoking the 25th Amendment against the sitting president is debated on the merit of originality.

“The successive disclosures crystallized what has long been evident throughout the Trump presidency — a cadre of administration officials alarmed by the whims and wishes of a chief executive they view as mercurial and impetuous working to curb his instincts on a range of issues, including national security, trade and immigration.”

The latest disclosures add credence to advance copy from journalist Bob Woodward’s latest presidential profile, ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’. Meanwhile the Washington Post reporters end with a perfect example of the danger of Trump. North Korea threatens the U.S. but as long as Kim Jong Un flatters Trump:

“Thursday offered fresh evidence of the divergent courses set by the president and the Justice Department. In the morning, Trump tweeted praise for North Korea’s leader: “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims ‘unwavering faith in President Trump.’ Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!”

“Hours later, the Justice Department announced criminal charges against Park Jin Hyok for allegedly being part of a North Korean government hacking team that crippled Sony’s computer systems, stole $81 million from a Bangladesh bank and unleashed far-reaching malware.”

The authors open with the perfect question, followed by an honest (non) answer, maybe a first for the Trump White House:

“Who’s in charge at the White House?” a reporter shouted at Trump on Thursday as he departed for a rally in Montana.

The president did not answer.

Columnist Michael Gerson makes the same point about Trump: We Are A Superpower Run By A Simpleton.

“If you prick him, does he not explode? If you stroke him, does he not purr?”

Gerson ends with a perspective that suggests we shouldn’t rush to identify the anonymous author:

“This turns out to be the best argument for the author of the Times op-ed — and others like him or her — to stay right where they are. The manipulation of the president in a good cause works. And those who engage in this task boldly and consistently are both losing their reputations and serving their country.”

And here is Trump’s danger, in addition to us, to himself:

“The president’s form of deception is qualitatively different from the deviousness of Richard M. Nixon or the smoothness of Bill Clinton. Trump pursues no deep or subtle strategies. He does not even consistently seek his own interests. He responds like a child or a narcissist — but I repeat myself — to positive or negative stimulation... It is the reason that Trump’s lawyers, in the end, can’t allow him to be interviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. It would be like a 9-year-old defending a PhD dissertation. Or maybe a rabbit jumping into a buzz saw.”


The walking orange perjury trap

Trump is under investigation from many angles and can’t be trusted to testify on his own behalf. Again, the danger Trump represents for us is the same danger he represents for himself. So what is Trump to do?

Politico reports: Trump Would Meet Mueller ‘under certain circumstances’.

The sub-head note: “I don’t want to be set up with a perjury trap,” President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday.

Trump is his own walking perjury trap. Here’s the latest on Trump’s willingness to cooperate with special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation of Trump-Russia corruption:

“The remarks were the latest in a months-long tussle between Trump’s legal team and Mueller — who is investigating potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, said Thursday night that the two sides were “pretty close to an agreement” on Trump offering written responses to questions about those links.”

Therein is the problem – as the media and pundits advise the anonymous author on bravery, they revel in repeating every Trump pronouncement like this one about Clinton’s election (defeat) party, “People that are on Mueller’s team who are there crying, they were crying”.

Does anyone believe any of this? Mueller’s team crying over Hillary’s defeat? Trump truly intending to cooperate with Mueller even after months of posturing with no action?

Who knows, maybe someone will force Trump to answer questions, it’s certainly not complicit Republicans and for all the energies of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, it’s not likely to be in front of Mueller’s team.


In a nation of grifters, con artists and a failed real estate scammer…

Maybe the heroes to be found are people like porn star Stormy Daniels or Trump sexual assault accuser Summer ZervosDonald Trump Will Have To Answer Questions Under Oath From ‘Apprentice’ Sexual Assault Accuser Summer Zervos.

This is one of many suits against Trump, the Trump Foundation and the Trump Organization. A recent court ruling suggests:

“He will now have to answer questions under oath in regards to a defamation lawsuit that Summer Zervos, a former contestant on his reality television show The Apprentice, brought against him. Zervos sued Trump over how he responded to her allegations he sexually assaulted her.”

But the final point put forward is this:

‘[Trump attorney Mark] Kasowitz had asked that the case be thrown out or at least delayed until Trump finished serving as president, without success.”

Gosh, if only Trump could be confident that the right judicial appointments could protect him and would refuse to recuse themselves.


The many risks we face

Let’s consider just one reminder of the very real risks we face. Yes, North Korea, sure Syria, of course stolen elections, but we now learn: US Officials Secretly Met With Venezuelan Military Officers Plotting A Coup Against Maduro.

“US officials met secretly with Venezuelan military officers who were plotting a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, both a current and a former US official confirmed to CNN.”

Oh, come on you say, why should we believe Trump has designs on attacking Venezuela? Who is saying this? Maybe this guy:

“President Donald Trump has previously discussed the possibility of a military option in Venezuela.

“”We have many options for Venezuela. And by the way, I am not going to rule out a military option,” Trump said last August.

“Asked about the possibility of a military intervention in response to the mounting crisis in the country, the President said that is something the US “certainly could pursue.””

The authors report on U.S. contact with Venezuelan resistance groups against a backdrop of, “the rebels attempted several times to stage a coup”. And this, “Maduro survived an apparent assassination attempt after several drones armed with explosives flew toward him during a speech at a military parade”.

Trump enemies everywhere, if they aren’t real, the authoritarian playbook has Trump inventing them. A Venezuela “crisis” fits with “Mueller’s team crying” over Hillary’s loss. All part of the distractions followed by the media… The same media that criticizes the anonymous author for not doing enough.


But let’s remember why we’re here. We’ll give the final word to Bill Maher: The stooge and the puppet-master’: Watch HBO’s Bill Maher Chat With Director Of New Documentary On Trump & Putin.

HBO Real Time host Bill Maher interviews Jack Bryan, the director of a new documentary on Trump’s Russian connections. Bryan’s documentary is ‘Active Measures’.

The 7-minute interview is a very well done and concise review of how, when and why Trump has become beholding to Putin. Trump would likely be disappointed to hear himself presented as just another Putin stooge. Maher does a good job of giving Bryan the stage while explaining Russian marks and Trump’s motivation.

““It’s almost inevitable that they would figure in each other’s lives like this, the stooge and the puppet-master,” Maher said. “He’s the perfect mark, is he not?”

“Bryan explained that Russian intelligence looks for susceptible marks using the acronym M.I.C.E.: Money, ideology, compromise or ego.

““I see three out of four right away,” Maher said. “He has no ideology, but you don’t need all four.””

Trump is just another huckster willing to shill for Putin money, Maher observes:

“So Putin basically franchised, and Trump was one of the McDonald’s guys who bought in.”

Another Putin shill that is likely to get his SCOTUS appointment approved and possibly ‘get away with it’.

Vote! We’ll end where we led off – vote for Congressional oversight, a Congress that stands up to Trump instead of cynically flying cover for him.

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )