By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (9/20/18)
Dear Fellow Readers,
The news is dominated by a negotiation over whether the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee will give a fair hearing to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford over her accusations that SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her during a party in the 1980’s. Eleven Republicans make up the majority on the committee; all of them are men. One in particular was on the committee when Anita Hill testified about sexual harassment perpetrated by now SCOTUS Judge Clarence Thomas. That hearing was a circus, a travesty of injustice to Hill and this committee, and specifically Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), seem determined to demonstrate they have learned nothing in the ensuing 27 years: Hatch Is Clear In His Bias And Unquestioned Support For Kavanaugh Saying, “There’s no question in my mind she was coached by special interest groups.”
But the Russia Monitor is not about whether Kavanaugh should be seated on the Supreme Court. The Russia Monitor is also not about the shape of Trump’s penis, we’ll spend no time on Stormy Daniels’ new book and the revelations that Trump, “…knows he has and unusual penis. It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool … I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart …It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.”
Really, not a word. Not a single word.
These kinds of stories have no more bearing on Trump-Russia corruption than Trump’s assurances that water is wet, that hurricane Florence was, “one of the wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water.”
Republican assaults on law enforcement
What is important is Trump’s newest gambit to undermine special counsel Mueller’s investigation of Trump-Russia corruption. Columnist Ben Sergent, over at the Washington Post lays it out: Trump’s Latest Abuse Of Power Is Likely To Blow Up In His Face.
We can no more imagine Trump as motivated to benefit our understanding with Trump-Russia through transparency than his interest in seeing justice served as Dr. Ford accuses his SCOTUS nominee. This is not a surprise, this is not even a new tactic:
“President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are running a systematic campaign of harassment and disruption directed at legitimate law enforcement activity being conducted on behalf of the American people — with the active goal of protecting Trump and his cronies from accountability and denying the public the full truth about a hostile foreign power’s effort to corrupt our democracy.”
In this latest attempt at harassment:
“Trump numerous classified documents related to the Russia investigation. A White House claims this is in the interests of “transparency.” One of Trump’s most dutiful servants in Congress, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, this release will “reveal to the American people some of the systemic corruption and bias” at “the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI.””
Sargent bets this release, “will broadly confirm this (obfuscation and partisan politics)”.
“Trump is seeking three main things. The first: additional portions of the FISA court applications to surveil former Trump adviser Carter Page. The pro-Trump mythology holds that the Dem-funded dossier created by British spy Christopher Steele was the basis for the original decision to wiretap Page, thus forming the main genesis of the whole investigation and rendering special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s probe illegitimate. In fact, independent reporting has established that the FBI probe launched who learned about Russian dirt collected on Hillary Clinton.”
Redacted forms of the FISA court applications for Page have already been released. History says any release is touted to “confirm” Trump’s accusations of a “witch hunt” regardless of the content, regardless of the specifics that contradict his claim. But Trump and FOX News will recreate their virtuous circle of quoting each other for legitimacy while letting House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), Goetz and others talk breathlessly about their pursuit of justice demonstrating Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s point that, “it’s not a crime to lie to the media”.
Trump doesn’t care whose career he ruins – former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, possibly now Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr and likely more before the end of the investigation.
All of this over a supposed victim of the Deep State, Carter Page, whose best defense is that he didn’t know the Russian spies were spies, though the FBI was not convinced. The only thing that matters to Trump… is Trump.
Blind blind rats
The other motivation for Trump is that he and his legal team are flying blind: Trump’s Growing Legal Team Has A Problem: It’s Operating Partly In The Dark.
The problem with Trump’s legal defense is Trump. The New York Times reports:
“Nearly a dozen lawyers now assist President Trump in contending with two federal investigations, one in Washington and one in New York, that could pose serious threats to his presidency and his businesses. But the expanding legal team is struggling to understand where the investigations could be headed and the extent of Mr. Trump’s legal exposure.”
While Trump loses lawyers and brings new lawyers into the mix, they face a fundamental challenge:
“What is more, it is not clear if Mr. Trump has given his lawyers a full account of some key events in which he has been involved as president or during his decades running the Trump Organization.”
Is your client telling you everything you need to know to properly defend him? Or is Trump even honest with his lawyers?
“New questions about the president’s first legal team arose after the journalist Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear,” was published this month. The book said that Mr. Dowd believed that Mr. Trump was a liar who was not capable of answering questions from Mr. Mueller. And in a meeting with prosecutors, Mr. Dowd said nearly as much, Mr. Woodward reported, telling Mr. Mueller that the president would most likely provide a false statement in an interview.”
It’s possible if not likely that the plea deals and cooperation agreements Mueller has accomplished with a list of persons (see the last edition of the Russia Monitor) makes for a far better road map than Trump’s lawyers’ client.
The Manchurian prez
Lost in the shuffle can be the extent of the damage done through a possible Manchurian president. Another book on Trump reminds us of how we got here: ‘The Apprentice’ Book Excerpt: At CIA’s ‘Russia House,’ Growing Alarm About 2016 Election Interference.
Ground zero for the investigation of Trump-Russia corruption is the ‘Russia House’, the “the Mission Center for Europe and Eurasia”.
“The unit had for decades been the center of gravity at the CIA, an agency within the agency, locked in battle with the KGB for the duration of the Cold War. The department’s prestige had waned after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and it was forced at one point to surrender space to counterterrorism officers.
“…In the months leading up to the 2016 election, senior Russia House officials held a series of meetings in a conference room adorned with Stalin-era posters, seeking to make sense of disconcerting reports that Moscow had mounted a covert operation to upend the U.S. presidential race.
“By early August, the sense of alarm had become so acute that CIA Director John Brennan called White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. “I need to get in to see the president,” Brennan said, with unusual urgency in his voice.”
“Russia House was the point of origin for that assessment. Months later it became the consensus view of U.S. intelligence agencies, one of the core findings of a report released just weeks before Trump took office. It was a conclusion that would fuel investigations and infuriate the 45th president — who, on his second day as leader of the free world, was making his way to CIA headquarters.”
We have come a long way but there is no knowing where we’ll end up.
Leaking on the leaker
While we’re highlighting ‘how we got here’, here’s a noteworthy update: Julian Assange Sought Russian Visa In 2010, New Document Leak Shows.
Is it irony to note that Assange’s relationship with Russia is being learned from “WikiLeaks documents leaked to the Associated Press”?
Jumping directly to the revelation, this according to Assange friend and Holocaust denier Israel Shamir:
“Shamir’s memory appeared sharper during a January, 20, 2011 interview with Russian News Service radio — a Moscow-based station now known as Life Zvuk, or Life Sound. Shamir said he’d personally brokered a Russian visa for Assange, but that it had come too late to rescue him from the sex crimes investigation.
“Russia “would be one of those places where he and his organization would be comfortable operating,” Shamir explained. Asked if Assange had friends in the Kremlin, Shamir smiled and said: “Let’s hope that’s the case.””
Assange did not end up in Russia…:
“Assange would eventually skip bail after exhausting his British legal campaign to block the Swedish extradition effort, darting into the Ecuadorean Embassy on June 19, 2012. The move frustrated the sex crimes prosecution, which was dropped last year, but it sparked a standoff that continues to this day, with Assange refusing to leave the embassy unless he is shielded from extradition to the U.S.
“Assange’s escape left many of his guarantors in the lurch. When a group of them went to court in late 2012 to reduce their bill, the escape plan went unmentioned.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says “that Democrats need to win elections in order to have a say on who is nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.” Graham could have said the same about many one-sided and cruel actions taken by Trump in his relatively short time in office. And for that matter, if we ever want to know how he got there, the same applies – win elections.
[Funny how Graham doesn’t see the irony of his comment about winning elections and spectacle of the Republicans in the Senate stonewalling of Barack Obama’s SCOTUS nomination of Merrick Garland. After all, Obama won by margins Trump could only lie about. — Editor.]
Vote. Vote for Oversight. Vote to help the GOP and Trump voters to see the light.