Russia Monitor: All Thumb Drives & Swirling Trumpian Threats To National Security


“America’s justice system is built upon one thing — truth.”

— Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates Washington Post opinion.


“You might say that’s all okay. You might say that’s just what you need to do to win, but I don’t think it’s okay. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. And yes, I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion.”

— House Intelligence Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).


Just asked (Sen.; R-SC) Lindsey Graham if he wants to see the full, unredacted Mueller report and he said NO. He said he trusts AG Barr to make the necessary redactions. He says he doesn’t need to see a slew of documents, and doesn’t share in the “paranoia” of his Democratic colleagues.

— Manu Raju tweet (4/3/19).

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (4/4/19)

Dear Fellow Readers,

Which of the above comments is not like the other three? Let’s consider Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) view when he was speaking about Clinton’s impeachment, “…point I’m trying to make, you don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job… if this body determines your conduct is clearly out of bounds with your role…because impeachment… is about cleansing the office, impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office”.

The then-and-now comparison is stunning with Graham in full nothing-to-see-here mode. Consider this, “This case is closed,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in a statement. This from the same man who is 2016 said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.

Democrats are not ready to move on. We repeat Schiff’s impassioned call that Trump’s actions as “not Okay” and “immoral”, much as Graham noted of Clinton. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is also not ready to move on: House Panel Votes To Authorize Subpoenas To Obtain Full Mueller Report.

“A House panel voted Wednesday to authorize subpoenas to obtain special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s full report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, laying down a marker in a constitutional power struggle that could end up in the courts.”

Subpoenas are authorized but yet served to give Attorney General Barr a few days to reply. While “Barr promised to deliver a redacted version of Mueller’s findings by mid-April”, Congress breaks for a two-week recess next week. Here’s a critical point underlying Nadler’s efforts:

“The Constitution charges Congress with holding the president accountable for alleged official misconduct. That job requires us to evaluate the evidence for ourselves — not the attorney general’s summary, not a substantially redacted synopsis, but the full report and the underlying evidence.”

It is not Barr’s responsibility to decide, it is up to Congress.

Nadler back in the day argued against releasing grand jury information from the Starr report to the public; ‘public’ is a detail Trump et al ignore, Congress already had the full detail. But we’ll give the last word here to Nadler by way of a spokesperson for the Judiciary Committee:

“Our expectation is that Attorney General Barr will be as forthcoming now as Mr. Starr was in 1998,” Schwarz said. “The attorney general should provide the full Mueller report to Congress, with the underlying materials, at which point we will be in a better position to understand what Special Counsel Mueller uncovered during his investigation.”


“Even the president hasn’t seen it.”

The single best summary to date of the still-not-seen Mueller report and the reactions to nothing-has-yet-happened is offered by late-night Last Week TonightJohn Oliver Exposes Fox News’ Mueller Report ‘Exoneration’ Lies.

Oliver started with “Mueller could not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice”, but nor did he establish “that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government”. Oliver adds:

“OK, so there’s two things there: first, the report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s campaign, which is undeniably good news for the president; however, the fact that Mueller did not exonerate him on obstruction of justice is pretty remarkable,” offered Oliver. “It’s the kind of thing that might prompt headlines like ‘President May Have Obstructed Justice,’ which is why it’s been a little weird this week to see the good news for the president often shoving aside the bad. That doesn’t normally happen.”

Per Oliver, “OK, again, Trump was not completely exonerated. In fact, the report literally used the words ‘does not exonerate him.’” This against a backdrop of Fox News talking heads “singing”, “no collusion”, “victorious, exonerated, vindicated”.

Oliver closed with, “Even the president hasn’t seen it”, which sent Oliver into a full-blown tizzy:

“Even if the investigation didn’t conclude that Trump conspired with the Russians, that doesn’t mean the whole thing was a waste of time,” Oliver said, before outlining how Mueller’s investigation concluded that Russia indeed interfered in the election; the president’s campaign manager, lawyer, and multiple advisers were convicted of crimes; Trump and his team lied about their business and contacts with Russia; and that Trump may have committed campaign-finance violations to cover up an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly after his wife Melania gave birth.”

Meanwhile Sen. Graham no longer feels so strongly about honor and integrity.


MAGA & the crotchety far left

While Trump continues as a spokesperson for some on the right and the left in denial of Russian involvement in the election to benefit Trump, the Senate feels Russia still has a price to pay for doing exactly what Trump and others deny: Exclusive: U.S. Senators Want Stiff Sanctions To Deter Russia Election Meddling.

This latest action, led “by Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican”, and is in response to “a range of bad behavior, from its aggression in Ukraine and involvement in Syria’s civil war to attempts to influence U.S. elections.

“U.S. Republican and Democratic senators will introduce legislation on Wednesday seeking to deter Russia from meddling in U.S. elections by threatening stiff sanctions on its banking, energy and defense industries and sovereign debt.”


22 lies per day … honest!

The Republican victory laps quickly ground to a halt… because Trump — for political reasons known only to him — pivoted from self-imagined exoneration to wanting to kill the Affordable Care Act. While the GOP managed to kick this can forward till after a 2020 election, Trump had managed to piss in his celebration punch bowl.

But Trump wasn’t done, bringing focus back to his own character: The President Is Now Making 22 False Claims a Day. Media Coverage Has Got to Reflect That.

Writer Jack Holmes — against the kill-the-ACA backdrop — notes Trump’s promise that “the Republican Party will become the Party of Healthcare”. Holmes cites a Washington Post report of 9,451 Trump lies in 801 days in office with a current pace of 22 lies a day.

“It is fitting we mark April Fools’ Day, a day on which people say something is true but it’s not actually true and that constitutes comedy, with an update on the president’s propensity for saying things that are not true. The only thing more flabbergasting than the sheer volume of false claims made by Donald Trump, American president, is the inability of some in The Liberal Media to take that extensive record into account when covering the world’s most powerful man. There is no reason to believe the president, or anyone who works for him, when they say something. This is nothing to celebrate—it’s bad for the country and bad for the world. But it’s a fact.”


Next national security scandal

How does anyone keep up? After trying to kill the ACA, Trump goes to war over ending hurricane relief funding for Puerto Rico offering an evidence-free accusation that Puerto Rican politicians of “gross incompetence and corruption. But there are two stories much closer to Trump-Russia corruption: Chinese Woman Carrying Thumb Drive With Malware Arrested At Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Resort.

Trump’s pay-to-access Mar-A-Lago scam has backfired and is likely to stay in the news in spite of Trump’s fluid ability to stride forward scandal by scandal.

“Secret Service agents arrested a woman at President Trump’s Florida resort this past weekend after she was found carrying two Chinese passports and a thumb drive with malicious software on it, according to court documents.”

While this is fascinating, the added color comes by way of Mother Jones linking the woman, Yujing Zhang, to Cindy Yang, already well known as the Trump donor and massage parlor owner who ran a business that offered access to Trump and other political figures.

“Zhang’s alleged attempt to enter Mar-a-Lago coincided with an event that had been scheduled that night and that also had been promoted by Cindy Yang’s company, GY US Investments, which claimed to be able to provide opportunities to “interact” with “the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce, and other political figures.” The firm’s website billed this event as a “once-in-a-lifetime publicity opportunity” attended by “Chinese elites from various countries.” The featured speaker at this event, which the website called the “International Leaders Elite Forum,” was Trump Grau.

“According to the Miami Herald, an event organized at Mar-a-Lago that same evening—a “Safari Night” gala benefitting the Young Adventurers charity and headlined by Trump Grau—was canceled after Mother Jones and the Herald published stories about Yang and her activities.”

We’ll leave this here because there were even greater risks to U.S. security in Trumplandia: White House Whistleblower Says 25 Security Clearance Denials Were Reversed During Trump Administration.

The 25 clearance denials include Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and highlights Trump lies about having no involvement but for now we’ll simply note that whistleblower Tricia Newboldtold lawmakers that more than two dozen denials for security clearances have been overturned during the Trump administration, calling Congress her “last hope” for addressing what she considers improper conduct that has left the nation’s secrets exposed”.

In true Trumpster pro forma, Kushner both lies and deflects with “but I’m the victim here”:

“Kushner, who Trump ultimately demanded be granted a permanent top-secret clearance despite concerns of intelligence officials, told Fox host Laura Ingraham that he “can’t comment for the White House’s process.”

““But I can say over the last two years that I’ve been here, I’ve been accused of all different types of things and all of those things have turned out to be false,” he added. “We’ve had a lot of crazy accusations, like that we colluded with Russia.””


Um, yeah, okay, Jim…

While we’re still waiting for the Mueller report Trump entertains us with his lack of honor and integrity, adding to his 9,451 lies at a rate of 22 per day with a head spinning array of self-imposed crises that hurt the well-being and security of all of us.

We’ll end with a nod to former FBI Director James Comey who wants us to know he has a hard time sleeping at night.

“Though more than two years have passed since the presidential election, former FBI Director James Comey said he remains troubled by his potential role in the rise of Donald Trump, questioning the impact of the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.”