Russia Monitor

Russia Monitor: More & More Bat Shit Crazy? Yes, No, Yes, No, YES!!!

    By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/22/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Sometimes there is a perfect headline. There is one key Trump-Russia flavor to Trump’s recent frenzy of batshit statements, but it’s hard to pass this up: The President Is Currently Serving Up Several Flavors of Batshit on Twitter The ‘twitter’ part is irrelevant, what Esquire columnist Jack Holmes describes as “lunacy” is the important part. Holmes highlights (and links to the Trump tweets) Trump’s notice that he will “reschedule” his trip to Denmark since Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen didn’t immediately embrace Trump’s offer to purchase Greenland. Whatever you…

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Russia Monitor: Trumputin, Moscow Mitch & Our Nation Of Dwindling Options

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/19/19) Dear Fellow Readers, I was sent quite a few links to articles and videos over the last few days and I find myself trying to make sense out of the hours worth of reading and video. With a heavy heart I feel like the United States is on a path to mediocrity, as if we have no vision for our future, as if we lack the will for rising above our lesser selves; no longer the country people look to for inspiration or even a safe haven. Let me organize some of…


Russia Monitor: The One Thing You Can Say In A World With ‘Trump Straws’ … Things Suck

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/15/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump just confirmed his open secret – everything he does is based on a simple filter of how it makes him look. Trump will embellish, lie or rationalize anything he says or does and his base will respond with adoration and their own rationalization. ““He’s a very highly respected conservative pundit,” Trump told reporters in New Jersey, referring to right wing commentator and comedian Terrence K. Williams, who pushed out a wild conspiracy theory about Bill Clinton and being involved with Jefferey Epstein’s death. “He’s a big Trump fan….


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Russia Monitor: Trump Has Set It Loose. It’s Time To Put Racism Back In The Bottle Again

  “When racism was tamped down in this country before its resurgence lately it was because of public shaming and opinion. To get things back on track we must begin publicly shaming Republicans for their acceptance of this vile hatred through inaction.” — Dennis Brault – friend and occasional Commoner Call contributor in email discussion (8/10/19). By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/12/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump is our racist, conspiracy theorist and accused rapist in charge. Credit where due, he’s making it increasingly difficult for supporters and media to deny this – I say to both: Embrace your reality….


Russia Monitor: A Majority Of House Dems Have Taken A Stand

  House Dems – Majority Support Impeachment! By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/5/19) Dear Fellow Readers, And here we are, a majority of House Dems support impeachment of Trump. I give the nod to Esquire columnist Charles Pierce because his column is loaded with links to stories of recent declarations of support: Nancy Pelosi Cannot Resist an Impeachment Inquiry Much Longer. Plus he has style; consider his opening paragraph: “Here is something that happened while we were all watching John Delaney turn into a mannequin Tom Dewey on national television.” While summing up Dem presidential candidate John Delaney, he provides a link…


Russia Monitor: ‘Moscow Mitch’ Joins Trump Lawyer Comrade Barr To Pave The Path For Continued Russian Attacks On Elections

Московский Митч “There is a lot at stake, and people are scared, but we can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren Democratic debate (7/30/19) ***** “I do know it,” he said. “I wrote the damn bill!” — Sen. Bernie Sanders in response to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) remark re: M4A bill; Democratic debate (7/30/19) ***** “Russia’s efforts to interfere in our elections remain relentless.” — Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) signing her support for Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act – first GOP sponsor. By Dan Peak The Commoner…


Russia Monitor: House Dems Walking Forward Slowly, Quietly

“Some things are above politics, and one of them is our constitutional responsibilities to do what is right. And the responsibility of the Congress of the United States of America, when a president breaks the law, is to bring impeachment charges against that president.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren following Mueller testimony. ***** “Vladimir Putin has worked harder to run the U.S. government than all of the Democrats in Congress put together.” — Satire by Andy Borowitz for The New Yorker; headline from (7/25/19). By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/29/19) Dear Fellow Readers, In spite of mixed reactions to former…


Russia Montior: Not A Good Day For Dems, A Better Day For Trump.

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/25/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Yesterday former special counsel Robert Mueller was on Capitol Hill. My mother gets the credit for best question asking, “After all that, are they going to impeach him?” To which I answered, “probably not”. I did not get to see the entire hearings because today was for doctor’s appointments. We spent a good part of the day at the Miami VA Hospital; my mother is very proud that she is a veteran going back to her days as a student and nurse in a Navy hospital. The TV in the…


Russia Monitor: The Pressure Is On House Dems & Robert Mueller To Make It All Clear

“I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates. We did well that night.” — Trump Nov 10, 2015 “why he understands Putin”. ***** “I’ve never met him. I have no relationship with Putin. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. I never met him . . . . I mean if he’s in the same room or something. But I don’t think so.” — Trump July 31, 2016 interview with ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/22/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It turns out, in spite of all…


Russia Monitor: The Very Definition Of Who We Are — And Will Be — Hangs In The Balance.

“This is Mr. Trump’s Republican Party” — Lisa Lerer writing for the New York Times (7/15/19) ***** “The days for euphemisms… for lies, racism, illegality, and immorality have long since passed.” — Journalist Dan Rather tweet (7/15/19)  ***** “Trump is a racist president.” –– Lawyer George Conway, spouse of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, headline from Washington Post Opinion column. ***** “No racist. No racist. You’re the racist.” — CNN analyst, former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa tweeting in response to Rep Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) comments. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/18/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump is running his reelection…


Russia Monitor: America In The Barrel

  “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” — Trump tweet aimed at Progressive Democrat Freshman Congresswomen (7/14/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/15/19) Dear Fellow Readers, What happened to Republicans? You can say Trump happened to Republicans, but Trump is the culmination of a steep downhill descent marked by nonsensical Republican expressions starting from “the shining city upon a hill”, through, “ten thousand points of life”, the empty manipulation of “compassionate conservative” ending, at least at this point, Trump’s 2015 pronouncement that Mexican immigrants were “rapists”…


Russia Monitor: Collaborators, Hustlers & Fabricators Spin The Nation Far, Far Beyond The Law

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/11/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It is easy to get overwhelmed in the daily rain of Trump shit-show news. To demonstrate, the bill for the D.C. government to ‘host’ Trump’s 4th of July celebration of self is $1.7 million. The money needed to pay for this comes from a now bankrupted fund “used to protect the nation’s capital from terrorist threats and provide security at events such as rallies and state funerals”. In fact the fund is running a projected “$6 million deficit” while the mayor “also noted that the account was never reimbursed…


Russia Monitor: The Polls All Agree –Things Are Getting Weird

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/8/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Let’s be optimistic and call the news and polls a mixed bag. You likely heard that Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has announced he is now (I-MI) after leaving the GOP. Here he is announcing in a Washington Post Opinion piece:  “I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.”…


Russia Monitor: The Best Way To Observe Trump’s Perversion Of July 4th

  “There is one policy that emerges from the chaos — the kind we would expect from an egotistical con man who has one principle: Me!” — Noam Chomsky from a Truthout interview with C.J. Polychroniou.   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/4/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Happy Fourth of July! Celebrate as you see fit and for your reasons for celebrating. Personally that includes giving no attention to an authoritarian hijacking of a national holiday to advantage the ego of a man with a serious personality disorder. Fourth of July is our holiday. Trump’s twisted Fourth of July is…


Russia Monitor: The Tragedy & Comedy Of Trump’s Latest Bizarre Road Show

“?“It’s a great honor to be with President Putin”. — Trump says to the media during a joint press conference with Putin following one-on-one meeting at Osaka G20. ***** “I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments — that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American.” — Former special counsel Robert Mueller (5/29/19) at the Justice Department, his first public remarks since taking over the nearly two-year investigation. ***** Trump is “an illegitimate president”. — Former President Jimmy Carter. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/1/19)…


Russia Monitor: Could Oregon Be A Trend Setter? We Better Hope Not

“Refusing to leave would make him the crazy guy the Marines escort out of the building.” — Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg about concern over Trump not leaving the White House when it is time.   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/27/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump is a nasty piece of work and a liar. But news first; there is persistent concern fueled by Trump that he will refuse to leave office when it is time: “The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House…


Russia Monitor: Seeing Clearly Through All Trump’s Obstruction Obfuscation

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/24/19) Dear Fellow Readers, On Saturday June 22 we did a group reading of Volume II of the Mueller Report. A group of readers took turns and found the experience rewarding. Each of us commented on the depth of understanding gained over and above news reporting or even reading the Report solo compared to a group reading experience. The power of the experience leads me to share one of the examples of Mueller’s case for obstruction against Trump. Volume II is described in the Report as: “Our obstruction-of-justice inquiry focused on a series…


Russia Monitor — Memo To Dems: We Desperately Need Leaders, Now!

  “He was looking for acknowledgement and attention. In the Woody Allen movie “Celebrity,” Trump plays himself. In the movie he is a soulless celebrity. There’s no mystery here about who and what Donald Trump is.” — Michael Wolff, author Siege: Trump Under Fire , on Donald Trump as he was viewed in the NYC social scene during the 80-90’s. ***** “These are photos between husband and wife,” Mr. Cohen added, joking that “the evangelicals (Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife) are kinkier than Tom Arnold.” — Convicted long-time Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen on how he ‘accomplished’ the…


Russia Monitor — Trump’s Many Impeachable Moments: Former US Atty Asserts She Could Successfully Convict Trump For Obstruction.

  “If anyone other than a sitting president had committed this conduct, I am confident that he would be charged with crimes.” — Former US attorney Barbara McQuade appearing before House Judiciary Committee (9/10/19)  ***** “I’m the guy that gets away with it.” — Trump quote, ‘Siege: Trump Under Fire’ by Michael Wolff’, cited in The Financial Times By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/17/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Is Trump above the law? He believes so – yelling “No Collusion” while laying out the welcome map for foreign interference to benefit his campaign. Trump now announces a latest “if it’s what you…


Russia Monitor: Mueller Report Show Unequivocally That Trump Committed Obstruction, At Least

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/13/19) Reading Directly From The Mueller Report Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report makes the case that Trump did commit obstruction of justice and could be impeached for as many as 10 counts. Mueller did NOT exonerate Trump, in fact he laid out a detailed prosecutorial road map for impeachment – this was the subject of the last “Reading Directly” edition. There is no substitute for fully appreciating how Trump could be impeached beyond reading the Mueller Report. For this edition I will highlight two simple examples that frame the facts of what Mueller…


Russia Monitor: A More-Than-You-Can-Eat Daily Dose Of Trumpian Kompromat

  This would all be entertaining if we were watching a movie, say the equivalent of ‘Idiocracy’. But we’re not; we are living this shit show. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/10/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Kompromat is a Russian KGB slang expression for compromising material. Wikipedia notes Kompromat as “part of the political culture of Russia”. Different from opposition research, with Kompromat “such information is used to exert influence over people”. What Does Kompromat Look Like? The Mueller report, on Volume 2, Page 3, provides an excellent example of what Kompromat looks like: The Campaign’s response to reports about…


Reading Directly From The Mueller Report

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/10/19) What follows is a good example of the value of reading the Mueller Report. The demonstration makes use of Mueller’s Introduction to Volume II where he summarizes “out obstruction-of-justice investigation of the President”. Everyone has heard or read the following sentence from this introduction: Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. The value of reading the report is demonstrated here through learning that Attorney General William Barr lied multiple times in advance of the release of the redacted report. In four…


Russia Monitor: Political Consequences Are Not Enough. Impeachment Is Necessary

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/6/19) Dear Fellow Readers, I will begin by acknowledging my frustration with former special counsel Robert Mueller. If impeachment is a process, the hand-off of Mueller’s report to Congress has many problems. The gap between what is reported and the actions that can be taken directly from the report is huge. Trump is investigated and found to be guilty and the result of Mueller’s report is ‘exoneration’. Horrible. This gap was avoidable and must be ‘fixed’. It is worth a review of the challenges and possible remedies. Impeachment is not one ‘thing’, it’s…


Russia Monitor: From Hidden Warship To Missing Republicans, Trump World Spins On

“An advance team is hundreds of people. The fact that some 23- or 24-year-old person on the advance team went to that site and said, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s the John McCain. We all know how the president feels about the former senator. Maybe that’s not the best backdrop. Could somebody look into moving it?’ That’s not an unreasonable thing to ask.” “Seriously?” (NBC Host) Chuck Todd asked. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/3/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Acting White House Chief of Staff and Chief Sycophant Mick Mulvaney provides the perfect opening and question for how Dems will respond to…


Russia Monitor: Dept. Of Justice Yin Yang

“Trump getting impeached would ‘Make America Great Again’. — Actor Robert DeNiro ***** “…as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” — Former special counsel Robert Mueller (5/29/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/30/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump Refuses to Act In Response To Concerted Russian Attack On Our Political System As former special counsel Robert Mueller is closing down his office he demonstrated the value of people hearing his findings in his own voice. It is not much of a…


Full Text Of The Mueller Reports Executive Summaries

  Lawfare (4/18/19) Editor’s Note: Below are the executive summaries of the two volumes of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. Volume I deals with links between Russia and the Trump campaign, while Volume II deals with potential obstruction of justice by President Trump. This article is available in audio format on the Lawfare Podcast. Link to Two Summaries and 53-Minute Audio


Russia Monitor: The Stable Genius’ Crumbling Infrastructure

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/27/19) Dear Fellow Readers, A few truths! Trump is an existential threat; he’s like Voldemort through the arc of Harry Potter. He’s becoming more dangerous as we go forward. Ignore the problem at our own peril. Democrats will impeach Trump. Trump is an existential threat and either through their own deliberations or Trump’s authoritarian impulses, they’ll be forced to face their responsibility to indict and send a case to the Senate to act as the jury. Daily we see Trump adding to his own list of impeachable offenses by empowering his personal lawyer…


Russia Monitor: In The Face Of Insanity & Inanity The Nation Bumbles Forward

  “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry. — U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia ruling against Trump’s attempt to withhold financial records (5/20/19)  ***** “High Crimes and Misdemeanors… does not require corresponding statutory charges…the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.” — Rep Justin Amash (R-MI) tweet explaining legal basis for supporting impeachment (5/20/19) By…


Russia Monitor: The Growing War Within Our Walls

Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), @justinamash Tweet (5/18/)19 ***** “There are always political elements to our choices, but those should be a matter of tactics, not objectives. Those who think that impeachment, or sending a subpoena to Trump Jr., or holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt, reduces to a set of political choices confuse two different elements of decision-making.” —…


Russia Monitor: Autocratic Eroticism Leads Trump To Orbanism

“You have been great with respect to Christian communities. You have really put a block up and we appreciate that very much. [He’s] respected all over Europe. Probably like me, [he’s] a little bit controversial but that’s OK. He’s a tough man but he’s done the right thing on immigration.” — Trump to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and assembled press at the White House (5/13/19) ***** ‘Ukraine if you’re listening.’ — Rudi Giuliani’s message to Ukraine with his announced and cancelled trip. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/16/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump met autocratic Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor…


Russia Monitor: And The Judicial Mugging Goes On

“…But he is a state-of-the-art autocrat; he understands that he need not resort to the truncheon or the midnight knock at the door. His assault on civil society arrives in the guise of legalisms subverting the institutions that might challenge his authority.” — Franklin Foer, Viktor Orban’s War On Intellect By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/13/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Legal mugging. Politics with Trump in the White House, as with a global plethora of autocrats, is like a daily mugging of law and order … and us. Our checks and balances are dependent on some regard for oath of office and…


Russia Monitor: Working Hard At Becoming The ‘Self-Impeachable’ President

“The special counsel’s finding is clear. Case closed. Case closed. This ought to be good news for everyone, but my Democratic colleagues seem to be publicly working through the five stages of grief. First stage is denial.” — Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ***** ‘By early Tuesday evening, more than 720 former federal prosecutors who worked in Democratic and Republican administrations had signed a letter asserting that President Trump would have been charged with obstructing justice based on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings — if Trump were not the president.” — Matt Zapostosky for The Washington Post ***** “…10…


Russia Monitor: The Perilous Road Ahead

  “In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself astray in a dark wood where the straight road had been lost sight of.”     — Dante Alighieri By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/6/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It seems we have logged 1,000 miles to arrive back right where we started. If we don’t want Trump in the White House we’re going to have to vote him out. In 2016 Trump said he may not accept the results of the election and now as we contemplate a 2020 election House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not believe…


Russia Monitor: Attorney General Barr’s Reputation Goes Up In Smoke

  The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions. — Leaked Mueller letter to AG Barr from 3/27/19; a stunning rebuke of Barr’s biased summary to benefit Trump. ***** You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul. — Former FBI Director James Comey column for New York Times (5/1/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/2/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Today…



Russia Monitor: The Worst President EVER … And That’s No Lie!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/29/19) Dear Fellow Readers, If there was a ranking for the president who is worse than the worst president in history it would be Trump. I’m not even going to look up the number, but he is now around 10,000 lies while in office. The thing about Trump, words fail, it’s impossible to adequately describe his deviancy. Trump doesn’t just shade, misrepresent or exaggerate – he’s now in the class of Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones – full-on stories that have no bearing in fact. Here he is in Green Bay in the last…


Russia Monitor: Okay, Now That We Are Done With The Warm-Up…

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/25/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It turns out the preceding 2-3 years have been a warm up. Our latest marker in the ongoing saga, a print version of the Mueller Report published by the Washington Post is the current bestseller on Amazon. We’ll do a quick review of the Trump administration actions post Mueller’s Trump-Russia report. Has it really only been just over a week? MSNBC host Ari Melber was joined by Harvard constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe who summarized as “overwhelming evidence of an endeavor to undermine an important legal enquiry into what…


Russia Monitor: And The Curtain Rises On The Barr Cover-up

  Do You Trust Barr? Mueller’s team conducted the investigation. Mueller’s team wrote the report including summaries. Mueller’s responsibility is to report to Congress. Barr interjected to offer a non-summary summary of the Mueller report feeding a Trump claim of ‘Exoneration!’ Barr fed Trump his second talking point by claiming there was “spying”. Barr coordinated with White House lawyers while stonewalling Congress so that a Trump legal team ‘rebuttal’ will be released at the same time as Barr’s redacted version of the Mueller report. Barr will hold a press conference, possibly before anyone has read his redacted edition. Barr’s history leading…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Unapologetic & Supine Protector Does His Job, As Promised

  “They’re going to try to hide the report as much as possible,” he tells me. “They’re going to claim executive privilege, and we’ll have to challenge all that. And we’ll win eventually. We’ll get it all out.” — House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler speaking about the Mueller report. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/15/19) Dear Fellow Readers, We’ll start with a positive story of congressional effort to get us the full Mueller report as we await release; this from a Commoner Call reader: Jerry Nadler Won’t Stop Until the Full Mueller Report is Out. House Judiciary Committee chairman…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Man In The Just-Us Department Keeping The Boss Happy

  “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (4/10/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/11/19) Dear Fellow Readers, “He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump. He is the attorney general of the United States;” was the remainder of Pelosi’s statement. Our last edition opened with ‘depends on the day’ with regard to Trump’s fights against releasing the Mueller report or releasing his taxes. The answer today is ‘both’; the news is overwhelmingly about more pronouncements from Trump’s Attorney General Barr. Barr has already offered a non-summary summary, exonerating Trump while burying the lede,…