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Friday, February 16, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Feb 16, 2018

Fri Feb 16
BREAKING:  13 Russians and 3 organizations were indicted for various ways of interfering with our election:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4380504/The-Special-Counsel-s-Indictment-of-the-Internet.pdf  This is the indictment. It reads like a spy novel. It’s incredible. My RW cousin, who has bought the line that it’s all a hoax and witchunt, posted today that if this investigation is legitimate, HRC, BHO, and some FBI officials will wind up in prison. FISA-gate makes other scandals look like a parking ticket. I answered, be prepared to be surprised in days to come. They lay it all out there. It’s too long for me to do that. It’s all over MSNBC today. I wonder if some crazy new Trump scandal will slip out soon that will distract from this. Something that horrifies the left, but his base doesn’t care about.

Hardball
Matthews:  We restrict all kinds of things, pills, cigarettes, booze, we legislate voting, driving, why can’t we restrict guns? [The kid can’t buy a drink but he can buy an AR-15.] What was the FBI supposed to do with the kid? Give him a restraining order. Or we could pick them up and put them in Guantanamo.

All In
Discussion of what was in the indictment and what the Russians did. It was extraordinary. Hillary is vindicated big time. Trump said it vindicates him. In a tweet he said “No collusion.” But it doesn’t exonerate anyone. Rosenstein said it doesn’t indicate that anyone colluded or helped the Russians, and that is true, and on Hardball they felt he said that to save his job. But we all know that indictments have been issued to 4 of his surrogates, and they are flipping, so there is time for more to come.
One surprising thing is that some actually came here. They heavily pushed the “Hillary for prison” meme.
Naveed Jamali, fmr FBI agent:  There has to have been Americans involved.
Julia Ioffe, The Atlantic:  This is a shot across the bow to the Trump administration. You won’t find Putin’s fingerprints on anything. Plausible deniability is crucial. [Same with Trump.]
Harry Litman, fmr deputy asst Attorney General, DOJ: The fact that Rosenstein announced all this vindicates him and puts him above partisanship. He wears the mantel of this development. American collusion will be more challenging. These are all the guys that have been Trump’s whipping boys.
Frank Figliuzzi, fmr FBI agent:  They probably also have the names of the hackers. They may be indicted next. These are the underlying crimes. The level of detail was to show everyome a message that we’ve wrapped this up. The 3-letter agencies have had eyes on this for some time, and all agreed to declassify this.
Today Trump just walked past the reporters and waved. Answered no questions.
Rep Jerry Nadler, D-NY:  This is what we’ve known all along. Attacks are continuing. This is an attempt to destroy our democratic system of government. The president’s oath is to defend and protect the constitution. “This president is refusing to do that.” Trump is breaking the law by not imposing sanctions. Millions of dollars were spent on this, it must have had an effect. Rosenstein should be safer now. If he were fired now, it would be viewed as abetting the attack on our democracy. This is the beginning of telling America what happened, but there is more to come. They said there were co conspirators in the US.
Discussion of Scott Pruitt’s travels, huge amounts of money. Passengers in coach are not nice to him. I can imagine. I can think of what I would say to him if I saw him. One person said, “Scott Pruitt, you’re f----g up the environment.” So if he surrounds himself with rich people, he’ll be safe.
James Risen, The Intercept:  “Is Donald Trump a Traitor.” Asking if Trump is an agent of a foreign power? Russians are experts at injecting disinformation into political situations using cutouts and unwitting news organizations. They convinced people in the third world believed that the US was behind the HIV Aids virus. It was kind of the precursor to fake news.
Hayes:  The supposed documentation even led me down a rabbit hole.
Risen:  There were East German scientists involved in it, and Putin was in the KGB. He has a long history of covert action. In the piece I wrote, I was stunned by how much information was already available to show that the Russians were involved. There was a story in the Dutch press that said they were passing on information to the NSA. They even got control of the security cameras in the Russian offices and were able to match faces in the room where they were doing the hack. Another story is the spy case in Moscow where a hacker there said he hacked for the FSB and he named an officer who has been arrested there.
Hayes:  why is the central question is Trump a traitor?
Risen:  If collusion is proven, by definition he is a traitor. If you collude with an adversary to take over the government of the US, you are a traitor. The evidence we have on collusion is not as strong as Russian meddling, but pretty strong evidence of obstruction of justice, and some evidence of collusion. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of contacts.

Maddow
Rachel cancelled her day off today.
New charges are being filed against Manafort tonight. Team Mueller doesn’t leak. No one saw this coming. A man named Ricky Pinedo bought and sold bank accounts. Pleaded guilty, but his attorney said he didn’t know he was helping the Russians. He steals identities. “Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased credit card and bank account numbers from online sellers for the unlawful purpose of evading security measures at PayPal, which used account numbers t verify a user’s identity.” The Russians stole our money to attack us. So this Ricky Pinedo may be a cooperating witness now.
The Russians targeted our election process, they targeted the DNC, and they targeted us. Lots of good reporting about those latter efforts. She didn’t predict that if there would be charges against Russian citizens, it would be about that third prong of the attack. They got some really intimate quotes from Russian communications and internal documents. They have the teams and their names, work products, job descriptions, and personal emails.
The Russians did start the attack in 2014, before he announced that he would run, but you could also say that they started right after 2013 when he returned from the Miss Univese pageant.
Mueller clearly has been following the money. There is one co-conspirator mentioned who was paid to hire an actess to pretend to be Hillary in a prison uniform in a cage. Several crimes were committed. A criminal conspiracy.
The budget was more than a million dollars a month. It was run by professionals, and it was effective. We could use some protections. This was the first time that Rachel felt like someone was defending us and showing what was really going on. That was the biggest shock for her. [For a year, the GOP has done nothing against this. John McCain said that the GOP was doing the Russians work for them.]
Manafort has been negotiating a bail bond for a while. Tonight, the special counsel told Manafort that they are issuing more criminal allegations, including bank fraud. And there could be more charges beyond the allegations of tonight. Manafort wanted to put up his property as bail, but due to the falsified papers and lies, the bank is considering foreclosing on the property.
Michael McFaul, fmr US ambassador to Russia is at a conference in Germany and it’s 3:30 am there. Russia’s response is a good turn of events. They can’t go to France or Britain. Their lives have changed. And this doc criminalizes these kinds of actions. This may deter Russia from doing this in the future. This is hybrid with cut outs and ways of hiding actions. The oligarch running this is close to Putin, and there’s no way they would launch this without Putin’s green light. He was actually surprised at the scale of it and the sophistication. What is also incredible is that we discovered it all.
Video of Clint Watts, fmr FBI special agent:  In an open hearing, almost a year ago he testified in an open hearing as what might happen, and it did. Four years ago when we got started on this, it was hard to convince anyone that it was happening. The indictment is what we expected. The real surprise was the level of masking to make themselves look like Americans. They sent people to do reconnaissance here. The finances helped them track these guys. This operation came from the troll farm in St. Petersburg. That is harder to track, but purchases or wire transfers are easy to track. He thinks they have a good witness from the inside because it was very detailed.
Michael Beschloss:  This may be the biggest covert operation in our history. It may have effected who became president.

PBS Newshour
John Kelly said that he created a 5 page memo about how the WH needs to improve security issues, but there was no news about what he intended to do to fix things. He would have to fire Jared and Ivanka and Don McGahn.
VA secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff retired today because the Inspector General accused her of altering documents so that Shulkin’s wife could go on a trip to Europe free of charge. Shulkin says he will pay the wife’s air fare. But that trip was elaborate. It’s not just an air fare that should be repaid. He needs to resign as well.

Puerto Rico is looking for a $300m loan to restore their electrical grid or it will be cut off all over the island by Tuesday. Forty percent of the island is still without power. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Feb 14, 15

Weds Feb 14
Valentines Day, a day of love. But another school shooting took place and that was the news for most of the day. Fortunately, considering the times that we live in, this FL town had practiced fire drills, earthquake drills, and school shooting drills. Everyone knew exactly what to do. There were security guards at the school, and still 17 people are dead and around 15 were wounded. Naturally, it was a loner boy with an AR-15. That is the mass shooter gun of choice. This year, just halfway through Feb, there have been around 15 school shootings. The numbers vary. No one is sure exactly how many. It’s a way of life now, thanks to the GOP and the NRA. Thanks, NRA. None of this makes a dent on the GOP. The Dems scream and scream and try to make laws and the NRA rolls into town with bags full of money and nothing happens.
The news that WOULD have dominated the day without the shooting is that around 130 WH employees have been working without a permanent security clearance, including Jared, Ivanka, and Mike McGahn. This should be an outrageous scandal. It is with Dems. GOP response:  meh. I have to assume they knew. The oversight committee should have known. This should be IMPORTANT. But it won’t be. Nothing matters now. Rules, restraint, laws…patriotism…it’s like a gang of naughty teenagers were given the keys to a great factory by a bunch of lackadaisical adults who left on a luxury cruise. They told the kids, here you are, boys. It’s all yours. Do with it whatever you want. Just make sure the adults get lots of money.

Thurs Feb 15
Hardball
Videos of Trump behind the podium at his campaign rallies blasting HRC for being sloppy with classified material. He assured the crowd that if he is president, classified material will be treated with proper care.
Steve Bannon has spent around 20 hrs over two days talking to Mueller. Today he testified in the HIC, but he would only answer a list of 25 questions and would not answer any other. Adam Schiff threatened him with contempt of Congress. He will recommend this to the majority leader, and he sounded hopeful there will be a meeting of the minds on the issue. [I say fat chance.] Matthews thinks the House won’t do anything. “They’re useless.”
Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast:  Someone close to Bannon told Woodruff that he did answer all questions from Mueller. He knows a lot that is pertinent. He was close to Michael Flynn. Hiring an attorney for this kind of thing can be expensive. It can cost $20,000 to prepare for one congressional hearing. Bannon was good at overstating his power. Would Bannon rat Trump out? What the WH people are most worried about is finances.
Ashley Parker, WP:  She wrote the story about the staffer who called Kelly “a big fat liar.” He has lost the respect of staffers that he had in the beginning. When the president loses confidence in someone, he calls friends and asks them what should I do? That leaks out.
Chris Wilson, Republican Pollster:  Guns are in the culture, but the 2nd Amendment probably doesn’t cover semi-automatic weapons. Congress might ban bump stocks, but it can’t get introduced to a vote because leaders are held hostage by special interests.

All In
Second day in a row with no daily press briefing. There is a truly astonishing amount of scandals piling up. Veterans Affairs chief, David Shulkin, is under fire from the Inspector General for misleading ethics officials about an expensive, elaborate European trip (WP) and for making up and award to justify bringing his wife with him, all expenses paid. Today, he said in a hearing that the optics are not good. He wrote a check to reimburse the money. He was answered, “It’s not the optics that are not good. It’s the facts.” [This is why Walter Shaub resigned. He realized that there was no interest in ethics in this administration. Trump proved that by going around the person who was supposed to step into Shaub’s position. He chose someone with a dodgy reputation for ethics to fill the role.] Remember when Trump assured America that we were finally going to take care of our veterans?
Scott Pruitt is more controversial than Shulkin. The EPA lied about the waiver for his travel. Pruitt said he had to fly first class in the most expensive airline because people in coach aren’t nice to him. This after Tom Price lost his job for the same thing.
Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to a porn star.
NYT has been asking about the inaugural fund. A quarter of it went to an event planning group that was created in December 2016, run by a friend and adviser of Melania Trump. That woman kept over million of it.
Then there is the Russia investigation.
And the Porter scandal:  GOP have been looking the other way. But with the Porter scandal, Trey Gowdy is making inquiries. NBC News says that c. 135 were working with an interim clearance as of last November. Mike Memoli said that by now, it might be 30 or 40, but even that is a lot. But the upper echelon is comprised of about 30 individuals, and at least 10 of those were/are? operating on an interim clearance. Another group had the top secret clearance and were waiting for SCI clearance. WH officials have to fill out an additional questionnaire that deals with issues that could make a person susceptible to blackmail like foreign debt, foreign entanglements, addictions, etc. In the Obama administration, they had 200 people cleared during the transition. [Haaretz and others are reporting that Jared and Ivanka are profoundly in debt due to their 5th Ave property. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/jared-and-ivanka-kushner-are-millions-more-in-debt-1.5823983 ]
Rep Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY:  No, This is not normal. When he worked in So America, his clearance came quickly. When you let someone stay in the job who will never be cleared, it’s just incompetent. He is strongly wanting an investigation. Does McGahn have a clearance now, and if not, why not?
CNN Politics says that Rick Gates may be about to flip. He has had a “Queen for a Day” interview. What he says won’t be held against him unless he lies. If both parties are satisfied, “after they kick the tires a bit,” then they complete the plea deal. If he testifies against Manafort, that may urge Manafort to turn.
Rep Eric Swalwell, D-CA:  On Bannon, he said that on behalf of the WH, he could only answer the 25 questions yes or no. He answered all no. There are a bunch of people exerting bogus privileges, and the majority doesn’t care. It sets a really bad precedent. Bannon is represented by the same attorney that represents Don McGahn, and it’s McGahn telling Bannon not to answer questions. This is an egregious case of conflict of interest.
Sheriff Scott Israel, Broward Co, had a lot to say about gun control, but my computer turned off on me and I lost it all, so I’m not going to repeat it. He basically wants the Baker Act to be expanded so they can detain people who seem like they might do something crazy, even against their will. They would go to a 3 day detention and be examined by experts. They would allegedly get the care they need. [I disagree that this is practical. Hayes pointed out that there are millions of kids who post crazy stuff about themselves and their guns.]
In the Senate, 4 immigration proposals failed today, including the best bi-partisan chance to protect Dreamers. Lay this at the feet of Trump, his advisers, Ryan, and McConnell.
Stormy says she can talk now, since the payment is now public knowledge. And she will tell her story. [We haven’t heard much from Melania lately. Fire and Fury said their marriage was on the rocks and a divorce was planned as soon as he didn’t win the election.]

Maddow
Today the House passed a bill to gut the American Disabilities Act. Several protestors got arrested.
A year ago, a stand alone bill was passed to make it easier for people with mental illness to buy guns. This was one where there was no photo op. CBS requested 12 times for a picture of him signing that bill. There are photos of it, but the WH won’t release any of them. [Some day, when the historians write the books, those photos will come out.] It was the first materially significant piece of legislation that Trump signed. What Grassley said was that people who have mental illnesses who want guns need to get into the FBI database. A year ago Grassley was the guy leading the fight to keep those people off the FBI database. “He is personally responsible for that being harder to do today.” They are all in control of what gun laws we have.
NYT finally got some financial docs from the Trump inauguration fund. Did they release them today as a distraction? They’re not supposed to be secretive. Obama’s was done in a few months. It’s a simple thing, but not with the Trump inauguration. They have lied and stonewalled about it for a year. Rick Gates was a deputy manager of it. Most of the money is gone now. There’s just a few million left. $26m of it went to Melania’s friend’s firm that was set up to plan the inauguration.
Rick Gates is about to flip.
Where did the money come from to pay Stormy Daniels? It may break campaign laws, but Cohen said he used his own funds to facilitate the payment, and it wasn’t the Trump org or campaign funds. There could still be donors.
Ellen Weintraub, Federal Election Commission vice chairman:  Usually it’s transparent where funds come from because a check is written. Any payment to influence an election is a campaign contribution. An in kind payment does not have to go into the fund. If it saves the campaign money, it’s considered a contribution. The FEC does oversight over election money. There aren’t a lot of laws about those funds. They have to report who donates, but not where the money goes. More rules would be a good thing.

Rachel did a more elaborate report on Shulkin’s fantasy trip problems. He is so corrupt, he should resign like Tom Price did. Over $4,000 for parking? Where did they park? 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Feb 13

Tue Feb 13.
All In.
The Porter scandal totally blew up today. The WH blather through SHS was refuted by Chris Wray today who said that the WH had been informed about Porter’s problems multiple times over the last year. They were told he could not receive a clearance. Yet, the WH was thinking of promoting him to chief of staff! Wray’s testimony, along with 5 other intel chiefs, exploded all of the statements made by the WH. The most recent WH dodge was to blame lower level WH staff, but the buck stops at the deputy chief of staff, Hogan Gidley, and then chief of staff. Senior officials have been telling the Daily Beast that they haven’t seen anything like this since the Comey firing. Some of them want Kelly to go.
The FBI first gave a report to the WH in March of 2017. Again in late July. Follow up in November. The file was closed in January this year. Result: no security for this guy. WH response: let’s give him a promotion. [Then maybe when we get tired of Kelly, Porter can be chief of staff.] What about all the other staffers who have no permanent clearance. Dan Coats, DNI, said today in a House open hearing that someone with an interim clearance should be limited in what they can see. “The process is broken. It needs to be reformed.”
There was a very interesting open Senate hearing today with 6 intel chiefs there. FBI Wray, DNI Coats, NSA Mike Rogers, and CIA Pompeo answered most of the questions. DIA Lt Gen Robert Ashley and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Robert Cordillo were also present. https://www.npr.org/2018/02/13/584672450/intelligence-leaders-testify-about-global-threats-in-senate-hearing  They all affirm that Russia interfered with our 2016 election They all affirmed that they are still doing so now. Sen Angus King, I-Maine, pleaded for them to get Trump to say so because his constituents say the Trump-Russia investigation is all a witch hunt because Trump says that’s what it is.
In any normal WH there would be “oversight all over the place.” Hayes suggested that the president, who could just declare a clearance for Porter and Kushner, didn’t because that would leave a paper trail. It could be used as a cudgel.
Wray stated today that, although the IC is taking what steps they can, Trump has not asked him or others to take actions to blunt Russians actions. [Tillerson said there’s not much we can do. If they decide they’re gonna do it, they will. They will adapt and counter our efforts. So, too bad, Dems. You’re screwed, and there’s nothing you can do about it. We can stay in power for the next 40 years with Russia’s aid. Hee hee.]
Sen Amy Klobuchar, D-MN:  Invest in voting equipment. 1] Paper ballots and auditing afterwards. 2] Do something about social media ads. There is no WH plan for that. She and Kaine and Warner introduced a law about disclaimers. It’s about enforcement. Rules spelled out. 3] Cyber protection. People blocking this or ignoring it will be responsible if it happens again.
The Dems flipped another state senate seat tonight in FL.
ICE horror stories are proliferating. Immigrants can’t even report crimes.
Trump wants people on food stamps to have to receive boxes of food instead of money. What would it cost to send the box? What if people are allergic? What if the box goes missing? This comes from a FN video of a food stamp guy buying a lobster. It sounds like a proposal from Cuba or a banana republic. The plan is to strangle the food program. “Where did this come from?” Make these people as miserable as possible. Hayes:  This is DOA in Congress? Yes, but $200m in cuts proposed.
The new budget, a Fox News wet dream.

Maddow
Rachel, Rachel. You have a way of nailing their ears to the wall.
Started with Flynn resignation. He resigned a year ago today. Trump was still praising him, dismissing his actions. No other surprises in the pipeline. But oh wait, Sessions had contacts. Oh and then there’s Jared Kushner. Rachel’s wall of infamy now has 43 names on it. In the past 5 days they’ve had to squeeze around 5 more. DC is thinking that Kelly may be next. WH staffers are trashing him to various journalists. He’s “a big fat liar,” and he wants us to lie for him. Don McGahn may/should also have to resign at some point, because he has been involved in all the scandals. He seems “politically bullet proof.” The WH communications director and WH spokesperson may/should also have to go because they passed on all the false spin. [Drain the damn swamp.]
She reviewed how these people with problems are not immediately removed [Flynn, Porter, Kushner]. Also, the 6 intel chiefs made it clear that none of them have been tasked by Trump to do whatever it takes to stop more interference.
Sen Angus King was raving today that there are no repercussions for what the Russians did. Rachel reviewed a number of surrogates and their contacts. In all cases, the contacts were undisclosed, then they lied about what they discussed. In the end it was all about sanctions. The Russians were always pushing to get those sanctions lifted. Flynn, Cohen, Prince, Page, Manafort, etc. The Russians finally got what they wanted in all those secret meetings. No sanctions. Not needed. The threat is sufficient. Russia has backed off and they’re being good now.
Then there’s the list of Russian oligarchs connected to Putin. It was put together by Russia experts. It took into consideration their wealth and their relationship to Putin and any indication of corruption. There are credible reports that such a list existed as required by the sanctions law. When the deadline came, that list disappeared and the US Treasury put out a list of rich Russians copied from a Forbes list, plus a directory of people who worked in the Kremlin. Russia was “shaking in their boots about that list.”
Rachel asked the same question about Rachel Brand that I asked. Why did the Walmart offer come along now? Coincidence? She was afraid that if Rosenstein were fired or if he had to recuse himself as a witness in the Mueller investigation, she may have to take over the Russia investigation. She didn’t want to be in the middle of the firestorm. Plus, 30% of figurehead positions are unfulfilled. It’s tough to do your job that way. She served under Bush and Obama, so she is leaving a long career.
NYT:  Michael Cohen says today that he paid $135,000 out of his own pocket to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet. He was not reimbursed. It was not a campaign contribution or other unlawful use of funds.
Here is a repeat of a dream I had last June 9th.
Took a nap and just before I woke up, I had a snap vision-like dream of Trump standing there with a challenger before him. Trump was slightly above the other as if he were standing on a low platform. I heard the word “cuckoo” and the challenger was there to cause him to “stand or flee.” The cuckoo is a predator bird that lays its egg in another’s nest. The smaller bird tries to feed it after hatching, but the bigger baby pushes the little ones out of the nest. The adult keeps trying to feed the cuckoo baby at the expense of her own offspring. Trump is the cuckoo who has laid a Russian egg in a democratic nest. The little birds, the American middle class and the poor will be tossed out of the zone of prosperity. Russia, Saudi Arabia, US corporations, the Trump family, and the elite libertarian billionaires will prosper under Trump. The GOP is trying to feed the cuckoo’s hatchling. They will only hurt themselves and be dupes in the process. Comey may be the challenger. Mueller may follow him up when Comey’s job is done, which it may be now.
In that dream I heard two words, one was “cuckoo,” and the other was “stand or flee.” I thought at the time that it was the challenger talking to Trump. But it may be coming from the Trump administration to the challenger. A whole host of possible challengers, some potential witnesses in Mueller’s investigation, have gone, as reported in other posts. There are two left, Rosenstein and Mueller. Hang in there, Rosie. God help you. The GOP is still feeding the cuckoo bird, but in the end, they’ll regret it. What will exit that nest is not what they are expecting. As rotten as they are, what is growing there is far worse than any of them.

Last Word.

O’Donnell reminded us that the same kind of third party payment to keep a scandal quiet brought Dem candidate John Edwards down. That creep came within a hair of being our VP.

Monday, February 12, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Feb 12

Sun Feb 11
All weekend, MSNBC has been ranting about Trump’s tweets defending the men and suggesting that the women are all liars. “He said he was innocent. He denied it. And by the way, he totally denied it.” Trump has defended a slew of men accused of abusive behavior. He really has no sense of empathy for women, blacks, or immigrants. In Gorka’s words, this is not the reign of the man in pajamas. It’s the time of the alpha male. Just the kind of thing you want to hear from the Oval Office. That is not so surprising. We knew that about them. And as for Nunes, we never did think Trump would release the Dem memo. If they do, they’ll try to “redact” what is damaging to their cause. As for Pence, he has supported this corrupt president and all the rotten WH shenanigans with nary a word. His motto for everything is, I didn’t know about that. I’m shocked to find out. We know he’s a liar and a hypocrite. The shocker for me is the GOP. Devin Nunes, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the whole Congress. They stand around and watch this dumpster fire burn. We have a despot wannabe, a crime boss, a lying, incompetent, corrupt president who can’t read a 10 page memo, who is loyal to Putin, and no one says a word. GOP, you have sold your soul. Come November, many of you will retire, cash out, take your money and run. Shame on you. You are all a disgrace!

Mon Feb 12
All In
MSNBC keeps saying that Trump is under increasing fire because of his defense of men accused of abuse. I ask, fire from who? MSNBC, yes. But the Right? Nothing Trump does causes them pause. Trump’s surrogates, SHS and others, say that the president takes domestic abuse seriously, but Trump hasn’t said it himself.
Hayes:  “Punishment is for other people,” but his team can do no wrong and if they do, that’s OK. No explanation about Porter’s lack of clearance.
Jill Wine-Banks:  She used to have a clearance that she can’t even name because it’s a code word level. Steve Schmidt also used to have one. They know how important it is. Anyone who can’t pass that background check should not be seeing our secrets. “It is an abomination.”
Jill:  Porter got “due process.” There was evidence, a police report, and an investigation by the FBI.
Video of Kelly calling Sen Frederica Wilson “an empty barrel.” He is a 4 star general.
Wilson:  Why would he surrender his great career for a president who will throw anyone under the bus?
Discussion of the memos. Where is your committee at right now?
Rep Joaquin Castro, HIC:  Stonewalling.
Hayes:  D Nunes may have opened himself and staff to obstruction of justice.
Caroline Fredrickson:  President, American Constitution Society agrees, especially if the WH helped coordinate the Nunes memo.
Do you worry about a downward spiral of criminalization of the administration?
Fredrickson:  The FBI investigation is where our worries should be. It is being obstructed.
The head of rail safety, Heath Hall, acting chief of the Federal Railroad Administration, was in charge of a $1.7m. Last year was the worst year in history. Multiple crashes and deaths. While running the agency, he was also running a PR company in Mississippi which is representing a county sheriff’s organization. Hall has resigned.
ICE horror stories have proliferated. One is that a man who came here at age 1 ½. His wife is pregnant and they have 5 other kids. The 5 year old has cancer. That man was going to be deported, but push back has allowed him to stay for now. Trumpistan is using terror tactics, raids into schools, courts, hospitals, cruel actions, retaliation against immigration activists.
Cecillia Wang deputy legal dir ACLU:  They want to put in Joe Arpaio kind of actions. It leads to profiling.
Scott Pruitt, head of EPA, is getting to be known for frequent and first class travel. He is draining EPA funds with body guards, the SCIF, and his fancy travel.
Maddow
How does the National Security Adviser help the president when that person knows how they got to the WH? The Obama administration and the IC put the sanctions in place without letting the incoming Trump administration know. Kislyak was summoned to the State Dept. He was enraged. Tit for tat is what is expected. But Russia mysteriously made no retaliation. It turns out that the IC was listening in when Kislyak called Mike Flynn. In that call, Flynn told him to not worry. Don’t react.
Susan Rice was the NS Adviser, and she was supposed to be helping the transition. What does she tell Mike Flynn when she knows what she knows? By Jan 2, 2017, the transcripts were out about what Flynn and Kislyak talked about. On Jan 3 there was an intelligence briefing for Trump. He was still attacking the IC and saying Russia didn’t do anything wrong. Calling it a witch hunt. On Jan 5th Comey, Brennan, Clapper briefed Obama and a small group of top WH advisers about the classified report of Russian interference. So WH officials at that time knew about the Flynn-Kislyak calls. There was an actual investigation of Flynn. Right after that briefing, Susan Rice sent an email saying that Obama, Comey, Yates, Rice, and Biden all met in the Oval Office for a follow on meeting. Obama wanted to proceed “by the book.” But he also wanted to be careful about sharing information. He wanted Comey to let them know if anything should change how they share incoming information with the new team.
Rice wrote a memo to herself about all that, and the memo was recently declassified and was reported today. Well, Grassley and Graham for some reason think this is a gotcha. They are initiating an investigation of Rice and the memo. “It strikes us as odd that you would write such an unusual email to yourself.” Obama warned Trump about 2 things: North Korea and Mike Flynn. The Obama team did decide to withhold some information about Russia from Flynn. On inauguration day, Rice hit send to memorialize the proceedings for posterity. It shows that Obama decided to not interfere in a political way.
Journalists are reporting that multiple WH staff are buttonholing them to say anonymously that Kelly asked them to lie about his knowledge of Porter’s situation. In just their first year in office there are major intelligence scandals.
Eight times in a row, we heard about communications between Russia and Trump from the Russian media. When Lavrov was here, it wasn’t even on his schedule. Sometimes even Trump’s staff doesn’t know about it. They learn from our news who got it from Russian news. Today was the 8th. [The GOP acts like NONE of this is happening. Their leaders are nuts!]
No US official has admitted to meeting with the GRU guy from Russia when he was here. What was he doing here? How long did he stay? The FSB guy is sanctioned. Who let him in? Dems asked Dan Coats, but no answer yet. Tomorrow senators will get to ask Coats and Pompeo in open session.
Mike McFaul, fmr ambassador to Russia:  Officials meet with their counterparts all the time. What’s unusual is that all 3 came together and we know nothing of their agenda. The gru were the guys who stole the data from the DNC, so it deserves an explanation. It makes no sense to me. My job was to set up phone calls and set up readouts. I won’t know who is at fault there, but it makes us look silly. I don’t think it serves our own interests. When I was at the WH, we wanted to be out front to frame the content of these calls.
The guy who was chief of the census is leaving. He was known for a book called Redistricting and Representations: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America. Of course, the census is used for redistricting every 10 years. The man was not a statistician and really had no expertise in running a census. She also talked about Heath Hall. Just since December, there have been 4 fatal Amtrak crashes, including one that was carrying all the members of Congress to a retreat. Apparently, the Dems have been blocking confirmation of Trump’s nominee for permanent chief. Hall is a PR guy. He has had no RR experience. Once he got in, he was supposed to drop his other job. He’s been working that job the whole time. His clients in Mississippi call the RR agency trying to get ahold of him. “Only the best people.”

Last Word.

O’Donnell began by shredding Hope Hicks, who had an affair with Lewandowski, who was married, before her relationship with Porter. She and Lewandowski had a fight on the streets of NY that was caught and reported by the press. But the WH says she is too strong become a victim of violence. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Feb 9

Fri Feb 9
Tweet bonus from Seth Abrahamson, 2-8-2018:  a long tweet full of the Russia connections.
2/ Here are the names to know: Trump, Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Gates, Sessions, Page, Papadopoulos, Clovis, Lewandowski, Hicks, Flynn, Prince, Cohen, Sater, Phares, Gordon, and Bannon. That's 18 names—but most played a relatively small role in the narrative. I'll show you.
3/ J.D. Gordon made some trips to Hungary—the HQ of Russian intelligence in Europe—that people find suspicious, and may have been present for some Sessions-Kislyak meetings, but mostly his role was being ordered by Trump to change the RNC platform to benefit Putin and doing it.
4/ Corey Lewandowski was, by his own admission, "functionally not in control" of the Trump campaign beginning April 7, though he was nominally campaign manager until May 19. His role was doing nothing to stop—and possibly encouraging—key Trump-Russia (Page/Papadopoulos) contacts.
5/ Sam Clovis, National Co-Chair of Trump's campaign, didn't—much like Lewandowski and Gordon—have consequential Russia meetings. But he hired Page and Papadopous and, like Lewandowski, did nothing to stop (and rather more to encourage) Trump-Russia (Page/Papadopolous) contacts.
6/ You may be noticing a pattern so far: major figures in the Trump-Russia coordination narrative whose primary role was to do one of three things: (1) bring more important players into the campaign; (2) follow the orders of more important players; or (3) encourage others to act.
7/ As far as we know, Rick Gates' role was primarily to plot with Manafort—as his deputy—and oversee key Trump-Russia operations like the RNC platform shift. It's not clear he had any major Russia meetings, though like Manafort he may have stood to gain financially from contacts.
Well, you get the idea. This thread went on to #101 before it concluded. If you’ve been following my posts, you have most of what he reported in his post. Think about it, though. Eighteen names. And those are the Russia conspiracy connected names, not the white nationalists from Breitbart.

All In
Trump praised Rob Porter as he went out the door. He reminded everyone that Porter said he was innocent. There was no comment condemning domestic abuse, no sympathy for the women. Porter punched and kicked them and terrorized them. It upended their lives. “I was a shell of a person, and a muted version of the woman I was before I met Rob.” Kelly said he found out last Tuesday night. WP said that Kelly told his staff to tell the Post that he took action to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning that the abuse allegations were credible. But it didn’t take long for staff to begin leaking that Kelly’s account was false, which is already obvious from the public record. Don McGahn and Kelly have known all this for months. McGahn knew a year ago. Politico reports that Kelly was told several weeks ago that the FBI would recommend denying full security clearances to multiple WH aides…including Porter. WP reports that at that staff meeting, Kelly told the staff to tell people that he does care about domestic abuse. Shortly thereafter, another WH aide resigned amid reports of domestic abuse.
Asawin Suebsaeng, Daily Beast:  Trump has been asking staff if there is any way to demonstrate that these women could be lying. It was the same play book with Roy Moore, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Mike Tyson. There’s nothing surprising about any of this. We didn’t find in our reporting that Trump really believes the men, but he is looking for ways to cast doubt on the allegations.
WaPo reports that the president’s speech writer is resigning over allegations of domestic abuse. All we know so far is that this position does not require a clearance. We are waiting for another shoe to drop on this.
Hayes:  Kelly and Trump have really shown who they are. Kelly defended a marine colonel in the past who was accused of domestic violence.
Michelle Goldberg, NYT:  Bannon also had allegations against him that were dismissed when his wife didn’t show up for court. Trump nicknamed Bannon Bam Bam. Didn’t take it seriously. Trump’s first nominee for Labor Sec Pudzer’s wife was on Oprah talking about abuse.
Donna Edwards, fmr Exec Dir Network to End Domestic Violence, fmr Congresswoman, D-MD:  Not surprised, but she is shocked that McGahn and Kelly sat on this info and let this guy work in the WH. I thought Kelly should have resigned last week when he disparaged Dreamers. Will he go? No.
Goldberg:  Any woman who has ever been abused knows exactly who these men are, and they recognize the gaslighting, the constant lying right to your face. They destabilize you by denying reality.
Rachel Brand, #3 at DOJ, is resigning to take a private sector job. Harry Litman, fmr Deputy Asst Attorney General, who knows Brand, doesn’t buy the Walmart General Counsel offer. He said it was miserable to work there, even outside the office. She is tired of defending Trump, and wants out before she gets embroiled in the political controversies. She was an anchor for those who want a traditional DOJ.
Matt Miller:  If Rosenstein ever takes himself out of the lineup, an acting Attorney General could be put in there. It could be anyone. It could be Scott Pruitt due to the Vacancy Act. That could threaten the Mueller position.
McGahn had 4 different opportunities over a year to act on Porter’s situation, but he was Harvard educated and seemed to bring a professional presence to the WH, so he ignored it all. There are dozens (30-40) of WH employees who are awaiting full security clearances. Staff has explained as sources that they felt they could not take action with other staff because they did not do so with Jared Kushner.
Trump is blocking the Dem memo from release. McGahn said it was because there were parts that were sensitive and classified. The DOJ and FBI have already approved the Dem memo.
Ned Price:  Trump has weaponized intelligence. It’s a partisan political cudgel. The House has come to a standstill. This shows that the oversight committees are not doing their jobs. In the future, analysts will be loathe to share what they uncover in investigations.
The reason that Trump defended Mike Tyson because he needed him to fight to keep his casino going. Video of Trump defending Roy Moore. He also dismissed the allegations of a reporter who was grabbed so violently by Corey Lewandowski that she had bruises.
Speech writer David Sorenson resigned tonight because WP began to report about what his wife said about abuse last Thursday.

Maddow
CNN Politics:  “White House deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll, who has served in that role for nearly three monts, is expected to leave the White House to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy.”
Also, NBC says that John Kelly has offered his resignation. Kelly denied that to Kelly O’Donnell of NBC tonight, but others have said that he did. Someone in the WH is trying hard to push Kelly out.
The Portland Press Herald reported that David Sorenson was known “as an aggressive and sometimes combative political operative.” He was married for 2.5 years. He allegedly ran a car over his ex-wife’s foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall, etc. etc. She also said that she described all this to the FBI.
Discussion of McGahn’s letter saying the WH will block the release of the Dem memo. And Nunes still wants to build a wall between the Dem aides and the GOP aides.
Rachel:  This memo is really important because the most important news tonight is Rachel Brand stepping down. Rachel showed the pictures of more people at the FBI that are leaving, names that haven’t turned up before tonight. That doesn’t say much for the leadership of Wray and Sessions. But that’s what Sessions wanted…to clean house. Brand was a Trump appointee. She has had a distinguished career, but her present job was a promotion. But there she is the trap door because of the Mueller investigation. Mueller needs permission from the Justice Dept to do anything important.
Sean Hannity of Fox News has been calling for Rosenstein to resign. Rachel and WP are of the opinion that Rosenstein is the real target of the Nunes memo. They want an excuse to fire him. Oddly, Rosenstein had very little to do with the FISA warrant. But Fox is hyping the memo over the moon. There is no indication that Trump has even read the Dem memo. They say that memos to the prez have to be one page long and/or have bullet points, and no more than 9 bullets to a page. If Rosenstein is fired and Rachel Brand is gone, the next person to step up would be Noel Francisco, who is presently US Solicitor General. He was a Trump nominee, and all but one Democrat voted against him. He argued against Obamacare in front of the Supreme Court.
Ben Wittes:  [one of my heroes] Brand told him tonight that she was not forced out, and is not resigning in protest. She got an offer from Walmart that she couldn’t pass up. However, the hollowing out of senior leadership of the Justice Dept is just very unusual and politically important. This is a dangerous moment in the senior ranks of leadership. Rachel’s list of the departed is sobering. He’s happy that Brand won’t be there when the apocalypse hits, but he would feel better for us that she would be there. Rachel M still thinks that Brand “saw the hordes coming, let down the drawbridge, and took off.”

Rep Him Hines, D-CT, House Intell Committee:  We never expected to see the Dem memo. This is just the continuation to erode confidence in the FBI. The Dem memo would show how sloppy the Nunes memo was, but the Nunes memo creates doubt and uncertainty in the minds in those that watch conservative media. If that was the objective, it probably succeeded. Brand is an expert on 702 surveillance. However, why would anyone want to stay in that position under the circumstances when you could make 4 times the amount elsewhere? [Did someone in the WH ask Walmart to offer her that position to get her out of there?] 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Feb 8

Thurs Feb 8
All In
Jennifer Willoughby, ex-wife of Rob Porter, on video saying the the FBI interviewed her in back ground check for Porter’s security clearance. Most of the facts are already reported here. The fall out is that some are calling for John Kelly’s resignation. Even after the photos came out, Kelly stood by his early support, so his last statement just doesn’t ring true. This kind of scandal can lead to someone with access to sensitive information being blackmailed. SHS was not the press secretary this time. No explanation of why the change.
Chris Lu, fmr WH Cabinet Secretary: said that to work 13 months with an interim clearance is unusual. Jared K has worked the same way and calls for an explanation go unanswered. You have to ask, does this person know the difference between right and wrong. Do they have moral character? All info that goes to the president goes through the gate keeper.
Sen Mazie Hirono, D-HI:  She has made requests about these clearances and calling for a suspension until questions can be cleared up. Ultimately the buck stops with Trump. If Kelly goes, who will replace him? Someone like him. They need to care about the stability and character of the individual, the moral turpitude. Someone who could be blackmailed should not be working in the WH. She has served on the Intell Committee.
Don McGahn also knew all this, because a friend of his former girlfriend knew about the abuse. Do you trust McGahn?
She has had perfectly professional conversations with McGahn, but there is an atmosphere that permeates the whole WH that makes it dysfunctional.
Kelly doubled down on his lazy DACA statement later in the day.
Joy Reid:  The idea that Kelly is the grown up in the room is a myth. He agrees with Trump on all kinds of things and has made many rude and shocking statements.
Barbara Boxer:  the FBI turns over every rock. They must have seen the photos, so it’s shocking that he would be vetted and pass for that important position so close to the president. It’s stunning. We clung to the hope that someone could bring some sense of morality to the WH, but instead we see chaos.
Joy:  Porter was dating Hope Hicks. Trump has 19 allegations against. We shouldn’t be shocked at anything Kelly said.
Boxer:  Kelly’s statements about women being revered, this is the height of hypocrisy.
Joy:  He certainly didn’t treat Frederica Wilson with respect. This is John Kelly, let’s just accept that. [The west wing is a nest of hornets.]
A stinging analysis of the GOP tactics about budget and shutdowns through the Obama years. Hypocrisy. After 8 years of sob stories about Obama’s stimulus package and the evil deficit, the GOP is increasing the debt ceiling and explode the national debt. They voted today for an $800b into a healthy economy, because this time around, they can control where it goes. At midnight tonight the government shuts down again. The budget doesn’t protect DACA recipients, so Pelosi is voting no on it, and so is Rep Luis Gutierrez. There is billions of dollars in this budget for Puerto Rico, [where he’s from] but they are voting against it because of the lack of DACA protection. Other than that, there’s a lot to like in this budget. Anyone voting for this bill is voting for the deportations of Dreamers, because now there is no more leverage. It’s going to be brutal for Dems to vote against the bill.
Reaction pours in about Trump’s military parade. Even the GOPers don’t like it. Anthony Scaramucci deplores it. Fox News:  Waste of money. Military:  “Collective eyeroll.” Parades all around the world, New York and Seattle have mocked Trump. One had a huge effigy of Trump with his pants down and butt sticking out. Parade watchers could run up and kick it.
Omarosa is now on a reality TV show called Big Brother. She says she is haunted by his tweets, and we should be worried. The situation in the WH is bad, and it’s not going to be OK. Raj Shah had an answer ready, blowing the comments off and dismissing her as unimportant with limited access to the president.
Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, authors, How Democracies Die:  Congress is working as a lapdog for the president. Trump administration goes after intelligence agencies and courts to neutralize their ability to restrain the rulers. Then they use them as shields, then use them as weapons against their opponents. Trump wants to “capture the referees,” to captures them to bring them to his side. Democracies don’t die through military coups. Once in office, the leader goes after democratic institutions. For instance, Victor Orban in Hungary, once he came into power, he quickly imposed a retirement age of judges so he could stack the courts with his allies. It happened in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez, Erdogan in Turkey. When the chief prosecutor got too close to Erdogan’s family, he was fired. Thousands of prosecutors have been fired since then, this is pattern that we’ve seen. In autocratic countries, these things take place in secret, so it’s good that we can have debates about all this is a good sign, but don’t take democracy for granted. It takes both parties agreeing to use the rules for restraint. But now politicians are thinking that the goal is to win, come what may. Ignore the rules if necessary.
What can we do to protect against the danger?
When a leader with authoritarian tendencies arises, those around him/her need to resist the spiral into authoritarianism.

Maddow
Opened talking about the Dow Jones. “A violent sneezing fit.” “Volatility.”
Shutdown will happen at midnight. Rand Paul is using Senate rules to call for an amendment that he knows will fail. But at 3 am when his ability to delay runs out, everyone will vote and open the government again. One dude will shut down the government because he wants to and he can.
The turnover in the WH shows that they don’t vet people for top jobs. If they have some connection with them, they stick them into a position. They don’t care about conflict of interest, or lack of expertise, or former corruption problems. “It’s a cause of embarrassment and scandal whey they flame out publicly because they never should have been there in the first place.” Some of their nominees don’t make it through the confirmation hearings because they haven’t been vetted. In this WH, it’s wasteful and dangerous.
Photo op of Trump at his desk with men behind him. Lots of paper on the desk. The photo shows a bag with a key in it. It carries highly classified material. The CEO of Intel is standing right next to the locked bag. You have to hope that all the papers on Trump’s desk came from somewhere other than that locked bag. You’re not supposed to leave the key in the lock. Sen Mark Heinrick tried to inform them what they did wrong. Mike Flynn was working for the WH then. At Mar-a-Lago, Trump had an important meeting about national security issues at a dinner table, surrounded by anonymous guests at his resort. People gathered around with their cell phones shining lights on the papers on the tables so Trump and the Japanese premiere could see. During the campaign Trump promised that he wouldn’t seek sec clearances for his children, but he did seek one for Jared and Jared has had to change his application numerous times. Trump has disregarded the FBI unwillingness to give him a clearance. He lets him stay in the daily briefings anyway.
What Rachel can’t get is the Rob Porter thing. For his position, he should have a top secret, sensitive, compartmented clearance. Trump WH didn’t care at all. A friend of the Porters who actually works at the WH, went to Don McGahn to discuss the problem with Rob Porter and confirm that he did abuse his wives. This woman has not been named yet. This is a security story about how Donald Trump is running this government. Being in a lot of debt can hold you back. It doesn’t mean you are a criminal.
Rachel is suggesting that McGahn and Kelly sat on the info about Porter. Tonight the WH is saying that Trump didn’t know about the problems with Porter and his clearance. So who cleared him to see what he had access to? If Trump didn’t know, someone else cleared him. Did Trump not know that Porter had no clearance.
Rep Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY, fmr Staff Secretary to President Clinton:  Everyday there is a ton of classified material on the president’s desk, and there’s a burn bag under the desk. The chief of the NSA and DCI don’t give documents directly to the president. They give it to the Secretary. The notion that you would do this job without a security clearance is crazy. Ordinarily getting a security clearance is very exhaustive. They check everything. If the president didn’t do this, there is no one else that has that authority. There’s going to be an FBI investigative report about his. There were police reports about this guy beating both his wives. They knew he couldn’t get a security clearance. “What the hell is going on?” What does that say about the value system of this WH? He is blackmailable. I’d like to see what he said to the FBI.
The biggest employer in the world is the Chinese army. #2 is Walmart. #1 is the DOD. AP reports that they say that a lot of people have clearances that shouldn’t have. Lots of them get revoked. Rapists and felons have gotten them. Dems have been asking about the process. Today, Rep Elijah Cummings asked again, specifying Rob Porter. He complained about lack of response in former requests.

Rep Gerry Connolly, D-VA, Oversight Committee:  One of his biggest concern is a “conspiracy between the Republicans in the House, especially in our committee, and the WH to make sure that nothing is investigated, nothing is pursued, no subpoenas are issued. Now we’re now chaired by Trey Gowdy who was the Torquamada of Benghazi. His hand got tired from writing subpoenas. He got documents, millions of pages of documents.” They also spent millions of dollars investigating and it got nowhere. “We found nothing.” We wrote the WH about security clearances being granted to people in the WH. We got nothing. They didn’t care. He wants to call in Hope Hicks, McGahn, Kelly, and Porter to testify. [We all know it won’t happen.] 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Feb 7

Wed Feb 7
Maddow
Rob Porter, Trump’s staff secretary, had to resign today due to reporting of allegations from two former wives of abuse. One said that he punched her and choked her. There was a photo of a black eye that she said he gave her. She told the FBI that he could be vulnerable to blackmail due to the number of people aware of his abusive behavior. The other wife said she walked “on eggshells during their marriage because of his explosive anger.” He was denied a security clearance last fall because of the charges. Kelly has known about these allegations since early fall, but still had nothing but praise for Porter. And of course, in spite of police reports in the past, Porter denied all very vehemently. Today, Gabe Sherman of Vanity Fair reported that other staffers are “deeply frustrated” with Kelly’s judgment in this situation. He told Porter to stay and fight. A new statement arrived at TRMS from Kelly. He said he is shocked by the new allegations against Porter and has and accepted his resignation. “There is no place for domestic violence in our society.” [I’m shocked, too, that Kelly would say something like that. Did his own wife, Karen, to whom he has been married since 1976, call him up and read him the riot act? Just speculating here. What must she think of things he has done and said under Trumpet?]
Gregory Korte, USA Today:  Porter had an important job at the WH. Porter couldn’t get a permanent security clearance, but ultimately a clearance is at the discretion of the president.
Steve Bannon was also charged with domestic violence in 2016. There was a police report. The police said they saw evidence that what she claimed was true. When it came to the trial, she did not show up for court, so he was allowed to walk away. She later explained that they told her to leave town so she couldn’t be subpoenaed, but if she did go to court, Bannon and the attorney would make sure that she came out the guilty one. They are divorced now, of course. This all came out a week after he became the CEO of the Trump campaign. There were no repercussions of it.
Trump’s ex-wife Ivana also made accusations that he made her feel violated during sex. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, defended him in court. When the Daily Beast reported on that in July, 2015, Cohen came after the reporter with a killer rant that I’ve reported on earlier in this blog, but again, “‘I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,’ Cohen said. ‘I’m going to mess your life up for as long as you are on this frickin planet. I’m warning you, tread very f-ing lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f-ing disgusting. You understand me?’”
[This is the Trump WH. They are all like that in one way or another. Up to his WH days, Kelly had projected an image of honor, professionalism, and discipline, but that is in tatters.]
Next Tuesday, the Annual “World Wide Threat” hearing will be held. Witnesses include Wray, Pompeo, Mike Rogers, Dan Coats, Robert Ashley, and Robert Cardillo, all intelligence chiefs. Will they testify about the meeting with the Russian spy chiefs? A couple of days after the meeting, it was announced that we would not be imposing the sanctions. Not needed anymore.

Last Word
Reminded us that for most of today, Kelly tried to keep Porter from resigning. Rachel talked about Kushner and Porter working all year without permanent security clearances, “This brings together a lot of things about this WH, and I find it to be a very dark and disturbing story.” Lawrence O’Donnell agreed. He also said that originally today the WH said that Porter would leave at some future undisclosed time, but finally they said that tomorrow would be his last day. O’Donnell went into even more grim detail of Porter’s abuse. I won’t go into them all here, but it shows that his slick, professional persona is a sham. Beneath, he fits right in with this crew in Trumplandia.
They reminded us that Rob Porter’s girlfriend, Hope Hicks, helped to write Porter’s response in which he refutes the allegations. John Heilman reminded us that none of this will not play well with women in 2018 and 2020.

Three of Rick Gate’s attorneys have resigned, citing “irreconcilable differences.” To continue representing this client would be impossible. Their reasons are sealed because disclosure would be prejudicial to the defendant, and embarrassing. Jill Wine-Banks said that one reason attorneys withdraw is that the client hasn’t paid them. It’s possible that they feared that Gates was going to perjure himself. She is speechless to hear of it.