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Friday, January 5, 2018

MSNBC Journal, Dec 7

Dec 7
Still on the road, listening to MSNBC when we can.
Al Franken resigned, noting in his speech the irony that he is resigning while Trump is president and Moore is supported by his party, including the RNC. Franken says that some of the allegations just aren’t true. [Not sure why, but I am inclined to believe him.] Two Republican congressmen are also resigning for the same reason.
Mueller is getting too close to the truth, and it’s stalking Jared, Junior, and Trump himself. So the GOP propaganda machine has turned on Mueller and his whole team with serious slanders and smears. Some say the whole team should be replaced. Others say the investigation should be shut down. FN says it the worst corruption ever. [It is the worst ever, but not from Team Mueller. The GOP has become a sewer.]
Jared assured investigators and journalists that after the June 9 meeting with Russians, there was no follow-up because there was nothing to follow up. It was a boring meeting. But according to various news outlets, Rob Goldstone, the British music publicist who helped arrange the meeting, sent a flurry of emails to Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media director, suggesting that they set up an account on VK, a Russian social media site. It would be a way for Russians and Americans to connect. He said that Don and Paul like the idea, but he did not send this message to Don Jr and the site was never set up. CNN reported, In one email dated June 14, 2016, Goldstone forwarded a CNN story on Russia’s hacking of DNC emails to his client, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, and Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who attended the meeting along with Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Manafort, describing the news as ‘eerily weird’ given what they had discussed at Trump Tower five days earlier.”
Sarah H Sanders’ answer to reporters about why allegations about Trump are ignored whereas those against Al Franken are a scandal:  Trump has not admitted any wrong doing and Al has. So Al is guilty and Trump is not. [There ya go. From the podium of the press secretary of the president of the US. This is what we’ve come to. GOP response…meh]
Erik Prince’s proposal about a private intelligence force that would root out the “deep state” and not be answerable to the regular US intelligence community is a really horrid idea. It most certainly would be used to root out political opposition in the same way that Putin pursues his activist opposition. It would take Trump another step toward full dictatorship.
Ryan Zinke has recommended that Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Escalante, UT be reduced. Trump has ordered that it be done. Bears Ears will be reduced 80%. Grand Staircase will be cut by 50%. This is the first time in history that a president has reduced protected federal land. Some Utah ranchers will be happy because, although they can already graze their cattle in the region, they see federal land as a land grab. They would rather that a coal company grab the land and cut the hikers and campers out of access.
The biggest news of the day:  Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel was over the moon with joy. All my conservative Christian friends and contacts are delirious with joy. None of them are thinking for a minute what this means to the Palestinians.
Trump also declared today as a day of remembrance of the Pearl Harbor invasion. [I wish I could rejoice in all this, but I think he is throwing red meat to his base to detract from the Mueller investigation. He wants their support when he accuses the special prosecutors of being biased and corrupt. FBI Dir Chris Wray was on the hot seat today answering hostile questions from GOP congressmen about the FBI. He denied that they were “in tatters” due to the resignation of Strzok.
A day or two ago, Rachel did a little blurb on Rick Perry, who is now in charge of the Dept of Energy, the agency that protects our nuclear weapons. She showed clips of him making serious gaffs on video. In one he was at a podium that had New Orleans writ large across it, but he talked about how he was in Florida. Someone had to shout Louisiana! Another was during the presidential debates where he tried to name 3 agencies that he felt could be done away with. He named two, and tried several times to recall the third. It was the DOE. So Trump put a man in charge of the DOE that had no idea what it did, no expertise in the field, and obviously isn’t very smart. [Why would he do that? To weaken the US, to please Putin, to please his libertarian donors who hate government and regulations, and/or to carry out the Bannon mandate to “dismantle the administrative state”?]
California is burning. In December. It’s a hurricane of fire all over the LA region and northern San Diego County.

Maddow
Devin Nunes has been investigated by the Ethics Committee regarding his claims that caused him to recuse himself from the Russian investigation. He is now in the clear and he can put himself back in charge of the Russia investigation. The fact is, he is pro-Trump and he will probably kill the investigation.
Rachel mentioned Trump’s slurring. Trump is going to get a physical in early ‘18. He attacked Hillary mercilessly when she got pneumonia. He will see a doc at Walter Reed and they say they’ll make it public.
The Bell, a Russian news outlet, wrote in Russian, “How America Learned about ‘Russian Hackers.’” Richard Engle went to Russia this summer to interview some of these people. Engel was warned on camera by the attorney he was interviewing that his questions could put him (the attorney) in danger in Russia. The attorney said asking too many questions could endanger even Engel.
A high ranking FSB officer was arrested a year ago. He told us about Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear the hackers. Cozy Bear worked for the Information Security Dept of the FSB. A Russian newspaper reported that in early Dec 2016, during a staff meeting, Col Sergei Mikhailov, the Deputy Chief of the cyber security dept of the FSB was grabbed, a bag was put over his head, he was dragged away, and hasn’t been seen since. His deputy chief was arrested as well as a senior official from Kaspersky Labs. All were charged with treason. Russian news outlets were allowed to take a peek into the story in January. The bag over his head was because Mikhailov had a black belt in karate and they feared he might resist.
NYT: “Russians Charged With Treason Worked in Office Linked to Election Hacking.” Two US officials say that human sources in Russia played a crucial role in proving to US investigators who was responsible for the DNC hacking. The men arrested were the Russian sources. [If you believe in prayer, pray for them.]
IF this is true, why is Russia letting this out now? [And why was Veselnitskaya allowed to admit that Junior actively solicited negative information about HRC emails?]
The WSJ called for Mueller to step down because he is too conflicted. [Unreal.] Reps Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe all tore into Mueller in a hearing about the credibility of the FBI.
Natasha Bertrand says that Nunes spoke with Erik Prince before Prince testified before the committee about the meeting he had in the Seychelles with a Russian official. So Nunes hasn’t been honoring his recusal. The House Intel Committee is very divided. Voluntary interviews are not a good thing because the witness can leave any time. But Nunes won’t allow subpoenas. The GOPers don’t push when the witness doesn’t want to answer questions.

The GOP made a decision to release the transcripts of Carter Page and Erik Prince’s testimony, but not that of others. The Dems have no say in it. In August Glen Simpson of Fusion GPS spent 10 hours testifying. Fusion said it would be willing for the transcript to be made public. Chuck Grassley said they would release it if Fusion said OK after their attorneys looked it over. Then the House committee would put it to a vote. Grassley said he’d probably vote for it. Fusion reviewed it, and now it’s in Grassley’s court. NBC said that a GPS official offered new leads about Russian money flowing to Trump real estate projects. [In that case, it won’t be released.]