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But Her Etc.

[ 293 ] February 14, 2017 |

Well, well, well:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the Russian government outside of the intelligence services, the officials said. All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.

A study in contrasts:

And lest we forget:

nytsat

Trump’s election was a coup d’etat — remember, Comey didn’t merely bury the Russian connection while doing everything he could to keep EMAILS! alive, he actively implied that there was no Russian connection — and Dean Baquet was a primary accessory before and after the fact. It’s nice we’re finally getting some journalism now but…

And needless to say:

Or if she didn’t release her tax returns. Or had settled a massive fraud suit based on her fraudulent “university.” Or…

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  1. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    So what is the FBI’s angle here? If they knew about Trump collusion with Russian intelligence and still threw the election to him, did they just hate Clinton that much or is there some FBI connection to Russian intelligence that hasn’t come out yet?

    • DamnYankees says:

      The best theory I’ve heard is that the Trump administration was getting ready to shut these investigations down. And so some people in the FBI thought that they needed to leak what they had to make sure that couldn’t happen since it would become too public an issue.

      No clue if this is true, or if the FBI works that way, or whatever. I’m passing on random speculation. Seems plausible to me though.

      • AMK says:

        Why would they wait a month, especially with the pace of leaks and news orgs doing their jobs? Trump, Pompeo and/or Comey could quash this anytime or slow-walk it into oblivion. Maybe the GOP faction in the IC has given Trump a trial run and decided Pence is better for the party.

      • alexceres says:

        Since that’s exactly what happened with the new emails found on Huma Abedin’s laptop, it seems to be the modus operandi for disgruntled FBI agents.

        (and no, presidential campaign colluding with Russia to install manchurian candidate isn’t the same thing as not-even-a-misdemeanor-both-sides-do-it-server-maintence)

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      did they just hate Clinton that much

      Yes. I mean, Comey has been on the Crooked Hillary racket for a loooong time, and ditto Giuliani’s goons in the NY bureau.

      • CP says:

        That’s all the explanation I’ve ever needed, too. No Russian blackmail required.

        The scariest explanation here isn’t that the Russians compromised our government. It’s that they never needed to.

        • alexceres says:

          keep going. not only that they never needed to be, but that they are perfectly happy installing a russian manchurian candidate because GOP > USA

          • UnderTheSun says:

            So what. The CIA really has installed its candidates all around the world and, honestly, no American gave a fuck. The CIA claims, not proves, that the Russians have done the same to the United States and every body gets upset. Bwahaha.

            • lizzie says:

              This is such a dumb argument. By this logic, we should not object if another country invades the United States, since we’ve invaded other countries.

            • Perkniticky says:

              This sort of whataboutism ignores a key point – that the CIA installed candidates in foreign countries in collusion with local stakeholders. So do you think we should not give a fuck because the Russians installed their candidate in collusion with the GOP? Given the US is not a one party state, that is rather odd reasoning.

              • Rob in CT says:

                This is, of course, the key point.

                The issue here is not the Nefarious Russkies. Russia is not our friend, and we have no reasonable expectation that they will act like one. That is what it is.

                Republicans are, however, Americans. We do have a right to expect them to not collude with a foreign power to swing an election. And yet, some of them did and the others were told and shrugged it off. THAT’s the problem.

                • UnderTheSun says:

                  Perhaps if the United States stopped swinging elections in other countries when “local stakeholders” collude with the United States, a foreign government, I might have some sympathy but until then bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha………..

                • Rob in CT says:

                  I don’t want your sympathy, you ambulatory piece of shit.

            • econoclast says:

              UnderTheSun has to be Russian, right? No American needs to have explained to them why Americans don’t want foreigners to interfere in their elections.

              • Derelict says:

                Well, at least one American I know needs this explained to him. The current rightwing talk-around is “Well, if the Russians interfered in the election, how did Hillary win the popular vote, huh? HUH?!?!”

                The idea that the Russians had a mole in the National Security Advisor, and may have actually compromised/turned the President of the United States is just a trivial matter that nobody needs to think about.

            • DrDick says:

              Wow! I did not know that it was even possible to shove your head that far up your ass. Can you see your tonsils from there?

            • witlesschum says:

              You’re lying, trash. Plenty of Americans give a fuck about the bad actions of this country around the world and you’re mom should have told you that two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        And most of Washington media. Go back to the book Blinded by the Right. I know Brock is not a popular guy now, but it’s still extremely relevant. While he was the toast of the right wing almost all of Washington’s influential mainstream reporters revealed how much they hated the Clintons.

      • Phil Perspective says:

        I mean, Comey has been on the Crooked Hillary racket for a loooong time, …

        Again. So why did Obama appoint Comey and the Democrats confirm him? Comey was a fucking hack in the C- Augustus DOJ for fuck’s sake.

        • sigaba says:

          Comey had a very important role in the NSA Witetapping program, namely he prevented it from being reauthorized when Ashcroft was in the hospital and probably letting the whole program fall under Alberto Gonzalez’s bailiwick. At the time he was a consensus nominee.

          He is, however, a veteran of C+ Augustus and his principle virtue was being more loyal to John Ashcroft than to Al Gonzalez. Of this stuff a Great Honest Republican is forged.

    • nemdam says:

      Reasonable people can disagree, but I haven’t given up on the theory that Comey is compromised. Partisan hackery just doesn’t seem like a strong enough motivation to commit treason as the head of the FBI to elect the most dangerous man to ever run for president. I know it sounds crazy, but given the story that just dropped I don’t think that defense works as well as it normally does.

      • Nobdy says:

        I don’t want to be paranoid like the right wingers are but I also believe this may be the case. No proof, just a gut feeling I am fighting.

      • LosGatosCA says:

        I don’t see the head of the FBI saying we have to destroy the country in order to save it.

        He has to have had a more direct, immediate motivation to act the way he did, to take the chance a Russian agent would become head of the NSC.

        I don’t believe he could be that misguided on personal issues to be that stupid.

        That means there’s serious corruption in the FBI and not of the typical paramilitary paranoid type but real issues of treasonous behavior.

        • vic rattlehead says:

          There’s no way he’s so butthurt about Marc Rich he threw the election to this fucking tangerine assclown. That would make him dumber than your average pile of dogshit.

          He’s either turned, or partisanship has made him stupid. And party before country just makes him an unwitting Russian asset, which is actually the most pathetic of all.

          • CP says:

            “Partisanship made him stupid” has been my theory all along. Most law enforcement agencies have massive Liberal Derangement Syndrome, and it’s gotten worse with time. It’s sad to think that FBI directors can rationalize their way to anything with “both sides do it but liberals are worse” platitudes, but to me, totally plausible. No other explanation necessary.

            • LosGatosCA says:

              That’s not enough for me. Comey isn’t L Patrick Gray.

              Comey is one of the cult masters, not one of the ditto heads.

              • alexceres says:

                You didn’t listen to him talk about encryption before congress. Man is a lot dumber than his reputation would have you believe, or he is a lot more deceitful than his reputation would have you believe.

                The stuff he talked about last spring in the iPhone kerfuffle was “oh, he just lied his ass off to congress, but they don’t know enough to know it”. Like he didn’t believe foreigners had advanced technology called “math”.

            • witlesschum says:

              CP’s explanation is all that is necessary. Think about something like the Johnson Administration and how they waltzed into Vietnam despite knowing it was a terrible idea because they couldn’t stand the idea of being excoriated by Republicans for “losing Vietnam the way Truman lost China.”

              Comey looked at a Democratic presidency after Obama as a threat to the conservative movement and, maybe more importantly, to the law enforcement bureaucracy in general. You think the FBI wants another Sotomayor or two on the Supreme Court? They don’t like the Fourth Amendment and they want to be sure it’s gutted further. It’d be tough to find a liberal who doesn’t think the current court has gone too far. And I doubt Black Lives Matter being given at least lip service by the Democrats makes James Comey feel warm inside. And that to whatever whacko fears he has about the Dread Clintons and it makes a pretty heady brew.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            One factor here is that Comey may well have assumed that the letter would damage Clinton, but wouldn’t elect Trump.

            [ETA: brewmn beat me to it.]

            • alexceres says:

              I think this was what the media thought about why they could get away with their bullshit coverage, might as well sell while the selling is good, this clown can’t ever win.

              But when Comey went with the letter, the race was within 2%, assuming polling was accurate (oops). If he thought fucking with a 2% margin was totally safe, then he’s pretty stupid / and / or doesn’t give a fuck about America as long as he hurts his political enemies.

            • MDrew says:

              What would be the point of that? (Other than being on the up-and-up, ie. simply what he thought he had promised and therefore owed Congress based on a mistaken view that there was relevant newness in the late batch of emails)?

              • Snuff curry says:

                Throw her first weeks / months / year into disarray, give cover to GOP to drag their heels over every confirmation, sugarcubes for the press trying to get the public to swallow insinuations about shadow and doubt and smoke and fire, provide justification for some very protracted, well-funded, cushy “investigative” commissions cum mock trials for backbenchers to cut their teeth on for the next four years. All serving party interests.

              • Perhaps you missed how Clinton’s poll numbers plummeted every time Comey released a letter, and also how there was absolutely no new information at the time the letter was released (in fact, they hadn’t even obtained a subpoena). The FBI’s announcement was made in exceptionally bad faith, and defending it as being “on the up-and-up” almost itself rises to the level of bad faith.

                • MDrew says:

                  I wasn’t saying it was on the up-and-up. I’m saying that conscious interference with the aim of merely “damaging” Clinton but not electing Trump just seems like a little too much of a tight-rope to me. If we’re going to allege consciously nefarious political interference on the part of Comey, we shouldn’t indulge in begging off having to account for the implied desire to see Trump elected. Sure, it’s possible that Comey 1) sought to interfere in the election in a way he fully understood was improper for his position, but 2) did so in full belief that there was virtually no chance this would elect Trump. But that is just one very particular story, and it’s something of a just-so story that lets us avoid having to deal with the rather wild scenario in which Comey knew Trump might be compromised by Russian intelligence, and still acted to make him president (since that is pretty much what’s been consistently alleged at this blog weekly and daily since the election).

                  If we’re going to go down this road, we should own it. Yes, it’s possible Comey absolutely thought Clinton would win regardless. But it’s also quite possible he acted to make Trump president in knowledge of at least some of the extent of the Trump campaign’s contacts and potential compromised position with the Russian government. That is in keeping with the point that is also being made about the disparity between how he treated information about Trump’s ties to Russia and how he treated information about Clinton’s emails (etc.).

                  It is also possible, as I say below, that in Comey’s partisan brain, he was not acting with the intent to influence the outcome of the election, and certainly not to do so improperly, but merely was carrying out a duty as he saw it to inform the American public as to the actions in public office of one of its major-party candidates for president. But that possibility is certainly colored by his treatment of the Trump-Russia reporting. But again, partisanship can warp assessment of the significance of different matters. It doesn’t prove or disprove specific, knowing intent to improperly influence. But it’s a possibility that partisan delusion, not nefarious intent to steal or even influence an election, primarily guided Comey’s actions. Not one, I realize, anyone here wants to spend any time thinking about.

      • scott_theotherone says:

        The problem is that nothing else makes sense to me. He hates Clinton so acts unethically to kneecap her: fine. But to also sit on information that clearly shows Russian meddling in the election and Trump’s closest advisors, if not Trump himself, being seriously compromised? All hyperbole aside, that really does seem to at least border on treason. But I cannot see any other plausible reason.

        ETA: I just saw “Partisanship made him stupid” and, well, I guess this is an especially virulent case of that, perhaps.

      • brewmn says:

        I think it’s more likely that Comey, et al. were just so sure that Cinton would win that they didn’t think they were throwing the election to Trump. I wouldn’t be surprised to find you that they were as horrified as most sane people when Trump won.

        I can see them wanting to cripple Clinton and render her politically impotent before she even took office. I would be pretty surprised to find that they were actively working to elect Donald Trump.

        • erick says:

          Yeah that is my suspicion, he wanted to narrow the gap to preserve the GOP Senate.

        • MDrew says:

          This still seems like a stretch to me, at least as conscious reasoning. There’s little basis to think that Comey having written an additional letter to Congress about what would have been shown to be a zero-significance cache of emails would have “crippled” a victorious Hillary Clinton at the start of her presidency. And there’s is little basis to think that Comey would have thought this.

          There is much more basis to think that Comey genuinely thought that Clinton’s management of classified information in public office as manifest in her email and technology use as Secretary of State was of significant interest to the voting public and therefore to their representatives in Congress. He probably did think that she was very likely to win regardless of how he handled the matter before his agency, but that, whatever the effect on her political fortunes, she brought it on herself. His error in this scenario would have been in thinking that his role to to adumbrate her competency as a public official and present his evaluation to the public (or via Congress), rather than simply to assess her conduct for possible lawbreaking.

          I would also say that I suspect he may just not have believed what he was heaing and seeing on Trump and Russia in October. I know I had a very hard time taking it on board as even a possibility. This is a failing, but the reporting was genuinely so far out there that I have a sense that disbelief really dominated most of officialdom’s (and the country’s) initial reaction to it.

          • efgoldman says:

            There is much more basis to think that Comey genuinely thought that Clinton’s management of classified information in public office as manifest in her email and technology use as Secretary of State was of significant interest to the voting public and therefore to their representatives in Congress.

            Except that wasn’t his call to make, and in choosing the path he did, he specifically violated DOJ policy and maybe the law.

          • jim, some guy in iowa says:

            Comey just isn’t as politically naive as you’re making him out to be. Not with a background of working for Ken Starr trying to kneecap Bill Clinton back in the 90s

          • random says:

            I think it’s more likely that Comey, et al. were just so sure that Cinton would win that they didn’t think they were throwing the election to Trump.

            Agents under Comey were pushing him on this and leaking to the press themselves. Those agents were Breitbart-readers. It is likely they believed Trump would win and they would eventually finally uncover the missing evidence to put Clinton in prison.

        • daves09 says:

          C’mon people. That mafia style embrace at Trump’s WH meet and greet tells it all. He WANTED Il Douche to win.
          We all need to get over the idea that these people don’t really believe all the crap they say. They know that every single conspiracy theory is true and that any action they take-no matter how questionable-is justified to prevent the destruction of the US by the godless liberals.

      • Gee Suss says:

        Honestly? I think Comey and team looked at the Russian contacts and felt it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal. Or they weighed it and felt like the risk of a Clinton presidency was way worse than someone paying pattycake with the Russians.

      • so-in-so says:

        Not unprecedented. Wasn’t the FBI counter-intel head for a decade or two an out-and-out Soviet agent?

        • CP says:

          The head of the Russia desk, IIRC.

          Also one of the leading members of HUAC in the 1930s, as well. Or at least he was found to have collected a bunch of money from them: nothing beyond that was proven, probably because people didn’t want a scandal.

      • njorl says:

        I think partisan hackery could explain it. Russia isn’t the communist boogie man anymore, they’re billionaires with nukes. They just aren’t as big a threat to the GOP’s “America” as Democrats are.
        What is Russia going to do to America as the GOP sees it? Annex part of Ukraine? Finagle for higher oil prices? Keep Assad in power? What do they care about any of that? Democrats can raise taxes. Democrats can regulate industry.

    • jpgray says:

      It’s getting harder to do this, but my working theory was always:

      1. Idiot jamokes in NY FBI office read book for idiot jamokes

      2. Said jamokes do not uncover the object of their inquiry (Clinton Cash), so they cast about their limited territory for something else to throw about in their jamoke rage, like chimps in a cage.

      3. Uncovered in their cage search is the investigation into Anthony Weiner.

      4. Jamokes learn from colleagues there are Clinton emails in the Weiner laptop.

      5. Jamokes look to start throwing things – talk with Giuliani who talks with Chaffetz (who suddenly is back on the Trump train prior to the Comey letter).

      6. This comes to the attention of Comey, who decides, or was offered the chance, to preempt the sloppy insubordinate leaky salaciousness of it all with his idiot horrible letter, mostly because he hates Clinton anyway.

      The end.

      Still plausible? Eh……

    • The Lorax says:

      I am really worried Ryan and co. come out of this fine. Because Ryan is a Serious Policy Wonk. And Trump isn’t really a Republican. And EMAILS, so, both sides do it. And now over to Cokie Roberts to tell us who is up and who is down this week in Washington.

    • Morse Code for J says:

      American law enforcement hates Hillary Clinton as someone who, like any Democratic presidential nominee, was willing to tell black people that she would make the Justice Department investigate whenever someone was shot for seemingly no reason.

  2. DamnYankees says:

    Unfortunately I can’t get excited or caught up in these revelations. Even if the worst is true, and Trump colluded with the Russians…what benefit is there for liberals? The line of succession right now is 100% Republican. We’ll end up with a President Pence. Or Ryan. Or Hatch.

    Obviously all of this is better than Trump. I hope it happens. But it would just return us to a situation that 18 months ago we all would have been mortified at nonetheless.

    You can’t undo this elected. The GOP will control the White House until 2021 at the earliest. Period. Can’t be undone. Just makes me sad.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      You keep fighting one evil enemy after the other, each one weaker than the last.

      • DamnYankees says:

        Of course. It’s just upsetting knowing there will no positive steps foward until 2021 at the earlist. Mitigate damage? Sure. Move forward in a positive direction? Not going to happen.

      • Peterr says:

        It would indeed take quite a while to get to President DeVos.

      • David Allan Poe says:

        Is this like Mega Man, where we can turn the weapons of each successive boss against the next? Defeat Pence with the Whirling Toupee of Bullshit, then turn his Jesuitical Argumentation against Ryan and loose the Randian Endless Monologue against Hatch?

      • m0nty says:

        Hmm, that’s not how I remember this working. Normally the Big Bad comes at the end of the series.

      • rhino says:

        Except that of the four, Trump is arguably the weakest. He has shown himself to be incompetent to enact his destructive agenda.

        Does anyone think Pence or Ryan would have any trouble at all enacting theirs? They know what they’re doing.

        • Pence does not strike me as a particularly bright man, nor as a particularly successful politician. Remember, he left the governorship of Indiana because he was so unpopular that, if he ran again, he was almost guaranteed to lose to a Democrat. In Indiana. His rollout of the state’s gay-bashing bill was also embarrassingly incompetent.

          • busker type says:

            indeed, and also Trump has some actual charisma, which is a big part of what makes him so dangerous. Pence looks and sounds like a b-movie portrayal of a soulless beaurocrat.

        • JBC31187 says:

          Trump excites the base, because he’s the same kind of greedy, racist, dipshit. He speaks their language.

          As others have mentioned, Pence was already on his way out. Hitching his wagon to Trump was a last-ditch effort. The Nazis would lose their champion and the GOP would have a president that not even red-staters could love. His lt. governor is already dismantling his legislation.

          Any sensible person who isn’t a vicious asshole can see right through Ryan, but this is America. However, white people do notice when their special privileges are taken away. If we somehow get stuck with Ryan, and can maintain discipline and momentum, we can fight him too.

          • Phil Perspective says:

            Any sensible person who isn’t a vicious asshole can see right through Ryan, but this is America.

            Uh, no they can’t. You don’t remember the focus groups that couldn’t believe Ryan was a evil bastard? Don’t forget that for a long time liberal heart throbs like Ezra Klein treated Ryan as a serious man doing serious work, not as the Zombie-eyed Granny-starver he’s always been.

        • gmack says:

          Leaders are not strong or weak on their own; they require support. Thus, any sequence of events that would lead to Trump’s removal from office would also leave his successor pretty close to powerless. This is because the only way Trump could be forced from office is if key parts of the Republican coalition turned on him; and this, in turn, would require the Republican coalition to split, probably irreparably, which would undermine any would-be successor’s capacity to enact significant policy changes.

          Leaving those issues aside for a moment, can we also put to bed this peculiar notion that Pence is some skilled political master who would succeed where Trump has failed. If he were that skilled, that would already be showing, no? We’d see evidence of him being an important organizing force in the administration, and to my knowledge, there is no such evidence.

      • rm says:

        Well, the election was stolen and we have a long fight regardless, but

        Hatch > Ryan > Pence > Trump

        because of what Erik said — they get weaker as you go — and I think they also get less insane. Note that I didn’t say any of them are sane or trustworthy.

      • alexceres says:

        pretty sure the preferred outcome is a completely impotent Trump until 2020. If he accomplishes as much in the next 2 years as he’s done in the last month, the country will have weathered this far better than I would have hoped possible.

        Pence is competent and evil. Wishing competence upon one’s enemies is … not healthy.

        • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit says:

          I don’t think Pence is that competent. At least he wouldn’t give everyone the disconcerting feeling that they were in a car with a drunk driver all the time.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      A president’s power is not fixed; it’s highly contingent. Making Trump as unpopular as possible is extremely important, not least for the 2018 midterms. “Trump is Putin’s stooge” is a good weapon.

    • Nobdy says:

      I am not convinced that Trump being proved to have colludied with the Russians will actually bring down his presidency. Not with these Republicans.

      • JKTH says:

        Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it and not a moment sooner.

      • Mike G says:

        Chaffetz will introduce legislation legalizing collusion with foreign governments, and launch another distraction-investigation of Hillary’s EMAILZ.

        This criminal gang will excuse any level of cronyism, corruption and treason from their own side.

        • LosGatosCA says:

          The cult works on two levels –

          the cult masters calling the shots for their evil plans

          and

          the ditto heads who just wait for the daily truth to be dispensed to them.

          That’s why cleek’s law works, it’s not really just about liberals, it’s about whatever short term response is needed from the Republican base to meet the cult masters objectives and advancing their agenda.

          “National debt bad – shut down the government!!! Sorry, we’re not doing that one anymore – Here it is, we’re the most overtaxed nation in the world and everyone deserves a tax cut.

          Everybody got it?”

    • vic rattlehead says:

      I can’t stand that preening slimeball Orrin Hatch but I would be THRILLED to have him President over Trump/Pence/Ryan.

    • Captain Oblivious says:

      At this point, it’s not about what’s good for the liberals or Democrats. It’s what’s good for the country.

    • jpgray says:

      For my part, I believe a GOP that has suffered its avatar id going down in corrupt/treasonous flames is not as strong as a GOP wherein Trump persists and nothing sticks.

    • Marlowe says:

      Well, in the short run Pence is probably both worse (he’s an ideologically committed RWNJ and, while every source indicates that he personally is dumb as a box of rocks, he would likely allow a reasonably competent and semi-normal Rethug WH staff to be put in place to work with Congress to enact their dream legislation) and better (unlike Der Drumpfenfuhrer, he is probably not disposed to authoritarian rule or at least lacks the DF’s low cunning, high narcissism, and cult of personality to impose it).

      However, in the medium term, if evidence continues to build that DF’s staff, and DF himself, worked with Russian intelligence to influence the election–or even that DF actually has been compromised by the Russians–this could be a game changer in the 2018 elections and beyond. Assuming some semblance of a free vote survives Sessions, Miller, Kobach and their fellow gooosesteppers. Though even then, at least 40% or so of the electorate is probably so unswervingly devoted to Dear Leader and the Rethugs that their support would continue even if it were conclusively proved that DF’s been a KGB agent since the ’70s (when there still was a KGB). To paraphrase Victor McLagen when tasting frontier whiskey in the classic Fort Apache: a Russian-compromised white supremacist is better than no white supremacist at all.

    • royko says:

      There’s every likelihood that Trump leaving office through resignation or impeachment would be a prolonged embarrassment. He doesn’t seem like the type to go quietly. Also, the longer they work with him (“nothing to this Flynn business!”) the more they’ll be covered in his stench.

      And they’d have Trumpites and Nazis mad that they turned on their benefactor. These are the jerks who couldn’t keep him from getting the nomination. I don’t see how a messy Trump exit doesn’t screw with their coalition. Though it’s looking like the smart move would be to dump him quickly. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets for them.

  3. LuigiDaMan says:

    Time to call for an emergency do-over election. The last one was corrupted by Russia and the Repugs.

  4. efgoldman says:

    Fucking NYT.
    They commit journamalism in even months of odd numbered years.
    Sometimes.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      ten years ago or so I used to feel out of it for not being all that enthused about Greenwald but now I don’t

    • nemdam says:

      Greenwald is approaching Trumpian levels of paranoia. He knows if Trump goes down via Russia, he’s going down too.

    • wjts says:

      So there’s a link to an article Greenwald wrote for The Intercept in the Twittermajig that’s a picture with this caption: “That a leak is illegal does not mean it deserves of punishment. Illegals acts are often the most just ones.” Innocent typos, or is The Intercept farming out its caption writing to people whose first language uses the genitive and plural adjectives?

    • vic rattlehead says:

      Makes you wonder

    • kped says:

      Glenn is amazing. While somewhat praising the leaks, he is also deeply troubled by the implication of the CIA doing this. And sure, I agree with that on the merits, the deep state going to war with the elected government. Fantastic. There’s an argument.

      …but, Glenny didn’t have any trouble when it was a foreign government leaking fucking trivia to him that he and his hacks could use to undermine an election. Glennzilla certainly didn’t seem to care that the FBI was leaking like a jar with no bottom the last week of the election (I could be wrong here, so someone, please give me evidence that he was bothered by that…). Glenn didn’t seem bothered by Comey setting fire to his credibility to implicate Hillary in *something* (that was nothing) in the last week of the campaign.

      His entire reason for being seems to be ‘DEMOCRATS ARE HYPOCRITES’ right now. Know what though? Fuck him. He is taking the same centrist position that they all do. “It’s fine for the Republicans to do it, but once the Democrats do, they are the WORST IN THE WORLD BECAUSE HYPOCRISY”.

      It’s that kind of bullshit that basically states one side has to fight the battles with both hands tied behind their backs. One side can shit all over the chess board, but the other side must patiently wait, clean all the pieces, and then play (insert worst chess starting move here).

      Dude needs to step back and evaluate his career choices right now, because there are actual horrible things happening, and he’s concerned with yelling ‘BOTH SIDES..BUT ESPECIALLY HYPOCRITICAL DEMOCRATS’.

      • nemdam says:

        If you consider that Glenn has more or less been a closeted libertarian his whole public life, his actions make complete sense.

        As this site has documented with Glenn himself, he calls himself a progressive yet conspicuously doesn’t care about issues that aren’t also in alignment with strict libertarian ideology. He’s a libertarian. Therefore, he hates the Democrats.

        • NoMoreAltCenter says:

          Is there evidence that he is a Right Libertarian?

          • He makes occasional noises about corporatism, but he does not have a consistent history of advocacy for any particularly left-leaning economic causes on the level of, say, Erik, or really even someone like Chuck Schumer. That doesn’t prove he’s a right-libertarian, but it does mean he doesn’t have any particular lefty credentials, either.

            • Phil Perspective says:

              He’s attending Socialism 2012, or whatever it’s called. Meaning the annual yearly meeting of people in the USA who call themselves Socialists. I don’t know if he specifically attended in 2012 but I do remember him attending in the past.

          • Aexia says:

            His long history of adulation for Ron Paul.

        • efgoldman says:

          As this site has documented with Glenn himself, he calls himself a progressive yet conspicuously doesn’t care about issues that aren’t also in alignment with strict libertarian ideology

          Why do we, or anybody, care? Does he have any influence? Does he move any votes? Is one person in DC influenced by him in any way?
          He’s just another crank on the intartoobz.

          • Most cranks don’t have Pulitzer Prizes. That said, I’m not really sure anyone still pays Greenwald any special attention.

            • kped says:

              I believe George Will and Maureen Dowd have Pulitzer’s…so I don’t hold that award in high esteem.

              To be fair, the Snowden stuff did deserve recognition. DOesn’t make his current hacky stuff any better though.

          • TVTray says:

            It’s 2017 and you’re commenting on Bush-era Dem-blog Lawyers Guns & Money.

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            I find it entirely plausible that the Intercept swayed a couple thousand votes in the Rust Belt, and it turns out that matters quite a lot.

            • Aexia says:

              The Intercept/Jacobin crowd would’ve been a factor in swaying white brosocialists to vote Stein or not vote at all.

              • Abbey Bartlet says:

                But they didn’t have to be. They could have written significantly more approvingly about HRC. Maybe if it were coming from them, the brocialists would have listened.

                • ΧΤΠΔ says:

                  Showing enthusiastic approval from anyone on the Intercept staff is out of the question and completely out of character. It definitely should have been taken at least a negative endorsement — definitely not negative in the sense of purity-wanking, but a “we’ll get all our complaints about Clinton & the Dems out of the way before the convention, keep either slightly positive/mum about her during the general, and push much harder on Donald’s fuckups.”

                • kped says:

                  It’s not even writing approvingly of Hillary. I don’t think that’s a journalists job. It is just not over-hyping non scandals. And not treating all leaks as news worthy.

                  Just because they leaked trivial Podesta emails does not mean you have to breathlessly cover them around the clock with daily updates treating every trivial thing as IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS!!!!

                  So, I disagree with them needing to write approvingly of her. But their coverage in general was a fucking unmitigated embarrassment and disaster.

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  Yeah, I guess I didn’t mean “approvingly” so much as “not nonstop hatred”.

        • pseudalicious says:

          I haven’t been swayed by the arguments made here in the past that he’s right-leaning in any sense. I think he just only cares about foreign policy. There’s really not much daylight between his foreign policy beliefs/coverage and Amy Goodman’s; it’s just that Democracy Now also cares about domestic issues.

          eta: Which isn’t to say that, at this precise historical moment, pointing out the troubling Obama admin policies re: leakers and whistleblowers isn’t incredibly obnoxious if not out and out harmful.

      • SatanicPanic says:

        I suspect he did evaluate his career choices and decided on a career of Putin apologist.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        The completely arbitrary exclusion of the FBI from the “deep state” really gives away the show.

        • DocAmazing says:

          Greenwald has his own ax to grind, but he’s unfortunately right in one dimension: just because the CIA and the NSA are doing their jobs and are on the side of the angels right this minute, never, ever forget their disturbing and often frankly evil history. The US intelligence community has a very dark past and hasn’t done so well in more recent times. Use what they’ve got now, by all means, but don’t extend them too much credibility and don’t for God’s sake increase their reach.

          • alexceres says:

            Nobody’s forgotten that. Reason number fuck trillion Obama screwed up was not reining in the surveillance & drone bombing insanity when he had a chance and now it belongs to a Russian pawn.

            But CIA and NSA as co-belligerents against the GOP, white supremacist, fascists, and Russian agents trying to burn the whole country down for tax breaks ? Yeah, I can live with that

          • Origami Isopod says:

            I don’t see anyone here calling them agents for good overall. What I see is the pragmatic acknowledgment that they can be useful in this situation.

      • Redwood Rhiadra says:

        One side can shit all over the chess board, but the other side must patiently wait, clean all the pieces, and then play (insert worst chess starting move here).

        I believe that’s Pawn to King’s Bishop Three. (Or f3, if you prefer the modern notation.)

  5. tsam says:

    So somebody help me connect this to the ship 70 miles off the DE coast and the missile deployments. I’m unable to square these belligerent actions with the pre-election aid Russia gave Trump.

    • LosGatosCA says:

      It’s not obvious?

      Putin: Our guy’s credibilty is slipping away. Every sane person in America thinks he’s my poodle and his staff is funneling data from the situation room directly to me.

      Putin lackey: Well, it happens to be true.

      Putin: Of course it is, but we can’t let that sort of impression stick. What can we do to make us look like we hate Trump? Prop him up, give his team some excuses to get tough with us.

      Putin lackey: We could move those spy ships closer to the Eastern seaboard, deploy some missiles. Let’s bait them into reinvading Grenada that would really work on a bunch of different levels.

      Putin: I like it, especially the invasion part. Let’s send someone with our plans for the Ukraine to Manafort. Just use find/replace in Word to make it Mexico instead. And tell him Putin will be really mad if he ever found out you got these plans from him.

      Putin lackey: Excellent. We’ll send some outside agitators to Arizona and rile up the militia men. Some thing will break and that will be our opportunity.

      Putin: Ok – get the boat and the missiles going stat.

    • scott_theotherone says:

      Trump’s getaway car.

    • bender says:

      Some visiting expert on MSNBC suggested the ship might be substituting for the sigint Russia got from their dacha in upstate NY or wherever it was before Obama kicked them out and closed it down. That seems plausible to me.

      If so, not especially belligerent, just normal espionage.

  6. Abbey Bartlet says:

    If only someone had warned us back in, like, August. Maybe with a video or something. I’m just spitballing here.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      to run off at the keyboard for a moment, this is what I was remembering when I said upthread Ryan and McConnell need to be tied to Trump as tightly as possible. They were *warned*, and they replied, like a lot of other people, “fuckit, let’s roll the dice on him anyway”

      • Abbey Bartlet says:

        I thought about looking up major media coverage from the same time period as this, but decided it would be too depressing.

      • nemdam says:

        Maybe tonight has brought out the optimist in me, but I think they are tied and there’s no escaping. They are now so many example of them standing by Trump when any decent person would’ve abandoned him that they can never escape.

  7. vic rattlehead says:

    Comey is either a dimwit or he’s been turned by Russian intelligence.

    I suppose he could just be a party before country asshole like mcconnell. But let’s be honest. Being party before country vis a vis this just means he’s an unwitting Russian asset. Which is even more pathetic than being a Manafort or Stone type.

    I like to think Comey had a Gob-esque “I’ve made a huge mistake” realization in the wake of the election and is desperately trying to clean up the dogshit Trump and Co are kneading into the carpet that is the United States but nah.

    Any government figure who aided Trump’s rise is an accessory before the fact to crimes against humanity and should be tried as such if we have another Nuremberg. Unless of course the IC succeeds in its apparent efforts to take down Trump.

    • so-in-so says:

      So Trump is the ultimate conspiracy-theory politician. Believes them to all evidence, promulgates them, pays more attention to sources of them than to actual intelligence briefings. Was largely elected by people who believe in them. This has been a part of the Right wince McCarthy and Goldwater, now seemingly ascendant.

      What do those people do if the IC manages to bring him down? This plays directly into their worst (therefore, their favorite) fears!

  8. Alex.S says:

    There doesn’t seem to be much here.

    On the other hand, it contradicts multiple statements by Trump and the executive branch.

    There’s probably enough for some form of independent investigation… which will never happen, because Republicans don’t care about anything except for tax cuts.

    • Nobdy says:

      Totally unfair! They also want to make sure that women act as good hosts to the babies they invite into their bodies through irresponsible sexual behavior.

      And make sure that these good host broodmares have no health care for themselves or their children. They are far more villainous than merely greedy tax cutters!

    • janitor_of_lunacy says:

      So it looks like the House will investigate — the leaks. That seems more important to them than the contents of the leaks.

  9. NJC says:

    Trump’s election wasn’t a coup d’etat.

    It resulted, in part, from an “own goal” from people who’d made careers of kicking the ball toward their goal–seemingly because they were emulating their opponents, who had been winning as a result of kicking balls toward the same goal posts…

    For Instance:

    No one forced the Clintons to get on board with “tough on crime” (inc. executions).

    No one forced the Clintons to get on board with the Defense of Marriage Act & Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell.

    No one forced the Clintons to get on board with globalization or financial deregulation.

    No one forced Hillary Clinton to support regime change in Iraq or Libya.

    No one forced Hillary Clinton to accept four-times the annual median salary for each paid-speech she delivered.

    No one forced Hillary Clinton to ignore the Obama White House’s order to use government emails and instead follow along with Karl Rove, John Yoo, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice in using private email accounts.

    ***

    We haven’t been subject to a coup d’etat.

    We’re in the place we’re in because a psychotic Reality-TV star and one of his wedding guests (who’d also accepted money from his family for her family’s non-profit) were our Presidential candidates last year.

    • Abbey Bartlet says:

      Sorry, bud, I stopped reading at “the Clintons”.

      DIAF.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      the relitigation of primary grievances is two or three doors down the hall on the left. thanks, bye

    • Nobdy says:

      I have read a lot of dumb comments on LGM. Heck, Loomis would say I have posted a lot of dumb comments on LGM!

      But this, this one is special, buddy. Thus is a special kind of willful ignorance and missing the point.

      Congrats. You aren’t worth arguing with.

    • And no one forced the media to cover those things as though they were more disqualifying than “grab them by the pussy”, which they most assuredly were not, nor to treat a letter that provided no actual evidence of wrongdoing as though it proved she were the second coming of the Watergate conspirators. Similarly, there was nothing forcing the FBI to release that letter. And yet, here we are.

      Nearly all of the factors you mention were barely even discussed during the election cycle, and many of them are not Hillary Clinton’s responsibility. (You do realise she is a separate person with independent agency from that of her husband, don’t you? No, of course you don’t.) Furthermore, reasonable people can and do change their stances on political issues when presented with credible evidence suggesting that their old stances were wrong, and the fact that Hillary Clinton has done so is a credit to her, not a demerit.

      On the list of people who deserve blame for Tangerine Torquemada’s presidency, Hillary Clinton has to rank almost dead last.

      This is probably the only comment I will direct to you. I suspect I have already expended more effort on it than was merited.

      • NJC says:

        I’m willing to concede my comments were useless, but then so are all the LGM posts that amount to EMAILZ!! or pointing out that Republican Members of Congress and/or the Administration are hypocrites.

        Could we please focus on the way forward without repeating or eliding the mistakes of the past?

        • Pointing out the circumstances that brought us here is valuable in ensuring that they don’t get repeated, and the front-pagers have made plenty of posts about the way forward. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

          (your second post wasn’t quite as useless as your first one, so that’s why you got a second reply)

        • NoMoreAltCenter says:

          I have been beaten down to the point that I have accepted the only way forward is to chant “Hillary did nothing wrong” whenever asked about it.

          Only when we win the war with ourselves and truly love Slay Queen and hate Emmanuel Bernstein can we move on with our lives.

        • JMP says:

          If you think we need to go forward, then why the pathological need to insist that everyone has to agree with your idiotic belief that Hillary Clinton was the worst Democratic candidate ever for her crime of not having a penis?

    • nemdam says:

      I knew where this was going right when I read “Trump’s election wasn’t a coup d’etat.”.

      Remember, no matter what happens, never forget the most important lesson from this election: Hillary sucks.

      • NoMoreAltCenter says:

        More like one of many competing lessons

        • nemdam says:

          No, a true leftist knows it’s the most important one. Very weak answer. Are you OK?

          • NoMoreAltCenter says:

            Just low energy tonight, I guess. Need to take a few more sips of haterade.

            • kped says:

              Please, please go to reddit and find an alt-left hate fest to wallow in. You are so much more at home there. Hell, you would be more at home in the alt right with your endless desire to spread hate and fighting. Just go somewhere where your bullshit can be more appreciated.

              The people endlessly litigating the primary…i wonder if they think they will “win” the argument, and then everyone will just defer to them going forward. And…not sure how that works online, let alone in the real world. Which is why i think they are just reddit trolls trying to start online arguments. There is literally nothing they can accomplish with these arguments.

              • TVTray says:

                Buddy you just dropped multiple paragraphs above hating on Glenn Greenwald.

                • JMP says:

                  But that idiotic tool of the far right deserves to be constantly hated on.

                • kped says:

                  …and? I’m telling a guy coming to a lefty blog to start flame wars with the readers about the primary to go to reddit where trolls like him are more appreciated. Not sure what that has to do with me ripping Glenn Greenwald, who is probably quite well liked on those same hack loser reddits. And ripping on Glenn is certainly not something that will start a massive flame war with the readers of this blog.

                  Try harder champ, you’ll get the hang of…whatever it is you tried to do here.

            • tsam says:

              Where have I heard that “low energy” invective before? Hmmmmm

      • MDrew says:

        It’s no longer the most important lesson by any means, but it remains a pretty important one.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      No one forced Hillary Clinton to ignore the Obama White House’s order to use government emails and instead follow along with Karl Rove, John Yoo, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice in using private email accounts.

      The whole thing is amazingly stupid, but this is a small classic of self-refutation.

      • NJC says:

        How is this self-refuting?

        In 2009, Clinton had the choice to: (a) listen to the smart Democrats who had recently beaten her in the primary and won the presidency; or (b) listen to the stupid Republicans who had previously told her that she should support the Iraq War (which she did and which helped cost her the Democratic nomination). Clinton inexplicably used her volition to go with option (b), and when it subsequently became an issue, her only excuse was, “Powell did it too.”

        The news media and Comey behaved unprofessionally, but Clinton also behaved incompetently. It wasn’t a coup d’etat.

        • jim, some guy in iowa says:

          and the part you have no interest in exploring is how Clinton’s e mail management became an issue- or if it even *should* have. This is a critical mistake on your part because while some of Clinton’s problems with the press etc were specific to her many of them aren’t and would have applied to any other D nominee

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          How is this self-refuting?

          Because, as you helpfully point out, nobody gives a fuck if anybody but Hillary Clinton uses a private email server. The idea that she should have anticipated that this decision would determine the outcome of the 2016 elections is absurd, as dumb as the idea that Bill Clinton’s position on the death penalty materially affected the 2016 election.

          And, yes, Comey effectively calling her a liar and crook based on absolutely nothing less than two weeks before the election while actively suppressing damaging information about Trump is a coup d’etat.

          • VCarlson says:

            In illustration, I point to the “Hamilton Electors” who voted for Colin Powell.

            Remember him? SoS who didn’t use the security protocols, who deleted ALL his emails? That guy?

    • In short:

      “None of these things Scott refers to actually amount to a coup d’etat because…what about when Clinton did all these things I don’t approve of?”

      A whataboutist non sequitur.

    • pseudalicious says:

      What are voters? What are swing states? What are white people and pundits with outsize influence in certain circles and a Republican wave in Congress? We just don’t know!

  10. NoMoreAltCenter says:

    Congress won’t vote to impeach. This is all ignored as fake news or partisan witch hunting. Nothing comes of this of any lasting significance other than maybe another sacrificial Flynn-esque resignation. Trump remains massively popular with his base.

    • randy khan says:

      I agree, to a point: Congress won’t vote to impeach until it has to. Then he won’t have a single vote except for a few dead-enders.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      I’m less interested in how popular Trump is with his base than I am how popular he is with the rest of the Republicans and the mushy middle. Not so much because of a move to impeach him but because I suspect they are a lot closer to being paralyzed by their own competing factions- sort of like their primaries- than we might think. Not that anyone should put actual money on what I say…

      • Davis X. Machina says:

        …how popular he is with the rest of the Republicans and the mushy middle.

        You want to change the background noise. That’s all the loosely-attached voter hears.

        All fall, the background noise was killing Hillary.

    • Gee Suss says:

      Your comments are worthless and boring.

    • jpgray says:

      What are you basing this on?

      Nothing is going to happen today, sure, but, assuming there’s more to hide, this environment of leaks has potential to get worse and worse for the GOP. Something has to give.

      The typical strongman move at this stage would be to make with the terror: purge the IC, liquidate the haters. I don’t think they have the organizational health to do something like that without it blowing up in their faces, though.

      You think they’ll just ignore it? How?

      • Judging from his history of comments here, it’s fairly safe to assume that NMAC won’t be satisfied unless the Republicans all resign in embarrassment right now and the Democrats use their newfound power to enact full socialism. He might also not be satisfied unless everyone also gets a pony as well. He has a long history of blaming almost everything on the Democrats, regardless of whether they’re primarily or even partially at fault.

        • jpgray says:

          Well, from my view NMAC is sick at heart of all the milkblooded compromise and imperfect people in US politics, and of the way our system seems designed to promote a lot of nasty things instead of those he prefers.

          But to ease your heartsickness with bitter cynicism quickly becomes ridiculous. You start out exulting over your accurate predictions of how your imperfect allies will fail, and finish up by rooting for failures to happen, hoping any sign of improving fortunes will be ephemeral.

          That failures or cheated hopes will cause extreme harm to all you stand for is less important than that they also hurt a hated, unworthy ally, or make them appear ridiculous. You learn to take enjoyment from that sort of thing – it’s soothing to the resentful fellow traveler in ways an improving position for the leadership he despises can never be, since for true justice’s sake any improvement must start with that leadership’s complete replacement.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Congress won’t vote to impeach.

      Nothing comes of this of any lasting significance

      I dunno, I’m sensing an excluded middle here, although expecting NMAC to understand how presidential power works or what drives the outcomes of national elections is probably unrealistic.

    • liberal says:

      Congress won’t vote to impeach. … Trump remains massively popular with his base.

      Trump will be impeached when, and no later than when, his popularity with his base is greatly diminished.

      • VCarlson says:

        The GOP Congress will impeach tRump only when they decide he is more of a hindrance than a help in their quest for power. His popularity with his base is only one of the factors to be considered, and probably not a major one.

        Note that I do not think they care at all about their “base” as people. Much like its embodiment, the modern GOP considers them to be rubes to be used and shaken down for money, then abandoned.

    • D.N. Nation says:

      I’m a tiresome doofus who should French kiss a belt sander.

      There there, NMAC. You’re not that terrible. Well, you kinda are. But don’t take it out on yourself so hard.

  11. LosGatosCA says:

    And I’m just wondering what the world would be like if a Democratic president with appointments to make followed this one weird trick rule.

  12. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    maybe Harrison Ford should let the Wookie pilot the plane, hm?

  13. randy khan says:

    Just a reminder that it couldn’t hurt to get in touch with the people in charge of the Intelligence Committees. Burr and Warner on the Senate side already say they want to investigate the Flynn/Russia situation, but positive reinforcement is good. Nunes so far is keeping his head in the sand, so he needs a push. Here’s the contact information:

    Senate

    Chair: Richard Burr (R-NC) https://www.burr.senate.gov/contact/email
    Vice Chair: Mark Warner (D-VA) http://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact (links to comment and to get phone numbers on this page)

    House

    Chair: Devin Nunes (R-CA) https://nunes.house.gov/…/htt…//nunes.house.gov/contactform/ Phone: (202) 225-2523 (Oddly, he doesn’t list this on his contact page; maybe he’s getting too many calls.)

    Ranking member: Adam Schiff (D-CA) http://schiff.house.gov/contact

  14. DAS says:

    Part of what bugs me about this mess is how easy it was to catch Trump’s team. Low level drug dealers have more secured phone calls than these yahoos. And people concerned about national security thought Trump, the blabbermouth, would be a good choice?

    But Podesta chose a stupid password, so bothsides amirite?

  15. Rob in CT says:

    No puppet. No puppet! You’re the puppet!

    Christ.

  16. LFC says:

    Imho, the phrase “coup d’etat” does not mean what the OP seems to think it means.

    Assuming, as seems to be the case, that Comey did bury whatever he knew about the Russian stuff while yelling about the HRC emails, that does not constitute a coup d’etat, but rather (illegal or improper) interference by the FBI director in an election. An improper act by a high govt official aimed at influencing or determining the outcome of an election is not a coup d’etat, in my understanding of that phrase.

    • so-in-so says:

      Useful shorthand. No, it didn’t involve rolling tanks, or assassination of the opposition (it did involve some level of threat of arresting the opposition). Still, “Comey’s coup” is shorter and punchier than “improper or illegal interference…”.

      This is why the Left can’t have nice things – we get hung up on minutia about why a talking point isn’t exactly right.

  17. Thom says:

    Guess who sounds like some of the regular commenters around here:

    Donald J. Trump [email protected] 2h2 hours ago
    More
    This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.
    23,212 replies 11,618 retweets 43,006 likes

  18. msobel says:

    To be fair, he didn’t settle the Trump University suit until after he had won the “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, err Presidency.

  19. Ronan says:

    Do the latest developments support those of us who argued US democratic institutions and political culture were robust enough to resist trumps authoritarian tendencies ? Already youre seeing his policy agenda pushed back in the courts, the press and from civil society.
    Foreign policy might be different, but even there you’re not seeing rash decisions by allies,more scepticism and keeping the admin at arms length, while career diplomats on both sides come to terms with the new reality and test the waters.
    I’m not saying this is the case, but it seems a plausible alternative reading of the past month?

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      Already youre seeing his policy agenda pushed back in the courts, the press and from civil society.

      But not in the legislature. Hardliners are in the driver’s seat on the ACA, taxation, regulation, etc, there.

      • Ronan says:

        Yeah, though this would imply the weakness isn’t in US democratic institutions in general, but in the party system. Or more specifically in the republican party. Aren’t the things youre mentioning (hostility to aca, support for endless tax cuts) just republican policy boilerplate. Any hypothetical rep admin would be pushing them.

        • tsam says:

          Right–though they’d be far more organized and unified in pushing them. Trump’s incompetence and stooge-filled staff are staving off the inevitable for the moment. This won’t last.

          • Ronan says:

            I always kinda knew the republicans were bad,but until I started reading here and other places I never got how much of a fucking menace they are. I still don’t think I truly get it, not having to live with them. They’re just a bizarre pack of lunatics (at least at the elite level and among the hard-core base)

            • pseudalicious says:

              I still don’t think I truly get it

              A long time ago, a bunch of white people decided they didn’t want to do their own farm work. They decided to force black people to do it and lied to themselves a lot about why it was okay. One day, they were forced to stop. They still haven’t gotten over it. Meanwhile, those lies mutated and persisted and every white person either believes them or believes them but is trying to get deprogrammed. The latter number is very small.

              (I know you know all this, but I really think it can’t be repeated enough.)

              • Ronan says:

                Basically Oldage Mutant racist farmers?

                • tsam says:

                  Well, there’s a sensibility formed around the gentleman farmer with his force of slaves. He wears super expensive suits on a Tuesday afternoon and talks like he has an untreated head injury, and women wear super fancy dresses and fan themselves in the heat.

                  Somehow this caught on with Americans. The trick is to be wearing a suit on Tuesday afternoon while other people are making you money by breaking their backs. This is really the core of capitalist ideology. You inherit enough money to buy some humans, get richer than shit while being a lazy, useless fuck.

                  This is conservative ideology. It fell out of a lost feudal system that gave way to urban bourgeoisie and the rise of a middle class, and industrialization. In short, the Civil War isn’t over here in the US.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      ask again going into the ’18 midterms

    • tsam says:

      Too early to tell.

      Let’s just see how they respond to Russia’s belligerence.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Cautious optimism on that front seems warranted at this time.

      But then we thought the election was going to turn out ok too.

  20. gusmpls says:

    Heard an illuminating discussion on NPR this morning with LA Rep. Mike Johnson (R). He is very concerned…about leakers in the intelligence community.

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