Small Wars Journal

National Security in the Trump Era: Business as Usual?

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 2:06pm

National Security in the Trump Era: Business as Usual?

G. Murphy Donovan

Donald Trump has only been in office for a couple of months. Any performance evaluation to date is probably premature. Nonetheless, early on, there are some good and bad omens. The good news is domestic. President Trump seems to be focused on health care reform, the economy, employment, border security, and immigration/alien control.

In contrast, national security and foreign policy initiatives are off to a hoary start.

One national security advisor has already been sacked and President Trump has been horse-collared as a Moscow puppet or stooge. No matter the evidence, insinuations that Russians played a role in the 2016 election is a smear now morphing into a political zombie, a Beltway specter with tenure.

By throwing, General Mike Flynn, erstwhile national security advisor, under the bus, Trump has forfeited the first game of “gotcha” to hostile Democrats and a partisan media. Beyond hasty judgement, the Flynn affair also suggests that team Trump folds at first fright.

President Trump flinched again by allowing his new Attorney General to recuse himself from the Russophobia probe. Flynn and Sessions are just blood in the water now. Trump opponents are circling like sharks.

The Flynn/Sessions casualties confirm what critics already believe about a Putin/Trump “bromance.” The Putin proxy is now tar and feathers to be used by a neo-conservative/ liberal establishment who believe that globalist experiments like the EU, military alliances like NATO, and regime change stunts in Ukraine and elsewhere are beyond reproach or reform.

President Trump may have thus handcuffed himself to “business as usual” on the world stage. Just before the 2016 election, the Obama White House and DOD deployed NATO and American tanks to the Baltics and Poland. New anti-missile missile deployments to Eastern Europe are now part of that mix too.

Yes, German tanks are again in Poland and the Baltics. Clearly designed to annoy the Kremlin, these “symbolic” NATO encroachments are now Trump baggage. 

We say symbolic because, NATO sabre rattling on Russian borders is more than a bit of a strategic mime. Putin says that he could be in Kiev in two weeks, should the need arise. The Russian president is probably correct.

Why would anyone believe West Europeans, who will not pay for NATO, would fight Russians today any more successfully than they fought the Wehrmacht in the last continental war?

Trump’s original campaign instincts were correct. NATO is an expensive Cold War artifact, not unlike the defunct Warsaw Pact. The need to defend defense budgets today is more important than any hedge against real Russian aggression. The long war against the Muslim jihad, still unresolved after 50 years, provides a similar rational for Intelligence spending.

The deep state has deep roots.

Appeasing Muslims, demonizing Israelis and Russians, and fiscal incontinence at home seem to be the three defaults, or inherited, legs of American national security policy and strategy.

NATO is next to useless when it comes to active shooters in a half dozen Muslim small wars. In fact, Schengen Zone vulnerabilities, and Berlin oblivion, are facilitating an ever expanding Islamist threat within Europe itself.  

Take Angela Merkel’s “open borders” policy and subsequent Muslim migrant blitz. No head of state in Europe has done more for terror, fear, appeasement, jihad, Islamic religious fascism, and continental instability than the German chancellor. If Brexit is followed by a “Frexit,” Mrs. Merkel can take a bow.

If the EU is going the way of the Holy Roman Empire, no single individual is more culpable than “Angela.” Indeed, if common sense and culture is at risk in Europe, the angel of death again rides again on a Berlin broomstick.

Muslim admission to Europe now seems to come at the price of another Jewish exit. You would think a German chancellor who walks under the shadow of the Holocaust would know better.                         

In a real world, a stable and prosperous future for Europe is a function of American and Russian forbearance and cooperation. Unfortunately, posturing or histrionics in Brussels and Washington is now more about business and appeasement than a stable European future.

Besides automobiles, the only manufacturing of any consequence left in the West is the defense industry. If the business of national security is now business, it’s a booming business.

The Middle East and Africa are awash with weapons, war, and instability because NATO nations are willing to sponsor sedition and sell the wherewithal to friends and foes alike.

US military exports grew by 54 percent in the Obama era and are expected to rise faster under Trump. America now accounts for 36 percent of world arms exports compared to 12 percent for Russia.

Unfortunately, taking on the American military/industrial establishment at this point might be a bridge too far as it seems to be one of a few manufacturing games left in America. Whilst Defense and Intelligence industries experience explosive growth, the private sector languishes in the doldrums.  

Throwing money at bombs and bullets is hardly new policy in Washington. America already spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined, including China and Russia. The Pentagon spends seven times ($680 billion versus $94 billion) more on defense than does the Kremlin.

Possible explanations for such disparities include waste, fraud, abuse, and incompetence. The truth is probably the Eisenhower prophesy actualized. The military/industrial complex seems to be more about profit than patriotism.

Alas, big spending never meant more capability. The profligate USAF F-35 fighter program alone is illustrative, possibly the biggest budget boondoggle ($1.5 trillion) in all of military history.

If America needs a next-generation fighter that is affordable and operational, the Pentagon might think about giving the next contract to the Kremlin. Russian rockets now shuttle American astronauts in and out of orbit, a dependency that doesn’t get much visibility in national security estimates.

Government debt in the US now stands at 24 trillion dollars, ten times larger than Russian debt. National sovereignty isn’t a virtue if the price is moral bankruptcy or national insolvency. .                          

President Trump Needs a Dog

Obama era national security acolytes, now serving under Trump, are not doing much to help with or clarify American foreign policy or national security futures.

The Ummah provides the best example.

Just days after the Trump inauguration, the newly minted CIA director, Michael Pompeo, flew off to Saudi Arabia to present Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, with a medal for “counterterrorism” efforts (sic). Saudi Arabia is America’s most generous arms customer, indeed the largest buyer worldwide.

CIA and the Crown Prince

The ties that bind America to Arabia are first pecuniary and then political.

Yes, the same Saudi Arabia that produced the 9/11 terrorists, the same House of Saud that finances and arms global Sunni jihad and terror in the Levant and North Africa, and the same Arabia that exports the worst kind of Islamic irredentist theology to the rest of the world gets another azimuth kiss from an American Intelligence nabob.

Irony here is beyond satire. The medal in question is named after George Tenet. Tenet is the CIA director who, with Colin Powell’s help, fabricated the fake intelligence that gave America the ongoing 30 year religious war in Iraq; a war we might add, that reversed the sectarian power poles in Iraq from Sunni to Shia.  

A White House that claims that America is not at war with Isalm, now doubles down with Saudi Sunnis against Shia Yeminis in another proxy religious war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has long denied complicity with Islamism, Sunni terrorism, or wars motivated by a 1400 year old religious schism. Now Riyadh has a CIA medal provided by team Trump to prove it.

Meanwhile over at the National Security Council, newly christened director, H.R McMaster, is apparently laying down a companion party line about Islam with White House staff. General McMaster cautions that terms like “radical Islamic terror” are not helpful. According to the General, “terror is not Islamic.”

Like many millennial era flags, the new national security advisor seems to have succumbed to the Obama thought police. Surely not all Islamists are terrorists, but virtually all terrorists these days are Muslims, Mohammedans who kill in the name of their god, their prophet, and Islam - the “religion of peace.”

“Allah hu akbar” is what an Islamist chants at a beheading, bombing, and other sanguinary rituals. Links between terror and Islam are more real than any links between US Army generals and analytical theology.

Who is McMaster to pontificate on what is or is not Islamic? The national security advisor is not an imam, ayatollah, prophet, priest, or religious scholar. Based on recent sermons, he’s not much of a historian either.  

Over at the Department of Defense, another scholarly warrior seems to be confused about real threats too. The new Secretary of Defense, like Obama era staff officers, shoots from the hip at the “Russian” chimera and personalizes the assessment with trash talk about Vladimir Putin.

At confirmation, General James Mattis rose to every leading question from John McCain, the Senate’s most notorious Kremlin baiter. Mattis swallowed McCain’s practiced political demagoguery hook, line, and sinker.

Mattis also failed to distinguish between a threat that actually kills Americans today and a threat that might. Worse still, General Mattis’ sweeping indictments of “Russians” fails to distinguish between a proud nation and a regime that doesn’t fit the globalist EU/imperial NATO business plan.

NATO began as an allied mutual security pact and the EU began as a modest economic condominium. Both institutions have strayed far from original designs and the world is not safer place because of it. Brussels is now populated by political autocrats and imperial janissaries. Hat tip to a Turk or Ottoman model. 

If sweeping vile assessments of Muslims are unacceptable, why is sweeping slander about Israelis or Russians allowed?  Is selective bigotry at the Pentagon now a military virtue?

Indeed, after leaving the military, Mattis claimed that Israeli “settlements” and “apartheid” made his job at CENTCOM more difficult. The general’s also says that there was “a price to be paid” for backing Israel, a sneer that is vintage David Petraeus.

General Mattis claims that “Russia needs to prove itself.” In contrast, apparently, no Islamic country, especially Arabian, need to prove anything to America, the world, or the new Secretary of Defense.

The sad truth of the European Union today is a tragic combination official Islamic tolerance and official indifference to parallel anti-Semitism. The western migration of fascist Islam comes again at the expense of European Jews.

Mattis also gave the Senate a truncated Russian history tutorial as a closer to his testimony. The self- described student of military history failed to mention the last world war where, without Russian sacrifice, the battle with secular fascism would not have been won. The United States lost less than half a million casualties in WWII. Russia lost more than 20 million souls.

Now that Europe and America are confronted with fascism again, this time religious, General Mattis and other Obama holdovers are still confused or mute about who is a genuine threat in the 21st century.

The best guarantors of civil and human rights are independent, democratic nation states with common cultural and civic values. Monoculture anywhere has always been the enemy of liberty and true diversity everywhere.

All globalist or utopian schemes, now including the EU, have been failures. General Mattis is wrong about NATO too. Sort of nuclear Armageddon, NATO provides little stability for the Mideast, Africa, or anyplace beyond Europe for that matter.

Mattis seems to have misread the Brexit and Frexit graffiti now defacing the walls of the European Union.

Candidate Trump ran on a tougher line with Islamists and a softer line with the Kremlin. Such policies are heresy for the establishment, right and left, in Washington. Any diminution of the Russian threat is a clear and present danger to the DOD budget and legions of Intelligence and defense industry federal contractors.

No big Russian threat, no big funding.

Obama era rear echelon warriors have yet to get the message from Trump or appreciate the angst of “deplorables” in the heartland. Maybe the new commander-in-chief needs to speak louder - or carry a bigger stick

President Trump has few friends in the media, few friends among Obama holdovers, and fewer friends or loyalists midst permanent or deep state government bureaucrats inside the Beltway. Washington D.C. and the surrounding suburbs voted for Hillary Clinton by a margin of nine to one. Those votes, like California, were votes for a deep state where change is “progressive” - or anathema.

And those who claim that establishment apparatchiks, including the Pentagon, are “non-partisan” are delusional. The only currency in the nation’s capital is politics. The most lucrative politics are found now in the defense and Intelligence bowels of the permanent state.

Obama era military relics are no exceptions to partisanship. Outsiders, critics, and reformers are not welcome in Washington. National security and Intelligence Community leaks now underwrite the anti-democratic, anti-Trump resistance on a daily basis.

Donald Trump is trying to reform or change a federal autocracy that is populated with Clinton and Obama loyalists. For a permanent political elite, weaned by a nanny state, reform is just a turd in the punchbowl.

Willingness to serve in government should never be confused with loyalty, especially inside the Beltway. Harry Truman said it best. If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

Categories: national security

About the Author(s)

The author is a former USAF Intelligence officer, Vietnam veteran, a graduate of Iona College (BA), the University of Southern California (MS), the Defense Intelligence College, and the Air War College. He is a former Senior USAF Research Fellow at RAND Corporation, Santa Monica and the former Director of Research and Russian (nee Soviet) Studies, ACS Intelligence, HQ USAF, serving under General James Clapper. Colonel Donovan has served at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Central intelligence Agency.


Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 5:19am

REMEMBER Trumps Muslim Ban v1.0 and v2.0 and his use of the term Muslim Ban....

US amb. to UN calls US "moral conscience" of world; says US will never close doors to those fleeing persecution.

Yes, really she said that.....

Just those fleeing persecution cannot be Muslims....

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 5:16am

Zero credentials, zero experience, yet @IvankaTrump has the same rank as a 3 star General.

Make sense to anyone????

REMEMBER Trump stated often before and after his election "I will not hire my children"....

Another Trump lie...

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 1:25am

VEB was always run by a KGB/FSB general & is so now. It does no ordinary business.

Very serious espionage question...????

Why did Kushner meet with top RU intelligence agent not once but as we know from social media open source analysts MULTIPLE times?

Anyone who follows the actions of the Russian state-owned companies such as Gazprom and VEB knows they are the "soft power weapons" of Putin and are used as such...

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 12:13pm

It appears that the US Interior Secretary at least with the Rio Grande River in Texas WANTS to build the Trump WALL on the Mexican side as he does not want to give the Rio Grande River to Mexico if it built on the US side...

So does he think the Mexico will want to give it up as well...and a WALL in the middle of the river which is where the border actually runs would cost millions and ruin the use of the river...

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 12:03pm

Trump cheered the Brits on with their Brexit....

He failed to realize...the Brits will need to rewrite a total of 20,000 laws and regulations covering virtually everything....

UK has two full years from today to complete the following:.......

20,000 laws and regulations need to be rewritten in 500 actual work days MEANS 40 laws and regulations rewritten EVERY day...

Built in failure as simple as that.....

THEN UK truly thought they could negotiate parallel agreement with their exit deal where they will be paying over 65B Euors just to leave....

Germany's Merkel ended that UK dream with the single statement after UK filed Article parallel talks...

WHAT is simply amazing and YEs even Trump does not know this...OVER 80% of the UK budget comes from the Services Industry in the City of London...IE banking and finance..WHICH once UK leaves EU they will not be able to trade thus forcing the large banks and finance houses into leaving UK for do Services across EU requires 1) being in the EU and 2) needing a Finance Passport...which disappears when UK leaves...

THUS the UK has physically shot their themselves very badly in the leg not even in the foot...

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:23am

Americans truly need to remember this every day the so called Us democracy exists...

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press & that cannot be limited without being lost." - T. Jefferson, 1786

Donald J. Trump‏
Verified account
 @realDonaldTrump 17h
17 hours ago
Why doesn't Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton - sale of Uranium?

TRUTH NOTE: this is a total red herring and has been proven multiple times to be a right wing conspiracy theory bordering on lunacy...Fakes News...

Donald J. Trump‏
Verified account
 @realDonaldTrump 3h
3 hours ago
Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!

NOTE: Every time Trump blasts NYTs their subscription numbers rocket...both for the printed media and the online media....

Trump has been the best thing for NYTs in years.....

Donald J. Trump‏
Verified account
 @realDonaldTrump 3h
3 hours ago
If the people of our great country could only see how viciously and inaccurately my administration is covered by certain media!

NOTE: much of what has been reported by what Trump calls "certain media" has in fact been verified as correct....

YESTERDAY Trump's spokesperson waved letters claiming Trump and the WH had been vindicated and there were no Russian connections....

A COMPLTE and total fakes news statement as that is not what the FBI/NSA directors have stated in front of Congress...

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:12am

HOW is he back at FOX News after what he broadcast totally fake news...when he claimed the UK spied on WH and Trump......

After a “quiet few days,” Andrew Napolitano returns to Fox News, says he stands by his report Obama ordered GCHQ to spy on Trump

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 6:11am

Forget the KGB/FSB/SVR.

Modern Russian "influence" involves money, not cloaks and daggers

During the Russian oil and gas boom days a TOTAL of FIVE TRILLION USDs went missing from those oil and gas sales NEVER making into the Russian Central Bank and or used for the Russian society...with not even a government/FSB utterance about what happened to it????

WHERE did the wealth all disappear to after the fall of the Soviet Union...into the current Russian oligarch pockets..the same oligarchs that support Putin and his geo-political goals...

Well worth the quick read....…

REMEMBER Trump has a total debt of 650M USDs and that debt load must be serviced and a constant flow of capital infusion has always been Trump's problem after his SEVEN bankruptcies...and US banks refused to loan to him.

So why would he not be interested in Russian money...whether white or black...???? Russian money heavy investors have bought over 100M USDs of his Trump Tower properties alone....and his son stated recently Russians are their largest investors by far...

The critical questions on Russia

There is nothing new about a Russian government seeking to exert influence in Western countries. For many decades, the Soviet Union supported Western communist parties and ran disinformation campaigns (Operation Infektion, the campaign to convince the world that the United States invented AIDS, was one of the most famous).

The KGB slipped money and guns into the hands of terrorists and extremists, the Red Army Faction and the Irish Republican Army among them.

After the demise of the Soviet Union, these games stopped. The KGB was in disarray; more important, a large part of the Russian establishment then wanted to join the West, not undermine it. But now we live in a different era.

Russia is run not by “reformers” but by very rich men who believe that Western institutions, and Western democratic ideals, threaten their power and their stolen money. They have returned to their old tactics — but with some new twists.

We already know that social media makes it much easier for the Russian state to spread disinformation. Less attention has been paid to the Russian private businessmen who make it much easier for the Russian state to win friends and buy influence than their Soviet counterparts did.

Most “independent” Russian oligarchs are nothing of the sort: Their money came originally from the Russian state, through manipulated “privatizations” and money laundering.

They depend upon the state in order to keep it, and if asked they will use it to do the state’s bidding. Yet much of what they do on the state’s behalf looks like ordinary business: buying and selling companies, investing in property, hiring consultants.


Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 5:10am

BREAKING:Trump Winery helped organize 2012 Russian Gala honoring Amb. Kislyak-sponsored by Russian VEB bank Jared Kushner met with in Trump Tower..

Everyone in the Trump WH has been declaring this was the only time Kushner met anyone from VEB.....

VEB has stated it was only a road show/tell demo for future business...

BUT WAIT they also said they had never met with Kushner before that day ...THEN why were they hidden from view when they arrived in the Tower through the "backdoor so to say" BY both Flynn and Kushner?

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 5:02am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

It is simply amazing that the chairman of the HPSCI does not fully understand that any FISA collected information under say NSA auspices will carry at least a TS/SCI LIMDIS classification at the very least....

AND the just sheer talking about the existence of such a document in a non SCIF environment is a major security the report titles are even classified...

Nunes somehow thinks that if he is not talking about means and methods as he views it he is "legal"... as he seems to think that is only thing in such reports being viewed as classified....and he can "talk around the rest"...

He is for all intents and purposes now "an intelligence leaker" thus fully falling under federal law violations for leaking such materials... revealing that US names were involved he has also violated the chain on just how such materials are handled on US citizens caught up in incidental is a very legally tightly controlled process WHICH he himself violated as he is not in that decision chain process.

Reporters have been hammered for reporting less than he has openly stated....AND they have been asked by the federal government for their source YET he refuses to name his sources even to his own committee in a SCIF.....

BY failing to do that raises an interesting question...does he even have actual documents or is he going on hearsay and innuendo in order to distract everyone away from Trump and his family....???

Commonly called RUMINT.....

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 4:50am

Devin Nunes Could Be Facing an Ethics Probe for Spilling Secrets?…

House rules compel Congress to “investigate any unauthorized disclosure of intelligence.” That’s what the intel chair seems to have done when he talked about Team Trump and Russia.

Tim Mak

03.29.17 3:55 AM ET

The controversy surrounding House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes may just be getting started. Nunes could soon be staring down the barrel of a House Ethics Committee investigation, lawyers familiar with the House’s rules tell The Daily Beast.
A few Republicans have already joined Democrats in calling for Nunes to either recuse himself from his committee’s probe into Russian influence—or to step down as chairman.
To add to this pressure, it appears that the chairman may have opened himself up to an ethics investigation by apparently disclosing the existence of a foreign surveillance warrant during a press conference last Tuesday.
Nunes’s problem lies in the arcane rules of the House of Representatives. Buried in the rules regarding the House Intelligence Committee is a section that triggers a mandatory investigation into an allegation of spilling classified information.
“The Committee on Ethics shall investigate any unauthorized disclosure of intelligence or intelligence-related information,” reads the rule. The key to this rule is the phrase, “shall investigate”—a command, rather than a mere suggestion.
“The plain wording of the rule is that the ethics committee is required to conduct such an investigation,” said Brett Kappel, an attorney that specializes in political law.

The trigger could be as simple as a complaint from a single member of the House of Representatives.
“If another member of Congress were to raise a written complaint about the actions of chairman Nunes, specifically his decision to disclose to the public information that is classified… the ethics committee would be required to conduct an inquiry,” explained Bradley Moss, a lawyer that specializes classification issues. A third attorney who specializes in this area of law but didn’t want to quoted on this topic agreed with this interpretation.
Nunes’ office did not address the topic of a potential ethics committee investigation, but insisted that the chairman did not spill classified information.
“The Chairman did not reveal any of the specific details of the information, such as the target of the collection, and did not reveal classified information,” said Jack Langer, a Nunes spokesman.
Last Wednesday, Nunes made to reporters what at first seemed like a bold, definitive claim: “I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.”
But things quickly grew murky from there. Nunes contradicted himself on several occasions: he first said the president’s communications were incidentally collected, then later walked it back to say it was merely possible; then Nunes said he didn’t know if the Trump transition team was surveilled or merely mentioned in intelligence reports.
But when asked if the information he obtained came from surveillance obtained under FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Nunes replied, “it appears so.” He added, “it has to do with FISA, and there are multiple FISA warrants that are out there.”
Surveillance authorized by FISA is some of the government’s most highly-classified information. To some lawyers, that means there is credible evidence to suggest Nunes did reveal classified information by speaking about FISA surveillance—assuming he doesn’t walk the FISA claim back, of course.
“In my humble opinion, yes, Nunes disclosed classified information that day. The existence or non-existence of a FISA warrant is a classified fact. The details from the warrant, namely who got caught up in incidental collection, is a classified fact,” Moss told The Daily Beast. “Until we know who gave Nunes the info that night on the White House grounds, and until we have a resolution of the question whether the President authorized Nunes to disclose the details to the press, this is a question that cannot be answered definitively.”
As the national security lawyers at Lawfare note, information about FISA orders is classified until affirmatively declassified by the agency it came from.
“The way the system works is that it is classified until there is an affirmative decision to declassify it. So a leak or public disclosure doesn’t declassify it, and it doesn’t allow people who are aware of it to then discuss it publicly,” explained Susan Hennessey, a former lawyer for the National Security Agency.
Or as FBI Director James Comey put it last Monday during a House Intelligence Committee hearing chaired by Nunes, “All FISA applications reviewed by the court and collection by us pursuant to our FISA authority is classified.”
But Nunes might actually be saved from a probe the muddiness of his public statements.
“Because the language was so qualified, shifting in so many strange ways, it makes it very difficult to even parse out where we are. That said, generally, discussing FISA material is classified… he was discussing the collection of U.S. persons information, and he mentioned a U.S. person by name: President Donald Trump,” said Hennessey.
The House Ethics Committee had no comment when reached by The Daily Beast., a progressive organization, has already filed a federal ethics complaint on this matter with the Office of Congressional Ethics, a separate body whereby outside groups can submit complaints. Only lawmakers can submit complaints to the House Committee on Ethics.
There are, however, limits to the rule requiring a House Ethics Committee investigation into classified information. The rule does not require any public disclosure of the investigation unless the allegations are substantiated, it does not outline exactly how extensive the investigation must be, and it doesn’t set out a mandatory timeline for investigation.
“My experience with the Ethics Committee is the staff wants to do, and does do, a thorough job. Whether that ever sees the light of day is another thing. There are many, many instances of the committee starting an investigation, and, somehow, it never finishes,” Kappel said. “If a member files a complaint, then they will [act].”
It’s hard to imagine that Nunes could have had a more difficult week than the one that has just passed. By Tuesday, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was facing demands from his fellow Republicans and conservatives to explain himself or recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
The saga began last Wednesday when Nunes made a shocking claim: that Trump transition officials may have been included in reports through ‘incidental collection’ during the surveillance of foreign intelligence targets.
Rather than share this information with the committee, however, he briefed the press, then rushed to the White House to tell the president about the matter. Although Nunes has promised to share the information he reviewed, as of Tuesday that has not occurred.
“This is sort of an Inspector Clouseau approach to this newfound evidence, whatever it is,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Daily Beast. “I like Devin, I like him fine, but he should have not gone to the White House and gotten briefed himself. He should have had his committee members involved, in my view. And I think the only way you’re going to get this thing back on track is for him to disclose who he met with and what they saw and give it to the other people.”
Sen. John McCain, the chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, said that Nunes must disclose his source. That’s something Nunes has said he won’t do.
“It’s absolutely necessary for him to describe exactly the sequence of events that led him to the actions and the narrative of his activities,” McCain said. “The American people deserve to know. This is very serious business. People’s names that were disclosed. I do not know what he’s talking about.”
By the end of the day Tuesday, Rep. Walter Jones, a contrarian Republican, became the first member of Nunes’ party to call for his recusal in the Russia investigation. And an article in the conservative National Review said that Nunes should step down as chairman of the intelligence committee.

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 3:49am

When Trump and his merry WH band start pushing DoD to loosen the ROEs THIS is exactly what we get back....the image of the US killing civilians in hasty air strikes that match Russian air strikes for the lose of civilian lives...

"People used to feel safe when the American planes were in the sky, because they knew they didn’t hit civilians." 

Well Trump flushed that pervious US image for protecting civilians literally down the drain.....BUT he cannot seem to "drain the swamp at the same time...

EVEN the SecDef Mattis statement.."well if civilians were hit then it was not intentional"....HATE to see what an "intentional" air strike looks like"????

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 12:13am

HPSCI Chairman Nunes has only one major investment...his own CA winery...WHICH has the largest customer base....being Russian.....

Scrubbing Russian distributors from the winery's website doesn't make the connection disappear.

If there is nothing to truly hide why then scrub your online marketing page showing Russian customers....

BECAUSE a number of them are Russian oligarchs tied closely to Putin....

He forgot that the website page was archived....

Outlaw 09

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 12:01am

Under Trump and his WH merry band..the once vaulted "rule of law" has suddenly disappeared and seemingly for good..

Good analysis of GOP spinelessness re Trump, motivated by fear of donors, Breitbart mob & primary challengers.… 

On Trump business network ties to at least 10 alleged Russian mobsters & money laundering… 

Manafort held up to 15 different Cyprus bank accounts with million dollar payments coming in on one day and out the same day as is normal for money laundering activities AND today Manafort cannot quite answer the question to "why so many accounts". AND he also opened 10 companies....

This is about as subtle as wearing the GRU black-bat as your lapel pin.

Cyprus banks have the reputation of being one of the top Russian black money wash machines in the world...

YET the HPSCI Chairman Nunes cannot seemingly get a full scale meeting together to talk to him under oath....

Banking sources said that in October 2009, one of the 15 Manafort-associated bank accounts in Cyprus received a payment of a million dollars and left the account on the same day. Experts said the way the multiple accounts and companies were used suggests they were set up to deliberately make it difficult for auditors to track the movement of funds.
"There are some red flags here," said Tom Cardamome, managing director of Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based non-profit.
"It looks suspicious and any bank that wanted to address money laundering would certainly have looked into the ownership of the company who owned these accounts."
The bulk of the accounts associated with Manafort were held at the Cyprus Popular Bank.

In 2012, under an anti-money-laundering procedure called Know Your Customer, the bank asked for more information on the accounts' activities, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the request.

Critical indicator of money laundering....

Those sources said that Manafort chose to close the accounts instead.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:36pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

BURR tells me Kushner intvw will be private and "likely" under oath; says Senate Intel planning to hold presser tomorrow

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:27pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Spicer working hard to convince reporters that Nunes’ discussion with exec branch source was “100% legal” and “completely appropriate."

Since when does the Legislative branch do what the executive branch tells them to do.....

THAT is like The executive branch telling the judicial branch what to do...

BUT WAIT...Trump has already tried to do that already so why not try it on the legislative branch????

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:18pm

Trump WH and Nunes have actually together attempted to "gag" a former Acting AG.....

In order that she not testify as when she formally informed the WH on the simple fact Flynn had been lying....

WHY would a WH be interested in gagging a former AG...EXPLAINS her sudden firing does it not if in fact she told the WH much much earlier than the WH has stated publicly.....

House Intel's top Democrat Adam Schiff now demanding Sally Yates "be permitted to testify freely and openly."

Adam Schiff: Chariman Nunes cancelled a House Intelligence hearing to keep Sally Yates from testifying.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:03pm

David Frum

If Putin's closest business associate offers to testify about a $10 mm payment to Trump campaign manager, somehow that's a Russia connection

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:50pm

Maybe Trump could personally call Putin and kindly ask Putin for the information his government is refusing to provide....since they are great friends and he and his WH already have connections....

Russia Refuses to Cooperate With US DOJ Probe Of Massive Money Laundering Scheme Exposed by Sergei Magnitsky

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:51pm

Trump to offer federal coal to industry awash in reserves

"When we evaluate energy, let's look at the social cost of not having a job," Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a Twitter post on Tuesday ahead of the executive order.
But companies focused on coal deposits below federal lands, such as Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Cloud Peak, have enough coal in the ground on existing leases to last an average of more than 17 years at 2015 sales levels, earnings reports show.

This will literally drive coal prices into the there is also a global coal glut as well....

HOW does this help the coal miner in any way...other to shutter existing marginal coal mining operations putting even more out of work in the coal fields....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:40pm

Iran sanctions laundering and illegal gold trading....

NOT a single word out of the Trump WH as of yet?????

AND we haven't even gotten to how Michael Mukasey's son is a candidate to replace the prosecutor investigating Zarrab, who Trump just fired.

Werent Mayor Guliani and Judge Mukasey very angry b/c Pres Obama wasnt tough on Iran? Now they are defending a major Iran sanctions buster.

Halkbank Deputy CEO Mehmet Hakan Atilla arrested at JFK airport in NYC, accused of conspiring with Reza Zarrab: Bloomberg

He surrendered to FBI just as did Zarrab

Giuliani and Mukasey went to Turkey to meet with Erdogan re Zarrab.

Benjamin Weiser‏
Verified account
Rudy Giuliani, a Trump advisor, retained by Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab to negotiate plea deal, prosecutors say.…

The scheme was running while Iran was under US sanctions, which is why Zarrab is on trial now.

Zarrab's case implicates the Turkish government, up to Erdogan, in money laundering & sanctions-busting.

Zarrab is the pivot of a gold-trading scheme with Iran so large it changed Turkey's trade balance.

Here's some background on why Giuliani talking to Erdogan about Zarrab is so nuts:

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:06pm

NBC obtains letter from Yates lawyers to WH stating her intent to testify despite attempt to block her

Same day: Nunes canceled her hearing

AND there is truly not a single Russian connection....

HERE is the major Trump farce.....IF in fact there is not a single Russian Russian calls...NOT a single USD passed from Russian black money.....

THEN clearly and cleanly all tax forms and THEN MOVE on....

BUT WHY is her testimony so important?????

When did Trump know Flynn lied about Russian contact?

Why did Trump take so long to fire him? - Schiff

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 11:39am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

March 27, 2017 | Russ Baker, C. Collins and Jonathan Z. Larsen

Why FBI Can’t Tell All on Trump, Russia

MOST of this article has been previously mentioned in multiple other articles....AND largely not disputed by the FBI/NSA public briefing

BLUF....the FBI NYFO is in serious trouble...similar to the Whitey Bulger problems with the BFO....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 11:20am

APPEARS that the HPSCI chairman is actually participating in a WH led cover up to protect Trump and his family from investigation for their Russian connections...

BY cancelling all meetings he avoids asking anyone to testify....especially the former acting AG who he fired.....

The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation into links between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, the Washington Post has learned, a position that is likely to further anger Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the probe.
According to a series of letters reviewed by The Post, Yates was notified earlier this month by the Justice Department that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.
Ms. Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.
Trump fired Yates in January after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend his first immigration order temporarily banning entry into United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.
As acting attorney general, Yates played a key part in the investigation surrounding Michael Flynn, a Trump campaign aide who became National Security Adviser before revelations that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States in late December led to his ouster from the administration.
The White House and Justice Department had no immediate comment.
In January, Yates warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that statements made by White House officials about Flynn’s contacts with the ambassador were incorrect, and could therefore expose the national security adviser to future blackmail by the Russians.
In a March 23 letter to the Justice Department’s Acting Assistant Attorney General Samuel Ramer, Yates’ lawyer David O’Neill described the government’s position. Mr. O’Neill, who declined to comment, noted in the letter that Yates is willing to testify, and will avoid discussing classified information, or details that could compromise ongoing investigations.
“The Department of Justice has advised that it believes there are further constrains on the testimony Ms. Yates may provide at the [House intelligence committee] hearing. Generally, we understand that the department takes the position that all information Ms. Yates received or actions she took in her capacity as Deputy Attorney General and acting Attorney General are client confidences that she may not disclose absent written consent of the department,’’ the lawyer wrote.
“We believe that the department’s position in this regard is overbroad, incorrect, and inconsistent with the department’s historical approach to the congressional testimony of current and former officials,’’ the letter continues. “In particular, we believe that Ms. Yates should not be obligated to refuse to provide non-classified facts about the department’s notification to the White House of concerns about the conduct of a senior official. Requiring Ms. Yates to refuse to provide such information is particularly untenable given that multiple senior administration officials have publicly described the same events.’’
Another Justice Department official, Scott Schools, replied in a letter the following day, saying the conversations with the White House “are likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege. The president owns those privileges. Therefore, to the extent Ms. Yates needs consent to disclose the details of those communications to [the House intelligence committee], she needs to consult with the White House. She need not obtain separate consent from the department.’’
Yates’ lawyer then sent a letter Friday to the White House lawyer, McGahn, saying that any claim of privilege “has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications. Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates’ intention to provide information.’’
That same day, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, announced he would not go forward with the public hearing that was to feature Yates’ testimony.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 9:46am

WHEN someone says we have now a President that is about as prepared for National Security and FP as a "fourth grader" is time to move out of the States....OR run for cover.....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 9:42am

Sad...really sad.....says exactly what the national security FP of the Trump WH is....nothing really....

German officials concluded Ivanka, who wasn't supposed to be there, was the most prepared #Trump at Merkel meeting…

When Donald Trump met Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany earlier this month, he put on one of his most truculent and ignorant performances. He wanted money — piles of it — for Germany’s defense, raged about the financial killing China was making from last year’s Paris climate accord and kept “frequently and brutally changing the subject when not interested, which was the case with the European Union.”
This was the summation provided to me by a senior European diplomat briefed on the meeting. Trump’s preparedness was roughly that of a fourth grader. He began the conversation by telling Merkel that Germany owes the United States hundreds of billions of dollars for defending it through NATO, and concluded by saying, “You are terrific” but still owe all that dough. Little else concerned him.

Trump knew nothing of the proposed European-American deal known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, little about Russian aggression in Ukraine or the Minsk agreements, and was so scatterbrained that German officials concluded that the president’s daughter Ivanka, who had no formal reason to be there, was the more prepared and helpful. (Invited by Merkel, Ivanka will attend a summit on women’s empowerment in Berlin next month.)

Merkel is not one to fuss. But Trump’s behavior appalled her entourage and reinforced a conclusion already reached about this presidency in several European capitals: It is possible to do business with Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but these officials are flying blind because above them at the White House rages a whirlwind of incompetence and ignorance.
Trump’s United States of America has become an unserious country, the offender of the free world.
The German debt to the United States is vast since the federal republic was crafted from ruin through enlightened American postwar involvement. Germans never forget this. But that debt is not material, something Trump’s lazy, a historic little mind cannot grasp. Germany owes the United States no NATO debt. America is not Europe’s defense contractor, paid to deliver services like, say, the caterers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
This is not rocket science. As Adam Schiff, a Democratic representative, tweeted about NATO: “Unlike health care, it’s not that complicated.”
NATO is a successful organization dedicated to the collective security of its 28 members, which have pledged to defend each other if attacked and maintain defense budgets to that end. By bringing stability it has contributed enormously to American prosperity. Trump did not discover, as he boasts, that Europeans have been underspending on defense. That has long been an American concern. Germany increased its military spending by 8 percent last year but has not reached the target, set by NATO in 2014, of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. These are pretty elementary facts.

Yet Trump tweeted: “Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with Angela Merkel. Nevertheless Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” And later, in an interview with Time magazine’s Michael Scherer: “What I said about NATO was true, people aren’t paying their bills. And everyone said it was a horrible thing to say. And then they found out.” Trump added, “I got attacked on NATO and now they are all saying I was right.”
Yes, Mr. President, everyone is saying you are right! And they’re saying, wow, you made a BIG discovery about NATO spending! They are also saying there’s an unidentified lying object in the White House.
Trump, as noted above, showed no interest with Merkel in the European Union. The E.U. just marked its 60th anniversary in Rome with vows of indivisible union and renewal. It did so as Theresa May, the British prime minister, prepares to submit Britain’s formal exit demand this week, and just after the French rightist Marine Le Pen, who may soon lead France, met with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. Putin is deploying money and propaganda to back Le Pen and fast-forward E.U. unraveling. Trump, as allergic to multilateralism as he is susceptible to autocracy, has welcomed the unstitching of Europe.
It is the hour to stand up for the European Union. Its democratic shortfall, weak external borders and shared currency mistakes have contributed to a political backlash. Less appreciated are the peace and stability it has provided to hundreds of millions of people over generations and the myriad ways — from disappearing cellphone roaming charges to cheap borderless travel — it has improved life for Europeans whose forebears lived in a charnel house. No miracle ever marketed itself so miserably.
Merkel is the personification of the Union’s values; she was just bolstered by a local election victory. Russians have taken to the streets to protest against Putin’s corrupt regime and been brutalized. This is not over. Truculent Trump has abdicated responsibility. Europe must step into the void.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 9:27am

ALL I can say is Putin lies as much as does Trump.....

FROM Today in Moscow

Kremlin spox says Kremlin "unaware" of meeting between head of #Russia state-owned bank & president-elect Trump's son-in-law.


THEN maybe he needs to check with the Russian intelligence services and the FBI CI Division for confirmation.....

FROM yesterday in the US...Maybe the Putin spokesperson needs to check more thoroughly his sources....

BUT they did in fact talk to each other.....

By Elena Fabrichnaya, Steve Holland and Patricia Zengerle | MOSCOW/WASHINGTON
A Russian bank under Western economic sanctions over Russia's incursion into Ukraine disclosed on Monday that its executives had met Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, in December.
A U.S. Senate committee investigating suspected Russian interference in the election wants to interview Trump associates, including Kushner, 36, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and has agreed to testify.
Kushner previously acknowledged meeting the Russian ambassador to Washington last December and only on Monday did it emerge that executives of Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) had talks with Kushner during a bank roadshow last year.
The bank said in an emailed statement that as part of its preparing a new strategy, its executives met representatives of financial institutes in Europe, Asia and America.
It said roadshow meetings took place "with a number of representatives of the largest banks and business establishments of the United States, including Jared Kushner, the head of Kushner Companies." VEB declined to say where the meetings took place or the dates.
There was no immediate comment from Kushner.
Allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian actors were behind hacking of senior Democratic Party operatives and spreading disinformation linger over Trump's young presidency. Democrats charge the Russians wanted to tilt the election toward the Republican, a claim dismissed by Trump. Russia denies the allegations.
But there has been no doubt that the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, developed contacts among the Trump team. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign on Feb. 13 after revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Kislyak and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
U.S. officials said that after meeting with Russian Kislyak at Trump Tower last December, a meeting also attended by Flynn, Kushner met later in December with Sergei Gorkov, chairman of Vnesheconombank.
White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the meetings, saying nothing of consequence was discussed.
Gorkov was appointed head of VEB in early 2016 by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He graduated from the Federal Security Service, or FSB, Russia’s internal security agency. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Merit for Services to the Fatherland, according to the bank's website.
According to two congressional staffers, some Senate investigators want to question Kushner and Flynn about whether they discussed with Gorkov or other Russian officials or financial executives the possibility of investing in 666 Fifth Avenue in New York or other Kushner Co or Trump properties if the new administration lifted the sanctions.

REMEMBER VEB is under Russian sanctions and cannot do business in the US unless they are lifted...

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 8:43am…

The Russia Scandal Has Reached the Trump Family

And only a special counsel can find out how deep the rot goes

These have been a choice few days for aficionados of scandal. Washington hasn’t seen their like since the heyday of Whitewater, Iran-contra, and Watergate — in other words for nearly two decades. And in many ways “Kremlin-gate,” the burgeoning scandal over Team Trump’s connections to Russia, is in a class by itself.
When, in the past, has an FBI director ever announced that his agents were investigating allegations that the president and his closest associates — including his senior advisor-cum-son-in-law — were guilty of collusion with a hostile foreign power? Never. Yet that’s just what James Comey did on March 20 when he told the House Intelligence Committee that the G-men were looking into “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
To make the event even more surreal, Comey and his fellow witness, Adm. Michael Rogers of the National Security Agency, all but called their boss, the commander in chief, a liar by publicly dismissing his allegations that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him. “I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey said. As for Donald Trump’s desperate claim that Obama had asked Britain’s GCHQ spy agency to wiretap him, Rogers said, “I’ve seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity.”
It is impossible to conceive of J. Edgar Hoover publicly calling out any of the presidents that he served in such a fashion — and yet Comey had good cause to do so, because Trump has shown that he is prepared to smear the reputation of the intelligence community in order to save his own. And while Hoover was always paranoid about “subversives” worming their way into the government, not even he went so far as to hint at a possible conspiracy between the American president and the ruler in Moscow.
Yet the jaw-dropping revelations were just beginning. Two days after the House hearing, on March 22, The Associated Press revealed that in 2005, Paul Manafort, Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager, had signed a $10 million-a-year contract with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to “influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government.” This comes on top of Manafort’s already disclosed work on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych, the deposed Ukrainian leader who is a close Kremlin ally. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s clumsy attempts to distance the president from Manafort — he claimed that Trump’s former campaign manager played only a “very limited role for a very limited amount of time” — simply served to signal how serious this revelation actually is.
And, of course, Manafort is hardly the only current or former Trump associate with suspiciously close ties to Moscow. We have only recently learned that Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security advisor, made $68,000 while serving as a consultant to Russian firms in 2015. Campaign foreign-policy advisor Carter Page maintained close ties with the Kremlin and its state-owned oil companies. Longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone has admitted to communicating with “Guccifer 2.0,” the moniker used by Russian intelligence to leak damaging information about Hillary Clinton, and with Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, another Russian front organization. “Trust me, it will soon [be] the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” Stone tweeted on Aug. 21, 2016, weeks before WikiLeaks began leaking emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Even Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, it now emerges, met before the inauguration not just with Russia’s ambassador to Washington but also with Sergey Gorkov, who is close to Putin, was trained by Russian intelligence, and runs a state-owned bank that has been placed on a U.S. sanctions list. No one knows what they discussed, but it’s possible that Kushner, whose family real estate firm is desperate for foreign financing, was hoping to get an investment from this Russian bank to supplement the hundreds of millions of dollars it has sought from Chinese companies closely connected to the leadership in Beijing. (One wonders how Kushner has time to not only deal with Russia policy — but also to broker peace in the Middle East; advise on relations with China, Mexico, and Canada; and reorganize the whole U.S. government. Clearly Ivanka Trump married a man of prodigious and hitherto unsuspected talents.)
Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for all of these contacts between Trumpites and Putinites. Perhaps.
Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for all of these contacts between Trumpites and Putinites. Perhaps. But the sheer scale of the communication, and the efforts to conceal it, suggests the possibility of a nefarious connection that extends well beyond Trump’s well-known admiration for Putin. If CNN’s anonymous sources are to be believed, “The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
There is, to be sure, no proof that has yet been made public of such serious charges. They may well be false. But by now we do know enough to call for an energetic and impartial investigation — and it’s doubtful that one will ever emerge from the House and Senate intelligence committees. Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the House panel, has been particularly compromised not just by his service on Trump’s transition team but also by his unbecoming eagerness to act as Trump’s defender in this whole sordid business.
On March 22, Nunes went so far as to reveal classified information suggesting that either Trump himself or his aides might have been caught as “incidental” subjects of legally obtained surveillance. Having apparently acquired this information the previous day from an intelligence official in the White House, Nunes did not bother to notify his fellow committee members. Instead, he rushed out to try to buttress Trump’s indefensible allegations of wrongdoing against former President Obama.
Trump predictably claimed vindication, but in fact Nunes’s information was hardly exculpatory. In the first place, even Nunes did not allege that Obama did anything wrong or that Trump himself was the target of a wiretap. At most, Trump or his associates were caught chatting with someone else who was a target of lawful surveillance. This is a long, long way removed from “Nixon/Watergate” territory as Trump has tweeted, even if the intelligence community did not do a good enough job of completely “masking” the identity of the Trump officials. In any case, it is hardly reassuring to know that Trump or his aides were in regular contact with individuals whose communications were targeted as part of a criminal or counterintelligence investigation. Nunes’s revelation raises far more questions than it answers: Just which unsavory characters were Trump and/or his aides talking to, and why? What were the motives of the intelligence official who was said to have leaked this information? And why are Nunes and Trump so selective in their outrage about leaking, only objecting when the resulting information hurts the president?
The only way we will begin to unravel this mystery is with the appointment of a special counsel to lead the Justice Department prosecution and of a bipartisan committee — either a House-Senate select committee or an outside panel like the one that investigated 9/11 — to lead the public inquiry. Such an investigation will either clear Trump’s name — or not. Either way, it will provide some relief from the nonstop drip of revelations.
As New York Times columnist Charles Blow reminds us, on Nov. 3 the Trump campaign released a television claiming: “Hillary cannot lead a nation while crippled by a criminal investigation.” The same is true of Trump: He cannot lead the nation while crippled by Kremlin-gate. It is thus in his own interest to facilitate a credible inquiry that will get to the bottom of this mess as soon as possible. Unless, of course, he has something to hide. In which case, his present conduct, designed to obfuscate and cover up, makes perfect sense.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 8:48am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

BTW....Deripaska is in the process of trying to get a US issued Green Card residence visa....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 8:40am

Russian oligarch Deripaska in a state of raw panic abt the alleged $10m payment to Manafort to influence US politics

He is advertising in leading US MSM trying to state he did not pay Manafort 10M USDs to meddle in US politics....

BUT FIRST he did try to sue Manafort to recover the 10M USDs then suddenly dropped the suit as it proved that in fact he had actually paid Manafort the 10M....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 8:33am

"They're punting. The White House is not an internet cafe where you can just walk in and receive classified information."

Rep. Swalwell

NOTE...after a nighttime walk in the WH gardens it seems before discussing it more in the NSC SCIF....actual security violation...

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 9:02am

A tiny fact that Trump and his merry WH band and Nunes from HPSCI definitely do not want to you ever learn about.....

Former Russian Pres Medvedev (now Russian PM) Sits on the Board of the Russian VEB bank involved in the meet between Kushner and Gorkov arranged by Kislyak the US Russian Ambassador.

BOTH Gorkov and Kislyak are known Russian intelligence service officers/recruiters...

Don’t call him «Dimon» … #.
Good English summary of Navalny's devastating video on Medvedev that inspired Russian protests

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 5:27am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

WH official and Nunes spokesman decline to comment on whether Ellis was involved in providing info to Nunes.… …

Update: New Trump/NSC dep legal adviser, ex Nunes/HPSCI GC Michael Ellis not responded to my query if he was involved in Nunes' disclosure

So we have now Nunes the Chairman of HPSCI dealing with a former member of HPSCI in the WH NSC refusing to answer directly placed questions and that is not collusion under any legal definition...???

When do they begin to realize that a non answer is in fact a yes answer....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 5:23am

How can you have internal national security when one has serious doubts concerning if in fact Trump and his merry WH band are actually working for Putin and not the US taxpayer....

Adam Schiff‏
Verified account
After much consideration I believe Chairman should recuse himself from involvement in investigation/oversight of Trump campaign & transition

Schiff also says the committee still hasn't received any docs almost a week after Nunes accessed them at the White House

Nunes will not hand them over due to the potential damage to himself in handling highly classified materials in a very haphazard way....

THUS a major security clearance and federal law violation...

Asked McCain whether he thinks Nunes owes public explanation for WH visit:

"Sure. Don't you?"

This is really starting to truly look and feel like a White House cover up well beyond Nixon and Watergate...

AT least Nixon was not being investigated for working with Russian intelligence services...

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:53am

PERFECT EXAMPLE of just how badly tainted Trump surrogates are with Fake news...

Every since Trump has been golfing on millions of USDs of taxpayers money ultra right wing blogsites have come to his defense.....

WATCH: Kayleigh McEnany: Obama rushed off to golf after Daniel Pearl was beheaded.

Pearl was killed in 2002. Obama was a state senator.

THIS particular fakes news appeared in the last four days on Alex Jones's Infowars site.....which came from a unknown right wing site that went still months ago....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:35am

For those that do not fully believe that the Russian bank VEB was a Russian SVR money laundering front office just need to go back a reread all open source information on the FBI CI bust of the NYC Russian spy ring...they were being funded via VEB....

So to think the FBI CI stopped their investigations into Russian spy activities just plain.......

The FISA Warrant issued in October 2016 was tying into the Jan 2015 investigations....AND if Trump and his family ran into a formal legal FISA monitoring so be it....

They are fully...correctly and legally protected under the US rule of law.....UNLESS they were involved in spying and or money laundering....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:48am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Trump just keeps on stating now blatantly proven lies on the Russian uranium deal which was a total fake news job coming first out of Russia Today...then picked up by Alex Jones and his ultra right Inforwars and then reinforced by Bannon's in his days....

Trump is merely attempting to deflect and distort and claim that the HPSCI should investigate Clinton INSTEAD of him and his immediate family Russian connections....

Trump repeats a 4 Pinocchio claim about Clinton and her role in Russian uranium deal 

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 1:55am

Maybe...just maybe Trump and his merry band in the WH have finally figured out that the Espionage Act does in fact apply to a sitting President.

Russian propaganda works on the 6Ds Principle...

Deflect...Distort..Dismiss...Dismay ALL intended to create Doubt and Distruct....

Check these tweets and then tell me which of the Russia propaganda 6Ds is hard at work.....??

Donald J. Trump‏
Verified account
 @realDonaldTrump 4h
4 hours ago
Why isn't the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech....

Donald J. Trump‏
Verified account
 @realDonaldTrump 4h
4 hours ago to Bill, the Hillary Russian "reset," praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!

THESE tweets are deliberately designed to distort and deflect from his Russian connection investigation.....

Gorkov and three reps of SVB attended economic forum in St Petsbg in 2012.… …

In Nunes' 1st presser, nunes mentioned FAMILY picked up in reports! It was Kushner

Abramovich warned Kushner in Aspen

John - Gorkov - SVB is a named target in the FISA warrant… …

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 1:34am

We've known Russia's VEB was a Russian fronted business for global espionage for at least the last 2yrs.

And VEB is on Russia sanctions list.

WTH is Kushner doing meeting with them??

Outlaw 09

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 1:38am

You know "the draining of the swamp" is not going well when....

Your own government MUST oversee the lavish spending of the taxpayers money when a President promised though to control it wisely...OR at least that is what his OMB rep is saying Trump is stating????

BUT his 2007 recorded interview he stated..."I think I could make money as a President"....

U.S. government watchdog to review Mar-a-Lago trips, Trump hotel profits

For the inaugural night his DC hotel was charging 18,000 USDs per night and that is not conflict of interest?

At this point he had not even stated he was handing off his businesses which he still has not correctly done ..into a blind trust...

Outlaw 09

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 1:16pm

My new report on Boris Epshteyn and the #FISA leaks and obstruction of @DevinNunes.…

Nunes Says He Saw Intelligence Docs on White House Grounds… 

 Rep. Barbara Lee

.@DevinNunes has shown he cannot be trusted to lead the Intel Cmte or the #TrumpRussia investigation. He must resign as Chair.

Nunes had canceled the Tuesday public hearing on Russia to allow for a private Comey/Rogers briefing, but now neither will happen

Outlaw 09

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 7:08am

WHY does the Trump WH continue to blatantly lie to the US MSM....

SORRY but their denial of this story below was refuted by a number of German officials who were with Merkel in DC and who saw the document and confirm it being a valid Trump presented document to the Germans.....

HOW did the Trump WH think this would not come out in Germany when Merkel returned is beyond me?????

In the future would Germany support Trump if he needed allies?...if he does not fully understand that his popularity is about ZERO in one can save him.....not even Bannon and the Germans might well in fact say no...

President Trump gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel a staff-created bill for NATO defenses estimated at 300 billion, The Times of London reported on Sunday.
Trump reportedly handed Merkel the invoice during her trip to Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
"The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations," a German minister told the newspaper.
Merkel "ignored the provocation," of the bill, the Times reported.
The White House disputed the reports on Sunday afternoon and told The Hill the story is false.
Trump during his presidential campaign railed against the NATO alliance and has called for member countries to increase defense spending to support the organization.
The Independent reported that the "invoice" listed a total, as estimated by Trump's aides, to cover Germany's unpaid contributions.
In 2014, NATO countries pledge to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense. The Independent reported that Trump told aides to calculate how much German spending fell below that 2 percent mark in the past 12 years -- backdating the invoice to when Merkel's predecessor was in charge -- then add interest.
In a joint press conference with Merkel during her visit, Trump told reporters that he emphasized the United States' commitment to NATO and the need for allies to increase defense spending.