Daily Check-In 09/19/2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

In July 2016, Steele reportedly sent an FBI agent in Rome the information he had collected. That agent then sent the opposition research to an agent in the FBI’s New York office, according to ABC’s sources. The documents were sent to the “wrong person,” ABC’s sources said, and the documents sat untouched in the field office for weeks, as counterintelligence officials in D.C. began looking into former Trump campaign associate Carter Page and chairman Paul Manafort.

“It took a long period of time for the New York field office to see it and realize what it was,” another source told ABC News. FBI officials in D.C. did not receive the dossier until September 2016.

I just finished listening to Russian Roulette yesterday, and Steele’s trip to Rome was discussed.  Steele gave the first memos from the Dossier to his FBI contact, who gave them to his superiors in the NY office.  Meanwhile it got “misplaced” and ignored for more than a month while the DC office started the Crossfire Hurricane operation.

I can see two explanations.  The first, and most likely, is it got lost by accident.  Things happen in an office, emails get missed, paperwork gets sent to the wrong person.  Shit happens.

The second and more sinister explanation is that someone in the NY office, which contained some notorious Anti-Clinton people, buried it on purpose.  By the time it came to light, it was only two months before the election.

Most likely, it was the first.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen emails and memos get lost in a sea of information.  However, I’m not ruling out the second one yet.  There was enough weirdness with the Weiner Laptop and Giuliani’s involvement that I don’t rule anything out.

 

By early August, the sense of alarm had become so acute that CIA Director John Brennan called White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. “I need to get in to see the president,” Brennan said, with unusual urgency in his voice.

Brennan had just spent two days sequestered in his office reviewing a small mountain of material on Russia. The conference table at the center of the dark-paneled room was stacked with dozens of binders bearing stamps of TS/SCI — for “top secret, sensitive compartmented information” — and code words corresponding to collection platforms aimed at the Kremlin.

There were piles of finished assessments, but Brennan had also ordered up what agency veterans call the “raw stuff” — unprocessed material from informants, listening devices, computer implants and other sources. Clearing his schedule, Brennan pored over all of it, his door closed, staying so late that the glow through his office windows remained visible deep into the night from the darkened driveway that winds past the headquarters building’s main entrance.

The description of Brennan and this article is adapted from “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy,” a Washington Post book, which will be published Oct. 2 by Custom House.

Looks like I’ve got another one for the book club.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but no. No, I’m not surprised.

I’m not surprised that Donald Trump, a man who has not shown even the slightest bit of intellectual curiosity and has likely never read a full book in his entire life, would listen to a bunch of television hosts and producers for his propaganda outfit over the real professionals and experts in the White House.  They want to talk about a scandal, and are not above making up one to suit their narrative.  They did it with Seth Rich (Daily Check-In 8/3/2017).

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

WOODWARD AND THE ANONYMOUS OP-ED

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

We should note that if Trump even bothered to pretend the Russia investigation should be conducted with professionalism and objectivity, he would agree that it doesn’t matter whether it’s being overseen by the attorney general, the deputy attorney general or any other official. The only reason why it would be “unfair” for Sessions to follow Justice Department guidance and recuse himself from the Russia investigation is that it means he can’t protect Trump.

All this is familiar, but it offers a reminder that, for Trump, all this — the Russia investigation, the identity of the people who are in senior leadership at the Justice Department — is intensely personal. When he’s feeling wronged or put-upon, he lashes out. Which is why, after November, his cold war with the Justice Department could turn hot.

If the Democrats take control of the House after the midterm elections, they will immediately move to provide the oversight of the administration that has been absent over the last 20 or so months, which means a raft of investigations and a mountain of subpoenas. That will certainly include investigations of the Russia scandal (and when Republicans claim they’re making too big a deal out of an unprecedented attack on the American electoral system by a hostile foreign power, we might remember that Republicans launched seven separate investigations of Benghazi).

These investigations will involve demands for documents, administration and campaign officials being called to testify, televised hearings, and a drumbeat of negative news that no amount of tweets shouting “No collusion!” will make disappear. Trump will inevitably become enraged.

We know that, more than almost any other president who came before him, Trump chafes at the restraints of the job — a Congress that won’t do what he wants, media that criticize him instead of celebrating his limitless greatness, courts that tell him what he can and can’t do, and pesky laws that limit his ability to see his every impulse carried out. If he finds himself “unfairly” besieged by congressional Democrats who suddenly have actual power, how is he likely to react? Probably by using what power he does have to strike back.

That will, in all likelihood, mean lashing out at a Justice Department that he feels has unfairly failed to protect him. Which would mean not just saying “I don’t have an attorney general,” but firing the one he does have and replacing him with one who knows where his primary loyalty is supposed to lie. He’ll probably fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, too. Then that new attorney general can do the “fair” thing, fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, and shut this whole “witch hunt” down. And for good measure, maybe initiate a purge of the whole department, rooting out and jettisoning anyone whose loyalty to Trump is in question.

Trump already believes there is a conspiracy in the Justice Department to undermine him — what he calls “a cancer in our country” — and has been doing things such as ordering the disclosure of documents he think will prove embarrassing to the department. Next year, he may find ways to go after them that we haven’t even thought of yet. He’ll be scared and angry and desperate, so there’s no telling what he might do.

I’ve been trying to wargame this out, but honestly, I don’t want to get my hopes up by predicting events if good things happen, and Trump is cornered like a wounded animal.  However, I do see a timeline forming.

If the Democrats win the House, regardless of what happens in the Senate, Trump will go nuts and fire people during the Lame Duck session.  Lame Duck is the term used for a politician or legislative body for the time period between the election of their successor and their last day in office.  In a normal universe, nothing happens in this time aside from some last minute bills or ceremonial functions.  Occasionally, if the Lame Duck Congress was voted out and would cause a major shift in policy or procedure, they’ll try to pass all of their wish list items that they couldn’t before.

Anyway, back to my point.  If the Democrats win the House, Trump will fire a bunch of people because he’s a petulant bitch and he’ll blame everyone but himself for his behavior.  Anyone who wasn’t “loyal enough” to him will get fired.  For most, this will be a blessing, as they no longer have to work with this dipshit.  Trump will blame Jeff Sessions, and will fire him and try to appoint Lindsay Graham or Chris Christie or Matlock to the Attorney General’s job, hoping that they will kill the Mueller Investigation.  Not only will this not end the investigation, but would only give them 45 days to appoint a new Attorney General and get them through the Senate before the next session starts and they have to start all over again.  That’s a very small window.

If the Dems win both the House and Senate, Trump’s screwed.  Any firings that require an appointment will have to go through the new Senate.  McConnell might try to force through as many appointments as he could, but there wouldn’t be enough time to replace half the Cabinet.  Any appointments that come through will have to be a compromise.  Any SCOTUS replacements, any Cabinet officials, any Ambassadors, any and all of them can be held up, and should.  This is on top of the dozens of investigations that would start up in January 2019.

Worst case scenario is if the Republicans keep both houses of Congress.  Trump will feel emboldened to do whatever the fuck he wants, and he’ll still screw shit up.

All I can predict is we’ll see some crazy shit.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS AND #METOO – THE KAVANAUGH RAPEYTIME ADVENTURE SERIES

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

HURRICANES

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  I could really use a nice, slow, meandering day, but screw that.

I’m not sure what’s coming around the bend on the Kavanaugh stuff.  The GOP are posturing, demanding a show trial without any investigation into the claims, and without any other witnesses.  It’s a shit show.  Out of the ten Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, only 1 is running for reelection, and that’s Ted Cruz.  Only one of these fuckers are facing the voters this year, and he’s so despised by everyone no one on the committee will miss him.

I don’t know how this will go.  Whatever happens, I’ll cover it.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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