Recent Headlines Reveal White House Chaos & Messing with the DOJ
We’ve got to hand it to the White House. Their leadership style is a total joke/circus, but they’re never dull. In the related articles which always start off with the Russian scandal updates, beyond that we see the newsfeeds dominated this past week with more evidence of Trump obstruction from his shenanigans surrounding Jeff Sessions, plus all the fallout from the Fire & Fury book by Michael Wolff. I shifted over to part 2 the other headlines on Bannon’s fall, & also the GOP trying to deflect guilt over to the author of the dossier & Hillary yet again. And my rants have gotten longer as the news seems to be getting crazier. So in another wildly outrageous week, all the many details go beyond my ability to articulate, so I invite you to peruse the link titles & pick out the ones you find most interesting. Also feel free to forward the most relevant/impactful news updates to others who like following this chaotic political environment, or more conveniently just invite them to visit the blog site The Voracs.
To illustrate how much of a wanna-be fascist dictator Trump aspires to be, rather the respecting the vital independent nature of agencies like the DOJ & FBI, Trump tries to demand of them to become his attack dogs in going after political enemies. When Trump complained where’s my Roy Cohn?, that reveals an awful lot. Cohn was the type of conniving, unscrupulous, unrelenting hatchet man Trump envisioned of Sessions & Comey in being compliant puppets doing his dirty work. Back in the day Cohn served as aggressive sidekicks to none other than Joseph McCarthy & Donald Trump. Our prez incorrectly assumes & demands total loyalty from department heads like Sessions & Comey, much like he got from Cohn back in the 1980’s, which failing to gain such servitude results in Trump lashing out with verbal attacks, while seeking to find grounds to fire them.
There is corruption & obstruction of justice running all throughout these latest revelations about Trump’s demands/influence from earlier in 2017. Trump had ordered White House lawyer Don McGahn (who presumably works on behalf of the American people) & others among his White House staff to persuade Jeff Sessions to not recuse himself from the Russian case. Then Trump blew his stack when Sessions (properly) recused himself anyway. With the Attorney General at that point under fire facing Trump’s wrath, Sessions tried to appease Trump by caving to the prez’s wishes to dig up whatever dirt he could find on Comey, so Trump could have reasons to fire Comey (which he subsequently did). It’s clear Trump tries to use the power of our justice & intelligence prowess much like Russian leaders have always relied on the KGB. Trump has even insisted he has the right to control these agencies, thinking he’s above the law. So Sessions is currently also in legal jeopardy & probably should be removed as Attorney General, but the risk there is Trump could install a puppet who might try to limit the scope or funding for Mueller’s investigation. Folks, be aware this is what a constitutional crisis in the making might look like.
The biggest headline this week was the book. It has absolutely rocked the White House! Those who work there say Trump is like a child, very unfocused, moody, impulsive & in constant need of immediate gratification. He can also be manipulated through flattery. Trump chose to blame Bannon for being at fault in airing the dirty laundry disclosed in the book, but the author Wolff spent a lot of time on the couch in the West Wing & ultimately collected insights using 200 sources. It’s quite interesting the White House pushback comes in the form of broad generalities like the book is a work of fiction & they resort to attacking the author, rather than specifically rebutting the basic message of an unfit president presiding over an administration beset by chaos. Just check the numerous news reports below on what’s in the book, which granted Wolff no doubt embellished some parts to spur book sales, but the overriding circus-like/mentally-unstable theme doesn’t change & are verified by numerous reporters covering this White House. Some surrogates are practically making blood sacrifices to Trump by spinning ridiculous defenses on his behalf, as evidenced by Stephen Miller’s awkward/nervous meltdown today on CNN. But it’s a very good thing more Americans have been made aware & can be on the lookout for Trump’s crazy episodes when he goes off unhinged.
In the very first link what-weve-learned-about-
- Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with a Kremlin-linked attorney and a former Soviet intelligence officer at Trump Tower.
- That meeting was pitched to Trump Jr. with the explicit promise of offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton by way of the Russian government.
- The dirt, Trump Jr. was told in an email from music publicist Rob Goldstone, was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
- Trump Jr.’s response was “if it’s what you say I love it.”
- He forwarded later emails from Goldstone to Manafort and Kushner with the subject line “Russia — Clinton — private and confidential.”
- Before setting up the meeting, Trump Jr. likely had a phone conversation with musician Emin Agalarov, Goldstone’s client, who was performing in Moscow. Only after Trump Jr. called Agalarov was a time and date set. Later that day, then-candidate Trump told reporters that he planned “a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”
- At no point does anyone from Trump’s team contact federal intelligence agencies about the outreach.
- When all of this was first reported by the New York Times last year, Trump helped craft a misleading response about what happened during the meeting.
- American intelligence officials noticed an uptick in communication between Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and former national security adviser Michael Flynn after Flynn was paid to attend an RT event in Moscow in late 2015, according to CNN.
- In the months before the Republican primaries began, Trump was involved in an effort to build a new development in Moscow. His attorney, Michael Cohen, emailed a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin and requested assistance on the deal.
- Shortly after joining the campaign as its chairman, Manafort contacted his former aide Konstantin Kilimnik to ask if Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska — who’d once partnered with Manafort’s firm — had seen his new position. “How do we use to get whole?” he asked Kilimnik. Kilimnik reportedly has ties to Russian intelligence.
- At another point, Manafort emailed Kilimnik to ask him to offer Deripaska a “private briefing” on the campaign.
- Kushner and Sessions met with Kislyak before the election on several occasions.
- Two different people reached out to the campaign in May 2016 to try to set up a meeting between a Russian official named Alexander Torshin and someone from the campaign. (The emails are titled “Kremlin Connection” and “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.”) Later that month, Trump Jr. and Torshin met briefly at a dinner.
- Flynn and Kushner met with Kislyak in Trump Tower shortly after Trump’s victory, with Kushner allegedly proposing a back-channel link between the Trump transition team and the Russian government.
- Flynn discussed sanctions against Russia in a separate call with Kislyak later that month — and lies to the FBI about the discussion when asked shortly after he takes his position at the White House.
Other campaign officials and interactions
- Foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was told in April 2016 by a London professor with ties to the Russian government that the Russians had dirt on Clinton in the form of emails. He apparently didn’t inform the FBI about the outreach. (He later lied to the FBI about his interactions with the professor.)
- The next month, he relayed that to an Australian diplomat, who in turn told the FBI after emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee begin to leak. This, the Times reported last month, is the revelation that prompted the FBI to launch its investigation.
- Papadopoulos worked with the professor and another man with ties to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a possible meeting between Trump and Putin. During a March 2016 meeting of the campaign’s foreign-policy advisory team, Papadopoulos raised the possibility of such a meeting.
- On several occasions, WikiLeaks — in possession of material believed to have been stolen by Russian actors — contacted Trump Jr. At least once, Trump Jr. passed on the outreach to others on the campaign team.
Again: This is only what we’ve learned since the Trump administration first offered its “there was no collusion” defense — things that impartial observers might think undercut the claim that there is no evidence of the Trump team working with Russian actors. We’ve left out things that were already known when Spicer first addressed the subject, including campaign adviser Carter Page’s repeated trips to Moscow in 2016 — and Trump Jr.’s speech to a pro-Russian group a month before the election. It also excludes a number of things we’ve learned since last March that are less direct: outreach by a Russian social-media company to the Trump campaign, for example, and contacts between one source of documents stolen by Russia and Trump ally Roger Stone.
Cato Institute senior fellow Julian Sanchez articulated an alternative reading of this new information in tweets after the Times report about Papadopoulos being the trigger for the FBI’s investigation. “The campaign got advance word that Russia had thousands of hacked Dem emails, yet consistently feigned doubt publicly,” he wrote. “When the DNC e-mail hack became public, did they call the FBI and say ‘hey, we actually got a heads up about this over a month ago — we have strong evidence Russia was probably responsible’? They did the opposite, trying to shift blame to a ‘400lb guy in his basement.’ Even if that were the end of it, that would be pretty egregious. Giving cover to actors who’ve committed felonies to help you — disparaging the IC consensus that Russia was responsible despite having inside knowledge that they were? Seems absolutely fair to call that collusion.”
In other links, it looks like a White House staff member, Mark Corallo, had actually resigned after he witnessed firsthand Trump committing obstruction of justice, as reported in this excerpt from the link trumps-spokesman-quit-bec
Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” say that the spokesman, Mark Corallo, told Wolff in private that he feared that the Air Force One meeting represented obstruction of justice. The Washington Post reported last year that while aboard Air Force One on July 8 returning from the G-20 summit in Germany, Trump dictated a misleading statement about the meeting, in which his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and other campaign operatives met with a Russian lawyer. Trump Jr. said in his initial statement that they had primarily discussed child adoption programs, but emails he released days later showed he had agreed to the meeting after being promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
Inside the NY Times link fire-fury-wolff-trump-book, we find the report everyone in Trumpworld knows he’s an idiot, with the level of cynicism it takes to be willing to cover for Trump simply off the charts! Moving on down the list of links, we see this ominous warning from trumpocracy-or-democracy, which seems appropriate considering the way the GOP looks to be shamelessly bowing to their bullying leader:
In their new book How Democracies Die, Harvard political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt flag this as a key threat to democratic stability. Institutions don’t typically collapse under sudden attack. Rather, “if a charismatic outsider emerges on the scene, gaining popularity as he challenges the old order, it is tempting for establishment politicians who feel their control is unraveling to try to co-opt him.” From Mussolini to Hugo Chávez, authoritarians end up winning because these “fateful alliances” end up leading establishment politicians to collaborate with the demagogue not just on their points of policy agreement but on the demagogue’s desire to dismantle critical institutions.
Wrapping up the last couple group of links, there are articles on the foreign dangers from enemy states & internal dangers from a president that is often seen as mentally unstable. We’re currently seeing unrest in Iran over leadership corruption & economic woes with an uncertain outcome. As much of a threat being posed by the North Korean nukes & Iran’s nuclear development, also keep an eye on this growing rift between Trump & Pakistan, with our prez shutting off financial aid. That whole situation should rightly have the world alarmed. Pakistan has an unstable government & a large population with various factions throughout the country, many of whom follow the more radical Islamic ideology. I would judge the overall mood of the Pakistani people to be more inclined towards jihadist Wahhabism than the general attitude in Iran, especially from Pakistan’s Sunni sect which Iran is more Shiite (but I’ll resist getting into the nuances between the two). And by the way…..Pakistan already does have nukes.
That country tries to walk the narrow tightrope having allegiances with western democracies like the U.S., but also keeps close ties to Islamic terrorist groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan. And they’re always in a spat having ongoing tensions with their neighbor India, another nuclear nation. The side that wins their internal struggle between the moderate vs. radical Islamic doctrine usually stems from gaining the upper hand on the messaging wars, with the madrassas schooling especially dangerous in radicalizing kids early in life. So if things someday come unraveled in Pakistan & diplomacy with America breaks down, it’s highly conceivable they could become the single most dangerous country in the world. As to America’s current internal threat, in an article on the 25th Amendment, a psychiatrist calls the situation on Trump’s mental state an emergency! From there, we see the link the-increasing-unfitness-
In the meantime, there is little doubt about who Donald Trump is, the harm he has done already, and the greater harm he threatens. He is unfit to hold any public office, much less the highest in the land. This is not merely an orthodoxy of the opposition; his panicked courtiers have been leaking word of it from his first weeks in office. The President of the United States has become a leading security threat to the United States.