Trump Russian Agent sort of like the Villain in a James Bond 007 Movie…
But he’s our president so it’s become all too real!  We have commentary & articles below providing the drama of Trump Russian agent, but first a short summary about us.  Here at The VORACS we aim to provide you with the truth, since there are an awful lot of falsehoods & conspiracy theories bouncing around out there which originate from the right-wing echo chamber.  So who actually is The VORACS anyway?  Demographically, I personally fall into the categories of married male with two grown children, baby boomer, independent sales rep, middle class, lifelong resident here in the Midwest rust belt of Ohio, patriotic center-right conservative based on traditional definitions, white evangelical, Cleveland sports fan, enjoy golf, longtime former GOP supporter & now very alarmed at what is happening to our country.  I’m also a lifelong student of politics.

Trump is undermining many of the bedrock foundations I’ve always believed in, perhaps even in the process of destroying party & church.  But he didn’t do it in a vacuum.  The warning signs have been coming from the conservative base for many years.  Even prior to Fox News transitioning from conservative news to mostly lies, there was a growing right-wing talk radio & internet social media world shifting the narrative from hardcore conservatism to far-right radicalized extremism.  That bred the tea party & got many radical-right nudniks elected in conservative districts.  Had Trump not gotten nominated in 2016, it’s likely gridlock-Teddy Cruz would have been, one of the greatest echo-toadies of all-time.  So Trump is a symptom more than the core problem.  Saving the GOP & returning it to sanity may be no less important than it may be needed to save our country.

The Biggest Political Scandal Ever?

As this ridiculous government shutdown shows no end in sight, make no mistake, a national emergency & biggest crisis we face is not coming from desperate migrants seeking to cross the Mexican border.  A far, far, far greater crisis is the prospect our American president is working in cahoots with the Russian dictator to undermine American interests: robert-b-reich-on-democracy-and-dictatorship.  That’s the theme of today’s show, Trump Russian agent!  It’s hard to argue we’re facing the biggest scandal ever, since the more we learn about our current president, the worse it gets!  See the comments from someone who formerly worked for counterintelligence in the FBI, along with comments by other political & legal experts, from inside This-is-the-biggest-political-story-ever-experts-react-to-the-Trump-Russia-FBI-investigation.  We’ve truly never seen anything like this in American history, more like Watergate on steroids featuring many tentacles & international in scope.  Also see this post from the article trump-russia-now-single-greatest-scandal-history-us-former-naval-intel-officer-malcom-nance-msnbc:

On Friday, the New York Times dropped a bombshell report that confirmed the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump concerning his ties to Russia. On Saturday, former Naval intelligence offer Malcolm Nance explained the potential gravity of the situation to MSNBC’s Richard Lui. “This is the single greatest scandal in the history of the United States,” he said. “I personally think that this challenges Benedict Arnold’s treason in the American revolution. If this is true, if Donald Trump was working for either money, influence, his own personal ego or being co-opted by Vladimir Putin, the ex-former director of Russian intelligence, and he went in there and he was doing this and that his favor is toward Russia and not the United States, well, it should take years.” 

“This is a serious—as serious as it gets,” Nance said. What will make the situation bad, Nance said, is that “one-third of this nation will not believe a word we say” about Trump’s possible treason, “because Donald Trump said so and because Russian information operations have corrupted them so that the FBI is considered the enemy.” Nance pointed out that former intelligence agents like him understood what was happening years ago, and that this is vindication and confirmation of what many already understood. “The last week of July 2016, I came on this channel and I warned that the nation was under attack and the Russians were carrying out an information warfare attack to support Donald Trump’s candidacy,” he said. “All throughout August and September of 2016 it became apparent he was working either as a witting asset or an unwitting asset who suddenly realized that they were working in his favor.”

Trump Russian Agent Indeed!

To open an FBI counterintelligence investigation, especially against a sitting president, there had to be some solid evidence behind it.  Much of that evidence was out in the open, especially in the aftermath of firing Comey along with the firing itself.  We actually saw Trump state on video the reasons he fired Comey, from declaring in a NBC News interview with Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of “that Russier thing,” to another occasion when he told a couple Russians inside the Oval Office that firing Comey took off great pressure on him.  We can only imagine what other evidence the FBI dug up behind the scenes, which that probe was turned over to Mueller when he was appointed.  Inside the Trump universe, they are shamelessly & unjustifiably bashing the FBI, all to protect their corrupt leader & they’ll stop at nothing to bastardize the truth.  It’s just a strategy to muck up the Mueller probe.  They’ve mentally conditioned the most hardened Trumpeters not to believe the Mueller report at all.  But the more we learn about these investigations, the more desperate Trump & his cronies get, & the crazier they get with their baseless claims.  Check out these recent news articles…

Folks, as Americans we’re treading on grounds we’ve never walked before, or as this article states uncharted territory & something right out of The Manchurian Candidate, when our president is suspected of working for the Russians: https://www.thedailybeast.com/ex-fbi-officials-say-spy-inquiry-into-president-trump-is-uncharted-territory?ref=home

Yes, as referred to in the NYT article, people would have to have their head in the sand not to suspect collusion & obstruction, but this new revelation puts things in a whole new light: https://www.vox.com/2019/1/12/18179662/trump-russia-mueller-fbi-new-york-times

The word “publicly” stands out in the NYT article, since when it states no evidence has emerged publicly, that insinuates plenty of compromising information may have become known privately, as we can presume Mueller is all over it: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a25868762/donald-trump-fbi-investgation-james-comey-firing/

From the Times report this could be worse than collusion, as the evidence suggests Trump Russian agent could indeed be working for Putin: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/mueller-investigating-trump-russian-asset.html

On the one hand it’s shocking to think an American president could be a Russian asset, but on the other hand we’ve suspected it all along: https://www.salon.com/2019/01/12/is-donald-trump-a-russian-agent-or-the-victim-of-a-deep-state-witch-hunt-sure/

Plenty of evidence indicating Trump Russian agent or asset or kompromat, be it willingly or unwillingly/unwittingly: https://thinkprogress.org/donald-trump-russian-agent-e8fd9fd4e656/

It’s the Russians who call it kompromat: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/01/13/mounting-evidence-trump-fears-putin-compromising-information-column/2564892002/

Obstruction & collusion go hand-in-hand: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/01/14/trump-obstruction-collusion-russia-223978

Trump plays a lot of golf, getting in 18 holes any chance he gets.  Here are 18 reasons Trump may be compromised by Russia & he’s bogeyed every one of them: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/opinions-here-are-18-reasons-trump-could-be-a-russian-asset/ar-BBSbN37

Inauguration financial shenanigans: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-inauguration-spending-details_us_5c3de3d7e4b0e0baf5412b4a

Late night chuckles: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/jan/15/stephen-colbert-seth-meyers-trevor-noah-trump-russian-agent-theres-nothing-secret-about-it

For more good takes on this Trump Russian agent bombshell report, where the FBI had found good cause to open an investigation against a sitting president, you could Google search any of these other articles.  The Lawfare reports are presented more from a legal perspective:

theguardian/trump-mueller-russia-investigation-william-barr

lawfareblog/what-if-obstruction-was-collusion-new-york-timess-latest-bombshell

lawfareblog/what-grounds-can-fbi-investigate-president-counterintelligence-threat

lawfareblog/week-was-all-lawfare-one-post-281

thehill/could-nancy-pelosi-be-the-next-president-of-the-united-states

washingtonpost/dont-expect-trump-to-go-quietly

Russians Russians Russians Everywhere!

The Trump campaign sure knew a lot of Russians!  Of course, all along they denied, denied, denied, which after all those contacts were uncovered, uncovered, uncovered, it became apparent they lied, lied, lied.  Trump is now lying so much, it’s hard to tell if anything he says is in any way factual.  More on those mind-boggling number of Russian contacts is seen in this article pulled from Team-Trump-had-over-100-contacts-with-Russian-linked-officials-and-covered-up-every-last-one:

Donald Trump associates had over 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials during the 2016 campaign and transition period, according to a report from the Moscow Project/Center for American Progress. USA Today reports the number got bumped to 101 this week following new reports that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, who had ties to Russian intelligence. The count includes meetings with people who had ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as other government officials, bankers, and intelligence operatives. Each meeting, call, and/or message was counted as a separate contact even if it was with the same person. It’s worth reiterating here that logging anywhere even close to 100 Russia contacts for the campaign of a U.S. presidential candidate is simply stunning. And as the Moscow Project points out, team Trump sought to cover up every last one of those contacts. The site lists at least 15 different instances in which the Trump campaign issued blanket denials about its contacts with Russia. There’s no reason why that number should be any higher than zero during a campaign. Apparently, that’s also what the FBI thought based on the intelligence it was gathering, which ultimately led the bureau to open an investigation into whether Trump was working for Russian interests. Go figure.

20 out of 53 is doable!

My little riddle I’ve mentioned before is we just need 20 out of 53 to change history!  To solve that riddle, we offer you a clue from the opinions of a conservative columnist in this article posted from latest-russia-news-makes-likely-senate-republicans-will-back-impeachment-conservative-columnist.  As more evidence of wrongdoings keep coming out from the various probes, getting 20 or more is highly achievable:

The latest revelations about whether President Donald Trump is a witting or unwitting agent of Russia will make it more likely Senate Republicans will split from the White House during an impeachment trial, conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens explained to MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” anchor Katy Tur on Monday. In recent days, The New York Times reported the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump and the Washington Post reported on Trump concealing his private conversations with Russia President Vladimir Putin. Tur asked whether impeachment “is a more realistic possibility today” than before the bombshell reports. “Impeachment is always a political question, but yeah,” Stephens replied. “The evidence has mounted now on the core issue that matters to actually a critical mass of Republicans, which is the Russia question,” he explained. “It is not about finance violations or Stormy Daniels or any of those stories, is the president actually in some way colluding advertently or inadvertently with a foreign adversary. “So that makes it much more likely, in fact, it makes it more likely that you will find Senate Republicans taking it seriously, too,” he added.

More Updates on Russian Probe

These are articles on various topics that hit the newsfeeds the past few days, mostly on the Mueller investigation:

Looks like the perpetually-corrupted Nunes has been caught up in a shady breakfast meeting: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/425338-mueller-scrutinizing-breakfast-event-held-before-trumps-inauguration

Trump Russian agent afraid to speak with Mueller, ostensibly because telling the truth would prove his guilt, while lying is perjury: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/425320-trump-team-turned-down-in-person-interview-with-mueller-report

The Mueller report should be made public, even if alternate methods are required such as holding a press conference, testifying before Congress &/or writing an executive summary: https://www.salon.com/2019/01/11/three-ways-mueller-could-make-his-report-public-even-if-the-department-of-justice-tries-to-block_partner/

Mueller document heavily redacted but exposes Manafort’s lies: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/15/mueller-backs-up-claim-manafort-lied-to-investigators-in-court-filing.html

Manafort contact central to the probe: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/15/politics/mueller-kilimnik-manafort/index.html

Rick Gates still providing info pertinent to various probes: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/former-trump-aide-rick-gates-not-ready-for-sentencing-mueller-filing-says

Impulsive & clueless, while regularly admonishing allies & praising dictators, he’s a wrecking ball on the world stage: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/opinion/article224250230.html#navlink=Lead

Didn’t Win Fair & Square?

Based on what we’ve learned about how extensive the Russian disinformation campaign really was in 2016, I’d say it’s highly likely Russia elected our current president, perhaps making Trump an illegitimate president.  After all, a change of fewer than 100,000 votes in 3 swing states made the difference, but it’s generally conceded we’ll never know for sure.  Or not?  In these excerpts from theres-way-know-if-russia-threw-election-trump, someone believes there is a way to find out:

Many commentators seem to assume that we’ll never be able to know. But Sinan Aral, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that’s misguided. “When I read in the newspaper that it’s impossible to know that the Russians changed the results of the election, I vehemently disagree,” he told me. “It is possible to know, with a certain degree of statistical confidence, the likelihood that Russian interference changed the results.” It’s extremely hard to do, he warns. But if we can marshal the will, we can get much closer to the truth. John Kelly of the data-analysis firm Graphika, insist that the Russians were sophisticated enough to tailor their messages to key groups — such as African Americans, who were bombarded with social media posts designed to demotivate them from voting. “The IRA had dozens of accounts that were followed by large fractions of the specific online communities they sought to penetrate — quite successful in influencer marketing terms,” Kelly told me in an email. (He was one of the authors of a report on the 2016 election commissioned by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.)

But just how successful were they at changing voter behavior? How many potential Clinton voters did they persuade to pull the lever for Trump? Did they convince some voters to sit out the election altogether? Take, for example, those three crucial swing states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. As Philip Bump wrote about Clinton shortly after the election: “But for 79,646 votes cast in those three states, she’d be the next president of the United States.” Aral says he and his colleagues want to study the Russian influence campaign in precisely this geographical context. The MIT scholars have developed a robust methodology for assessing how social media campaigns influence the behavior of their targets — and now they want to bring it to bear on the Russian meddling in 2016. “We need a rigorous, scientific postmortem on Russian misinformation to harden our democracy against future attacks,” he told me. “While current analyses focus on Russia’s reach, what we’re missing is an analysis of their impact – who their misinformation targeted and what effect it had.”

Aral and his MIT research partner Dean Eckles sent me what they call a “blueprint” for such a study. They propose zeroing in on the issue of “causality” by analyzing how different levels of disinformation changed behavior and opinions. They would use randomized experiments to estimate shifts in voter turnout and voting. “For example, Facebook and Twitter constantly test new variations on their feed ranking algorithms, which cause people to be exposed to varying levels of different types of content,” they write. “One underpublicized A/B test run by Facebook during the 2012 U.S. presidential election caused users to be exposed to more ‘hard news’ from established sources, with effects on political knowledge, preferences, and voter turnout.” Given access to adequate data, the researchers claim they can estimate the impact of the Russian influence campaign in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida “with 95% to 99% confidence.”

Barr Hearings

Barr really should recuse himself based on his previous writings attacking the Mueller probe (although he’s friends with Mueller).  But much like Whitaker, he wouldn’t do that despite the DOJ’s ethics office recommending it, since that recusal thing is really the reason Trump fired Sessions.  And that memo Barr originally sent out actually served as a successful audition for getting appointed AG.  Barr’s viewpoints give the executive branch way too much power, but much like the Kavanaugh hearings, there’s little that can be done to derail his confirmation since the GOP still runs the Senate.  Well, at least he’s an improvement over the unqualified Whitaker.  Barr is experienced since he held the same job years before.  By the way, Whitaker has finally agreed to testify in Congress the day after Cohen’s February 7th testimony.  As for Barr, he did state he’d protect Mueller & uphold the rule of law.  But he was avoiding questions & vague on whether Congress & the public would see the full Mueller report.  There’s a real concern how much Barr might hide the worst parts of the report, or even rewrite a summary for public consumption.  We should also be leery whether he’ll leave alone the investigations in the Southern District of NY.  Overall, he would be an AG we’d need to watch carefully.  We’ve exceeded our live link limit, so check these titles & search for any Barr articles that might interest you, with excerpts posted below from the last link:

vox/lindsey-graham-william-barr-attorney-general-hearing

thedailybeast/lindsey-graham-invokes-right-wing-conspiracy-theories-while-grilling-william-barr-trumps-ag-pick

slate/william-barr-attorney-general-hearing-mueller-recuse

salon/10-disturbing-moments-from-william-barrs-senate-confirmation-hearing

washingtonpost/democratic-senators-catch-william-barr-out-criminal-justice

washingtonpost/why-would-william-barr-want-join-this-white-house

washingtonpost/good-bad-uncertain-william-barrs-testimony

washingtonpost/i-was-in-congress-during-nixons-impeachment-proceedings-william-barr-is-wrong

motherjones/william-barrs-testimony-may-not-sit-well-with-donald-trump

huffingtonpost/bill-barr-trump-doj-mueller-investigation

thedailybeast/william-barr-i-can-conceive-of-situations-where-journalists-might-be-jailed-as-last-resort

thinkprogress/questions-william-barr-confirmation-hearing-attorney-general-nominee

nymag/william-barrs-secret-memo-attorney-general-department-justice-mueller

slate/william-barr-confirmation-hearings-attorney-general

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Some Democrats, former federal prosecutors and DoJ figures are warning that Barr might not be such a known quantity after all, and that confirming him as attorney general would threaten the work of the special counsel Robert Mueller and the justice department more broadly. Barr’s nomination has surfaced at an unusually fraught moment in Washington. While clashes between the White House and justice department are not unheard of, Trump’s war on the former attorney general Jeff Sessions, his attacks on top justice department figures such as the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and former FBI director, James Comey, and his stated belief that he should be able to direct justice department investigations – all combined with the sheer magnitude of alleged criminal conduct by former Trump aides and business associates and possibly Trump himself – means the next attorney general will wield power with likely historic consequences. The announcement last week of the planned departure of Rosenstein, who is seen as having faithfully protected the Mueller investigation against serious pressure from the White House, ratcheted stakes even higher.

Critics of Barr have raised an alarm about a memo that Barr submitted to the department last year, ostensibly unsolicited, arguing that Mueller’s investigation of Trump for alleged obstruction of justice was “fatally misconceived”. “The new Barr memo makes it clear that his view is outside the mainstream even of conservative, basic unitary executive theory,” said Neil Kinkopf, a Georgia State law professor who worked in the Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton administration. “It goes beyond that, to the point where it comes very close to putting the president above the law.” Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a Democrat on the judiciary committee, which will question Barr and vote on his nomination, said: “The memorandum is deeply worrisome because in effect he says the president is above the law. “That’s incorrect as a matter of law, but certainly for an attorney general to have that position is deeply wrong.”