Former CIA Director John Brennan testified on Tuesday that intelligence officials had found “contacts and interaction” between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and agents for the Russian government. “I’m aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known… Continue Reading →
Pull the string and I’ll wink at you, I’m your puppet
I’ll do funny things if you want me to, I’m your puppet
I’m yours to have and to hold
Darling you’ve got full control of your puppet.
WASHINGTON — American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence.
The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired general who was advising Mr. Trump, the officials said. Both men had indirect ties to Russian officials, who appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump’s opinions on Russia.
Some Russians boasted about how well they knew Mr. Flynn. Others discussed leveraging their ties to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the deposed president of Ukraine living in exile in Russia, who at one time had worked closely with Mr. Manafort.
The intelligence was among the clues — which also included information about direct communications between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russian officials — that American officials received last year as they began investigating Russian attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates were assisting Moscow in the effort. Details of the conversations, some of which have not been previously reported, add to an increasing understanding of the alarm inside the American government last year about the Russian disruption campaign.
This is quite the little surprise:
Former FBI Director James Comey’s controversial decision to detail the FBI’s findings in the Hillary Clinton email case without Justice Department input was influenced by a dubious Russian document that the FBI now considers to be bad intelligence, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The secret document, which purported to be a piece of Russian intelligence, claimed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information would go nowhere.
But according to people familiar with the matter, by August the FBI had come to believe the document was unreliable — and in fact may have been planted as a fake to confuse the FBI.
Comey made his announcement in July.
The document reportedly described an email supposedly written by then-Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and sent to Leonard Benardo, who is an official with the George Soros organization Open Society Foundations.
According to the document, Wasserman Schultz claimed Lynch had assured senior Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the investigation would not go too far.
Supporters of Comey claim that the document gave him good reason to take the microphone in July, without consulting with Lynch, to announce the close of the Clinton probe — in great detail.
Well, here we go. Trump’s new budget will be announced today, and it features massive cuts to Social Security disability. They are selling this to the media as “disability, not real Social Security,” and it’s up to us to stop them:
We pointed out back in March that Trump budget direct Mick Mulvaney displayed an alarming ignorance about Social Security disability benefits during an appearance on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
Now it turns out that there was method to his muttering. In effect, Mulvaney was telegraphing that the Trump White House was planning to cut disability benefits sharply. Axios reported Sunday that the Trump budget due out Tuesday will include $1.7 trillion in cuts to major social insurance and assistance programs, including food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Social Security disability.
Any cut to disability would be a major violation of Trump’s oft-repeated campaign pledge not to cut Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare. Trump also broke that promise, by the way, by endorsing the American Health Care Act, the House Republican Obamacare repeal plan that incorporates a stunning $880 billion in Medicaid cuts.
It turns out that Mulvaney was setting up a flagrant deception during that “Face the Nation” appearance. He asked moderator John Dickerson, “Do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don’t think so.”
Dickerson let the remark, which we described then as “a drive-by shooting” aimed at some of the nation’s neediest and most defenseless people, slide without comment.
But Mulvaney was tapping into a knowledge vacuum that appears to extend more deeply into the Washington press corps. Politico, which reports that the budget document will “avoid revamping Social Security and Medicare,” and the Associated Press, which says the budget “won’t touch Social Security or Medicare,” get snowed by the implication that a cut in disability isn’t a cut to Social Security.
my contribution to the Ctrl Alt Right Delete newsletter this week. It’s a brief look back at a crystallizing moment in the history of the alt-right. You can sign up to receive the newsletter here. The Washington, DC offices of Judicial Watch were crowded on the evening of May 8th, 2013. Founded for… Continue Reading →
It appeared that there wasn’t anybody minding the store when Air Force One went wheels up en route to the Middle East. All the big name advisors were on board, from Tillerson, to Bannon, to Kushner. But late last night–only 24 hours into the tour–The New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman tweeted that someone was cutting… Continue Reading →
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) May 18, 2017
Following a rare briefing of the entire Senate by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Senator Lindsey Graham met with a pack of reporters on Capitol Hill to discuss the latest on the probe into Russian interference in the election.
And after Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel, Graham announced that the probe has fundamentally changed in nature.
“It’s now considered a criminal investigation,” Graham said.
Graham added that Congress will now have “severely limited” ability to conduct any investigation, and seemed to suggest that some of his colleagues on the Hill who banged the drum for a special counsel didn’t fully grasp the ramifications.
There was an actual lengthy, substantive discussion on Morning Joe this morning with Tim Snyder, a history professor and the author of the best-seller “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” Willie Geist, and Joe Scarborough. Snyder reminded them that “most republics and most democracies fail,” and that history provides tools to help. “Because a… Continue Reading →
I wonder what the MAGA gang will think of this:
Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.
The administration would channel part of the savings into its top priority: school choice. It seeks to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and another $1 billion to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies.
President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have repeatedly said they want to shrink the federal role in education and give parents more opportunity to choose their children’s schools.
The documents — described by an Education Department employee as a near-final version of the budget expected to be released next week — offer the clearest picture yet of how the administration intends to accomplish that goal.
According to the latest bombshell report by the Washington Post, Trump’s little meeting with Russian foreign minister Lavrov wasn’t just a photo opportunity with Tass. Instead it appears that Trump disclosed some sensitive and key information critical to national security with…Russia. According to the report, information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through… Continue Reading →