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Russian to the Bottom
Author: BobR    Date: 02/15/2017 14:52:50

The news of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn resigning late Monday night was like a singularity in the zeitgeist of news and politics swirling around the tRump pResidency. It was the first crack in the dam... it was both expected and unexpected... it was much earlier and much later than many expected... It was and is a harbinger of things to come. Exactly what remains to be seen, and will only be clear when looked upon retrospectively, but it is indeed the beginning of a new phase in this political farce.

The rationale and recriminations swirling about the announcement are equally curious. The initial explanation was that he was forced to resign because he lied to veep Pence about a supposedly innocuous phone call to Russia. But it was made clear by none other than WH Press Secretary Spicer the tRump knew about the lie for weeks before Pence found out. So it wasn't the lie, it was that once Pence found out, he had to go? That is a bizarre rationale, and makes one wonder what kind of personal and professional dynamics there are between Pence and tRump (WaPo has a timeline spelling it all out).

His resignation - less than a month into the new administration - begs the question: who's next? As it happens, there is already another one on the way out the door. The head of the Secret Service - Joseph Clancy - announced his "retirement". He claims there is no friction with tRumps brownshirts private security detail, and cryptically chalked it up to "personal reasons". After 27 years, he leaves just over a month into the tRump pResidency? Things that make you go "hmmm".

More importantly, though, is the story behind the story with Flynn. He was just a little too close to the Ruskies, and that made a lot of people uncomfortable. Not tRump, of course, but people who still realize that Russia is not our ally. What's amazing is the number of people associated with tRump who have ties to Russia, including Jack Kingston, Rex Tillerson, Steve Bannon, and of course tRump himself. Are they all compromised too? (we already know about the tRump dossier.)

Probably most disturbing off all is a story broken by the NY Times yesterday that during the campaign, tRump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian Intelligence:
Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said.

[...]

The F.B.I. declined to comment. The White House also declined to comment Tuesday night, but earlier in the day, the press secretary, Sean Spicer, stood by Mr. Trump’s previous comments that nobody from his campaign had contact with Russian officials before the election.

“There’s nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period,” Mr. Spicer said in response to a question.

Two days after the election in November, Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy Russian foreign minister, said “there were contacts” during the campaign between Russian officials and Mr. Trump’s team.

“Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Mr. Ryabkov told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Were they working with the Russians to get hacked info from Democratic party servers?... to get communications from when Hillary Clinton was SoS?... to see if they could hack the voting machines in key districts?

Does it matter why? What matters is that it happened at all.

Finally - a member of Congress is using the "T" word:
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) used the word “treason” when describing Gen. Michael Flynn’s actions. However, his concern is not Flynn but the role the president played in these series of Russian scandals.

“The bigger problem, the scandal of the century, not the scandal of the week, is this ongoing relationship with Russia,” the former Marine told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday. “There is no question it’s the unequivocal conclusion of all our intelligence agencies that Russia wanted Donald Trump to be elected president. Either that’s just because they think Trump is Putin’s buddy and he is going to do his bidding or because they have material they can use against the administration. We don’t need to just know what Flynn knew or when his associates in the White House knew, we need to know what Russia knows and what they still hold over the heads of the people in the White House.”

Will Congress act on this? Not likely. Can you imagine if this was a Democratic president? The Republicans would be descending upon the White House with pitchforks and torches. It seems that IOKIYAR (It's okay if you're a Ruskie Republican).


 
 

49 comments (Latest Comment: 02/15/2017 22:17:46 by Raine)
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