With Game of Thrones over with for a couple of years or so, we’re forced to pay attention to real-life intrigue again.  It’s been a few weeks since we’ve discussed the Trump-Russia stuff, mostly because I think the whole thing is wank but also because there hasn’t been much to report of substance.

But there have been some ongoing developments in that and some of the other scandals of yesteryear.  So let’s talk about them.

Bob Mueller has brought in the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit to assist in whatever it is he’s investigating, according to “sources familiar with shit”.  Supposedly, going after Trump’s taxes would be a “red line” for Trump and it was suggested that he would try to pull the plug if Mueller went after his tax returns.  Well, there hasn’t been a peep as far as I know.  Assuming it’s true that Mueller is working with the IRS, I think it unlikely that Trump is the target.

Mueller is also looking at a letter Trump wrote about how much he wanted to fire former FBI Director Comey for refusing to–truthfully–publicly acknowledge that Trump himself was not under investigation regarding collusion with Russia.  Somehow, this supports the investigation of “obstruction” against Trump.  I’m not sure how.

Yes, we know that Trump didn’t tell the truth about the original reasons that he fired Comey.  He screwed up royally by not firing Comey on Day One.  Failing at that, he made it worse by not just firing Comey and then shutting up about it.  Instead, he had to keep taunting him publicly and changing the official story.  The whole state of affairs is ultimately Trump’s fault.  But did he obstruct justice?  No.

Oh, speaking of Comey and obstruction of justice; evidence has emerged that he apparently intended to squash the Clinton email investigation much sooner than when he said he had made the determination only after reviewing the facts.  This would also be perjury, if true. Honestly, I don’t know why Trump is just sitting around tweeting about this instead of going in for the kill.  Considering how Comey released his old memos specifically to bring about the Special Counsel, it seems like it would be a case of “turnabout is fair play”.

As I’ve said before, it looks like the whole investigation which has been forever supposedly descending on Trump is destined to land on Manafort.  Flynn too, to an extent, but his biggest headaches are somewhat separate from the whole Trump-Russia collusion fiasco.

All of this may not remove Trump from office, but it may be aligning him with the goals of “Deep State” by forcing him to maintain a harder line with Russia than he would otherwise want to.  You know my attitude on this.  I hate it.

Speaking of Deep State, Dianne Feinstein made the shocking observation that there is an expectation that a duly elected president should be expected to finish his term of office.  Worth pointing out that if the NSA had gathered any evidence positively linking Trump to Russian espionage, she would be in a position to have seen it.

In any event, a White House lawyer expects the matter to be closed by Thanksgiving.  There should be a rapid closure to this, honestly.  If Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia, sufficient time and resources have already been invested in learning about it since last year.

Sure, Mueller could keep digging and maybe find something to damage Trump over.  Unfortunately, he has filled his investigative team with so many partisan Democrats that it’s impossible to see how half the country would see his efforts as anything other than an attempt to undermine the outcome of the 2016 election.  I don’t think Mueller would want to destroy his reputation over it, but who knows these days?

The evidence is either there if it isn’t.  If it isn’t, Mueller needs to admit it so Trump haters can move on to the next very serious matter for which Trump should be destroyed.  I’m sure they’ll find something.

Where does everyone stand on Trump-Russia, out of curiousity?  Have any of you changed your position since we last discussed it?  Do you see it as something worthy of pursuing or have you started to doubt there’s anything there?  I’m just curious.

It’s all meaningless, of course.  Even more insane events are happening.  I guess this really is like Game of Thrones.  While we watch people we love to hate jockey for power, a greater threat is emerging from the “north”.  It’s led by an inhuman maniac and nobody knows what the hell he wants nor can he be bargained with.

Maybe it’s just me, but I always get nervous in the run up to 9/11 anniversaries.  Do you get the feeling that we’re not going to be talking about Trump-Russia a few months from now…and we’re all going to miss that being the big topic?

18 comments

  1. The Norks, damm looks like they did set off a Fission Fusion bomb? joy joy..
    As for Trump-Russia.
    I dont think there is anything there Everything so far has come up as bogus or simple false reporting, take the dossier, complete Hokum, the media knew thins and when it got public they went full tilt with it. The meeting with low level or simply no know connection Russians.. …pfft seriously if The Russians were running a op supporting trump or assisting him, we would not get wind of it via these stupid claims. the Russian intel spooks are too damm good.

  2. The FBI, needs a good house cleaning, it seem that the policy and bureaucratic Wonks threw in with Obama early on, and are still there. With the refsual to release the Clintion e-mails because of “lack of Public interest” and Comeys seemly planned not to prosecute The Clinton scandal at all, even before hearing evidence in the case…..the leaks….ect ect.

    oh hey question notice that in the last 8-10 years the Whole White power, KKK, Aryan nation groups were so so quiet, and now they seem to be in the spot light being active. Back in the 90s the FBIs penetration of such groups was so successful, that the FBI literly had cases where they tried to bust Klan members for guns and drugs only to fin that the DEA and ATF agents were in on the other side of the bust, not knowing that the targets, were either all undercover agents of paid informants.
    And now this sudden resurgence of Klan/Aryans, whom usually do not like one another at all. Add that to claims that some of the publicly know leaders for these last few rallys have been connected to occupy wall street and other leftest causes.
    My tinfoil hat might be on to tight, but given that weird and odd crap thats been going on?…

  3. Anybody see the “hey, maybe it’s time to knock off the identity politics stuff” article in Salon? It’s excellent.

    http://www.salon.com/2017/09/02/time-to-give-up-on-identity-politics-its-dragging-the-progressive-agenda-down/

    It’s a brave piece to publish in Salon. But that’s exactly the audience who needs to start exploring the reasons why Trump won without simply falling back on “Russia” or “racist white people” or “misogyny”. It also sort of answers Grendel’s question about the seemingly sudden resurgence of white supremacist groups.

  4. Where does everyone stand on Trump-Russia, out of curiousity? Have any of you changed your position since we last discussed it? Do you see it as something worthy of pursuing or have you started to doubt there’s anything there? I’m just curious

    I’m pretty much the same. I don’t expect this to be wrapped up neatly in the short term at all. There’s obviously a bunch of stuff that’s worthy of investigation, I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t want to at least err on the side of caution.

    If Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia, sufficient time and resources have already been invested in learning about it since last year.

    That’s your assessment based on, what exactly? I said this last time – but how long is sufficient time? Iran/Contra was, what, 5 years? Whitewater was, what? Six years? just wikipedia’d how long the investigation into Hillarys emails lasted – March 2015 – July 2016. That’s 16 months. The Trump/Russia investigation has been going on 14 months. I didn’t hear you calling for the Hillary investigation to be dropped in May 2016?

    So I’ll let you know what ‘my side’ is saying about this – and I agree that a) this doesn’t explain the 2016 election and b) Maddow et al should stop going on about it so much.

    IRS Stuff – I’m not sure it’s an attempt to look at Trumps tax returns – more to look for money laundering I suspect. (I’d guess not by DJT personally though) But again, this is all conjecture. I think all it signals is that the investigation is moving forward. Glad to hear you’re keeping busy Robert, call me when you’ve got something. That being said, why doesn’t he show his tax returns? There’s something on those tax returns that he doesn’t like. 😉

    Trump/Comey Letter. Again, this is a ‘investigations moving forward, tell me when you’ve got something’ scenario. The chat is that because Trump was advised against sending the letter/giving those reasons for firing Comey, it shows intent. Again, not sure these are huge revelations.

    The whole state of affairs is ultimately Trump’s fault. But did he obstruct justice? No.

    Again, that’s the investigation. You’re stating that as fact, when it’s something that’s under investigation. Oh, and by the way, it’s not ‘did he obstruct justice?’ It’s ‘did he try to obstruct justice?’

    There was also the news that discussions about Trump Tower Moscow were happening during the candidacy, with emails between Cohen and a Russian born criminal with connections to Putin. Oh and he emailed “Our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it…I will get Putin on this programme and we will get Trump elected.”

    You’ve got to admit, that for someone who has no ties to Russia, these unfortunate coincidences keep on happening to Trump. That guy can’t catch a break!

    I’d support looking closer at Comey/Hillary. But seriously, can’t you see the irony? You’re criticising Comey for (allegedly) reaching the conclusion that Hillary was innocent before completing the investigation? Maybe he thought ‘sufficient time and resources’ had been invested in the investigation?

    Side note – Grendel – ‘Public Interest’ doesn’t mean “the public will be interested to read this.” It means that the people asking for them to be released have not demonstrated that the release of the documents will help the public more than it will impinge on the privacy of the individual.

    Overall, I support the investigation ongoing – if nothing else than it’s always good to check if the leader of the free world is being honest and acting in the best interests of the US and therefore the world. It’s the most important job on the planet – and as such should be under the most scrutiny.

    Having said that – it’s not why Trump won, and the left needs to realise that. While the Trump/Ruissia stuff may or may not be real – it shouldn’t give an excuse to the American left for failing to come up with solutions for the majority of the people in the US. And that’s what’s happening.

  5. That’s your assessment based on, what exactly? I said this last time – but how long is sufficient time? Iran/Contra was, what, 5 years? Whitewater was, what? Six years?

    It’s based on the fact that we know that communications between people close to Trump and Kislayek were picked up by intercepts. The Obama Administration clearly had been interested in communications between the Trump campaign and Russia yet the evidence that there was collusion is far from convincing. Nevermind that we don’t even know what “collusion” is or whether or not it would even be illegal.

    I’d support looking closer at Comey/Hillary. But seriously, can’t you see the irony? You’re criticising Comey for (allegedly) reaching the conclusion that Hillary was innocent before completing the investigation? Maybe he thought ‘sufficient time and resources’ had been invested in the investigation?

    I just don’t see where Mueller goes with this.

    Look, there was an espionage charge levied against a guy back in July. He committed the acts in March and April. Therefore, it took only about three months to bring a case against him. Three months. Does Mueller have evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing or not? As of his firing, Comey certainly didn’t. At what point can we clear the president and put this to rest?

    I didn’t hear you calling for the Hillary investigation to be dropped in May 2016?

    Well, as we learned this week it was never really investigated to begin with. It should have been an open and shut case. Did she inappropriately store and share classified information or didn’t she? Comey had apparently made up his mind before interviewing anyone that she didn’t. If not, he should have said so as soon as possible.

    I’d support looking closer at Comey/Hillary. But seriously, can’t you see the irony? You’re criticising Comey for (allegedly) reaching the conclusion that Hillary was innocent before completing the investigation? Maybe he thought ‘sufficient time and resources’ had been invested in the investigation?

    I’ve been of the opinion that Comey didn’t want to be the one to put a presidential candidate on trial in the middle of an election. I think what he tried to do was put out all of the facts and let the voters decide. I think what he did was heroic, to a point, but he should have resigned over it and preserved his honor.

    Unfortunately, it’s clear that he didn’t invest any significant time or resources into it. He offered immunity to everyone who might have been involved in illegal activity, declined to interview Clinton under oath, and decided not to call a grand jury to hear evidence.

    That being said, why doesn’t he show his tax returns? There’s something on those tax returns that he doesn’t like.

    This is true. Trump does not want it revealed how rich he is or whatever. We’ve discussed this a few times. However, he has been audited repeatedly over the years. The evidence of collusion or wrongdoing has been there or it hasn’t for a long time. Where is it now that Mueller is looking for these things?

    Again, that’s the investigation. You’re stating that as fact, when it’s something that’s under investigation. Oh, and by the way, it’s not ‘did he obstruct justice?’ It’s ‘did he try to obstruct justice?’

    All I can see is that Trump fired someone he is fully authorized to fire. We have since learned that the man he fired was a leaker and possibly a perjurer. Nothing involved with either discouraging Comey from prosecuting Flynn or firing Comey was obstruction. Hence there’s nothing to investigate.

    Overall, I support the investigation ongoing – if nothing else than it’s always good to check if the leader of the free world is being honest and acting in the best interests of the US and therefore the world. It’s the most important job on the planet – and as such should be under the most scrutiny.

    I won’t argue with that. You’re right. Trump himself has brought this on himself at every stage, from begging Russia to hack and release Clinton’s emails to firing Comey and then lying about why he did it. I absolutely do not want anyone to think that Trump should be pitied for having Mueller on his ass. It was self-inflicted. However, it does have to have an end and it has to be viewed as an objective and fair conclusion. The longer it drags on and the further it strays from its original purpose, the more it fails.

    Mueller could absolutely say “there is no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election” and still prosecute Manafort for money laundering.

    Having said that – it’s not why Trump won, and the left needs to realise that. While the Trump/Ruissia stuff may or may not be real – it shouldn’t give an excuse to the American left for failing to come up with solutions for the majority of the people in the US. And that’s what’s happening.

    I wholeheartedly agree. Our president may or may not be corrupt. It’s certainly in the public interest to know if he is. However, he is the president. People pulled the lever for him and it was enough to put him there. The Democrats need to know why for their own good. They’re not going to get there by demanding that he be impeached. There’s no “easy button” for fixing what went wrong for them last year.

  6. That’s fair to bring up, especially considering how we’ve learned that Obama greatly under-reacted to warnings that Russia was planning to interfere in the election.

    But what does it mean now? To me, it’s just one of those initiatives that Obama thought he could improve just by being himself. Obama believed that if an American president showed humility and a willingness to be non-aggressive that it would change the behavior of other foreign leaders.

    Of course he was wrong. Nations act out of self-interest, not simply out of reaction to what we do.

    But what does it accomplish to bring this up now?

  7. Well, as we learned this week it was never really investigated to begin with. It should have been an open and shut case. Did she inappropriately store and share classified information or didn’t she? Comey had apparently made up his mind before interviewing anyone that she didn’t. If not, he should have said so as soon as possible.

    Are you saying that the FBI should fully complete any investigation of a politician before making up their mind about innocence? If so I’d agree with you.

    That being said, why doesn’t he show his tax returns? There’s something on those tax returns that he doesn’t like.

    That was me being snarky. It’s a Trump quote with Tax Returns substituted for Birth Certificate. Cheap shot.

    Nothing involved with either discouraging Comey from prosecuting Flynn or firing Comey was obstruction.

    There are a whole lot of legal minds that would agree with you, and a whole lot that disagree with you. Ergo, investigation.

    However, it does have to have an end and it has to be viewed as an objective and fair conclusion. The longer it drags on and the further it strays from its original purpose, the more it fails.

    I was just talking to a colleague about this – so maybe this is a better way to sum up my position: here is a list of the possible outcomes, from my most desired to the least

    1. Investigation finishes, Trump is 100% innocent
    2. Investigation finishes, Trump innocent, Manafort or someone prosecuted
    3. Investigation finishes, Trump guilty
    4. Investigation doesn’t finish, Trump is innocent, but it’s not proved
    5. Investigation doesn’t finish, Trump is guilty, but it’s not proved

    Without the investigation finishing, there are only bad outcomes for everyone (except for Trump personally)

    I think the difference between our positions is that you don’t seem to trust the Mueller investigation to a) finish, and b) be fair. If that’s the case, I can see how you don’t think options 1, 2 or 3 are ever going to happen.

  8. I think the difference between our positions is that you don’t seem to trust the Mueller investigation to a) finish, and b) be fair. If that’s the case, I can see how you don’t think options 1, 2 or 3 are ever going to happen.

    Yeah, you’ve nailed it. I think that the Mueller investigation is going to be prolonged and I think it’s going to exceed its scope. I think #4 is the most likely outcome and that’s a shame. It means that there will have been a full, independent investigation of this matter and that half the country won’t accept it. That’s not good for us. Americans, I mean.

    If it’s going to be #4, Mueller might as well say so as early as possible. Keep in mind that if he does, he’s only verifying what we’ve already heard from Clapper, Brennan, and Feinstein among others. Why drag it out?

    I just feel like sufficient time has passed that if Trump is guilty, the evidence should already have been evaluated and we should be able to move on to to the conclusion. For the good of the country, Mueller needs to put it to rest. Had Comey done so when he had the chance, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  9. I’m perfectly okay with a “peace” movement wrt North Korea. It’s bullshit if they’re doing it for no other reason than to oppose Trump.

    Nothing would make me happier than leaving North Korea alone, but I don’t know if that’s possible. When the regime is screeching from the rooftops that it wants to use nuclear weapons against us and then developing nuclear capabilities to do it, I have to take it seriously.

  10. But what does it accomplish to bring this up now?

    Just reminding those who think Russia is such a problem now, are willfully showing bias if they supported (and even cheered for) Obama’s statement then.

  11. If I may ask, why is it that you think the Mueller investigation isn’t fair?

    I just feel like sufficient time has passed that if Trump is guilty, the evidence should already have been evaluated and we should be able to move on to to the conclusion

    What specifically is it that makes you think that this investigation should take way less time than other similar investigations? You seem to be conflating an investigation (the gathering of evidence) with prosecution (evaluating evidence).

    Is it your theory that the Mueller Team have pursued all avenues of investigation open to them, have found nothing, and are stalling to keep giving Trump bad press? That Mueller could, if he wanted to, produce the conclusion that Trump is innocent?

    For the good of the country, Mueller needs to put it to rest

    Agreed. But it needs to be thorough and complete. Else it’s not put to rest.

  12. If I may ask, why is it that you think the Mueller investigation isn’t fair?

    The major factors would be that one of the prime witnesses (Comey) is a good friend and former colleague of Mueller’s and Mueller has been stacking the prosecution team with Democratic donors. Those factors are instantly going to inflame Republican opinion against any negative result for Trump or his associates. On the other hand, it could help Mueller tremendously if there’s a favorable outcome, but I still expect that SOMEBODY is going to get charged with SOMETHING.

    What specifically is it that makes you think that this investigation should take way less time than other similar investigations?

    Again, I pointed to a case of espionage this year that took only three months from the act itself to indictment. Given that we know the NSA was monitoring the Trump campaign incidentally through wiretaps on Russian officials, I think that the evidence would exist if they had it. Comey didn’t find any evidence of collusion and wasn’t investigating the president.

    What is Mueller investigating at this point if he hasn’t found evidence of any crime involving the Trump campaign and Russia? If he hasn’t found anything, the investigation should end rather than continue until he finds something unrelated to that issue.

    I wouldn’t say that it’s a matter of giving Trump bad press. It’s that these special prosecutions have a tendency to go on and on beyond their original scope as the prosecutor tries to find SOMETHING to justify his appointment.

    Best example is how the Valerie Plame leak investigation went on for over two years despite the fact that it was readily apparent that leaking Plame’s name (the given reason for appointing the special prosecutor) wasn’t even a crime. The prosecutor kept digging and ultimately prosecuted someone who hadn’t committed the original crime, but did tell a lie to investigators. In other words, there was no crime until there was an investigation.

    Seriously: 2 YEARS spent to investigate something that wasn’t even a crime. It’s insane.

    That’s unacceptable. It’s my opinion that the longer this investigation goes on, the further it’s going to stray from its given scope.

    Here it is:

    (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals
    associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
    (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
    (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).
    (c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is
    authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

    How much more time do we need to figure out if those links between Russia and the Trump campaign existed between the incidental wiretaps, evidence gathered from Manafort and other sources, and other available evidence were illegal or not?

    I favor the idea proposed by Rep. DeSantis. Restrict the scope of Mueller’s investigation and shut it down if he doesn’t have anything to prosecute in six months. That’s more than enough time.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/28/mueller-investigation-republicans-russia-242108

  13. They don’t give a shit. As far as they’re concerned Obama genuinely tried to fix relations with the Russians but they worked to undermine anyway. Then they supported Trump to spite the Democrats.

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