About the New Indictments

Trump Maladministration

Just saw this on my Facebook feed:

The Lawfare blog:

The timing of the indictment given the upcoming Helsinki summit is a powerful show of strength by federal law enforcement. Let’s presume that Mueller did not time this indictment to precede the summit by way of embarrassing Trump on the international stage. It is enough to note that he also did not hold off on the indictment for a few days by way of sparing Trump embarrassment—and that Rosenstein did not force him to. Indeed, Rosenstein said at his press conference that it is “important for the president to know what information was uncovered because he has to make very important decisions for the country” and therefore “he needs to know what evidence there is of foreign election interference.” But of course Rosenstein and Mueller did not just let Trump know. They also let the world know, which has the effect—intended or not—of boxing in the president as he meets with an adversary national leader.

Put less delicately: Rosenstein has informed the president, and the world, before Trump talks to Putin one-on-one that his own Justice Department is prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, in public, using admissible evidence, that the president of the Russian Federation has been lying to Trump about Russian non-involvement in the 2016 election hacking.

Of course, a normal U.S. president probably would have called off the scheduled summit with the Russian president. You know, the summit in which only translators will be present so that nobody can know what Trump and Putin say to each other. That summit.  Trump’s only response so far has been to blame the hacking on Barack Obama.

Among other details you might not have heard, Maryland learned this week that its voter registration platform belongs to a Russian oligarch.

Speaking of Russian oligarchs, don’t miss the New Yorker article by Adam Davidson on Trump’s Scottish golf course, which is losing him tons of money:

This property has not received the attention it deserves. It is, by far, the biggest investment the Trump Organization has made in years. It is so much bigger than his other recent projects that it would not be unreasonable to describe the Trump Organization as, at its core, a manager of a money-losing Scottish golf course that is kept afloat with funds from licensing fees and decades-old real-estate projects.  …

… Using what appears to be more than half of the company’s available cash to purchase Trump Turnberry makes no obvious sense for any business person, but especially for Donald Trump. It is a bizarre, confounding move that raises questions about the central nature of his business during the years in which he prepared for and then executed his Presidential campaign.

The question about this and other Trump properties: “There simply isn’t enough money coming into Trump’s known business to cover the massive outlay he spent on Turnberry,” Davidson writes. So where did this money come from? If you keep reading, you will notice the word laundering does turn up quite a bit. See also “Trump’s Mystery Money.”

By all appearances, Trump is Putin’s tool.

See also:

The nation’s top intelligence officer said on Friday that the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

That note of alarm sounded by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, came on the same day that 12 Russian agents were indictedon charges of hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Mr. Coats said those indictments illustrated Moscow’s continuing strategy to undermine the United States’ democracy and erode its institutions.

“The warning lights are blinking red again,” Mr. Coats said as he cautioned of cyberthreats. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”

What’s the Trump Administration doing to protect the voting system? Nothing at all, that I’ve heard.

Also:

In total, Friday’s announcement brought the count for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to 191 criminal charges against 32 people and three Russian companies, including Trump’s former campaign head, Paul Manafort; Manafort’s assistant, Rick Gates; his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn; a foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos; and 25 Russian nationals. (In an investigation delegated at least in part by Mueller’s office to federal prosecutors in New York, FBI agents also raided the offices of Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, who has not been charged with anything so far.)

The end game, of course, is to weaken the U.S. and the European alliances. And it’s all going according to plan so far. See Amy Zegart, “The Self-Inflicted Demise of American Power” at The Atlantic.

Many experts believe the chief challenge of managing President Trump’s foreign policy is keeping Trump on message. They’re wrong. Trump isn’t misspeaking when he ignores his talking points, insults allies, or congratulates Putin on winning a sham election. He’s not veering off script when he declares that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat just because Kim Jong Un posed for a photo in Singapore. Trump is actually on message nearly every day and in every tweet. It’s just not a message that most serious national-security experts want to hear. Deep in the recesses of our brains, we experts just cannot believe that an American president would pursue so many profoundly shortsighted policies—or that he would actually believe he’s doing a good job.

Trump has a foreign-policy doctrine, all right. He’s been advancing it with remarkable speed, skill, and consistency. Its effect can be summed up in one neat slogan: Make America Weak Again.

He’s going a heck of a job, folks.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Swami  •  Jul 15, 2018 @2:37 am

    I'm a little reluctant to comment on my assessment of what I think is going on with the Mueller investigation and the next round of indictments to be issued. Only because I'm seeing a parallel of sorts that kinda aligns with an element of scripture, and I don't want people perceiving me as a typical off the wall religious nut job. But the similarity between Jesus and Mueller in this instance is so striking that I'll risk being misperceived in my sharing of it.

    In the scriptures there is a parable known as the Wedding Feast at Cana. It's where Jesus is rumored to have performed his first miracle. The miracle where he turns water into wine. No easy feat. As was the practice for weddings in those days the host would put out their best shit at the start of the wedding and as people got sloshed as the wedding progressed, the host would start putting out the cheap shit in the hopes that the guests wouldn't notice that the host was now serving swill instead of a primo wine. Anyway, what happened at the wedding where Jesus showed up is that the host ran out of both the swill and the primo wine. That's where Jesus' mom stepped in and asked him to perform the miracle of turning water into wine. Well, maybe she just asked him to solve the wine shortage problem, and he decided to use water to enact his miracle. Whatever.

     That was a pretty straight forward miracle, and has no relevance in regard to the similarity to the Mueller investigation. But where the similarity to scripture comes in is in the reaction of the guests when they tasted the wine that Jesus made from the water. They knew the practice of serving the cheap shit as people got more in the bag and were inclined not to notice. So when Jesus turned out some primo wine by way of his miracle, they marveled, saying, the host has "saved the best for last". That's where the parallel comes in. 

    Mueller's next and probably final round of indictments is going to have all of us who are anxious to see Trump and his co-conspirators get indicted are going to be marveling in agreement like the guests at the wedding feast at Cana that Mueller also has saved the best for last.

  2. goatherd  •  Jul 15, 2018 @9:25 am

    Swami,  speaking for myself,  I always enjoy your comments, often with an element of envy.   Your use and appreciation of scripture is in sharp contrast to what might be cited by an off the wall religious nut.   So, carry on. 

  3. csm  •  Jul 15, 2018 @11:28 am

    The release of the indictments ahead of Trump's visit with Putin is, apparently, the most we can hope for at this point, regarding a rebuke of sorts of the Trump/Putin conspiracy against the US.  Sadly, the US lacks leaders with any substantial respect or stature that can rally and lead the nation against what is obviously going on.  It’s a tall order; it requires standing up against an elected president, albeit one that we now know was "elected" with the not insignificant help of a hostile foreign power, assisted by the president's party.  There is no other way to look at it as the republican party is complicit.  Any integrity the party had has been hollowed out from within over the years by a win at all costs, lust for power. To the point that today, not even the clear subversion of our democracy and democratic processes by a Russian government historically opposed to the US is enough to awaken any sense of loyalty and/or patriotism in their leaders. 

    As shameful as this indictment is, the inclination the one institution we have, the press, codified by the Constitution to inform the public, is instead working towards communicating acceptance and marginalization of anyone who would dare to call this situation what it is. 

    As an opposition party, the democrats have effectively been neutered through years of de-legitimization and an unwillingness to take action or simply a stand when it was clearly warranted. 

    Fair or not, the fact is its leaders are just not respected on the national stage.  You see it in the clear difference with which the media treats republican versus democratic leaders and speakers.  They haven't helped themselves when their leadership have tended towards cautious careerism and an unwillingness to risk upsetting the some of the same people/institutions that fund the GOP, and GOP voters who would never support them, rather than focus on taking obvious steps to rally their own. This reluctance to take clear, strong stands in opposition does a lot to internalize the view of democrats as un-serious, to the extent that we've reached a point where the public simply does not take them seriously as they do republicans, even when some of these republicans are clearly bat-shit crazy.   Bottom line, we can’t count on the democratic party to save the country.

    It’s possible, with the welcomed help of the Russians, entrenched gerrymandering and “voter fraud” schemes, the republicans could maintain both houses of congress in November.  It could be the foothold they need to rule; yes rule, as a corrupt, racist, unconstitutional, fascist minority for some time to come.  

    Our only hope will be to get the public up off their behinds and not only vote like never before, but be ready to take to the streets in protest of what is going on.  Otherwise, its over.

  4. uncledad  •  Jul 15, 2018 @3:43 pm

    Swami, I'll second Goat's summary of your writings. Your about the only religious nut that ever made the least bit of sense to me! I think the most interesting  indictment tid-bit is Mueller's mention of the congressional candidate requesting and receiving stolen property from the russians. I think its his way of telling Gym Jordan and his buddies: " I know some of you mother fuckers are just as dirty, so tone down the "witch-hunt" bullshit". Once that message sinks in they'll never get enough repugs to go down with them on a vote to end the probe.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIhT48eG-Ck

     

     

  5. uncledad  •  Jul 15, 2018 @4:08 pm

    "Bottom line, we can’t count on the democratic party to save the country"

    CSM, Maybe not but that's pretty much our only hope, if our voters split like they did in 2016 this fall we are fucked forever. As you say if we don't: "vote like never before " it's over, if Trump isn't stopped in the next year or so we'll have him until 2024, the country will be in ruins!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXcTMgPzhm4

     

     

  6. doug  •  Jul 15, 2018 @6:57 pm

    Swami – I  will take wisdom wherever I find it. I'm comfortable with the New Testament and precepts of Wicca. Buddhism I leave to the experts. But it makes sense if it applies, regardless of source.

    I'm looking at the events of the last few weeks and wondering if there's method to the madness. (The Bard is also a good source.) Trump made Trudeau an enemy, Mexico he put in crisis mode before Trump got sworn in. China is in full retaliation for tariffs. G7, NATO and the EU. England, and even to the Queen. Tariffs also extend to Japan & S. Korea – strategic alliances unless we're giving up the Pacific. The UN is getting rude treatment.

    At some point in time, maybe last week, our allies and business partners (China) are going to decide Trump  needs to get spanked. The world can apply sanctions to the US, with devastating effect. Trump claimed at a rally last week, "we hold all the cards." The world may want to teach Trump that in a global economy, the US does NOT hold all the cards.

    Is this Trump's plan? To have the global community come down on the US and use the national and personal victimhood to nurture a US against the world narrative? Putin united Russians against the US by blaming any and all ills in Russia on US sanctions.  Inflicting misery on a group to create a bond is basic psychology of boot camp. Trump has proven himself ignorant to nine decimal places re facts, but he HAS tapped the worst elements of the American psyche and he's stuck at 40% approval – regardless. 

    What Trump is doing will have disastrous consequences. Liberals will celebrate every downturn in the US that's related to Trump's lunacy but is Trump planning to turn that assignment of blame to validate that he's the eternal victim, libs, the press, Europe, China… Poor, poor pitiful Trump.  

  7. jrkrideau  •  Jul 15, 2018 @6:57 pm

    <i>Among other details you might not have heard, Maryland learned this week that its voter registration platform belongs to a Russian oligarch.</i>

     

    I am still laughing. You might note I am not a USAian.

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 16, 2018 @11:53 am

    Putin and tRUMP are apparently done meeting, and are now being asked questions by reporters.

    And all tRUMP keeps saying, is "No collusion, no collusion." 

    Hmm…

    Could this be true?

    Why would these two lie?

    What possible motivation could they have?

    LOL!

    Yeah, of course they're BOTH LYING!

    Putin lies because he's a shrewd operator, looking to create or widen political and cultural cracks.

    tRUMP lies because that's his default position, looking only to cover his ass, or to glorify it.

    Let's hope that after this summit, the good folks of Alaska don't find that Russian is now their official language.

     

    And now, he's back to blaming Hillary and the Dem's.

    SSDD/DC = Same Shit Different Day/Different Country.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 16, 2018 @12:59 pm

    tRUMP got pawned by Putin!

    In the battle between a former KGB agent and a current KFC devotee, the KGB won:  BIG TIME!!!

    The KGB's Putin didn't just de-feather "our"  KFC "President," he dressed him, ready for the oven.

    There was no way to watch the two of them and come to any  conclusion other than that tRUMP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Putin and Russia.  

    But the oven here in America needs to be turned-up. 

    But to heat that oven hot enough to cook tRUMP's goose (I prefer my metaphor's mixed, not straight), we'll need the MSM to out-shout the Reich Wing Wurlitzer.

    And get the MSM to call any Republican who still supports tRUMP for exactly what s/he is:

    A TRAITOR!

    ENOUGH!!!

  10. aj  •  Jul 16, 2018 @1:43 pm

    Actually Hillary summed it up: see whose team he " plays" for. Nothing he does is in interest of US.

    Finally we see treason with our own eyes.

  11. Tom_b  •  Jul 16, 2018 @1:49 pm

    Could be a heck of a lot of accessories to treason in Congress if they keep kicking the can down the road. The treason could not be more blatant if Rump put a sign on his fat butt with the message “bone me again Putie”.

  12. Swami  •  Jul 16, 2018 @3:52 pm

    Finally we see treason with our own eyes.

    That's the way I'm feeling. I've been reluctant to toss around the word treason because it tends to mischaracterize Trump's bullshit antics, at least to this point. But in view of his answer to a reporter in Helsinki about Russia's interference in our electoral process I'm left with the conclusion of what else to call what I just witnessed as anything other than treason.

     I really can't see anybody with only half a brain concluding differently. What the fuck does Hillary's server, or any server for that matter have to do with the information that has been presented to the American people regarding Russian interference our elections? Russia actively interfered to destroy our democratic system of governance. It was without question an attack on the sovereignty of our country.

     America better wake up…I get the concept of  giving deference and respect to legitimate authority, but when that authority has so abused the moral authority that we the people have vested in him…it's time to pull the plug on this degenerate president.

  13. Billikin  •  Jul 20, 2018 @1:05 am

    Speaking of hacking, today the Congress defunded the Election Security Fund, which had $300,000,000 to be sent to the states to help protect their elections. (!) This in an election year! When the US intelligence agencies are saying that the Russians are still interfering in our elections! 

    This year's elections will be hacked. If not by the Russians, by the Republicans. Today the Republican Congress sent  a clear message that they want the elections to be hacked.