Today’s News Bits

First, please head to the Philadelphia Inquirer and read Will Bunch’s column, The NYT should tell readers whether it helped crooked FBI agents get Trump elected in 2016.

This week’s stunning corruption charges against a top FBI spymaster who assumed a key role in the bureau’s New York office just weeks before 2016?s “October surprise” — an agent who by 2018 was known to be working for a Vladimir Putin-tied Russian oligarch — should cause America to rethink everything we think we know about the Trump-Russia scandal and how it really happened that Trump won that election.

The government allegations against the former G-man Charles McGonigal (also accused of taking a large foreign payment while still on the FBI payroll) and the outsized American influence of the sanctioned-and-later-indicted Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska — also tied to U.S. pols from Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell — should make us also look again at what was really up with the FBI in 2016.

How coordinated was the effort in that New York field office to pump up the ultimate nothingburger about Clinton’s emails while poo-pooing the very real evidence of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf, and who were the agents behind it? What was the role, if any, of McGonigal and his international web of intrigue? Was the now-tainted McGonigal a source who told the New York Times that fateful October that Russia was not trying to help Trump win the election — before the U.S. intelligence community determined the exact opposite? If not McGonigal, just who was intentionally misleading America’s most influential news org, and why?

It’s not exactly behind a paywall, but the Inquirer may make you jump through some registration hoops first. It’s worth it.

See also Exclusive: Inside the extramarital affair and cash-fueled double life of Charles McGonigal, the FBI spy hunter charged with taking Russian money at Insider and So Many Dangling Threads at TPM.

George Who Goes by Santos But Who The Hell Knows What His Name Is is stepping down from his committee assignments until the issues surrounding his election are “resolved.”

Also see Paul Waldman, The GOP presidential contenders don’t want to have a beer with you. This is more serious than it sounds.  “It has to do with something called the Dark Triad, a concept described by psychologists, which is made up of narcissism (an exaggerated self-importance), Machiavellianism (the willingness to deceive and manipulate) and psychopathy (a callousness toward others),” Waldman writes. A lot of top Republican contenders exhibit these traits. Politicians with these traits attract some voters and repel others.

This is juicy — Another SCOTUS scandal: Chief justice’s spouse makes millions placing attorneys at top law firms that argue before the court.

The New York Times reports that “a former colleague of Mrs. Roberts has raised concerns that her recruiting work poses potential ethics issues for the chief justice. Seeking an inquiry, the ex-colleague has provided records to the Justice Department and Congress indicating Mrs. Roberts has been paid millions of dollars in commissions for placing lawyers at firms — some of which have business before the Supreme Court, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times.”

Yes, it stinks out loud. What can be done about it, though?

5 thoughts on “Today’s News Bits

  1. WOW!

    (Not At All) Dear CJ John Roberts,

    "Good baseball umpires" – as you once claimed to be – shouldn't want their wives… 


    Sorry, Justice "Coat Hanger": 

    "Husbands/Significant Others(SO)", 

    Shouldn't want their SO fiddling around in the minors, trying to find ballplayers that SO would like to "mentor," "tutor,"' and "coach."

    As Jimmy Durante might say, "It jus' ain' RIGHT!  No Sir!  IT JUS' AIN, RIGHT!!!  Ha-cha-cha-cha-cha!"

  2. "Yes, it stinks out loud. What can be done about it, though?"

    Nothing, until we have (D)'s in the White House, control both houses, and have enough senators to ignore Manchin and Sinema, and override the filibuster.

    • Even that won't help too much, since federal judges can only be removed from the bench after impeachment and upon a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

  3. Regarding the FBI: they have a dog in this fight. Trump has denigrated the FBI since day one. There's some FBI agents who lean fascist – Trump made good use of them in the White House. Elsewhere, whenever Trump ran into integrity in law enforcement, he attacked the agent who stood for his duty first. 

    If Moscow put this FBI agent on the payroll to influence politics to empower Trump, it's in the interest of the intel services to expose it. This would be a break from the usual policy and practice of th FBI not to interfere in politics. 

    It's more than possible the Trump was unaware. Moscow would consider Trump unreliable (my opinion) so if they were pulling the strings on using the FBI to discredit HRC, they'd keep those cards hidden.

    Trump is squealing non-stop about the investigation in NY that is (reportedly) before a grand jury now. Unlike the Russians, Trump is showing a lot of cards – he's saying it's all Cohen's fault. (Trump only followed the advice of his lawyer.) If that's Trump's defense, I don't see how Trump can make it unless he takes the stand. 

    Trump is also making a lot of noise about the statute of limitations but I suspect the NY DA is aware of if/how the clock is ticking. Cohen is eager to take the stand so the jury will see the version the DA wants to present. The DA (Bragg) is under the gun – a book is coming out in February written by a former prosecutor who quit when Bragg buried a  ready-to-try tax case against Trump. It looks like Bragg is trying to get out of the implicit charge that he was covering for Trump…. by bringing a lesser but easier charge. Before the book comes out (possibly). If the book is convincing, will the tax charges be brought later this year? 

    Speculate as you wish but it's certain Trump is worried.

  4. "The government allegations against the former G-man Charles McGonigal"

    I guess will find out the truth eventually? It sure will be awkward having the DOJ pursing charges against a former FBI agent at the same time Gym Jordan and his GQP "DOJ weaponisation" committee is underway. Strange bedfellows indeed. Something tells me lil-donnie will make this work for him somehow?

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