Surprise! Flynn intends to invoke his right against self-incrimination…..oops

Flynn on the hot seat

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn will not be cooperating with a Senate intelligence committee investigation, according to the Associated Press. He intends to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination Monday to avoid turning over documents lawmakers have subpoenaed related to his interactions with Russian officials.
Neither the leaders of the Senate intelligence committee nor Flynn’s lawyer returned requests for comment.
Flynn resigned in February, after it was revealed that he lied about whether he had substantive contacts with the Russian ambassador before President Donald Trump took office.
Trump kept Flynn in the administration long after the White House had been alerted to his ethics issues. Before Trump’s inauguration, Flynn had told the transition team that he was under federal investigation for secretly lobbying for the Turkish government during the campaign, according to The New York Times. Even with this information, Trump named him national security adviser.
During the campaign, Flynn criticized the technology specialist who set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server for invoking his Fifth Amendment rights during a court case.

Trump has also blasted Clinton associates for pleading the Fifth, arguing, “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”
The Senate intelligence committee has also requested documents from former Trump adviser Carter Page, who is so far refusing to cooperate. He told Business Insider Monday that he has no plans to plead the Fifth because he’s “never done anything wrong.”
Trump continued to keep Flynn on the job after Sally Yates, the acting attorney general, warned the White House that he could be subject to blackmail by the Russians for hiding his contacts with the ambassador.
The president is now under fire for reports that he urged FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into Flynn during an Oval Office meeting in February. Trump fired Comey last week and admitted that the bureau’s Russia probe was on his mind when he did so.
The House intelligence committee also announced Thursday that it has requested documents from the Justice Department and the FBI related to Comey’s dismissal and any conversations between Trump and the former FBI director.

Amanda Terkel Huffington post

“No. No. Next question,”……….. somebody’s lyin’ and lyin’ and……….

Donald Trump just staked his presidency on 4 words

Washington (CNN)At a joint news conference with Colombian President Juan Manual Santos Thursday, President Donald Trump was asked a very simple question: Had he urged then-FBI Director James Comey to slow or stop an FBI investigation into deposed national security adviser Michael Flynn?

“No. No. Next question,” Trump responded.

It was over in a flash. But in those four words, Trump staked the viability of his presidency.

Why? Because he directly contradicted the reporting around a memo that Comey had written in the wake of a February 14 meeting in which Trump told him to see if he could find a way to end the Flynn investigation, The New York Times first reported and CNN confirmed.

Both of those things can’t be true.

Comey, who was fired by Trump 10 days ago, is expected at some point in the not-too-distant future to come to Congress and testify about his meetings with Trump. And the relevant congressional committees have already requested the February 14 memo as well as any other memos — and CNN has reported there are more of them — that Comey wrote about his interactions with Trump.

Between his testimony and the memo(s), Comey’s side of the story is going to get out there. And, presuming that what we know of the February 14 memo is true, then Trump’s former FBI director will be on record directly disagreeing with the President’s version of events.

By issuing such a blanket denial, Trump leaves himself very little wiggle room. In order for Trump to emerge unscathed, there can be no evidence that emerges that props up Comey’s side of the story. Anything that shows Trump was not being entirely truthful with his “no, no, next question” response calls into question his credibility on a whole range of issues and could well lead to open revolt from within his own party.

Trump’s situation here is not dissimilar to that of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of the early Trump converts. After the news broke that two of Christie’s top gubernatorial aides had been involved in a political payback ploy that involved closing lanes of traffic in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Christie went on record to say he was totally unaware of any of this plotting.

Had anything come out that proved Christie even slightly wrong in that total denial, it would have been curtains for his political career. It never did — and Christie survived. (As it was, the Bridgegate scandal badly hamstrung Christie and he never was a real factor in the 2016 race.)

In short: The story of the February 14 meeting is currently a “he said, he said” one. If it never progresses beyond that, Trump will almost certainly survive, politically speaking. There will be plenty of grumbles from Republicans — many of whom are on the record praising Comey as a trustworthy guy and able public servant — but short of evidence that tilts the scales in Comey’s favor, it will be very hard to abandon Trump.

If, on the other hand, tapes — like the sort Trump floated he might have of his conversations with Comey — or any other sort of documented evidence emerges that poke holes in Trump’s four-word denial, he and his presidency will be in deep trouble.

Donald Trump is a gambler by nature. Repeatedly during his presidential campaign, and now in the White House, he has rolled the dice and reacted once they settled. But, whether he realized it at the time or not, Trump placed the biggest bet of his political career on Thursday.
From CNN

Boston Globe Fact Checks:

Donald Trump’s latest assertions about the Russia investigation are questionable on a number of fronts.

For one, he’s claiming his political adversaries agree with him that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russians. His critics are not at all convinced of that.

He’s also appearing to shift some responsibility for the firing of FBI chief James Comey to a Justice Department official. Earlier, he’d claimed sole ownership of that decision.

Joining Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos in a news conference Thursday, the president also misstated the record on jobs and a violent national gang as well as on the matter that prompted the Justice Department a day earlier to appoint a special counsel with wide-ranging powers to investigate the Trump campaign and Russia.

THE FACTS: Democrats have not absolved Trump on whether his campaign and Russian officials coordinated efforts last year to disadvantage his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Several have said they have not seen evidence of collusion, but that’s not to say they are satisfied it did not happen.

Trump has cited James Clapper, the director of national intelligence until Trump took office Jan. 20, among others, as being ‘‘convinced’’ there was no collusion.

Clapper said this week that while a report he issued in January did not uncover collusion, he did not know at the time that the FBI was digging deeply into ‘‘potential political collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians’’ and he was unaware of what the bureau might have found. The FBI inquiry continues, as do congressional investigations and, now, one by the special counsel.

—On his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey: ‘‘I actually thought when I made that decision — and I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.’’

THE FACTS: The recommendation Trump cites behind his decision was written after he’d already made up his mind, according to Rosenstein and to Trump’s own previous statement.

In an interview with NBC two days after the May 9 Comey dismissal, Trump said he had been planning to fire Comey for months, and linked it with the FBI’s Russia probe, saying, ‘‘In fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.’’

On Thursday, Rosenstein told senators in a closed-door briefing that he had been informed of Trump’s decision to fire Comey before he wrote his memo providing a rationale for that act, said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

—Speaking of the MS-13 gang presence in the U.S.: ‘‘A horrible, horrible large group of gangs that have been let into our country over a fairly short period of time. … They’ve literally taken over towns and cities of the United States.’’


THE FACTS: His depiction of the gang as a foreign one ‘‘let into’’ the U.S. is not accurate.

The gang actually began in Los Angeles, according to a fact sheet from Trump’s own Justice Department, and ‘‘spread quickly across the country.’’ And it started not recently, but in the 1980s according to that same fact sheet.

The department indirectly credits the Obama administration, in its early years, with helping to rein in the group, largely made up of first-generation Salvadoran-Americans and Salvadoran nationals. It said: ‘‘Through the combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, great progress was made diminishing or severely (disrupting) the gang within certain targeted areas of the U.S. by 2009 and 2010.’’

The U.S. carried out record deportations during the Obama administration and, on MS-13 specifically, took the unprecedented action of labeling the street gang a transnational criminal organization and announcing a freeze on its U.S. assets. Such actions were not enough to bring down the group and the Trump administration says it will do more.

—”You look at the tremendous number of jobs that are being announced.’’ — Thursday news conference

— ‘‘Jobs are pouring back into our country.’’ — speech Wednesday to the Coast Guard Academy

— ‘‘I inherited a mess. … Jobs are pouring out of the country.’’ — February news conference

— ‘‘Car companies coming back to U.S. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!’’ — on Twitter, after Ford took steps to add about 800 jobs in the U.S. in January and March

THE FACTS: Trump’s rhetoric about jobs has changed, but the actual data about hiring haven’t. Job gains have been solid since Trump was inaugurated, averaging 185,000 a month from January through April, according to government figures. But that is the same pace of hiring as occurred in 2016, when Barack Obama was president, and slower than in 2014 and 2015, when more than 225,000 jobs a month were added, on average.

As for Ford, context is everything. After hailing the addition of some 800 jobs, Trump was silent after Ford announced Wednesday it plans to cut 1,400 non-factory jobs in North America and Asia. That will most likely outweigh the jobs added earlier.

Overall, presidents typically get far more credit or blame for the state of the economy than they deserve, economists say. And it is particularly unlikely that any president would have an impact after just four months on the job. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from taking credit.

‘‘Great jobs report today — it is all beginning to work!’’ he tweeted May 5, after the government reported that solid hiring in April had pushed the unemployment rate to a 10-year low. A spokesman said on the same day that ‘‘the president’s economic agenda of serious tax reform, slashing burdensome regulations, rebuilding our infrastructure and negotiating fairer trade deals is adding jobs.’’

While Trump, with the help of the GOP Congress, has taken some minor steps on deregulation, little progress has been made on taxes, infrastructure or trade.


….and the “Dumbass Award” goes to….City of Eureka and the Harbor District

But first…..

A brief Baykeeper Off-channel dredging tutorial:
Off-channel dredging is done on a 7-to 10-year cycle. The marinas were last dredged in 2007. At that time, the Harbor District was told by several state and federal agencies that they’d need to come up with a new plan to dispose of the dredge spoils in the future, since dumping on the beach would not be allowed again due to the potential impacts to the public.

The material dredged from the marinas and docks is mostly fine sediment that originates upslope and flows into the bay from tributaries like Freshwater Creek. Contamination is a concern, since dioxins tend to bind to fine sediment, and are very persistent and extremely toxic to humans and wildlife. In 2007, Baykeeper prevented the dredge spoils from being dumped on the beach until testing for dioxins and PCBs was done. At that time, dioxins were detected above background levels at both marinas and most docks. Dredging was not done at docks with higher levels of dioxins and PCBs, since there was no plan for proper disposal of contaminated spoils.

from LoCO:
EPA Says Eureka, Harbor District Should Have Known Dredging Disposal on the Beach Wouldn’t be Allowed

It has been a decade since Eureka’s public marina and the Woodley Island Marina were dredged to remove the sediment that accumulates on the floor of Humboldt Bay, and with the heavy rainfall over the last two years that sediment has built up to the point where boats are left nestled in mud, unable to leave the docks for hours at a time. Roughly 200,000 cubic yards of sediment needs to be removed.

Until late last week, the City of Eureka and the Humboldt County Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, the two agencies responsible for performing maintenance dredging, planned to dump the dredge spoils on a beach along the Samoa Peninsula, as they have for years.

Late last week, though, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected that plan, sending local officials back to the drawing board. This caused much consternation for Miles Slattery, director of Eureka’s Parks and Recreation Department, who argued adamantly that beach disposal would be the least environmentally damaging option available.

But officials with the EPA told the Outpost in an email that local decision-makers were instructed nearly 20 years ago to make alternate plans for the dredge spoils, and they were reminded again in 2007.


read more at:

Ten years ago they were told they couldn’t do it.
So what did the City of Eureka and the Harbor District do in the last decade…………..not a damn thing!
This is a classic Arkley technique, disregard the warnings and rules and wait until the last minute for some type of contrived emergency, hoping to have the regulations waved.

Sorry, Eureka Parks and Recreation and Harbor District, The Environmental Protection Agency shot down your plans. Local environmental groups had warned you many times this wouldn’t be acceptable, but nevertheless you persisted. So don’t go blaming the Coastal Commission and the EPA for your own arrogant stupidity, it’s all on you.


Seth Meyers queues up baffling examples of stupidity in Trump’s Washington.

Late-night comedian Seth Meyers can’t get over the baffling examples of stupidity overflowing in President Donald Trump’s White House.

During press secretary Sean Spicer’s daily press briefing where reporters berated him for promoting Trump’s border wall that has now being replaced by a fence that was actually paid for by budgets under previous presidents.

His second example was an exchange in the “Face the Nation” interview with Trump in which host John Dickerson quoted George W. Bush. According to Bush, the reason that the Oval Office is round is because there is no corner for the president to hide.

“Obviously, it’s a metaphor about taking responsibility for your actions, yet Trump seemed to take it literally,” Meyers said before playing the clip.

Trump told Dickerson the quote is accurate because there are “certainly no corners,” that the room was “open” and there was “nobody out there.” Somehow managing not to laugh, Dickerson politely explained to Trump what Bush meant as Trump repeated, “sure, sure, sure” like he knew that.

“Trump’s like a guy who didn’t get a joke. ‘Take my wife! Please!’” Meyers said making an old joke. “Ok, where is she?” he said doing a Trump impression. “Also, I want to point out that the metaphor he didn’t get was from George W. Bush. That’s where we’re at. The one thing George W. Bush never thought he’d do is go over someone’s head.

Voice of the Resistance (not so much); racism and stupidly undermine MSNBC

The three women of color in this ad are gone now


WASHINGTON ― On Friday, readers of the new morning email put out by Mike Allen awoke to a little nugget of news. “One of your favorites is getting their own MSNBC show,” he teased in the subject line.

That new host was none other than Nicolle Wallace, a former spokeswoman for President George W. Bush and, later, the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

New York magazine reported hours later that conservative activist and radio host Hugh Hewitt, already a regular contributor to MSNBC, was in talks with the network about a weekend show.

From outside, it might seem odd to see the premier liberal network veering right, even as liberals around the country are fired up to resist the administration of President Donald Trump.

But from inside, the news about Wallace and Hewitt was seen as just two more steps toward the full execution of the vision of Andy Lack, the NBC News executive who oversees MSNBC. He has made quite clear his plan to move the cable news network away from its bedrock liberalism and toward a more centrist approach personified by Brian Williams — even including hosts of a conservative bent, as typified by hosts like Megyn Kelly or Greta Van Susteren, who Lack brought over from Fox News.

But Lack, in seeking to make this vision a reality, has an unusual problem for a TV executive: sky-high ratings. Since the election of Trump, MSNBC’s liberal primetime programs hosted by Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell have surged not just in ratings but in the share of the cable news audience they’re capturing. In its earnings call on Thursday, NBCUniversal specifically cited the boost in ratings to “The Rachel Maddow Show” for a spike in profits. Maddow has been the top show on cable news in the key demographic for two months running, an inconceivable achievement at MSNBC.

Tossing those primetime hosts overboard while they’re raking in viewership and revenue has so far proved an elusive task.

“Hayes, Maddow, O’Donnell ― the entire primetime lineup is doing record numbers and Lack can’t stand it. It makes him furious,” said one senior MSNBC source, echoing the sentiment of many other insiders who spoke to HuffPost only on the condition of anonymity. (An NBC spokesman said Lack is happy with the high ratings.)

The gap between the success of the primetime lineup and the investment of leadership in that very success has started to become public. O’Donnell, for instance, has the network’s second-most watched show, but it gets little in the way of promotion, a point he made himself on Twitter last week.

Lawrence O’Donnell ✔ @Lawrence Best promo ever written for my show. (No one else is writing them so there’s really no competition but this is a great one.)

O’Donnell’s contract will soon be up for renewal. Keeping the second-best performing show is typically not in question at most networks ― but at MSNBC, it will test whether Lack gives into, or continues to resist, the energy of the resistance.

Lack has targeted the network’s progressive programming since arriving at the network in spring 2015. He started with the daytime shows: Shows from Alex Wagner, Joy Reid and Ronan Farrow, as well as “The Cycle,” were canceled and replaced by straight news. (At the end of 2015, my own contract with MSNBC, which ran for three years, was not renewed; I had no interaction with Lack.) Lack brought in Chuck Todd to host a 5 p.m. show. He canceled Al Sharpton’s 6 p.m. show, and ran one from Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in its place.

The Halperin-Heilemann program, which has since been canceled, was a hard-to-watch ratings disaster. Lack moved Van Susteren, formerly of Fox News, into the slot. That show has also been a ratings wreck. Across the board, shows that Lack has put his stamp on and moved to the center or to the right have not performed as well as the ones he has left alone, despite MSNBC’s ability to get the media-industry press to write flattering stories about the network’s “dayside turnaround.”

“Every hour that Andy has not touched are the strongest hours on the network. Everything he has touched is lower rated,” said one well-placed insider.

Van Susteren, for instance, looks like a pothole in ratings road. Typically, starting around noon and going until about 9 p.m., each cable news hour is more widely viewed than the one before. But Van Susteren actually loses audience from the hour before. Last Friday, for instance, Todd controlled a 21 percent share of the cable news audience at 5 p.m. Van Susteren fell to 17 percent at 6 p.m., losing more than 30,000 viewers. They come back at 7 p.m. for Chris Matthews, who pulled in a 26 percent share. Hayes kept 27 percent of the share and Maddow had 39 percent. The number dipped to 27 percent for O’Donnell at 10 p.m. (I have appeared frequently on all four shows, although presumably that will end following the publication of this story.)

The daytime side, which is the testing ground for Lack’s theory that straight news is a stronger path forward, scores well below the progressive programming. In last Friday’s ratings, it pulled in a share of between 15 percent and 16 percent. The total numbers are lower as well, but using share is a fairer comparison, because it accounts for the difference in overall audience size.

In an interview in December 2015, Lack was blunt about the direction he wanted to take MSNBC. He “explained why he has been toiling to re-brand MSNBC as a reliable provider of breaking news in contrast to its previous incarnation, personified by former anchor Keith Olbermann and other personalities such as Ronan Farrow, Joy Reid, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, as an outlet dominated by left-leaning hosts and pitched to like-minded viewers,” The Daily Beast reported.

The goal, Lack said, was to get serious.

“Had we not made this turn to breaking news with seriousness of purpose, in these times and in this election, we would have been clobbered,” Lack said. “As reasonable as that [discarded liberal] programming was for when it was created, we’re in a long game now. … This is maybe the most interesting election of my lifetime. … The world has never been more dangerous in my lifetime.” The bracketing of “discarded liberal” appears in the original interview, in which Lack lays out his plan to move more toward Williams and away from Maddow’s politics.

Lack’s plan helps explain the awkward coverage following debates and on election night, which often put Maddow and Williams on screen next to each other. It was not a portrait of a network bringing forward a diversity of perspectives. Lack appeared ready to move in one direction, but couldn’t quite get his foot out of the other canoe.

Hayes, Maddow and O’Donnell have stubbornly insisted on soaring in ratings since the election. In the first quarter of 2015, “The Rachel Maddow Show” was ranked 26th among all cable news shows. It was the seventh most-watched show in the first quarter of 2017. “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” and “All In With Chris Hayes” were 37th and 38th, respectively. “Last Word” is now No. 11, and Hayes’ show is coming in at No. 17. That’s real growth, because it considers where they were previously, and accounts for the rise in audience across the board that came with the election and the Trump presidency.

Matthews, who airs at 7 p.m., has also seen a bit of a jump. Two years ago his show was ranked 30th, ahead of both Hayes and O’Donnell, and he’s now up to 19th, behind both. While he is certainly a shade or two left of center, his show is more Beltway-friendly fare. In his defense, he is working from a deficit, as he follows Van Susteren and Todd, who come in at 30th and 28th, respectively.

The daytime programming has shown some gains under Lack’s leadership, even relative to other networks. But Lack may have misdiagnosed the problem that sapped MSNBC’s momentum in the later years of President Barack Obama’s administration. After the tea party wave in 2010, the Obama legislative agenda was stopped cold, leaving little for an audience to root for. But with Obama in the White House, there was also little to root against, which makes for terribly boring viewing. House leaders like John Boehner and Paul Ryan weren’t villainous on a Trumpian level, and Republicans didn’t capture the Senate until the 2014 midterms. Divided government with Democrats in the White House made for dull politics, and MSNBC’s programming paid the price across the board.

“The Ed Show With Ed Schultz” at 5 p.m. was ranked 59th in the first quarter of 2015 in the key demographic, people between the ages of 25 and 54. Sharpton’s “Politics Nation” clocked in at No. 49. The noon show hosted by Wagner checked in at No. 66, with mid-afternoon shows by Reid and Farrow at Nos. 82 and 85.

Van Susteren is doing better today ― ranked 30th ― than Sharpton did. But with bumps across the board ― see the rise for Matthews ― it’s impossible to say whether a more resistance-themed Sharpton show would be doing better than that. Todd’s show, meanwhile, has a better performance, with a rank of 28, than Schultz’s did But, again, where would a rage-filled Schultz be ranking with all the rage directed at Trump instead of Obama, an audience favorite? (It’s impossible to say: He’s now at RT.)

Lack, according to a person close to him, was indeed concerned about primetime ratings in 2015 and 2016, as any executive would have been, particularly in the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours. But he has become enthusiastic about the lineup as the viewers came back. Still, he believes that people want hard news and analysis during the day.

The strategy, while it might make sense at noon, falls apart the closer it gets to primetime. It helps explain Van Susteren’s collapse at 6 p.m., and may swamp Wallace even as far back as 4 p.m. (A network spokesman said executives know new cable shows take a while to catch on with viewers, and are willing to be patient with Van Susteren.)

Lack’s changes, insiders say, are motivated in large part by a desire to engineer the full resurrection of Williams. Deciding what to do with Williams, who had been exposed as a serial liar, was Lack’s first major decision when he returned to NBC in 2015. The plan he came up with — to move the former star anchor to MSNBC dayside and breaking news — set in motion the chain reaction that has led to today.

Lack’s decisions have gone a long way to change the look of the network, taking it from the height of diversity to what it is now. In 2014, HuffPost analyzed a two-week stretch of programming on MSNBC, Fox News and CNN to quantify the level of on-air minority talent, specifically looking at African-American talent. MSNBC was far above the competition, with 46 segments in that period that featured an African-American host talking exclusively to African-American guests.

That’s gone. Under Lack, MSNBC has lost black and brown talent, including Wagner, Melissa Harris Perry, Touré, Dorian Warren, Michael Eric Dyson, Adam Howard, Jamil Smith, Jose Diaz-Balart (who now hosts a Saturday night show on NBC) and Tamron Hall. Other people who have been shown the door under Lack include Abby Huntsman, Ed Schultz and Farrow. In their place have arrived folks like Van Susteren, Heilemann and Halperin, Wallace, Hewitt, Stephanie Ruhle, Hallie Jackson, Katy Tur and Kate Snow.

Both Reid and Sharpton have been shunted to the weekends, although Reid appears frequently in primetime and as a substitute host. She hosts “AM Joy” from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

A February MSNBC press release boasting about ratings gains put “Morning Joe” on the top, noting it had 849,000 total viewers. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the release, though, and you’ll find a data point that doesn’t do much to support Lack’s vision of the enterprise: More people are watching “AM Joy” than the network’s most celebrated morning program. On Saturdays, 981,000 people watched the program, and 810,000 tuned in on Sundays. That trend continues in other months, according to Nielsen data. “AM Joy” had 87,000 more total viewers than “Morning Joe” in April, and the weekday show slightly edged her out in the key demo. (Comparing a weekday morning show and Reid’s weekend show is apples-to-oranges, an NBC spokesman says.)

Van Susteren may have beaten Reid by getting the coveted 6 p.m. slot, but Reid is still managing to generally beat her in viewership. Van Susteren’s “For the Record with Greta” averaged 902,000 viewers.

Changing dynamics at the network became clear to the public when Perry made an internal critique early last year. “I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote in an email that was later made public. “I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, [Phil] Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”

“While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better,” added Perry, who is now a professor at Wake Forest University.

“That was the sign to me that things had really gone down the tube,” said one former MSNBC employee. “A lot of us who had kept holding out hope kind of gave up.”

Sam Geduldig, a GOP lobbyist whose hobby-horse is elite liberal hypocrisy on race, has been quick to flag the changing complexion at MSNBC as suggestive of a bigger problem. “Liberal media outlets love to lecture Republicans about diversity. It turns out they are totally white and apparently have no intention of hiring blacks or Hispanics,” he said.

The perception that Lack has eviscerated nonwhite talent at MSNBC has affected the way some of his interactions with black staff at MSNBC are viewed. This past spring, Lack reportedly asked a black senior producer if she could connect him with the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. “It was like Trump asking April Ryan to hook him up with the [Congressional Black Caucus],” said one employee. (We’re withholding the name of the producer; a spokesman noted that Lack also asked Chris Hayes for Coates’ contact info.)

During a call with bookers, Lack said to stop asking people he didn’t recognize to be guests. And late last summer, in front of countless staff, he told the MSNBC crew that he had walked to the office with his son, and his son suggested to him that he needed a star to show up for internal events. “I don’t have Drake. I don’t have Miley Cyrus. But I do have Yvette Miley,” he said.

It was a corny riff, typical of Lack, who is what Michael Scott of “The Office” would have become had he studied at the Sorbonne. Lack, after he arrived, had put Miley in charge of diversity hiring at MSNBC and NBC. “She was named head of diversity and he continued firing black talent,” said one Miley friend.

A different executive with a different record may have been forgiven for all three episodes, but much of this has happened with Lack before.

One of Lack’s first major moves when he became president of NBC in 1993 was to replace “Today” show host Bryant Gumbel with Matt Lauer, sources said. Gumbel is black, and Lauer is white.

“Andy pushed Bryant Gumbel out,” said a source familiar with how the shake-up went down. Lack didn’t fire Gumbel, but “he made him an offer he couldn’t accept,” the source said, a time-tested way of nudging talent out the door in the television industry. (Gumbel and Lack have since become good friends, the source added. And Lack replaced Williams with Lester Holt, the first black host of a Big Three news broadcast.)

Lack oversaw the launch of MSNBC in 1996, which was originally conceived as a 24/7 extension of NBC News, in combination with something or other from Microsoft. The new channel stumbled along for several years without an identity. Then, in 2003, Lack left NBC to become chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.

Shortly thereafter, MSNBC began drifting left. It was a similar environment to today, with liberal passion against the war in Iraq and its chief advocate, George W. Bush, peaking. Keith Olbermann tapped into the anger to become the network’s first real star. Phil Griffin, Olbermann’s executive producer, eventually rose to run all of MSNBC, and it is the shows put in place by Griffin that are performing the best today.

Olbermann used his show to create new stars, bringing on the previously obscure Maddow as a frequent guest. When Maddow got her own time slot, she did the same by inviting Hayes, Steve Kornacki and others who became fixtures on the network to be guests.

“This used to be the most amazing place to work, where I felt like my bosses, my colleagues, cared about me and cared about the world we live in,” said one employee who remains, for the time being, on staff. “Now I feel like I’m in a stereotypical news network, like something out of [the 1976 movie] ‘Network,’ yet we’re in the year 2017. We’ve come so far from what this place once was. It was a wonderful place to be, and now it’s just not.”

Wallace is replacing Kornacki, the Maddow protege. (”Steve Kornacki is a rising star of political coverage on both MSNBC and NBC news and his portfolio is going to continue to expand,” an NBC exec said. “Phil Griffin considers Kornacki to have been a breakout star of the 2016 cycle.”)

It must all look familiar to Tamron Hall. A longtime MSNBC host, she joined “Today” in February 2014, before Lack arrived. Sources said Lauer felt threatened by her rise; in any event, she suffered the same fate as Gumbel in February of this year. The network expressed sorrow at her departure in a written statement, but she did not make an on-air sign-off, a signal of the bitterness behind the move.

Hall, a widely liked and talented anchor, had also been hosting an overperforming daytime MSNBC show. All morning shows have sagged in recent months, and NBC’s is no exception. But according to Nielsen ratings data, the show is down significantly since Hall left.

And who is Lack’s ideal host to replace her?

Megyn Kelly.

Don’t get distracted away from the Collusion with Russia during the election

Last December, the U.K. government was reportedly given extensive records of Trump campaign officials’ interactions with the Kremlin.

The Guardian reported former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was first given to the UK intelligence services. These documents reportedly contain records of payments from the Trump campaign to banks of Russian cyber trolls tasked with spreading disinformation ahead of the 2016 election.

Court filings confirmed earlier this month that Steele passed along the information because he felt it was “of considerable importance in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election.”

Steele outlined how four Trump campaign representatives traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic in August or September to have “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers.” The group discussed how they would pay hackers for breaking into the Democratic Party’s computers and developing a “contingency plans for covering up operations.”

The memo reported that hackers were paid by the Trump Organization; however, the hackers were under the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen is said to have attended the meeting in Prague, though he has described the memo as “totally fake, totally inaccurate.” He also claimed he’d never been to Prague.

Steele produced 16 memos using Russian sources to describe the web of collusion between Trump aides and Russian intelligence or other officials. A copy of the memos was given to the news outlet Fusion but instructed them not to disclose the material to anyone without approval. They agreed and Steele agreed to provide a copy to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) after McCain learned the memos existed from the UK ambassador to Moscow.

The Guardian reports that the court documents revealed Steele continued to get “unsolicited intelligence” on the links between Trump and Russia. As a result, Steele drew up another memo from Dec. 13. He turned that memo to a senior British national security official and gave encrypted versions to Fusion to give to McCain.

Court statements argue Steele was under an obligation to give the information to the UK and US “at a high level by persons with responsibility for national security.” However, Steele said he never gave a copy to any news organizations, merely off-the-record briefings about the dossier to some journalists in the fall of 2016. They argue they had no involvement in BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the document.

The dossier wasn’t delivered to former President Barack Obama and then-President-elect Donald Trump until January.

Susan Rice a strong black woman the right loves to hate; sets the record straight

What Is Unmasking, and Did Susan Rice Do Anything Wrong?

It doesn’t have the ring of “Benghazi,” or “Whitewater,” but Republicans are seizing upon what they see as a new scandal: “Improper unmasking.”
The issue: Did President Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, do something wrong when she requested that the identities of some Trump aides be “unmasked,” or revealed to a small group of cleared government officials, after those names turned up in surveillance reports of foreigners in the waning days of the last administration?
“Now we know that someone in the Obama administration was eavesdropping and specifically searching a databank looking for the Trump (people),” Sen. Rand Paul proclaimed Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
In fact, there is no evidence of that.
Senior Obama administration officials don’t dispute that Rice requested the “unmasking” of certain Americans whose names appeared in intelligence reports resulting from eavesdropping on foreigners — meaning the foreigners were discussing the Americans or talking to them. Usually, those names are blacked out. But the blackout can be lifted if doing so is necessary to help understand the intelligence.
Requesting that is a routine thing for national security advisers to do, according to former senior officials, including Keith Alexander, who directed the National Security Agency.
Rice didn’t and couldn’t “order” the unmasking of any American, current and former officials say. The agencies that hold the raw surveillance transcripts — usually the NSA or the FBI — make that decision. It’s a process subject to rules and reviewed by lawyers, and it has to be justified by an intelligence purpose.
Rice’s role was first discussed by Mike Cernovich, who is also known for promoting a false story that a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor was a nest of pedophiles connected to Hillary Clinton. Unmasking was then the subject of a story by Eli Lake, a conservative columnist for Bloomberg View.
It’s hard to imagine FBI Director James Comey or NSA Director Mike Rogers participating with Obama officials in “political” surveillance of the Trump transition, which is the allegation some Republicans are making. Rogers, after all, has acknowledged that he met with Trump about a job in his administration. Comey has been criticized for how he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and for actions that polls show helped Trump.
Alexander told NBC News he routinely turned down requests for unmasking by senior officials in the Bush and Obama administrations.
At the end of the Obama administration, the FBI and the NSA were sifting through intelligence reports on Russian hacking. One goal of their investigation, FBI Director James Comey has made clear, was to learn whether any Trump associates colluded with the Russian effort to interfere in the election on Trump’s behalf.
If Russians under surveillance were talking about or to Trump associates, the names of those people would have been relevant.
Likewise, if two Chinese officials were talking about business relationships with an incoming government official, that person’s identity also might be relevant.
These are hypotheticals. That’s all we have at the moment, because all the surveillance reports are classified and nobody is talking in detail about them.
That brings up another point: “unmasked” does not equal made public. The surveillance reports containing the names of Trump and his aides were still highly classified and viewable by a limited number of cleared individuals.