A handful of courageous representatives refuse to normalize Trump

It makes us ill just imagining President Donald Trump at the upcoming State of the Union speech, preening, bloviating and bashing his enemies from the well of the U.S. House of Representatives, interrupted only by obsequious sustained applause from his partisan enablers.

We won’t watch.

No big deal.

Millions of other Americans will make the same choice, sparing themselves the ordeal of watching Trump in real time. This won’t be news unless the TV ratings take a major plunge.

Congressional Democrats won’t have it so easy. Washington norms and respect for the office of the presidency oblige their attendance at the Jan. 30 speech. Sitting in furious silence as he inflates his accomplishments, slanders his foes and tramples the truth is insufficient.

Every day we see the media straining to normalize the Trump administration. They seem to still be yearning for the infamous “pivot”. Remember the “pivot” that thing that Trump was supposed to do so not to make the world not freak out. You know that thing he NEVER did. Well, the media and most politicos are still looking for it, which is why they’ll all be going to the State of the Union speech. So they can watch Trump read a speech he didn’t write and almost certainly doesn’t agree with. Then they will effusively praise him for being Presidential.

Wake up! That’s never going to happen!

So join us in saluting these courageous Representatives who refuse to normalize this criminal lying racist womanizing traitor.

The list of Heros boycotting the State of the Union (so far):

Rep John Lewis D-GA

Rep Frederica Wilson D-FL

Rep Earl Blumenauer D-OR

Rep Pramila Jaypal D-WA

Rep Maxine Waters D-CA

Rep Gregory Meeks D-NY

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Morning Joe host thinks the Republican party will be swept away by the deluge that is sure to come.

Normally we don’t place much value in what Joe Scarborough, former Republican Congressman and host of Morning Joe, has to say, but this piece and what he has to say is particularly relevant just because who he represents. TE

We learned this week that President Trump in June ordered the firing of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, but few Republicans on Capitol Hill bothered to raise an eyebrow. In more settled times, this kind of presidential assault on an independent investigation would have stirred grave concerns throughout the halls of Congress. But Trump’s corrupted coalition has instead trotted out one twisted conspiracy theory after another, all designed to distract the president’s most fevered fans and concoct a case against Mueller’s investigation.

Wild tales of secret societies, Obama wiretaps and “deep-state” conspiracies flow freely from the tongues of Trump apparatchiks. Those preposterous narratives are then spread across cable news networks and inside Capitol Hill cloakrooms.

Not so long ago, Republican leaders prided themselves on protecting middle-American minds from the liberal intellectual rot being spread by politicians and college professors they viewed as being hostile to law enforcement, contemptuous of constitutional traditions, indifferent to personal morality and accommodating to Russian tyrants. They claimed to be the intellectual heirs of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley Jr. Now those same politicians debase themselves daily in service to Trump.

In the Age of Trump, it is no longer in vogue to stand athwart history in defense of American institutions, constitutional norms and cultural traditions. These days, Republicans’ intellectual firepower is rather focused on defending Stalinist attacks on the press and pricey payoffs to porn stars.

The president now finds himself in full panic mode. The revelation that Trump ordered the firing of the special counsel charged with investigating the White House is just one more in a long line of desperate attempts to derail his Justice Department’s investigation of Russian interference during the 2016 campaign.

Early in his presidency, the commander in chief demanded a loyalty oath from FBI Director James B. Comey and pressed him to drop the investigation of the national security adviser, Michael Flynn. This presidential pressure was applied even though Trump would later admit that he knew Flynn committed a federal crime. After Comey rebuffed Trump’s loyalty demands during their famous one-on-one dinner, Trump would fire the FBI director, concede to NBC’s Lester Holt that he did it to end the agency’s investigation, and offer the same confession to both Russia’s foreign minister and the ambassador to the United States.

“I faced great pressure because of Russia,” America’s president told the Russians. “That’s taken off. I am not under investigation.”

But Trump’s brash move against Comey and the FBI’s investigation created an even more toxic legal reality for White House lawyers. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already been forced to recuse himself, and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Mueller to conduct his own probe. Sessions had no choice in removing himself, but the panicked president began planning to dispose of his attorney general.

Facing pushback from his Breitbart base, Trump ultimately backed down, and he turned his focus instead to the firing of Rosenstein. As the New York Times’s Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman reported this last week, Trump considered firing Rosenstein and replacing him with another deputy, who presumably would follow his orders to fire the special counsel. The president ultimately ordered that deed to be done by White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn, but McGahn threatened to resign first.

Imagine that.

Beneath the blizzard of news headlines pounding ceaselessly at our nerves, this week we discovered a Republican loyalist willing to sacrifice his political standing over a higher principle. McGahn’s stand contrasts greatly with Capitol Hill conservatives who do little more than occasionally tweet a veiled critique of the president or deliver a meaningless speech from the Senate floor.

As a storm gathers over Washington and the world, Donald Trump’s Republican Party remains complicit in his frenzied efforts to undermine the American institutions and established values that conservatives once claimed to share.

And while the clouds overhead are cause for all to be concerned, it will be the husk of a once-proud Republican Party that will be swept away first by the deluge that is sure to come.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/even-now-republicans-are-ignoring-the-storm-clouds/2018/01/26

Fox News promotes a phony coup to distract you from the real lawless takeover of America

Following the indictment of Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of Michael Flynn, Matt Gertz noted that Fox News is being increasingly venomous towards special prosecutor Robert Mueller. A Fox host said that Trump should be exonerated because he won the election. Another Fox host called for a “cleansing” of the FBI and DOJ. A frequent Fox News guest said that the entire FBI may need to be shut down. And now, Fox News warned during an interview with Kellyanne Conway that the Mueller investigation may be “a coup in America.” There are plenty of problems with the FBI and DOJ, but independence from the executive is not one of them.

Fox News’ coverage of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is growing ever-darker, as my colleague Simon Maloy noted last week, with the network’s Trump-loving commentators offering up increasingly hysterical warnings that Mueller needs to be fired before he destroys the rule of law and the republic.

Eight nights ago, for example, Sean Hannity declared Mueller a “direct threat to you, the American people and our American republic.” Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett chimed in, claiming that “Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon,” turning the bureau into “America’s secret police” just like “the old KGB.”

This discussion was irresponsible and dangerous. But it also set a new bar for fearmongering about the Mueller investigation. And so the president’s lackeys, who are eager to kill Mueller’s probe before its completion, have spent the last week going on Fox and trying to clear it.

They are on an invective escalator. Every new development in the Russia probe requires ever-more-inflammatory rhetoric — for Jarrett and Hannity, the false KGB comparison was just the logical next step from comparing the Mueller team to the Mob. The tenor of the criticism only becomes more hysterical. A new, baseless “conflict of interest” for a member of Mueller’s team raises the bar. But so does a former Trump aide copping a plea in exchange for working with the special counsel’s office — it gets presented not as evidence Mueller’s probe is on the level, but evidence that it is not.

Meanwhile, their audience — which at times includes the president — receives increasingly dire warnings that a professional probe run by a Republican who was appointed FBI director by a president of each party is actually a corrupt effort at a deep state coup.

But how do you top comparing the FBI to the KGB?

Jeanine Pirro calls for a “cleansing” of the FBI and DOJ

Over a seven-plus-minute monologue, she specifically called for “handcuffs” for FBI agent Peter Strzok and Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, and piled on criticism for Mueller, James Comey, senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr, and current FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The stench coming out of the Justice Department and the FBI is like that of a Third World country, where money and bullies and clubs decide elections. It all started when ‘Cardinal’ Comey destroyed our FBI with political hacks to set events in motion to destroy the republic because they didn’t like the man we chose to be our president. Well, it’s time to take them out, in cuffs,” she concluded.

Pirro is a friend and sometime adviser to the president, who regularly tunes in to her program. She reportedly took her conspiracy theories to the White House last month, denouncing Comey and Mueller in an Oval Office meeting with the president and his top aides. Pirro may be angling to join the administration so she can carry out this purge of the law enforcement apparatus; she reportedly interviewed to be deputy attorney general during the transition

Tom Fitton asks if the FBI needs to be shut down because it is now a “KGB-type operation”

For Tom Fitton, head of the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch, those who are simply calling for Mueller’s firing haven’t gone far enough:

Fitton’s comments last night are an obvious one-up on last week’s KGB comparison — the situation may now be so dire that it requires destroying the entire bureau in order to save it.

Lou Dobbs: Trump should be exonerated because he won the election

On December 11, Lou Dobbs said on his Fox Business show that Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation may be because he’s been blackmailed by the “deep state.” After Fox contributor Jason Chaffetz criticized Sessions, calling for congressional action but clarifying that he’s “not saying it has to go the Republicans’ way,” Dobbs replied, “Why the hell shouldn’t it go the Republicans’ way? We elected a Republican president.” Dobbs added that the congressional Republican leadership should be “standing shoulder to shoulder with Trump” and “bring this thing to a conclusion.” And there it is, a direct call for ending the Mueller investigation purely because it targets the Republican administration. It’s hard to top that. But they’ll find a way.

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/12/11/lou-dobbs-trump-should-be-exonerated-russia-investigation-because-we-elected-republican-president/218811

ttps://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/12/14/why-anti-mueller-sentiment-fox-keeps-getting-worse/218855

Update:

Reactions to this dangerous rhetoric

 — Defense One exec editor Kevin Baron tweeted: “Coup?! I cover wars. Militaries. Actual coups. Where citizens violently rise up and kill each other for power over each other. This is alarmingly irresponsible language, even for Fox. Inflammatory. Baseless. Dangerous.”

— Former Ted Cruz campaign national spokesman Ron Nehring: “Use of the word ‘coup’ by Fox News after Russia has deliberately worked to destabilize US democracy is extremely irresponsible and should be roundly condemned…”

— Regarding Pirro comparing FBI officials to a “crime family,” Maggie Haberman tweeted: “Reminder that Pirro recently met w Trump in the Oval and told him Mueller was pursuing a classic mafia prosecution…”

— Former acting CIA director (now MSNBC analyst) John McLaughlin: “Collusion? The clearest example is among congressional GOP, Fox, and Pres. Trump to delegitimize Bob Mueller’s inquiry. Pretty obvious really…”

Questions grow over Legitimacy of 2016 Election

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)    Andrew Harnik/AP

At a packed press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, provided a progress report on his panel’s investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal. Naturally, this is a touchy and dicey matter for a Republican, and Burr tried to make some points that appeared designed to limit President Donald Trump’s political vulnerabilities on this front.

First, Burr declared that although Russian hackers had probed or penetrated the election systems of at least 21 states, he could confidently state that the Russian meddling in the 2016 election resulted in no changes to the vote tallies. That is, there’s no reason to question Trump’s Electoral College win. And second, Burr said that Russia’s use of Facebook ads during the presidential campaign seemed “indiscriminate” and not designed to help a particular candidate—meaning the recent revelations do not bolster the case that Trump was the Kremlin’s choice. But Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.), a feisty member of the intelligence committee, says both assertions are bunk. In an interview with Mother Jones on Thursday, Wyden argued that Burr’s confidence in the election system was unwarranted. “The chairman said that he can say ‘certifiably’ that there was no vote tampering,” said Wyden. “I do not agree with this judgment. I don’t think it is possible to know that. There was no systematic analysis of the voting or forensic evaluations of the voting machines.”

Wyden pointed out that the Department of Homeland Security has noted that its assessment that there was no finagling with the vote count was made with only “moderate confidence.” For Wyden, that’s not good enough for such a sensitive and significant matter—and it sends the misguided signal that the voting system is doing just fine. Wyden believes that’s the wrong message. This week he sent a letter to the major manufacturers of voting machines demanding information about how they protect themselves from cyberattacks.

Wyden also said that Burr erred in declaring that the Russian Facebook ads—some of which targeted swing states—did not favor a presidential candidate. (Presumably Wyden has seen or been briefed on the content of the ads.) “That’s one reason why the ads need to be released to the American people,” Wyden remarked, “so Americans can make up their minds.”

At the press conference, Burr said the committee would not be releasing the ads, which Facebook has turned over to the panel. And Facebook so far has declined to make the ads public. Wyden and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the committee, have called on Facebook to release the material. “If the ads don’t come out,” Wyden noted, “it’s within the power of the committee to get them out.” The Russian social media campaign targeting the 2016 election, Wyden said, “certainly hasn’t gotten the attention it should have.” And he noted it has been a focus of his efforts on the intelligence committee. The intelligence committee has scheduled a hearing with representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter for November 1.

Wyden worries that US elections remain vulnerable to interference from Russia and other adversaries. He emphasized that Trump has yet to nominate a secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, the lead federal agency that deals with protecting state voting systems from cyber assaults. Other key cybersecurity DHS positions remain vacant, as well. He said that at the moment just three or so states are taking significant steps to secure their voting systems from hackers. Wyden scoffed at Burr’s assertion that the Trump administration was treating the issue seriously. “The idea that Trump and DHS are full steam ahead on election security? No way!” Wyden exclaimed. “They certainly haven’t moved quickly on this.”

Wyden cited one example of an issue that requires deeper digging from the intelligence committee. When Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House adviser, met privately with committee investigators, Kushner released a statement declaring he had engaged in no wrongdoing. He insisted, “I did not collude…with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities.” Wyden pointed out the wording of the last part of this denial: I have not relied on Russian funds. “Some lawyer got paid a lot of money to come up with that,” Wyden said. “It doesn’t mean ‘I did not have business dealings with Russians.’”

Wyden added that Kushner should not be able to get away with only a private meeting with the committee instead of a full public hearing where he could be questioned by senators about this statement and many other topics. “Jared Kushner has to come to the intelligence committee in the open,” he said. (Wyden, the top Democratic on the Senate finance committee, has blocked the confirmation of a senior Treasury Department nominee because the department has not provided the finance committee with documents he requested related to Russian banking and money laundering. )

Wyden also took issue with Burr saying that it was not the intelligence committee’s role to probe Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey and that this matter should be left to the Senate judiciary committee. “I don’t agree with that,” Wyden said. “This is about connections with Russia.”

While Burr suggested that the intelligence committee might finish its investigative work regarding the Trump-Russia scandal by the end of the year, Wyden said the panel still had “a long way to go.” Wyden noted that the committee’s efforts to “follow the money” require much more work, and he hinted that the committee might not have enough people working on the investigation to do the job thoroughly. “The committee will need a lot of staff power to get all this done,” he said.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/did-russia-hack-the-2016-vote-tally-this-senator-says-we-dont-know-for-sure/

It can’t happen here, right? (Civil War? update)

While “wanna be dictator” Trump fans the racist flames of unrest……………….

A group of national-security experts set chance of civil war at roughly 35 percent

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria reports that in the New Yorker, Robin Wright considers the fragility of “the Union, our republic, and a country that has long been considered the world’s most stable democracy.” She cites a Foreign Policy survey that found a consensus among a group of national-security experts of a roughly 35 percent chance of civil war breaking out in the next 10 to 15 years, and interviews one of those experts, Keith Mines, a former diplomat, who puts the chances of civil war at 60 percent.

“We keep saying, ‘It can’t happen here,’ but then, holy smokes, it can,’ Mines told me after we talked, on Sunday, about Charlottesville,” Wright writes.

“Based on his experience in civil wars on three continents, Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction: entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution; increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows; weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary; a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership; and the legitimization of violence as the ‘in’ way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes.”

“The dangers are now bigger than the collective episodes of violence,” Wright writes.

The full Robin Wright story;

After the brawling and racist brutality and deaths in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe asked, “How did we get to this place?” The more relevant question after Charlottesville—and other deadly episodes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria—is where the United States is headed. How fragile is the Union, our republic, and a country that has long been considered the world’s most stable democracy? The dangers are now bigger than the collective episodes of violence. “The radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century,” the Southern Poverty Law Center reported in February. The organization documents more than nine hundred active (and growing) hate groups in the United States.

America’s stability is increasingly an undercurrent in political discourse. Earlier this year, I began a conversation with Keith Mines about America’s turmoil. Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Special Forces, the United Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civil wars in other countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. He returned to Washington after sixteen years to find conditions that he had seen nurture conflict abroad now visible at home. It haunts him. In March, Mines was one of several national-security experts whom Foreign Policy asked to evaluate the risks of a second civil war—with percentages. Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.

“We keep saying, ‘It can’t happen here,’ but then, holy smokes, it can,” Mines told me after we talked, on Sunday, about Charlottesville. The pattern of civil strife has evolved worldwide over the past sixty years. Today, few civil wars involve pitched battles from trenches along neat geographic front lines. Many are low-intensity conflicts with episodic violence in constantly moving locales. Mines’s definition of a civil war is large-scale violence that includes a rejection of traditional political authority and requires the National Guard to deal with it. On Saturday, McAuliffe put the National Guard on alert and declared a state of emergency.

Based on his experience in civil wars on three continents, Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction: entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution; increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows; weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary; a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership; and the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes.

President Trump “modeled violence as a way to advance politically and validated bullying during and after the campaign,” Mines wrote in Foreign Policy. “Judging from recent events the left is now fully on board with this,” he continued, citing anarchists in anti-globalization riots as one of several flashpoints. “It is like 1859, everyone is mad about something and everyone has a gun.”

To test Mines’s conjecture, I reached out to five prominent Civil War historians this weekend. “When you look at the map of red and blue states and overlap on top of it the map of the Civil War—and who was allied with who in the Civil War—not much has changed,” Judith Giesberg, the editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era and a historian at Villanova University, told me. “We never agreed on the outcome of the Civil War and the direction the country should go in. The postwar amendments were highly contentious—especially the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides equal protection under the law—and they still are today. What does it mean to deliver voting rights to people of color? We still don’t know.”

She added, “Does that make us vulnerable to a repeat of the past? I don’t see a repeat of those specific circumstances. But that doesn’t mean we are not entering something similar in the way of a culture war. We are vulnerable to racism, tribalism, and conflicting visions of the way forward for our nation.”

Anxiety over deepening schisms and new conflict has an outlet in popular culture: in April, Amazon selected the dystopian novel “American War”—which centers on a second U.S. civil war—as one of its best books of the month. In a review in the Washington Post, Ron Charles wrote, “Across these scarred pages rages the clash that many of us are anxiously speculating about in the Trump era: a nation riven by irreconcilable ideologies, alienated by entrenched suspicions . . . both poignant and horrifying.” The Times book reviewer noted, “It’s a work of fiction. For the time being, anyway.” The book’s author, Omar El Akkad, was born in Egypt and covered the war in Afghanistan, the Arab Spring, and the Ferguson protest as a journalist for Canada’s Globe and Mail.

Before Charlottesville, David Blight, a Yale historian, was already planning a conference in November on “American Disunion, Then and Now.” “Parallels and analogies are always risky, but we do have weakened institutions and not just polarized parties but parties that are risking disintegration, which is what happened in the eighteen-fifties,” he told me. “Slavery tore apart, over fifteen years, both major political parties. It destroyed the Whig Party, which was replaced by the Republican Party, and divided the Democratic Party into northern and southern parts.”

“So,” he said, “watch the parties” as an indicator of America’s health.

In the eighteen-fifties, Blight told me, Americans were not good at foreseeing or absorbing the “shock of events,” including the Fugitive Slave Act, the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, the John Brown raid, and even the Mexican-American War. “No one predicted them. They forced people to reposition themselves,” Blight said. “We’re going through one of those repositionings now. Trump’s election is one of them, and we’re still trying to figure it out. But it’s not new. It dates to Obama’s election. We thought that would lead culture in the other direction, but it didn’t,” he said. “There was a tremendous resistance from the right, then these episodes of police violence, and all these things [from the past] exploded again. It’s not only a racial polarization but a seizure about identity.”

Generally, Blight added, “We know we are at risk of civil war, or something like it, when an election, an enactment, an event, an action by government or people in high places, becomes utterly unacceptable to a party, a large group, a significant constituency.” The nation witnessed tectonic shifts on the eve of the Civil War, and during the civil-rights era, the unrest of the late nineteen-sixties and the Vietnam War, he said. “It did not happen with Bush v. Gore, in 2000, but perhaps we were close. It is not inconceivable that it could happen now.”

In a reversal of public opinion from the nineteen-sixties, Blight said, the weakening of political institutions today has led Americans to shift their views on which institutions are credible. “Who do we put our faith in today? Maybe, ironically, the F.B.I.,” he said. “With all these military men in the Trump Administration, that’s where we’re putting our hope for the use of reason. It’s not the President. It’s not Congress, which is utterly dysfunctional and run by men who spent decades dividing us in order to keep control, and not even the Supreme Court, because it’s been so politicized.”

In the wake of Charlottesville, the chorus of condemnation from politicians across the political spectrum has been encouraging, but it is not necessarily reassuring or an indicator about the future, Gregory Downs, a historian at the University of California at Davis, told me. During the Civil War, even Southern politicians who denounced or were wary of secession for years—including Jefferson Davis—ended up as leaders of the Confederacy. “If the source of conflict is deeply embedded in cultural or social forces, then politicians are not inherently able to restrain them with calls for reason,” Downs said. He called the noxious white supremacists and neo-Nazis the “messengers,” rather than the “architects,” of the Republic’s potential collapse. But, he warned, “We take our stability for granted.”

He dug out for me a quote from the journalist Murat Halstead’s book “The War Claims of the South,” published in 1867. “The lesson of the war that should never depart from us,” Halstead wrote, “is that the American people have no exemption from the ordinary fate of humankind. If we sin, we must suffer for our sins, like the Empires that are tottering and the Nations that have perished.”

Eric Foner, the Columbia University historian, won the Pulitzer Prize, in 2011, for his book “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.” Like the other scholars I spoke to, Foner is skeptical that any future conflict will resemble America’s last civil war. “Obviously, we have some pretty deep divisions along multiple lines—racial, ideological, rural versus urban,” he told me. “Whether they will lead to civil war, I doubt. We have strong gravitational forces that counteract what we’re seeing today.” He pointed out that “the spark in Charlottesville—taking down a statue of Robert E. Lee—doesn’t have to do with civil war. People are not debating the Civil War. They’re debating American society and race today.”

Charlottesville was not the first protest by the so-called alt-right, nor will it be the last. Nine more rallies are planned for next weekend and others in September.

 

Robin Wright is a contributing writer for newyorker.com, and has written for the magazine since 1988. She is the author of “Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World.

Another astoundingly dumb “deal” by Donny Dealmaker; a cybersecurity deal with his BFF Putin

We might as well mail our ballot boxes to Moscow!

Congressman Adam Schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) blasted President Trump’s idea of working together with Russia on election hacking, saying if that were to happen, “we might as well mail our ballot boxes to Moscow.”

“I don’t think we can expect the Russians to be any kind of credible partner in some cyber security unit. I think that would be dangerously naïve for this country. If that’s our best election defense, we might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow,” Schiff told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

Trump said in tweets earlier Sunday that he had pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Russian election meddling, but said the two leaders discussed forming “an impenetrable Cyber Security unit.” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on the same show called for further cooperation with the Russians on cyber security, despite a lack of trust between Washington and Moscow.

“We need them, you know, what we think should happen, shouldn’t happen, and if we talk to them about it, hopefully we can get them to stop,” Haley said on CNN.

“It doesn’t mean we ever take our eyes off of the ball, it doesn’t mean we ever trust Russia. We can’t trust Russia, and we won’t ever trust Russia. But you keep those that you don’t trust closer, so that you can always keep an eye on them and keep them in check,” she continued.

Vladimir Putin could be of “enormous assistance”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday joked that he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin could be of “enormous assistance” regarding cybersecurity because he is the one doing the hacking.

During an interview on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” McCain was asked about President Trump’s earlier tweet in which the president said he talked with Putin during their meeting about creating an “impenetrable Cyber Security unit” to guard against election hacking.

“I’m sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort since he is doing the hacking,” McCain said, laughing.

Valdy casts a loving glance at Donny