Trump completely wimps out again and throws US Ambassador Nikki Haley under the bus

Thanks sir, I’ll have another!

On Sunday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced that the Treasury Department would be rolling out tough new sanctions against Russia on Monday as punishment for its continued support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

But not 24 hours later, the White House threw Haley under the bus with a clear, contradictory message: Not so fast.

“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Sources familiar with the sanctions rollout process described a chaotic back-and-forth as lawmakers and staffers were struggling to figure out what Haley was exactly referring to. It was unlikely that Haley, who has been lauded by lawmakers from both parties for her tough anti-Kremlin positions, would have misspoken so egregiously if a sanctions regime was not already in the works.

Trump on Monday has now reneged on the preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as “international economic raiding.”

Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley had said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

After this announcement, Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Administration officials said Monday it was highly unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without at least another triggering event by Russia.

Sometime after Haley’s comments on CBS, the Trump administration notified the Russian Embassy in Washington that the sanctions were not in fact coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

The Trump team decided to publicly characterize Haley’s announcement as a misstatement but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday: “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”

An official at White House tried to spin the news as Haley got ahead of herself and made “an error that needs to be mopped up.”

But other administration officials expressed serious skepticism that Haley had merely misspoken. They said Haley is one of the most disciplined and cautious members of the Cabinet, especially when it comes to her public appearances. She regularly checks in with Trump personally to go over her planned statements before she sits for television interviews.

Haley issued no clarifying statement on Sunday after news organizations, including The Washington Post, reported prominently that the new sanctions would be announced Monday based on her comments to CBS.

Asked Monday morning why it had taken 24 hours for the administration to walk back Haley’s comments, one White House official said only that there had been confusion internally about what the plan was.

White House officials said Trump has been impressed with Haley lately, particularly her remarks about Syria over the past week, and stressed Monday that the president holds her in high regard.

In the absence of a permanent secretary of state, Haley has been the face of American diplomacy, playing an especially prominent role over the past week as the Trump administration responded to the attack in Syria.

Haley said Sunday on CBS: “You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already. And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it.”

The Russians were listening. After Haley’s comments, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that the sanctions were a U.S. ploy to oust Russia from international markets and constituted “undisguised attempts of unfair competition.”

Sources: Daily Beast and Washington Post


Another Trump move that plays into the hands of his tyrant heroes Putin and Erdogan

Trump’s inspiration: the tyrant thug of Turkey – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Trump’s pledge to get out of Syria ‘very soon’ could be a big win for Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

No matter how much self-congratulatory bragging Trump does, it’s the US-backed Kurdish forces that have ISIS (DAESH) on the run.

While Trump has often boasted of the gains made against ISIS since taking office, his latest comments even caught much of his own administration off-guard — including defense officials who have warned that now is not the time to withdraw from Syria.

“We’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon,” Trump told supporters outside of Cleveland. “Let the other people take care of it now.”

Several US defense officials say that the Pentagon has not heard any additional details from the White House since Trump’s strange remarks — adding that the policy hasn’t changed and that they are continuing to focus on their fight against ISIS. Any decision by Trump to pull out of Syria would also go against the current military assessment, a fact that left some national security officials very concerned about the impact of a withdrawal.

This action could totally screw over our allies the Kurdish troops

The US maintains about 2,000 US troops in Syria, and primarily backs the Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS, a group that is about 50% Arab and 50% Kurdish; however, much of the group’s leadership is Kurdish.

Trump’s desire to exit Syria as soon as possible is likely to raise grave concerns among US-backed groups in the region, particularly the SDF, and could embolden the forces of the Syrian regime, Iran and particularly Turkey, all of which have mostly resisted attacking US allies in Syria due to concerns about US retaliation.

“A lot of what keeps SDF in the field is the other forces can’t touch them,” according to David Adesnik, the director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

What one thing does Russia, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq all have in common they hate the Kurds and want to wipe them out. Trump’s potential betrayal of SDF troops in Syria is reminiscent of how we treated the rebels that we encouraged to rise up against Saddam Hussein and then left them to be slaughtered.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey one of Trump’s tyrant besties is hell-bent on continuing to exterminate the Kurdish people.

Recently, the presence of US Forces deterred Russian mercenaries and regime forces from attempting to seize oil fields and other territory controlled by the SDF but without the presence of American troops, there is nothing stopping those same forces from attacking again.

A similar dynamic exists in Manbij and At Tanf, where US Forces have deterred Turkish and regime forces from any large-scale attacks.

The US is also helping SDF forces secure Syria’s border with Iraq as ISIS still maintains a presence in the area but that job becomes much more difficult without American assistance.

A US withdraw at this time will certainly help ISIS (DAESH)

If the US were to withdraw, the de facto spheres of influence that have spared eastern Syria the same kind of fighting and bloodshed that the civil war has brought to the west would likely collapse, inviting a major escalation in the conflict.

That chaos will be exploited by ISIS which has already benefited from Turkey’s actions in northern Syria.

Earlier this month, the US warned that ISIS has begun reconstituting in some areas of Syria because a Turkish military offensive against a northern city has pulled the US’ Kurdish allies away from the fight against the terrorist group.

“We are very concerned about the effect fighting there has had on our defeat ISIS efforts and would like to see an end to the hostilities before ISIS has the opportunity to regroup in eastern Syria,” said Pentagon spokesman US Army Col. Rob Manning, discussing the Turkish offensive against Afrin.

The State Department went even farther, saying that ISIS has already begun to rebuild in places.

“The fighting in western Syria over the last two months, including in Afrin, has distracted from the defeat ISIS campaign and provided an opportunity for ISIS to begin reconstituting in some areas,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last week.

US officials have been warning for weeks that the Turkish military campaign against Kurdish forces in Afrin, launched January 20, could undermine the fight against ISIS, as Kurdish fighters leading the US-backed battle of the terrorist group began leaving to help their compatriots there. But the Turks see the US’ Kurdish allies as terrorists and have strongly pushed back against US claims that their involvement has a negative impact on the campaign against ISIS.

“The claim that the operation conducted against terrorists in Afrin would endanger the combat against ISIS (DAESH) is completely groundless,” said a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry last week,

In a January speech laying out the Trump administration’s policy on Syria, then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US would remain in Syria until the group is routed. “The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge,” Tillerson said at Stanford University. “The fight against ISIS is not over.”

A US withdrawal would create a vacuum in the area, similar to what happened after soldiers left Iraq, and most foreign policy experts agree that void would likely be filled by Russia.

Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University, told CNN on Friday that “if the US were to withdraw, it seems to me the Russians would have a free hand” in Syria and the forces “fighting Assad would be weakened.”

Спасибо большое “Thanks a lot

“I do wonder if that is something the Trump thought about when he made that announcement,” Stent said, noting that any departure would elevate Russia’s status to make it “the main power broker in that area.”

Additionally, Stent said, a US withdrawal would help Iran, a country whose forces are fighting alongside Russians in Syria.

If the US were to leave its base located at the At Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria, Iran would be able to secure its overland route from Damascus to Tehran, further securing its regional influence.

Given Trump has routinely advocated for tougher policies on Iran, the US would be “cutting off our nose to spite our face” by withdrawing from Syria, Adesnik said.

Along with Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime could also benefit from the economic advantages of seizing oilfields currently controlled by US-backed allies.

The regime lost roughly 90% of its oil production when the civil war began, according to Adesnik.

post based on CNN reporting

Russia’s fully weaponized propaganda machine kicks in right before 2018 elections

The Election of Trump by any means necessary was a gambit by Putin, now he’s getting serious!

Some on the right just love this guy

First Russia unleashed a nerve agent. Now it’s unleashing its lie machine.

Maybe he was a drug addict; maybe he was suicidal. Maybe his British handlers decided to get rid of him; maybe it was his mother-in-law. Ever since Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, was poisoned in a provincial English town, Russian state media and Russian officials have worked overtime to provide explanations.

The British government identified the poison as Novichok, a substance made only in Russia. A spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry spokesman parried the claim by insisting that the Czechs, the Slovaks, and the Swedes had it, too. And, of course, the British themselves.

One Russian journalist opined that the assassination attempt was a rival’s ploy to undermine Russian President Vladi­mir Putin; another blamed a Ukraine attempt “to frame Russia.” The Russian foreign minister declared the whole story was an attempt to “distract from Brexit.”

For his part, Putin, when asked, said Russia had destroyed all its chemical weapons anyway.

The conspiracy theories came so thick and fast that some had to be retracted. One Russian scientist admitted that the Soviet Union had created Novichok; the interview was removed from the Internet because it contradicted the foreign ministry spokesman, who claims Novichok never existed. So far, the British foreign office has tallied 21 separate explanations for the assassination attempt, with more presumably on the way.

No one was surprised by this barrage of contradictory claims: This was exactly how the Russian media and Russian authorities responded after Russian-backed troops in eastern Ukraine shot down a Malaysian passenger plane in 2014, killing everyone on board. Those explanations were just as varied and far-fetched (the Ukrainians were trying to shoot down Putin and missed; the plane took off from Amsterdam with dead bodies on board), and they had the same aim: to pollute the conversation and make the truth seem unknowable.

Inside Russia, that campaign was a huge success. A Radio Liberty journalist did a series of man-in-the-street interviews in Moscow soon after the crash. Almost everyone he asked told him that not only was it impossible to know what happened but also that nobody would ever know. Even some in the Netherlands (which had many passengers on the doomed flight) have adopted “nobody will ever know” as an explanation for the crash — even though Dutch authorities and others have shown quite convincingly that it was shot down by a Russian Buk missile launched by the Russian-backed “separatists” in eastern Ukraine.

Knowing that there is no point in rebutting each claim — that would simply amplify them further — the British foreign office decided to respond, as one official told me, “by exposing the methodology” of deceit. Its officials created a short video mocking the multiple Russian explanations, and they posted it on Twitter and Facebook with a statement accusing Russia of offering “denial, distraction and threats” instead of explanations. They also sent samples of the Skripals’ blood to a neutral international institution, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, for testing to confirm their conclusions.

But the campaign will continue in places that are much harder to see. Trust in the government is very low in large swaths of the British political spectrum. The leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has said that he still wants a “definitive answer” about the source of the nerve agent. Russian Internet trolls are working hard on deepening this doubt. While watching the debate about Skripal, Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab noticed an online poll, the creation of a pro-Corbyn blogger with a large social media following. It asked, “Are you satisfied that Theresa May has supplied enough evidence for us to be able to confidently point the finger of blame at Russia?” When Nimmo investigated, he found large numbers of Russian and consistently pro-Russian accounts answering the poll (with an overwhelming “no,” of course) — and then amplifying the result so that it appeared to have even more approval. A minor thing, but it was enough to convince the blogger that “the mood of the public is starting to shift.”

This is an example in miniature of the kinds of efforts that will be repeated again and again, and it’s instructive. Since 2016, we’ve become fixated on the idea that Russian disinformation is something that happens during election campaigns. But it goes on all the time, and coordinators respond to all kinds of circumstances and will evade official attempts to avoid them.

Social media, which makes it easy for anonymous trolls to have influence, makes it easy to invent disinformation. Social divisions, which diminish trust in authorities like the British foreign office, help it spread.

What is needed now is a broader version of Britain’s “expose the methodology” campaign, one ambitious enough to reach below the surface. That will take time and effort. But unless we get started, we’re doomed to live in a world where truth is defined by those who have the least respect for it.

from Anne Applebaum – The Washington Post

Lieutenant Colonel contributor quits and bids a snarky “Das vidanya” to Fox News

An “Ashamed” Fox News Commentator Just Quit The “Propaganda Machine”

“Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association,” Col. Ralph Peters wrote in an email to colleagues. “Now I am ashamed.”

A retired United States Army lieutenant colonel and Fox News contributor quit Tuesday and denounced the network and President Donald Trump in an email to colleagues.

“Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” wrote Ralph Peters, a Fox News “strategic analyst.”

“Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed,” he wrote.

Peters, who was also a heated critic of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, once described him as having been “date raped” by Vladimir Putin. He didn’t respond to an email about his missive. A Fox News spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here’s Peters’ full email to colleagues:

On March 1st, I informed Fox that I would not renew my contract. The purpose of this message to all of you is twofold:

First, I must thank each of you for the cooperation and support you’ve shown me over the years. Those working off-camera, the bookers and producers, don’t often get the recognition you deserve, but I want you to know that I have always appreciated the challenges you face and the skill with which you master them.

Second, I feel compelled to explain why I have to leave. Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. I swore to “support and defend the Constitution,” and that oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.

In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts–who have never served our country in any capacity–dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller–all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of “deep-state” machinations– I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.

As a Russia analyst for many years, it also has appalled me that hosts who made their reputations as super-patriots and who, justifiably, savaged President Obama for his duplicitous folly with Putin, now advance Putin’s agenda by making light of Russian penetration of our elections and the Trump campaign. Despite increasingly pathetic denials, it turns out that the “nothing-burger” has been covered with Russian dressing all along. And by the way: As an intelligence professional, I can tell you that the Steele dossier rings true–that’s how the Russians do things.. The result is that we have an American president who is terrified of his counterpart in Moscow.

I do not apply the above criticisms in full to Fox Business, where numerous hosts retain a respect for facts and maintain a measure of integrity (nor is every host at Fox News a propaganda mouthpiece–some have shown courage). I have enjoyed and valued my relationship with Fox Business, and I will miss a number of hosts and staff members. You’re the grown-ups.

Also, I deeply respect the hard-news reporters at Fox, who continue to do their best as talented professionals in a poisoned environment. These are some of the best men and women in the business.

So, to all of you: Thanks, and, as our president’s favorite world leader would say, “Das vidanya.”

Peters was briefly suspended in 2015 for calling President Obama a “total pussy” while on the Fox Business Network.

BuzzFeed News  – Tom Namako

Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News

Tillerson backs British on Russian nerve-agent attack, then gets FIRED by Dear Leader Trump

Not that we ever thought Tillerson was worth a shit……

Why Did Trump Fire Tillerson Now?

The specific timing of the move—following the secretary of state’s split from the president to condemn a Russian attack in the U.K.—raises questions about its motive.

The White House’s account of the Tillerson firing collapsed within minutes.

Senior administration officials told outlets including The Washington Post and CNN that Tillerson had been told he would be dismissed on Friday, March 9.

Within the hour, the State Department issued a statement insisting that Tillerson “had every intention of remaining” and “did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason.” CNN reported that Tillerson had received a call from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday night indicating that he would be replaced that did not specify timing; a senior White House official told the network that it was Trump himself who had suddenly decided to pull the trigger on Tuesday morning. Tillerson learned of his actual firing the same way everybody else did: By reading about it on Twitter shortly after 8:44 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 13.

A lot turns on that timing. On March 12, Tillerson had backed the British government’s accusation that Russia was culpable for a nerve-agent attack on United Kingdom soil. If Tillerson had been fired March 9, then his words of support for Britain could not explain his firing three days before. But if the White House was lying about the timing, it could be lying about the motive.

And since it now seems all but certain that the White House was lying about the timing, it looks more probable that it was lying about the motive too.

That suspicion was accelerated by the president’s words to the White House press corps before stepping aboard Marine One:

“As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.”

That is not support for Britain. It is the direct opposite.

Britain and the United States share intelligence information fully, freely, and seamlessly. It’s inconceivable that the U.S. government has not already seen all the information that Theresa May saw before she rose in the House of Commons to accuse Russia.

If the U.S. government had a serious concern about the reliability of that information, it would have expressed that concern directly and privately to the U.K. government before May spoke. But the U.S. had no such concern—that’s why the now-fired secretary of state and the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom both endorsed May’s words. When Trump raises doubts about the facts, about American agreement with its British ally, about the accuracy of the British accusation against Russia, Trump is not expressing good-faith uncertainty about imperfect information. Trump is rejecting the consensus view of the U.K. and U.S. intelligence communities about an act of Russian aggression—and, if his past behavior is any indication, preparing the way for his own determination to do nothing.

It echoes the approach he took toward Russian intervention in the U.S. election to help elect him in 2016: Feign uncertainty about what is not uncertain in order to justify inaction.

The U.S.-U.K. response to the Russian nerve gas attack should have been coordinated in advance. It was not. The U.S. statement of support for Britain should have arrived on the day that the prime minister delivered her accusation. It did not. The retaliation—if any—should also already be agreed upon. It plainly has not been.

The United Kingdom does not find itself deprived of U.S. support because of some British mistake or rush to judgment. Most of the U.S. government shares the British assessment of what happened—as attested by Tillerson’s statement in support of Britain, which would have relied on U.S. intelligence agency reports. Only Trump stands apart, vetoing any condemnation of Russia and perhaps punishing his secretary of state for breaking ranks on the president’s no-criticizing-Putin policy.

On June 4, 2017, Trump took to Twitter to chide British officials for taking too long to blame a terror attack on Muslim extremists.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump

We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse 4:19 AM – Jun 4, 2017

This time, Britain did not hesitate. It has named the assassins. And now it is Trump who is squeamish.

On March 10, 2018, the president’s son tweeted:

Donald Trump Jr.✔@DonaldJTrumpJr

I’m so glad to wake up in a country where we finally have a president who cares more about America than he does about our enemies feelings. Very refreshing!!! #maga 6:51 AM – Mar 10, 2018

But apparently, some enemies’ feelings command more sensitivity than others.

Yesterday, the Republicans on the House intelligence committee announced that they had concluded the investigation of the Russian interference—and would soon publish a report acquitting Trump of collusion. Bad luck for them to release the report on the very day that Trump again demonstrated that something is very, very wrong in the Trump-Russia relationship. It’s possible to imagine innocent explanations. And it’s easy to list the plausible explanations. Ominously for the western alliance and the security of the United States, those two sets no longer overlap at all.

C.I.A. director and Trump yes man Mike Pompeo is named as Tillerson’s replacement. 

Pompeo displayed the aggressive partisanship he had developed as a Republican combatant in Congress, disturbing some colleagues with hawkish policy pronouncements and political spin that were jarring in his role as intelligence adviser. Trump formed a close bond and easy rapport with Mr. Pompeo in daily intelligence briefings because Pompeo wouldn’t make Trump read the daily briefings.

If confirmed to replace Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of state, Mr. Pompeo, a 54-year-old former Kansas congressman, would become the first person to have served as both the United States’ top spy and top diplomat. In the new job, Mr. Pompeo would no longer be constrained by the strictures of impartial intelligence analysis, a development likely to thrill Russia and his conservative political allies.

Nunes-Trump Memo resoundingly debunked

Heavily redacted Democratic memo refutes Republican “Nunes Memo” account of Russia Probe

Congressman Adam Schiff

Dear Leader Trump delayed the release of the Democratic memo earlier in the month, saying that he was responding to concerns about sensitive classified information in the document.

The House Intelligence Committee released a lengthy, extensively redacted Democratic response to a Republican memo falsely alleging bias and misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department early in their investigation of Russian election interference.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said after the memo’s release on Saturday that the document “should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the FISC,” referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Democrats on the committee finally got to lay out their case: that Nunes and the panel’s Republican majority had cherry-picked and distorted information in an effort to undercut the probe that’s now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

As usual Trump puts out a disjointed defensive spin. The memo is “a nothing,” Trump told Fox TV on Saturday night. Earlier, the White House quickly weighed in, terming “politically driven” the document entitled “Correcting the Record — The Russia Investigation.” Dear Leader Trump also took Twitter to term the missive “a total political and legal BUST.”

“FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process, omit material information or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign,” Democrats said in the 10-page document released Saturday.

“Our extensive review of the initial FISA application and three subsequent renewals failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests,” said Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

The four-page Republican memo was written under Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and released with Trump’s approval on Feb. 2. It contended that a judge issued a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, primarily based on a Federal Bureau of Investigation warrant application that relied on a dossier of unverified allegations against Trump written by former British spy Christopher Steele who is held in high regard by the intelligence community.


Trump made a, completely unsupported by the facts, claim in an interview with his big supporter Jeanine Pirro on Fox News on Saturday night, saying the Democratic memo “really verifies” the Nunes memo and is “a very bad document for their side.” Trump said this while calling into Pirro’s show. Hilariously Trump is so defensive he hardly ever lets the normally verbose Pirro get a word edgewise.

The Nunes memo also asserts that the FISA Judge wasn’t told in the application that the dossier was funded by Trump’s campaign opponent Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Trump continues to falsely claim “FBI did not disclose who the clients were — the Clinton Campaign and the DNC,” said Trump on Twitter. “Wow!” The FBI had opposed the release of the Nunes Memo, citing inaccuracies.

Schiff said Republicans are attacking the FBI for following the proper procedure of minimizing the names of U.S. persons who aren’t subject to a warrant, including Trump and Clinton as candidates at the time.

“They’re supposed to mask the identities of people,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut, the No. 2 Democrat on the Intelligence panel, contradicted a key contention from the Republican memo. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe didn’t testify before the committee in December that no warrant on Page would have been sought without the Steele dossier, as the Republican memo says, Himes said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Rather, McCabe said all of the pieces of the warrant “were important,” said Himes, who added that he was present for the testimony while Nunes was not. “He absolutely did not say that it would not have been filed had it not been for the dossier information,” Himes said.

Democrats also said in their rebuttal memo that the FBI and Justice Department “would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals” to conduct surveillance of Page, “someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government.”

“The Democratic memo makes clear that Nunes cherry-picked and distorted information from sensitive intelligence to sow discord and undermine our nation’s premier law enforcement agency — the FBI,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said in a statement.

And Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said the memo “provides bombshell revelations about the extent to which the White House and its lackeys are willing to go to smear the Special Counsel’s probe and the FBI.”

Nunes was on stage at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington at the moment the memo was released. Nunes then came up with his new spin on the release “We actually wanted this out,” he said. “They are advocating that it’s OK for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt” paid for by one U.S. political party to attack another, a very defensive Nunes said. “This is clear evidence the Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but are also colluding with parts of the government to cover this up.”  He said continuing Trump-Bannon Deep State mythology.

In a revealing footnote, Democrats counter that the Steele dossier wasn’t the sole grounds cited for the warrant on Page sought under the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, and they say a footnote in the application did indeed disclose that its origins were politically motivated.

In fact, the Democratic memo cites the FBI’s previous interest in Page and his contacts with Russians for several years, including an interview he had with the FBI in March 2016 about contacts with Russian intelligence. “The FBI’s concern about and knowledge of Page’s activities therefore long predate the FBI’s receipt of Steele’s information,” the Democratic memo stated.

The memo also said that the Justice Department “in fact informed the court accurately that Steele was hired by politically-motivated U.S. persons and entities and that his research appeared to be intended for use ‘to discredit’ Trump’s campaign.” They also included details of subsequent warrant applications that were obtained to continue surveillance of Page. The problem with this argument is, probable cause is probable cause.

Schiff has described the Republican memo as “an effort to circle the wagons around the White House and distract from the Russia probe.”

The American public now has two clashing, accounts that claim to be true interpretations of a detailed court document that they can’t read for themselves because it remains classified. It should be noted that The Democrats’ version was ok’d by the Justice Dept.  the Nunes Memo was not

Representative Trey Gowdy

Strangely breaking ranks with Nunes, Representative Trey Gowdy — the only Republican on the Intelligence Committee who actually saw the classified intelligence used to write the memo — has said it has nothing to do with other aspects of the Russian investigation, which Mueller took over last year.

“There’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier,” Gowdy said this earlier this month on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Original source info From Bloomberg

To read the entire memo click here.


Delusion and denial from our Dear Leader and Putin’s BFF

Dear leader Trump’s embarrassing Twitter Rants about the Russia Investigation point fingers right back at his unfailing love of Vladimir Putin and Russia

For the past 24 hours, Donny Dumbass has been tweeting up a storm about the Russia investigation. There are now a huge number of tweets attacking just about everyone remotely related to the Mueller investigation — even his own national security adviser.

His elementary school type tirade started on Saturday and mentions by name former President Barack Obama; the top Democrat investigating in the House, Adam Schiff, and the mainstream news media; Nearly everyone was blamed for the ongoing investigation into election meddling, except, notably, Vladimir Putin and Russia. “They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!” Trump wrote. They may be laughing in Russia, but we’re pretty sure it’s about how obedient their little puppet Trump is.

This hysterical temper tantrum comes after the Mueller investigation handed down indictments against 13 Russians on Friday. They were charged with attempting to influence the election and help Trump win office.

Defensive Donny is focused on the fact that there is no assertion in the charging documents that the Russia meddling changed the outcome of the election, on the other hand, it does not claim the meddling had no effect either. All Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said was there was no claim of impact on the outcome of the election in the indictments.

What Trump can’t seem to acknowledge is that the Russians were spending over a million and a half every month to tip the scales in his favor. That massive by any measure and certainly had some impact. His ego just can’t let him accept that he may have won as a result. “But wasn’t I a great candidate?” The braggart Trump wrote in deep denial of the facts.

Trump then ironically tweets “Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President. Maybe they knew I was going to run even though I didn’t know!” except we note that this was right after his infamous trip in November 2013 to the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. This is probably where it all tracks back to. Don’t forget that The Daily Mail has reported that Trump trademarked the MAGA slogan used in the race as far back as 2012.

Then the despicable Donald goes on to say: “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
False again this is a completely different department within the FBI and the local law enforcement has had dozens of contact with the suspect and there was nothing they could do because of Florida’s lack of gun laws and mental health facilities.

National Security Advisor and Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, who was appointed by Trump, spoke in Germany on Saturday at a conference and had an exchange with Russian officials. McMaster said that the evidence is “incontrovertible” that Russia tried to meddle. “As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain,” McMaster said.
Trump wasn’t happy about that and claimed McMaster forgot his talking points then Trump brought up his earlier ridiculous arguments against Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and other Democrats.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee argued on CNN’s State of the Union that Trump “claims vindication anytime someone sneezes.” He added, “I’ve said all along that I thought the Obama administration should have done more … They were very wary of appearing to be putting their hand on the scale of the election.”

But, Schiff argued, “none of that is an excuse for this president to sit on his hands.” Trump hasn’t put in place the sanctions that Congress gave him the authority to implement, missing a deadline in January.

Then the lying idiot Trump says: I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400-pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.

Trump adamantly refuses to admit that Russia is to blame. In November, he said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial. “Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Mr. Trump told reporters while on his Asia trip.

Trump made no mention of any attempt to prevent the same thing from happening in the 2018 elections, something that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has already warned against.

reworked from a Bustle article