Lying enabler Attorney General Barr needs to go

 

It took less than a day for Donald Trump to crap on Attorney General Bill Barr’s efforts to clean up the mess he made with his handling of the Roger Stone case. A whiny Barr on Thursday told ABC News that Trump’s tweets about the Department of Justice made his job “impossible” because they made it look like he was taking orders directly from the Trump whenever he made a decision. (and of course, he is)

Today Trump kept insisting that he had the absolute right to meddle in the Department Of Justice affairs in an early morning tweet.

“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President Dictator, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” he wrote(lied). “Trump has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.”  the lyin’ sycophant said.

What the attorney general Barr is really saying is, ‘I know what Trump wants, I’m going to do exactly what Trump wants, I just wish he wouldn’t tweet about it because it is so embarrassing and humiliating,’.
The attorney general was facing a full-scale revolt within the Department of Justice as a result of the political interference, and over the personal influence by Donald Trump in favor of one of his friends and political cronies, Roger Stone.
The attorney general acknowledged in that interview extraordinarily that he personally had a role in overruling his line prosecutors and he offered no explanation, no justification whatsoever for this kind of interference in the prosecution.”

Barr needs to resign and if he doesn’t, he should be removed from office by Congress.

 

Time to shut off the spigot feeding Trumpism

Unregulated Capitalism has brought us the dictator bully Donald Trump, It’s time to fix it or throw it out

Local nonprofit Cooperation Humboldt will host the third annual Artists Dismantling Capitalism conference on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Creamery District in Arcata from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

This Symposium will be highly participatory, offering 16 workshops facilitated by artists, community members, and others. Workshops will focus on a wide range of topics including theater, hip hop, artist spaces, spirituality and more. In addition to local community members and artists, the conference will feature visiting facilitators including Kwame Braxton and Abrianni Perry of Cooperation Jackson, MS. and Ali Meders-Knight and Mel Figueroa from Chico.

“The aim of Artists Dismantling Capitalism is to bring together artists, culture workers, social change agents, and anyone and everyone who knows that we can collectively create a society that is loving, compassionate, inclusive and beautiful,” said Cooperation Humboldt organizer Ruthi Engelke. “We are very excited that for the third year, we are able to offer a wide variety of workshops to the community that explore how we may create that society through the power of creativity and art.”

Vegan lunch is included and child care will be provided by the Cooperation Humboldt Parent Hive on request with 5 days notice before the event. Donations are encouraged to help cover the costs of the conference but are not required.

To register, request childcare or find more info, visit https://cooperationhumboldt.com/adc2020/.

 

S. Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas have canceled their Republican primaries because Trump is so scared

A frightened Trump flees stage at a campaign rally

We don’t like or even respect these three Republicans but in this instance, they are on the right side of history. They rightly see doom for their party if this continues.

Mark Sanford was governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011. Joe Walsh represented Illinois’s 8th Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. Bill Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. All three are seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Here is their opinion piece from the Washington Post:

The three of us are running for the Republican nomination for president in a race that will inevitably highlight differences among us on matters of policy, style and background. But we are brought together not by what divides us but by what unites us: a shared conviction that the United States needs a strong center-right party guided by basic values that are rooted in the best of the American spirit.

A president always defines his or her party, and today the Republican Party has taken a wrong turn, led by a serial self-promoter who has abandoned the bedrock principles of the GOP. In the Trump era, personal responsibility, fiscal sanity and rule of law have been overtaken by a preference for alienating our allies while embracing terrorists and dictators, attacking the free press and pitting everyday Americans against one another.

No surprise, then, that the latest disgrace, courtesy of Team Trump, is an effort to eliminate any threats to the president’s political power in 2020. Republicans have long held primaries and caucuses to bring out the best our party has to offer. Our political system assumes an incumbent president will make his case in front of voters to prove that he or she deserves to be nominated for a second term. But now, the Republican parties of four states — Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina — have canceled their nominating contests. By this design, the incumbent will be crowned the winner of these states’ primary delegates. There is little confusion about who has been pushing for this outcome.

What does this say about the Republican Party? If a party stands for nothing but reelection, it indeed stands for nothing. Our next nominee must compete in the marketplace of ideas, values and leadership. Each of us believes we can best lead the party. So does the incumbent. Let us each take our case to the public. The saying “may the best man win” is a quintessential value that the Republican Party must honor if we are to command the respect of the American people. Cowards run from fights. Warriors stand and fight for what they believe. The United States respects warriors. Only the weak fear competition.

Across the aisle, the Democratic primary challengers are still engaged in a heated competition of debates, caucuses and primaries to give their voters in every corner of our country a chance to select the best nominee. Do Republicans really want to be the party with a nominating process that more resembles Russia or China than our American tradition? Under this president, the meaning of truth has been challenged as never before. Under this president, the federal deficit has topped the $1 trillion mark. Do we as Republicans accept all this as inevitable? Are we to leave it to the Democrats to make the case for principles and values that, a few years ago, every Republican would have agreed formed the foundations of our party?

It would be a critical mistake to allow the Democratic Party to dominate the national conversation during the primary and caucus season. Millions of voters looking for a conservative alternative to the status quo deserve a chance to hear alternate ideas aired on the national stage. Let us argue over the best way to maximize opportunities in our communities for everyday Americans while the Democrats debate the merits of government intervention. Let us spend the next six months attempting to draw new voters to our party instead of demanding fealty to a preordained choice. If we believe our party represents the best hope for the United States’ future, let us take our message to the public and prove we are right.

Trump loyalists in the four states that have canceled their primaries and caucuses claim that President Trump will win by a landslide and that it is, therefore, a waste of money to invest in holding primaries or caucuses. But since when do we use poll numbers as our basis for deciding whether to give voters an opportunity to choose their leaders, much less their presidents? Answer: We don’t.

Besides, the litigation costs these four state parties will likely be forced to take on in defending legal challenges to the cancellations will almost certainly exceed the cost of holding the primaries and caucuses themselves.

In the United States, citizens choose their leaders. The primary nomination process is the only opportunity for Republicans to have a voice in deciding who will represent our party. Let those voices be heard.

By Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh and Bill Weld

 

 

The slow motion “coup d’etat” rolls on

Trump is unlawfully seizing power to try and avoid the continuing embarrassment of his defeat at the hands of House Democrats, so today he announced that he is declaring a national emergency as a scam to fund his border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a Rose Garden speech, Trump said his administration planned to confront his made up “crisis” on the border “one way or another.”

Trump continues to insist that his wall is necessary for border security. Falsely claiming the United States is facing “an invasion” of drugs, human traffickers, and criminal gangs.

Trump’s traitorous cohort’s Republican leader Mitch McConnell Kentucky and South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham both applauded his plan to declare a national emergency so he can illegally reallocate funds to pay for his wall without Congressional approval.

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi warned against the move, saying “Want to talk about a national emergency, let’s talk about today, the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America,”  “That’s a national emergency. Declare that an emergency, She dared Trump “I wish you would.”  But a Democratic president can do that. So the precedent that Trump is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by Republicans and we respond accordingly when we review our options.”

Trump noted that the next likely move will be lawsuits questioning his declaration of “emergency” and lawsuits over the separation of powers.

The idiot Trump admits that his emergency order will likely go down in flames in U.S. courts. “We will have a national emergency,” Trump said, before adding, “and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, we’ll get another bad ruling, then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, then hopefully we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win in the Supreme Court.”

Trump the fool then admits he didn’t actually need to sign an emergency order to build the wall. “I didn’t need to do this,” Trump said of the emergency order. “But I’d rather do it much faster.” Admitting this will undercut Trump’s legal argument that he had to declare a national emergency to stop border security, as it is difficult to argue that you needed to do something when you admit that you didn’t need to do it.

Of course, as the laziest elected person ever, Trump is expected to immediately fly to his private golf club in Florida

Now our benevolent Tyrant wants to execute drug dealers like his BFF “Killer” Duterte

Trump, according to Axios, has privately been talking up a new strategy in the nation’s ongoing struggle against the opioid epidemic: imposing the death penalty on drug dealers, just as they do in Singapore and Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines. According to Axios’s multiple sources, Trump is given to “passionate speech[es]” in private on the subject, saying “he would love to have a law to execute all drug dealers here in America, though it would probably be impossible to get a law this harsh passed under the American system.”

Even if he does realize it’s an idle authoritarian daydream, Trump’s fascination with this brutal tactic is meaningful, as is the way he came upon it. What’s more, his casual musings upon it are part of a larger pattern in which the administration uses crises to threaten the rest of us.

There’s no real need to explain that the summary execution of drug dealers is a bad idea, though it is a very, very bad idea. It’s enough to note that the country already tried an aggressive enforcement approach to drug crimes — the four-decade-long war on drugs — and among experts and law enforcement officers themselves, it is almost universally acknowledged as a massive failure in economic and practical terms. (Trump’s Justice Department is a notable outlier in that assessment.) Even more concerning, the war on drugs wound up being disproportionately waged against black and brown people. Escalating the possible sentence for drug crimes to death would just escalate the many injustices already present in a broken system. (This is also the argument that many civil liberties advocates make against charging drug dealers with murder.)

Trump doesn’t recognize any of this, of course. His pronouncements about drug policy come in two flavors, both of which suggest smugly unplumbed depths of ignorance: vague promises to keep drugs “out” of our country by building “the wall,” and sternly huffing about the need to “teach young people not to take drugs.” He doesn’t recognize that most of our opioid deaths are the result of drugs that are made in the United States or shipped in from China. He doesn’t recognize that “just saying no” has been proved ineffective by study after study.

None of that is true, but he means every word — and that’s exactly the problem.

 

Ana Marie Cox -Washington Post

The name of the game is winning, and rigging the system the better to ensure perpetual winning.

WORSE AND WORSE: Republican Rule, Week 55: There Is No Bottom to This Bottom

Under Trump, the GOP has decided not to govern, but to rule.

Democracy? That’s for losers. For the Republicans, the name of the game is winning—and rigging the system the better to ensure perpetual winning.

One year and a month into the Donald Trump presidency, it’s increasingly clear that the Republican Party, drunk on the power of unified government under a man it once despised, has given up on the idea of democracy and decided instead to stand firmly at his side, and to maintain control by any means necessary. They have decided to not to govern, but to rule.

Democracy works only if all of the parties to it agree to its ground rules. We now have entered an era when only one party does so, often to its detriment, while the other continually blows through the guard rails of democratic normalcy in pursuit of perpetual power and monetary gain. The result: the most ostentatiously corrupt administration since Richard Nixon’s is completely off its tether, while his political party’s soul vanishes a little more each day.

The tax cut rammed through the Senate on a party-line basis, which promises to suck $1.5 trillion out of the treasury and which could yet set up draconian cuts to social services for the poor, children and the elderly was but one example of the rot. Holding hostage a Supreme Court seat, which Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell made clear he would allow to be filled only by a Republican president, was another. There are the serial attacks on voting rights in state after state under GOP control that, combined with likely continued Russian meddling, threaten the very democratic character of our elections. And the current determination of House Republicans to burn it all—including the intelligence community and the FBI—to protect Trump, and by extension the Kremlin, is the most outrageous of all.

Trump’s elevation to the White House, thanks to the anachronistic Electoral College, combined with the gerrymandered control of state and federal legislatures made possible by the Obama backlash and the short-sightedness of Democratic voters in 2010, gave Republicans a rare gift. The party has controlled all three branches of the federal government only three times since its founding as the anti-slavery party in 1854.

Since rebranding itself as the party of big business during the Gilded Age and losing losingTeddy Roosevelt in the process, the Grand Old Party controlled the presidency and Congress four times: during the presidencies of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover from 1925 to 1933, to disastrous results for the global economy; then again under Dwight Eisenhower, due to the deaths of nine Democratic senators and the resignation of another; and finally during parts of George W. Bush’s tenure. (It’s worth noting that Eisenhower, who presided over a period of rare economic stability under a Republican, was so non-ideological, he was offered the Democratic nomination by party bosses in 1948. With Bush, the GOP returned to deficit-busting, tax-cutting, recession-inducing form.)

Even without the White House, Republican control of the federal legislature has been disastrous for anyone but the super rich.

After the “Republican revolution” of 1994, Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott used their power to force through a wholesale rewrite of welfare and criminal justice law; changes that resulted in the mass incarceration of millions of people, disproportionately black or Latino. During the Obama years, Republican control of Congress resulted in a veritable halt to legislative activity, as Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, followed by Paul Ryan, effected a virtual congressional work stoppage to thwart the Democratic president.

Now, with unified control of government again in their hands, including a Republican majority on the Supreme Court, plus control of 67 state legislative chambers to Democrats’ 32 (with Virginia up in the air), and 34 governor’s mansions to Democrats’ 15 (plus total control in 26 states), Republicans are galloping through their agenda of returning America to the 1920s.

Anywhere Republicans wield control, a familiar pattern emerges: aggressive deregulation and tax cuts for big business, attacks on unionized work, Medicaid, and public education, and the savaging of voting rights for people of color and any other group suspected of potential alignment with Democrats. On a federal level, throw in a wholesale handover of pristine lands, from Alaska to Bears Ears in Utah to the extractive industries, coupled with relaxed rules on how much those oil, gas, and coal companies can pollute the air and water with impunity.

Donald Trump supports this agenda, but he isn’t implementing it on his own. He has an entire party apparatus behind him, which is why Mitch McConnell declared 2017 to be, in his view, the greatest single year in the history of the Republican Party.

Apparently the feeling is so good to Republicans both in Washington and in the states, they have decided that they will never relinquish this unprecedented power.

In Wisconsin, the Republican governor, Scott Walker, has for nearly a full year refused to call special elections, leaving legislative seats vacant rather than risk their being filled by Democrats. This after his administration pulled off the most widespread voter disenfranchisement in the country in 2016 and dismantled his state’s Government Accountability Board, which was supposed to insure fair and ethical elections. That’s banana republic dictator behavior.

In Pennsylvania, having lost appeals going all the way up to the Republican majority Supreme Court, Republicans are now threatening to impeach state Supreme Court justices who ruled against them in a gerrymandering case that could finally break their stranglehold over state and federal legislative seats.

And of course there is the autocrat in training in Washington, who this week declared that not standing and applauding his speeches is tantamount to treason, and who with his party having emptied the coffers on their billionaire tax cuts, has ordered the Pentagon to throw him a grand military parade to “showcase America’s might,” in the style of Kim Jong Un. One shudders at the thought of tanks and troops filing down Pennsylvania Avenue, while the man who ducked out of Vietnam and has denigrated the service of braver men and Gold Star families does his best Mussolini pucker as he and his kleptocratic clan preen in the reviewing stand.

And rather than use the power the Constitution grants the Congress to rein in the would-be American Louis XVI, the speaker of the House, the Senate majority leader, and a cadre of lickspittle Republican marionettes have put the United States Congress wholly in the president’s service. Ryan is too busy urging the peasants to dance in the streets for the dollar-fifty he and his fellow top hatters flung from the Bastille in Washington while handing Exxon Mobil billions, the Koch brothers millions to care. McConnell can only rouse himself to threaten Democrats and take children’s health care and military payrolls hostage while allowing community health center funding benefitting 26 million Americans to languish for months while dawdling on immigration reform (which Ryan insists will only proceed in the House on the Dear Leader’s terms). In short, we now have zero checks on the executive branch in Washington, and an almost frenzied money grab by the wealthiest Americans under the benighted gaze of the once revered Grand Old Party. Abe Lincoln must be spinning in his grave.

Ryan and McConnell are destined to go down in history as twin handmaidens of America’s surprisingly swift descent toward authoritarianism, along with present-day Joe McCarthy Devin Nunes. Their morally decrepit political party has turned its back on every principle of democracy in favor of the naked pursuit of profit and power. Trump will be remembered as a wanna-be autocrat surrounded by beaters, cheaters, grifters, miscreants, and incompetents, and depending on what Mueller finds, maybe a criminal, too.

And he can be assured no one will ever throw him a memorial parade.

Joy-Ann Reid in the Daily Beast

 

The US tried to recover stolen U.S. documents from Russia and was offered a cache of Trump materials

The United States intelligence community has been conducting a top-secret operation to recover stolen classified U.S. government documents from Russian operatives, according to sources familiar with the matter. The operation has also inadvertently yielded a cache of documents purporting to relate to Donald Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Over the past year, American intelligence officials have opened a secret communications channel with the Russian operatives, who have been seeking to sell both Trump-related materials and documents stolen from the National Security Agency and obtained by Russian intelligence, according to people involved with the matter and other documentary evidence. The channel started developing in early 2017, when American and Russian intermediaries began meeting in Germany. Eventually, a Russian intermediary, apparently representing some elements of the Russian intelligence community, agreed to a deal to sell stolen NSA documents back to the U.S. while also seeking to include Trump-related materials in the package.

The CIA declined to comment on the operation. The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The secret U.S. intelligence channel with the Russians is separate from efforts by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to obtain information about Trump and his ties with Russia. Steele worked with Fusion GPS, an American private investigations firm that was first hired by Republican and later Democratic opponents of Trump to dig up information on him during the 2016 campaign.

By contrast, the more recent secret negotiations began after Trump’s election and have been conducted by U.S. intelligence officials working with intermediaries who mainly operate in Europe. When American intelligence officials initiated efforts to broker a communications channel in 2017, however, their primary objective was to recover stolen NSA documents, not to obtain material about Trump.

At the time, the NSA was desperate to recover documents that intelligence officials believed Russia had obtained through a mysterious group known as the Shadow Brokers. The group stole highly secret NSA hacking tools and began releasing them on the internet in the summer of 2016. The Shadow Brokers theft of the hacking tools devastated morale at the NSA, putting its custom-built offensive cyber weapons out in the open. It was as if a bioweapons laboratory had lost some of its most deadly and dangerous viruses. U.S. officials wanted to identify which NSA documents the Shadow Brokers had stolen, so they could determine how badly the agency had been damaged by the theft.

But once the communications channel opened, the Russians on the other side offered to sell documents related to Trump along with the stolen NSA documents.

A Russian who has been acting as a go-between for other Russians with access to Russian government materials has sought payment for the materials he is offering. In an extensive interview with The Intercept in Germany, the Russian intermediary provided detailed information about the channel. When contacted by The Intercept for this story, the American intermediary declined to comment.

Even many involved in the secret communications channel between U.S. intelligence and the Russians are said to be uncertain about what is really going on with the operation. Recently, the Russians have been seeking to provide documents said to be related to Trump officials and Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, including some purloined FBI reports and banking records. It is not clear whether those documents are in possession of American officials. It is also unclear whether the secret channel has helped the U.S. recover significant amounts of data from the NSA documents believed to have been stolen by the Shadow Brokers.

Further, it is not known whether the Russians involved in the channel are acting on their own or have been authorized by the Russian government to try to sell the materials to the United States. As a result, the Americans are uncertain whether the Russians involved are part of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by Moscow, either to discredit Trump or to discredit efforts by American officials investigating Trump’s possible ties to Russia, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

UNITED STATES – JUNE 7: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats arrives in the Hart Senate Office Building to testify during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats arrives in the Hart Senate Office Building to testify during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

THE EXISTENCE OF the off-the-books communications channel, which has been a closely guarded secret within the U.S. intelligence community, has been highly controversial among those officials who know about it, and has begun to cause rifts between officials at the CIA and the NSA who have been involved with it at various times over the past year.

The CIA, which is now headed by a Trump loyalist, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, has at times been reluctant to stay involved in the operation, apparently for fear of obtaining the Trump-related material offered by the Russians, according to sources close to the negotiations. In the period in which the communications channel has been open, CIA officials are said to have repeatedly changed their views about it. They have sometimes expressed interest, only to later back away from any involvement with the channel and the intermediaries. At some points, the CIA has been serious enough about buying materials through the channel that agency officials said they had transported cash to the CIA’s station in Berlin to complete the transaction. But at other points, agency officials backed off and shut down their communications. Some people involved with the channel believe that the CIA has grown so heavily politicized under Pompeo that officials there have become fearful of taking possession of any materials that might be considered damaging to Trump.

The CIA’s wariness shows that the reality within the U.S. intelligence community is a far cry from the right-wing conspiracy theory that a “deep state” is working against Trump. Instead, the agency’s behavior seems to indicate that U.S. intelligence officials are torn about whether to conduct any operations at all that might aid Mueller’s ongoing investigation into whether Trump or his aides colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

Many intelligence officials are reluctant to get involved with anything related to the Trump-Russia case for fear of blowback from Trump himself, who might seek revenge by firing senior officials and wreaking havoc on their agencies. For example, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence and thus the man supposedly in charge of the entire U.S. intelligence community, has said he does not see it as his role to push for an aggressive Trump-Russia investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Because of the CIA’s reluctance to take an aggressive role, officials at the NSA have taken the lead on the communications channel, with a primary focus on recovering their own stolen documents. They have viewed the Trump-related material as an annoying sidelight, even as they understand that it is potentially the most explosive material to have come through the channel.

The channel has been operating in the shadows even as Mueller’s investigation has been basking in the spotlight. Last year, three former Trump campaign officials faced charges as part of Mueller’s investigation, and the special counsel continues to investigate both possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and evidence of efforts by Trump or others close to him to obstruct justice in the Mueller probe.

OVER THE PAST year, those involved with the secret communications channel have experienced a series of dramatic highs and lows. Until recently, it wasn’t clear whether the conversations would produce any materials about Trump or lead to the recovery of any NSA documents.

It took months of meetings and negotiations between American and Russian intermediaries to try to determine what documents might be available from the Russians – and at what price. Inconsistent interest in the channel by U.S. intelligence officials, particularly at the CIA, complicated the negotiations.

According to documents obtained by The Intercept that summarize much of the channel’s history, a key American intermediary with the Russians was first approached by U.S. intelligence officials in late December 2016. The officials asked him to help them recover NSA documents believed to have been stolen by the Shadow Brokers.

The American was able to identify a hacker in Germany who claimed to have access to some of the stolen data believed to be held by the Shadow Brokers, and who accurately provided advance notice of several Shadow Broker data releases. The hacker’s cooperation with the U.S. intelligence community broke down over his demands for full immunity from U.S. prosecution for his hacking activities — negotiations that failed largely because the hacker refused to provide his full personal identification to the Americans.

Eventually, the relationship with the hacker in Germany led the Americans to begin talks with a Russian who became a key intermediary in the channel. The Russian is believed to have ties to officials in Russian intelligence.

In March 2017, the Russian met with the American intermediary and a U.S. official in Berlin and agreed to provide the stolen NSA data from the Shadow Brokers in exchange for payment. The U.S. government used “certain messaging techniques” that the Russian accepted as proof that the U.S. government was behind the negotiations and the proposed deal, according to the documents obtained by The Intercept.

Officials gave the Russians advance knowledge that on June 20, 2017, at 12:30 p.m., the official NSA Twitter account would tweet: “Samuel Morse patented the telegraph 177 years ago. Did you know you can still send telegrams? Faster than post & pay only if it’s delivered.”

That tweet, in exactly those words, was issued at that time.

The NSA used that messaging technique repeatedly over the following months, each time officials wanted to communicate with the Russians or reassure them that the U.S. was still supporting the channel. Each time, the Russians were told the text of the tweets in advance and the exact time they would be released. Each tweet looked completely benign but was in fact a message to the Russians.

On August 17, 2017, officials communicated with the Russians by having the NSA account issue a tweet saying:“The 1st telegraph communications exchange occurred between Queen Victoria and President Buchanan in 1858.”

In October, 2017, officials communicated again with the Russians when the NSA tweeted:“This week in history, Robert Lamphere began working on the Verona program in 1948.”

That same month, officials gave the Russians early notice that the NSA account would tweet:“Can you help Kandice the Kangaroo save her baby Jory in this month’s #PuzzlePeriodical?”

In early November, three NSA tweets were part of the communications channel. One said:“#NSA inducts 5 #CryptologicPioneers into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor. Learn more about their distinguished service.” Another stated: “People are our greatest assets. The #NSA workforce makes 65 years of service possible #NSA65.” And a third:“23,725 days, 31,164,000 min. 2,049,840,000 sec and counting…At #NSA the mission never sleeps. #NSA65.”

Later that month, a message was sent to the Russians when the NSA account tweeted:“The ADONIS cipher machine replaced WWI-era SIGABA machine. It was one of the first machines to print on-the-fly.”

And in December, the NSA gave advance warning to the Russians that its official account would tweet:“Section 702 is a law that can also be a lifesaver. Take a look at how #Section 702 protects troops and helps the nation.”

But the channel broke down several times, often over disagreements between the U.S. and the Russians about how money would be exchanged and what data was to be received. In May 2017, U.S. officials were upset that the first tranche of data they received contained files already known to have been stolen because they had already been released by the Shadow Brokers. But the Russian intermediary continued to insist that he could provide data held by the Shadow Brokers, as well as materials related to Trump officials and Russian activity in the 2016 campaign. Throughout 2017, the U.S. officials sought to limit the scope of their investigation to data stolen by the Shadow Brokers, leaving aside the materials related to Trump. U.S. officials also began to wonder whether the Russian intermediary was part of a so-called dangle operation involving Russian disinformation.

But by last fall, the Russian began passing information to the American intermediary that was unrelated to the Shadow Brokers, including the names of specific individuals and corporate entities allegedly tied to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. The American intermediary turned the information over to U.S. intelligence for the purpose of determining the Russian’s credibility. U.S. intelligence officials continued to stress that they were only interested in recovering stolen U.S. data. Still, it was understood that if the Russian provided material related to Trump, the American intermediary would debrief U.S. officials on its content.

In December 2017, the Russian turned over documents and files, some of them in Russian. The documents appeared to include FBI investigative reports, financial records, and other materials related to Trump officials and the 2016 campaign.

“The information was vetted and ultimately determined that while a significant part of it was accurate and verifiable, other parts of the data were impossible to verify and could be controversial,” the documents obtained by The Intercept state. It is not clear who vetted the material.

At a meeting last month in Spain, the Russian told the American intermediary of his desire to move forward with the delivery of the Shadow Brokers data, as well as material related to the 2016 election. The American questioned him on the credibility of his data and told him the data he was providing on Trump officials and election activities was “unsolicited.” The Russian also expressed interest in giving the material to media outlets, which the American told the Russian he found “disconcerting.”

The Russian told the American that he had first become aware of Russian efforts targeting U.S. political activities in late 2014 or early 2015, according to the documents reviewed by The Intercept. The Russian stated that he had no knowledge of a “master plan” to cause major disruption to U.S. election activities, but the effort was generally understood as a “green light” from Russian security officials to enlist cyber-related groups in probing and harassing activities directed at U.S. targets.

From Ryan Grim at the Intercept