This alone should be an impeachable offense

The Pentagon leaks an explosive story of Trump’s dereliction of duty — widening the rift between the military and the White House

The news was chilling: Russians have been paying Taliban militants to kill Americans in Afghanistan even as peace talks with the Taliban were underway, intelligence sources told The New York Times. Actually, the more you roll this disclosure over in your mind, the worse it gets.

Protecting U.S. troops is Job One for any president, but particularly this one who insists on its primacy. And he isn’t doing his job to protect our sons and daughters in the field. U.S. troops were attacked and we did nothing about it.

This alone should be an impeachable offense.

But it says more, much more about Trump’s turn away from real-world problems that affect the rest of us, from pandemic to income inequality to racism. Thanks to coronavirus and joblessness, the disclosure wasn’t even considered the most important news of the day.

The Times said U.S intelligence has evidence that a Russian military spy unit has been paid Islamic militants linked to the Taliban to target Americans and other coalition troops. The Times account was quickly confirmed by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Just why Russia is doing this remains murky: Perhaps Russia wanted to break up peace talks with violence against Americans, perhaps it was in retaliation for a U.S. attack in Syria that unintentionally killed Russian soldiers.

Whatever it was or is, no one knows how many of the 20 Americans killed last year in Afghanistan were targeted this way. It’s a different picture than Trump appearing with U.S. troops for a celebratory photo.

What we do know is that U.S. troops were attacked and we did nothing about it.

The disclosure emerged as The United States finally was telling British allies about it this week. Does that mean that the United States officially was withholding these developments from allies—another abridgment of presidential duty or at least moral responsibility?

Is this not an escalation of anti-American, anti-allied interests at a time when we’re talking about pulling troops from Europe?

Note, too: The leak didn’t come from the White House. That normally closed-mouth U.S. defense and intelligence folks would discuss this with these reporters who cover these areas seems a direct reflection of the growing rift between the Pentagon and Trump over national security policy-making. According to The Times, military officials offered a range of anti-Russia alternatives in March, and Trump has sat on them.

For the United States apparently to do nothing at all is stunning all by itself.

We’ve seen the White House interfere with the military hierarchy over assignment and promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who spoke out after Trump’s impeachable blackmail attempts of the Ukraine president. We’ve seen Trump moving to manipulate military justice courts in the cases involving former SEAL Edward Gallagher and the Navy captain who tried to help a virus-infected crew.

We’ve seen the generals increasingly willing to split publicly with Trump, and Trump, in turn, insulting and belittling people like James Mattis, the former secretary of defense; John Kelly Jr., the former chief of staff; and others. Only Trump himself knows the answers on foreign policy.

Except on issues involving Russia, and once again, we find ourselves scratching the head wondering whether Trump is not acting here—even issuing some formal knock-it-off message to the Kremlin out of some long, never-fully disclosed loyalty to the Kremlin.

With the extraordinary Trump administration effort this week to overturn criminal charges against the twice-admitted liar Michael T. Flynn, unsubstantiated “treason” calls against former President Barack Obama, we find ourselves still steeped in the Trump-Russia question.

Quite to the contrary of Trump’s self-proclaimed toughness on Russia, we are hearing of Trump’s maneuvering to get Russian leader Vladimir Putin back into the Group of Eight meetings. There is no more talk of sanctions against Russia—only acquiescence to Russian control of Syria, acceptance of ending Russia nuclear weapons treaties, proposed withdrawal of American troops from Europe, and constant diminution of NATO.  Russia is still in Ukraine, Russia is still supporting Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Russia is still reportedly active in seeking to disrupt U.S. elections.

Where is the so-called Trump toughness?

Yes, we’re in a pandemic, an economic tsunami and widespread protests for social justice. But Trump has found time for anti-immigration moves and an attack on the U.S. health system along with personal promotion, campaign rallies, and golf.

Do you think he could spend a few minutes on protecting Americans in uniform?

We’re seeing that the need to declare Afghanistan over, when it is not, in time for the Trump re-election campaign apparently outweighs the lives of our troops.

 

Edited story from AlterNet by Terry H. Schwardon / DC Report

Russia offered a bounty for killing US troops! …..Putin loving Trump is cool with it

Outrage has greeted media reports that say American intelligence officials believe a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing foreign soldiers in Afghanistan, including targeting Americans.
New York Times, citing its sources as unnamed officials briefed on the matter, and followed up by the Washington Post. The reports said that the US had come to the conclusion about the operation several months ago and offered rewards for successful attacks last year.
The Times wrote: “The intelligence finding was briefed to Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March.” White House officials apparently drew up several possible options to retaliate against the Kremlin, ranging from a diplomatic reprimand right through to fresh sanctions. However, the White House has so far not taken any action.
It is not be proven yet if bounties were paid out for successfully killing American soldiers.

As the news broke it triggered a fierce response from top Democrats, especially those who have long pointed to what they say is Trump’s overly close relationship to Russia’s autocratic leader, Vladimir Putin. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine: “Trump was cozying up to Putin and inviting him to the G7 all while his administration reportedly knew Russia was trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban.”

Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia and a professor of political science at Stanford University, said: “I hope the American people will be as outraged as I am over Trump’s complacency. After he knew about these Putin-ordered contracts to kill US soldiers, Trump invited Putin to the G7.”

John Weaver, a Republican political consultant who helped found the anti-Trump Lincoln Project group, also expressed outrage.

John Weaver@jwgop
Trump knew Russia was paying bounties on the lives of American servicemen in Afghanistan. He took no action against Putin. Instead, @realDonaldTrump REWARDED Putin by trying to insert Russia back into the G-7. And, not enough, withdrawing 25,000 American troops from Germany.

The news comes after the US reached an initial peace deal with the Taliban, which aimed for the full withdrawal of the US military from the war-torn country within just over a year. The pact was supposed to kickstart talks between the rebels and the Afghan government but they have not materialized.

The unit that US officials have reportedly identified as responsible for the bounties has also been linked to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, in Britain in 2018, which triggered a huge diplomatic dispute between Moscow and London.

Trump’s relationship with Russia has been the source of much scandal and frustration with US allies, especially in Europe.

Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 US election were part of the basis of the Robert Mueller investigation that dogged much of Trump’s time in office. He has repeatedly flown in the face of his own intelligence briefings to say that he believes Russian denials of meddling in US affairs and has touted his close friendship with Putin as a benefit to the US. He has also pushed for Russia to be allowed back into the G7 group of major industrial powers, while at the same questioning the role of NATO.

from The Guardian

Time to finally get rid of the “Criminal” Attorney General Bill Barr

Barr is seen here with the rest of the Trump insane crime posse (fifth from the left behind Trump)

Trump Thug Attorney General Bill Barr personally ordered federal police forces to clear Lafayette park of protesters shortly before Donald Trump staged a photo-op at St. John’s church.  This unconstitutional order set in motion a brash use of force where federal law enforcement used tear gas, rubber bullets, and mounted officers to push protesters out of the square across the street from the White House. This outrageous move led to howls of protest from Trump critics – but not his traditional allies – after Trump staged a photo-op in front of St. John’s church just minutes after the use of force.

News of his role comes as the Trump flunky, acting chief of the U.S. Park Police lied and claimed in a statement that his forces did not use tear gas, despite eyewitness accounts and a priest at St. John’s who says she was ‘coughing with tear gas in my clergy collar.’

Officials made the decision to extend the perimeter around the White House Sunday night, the Washington Post reported, amid clashes between police and protesters.

Then, not long before Trump was to make remarks to the nation from the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday, Barr turned up to survey the scene. Noticing that the order had not yet been executed, he gave the go-ahead. ‘He conferred with them to check on the status and basically said: ‘This needs to be done. Get it done,’ an official told the paper. The forces who carried out the action were U.S. military police and U.S. park police. Neither report to the attorney general, as well as Arlington County police who were immediately pulled out after local officials objected to the way they were used.

The decision led to the odd spectacle of Trump vowing to use the military to crush looters while the sound of flash-bang devices and tear gas firings could be heard inside the Rose Garden. But the police action was taken against people who were acting peacefully and were not in defiance of a 7 pm curfew.

The Criminal Barr is a Trump loyalist whose controversial moves on behalf of Trump have included his four-page summary of the Mueller report, his expansive view of executive power, and his refusal to hand over documents sought by House Democrats in their impeachment inquiry.

The report on Barr’s role comes as Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia demanded documents from the Secret Service. He cited reports the agency was involved in or ‘may have directed’ the operation. Connolly wants all documents about the brief trip by the president as well as anyone who objected to ‘the targeting of peaceful protesters.’

The move was conceived as a way to allow Trump to demonstrate his self-proclaimed role as the ‘law and order president’ and – came after the president vowed to use the military to restore order in cities across the country.

Trump used force against American citizens, not to protect property, but to soothe his own insecurities. We will all move on to the next outrage, but this was a true abuse of power and should not be forgotten,

This comes right after Trump henchman Barr floated a new conspiracy theory that foreign actors could disrupt mail voting with counterfeit ballots. Voting experts quickly responded that it was nonsense. “I haven’t looked into that” theory, Barr told The New York Times, but without citing any evidence said it was “one of the issues that I’m real worried about.”

“We’ve been talking about how, in terms of foreign influence, there are a number of foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, send them in,” Barr said. “And it’d be very hard to sort out what’s happening.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said that Barr’s claim was impossible since “mail ballots are bar-coded to prevent fraud.”

“Bill Barr is a liar. Our nation’s chief law enforcement officer is trying to burn down American democracy to prop up a corrupt impeached executive,” he tweeted. “Barr’s debasement of our justice system and his assaults on American democracy have been so relentless I’ve been calling for his impeachment and the revocation of his law licenses since last year.”

Trump is blaming the black guy as the bodies pile up and the food lines grow

Nope this is all on you Trump

On Monday afternoon, Narcissist Trump tried once again to declare victory in the fight against what he calls “the invisible enemy” by holding one of his so-called briefings in the Rose Garden to celebrate America’s floundering and allegedly successful testing program. As one would expect, trying to sell the assembled press on such a blatant lie did not go well. At best, the testing program has been “anemic and spotty,” as former President Obama has put it, and the long delays and dithering in the response have led to the deaths of 83,000 people, and counting, within just a couple of months.

It was a sad and perfunctory performance, ending with a racist attack on an Asian-American reporter, after which Trump flounced off the stage like a disappointed second runner-up at one of his sleazy pageants.

He is clearly very upset that the medical community hasn’t devised a magic cure and that the virus isn’t succumbing to his repeated exhortations to “just go away.” Trump’s grand reopening of the economy is a chaotic mess and the “numbers” he’s so obsessed with keep going in the wrong direction. But his friends in the media and his top henchman at the Department of Justice, Attorney General Bill Barr, have come up with something thrilling to distract him from his troubles and make the pain go away.

They’re calling it “Obamagate,” and on Mother’s Day Trump spent nearly the entire day tweeting about it in a hysterical frenzy. When asked at the press conference by the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker to explain what he had meant when he tweeted that Obama had committed “the biggest political crime in American history, by far,” Trump replied, “You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

Of course, he doesn’t understand it, but then neither does anyone else. Salon’s Igor Derysh wrote up an excellent rundown on the main points of this so-called scandal and it’s the same old bizarro-world version of events in which the FBI didn’t sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign with the 11th-hour resurrection of the idiotic email scandal while keeping mum about Russian interference on Trump’s behalf. In the Trumpified version, the “deep state” was actually working on behalf of Clinton to take down Trump. Then, when he heroically thwarted their efforts they conspired to destroy him once he was in office by colluding with a long list of foreign actors, the entire intelligence community, the Democratic National Committee and the media to frame him with the Russia investigation in a slow-moving attempt at a coup. (One that was highly ineffective, you’d have to say.)

The alleged new wrinkle is that the Michael Flynn case supposedly offers proof that Obama and Joe Biden were directing the conspiracy because they knew about Flynn’s “perfectly innocent activities” during the transition and trapped him into lying to the FBI.

None of it makes any sense whatsoever. As the Atlantic’s David Frum explained: “The “Obamagate” that Trump tweets about — like the comic-book universes on which it seems to be modeled — is a tangle of backstories. The main characters do things for reasons that make no objective sense, things that can be decoded only by obsessive superfans on long Reddit threads.”

Needless to say, that doesn’t matter to the Trump supporters. They are as excited as five-year-olds on Christmas Eve, so overstimulated they are on the verge of wetting their pants. The full focus of right-wing media is on this now, both echoing Trump’s manic tweeting and feeding him more material.

On Fox News, the supposed straight-news anchors are as breathless as the Trump TV hosts in the evening. They can hardly find time to fit in their usual hydroxychloroquine features or loving paeans to armed protesters demanding haircuts. The coronavirus itself is now a secondary story at best.

On an episode of Fox News’s “The Five” “Obama” has been mentioned 17 times. The entire first segment of the show was devoted to “Obamagate.” “Coronavirus” has been mentioned twice.

Barr has clearly been whispering sweet somethings in Trump’s ear about the “investigation of the investigation” being run by special counsel John Durham bearing some kind of fruit. Barr has already shown he’s willing to use the Department of Justice to pursue this ridiculous pseudo-scandal on Trump’s behalf with his crude interference in the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn cases. Although it’s highly unlikely that the attorney general has the guts to go after Obama or Biden themselves, he may find a way to indict some of Trump’s personal bête noires, such as former CIA director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey or former FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Trump’s ecstatic followers are aquiver with anticipation, but none so much as Trump himself. He is self-soothing with fever dreams of vengeance and exoneration, which allows him to ignore the reality he is facing as tens of thousands of Americans die on his watch and millions lose their jobs while he flounders about in public and fulminates against his political enemies.

But no matter how much Trump tweets about Obama, this pesky pandemic won’t go away. What he fatuously insisted was the “greatest economy the world has ever known” is quickly becoming the worst economy since the Great Depression. There might even be cracks emerging in the Republican establishment. Politico reported recently that Senate Republicans are actually balking at pursuing “Obamagate,” apparently unconvinced that staging a show trial in the middle of a global catastrophe is a winning electoral strategy.

According to Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair, Trump World is very nervous about this. Sherman quotes a former West Wing official saying “The numbers are fucking terrible. There’s massive anxiety in the GOP that he’s gonna take them all down with him.”

Trump’s dismal performance in this crisis should certainly make them anxious. Senate Republicans had the chance just four months ago to take a stand against his clear incompetence and corruption. Instead, they chose to back him to the hilt. By contrast, Governors around the country who have shown leadership and independence, of both parties, are seeing massive popularity while those who’ve acted as Trump sycophants are not doing so well.

Trump is polling worst of all. The new Washington Post-Ipsos and CNN polls show large majorities disapproving of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. His reaction? Embarrassing, childish jealousy:

Trump knows he has failed. But he doesn’t know what to do. So he’s gone back to nursing his grievances and stoking the resentments of his base. There still seem to be people who are happy to follow him down that rabbit hole. But as the bodies pile up and the food lines grow longer, the old Trump sideshows like “Obamagate” may not seem quite so amusing to the American people. As the rising reputations of numerous state governors show, in a crisis people look for competence and leadership. Trump’s antics can’t hide the fact that he is entirely lacking either of those qualities.

 

from alternet

 

Are you ready to line up and die for the greedy incompetent Trump crime family

 

 

The Washington Post, columnist Karen Tumulty ripped Donald Trump a new one for entrusting life or death policy matters to his inept son-in-law.

“Whenever a member of the Trump family gets involved with a project, it is always smart to keep an eye out for the grift,” wrote Tumulty. “We might have hoped that a pandemic that has already cost more than 70,000 Americans their lives would be an exception to this rule. But no. Trump’s decision to again put his unqualified son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of a team charged with a vital national security interest — this time, procuring crucial supplies and protective equipment for hospitals and others on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus — is producing the usual results: incompetence and cronyism.”

“Both The New York Times and NY Post report that Kushner and a small team of inexperienced volunteers from the private sector have overridden career officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and are making a deadly crisis even deadlier with their amateur-hour bungling,” wrote Tumulty. “The storyline, which sounds as though it might have been lifted from the reality show ‘Shark Tank,’ had been that these whiz kids from consulting, venture capital and private equity firms were better equipped than federal officials who have spent years planning for a disaster like the one we are going through to sift through leads on where to find badly needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies and cut deals to acquire them.”

“That the volunteers would want to lend a hand is admirable, but finding and procuring the proper equipment require a high degree of technical knowledge,” wrote Tumulty. “And as you might expect in any operation run by a member of the Trump family, some leads and requests got better treatment than others,” with a spreadsheet listing the “VIP” recipients, like Republicans in Congress, Fox News hosts, and a former contestant on “The Apprentice.”

“In one case, Kushner’s volunteers forwarded a tip (that they claimed to have checked out) to New York state, which awarded a $69 million contract to a supposed supplier of ventilators,” wrote Tumulty. “Not one was delivered. Meanwhile, more credible leads were being ignored.”

“All of this has been going on as the government’s warehouses of supplies have been emptying out and medical personnel have been trying to cobble together their own gear,” continued Tumulty. “Faced with complaints by governors and local officials that they were not getting what they needed from the Strategic National Stockpile, Kushner declared: ‘The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.’”

“Trump seems to have a bottomless faith that his son-in-law can solve any problem that lands on the Resolute desk,” wrote Tumulty. “In addition to the coronavirus-response shop that Kushner has set up at FEMA, his ‘senior adviser’ portfolio includes brokering peace in the Middle East, building a border wall, reforming the criminal justice system, and of course, the highest priority of all, getting Trump reelected. All of this is quite a load for a 39-year-old whose previous experience consisted of investments, real estate development, and publishing a high-society newspaper.”

“We are seeing now why government cannot, and should not, be run like a family business,” concluded Tumulty. “In normal times, nepotism is merely corrupt. But at a moment such as the nightmare that we are all living through, it can be fatal.”

 

 

From Raw Story

 

 

What’s really going on here? What’s Trump’s end game?

This is chaos on a scale like nothing we have never seen before. Most of the chaos is the responsibility of Donald J. Trump.
He has actively denied the size and severity of the threat and failed to provide leadership when it counted.
This has gone on for months. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Trump was crowing about “reopening” the economy by Easter. “We cannot let the cure be worse than the disease,” he said only last week. “We’ve never closed down the country for the flu”.
So you say to yourself, “What is this really all about?” What’s Trump’s angle here?

This is a disaster that could have been avoided, of course, but having allowed it to happen, Trump is now trying to use the tsunami of coronavirus illness and deaths to his advantage.
One thing that becoming obvious is that poor people and people of color are dying at a higher rate than rich white people (the only base Trump really cares about). So now he’s getting the same result as his long-sought-after race war, terrorized minorities, and less Brown and Black People!

Then there’s Trump’s fear of election defeat which would subject him to years of legal battles and eventually (we hope) prison time. So now he’s using daily briefings as campaign rallies sprinkled with a few updates from the White House press room where he totally controls the message.
This has left the Democrats with no comparable platform from which to campaign. Make no mistake about it, Trump’s entire campaign is now focused on the coronavirus and fear. The Democrats have already pushed back their convention from July to August and postponed most of the remaining primaries. In the shadow of the virus and Trump’s bigfooting of the media, the Democrats have had to effectively abandon the campaign battlefield.

Trump’s motives at this point are, what can only be called sinister. He appears to be using the playbook of Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban, readying the ground for an election that will have two candidates but only one possible outcome or he will just cancel the election outright and declare martial law.
What we are seeing in Trump’s nightly lies and obfuscations and denunciations of Democrats and the media is the establishment of Trumpian totalitarianism.

based on stories in Raw Story, Salon, and AM Joy MSNBC

Will the real Soviet-style socialist please step forward

It once seemed unimaginable, but a proven socialist looks quite likely to win the 2020 presidential election. No, We’re not talking about that “democratic” socialist. We’re referring to the soviet style socialist who already occupies the White House.

For three years, “Never Trump” Republicans told us that Trump was so despicable, so corrupt, so contemptuous of the rule of law that they’d hold their noses and vote for anyone the Democrats nominated to challenge him. Lately, many Never Trumpers have become Hardly-Ever Trumpers, deciding that one Democratic candidate is beyond the pale: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

But if you oppose Sanders because you fear a socialist president, ask yourself: Wouldn’t actually be a step back from what we have now?

Trump loves to red-bait “Crazy Bernie.” Unlike his preferred boogeymen (and boogeywomen) on the left, though, Trump has actually implemented anti-market, Soviet-style, centrally planned policies, and he has used the power of the state to punish political enemies.

In some ways, in fact, Trump has proved himself a more successful old school soviet socialist than Sanders is likely ever to be. Trump has brainwashed his supposedly free-market party into backing a command-and-control-style economy. When it’s commanded-and-controlled by Trump, anyway. With nary a peep from his party, Trump has tried to prop up pet industries, such as coal, by government fiat. Indeed, other Republicans have since copied his strategy at the state level.

Likewise, in a move that once would have had Republicans screaming bloody murder, Trump has slapped tariffs on virtually every major trading partner around the world to protect favored industries, such as steel. This not only failed to rejuvenate steel but also led to widespread retaliation, including tit-for-tat tariffs aimed at farm country, a key part of the Republican base.

Trump then decided even more central planning was in order. Again, his party didn’t stop him. First, Commissaire Trump unilaterally decided to use taxpayer funds to bail out farmers hurt by his trade wars. When that didn’t work, he did it again. In a tweet Friday, he suggested that a third bailout might yet be necessary. Already, Trump’s farmer trade bailouts are more than double the size of the 2009 auto bailout. We he endlessly derided President Obama for. A decade ago — with the global economy on the verge of another depression — Republicans howled that this U.S. auto industry rescue package was “the leading edge of the Obama administration’s war on capitalism” and would set us on “the road toward socialism.”

Today, these same zombie Republicans seem curiously unperturbed.

Republicans once argued that we should encourage China to become more market-oriented. But Trump has demanded that China engage in even more centralized economic planning — through minimum purchase commitments of U.S. goods regardless of market conditions. It’s as if Trump is trying to provide proof of concept for President Dwight Eisenhower’s domino theory. Republicans’ response? Stand by and praise him.

Conservatives complain that Sanders and his socialist allies wish to bloat budget deficits. Under Trump, of course, this has already happened. The deficit in fiscal 2019 was a whopping 48 percent higher than it was in fiscal 2017, thanks to GOP policies. And while “Crazy Bernie” does intend to jack up tax rates to (partly) offset his spending, Trump has raised some taxes on Americans, too — he’s just done it more regressively, through taxes on imports rather than income.

Trump’s version of socialism soaks the poor, not the rich.

If conservatives are genuinely frightened by Sanders’s proposed downward redistribution of wealth, they might consider the sort of redistribution practiced by Trump — in particular, the many ways Trump has used his office to redistribute taxpayer dollars into his own pocket. Just last week, during a tour of western states, Trump elected to fly his entourage back to his hotel in Las Vegas each night rather than stay in the other cities he was visiting.

Whatever Sanders’s flaws, at least he doesn’t try to steal everything that’s not nailed down.

 

 

Rewritten version of an opinion piece by Catherine Rampell in WaPo

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-socialist-is-likely-to-win-the-2020-election-no-not-bernie-sanders/2020/02/24

Trump/Putin in 2020

 

Fox News is continuing to provide enormous spin for Donald Trump. Earlier this week they twisted the news that Trump was angry an intelligence official briefed Congress on Russia attacking the 2020 election to help get him re-elected, by claiming “Trump Upset Over Kremlin Trying to Re-Elect Him.”

The irony, of course, is our intelligence agencies brought the information to leaders in our government. House Republicans were furious upon hearing the news – furious that they were being told the truth, and wanted to stomp it out. So Rep. Devin Nunes told Trump, who then fired his Director of National Intelligence.

Predictably the Kremlin is laughing off claims they are once again interfering in the 2020 election, saying the very notion is “paranoid.”  “The Kremlin said on Friday that allegations from U.S. intelligence officials that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign and trying to boost Donald Trump’s re-election chances are false and the result of paranoia, ” before adding Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the (U.S.) election.”

However, in a report for the Daily Beast, Russian media expert Julia Davis explains that, despite Donald Trump’s disavowals, his presidency has been highly beneficial to the Kremlin, they could not be happier and the state-run press has no qualms about boasting about it.

With reports coming out that the Russians are once again interfering in the presidential race, and Trump’s fury that intelligence community has been briefing Democrats about it, Davis claimed that you don’t need an intel briefing to know who they support in 2020 — and why.

Writing that Russian state media has “consistently conveyed the message that Trump’s election has proven exceedingly beneficial for the Kremlin, Davis writes, “Indeed, Trump’s presidency is so valuable for President Vladimir Putin that even ‘tough’ sanctions are minor by comparison. The Chekist( the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations). in the Kremlin is willing to make temporary sacrifices in order to keep such a disruptive figure in charge of the mightiest country in the world, and Russian state media repeatedly make the point that Russia’s gamble will continue to pay off since the Kremlin is holding, as it were, the trump card.”

“Russian experts and pundits on state television frequently express their desire to see Donald Trump re-elected,” she continued. “Appearing on Russia’s popular state television news talk show 60 Minutes last October, political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak gushed: ‘I look at Trump and think: ‘May God grant him good health—and another term.’ This is a great situation for Russia… may he flourish and get re-elected…Trump is a great candidate. I applaud him… For America, this isn’t a very good president.’”

According to her report, Russian officials fully expect to cash in on another four years of Trump, “… from the removal of sanctions imposed after Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula and backed a separatist war in Ukraine, to restoration of access to diplomatic compounds the U.S. seized after Russia’s effort to murder a defector in Britain.”

“Normally, spymasters seek to shroud in secrecy their relations with those who wittingly or unwittingly serve their interests,” she wrote. “But Russian state media openly gloat about the Kremlin’s influence over Trump, believing that he can endure the exposure without repercussions, and by flaunting the Kremlin’s sway with the White House, Russia further weakens U.S. democracy, which has always been one of its main pursuits.”

“The Kremlin wants to be perceived as a force to be reckoned with, fostering an atmosphere devoid of accountability for Russia’s human rights violations, foreign invasions, land grabs, and assassinations. In the style of ‘fake it till you make it,’ Putin is determined to persuade the world that resistance is futile and the Kremlin is omnipotent,” she warned. “Every denial of Russian election interference coming out of the White House brings Putin one step closer to the fulfillment of his goals. Every election security bill that is blocked by the GOP in the Senate gives an advantage to our foreign adversaries—and they are not sick of winning.”

Raw Story

Sabotaging any hope of justice

Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell reportedly is close to finalizing a rule that would allow Trump’s clown-car legal team to move to dismiss the articles of impeachment in the Senate quickly after some evidence has been presented, as a sort of safety valve in case the trial starts going bad.

The discussions came as Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that the trial could extend “to six to eight weeks or even longer” if the Senate decided to hear from additional witnesses.

McConnell, R-Ky., wouldn’t be obligated to publicize the final version of his resolution setting the parameters of the impeachment trial until Tuesday, but top Republicans have said they supported affording Trump the opportunity to cut the trial short.

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, for example, said he would be “very, very surprised” if McConnell’s resolution didn’t include that kind of kill switch.

“I am familiar with the resolution as it stood a day or two ago,” Hawley told Axios. “My understanding is that the resolution will give Trump’s clown-car legal team the option to either move to judgment or to move to dismiss……..”

Trump, Hawley wrote on Twitter after Axios’ article was published, “deserves the right during Senate trial to ask for a verdict or move to dismiss – otherwise trial will become endless circus run by Adam Schiff.”

Democrats, meanwhile, have voiced frustration that McConnell was holding the final rules for the trial secret.

“The House managers have absolutely no idea what the structure of the trial two days before the trial begins,”

For his part, Trump suggested earlier this month that an “outright dismissal” might be appropriate.

This whole strategy may end up being moot because whacky Law professor Alan Dershowitz, is set to present an argument against impeachment during the Senate trial, said Sunday it will be clear there will be “no need” for witnesses if his presentation were to succeed. “Criminal-like conduct,” Dershowtiz said, was required for impeachment.

Anything to avoid a fair trial, right?

from Fox News and The Associated Press