Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Undermining The State Of The Union
Today, as we undergo a barrage of breathless media talking heads speculating about tonight's first State of the Uniom* big boy speech by Putin asset Donald "Rump" Trump, Americans with respect for the Constitution and rule of law will have several other things on their minds.
Yesterday, party- before- country House Republicans, led by desperate weasel Rep. Devin "Sherlock" Nunes (Trump-CA) and facilitated by Sneaker of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan, voted to release a partisan hit job on the FBI's investigation of collusion between Rump's campaign and his Russian benefactors. At the same time, they voted to quash a rebuttal report by Democrats. The release of the Nunes hit job, without review of classified material contained in it, has been described by Rump's Justice Department as "extraordinarily reckless." (But desperate times call for desperate measures, right?!) The 4- page hit job, which focuses on the FBI's use of the dossier prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, is being characterized as a misleading hodgepodge "rife with factual inaccuracies," that also potentially exposes U.S. intelligence assets. It also takes aim at Special Counsel Mueller supervisor Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's handling of an application to surveil probable Russian asset and Rump advisor Carter Page, as a fig leaf to give Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III cause to fire Rosenstein. Once again, we'll leave it up to the legal beagles, but this hindering of the investigation smells like obstruction of justice. Releasing the hit job should, however, fulfill its main mission: as fodder for the right- wing propaganda machine to blow smoke and undercut any findings to come from Mueller's investigation.
At the same time, soon- to- retire thorn- in- Rump's- rump FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was ousted, ostensibly prior to the release of an Inspector General report criticizing the FBI's conduct of investigations into Hillary Clinton. The small person named Rump also had wanted McCabe out for a long time, inappropriately asking who he voted for and holding against him his friendship for James Comey and McCabe's wife's running for office in Virginia as a Democrat. Replacing McCabe with a Rump loyalist who would be privy to inside information about the Mueller investigation is the likely plan now.
Yesterday was also the deadline for imposing the latest set of sanctions on Russia as punishment for their meddling in the 2016 election, and to discourage future meddling. Naturally, the Rump regime tried to water down the sanctions, then has been dragging its feet ever since the law was passed nearly unanimously last year. When pressed up against the statutory deadline, it finally showed its hand: it declined to impose the sanctions, claiming that current laws were "deterring" Russia. And, as Charles P. Pierce would say, I am the Tsar of All the Russias. The regime did release a list of oligarchs and businesses with ties to Putin, but it was merely re- releasing a list already largely covered by Forbes magazine (!). So, cue the helpful Putin faux outrage to fool media into thinking Rump is being tough on his handlers. (Also recall the Steele dossier that Rump and Nunes are so desperate to disparage includes intelligence that the Russians were actively trying to leverage the Rump campaign to ease sanctions already imposed by the Obama administration.)
While Rump is reading his big boy speech off the teleprompter tonight, this is the real danger to our system of government that he and his servile minions in Congress have unleashed in their desperation to hold onto power. Always be mindful of that.
BONUS: Tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors lays out the Republican plan to end with the firing of Robert Mueller.