Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Backstabbing RINOs

Republican US senator: I'm open to subpoena of Trump's taxes (Usual Suspects Alert)

AP ^

PORTLAND, Maine — Republican Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she's open to using a subpoena to investigate Republican President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia.

Collins sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. She appeared on Maine Public radio Wednesday to talk about issues including the investigation. Collins was asked if the committee would subpoena Trump. She said she hopes for "voluntary cooperation" but is open to using a subpoena if necessary.

Trump has refused to disclose his tax returns, saying he's under IRS audit.

Collins also says she'll call for former national security adviser Michael Flynn to testify before the intelligence committee. She says the committee is in the midst of a "broad investigation" about Russian interference and it's too early to speculate about the results.

(Excerpt) Read more at msn.com ...

Usual suspect. That said, what is wrong with these people? Prior to the election, there were elected Republicans that did not support Trump for two basic reasons:

1. They didn't think he could win, and they didn't want to be associated with Trump and his policies if he lost. They thought it would hurt them and the GOP future to stand by him.

2. They didn't want him to win because he threw into turmoil their establishment politics, and they would rather he lost and their party not be in power so they could continue the status quo. To them, it really didn't matter if they were the majority party as long as they were part of the establishment.
For some it was a combination of both.

I would say these things sentiments apply in a slightly new way:

1. They know that he won, but they are told by the media that he isn't popular, so they think turning on him will be more beneficial to their own reelection chances and the future of the party. They adhere to the MSM narrative.

2. They don't care if he succeeds or want him to because his anti-establishment policies shake up the establishment they are a part of. They want to get back to the status quo, even if it means losing elections. They care about MSM accolades (John McCain & Lindsey Graham).

For those who subscribe to number one, I must inform them that a poll came out that showed that Republicans prefer Trump to the Republican Congress right now. The attitude that they took prior to him taking office where they listen to the MSM narrative about Trump and think its better for their own futures to go against him is wrong. If it weren't for Trump, we'd have President Clinton right now. Only Trump was able to flip that blue wall. Some of these people rode in on Trump's coattails. Many Trump voters are more loyal to Trump than the GOP establishment, and if they toss Trump under the bus, they risk being primaried or losing their seat.

The bottom line - COULD YOU EVER IMAGINE THE DEMOCRATS DOING THIS? The left whines that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are not helping them in their quest to go after Trump, but could you imagine us whining to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for help in going after Obama? Could you imagine the Democrats going after one of their own no matter what that person does? NO! They circle the wagons. Bernie Sanders lost his shot to be President because the DNC rigged the primaries against him for pete's sake, and he still sold his soul to the DNC and voted for Hillary.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Trump Calls Media "Enemy of the American People"

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump  60m 60 minutes ago

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

They aren't the enemy for the left as leftists enjoy praising all networks (except Fox) and adore papers such as The Failing New York Times and The Washington Compost.  A new tactic of leftists is to go the Twitter feeds of whiny political reporters like Jim Acosta (who literally had a drawing a "fan" gave him showing him with tape over his mouth as though he has been silenced).  They go there, fawn over them, and call them the saviors of democracy from Trump (who they believe is Hitler).  Trump daring to criticize these people is against democracy according to them.

The media hysteria feeds them, and they feed the media, and that brings us to this Trump Tweet.  This has sent them overboard.  They are Tweeting feverishly from their bunkers where they are hiding from Putin that Trump must go, it's the end of democracy, blah blah blah.

For the record, the press has treated conservatives differently than liberals for years because the majority of reporters are liberal.  Only 7.1% of reporters identify as Republicans, and even the Washington Post reported this study:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/05/06/just-7-percent-of-journalists-are-republicans-thats-far-less-than-even-a-decade-ago/?utm_term=.2e20c99347ca

A lot identify as "independent" which is a cover that fools no one.

It might be worse under Trump, but it would be bad with any Republican.  The coverage differential of negative between Trump and Hillary was massive:

http://www.redstate.com/brandon_morse/2016/10/25/study-confirms-trump-received-vastly-negative-news-coverage-clinton/

They engage in Groupthink.  Recall how every media outlet, after Trump's convention speech, used the word "dark" to describe it - articles all posted around the same time:

https://onsizzle.com/i/headlines-think-the-media-got-the-memo-in-acceptance-speech-1595712

You would have thought they would get a new adjective for Trump's Inaugural speech, but nope, they all stuck with "dark":

http://heatst.com/politics/media-agrees-donald-trumps-inauguration-speech-was-dark/

They suddenly remember how to do journalism when a Republican is in office. If the media isn't lying flat out (which they sometimes are - see my CNN article), they are lying by omission by only telling half the story (like about the refugee or illegal immigration situation) or by going harder on Republicans than Democrats to make Democrats look better.  Could you imagine if Benghazi, Fast and Furious, or IRS scandal occurred under Trump?  They'd be calling for impeachment!  If they applied the same scrutiny to a Democrat president as they do to Republican presidents, I wouldn't care, but they don't.  This also includes editorializing in articles and overt bias on Twitter.

When the media relentlessly attacks Trump in partisan fashion and tries to find a way to impeach him (their ultimate goal), they aren't just attacking him, they are attacking the voters who supported him and the positions he/we stand for.  The media doesn't understand Trump voters and flyover country, and they don't care to.  If they did, they would have a newsroom with more diversified thought.  They don't.  They just don't get it.  While millions of Americans cheered Trump's press conference and thought it was excellent, a parallel universe splashed across television and newspaper headlines where Trump (who by the way predicted perfectly how they would react) was crazy, unhinged, and out of touch with the U.S.  Want proof they don't get it?  See this Tweet by Joe Scarborough:

Only a FAKE PRESIDENT would declare the First Amendment to be the enemy of the American people.


https://twitter.com/JoeNBC/status/832717936401883137

It takes an impressive amount of mental gymnastics to arrive at such a conclusion from Trump's Tweet.  I don't recall Trump EVER declaring the First Amendment the enemy of the American people.  I recall Trump calling out the media for overt bias and relentless attacks that reverberate off of him and also unto his supporters who have few voices in the mainstream press to represent their view.   The media seems to think that the First Amendment entitles them to write whatever they want WITHOUT criticism.  If you are going to wage a partisan war, media, don't whine when you are hit back.  The First Amendment is a two way highway.  If the press coverage was fair, then maybe we could talk, but right now, the only people who consider it fair are partisan fellow liberals and a handful of virtue signaling RINOs.  Joe Scarborough, however, is a fake pundit.  Trump isn't following the playbook of most Republicans - which is roll over and beg the media to be nice to them.  It's refreshing. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

High Fives At the WaPo As They Claim A Scalp

High fives abound at the Washington Post Bureau in DC.  They got the scalp of a man that they had been after for months.  General Michael Flynn has resigned as head of Trump's National Security Committee.

A brief summary:

The Washington Post reported on February 9, 2017 that General Flynn discussed with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak sanctions imposed on Russia on December 29, 2016 by the Obama Administration.   The sanctions were imposed for the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails, which while authentic, contained negative content that the Democrats and media believe influenced people to not pull the vote lever for Hillary and instead not vote, vote third party, or vote Trump.  General Flynn was under suspicion because Russia declined to respond to Obama's sanctions and rather stated that they would elect to wait for Trump to assume office to discuss things then.  This drew the ire of intelligence agencies:

Officials began poring over intelligence reports, intercepted communications and diplomatic cables, and saw evidence that Flynn and Kislyak had communicated by text and telephone around the time of the announcement.

The Administration denied that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Russia.  Mike Pence did it on CBS:

“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Pence said in an interview with CBS News last month, noting that he had spoken with Flynn about the matter. Pence also made a more sweeping assertion, saying there had been no contact between members of Trump’s team and Russia during the campaign. To suggest otherwise, he said, “is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”


Sean Spicer denied it as well:

Trump press secretary Sean Spicer said Jan. 13 that Flynn had “reached out to” the Russian ambassador on Christmas Day to extend holiday greetings. On Dec. 28, as word of the Obama sanctions spread, Kislyak sent a message to Flynn requesting a call. “Flynn took that call,” Spicer said, adding that it “centered on the logistics of setting up a call with the president of Russia and [Trump] after the election.”


So did a third official:

Other officials were categorical. “I can tell you that during his call, sanctions were not discussed whatsoever,” a senior transition official told The Post at the time.


However, the Washington Post got 9 anonymous sources to insist that Flynn was dishonest:

Neither of those assertions is consistent with the fuller account of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak provided by officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats. Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.


All of those officials said ­Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.


Flynn denied it on Wednesday February 8, but on Thursday, General Flynn retreated from his initial statement:

On Thursday, Flynn, through his spokesman, backed away from the denial. The spokesman said Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”


With that, the media rampage was off.  General Flynn was in hot water for apparently lying to Pence which led Pence to lie on television.  They had been gunning for General Flynn for months, and they were after him like a dog with a bone.  On Monday the 13th, it was reported that the Justice Department warned Trump's team last month that Russia had compromising evidence on General Flynn because they could blackmail him over these calls.  The Administration bounced between "full confidence" and "evaluating the situation," and General Flynn ultimately resigned while still praising Trump in his resignation letter.

Game over, right?  Well, I have some things I'd like to point out.

First - On January 23, the Washington Post wrote the following in an article (republished in Chicago Tribune):

FBI finds nothing illicit in Michael Flynn's calls with Russian ambassador


The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador to the United States and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn - national security adviser to then-President-elect Donald Trump - but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government, U.S. officials said.

The calls were picked up as part of routine electronic surveillance of Russian officials and agents in the United States, which is one of the FBI's responsibilities, according to the U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss counterintelligence operations.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-fbi-michael-flynn-russian-ambassador-20170123-story.html

If the calls were listened to in December, wouldn't they know whether or not he discussed the sanctions? What changed regarding the calls from the time they occurred, the time this article was printed (weeks ago), and now? The transcripts couldn't have changed.  So what did?  The FBI investigated further?  How many ways can you listen to the same calls or read a transcript?

Second - The liberals are howling that this violates The Logan Act.  However, even The Washington Post conceded in its original article that this would be very difficult to prove:

U.S. officials said that seeking to build such a case against Flynn would be daunting. The law against U.S. citizens interfering in foreign diplomacy, known as the Logan Act, stems from a 1799 statute that has never been prosecuted. As a result, there is no case history to help guide authorities on when to proceed or how to secure a conviction.


Officials also cited political sensitivities. Prominent Americans in and out of government are so frequently in communication with foreign officials that singling out one individual — particularly one poised for a top White House job — would invite charges of political persecution.


Third - the report in the New York Times is that Pence wanted him out for lying (there is a BUT after I cite this):

Officials said Mr. Pence had told others in the White House that he believed Mr. Flynn lied to him by saying he had not discussed the topic of sanctions on a call with the Russian ambassador in late December. Even the mere discussion of policy — and the apparent attempt to assuage the concerns of an American adversary before Mr. Trump took office — represented a remarkable breach of protocol.


(Snip)

Few members of Mr. Trump’s team were more skeptical of Mr. Flynn than the vice president, numerous administration officials said. Mr. Pence, who used the false information provided by Mr. Flynn to defend him in a series of television appearances, was incensed at Mr. Flynn’s lack of contrition for repeatedly embarrassing him by withholding the information, according to three administration officials familiar with the situation.


Mr. Flynn and Mr. Pence spoke twice in the past few days about the matter, but administration officials said that rather than fully apologize and accept responsibility, the national security adviser blamed his faulty memory — which irked the typically slow-to-anger Mr. Pence.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/us/politics/donald-trump-national-security-adviser-michael-flynn.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Here is the BUT from the NYT.  The conversation was "ambiguous" enough where Trump could either have kept or fired Flynn:

But the conversation, according to officials who saw the transcript of the wiretap, also included a discussion about sanctions imposed on Russia after intelligence agencies determined that President Vladimir V. Putin’s government tried to interfere with the 2016 election on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Still, current and former administration officials familiar with the call said the transcript was ambiguous enough that Mr. Trump could have justified either firing or retaining Mr. Flynn.


Also, there was NO classified information discussed on the call.  It said he "appeared to be reassuring" the ambassador that Trump would adopt a softer tone and asked them not to retaliate for the sake of better cooperation, but they said there was no "explicit" promise of sanction relief but rather an "impression".

Officials said classified information did not appear to have been discussed during the conversation between Mr. Flynn and the ambassador, which would have been a crime. The call was captured on a routine wiretap of diplomats’ calls, the officials said.


But current Trump administration officials and former Obama administration officials said that Mr. Flynn did appear to be reassuring the ambassador that Mr. Trump would adopt a more accommodating tone on Russia once in office.


Former and current administration officials said that Mr. Flynn urged Russia not to retaliate against any sanctions because an overreaction would make any future cooperation more complicated. He never explicitly promised sanctions relief, one former official said, but he appeared to leave the impression that it would be possible.


My question, I suppose was how long was the call?  How much of the call was dedicated to Flynn discussing these sanctions without "explicitly" promising relief and "appearing" to reassure the ambassador and "appearing" to leave the "impression" he would lift sanctions?  If that was a brief part of the call, I could see why he would have either characterized it in his mind as no big deal and told Pence as such.

The Washington Post's original article written days before the new NYT article said:

All of those officials said ­Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.


“Kislyak was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time,” said a former official.


Again, they use the word "impression."  They use the word "explicit," but the NYT article doesn't.  Even though they say "explicit," they still don't say he "explicitly" promised to life the sanctions but rather said the matter would be "reviewed" and "revisited" when Trump got in.  If that was all he said, I could see how he felt he wasn't lying to Pence.

The WSJ is even less damning to General Flynn.  Here is the relevant paragraph linked to Twitter because I don't belong to the WSJ:

U.S. intelligence officials routinely intercept and monitor conversations with Russian diplomats, officials have said.  The transcripts of the conversations don't show Mr. Flynn made any sort of promise to lift the sanctions once Trump took office, the officials said.  Rather, they show Mr. Flynn making more general statements about the relations between the two countries improving under Mr. Trump, people familiar with them said.


https://twitter.com/shaneriderMA/status/831369320034926594

He never promised to lift the sanctions!

To recap, after a talk with General Flynn, Russia refused to negatively retaliate against the U.S., hoped for better relations under Trump, and was told things would be discussed when Trump got in office.  Obama's late sanctions could have been done much sooner but were done right before Trump got in office to stymie his efforts to forge a better relationship with Russia.  Preventing negative retaliation is a good thing, wanting to start off on a good foot to build a relationship is a good thing, and of course things will be reviewed under a new administration.  I fail to see a danger in any of this.  For the record, the sanctions have never been lifted! 

I wish we could see the transcript of the phone call to put this to bed once and for all.  Trump's Administration has seen it, but Trump wasn't sure what he was going to do about General Flynn.  He was going to wait and see according to The Washington Post.  General Flynn resigned.  The media was out for his scalp.  They have been since they attacked in the transition for past statements, Twitter, etc. doing anything they could to prevent him from being named head of the NSC.  Based on what I posted above, it would be hard for him to be prosecuted (never done), and what was said in those calls, even per the Trump hating WaPo and NYT, didn't seem very damning to me.  Even the NYT had to admit it was "ambiguous" enough where Trump could keep him.

Trump has the transcript.  It has no classified material.  Russia has the transcript.  Release it or the relevant parts.  Let's see for ourselves.

General Flynn was a loyal ally to Trump, getting behind him in February 2016, advising him, and supporting him when no one was giving him a chance to win.  Despite gaffes in the campaign, through multiple campaign managers, despite the tape, despite the lack of support of Trump's own fellow Republicans, and despite high profile national security people that came out against him, General Flynn never wavered.  He signed on because he truly believes in Trump's vision for America - which is more than we can probably say for some of the others in the administration.  The left hates him with a passion because he truly does support Trump and believe in his vision.  He also was a firm Obama critic:

According to what Flynn had told in one final interview as DIA director, he felt like a lone voice in thinking that the United States was less safe from the threat of Islamic terrorism in 2014 than it was prior to the 9/11 attacks; he went on to believe that he was pressed into retirement for questioning the Obama administration's public narrative that Al Qaeda was close to defeat.[31] Journalist Seymour Hersh wrote that "Flynn confirmed [to Hersh] that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings ... about the dire consequences of toppling [Syrian President] Assad." Flynn recounted that his agency was producing intelligence reports indicating that radical Islamists were the main force in the Syrian insurgency and "that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria". According to Flynn, these reports "got enormous pushback from the Obama administration," who he felt "did not want to hear the truth". According to former DIA official W. Patrick Lang: "Flynn incurred the wrath of the White House by insisting on telling the truth about Syria ... they shoved him out. He wouldn't shut up."[32] In an interview with Al Jazeera, Flynn criticized the Obama administration for its delay in supporting the opposition in Syria, thereby allowing for the growth of Al Nusra and other extremist forces: "when you don't get in and help somebody, they're gonna find other means to achieve their goals" and that "we should have done more earlier on in this effort, you know, than we did."[33]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_T._Flynn

Prominent Trump supporter Mike Cernovich claims that General Flynn's scalp is only the beginning.  He says Trump's opponents want to peal away his core group of Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and General Flynn - four people who truly believe in his vision with no ulterior motives.  Well, they got one, and they aren't going to stop.  Michael Moore said on Twitter those three are his next targets.  A cursory review of Twitter shows many #Resistance members saying the same thing.  They are going to continue investigating Flynn.  They also are going to shift into investigating Trump to find out what he knew and when. 

The NYT says:

But on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.


When was this warning?  Was this before or after the article was written on January 23rd.  Per The Washington Post, as of the 23rd, the FBI had found no issue with the calls.  By the way, this warning was issued by Sally Yates - fired by Trump.

Anyway, the media talking point is that Trump was warned by Yates last month.  Therefore, why didn't the administration react then?  Why is Pence shocked to learn he wasn't honest now?  Based on the info in the WaPo and NYT, I still fail to see the big deal in what he said and can see why he answered Pence the way he did as he never "explicitly" (per the NYT) promised sanctions would be lifted (WSJ says same) and they haven't been.

I think the big issue is that there continue to be leaks.  Nine current and former officials released this to The Washington Post.  Sally Yates obviously "warned" Trump about General Flynn.  I would not put it past the fired Sally Yates to be one of the leakers.  The media may be celebrating these leakers because they hate Trump and because they feel that General Flynn was a threat or secret KGB agent, but I don't find General Flynn to be a threat.  What I find is a threat is government officials that are leaking confidential information, including information about the President's calls to foreign leaders, all for their own political purposes.  That is dangerous.  When intelligence agencies are a threat to your Presidency, what can you do?

Christina Wilkie (Huff Post reporter)
People are cheering right now at both the Pentagon and the CIA, I’m told.
https://twitter.com/christinawilkie/status/831363560928337921

Eric Gellar (Politico reporter)
A small group of current and former national security officials just leaked Mike Flynn out of a job. Does anyone think they'll stop there?
https://twitter.com/ericgeller/status/831355092896972800

See this article:

‘Flynn’s resignation victory for mainstream media & Democrats’ – ex-Pentagon official to RT
https://www.rt.com/usa/377271-flynn-resignation-msm-democrats/

My recommendation for Trump would have been to let this thing blow over.  Yes, there will be negative press, but there always will be.  The media will never be kind, nor will you receive credit from them.  Don't sacrifice your ally for them.  They won't rest.  Like sharks, they won't drop this, and they smell blood and figure if they got one, they can get two.  I see them saying that across the Twittersphere - people with little blue check marks next to their name who think they accomplished something great.  Ride it out.  Eventually, the news cycle has no choice but to move on.  Right now,  however, I turn on CNN and see jubilation and euphoria.  Those people don't deserve it. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Media Going After Flynn Again

National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials

The Washington Post ^ | February 9, 2017 | Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima

National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Asked in an interview whether he had ever done so, he twice said, “No.”

On Thursday, Flynn, through his spokesman, backed away from the denial. The spokesman said Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

Officials said this week that the FBI is continuing to examine Flynn’s communications with Kislyak. Several officials emphasized that while sanctions were discussed, they did not see evidence that Flynn had an intent to convey an explicit promise to take action after the inauguration.

Flynn’s contacts with the ambassador attracted attention within the Obama administration because of the timing. U.S. intelligence agencies were then concluding that Russia had waged a cyber campaign designed in part to help elect Trump; his senior adviser on national security matters was discussing the potential consequences for Moscow, officials said.

The talks were part of a series of contacts between Flynn and Kislyak that began before the Nov. 8 election and continued during the transition, officials said....

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

The media is having a field day with this one. Here's what confuses me. This is from January 23 and the Washington Post (printed in Chicago Tribune):


FBI finds nothing illicit in Michael Flynn's calls with Russian ambassador


The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador to the United States and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn - national security adviser to then-President-elect Donald Trump - but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government, U.S. officials said.


The calls were picked up as part of routine electronic surveillance of Russian officials and agents in the United States, which is one of the FBI's responsibilities, according to the U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss counterintelligence operations.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-fbi-michael-flynn-russian-ambassador-20170123-story.html


If the calls were listened to in December, wouldn't they know whether or not he discussed the sanctions? What changed regarding the calls from the time they occurred and the time this article was printed (weeks ago)? The transcripts couldn't have changed.


Also, we have more leaks of course. It sounds like some of these people were with Obama and are gone, but they had an opportunity to say something sooner, so why didn't they?


Neither of those assertions is consistent with the fuller account of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak provided by officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats. Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.


All of those officials said ­Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.


We all know Obama waited until the last minute to put those sanctions on to stick it to Trump and his desire to develop a better relationship with Russia. If what is printed there is all he said, I can't see anything wrong with asking Russia to wait before imposing a response that would be harmful to the U.S. and saying they would review things when Trump got in office.


For the record, the U.S. has not even dropped the sanctions! If he was scheming to do that as soon as Trump got in office, it hasn't happened. You have Nikki Haley out there saying that sanctions will remain in place until Russia is out of Crimea (or as Maxine Waters would say - Korea).


In any regard, the Washington Post says while it could be a violation of the never used Logan Act, it would be hard to prosecute. We have this:


Former U.S. officials also said aggressive enforcement would probably discourage appropriate contact. Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration, said that he was in Moscow meeting with officials in the weeks leading up to Obama’s 2008 election win.


“As a former diplomat and U.S. government official, one needs to be able to have contact with foreigners to do one’s job,” McFaul said. McFaul, a Russia scholar, said he was careful never to signal pending policy changes before Obama took office.


Of course it's okay when Obama's people are there prior to the election working on a failed reset. The media wasn't using Russia as the boogey man then.

More Leaks - This Time Regarding Trump's Call With Russia

Exclusive: In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty - sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In his first call as president with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of the call.

When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said. The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START.

It has not been previously reported that Trump had conveyed his doubt about New START to Putin in the hour-long call.

New START gives both countries until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades. It also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.

During a debate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said Russia had "outsmarted" the United States with the treaty, which he called "START-Up." He asserted incorrectly then that it had allowed Russia to continue to produce nuclear warheads while the United States could not.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he supported the treaty during his Senate confirmation hearings. During the hearings Tillerson said it was important for the United States to "stay engaged with Russia, hold them accountable to commitments made under the New START and also ensure our accountability as well."

(Excerpt) Read more at yahoo.com ...

Here we go again with the leaks:

When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

First of all, Trump, despite getting a fact wrong about it, knew what it was -obviously or he wouldn't have mentioned in in the debate.  We don't know exactly what question he asked his aides (it may have been a question about it), but we do know that these sources leaking confidential info don't have Trump's best interest at heart, so they could be lying. 

Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said. The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START.

They say he brought up is popularity.  We know from other leaks, like the call with New Zealand's leader, that Trump likes to develop a repertoire with these people and discuss some light hearted things.  He may have tossed in a couple sentences about his popularity, and these "leakers" try to make it look like it dominated the conversation.

Two of the people who described the conversation were briefed by current administration officials who read detailed notes taken during the call. One of the two was shown portions of the notes. A third source was also briefed on the call.

So this has to narrow things down.  How many people were briefed on this call by the administration.  One actually saw portions of the notes.  We have several options here:

1.  It's a high level inner circle member (I don't think so.)
2.  It's White House staffers that aren't in the inner circle but are a level below it.  It would not be shocking to think that some #NeverTrump folks wormed their way in and are trying to destroy him.  Roger Stone has said this.
3.  It's someone who was briefed at either the state department, defense, or intelligence agencies as the following:

Typically, before a telephone call with a foreign leader, a president receives a written in-depth briefing paper drafted by National Security Council staff after consultations with the relevant agencies, including the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies, two former senior officials said.

Just before the call, the president also usually receives an oral "pre-briefing" from his national security adviser and top subject-matter aide, they said.

Trump did not receive a briefing from Russia experts with the NSC and intelligence agencies before the Putin call, two of the sources said. Reuters was unable to determine if Trump received a briefing from his national security adviser Michael Flynn.

It's VERY important for Trump to get rid of these leakers and do it fast!  He can't keep having details of his calls going out into the press.  Foreign leaders won't want to deal with the U.S. if our people are leaking what they are discussing in calls.
It has not been previously reported that Trump had conveyed his doubt about New START to Putin in the hour-long call.
New START gives both countries until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades. It also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.
During a debate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said Russia had "outsmarted" the United States with the treaty, which he called "START-Up." He asserted incorrectly then that it had allowed Russia to continue to produce nuclear warheads while the United States could not.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he supported the treaty during his Senate confirmation hearings. During the hearings Tillerson said it was important for the United States to "stay engaged with Russia, hold them accountable to commitments made under the New START and also ensure our accountability as well."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Trump Must Stop The Leaks - Particularly Regarding Calls With Other Nations!

Trump’s faux-pas diplomacy (More Leaks)
Politico ^ | February 8, 2017 | Tara Palmeri, Kenneth P. Vogel, Josh Dawsey and Nahal Toosi

President Donald Trump spent much of a recent phone call with French President Francois Hollande veering off into rants about the U.S. getting shaken down by other countries, according to a senior official with knowledge of the call, creating an awkward interaction with a critical U.S. ally.

While the Hollande call Jan. 28 did touch on pressing matters between the two countries — namely the fight against the Islamic State — Trump also used the exchange to vent about his personal fixations, including his belief that the United States is being taken advantage of by China and international bodies like NATO, the official said.

At one point, Trump declared that the French can continue protecting NATO, but that the U.S. “wants our money back,” the official said, adding that Trump seemed to be “obsessing over money.”
“It was a difficult conversation, because he talks like he’s speaking publicly,” the official said. “It’s not the usual way heads of state speak to each other. He speaks with slogans, and the conversation was not completely organized.”

The revelations about the unconventional call are only the latest in a series of leaked accounts of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders that are generating increasing doubts about the new president’s style of diplomacy at a time of global uncertainty. Diplomats and politicians across the spectrum and around the world are worried that Trump’s seemingly unstructured and personality-driven approach to dealing with foreign leaders risks alienating traditional allies and emboldening foes.

(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...

I post this primarily because this is something that is infuriating me - the leaks that are coming out of this Administration.

There is no way to even know if this is true, but let's go on the premise that it is for a minute.

As far as the substance of the call, we know Trump is not a typical politician. He's a business man who has made deals and had negotiations this way his entire life. More to the point, though, there is nothing that he said that is even concerning to me. France is failing to meet its monetary goal for NATO, and we know that Trump is tired of the US shouldering that burden. My guess as to why he brought China into it is using it as an example (as he said many times since launching a campaign) the U.S. often gets ripped off or the raw end of the deal by other countries.

Trump and the White House have so far brushed off the concerns, which spiked after reports emerged that he warned Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that he might send troops to Mexico to clear out the “bad hombres down there” and that he argued with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a prior agreement with the Obama administration to resettle refugees from a camp in Australia, saying that Turnbull is giving him “the next Boston bombers.”

These again. Let's take both:

The White House and Mexico denied that Trump was intending to invade Mexico. There was talk of Trump sending help to get rid of "bad hombres" ie gangs and cartels, but to say he literally threatened a war with Mexico is ridiculous. As far as Australia, Trump had every right to be pissed at the shoddy deal dumped on him by Australia and the Obama Administration. Australia has kept some of these people detained for up to three years in poor conditions and then, instead of taking them themselves, they ask President Trump to take them right at the time he has imposed a ban on people from countries represented by said refugees. The media isn't mad at Australia - they are mad at Trump. Makes no sense, but that's our press.

Moving along, we have a "senior official with knowledge of the call" who leaked this. Does that mean someone within Trump's close orbit - meaning someone he trusts is leaking this? Does this mean one of the staffers who was trusted by Trump's inner circle to handle this? This could be possibly some establishment Republican who wormed his/her way in and is looking to destroy Trump. OR could this be some establishment/Obama holdover from the state department?

Evidence it's the state department:

Veterans at the State Department are also worried about Trump’s brash style in dealing with world leaders and his early forays into foreign policy.


The phone calls to foreign leaders from France, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Japan during Trump’s first week in office came with little guidance from the State Department, angering some at the agency, which is accustomed to briefing presidents extensively on geopolitical currents before the calls happen.

I recall when he was President-elect getting articles that they were unhappy that Trump wasn't getting "guidance" from them. Why would Trump get extensive advice from Obama's state department when he has criticized Obama's handling of global affairs?

State Department officials say there’s little respect at Foggy Bottom for Trump’s Twitter diplomacy, where longtime foreign policy hands find themselves simultaneously frustrated and relieved by the fact that they are limited in their ability to go out and try to clean up Trump’s diplomatic mess because of all the vacancies at the department.

They aren't happy with Trump, they don't like Trump, and I would imagine there is a lot of swamp/establishment staff. This environment is rife for leaks.

The article talks about Tillerson and how they seem to find him reassuring. He doesn't have his subordinates in place yet.

He has his work cut out for him, though. According to the State official, the department is “on edge more than I’ve ever seen it, and I’ve worked here for more than two decades.” Officials have even begun communicating covertly with each other, afraid the administration will listen in on them.

Afraid the Administration will listen in? You're only afraid of someone overhearing if you're saying things that you don't want them to hear. What they are saying has to be counter to Trump Administration policy!

This person said that more people wanted to sign the dissent memo blasting Trump’s recent executive order on refugees and immigrants, which ultimately attracted the signatures of nearly 1,000 State Department employees. But the official said there “was confusion on how to sign it, and whether it was going to cost you your job.”

If they don't want to work for Trump, then why stay on? The state department works under the President and advises the President and helps accomplish the President's foreign policy objectives. It sounds like these people want their jobs all the while not wanting to work for Trump, and in the case of this letter (and possibly leaks), actively trying to undermine him.

The article says that Tillerson doesn't have his subordinates in place yet. I hope that if these leaks are coming from the state department, that Trump instructs Tillerson and his subordinates to root these people out. You can't have leaks like this. They are exposing private info and being used by the media to attack Trump.