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Scandal Watch II

This is a continuation of the topic Scandal Watch.

Pro and Con

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May 17, 9:02am Top

Sept 14, 2013 - May 16, 2017 Comey/Trump timeline--with more to come, I'm afraid:

The Timeline of Clashes Between FBI Director Comey and President Trump
The Associated Press | 5/17/2017 7:35 AM ET


Only one person is enjoying this...hopefully the USA will give his people a demo of how a robust democracy triumphs over craven. corrupt leadership:

Putin offers to hand over records of Trump-Lavrov meeting
Cody Derespina | May 17, 2017

Edited: May 17, 9:16am Top

Duplicate: This message has been deleted by its author.

May 17, 7:01pm Top

Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Is Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation
REBECCA R. RUIZ | MAY 17, 2017

The Justice Department has appointed Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the election, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced on Wednesday.

...While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Mr. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney would. Mr. Mueller will be able to choose to what extent to consult with or inform the Justice Department about his investigation as it goes forward.

Mr. Mueller is viewed by members of both parties as one of the most credible law enforcement officials in the country...


May 18, 7:03am Top

Madison, Wisconsin, newspaper editorial says Paul Ryan needs to be replaced by an adult:

"Congressman Mark Pocan has summed up the relationship of House Speaker Paul Ryan to President Trump as that of a lapdog to his master. "This Paul Ryan we have now — he seems to roll over and want his belly rubbed by the president,” said the representative from Wisconsin's 2nd District, which borders Ryan’s neglected 1st District.

Pocan knows Ryan well. But we think the comparison is a bit unfair. From what we know of lapdogs, they serve many useful purposes. That cannot be said of the speaker of the House. At this point, Ryan is doing harm to his district, his state, his country and the world because, as Pocan said, the speaker is “complicit in letting Donald Trump be Donald Trump.”


May 18, 7:32am Top

>6 sturlington: I was going to post that tidbit in the Humor from both sides of the aisle thread. Haha!

May 18, 9:51am Top

In case you can't keep up with all the damaging stories that have broken since last night, WaPo has a handy breakdown: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/05/18/the-white-houses-absolutely-brutal-night-in-6-headlines/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.2f35f74e40b7

May 18, 5:31pm Top

Vice President Pence has a growing credibility problem
Aaron Blake | May 18, 2017

Below are three big instances in which Pence said something that turned out to be highly misleading at best and clearly false at worst, starting with the newest one.

1) Michael Flynn's status as a foreign agent for Turkey

In early March, it was reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had filed as a foreign agent for Turkey after failing to do so when he should have. Asked about it by Fox News's Bret Baier on March 9, Pence said twice that it was the “first I heard of it”...

2) The explanation of James Comey's firing

While defending Trump's firing of FBI Director James B. Comey last week, Pence asserted that the president had acted upon the recommendation of the Justice Department and said the decision wasn't about the FBI's Russia investigation...

3) Jan. 15: Flynn talking about sanctions with Russia...Pence assured CBS's “Face the Nation” that Flynn hadn't discussed U.S. sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — talks that could have run afoul of the law given that Flynn wasn't yet a White House official...

In all three instances, Pence said something to defend the administration that in retrospect looks very suspect. Precisely what's happening here is up for debate, but none of it is good for Pence's political future.


Edited: May 19, 7:44am Top

Quid pro quo smoke:

Was Trump team building a backchannel with Putin?
Reuters reports that Trump campaign advisers had at least 18 previously undisclosed calls and emails with Russians during the campaign and sought a back channel with Vladimir Putin. Ned Price and Steve Clemons join Lawrence O'Donnell. Duration: 7:20



Flynn Delayed Anti-ISIS Plan That Turkey Opposed
Courtney Kube |

A former senior Obama official confirmed to NBC News that after months of disagreement, the Obama administration had decided to arm the Syrian Kurds — but in January incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn asked his counterpart, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, not to do it.

McClatchy first reported that Flynn had blocked the plan to arm the Syrian Kurds for an attack on Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria, a move that was opposed by the Turkish government, which Flynn had been paid $500,000 to represent...



Maggie Haberman‏ @maggieNYT 10h10 hours ago
Retweeted Josh Caplan‏ @joshdcaplan
New video shows Turkey's Erdogan watching members of his security detail attack Kurdish protesters outside of the Turkish embassy in D.C.

Erdogan appeared to feel emboldened on this visit >

(Oh great--now my DH, a Turkish-American of Polish heritage will NEVER go to Consulate to renounce his Turkish citizenship so we can visit that country some day. (Under Turkish law, can't have dual citizenship. Husband emigrated at 4YO. He already suspected that Chicago Consulate had a dungeon rather than basement... He isn't the only wary wouldbe traveler with dual citizenship. I'm beginning to understand the reticence...)

May 19, 4:23pm Top

If it talks like a duck and its name is Donald....

NYT: Trump brags to Russians about firing 'nut job' Comey
Dan Merica | May 19, 2017

President Donald Trump bragged to two top Russian officials last week that firing "nut job" FBI Director James Comey eased "great pressure" on him, The New York Times reported Friday.

"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the Times. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."

Trump's Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak came one day after Comey was fired...


Edited: May 20, 10:10am Top

Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say
Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky | May 19. 2017

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

The revelation comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said...



NYT: Kuchner omitted meeting w Russians on security clearance forms (

May 20, 8:06am Top

First on CNN: Russian officials bragged they could use Flynn to influence Trump, sources say
Gloria Borger, Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto, Marshall Cohen and Eric Lichtblau, CNN | May 19, 2017

Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team, sources told CNN.

The conversations deeply concerned US intelligence officials, some of whom acted on their own to limit how much sensitive information they shared with Flynn, who was tapped to become Trump's national security adviser, current and former governments officials said.

"This was a five-alarm fire from early on," one former Obama administration official said, "the way the Russians were talking about him." Another former administration official said Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem.

The conversations picked up by US intelligence officials indicated the Russians regarded Flynn as an ally, sources said. That relationship developed throughout 2016, months before Flynn was caught on an intercepted call in December speaking with Russia's ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. That call, and Flynn's changing story about it, ultimately led to his firing as Trump's first national security adviser...


May 20, 8:10am Top

Smoking gun (obstruction of justice):

Report: Trump says firing ‘nut job’ Comey took off pressure
Erica Werner and Eileen Sullivan | AP May 20, 2017

...“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” the Times reported that Trump said during the May 10 meeting. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”...


Edited: May 20, 2:28pm Top

Especially having brought several people from his former law firm (which had several Trumpians--Kushner, Manafort--for clients), Mueller may not be free to follow evidence. Also, it may allow defense lawyers later to discount evidence against Trumpians in any legal proceeding. Unless cleared up a priori, Mueller--no matter how excellent he is--can't be allowed to foul up investigation with his past entanglements.



ETA http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mueller-idUSKCN18F2KK?utm_source=twi...

ETA http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-rob-rosenstein-robert-mueller-special-inves...


The Scope of the Mueller Probe: Will the Public Learn What Was Uncovered?
Andrew Kent | May 20, 2017

...The Mueller probe should be quite broad, covering Russian interference and any Trump connections, and extending not just to crimes committed but also to classic counterintelligence questions about the nature of the espionage threat. But it is correct that congressional investigations—either by standing committees, as is happening now, by a select committee, or by a special commission given delegated oversight power by statute—should be much broader still than the outer limits of Mueller’s remit.

As Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey put it, writing about how congressional investigation of the Russia-Trump mess should be different and broader than a DOJ/FBI investigation: Congress is charged with ascertaining information related to legislative purposes—including the imposition of sanctions in response to the activity of a hostile foreign power, the discharging of its oversight function with regard to fraud, abuse, or corruption in the executive branch, and legislative measures that might be necessary to protect the American electoral system. It also has a duty to publicly address major questions the political system is struggling with now in a fashion the public can absorb and process: What is the President’s relationship with Russia? And is there reason to be concerned about it?

Regarding public disclosure of information collected by Mueller, I have offered four avenues by which Mueller could attempt to make a public report. (There may be others still.) All four options are uncertain, in that they require the buy-in of other actors, whether Congress, Rod Rosenstein, or a federal judge overseeing a grand jury. And, as I noted, the grand jury options would be unusual and thus potentially quite controversial.

The public may learn a lot more from the Mueller inquiry that some fear. But it still seems clear that a broad inquiry, broad public disclosure, and proportionately broad governmental response to all of the intertwined legal, diplomatic, national security, and political aspects of the Trump-Russia matter will need to come from Congress.


Yesterday, 9:52am Top

Trump must be claiming executive privilege? Giuilani's is on record, though.

ACLU: Trump refused to turn over Giuliani travel ban memo by court-ordered deadline
By Nikita Vladimirov - 05/20/17

Yesterday, 11:25am Top

Michael Flynn to take the Fifth Amendment and decline Senate subpoena
Matthew Mosk & Meghan Keneally | May 22, 2017

Edited: Today, 4:53am Top

Trump asked DNI, NSA (directors) to deny evidence of Russia collusion
Jim Sciutto and Eli Watkins | May 22, 2017

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump called two top intelligence community figures to request that they deny in public any evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election, multiple current and former US officials with knowledge tell CNN.

Trump's requests to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers came after then-FBI Director James Comey publicly revealed before the House intelligence committee on March 20 that the FBI had an investigation into collusion to influence the 2016 election.

Both Coats and Rogers were uncomfortable with the nature of the President's request and refused to comply, the sources told CNN...



Trump is practically begging to be accused of obstruction of justice right now (analysis)
Aaron Blake | May 22, 2017


Group: Pro and Con

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