Sessions, leaks, security, Manafort and 'false news.'

Six fun (sad/awful/false/infuriating) stories emerged from the swamp in the last couple of days. Peter Taylor noted elsewhere on the site some vows made by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on the issue of "leaks."  Some of the usual suspects have pretended that this is a "Threat" against the noble profession of prostitution journalism.

The strongest or least-false coverage of this issue from that point of view may be from font of evul Politico ... in a story called Jeff Sessions' Attack on the Media Is Worse Than You Think.  Of course, Objectivist analysis might find that the threat is more than necessary, and that it will encourage a proper "chilling effect." Less clear is the notion of "Lie Detectors" (in the White House). Polygraphs are a useful investigative tool, but not accepted by US courts on the whole. 

Less intrusive than a lie detector is the power to subpoena ... but see the story for all the convolutions. (one stand-out point was that it is relatively rare for journalist-itutes to be prosecuted or held in contempt for refusing to reveal sources [think Judith Miller]; the Politico story points out that the four arrested cited-but-not-cited by Sessions were not recipients but those who had purloined secret and often highly-classified 'spy' entrails from the DC borg.)

*********************************

The second story circulating is that Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC.  This may or may not be true -- even though everyone and the dog has been biting on the "news." I do not know if this would become public in the normal course of justice.

The third story is that President Trump is a lazy do-nothing, who spends far too much time at his golf clubs ... instantiated in a nasty Newsweek cover.

The fourth story is related to the Mueller grand jury suggestion ... this excerpt is from the brief Slate article "U.S. Reportedly Intercepted Suspected Russian Agents' Chatter That Manafort Asked for Their Help With Clinton:

Quote

Buried in a long story on CNN Thursday recapping the current state of play in the Russia investigation was a reminder that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is largely out of the spotlight at the moment, may not be for long. Manafort, who had spent years on the political fringes helping dictators and strongmen get elected around the world and then lobbying on their behalf in Washington, came out of nowhere to join the Trump campaign, and then take over the reins when Cory Lewandowski was fired in June 2016. By that time, unusual communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials had pinged on U.S. intelligence agencies’ radar. As did Trump’s new right hand man.

In the summer of 2016, US intelligence agencies noticed a spate of curious contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian intelligence, according to current and former US officials briefed on the investigation… CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious when they turned up intercepted communications that U.S. intelligence agencies collected among suspected Russian operatives discussing their efforts to work with Manafort, who served as campaign chairman for three months, to coordinate information that could damage Hillary Clinton's election prospects, the US officials say. The suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians.

There are obviously multiple investigative balls in the air, and the public focus has shifted of late to Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, who certainly have had longer and more lasting influence on Donald Trump, but keep an eye on Paul Manafort, his Russia connections are deep and dodgy.

Update, Aug. 4, 2017: Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, issued this statement on the latest round of accusations: “Paul Manafort did not collude with the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election or to hack the DNC. Other than that comment, we aren't going to respond to anonymous officials illegally peddling second hand conspiracy theories.  But the Justice Department, and the courts if necessary, should hold someone to account for the flood of unlawful government leaks targeting Mr. Manafort."

Manafort was the first somewhat hinky part of the Trump campaign and influence apparat to appear in posts here on OL, back a year and more ago.  It's not surprising that Mueller would request documents and testimony from the Manafort axis.  It isn't that he was a tool of Russia or an obvious go-between, but that he could have been a major conduit for the wink-wink quid pro quo that the crazy Russia conspiracists are certain is going to be found.

Did Mr Manafort wink-nudge the Trump attitude that 'we take help from where it comes, given that politics  is a dirty dirty game'? I mean, isn't the essential question reduced to who promised what in return?  

I take the tentative position that Trump's stated positions on Russia during the campaign and since being in office are obvious. So it will be exceedingly hard to show him 'promising' things on the down low, since he did it on the stump. Then, if he was inclined to reduce sanctions bite on Russia and to warm things up between the superpower and the also-ran, it was open and public.  Which requires that underlings and satellites were going to be the ones dealing with the details of wink-wink, nudge-nudge. If you are a Menshist, or not.

(the more hysterical of the Russia hoopla employees and hobbyists are those who think every rumour is true, every leak informs the big picture. So the Flynn Effect [very pro-Russia relax] and other fizz from the week means Russian "information warfare" was coordinated. Which is alarmist nonsense, right?)

*************************************

The fifth story is about vacation-time, but in this instance taken by the manly President of Russia. Here's a sample:

GettyImages-826469374-1024x683.jpg

The sixth story is as usual performed by two casts, in two theatres. In the permutations, a Cernovich wing in the White House leaks out a broad range of accusations against Trump's National Security Adviser Lt. General HR McMaster -- that he is a tool of Soros/Rothschilds/Saudis, an enemy of Israel, and ever-so Swamp-Like that his hideous influence must be extirpated from Cabinet.

Two guys come shambling up the alley. First guy looks like Steve Bannon, the second guy looks like  McMaster, and the guy with McMaster is brown and in a turban**. Which one would you ask out on a date/for help?  Which one is leaking to the Washington Post, or -- as this week -- to Cernovich-Breitbart-Gateway Pundit?

I think there is a mini-war of ideas in the White House, which slops over into a war of words and Grand Hoopla Theatre in the mediatic multiplex. But what do I know. I am that guy who wrote "Why Donald Trump lost the election." 

mcmasterCernovich.png

Spoiler
i11.jpgshare.png Amir Tibon / Haaretz:
Far-right Bannon Affiliates Attack McMaster for Being ‘Controlled by Jews’ and ‘Hostile to Israel’  —  Campaign against McMaster intensified after he fired a number of mid-level officials from the National Security Council, who were considered loyal to Bannon and to the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
RELATED:

Incidentally, as a bonus seventh story -- did you know that obsessive humans do such things as rigorously analyze Twitter accounts that peddle the Kremlin lines of attack?

Yes you did, but did you know that PR and political attack campaigns have a particular 'footprint' or pattern? Of course you did, so it won't be a surprise that there is a website that tracks real-time information-warfare memes and their flows in Kremlin-friendly orbit. If you squint and pretend to be Louise Mensch, yesterday's peak trends like the Cernovich Leaks from the angry West Wingers about McMaster were coordinated with a robust 'managed news' campaign directed by the drunk guy in the alley. See if you can find your favourites bot link or alt-news site here. I add a screenshot of the crazy site, but first an intro from the feverish topic ends of Twitter.

mcmasterBots.png

600bots.png

__________________________

* I am picturing Harjit Sajjan, who rarely togs out in his Commander outfit, but still. Who doesn't feel safer when a turbaned Sikh gets on the bus?  I would think Bannon was a drunk, and McMaster probably a loud talker. Which makes me think how many more generals should join the Trump cabinet and administrative apparatus.



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Snatched from the jaws of Twitter ... the inimitable Roger Stone makes an unusual charge that parties in the White House have spoken for the President, and misled the public in so doing. Conspiracy theory fans can work out the details.

mcmasterStone.png

Stone is suggesting that the Presidential email statement sent to the New York Times was sent without Trump approving its contents. In other words, President Trump's White House staff made up the statement and sent it off without approval ... 

... an Objectivist approach to this communication would be skeptical, I believe. Below is the story, with portions highlighted.

Quote

Trump Defends McMaster Against Calls for His Firing
By PETER BAKERAUG. 4, 2017

[...] But after two days of unrelenting attacks on General McMaster by conservative activists and news sites, complete with the Twitter hashtag #FireMcMaster, the president weighed in to quash such talk. “General McMaster and I are working very well together,” he said in a statement emailed to The New York Times. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”

A senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the president’s views, added that Mr. Trump has “total confidence” in his national security adviser.

[...]

Conservatives have been dubious about General McMaster since the start, but opened up a concerted assault on him this week after he pushed out Ezra Cohen-Watnick, his senior director for intelligence, the latest of at least four hard-liners to leave the National Security Council staff in recent weeks.

[...]

The ferocity of the attacks coming from the faction of the party allied with Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, had General McMaster’s associates convinced that it was no coincidence. At one point on Friday, Breitbart News, formerly run by Mr. Bannon, had close to a dozen headlines on its home page about General McMaster, like “McMaster ‘Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump.’”

The #FireMcMaster hashtag was tweeted more than 50,000 times since Wednesday. Echoing the drumbeat were social media organs tied to the Russian government. According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan group created to focus attention on Russian interference in the West, the top hashtag among 600 Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations at one point on Thursday was #FireMcMaster.

White House officials defended General McMaster, saying that he has faithfully reflected the president’s views, not tried to impose his own. They noted that he was heavily involved in drafting a speech Mr. Trump gave in Warsaw describing Western civilization as at risk, an address applauded by nationalist supporters.

“General McMaster is a true public servant and a tremendous asset for the president and the administration,” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said in an email. “He has created and oversees a very thorough and clear process for the agencies to work together to give the president credible options to advance the president’s priorities for America’s foreign policy.”

Mr. Kushner’s defense was important because he had protected Mr. Cohen-Watnick for months. But White House officials said Mr. Kushner acquiesced to the general’s decision to remove him several weeks ago.

As for Ms. Rice’s security clearance, General McMaster’s allies noted that he renewed such clearances for all former national security advisers and former presidents months ago. And they rejected the notion that he bore responsibility for the leak of transcripts of two conversations that occurred in January before he even took over the job.

“H. R. McMaster is just as concerned about the leak of classified documents and information as Mike Flynn was,” said Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

 

On the front porch, Dear Leader puts his faith in Stone ...

2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Roger Stone has a damn good track record on political predictions and excellent sources. Not perfect, but pretty damn good.

That may be true or not, but I wonder why there is no corroboration of Stone's charge against unnamed figures at the White House. Who are his sources or source?  Could someone be feeding Stone bullshit?

I think Brian Stelter asked a pertinent question. Why isn't anyone -- the President foremost -- pushing back against the two-day-old story? Faking a presidential statement would be a firing offense, nu?

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Ah, Steve Bannon, we hardly knew you ...

This is in all media, so no link:

"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."

byefelicia.png

BONUS: 

10-jack-ohman-sacramento-bee-and-tribune

Edited by william.scherk

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Everything is fine. Finely tuned machine. E Pluribus Unum. The President's agenda.

00out.jpg

Here is senior Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak:

 

The lovely and talented Mike Cernovich weighs in ...

Pence's "coup"?  

Edited by william.scherk

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Mike Cernovich is an interesting commentator, though his penchant for Pizzagate bullshit makes him suspect in some minds. The comment above mentions "Pence's Coup."  Which means exactly what?  We can guess, or we can listen to his new video: <<#Bannon out - Pence's coup and the real story of those "pro-Trump super PACs">>

 

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A new Pence fundraising arm raised eyebrows, but Republicans insist it's not a sign of presidential ambitions

Quote

 

Allan Smith 
 
May 22, 2017, 11:29 AM

Vice President Mike Pence launched a political action committee last week, which raised eyebrows amid fresh turmoil in the Trump administration

Some have questioned whether the vice president's new leadership PAC, which was noted on the Federal Elections Commission's website Wednesday, was aimed at promoting a possible future presidential bid at a time when some conservatives have started whispering about the possibility of President Donald Trump's impeachment.

"No vice president in modern history had their own PAC less than 6 month into the president's first term," Roger Stone, Trump's longtime political adviser and confidant, tweeted Friday. "Hmmmm."

 

 

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Everyone and their dog has an opinion about the return of Steve Bannon to Breitbart. Here is a Facebook note from celebrated author Robert Bidinotto (who has attracted psychological scolding elsewhere on this site):

I find myself mostly disagreeing with the author's judgement, except for his very last lines ... he is far harsher on Bannon than I am. 

Quote

[...]

If you think all is lost, well, let me end on a positive note. The battle of ideas is never decided by the numbers of proponents on a given side. A single seminal, persuasive, exemplary individual can have a decisive, galvanizing impact on an entire society. There are ample historic precedents.

Always remember that.

Well, yeah ... but in the meantime, a small sample of today's Grand Hoopla, from Memeorandum.com. Click through to read Everyone and The Dogs:

memeBannon01.png

Edited by william.scherk

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On 8/19/2017 at 9:38 AM, william.scherk said:

Everyone and their dog has an opinion about the return of Steve Bannon to Breitbart.

Within Breitbart, it appears the Trump Doctrine on Afghanistan is subject to customer revolt:

Quote

share.png Henry C. Jackson / Politico—  Articles liken the president's approach to Obama's, and blame the national security adviser for the tone of the address.  —  Breitbart seems ready for one of Steve Bannon's famed “wars.”  —  Just minutes after President …

And ... the "endless war for profit" in a land far away:

Quote

And a few breathless video reactions from some of the gang:

 

 

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Quote

Manafort was the first somewhat hinky part of the Trump campaign and influence apparat to appear in posts here on OL, back a year and more ago.  It's not surprising that Mueller would request documents and testimony from the Manafort axis.  It isn't that he was a tool of Russia or an obvious go-between, but that he could have been a major conduit for the wink-wink quid pro quo that the crazy Russia conspiracists are certain is going to be found.

Did Mr Manafort wink-nudge the Trump attitude that 'we take help from where it comes, given that politics  is a dirty dirty game'? I mean, isn't the essential question reduced to who promised what in return?  

Paul Manafort is the subject of two 'scoops' of hoopla, one by the New York Times, and one by CNN. The TL;DR is that Manafort was subject to a long-running FISA interception of communications -- and that he was told to expect an indictment by the Mueller investigation ...

Illustration of the hoopla, from today's Memeorandum.com:

CNN-NYTbombshellManafort.png

-- the folks at the Lawfare site put together a useful article exploring the possibilities and incongruencies of the two scoops of hoopla, in their article "The Latest Scoops from CNN and the New York Times: A Quick and Dirty Analysis." Here is a sample: 

Quote

CNN and the New York Times this evening published dueling scoops on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

As Jim Comey might put it: Lordy, there appear to be tapes.

First, CNN reported that U.S. government investigators wiretapped Paul Manafort, the onetime Trump campaign chairman, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. According to CNN, the court that provides judicial oversight for the administration of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorized an FBI investigation into Manafort in 2014 focused on “work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party.” Manafort’s firm, among notable others, had failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for work with the pro-Russian Ukrainian regime. This first investigation was reportedly halted in 2016 by Justice Department prosecutors because of lack of evidence, but a second warrant was later issued in service of the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence of the election and potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.

CNN reported that interest in Manafort was “reignited” because of “intercepted communications between Manafort and suspected Russian operatives, and among the Russians themselves.” The FBI also conducted physical searches: one of a storage facility belonging to Manafort and a more widely reported search of his Alexandria home in late July. Manafort was not under surveillance when he became chairman of Trump’s campaign, CNN sources suggested, because of the gap between the two warrants.

While CNN did not report a known start date for the second surveillance period, it suggested that the FBI had already “noticed what counterintelligence agents thought was a series of odd connections between Trump associates and Russia” by the time Manafort left the campaign in August. CNN describes as unclear whether FBI surveillance of Manafort took place while he was residing in Trump Tower, and there is no new evidence in this report to indicate that Donald Trump himself was under surveillance. The Justice Department and the FBI have denied that Trump was subject to wiretapping.

[...]

-- Paul Manafort's name appeared here on OL way back in March 2016

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Here'a brief statement from the Witch ...

What is interesting about this statement is sourcing. Who wants to bet that the "leak" did not come from the Manafort camp, or from the White House? 

Benjamin Wittes's article at Lawfare is useful for reading between the lines: "How to Read a News Story About an Investigation: Eight Tips on Who Is Saying What."

wittesQuote.png

 

Edited by william.scherk

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As noted above, the bombshells about Manafort are subject to interpretation ... here is Breitbart and Infowars with "Vindication."

 

22 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Of course, the entirety of Russia Russia Russia can be seen as fey canoes or fall snooze ...

00TrumpVindicated.png

01TrumpVindicated.png

02TrumpVindicated.png

03TrumpVindicated.png

 

04TrumpVindicated.png

 

05TrumpVindicated.png

 

06TrumpVindicated.png

 

-- but then a little bit of extra news, speculation, and hoopla:

The funny peculiar stuff just keeps on coming ...

07TrumpVindicated.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LIVE NOW: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders White House Briefing - Manafort Indictment

Paul Manafort has been a subject of interest at OL for quite some time (3 pages of items). Today the charges against him are a subject of interest at the White House. Here is the Right Side Broadcasting live feed from the press theatre:

In the meantime, I think we can guess how Sarah Sanders will deal with all questions ...

Oh, and just in case you wondered ... NO COLLUSION!

 

Edited by william.scherk

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Although Dick Morris poses as an authority with regard to the FBI special counsel Robert Mueller (thought not the house-arrest of Manafort and Gates, or the complicity of George Papadopoulos), independent thinkers go to the source, the document listing the offences against the latter Trump campaign 'volunteer' ...  

Quote

I take the tentative position that Trump's stated positions on Russia during the campaign and since being in office are obvious. So it will be exceedingly hard to show him 'promising' things on the down low, since he did it on the stump. Then, if he was inclined to reduce sanctions bite on Russia and to warm things up between the superpower and the also-ran, it was open and public.  Which requires that underlings and satellites were going to be the ones dealing with the details of wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

The most explicit winks and nudges between the Trump campaign and Russian officialdom were from George Papadopoulos, as laid out in the statement of offence, below).  Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about several of the meetings he took and conversations he had with folks linked to the Russian influence-campaign. He was caught out lying in particular about his contacts with "The Professor" and "Putin's niece" ... where he was promised dirt on Clinton. Of interest also are the attempts to broker meetings between campaign notables and Russian interests. 

Readers of the statement will discover that Papadopoulos emailed his progress to such Trump campaign stalwarts as Manafort, Clovis and Gates.

-- the statement makes for interesting narrative reading, especially if you are aware of the timeline of known events, such as the DNC hack and the Trump Jr meeting with a handful of Russian interests. The most striking fact-nexus for me is that the Trump campaign was aware of Russian hacks before the hacks became public knowledge.

 How do all the details fit together? At this point 'connecting the dots' is a job for the varied sober or screaming outlets of Hoopla Industries -- I have highlighted remarkable stories:

2017-11-02%2013_27_51-memeorandum%20@%20

 

Edited by william.scherk

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Who needs Styxhexenhammer666, Jimmy Dore, Dick Morris, or other online commentators beloved at Objectivist Living -- when you have Sarah Sanders to tear the lid off George Papadopoulos? Here she is repeating the only talking point you need to absorb. See also the President's early morning Tweets in all their splendid Presidentiality ...

 

Bonus track: three brief paragraphs from Wikipedia's George Papadopoulos page. This crams into a small space the salient details of the VOLUNTEER.

 

 

 

Spoiler

[George  Papadopoulos} Involvement in Donald Trump's presidential campaign 

Donald Trump identified Papadopoulos as one of his campaign's foreign policy advisors on March 21, 2016, in an interview with the editorial board of the Washington Post. Trump said: "He’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy". At the time he was living in London, where he was approached by Joseph Mifsud, a professor with Russian connections. Mifsud told him the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails." The two met on March 14 and 21, 2016. At the March 21 meeting Mifsud brought along a Russian woman.  This occurred before there was public knowledge of the hack of Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta's emails, both of which U.S. intelligence agencies believe were carried out by Russia. 

Papadopoulos allegedly sent emails concerning Vladimir Putin to at least seven campaign officials. Trump national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis encouraged Papadopoulos to fly to Russia to meet with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry, after being told that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton it wanted to share with Trump's campaign. 

Between March and September 2016, Papadopoulos made at least six requests for Trump or representatives of his campaign to meet in Russia with Russian politicians. In May, campaign chairman Paul Manafort forwarded one such request to his deputy Rick Gates, saying "We need someone to communicate that [Trump] is not doing these trips. It should be someone low-level in the campaign so as not to send any signal." Gates delegated the task to the campaign's correspondence coordinator, referring to him as "the person responding to all mail of non-importance." [...]

Senator Richard Burr, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, said in October 2017 that the panel was interested in Papadopoulos because he had sent e-mails attempting to set up meetings between Trump and Vladimir Putin. The recipients of emails about outreach to the Russian government reportedly were Sam Clovis, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, a representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ivan Timofeev, and others 

-- it is perhaps a little bit strange that such a low-level VOLUNTEER was touted by candidate Trump, and perhaps a little bit stranger that the low-level VOLUNTEER had a seat at the table during a touted National Security Advisors meeting ... no one would accuse Donald Trump of spinning, but.  Here is a picture from the Trump Instagram account -- featuring Jeff "low level volunteer" Sessions and other low-level volunteers ...

lowLevelMeeting.png

Edited by william.scherk

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Roger Stone is featured on the topic of the dastardly Clinton, Uranium One, and his friend of fifty years, Paul Manafort. Did you know Manafort was a "good Italian-American"? Sad about another massacre on America's blotter. 

I occasionally futz with video, as OLers know. Here I tried to take a length of Youtube's automated subtitles, clean them up, and do an overlay with an episode of Infowar's War Room. For those who don't mind the length if entertaining, and also for who zip through videos if possible, who can turn the sound off and left-and-right > button to advance through the "reading";

Some memorable passages in the video, many fact claims, and a decent amount of mud-slinging and mild outrage.

Mentioned are Paul Manafort, the Dodgy Dossier, Jake Tapper**, Don Lemon, Stone's permanent ban on Twitter, the Clintons, the Podestas, Mueller, Rosenstein, Sessions ... and a couple of surprises. The big news is the Clintons are going down with Mueller.

I previously edited a memorable video: Carter Page with Chris Hayes regarding George Papadopoulos (without subtitles). It's from MSNBC -- my editing was to blot out all the extraneous screen real estate devoted to extra hoopla. At least watch the first twenty seconds.

Carter Page is the zaniest of all the foreign policy coffee-boys who circled, landed and were pushed out of the Trump campaign. (His personal Russia lecturing and investment meetings and other scholarly-ish pursuits are not discussed, so any hint of what policies he recommended or advised are not here noted. Page is however known for his up-front suggestions for a major re-set of the US-Russia relationship.)

The interview caused a minor sensation on Twitter, because Page is such fun TV (minus the scrolling text, chyron and sub-chyron, ,blurbs and flash that the networks think people want or need. 

BONUS TRACK: 50% Believe Clinton is guilty of a crime in re Uranium One.

BONUS!

POLLSshowClintonIsACriminalOrSomething.p

-- otherwise feeling kind of grim at the carnage and aftermath of the Islamist attack in New York. What freak or monster takes ISIS's advice and counsel to kill and terrorize? What possible glory for these freaks?

_____________________________________

** jakeTapperClaimsSTONE.pngsethJackTapper.png

 

 

Edited by william.scherk

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Of toads, toadies, Manafort, the science of agriculture, and relentless "blood sport" attacks upon the President. Featuring a rousing PDF file ...

On 10/31/2017 at 10:11 AM, william.scherk said:

Readers of the [the 'statement of offence'] will discover that Papadopoulos emailed his progress to such Trump campaign stalwarts as Manafort, Clovis and Gates.

Sam Clovis was nominated by the President to become the Chief Scientist at the USDA. But today the White House announced he has withdrawn from the running ...

Mediaite: Sam Clovis Withdraws From USDA Nomination — And Here Are Twitter’s Best Jokes

“The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position,” he wrote in a letter to Trump on Wednesday.

“The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day. As I am focused on your success and the success of this administration, I do not want to be a distraction or negative influence, particularly with so much important work left to do for the American people.”

The general consensus? The real reason Clovis isn’t accepting the position is because it was recently revealed that he was one of the top officials in the Trump campaign who knew that foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was trying to broker a deal with Russian operatives. In other words, the president and his team want Clovis as far away from a courtroom as possible.

[...] Clovis confirmed on October 17 that he possesses no academic credentials or specialized training in science or agriculture. As of this writing, he is still an advisor to the Trump White House.

Bloomberg: Trump USDA Nominee Withdraws After Link to Russia Probe

Sam-Clovis.png


Meanwhile, the Mueller investigation is said to be looking closely at Jared Kushner (again), at least according to the 'toady media.' At issue, apparently, is this role -- if any -- in the decision to fire James Comey ...

kushnerMueller.png

-- notable also is the outlines of a Manafort defence ... courtesy of LawNewz:

In New Court Docs, We are Finally Hearing Manafort’s Side On Mueller’s ‘Embellished’ Indictment
by Rachel Stockman | 11:57 am, November 2nd, 2017

In a new document filed in federal court, we are finally hearing more from former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort’s legal team. On Monday, Manafort was arrested on charges of conspiracy, money laundering, and failing to properly register as foreign agent.

In a memorandum regarding his release, Manafort’s attorneys contend that the indictment produced by Mueller’s team is “embellished” and that all of his overseas transactions were “completely legal.”

Here is the full-text:

 

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BOMBSHELL! Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner no longer buddies, say gossipmongers and Roger Stone.

On 8/20/2017 at 11:17 AM, Ann Coulter said:

“As late as the summer [of 2016], Kellyanne was saying that Trump built his business on the backs of the little guy,” Coulter continued. [link] “You know I love the Emperor God, but he does have flaws. And one of them is his vast, yawning narcissism. He just seems to be obsessed with the fact that people give Bannon credit. And we all know that [Jared] Kushner is the one who won the White House for him.”

Coulter claimed it’s interim communications director Hope Hicks and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski—whom Kushner pushed out of the campaign—who really deserve the credit for Trump’s political success. Coulter added that it was Kushner, along with former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn and national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster, who finally got Bannon’s scalp and are probably targeting Conway and Miller as well.

-- I don't buy this, although it might be partially true. In the CBS interview in September, Steve Bannon was very complimentary regarding Jared Kushner:

However, some gossip mavens from Houses of Hoopla (in this case the nasty Vanity Fair 'inside scoop' poser Gabriel Sherman) seem to have intel from the White House ... which may or may not be absolute bullshit. In any case Sherman thinks Kushner is under pressure at work ...

Quote

 “Here’s what Manafort’s indictment tells me: Mueller is going to go over every financial dealing of Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization,” said former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. “Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup. You can’t go any lower. He’s fucked.”

[...]

 “Trump wants to be critical of Mueller,” one person who’s been briefed on Trump’s thinking says. “He thinks it’s unfair criticism. Clinton hasn’t gotten anything like this. And what about Tony Podesta? Trump is like, When is that going to end?” According to two sources, Trump has complained to advisers about his legal team for letting the Mueller probe progress this far. Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call. When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation. “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” Nunberg said. “I’m only saying publicly what everyone says behind the scenes at Fox News, in conservative media, and the Senate and Congress.” (The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline.)

-- Michael's comment last month prodded me to thinking about Bannon and Kushner.

On 9/17/2017 at 5:06 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

If anyone wants to understand President Trump's thinking better, this interview will give them some great information. Also, there are some surprising things in this interview, for instance, how much Bannon and Kushner like each other, or how high Rudy Giuliani is held in esteem by both Bannon and the president despite not joining the cabinet, etc.

[the original posted video is no more. I have replaced with a living version.]

 

 

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On 8/6/2017 at 9:46 AM, william.scherk said:

[A]n Objectivist approach to this communication would be skeptical, I believe. Below is the story, with portions highlighted.

Quote

Trump Defends McMaster Against Calls for His Firing
By PETER BAKERAUG. 4, 2017

[...] But after two days of unrelenting attacks on General McMaster by conservative activists and news sites, complete with the Twitter hashtag #FireMcMaster, the president weighed in to quash such talk. “General McMaster and I are working very well together,” he said in a statement emailed to The New York Times. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”

Well, the plot to remove McMaster just got a jolt of energy:

#FireMcMaster!

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