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:


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:


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." 


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
share.png Julia Manchester / The Hill: 
Trump defends McMaster in wake of criticism on the right

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.



* 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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I just saw a video by Scott Adams where he discussed Roger Stone's conviction.

He said (and I agree) that the reason Roger was investigated in the first place was because he was trying to stop a government coup against a legally elected president. His conviction is a leftover from a failed coup attempt. Roger has been convicted for trying to stop treason.

So, barring cases where physical evidence has proven the innocence of the convicted, Roger's case should be the biggest no-brainer presidential pardon in the history of presidential pardons.

Scott even thinks the best time to issue the pardon is today, right now.

There is no downside for President Trump to do this. The people who hate Roger already hate President Trump for liking Roger. Nobody who doesn't hate President Trump is going to hate him for pardoning Roger. The MAGA people are all really really pissed about Roger's railroad conviction. So every minute that passes without a pardon is making Trump supporters more pissed.

That sounds about right.

I suspect it will take a little time for the pardon to happen, though. President Trump's team will want to buttress the act in a way there will be unintended consequences. But I don't expect this to be rocket science or take too long.


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On 11/15/2019 at 9:38 AM, william.scherk said:

Roger Stone has been found guilty on all counts

That was then, and this is now. According to the last order from the judge (details from a June 26 Toronto Star AP report), Roger Stone will surrender to the Bureau of Prisons by July 14th. That decision was unsealed yesterday and can be read here.



Stone was convicted in November on all seven counts of an indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

Stone was scheduled to surrender at FCI Jesup, a medium-security federal prison in Georgia on June 30. Stone had asked for a delay in the date of his surrender until Sept. 3 because of concerns that coronavirus had spread rapidly in federal prisons across the U.S. There have been no reported coronavirus cases at FCI Jesup and more than two dozen inmates who had been awaiting test results this week had all tested negative, federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not oppose Stone’s request for the delay but said that was only because the Justice Department’s current policy is to not oppose such requests for a delay of up to 60 days.

Stone will also be placed on home confinement before he surrenders, in part because of “the strong medical recommendation” submitted by his defence lawyers, the judge wrote in her order. The home confinement would be monitored by court officials before Stone is required to surrender at the prison on July 14.

“This will address the defendant’s stated medical concerns during the current increase of reported cases in Florida, and Broward County in particular, and it will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share defendant’s anxiety over the potential introduction and spread of the virus at this now-unaffected facility,” Berman Jackson wrote.

The Bureau of Prisons has said Stone would not be required to go to a quarantine facility because he’s voluntarily surrendering. But officials said last month that Stone would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine once he arrived at the facility. It isn’t clear whether Stone would still have to undergo that quarantine, as well.

Stone was the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted on charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Before his Feb. 20 sentencing, the Justice Department leadership backed away from its initial recommendation just hours after Trump tweeted his displeasure at the recommendation of up to nine years in prison, saying it had been too harsh. The move led to a brief flare-up between Attorney General William Barr and Trump.


Dull recital of recent history set up, this is a fascinating interview given to Dustin Nemos, a notable QAnon author and entrepreneur.

Nemos just lost his Twitter account for the usual murky reasons, but his YouTube account is still up. Lots of topical material, if not to all OL members' tastes.


Bringing it back to Sessions ...  his Alabama GOP Senate primary election run-off is set for July 14th. If you wet your finger and hold it up to the wind, you will discover who is going to win. My money is on the Trump-endorsed Tommy Tuberville, by a nose. An elephant nose.

Don't piss off Big Daddy.  He never forgets.

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