Opinion: The Trump/Russia link grows more ominous

(AP)

It is hard to exaggerate how damaging Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing has been to President Donald Trump, on three critically important points:

1.) James Comey, the head of the FBI, publicly confirmed that since July, his agency has been actively investigating not just the successful effort by Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election on Trump’s behalf, but beyond that to possible coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.

That second investigation into possible collusion by the Trump campaign or associates continues, Comey said, while refusing to go into details.

2.) Comey also stated emphatically that his agency had no evidence to support bizarre claims by Trump that he and his campaign had been wiretapped under orders from President Obama.  The FBI director further stated that the Justice Department as a whole also has no evidence whatsoever that might support that groundless claim.

To refresh your memory about the source of those claims:

Sitting at Comey’s side, Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, confirmed in public session that it too has zero evidence to support Trump’s claim.

“My view is the same as Director Comey,” Rogers said. “I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity or that anyone ever asked us to engage in any such activity.”

3.) Under questioning, Rogers further agreed that it had been “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous” for Trump spokesman Sean Spicer and Trump himself to suggest that the NSA, unable to spy legally on Trump, had instead recruited its British counterparts to do so. That would breach multiple laws and treaties in both countries, Rogers pointed out.

Rogers further confirmed that Trump’s false suggestion — repeated in a high-profile press conference last week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel — had angered his British intelligence counterparts and possibly damaged the relations between the NSA and the British.

I think it’s important to note how sleazily and irresponsibly Trump had offered that suggestion, even after it had been exposed as false. Here’s the video:

 

“We said nothing,” Trump claims. “All we did was quote a very talented legal mind, who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it.  It was a statement by a very talented lawyer, on Fox, and you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”¹

It’s classic Trump misdirection, his way of saying something that is completely irresponsible and nutty while slyly dumping the responsibility elsewhere. You know, like this:

“(Ted) Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot… That was reported (by the National Enquirer) and nobody talks about it.”

“I will say there are people who continue to bring (the death of Vince Foster) up because they think it was absolutely a murder ….”

“You know, some people say that was not his birth certificate.”

Well, SOME people now say that the charges of possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia are substantive enough to launch an investigation that is now eight months old and continuing.

One of those people happens to be director of the FBI.

UPDATE at 3:45 p.m.: The House Intelligence Committee has now concluded its public hearing. My reactions?

The revelation from FBI Director James Comey that his agency is conducting a criminal, counterintelligence investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia came as a surprise to me. I have always thought it unlikely that such direct collusion had occurred, but apparently Comey has enough indication of a problem to justify an investigation that has now gone on for nine months now, with no end in sight.

I will still be surprised if actual criminal charges are filed in the case. But I found it very interesting that as the televised hearing went on, White House spokesman Sean Spicer went to the podium to desperately try to create space between the Trump campaign and certain figures from the Trump campaign. Spicer even described former campaign CEO Paul Manafort as someone who had “played a very limited role for a very limited time” in the campaign and close adviser Mike Flynn as a “volunteer.”

In other words, Manafort, Flynn, Roger Stone and others are now looking upward at the undercarriage of a bus.

In the wake of today’s testimony, it is also established fact now that Trump falsely accused President Obama of tapping his telephones and wiretapping his conversations, and that he has also falsely accused British intelligence of involvement. A decent, responsible person would apologize to Obama and Britain. Trump has proved himself to be neither.

Finally, this is a tweet from Trump’s official presidential account, rather than his personal account. It makes a claim — “the NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process” — that is simply untrue, as the video attached to the tweet makes clear.

This is one arm of the Trump administration putting verifiably false words into the mouths of the FBI director and NSA administrator, which would be extraordinary in any other administration.

 

 


¹Fox News has since said that it has no evidence whatsoever to back the charge by its commentator, Andrew Napolitano. 

 

Reader Comments 0

1430 comments
Vindicator
Vindicator

Russia had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton losing. Hillary Clinton and the DNC had everything to do with Hillary Clinton losing. And the normal people in this country did not vote for a lying criminal with blood on her hands, pure and simple..

It was the Democrats who colluded with the DNC to have their primaries rigged against Bernie Sanders. Yet, there was no investigation about that. 

It was Donna Brazille who adamantly lied about her supplying questions to Hillary Clinton, but confessed just the other day about supplying questions to Hillary Clinton. Yet, there was no investigation about that.

After 8 months of investigation there is no collusion with the Russians. But while the FBI is still searching for a Trump connection, real crimes have been unearthed-committed by anti-Trump bureaucrats colluding with the MSM-to damage Trump's presidency.

The one probable felony was the leak of a transcript of an intercepted conversation between Gen. Flynn and the Russian ambassador. 

So where do we stand after yesterday's hearing and an 8 month FBI investigation? The Russians did hack Podesta's email account and the DNC, and while the FBI has found no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, it is still looking. 

The demonic Democrats and the Left are hanging their hats on a fictional story as pay-back for losing the election.

Obama and the Obama Justice Department gave the go-ahead to surveil the Trump associates way back in July and just prior to the election.

Jay Bookman and his merry band of hyenas just won't let go of this fabricated Russian story out of mean-spirited vendetta. They were so confident of winning and so drunk with fake news polling that it was a shock and an embarrassment to lose the election. Thus, we now have to endure the infantile tactics so as they might attempt to delegitimize Trumps's presidency.

As for Comey, he was once loved by the Democrats and then reviled by the Democrats and is now back in favor with the Democrats. The man swings both ways and should be relieved of his duties for his play-making. 

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@FIGMO2 @ScubaSteve

(6)Special rule for application to certain health insurance providers

(A)In generalNo deduction shall be allowed under this chapter—(i)in the case of applicable individual remuneration which is for any disqualified taxable year beginning after December 31, 2012, and which is attributable to services performed by an applicable individual during such taxable year, to the extent that the amount of such remuneration exceeds $500,000, or(ii)in the case of deferred deduction remuneration for any taxable year beginning after December 31, 2012, which is attributable to services performed by an applicable individual during any disqualified taxable year beginning afterDecember 31, 2009, to the extent that the amount of such remuneration exceeds $500,000 reduced (but not below zero) by the sum of—(I)the applicable individual remuneration for such disqualified taxable year, plus(II)the portion of the deferred deduction remuneration for such services which was taken into account under this clause in a preceding taxable year (or which would have been taken into account under this clause in a preceding taxable year if this clause were applied by substituting “December 31, 2009” for “December 31, 2012” in the matter preceding subclause (I)).(B)Disqualified taxable year

For purposes of this paragraph, the term “disqualified taxable year” means, with respect to any employer, any taxable year for which such employer is a covered health insurance provider.

(C)Covered health insurance providerFor purposes of this paragraph—(i)In generalThe term “covered health insurance provider” means—(I)with respect to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009, and before January 1, 2013, any employer which is a health insurance issuer (as defined in section 9832(b)(2)) and which receives premiums from providing health insurance coverage (as defined in section 9832(b)(1)), and(II)with respect to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012, any employer which is a health insurance issuer (as defined in section 9832(b)(2)) and with respect to which not less than 25 percent of the gross premiums received from providing health insurance coverage (as defined in section 9832(b)(1)) is from minimum essential coverage (as defined in section 5000A(f)).(ii)Aggregation rules

Two or more persons who are treated as a single employer under subsection (b), (c), (m), or (o) of section 414 shall be treated as a single employer, except that in applying section 1563(a) for purposes of any such subsection, paragraphs (2) and (3) thereof shall be disregarded.

(D)Applicable individual remuneration

For purposes of this paragraph, the term “applicable individual remuneration” means, with respect to any applicable individual for any disqualified taxable year, the aggregate amount allowable as a deduction under this chapter for such taxable year (determined without regard to this subsection) for remuneration (as defined in paragraph (4) without regard to subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D) thereof) for services performed by such individual (whether or not during the taxable year). Such term shall not include any deferred deduction remuneration with respect to services performed during the disqualified taxable year.

(E)Deferred deduction remuneration

For purposes of this paragraph, the term “deferred deduction remuneration” means remuneration which would be applicable individual remuneration for services performed in a disqualified taxable year but for the fact that the deduction under this chapter (determined without regard to this paragraph) for such remuneration is allowable in a subsequent taxable year.

(F)Applicable individualFor purposes of this paragraph, the term “applicable individual” means, with respect to any covered health insurance provider for any disqualified taxable year, any individual—(i)who is an officer, director, or employee in such taxable year, or(ii)who provides services for or on behalf of such covered health insurance provider during such taxable year.(G)Coordination

Rules similar to the rules of subparagraphs (F) and (G) of paragraph (4) shall apply for purposes of this paragraph.

(H)Regulatory authority

The Secretary may prescribe such guidance, rules, or regulations as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this paragraph.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@FIGMO2 @ScubaSteve I'm not so much worried about the politics of it, and I do mean that honestly. I don't have big issues with Neil Gorsuch. I absolutely hate it for Merrick Garland, though. Good judge who shouldn't have been used that way. Likely will never get another shot.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

goodness..that wont happen..need to move on

TBS
TBS

I picked Villanova in the final 4 and playing Duke in the Elite 8

That part of my bracket is crushed

I still have three of four in the final 4 and my champion pick which is NC. However they didn't look so hot on Sunday

rimsky
rimsky

Multinational firms such as Google and Facebook are now paying tax in Australia based on profits earned there instead of shifting income abroad, the government has said.

Changes to the tax system will raise an extra 2bn Australian dollars ($1.5bn; £1.2bn) in this tax year, it said.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-39337325

+++

I guess Aussies know how to their fair share of the taxes from the corcoporations.  Good for them.  May be they teach a thing or two to our Conservative morons.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@rimsky  When I wonder, "Now, DIA, what economy should the USA fashion itself after?"  My answer is always, Australia!

rimsky
rimsky

@DownInAlbany @rimsky I know you have an aversion for learning.  So your opinion is worthless.  Other people will definitely think about it.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Judge Gorsuch's testimony bored me.  Too pat answers, for my tastes.  Chuck Berry is more to my liking this morning.


I just found out that Chuck Berry, who recently died at age 90, was married to Themetta Suggs for 68 years.  They married in 1948.  She was an attractive woman who carried herself with innate dignity from her young years to her old age.  Hope you can find that photo of them, and observe it as I have.


Take a listen. Chuck Berry's music is in a time capsule to be opened well into the future along with other esteemed reflections of American society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFo8-JqzSCM

rimsky
rimsky

@MaryElizabethSings Did you know one of Berry's songs is in the album that is in the Voyager that has already left the solar system and in outer space?

PS I believe it is "Johnny be Good".

khd713
khd713

Bookman's interpretation of these hearings is so completely distorted. The FACTS of what has occurred so far are that 1) there is no evidence to support any allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and 2) The Russians also hacked the GNP. So far, those are the only important facts that have been revealed.


Guess there are two ways of looking at everything, huh, Jay? You and your colleagues in the liberal media are setting yourselves up (well, really, DJT is setting you up) to look the fools – again. But just keep it up. We'll see what it does for the Democrats. My guess is that this kind of partisan hackery will just continue to bolster Trump.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@khd713 

If the Russians hacked the Gross National Product, I guess that is important!

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

It's almost noon, ET and Jay has not checked in.  Was the DNC a little late in getting out today's talking points?

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@DownInAlbany

You have a resume? Send it on to the AJC. Tell them you'll get your day started earlier than Jay. Ask them for a job. Tell us how long it took them to send you a rejection notice.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Is it against the law to speak with a Russian? The Clinton's and their staff spoke to many countries!

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Ga own Kingston need to work on his facts. Guess when the CBO started?

I remember years ago looking at a CBO report that in 1964 predicted that Medicare would cost $9 billion 10 years later. And I think it was already over $100 billion at that point."

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@DownInAlbany 

There MAY have once been a more blatant attempt at deflection, but I can't think of one...  ;-)

Mr_B
Mr_B

@DownInAlbany I can give you a quick refresher on "figures of speech/ hyperbole" if you didn't stay awake in English class.

Mr_B
Mr_B

@rimsky While your description of Trump may be accurate, your statement of it leaves you looking very much like ........ a Trumpet.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@FIGMO2 "Odd! So if a minority is qualified for a job, he/she should not fill that position because.....

????? "


Bringing this back up top because I had no idea where you were going with this. Gorsuch should not be there because there should not be a vacancy. 

TBS
TBS

I'm sure you are correct

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Im sure that comment was a bad attempt at deflection

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@BuckeyeGa It was. He just answered below. Some people just aren't smart enough to get it and that's cool because the world needs bartenders.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

 Donald Trump is obviously a deeply unpopular figure. 

Wonder if a major terror attack would help him out a bit? 

I've been irresponsibly speculating thus ever since, oh, around Nov. 9, 2016 or so.

Wasn't 9/11 the best thing that ever happened for Team Bush?

TBS
TBS

Intercept has an article on this very issue

rimsky
rimsky

@Visual_Cortex At this point Trump Inc. is praying for a terror attack.  Just kidding folks or may be not.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

quite a ways down, td said to somebody, "you don't know what 'being borked' means."

Well, I do.

It means letting the American public know that reactionary elements have nominated a horrible judge who doesn't even begin to share this nation's values.

And that's why Bork had his hearing, and was overwhelmingly rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex Justify changing the normal standards or behavior and established standards of a well qualified person because your side does not like their politics. 


Got it

TBS
TBS

But that doesn't match the narrative

TBS
TBS

Hearing? Yes

Vote? Yes

Confirmation? No

Much less playing of politics than your Rs played with Garland.

End of story

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@TBS  Are you predicting that Gorsuch will not be confirmed?

TBS
TBS

Nope

Nothing in my comment indicates anything of the sort. I've already stated, twice, that he will be confirmed

However I am saying td is being a WATB about Bork who was given a hearing and vote but was perfectly ok with Garland not even having a hearing

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