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Monday, May 15, 2017

"But her emails...!" (UPDATED: Is Trump considering resignation?)

During his meeting with the Russians last week -- a meeting much-derided for its poor "optics" -- Trump blabbed incredibly sensitive information about ISIS.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.
“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
Buzzfeed tells us that the WP report (quoted above) barely scuffs the veneer.
Two US officials who were briefed on Trump’s disclosures last week confirmed to BuzzFeed News the veracity of the Washington Post report, with one noting that “it’s far worse than what has already been reported.”
Let's put this into perspective. Hillary's alleged "sin" was her use of private email server which -- according to the right-wing media -- discussed classified information in an insecure setting. In reality, the only "sensitive" document found on that server was a piece of piffle about Malawi that never should have had any kind of classification stamp in the first place. Nevertheless, that "sin" caused Paul Ryan to tweet "It's simple: Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ w/ classified info should be denied further access to it."

And now Trump is blithely spewing code-word information to his Russian pals, placing sensitive assets at risk. Republicans want us to think that a trifling message about Malawi -- a piece of boilerplate containing information available on Wikipedia -- is more important than an ultra-secret source of information on ISIS, a code-word secret.

Has Trump been a witting Putin agent all along?

If you believe that he is not, then let me ask you this: If Trump were an agent, what would he have done differently?

Since he attained office, our moles within the Russian intelligence services have been rounded up and killed. A hidden Windows exploit used by the NSA was revealed to the world by Russian hackers, who used this information to create a computer virus that damaged millions of computers and throttled Britain's National Health Service. Trump's Attorney General and National Security Adviser both have had scandalous Russian links. The FBI Director was fired when he started to investigate the Russian financial ties of Trump and his close associates.

The simplest explanation that covers all the facts is usually the best. Right now, the simplest theory is that Trump has been a witting Russian agent all along. I'm not saying that this theory is proven; I'm saying that it has the virtue of simplicity.

According to the WP, Trump bragged to the Russians: "I get great intel." Of course the President of the United States has great intel! Can this pompous oaf really be so insecure that he feels the need to make such a puerile boast to the Russians? I wouldn't be surprised if he also handed them a map of his electoral college victory.

What the hell did Fred Trump do his kid?

UPDATE: As is his Trumpian wont, Donnie has issued a tweetstorm which confirms the story even as he attempts to portray it as "fake news." He writes: "Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?)." If the basic claim was false, it cannot be given illegally, and it could not come from the intelligence community.

(Incidentally, it is very cute to see Donald Trump accuse others of trafficking in conspiracy theories and blind hatred.)

Louise Mensch says that Trump is considering resignation. The claim was first made by a Twitterer calling herself "Rogue WH Staffer."
BREAKING: Some staffers are saying @realDonaldTrump is considering resignation. Can't take the negativity anymore
I don't know if this person's tweets are legit; for the nonce, it may be safest to suspect that we're dealing with a hoaxer. But her messages are fun. Her bio:
I work in East Wing. Speaking out b/c it is crazy here. Dysfunctional is understatement. I'm a nasty woman and not one to put up with hatefulness.
"Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat."
Does Daesh still hold any cities apart from Raqqa and Mosul?
What did Fred Trump do? Probably leave him alone every weekend, just like Donald is doing while looking hideous in golf clothes while Baron is...home alone?
Oh no, Kushner and Chabad! I didn't know that. I've been onto Chabad for years - they appear in so many connections - and now I think I'm going to go crazy. And 666 Park Avenue.

Top of the list for consideration as the "key US intelligence partner" has got to be Israel. A distant second would be Britain.

What is the nature of the threat that Trump has shared information about with Russia? Isn't Russia an intelligence partner too in the war against Salafist terrorism? This is an amazing story. What if it's a nuclear attack on Moscow? Let it go ahead rather than jeopardise the third country's source? Gotta respect those intellectual property rights! How did the unknown country that helps the US out by giving it intelligence learn that Trump had passed information to the Russians without permission? Did he tell them? Are they the same country whose embassy Bill Clinton thought was tapping his phone when he was president? (Does the bear shit in the woods?)

Perhaps Trump is going to be kept on the edge of being saved and being pushed, as Bill Clinton was. That would increase the already considerable power of whoever is keeping him in that position.
b, initial indications are that the country in question is in fact Israel.
At this point, to believe Trump isn't a witting Russian agent is to be in denial. As shocking as it sounded to believe Trump was a Russian agent during the campaign, it would now be equally shocking if it turned out he wasn't.

I would be almost as equally shocked if Claude Taylor doesn't turn out to be right. If this is how Trump is acting, the evidence against him and his cronies must be overwhelming and would make indictments all but inevitable. It feels like it's more a matter of when than if.
Donald thinks he has a clever sort of "you and I are big people" mutual back-scratching relationship with Vlad. But he's in over his head: Vlad is almost certainly a better chess player.

More importantly, some in the U.S. spook world/deep state aren't happy about it all. Drip, drip, drip. Until he toes the line utterly, or is out on his ear.

On the one hand, the code-word material could be purposeful disinformation. On the other hand, of course Cannonfire will explain that Alan Dershowitz asserted that Trump had not obstructed justice by firing Comey, because ...

(I heard Dershowitz's name, and Trump's, mentioned on a Norwegian headline newscast, but I don't understand Norwegian, so I googled.)
First of all, Israel has reasonably good relations with Russia. If Israel knew of a threat to Russia, it would use that information to extract something from Russia BY TELLING THEM! Second, Russia is closely allied with Syria and Hezbollah, Israel certainly doesn't want its sources and methods going to them. Third, you do not know who the close ally is, it could easily be Jordan, which also is leery of Syria. Finally, you have no idea what Chabad is and the repeated slurs against it sound very much like veiled anti-semitism. Certainly there bad Jews, bad Israelis and bad Chabadniks. But to smear an entire group based on the perceived wrongs of a few is bigotry.
Josh Marshall has formulated the very useful "Trump's Razor:" look for the stupidest explanation of any action taken by Trump. It pretty much always works.

So, to say that he was a witting agent of Putin would require that Trump had some wit, not very believable. It would also require that he would sign on to become some guy's employee. Even though on the brink of utter bankruptcy, not too believable, given his ego needs.

But it is credible, to think that the Putin gang sold Trump on the notion that he was their partner in business.

And Trump is so stupid that he thought, that he's a business partner with the Russian oligarchs. Whereas he was actually an employee of theirs, a guy who worked in real estate, money laundering and PR. Now that he has a new day job, and been exposed as a bumbling, incompetent dolt, his usefulness to them has ended.

It's something to imagine how Trump's bloated ego, his arrogant idiocy affected those using him. He will probably not be around much longer, as the Bosses Putin, Mercer and their majordomos Bannon and Tillerson, Farage and others around the world move on to further consolidation of power. Since a large portion of the GOP finds its backing from the same or allied money interests, they expect smooth sailing.

The bible has some verse about "inherit the wind," but it seems more a whirlwind.
j: If, as I suspect, Israel was the country compromised in this situation, then they certainly are not at fault here. Quite the opposite! You yourself explain why Israel would have to treat Russia somewhat charily on Syria.

As for Chabad: When I write about them, I'll be quoting a lot of Jewish sources, and absolutely no anti-Semitic sources. As you know, many Jews have been saying some extremely harsh things. If there's a split on that topic within the Jewish community -- and there is -- then you can hardly call me an anti-Semite if I prefer one side of that intra-community dispute over the other. (I may also tell of my own run-in with Chabad, which was weird and actually kind of fun.)

Tom: "Trump's razor" answers much. But I think you gravitate toward the correct answer: It's very possible to manipulate a proud person as long as you flatter his pride while filling his wallet. How many times has this happened (for example) on the level of police informants? The cunning way to cultivate an informant is to make him feel like friend, not like an underling.

The Orbis dossier indicated that Putin was already ready to cut his losses regarding Trump.

We still have to define the enemy here. I tend to think that the ultimate problem is an international neo-fascist ideology which we may call Duginism. That term will have to do for now, even though Alexander Dugin himself is not really a leader of any kind -- more of an intellectual figurehead. (If you can think of a better label than "Duginism," I'll adopt it!) I'm not talking about a cabal or conspiracy but a weltanschauung shared by certain powerful people who are not necessarily allies and who sometimes operate at cross purposes. Putin, Mercer, Netanyahu, Le Pen, Erdogan, Malofeev and Bannon all gravitate toward this mind-set.

I've put off writing a book about the hacking of the 2016 election because of the common perception that Trump won't be around long. Besides, book-writin' is hard. The short form is easier, though it doesn't pay.
Tom: Since Trump allegedly watches a lot of TV, maybe he can catch up with this season's Fargo, taking special note of the relationship between Emmit Stussy and V.M. Varga.
My comment was more in response to b than to you. However, not to go too far afield because I largely agree with your point, I would like to BRIEFLY discuss Chabad. While there are some Jews who disagree with Chabad, two Jews-three opinions, the big intrafaith squabble is between Chabad and Satmar. Jonathan Sacks, about as mainstream as you can get, had no problem with Chabad. Chabad views its mission as bringing Jews to a more Jewish life. The result is that they tend to be somewhat removed from the non-Jewish world, though Schneerson did have good relations with some in the outside world, for example Shirley Chisolm. I have serious theological issues with Chabad, bur to view them as somehow evil is ridiculous.
He's the president, he can declassify anything he wants.
As I've said many times, Stephen, Hillary also had the ability to declassify most State Department documents. Yet that argument never applied in her case.

Trump also has the legal authority to nuke Puerto Rico. The argument presented in this post is not based on strict legality.
The "new normal" includes defending DT because he "didn't know" the Israelis were the source of the intel. How is that a positive? PBS actually has experts droning on how since he doesn't care for all these details he will get less intel than other presidents therefor it's all ok --- he won't be getting that much he can spill. How is this acceptable?

I kind of agree with the Nasty Woman in the WH. He will resign because he can't handle the negativity. We can all help by laughing at him. How fat he looks in golf clothes. How you can see his bald head under his thinning gray poof (has he no time to dye it orange these days?). These are the things that matter to the Donald.
Trump can declassify anything he wants, but that doesn't mean he can pass the declassified information to a foreign power. Reason? Not because he'd be breaking an agreement with another foreign power, but because of US law: he can't repeal the Espionage Act of 1917.

Small-j joseph: Chabad are a powerful criminal network of dirty mafia bastards with worldwide reach who cooperate a lot with the official Zionist power structure and whose "religion" is a total fucking sham. ("If you can’t keep all of the commandments, keep as many as you can", to quote a critic cited by Politico in an interesting article about Trump, Putin and Chabad that taught me stuff I didn't know about Jared Kushner.) The Moscow gang sometimes doesn't get on so well with the Kiev gang. Nothing to do with religion.

"Bringing more Jews into Jewish life"? Is that why Chabad run ecstasy? Do they need more bag-carriers or something? They are evil. They are not the oppressed in any way whatsoever. They are as evil as white racists who want to bring more whites into white life. Viewing them for what they are is not in any way attacking anyone other than the Jewish mafia. Many Jews despise them, and not because they're Teitelbaumers. Satmar has nothing like the influence of Chabad.

Neturei Karta, meanwhile, support Hamas. Rightly. Good on them. I'm assuming for the sake of argument that some of them are genuine.

You seem to have little idea what anti-Semitism is. I am not going to get trolled any more on this.
A "Bait Trump" website or (dare I say it) social media effort could be great.

The only reason he wears such long suit jackets is to cover his fat arse.
You are a moron who doesn't know what he is talking about. Hamas is a fascist government and it is clear that you support them. You don't need to be trolled, you need a brain implant.
small-j joseph - Boring! When I said that the Jewish Neturei Karta group supports the Hamas government "rightly" and I praised them for it, the implication is indeed that I morally support the Hamas government. Every decent person should. Similarly there was only one morally good side during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. I don't apply different criteria to different ethnicities. You might. Need I add that Hamas isn't perfect? It's not so easy to have a "perfect" resistance from inside Gaza or any other concentration camp.

So when you say it's "clear" that I "support" the Hamas government, there's no need to shout out your recognition as if it were a great revelation - so great that you wrap it in foamy-mouthed abuse.
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