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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Trump and the drug lords -- and a whole lot more

The fake Republican investigations are a distraction. So says the Fusion GPS president Glenn Simpson, who offers a much-needed rejoinder to the things said about his firm by the right-wing media.
We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.
We've known this for a while, yet you can bet your last nickle that the right will continue to pretend that it's all about the dossier. More depressingly, some writers on the left will provide verbal cover for that accusation.
We suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses. Congress appears uninterested in that tip: Reportedly, ours are the only bank records the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed.

We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those deals don’t seem to interest Congress.

We explained how, from our past journalistic work in Europe, we were deeply familiar with the political operative Paul Manafort’s coziness with Moscow and his financial ties to Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.

Finally, we debunked the biggest canard being pushed by the president’s men — the notion that we somehow knew of the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between some Russians and the Trump brain trust. We first learned of that meeting from news reports last year — and the committees know it. They also know that these Russians were unaware of the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s work for us and were not sources for his reports.
This article is really, really juicy -- and it goes a long ways toward answering many questions. I can't help quoting further...
Yes, we hired Mr. Steele, a highly respected Russia expert. But we did so without informing him whom we were working for and gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?

What came back shocked us. Mr. Steele’s sources in Russia (who were not paid) reported on an extensive — and now confirmed — effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president. Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the F.B.I.
The right keeps pretending that the Bureau was somehow acting as Clinton's pet bloodhound when it acted on Steele's information. Steele did precisely what he should have done when he uncovered evidence of a major crime: He took his evidence to the proper authorities.

Should the FBI be scored for acting on this information? Steele was and is a credible source who had helped American intelligence in the past. If anything, the Bureau under Comey should be criticized for proceeding sotto. The voters had a right to know that this investigation of Team Trump was under way.

The right has a superb facility for turning their own sins and weaknesses into attacks on their enemies.

The Simpson piece ends with these words:
Congress should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy.
Write to your congressperson and ask for those transcripts.

Michele Bachmann is going to run for Franken's seat. That outcome would transform a perfectly infuriating situation into a pluperfectly infuriating situation.

Charles Pierce likes the idea. I would remind the esteemed Mr. Pierce that John Oliver once loved the idea of Donald Trump running for president.

I still want Franken to run for President in 2020. Let the best groper win.

A child of the nuclear age. Just when I think that Donald Trump's tweets can't become more idiotic or puerile...
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
Even worse:
It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue...
...peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?
This is stupid on so many levels I can't number them. We have attained hyperdimensional stupidity. There is no point in attempting a logical refutation.

During the campaign, there were some lefties who argued that Trump stood the better chance of attaining peace in the Middle East because he was not beholden to Israel. Remember? Remember that whole "Hillary's a neocon and Trump isn't" routine?

Seems pretty funny now.

The Russiagate Grand Jury looks like a "Black Lives Matter" rally, says a Trumper who was there.
“The grand jury room looks like a Bernie Sanders rally,” my source said. “Maybe they found these jurors in central casting, or at a Black Lives Matter rally in Berkeley [Calif.]”
This doesn't make sense: Bernie Sanders had limited appeal to black people. It would be unfair to use the words "racist dog whistle" to describe what's going on here, since you don't need to be a dog to hear this whistle. We have here yet another indication that the Trumpers are preparing the ground for ending the Mueller probe.

Foreign friends. McClatchy has a new piece on foreign nations who keep finding new ways to fatten Trump's wallet...
In Indonesia, a local government plans to build a road to shorten the drive between the main airport on the island of Bali and the new high-end Trump resort and golf course.

In Panama, the country’s federal government intervened to ensure a sewer system around a 70-story Trump skyscraper shaped like a sail in Panama City would be completed.

And in other countries, governments have donated public land, approved permits and eased environmental regulations for Trump-branded developments, creating a slew of potential conflicts as foreign leaders make investments that can be seen as gifts or attempts to gain access to the American president through his sprawling business empire.

The White House dismisses these concerns, as does the Trump Organization’s attorney.
This is bribery. This is precisely what the Founders had in mind when they used that funny old word "emoluments." This, in and of itself, justifies impeachment.

Here's a WOW paragraph which deserves the greatest possible distribution:
An investigation by the organization Global Witness in November accused Trump of making millions of dollars by allowing Colombian drug cartels and others to launder money through his Panama development, which includes condos, a casino and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It was Trump’s first international hotel development when it opened in 2011.
It wasn't that blacks did not like Bernie or his message.

It was that blacks were extremely loyal to Obama, and therefore Clinton.
Before they were loyal to PBO, they were loyal to PBC, who after all was called the first black president by Toni Morrison, and honored as such by the Congressional Black Caucus at an annual awards dinner.

They had never seen such income gains as occurred during his later years boom economy (among many other reasons).


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