So much has happened since last we spoke!
First, I'm glad I didn't make another public statement erring on the side of pessimism in the PA race. Congrats to Conor Lamb, who attained a razor-thin victory in a red district -- a victory that he could lose in the absentee vote count.
There's still room for pessimism here.
I've been reading -- well, listening to -- the new Corn/Isikoff book Russian Roulette
. One of the big revelations seems to be that Christopher Steele now seems to have less confidence in the "damp" section of his dossier than in the other material.
Of course, as far as Trump voters are concerned, the pee-pee portion is the only part that matters. Most people are too fucking stupid to follow allegations of money laundering and other financial wrongs. They can
understand claims of sex and perversion.
The main sources for the pee-pee allegation were "Source E" -- a Russian-born personage on Team Trump -- and a worker at the hotel, which is owned by Mariott, an American corporation. Some months ago, as you will recall, there was a conservative campaign to convince the world that the Russian government itself provided this information to Steele, allegedly to help Hillary
-- a weird scenario which would make sense only to an advanced thinker like Alex Jones. It sure as hell never made sense to me.
An anonymous informant wrote in to this humble blog and claimed that the Russian-born Trumpster was Boris Epshteyn. Is this claim true? I don't know, but no other candidate seems to fit. After this humble blog published this suggestion, it appeared elsewhere -- for example, in Seth Abramson's
twitterstream. Epshteyn left the Trump administration for still-mysterious reasons in March of 2017, just as the "Source E" allegations started to take root. Epshteyn still stumps for Trump at every opportunity
My larger point is this. Since we do not know, and probably will never know, how Steele and his crew approached their sources, it is possible that the Steele operation was "made" by the FSB. Perhaps someone decided to toss a little disinfo into the works.
(Although Source E worked for Trump, I'm sure that he still had wires leading to the Russian government.)
Corn and Isikoff looked into the pee-pee claim
and determined that Trump had
stayed in that suite on that night, but went to bed late (due to a party) and had to rise early the next day. The tight chronology left little time for shennanigans. Of course, as we know, Trump sleeps little.
Note that Steele did
get the time and place correct, which is no small matter.
Sometimes it is very instructive to take another look at material published a year ago. This old post
on Epshteyn references yours truly, then takes the story further:
“Here’s where it gets tricky, but where this claim may help explain the confusing events of this past week. Six days ago, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes let slip in an interview that one person currently in Donald Trump’s White House is under surveillance (link). Three days later someone fed Nunes some intel about surveillance of the Trump transition team which spooked him to the point that he ran to the White House and told Donald Trump about it. And now the end result of the Nunes controversy is tonight’s abrupt resignation of Boris Epshteyn.”
“If you start with the asserted but unproven the premise that Boris Epshteyn helped set up the “pee pee tape” incident which led to Russia having blackmail over Donald Trump, then you have to logically assume that Epshteyn has been some kind of Kremlin spy against Trump the entire time. If so, and if the U.S. intelligence committee had evidence to that effect, it would have led to a judge granting a FISA surveillance warrant against Epshteyn. When Nunes said a week ago that someone in the Trump White House is currently under surveillance, he would have been referring to Epshteyn. And if Nunes was subsequently fed intel revealing that Epshteyn was under surveillance because he was Kremlin operative spying on Trump the entire time, it would explain why Nunes flipped out and went running to Trump at his own career peril.”
What this underscores yet again is that Devin Nunes is the wrong man to be running this investigation. He himself is a ‘person of interest.’
Indeed! And he is moreso now than he was a year ago. I had forgotten about that Nunes slip, and I bet you had forgotten as well.
Speaking of the devil...
The response. Here's the Schiff response
to the Republican report. The response is only 21 pages, and seems absolutely damning. Here are some of Schiff's suggested avenues of further investigation:
Bayrock Group: Founded by Tevfik Arif, Bayrock Group employed Felix Sater as Chief Operating Officer and was involved in several Trump-branded properties of interest to the Committee. The Committee should request documents from the company to help clarify Bayrock’s financial dealings, including with Russia, as well as Mr. Sater’s activities.
Estate of Peter Smith: The Committee must send a production letter to the estate of Peter Smith. The Committee has thus far only interviewed a small number of individuals tied to Mr. Smith’s effort to solicit assistance from actors on the dark web, including possibly Russian individuals, to acquire “missing” emails linked to Clinton, and has reason to believe that Mr. Smith was, in fact, in contact with the Trump campaign.
KLS Research LLC: The Committee should also send a letter to the LLC formed by Peter Smith to facilitate his operation to find and disseminate Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails.
Colt Ventures: As explained in Appendix B, the Committee should seek documents from Darren Blanton and his company Colt Ventures, which the Trump campaign reportedly contracted for “data management services” and is an investor in VizSense, a social-media company reported to have conducted work on behalf of the campaign and Michael Flynn.
VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group: As explained in Appendix B, the Committee should also seek documents from VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group, both of which are tied to Michael Flynn associate Jon Iadonisi. VizSense is reported to have conducted social-media work for the Trump campaign and Mr. Flynn’s firm, while White Canvas Group reportedly undertook Turkey-related work for Mr. Flynn.
Cendyn: Cendyn is a cloud computing company that hosted the Trump Organization and may be able to shed light on allegations that the Trump Organization and Russia-based Alfa Bank shared a data link that transmitted large volumes of data during the election. The Minority asks that the Committee send Cendyn a document production letter, to include a request for underlying data that can help the Committee evaluate these allegations.
Bridges LLC: Bridges LLC is a limited liability company reportedly begun by Paul Erickson and Maria Butina (see Appendix B) in South Dakota. Given Mr. Erickson and Ms. Butina’s attempt to facilitate a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin through their connection to the National Rifle Association, we recommend seeking records relative to any donations made to the NRA during the campaign, in particular to determine whether foreign money was funneled to the organization to support the candidate Trump.
Schiff also wants to interview workers for the Ritz-Carlton. When you think about what Nunes and his cronies managed to avoid
looking at, it's hard not to be stunned. We may fairly compare Nunes to a man who hikes the Appalachian Trail without noticing a single tree.
A word about Tillerson.
The Secretary of State and former head of Exxon was fired by Twitter
. When Tillerson's aide revealed that fact (which the White House had tried to lie away), the aide was also fired. Classy!
Of course, the ever-loyal drinkers of Kool-Aid at Fox
are proclaiming that Tillerson was axed as part of Trump's effort to "drain the swamp." Wow. Suddenly, Tillerson is the swamp
? I thought Tillerson was an outsider. I thought he was picked by Trump.
Actually, according to Corn and Isikoff, Tillerson was picked by Putin.
It's pretty obvious to me that Tillerson was put into place because Moscow liked him, and yanked offstage because Moscow stopped liking him. Putin's antics -- particularly the attack in the UK -- had finally given Tillerson a bellyache. In other words: If you piss off Putin, you become the swamp
"Drain the swamp" means "Kill all enemies of Mother Russia."
The important point that everyone is missing has to do with Tillerson's replacement, Mike Pompeo. Corn and Isikoff have strongly suggested that nobody gets into the Secretary of State position without Vladimir Satanovich's approval. Pompeo got the gig. Conclusion: A Russian stooge has been running CIA.
That's scary. Really
Did you see Rex Tillerson's on-camera statement? The man looked shaken to his core. Honestly, I've never seen anything like it. Even Nixon looked more composed when he left office. Even that guy who blew his brains out on live TV back in the '70s looked less upset than Rex Tillerson. Did Tillerson act that way because he was fired so abruptly? Or is something else
Trump is Nash.
Perhaps what upset Tillerson so profoundly has something to do with this
#BREAKING:.@PaulBegala says that a popular Russian TV Anchor COMPLAINED yesterday after #Tillerson blamed Russia for the #NerveAgent attack and that after his firing today, she said on live TV, "WE OWN #Trump".
"We own Trump" is an Americanized translation. The actual words, it seems, were "Trump is ours!"
Olga Skabeeva: "Yesterday, Tillerson supported Theresa May in her 'highly likely' [#Skripal poisoning] allegation. So Trump immediately fired him. Trump is ours!"
As we shall see, the use of this phrase is of no small significance. Let us now turn here
Viktor Kamenev, a commentator for the influential Russian military journal, Voyennoye obozreniye, says that the visit to Washington by the three heads of Russia’s security services as well as a series of other events in Washington, Davos and Dubai prove that “Trump is again ours.”
The wording is important. As regular readers know, Russian intelligence uses the term nash
-- "ours" -- to indicate that a double agent (or triple agent) bears ultimate loyalty to Russia. During the Cold War (I have been told), competing services picked up on this argot. Even a CIA counterintelligence officer might have used the phrase "He's nash
" as a way of saying "He's with us."
I trust that my readers are intelligent enough to correct for bias when assessing the rest of the afore-linked article:
But Kamenev says, Trump “somehow was able to take under control the special services” in part by his alliance with Republicans in Congress like Representative Devon Nunes whose report “in fact reveals a conspiracy of FBI agents and the Justice Department against President Trump.” That report may lead to “a massive purge of the FBI, other US special services, and the Justice Department as well as a political earthquake in Congress.”
According to Kamenev, “the special services are the main instrument of American democracy; and if Trump masters them completely, then the days of the fake globalist press and of the Congress which has fallen under its sway are numbered.”
The Russian commentator says no one in Moscow should be misled by the statements of Michael Pompeo, the CIA director, that Russia interfered in the American elections. He is a player in Washington, “the first victim of any war is truth,” and what one needs to watch is not his words but his “hands and feet.”
Kamenev points out that the Washington visit of the three Russian security chiefs “took place after the Volker-Surkov summit in Dubai. A chance coincidence?” The Russian analyst doesn’t think so. Nor in the context of both these events is Trump’s snubbing of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at Davos.
“It is difficult to say how the fight of President Trump with the neo-cons and with the Congress standing behind them,” Kamenev says; “but the president has gone over into the attack.” That is why the Russian security chiefs were invited to Washington. Trump is showing that he feels free to do this regardless of what the other side says.
“For Russia,” he argues, “it is important that this war of the special services in America have an impact on the Ukrainian question.” The American neo-cons want a war in Ukraine. “Trump in contrast is not interested now in a military escalation in Ukraine: it can interfere with his suppression of those pursuing him. Therefore, now he is ours.”
These words are even more fascinating -- and frightening -- now that Pompeo has taken the Secretary of State position. Never forget the Corn/Isikoff revelation that Moscow picked the last Secretary of State. In my view, Moscow probably picked the new one as well.
Kamenev seems to have "insider" knowledge that Pompeo's criticisms of Russia have always been purely for show. Pompeo, too, is nash
Speaking of the Corn/Isikoff book. This tweet
asks a question that popped into my own cranium:
I learned something new from @Isikoff and @DavidCornDC on @NPR —When Comey informed Trump about the Dossier’s lured allegations, Trump immediately assumed it was an FBI shakedown—that Comey/FBI was threatening him w blackmail—now, why would an innocent man have that reaction?
An innocent man can't be blackmailed. An innocent man can't be shaken down. You can't have a guilty conscience without actual guilt. (Except maybe if you're Catholic.)
It's a bit like the Stormy Daniels business. Is anyone really so obtuse as to believe that Trump (or his lawyer) would pay to hush up an affair that didn't