Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Told ya

Did I call the shot or what?

For a while now, I've been mentally preparing an apology for my repeated claim that Trump would not have asked Congress to investigate his "tapp" allegation unless he knew from the get-go that doing so would work to his political advantage. Nobody agreed with my scenario. Everyone said that Trump was simply a fool who would not let go of a conspiracy theory.

Finally, last night, I myself became converted to the theory that Trump was simply a bullheaded, paranoid ignoramus.

And then Devin Nunes -- clearly functioning as either a dupe or willing partner of Trump's conspiracy -- provided evidence that my original read might turn out to be the correct one.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes went to the White House on Wednesday afternoon to personally brief President Trump about intelligence he says he has seen regarding surveillance of foreign nationals during the presidential transition.

The surveillance could have inadvertently picked up the president or members of his transition team, the chairman said.

“What I’ve read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal. I don’t know that it’s right,” Nunes said to reporters outside the White House. “I don’t know that the American people would be comfortable with what I’ve read.”
Trump is now saying that his tweets were vindicated.
Before heading to the White House, Nunes said he briefed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) on what he learned, and he also spoke with reporters. He said that U.S. intelligence agencies may have picked up communications involving Trump as part of court-approved surveillance of foreign intelligence targets in the period between Trump’s election and his inauguration.

Nunes did not, however, brief his ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), about the contents of what Schiff said were intercepts.
He gave Schiff short shrift? This indicates that the Nunes "investigation" was part of a partisan hit all along. I don't yet know what Nunes saw, but I'm fairly confident, right now, that Trump knew all along that the events of this day would happen.

Also see here and here.

Nunes viewed those documents at the originating agency. Right now, we do not know which agency. NSA? Seems as good a guess as any.

I keep telling you people -- not that anyone has listened -- that Breitbart is and always has been seriously tied to the intelligence community. Here, let me put in boldface:

Breitbart is and always has been seriously tied to the intelligence community.

You doubt my word? You want a few links that will help you start to investigate this claim? Okay.

Here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

Everyone keeps talking "Russia Russia Russia." Russia is important, but the matter isn't so simple as many think.

Remember, the Russians hired people like Manafort and Stone and Devine to tell them how to rig elections in their own part of the world.

Did you ever see this film? Do you really think that the Russians would know how to rig an American election? Do you really think they "know the territory" (as they say in The Music Man)? Do you really think that the FSB has a subtle enough grasp of our politics to understand (for example) how to transform Bernie supporters into virulent Clinton-haters?

No. It may be more accurate to posit that Putin provided some plausibly deniable manpower. He was hired muscle.

People like Mensch and Schindler keep pushing a simplistic narrative of "virtuous spooks versus the Trump/Putin conspiracy."

For weeks now, I've been telling you: NO. That's not it. It's a partial truth at best.

I don't have a clear counter-narrative formulated yet. All I know is that the Mensch/Schindler "Virtuous spooks vs. Evil Trumpers" scenario won't suffice, because that scenario completely ignores the truth about Breitbart. I'm not saying that Mensch is operating in bad faith: I'm saying that her deference (allegiance?) to the intelligence community means that she is giving you a woefully incomplete picture.

Breitbart did more than Putin did to put Trump in power. And Breitbart is spooked up. Schindler and Mensch and "The Jester" won't tell you that.

I don't know what is in those documents provided to Nunes. But I feel certain that the same spooks who have been in bed with Breitbart for many years knew all about those documents before Trump issued those tweets.

Added note: Since everyone seems to be referencing Watergate these days, let me tell you about a Watergate-era Jack Anderson column that few people now remember. I don't have the clip to hand, but some of my older readers may recall seeing it. In this column, Anderson interviewed Gordon Novel, a bizarre figure who always tended to pop in these scandals.

Novel revealed that the Nixonites had a tentative plan -- never enacted -- to undermine the Watergate investigation. It was a simple trick: Nixon's men would use actors to concoct a fake tape in which Nixon says incriminating things on the phone to E. Howard Hunt. The media would be subtly manipulated to insure that the entire Watergate controversy centered on the question of the legitimacy of that tape. Eventually, analysis would reveal the tape to be a hoax -- at which point, Nixon would look like the victim of a conspiracy, not the perpetrator of one.

Again: That scheme was never enacted. It was just an idea, a bit of spitballing. Nevertheless, I think that we should always keep this idea in the back of our minds as our current White House melodrama unfolds.


prowlerzee said...

Put in as hired muscle. Manafort ' s role. Listening. Thanks.

OldCoastie said...

The Nunes/Trump show was about as dumb as it gets. Weak. We will see about Breitbart. What if the spooks are double agents for Russia?

lastlemming said...

I have to say Watergate still is a bit bewildering to me and I am just old enough to remember the drip, drip, drip of the daily reveal front-paged on the old Seattle Post Intelligencer. (I also remember one of the few times my father, an extremely mild mannered man, whose only other moment of public rage involved a woman dumping a litter of kittens by the side of the road, tearing downtown in a rage to send a Western Union telegram after Nixon fired Elliot Richardson.)

I've read a few "alternative" histories of Watergate and I have to say I find Woodward's connection to military intelligence quite persuasive. However, to create this almost Rube Goldberg scenario in order to take down, elect, prop up or otherwise manipulate major elections including presidential ones * seems to violate what I assume is a fundamental rule of covert action: the more bells and whistles, the more elaborate an action, the more likely something could go very wrong. Why elect someone only to watch him be stripped of all credibility in the first two months of his presidency? What's the point? What's the agenda?

And if Trump thinks his current problems are going to go away by some Sunday morning tweetfest, I've got some property in Atlantic City he might want to consider.

* (excepting, of course, simple election fraud--that is manipulating the vote count--the most direct way to ensure the candidate of one's choosing wins)

John said...

Dear Louise Mensch is getting her due:

And this from "The Observer", which also publishes her twin John Schindler:

stickler said...

Ignoring -- for the moment -- whether Breitbart is spooked up, Jane Mayer's New Yorker article on billionaire Robert Mercer's support of Breitbart and Trump is informative.

Unknown said...

I agree with you Joseph. I'm sure Russia is culpable in thesr matters but something tells me some of it is a smokescreen but I'm clueless about the subtext. A Breitbart connection makes sense but who is behind that? I definitely feel something else is going on. But then I've followed JFK murder for over 50 years.