Thursday Reads: “That Was Some Weird Sh*t” — GW Bush

Good Afternoon!!

The quote of the day comes from George W. Bush and his immediate reaction to tRump’s Inauguration speech.

New York Magazine:

The inauguration of Donald Trump was a surreal experience for pretty much everyone who witnessed it, whether or not they were at the event and regardless of who they supported in the election. On the dais, the stoic presence of Hillary Clinton — whom candidate Trump had said he would send to prison if he took office — underlined the strangeness of the moment. George W. Bush, also savaged by Trump during the campaign, was there too. He gave the same reason for attending that Bill and Hillary Clinton did: to honor the peaceful transfer of power….

Following Trump’s short and dire speech, Bush departed the scene and never offered public comment on the ceremony.

But, according to three people who were present, Bush gave a brief assessment of Trump’s inaugural after leaving the dais: “That was some weird shit.” All three heard him say it.

The “weird sh*t” has continued during the first weeks of the tRump presidency, and it’s likely to remain that way. Every day Americans are flustered by new revelations about Russia’s aid to tRump during the election campaign as well as tRump’s wacko tweets and executive orders. We’ve watched the House Intelligence Committee devolve into chaos as its chairman worked with the White House to sabotage his own committee’s investigation. Every day we witness Sean Spicer’s bizarre press briefings, in which he repeatedly attacks reporters and blatantly lies in response to their questions. We’ve even found ourselves in partial agreement with people like GW Bush and Dick Cheney.

Today the Senate Intelligence Committee is holding a public hearing on Russia’s involvement in the election (It’s on C-Span 3 right now). Will tRump try to compromise their efforts too?

CNN: Senate intelligence leaders: 20 people to be questioned, first hearing Thursday.

The Senate intelligence committee has asked 20 people to be questioned in its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the panel’s chairman said Wednesday.

“This one is one of the biggest investigations the Hill has seen in my time here,” Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said at a news conference with committee vice-chairman Mark Warner. Burr’s been in the Senate since 2005, and served in the House since 1995.

Burr and Warner say they have 20 witnesses they plan to interview and have scheduled interviews with five of them so far. The committee leaders said that they are happy that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort have agreed to testify, but they have not yet decided when they will bring them in.

“To date, we have made 20 requests for individuals to be interviewed by the committee,” Burr said. “As we stand here today, five are already scheduled on the books, and probably within the next 10 days the remaining 15 will have a scheduled date for those individuals to be interviewed by our staff. We anticipate inviting additional individuals to come and be interviewed, and ultimately some of those interviewed individuals may turn into private or public hearings by the committee, but yet to be determined.”

Among those the committee appears to have talked to: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned after he misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

“It would be safe to say we have had conversations with a lot of people, and it would be safe to say Gen Flynn is a part of that list,” Burr said.

General Flynn has been talking to them? How very interesting. The Committee is also negotiating with Christopher Steele about testifying. He is the former British spy who compiled the famous Trump “dossier.”

There are new Russia stories out in the media too.

Sergei Millian

The Washington Post: Who is ‘Source D’? The man said to be behind the Trump-Russia dossier’s most salacious claim.

In June, a Belarusan American businessman who goes by the name Sergei Millian shared some tantalizing claims about Donald Trump.

Trump had a long-standing relationship with Russian officials, Millian told an associate, and those officials were now feeding Trump damaging information about his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Millian said that the information provided to Trump had been “very helpful.”

Unbeknownst to Millian, however, his conversation was not confidential. His associate passed on what he had heard to a former British intelligence officer who had been hired by Trump’s political opponents to gather information about the Republican’s ties to Russia.

The allegations by Millian — whose role was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and has been confirmed by The Washington Post — were central to the dossier compiled by the former spy, Christopher Steele. While the dossier has not been verified and its claims have been denied by Trump, Steele’s document said that Millian’s assertions had been corroborated by other sources, including in the Russian government and former intelligence sources.

The most explosive allegation that the dossier says originally came from Millian is the claim that Trump had hired prostitutes at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton and that the Kremlin has kept evidence of the encounter.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

BBC News: Trump Russia dossier key claim ‘verified.’ The subhead: “The BBC has learned that US officials “verified” a key claim in a report about Kremlin involvement in Donald Trump’s election – that a Russian diplomat in Washington was in fact a spy.” This is a long article, so please click on the link and read the whole thing. Here’s a taste:

The roadmap for the investigation, publicly acknowledged now for the first time, comes from Christopher Steele, once of Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6….At one point he wrote: “A leading Russian diplomat, Mikhail KULAGIN, had been withdrawn from Washington at short notice because Moscow feared his heavy involvement in the US presidential election operation… would be exposed in the media there.”

There was no diplomat called Kulagin in the Russian embassy; there was a Kalugin….

Mikhail Kalugin

If anyone looks like a harmless economist, rather than a tough, arrogant KGB man, it is the bland-faced Kalugin.

But sources I know and trust have told me the US government identified Kalugin as a spy while he was still at the embassy.

It is not clear if the American intelligence agencies already believed this when they got Steele’s report on the “diplomat”, as early as May 2016.

But it is a judgment they made using their own methods, outside the dossier.

A retired member of a US intelligence agency told me that Kalugin was being kept under surveillance before he left the US.

Read the rest at BBC News.

Is the tRump administration already failing? Ezra Klein writes at Vox: 70 days in, Donald Trump’s presidency is flailing.

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump broke every rule of politics — and he won anyway.

He dominated the Republican primary by running against the Republican Party. He repulsed the GOP’s key leaders and emerged all the stronger for it. He delighted in conspiracy theories and schoolyard insults. He contradicted himself routinely, but managed to sell his flip-flops as evidence of pragmatism rather than proof of dishonesty. He knew nothing about policy, didn’t bother to learn more, and profited from the uncertainty about his true positions. His campaign was clearly assisted by Russian hackers, but the story was overwhelmed by the obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails.

And then, of course, there was the election itself — Trump trailed in the polls, barely built a field operation, lost the popular vote, and then won the presidency.

Like many who covered Trump, I found it hard, after all this, to predict the likely path of his presidency. Perhaps he could defy every norm and succeed there too. But with every day that passes, Trump is looking more bound by the political system he promised to upend. The outcomes we’re seeing look like what you’d expect from an inexperienced, unfocused president who’s more interested in tweeting out cable news commentary than learning about the government he runs and the policies he wants to change. Merely 10 weeks into his term, the processes, skills, and institutions Trump flouted as a candidate are breaking him as a president.

Read the the details of Klein’s argument at Vox.

Ivanka becomes “Assistant to the President”

I have lots of stories for you today; the rest will be links only.

Foreign Policy podcast: Has Moscow Already Taken Down the Trump Administration?

Newsweek: FBI Director James Comey Tried to Reaveal Russian Tampering Months before Election.

New York Times: Ivanka Trump, Shifting Plans, Will Become a Federal Employee.

Reuters: Seattle sues Trump administration over threat to ‘sanctuary’ cities.

NBC News: Hawaii Judge Extends Order Blocking Trump ‘Travel Ban.’

CNN: Trump’s Outlook Going from Bad to Worse.

What stories are you following today?

 


42 Comments on “Thursday Reads: “That Was Some Weird Sh*t” — GW Bush”

  1. bostonboomer says:

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  2. roofingbird says:

    After the election I happened to see a repeat of Dr. Oz, where he had invited drumf and child wife to talk. Oz sat stoicly with a concerned look and not an once of dissent throughout the interview. As soon as drumf ran out of words besides “bigley” and “great”, child wife came out and genteelly began to talk about the childcare credit as though she were on QVC. They panned the audience and everyone was nodding approvingly. It was a horrible sight, but I understood then clearly how she was translator and seller in chief for drumf. All white women who had no clue what they were giving up.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Breaking: 2 White House Officials Helped Give Nunes Intelligence Reports

  4. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • Enheduanna says:

      tRump is just like my gullible brother – a complete idiot. He believes the stupidest most ludicrous stories because that’s what he wants to believe. His tRumpanzees still believe there are +30K emails Hillary destroyed and that tRump is honest but Hillary isn’t.

      To think we were robbed of someone like Hillary for this. I don’t think I’ve ever been so galled and angry in my life – even by personal stuff. I’m pissed and it isn’t going away.

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

    This may be the strangest thing you read all day:

    http://gizmodo.com/this-is-almost-certainly-james-comey-s-twitter-account-1793843641

    This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account

    Comey has a secret Twitter account under the name Reinhold Neibur

  7. janicen says:

    Check it out: My tweet was included in a Mashable article. I’ll be available to sign autographs this weekend. 😀
    http://mashable.com/2017/03/29/hillary-clinton-most-political-speech-since-election/#5kE53xSwxPql

  8. janicen says:

    I haven’t read the article because I can’t get past the paywall, but the WSJ is reporting that Flynn has agreed to be interviewed in re Russia stuff in exchange for…wait for it…IMMUNITY!!!

    • Fannie says:

      Up until today and those letters Cohen-Watnick/Michael Ellis, they kept blaming Obama People. Now things are changing.

      You don’t just get immunity because you ask for it, I don’t think he credible…………and so does this go to US Courts………….and getting a court order compelling you to talk before a grand jury?

  9. janicen says:

    Who called Flynn in the pool? I know I called Manafort.

    • bostonboomer says:

      One of the articles in my post said that Flynn has already been talking to the Senate Intel committee. I assumed he was already talking to the FBI.

    • dakinikat says:

      I thought he and his son would be the first … they turned on him the minute they threw him out of the West wing and the tough guys are always the biggest babies.

      • Fannie says:

        I don’t trust Trump. I think Flynn is taking a shot for him, and they are stacking it up, because he’s the patsy.

        • bostonboomer says:

          The author of the article says no one is taking Flynn up on it, which indicates they have the goods without his story.

  10. dakinikat says:

    and we have a carefully worded punt …

  11. dakinikat says:

    We all better go stock up on popcorn. SHEESH

  12. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Not sure what this means, but it’s interesting.

    FBI Agents Visit Office of Saipan Casino Run by Trump Protege

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-30/fbi-agents-visit-office-of-saipan-casino-run-by-trump-protege

  14. Earlynerd says:

    Of *course* tRump would do this:

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-trump-deployment-20170330-story.html

    If there’s a high probability the American public will object to something, just make it a state secret. Problem solved!