Tuesday Reads: Andrew McCabe Reveals the Real National Emergency (and Other News)

Good Morning!!

I preordered the Andrew McCabe book, and I plan to read it today; but it appears that what he talks about in his interviews may turn out to be more revealing than anything in the book. I wonder if that’s because the FBI wouldn’t let him include some things (any book by an FBI agent has to be approved by the agency before publication) and, as Marcy Wheeler tweeted this morning, he just doesn’t give a fuck anymore? He didn’t include the fact that Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a wire in the White House or discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office even though we learned about it awhile ago.

Knox was referring to McCabe’s revelation that he briefed Congress’s gang of eight on why he opened a counterintelligence investigation of Trump. Natasha Bertrand says he did put that in the book though, so the FBI was apparently OK with it.

Wow! And not one of those eight people had the guts to speak out. And what about Mitch McConnell’s refusal in 2016 to allow a bipartisan announcement about the Russian interference in the election.Why didn’t Obama make the announcement anyway? Why didn’t the Democratic leadership speak out either before the election or afterwards when they were briefed about the FBI investigations in 2917? We deserve answers.

Trump has been following Putin’s orders and tearing down our country from within and destroying the Western alliance for two years and not one of these “leaders” has been willing to risk his or her career to let us know.

Here’s McCabe on the Today Show this morning:

Click this link to watch more of the Today interview.

Natasha Bertrand writes at The Atlantic: Andrew McCabe Couldn’t Believe the Things Trump Said About Putin.

In the months before President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, FBI counterintelligence agents investigating Russian election interference were also collecting evidence suggesting that Trump could be compromised by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who oversaw the bureau’s Russia investigation, told me in an interview conducted late last week that concerns about Trump had been building “for some time”—and that he was convinced the FBI would have been justified in opening a case against the president.

“We felt like we had credible, articulable facts to indicate that a threat to national security may exist,” McCabe told me. And FBI officials felt this way, he said, even before Trump fired Comey. That firing set off a chain of events that, as McCabe put it, turned the world “upside down.” McCabe wrote contemporaneous memos describing “key” conversations he had during that chaotic period—with the president, with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and others—that are now in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

McCabe’s new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, is not generally overstated in its approach to Trump. This reflects either an aversion to exaggeration on McCabe’s part—his self-image, it seems, is that of a just-the-facts-ma’am G-man—or an awareness that the Justice Department’s inspector general has, for all intents and purposes, branded him a fabulist, a charge he finds particularly wounding. McCabe, who was fired in March 2018, told me he’ll be filing a lawsuit against the Justice Department that will challenge the circumstances of his termination, which was ostensibly based on the inspector general’s findings that he had leaked information to the media without permission. In person, McCabe still seems awed by the “series of head-scratching, completely shocking events” that he witnessed two years ago.

You can read the interview at The Atlantic; here’s a brief excerpt:

Bertrand: Before Robert Mueller was appointed, Trump met with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in the Oval Office, where he disclosed classified information. How did you react when you found out about that conversation?

McCabe: It was the latest in a string of head-scratching, completely shocking events. For counterintelligence investigators, the idea that the American president would have a Russian foreign minister and his media into the Oval Office and that he would make a comment like that—a comment that so clearly undermined the effectiveness of his chief law-enforcement and intelligence agency—was just confounding.

Bertrand: That reminds me of a passage that jumped out at me in your book: “He thought North Korea did not have the capability to launch such missiles. He said he knew this because Vladimir Putin had told him so … the president said he believed Putin despite the PDB [Presidential Daily Briefing] briefer telling him that this was not consistent with any of the intelligence that the US possessed.” How do you explain that?

McCabe: It’s inexplicable. You have to put yourself in context. So I am in the director’s chair as acting director. My senior executive who had accompanied the briefer to that briefing, who sat in the room with the president and others, and heard the comments, comes back to the Hoover Building to tell me how the briefing went. And he sat at the conference table, and he just looked down at the table with his hands out in front of him. I was like, “How did it go?” And he just—he couldn’t find words to characterize it. We just sat back and said, “What do we do with this now?” How do you effectively convey intelligence to the American president who chooses to believe the Russians over his own intelligence services? And then tells them that to their faces?

McCabe will be in studio with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tonight.

In other news, Trump’s fake “national emergency” is accumulating lawsuits. The latest, from The New York Times: 16 States Sue to Stop Trump’s Use of Emergency Powers to Build Border Wall.

WASHINGTON — A coalition of 16 states, including California and New York, on Monday challenged President Trump in court over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars on his border wall.

The lawsuit is part of a constitutional confrontation that Mr. Trump set off on Friday when he declared that he would spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than Congress had granted him. The clash raises questions over congressional control of spending, the scope of emergency powers granted to the president, and how far the courts are willing to go to settle such a dispute.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, argues that the president does not have the power to divert funds for constructing a wall along the Mexican border because it is Congress that controls spending….

The lawsuit, California et al. v. Trump et al., says that the plaintiff states are going to court to protect their residents, natural resources and economic interests. “Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border,” the lawsuit says.

Today is day four of the “emergency,” and Trump has spent those four days golfing in Florida and sending out angry tweets about Andrew McCabe and the Russia investigation.

This is also happening.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Roger Stone after he posted a threatening message about the judge in his case yesterday. Buzzfeed News: Roger Stone Posted A Photo Of The Judge Presiding Over His Case Next To Crosshairs.

The post comes days after the judge, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, rejected Stone’s effort to get his case reassigned to a new judge.T

Jackson also previously ruled that Stone couldn’t talk to news outlets in front of her courthouse.

Stone, 66, took to Instagram to bring attention to special counsel Robert Mueller, saying he used “legal trickery” to place his case in front of Jackson, a US district judge in the District of Columbia. Stone’s case is being prosecuted jointly by Mueller’s office and the US attorney’s office in Washington.

“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson , an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again [sic] Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime,” Stone wrote in the caption to the photo, including the hashtag #fixisin….

The photograph — a version of which appeared earlier on a site pushing false conspiracy theories — featured a target symbol near the judge’s head. The symbol is also associated with the Zodiac killer.

That was completely irresponsible and could easily lead one of the Trump crazies to attack Judge Jackson. She will likely need protection from Federal marshals now. I hope she throws Stone in jail.

No word from the “president” on this as yet.

I’m sure you seen the embarrassing videos of Mike Pence’s appearance in Munich last week in which he was greeted with stony silence when he mentioned Trump and called for European countries to withdraw from the Iran deal. Well, the White House is claiming he did too get applause.

The Week: The White House says Pence was greeted with applause after mentioning Trump in a speech. He wasn’t.

Maybe they meant to type “(Crickets)”?

The White House has posted online the remarks made by Vice President Mike Pence last Friday at the Munich Security Conference, but there’s a glaring error. In the beginning of his address, Pence said it was his “great honor” to speak “on behalf of a champion of freedom and a champion of a strong national defense, the 45th president of the United States, President Donald Trump.” In the transcript, it says this was followed by “(Applause).” In reality, it was followed by (Silence).

As video from the event shows, Pence expected to be met with some sort of a reaction, as he paused, awkwardly, before moving on. The White House hasn’t said why it inserted this fabrication, or why they didn’t go with something more exciting, like (Audience starts chanting, “USA! USA! USA!” while twirling star-spangled rally towels) or (German Chancellor Angela Merkel dons a MAGA cap, initiates The Wave)

Nancy Pelosi had a different message for our allies. Politico:Nancy Pelosi to Europe: Trump is not the boss.

Pelosi and a delegation of U.S. lawmakers were in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday to reassure European partners at a time when transatlantic relations have been deeply fractured by Trump’s criticism of allies and his unpredictability in policymaking.

Among the messages that Pelosi said she brought to the EU capital was that the U.S. president is not all-powerful. Of course, it was a lesson Europeans watched her teach Trump in the standoff over a recent government shutdown — where she forced the president to back down.

“We’re not a parliamentary government even though we’re parliamentarians,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “We have Article 1, the legislative branch, the first branch of government, coequal to the other branches and we have asserted ourselves in that way.”

Pelosi said that one European colleague had asked why the House of Representatives had only recently adopted a resolution in support of NATO. She said that she explained it was because she and the Democrats had only retaken control of the majority at the start of the year.

“I said because we just got the majority and then we can control, we can manage what goes on to the floor,” Pelosi said. “But once the Republican colleagues had the opportunity to vote on this, H.R. 676 NATO Support Act — what was it? 357 to 22 no’s. I think that that sends a very clear message.”

One more bit of news: Unfortunately Bernie Sanders has decided to run for president, and he’s already attacking “identity politics.”

Good luck with that, Bernie. Goddess I hate that man.

So . . . what else is happening? What stories are you following today?

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49 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Andrew McCabe Reveals the Real National Emergency (and Other News)”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Thanks to NW Luna for retweeting this:

  2. dakinikat says:

    I keep picking my jaw up off the floor. If I shake my head anymore I’ll have to wear a neck brace. You’re spot on with the question why didnt our leaders act? Why don’t they act now? From Obama on down … they have some explaining to do …
    Great links and analysis BB!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks. This should have been revealed during the election. Hillary Clinton is the rightful president.

      • NW Luna says:

        “not one of those eight people had the guts to speak out. Why didn’t Obama make the announcement anyway? Why didn’t the Democratic leadership speak out? We deserve answers.”

        No answer will ever provide justification. The damage done to our public lands, the intelligence breached, the elections hacked, the infrastructure infiltrated, the allies betrayed, the corruption.The US and the environment will not recover for decades.

        • quixote says:

          Exactly. Why? Why, why, why, why, why?

          Harry Reid wrote that famous letter in — what was it? August? — of 2016 saying somebody (Obama?) needed to disclose what was going on. But he, Reid himself, never did. Obama apparently thought telling Putin to “cut it out” was going to help.

          I wonder if I’ll live long enough to find out what was actually going on in all these people’s minds as they watched the country go over the cliff. They can’t have *all* been too chickenshit to say anything. ???

          • bostonboomer says:

            I feel the same way. I doubt if I’ll live long enough to see all the damage repaired, if it ever happens.

        • jackyt says:

          As I understand the article, McCabe briefed the “gang of eight” in 2017, after Comey was fired and he became acting director of the FBI. While I will never forgive Obama for caving to McConnell during the campaign, I think we need to keep timelines straight.

          • bostonboomer says:

            You’re right, I shouldn’t have conflated this briefing with the ones that the Gang of Eight received in 2016. Nevertheless, my point was that none of these people cared to risk their careers for the good of the country by speaking out, before or after the election. I’ve edited the paragraph to make this more clear.

            The Gang of Eight had previously been briefed by Comey; that was when Feinstein came out with all the color washed from her face. Our leaders knew what was happening and they have remained silent instead of standing up for democracy.

            Look at Paul Ryan. He knew all this, and he’s now completely free to talk. But it’s more important to him to get a lucrative lobbying position or run for another office than saving our country.

          • dakinikat says:

            What about Adam Schiff? He was gang of 8 then … maybe we all need to write to him and ask?

      • Pilgrim says:

        “cut it out”………so bold and brave!

      • Pilgrim says:

        “Hillary Clinton is the rightful president” —- agreed

  3. bostonboomer says:

    From AZ Central: Grand Canyon tourists exposed for years to radiation in museum building, safety manager says.

    For nearly two decades at the Grand Canyon, tourists, employees, and children on tours passed by three paint buckets stored in the National Park’s museum collection building, unaware that they were being exposed to radiation.

    Although federal officials learned last year that the 5-gallon containers were brimming with uranium ore, then removed the radioactive specimens, the park’s safety director alleges nothing was done to warn park workers or the public that they might have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

    In a rogue email sent to all Park Service employees on Feb. 4, Elston “Swede” Stephenson — the safety, health and wellness manager — described the alleged cover-up as “a top management failure” and warned of possible health consequences.

    “If you were in the Museum Collections Building (2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were ‘exposed’ to uranium by OSHA’s definition,” Stephenson wrote. “The radiation readings, at first blush, exceeds (sic) the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s safe limits. … Identifying who was exposed, and your exposure level, gets tricky and is our next important task.”

    • NW Luna says:

      WTH? “brimming with uranium ore” ? The idiots in charge of this should have to live with those buckets of uranium.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Here we go. Amy Berman Jackson is not happy with Roger Stone.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    Just got my copy of the McCabe book from Amazon. I believe McCabe at this point as there also seems to be others in the room when these meetings took place and can back him up.

    As for Obama, I can only assume that he believed that Hillary was going to win. She was way up in the polls at that time and Comey had yet to rush to a microphone which saw her numbers decrease. It is the only excuse I can offer. None of us truly believed Trump was going to pull out a win.

    McConnell and cohorts are the sleaze buckets here. Right from the beginning they stood firm in not challenging Trump on anything. It seems that McConnell had “donors” of Russian descent throwing money into his coffers. The NRA was also compromised. They all stood shoulder to shoulder in defiance of their enabling of these people. They have hung together throughout.

    The actual question hopefully to be answered by Mueller is the “why?”

    Back to reading.

  6. joanelle says:

    If I were a Republican I’d be furious with my party leaders, that ‘grand old party’ has more than a black eye, it’s clearly black and blue from the punishment it’s gotten by supporting donny for as ‘president’. For them to just sit back do nothing while donny demolishes department after department or simply puts another dimwit or worse in charge is more than embarrassing – it’s dangerous and has made us the laughing stock.
    Mitch McConnell has performed shamefully as Senate Speaker. He has been the most obstructive leader any organization could imagine, What a way to end one’s career! He too has got to GO.

    • quixote says:

      Ever since Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” and that was a long time ago, the 1950s!, the Republican party has been bleeding away people of conscience.

      They were a tiny minority in Reagan’s day. He delivered the final blow by making it jovial and affable and respectable to crap on the Constitution.

      Just a few years later we were getting Newt Gingrich. Now, it seems to be all over but the shouting.

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. joanelle says:

    Pat, we were apparently typing at the same time. I think there are two responses to ‘Why?’
    The money, those greedy buggers just couldn’t refuse it and the other is to insure they’d keep their seats.
    We don’t need anymore money to fund social security, medicare, medicaid – we simply need to operate as a sound business would. We need to stop our elected officials from what looks like skimming. They get elected and if they serve at least a year they get to keep their salary for the rest of their lives. Let them have a pension the way average workers in the US do not a lifetime full salary when they are no longer working for it.

    They are robbing us blind, we work for them instead of the way it’s supposed to be. Clearly this system must change. We can’t afford to keep filling the trough these piggies keep eating from.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Some stress relief: a man who plays piano for and with cats.

    • bostonboomer says:

      This Man Plays the Piano to His Rescue Cats

      Saper Duman is also a musician and is a proud father of nineteen cats. His Instagram page is filled with several videos of himself playing piano compositions for his cats. The cats listen attentively and even dictate the tunes.

      Duman allows the cats to decide the notes and plays around them. The cats obviously love their owner so much and often interrupt playing sessions with warm head rubs.

      This rescuer does not only care for nineteen cats, but he also takes in stray kittens, nurses them back to health and helps them get adopted into loving families.

      If you are stressed out, pop on your headphones and watch these soothing and heartwarming videos. It will definitely soothe you too.

    • NW Luna says:

      Love this man’s videos. Interspecies love and contentment. Truly a refuge.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Of course let’s not judge Bernie Sanders by his race, age, etc. Let’s judge him by his record. (pause, checks notes) Nope. He still loses.

    • NW Luna says:

    • Gregory P says:

      Sanders just guaranteed that Trump is going to get re-elected. No matter who wins the nomination Sanders is going to poison the well. Plus, who thinks he won’t run as an independent once he loses the nomination? Just like with Hillary. It will be “stolen” or the “DNC” will be corrupt, or whatever and his followers will gladly vote Trump.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      Since we seem to be fixating on old ass white dudes for some reason:

      Why the fuck can’t we talk about Jerry Brown, Russ Feingold and Al Gore?

      I would take any of those three over Biden or Sanders.

  11. NW Luna says:

    Dem House committees have been busy exposing more Trump treason and corruption.

    Top Trump appointees promoted selling nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over objections from national security officials, House Democratic report says

    Details about these internal White House battles are contained in a 24-page report released Tuesday morning by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The report is based on documents obtained by the committee and the account of unnamed whistleblowers inside the White House who said they were distressed at the continual effort to sell the power plants.

    • quixote says:

      The really scary thing about this is that Saudi Arabia has no earhtly use for nuclear power. They have enough oil to drown in it forever. They have enough solar to power all of Europe, if they wanted to.

      Their only use for reactors is the same as everybody’s who first pushed this “energy of the future.” It gives you a polite cover for making nuclear bombs.

      Israel has them (not officially of course), and both Iran and Saudi Arabia are green with envy about it. They’d love to have that to threaten Israel and each other. Considering the dildos they have in charge in those two countries, one of them would be bound to think it was brilliant to lob nukes, not just talk about it.

      And Dump and the Dauphin are fine with that in return for thirty pieces of silver.

      • Gregory P says:

        But there are still people who actually promote nuclear as some wonder power. These invariably are always the so called “pro science” crowd who don’t really know anything about science.

        • quixote says:

          No kidding.

          1) Nobody can build the plants fast enough to replace fossil fuel. One nuke takes about 5 years and five billion dollars and you’d need to complete about one every two months for the next 30 years (approx) to do that.

          2) They last about 30 years, at best, so in 30 years, you get to keep that insane schedule forever.

          3) You get to truck around and store the waste forever, millenia longer than our whole civilization (any of them, take your pick) has been around at the cost of more tens and hundreds of billions.

          4) We’re pretending there won’t be any accidents that cost hundreds of billions (to say nothing of lives).

          5) None of those billions can be used for real solutions providing renewable, sustainable energy.

          And yet, as you say, we’ve got all these self-styled hardheaded tech types who keep trying to convince themselves nukes are the answer. (Their questions must not have anything to do with actually providing energy.)

  12. bostonboomer says:

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Trump tried to get Whitaker to interfere with the SDNY investigation.

    • bostonboomer says:

      As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.

      Mr. Whitaker, who had privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to “jump on a grenade” for the president, knew he could not put Mr. Berman in charge, since Mr. Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. The president soon soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away.

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. dakinikat says:

  16. NW Luna says:

    Uh-oh. I hate to think who Trump would try to appoint if he fires Coats.

    Members of Congress voice alarm about report that Trump has grown frustrated with Coats