Finally Friday Reads: Trump leaked Classified Russian Documents

Robert Delaunay, Rythme Joie de Vivre, 1933

Robert Delaunay, Rythme, Joie de Vivre, 1933

Good Day Sky Dancers!

We always knew that the Trump Presidency displayed narcisism combined with a grab for personal power and money.  It seems we’re getting close to some indictments.  Investigative journalists Murray Waas has an exclusive up today on his substack. “EXCLUSIVE: FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP LEAKED CLASSIFIED RUSSIA PAPERS TO CONSERVATIVE JOURNALIST. Trump’s leak of the records raises new questions regarding his handling of classified information as the special counsel’s probe of Trump’s removal of classified documents to Mar-a-Lago intensifies.”

In the closing days of his presidency— as President Donald J. Trump was preparing to declassify and make public almost a thousand pages of highly classified records pertaining to the FBI investigation into Russia’s covert interference in the 2016 presidential election to help elect him, and defeat Hillary Clinton — he turned to conservative columnist John Solomon for help.

On Jan 14, 2021, less than a week before Trump was to leave office, Solomon excitedly declared on his podcast, “I am here to tell you that, just a little while ago, President Trump authorized the declassification of all remaining FBI documents of the Russia probe to be made public before he leaves office.” Solomon said that the records consisted of a “foot and a half stack tall of documents from the FBI and Justice Department,” which, Solomon promised, would, in turn, contain “bombshell after bombshell.”

Towards that end, on Jan. 19, 2021, the day before he was to leave office, Trump signed a presidential order declaring that the Russia papers were to “be declassified to the maximum extent possible.” The order was signed about 7 p.m., ET.

On the very next day, though, just as Joe Biden was about to take his oath of office, Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, wrote a memo apparently clarifying Trump’s order, indicating that the documents would not be made public anytime soon. Meadows wrote in his Jan. 20, 2021 memo that the White House was “returning the bulk of the… documents to the Department of Justice” because of concerns by the department that their release would violate the Privacy Act.

Despite this, Solomon was able to post a story on his own website, Just the News, on the night of Jan. 19, 2021, and then another the following week, sourced from some of these very same records.

In the second of those stories, Solomon confirmed that they were based on documents that “were kept from the American people for four years until President Trump declassified them on his final day in office last week.”  Solomon highlighted the fact that the documents were exclusive to him: “They were obtained by Just the News.”  He also posted the actual documents online to accompany both stories.

Circular forms, Sun and Moon, Robert DeLaunay

Waas spoke to Solomon and described that conversation after this excerpt.  You can read more at the link. In other news regarding the classified documents, Reuters has this headline. “Exclusive: Trump lawyer hires own attorney in classified documents probe.” Andrew Goudsward has the lede.

A lawyer for former President Donald Trump retained an attorney to represent himself as prosecutors step up their inquiry into the handling of sensitive documents at Trump’s Florida residence, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Evan Corcoran, who has represented Trump in interactions with the government over presidential records taken to his Mar-a-Lago resort, has turned to Michael Levy, a prominent white-collar lawyer in Washington, according to people familiar with the matter.

Levy was hired by Corcoran’s law firm, Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, to represent Corcoran in the probe, according to one of the people.

Levy, a principal at the Washington law firm Ellerman Enzinna Levy, declined to comment.

Corcoran has appeared before a grand jury in connection with U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago following Trump’s term in office and possible attempts to obstruct that probe. He appeared before the grand jury in early January, according to a person familiar with his appearance.

One of Biden’s big deals has been the speed at which he’s gotten federal judges slotted into vacancies.  Many suspect Ron Klein had much to do with this since he once served the Judicial Committe in the Senate in the role of getting that done.  The Republicans have decided that’s an issue and are blaming Senator Lindsey Graham. This is from The Hill by Alexander Bolton. “Lindsey Graham in GOP hot seat for speedy judicial nominees.”  The Republicans have worked hard at placing unqualified judges into slots where they will follow a political and philosophical approach to the law.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is coming under pressure from conservatives on his panel and outside Congress to slow down consideration of President Biden’s judicial nominees.

Graham has voted for more of Biden’s nominees than any other Republican on the Judiciary Committee, something that is coming under scrutiny from conservatives after Democrats this week celebrated the 100th successful confirmation of a Biden judicial nominee.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Republicans shouldn’t have let Democrats confirm so many Biden nominees to the federal courts when the Senate was evenly split during Biden’s first two years in office.

“The truth is the leadership squandered a 50-50 Senate. They could have at the committee level made a major push to vote together and to stop at least the circuit court nominees. Every single one of them would have required a discharge petition. We didn’t do that,” Hawley told The Hill.

“There was no concerted effort made whatsoever,” he added. “Say what you want about [Democratic Judiciary Committee Chairman] Dick Durbin [D-Ill.] but he has not taken his eye off the ball. He’s had help from Republicans.”

Senate Democrats are well ahead of the pace set by Republicans when they controlled the Senate during former President Trump’s term in office. Senate Republicans didn’t confirm the 100th judge appointed by Trump until May of 2019 — about three months later than when Biden hit the milestone.

“I think it’s a good time near the beginning of this Congress to go back and look at the last Congress and compare that to what happened in the previous administration and figure out if we’re needlessly accelerating the pace at which they’re being confirmed,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), another member of the Judiciary Committee.

“Needlessly?”  Whatever happened to a right to speedy trial and the data that shows the dockets all have more cases than they can handle now. Once again, Republicans just serve their donor overloards and obstruct good governance and outcomes.  While we’re after Lady Lindsey, let’s think on this a moment.

This is from Forbes under it’s subheadline Billionaires. ” Zach Everson has he byline. “Lindsey Graham Raised $158,000 For His Legal Expenses, Mostly From Other Senators.”  Well, isn’t THAT special?

In November, after three months of legal challenges, the Supreme Court ordered Graham to testify before an Atlanta-area grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s attempt to subvert the 2020 presidential election. Graham complied.

If the senator hopes to offset all of his legal bills, his expense fund is going to need to raise even more cash. On Nov. 30, Graham’s campaign paid $268,000 to Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, a law firm based in South Carolina. Graham’s legal expense fund paid the firm an additional $40,000 the following week.

Robert Castellani, the CEO of North American Rescue, chipped in $10,000. His company provides medical products for the military and has won $100 million in federal contracts since 2001.

Leadership PACs for seven current Republicans maxed out with $10,000 contributions to their colleague, according to disclosures filed with the secretary of the senate and the Federal Election Commission. Republicans John Barasso (Wyoming), John Boozman (Arkansas), Michael Crapo (Idaho), Steve Daines (Montana), John Hoeven (North Dakota), James Lankford (Oklahoma) and Tim Scott (South Carolina) all routed money in Graham’s direction. The PAC of former Sen. Richard Shelby (Alabama) pitched in $10,000 as well. Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Kevin Cramer (North Dakota) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) sent several thousand dollars apiece. Some of these donations were reported previously by The Daily Beast and Raw Story.

Nicholas A. Mastroianni II also contributed $10,000. He is the chairperson of U.S. Immigration Fund, which helps foreign investors obtain permanent U.S. residency. To participate in the program, Mastroianni’s company needs to be approved by the Citizenship and Immigration Services.

A spokesperson for Graham, Kevin Bishop, declined to provide details about discussions Graham may have had with the donors about their businesses. “Senator Graham complies with all regulations and laws as required,” the spokesperson said.

Only one donor to Graham’s defense fund responded to Forbes’ inquiries. “I’ve worked with the senator for over a decade,” said Wallace Cheves, owner of Sky Boat Gaming, a casino developer. “I was happy to chip in.”

Relief, Rhythms (1932) – Robert Delaunay

Let’s go back to my obsession with the balloons.  According to The Wall Street Journal, as summarized by Raw Story, Trump officials knew about mystery balloons but never connected dots to China: WSJ.”  And, yes, my obession with French artist Rober Delaunay’s floating abstract circularish objects is due to these stories too!

Defense officials during the Trump administration were aware of other spy balloon incursions into U.S. territory — but never reported these incidents to the White House and never reached a definitive conclusion that they originated from China, according to a Friday report by the Wall Street Journal.

“Following the shootdown earlier this month of a Chinese high-altitude balloon, the Biden administration revealed these past incidents, but didn’t say where they had flown, and added that they likely went undetected by the previous administration,” reported Vivian Salama. “Now it appears some intelligence officials at the Pentagon were aware of the incidents and harbored concerns that they were related to China, believing Beijing was using them to test radar-jamming systems over sensitive U.S. military sites. The data collected about the Trump-era incidents was limited to a basic assessment and therefore wasn’t shared more broadly within the government at the time.”

The balloons in question were detected over Navy facilities in Coronado, California; Norfolk, Virginia; and Guam.

Despite some officials’ suspicions of Chinese involvement, intelligence assessments “never got to be assertive” about that conclusion, and major officials like Defense Secretary Mark Esper say they do not recall being briefed on the matter.

Soleil, tour, aéroplane (Sun, Tower, Airplane), 1913, Robert DeLaunay

So, why does Trump still have a bank account in China?  There’s another Raw Story article today that has me in stiches. ‘Dumbest move I could possibly imagine’: Michael Cohen reveals Trump just subpoenaed him in a lawsuit.”  Sarah K. Burns has the byline.

Michael Cohen spoke to MSNBC on Thursday about someone calling himself a “private investigator” trying to deliver a package to him. Ultimately, the truth came out that he was a process server trying to hand over a subpoena.

Detailing the scene to Nicolle Wallace, Cohen explained that the documents made it look like it was a lawsuit from The People of New York (Letitia James) vs. a list of several people.

“And it’s a subpoena. It’s a subpoena to testify,” Cohen revealed. “And I’m saying to myself, my God, this is so weird. Why would the attorney general ask for me or why would they subpoena me? All you have to do is call and ask me and I’d be happy to come in and provide any testimony that they want. Well, after reading the document the first few pages I realized it’s actually not from the attorney general but rather it’s from Trump’s lawyers. It’s like five or six of them are subpoenaing me to come in a couple of weeks and provide a deposition.”

He confessed he had no idea why, and that there were several law firms listed, everyone from the typical names like Alina Habba and more.

“It’s one of the dumbest moves I could possibly imagine they would want,” said Cohen. “Clearly, the information I’m providing is predicated on documentation, you know, on documentary evidence, and as much as they think they’re going to bully me, it’s not going to happen. They’re not going to benefit from it. And tomorrow, fortunately, I’m seeing another lawyer in order to determine whether or not I’m going to make a motion to quash the subpoena and basically show Donald the same consideration he showed to the American people.”

The information came after Cohen continued his attacks on the Southern District of New York for the Justice Department’s attempts to silence him from revealing details about Trump. He’s been engaged in an ongoing effort to obtain the documents around the ordeal, as well as the Bureau of Prisons, attempting to prevent him from publishing a book. Thus far the government has refused to give up the information, even under President Joe Biden’s administration. Cohen is going to court over the request for the information.

Air, Iron, and Water,1937 Robert Delaunay

Sooner or later, someone will deliver us from this meddlesome psychopath. Trump and the cult just won’t go away without some kind of legal or divine intervention.  This is from Michael Scherer at the Washington Post.  “GOP wants candidates to pledge support for nominee — but some resist. Trump said he won’t commit to supporting the winner if he loses the nomination, and other potential candidates have hedged on the issue.”  I wonder what will happen to Ronna if her Uncle decides to run if she’s having such issues now?

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is so concerned that party disunity will sink GOP hopes in the 2024 presidential election that she plans to require all candidates on the official primary debate stages to first pledge their support to the party’s eventual nominee.

But many of the likely contenders are pushing back.

Former president Donald Trump said this month that he won’t commit to supporting the winner if he loses the nomination. “It would have to depend on who the nominee was,” he told a conservative radio host. Former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, another potential candidate, recently tweeted that he “won’t commit to supporting” Trump.

Others have settled on more nuanced hedges. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who just created a new organization to help him explore a possible campaign, says he will support the eventual nominee, but is certain Trump won’t be that person. Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, who has not decided on whether to sign a pledge, has gone so far as to speak with McDaniel about his opposition to it, arguing that Republicans should not be enforcing litmus tests.

It’s rather obvious the various ‘wings’ of the Republican party hate each other and it’s every man for himself.  This presidential shit season should be a clusterfuck if there ever was one.  Also, its zombie candidates refuse to die.

Politico has this story.  “Republican losers look to run again in ’24 — and the party’s at odds over how to stop them.” It just couldn’t happen to a meaner bunch of fascists.

House and Senate Republicans widely acknowledge that bad candidates cost them seats in the 2022 election. They just don’t agree on what to do about it in 2024.

After a midterm cycle that saw underfunded and deeply conservative nominees blow winnable races across the country, the new regime at the National Republican Senatorial Committee is reversing its policy of neutrality and will now selectively intervene to pick winners in open GOP primaries. But in the House, where Republicans are protecting a paper-thin majority, the campaign committee will remain largely hands-off.

The split over strategy comes at a critical juncture for the GOP: Some of the party’s most controversial losers from 2022 are launching campaigns or considering running in 2024. That includes Blake Masters and Kari Lake in Arizona, J.R. Majewski in Ohio and Joe Kent in Washington.

The crop of failed candidates mulling comebacks is causing headaches for party operatives who are desperate to address one of the big problems that plagued them last fall.

Let’s face it. One of our parties isn’t the least bit functional, and that continues to have an impact on our country overall.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

19 Comments on “Finally Friday Reads: Trump leaked Classified Russian Documents”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Have a good weekend! It’s the big Mardi Gras weekend and I’m staying home!

  2. dakinikat says:

    Wow, they are coming for him nonstop!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Romney is 75. I thought Republicans wanted younger candidates.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Uh Oh Ken Paxton Is In A Heap Of Trouble With The Feds
    The recent whistleblower settlement regarding Ken Paxton was a joke. Now the DoJ is taking over. Be afraid, Ken!

    Looks like the DOJ is getting a fire under them!

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    “I’m sort of keeping my mind open,” Romney said in an interview. “There’s no particular hurry. I’m doing what I would do if I’m running with staffing and resources, so it’s not like I have to make a formal announcement.”

    His decision about whether to run again comes as Trump is making his third campaign for the White House, presenting Romney an opportunity to continue to serve as a chief foil to the former president.

  9. VA in SC says:

    The Murray Waas cataloge & timeline,he mentioned that WH counsels, Pat Cippoloni and Pat Philbin told TFG that keeping, copies of the Russian classified materials& documents was illegal. TFG takes them to MAL. Solomon reads portions over his podcast. And Cippoloni,Philbin don’t relay any of this to Jan.6 Committee until subpoenaed. And even then parse words. This tells me some are above the law.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Another mass shooting, because we went so long without one. Republican legislators have already put their earplugs in, and turned on the “Thoughts and Prayers” auto-tweets.

    Six people were killed in a series of shootings in Tate County, Miss., on Friday, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
    The suspect has been apprehended, according to the Tate County sheriff’s office. Authorities have not identified the suspect or the victims.

    The shootings occurred in Arkabutla, a community of about 300 in Tate County, about 45 miles south of Memphis. Few details were available. “This is an open and ongoing investigation; no further comment will be made by [Mississippi Bureau of Investigation] at this time,” said Bailey Martin, a spokeswoman with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

  11. NW Luna says:

    The Air, Iron, and Water painting looks like Delaunay’s takeoff on Turner’s Rain, Steam, and Speed.