The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    How Far Will Trump Go?

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously invited Russia to hack his opponent’s email. He later claimed that it was just a joke. But when Donald Trump Jr. was told that Russia’s “crowd prosecutor” had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the younger Trump replied, “I love it,” and set up a meeting between the campaign leadership and Russian emissaries. Though nothing apparently came of this meeting, many have wondered why no one from the campaign reported Russia’s operations to Homeland Security.

    Well, President Trump now runs Homeland Security. We should be wondering what he’ll do when Russia tries to get him reelected in 2020.

    This is not a hypothetical question. U.S. intelligence agencies have publicly stated that Russia may conduct disinformation campaigns and “hack-and-leak operations” to interfere with future U.S. elections. A senior Homeland Security adviser who coordinates election cybersecurity likewise warned, “We continue to expect a pervasive messaging campaign by the Russians to undermine our democratic institutions.”

    According to a bombshell New York Times report last week, former Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen was so worried about Russian interference that she tried to coordinate a high-priority governmentwide strategy to protect the 2020 elections. But the White House resisted, and her efforts failed. Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly told security officials that Russian interference “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below [Trump’s] level.”

    The Times casts White House intransigence as driven by Trump’s insecurity about the legitimacy of his 2016 election. That in itself is outrageous, but it’s not the real danger. What happens next year when the President is briefed about a new Russian plot to assist his campaign? We’ve already seen that he and his family were willing to accept Russian help in 2016. We’ve already seen Trump try to obfuscate Russian hacking by blaming the Chinese, the Democratic National Committee, and an imaginary 400-pound hacker. We’ve already seen him and his family belittle Russia’s attacks. We’ve even seen his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claim, “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”

    So what happens in 2020 if Trump, down in the polls, learns that the Russians are trying to help him win? Consider that he, his family, and his company might even be facing criminal prosecution after he leaves office. Given the stakes, how far would he go to assure his reelection? It would not be necessary for the campaign to coordinate with Russia. As president, he could simply use his executive power to thwart Homeland Security’s counterintelligence response, allowing the Russians free rein to conduct their operation.

    The real threat revealed by the Times' report is that the President of the United States may use his office to help a hostile foreign power subvert our democracy. Worse, it tells us that he is already doing so.



    Your post is a good reminder that all the crazy developments happening in the various offices of our government are tied to strategies that could not care less about government.

    With all the threats against the system of our democracy, having people just doing their job seems to be what is most immediately under threat.


    Given the stakes, how far would he go to assure his reelection?

    You’re asking the one and only question that matters.  It is terrible to hear, to ask, and to answer, but all three must be done relentlessly.

    On that note, see Josh Marshall's commentary about Giuliani's "diplomatic" outreach:

    I need to return to the fact that the country’s biggest paper reported this week that the President’s personal lawyer is conducting unofficial diplomacy abroad, apparently mixed with his own private business and investments, in which he offers friendly treatment from the President of the United States in exchange for those governments targeting the President’s political enemies. This was reported and it wasn’t the biggest story of the week. This is a far, far bigger deal than any other fears about future tampering in a US presidential election using Facebook ads. The stakes are much higher, the danger much greater, when the colluding candidate is also the President of the United States.

    On any Ukraine stuff, I noticed just now that there is this "whattaboutism" all ready to go:

    Joe Biden's Ukrainian interests—whether coincidence or scandal—may be just the first volley in a broader war

    — VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) May 4, 2019

    Maybe it would be wiser to rag on Guiliani's frequent appearances supporting MEK nuts?

    I do wonder if the interference works a second time.  How do you “fake news” an election when everybody already knows about fake news?

    Like the vampire that can only enter your home if invited, I wonder if people hoodwinked by these types of things didn’t overtly want to be hoodwinked in the first place.  If that’s the case, maybe it’ll work again on them.  But they’ll vote for Trump without it, won’t they?

    I can't speak to the effectiveness of Russia's facebook ads, but historically, propaganda works. That's why people do it. Not just for a single election. For decades.

    Of course, propaganda works best on people who are receptive to the message, but that doesn't mean it doesn't influence their behavior. In particular, propaganda is good at mobilizing people, turning that apathetic Clinton-skeptic into a diehard Trump crusader.

    Just in case history actually does repeat itself sometimes: New York Times, 45 years ago this month.

    So I though to check on what John Dean is saying. on May 1, he said ...feels to me like we are back in Nixonland!....on May 2 he said ....COWARD!.... Nothing from him yet on the "breaking" about the little phone call with Putin.

    Nice find.

    But don't count on it.

    Thanks but thanks should go to Beschloss, I just follow him. I think the main reason we can't count on it is this comparison:

    1973–75 recession

    The 1973–75 recession or 1970s recession was a period of economic stagnation in much of the Western world during the 1970s, putting an end to the overall Post–World War II economic expansion. It differed from many previous recessions by being a stagflation, where high unemployment and high inflation existed simultaneously.

    United States[edit]

    Among the causes were the 1973 oil crisis and the fall of the Bretton Woods system after the Nixon Shock.[2] [....]

    contrast with the stories right there on the home page of the NYTimes today:

    Booming Jobs and Low Inflation: This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen
    There’s a lesson in the job market’s strong performance. Knowledge is limited when it comes to something as complex as the U.S. economy.
    It now appears that recession fears that emerged at the end of 2018 were misguided — especially once the Fed backed off its campaign of rate increases.

    Unemployment Report Caps Longest Streak of Job Creation in Modern Times
    Employers added 263,000 jobs in April, and the jobless rate fell to a 50-year low, dispelling recession fears.

    I read elsewhere convincing evidence that pay is finally going up for those hurting the most. And that the famously unemployed that don't appear in unemployment statistics for various reasons are finding the employment situation so favorable that they are finally going back to work, including disabled people..

    It's easy for a Republican Senator to have a spine about pushing a president out if you're not worried about how it might upset any applecarts and not worried you'd get blame for any economic crash afterwards, coincidental though that might be.

    One point on the how far? Implied here by Fmr FBI Special Agent, Navy, Writer, Teaching national security at USC that he is purposefully manipulating Americans into believing FBI investigations into same are corrupt:

    Watching the delirious responses to the cold-turkey Mueller Witch Hunt withdrawal is beyond spooky but predictable. The yellowed snowflakes, deep police -state actors,  pencil neck resistance and their media minions were unprepared for another humiliating defeat  and now they are completely exposed. The uncorruptable Bill Barr is grinning like an old tough T-Rex eager to chomp down on the Obama/Biden cabal rats who thought they had the power and right to frame a president and overturn an election.

    It's going to get bloody and the perps are already squealing like stuck pigs now that they see Payback is coming.

    Shame you were too lazy to read the Mueller Report (vs the Barr 4-page whitewash/effort-at-deflection).
    Uncorruptable? Barr's been corrupted for decades - including hiding FISA violations - and the reason he's Attorney General was he floated an "I'll-cover-your-corrupt-ass-if-you-make-me-AG" CV last fall to Trump - hardly surprising Trump took him up on that just as he took Putin rep Veselnitskaya's meeting in Trump Tower or Roger Stone-Wikileaks-brokered assistance in hacking Democratic emails or Giuliani's assistance in illegally leaking supposedly "disgruntled' active FBI agents threats-to-leak to the media.

    The House investigations are just beginning, all the while Trump is continuing his stall-and-deflect strategy to no avail.
    Lessee, are you denying Trump had meetings in Trump Tower and the Mayflower?

    BTW, 1) Trump's non-profit foundation was shut down for gross irregularities, with Trump family declared ineligible to run another one for years, 2) Trump's emoluments violations have been documented, 3) Trump was found to have not declared his income and owed taxes from his father (with Trump's sister quickly resigning as judge so she wouldn't be investigated for her tax avoidance).

    Keep on fishing for a silver lining, Peter - still trading in bullshit after all this time.

    Don Jr's Tower meeting may have been unwise but Veselnitskaya was working with or for Fusion GPS at that time and the other Russian was an admitted close associate of people in the Clinton campaign. This makes the meeting appear to be part of the Russian Collusion Hoax that Mueller's dossier had to admit was a false narrative.

    The Steele Dossier is being investigated as being intentional Russian disinformation delivered to the DNC to torpedo the Trump  presidential campaign. Even Marcy Wheeler commented on this possibility over a year ago. Halper and Mifsud were Western intelligence assets not Russian as claimed by the perpetrators of this fraud and even Downer the Australian was probably part of this push-pull operation.

    When Trump starts the document dumps after the IG report is released they won't be little bombshells but big Daisy Cutters and we already know the names and crimes of these rats.

    Nadler and his ilk can puff up like angry  blowfish all they want but they are impotent now and they know it, KAG.

    Bull fucking shit. She *may* have met Fusion GPS once - she denied it - but she was trying to get a Russian client off money laundering in 2015,

    and Fusion GPS seems a strange choice for Ted Cruz (the dossier's original funder) to lobby against the Magnitsky Act (Veletskaya's main task) instead of say trying to beat Trump, and it *never* made sense that she could come to the US to defend a client in US courts but would need an interpreter to help her talk to Jared and Don Jr? Bullshit all the way down. Yeah, middle of a presidential campaign, and the fuckers who like separating children from parents are going to meet about adoptions? Believe all your insane propaganda fuckery you want, Peter, but if it gets any more disjointed and Alex Jones, I will shut it down - this is not a site to simply echo Fox News.

    PS - yes, Marcy could be right that dossier items like the peepee tape or Cohen in Prague could be disinfo. But I didn't ever reference the dossier, and I simply don't care - every public and covered-up act by Team Trump shows a penchant for illegal and conspiratorial behavior, as well confirmed by both parts of the Mueller Report. Plus highly immoral and unethical, but we knew that from pussygate/illegal sex worker payoffs and Trump tax evasion and casino bankruptcies and not paying contractors and employees.

    Oh look, it's Peracles of Dagblog Mark Mazzetti of NYTimes vs. Peter (Unverified) Maria Bartiromo​ of Fox:

    Ha! I feel honored! (did Mark say "fuck"?)

    PP, threatening to kill the messenger won't save you or anyone else from the reckoning for the real crimes and abuses of power committed by the Obama/Biden regime.There's too much documented evidence and too few deep state actors remaining in positions of power to cover up these crimes and even Bob Woodward is demanding a thorough investigation.

    Fox News has a poorly hidden anti-Trump bias but their straight news reporting seems accurate and factual. FYI Veletskaya met with Glenn Simpson just hours before the Tower meeting  and again soon after that and she also carried a memo outlining the, probably bogus, dirt on the Clinton campaign that was written by Fusion GPS. This looks like another push-pull operation to inject supposed Russian supplied information into the Trump campaign and extract it as evidence of collusion. Both Jr and Papadoc rejected the tainted bait but that didn't stop the fake news media from using it to further the collusion delusion.

    The Obama/Biden corruption and weaponizing of the IC, to attack his political opponents here and abroad began years before Trump sought the presidency and involved some of the same players and targets as after Trump became president. The Red Queen and most of the deep state cult are powerless and unable to continue the coverup that shielded them all from exposure and justice.

    Oh right - Hillary had the perfect scam, bring in Veletskaya to Fusion, and then hold a meeting with the Trump Team in Trump Tower and then KEEP IT AS QUIET AS A MOTHERFUCKING MOUSE UNTIL AFTER SHE'D LOST THE ELECTION!!! That'll show him.

    Really, Peter - just piss off.

    Feeling sorry for your obviously neurological syntax disorder, fixed it for you:

    Fox News has a poorly hidden anti-Trump bias 

    should read

    Trump has a poorly hidden pro-Fox News bias

    Unfortunately I can't help with the paranoid delusions:

    The Red Queen and most of the deep state cult are powerless and unable to continue the coverup that shielded them all from exposure and justice.

    Well she did pull one over on the American people - the ultimate power grab - having her own email server. That' like even worse than cutting in line for Olive Tree sunday brunch - total authoritarian tendencies. Can you imagine if the Clintons got away with that, they might have turned Chappaqua into some brazen playground for policy wonks where they worked on weekends. How anti-union can you get. We really dodged a bullet there.

    No need for Peter to read the whole Mueller report, all he needs to reconcile with his spin is this one-paragraph conclusion from it:

    Возвращаюсь к работе, товарищ.

    The comrade’s work product is pretty pathetic 

    Nancy sort of addresses the question in your title:

    Pelosi: Trump is becoming 'self-impeachable' @, 05/08/2019 09:21 AM EDT

    Pence basically tells the Federalist Society the plan is to go as far as they can:

    Josh Marshall has already conveyed his confidence that if Trump can bring any colorable claim to the Supreme Court they will sustain it. 


    One may imagine that while we take some comfort in our decentralized, and thus hard to "fix" electoral structure, the fabrication of a colorable "contest" (ie, referral to the courts/court) of the outcome in any given state may be supported by the introduction of a "clumsy", and therefor detected, hack ostensibly undertaken in support of the Dem.


    Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of litigation.

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