Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 14, 2018

The Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials accused of hacking into DNC and Clinton campaign computer networks, the Washington Post reports.

The indictments come just hours after President Trump once again called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” and a few days before the president is scheduled to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Mueller has now brought indictments against 32 people and 3 companies. He’s obtained 5 guilty pleas so far, including from Trump’s national security adviser and deputy campaign manager. Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is in prison awaiting trial.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called in a statement for President Trump to cancel his one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Said Schumer: “President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections. Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also came out against the meeting, writing that if Trump “is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward.”

Any real American President would immediately cancel any upcoming meetings with Putin or any Russian official and then break off diplomatic relations after this new bombshell indictment announcing finally revealing the details of the Russian Attack on America. But Trump is not a real American. He is a Russian agent and a traitor.

The amount of information contained in the grand jury’s indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials is extraordinary.  In summary, we learned that Russian hackers:

  • Sent, upon request, hacked information to a congressional candidate about his or her opponent.
  • Directly sent stolen information to a “then-registered state lobbyist” and “online source of political news.”
  • Coordinated the timing and release of of information related to the Black Lives Matter movement with “a reporter.”
  • Were in contact with someone regularly advising senior Trump campaign officials about the release of the information.
  • Discussed the timing of the release of hacked information to “heighten their impact” on the 2016 presidential election.

All of this information sheds new light on Donald Trump’s statement of July 26, 2016, when he said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”  Later that day, the Russian hackers “attempted to spearfish for the first time” email accounts used by Hillary Clinton’s personal office. Around the same time, the hackers also targeted 76 email addresses used by Clinton campaign officials.

Jonathan Chait: “President Trump has been all but charged with collusion in this indictment.”

“Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way. So I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago.”

— President Trump, in an interview with The Sun.

Washington Post: “That argument — that immigration changes existing ‘culture’ for the worse — is a staple of white nationalist rhetoric in the United States.”

President Trump insisted at his joint press conference with British prime minister Theresa May that he did not criticize her in his explosive interview with The Sun even though the audio of the entire interview was published.

Said Trump: “I didn’t criticize the prime minister. I have a lot of respect for the prime minister and unfortunately there was a story that was done which was generally fine, but it didn’t put in what I said about the prime minister… And I said tremendous things… they didn’t put it in the headline, I wish they put that in the headline.”

He also accused the British tabloid of being “fake news.”

“Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s road to confirmation may have a little-noticed obstacle: Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) firm views on privacy,” Bloomberg reports.

“While abortion has gotten most of the attention in the partisan fight over the nomination, the Kentucky Republican strongly disagrees with Kavanaugh on the meaning of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, and he’s shown little reluctance to defy Senate GOP leaders or the White House to make a point on civil liberties and other privacy issues.”

“In a Senate controlled by the GOP 50-49 with Republican Senator John McCain absent while fighting brain cancer, Paul’s vote can’t be taken for granted.”

Hahaha. Rand Paul has no credibility.  He of course will vote to confirm, even if he says he is a no.  He has played this game too often and now he is the boy who cried wolf.

Tacking in a different direction, President Trump said that the relationship between the United States and Britain is “very, very strong” and praised Prime Minister Theresa May for working “very hard” with him during a just-finished NATO summit in Brussels, NBC News reports.

“Trump’s remarks came just hours after the British tabloid The Sun published an interview with Trump in which he torched May over her handling of the U.K.’s impending divorce from the European Union and, perhaps more important, said that if her plan for Brexit goes forward it would “probably end” the chances of a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Britain.”

“When asked directly whether he regretted the interview, which appeared at a time when May’s job is on the line over her proposal for a ‘soft’ Brexit, Trump closed his eyelids and rolled his eyes.”

“Money that Jill Stein raised to recount votes in 2016 swing states is being used by her campaign to pay for legal bills stemming from the investigation of Russian interference in the last presidential election,” the Daily Beast reports.

“In June, the Daily Beast reported that the the U.S. Green Party candidate’s campaign, which raised $7.3 million for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, had in 2017 stopped disclosing its monthly spending with the Federal Election Commission. “

At a press conference with British prime minister Theresa May, President Trump refused to take a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta, dismissing the network as “fake news.”

He then took a question from John Roberts of Fox News, which he called “a real network.”

NBC News: “Hours after President Trump departed NATO headquarters Thursday, U.S. military leaders embarked on a full-scale ‘damage control’ operation with calls to their counterparts across Europe to reassure them that America will abide by its defense commitments in the region.”

“The outreach, directed by the Pentagon leadership, came after Trump threatened to reassess those commitments during a gathering with NATO allies in Brussels.”

First Read: “The political world gave House Republicans the benefit of the doubt on their select probe on Benghazi, but that probe never produced any indictments or guilty pleas (and it was ended immediately after the 2016 election). But with this hearing – plus their handling of the Russia investigation (compared with the Senate’s handling) – they’ve sullied the House’s reputation and its ability to conduct legitimate oversight.”

“And with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s hand-off approach, the buck here stops with him.”

The Hill reports that former White House press secretary Dana Perino scolded Republicans for “overboard” questions that “felt like a public lynching.”

Caitlin Owens: “Congressional Republicans think President Trump’s tariffs are going to hurt the economy, undoing some of their economic wins — but they’re not ready to cross the president until their voters feel the pain.”

“While some Republicans think Trump has a plan up his sleeve, most think there’s no good ending here. But they think the GOP base — which is fiercely loyal to Trump — needs to feel the impact of the new trade policies before Congress will have the voters’ permission to do something.”

Adam Davidson: “We do know that, over the past decade, wealthy oligarchs in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere have seen real-estate investment as a primary vehicle through which to launder money. The problem is especially egregious in the United Kingdom, where some have called the U.K. luxury real-estate industry ‘a money laundering machine.’ Golf has been a particular focus of money laundering. Although the U.K. has strict transparency rules for financial activity within the country, its regulators have been remarkably incurious about the sources of funds coming from firms based abroad. All we know is that the money that went into Turnberry, for example, came from the Trump Organization in the U.S. We—and the British authorities—have no way of knowing where the Trump Organization got that money.”

“The goal of laundering money is to take the proceeds of a criminal activity—government corruption, tax fraud, drug trade, or many others—and to disguise its origin. Many oligarchs in the former Soviet Union who made their money by expropriating the state’s wealth want to move their money into a more stable nation with greater rule of law. This presents a challenge: how can one insert illegally obtained funds into a system that requires due diligence? The answer, quite often, is to use shell companies to disguise the flow of funds. Although we cannot say that Trump, himself, knowingly engaged in money laundering, we do know with certainty that much of his business over the past decade was in the industries most known for money laundering, in the locations most conducive to money laundering, and with people who bear the key hallmarks of money launderers.”

“Money that Jill Stein raised to recount votes in 2016 swing states is being used by her campaign to pay for legal bills stemming from the investigation of Russian interference in the last presidential election,” the Daily Beast reports.

“In June, the Daily Beast reported that the the U.S. Green Party candidate’s campaign, which raised $7.3 million for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, had in 2017 stopped disclosing its monthly spending with the Federal Election Commission.”

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday unexpectedly called for a delay in caucus leadership elections until after Thanksgiving,” Politico reports.

” Pelosi was trying to beat her own members to the punch, pushing out her letter first on Friday after word circulated that several rank-and-file Democrats had already drafted their own missive demanding a delay and were quickly gathering signatures in support.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

2 comments on “The Open Thread for July 14, 2018

  1. cassandram

    Pence family’s failed gas stations cost taxpayers $20M+

    Keep in mind that this is how some rich people stay rich. They destroy businesses and let taxpayers pick up the pieces. Especially if they’ve been contaminating the environment for years and years.

    • Or the more familiar tactic of getting the state to buy their failed enterprises, golf courses and radio stations come to mind.

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