Today — January 20, 2018 — the White House released this photo of “President Trump at work.”
Doesn’t everyone always work at a squeaky clean desk, no tie, wearing a baseball cap?
Courtesy of CNN:
Hope Hicks’ highly anticipated testimony before the House Intelligence Committee was abruptly delayed Thursday amid questions about whether the White House communications director would be able to respond to inquiries about topics after the campaign season, four sources told CNN.
The surprise move came after Steve Bannon refused to answer scores of questions about topics during the transition and his time as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, with Bannon’s attorney saying he had been instructed by the White House not to answer those questions over concerns that it could breach executive privilege.
Hicks’ appearance Friday was anticipated given her close ties to Trump, which predate the campaign, and the central role she has played through the election season and in the White House.
The committee made the decision to delay Hicks’ appearance in order to give investigators time to sort out with the White House what she could and could not discuss, one of the sources said. She is still expected to speak with the panel at a later date.
Yeah that’s a great way to run an investigation, by asking the subject’s boss, and focus of the investigation, what they are allowed to reveal.
Mueller certainly will not be asking Mother May I.
Courtesy of WaPo:
A document described by House Republicans as a top-secret memo about surveillance “abuse” contains talking points focused on discrediting Fusion GPS, the firm that hired a British ex-spy to compile intelligence reports about alleged connections between President Trump’s associates and the Kremlin, according to people who have read it.
It suggests that the former spy, Christopher Steele, lied to FBI agents who interviewed him during their probe of the 2016 election and that this purported lie was included in a successful application for a federal court order to conduct electronic surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, said these individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the material’s sensitivity.
The document was produced by the House Intelligence Committee’s GOP majority, which voted Thursday to make it available to the entire House membership, though not to the public. The panel’s Democrats all opposed the move.
In a statement issued Thursday, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), called the document “profoundly misleading,” saying it was “drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI.” He did not discuss the document’s contents.
“Rife with factual inaccuracies and referencing highly classified materials that most Republican Intelligence Committee members were forced to acknowledge they had never read, this is meant only to give Republican House members a distorted view of the FBI,” Schiff said. “This may help carry White House water, but it is a deep disservice to our law enforcement professionals.”
Apparently this “damning” bit of “evidence” was created by Devin Nunes and his congressional cohorts and it is designed to end the Mueller investigation by destroying Christopher Steele’s credibility.
Of course this seems to ignore the fact that the FBI investigation was not launched due to the dossier, but instead by a drunken conversation that former Trump staffer George Pappadopolous had with an Australian diplomat.
What’s more House members who read this memo must sign a non-disclosure agreement because it contains classified information, which means that this whole #ReleaseTheMemo thing is a farce to suggest that there is something explosive in the memo which undercuts the credibility of Fusion GPS, without any real danger that it will be made public and Nunes will be exposed as once again making a mountain out of what barely qualifies as a molehill.
And it should come as no surprise to anyone that he is getting help with that from the Russian trolls.
Courtesy of The Hill:
#ReleaseTheMemo is the top trending hashtag among Twitter accounts believed to be operated by Kremlin-linked groups, according to Hamilton 68, a website which tracks Russian propaganda online.
Hamilton 68 is spearheaded by Clint Watts, an expert on foreign actors using American social media. Watts has testified before Congress multiple times on the matter.
The #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag has increased by 286,700 percent over the past two days and is being used 100 times more than any other hashtag by accounts Hamilton 68 is tracking.
The accounts have also frequently been tweeting out links to Wikileaks.org and specifically to its page to submit documents.
Keep in mind that if the Russians want you to believe something, you can guarantee it is not good for the country.
The House and Senate have remained in session Saturday, the first day of the Trump Shutdown with absolutely no sign of progress happening anywhere. The Senate will vote Monday on the same spending bill that failed Friday night, but with a slightly shorter duration, to February 8 rather than February 16. Republicans remain adamant that they will not negotiate on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as long as the government is shut down. Democrats will not let Republicans continue to postpone dealing with DACA and will not bail Republicans out of the shutdown until they have real negotiations. McConnell has made a stab or two at getting unanimous consent to move the vote up from Monday. Democrats have remained on the floor to block him.
At the same time, Democrats have been attempting to defuse the situation and release some hostages. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) offered an amendment to remove CHIP and community health center funding, so it could be done as a stand-alone bill. McConnell objected.
Meanwhile, on the House side, they’ve debated the rule that would allow them to accept anything the Senate might send over. That’s very unlikely to happen any time soon because Republican leadership has been and continues to be essentially AWOL, more intent on trying to shift blame for this to Democrats than in making government work. I know, you’re shocked.
After a House Democratic Caucus meeting Saturday, Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) summed it up. He’s very “pessimistic about reopening the government in any kind of expeditious way […] because of the intransigence of Republican leadership,” he said.
That starts with the White House, where Trump and his lackeys have proved not just uncooperative but counterproductive.
“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” Schumer said after negotiations broke down on Friday after a meeting with Trump.The senator said that he offered Trump his border wall as a concession to seek movement on “Dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but later in the day on Friday Trump backed off the discussions.
Beyond that, in a White House press briefing Saturday, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney lied about Schumer’s offer on border wall funding, the doomed agreement that Schumer thought he was getting with Trump, only to be destroyed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and the nihilists who are pulling his strings.