Led by chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and vice chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), the Senate Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing Thursday on Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections. Equal parts illuminating and harrowing, it offered fresh insight into the Kremlin’s spy games and raised new questions about the Trump administration’s probable collusion with Putin.
Read the details at this link.
A Washington Post article published Thursday revealed a curious tidbit about President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
In the piece, penned by reporters Anne Hearan and Carol Morello, Tillerson is described as spending his first several weeks at the State Department “isolated,” and “walled off” from the agency’s bureaucrats.
According to the report, his “distant management style has created growing bewilderment among foreign officials” and “threatens to undermine the power and reach of the State Department.”
But the impact of Tillerson’s reclusiveness does not only threaten the State Department’s interactions with foreign diplomats, it also reportedly threatens basic, day-to-day, human interactions expected of anyone in a typical workplace environment.
Per the Post: “Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.”
Tillerson previously riled feathers when he unilaterally decided he didn’t really have much of a “need” for media.
Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn is looking to make a deal for immunity.
According to a Thursday Wall Street Journal report, Flynn told the FBI and congressional officials he is “willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution.”
Flynn worked for Trump’s campaign and was quickly appointed to National Security Advisor, with top secret access to classified intelligence documents. He was forced to resign after it was revealed he discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Moscow’s ambassador before Trump took office. Flynn has also come under scrutiny for his ties to Russian operatives and businesses.
WSJ said, however, that Flynn hasn’t been able to find anyone to agree to the deal.
Mike Flynn tells the FBI he’s ready to talk, but only for immunity. However — you only get immunity if you deliver someone else higher up the ladder. And there’s only one person higher up the ladder.
Meanwhile back in 2016, Flynn said anyone who seeks immunity must be guilty.
While those of us who did not support Trump may be delighted that he is failing in everything he does, the fact is the President’s failure is not good for any of us.
This article is an excellent summary of his failure, 70 days into his presidency.
. . . with every day that passes, Trump is looking more bound by the political system he promised to upend. The outcomes we’re seeing look like what you’d expect from an inexperienced, unfocused president who’s more interested in tweeting out cable news commentary than learning about the government he runs and the policies he wants to change. Merely 10 weeks into his term, the processes, skills, and institutions Trump flouted as a candidate are breaking him as a president. . . .
Here’s a chart comparing Trump’s approval/disapproval ratings compared to presidents back to Eisenhower.
During the campaign Trump told us we would win so much, we’d bet bored with winning. Do you suppose he’s bored with winning yet?
The FBI and NYPD Joint Organized Crime Task Force have arrested ten men in New York City today on charges of running a racketeering conspiracy as part of an organized crime effort. What’s notable is that these men and their crime family have ties to the Russian mafia and to Donald Trump – raising the question of whether this move was made as part of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Trump and Russia.
The ten men arrested today are associates of the Bonanno organized crime family (source: NBC New York). But a bit of digging by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump has revealed that a lawsuit alleges that same crime family is partnered with Russian businessman Felix Sater (link). Sater has a long history of financial ties to both Donald Trump and the Russian mafia, and in fact has done prison time for his Russian mafia ties (source: Esquire). So it’s not difficult to draw a straight line from today’s arrests to Trump and Russia. But what is the FBI suddenly up to?
If today’s ten FBI-NYPD arrests are indeed related to the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, as the connections suggest, it may be an instance of rounding up the lower level mafia associates in order to see which of them is willing to cut a deal by selling out their bosses. This could also be a sign that the FBI is further along in its Trump-Russia investigation than had been believed, having completed its phase of gathering information externally, in favor of a phase of actively prompting little fish to flip on bigger fish, presumably leading all the way up to Trump and his direct associates.
If Trump wants to claim credit for 150 new factory jobs first planned back in 2015, surely we can give him credit for the 300 layoffs happening right now in Indianapolis.
Rexnord has planned to lay off its 300 workers at the plant since last year, but President Donald Trump, who has said repeatedly he would stop American firms from shifting production abroad, criticized Rexnord’s plans in a tweet that raised expectations he might intervene.“Evidently, Rexnord must not have read that,” said Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents workers at the closing factory.
This is the same local that represents workers at the nearby Carrier plant that Trump claimed as a jobs victory after Carrier promised to preserve 800 jobs while laying off 1,300 other workers. They seem unimpressed with Trump’s efforts so far.
So American companies continue to move to Mexico despite Trump’s insistence that when he was in charge, they’d knock that right off. Go figure. There’s probably not going to be a photo-op for this one, either.