• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Republicans Stick Their Heads In The Sand On Trump-Russia Allegations

Trump And GOP Elephant

While Washington and the rest of the country were talking about the revelations from F.B.I. Director James Comey’s testimony yesterday and what was clearly a very bad day for the still-young Trump Presidency, Republicans were trying to change the subject:

WASHINGTON — The headline from Capitol Hill on Monday was bracing: confirmation of a criminal investigation into connections between associates of a sitting president and Russian operatives during a presidential election.

But the response from Republicans was almost as striking: During hours of testimony in which James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, acknowledged the inquiry, they shrugged off its implications and instead offered a coordinated effort to defend President Trump by demanding a focus on leaks to news organizations.

Throughout the 5½-hour hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, as Democrats tried to highlight the criminal investigation, Republicans demanded a renewed focus on how its existence was revealed in news reports months ago.

When Democrats raised the issue of Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him — and Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. had “no information that supports those tweets” — Republicans railed against leaks.

When Democrats pressed Mr. Comey on evidence of coordination between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian operatives, Republicans questioned the F.B.I. director about how the names of those associates became public in news reports.

When Democrats pressed Mr. Comey on evidence of coordination between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian operatives, Republicans questioned the F.B.I. director about how the names of those associates became public in news reports.

The political strategy appears clear: Republicans are betting that they can deflect attention from the investigation into the president’s campaign advisers by insisting that more needs to be done to prevent the leaking of classified material.

Again and again on Monday, the president’s allies urged Mr. Comey and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to answer for the illegal dissemination of information to reporters.

In one remarkable back and forth, Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, insinuated that several top Obama administration officials — including John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, and Benjamin J. Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser — might have been the source of leaks to news organizations.

“One thing you and I agree on is the felonious dissemination of classified material most definitely is a crime,” Mr. Gowdy, whose own Benghazi investigation was known as a porous source of information to reporters, told Mr. Comey, who repeatedly refused to say that he was even investigating the release of classified information.

“I can’t say because I don’t want to confirm that that was classified information,” Mr. Comey said.

Whether the Republican approach works may depend on the outcome of the investigation itself, which remains shrouded in secrecy and is unlikely to be fully resolved within months or even years. That may lead to more leaks, and to a continuing effort by the president’s defenders to demand that they stop.

At one point in the hearing, Mr. Comey noted that leaks of sensitive government information have bedeviled the nation’s leaders since George Washington’s time, though he conceded that leakers have been “unusually active” in recent months.

(…)

The effort to change the subject began with Mr. Trump, who said on Twitter early Monday that the “real story” is the “leaking of Classified information.” Later, he asked: “What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians?”

At the White House, Sean Spicer, the press secretary, returned to the subject of leaks again and again during his daily briefing for reporters, echoing the Republican lawmakers from the presidential podium.

Mr. Spicer railed against the “illegal leak” of the names of some of Mr. Trump’s associates under investigation. And he insisted that news organizations are refusing to cover the real story from Monday’s hearing: the need for the federal government to stop national security leaks.

Mr. Spicer also evaded questions about Mr. Trump’s associates by repeatedly returning to what he said were Hillary Clinton’s ties to Russia, even though Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign was hurt by Russian operatives’ hacking.

Mr. Spicer accused journalists of ignoring stories alleging that the Democratic National Committee had not provided the F.B.I. access to its hacked servers, a claim Democratic officials deny. Mr. Comey said Monday that the investigators got the information they needed to investigate the hack.

“Why? What were they hiding? What were they concerned of?” Mr. Spicer said. In confusing, rapid-fire fashion, Mr. Spicer noted accusations about “donations that the Clintons received from Russians” and decisions by Mrs. Clinton to sell “tremendous amounts of uranium” to Russia.

“Where’s the concern about their efforts on the Hillary Clinton thing?” Mr. Spicer said.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course. Attempting to change the subject, or to focus on something other than the subject at hand in a Congressional hearing, is a time-honored tradition on both sides of the aisle. Republicans did it during the Iran-Contra hearing, Democrats did it at various times during the Clinton Administration and at hearings on issues such as the Fast & Furious investigation, the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups and, of course, the attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, and now we have Republicans doing it again with regard to this new investigation. To a large degree, it’s a reflection of the defensiveness that comes into play when one operates from the perspective of partisan politics, of course, since there’s always a fear that efforts to investigate an Administration of their own party will damage the party as a whole. Additionally, it is often the case that the issues that the party seeking to divert attention from the main focus of an investigation ends up raising legitimate issues. This is certainly true here, where several Republicans on the Intelligence Committee sought to probe Director Comey on the extent to which the ongoing investigation includes investigation of the leaks of information that may or may not have been classified to the media. This is an important issue that deserves to be investigated if only because leaking classified information is against the law, often for very good reasons that involve issues of national security and matters of life and death. If people broke the law in providing the media with information that should have been classified then they ought to be charged with the appropriate crime(s) and given their day in Court. To that extent, I suppose, the Republican effort to focus yesterday’s questions on leaks was appropriate. At the same time, though, it entirely missed the point of why the hearings were taking place and the serious nature of the allegations that the F.B.I. is investigating.

Gary Kasparov, the Russian chess master and outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin who currently lives in the United States with his wife and children, put it quite succinctly on Twitter:

As I said, the issue of leaks of classified information is an important one that ought to be investigated, if not primarily because of the role it has played in this case but the extent to which such leaks can compromise national security and American national interests and place the lives of Americans, both military and civilian, in jeopardy. At the same time, though, Republicans in yesterday’s hearing were clearly guilty of the blindest kind of partisanship there can be in their persistent efforts to simultaneously defend the Trump Administration and divert attention from the serious allegations that have been raised regarding Russian efforts to influence our Presidential election and, now, the rather ominous suggestion of links between multiple persons associated with the Trump campaign and Russian business and government interests. These are the same Republicans who spent the better part of Barack Obama’s Presidency attacking the White House for not being strong enough in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressiveness, confrontational style, and belligerence toward the United States, Europe, and his immediate neighbors. They’re the same Republicans who, in 2012, were cheering Mitt Romney on when he called Russia the biggest geopolitical foe that the United States faced at the time. Now, here we sit with apparent evidence that the Russian government was seeking to influence the outcome of a Presidential election and that several top people on the campaign of one of the two major-party candidates had what are at the very least questionable ties with Russian officials and Russian oligarchs close to the Putin government. If the parties were reversed, the GOP would no doubt be on the front lines demanding an investigation. Instead, they are seeking to divert attention away from the real issues of concern and, as Dana Milbank notes, make sure that they stay in line with what the Trump Administration is saying:

The disheartening part was that most Republicans on the panel, which is supposed to investigate Trump, instead slavishly echoed his excuses.

Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) underscored that there was no “evidence that Russia cyber actors changed vote tallies.” (There was also no allegation that they had.) He also pronounced himself “extremely concerned about the widespread illegal leaks” (much more so than the potentially illegal actions that the leaks exposed).

Reading from Trump’s cue card, Nunes asked Comey to regard as “serious” the alleged Clinton campaign ties to Russia. In one exchange that sounded more sandbox than hearing room, Nunes asserted that “it’s ridiculous for anyone to say that the Russians prefer Republicans over Democrats.” The chairman urged Comey to tell his investigators not to believe “that somehow the Republican Party watered down its platform” on Russia.

Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.) pronounced himself concerned about the “unmasking of Gen. Flynn’s identity,” which denied him “the constitutional protections that we all enjoy.” (The “unmasking” of the former Trump national security adviser was in the service of demonstrating that he spoke falsely about his contacts with Russia.)

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who led a multiyear Benghazi investigation packed with innuendo and damaging leaks, repeatedly denounced the “felonious dissemination” of secrets, supposedly by the Obama administration, and the “hearsay” that is impugning the Trump team.

(…)

The chairman seemed more concerned about the political threat. Nunes told Comey flatly that “we don’t have any evidence” of wrongdoing by Trump and his associates and asked the FBI director to hurry the investigation. “There is a big gray cloud that you have put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country,” Nunes said.

But the FBI director didn’t put the cloud there. The Russians did. And if Nunes would consider country before party, he’d recognize that the cloud isn’t over Trump’s White House; it’s over all of us.

Milbank is correct, of course, and if Republicans don’t want to get caught up in the whirlwind they’ll stop acting like slavish defenders of a questionable President and start doing their jobs.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    There are multiple reports out now that Breitbart and Infowars are targets of the FBI investigation, on the grounds that they may have actively colluded with Russian agents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    This is one of the biggest things that makes me think there *is* something to the Russia allegations and at least support full independent investigation. When the response to a scandal is “HOW DID YOU GET THIS INFORMATION?!” that’s … not a good sign. They’ll be saying this is really about ethics in gaming journalism next.

    TBF: I *am* a bit worried about leaked investigations and a possible fight between the President and the IC. But I would rank that concern quite a bit lower than “did members of Trump’s campaign work with a foreign power to influence the election”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. drj says:

    Whether actual Trump-Russia collusion happened or not, it is now undeniable that House Republicans are perfectly willing to cover up treason.

    Let that sink in for a minute or two.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    is a time-honored tradition on both sides of the aisle. Republicans did it during the Iran-Contra hearing, Democrats did it at various times during the Clinton Administration and at hearings on issues such as the Fast & Furious investigation, the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups and, of course, the attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, and now we have Republicans doing it again with regard to this new investigation.

    YOU ARE FWCKING PRICELESS!!!
    The IRS faux scandal is the equivalent of Iran-Contra?
    Precious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Alameda says:

    Reading from Trump’s cue card, Nunes asked Comey to regard as “serious” the alleged Clinton campaign ties to Russia. In one exchange that sounded more sandbox than hearing room, Nunes asserted that “it’s ridiculous for anyone to say that the Russians prefer Republicans over Democrats.” The chairman urged Comey to tell his investigators not to believe “that somehow the Republican Party watered down its platform” on Russia.

    and more Nunes …

    The chairman seemed more concerned about the political threat. Nunes told Comey flatly that “we don’t have any evidence” of wrongdoing by Trump and his associates and asked the FBI director to hurry the investigation. “There is a big gray cloud that you have put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country,” Nunes said.

    I watched a lot of the hearing last night after work. The above Nunes stuff was my personal favorite. He melded the ‘we’re not done with Hillary’ track with the ‘didn’t you hear, we won the election’ track.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Gustopher says:

    America first my ass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Notice how all our local Trump supporters have disappeared?

    Rats on a sinking ship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Mu says:

    They’re waiting for the daily Spicer Show to find out what the non-fake news truth on this is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Hal_10000 says:

    @Mu:

    Spicer is a piece of work, isn’t he? His explanation of why Trump’s golfing was OK but Obama’s imperiled the nation truly belongs in the BS Hall of Fame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Paul L. says:

    deflect attention from the investigation into the president’s campaign advisers

    Wait Progressives are saying that FBI director James Comey stated under oath thatTrump is Under FBI Investigation
    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    The IRS faux scandal

    What was faux about the IRS targeting?
    It was proven in court that the IRS singled out Tea Party groups for targeting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @al-Alameda: I don’t think Numes is that dumb to think that they could actually try to bring another Hillary investigation at this point, particularly in light of how tightly they’re keeping their eyes closed about Trump. This are throwaway lines to keep him from being primaried from the right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    It’s pretty f’ing amazing how fast that orange blob in the White House turns on his friends.
    He now doesn’t even know Carter Page who was a Foreign Policy Advisor.
    And Manafort, his campaign manager, was barely involved in the campaign
    Say what you will about Cheney; at least he never claimed he didn’t know Scooter Libby.
    President Costanza is just, deep down, a very shitty person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mu:

    They’re waiting for the daily Spicer Show to find out what the non-fake news truth on this is.

    Sean “Bagdad Bob” Spicer – goo.gl/M0N3ko

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mu:

    They’re waiting for the daily Spicer Show to find out what the non-fake news truth on this is.

    Sean “Bagdad Bob” Spicer – http://www.goo.gl/M0N3ko

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    It was proven in court that the IRS singled out Tea Party groups for targeting.

    In the real world:
    Some IRS employees did some things they shouldn’t have done. Their bosses made them stop. An inspector general reported what happened to Congress. The IRS did in fact use keywords to identify both liberal and conservative groups. In early 2014, the FBI said that its investigation was continuing but that it had not found any evidence of “enemy hunting”. In October, 2015, the Justice Department declared that no criminal charges would be filed.
    http://www.newsweek.com/who-keeping-irs-scandal-alive-and-why-493470
    Hardly the equivalent of actually selling arms to our enemy in order to raise cash to secretly fund Nicaraguan militants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    The FBI and DOJ (that lied about Fast and Furious Gunrunning happening) have no access to any records.
    The DOJ refused to subpoena any IRS records.

    The IRS is still stonewalling those records.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. JohnMcC says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Well, the IRS did make some so-called ‘conservatives’ have hurt feelings. So it’s at least as bad as selling SAM systems to our adversaries.

    And since the Original Post was on the topic of so-called ‘conservatives’ lying, ducking, and weaving, could we find a better example than the the troll you just destroyed?

    Good work, BTW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    You hold onto that conspiracy theory for all it’s worth Paul!!! Don’t ever let go!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. al-Alameda says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Spicer is a piece of work, isn’t he? His explanation of why Trump’s golfing was OK but Obama’s imperiled the nation truly belongs in the BS Hall of Fame.

    It was a bit Dog Whistle-ian (I apologize for the #FakeWord), right?
    (Democratic) Black President golfs? ignoring serious problems on Capitol Hill and in the World.
    (Republican) White President golfs? Important business – e.g. trashing Nato – being done.

    Seriously, Spicer is either: (1) in deep, way over his head, or (2) he has a high threshold for pain and embarrassment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    Still hope Trump fires the IRS commissioner and orders release of all Fast and Furious/IRS targeting documents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Argon says:

    “In the sand” is not where heads are being stuck. I think it’s someplace warmer and darker which for most people requires a lifetime of yoga to manage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Some IRS employees did some things they shouldn’t have done.

    Oh they threw some low level workers under the bus, but the reality is they actually did nothing wrong and should have been praised for showing initiative. Bottom line – they searched the data base of groups (claiming a tax exemption only given to non-partisan groups) for explicitly partisan words in their names: “Democratic” “Republican” “Tea Party” “Socialst Party” and so forth. And of course they found significantly more Republican leaning cheaters than Democratic ones. This was a surprise?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Mr. Bluster says:

    Still hope President Pud releases all his tax returns and stops grabbing women by the pussy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Paul L. says:

    @MarkedMan:
    What were the “explicitly partisan words” for True the Vote?
    Too funny that the Pro-life group “The Center for Medical Progress” had no problem getting 501c3 status despite the “explicitly partisan word” Progress

    they found significantly more Republican leaning cheaters than Democratic ones

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. KM says:

    @Argon:

    I think it’s someplace warmer and darker which for most people requires a lifetime of yoga to manage.

    In this context, more like porn stars. Take heart, that kind of flexibility, moral looseness and willingness to enjoy that sort of head-ass contact guarantees work for them after this all inevitability ruins their careers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Franklin says:

    Think you are confusing that word with ‘progressive’?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    So far in Trump’s two months, he’s:

    –Introduced plans to increase defense spending

    –pushed NATO members to increase their own defense spending

    –pushed for increased US energy production and driven down the price of oil

    –appointed an almost rabidly anti-Russian UN ambassador

    –started refilling the power vacuum in the Middle East that Obama engineered

    –put Iran on notice that the days of being placated are over

    The consequences of these actions:

    –Russia will be forced to increase its own military spending, right after announcing major cuts in their military budget, or see their ability to threaten their neighbors be seriously stifled.

    –Russia’s economy takes a major hit as oil prices drop

    –Russia experiences serious pushback at the UN

    –Russian client states in the Middle East find themselves checked

    I hope that Putin saved his receipts for buying the election for Trump, because pretty soon he’s going to be yelling for a refund. And as above, he’ll need the money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    We might have our smoking gun in the Wikileaks dump: video of Trump telling the Russian ambassador that he can be much more obliging after the election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Paul L. says:

    @Franklin:

    Think you are confusing that word with ‘progressive’?

    Center for American Progress
    ThinkProgress
    Generation Progress/Campus Progress
    Science Progress

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Oh, the Trumpkins will return, once they’d figured out a way to justify this latest round of sleazy prevarication.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    You mention a lot of empty talk, and then make up a list of imagined consequences.
    And you do that while failing to mention giving the rich a massive tax cut, tossing sick and poor and old people off their insurance, freeing industry to pollute our air and water, making people less free, workers less safe, and monetizing the Oval office in the greatest corruption scheme to ever hit the White House.
    Oh yeah, and he has spent more on travel so far than Obama did in 8 years.
    What flavor is that Kool-Aid, Bob?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Paul L. says:

    @CSK:
    So like Obots under Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Ahem, it looks like someone is starting to connect the dots….

    (this backs up Josh’s interpretation over at TPM, methinks.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Kev says:

    Truth

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lQgfBiLr5w

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Kev:
    Hahahaha…truth and Tucker Carlson mentioned in the same sentence. You crack me up.
    Carlson legitimized Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Now, of course, we know it’s not true. But keep clinging to the right wing extremists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. CSK says:

    @Paul L.:

    Paul, do me a favor. Explain to me precisely why you why you so love–and trust him to Make America Great Again–a sleazy, not-very-bright con man and failed social climber of no fixed principles and no ideological convictions.

    Do you think he’s on your side? Here’s some useful information: Unless you’re very, very rich and a celebrity, Donald Trump thinks you’re garbage. Garbage. Got that? Useful garbage, because you support him, but garbage nonetheless. During his entire business career, he’s taken the utmost pleasure in screwing “the little people.” Do you get that.? He hates you because you remind him that deep down, he knows he’s a …loser, and a little man to boot.

    There is no president in American history who has ever despised his supporters as much as Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    Still hope Trump fires the IRS commissioner

    He can’t. IRS Commissioners are appointed for 5-year terms. You Could Look It Up.

    and orders release of all Fast and Furious/IRS targeting documents.

    Don’t forget the fake moon landing files and the Bavarian Illuminati records, while you’re at it.

    Seriously, folks, this is why Trump is bulletproof — because enough of America has the acumen and reasoning skills of Paul L.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    What were the “explicitly partisan words” for True the Vote?

    I know there’s no hope of you learning anything, but

    1. It’s not about ‘partisan’, it’s about ‘political’. “Vote” is obviously political.

    Too funny that the Pro-life group “The Center for Medical Progress” had no problem getting 501c3 status despite the “explicitly partisan word” Progress

    2. We’re talking about 501(c)4 organizations, not 501(c)3. Totally different rules.
    3. You will find this hard to believe, but advocating for or against abortion is not, in fact, a political stance. There is no NECESSARY connection between party and position on this issue. It is possible to be a legitimate 501(c)4 while advocating for causes, left or right, that are traditionally associated with political affiliations. What is not legit is for a 501(c)4 to work explicitly to (for example) get specific people elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. al-Alameda says:

    @Kev:

    Truth

    I kept waiting for that moment where Tucker breaks to join Erik Estrada in selling us time shares in condominium units in the Ayn Rand Building in Mogadishu, Somalia.

    Tucker Carlson is an ancillary bit player in the #FakeNews Establishment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Does any of that list have a resolution other than your made up predictions that don’t account for Russian deployment of their own national instruments of power?

    No? So what you meant to say is that in 2 months Trump has done nothing.

    Have a seat counselor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Slugger says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Bob, please explain the price of oil to me. Today it’s $48.30 per barrel. A year ago it was $40, and it even dipped to $35 last March. Many of your statements are value judgements, and I can’t dispute them. Your assessment might be better than mine. However, the statement about an objective number is wrong and tends to make me dubious about your other evaluations. Once again, I am not claiming to be smarter than you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Paul L.: I see, so the best defense is an offense. You can not defend Trump’s bs so you start yammering about something and someone else.

    BTW, a lot of those socalled conservative groups were scams…people who used that tax exemption to rake in money from unsuspecting rubes. Truth is they should all have to pay taxes…that way there is no one deciding who does and does not get a break.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: There was not one word of truth in that. I have always been amazed at the ability of Trump supporters to lie to themselves. Trump has been a total disaster. He has accomplished nothing. He is an embarrassment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: You got anything beyond your stupid talking points to go on?

    Thought not.

    Yeah, Putin was terrified of Hillary being president. Hillary, whose emails he owned. Whose campaign chair (John Podesta)’s emails he owned. Whose brother (Tony Podesta) he owned, as a lobbyist for the Kremlin’s bank. Hillary of the “reset” button. Hillary as the successor of Obama, who was so much more “flexible” after his election. Obama, who said that Russia was no great concern back in 2012.

    I missed the moment Russia became exactly the threat Romney said they were back in 2012. When did that happen, Darryl? When did Obama acknowledge it? And why didn’t he stop it, with that greater “flexibility” he promised Vladimir?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Terrye Cravens: Sorry I misspoke. US energy independence is improving, we’re producing more energy than ever thanks to fracking, shale, pipelines, and the end of the war on coal, and that’s really, really, really bad news for Russia’s economic influence, let alone stability.

    By the way, one thing’s that actually confirmed: Russia’s been funding the anti-fracking movement in the US.

    Strangely enough, Trump’s been supportive of fracking, while the Democrats have been opposing it.

    Who’s on Putin’s payroll again?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Davebo says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    US energy independence is improving

    Not this idiocy again…

    US energy independence is a myth. Don’t believe me? Just take a look a PUSA, the giant American state owned oil company.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. rachel says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Seriously, folks, this is why Trump is bulletproof — because enough of America has the acumen and reasoning skills of Paul L.

    It’s not just their blockheadedness; the other main reason is spite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Hal_10000 says:

    News report this morning that Manafort got millions to advance Putin’s interests against former Soviet republics, etc. What a total absolute scumbag this guy is. I will be very interested to see what comes out of investigation of the early parts and primary of Trump’s campaign. That was when Manafort was in charge. If there’s fire behind the smoke, that’s where it will be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Blue Galangal says:

    @Hal_10000: As a comment on another news site said this morning, so a Russian agent was running Trump’s campaign… too bad all the FBI’s time was being taken up with Hillary’s emails.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. CSK says:

    If Trump sees the most recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, Ivanka, Jared, and Bannon will have to wrestle him into a straitjacket:

    Here’s one epic line from it concerning Trump’s insistence that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower:

    “Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle…”

    Closing line: “If he doesn’t show much respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he’s a fake president.”

    Drunk. Empty gin bottle. Love it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. An Interested Party says:

    Who’s on Putin’s payroll again?

    Funny you should ask that as the answer, as others have noted, is Paul Manafort, none other than Trump’s former campaign manager…you can try to link Russia to Democrats/Clinton all you want but everybody knows that’s bull$hit…the real connection is between the Trump campaign and Putin…as more and more information comes out, the further this link will be exposed…good luck defending the Mango Mussolini…actually, scratch that, Trump is so incompetent that it is an insult to Mussolini to make the comparison…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    So you are not only moronic enough to have voted for this guy…you are imbecilic enough to still support him?
    I bet you are one of those brilliant folks who will lose his medicaid in the deal, and then be surprised.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. DrDaveT says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Obama, who said that Russia was no great concern back in 2012.

    If you’re going to lie, you should choose lies that are less easily refuted.

    What Obama actually said was that Russia is not our #1 geopolitical threat. And he was right about that — China and North Korea were and are greater threats. Russia is probably #3 on that list, unless you put “global terrorism” on it, in which case Russia drops to #4 at best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. grumpy realist says:

    @Hal_10000: Here’s an article over at TheHill covering the latest revelations.

    Either Trump knew that Manafort had done this and didn’t care–or Trump didn’t bother to do any investigating. Neither looks very good for him.

    Nor is his continued “it’s all False News!” schtick. Even the WSJ has turned on him. That must really hurt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like the “Manafort has left the campaign!” was also just for show.

    (Geez–when you have even Jezebel carrying out journalistic investigations on your claims, you gotta BIG problem. They’re known more for snarky feminist commentary on social issues.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Paul L. says:

    @CSK:

    Explain to me precisely why you why you so love–and trust him to Make America Great Again–a sleazy, not-very-bright con man and failed social climber of no fixed principles and no ideological convictions.

    He “pretends” that the 2nd Amendment does not only apply to State Militias and Muskets.

    @DrDaveT:
    Please show me the word “Political” in this statement I was replying to.

    Oh they threw some low level workers under the bus, but the reality is they actually did nothing wrong and should have been praised for showing initiative. Bottom line – they searched the data base of groups (claiming a tax exemption only given to non-partisan groups) for explicitly partisan words in their names: “

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    He “pretends” that the 2nd Amendment does not only apply to State Militias and Muskets.

    Oh…so you support This fool because he will protect your manhood prosthesis.
    Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. CB says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    It was in 2014, after they invaded Ukraine, dummy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. CSK says:

    @Paul L.:

    Paul, you have no idea what Trump’s position on the Second Amendment is, and neither do I. No one does. That’s because Trump’s position on the Second Amendment, like his position on everything else, changes from day to day. Could you cite for me, for example, his position on abortion? No, you can’t, because the last time he spoke about it, he changed it three times between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on the same day.

    But that’s what Trump does. It’s beyond deliberate lying, although he does plenty of that. He says whatever pops into his head at any given moment, and then, probably because he can’t remember what he said (and knows his followers don’t care) he contradicts himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. Jake says:
  61. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jake:
    Stop linking to right wing extremist websites that are lying to you.
    No wonder you are so dumb…they fill your silly little head full of nonsense.
    Nunes was crystal clear that Trump was not under surveillance, and that any information on Trump was swept up incidental to other surveillance. He was also crystal clear that Trump was not wire-tapped, as Trump has claimed repeatedly.
    Let me clear about that…Trump has claimed over and over again that Obama wire-tapped his phones.
    How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
    That is a lie. Did. Not. Happen.
    You have a bunch of strongly held opinions that are based on utter BS. That makes your opinions utter BS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. Paul L. says:

    @CSK:
    I know HRC supports Australian Style Gun Registration and Confiscation
    Do not bother with the debunked Politifalse Fact Check.
    https://www.nraila.org/articles/20161017/national-rifle-assocation-fact-checks-politifact

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    I know HRC supports Australian Style Gun Registration and Confiscation

    Doofus…she never said she supports it. In answer to a question she said, it is “worth considering”.
    That’s from your own link.
    That is not support. That is considering.

    con·sid·er·a·tion
    kənˌsidərˈāSH(ə)n/
    noun
    1.
    careful thought, typically over a period of time.
    “a long process involving a great deal of careful consideration”
    synonyms: thought, deliberation, reflection, contemplation, rumination, meditation;

    I considered that you might have a brain. I do not currently support the idea that you have a brain.
    See the difference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. KM says:

    @Jake :
    Since this might end up being relevant to your interests later, I’ll give you some free advice: if you associate with someone who’s under surveillance, you too will end up in the resulting data gathered. If you call someone being wire-tapped, you will be recorded – if you hang out with people the FBI or intelligence agencies have an interest in, you might end up in a transcript. Associate with unsavory types and you are very likely to have your visage on the radar for, you know, associating with unsavory types doing unsavory things.

    Lie down with dogs, you get fleas. Why are all of Trump’s people flea-bitten, Jake?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @KM:
    Yeah…I wonder if Nunes inadvertently screwed Trump on this. Some Russian mobsters were under surveillance and team Trump was communicating with them…or something like that.
    In any event, apparently Nunes was spilling classified info.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    Please show me the word “Political” in this statement I was replying to

    My bad; I assumed you knew that ‘partisan’ is a subset of ‘political’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. Jake says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Ha ha My site has has been right most of the time. Yours not so much

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. bill says:

    so in a nutshell there’s no evidence that anything illegal happened? and these are the same russians that obama tried to speak to with the “hot mike” on about how he can play better with them after his re-election? and the same russians who “donated” millions to the clintons?
    how is any of this “news” if it’s been going on for so long, with nothing proven?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. SC_Birdflyte says:

    It’s now the official GOP policy: leaking the possible criminal activity is worse than the criminal activity itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. Paul L. says:

    @DrDaveT:

    My bad; I assumed you knew that ‘partisan’ is a subset of ‘political’.

    Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel with a Shotgun.

    It’s not about ‘partisan’, it’s about ‘political’. “Vote” is obviously political.

    LOL Democrats who colluded with the Obama White House to defend against Fast and Furious Gunwalking, IRS Targeting and Benghazi, now complaining that Nunes colluded with the Trump White House

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. rachel says:

    @Paul L.:

    LOL Democrats who colluded with the Obama White House to defend against Fast and Furious Gunwalking, IRS Targeting and Benghazi, now complaining that Nunes colluded with the Trump White House

    So I guess you won’t mind if the FBI, NSA, CIA and all the rest of the alphabet agencies make public who they were/are listening to, why & when they started, and full recordings of what was said? Good. Let’s have it all out there. You know, just to prove for once and all that this is a fake scandal too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. Paul L. says:

    @rachel:

    So I guess you won’t mind if the FBI, NSA, CIA and all the rest of the alphabet agencies make public who they were/are listening to, why & when they started, and full recordings of what was said?

    As opposed to what they selectively leak? They should be able to monitor anyone and keep them and anyone involved in the surveillance under a permanent gag order?

    See National Security Letters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0