the NSA apparently has the dirt, as mentioned in a town hall with NSA agents worldwide:
a series of SIGINT reports from 2016 based on intercepts of communications between known Russian intelligence officials and key members of Trump’s campaign, in which they discussed methods of damaging Hillary Clinton.
The real collision point ahead is the 2018 midterm election. This will be the “impeachment election,” and it may be as bitterly contested as any in decades. Trump seems unlikely to take Nixon’s course of resigning before the House votes on impeachment. He’ll fight all the way — a combative president trying to save his mandate from what he has described as a “witch hunt.” This appeal would resonate with a populist base that already feels disenfranchised by jurists and journalists.
This rings true and it is a scary thought. As the article concludes, “if recent history teaches anything, it’s unfortunately this harsh fact: In the battle for America’s soul, Trump could win.” Especially with some help from abroad.
Important stuff in here. Note that what Russia is accused of doing sounds very similar to what Cambridge Analytica does, and what many advertisers do. To quote at length:
Russia plays in every social media space. The intelligence officials have found that Moscow’s agents bought ads on Facebook to target specific populations with propaganda. “They buy the ads, where it says sponsored by–they do that just as much as anybody else does,” says the senior intelligence official. (A Facebook official says the company has no evidence of that occurring.) The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, has said he is looking into why, for example, four of the top five Google search results the day the U.S. released a report on the 2016 operation were links to Russia’s TV propaganda arm, RT. (Google says it saw no meddling in this case.) Researchers at the University of Southern California, meanwhile, found that nearly 20% of political tweets in 2016 between Sept. 16 and Oct. 21 were generated by bots of unknown origin; investigators are trying to figure out how many were Russian.
As they dig into the viralizing of such stories, congressional investigations are probing not just Russia’s role but whether Moscow had help from the Trump campaign. Sources familiar with the investigations say they are probing two Trump-linked organizations: Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics company hired by the campaign that is partly owned by deep-pocketed Trump backer Robert Mercer; and Breitbart News, the right-wing website formerly run by Trump’s top political adviser Stephen Bannon.
Seems impossible to keep up with the scandal firehose that is the White House these days. But a promising sign is that Congressional Republicans are now calling for some sort of independent investigation.
This is an article from January about Cambridge Analytica using psychometrics for the Trump in 2016 – the same company that worked for the Brexit campaign, and is tied to both Bannon and Robert Mercer.
In short, what if Trump is exactly as he appears: a hopeless narcissist with the attention span of a fruit fly, unable to maintain consistent beliefs or commitments from moment to moment, acting on base instinct, entirely situationally, to bolster his terrifyingly fragile ego.
If Trump fired Comey to impede the Russia investigation, he possibly engaged in obstruction of justice. That is a crime. That is a case for impeachment. In fact, the first of the three articles of impeachment filed by the House judiciary committee against Richard Nixon in 1974 was for obstruction of justice.
By firing Comey, Trump has created the biggest political crisis in American politics since Watergate. The Democrats have very few weapons to wield against Trump right now, but they can continue to poke and prod him, using the ensuing controversy to rally opposition to Trump. American democracy is in real danger, and the Democrats now have a duty—one that transcends partisan politics—to make those stakes clear to the electorate.
Missed that this also happened yesterday, before the Comey firing.
Senate Russia investigators have sent a request to the Treasury Department’s criminal investigation division for any information related to President Donald Trump, his top officials and his campaign aides, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee told CNN Tuesday.
There is only one reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the decision to fire Comey: that there is grave wrongdoing at the center of the Russia scandal and that it implicates the President. As I write this, I have a difficult time believing that last sentence myself. But sometimes you have to step back from your assumptions and simply look at what the available evidence is telling you. It’s speaking clearly: the only reasonable explanation is that the President has something immense to hide and needs someone in charge of the FBI who he believes is loyal.
Pretty good overview. My takeaway is that it’s unlikely to be anything other than impeachment, which would require Dem control of the House, and theoretically a supermajority in the Senate. This was kinda great though:
The White House maintains that it was unaware of any links to the Kremlin, and the details of the investigations are classified. But select members of Congress who oversee the intelligence agencies have access to the findings. Recently, one of them, Senator Mark Warner, of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, privately told friends that he puts the odds at two to one against Trump completing a full term.
“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page said in an interview Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.” He compared surveillance of him to the eavesdropping that the FBI and Justice Department conducted against civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Super-deep dive on Felix Sater. Shows how far back the Trump-Russia stuff goes.
Our investigation also may explain why the FBI, which was very public about its probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, never disclosed its investigation of the Trump campaign prior to the election, even though we now know that it commenced last July. Such publicity could have exposed a high-value, long-running FBI operation against an organized crime network headquartered in the former Soviet Union. That operation depended on a convicted criminal who for years was closely connected with Trump, working with him in Trump Tower — while constantly informing for the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and being legally protected by them.