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  1. #4666

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Patrick S. Tomlinson
    @stealthygeek

    Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, and Rience Preibus all returning to the WH has Ivanka's fingerprints all over it.

    She knows he dad is mentally deteriorating, and it's only accelerating. She's surrounding him with people he remembers to try and buy time to make it to November.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  2. #4667

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Christina Wilkie @christinawilkie

    McEntee was fired in 2018 after a gambling addiction and alleged financial crimes led to WH revoking his security clearance.

    Given this history, 29 yo McEntee is a very, very unusual pick to direct the WH Office of Presidential Personnel, in charge of vetting job applicants.

    Sam Vinograd
    @sam_vinograd Replying to
    @maggieNYT and @alexnazaryan
    After an investigation into his finances, McEntee's security clearance was revoked while he was serving as Trump's personal assistant.

    He was escorted off of WH grounds.

    You still need a security clearance to run the PPO office.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/u...tee-trump.html
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  3. #4668
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    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Patrick S. Tomlinson
    @stealthygeek

    Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, and Rience Preibus all returning to the WH has Ivanka's fingerprints all over it.

    She knows he dad is mentally deteriorating, and it's only accelerating. She's surrounding him with people he remembers to try and buy time to make it to November.
    No Sarah Huckabee Sanders?

  4. #4669

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Justice Dept. Is Investigating C.I.A. Resistance to Sharing Russia Secrets
    The prosecutor was assigned by the attorney general to scrutinize the agents and analysts who sought to understand Russia’s covert operation to help Donald J. Trump win the 2016 election.

    By Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Julian E. Barnes
    Feb. 13, 2020
    Updated 4:20 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials investigating the government’s response to Russia’s election interference in 2016 appear to be hunting for a basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence officials of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis about Moscow’s covert operation, according to people familiar with aspects of the inquiry.

    Since his election, President Trump has attacked the intelligence agencies that concluded that Russia secretly tried to help him win, fostering a narrative that they sought to delegitimize his victory. He has long promoted the investigation by John H. Durham, the prosecutor examining their actions, as a potential pathway to proving that a deep-state cabal conspired against him.

    Questions asked by Mr. Durham, who was assigned by Attorney General William P. Barr to scrutinize the early actions of law enforcement and intelligence officials struggling to understand the scope of Russia’s scheme, suggest that Mr. Durham may have come to view with suspicion several clashes between analysts at different intelligence agencies over who could see each other’s highly sensitive secrets, the people said.

    Mr. Durham appears to be pursuing a theory that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result — and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal, the people said.

    But officials from the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency have told Mr. Durham and his investigators that such an interpretation is wrong and based on a misunderstanding of how the intelligence community functions, the people said. National security officials are typically cautious about sharing their most delicate information, like source identities, even with other agencies inside the executive branch.

    Mr. Durham’s questioning is certain to add to accusations that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies, like Mr. Brennan, who has been an outspoken critic of the president. Mr. Barr, who is overseeing the investigation, has come under attack in recent days over senior Justice Department officials’ intervention to lighten a prison sentencing recommendation by lower-level prosecutors for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

    A spokesman for Mr. Durham did not respond to phone and email inquiries. The C.I.A. and the National Security Agency declined to comment. The people familiar with aspects of Mr. Durham’s investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic.

    The Durham investigation has rattled current and former intelligence officers. Little precedent exists for a criminal prosecutor to review the analytic judgment-making process of intelligence agencies, said Michael Morrell, a former acting C.I.A. director who left the government in 2013.

    “This whole thing is so abnormal,” Mr. Morrell said.


    Prosecutors are ill equipped to assess how analysts work, he added. “The bar for making a legal judgment is really high. The bar for an analytic decision is much lower,” Mr. Morrell said. “So he is going to get the wrong answer if he tries to figure out if they had enough information to make this judgment.”

    But other intelligence officials, according to an American official, are reserving judgment about Mr. Durham, who previously spent years investigating the C.I.A. over its torture program and its destruction of interrogation videotapes without charging anyone with a crime. Two detainees died in the agency’s custody.

    Mr. Durham is a longtime federal prosecutor who has repeatedly been asked, under administrations of both parties, to investigate accusations of wrongdoing by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Mr. Trump appointed him as the United States attorney for Connecticut in 2018.

    The Justice Department has declined to talk about Mr. Durham’s work in meaningful detail, but he has been said to be interested in how the intelligence community came up with its analytical judgments — including its assessment that Russia was not merely sowing discord, but specifically sought to help Mr. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

    The Justice Department inspector general, who released the results late last year of an inquiry into aspects of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation, found no documentary or testimonial evidence senior law enforcement and intelligence officials had engaged in a high-level conspiracy to sabotage Mr. Trump, the narrative the president and his supporters continue to embrace.

    Mr. Durham’s questions shed additional light on where he may be going.

    In recent months, Mr. Durham and his team have examined emails among a small group of intelligence analysts from multiple agencies, including the C.I.A., F.B.I. and National Security Agency, who worked together to assess the Russian operation. Investigators have interviewed those analysts and their supervisors about the motivations behind several episodes in which some sought access to delicate information from the other agencies and were told — initially, at least — that they could not see it.

    One fight, they said, concerned the identity and placement of a C.I.A. source inside the Kremlin. Analysts at the National Security Agency wanted to know more about him to weigh the credibility of his information. The C.I.A. was initially reluctant to share details about the Russian’s identity but eventually relented.

    But officials disagreed about how much weight to give the source’s information, and the intelligence community’s eventual assessment apparently reflected that division. While the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. concluded with “high confidence” that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was specifically trying to help Mr. Trump win the election, the National Security Agency agreed but said it had only “moderate confidence.”

    The informant and his family were extracted from Russia in 2017 and resettled in the United States. Notably, the source had initially refused to leave when American officials proposed getting him out for his own safety, raising suspicions about whether he might be a double agent. It is not clear whether Mr. Durham has interviewed the informant.

    A second fight that Mr. Durham is focused on, the people said, centered on a certain data set. The nature of the data and of the dispute remains unclear, though one person suggested that the disagreement concerned whether N.S.A. analysts could see the raw information or whether the C.I.A., before sharing it, needed to filter the data to mask names and other identifying details about Americans and American organizations.

    The filtering process is a routine part of how spy agencies share foreign intelligence with each other under guidelines imposed by the attorney general. The rules permit exceptions in cases where the identities are necessary to understand the information, which can lead to disputes about whether that standard has been met.

    Officials also differed over access to unclassified emails of American officials that the Russian government had previously hacked, including at the White House and State Department.

    A foreign ally’s intelligence service had obtained its own copy of the stolen messages and provided drives with another reproduction of them to the United States government. Investigators, including at the F.B.I., wanted to look at those files. They argued that the Russian hackers’ chosen focus while the Kremlin’s election interference operation was gearing up might shed light on that operation.

    But an index of the messages compiled by the unnamed foreign ally showed that they included emails from President Barack Obama as well as members of Congress. Mr. Obama’s White House counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, decided that investigators should not open the drives, citing executive privilege and the possibility of a separation-of-powers uproar if the F.B.I. sifted through lawmakers’ private messages.

    One problem in making sense of these disputes between the intelligence agencies nearly four years later, several people said, is that officials did not caveat their emails with detailed descriptions of their motivations and rationales for balking. That has left the messages open to multiple potential readings.

    The analysts could have been engaged in standard bureaucratic behavior like obeying the filtering process or hoarding sensitive information. Or perhaps they were trying to cover something up. The questions asked by Mr. Durham and his team suggest they are looking for any potential basis to support making the latter reading, officials said.

    Mr. Durham also asked questions that appear aimed at understanding how analysts reached their conclusion and who drove that process, the people said, and whether and how information from foreign governments or the C.I.A. played any role in stoking suspicions at the F.B.I. about Trump campaign links to Russia.

    Standards issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence require analysts to follow procedures aimed at ensuring objective, neutral and independent evaluations of the facts.

    Mr. Durham has interviewed F.B.I. officials and agents who worked on the bureau’s Russia investigation, called Crossfire Hurricane, and for the special counsel who took over the inquiry, Robert S. Mueller III. They have also interviewed C.I.A. analysts.

    Mr. Durham and his team also interviewed around a half-dozen current and former officials and analysts at the National Security Agency, including its former director, the retired Adm. Michael S. Rogers, last summer and again last fall. The Intercept first reported the interviews of Admiral Rogers.

    But Mr. Durham has not interviewed the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, his onetime deputy Andrew G. McCabe or Mr. Brennan. Mr. Durham has requested Mr. Brennan’s emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A. to learn what he told other officials, including Mr. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.

    Mr. Trump has targeted all three former top officials as he has sought to foster a narrative that it was illegitimate for government investigators to scrutinize links between his campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks and that he was the victim of a “deep state” conspiracy to sabotage him for political reasons — a push that led to the Durham inquiry.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/u...ia-russia.html
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  5. #4670

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Trump contradicts past denials, admits sending Giuliani to Ukraine
    CNN Digital Expansion DC Marshall Cohen
    By Marshall Cohen, CNN

    Updated 12:15 AM ET, Fri February 14, 2020

    Washington (CNN)Emboldened after his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump now openly admits to sending his attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to find damaging information about his political opponents, even though he strongly denied it during the impeachment inquiry.

    The reversal came Thursday in a podcast interview Trump did with journalist Geraldo Rivera, who asked, "Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?" Trump responded, "No, not at all," and praised Giuliani's role as a "crime fighter."

    "Here's my choice: I deal with the Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy," Trump said, referring to former FBI Director James Comey. Trump explained that he has "a very bad taste" of the US intelligence community, because of the Russia investigation, so he turned to Giuliani.

    "So when you tell me, why did I use Rudy, and one of the things about Rudy, number one, he was the best prosecutor, you know, one of the best prosecutors, and the best mayor," Trump said. "But also, other presidents had them. FDR had a lawyer who was practically, you know, was totally involved with government. Eisenhower had a lawyer. They all had lawyers."

    Trump had previously denied that he sent Giuliani to Ukraine. Asked in November if he directed Giuliani to "do anything" in Ukraine, Trump said, "No, I didn't direct him," but went on to call Giuliani a "great corruption fighter." Giuliani says he's exposing legitimate corruption in Ukraine, even though his claims about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden have been widely debunked.


    In the new interview, Trump defended the decision to "use" Giuliani, even though US diplomats previously testified that Giuliani had undermined long-standing US policy toward Ukraine.

    Giuliani was a central player in the scandal that got Trump impeached, though the President was acquitted by the Senate last week. Multiple witnesses described how Giuliani met with former Ukrainian officials in search of dirt against Joe and Hunter Biden. Other key players described how Giuliani and his allies pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens.

    Trump's past denials came in November, when the House of Representatives was investigating the President's conduct with Ukraine. Multiple US diplomats and national security officials testified that Giuliani was a central figure in the pressure campaign to secure political favors from Ukraine. Trump also mentioned Giuliani in his phone call last summer with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    In the week since his acquittal, Trump has taken a series of bold steps to punish his opponents and reward his supporters. He fired several US officials who had testified against him in the impeachment inquiry, and he successfully lobbied the Justice Department to water down its request that his longtime adviser Roger Stone face as many as nine years in prison for lying to Congress.

    CNN's Nicolle Okoren and Olanma Mang contributed to this story.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/13/polit...iew/index.html
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  6. #4671

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Patrick S. Tomlinson
    @stealthygeek

    Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, and Rience Preibus all returning to the WH has Ivanka's fingerprints all over it.

    She knows he dad is mentally deteriorating, and it's only accelerating. She's surrounding him with people he remembers to try and buy time to make it to November.
    I doubt they'd ever get away with it, but I wonder if they're tempted to put Ivanka in the VP slot for the election. Trump could step down as soon as he took office, and then she'd still be eligible for another 2 terms, because I think being an elevated VP doesn't count as a term.

  7. #4672

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie02123 View Post
    I doubt they'd ever get away with it, but I wonder if they're tempted to put Ivanka in the VP slot for the election. Trump could step down as soon as he took office, and then she'd still be eligible for another 2 terms, because I think being an elevated VP doesn't count as a term.
    Only if they complete less than 2 years of the previous term. Constitutionally someone could serve close to 10 years as President if they took over half way through the previous President's term and was then elected twice as the candidate at the top of the ticket.

    https://constitutioncenter.org/inter...amendment-xxii

  8. #4673

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    As much as I despise Pence, the thought of Ivanka running for VP and becoming president almost made me lose my dinner. GH

  9. #4674

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Aaron Rupar
    @atrupar

    Thanks to the Russian government for letting us know what the American government is up to
    State Department keeps quiet as Pompeo meets Lavrov in Munich
    Russian officials publicize meeting that US side did not mention.

    By David M. Herszenhorn | 2/15/20, 12:53 AM CET

    MUNICH — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday in an encounter the American side apparently wanted to keep under wraps.

    The State Department made no announcement of the meeting, which took place in Lavrov’s own dedicated meeting room at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, where the major annual conference of politicians, policymakers and security experts is held. Pompeo’s aides also did not provide any readout after the meeting ended.

    Russian journalists traveling with Lavrov were aware of the meeting in advance, and wrote about it afterward.

    Lavrov’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, confirmed the meeting in a Facebook post, which included a photo of Pompeo in a hallway of the hotel, and Lavrov standing in a doorway a few steps behind him.

    In the post, Zakharova wrote that Pompeo had said “good luck” to those gathered in the hallway, and cheekily added that those who heard it “gasped.”

    “There are few to whom Americans now wish something good,” she wrote.

    Asked about the meeting by POLITICO, a State Department official confirmed that there had been a “pull aside” with Lavrov but gave no further details. The official denied that the State Department asked Russia not to publicize the meeting and said it did not normally issue readouts of “pull asides.”

    There was no mention of the meeting in a briefing by a senior administration official about U.S. efforts at the security conference. The official said Pompeo met with Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and that U.S. officials met with Israeli counterparts as well as with a senior EU foreign affairs official, Helga Schmid.

    It was not immediately clear why the State Department did not disclose the meeting between Pompeo and his Russian counterpart in advance.

    The secretary of state has had some tense interactions with journalists recently, including an outburst at a National Public Radio reporter, Mary Louise Kelly, after Pompeo became angry at being asked questions about Ukraine in an interview. After that outburst, the State Department barred another NPR reporter from traveling on Pompeo’s plane.

    A Russian journalist traveling with Lavrov said the U.S. side had requested that there be no press conference or joint statements and that photographers not even be invited to take a picture of the two top diplomats shaking hands.

    Nahal Toosi contributed reporting from Washington.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/stat...mpression=true
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  10. #4675

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades



    Do they really expect us to believe that he knows who Ralph Waldo Emerson was?
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  11. #4676

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    That's a great saying and definitely to the point. There are many kings still on this planet, except that they usually don't go by that name.
    Roger forever

  12. #4677

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    This was my exact reaction to reading the quote used -


    Charlotte Clymer
    @cmclymer

    Honestly, I'm less concerned that Trump is tweeting a quote that features Ralph Waldo Emerson (who he doesn't know) and far more concerned that Peter Baker had a great opportunity to quote Omar Little ("You come at the King, you best not miss") and went with Emerson instead.

  13. #4678

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennHarman View Post
    As much as I despise Pence, the thought of Ivanka running for VP and becoming president almost made me lose my dinner. GH
    Disagree. I would take any woman as president over Mike Pence. I would even take Sarah Palin, and you know she is insane.
    But of course, that is choosing between Scylla and Charybdis.
    Missing winter...

  14. #4679

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    To be honest, Ponchi, I think I agree with you on that. I would probably take either Sarah Palin or Ivanka Trump over Mike Pence, despite what I said. And it is definitely a "devil or the deep-blue sea" sort of choice. I can get ill over the thought of any of those 3 being president. But then, I'm ill over the thought that Trump actually IS president...whatever.

    GH

  15. #4680

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    I'm still in agreement with Glenn's first thought. Ivanka getting supplanted into the VP position to become President is a bit too North Korea for me. Even if I don't despise Ivanka quite as much as some others on some days, the prospect is frightening because it's not nearly as unrealistic as it should be.

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