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Hillary for America’s Communications Director, Jennifer Palmieri, penned this op-ed for the Washington Post.

Democrats can still fight back now. Here’s how.

March 24

Jennifer Palmieri was communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

At the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last summer, Jake Sullivan and I took to our golf carts one afternoon to make the rounds of the television networks’ tents in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center. It is standard for presidential campaign staffers to brief networks on what to expect during that night’s session. But on this day, we were on a mission to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

Sullivan was Clinton’s policy adviser. He had been Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, a deputy to then-Secretary Clinton at the State Department and a lead negotiator of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. He is a widely respected national security expert and, as he does every day, he spoke carefully, without hyperbole. All we had to go on then was what had been reported by the press. We weren’t sure if Russia was doing this to undermine Americans’ faith in our political process or if it was trying to make Trump the next president. But we wanted to raise the alarm.

We did not succeed.

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ser·en·dip·i·ty

[ˌserənˈdipədē]

the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way:

“a fortunate stroke of serendipity” ·

[more]synonyms: (happy) chance · (happy) accident · fluke · luck · good luck · good fortune · fortuity · providence · happy coincidence
Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press

 

The FBI has a way of stumbling upon things. 11 days before Election Day, FBI Director James Comey released a letter to eight Republican committee chairs stating that, while investigating an unrelated case, the FBI had discovered emails that might be connected to the bureau’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails and that he was extending, therefore, that investigation. Hillary’s campaign hit back with a one two punch.

Fast-forward to this week.

US officials: Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians

Comey was clear in stating that this evidence did not surface via the investigation of possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian operatives, but, rather, arose from  a different investigation, apparently involving surveillance of foreign operatives.

In other words,  the FBI came upon this information much the way they discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton on Anthony Weiner’s laptop – emails, it turned out, that the bureau had already seen. They were investigating Weiner, and some of Hillary’s emails appeared.

For the record, the fact that these “foreign” communications turned up in a bureau investigation and Comey announced it does not absolve Comey of releasing that October 28 letter and probably influencing the vote.

In this case, they were surveilling foreign operatives, and  – whoops! Trump campaign staff were talking to them!

Everything is a big, fat mess. As Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Comey violated bureau policy when he released that letter 11 days before the election. The emails in question would have been a huge nothing-burger had the letter not been released so close to Election Day. As it turned out, the letter was likely a factor in turning the election against Hillary Clinton and electing the guy whose campaign, transition team, and administration are riddled with Russian ties.

How ironic and how fitting! Karma can really suck when it’s bad. Unfortunately, this bad karma for the Trump regime is unlikely to change anything. Confirmation hearings continue for appointees and a SCOTUS justice nominated by what could possibly be proven an illegitimate administration.

This is the kind of malarkey being spouted by a Democrat!

“It’s only natural for us to want to go back and relive the elections,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.). “But that’s not going to happen. It’s about moving forward in the future. I think my Republican colleagues said it best when they said it happened to Democrats this time, it may very well happen to Republicans in the future, and that’s why it’s important to seek the truth.”

Read more at HuffPo >>>>

What? We should just keep on truckin’ like all of this is normal because  …  what? Because it may happen to Republicans at some unspecified point in the future? Sorry, but that should not be allowed to wash. This should never happen in any U.S. election. Period. That is the whole reason people are upset about it.

If this administration is found to have committed high crimes and misdemeanors and /or treason, the office of POTUS should not simply pass to the Veep of the same administration. I know we have no provision in the Constitution for this possibility, but that does not mean that we should just ignore a festering wound to our democracy. The situation is unprecedented. Whether collusion is eventually proven or not, steps should be taken to ensure the security of future elections.

Retweeted
 The intelligence community concluded the Russians will interfere again. This is why full investigation is important to country. Please stop.

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When I posted Tillerson’s Folly,  my thinking was that, in barring the press from his first official trip, Rex Tillerson was alienating a potentially valuable set of allies. Brassy Rebel pointed out, in her comment there, that his attitude vis-à-vis the press might indicate a broader administration policy of downgrading diplomacy. Indeed, Trump’s cabinet picks in general seem to indicate antagonism toward the very departments these folks head.

Hillary Clinton spent her first weeks at the State Department roaming the halls when she had a chance and popping into offices to ask what the folks there did.  Foreign Policy‘s article by Robert Jervis, presents a secretary of state cut off from others in the building and even from the Oval Office.

Remember when everyone said Hillary got off on the wrong foot with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with her reset button?

She did go on to work very successfully with him on New START, didn’t she?

Did you wonder when Tillerson was going to meet with Lavrov? Well, according to Jervis, he already has and that did not go swimmingly.

A minor indicator was his ignorance of the protocol to be followed when he met his Russian counterpart and neglected to make the standard introductory remarks. This shows that Tillerson was disconnected from his building’s expertise, that he ignored what he was told, or that his subordinates went out of their way to embarrass him.

The reason we did not know about it, of course, is the absence of press and paucity of press briefings under Tillerson. Here is the schedule for March so far. There was no briefing today. In contrast, here is the schedule for January – the last three weeks of John Kerry’s tenure.  Here is the schedule for March 2012, five years ago this month and the last year Hillary was secretary of state.  There is definitely something going on there. Mark Toner is still the spokesperson, but he is speaking far less these days than under Hillary and John Kerry.  It is also a little odd that Tillerson has not appointed his own spokesperson.

Jervis’s analysis is well worth a read. He takes a broad look at Tillerson’s State Department and his conclusions bode ill for the department and for diplomacy.  It reminds me of George W. Bush appointing Christie Whitman to head the EPA and then knee-capping her at every turn. She finally left in frustration after only  two-and-a-half years.  Fine thanks for giving him Barney!

 

Argument

Rex Tillerson Might Be the Weakest Secretary of State Ever

 

The administration that promised to drain the swamp is draining Foggy Bottom.  This, from The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove also offers some interesting insights. They are blaming the smaller plane on budget cuts. Just wondering what effect those cuts will have on embassy and consulate security.  This passage is particularly ironic.

Tillerson found himself being lectured on press freedoms during a visit to Bonn, Germany, last month by none other than Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the foreign policy czar of journalist-snuffing strong man Vladimir Putin.

“Why did you shush them out?” Lavrov demanded after Tillerson’s handlers ejected reporters from a bilateral meeting as the Secretary of State began to speak; Lavrov, who frequently travels with a full complement of journalists on his official plane, had already taken a press question. (Due to lack of witnesses from the Fourth Estate, Tillerson’s reply, if any, went unrecorded.)

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You might want to rethink canceling your subscription to The Guardian.

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The State Department press corps had boarded and had been logged in – both by the crew and on their social nets – when the secretary of state’s motorcade drove up. Hillary Clinton was about to board for her first official tour in Africa as secretary of state.  It was very exciting, but her press corps, all logged into Twitter, were disconcerted.  There was another motorcade on the tarmac. Another plane was preparing for takeoff.  The State Department press corps did not like it, and they said so on Twitter and other social nets.

What’s he doing, they queried. He’s stealing her light! There was a tweetstorm of monumental proportions.

The “he” in this case was the secretary of state’s husband and the former president who was off on a mission to rescue two journalists captured and imprisoned in North Korea.


They were employed by his former vice president, and the former POTUS went at his behest with the approval of the new president and his secretary of state, about to be bound to Africa. She knew all about it, of course. For the sake of convenience and perhaps to some degree for the sake of last minute preps and briefings, they had left their Georgetown residence together and arrived at Andrews for their separate missions. It was well-coordinated as such events go.

The DOS press corps, however did not see it that way that particular morning. They circled their wagons around the secretary of state, whose coverage was their job, and expressed their disgruntlement on Twitter where I was following several of the younger members of the corps.

Their loyalty to and protectiveness of Hillary was plain to see. No one should be stealing her steam, not even her husband, a two-term former POTUS.  This was her big trip.  They were there to make it visible to the world.

Apparently the current SOS, Rex Tillerson, missed class that day and in the days following Hillary Clinton’s flu and subsequent fainting spell and concussion, or even her bouts with spring allergies, or he would know the fealty and concern with which the DOS press corps treats coverage of the secretary of state.

Instead of giving them a fair chance to get to know him, bond, and explain and defend him in the press, he has opted to treat them as the enemy and barred them from the plane on his first official excursion to Asia. N.B. Asia was also Hillary’s first official trip as SOS.

This decision is not only folly but also speaks to the general attitude of this administration toward the press.  Without giving them the chance to get to know him and perhaps develop a sympathy toward him and his work, he has chosen to banish them as inimical – the general stance of the administration – and a dangerous and foolhardy one.

The State Department press corps tends to be very open, supportive, and defensive of the secretary of state. Tillerson, on his first official journey, has chosen to erect a wall, another symbol of this new administration, between him and those whose function is to cover his tenure.

He has decided to pare down. He will not be using the Big Blue Bird – so familiar via Condi, Hillary, and John Kerry.  He will use a smaller plane. N.B. that this does not necessarily represent any reduction of expenses since the news bureaus pay for the press transportation.  It represents, instead, a slap in the face to the free press.

The Trump administration and Tillerson as part of it have chosen to treat the press as the enemy.  They could have caught more flies with honey, but never mind. As Roseanne Rosannadanna might have said, Mr. Tillerson, you sound like a real attractive guy.  Truth is, when you have a name that sounds like it came out of an “Archie” comic book, you really needed all the help you could have gotten, and beggars cannot be choosers.

 

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You can’t make this stuff up. Look who was over Trump’s shoulder as he greeted the first visitors to tour the White House since his installation.  The ultimate photobomb!

Hillary haunts Trump as he surprises first White House tour group

He can’t get her off his back.

President Trump surprised the first group of visitors to tour the White House since his inauguration — but looming over his right shoulder was a portrait of his former nemesis, Hillary Clinton.

Read more and see video >>>>

Oh, yes! We are watching!

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Folks at Grand Central Terminal in New York saw and heard Hillary at a Stamp Dedication for Oscar de la Renta, yesterday. It was a government event sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service.  But at least one person in the White House in Washington DC seemed haunted by her presence there.

This is from the New York Times morning brief.

Trump’s Words, By the Numbers

By CARL HULSE

President Trump is clearly obsessed with numbers — the size of his Electoral College win, the number of people at his inauguration, the tally of jobs he is helping keep in the United States. The list goes on.

Given his predilection for digits, here are a few interesting ones from his extremely unconventional news conference on Thursday.

2: The number of times he mentioned the name Acosta at an event that started with the announcement of R. Alexander Acosta as his new nominee for secretary of labor. The other time Mr. Trump mentioned the name was when he called on Jim Acosta of CNN and noted that in picking the other Acosta he had instructed his staff members to make sure the two were not related.

11: The number of times he mentioned Hillary Clinton, his vanquished opponent in last year’s election. Mr. Trump is either having a hard time getting past the election or simply likes to talk about it since he won and it is a fond memory. The repeated references were to Mrs. Clinton receiving hints of debate questions ahead of time — a continuing sore subject — and her dealings with Russia while secretary of state, including a proposed reset “with a stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks.”

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The press conference in which these references occurred was notable for its lack of focus and organization, belligerent, incoherent, rambling style, and its contradictions – a primary tool of gaslighting.

e.g. 1) As he ranted and raved:   “Tomorrow, they will say, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.’ I’m not ranting and raving.”

2) After declaring himself the least racist person, he confronted April Ryan (a 20-year White House press veteran who is African-American) who asked if he would meet with the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus – the initials of which he did not recognize) with “Do you want to arrange it? Are they friends of yours?”

The hour-and-a-quarter tirade was marked by a preoccupation with stats, polls, and vote counts, an obsession with perceived false reportage ( “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake…The reporting is fake.”), and a marked inability to let go of his campaign or his adversary in that campaign whose name he invoked at odd intervals in the course of the event (in a few cases with bogus stories, i.e. “fake news”) and who was in New York minding her own business and honoring her late friend.

02-16-17-z-02

 

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Last Thursday, I mentioned the new administration’s tactic of choice, diversion.  This week, thanks to George Lakoff, we have a handy diagram for the analysis of tweets from Trump.

So it comes as no surprise that while Trump lobbed a grenade at Nordstrom’s and while we were all attending to the ninth circuit court of appeals which upheld the stay on the immigration ban and the endless confirmation hearings,  the explosions were happening elsewhere.

Last night and today, massive immigration raids were taking place in at least six states.

U.S. immigration authorities made a series of arrests in at least half a dozen states across the country on Thursday and Friday, sweeping up an unknown number of undocumented immigrants, immigration lawyers and advocates said.

The raids, which appeared to target scores of people, including those without criminal records, mark the first largescale episode of immigration enforcement inside the United States since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally. Immigration lawyers and advocates said some of the enforcement efforts included traffic stops and checkpoints, though Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials disputed those accounts, saying the agency does not use checkpoints while engaging in targeted enforcement operations.

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These followed the very high profile deportation of an Arizona woman who had reported as required of her to a local ICE office.

Typically, while we attend to all of this, we are supposed to be distracted from the Russia story, but that one grew extra legs just this evening. It appears that U.S. investigators have been able to corroborate portions of the dossier we referred to last week as the Christopher Steele Memos.

US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier

Coupled with that one was this.

 National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say

National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

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This story, of course, is the elephant in the room. The Russian connection to the Trump campaign and White House impugns the integrity of the election and the intentions of the administration with regard to Russian sanctions, not only for alleged election hanky-panky but also those imposed over Russian incursions in Ukraine. It lends credence to the idea that Putin’s antipathy to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was based on a lot more than a personality conflict and his idée-fixe that she somehow orchestrated mass demonstrations following the Russian parliamentary elections in 2011.

Deep Throat told Bob Woodward to follow the money. It is not hard to imagine that transactions involving Donald Trump might revolve around money. Alex Mohajer, late of Bros4Hillary, has constructed bulletin board worthy of Carrie Mathison from a series of interlocking documents. It is not complete, but is the best job of connecting the dots so far.

THE ROSNEFT RECEIPTS

Alex Mohajer @alexmohajer This morning

In light of Wash Post’s explosive article revealing Trump’s NSA Flynn contacted Russian officials BEFORE inauguration to discuss lifting sanctions, it’s getting harder to ignore growing evidence that Trump was involved with Russian oil deal.

See the documents >>>>

From this, we can see what entities acquired those mysterious Rosneft shares even if principals behind it remain shrouded.  it’s great detective work!  We can be relatively sure Alex will not let this opus rest here, so we can be reasonably sure that he will elaborate as he finds additional evidence. We look forward to that.

As for Hillary, she has steered clear of the Russian story which she tried to expose at the October 19 presidential debate. She did, however, register a reaction to the court decision on Thursday. Touted as ultimate shade, her tweet was concise.

Feb 9

 3-0

Ha!

09-26-16-z-24

The thing never to ignore is that Trump and the Republicans are working as a team. Wherever the fireworks go off, look elsewhere.  And watch this space.

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