Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Even TrumpWorld Grab-Bags Get the Blues

There is a limit to how much good faith one can presume of other people. When it comes to Senate Republicans, Senators Grassley and Graham pretty much exhausted whatever confidence I had in them with the "stunt" recommendation to the FBI to investigate Christopher Steele for possible criminal charges of lying to them. In the midst of an investigation into whether Trump campaign officials conspired with Russia to use stolen information to win an election, the person these partisan hacks decide to finger as a problem is the whistleblower?

Add to that the news that the DOJ is opening a new probe into the Clinton email server and that the Clinton Foundation is currently being investigated by the FBI, and it's hard for me not to see a pattern that looks like Republicans using the Justice Department for partisan ends. It doesn't even seem all that low-key. And while they are at it, pretending that the FBI was actually Hillary Clinton's fan club

This is the kind of thing that makes me dread blogging. It isn't healthy to look around and just see examples of shameful dealing everywhere.

But then, someone does something that really picks me up--Senator Dianne Feinstein decided to release a transcript of a congressional interview with Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, which was the research company that produced the dossier. And it appears to confirm what by now we should already know--the dossier was not the reason for the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia connections, because they already received information from someone inside the Trump orbit. Simpson also related the Steele broke off contact with the FBI in October 2016 when he became concerned that there might have been a pro-Trump faction within the FBI (which wasn't such a stretch--anti-Clinton is probably more like it) when a narrative was fed to The New York Times that no links were found between Trump and Russia. 

Now, I know this new information probably isn't going to change the whole conversation (I don't know--Trump hasn't mean-Tweeted about FBI DD McCabe since it was reported that his speculation about McCabe having anything to do with the Clinton investigation was rubbish) but it sheds some light where there was obfuscation. 

In other Steele Dossier news (how is there more Steele Dossier news?), Trump attorney Michael Cohen is filing a defamation suit against Buzzfeed for publishing the not-actually-discredited document. This strikes me as amazing for much the same reason as Trump's threatening to file a defamation suit against anyone over Michael Wolffe's Fire and Fury--it certainly looks like an effort to silence people to prevent true information coming out, and the discovery process would probably be brutal and unfavorable to President Trump because, and stick with me on this, Trump has a four decade long, well-documented history in multiple books and publications as being really shady. Why, before he was a fan of Trump, Steve Bannon shopped oppo connecting Trump to organized crime.  The connections aren't hard to make. 

It also isn't hard to see what Russia might have gotten in return for their "investment". This story from Spencer Ackerman that a White House official floated the idea of the US withdrawing from Eastern Europe reminds me a bit of the search for "deliverables" Trump wanted to offer Putin last year. And if one wanted an example of what a financially-leveraged President might be able to do, say, for his creditors, there is a nice example of a favor with respects to waiving penalties for interest manipulation that he is doing for a few banks, including Deutsche Bank. (The very one Steve Bannon noted might be of particular interest to Mueller's investigation.)

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