The New York Times reports, “Mr. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday that he became concerned last year that the Russian government was trying to influence members of the Trump campaign to act — wittingly or unwittingly — on Moscow’s behalf.” Brennan told the House intelligence committee, “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” so there is your contact between the Trump campaign and Russia, do not ask if it happened because it did. Brennan, ever the cautious analyst avoiding politics, however added, “It raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals,” because “I don’t know whether such collusion existed.” Recall, Brennan left office with the changing of the guard on Inauguration Day this year, so new intelligence may have substantiated his concerns since then. POLITICO quotes Brennan, “I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion.”

From The New York Times.



POLITICO also quotes Brennan as having “said he passed evidence collected by the CIA to the FBI, which handles such investigations.” Brennan said, “It should be clear to everyone that Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process,” according to The Washington Post which also reports, “On Tuesday, Brennan testified that he was the first to confront a senior member of the Russian government on the matter, using an August phone conversation with the head of Russia’s security service, the FSB”. According to The Washington Post, “Brennan said he told FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov that ‘American voters would be outraged by any Russian attempt to interfere in the election’ and that such activity ‘would destroy any near-term prospect of improvement’ in relations with the United States,” or long term, or as long as any generation with citizens who are awake is around. Better nuke us all, Russia. Brennan said, “Bortnikov twice denied that Russia was waging such a campaign,” which is of course complete and utter horse shit, which coincidentally is the best word to describe Russia at present. (See the concluding scene of Latvian film “Dawn (Ausma)” for some how it was bullshit in the past, too). Of course, the various attempts at non-retaliation and tepid statements, coupled with the “success” of their America operation means the horse shit nation “was probably not dissuaded from attempting similar interference operations in the future.” This despite the fact that Russia is doing something self-defeating? Imagine that! So unlike Russia! Just kidding. That is all Russia ever does: defeat itself then misfire in projecting its rage at perceived enemies in a scapegoating act of self-denial.

From POLITICO and The Washington Post.



POLITICO reports, “Brennan was asked to comment on reports that Trump shared sensitive intelligence with the Russian officials during the Oval Office meeting that might have jeopardized a sensitive intelligence-sharing relationship with a foreign partner. The former CIA chief noted that classified intelligence is routinely shared with foreign countries, but that if Trump made a spontaneous decision to do so, he would have violated ‘two protocols.’” The first mistake is that intelligence is shared through intelligence agencies, not foreign ministers or ambassadors like the two Sergeys,. The second mistake is that the intelligence being shared must be vetted by “the originating agency to make sure that the language in it is not — even just providing the substance — going to reveal sources and methods and compromise the future collection capability,” in Brennan’s words.




Mother Jones reports, “The Republicans still are not serious about investigating the Trump-Russia scandal. That message came through resoundingly,” yesterday during the House intelligence committee meeting as Republican after Republican ceded their allotted time in the hearing with former CIA Director John Brennan to South Carolina Rep. Trey “Beghazi” Gowdy. Contrasted with fellow South Carolinian in the Senate Lindsey Graham, it is clear as day that Gowdy and his fellow Russia Party lawmakers do not care about protecting Americans from Russian interference in our election or U.S. national security. Every time he opened his mouth, Gowdy tried to deflect from the task at hand and “did not press” Brennan “for more details on Russia’s information warfare against the United States. Instead,” Gowdy and fellow Russia Party Republicans “fixated on protecting Trump.” According to Mother Jones, “They posed the same basic query: Did you see any evidence that Trump or his associates plotted with Russians? ‘I don’t do evidence. I do intelligence,’ Brennan replied.” Je suis the intelligence community’s eyeroll every time Gowdy opens his mouth or #jesuistheiceyeroll if you are on Twitter. Despite the fact that “In the face of this questioning, Brennan repeatedly stated that the intelligence he saw regarding contacts between Trump associates and Russia was worrisome and deserved full FBI scrutiny,” because obviously that was the topic at hand. Indeed, “the Republicans failed in their mission to provide cover for Trump—and they ended up highlighting the legitimacy of the FBI inquiry begun under Comey,” because there is such a thing as the law of unintended consequences, a law writ large that Russia and the Russia Party must learn anew each and every day ever after their heavy support for their guy squatting in the White House. And of course “Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who’s leading the committee’s Russia investigation in Nunes’ absence… opened the hearings without any reference to the interactions between Trump associates and Russia, but he had presented a prayer that invoked Jesus.” Yeah, that’s right, Jesus told these motherfuckers to betray their nation like the filth they are and work for Russia and Putin’s puppet. Mother Jones reports, “As one Democrat noted, Conaway did not ask a single question during the proceedings. ‘That tells you all you need to know’”. Indeed! Maintain your capacity for shock, rule number four of “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” according to Masha Gessen.

From Mother Jones.



Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats was also on the Hill Tuesday, appearing before the powerful Senate armed services committee, which is chaired by Senator John McCain, a stalwart patriot. The New York Times reports, “Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, opened questioning at a hearing Tuesday by asking Mr. Coats, about Mr. Trump’s request to publicly dispute that any evidence exists of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” however “Mr. Coats said he could not publicly discuss the subject.”

From The New York Times.



Just when Michael Flynn thought he was off the hook, ignoring subpoenas sent his way by Congress and taking the fifth after being denied immunity, more subpoenas are being sent his way! The New York Times reports, “The Senate Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas Tuesday for documents from two businesses owned by Michael T. Flynn.” This of course “escalates his standoff with Senate investigators looking into potential collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian officials.” The New York Times notes, “Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, said panel members had also written back to Mr. Flynn’s legal team, requesting clarity about whether the Fifth Amendment could indeed shield an individual from producing documents, as well as challenging his claim that the committee’s previous requests for documents lacked specificity. Mr. Burr left open the possibility of holding Mr. Flynn in contempt of Congress.” And “Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel’s top Democrat, said the subpoenas were for the firms Flynn Intel LLC and Flynn Intel Incorporated,” which are funny names retrospectively given how much intelligence Flynn appears to lack. Perhaps “Flynn Hot Headed Bullshit LLC” and “Flynn Hot Headed Bullshit Incorporated” or “Flynn Traitor Trash LLC” and “Flynn Traitor Trash Incorporated” might better reflect the work his firm performed? Senator Warner noted wisely, “It is even more clear that a business does not have a right to take the Fifth as a corporation.” Lock him up! Lock him up!

From The New York Times and POLITICO.



Reuters reports, “President Donald Trump has tapped a longtime legal adviser to serve as his private attorney while a special counsel investigates whether his campaign worked with Russia in last year’s election,” by the name of Marc Kasowitz, “a New York-based trial lawyer known as a tenacious litigator”. The news was first reported by Fox Business and ABC News. Also conflict of interest alert: former “Senator Joseph Lieberman, a senior counsel at the firm,” is “a top candidate to serve as FBI director”. As if that is not enough to set off some alarm bells, “Kasowitz also represents OJSC Sberbank of Russia, the country’s largest bank”. One more thing Sberbank CEO Herman Gref and Trump have in common!

From Reuters.



The New York Times reports, “The Trump administration said Tuesday that ethics experts had decided that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into possible Russian interference in the election, could carry out the inquiry even though his former law firm represents some of Mr. Trump’s family members and his former campaign chairman.” Mueller used to work for WilmerHale, which now represents the Aryan princess Ivanka, as well as princeling Jared, and fellow scum of the earth, dictator shill Paul Manafort. The New York Times notes, “While Mr. Mueller did not personally represent them, Reuters reported that the White House was considering using conflict-of-interest rules to undermine the investigation.” Of course, Trump can still find ways to undermine the investigation and his own credibility in the process because he is clearly hiding something sizeable given his various efforts to shut down the investigation. The New York Times reports, “Mr. Mueller resigned his role as a partner at WilmerHale to become the special counsel.”

From The New York Times and The Washington Post.



Remember that little Hungarian neo-Nazi Trump hired as a counter-terrorism advisor who cannot get a security clearance and blocked TRUMPISTAN WATCH on Twitter? Sebastian Gorka was the little neo-Nazi’s name and now his wife, Katherine Gorka, has been hired by the Department of Homeland Security according to The Hill, citing a group called American Oversight. There were not a sufficient number of demented freak shows in this administration or relatives, so this takes care of both with one hire. Everyone welcome Katherine with constant insults, trolling and general mockery, after all she married a neo-Nazi and then kept him around. It will make the precious snowflakes melt.

From The Hill.





The Washington Post reports on Trump’s views on the Fifth Amendment, especially now that his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has invoked his right against self-incrimination for his potentially treasonous activities. The Washington Post notes Trump took the Fifth “refusing to answer 97 questions in a divorce deposition” in 1990 and said, “’The mob takes the Fifth,’ Trump told a campaign crowd in Iowa last September. ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’” Yeah, why is Flynn taking the Fifth, is he like the mob? Signs point to “yes,” amirite? Of course Trump is the same buffoon who last year “ripped into Hillary Clinton aides repeatedly for exercising the same privilege during the congressional investigation into her private email server,” because the same logic that is supposed to govern the rest of us should not apply to the wholly, eternally innocent Trumpworld when it does wrong. And of course there is the hypocrite Flynn who last year during the Clinton investigation said, “When you are given immunity, that means that you probably committed a crime.” Recall Flynn asked for and was denied immunity by the U.S. Senate. While the Trump trash might think karma is a chameleon that can work for them, it looks like Trump and Flynn have 99 problems. In reality as opposed to Trump trash logic, “Legal scholars are critical of those who try to taint others for invoking the Fifth, saying it clouds an important constitutional right and feeds into public misperceptions that taking the Fifth automatically suggests someone is guilty.”

From The Washington Post.




The New York Review of Books takes on data mining and online advertising in the 2016 election, reporting, “the Trump campaign ended up relying on three voter databases: the one supplied by Cambridge Analytica, with its 5,000 data points on 220 million Americans including, according to its website, personality profiles on all of them; the RNC’s enhanced Voter Vault, which claims to have more than 300 terabytes of data, including 7,700,545,385 microtargeting data points on nearly 200 million voters; and its own custom-designed one, called Project Alamo, culled in part from the millions of small donors to the campaign and e-mail addresses gathered at rallies, from sales of campaign merchandise, and even from text messages sent to the campaign. Eventually, Project Alamo also came to include data from the other two databases.” Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale was brought on the usual Trump way after he ingratiated himself into the family and even described princeling Jared as “like a brother to him.” The New York Review of Books notes, “In the early phase of the primaries, Parscale launched Trump’s digital operation by buying $2 million in Facebook ads—his entire budget at the time. He then uploaded all known Trump supporters into the Facebook advertising platform and, using a Facebook tool called Custom Audiences from Customer Lists, matched actual supporters with their virtual doppelgangers and then, using another Facebook tool, parsed them by race, ethnicity, gender, location, and other identities and affinities. From there he used Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences tool to find people with interests and qualities similar to those of his original cohort and developed ads based on those characteristics, which he tested using Facebook’s Brand Lift surveys.” This was only the beginning as the campaign evolved into the general election season, “Parscale’s shop was reportedly spending $70 million a month on digital advertising, most of it on Facebook.” Given the outsized reputation of Cambridge Analytica as a nexus of Mercer family evil in press reports since Trump won the electoral college and lost the popular vote by 3 million, “Remarkably, none of this money was used on ads created from Cambridge Analytica’s questionably obtained Facebook data,” The New York Review of Books notes. Fascinating as the press obsession with the firm has been, “Cambridge Analytica came late to American elections,” but “its British parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), has been a client of the United States government for years. SCL has ‘provided intelligence assessments for American defense contractors in Iran, Libya and Syria,’” The New York Review of Book recalls, citing the Times, “and developed so-called influence campaigns for NATO in Afghanistan.” While “SCL is currently seeking contracts with at least a dozen US agencies, and The Washington Post recently reported that it has already secured work with the State Department.” Conclusion: what the twitter blogger/reality TV freak show president “has discovered is that it actually pays only to please some of the people some of the time. The rest simply don’t count.” About all that tech-evangelism…

From The New York Review of Books.



Call it the Sean Hannity is a Russian nutter and Bill O’Reilly is no longer there to reaffirm fragile masculinity effect but faux news Fox News is no longer the ratings blockbuster it was in Roger Ailes days. He died last week to rancorous cheers among thinking people everywhere. Business Insider reports, “Fox News last week fell into third place during primetime in the coveted advertising demographic of 25-54 year-old viewers, the first time it had done so in 17 years, as rival network MSNBC surged into first place.” Business Insider notes, “According to Nielsen, MSNBC led the three cable networks between 8-11 p.m., averaging 611,000 viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, while dominating with 2,440,000 viewers overall.” Sadly, “Despite the primetime dip last week, Fox is still above MSNBC and CNN in primetime and total-day ratings this month. “ But primetime! Of course deprogramming the Trumpenproletariat will take years and the sort of sympathy of the rest of the population they were never willing to show those they deemed undesirable, namely women, minorities, anyone with an education, but we must as they are part of the fragile fabric of the nation too! Faux news Fox News is not helping its case by largely ignoring the news, such as anything that spells trouble for their beloved Kremlin troll in the White House.

From Business Insider and Variety.


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