Patterico's Pontifications

3/22/2017

CNN: Trump Folks May Have Possibly Coordinated with Russia, Sources Might Say. Possibly.

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:35 pm

This is CNN:

The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN.

This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, according to one source.

The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.

Wow. So some anonymous sources, based on evidence we can’t see, have inconclusive maybes that suggest possibly there could have been this thing that happened.

After all the stories Big Media presents us with that fizzle out, forgive me if my attitude is: wake me up when you have actual evidence.

I’m really tired of this. And, just to piss off everybody in an equal opportunity fashion: I’m equally tired of all the partisans out there who are declaiming that this Nunes character somehow proved that Donald Trump was surveilled and wiretapped and PEOPLE OWE DONALD TRUMP A BIG APOLOGY!!!!1!!111!!!!1!! (If this confuses you, read Jay Caruso and learn about incidental collection. It ain’t targeted surveillance and it ain’t wiretapping.)

Good Lord. Settle down, people.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Confirms Info Was Collected On Trump Transition Team

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:08 pm

[guest post by Dana]

But, as Chairman Nunes (and Rep. Adam Schiff) make clear, they do not have any evidence supporting President Trump’s claim that President Obama wire-tapped Trump Tower before the election.

President Trump told CNN that he feels “somewhat vindicated” after being personally briefed by Chairman Nunes about this:

The U.S. intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of President Trump’s transition team and the information was “widely disseminated” in intelligence reports, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Wednesday.

“I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community collected information on U.S. individuals involved in the Trump transition,” Nunes told reporters.

“Details about U.S. persons involved in the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reports.”

He said that “additional names” of Trump transition officials had been unmasked in the intelligence reports and indicated that Trump’s communications may have been swept up as well.

The intelligence collected has nothing to do with Russia or the investigation into Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to Nunes.

“I want to be clear — none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team,” Nunes said.

Professor Reynolds notes:

It’s the “widely disseminated” part that may be felonious.

Gabriel Malor clarifies the terminology:

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…and follows it with the obvious question:

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Two takeaways:

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(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Wall Street Journal: Trump’s Lack of Credibility Is a Real Problem

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

Yesterday Jay Caruso said conservatives have to stop defending the indefensible when it comes to Trump and his often incredible statements. Today the Wall Street Journal echoes that sentiment with an editorial titled A President’s Credibility bearing the deck headline: “Trump’s falsehoods are eroding public trust, at home and abroad.” Here’s how it begins:

If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.

That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

It’s all on target, except maybe for the part that Sean Spicer “doesn’t deserve this treatment.” Spicer looks for all the world like someone who has fully thrown himself into the task of shoveling B.S. for his boss.

When it comes to the credibility of Trump and his spokesholes, to borrow a memorable phrase used by John McCain in a different context: “there’s a lot more shoes to drop from this centipede.” Here’s some more shoes that have dropped recently. Remember this?

As I said at the time:

If Donald Trump denied it happened, you can take that to the bank.

Of course, if the bank is familiar with Trump’s reputation for veracity, they probably won’t accept it.

And of course now we know that Ivanka has gotten a security clearance. Well, I’m sure Trump was telling the truth at the time, right?

Then there’s Sean Spicer on March 13 telling us that all appointees are required to sign Trump’s ethics pledge:

Q Thanks a lot, Sean. I wanted to follow up with you on questions regarding Michael Flynn, who’s no longer in the administration. There’s a five-year lobbying ban that’s been imposed upon all Trump administration employees. Does that also apply to Michael Flynn? Would he not be permitted to lobby now for five years because of the agreement that he signed when he became the national security advisor?

MR. SPICER: That would be correct. I’d have to check and actually figure out when he signed or if he signed the form. But yes, all administration officials who come in are required to sign that ethics pledge banning them from lobbying for five years and then a lifetime ban on lobbying on behalf of any foreign government.

“All” apparently doesn’t include Flynn after all. Today we learn from Lachlan Markay:

The White House’s former top national security official did not sign an ethics pledge ostensibly required of all Trump administration appointees barring them from ethically questionable lobbying activities, The Daily Beast has learned.

Then we have Kellyanne Conway saying President Trump doesn’t know Carter Page:

Huh. Odd, given that Trump named him as someone on his team advising him on foreign policy, when speaking to the Washington Post editorial board:

RYAN: Thank you… We’ve heard you’re going to be announcing your foreign policy team shortly… Any you can share with us?

TRUMP: Well, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names… Walid Phares, who you probably know, PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives caucus, and counter-terrorism expert; Carter Page, PhD; George Papadopoulos, he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy; the Honorable Joe Schmitz, [former] inspector general at the Department of Defense; [retired] Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more.

And, of course, Trump promised on the campaign trail to repeal ObamaCare, but yesterday was on Capitol Hill threatening Republican lawmakers’ jobs (as usual, Democrats are let off the hook) if they don’t pass a bill that does not repeal ObamaCare:

I’m asking for your vote on Thursday. I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

I guess someone could always argue that lying from the Oval Office or White House Press Room is hardly unprecedented, and that’s true. But we criticized Obama when he lied — and if we are to maintain our own credibility, we have to hold Trump and his spokespeople accountable for their countless falsehoods as well. The editorial today concludes:

All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

Tough but fair.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Attacks In London

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:20 am

[guest post by Dana]

An incident that police are treating as a terror attack, has happened in London:

A major security alert is under way at the Houses of Parliament after a man was shot by police as he tried to gain entry to the Palace of Westminster, mowing down pedestrians in what police are treating as a terror attack.

Witnesses described seeing a car crash into the perimeter fence on Westminster Bridge, hitting pedestrians, before the driver ran towards police officers guarding parliament.

Onlookers said a man armed with a knife had attacked police officers at the gate before being shot. One police officer has been stabbed in the incident at about 2.45pm.

At least three shots were heard and people described seeing two people laid on the ground.

There were reports that a car ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge just before the incident leaving up to a dozen injured.

From witnesses:

Witnesses have described seeing a middle-aged man carrying a knife and running towards the Palace of Westminster…

Jayne Wilkinson said: “We were taking photos of Big Ben and we saw all the people running towards us, and then there was an *Asian guy in about his 40s carrying a knife about seven or eight inches long.

(*As a reminder: The British refer to individuals from South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan) as “Asian”.)

Sky News is following the attack with live updates here.

Untitled

–Dana


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