Collusion: The Trump Campaign and Moscow.

Reports of possible collusion between the Trump administration and the Kremlin have led to a political storm in the US. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP.

The Guardian has the latest on British intelligence which highlights yet more collusion on the part of Trump and Russia.

The UK government was given details last December of allegedly extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow, according to court papers.

Reports by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, on possible collusion between the the Trump camp and the Kremlin are at the centre of a political storm in the US over Moscow’s role in getting Donald Trump elected.

It was not previously known that the UK intelligence services had also received the dossier but Steele confirmed in a court filing earlier this month that he handed a memorandum compiled in December to a “senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form”.

The court papers say Steele decided to pass on the information he had collected because it was “of considerable importance in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election”, that it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK” and “needed to [be] analysed and further investigated/verified”.

The December memo alleged that four Trump representatives travelled to Prague in August or September in 2016 for “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers”, about how to pay hackers secretly for penetrating Democratic party computer systems and “contingency plans for covering up operations”.

Between March and September, the December memo alleges, the hackers used botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs and steal data online from Democratic party leadership. Two of the hackers had been “recruited under duress by the FSB” the memo said. The hackers were paid by the Trump organisation, but were under the control of Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration.

The Guardian has the full, in-depth story.

The Problem With “I Thought It Would Be Easier”.

President Donald Trump honks the horn of an 18-wheeler truck while meeting with truckers and CEOs regarding healthcare on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik.

Pretty much everyone has had something to say about the whole “I thought presidenting would be easier!” comment, most of it snarky in nature, and rightly so. One thing the Tiny Tyrant can be counted on for is to continually remind everyone he’s a fucking idiot. Now, I’m sure he thought he was driving home just how difficult a job it is, therefor people should give him a break and all that. It may not have been such a brazen line of bullshit if he had actually been working the last few months. That’s not the case, however. The Tiny Tyrant has spent less time working at the job than anyone else, full stop. When you are not actually working, you don’t get to moan and whine about how gosh darn hard it is.

President Donald Trump told Reuters on Thursday that, as he reaches the 100 day mark of his presidency, he’s been surprised by just how difficult running the country actually is.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump said. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

I’m sure people would be incredibly gracious if you disappeared back into your previous life. Problem with that one is, you never left it. The one thing you have managed to do as Unpresident is to make sure you and yours have cashed in, milking that government cow for all it is worth.

…Yet despite Trump’s frequent laments about the difficulty of his job, indications point to him spending far less time and effort on it than his predecessors.

Trump, who slammed Obama for golfing during his presidency, has spent 19 days at the golf course since becoming president. That’s a double digit lead over Trump’s three immediate predecessors (and at this point in their presidencies, neither Obama nor Bush had golfed at all).

Trump has also spent half of the weekends he’s been president at his resort at Mar A Lago — sometimes leaving for the weekend as early as Thursday afternoon. Each trip reportedly costs taxpayers over $3 million.

Even when he’s in D.C., reports indicate that Trump has taken a less hands-on approach to the presidency. Unlike previous presidents, who styled themselves as “deciders,” Trump’s aides have reportedly learned to just decide on the best course of action on their own and present that to the president — because presenting too many competing actions doesn’t work for him. Trump continues to watch hours of cable news.

When offered intelligence briefings prior to his inauguration, Trump only attended around one per week, instead of the proffered seven. And even then, intelligence analysts were instructed to pare nuance out of their reports and get them down to one page, if possible. That’s far less information than presidents traditionally receive — and is about a quarter of the information President Obama consumed.

Think Progress has the full story.

A Trump Tantrum and Government Shutdown.

Toddler Trump, by Sham.

Despite the Tiny Tyrant’s recent reversal on the importance of the first 100 days, he’s absolutely desperate for a “win” of some kind. For the most part, this involves another attempt at repealing the ACA, or failing that, trying to force congress to hand over forty billion dollars for the Grate Wall of Stupidity™.  More and more Americans are standing fast on not wanting the wall at all, and it’s not a remotely realistic “win” to push for, but Mulvaney is dangling an ACA concession, but only if all the money is handed over for the wall. Things were working, more or less, before Trump had to toss a late night wrench into the works, making everything all about his “wins” and nothing more. He has said “yeah, we want to keep government open”, but his actions don’t match that sentiment in any way. As usual, government in this case doesn’t mean jack shit if it doesn’t translate to “wins and approval” for the monstrous ego of Trump.

Trump’s instability has already caused a great deal of damage and irreparable harm; that harm keeps being extended with every rollback, all in the service of making the Tiny Tyrant feel like a big man. Now, he’s looking to toss anything into the cavernous maw of his always hungry ego, and if government shuts down, well who cares? I have no doubt that Trump would see that only as a bully tactic he could use, as that’s the current tactic, and the only one he possesses.

As the deadline for a spending bill looms, the Trump administration is reportedly throwing a monkey wrench into negotiations. The Trump administration is fighting for border wall funding or a crackdown on sanctuary cities, according to Politico, to give the president a victory during his first 100 days in office.

Desperate for a win, the administration is risking a government shutdown by insisting on funding the border wall. Congress has until April 28 to clear a spending bill — but negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate stalled over the last 24 hours after White House officials showed they wouldn’t move on funding the wall, Politico reported on Thursday evening.

A victory! The Tiny Tyrant must have a victory! Once again, language choice reveals a very nasty, unstable mindset. Think Progress has the full story, as does Politico.

Inaugural Donors: Phony Numbers and Front Groups.

Pablo Delcan; Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

President Donald Trump smashed records this month with a reported $107 million dollar worth of donations to the “58th Presidential Inaugural Committee”—doubling the amount received in 2009 by former President Barack Obama. But a deep dive into Trump’s Federal Election Committee filing, spearheaded by the Huffington Post’s Christina Wilkie, presents evidence that a large number of donors used “phony records” or are “front groups.”

“Wow: Scores of donors to Trump’s inauguration are phony records or front groups. Help us did, spreadsheet is open! https://t.co/e7IVvIx8gB

The look into all this fraud is being crowd-sourced, if you can help dig around a bit, do so!

Via Raw Story.

Trump’s Ties to Organized Crime.

Donald Trump, by Jason Mecier.

Alternet has a breakdown on the well-established ties to organized crime which Trump has had for years on end. This really shouldn’t surprise anyone, but if it helps open some eyes, good.

As President Trump discovers the prerogative of unilaterally making war, the media gaze has turned away from the ongoing FBI, House and Senate investigation of his Russia ties to the simpler dramas of cruise missiles, big bombs and tough but loose talk on North Korea.

Yet even the “mother of all bombs” cannot obliterate the accumulating body of evidence about his relationship with Russian organized crime figures and the not unrelated question about whether he and his entourage colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 presidential election. The story, notes Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall, is “Hiding in plain sight.”

The evidence of pre-election collusion between Trump and the Russians, while growing, is far from definitive. The evidence on Trump’s organized crime ties is stronger. Says Marshall:

“If we’d never heard about Russian intelligence hacking of the 2016 election or Carter Page or Paul Manafort or Sergei Kislyak this [Trump’s organized crime connections] would seem like an extraordinarily big deal. And indeed it is an extraordinarily big deal.”

Chronologically speaking, Trump’s ties to organized crime figures came first. Mutually beneficial transactions dating back to the 1990s led to closer relations in the 2000s and culminated in the contacts during the 2016 campaign. It all began with Russians who wanted to get their money out of the country.

Alternet has the full story.

I Won the Electoral College! Shut Up!

Twitter.

Here it is, Ēostre Sunday, and what’s an Unpresident to do? Why turn into Mr. Tweet of course, and take umbrage over the marches to reveal his taxes. The Tiny Tyrant returns, once again, to the electoral college, and in unintended irony, tweets about his “victory” on his personal account, continuing to eschew the Potus account.

I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?

Yes, taxes are brought up again, you ninny. No one cares about the electoral college, an outdated institution originally formed to protect slaveholders. Perhaps if you actually understood its origins, you’d stop hanging on to it like a pacifier.

Via Raw Story.

Practicing Unprotected Politics.

Goodness me, one of the Tiny Tyrant’s spawn had a thoughtless spill of arrogance, and a bit of truth tumbled out. Ooops. I’m sure there are some Trumpholes out there who believe that Donnie has “separated” himself from his business, but believing that requires quite a conscious effort of reality distancing. I expect most of them don’t care, and don’t see anything wrong the Tiny Tyrant treating the government like another overblown hotel or golf course.

…Because Trump hasn’t divested from his businesses, his separation from the vast conflicts of interest they pose is already shaky — and any separation at all rests wholly on his promise not to talk to his sons about them. None of the parties involved have provided any way to verify that this promise has been kept — and now, reports keep leaking out from Trump Jr. and Eric Trump themselves that President Trump is much more informed on his businesses than he alleges.

It’s just one more piece of evidence that Trump’s separation from his businesses is no more than a corporate shell game, and that there is little to stop him from making decisions as president that enrich him personally.

“He is breaking down one of the few barriers he claimed to be establishing between him and his businesses, and those barriers themselves were weak to begin with. But if he is now going to get reports from his son about the businesses, then he really isn’t separate in any real way,” Larry Noble, general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and a former chief ethics officer at the Federal Election Commission, told Forbes.

Think Progress has the full story.

100 Days: Re-branding the Regime.

President Donald Trump’s communications team is plotting to divide their first 100 days into three categories of accomplishments, according to people familiar with plans. | Getty.

Oh, that 100 days. It looms, and there’s a desperate effort underway to pull off a magical “re-branding” of the regime. Yep. That’s the caliber of our current government, spending time on trying to come up with catchy phrases and massive spin on all those “great accomplishments” so far. I can’t honestly say this is any sort of competent regime, any more than I can say it’s any form of government at all. It isn’t. We’re the country of failed mail-order steaks, but hey, we’re gonna have a new brand, so everything is greeeeaaaaat, you betcha!

The symbolic 100-day mark by which modern presidents are judged menaces for an image-obsessed chief executive whose opening sprint has been marred by legislative stumbles, legal setbacks, senior staff kneecapping one another, the resignation of his national security adviser and near-daily headlines and headaches about links to Russia.

The date, April 29, hangs over the West Wing like the sword of Damocles as the unofficial deadline to find their footing— or else.

[…]

“One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially two-and-a-half weeks to turn everything around,” said one White House official. “This is going to be a monumental task.”

For a president who often begins and ends his days imbibing cable news, the burden has fallen heavily on a press team that recognizes how well they sell Trump’s early tenure in the media will likely color the president’s appetite for an internal shake-up.

That was the backdrop for a tense planning session for the 100-day mark last week.

More than 30 Trump staffers piled into a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjoining the White House, according to a half-dozen attendees who described the Tuesday meeting.

Mike Dubke, Trump’s communications director, and his deputy, Jessica Ditto, kicked off the discussion of how to package Trump’s tumultuous first 100 days by pitching the need for a “rebranding” to get Trump back on track.

“I think the president’s head would explode if he heard that,” one of the White House officials present said.

Oh, the need to re-brand “Trump”, yes, I imagine that one wouldn’t go over well.

Staffers, including counselor Kellyanne Conway, were broken into three groups, complete with whiteboards, markers and giant butcher-block-type paper to brainstorm lists of early successes. One group worked in the hallway.

“It made me feel like I was back in 5th grade,” complained another White House aide who was there. “That’s the best way I could describe it.”

Dubke, who did not work on the campaign, told the assembled aides that international affairs would present a messaging challenge because the president lacks a coherent foreign policy. Three days later, Trump would order missile strikes in Syria in a reversal of years of previous opposition to such intervention.

“There is no Trump doctrine,” Dubke declared.

Some in the room were stunned by the remark.

“It rubbed people the wrong way because on the campaign we were pretty clear about what he wanted to do,” said a third White House official in the room, “He was elected on a vision of America First. America First is the Trump doctrine.”

“America First” is not a doctrine. It’s not anything. It’s a bit of rhetoric tossed out like a barbed net to catch the slowest swimmers. It doesn’t mean jack shit.

As for the rebranding remark, Dubke said that had been misinterpreted. “There is not a need for a rebranding but there is a need to brand the first 100 days,” Dubke said. “Because if we don’t do it the media is going to do it. That’s what our job is.”

Oh, the dishonesty. Yes, you’re trying to re-brand, and you’re in desperate need of something, after all, you can’t be dropping missiles and bombs every day, right? As for the media, it would be nice if the assholes who decided tossing random missiles was presidential would pull their head out of their arses, but you can’t blame media for reporting the facts.

Trump’s communications team is now plotting to divide their first 100 days into three categories of accomplishments, according to people familiar with plans: “prosperity” (such as new manufacturing jobs, reduced regulations and pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal), “accountability” (following through on swamp-draining campaign promises such as lobbying restrictions) and “safety/security” (including the dramatic reduction in border crossing and the strike in Syria).

:Snort: Well, the Pants on Fire teams will be busy. Trump has not done any of that, except to lie his arse off about it all. Everyone already knows the strike in Syria was a meaningless attempt to shore up ratings.

Trump aides are grappling with the reality that they will end this opening period with no significant legislative achievements other than rolling back Obama-era regulations. Even the White House’s most far-reaching success, the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, required the Senate rewriting its own rules to overcome Democratic opposition.

Yes, 45 to 50 years of hard fought for legislation which helped all people, and protected our land and water, all gone. So fuckin’ yay for you, idiots. That’s quite the “accomplishment”, making sure it will take people decades on end to repair all the damage done so far.

Though the White House continues to push for progress on stalled health care legislation, there are only five legislative days remaining once Congress returns from a two-week spring break. Plus, another deadline looms: Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress must still pass a bill before April 28 to keep the government running.

If they fail, a shutdown would begin on Trump’s 100th day in office.

And that would be Trump business as usual, wouldn’t it? I’m sure he’d solve it with a few more $3.5 million trips to Florida to golf. *spits*

Full story at Politico.

Oh look, here’s an “accomplishment”:

Via NYT.

Sunday Facepalm: The Problem with Syrian Kids.

When I posted about the illegal strike on Syria, I made a strong point about the Tiny Tyrant’s hypocrisy in claiming to care about Syrian children. He did not, and does not care about those children in the least. While campaigning, he compared Syrian people to venomous snakes, and Syrian people are high on his ban list. Nikki Haley has now come out and stated the real problem with those “beautiful babies” who happen to by Syrian – they come with parents. Oh my!

Following President Donald Trump’s military attack on Syria for the use of chemical weapons, CNN host Jake Tapper asked Haley why the administration was opposed to taking in refugees when “beautiful babies” were being “slaughtered.”

“Why not allow Syrian refugees who are children and maybe their mothers to come in after they’ve been vetted,” Tapper wondered.

Haley argued that President Trump “very much believes in the responsibility of keeping Americans safe.”

[…]

Tapper pressed: “But certainly you don’t think Syrian children pose a risk to the American people.”

“Well, Syrian children have to come with Syrian adults,” Haley replied. “And you don’t know, it’s hard to know based on the vetting process. And that’s unfortunate that we can’t find that out.”

[…]

“At the end of the day we need to remember that Syrians don’t want to live somewhere else. They want to be home. They want to be with their family. They want to be with their loved ones. And that’s the focus of why the airstrike happened this week.”

Right. An airstrike which did not do one fucking thing, outside of being a cynical ploy to shore up abysmal ratings, the only thing the Tiny Tyrant cares about. He certainly does not care about anyone’s children, outside of his own. I do imagine most people would prefer to stay in the land of their birth, however, war and climate change are making that impossible for way too many people. Since Little Donnie doesn’t want to actually help any of those brown babies with adults attached, perhaps he could go big picture, and focus on making a difference regarding climate. Oh, wait. Yes, he’s already done that one, hasn’t he? Rolled us right back by about 45, 50 years, hellbent on accelerating the nauseous mess uStates is about to become. Got it.

Via Raw Story.

Straight from the Golf Course, It’s Mr. Tweet!

The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!

That’s the Fucking Idiot’s amazing military logik! Well, he would know the dirty and cheap way to do something. I’m afraid the Tiny Tyrant isn’t doing so well anymore, the tweet stream is cynical, funny, and outraged. Lots of people tired to death of this moron. Not a whole lot of Trumpholes coming to the defense, either.

This also came up more than once in the tweet stream:

Pro-Trump super PAC @GreatAmericaPAC fundraising off missile strikes in Syria.

This Fucking Idiot is busy trying to funnel money into a 2020 campaign, while demonstrating that he can’t even manage to stay in the white house for one fucking weekend, let alone actually work.

Naturally, our ever Fawlty Dictator is busy sucking up all the taxpayer money while he plays at his private club, and is, once again, golfing.

Source: WaPo.

Think Progress has a lovely breakdown of just how much money the Fawlty Dictator has stolen to date, in order to spend every possible moment out of the white house, faffing about in Florida, busy sucking all those poor people dry, and golfing. Amazing he found a moment to tweet at all, ennit?

So Much for the “Investigation”.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., arrives for a closed-door GOP strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., arrives for a closed-door GOP strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

We are so far beyond a farce now, I’m out of words. It’s quite clear that any “investigation” into the corruption of the regime is not going to happen. Yes, Nunes has stepped down. Yes, the idiot is going to be “investigated”. None of that fucking matters in the least, because …

Nunes, who is the chairman of the committee, said that he will retain his post but will hand leadership of the investigation over to Reps. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Tom Rooney (R-FL).

Did anyone bother to think that perhaps having all rethugs in charge might not be the best idea? Also, who the hell thought it was okay for a compromised person to select those who would investigate? Everywhere you look, corruption.

Nunes designated Conaway as his lead successor, with Gowdy and Rooney as deputies. Conaway, like Nunes, is a Trump loyalist — one who was a member of the very campaign he will now be in charge of investigating. Conaway was a member of Trump’s Agriculture Advisory Committee, which Trump announced in August 2016.

The perfect person to put in charge of a corruption investigation, right? No problem there, no sirree. Jesus Tap Dancing Christ in a sidecar, there isn’t even going to be a pretense of objectivity here. What investigation? “Oh, hey, we looked, it’s all cool, the Tiny Tyrant is grate, grate, grate!” [Yes, that was on purpose.]

In January, Conaway gave his view on the Russian election hacking to The Dallas Morning News — and compared it to Mexican entertainers campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

“Harry Reid and the Democrats brought in Mexican soap opera stars, singers and entertainers who had immense influence in those communities into Las Vegas, to entertain, get out the vote and so forth,” Conaway told the local paper. “Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote in Nevada. You don’t hear the Democrats screaming and saying one word about that.”

He then told the paper he considered it on par with the Russian election hacking. “It’s foreign influence. If we’re worried about foreign influence, let’s have the whole story,” he said.

Now, Conaway will be in charge of the investigation.

I’m sure we all know what the result will be. Jesus Fuck.

Think Progress has the full story.

Painfully Obvious Ethical Carnage.

1 ohcp9brYwFRjt31eudsBWg

Some people have had enough, and just can’t take it anymore. The Wallace Global Fund can’t take it anymore, and have fired their lawyers, Morgan Lewis, for their role in allowing Trump to continue in his constant corruption and fraud.

The Wallace Global Fund is sick of pretending.

In a scathing letter, the investment fund fired its elite law firm, Morgan Lewis, for its role in enabling Donald Trump to use the presidency to line his pockets.

In January, Morgan Lewis partner Sheri Dillon publicly signed off on Trump’s plan to maintain ownership of his business empire while president. Instead, Dillon established a variety of measures that fell “well short of the steps recommended by the Office of Government Ethics.”

[…]

The Wallace Fund also blasts Morgan Lewis for largely ignoring the Constitutional prohibition on presidents receiving payments from foreign governments. Trump will purportedly donate the “profits” from foreign governments spending money at his hotels, a step that has been widely dismissed as insufficient and unenforceable.

A business partner of Trump’s in Las Vegas recently revealed that Trump is not taking steps to segregate profits from foreign governments.

The letter ticks through the “ethical carnage” that has piled up since Morgan Lewis blessed Trump’s plan: the doubling of initiation fees at Mar-a-lago, Trump’s private club; the courting of foreign governments at Trump’s D.C. hotel; and his numerous financial entanglements with the Chinese government.

“America deserves a President of undivided loyalty. Your firm has denied them that. We cannot be complicit in that,” the letter concludes.

Full Letter from Wallace Global Fund. Full Story at Think Progress.

Russia Investigation: Let the Tantrums Begin!

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes arrives for a weekly meeting of the Republican Conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP leadership on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes arrives for a weekly meeting of the Republican Conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP leadership on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee chair and former Trump transition team official Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) made the extraordinary claim that Democrats are actually the ones obstructing his committee’s investigation into connections between President Trump and Russian officials.

Nunes — who abruptly cancelled all scheduled committee hearings last week, including one that was to feature testimony from Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who alerted the White House to Michael Flynn’s deceptions about his communications with Russian officials and was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump’s Muslim ban — told NBC News that “it appears the Democrats aren’t really serious about this investigation.”

“They need to give us their witness list because we have no idea who they even want to interview,” Nunes said. “So, at the end of the day here we’re going to get to the truth, we’re going to find out who’s actually doing a real investigation… we’re going to do an investigation with or without them, and if they want to participate that’s fine, but the facts of the matter are pretty clear.”

But a source with knowledge of the situation tells ThinkProgress that Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee actually submitted a tentative witness list to Republicans on Tuesday and haven’t yet heard back. That information was corroborated by Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand, who reported that a “[c]ommittee aide tells me Dems provided witness list to Nunes yesterday and offered to schedule hearings next week, have not heard back.”

[…]

Nunes might say “the facts of the matter are pretty clear,” but they’re not. Here’s what we do know. Last Wednesday, Nunes held a press conference where he appeared to clumsily validate Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower phones by saying he has “recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

Instead of sharing that information with the intelligence community or his committee members, Nunes raced to the White House to brief Trump, whose campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with foreign agents. In the week since, Nunes has steadfastly refused to share what he claims to know about legal incidental collection at Trump Tower with his House Intelligence Committee colleagues.

The list of willful obstruction on the part of Nunes and Gowdy continues over at Think Progress, and it’s quite the long recount of obstruction. It would be downright laughable, the weak attempt to place blame on democrats, except for the fact that this is extremely serious. If this was anyone else, everyone would be going apeshit, screaming for impeachment and imprisonment. The silence of those on the right is more than telling, it’s an indictment all its own, of just how much they truly don’t care about such treasonous actions, as long as the crimes are being committed by someone on their side of the fence.

Think Progress has the full story.