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Author Topic:   The Trump Presidency
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 1906 of 2666 (828423)
02-17-2018 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1904 by Percy
02-17-2018 2:11 PM


Re: Mueller Charges Russians
quote:
Failing to register as foreign agents, and then with the Attorney General, but engaged in political activity anyway, i.e., seeking to defraud the US by interfering in the 2016 election.
Filing visa applications using false information so as to enter the US to collect intelligence for their election interference efforts.
Engaging in aggravated identity theft.
Engaging in wire fraud.
Engaging in fraud and deceit to hide their illegal activities.

I did not focus on those charges for reasons I already have given but will repeat here. I am trying to focus on the activities that would are likely to include Americans, and in particular Americans close to Trump.

I suppose it is possible that Americans helped the Russians enter the country illegally or helped them money launder, but a huge amount of the actual activity appears to have been performed remotely.

But hey, maybe some Trump folks other than the folks currently named were involved with money laundering and identity fraud, illegally sneaking into the country. I see no reason to believe that yet.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1904 by Percy, posted 02-17-2018 2:11 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 1909 by Percy, posted 02-17-2018 5:50 PM NoNukes has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 1907 of 2666 (828424)
02-17-2018 3:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1902 by Phat
02-17-2018 1:09 PM


Re: I am amazed ...
Phat writes:

When we do it to them, its to make the world safe for democracy. When they do it to us, it is a war against our way of life.

Remember, the Soviet Union, even under Stalin just like China under Mao were Democracies.

Phat writes:

Nobody cared when the US tried to influence other governments because it was assumed we were simply paving the way for a better way of life in those oppressed countries. In contrast, there is no way Russia is going to improve our way of life...except perhaps to expose the hypocrisy of our wealthy elite...

The people of the nations where the US overthrew democratically elected governments to install a dictator certainly cared.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

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NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 1908 of 2666 (828425)
02-17-2018 4:13 PM


White house tightening of security clearance review process...
So far, the Whitehouse has offered no credible reason why the retained, and even considered promoting Rob Porter despite Porter being unable to obtain a security for a year. The White House has responded to the FBIs claim that they sent interim and complete reports to the White House starting early last year, by indicating that there was some process wherein some staff career people were required to review the reports before Kelly and the other members of the administration could take action.

Of course, those claims indicate a tremendous lack of judgment on the part of at least Porter's bosses, but apparently, the administration is going to stick with that excuse. They are now making noises about reforming what would have been a criminally deficient policy if it were actually the real policy.

http://thehill.com/...white-house-security-clearance-process

quote:
The changes include calling on the FBI to specifically brief the White House counsel on any potential concerns flagged in a background check; aiming for the FBI to bring any problematic findings to the White House within two days from discovery; limiting new interim clearances to a maximum of 270 days; and cutting off certain clearances for employees whose clearance investigations have been pending since before June 1, 2017.

Let's recognize that the FBI's detailed report had been in the White House for months and that none of the updates that the FBI provided made things more rosy for Porter. Let's also note that the length of time Porter stayed at the office after the initial report was completely in the hands of the White House.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17992
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 1909 of 2666 (828433)
02-17-2018 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1906 by NoNukes
02-17-2018 3:39 PM


Re: Mueller Charges Russians
With the indictment providing so much detail of what Russia did to interfere in the 2016 election, I think Rrhain's view that the smoke can be connected to a fire now looks a little stronger. Before the indictment revealed how much we know about what the Russians did, Donald Jr.'s meeting about Clinton emails with some Russians in Trump Tower didn't seem likely to result in charges.

But now there's the likelihood that we know a lot more than has been made public. The connection of just one Russian in that Trump Tower conference room to the election conspiracy or to trying to hack Clinton emails or to hacking the DNC emails or to something else we don't even know about yet would potentially make Donald Jr. part of the conspiracy, and Donald Sr. knew about the meeting since he wrote the false description of it for the press.

The seriousness with which the courts have treated Trump's public comments and tweets regarding immigration as reflecting his true intent lends confidence that they'll also take seriously what the public comments and tweets and all these meetings (not just the Donald Jr. meeting) with Russian representatives really say about the Trump campaign's intent.

Of course, Trump himself probably has little to fear from the courts. Trump campaign members could face prosecution, but Trump himself can only be tried by the Senate and the odds seem against it ever getting that far (Trump's own DOJ isn't going to charge him with anything, and it would raise constitutional issues anyway). Even if the Republican House flips Democratic this fall, why would they even bother voting articles of impeachment if the Senate remains in Republican hands - maybe as a political move. It feels like Trump is safe from impeachment, but it is beginning to seem possible that some people, beyond those already indicted, may be going to jail.

Interesting fact of history: John Dean spent little actual time in jail. My recollection is hazy now, but I seem to recall that because of deals with prosecutors and time spent working with the prosecution...well, let me look this up. Ah, instead of a minimum security facility he ended up spending most days at Leon Jawarski's offices, and when the legal process finally ended Judge Sirica reduced Dean's sentence to time served, about four months, and very little of that in actual jail.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1906 by NoNukes, posted 02-17-2018 3:39 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 1910 by jar, posted 02-17-2018 6:46 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply
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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 1910 of 2666 (828434)
02-17-2018 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1909 by Percy
02-17-2018 5:50 PM


Re: Mueller Charges Russians
The threat is not to Trump but to Trump Inc. And that would be decided by the markets not the Senate.

My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
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NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 1911 of 2666 (828435)
02-17-2018 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1909 by Percy
02-17-2018 5:50 PM


Re: Mueller Charges Russians
Even if the Republican House flips Democratic this fall, why would they even bother voting articles of impeachment if the Senate remains in Republican hands - maybe as a political move. It feels like Trump is safe from impeachment, but it is beginning to seem possible that some people, beyond those already indicted, may be going to jail.

If it came to this, an unimpeached Trump would be an extremely weak, and probably, extremely unpopular leader. So weak, in fact, that Republican's might find that supporting him creates liabilities for their own position. That liability and only that liability is what would lead to Trump or any other president being convicted in the Senate by his own party. Impeachment proceedings are always just as much about politics as they are about high crimes and misdemeanors.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1909 by Percy, posted 02-17-2018 5:50 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 1912 of 2666 (828448)
02-17-2018 11:30 PM


Trump is off the chain again...
In a series of tweets, Trump tells anyone who will listen that Mueller has proven that the Russian interference did not affect the outcome of the election.

quote:

In a string of tweets Saturday, President Donald Trump said that, despite the newly announced charges, the Russian meddling had no effect on the outcome of the election.

" 'Charges Deal Don A Big Win,' written by Michael Goodwin of the @nypost, succinctly states that 'the Russians had no impact on the election results."


Of course, the problem with these assertions is that an investigation into criminal activities can never establish this. In fact, just as it is impossible for Clinton to claim she would have won, it is equally impossible to establish that the Russians had zero impact on the election results. And that is all any has said about the charges.

We are not talking about a subtle point here. We are simply talking about what is possible to find out from an indictment of Russians for spending millions of dollars per week on negative advertisements and twitter campaigns. Noone will ever be able to do more than make intelligent or not so intelligent assessments and guesses about what occurred.

Trump's apparent loss of ability to reason has a simple origin. He simply cannot accept any possibility that his win is not exactly what it appears. And now that it is impossible to continue to deny interference from Russia, and not from 400-pound American operating from his couch, Trump is reduced to posting irrational and unsupported claims.

Trump is still president. There is no mechanism under which there will be a do-over, nor should there be any such thing. But we cannot allow this kind of interference to happen again.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


Replies to this message:
 Message 1913 by Percy, posted 02-18-2018 10:16 AM NoNukes has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17992
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 1913 of 2666 (828454)
02-18-2018 10:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1912 by NoNukes
02-17-2018 11:30 PM


Re: Trump is off the chain again...
[Comment: In the end this post turned out to be less a reply to what you said and more just me on a soapbox]

NoNukes writes:

Of course, the problem with these assertions is that an investigation into criminal activities can never establish this. In fact, just as it is impossible for Clinton to claim she would have won, it is equally impossible to establish that the Russians had zero impact on the election results. And that is all any has said about the charges.

Precisely right, but conservative news outlets like Fox News are endorsing and doubling down on the president's position that the Mueller indictment exonerates the Trump campaign of collusion with the Russian conspiracy. It's as if they and their audience either ignore or don't think about how little sense this makes.

Many things conservative say make little sense and often involve distortion or leaving out key facts, leaving one wondering whether they have any moral compass: "In the wake of the Florida massacre, now is not the time to discuss solutions." "We care about the DACA people." "The tax cuts help the middle class the most." "The increased deficits won't affect the economy." "Russian meddling had no effect on the outcome of the 2016 election."

There was an interesting interview in today's Washington Post of a former employee of the Russian's Internet Research Agency (A former Russian troll speaks: ‘It was like being in Orwell’s world’). When asked why he left he said, "I left for moral reasons. I was ashamed to work there." If a Russian troll can have a conscience, why not American conservatives? A couple more quotes:

quote:
I arrived there, and I immediately felt like a character in the book “1984” by George Orwell — a place where you have to write that white is black and black is white. Your first feeling, when you ended up there, was that you were in some kind of factory that turned lying, telling untruths, into an industrial assembly line.
...
Who really reads the comments under news articles, anyway? Especially when they were so obviously fake. People working there had no literary interest or abilities. These were mechanical texts. It was a colossal labor of monkeys, it was pointless. For Russian audiences, at least. But for Americans, it appears it did work. They aren’t used to this kind of trickery. They live in a society in which it’s accepted to answer for your words.

That is, in Russia the propaganda just rolls off like raindrops off a raincoat, but in America if they're already inclined to think that way they drink it up.

During the 2016 election the considerable amount of absurd negative news about Hillary Clinton was like nothing I'd ever experienced in any previous election (the most ridiculous was Pizzagate, the accusation that Clinton was running a child sex ring out of pizza parlor in Washington D.C.). I chalked it up to the increasing popularity of social media amplifying voices I wouldn't have heard in previous elections, but Russian involvement now means it's not possible to know if that's all it was.

I mentioned the Pizzagate conspiracy theory above and thought this excerpt from Wikipedia scary:

quote:
The poll showed that 9% said that they did believe she was connected, 72% said they did not, and 19% were not sure.

So 28% of the American people are so stupid that they believe it possible that Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor. Wow! Given this, it's definitely believable that the Russian disinformation campaign elected Trump, though in my mind Comey reintroducing the Clinton email scandal just a couple weeks before election day was a very big factor.

Speaking of the Clinton email scandal, I wonder how much of the negative feeling about Clinton's use of a private email server during her time at State was real and how much was stoked by Russian trolls? This article from July, 2016, characterizes what effect the scandal was having on the Clinton campaign at the time: Hillary Clinton Survived Her Email Scandal, But Not Unscathed, New Poll Shows. It says:

quote:
Clinton has battled the notion during her campaign that she is dishonest and purposely set up the private email server because she wanted to hide her public and private exchanges from public scrutiny and skirt disclosure laws. Her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, calls her “crooked” at virtually every campaign appearance.
...
The poll found that 56 percent of Americans said they think the Democratic presidential candidate broke the law, including 39 percent who think she did so intentionally and 17 percent who think she did so unintentionally.

How much of Trump calling Clinton crooked was amplified by Russian trolls and bots? Hard to say, but the use of a private email server seems a mistake, not a crime, and given that the server was never compromised while servers at State were, obviously Clinton did due diligence regarding security. But during the election opinions like mine were buried beneath a veritable deluge of negative press and social media attacks.

I know it can't be quantified, but in my view the Russian trolls and bots did make possible Trump's election, and I see no diminishment in the susceptibility of the American public to conservative media outlets like Fox News and to social media.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1912 by NoNukes, posted 02-17-2018 11:30 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 1914 by jar, posted 02-18-2018 10:21 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply
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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 1914 of 2666 (828455)
02-18-2018 10:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1913 by Percy
02-18-2018 10:16 AM


Re: Trump is off the chain again...
Remember, "Big Brother" was popular with the majority.

There really is a Cult of Ignorance and Dishonesty in the US and unfortunately its foundation is Conservative Evangelical Fundamental Biblical Christianity.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1913 by Percy, posted 02-18-2018 10:16 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 11632
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


(1)
Message 1915 of 2666 (828458)
02-18-2018 11:31 AM


Latest From NPR
This from NPR:
Trump Chides McMaster For Saying Evidence Of Russian Interference 'Incontrovertible'

NPR,quoting Trumps Tweet writes:

General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!


Another tweet by the president of the United States!(Just saying that brings nausea to my gut)
I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!
The president sounds like he is an adolescent! I still never cease to be amazed at the level of communication from the current president versus the last one...its like night and day!

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 1916 of 2666 (828460)
02-18-2018 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1913 by Percy
02-18-2018 10:16 AM


Re: Trump is off the chain again...
Precisely right, but conservative news outlets like Fox News are endorsing and doubling down on the president's position that the Mueller indictment exonerates the Trump campaign of collusion with the Russian conspiracy. It's as if they and their audience either ignore or don't think about how little sense this makes.

I suppose that if the success rate is as high as you say, then Trump perhaps continuing distributing the garbage is the right plan if the facts are uncomfortable.

Otherwise, the only viable interpretation of the contents Trump's twittering is that the man has lost his marbles.

Edited by NoNukes, : add second option.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1913 by Percy, posted 02-18-2018 10:16 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 1917 by ramoss, posted 02-18-2018 6:59 PM NoNukes has responded

  
ramoss
Member
Posts: 3090
Joined: 08-11-2004


Message 1917 of 2666 (828470)
02-18-2018 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 1916 by NoNukes
02-18-2018 1:32 PM


Re: Trump is off the chain again...
I suspect that the attacks on the FBI will start dying down for a bit, then there will be added pressure to get Rod Rosenstien to get out of his position.. because that position is Muellers boss and controls the scope fo the investigation.

It seems like in the just the few weeks before each major annoucement about indictments or arrests, there is a huge upswing in Republican attacks against Mueller and the FBI in general. It's like they know something is coming down the pipe, but don't know exactly what it is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1916 by NoNukes, posted 02-18-2018 1:32 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
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NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 1918 of 2666 (828471)
02-18-2018 7:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1917 by ramoss
02-18-2018 6:59 PM


Re: Trump is off the chain again...
I suspect that the attacks on the FBI will start dying down for a bit,

I do not expect that. Trump has been lambasting the FBI from almost the beginning of his presidency. Trump cannot, and will not let this go. And the FBI is a convenient target right now. A good chunk of the population is ready to blame them for the latest school shooting and for Republicans, well, they need some cover so that they don't appear to be NRA lackeys, so they may be willing to go with the idea that killing the investigation on Trump can be pushed as a gun violence solution.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1917 by ramoss, posted 02-18-2018 6:59 PM ramoss has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17992
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 1919 of 2666 (828480)
02-19-2018 11:57 AM


And now a word from the National Review
Naturally conservative reaction to the Mueller indictment of Russians and Russian businesses is far more muted and pointed in a different direction than everyone else, so I thought it might be interesting to rebut one of their editorials.

In Russia Launches ‘Information’ War, U.S. Responds with Lawsuit and Self-Destruction conservative National Review columnist Andrew C. McCarthy explains why the Mueller indictment of 13 Russians and 3 Russian businesses is a useless even counterproductive exercise. His essay of excuses is easy to rebut (I don't quote everything McCarthy says - for the full editorial follow the link):

quote:
Mueller’s indictment is an ineffectual response to a provocation by Russia.

Mr. McCarthy, you must be operating under the delusion that Mueller thought Russia would extradite their citizens. The real reason Mueller issued the indictment was to remove all ability of the Trump administration to maintain that Russian interference in our election was a hoax. That it worked is shown by Trump's 13 tweets today that revealed a pathetic, deranged, ego-driven figure.

quote:
That is certainly a fair assessment of what the indictment alleges. The account is disturbing, but its form leaves many of us underwhelmed. Our government says Russia is levying war. It is attacking a foundational institution — the electoral system of our democratic society and, more basically, our society’s cohesion as such. Our response should not be, nor appear to be, the filing of a lawsuit. That is provocatively weak.

Again, the goal of the indictment is not to try Russians in U.S. courts of law. It's to prove the Russia scandal is no hoax.

quote:
The Russia probe has been a counterintelligence investigation, as it should be. That is why I’ve complained from the first that it was inappropriate to put a prosecutor in charge of it.

McCarthy fails to mention Trump's role in making necessary the appointment of the special counsel, and he is wrong about Mueller's role being solely that of a prosecutor.

First, Trump has only himself to blame for the appointment of a special counsel. The Russia probe began as a counterintelligence investigation under the direction of FBI director Comey, but then Trump fired Comey in May of 2017. Attorney General Sessions had to recuse himself because of his failure to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador while working for the Trump campaign, and since the FBI's new director would be appointed by Trump who was a subject of the Russia probe, it fell to deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel. If Trump hadn't fired Comey, no special counsel.

Second, Mueller's role is not just prosecutor but also investigator. He has the power to direct both FBI agents and DOJ prosecutors. The amount of detail in the Russia indictment makes clear that he has a great deal of investigative power at his fingertips. You are dead wrong that Mueller's role is solely that of prosecutor.

quote:
The main thrust of this complaint has been that a prosecutor should not be assigned unless there is first strong evidence of a crime. But that is not the half of it.

You dig yourself a hole with this error that Mueller is just a prosecutor, then your just continue digging yourself deeper:

quote:
A government lawyer is a hammer who sees every problem as the nail of a lawsuit.
...
To the contrary, we use counterintelligence rather than criminal investigation to thwart foreign adversaries because prosecution is a woefully inadequate response. The point of counterintelligence is to gather information so we can stop our enemies, through meaningful retaliation and discouragement. Generally, that means diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and, in extreme cases, military means. It could mean deploying our own cyber capabilities. The idea is not to invade every rogue nation. It is to respond to provocations in a manner that hurts our rivals — conveying that the prohibitive cost we will exact makes attacking us against their interests.

Repeating a fallacy as you do here doesn't turn it into a truth. Trump demonstrates the failure of repetition to turn lies into truth every day.

quote:
That cannot be accomplished by a mere indictment on which no one will be tried.

Again, the purpose of the indictment was to destroy the credibility of Trump's claims that Russian meddling in the 2016 election was a hoax.

quote:
When prosecutors are serious about nabbing law-breakers who are at large, they do not file an indictment publicly.

Why repeat your daft charge Mueller thinks he can arrest Russians in Russia?

quote:
That would just induce the offenders to flee to or remain in their safe havens...That is because the Justice Department and the special counsel know the Russians will stay safely in Russia.

Yes, of course. It's time to note that you can't really believe this crap you're peddling. You'rejust doing what all defenders of presidents in trouble do. What you're doing now for Trump was done by plenty of Republicans for Nixon and plenty of Democrats for Bill Clinton. That they had no leg to stand on is made clear by how little sense they made and by how much they focused on irrelevancies. One ploy you have in common with them is casting criticism and blame on the investigators instead of the investigated, a form of misdirection that seems to fail every time, acting as a holding action at best.

quote:
Mueller’s allegations will never be tested in court. That makes his indictment more a political statement than a charging instrument.

In this I think you are correct. Putting a stop's to Trump drumbeat of false claims that Russian meddling was a hoax was important politically.

To the extent there are questions about whether Russia truly meddled in the election, the special counsel wants to end that discussion...the indictment demonstrates that the special counsel has been hard at work.

You start your piece by not getting it, but now suddenly you get it?

Through all the months of public debate over whether there was criminal-collusion evidence against the president, we have stressed that the main focus of the counterintelligence investigation is the Kremlin, not the White House.

You err again. The investigation began when suspicious Trump campaign activities came to the attention of the FBI. While obviously the main suspicion is that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, it was Trump campaign activities that caused an investigation to be opened. Mueller's mandate is wide ranging, giving him the right to pursue any wrongdoing he finds.

Also interesting is your reference to the "main focus of the counterintelligence investigation." You begin your piece expressing the opinion that we don't need a prosecutor but an investigator, but now you suddenly seem to understand that Mueller has considerable investigative authority.

It is good, then, that Russia has gotten so much of the special counsel’s attention.

You must be only pretending to believe what you just wrote, because you can hardly have forgotten the indictments of Mannfort, Gates and Popadopoulos, nor the many meetings between members of the Trump campaign and Russians, especially the Trump Tower meeting by Donald Jr. and Kushner with Russians peddling Clinton dirt. Given the dramatic difference between what we thought Mueller knew before versus after the indictment, I'd say a number of people in the Trump campaign are likely in big trouble, but you give that possibility not even so much as a nod.

What is not good is that he is a special counsel as opposed to, say, a high-ranking intelligence or defense official. It is only natural that a prosecutor sees his job as making a criminal case, but that is not really what is called for under the circumstances.

And, just like that, you're back once again to the position you just finished pounding into dust, that Mueller is nothing but a prosecutor.

Obviously, if there were strong evidence that Americans had aided and abetted our foreign adversaries in their hostile acts, it would be essential to prosecute them. My objection has been that a special counsel was assigned despite the absence of strong evidence that crimes were committed by Trump-campaign figures.

As explained earlier, there was no choice but to appoint a special counsel. There was already an ongoing investigation that with the firing of Comey was leaderless. Sessions had to recuse himself, a new head of the FBI would be nominated by a potential target of the investigation, so there was no choice but to appoint a special counsel to take over the ongoing investigation.

It is freely conceded that I do not favor special-counsel appointments except when a severe Justice Department conflict of interest leaves no other option.

Precisely the case here, but you seem blind to what is right in front of your face.

Thus, I do not see why a special counsel would have been needed for any Russia case involving suspects unconnected to the Trump campaign.

You again misrepresent reality by saying that election meddling was "unconnected to the Trump campaign." Suspicions about illegalities involving the Trump campaign were why Comey originally opened the investigation.

But all that said, I have never contended that the assignment of a Justice Department prosecutor would be inappropriate if there were concrete grounds to believe Americans were guilty of crimes.

You're attempting to leave yourself a safety net, but one doesn't open an investigation when there are "concrete grounds to believe Americans were guilty of crimes." With "concrete grounds" one simply issues arrest warrants, but when there is only suspicion or suggestions of crimes one opens an investigation. Which is what Comey did.

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein suggested on Friday that, with formal charges now filed, the Justice Department will turn to the next step in the legal process: seeking the defendants’ extradition. Once the Russians stop laughing, I imagine they’ll send us a curt note in Cyrillic — or maybe they’ll just flip us the bird, the universal language.

This is true that the U.S. will follow the standard legal process after an indictment and seek extradition, but there is no extradition agreement between the U.S. and Russia, and Rosenstein gave no indication that the U.S. expects Russia would honor any extradition requests.

There are reasons besides ineffectiveness to be concerned about turning this diplomatic dispute into a criminal-justice issue.

Really. And what, pray tell Mr. McCarthy, are those reasons?

This is a dangerous game to play. Our government, American organizations, and individual Americans regularly take actions and engage in political expression (including pseudonymous expression) with the intention of affecting foreign political campaigns — or that could be understood that way regardless of American intent. In its lead story on Mueller’s indictment, the New York Times observes that “for decades,” the CIA has “work[ed] covertly to influence political outcomes abroad.” The Obama administration, on the American taxpayer’s dime, tried to get Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu defeated and agitated against Brexit. The Bush administration tried to democratize the Middle East. It is de rigueur to tut-tut that such meddling is unseemly, but it is what governments do and have always done. They have interests, and those interests can be profoundly affected by who is governing other countries.

Oh, Mr. McCarthy, great reason! Election meddling is just something governments do, so why should there be any legal action?

Moreover, it is the proud boast of the United States that we promote the virtues and benefits of liberty throughout the world and encourage oppressed peoples to stand up against tyrants. Our government funds Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty precisely to expose people to news and ideas that their despotic governments censor. Do we really want to signal that we see such agitation-by-information as an indictable crime, in response to which the affected government should issue arrest warrants that will inevitably make it risky for Americans to travel outside the U.S.?

Oh, Mr. McCarthy, another great reason. If we criminalize foreign interference in our democratic processes, then foreign countries might criminalize Radio Free Europe?

Remember, we are talking here about a case in which Russia’s campaign, despite its energy and funding, was a drop in the ocean of American campaign spending and messaging. It barely registered. It had no impact.

Oh, Russian meddling had an impact. While Russian spending on their meddling efforts was a "drop in the ocean", so were the 70,000 votes responsible for Trump's victory.

And, again, the indictment that has been filed is a gesture that will result in no prosecutions. Is it really worth opening this can of worms?

As pointed out above, of course it was worth "opening this can of worms." Just look at much it riled up Trump, 13 angry and error-filled tweets over the weekend. Obviously he's hiding something. I guess we also have to allow the possibility that his ego is so large that he's willing to destroy our democratic institutions in order to protect his belief that he won the election with no help from Russia. But whatever the reason, Trump has likely pushed over the boundaries of responsible opposition and into obstruction.

I know what you’re going to tell me: It’s not the same thing because we don’t do what they do: When we meddle, it is not through the kind of fraudulent activities that Mueller alleges the Russians engaged in — including bank fraud, wire fraud, and identity theft. But don’t kid yourself: What we are green-lighting here is criminal prosecution as a response to “interference” by alleged agents of a foreign power in another country’s elections and public debates. Once that is the rule of the road, we are not going to be able to control decision-making in other countries about what kind of conduct constitutes actionable “interference.”

It is greatly doubtful that this indictment will have any impact on out ability to control decision-making in other countries.

Finally, since the indictment is a political document, we should evaluate its political impact at home.

Since you recognize that the indictment is a political document and perhaps even understand that it likely wouldn't have been made public were it not for Trump's attempts at obstruction, why did you write all that crap about the reaction of Russia and other foreign despotic governments?

On balance, it is good for President Trump.

You think it's good for Trump? I think Trump might disagree with you, as his 13 weekend tweets clearly attest.

The Russian election-meddling scheme stretches back to the years before he became a political candidate.

You're kidding. You're uttering this obvious fallacy? Nobody had declared their candidacy for president in 2014.

To the extent there was Russian outreach to the Trump campaign, the indictment makes clear that the campaign acted unwittingly. Not only does that mean there was no collusion on the face of things; it means there was almost surely no collusion at all

Mr. McCarthy, it means no such thing. This is just one indictment. Mueller's investigation is not through. To mention just one recent development, Gates is in the process of agreeing to a plea deal. Publicly there is a great deal of smoke regarding collusion, and given how Mueller's indictment just surprised everyone with how much he knows, if you're a betting man I very much doubt that you'd bet Mueller knows nothing about possible collusion.

Had there been an established framework of Trump–Russia coordination, there would have been no need for Russians to reach out to unwitting Trump-campaign officials.

The use of the word "unwitting" in the indictment refers generally to politically active Americans who didn't know they were interacting with Russians. The members of the Trump campaign who met with Russians knew they were meeting with Russians and were not unwitting.

All that said, the indictment — perhaps unwittingly, if I may say so — tells an unflattering story about the state of our country.

I'm more focused on what your opinion piece says about you, Mr. McCarthy.

Thus, we get nonsense like, “The Kremlin wanted Trump to win” and “Putin was motivated by his fear and loathing of Hillary Clinton,” etc., etc.

If the Kremlin didn't want Trump to win, why is the indictment full of evidence of Russians trying to influence the election in favor of Trump? Will you not even try to make sense.

In reality, what happened here could not be more patent: The Kremlin hoped to sow discord in our society and thus paralyze our government’s capacity to pursue American interests. The Russian strategy was to stir up the resentments of sizable losing factions. It is not that Putin wanted Trump to win; it is that Putin figured Trump was going to lose. That is why the Kremlin tried to galvanize Trump supporters against Clinton, just as it tried to galvanize Sanders supporters against Clinton, and Trump supporters against Cruz and Rubio, during the primaries. It is why the Russians suddenly choreographed anti-Trump rallies after Trump won. The palpable goal was to promote dysfunction: Cripple a likely President Clinton before she could even get started, wound President Trump from the get-go when he unexpectedly won, and otherwise set American against American whenever possible.

This is actually a good statement of the Kremlin's high level goals.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 1920 by NoNukes, posted 02-19-2018 3:36 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 1920 of 2666 (828483)
02-19-2018 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1919 by Percy
02-19-2018 11:57 AM


Re: And now a word from the National Review
Naturally conservative reaction to the Mueller indictment of Russians and Russian businesses is far more muted and pointed in a different direction than everyone else, so I thought it might be interesting to rebut one of their editorials.

I would not judge all conservative thought by what I read in a National Review editorial. It is not that the National Review is never a source of mainstream conservative news. However, it is the case that the editorials can run off into some pretty extreme thinking. We will learn more in this editorial about Andrew McCarthy than we will learn about the subject matter.

Try reading some of his editorials on Hilary Clinton, who by now is the most investigated person on earth, and see if you can find any balance whatsoever in his comments.

Or maybe his book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America might be a better testimony to the crap this mind writes. Or perhaps Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama's Impeachment is a better indication...

I know we want to provide a complete picture of political opinion, but it is possible to be a very committed and rabid wingnut, and still be on the left side of this dude.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1919 by Percy, posted 02-19-2018 11:57 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
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