26 March 2017

Intelligence Agencies Are Gunning for Trump

Have you noticed how damaging stuff about Trump's connection to Russia comes out slowly but regularly?

It is a constant drip, drip, drip motion.

It is as if someone is trying to build a critical mass after which even the most ardent Trump supporters will be convinced of his guilt.

I have an idea who that someone might be. After the golden showers dossier, I suggested that The Donald should make nice with the intelligence agencies as they had his number.

He didn't. And he continued his feud with them.

To paraphrase him, bad idea. Very bad.

The latest drop is former CIA Director James Woolsey claiming that Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with Turkish officials to discuss the kidnap and rendering of the reclusive cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Now this is bigly.

And it comes on the heels of fresh allegations that Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was paid large sums by Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin oligarch to influence US policy:
Under his $10 million annual contract, Manafort pursued policies to “greatly benefit” Putin’s government, according to the AP report.
Moreover, Manafort did not file the proper forms to disclose this arrangement, which makes it a crime.

In fact, this is not the first incident that links ex-campaign manager to Russia. He had to resign from the campaign because New York times reported that secret payments were made to him for his undeclared work to support Ukraine's ousted pro-Russian president Victor Yanukovych.

Manafort's reluctance to file lobbying forms seems contagious among Trumpistas.

His former National Security Adviser also forgot to disclose his half a million dollar contract with the Turkish government, which ended three days before he was sworn in.

Also common is the staffers' selective memory when it comes to contacts with Russian officials.

Michael Flynn had to resign because he couldn't remember talking to the Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Attorney General and all-around garden gnome Jeff Sessions was also victim of failed memory.

His contacts with Kislyak completely slipped his mind and forced him to commit perjury during his confirmation hearing.

Upping the ante was FBI Director James Comey's tight-lipped testimony to Congress.

After that, informed observers predicted that bad days were ahead for President Trump:
What is clear is that this was a very bad day for the President. In it, we learned that there is an open-ended Russia investigation with no timetable for completion, one that's going hang over Trump's head for a long time, and one to which the FBI director is entirely committed. 
In case you've forgotten, Comey was the guy who threw the election to Trump.

The pattern is so clear that Foreign Policy recently ran an article entitled "Trump knows the Feds are closing in on him".

To me the clearest sign that the intelligence agencies are gunning for Trump is the unexpected Woolsey interview which I mentioned at the outset.
In a video interview, Mr Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal he was present at a discussion about removal methods beyond the legal extradition process. 
The meeting took place last September at a New York Hotel. 
Those present included Mr Flynn, then an adviser on national security to the Trump election campaign, the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to the WSJ (paywall). 
Remember that this is coming from an ex-CIA Director who endorsed Trump last September and defended his cavalier attitude about national security briefings.

Why would he come out now and claim that he personally witnessed Trump campaign people planning criminal activities, like kidnapping and rendering an ageing cleric in cahoots with a foreign power?
[H]e told the WSJ: "There was serious discussion of finding some way to move Mr Gulen out of the US to Turkey. 
"You might call it brainstorming. But it was brainstorming about a very serious matter that would pretty clearly be a violation of law."
How do you like them apples?

Right after this, Foreign Policy ran an uncharacteristically short piece in which they put forth a theory.
Reading the headlines over the last couple of days, it seems to me that part of what is going on isn’t that the Trump camp communicated directly with WikiLeaks (though some may have), but rather than at some point last year, Russia’s Federal Security Service representatives had a bunch of e-mails and other stuff that they didn’t know what to do with, and someone in the Trump camp advised them to take it, directly or indirectly, to WikiLeaks.
Now, this is intriguing because this has never been discussed as a possibility before. If I were to venture a guess I'd say that some little bird whispered to Thomas E. Ricks, the author of the piece, that this was indeed what happened.

Notice how this new theory absolves Russian intelligence and incriminates Trump campaign?

On that basis, Ricks also made a very pointed prediction:
I think this Russia story is never going to go away. And because the Trumpistas are in extreme denial, it will continue to drip out. I would not be surprised by criminal charges down the road — perjury at first, perhaps tax fraud later.
If you ask me, the Orange Man is toast.

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