Trump Russia (#38) The clueless incompetence of Porter-Gate is a WH feature, not a bug

The Ring of Fire / YouTube Trump s GOP Suffers Historic Healthcare...
The Ring of Fire / YouTube

In this weeks update in the ongoing Clown Car Soap Opera Unreality Show that is the Criminal Trump Administration we have lots of new revelations of just how much these guys don’t really give a flying frack about National Security.

The obvious big thing is the sudden resignation of Staff Secretary Rob Porter who is apparently a serial domestic abuser who had assaulted both of his ex-wives and his ex-girlfriend which had been discovered by the FBI sometime last year and it had been reported that he failed his security clearance to Chief of Staff John Kelly weeks ago.  Never the less, he persisted in his position until photos of his first wife with a black eye were posted online by the Dailymail and he immediately resigned, however Kelly initially defended him, and his current girlfriend Hope Hicks concocted a story that the claims against him were a “smear campaign from his enemies.”  Which was just fucking bullshit.

On top of the fact that Porter spent over a year handling the highest level security documents without having his full clearance — [when I worked for a Defense Contractor and needed a TS/SCI clearance to do my job, those who were still held up with “Interim” clearances weren’t even allowed into our office areas and were instead given clerical busy work to do until their clearances were final] — it appears that there are dozens (30-40) other people in the Trump White House who have had their permanent clearances held up, yet they remain on their jobs and continue to handle classified material.

Dozens of White House employees are awaiting permanent security clearances and have been working for months with temporary approvals to handle sensitive information while the FBI continues to probe their backgrounds, according to U.S. officials.

People familiar with the security-clearance process said one of those White House officials with an interim approval is Jared Kushner — the president’s son-in-law and one of his most influential advisers.

if Trump did the kind of “extreme vetting” for his own staff that he claims we need to do with immigrants — he pretty much wouldn’t have a staff because the WH still has dozens of open positions.

But yeah, he gets “the best people…”

Even though the FBI had been holding up Porter’s clearance because of the reports of abuse from both of his ex-wives Trump came out today and again praised him for “doing a good job” and wished him well in his future career without ever mentioning even the slightest bit of sympathy for his wives and girlfriend whom he reportedly assaulted.

Before he made this tone deaf statement, this was a problem mostly for John Kelly’s reputation, his judgement and competence — now it’s a problem for Trump himself because here he’s done the exact same thing he did when Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and Roy Moore were accused of sexual violence. This is on top of the fact that threatened to cut funding to the Office of Violence Against women.

President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration is working on plans to make “dramatic cuts” in funding for initiatives to end violence against women, as well as for federal arts and humanities programs, according to a report from The Hill published on Thursday morning.

The article, which quickly sparked widespread social media outrage, says two members of Trump’s team—Russ Vought, a former aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and John Gray, who has worked for Pence, Senator Rand Paul and House Speaker Paul Ryan—are working on the plan for widespread budget cuts after meeting with White House staff ahead of Friday’s inauguration. In total, the cuts would save $10.5 trillion over 10 years, according to The Hill. Here’s where some of the proposed cuts might happen:

“The federal government should not be in the business of funding the arts,” the Republican Study Committee budget report reads. Eliminating both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would save an estimated $296 million a year, according to the Republican Study Committee.

The Heritage Foundation blueprint also calls for cuts to the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women grant program and the Legal Services Corporation. The Office on Violence Against Women grants include funding to provide services to sexual assault victims; for tribal governments; and legal assistance for victims of stalking, sexual assault and domestic and dating violence

it’s not like Porter was the only person in the White House with a history of violence against women.

On New Year’s Day, 1996, future Trump campaign chair Steve Bannon was charged with three misdemeanor counts of domestic violence by the Santa Monica police. The charges were eventually dropped when his then-wife did not appear at the trial. On the day that she called the police to her house, however, she told them that at the beginning of their relationship, there had been “3-4 arguments that became physical,” according to the police report. They had gone to counseling, though, and she told police that there had “not been any physical abuse in their arguments for about the past four years”—until the violent altercation that day.

Bannon’s predecessor at the Trump campaign also faced criminal charges for violence against a woman. Corey Lewandowski was arrested in Florida on March 29, 2017, on misdemeanor battery charges. On March 8, Lewandowski had grabbed and pulled aside a reporter, Michelle Fields. Fields photographed and tweeted the bruises on her arm. Lewandowski denied that he touched Fields until contradicted by video evidence. The state attorney ultimately decided that there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges, and dropped the case.

This he did the day after Porter’s second wife spoke at length about her marriage on CNN.

Amazingly she pointed out that Porter tried to influence her statement to the FBI and when she basically refused to LIE FOR HIM he turned around after she finally got him out of her apartment and smashed the glass with his fist.  Yeah, this is a fine “upstanding” guy.

Conservative — yes Conservative — CNN commentator Amanda Carpenter basically speaks for us all here.

“The takeaway here is, beating your wife is not disqualifying to work in the White House,” Carpenter began. “Should we be surprised? No, because it is the job requirement  to go defend the man who  talked about sexual assault on the ‘Access Hollywood’ tapes. This is a job qualification to be a professional spokesperson of the Republican Party to go and defend Roy Moore.”

“How much more evidence do we need that the head of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, does not give a whit about the abuse of women,” she continued. “This comes from the top. I mean, I feel like we dance around all of these subjects, and to be able to talk about this in an honest way requires talking about uncomfortable things — like the rape allegation from his first wife. There’s a pattern here. And because the subjects are so uncomfortable, I think we don’t talk about them and they continue to fester.”

On the Russia investigation side of things it’s been pretty busy too as Trump continues to weigh whether he will release the Adam Schiff memo which essentially debunks the Nunes memo which claims that the Russia investigation is merely part of partisan smear campaign paid for the Hillary Clinton and the DNC using the Steele Dossier as it’s primary weapon.

There are unfortunately several problems with that theory even without Schiff’s memo being released. First is the fact that Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Diane Feinstein has announced that none of the allegations in Steele’s dossier have been refuted, and that the partisan “smearing” was actually done by  Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham when they made a bogus criminal referral to FBI against Steele.

“The criminal referral of Christopher Steele has nothing to do with accountability,” Feinstein said. “Clearly its goals included undermining the FBI andSpecial Counsel Mueller’s investigation, attacking Christopher Steele and deflecting attention from collusion and obstruction of justice investigations.”

“Not a single revelation in the Steele dossier has been refuted. Unfortunately, the claims in the criminal referral rely on classified information, so it’s difficult to fully repudiate them here. However, as much as possible using unclassified information, the following points lay out the flaws in the criminal referral.”

  1. The criminal referral is not based on any allegation that Steele lied ormisrepresented facts about Carter Page or what is included in the Steele dossier.In fact, neither provide any evidence that any of the information in Steele’s dossier is wrong. Instead, the referral is limited to a single baseless allegation: that Steele lied about his contacts with the press.
  2. The criminal referral omits key facts. The Department of Justice has provided documents regarding its interactions with Mr. Steele to the Judiciary Committee both before and afterthe criminal referral was made. Despite this, the Majority did not modify the criminal referral and pressed forward with its original claims, which do not take into account the additional information provided after the initial January 4 referral.Instead of providing a comprehensive analysis, the criminal referral selectively focuses on some facts while omitting others.

In addition to this John Podesta was interview today on CNN and he revealed that Hillary campaign and the DNC did not seek out Steele of Fusion GPS to hire them to create the dossier.  Instead, members of Fusion GPS came to Marc Elias at Perkins Coie — whom they apparently knew — and stated that they were already working on researching Trump and offered it to them if they would pick up the contract that had been previously dropped by the Washington Free Beacon.

That flies directly in the face of what Nunes claimed to Sean Hannity that the “collusion” was between the Clinton campaign and Russia.

“Sir, are there crimes committed here?” he asked Nunes, who appeared to agree and said he hoped viewers “understood” Hannity’s comments.

“We have a clear link to Russia,” the chairman said. “You have a campaign who hired alaw firm, who hired [dossier author firm] Fusion GPS,who hired a foreign agent, whogot information from the Russians on another campaign.”

He’s got all of that backwards.  Every bit of it.

The tension between Nunes staff — who wrote his bogus fucked up memo smearing the FBI — and democratic staffers is apparently so bad they’re going to construct a wall inside the Capitol to keep them apart from each other.  What’s he think, they’re gonna get into a brawl and get shivved?

On top of the Nunes flop memo, and Grassley trying to get Steele arrested, Republicans are also trying to smear Intelligence Committee Ranking member Mark Warner with some bullshit, unfortunately Marco Rubio called them out on it.

Rubio defended Senator Mark Warner, D-VA, a top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, after Fox News reported that he had “extensive contact” with lobbyist Adam Waldman in 2017 in an attempt to contact Christopher Steele, the British spy behind the infamous “Steele dossier” on then-candidate Donald Trump.

Waldman’s lobbying firm worked with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2009 and 2010. The firm, according to Fox News, also has ties to Hillary Clinton.

The Fox News article alleges that “secrecy seemed very important to Warner” and that he wanted to connect “directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop — at least initially.”

Oops. 

Yet of course, even though Rubio is simply telling the truth that this really isn’t news Trump attorney Jay Sekulow has accused him of a “covering for [Warner].”

“Has had zero impact on our work,” Rubio insisted.

That comment drew the attention of Sekulow, who ranted against Rubio and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in an interview with Politico on Friday.

“It may have zero impact on his work,” Sekulow said. “I’m not so sure it has zero impact on the United States.”

“Republicans are covering for him,” Sekulow insisted, calling Rubio and Burr’s responses to the texts “weak.”

Speaking of the Schiff memo Trump’s White House has declined to release it and have instead sent it back to the House even though FBI Director Wray and Deputy AG Rosenstein have specified the changes and redactions they would like.

Lastly, it appears that Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand plans to retire, this normally wouldn’t matter much but she happens to have been the person who would have taken over oversight of the Mueller investigation if anything happens to current Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.  Now Trump will have to nominate someone new and that person will have the authority to shut Mueller down if Rosenstein isn’t able to stand in the way.

Daily updates and details are as follows:

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