russian presidential election

Let me say some of these things out loud real quick...

•Yesterday, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because he’s upset that no charges were brought against Trump’s opponent in the 2016 election (which Trump promised to do during the Presidential debates) AND because Trump is annoyed at how serious the FBI seems to be about investigating Russian interference in our Presidential election.

•Today, President Trump  not only met with the Russian Foreign Minister, but also the Russian Ambassador who is at the center of every controversial meeting between Trump associates and Russian contacts.

•Oh, and that meeting – held in the Oval Office – was done at the “insistence” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

•By the way, no American news outlets were allowed to cover this meeting in the OVAL OFFICE between the President of the United States, the Russian Foreign Minister, and the Russian Ambassador at the center of many of the controversies suggesting collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. NO AMERICAN PRESS WAS ALLOWED TO COVER THE MEETING. There was not even a pool reporter or a pool photographer from a United States media organization allowed to step into the Oval Office for five seconds to take a photo of Trump and the Russians. 

•But, hey, that’s okay because we can always count on TASS, the official Russian state news agency to cover our President’s meeting in the most important office of the “People’s House”:

We ARE going to remember the names of the Republican members of Congress who aren’t raising questions, objections, or worries about what’s happening in this country, right? We won’t allow this to just become the new normal, right? What the fuck is happening, America? How did we get to the point where things are so crazy that we just stopped paying attention to all of the new crazy things taking place?

cnn.com
Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign
High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.
By Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez, CNN

This is huge. Really huge. Trust me on this. I’m just old enough that I remember coming home from school and having nothing to watch on TV because the Watergate hearings were on every channel. (This was back when we had only like 6 VHF channels and a couple of UHF channels in Los Angeles.) I also vaguely remember when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, because it was such an historical event.

The Nixon presidency was incredibly dirty and corrupt, but I have to believe what’s going on with the Trump administration right now makes Watergate look like a Sunday picnic. This has to lead to Congressional hearings and quite possibly impeachment proceedings against Lord Dampnut. Mike Pence should likely be in the crosshairs as well, because this simply can’t be only Lord Dampnut’s doing. His entire cadre of minions are suspect.

If it goes all the way to impeachment, I also can’t help but wonder if there’s any chance of a presidential election do-ever. I know this is absolutely unprecedented, but Russia manipulated things to make sure the Republicans got in power not only in the White House but also in Congress, so I don’t know if having Paul Ryan end up as president because he’s speaker of the house is the right outcome.

All I can say is, we are most definitely in uncharted territory right now. So hang on tight, because this is most definitely going to be a very bumpy ride.

when your husband’s administration collaborates with russian oligarchs to influence the 1996 russian presidential election to keep communist gennady zyuganov out of power and rig the vote in favor of the wildly unpopular incumbent boris yeltsin, which resulted in a resurgence of russian nationalism that ultimately led to the rise of vladimir putin and his own aggressively autocratic nationalist & imperialist agenda which 20 years later will cost you the presidency of the united states due to putin’s government hacking the DNC and exposing you and your party to sway public opinion against you which might not even had made a difference in the end since you were just THAT unpopular and out of touch with the political climate of your own base

Hillary didn’t lose because of Putin or Comey or misogynistic men, she lost because she ran an arrogant, insulting, elitist campaign. And if Democrats don’t wise up to that soon, they’ll lose the next one too By PIERS MORGAN FOR MAILONLINE It’s been going on for a few months now, and it follows a familiar theme: she gives defiant speeches or interviews to empathetic audiences in which she makes it very clear there are myriad reasons why she lost the US election – but absolutely none of them has anything to do with her. Tuesday, speaking at a ‘Women for Women’ event in New York, Hillary reached dizzying new heights of self-delusion as she tried to explain away the most humiliating loss in American political history. ‘I take absolute personal responsibility,’ she said, and then proceeded to do the complete opposite. Speaking Tuesday at a luncheon in New York, Hillary reached dizzying new heights of self-delusion as she tried to explain away her loss 1) It was the Russians’ fault. Vladimir Putin hates her, she insisted, because she said one of his Russian presidential elections was rigged, so he was determined to wreak revenge by rigging THIS election so she would lose. She categorised this as ‘unprecedented interference, including from a foreign power whose leader is not a member of my fan club.’ No matter that there remains no hard evidence proving Putin rigged anything, let alone that he did it with Trump’s help, which is another of Hillary’s wild, unsubstantiated claims. 2) It was FBI director James Comey’s fault. His decision to publicly re-open the investigation into her notorious emails a week before the election swung it Trump’s way. ‘I was on the way to winning,’ she whined. ‘Until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter and Russian Wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.’ Hmm, perhaps they were scared off by the fact that someone they already deeply distrusted after decades of dodgy behaviour set up a secret private email server while Secretary of State, a massive and inexcusable breach of protocol. And that she deleted 33,000 emails before investigators could see them. And that the server was linked to Anthony ‘I’ll show you my weiner’ Weiner, the predatory sex-mad husband of her right hand woman Huma Abedin and about as big a security risk imaginable. After claiming, ‘I take absolute personal responsibility,’ she proceeded to blame everyone and everything else  After claiming, ‘I take absolute personal responsibility,’ she proceeded to blame everyone and everything else 3) It was the media’s fault. Apparently, they never asked Trump the right questions in the TV debates. Specifically they failed to grill him about his plans to create jobs. This is a blatant lie: NBC’s Lester Holt’s first question to the candidates in the debate he moderated was about how they would create jobs. 4) And it was sexist men’s fault. Asked if misogyny had played a role in her defeat, she said: ‘Yes, I do think it played a role. It was very much a part of the landscape, politically, socially and economically.’ Really? Hillary lost because she’s a woman? She spent her entire campaign playing up the need to ‘break the glass ceiling’ by making her the first female president, as if somehow America is the only country that matters with regard to political gender equality. The political glass ceiling was first smashed decades ago, in 1960 when Sirimavo Bandaranaike became first female Prime Minister of Ceylon. And it’s carried on being smashed ever since. Indira Gandhi became first female Prime Minister of India in 1966; Golda Meir became first female Prime Minister of Israel in 1969; And in 1979, Margaret Thatcher became first female Prime Minister of Great Britain. Our current Prime Minister, Theresa May, is also a woman and she is very likely to win a landslide election victory in the UK’s general election on June 8. In 2005, Angela Merkel became first female Chancellor of Germany and is still in office today. Angela Merkel has Chancellor of Germany since 2005 +6 Theresa May is the second female Prime Minister - about to win again in a landslide. There are more than 20 female world leaders, yet Hillary claims SHE was thwarted by misogyny +6 Angela Merkel has Chancellor of Germany since 2005, and Theresa May is the second female Prime Minister - about to win again in a landslide. There are more than 20 female world leaders, yet Hillary claims SHE was thwarted by misogyny In fact, there are over 20 female world leaders currently in power. Yet apparently, Hillary was thwarted from becoming President by misogyny, in a country that is widely considered to be the most progressive in the world for women’s rights. And if her sexism claim is true, then why did 51% of white women in America vote for her male opponent? ‘We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, of false equivalence, and so much else,’ Hillary continued. ‘As Nate Silver has concluded: if the election had been on October 27, I would be your president.’ Ah yes, Nate Silver – the polling genius who gave Trump a 2% chance of winning the Republican nomination and just a 35% chance of becoming president as Americans went to vote. ‘Remember,’ she said, eyes glinting with pride, ‘I did win more than 3 million votes more than my opponent.’ So what? The US election is not won by popular vote. It’s won, as she knows, by votes in the electoral college, and in that contest, Trump thumped her convincingly. Hillary’s ‘I won the popular vote’ claim is like the producer of Hangover saying his movie really won the Oscar for Best Film in 2010, and not The Hurt Locker, because more people watched it so the votes of the Academy’s members don’t count. The system is the system. After two crushing presidential race defeats , you might think Hillary would now retire gracefully. No chance. She's coming over as the worst kind of whiny brat loser who can’t bear the fact somebody else won the prize  After two crushing presidential race defeats , you might think Hillary would now retire gracefully. No chance. She's coming over as the worst kind of whiny brat loser who can’t bear the fact somebody else won the prize After two crushing presidential race defeats to Barack Obama and Donald Trump, you might think Hillary would now retire gracefully from public life. No chance. ‘I’m back to being an activist citizen, and part of the resistance,’ she roared to huge cheers. Hmmm. I’d say the very LAST thing democrats need right now is Hillary Clinton leading the charge to resist Donald Trump. This is the woman who led the charge to resist him all last year – and lost so humiliatingly she couldn’t even appear in public to face the music until the following day. Lest we forget, the ‘most qualified candidate in the history of the United States’ was beaten by a real estate tycoon who hosted a reality TV show. Now Hillary’s coming over as the worst kind of whiny brat loser who can’t bear the fact somebody else won the prize she assumed she was entitled to win. She still appears in complete denial about the real reason she lost, so let me help her with that because I can pinpoint the exact moment. It came during a mid-evening speech she made to a star-studded audience at a fund-raiser in New York on Friday, September 11, when she suddenly decided to abuse, denigrate and mock tens of millions of her fellow Americans. ‘You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,’ Hillary sneered. ‘Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it.’ The well-heeled, affluent, liberal, metropolitan elite crowd at super-fancy Cipriani restaurant in Wall Street, where Barbra Streisand and Rufus Wainwright performed that same night, whooped and hollered. Hillary, basking in their applause, added: ‘He has lifted them up. Now some of these folks are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.’ It was a staggeringly arrogant and crass statement to make. Hillary was directly, unequivocally, accusing vast swathes of her fellow Americans of being racist, sexist, gay-and-Muslim haters. She tarred 20% of the entire voting nation with her poisonous bigotry brush. The woman who sneeringly told a room full of elites that half of Trump supporters were 'deplorables' is the worst person to have out front if Democrats want to unseat Trump in 2020. Trump heard those the concerns of Middle America , people she ignored  The woman who sneeringly told a room full of elites that half of Trump supporters were 'deplorables' is the worst person to have out front if Democrats want to unseat Trump in 2020. Trump heard those the concerns of Middle America , people she ignored As I wrote at the time, Trump seized on the gaffe like a ravenous hyena scavenging on a freshly slaughtered gazelle. ‘Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters,’ Trump tweeted, ‘millions of amazing, hard-working people.’ His running mate Mike Pence joined in the attack: ‘The people who support Donald Trump’s campaign are hard-working Americans,’ he said. ‘Let me just say from the bottom of my heart: Hillary, they are not a basket of anything, they are Americans and they deserve your respect.’ Yes, they did. I spent a lot of time with members of Hillary’s ‘basket of deplorables’ immediately after that speech, filming various documentaries in states like Florida and Texas. To a man and woman, they were incensed by what she’d said. To them, it confirmed their worst suspicions that Hillary was an elitist, out-of-touch, celebrity-worshipping snob who didn’t have clue about Americans living between the east and west coasts, and cared even less. And come November 8, that outrage manifested itself in spectacular style with those people voting for her opponent. So, Hillary can blame whomever she likes for her dismal failure. But the truth is she ran a dreadful, purposeless campaign from start to finish and ignored the very real fears and concerns of middle America. Trump heard those people, visited them regularly and made them believe in him. That’s why she lost. The fact she won’t go quietly, and with dignity, is perhaps unsurprising to anyone who’s followed her ruthless, self-interested, power-crazed Goldman Sachs funded career. But it’s a disaster for the Democrats if they want to stand any chance of beating Trump in 2020. The longer Hillary Clinton hangs around now, like a rotten egg, the worse the stench of failure will linger. She should put her party before her bruised ego and shut up.
4

A look back at Robert Mueller

Robert Swan Mueller III, 72, who was just named special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the presidential election, is a jut-jawed former Marine with a bone-dry wit who retains traces of his Main Line Pennsylvania upbringing. At the Justice Department he was known as Bobby Three Sticks, a playful allusion to his patrician name, and, some say, to the three-fingered Boy Scout salute. He started as FBI director a week before 9/11, and oversaw the remaking of the bureau into an intelligence and counter-terrorism organization, charged with preventing new attacks as well as arresting the perpetrators.

Here are 10 things you should know about Mueller.

See FULL STORY by Daniel Klaidman/Yahoo News

Photo credits: Barry Thumma/AP, Susan Walsh/AP (2), Alex Wong/Getty Images

politico.com
Orange Liar Trump: 'Believe me, there's no collusion' with Russia
“Even my enemies have said, there is no collusion,” Trump said.

Madeline Conway at Politico:

President Donald Trump on Thursday again denied that he or his campaign colluded with the Russian government’s suspected attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

“Believe me, there’s no collusion,” Trump told reporters in the White House. “Russia is fine, but whether it’s Russia or anybody else, my total priority, believe me, is the United States of America.”

At first, Trump offered that there was “no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign,” then seemed to imply that he was speaking for himself.

“There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians, zero,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his denial later during the press conference.

“Even my enemies have said, there is no collusion,” Trump said.

There are several ongoing investigations into the cyberattacks on Democratic Party officials that the U.S. intelligence community says the Russian government directed last year to help Trump’s standing in the presidential race. Those investigations, including one to be led by a special counsel named on Wednesday, are also probing whether any Trump campaign associates colluded with the Russians ahead of the election.

Trump also repeated his portrayal of the ongoing investigations into the issue as a “witch hunt,” though he said he respected the move to name a special counsel.

“I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt,” Trump said.

Trump is facing intense scrutiny in the wake of reports that he pressured James Comey, the former FBI director, to drop the bureau’s probe into one of his associates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump fired Comey suddenly last week.

Mr. Orange Liar, I hate to break it to you, but you DID collude with Russia.

cnn.com
Liar Kellyanne Conway: Comey's firing 'has nothing to do with Russia'
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday that the firing of FBI Director James Comey doesn't have anything to do with the current ongoing investigation into Russia's interference into the 2016 election.
By Saba Hamedy, CNN

Saba Hamedy at CNN: 

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday that the firing of FBI Director James Comey doesn’t have anything to do with the current ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference into the 2016 election.

“This has nothing to do with Russia,” Conway told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360” Tuesday evening, just hours after news of Comey’s firing broke. “Somebody must be getting $50 every time (Russia) is said on TV. … (This) has everything to do with whether the current FBI director has the President’s confidence and can faithfully execute his duties.”

Conway’s comments come after President Donald Trump – acting on recommendations from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – shocked Washington by firing Comey, the man responsible for the bureau’s investigation to possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

In a letter, Trump told Comey that he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately” after Trump determined Comey is “not able to effectively lead the bureau.”

Comey, who was in Los Angeles for a special FBI event, learned of his firing by watching television while in a meeting.


From the 05.09.2017 edition of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360:

I hate to break it to you, Mrs. Kellyanne Conway, but James Comey’s firing has a lot to do with #TrumpRussia.

latimes.com
BREAKING: Former FBI Director Robert Mueller named special prosecutor for Russia investigation
Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has been appointed independent special prosecutor to take over the Justice Department investi...
By Joseph Tanfani

Joseph Tanfani at LA Times:

Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has been appointed independent special prosecutor to take over the Justice Department investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein announced the decision after a week of rising pressure on the Justice Department to ensure the probe remains independent of the White House.

“My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that prosecution is warranted,” Rosenstein said. “I have made no such determination.”

But Rosenstein said that “based on the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”

He said a special counsel is necessary in order for the “American people to have full confidence in the outcome.”

Mueller will have the ability to hire a staff and request a budget from the Department of Justice. He will resign from his law firm, WilmerHale.

Rosenstein has been overseeing the investigation because Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions recused himself after failing at his Senate confirmation hearing to disclose his meetings with Russia’s ambassador last year.

Mueller headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, serving under Presidents Bush and Obama.

This is a key step towards victory for our democracy. 

theguardian.com
James Comey to testify in public Senate intelligence committee hearing
Ex-FBI director will testify about ‘his role in the development of the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections’
By Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong at The Guardian:

Former FBI director James Comey will testify in an open hearing of the Senate intelligence committee at some point after Memorial Day, the committee announced Friday.

“The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former director on his role in the development of the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections,” committee chairman Senator Richard Burr said in a statement, “and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media”

Senator Mark Warner, the vice-chairman of the committee, said that he hoped the testimony “will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the president”.

“He deserves an opportunity to tell his story,” Warner said in the joint statement. “Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it.”

However, Comey declined an invitation from the Senate judiciary committee, which asked him to testify voluntarily about the circumstances of his firing and his interactions with officials from the Trump and Obama administrations relating to the Russia and Clinton investigations.

Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, the chairman and ranking member of the committee, said in a joint statement that they were “extremely disappointed” by Comey’s decision.

“There is no reason he can’t testify before both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees,” they wrote. “Given his commitment to the people and the mission of the FBI, we expected him to be responsive to the senators responsible for vetting its next proposed leader. He should reconsider his decision.”

The C.I.A., according to The Washington Post, has now determined that hackers working for the Russian government worked to tilt the 2016 election to Donald Trump. This has actually been obvious for months, but the agency was reluctant to state that conclusion before the election out of fear that it would be seen as taking a political role.

Meanwhile, the F.B.I. went public 10 days before the election, dominating headlines and TV coverage across the country with a letter strongly implying that it might be about to find damning new evidence against Hillary Clinton — when it turned out, literally, to have found nothing at all.

Did the combination of Russian and F.B.I. intervention swing the election? Yes. Mrs. Clinton lost three states – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – by less than a percentage point, and Florida by only slightly more. If she had won any three of those states, she would be president-elect. Is there any reasonable doubt that Putin/Comey made the difference?

And it wouldn’t have been seen as a marginal victory, either. Even as it was, Mrs. Clinton received almost three million more votes than her opponent, giving her a popular margin close to that of George W. Bush in 2004.

So this was a tainted election. It was not, as far as we can tell, stolen in the sense that votes were counted wrong, and the result won’t be overturned. But the result was nonetheless illegitimate in important ways; the victor was rejected by the public, and won the Electoral College only thanks to foreign intervention and grotesquely inappropriate, partisan behavior on the part of domestic law enforcement.

[…]

In other words, nothing that happened on Election Day or is happening now is normal. Democratic norms have been and continue to be violated, and anyone who refuses to acknowledge this reality is, in effect, complicit in the degradation of our republic. This president will have a lot of legal authority, which must be respected. But beyond that, nothing: he doesn’t deserve deference, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

And when, as you know will happen, the administration begins treating criticism as unpatriotic, the answer should be: You have to be kidding. Mr. Trump is, by all indications, the Siberian candidate, installed with the help of and remarkably deferential to a hostile foreign power. And his critics are the people who lack patriotism?

— 

Paul Krugman at The New York Times on how Comey and Russia tainted this election (12.12.2016).

It is conclusive proof that the combination of Comey’s reopening of the FBI probe on Hillary and Russian hacking aided Trump’s victory.

The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt.
—  Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe coordinator Tonino Picula • Discussing the results of the Russian presidential election, which strongly favored Vladimir Putin. Picula suggests that the election was “clearly skewed” in Putin’s favor. With 99 percent of the votes counted, Putin gathered more than 64 percent of the vote — this despite passionate, widespread dissent against the Russian leader. Another voting watchdog, Golos, said it had received 3,000 voting fraud reports. What do you think? Does it looks like the election was rigged?