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Fox News: Trump vs. Freedom Caucus: President takes names, starting with Amash

The list of House Freedom Caucus members being targeted by President Trump for sinking Republicans’ ObamaCare overhaul plan grew Saturday when the White House singled out Michigan GOP Rep. Justin Amash for a primary defeat.

“Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment,” Amash, a Tea Party favorite seeking a fourth term, tweeted Saturday in response to Scavino’s tweet. “Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarians & independent thinkers.”

Daniel Jacobson, a former Obama White House lawyer, argued Saturday that Scavino’s tweet violates federal law about mixing official business with politics.

“This violates the Hatch Act. WH staff can’t use an official or de facto govt Twitter acct (which this is) to call for defeat of a candidate,” he tweeted.

This doesn’t seem to be an isolated warning.

The Post and Courier newspaper in South Carolina reported that Trump dared Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., to vote against the overhaul bill.

Sanford, who with Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul has a competing ObamaCare replacement bill, said White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told him: “The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018,” according to the paper.

Also, more on the Flynn story which reveals Flynn failed to disclose payments involving Russian entities, and he did exactly what he criticised other ex Generals for doing.

Fox News: More Flynn omissions as White House discloses Russia Today payment

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn reported payments of at least $5,000 for a speaking engagement with the Kremlin-funded English language network RT, new documents released Saturday by the White House show, though Flynn didn’t originally include the payment when he first filed his ethics forms in January.

That RT payment and two others from companies with Russian ties – for U.S.-based speaking engagements involving the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Government Security Solutions and Volga-Dnepr Airlines – are listed in an amended financial disclosure form Flynn delivered to the White House on Friday, more than a month after he stepped down from his top post under President Donald Trump.

In an interview last summer with the Washington Post, Flynn had criticized fellow retired military officers for taking advantage of the lucrative market for retired military leaders with secret clearances and deep relationships in the Pentagon.

“What do generals do when they get out?” Flynn said. “One of the big companies in Arlington [Virginia] just put out a little call saying, ‘we are looking for two two-stars and two retired one-stars.’”

Asked what point he was making, he continued: “Why? Because people want to use that person for themselves, for their company. That’s why I didn’t go to work for anybody because I wanted to make my decision for what I wanted to do.”

But Flynn appears to have been doing exactly what he said he wasn’t doing.

He was working for a slew of high-tech firms including Palo Alto Network and Adobe Systems Inc. – as well as a variety of military consulting companies and Pentagon contractors, including secretive intelligence firms such as Ulysses Group, a South Carolina outfit, and GreenZone Systems, an Arlington, Virginia-based contractor that makes “military-grade” secure communications systems.

 

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51 Comments

  1. Reply
    • artcroft

       /  3rd April 2017

      Deeper is the swamp getting. I sense a darkness within the one they call Trump.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  3rd April 2017

        Well, you know which part of the body produces trumps, and what their nature is. All noise and/or stink.

        Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  3rd April 2017

      In the last 24 hours Schiff has also pointed to other dodgy claims by Nunes

      Schiff has said, however, that Nunes privately admits the names of most Trump associates in the documents did, in fact, remain “masked” – and that Nunes merely thought he could piece together their identities by reading between the lines.

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/02/adam-schiff-devin-nunes-trump-russia

      If Schiff is to be believed then Nunes is continues to mislead the public or flatly contradict himself since he made his allegations on 22 March. And that amounts to colluding in an attempt to distract the public from concerns over potential links between trump’s administration and Russian meddling.

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  3rd April 2017

        Man, if I did this s**t at work I’d be down the road by lunchtime and possibly facing legal action. But hey no prob in the great USA.

        Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  3rd April 2017

    c, your *reverse uptick* policy – does it apply in the early morns as well as the late evenings, by any chance? 😳

    Reply
    • Missy

       /  3rd April 2017

      I think that will be the PDT G. I can’t see C’s *reverse uptick* policy being implemented at 6am! Though I could be wrong.

      Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  3rd April 2017

      Evening G. It can only work within a narrow range of criteria so no. Just enjoying the delightful irony in art’s post earlier. Can you see it?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  3rd April 2017

        Nope. Sorry c. Looked at them both. Escapes me. Might be my adjacent stream. Maybe I’m too lttoral.

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  3rd April 2017

          Whereas I am always looking for the subliminal G, and art’s contribution was an absolute treasure

          Sad to disappoint but I reserve the reverse for those special moments of which a select few are aware. You have an idiot on your hands in the PDT but I would be happy to offer up a few suggestions.

          That reminds me, I need to conclude the sequel to that delightful story about the downtick fetish on this blog. Brace yourself. Cheers,c…

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  3rd April 2017

            Sorry, been FaceTiming with the younger brother, catching up on things familial, whimsical, & prosecutorial, c. Yes please. Your PDT suggestions might be very entertaining. Wiil check out Open Forum later for the downtick fetsih sequel. Must first conclude my readings of the Buchanan epistles & responses on the NZDF thread.

            Reply
  3. Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  3rd April 2017

      “He seems both politically and personally isolated these days,” said David Gergen, a former adviser to Democratic and Republican presidents dating back to Richard Nixon. “He’s flailing because he doesn’t know where to find his natural allies.”

      Which is an inevitable outcome when you diss everyone who disagrees with you, and when you utter lies at every opportunity. Natural allies like to know they can trust one another, without fear of being scapegoated. Yet trump continues to lash out at his own party as if beating them around the head will draw the dissenters closer.

      Weeks of early, politically damaging battles over controversial policies and an ongoing probe into his campaign’s ties to Russian interference in the election also have left Trump with the lowest approval rating of any president since Harry Truman. Most of the right wing Republican House members in the Freedom Caucus, now in the president’s crosshairs, outperformed him in the past election, giving them little incentive to cooperate.

      “That’s what happens when you have an unpopular president … popularity scares people,” said Ari Fleischer a former adviser to President George W. Bush. “Lack of popularity emboldens them.”

      Unsurprisingly most people would rather hitch their wagons to a risning star, not to a slow-motion train wreck. Backing a POTUS with the lowest approval ratings of any president in over 60 years? Not ever. And the POTUS’s response? Go after them with a big stick. Sad.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-remains-the-center-of-attention-but-hes-increasingly-isolated-politically/2017/04/02/126041e6-1648-11e7-833c-503e1f6394c9_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trumpisolation-117pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.28eed4b75a84

      Reply
  4. Nelly Smickers

     /  3rd April 2017

    This from renowned intellectual and public commentator *Noam Chomsky*

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/chomsky_if_trump_falters_with_supporters_a_staged_terrorist_20170329

    Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  3rd April 2017

      In the interests of clarity, I should have mentioned that when Wayne’s mum emailed this link thru, the Subject Header was: *Silly old fool*

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  3rd April 2017

        I am just managing not to make the obvious reply to that.

        Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd April 2017
    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  3rd April 2017

      We’re ahead of them there already with Simon Bridges. 👌

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  3rd April 2017

        You’ve used that one before.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  3rd April 2017

          So what? He’s still running on the same OS.
          Actually, watching Bill’s interviews lately, I’m starting wonder if he’s v1.2, & Simon’s v2.0❓ 🤔

          Reply
        • Anonymous Coward

           /  3rd April 2017

          Speaking of… how’s that civil war coming along Al?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  3rd April 2017

            Just watch Joe’s frothing, AC. And the Senate going nuclear this week.

            Reply
    • Gezza

       /  3rd April 2017

      It’s going to interesting seeing what happens when new blue collar jobs don’t keep pace with jobs lost to automation, & when even university graduates up to their ears in student debt can’t get jobs either because some of the income earning roles they planned to get into have been automated too. Not everyone is going to be able to just switch to tech & IT & comms fields – they’ll automate too.

      What do you mean by “politics next” ?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  3rd April 2017

        Unhappy people will resort to political action and politicians will attempt to exploit that.

        Reply
  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  3rd April 2017

    David Frum, senior editor of the Atlantic and former speechwriter for George W, speaking of Sean Spicer:

    “The Spicer show is so fascinating precisely because he remembers when he used to have a conscience, and the memory troubles him.”

    Sean, Sean…come back towards the light….if you can even see it anymore.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd April 2017

      I hope that he does before it’s too late. I have no idea what he’s paid, but it wouldn’t be worth it to have to earn it as he does.

      Reply
  7. Joe Bloggs

     /  3rd April 2017

    Anyone remember this?

    trump, along with a chorus of Republicans, frequently criticised his predecessor for such playful excursions. In 2011, he tweeted: “@BarackObama played golf yesterday. Now he heads to a 10-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Nice work ethic.” In August 2014, Reince Priebus, trump’s chief of staff, wrote: “Obama’s golf outings aren’t just bad optics, they’re foolish. And voters realise that.”

    So in 10 weeks, trump’ taken no fewer than 12 golfing holidays to Mar-a-Lago. At US$3m a trip, plus the $1m a trip that Palm Beach residents have been hit for security for each trip, that’s a US$250million a year hobby…

    Bad optics or just plain foolishness?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd April 2017

      ‘Optics’ doesn’t make sense there, but much of Trump’s blalhering doesn’t.. How mean spirited to grudge someone a couple of hours relaxation. I bet that they didn’t cost $4,000,000 a time.

      How on earth can someone justify more golfing holidays in another state than the number of weeks he’s been in office ?

      Reply
  8. Joe Bloggs

     /  3rd April 2017

    Dear BJ, this one’s for you…

    Then there was Devin Nunes, the rare example of a man so stupid that his idiocy wholly mitigates his evil. The previous week, you may recall, Nunes held a bizarre press conference at the White House in which he informed the president and the public that some Trump campaign and transition team members were incidentally surveilled by the National Security Agency. He divulged this information without notifying the House Intelligence Committee, which he chairs and which is also investigating the Trump campaign’s curious ties to Moscow. Nunes made it clear that this did not mean that Trump was “wiretapped” by former President Barack Obama, as Trump had claimed, but it did give him some political cover for his paranoid ravings.

    Nunes’s story quickly fell apart. Over the weekend, it became clear that Nunes had obtained his information at the White House, which is a strange place to get it, considering that he is supposedly investigating the White House. On Monday, Nunes said that he went there because it had a special computer that was hooked up to a special network that had the special information, but that clearly wasn’t the whole truth—the Capitol has access to the special computer and the special network, as well.

    On Tuesday morning, it came out that the White House was trying to prevent liberal folk hero Sally Yates from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, citing executive privilege. It also came out that proverbial dull knife Devin Nunes had canceled Yates’s hearing almost immediately after it became clear that she was probably going to blast Michael Flynn, a guy who probably owns a lot of katanas. You will recall that Yates, when she was acting attorney general, was the one to inform the White House of Flynn’s duplicity, forcing his ouster as national security adviser.

    On Thursday, Nunes’s dumb stunt fully fell apart after the New York Times reported that Nunes’s two leakers were not, as he claimed, intelligence officials, but people who worked for President Trump. That’s right: Nunes went to the White House to receive information that he would then use to brief the president the next day. This also made it abundantly clear that Nunes’s press conference was about nothing other than providing political cover for Trump.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/141769/just-happened-review-president-trumps-tenth-week

    Reply
  9. Joe Bloggs

     /  3rd April 2017

    Twice a Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the George Polk Award, and Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting, Barton Gellman, on the potentially felonious behaviour of Devin Nunes and the trump apparatchik:

    Three named officials—two Trump appointees and arguably his leading defender on the Hill—appear to have engaged in precisely the behavior that the president describes as the true national security threat posed by the Russia debate. Secrecy regulations, including SF312, the Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement, do not permit Ellis and Cohen-Watnick to distribute sensitive compartmented information through a back channel to Nunes. This is true, and their conduct no less an offense, even though Nunes holds clearances sufficient to receive the information through proper channels. The offense, which in some cases can be prosecuted as a felony, would apply even if the White House officials showed Nunes only “tearsheet” summaries of the surveillance reports. Based on what Nunes has said in public, they appear to have showed him the more sensitive verbatim transcripts. Those are always classified as TS/SI (special intelligence) or TS/COMINT (communications intelligence), which means that they could reveal sources and methods if disclosed. That is the first apparent breach of secrecy rules. The second, of course, is the impromptu Nunes news conference. There is no unclassified way to speak in public about the identity of a target or an “incidentally collected” communicant in a surveillance operation.

    Two more questions raised today look even more serious to me. One has to do with the main complaint that Nunes aired in his news conference. Even if Trump and his associates were swept lawfully into the eavesdropping operations, he said, their identities should have been masked in the intelligence reports. Under the intelligence community’s “minimization” rules, names of American citizens and green card holders are normally removed and replaced with some variation of “[MINIMIZED U.S. PERSON].” The rules allow for somewhat more specificity. Nunes said he could easily guess the names, even when minimized. That would be true, for example, if a report mentioned a “[MINIMIZED U.S. CAMPAIGN OFFICIAL]” who did business in Ukraine. That may look like a joke, but it’s not. I have seen references in NSA reports to “[MINIMIZED U.S. PRESIDENT].”

    There are well-established procedures for the “customers” of an intelligence report to request that the names of Americans be unmasked entirely. The governing standard is supposed to be that the names are essential to understanding the meaning or significance of the report.

    This brings me to the second question, which I see as the core disclosure of the Times story (even though the Times does not explicitly mention it). If Nunes saw reports that named Trump or his associates, as he said, the initiative for naming names did not come from the originating intelligence agency. That is not how the process works. The names could only have been unmasked if the customers—who seem in this case to have been Trump’s White House appointees—made that request themselves. If anyone breached the president’s privacy, the perpetrators were working down the hall from him. (Okay, probably in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door.) It is of course hypocritical, even deceptive, for Nunes to lay that blame at the feet of intelligence officials, but that is not the central concern either.

    If events took place as just described, then what exactly were Trump’s appointees doing? I am not talking only about the political chore of ginning up (ostensible) support for the president’s baseless claims about illegal surveillance by President Obama. I mean this: why would a White House lawyer and the top White House intelligence adviser be requesting copies of these surveillance reports in the first place? Why would they go on to ask that the names be unmasked? There is no chance that the FBI would brief them about the substance or progress of its investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to the Russian government. Were the president’s men using the surveillance assets of the U.S. government to track the FBI investigation from the outside?

    https://tcf.org/content/commentary/trump-white-house-spying-fbi/

    Reply
  10. Hey Joe? What is the substance of the intercepts that were given to Nune? That is the question, not who gave them to him to read in the White House Classified Reading Facility with its Faraday Cage, Rubber mounts and white noise production. One of the White House employees was a support official for the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committee under Obama – so unlikely to have a political driver behind him. But hey your quote is so biased in its language, it can be dismissed as party propaganda. Now, the contents of the written material have also been shown to all of the Committee Chaired by Nune, and not one of them have refuted the origin or content. So I will wait for more to come. Oh and guess what, the FBI has arrested a State Department official Candace Marie Claiborne who was a staffer under Obama and has been charged with “High Treason” for selling state secrets about Caucus Affairs to the Chinese. Very embarrassing timing as Xi is due to meet with Trump, and US China relations are delicate enough already. Oh and there is an unnamed accomplice under investigation. So much for the Left Wing liberals in the State Department. I wonder who is next.

    Reply
    • Anonymous Coward

       /  3rd April 2017

      “But hey your quote is so biased in its language, it can be dismissed as party propaganda”.

      The trick is, BJ, being able to see that bias in BOTH directions, if you can’t detect right wing bias you don’t get to call it out on the left.

      Reply
  11. Joe, in addition to your contribution above, have you checked on the Century Foundation? It is prominent in pushing socialist welfare ideas in the US. Barton Gellman’s speculations about the processes for obtaining raw (unmasked) intelligence is naive and shows he did not do his homework!
    Look at this : https://www.lawfareblog.com/eo-12333-raw-sigint-availability-procedures-quick-and-dirty-summary and you will see the significance of the Obama written directive EO12333 that changed the rules previously in place on raw intelligence. It says such things as
    :
    “Section II: Requests for Raw SIGINT
    This is a critical section. The head of an IC element (or high-level designee) must submit a written request in order to obtain raw SIGINT from the NSA, and the request must contain the following information:

    how the IC element will use the raw SIGINT,
    the expected value of the SIGINT
    why other “reasonably available” sources cannot provide the information the element needs,
    access requirements, like how many analysts are expected to have access to the raw SIGINT and how long,
    how the raw SIGINT will be processed and disseminated,
    how the raw SIGINT will be safeguarded,
    that the IC element’s personnel will comply with the relevant procedures, including any “alternative procedures” later established by the DNI and approved by the Attorney General,
    confirmation that the IC element will timely and completely provide any reporting required by the procedures, including any reporting required to obtain an extension of its raw SIGINT access,
    a description of the IC element’s compliance and oversight program,
    confirmation of compliance with PPD-28 and related policies
    confirmation the IC element has consulted with legal counsel.
    The section outlines a few other important points.

    If NSA identifies raw SIGINT “of potential interest to an IC element,” NSA may, “on its own initiative, notify the IC element of the existence of such information.” The IC element then has to submit the written request as specified above. [This is interesting, and seems to raise some questions about mechanics. If NSA is the one flagging information for intelligence agency B, then B presumably has to be provided sufficient detail to then be able to frame its request for access to the information in accordance with the written-request requirements.]
    And so on. The loophole this Obama directive provided has, in my professional view, provided a huge proliferation risk that puts collection methods and techniques (the Crown jewels) at an unacceptable risk or leaks.
    I will stop there, because any more and I could be saying too much and you do not need to know anymore than you have already got.

    Reply
  12. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd April 2017

    BJ, I’m wondering if you have an opinion on John McCain from your Vietnam days. There are videos on youtube that take completely contrasting views on whether he was a staunch hero or a collaborating traitor as a PoW. I’ve no idea where the truth lies.

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  3rd April 2017

      Al, I don’t think you can question whether mcain is a patriot in the sense he knew which side he was on. That said, if he collaborated given the situation he found himself in, would this change your view of the man?

      Reply
    • Anonymous Coward

       /  3rd April 2017

      Oh Al. You say you don’t watch videos and yet there you are on Yootoob watching god know what?. Anything over there with a political slant needs a firm mind to watch it, it is a murky swamp of prejudice, confirmation bias, and mental illness. Beware and godspeed.

      Reply

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