WTF Community

Day 726

Updated 1/15/2019 11:07 AM PST

1/ Trump discussed withdrawing the U.S. from NATO with senior administration officials several times in 2018, saying he didn't see the point of the military alliance, which has been in place since 1949. National security officials believe that Russia is focused on undermining the alliance so Putin could have the freedom to behave as he wishes. (New York Times)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

@matt Thanks for today’s remarkably thorough recap of the news - best on the entire web! :clap:

Especially appreciated: the host of “notables,” the links to live blogs on the AG confirmation hearings, and the review of the many past incriminating developments surrounding the inauguration committee. :mag_right: :1st_place_medal:


Live Streamirg Report of AG Hearings from Bloomberg

This just in (after clicking on the above link, this is at the 1:56pm mark):

Barr May Write Public Version of Mueller Report

Barr said he may write the version of Mueller’s final report that would go to Congress and be made public, a twist on the debate over the special counsel’s eventual findings.

The Justice Department’s regulations on special counsels dictate that Mueller can give his report only to the attorney general, who decides what will become public. Barr said he interprets that as giving him the power to write his own version for public consumption.

“There are two different reports,” he said. “Under the current regulations, the special counsel report is confidential. The report that goes public would be a report by the attorney general.”

No way, no how! We demand to see the original report. We have a right as U.S. citizens to know what the Special Counsel has uncovered about our President. If parts of the report need to be redacted for security reasons, so be it, but we cannot allow the report to be rewritten by an AG who was appointed by the person who is the subject of the investigation. A Trump “owned” AG could easily apply a spin to the report as part of a quid pro quo in return for his appointment. Impeachment proceedings will rely on this report and if enough spin is applied to it, Trump may be able to skate through without being held accountable.

Let’s never forget that we were told Kavanaugh would be the subject of a fair and thorough investigation. Ha! That didn’t happen – so why should we believe it when a Trump appointee tells us he will be fair in “interpreting” Mueller’s report? :-1: :confounded:


Steny Hoyer is introducing legislation to vote on keeping sanctions which would block and bind Oligarch Deripaska. The vote is supposed to come today. Mnuchin has already visited Senate R’s today to give them his reasons why these sanctions should be lifted.

Hoyer introducing legislation to block Trump from lifting sanctions on Russian companies

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Tuesday he is introducing a resolution to prevent the Trump administration from lifting sanctions imposed on businesses controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

“Today, I am introducing a resolution to prevent the Treasury Department from lifting sanctions on businesses controlled by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who has been sanctioned for his close relationship to President Putin and activities aimed at harming the interests of the United States,” Hoyer said in a statement.

“Mr. Deripaska has been key to much of the malign activities Russia directs against the United States, and the Congress must protect the American people against foreign interference and corruption.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin held a meeting with members of congress behind closed doors last week to defend the administration’s December proposal to relax sanctions on three companies owned and controlled by the Russian businessman, who is believed to have ties to Russian intelligence and President Vladimir Putin.

Secretary Mnuchin’s briefing last week raised more questions than it answered, and, notwithstanding the good faith efforts of individual Treasury officials, I cannot help but view this action in the context of the Trump Administration’s repeated deference to Russia,” Hoyer said.


Breadcrumbs along the way re: Government shutdown
Washington Post - writer Robert Costa

Robert Costa’s (Washington Post) comments re: what may break this shutdown.
Complaints on Air Travel, with the TSA staying home. He’s talking to some senior Republican Senators…

Robert Costa comments

Oh holy shit, 10 Republicans “crossed the line”, eh? That’s the mysterious part to me, why Trump, and, implicitly, the whole Republican Party, will let everything go down the tubes for his base when his base is not > 50%? And he said “he owned it”. And he said “Mexico will pay for it”, until he said that Mexico NEVER said they would pay for it. He’s a 25th Amendment Basket Case if there ever was one, but neither Cabinet nor Senate Republicans will speak unkindly of him.


Encouraging news…

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have wasted no time in beefing up the investigative staff dedicated to continuing the committee’s work on its semi-dormant Russia probe, even as the committee’s new membership is still taking shape.

The new majority has made offers to half a dozen new staffers, CBS News has learned, and is still searching for six more. Among the latest hires are an expert in corruption and illicit finance and a former prosecutor…

“There’s a lot of work yet to be done on Russia,” a senior committee official told CBS News. “What we’re doing is we are creating a purpose-built team that will take the point on that.”

As they assume the majority, Democrats under newly appointed Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will add four members to the committee and more than double its staff, from 11 to roughly 24; Republicans will cut their staff count and, with some members having retired from Congress last year, likely keep their membership even at nine.

the final team will likely bring with it the investigative and prosecutorial specialties Schiff has long sought.

As ranking member, the California Democrat consistently lamented being hamstrung by a Republican majority which, under then-Chairman Devin Nunes, D-Calif., seemed at best incurious about certain aspects of the Trump-Russia nexus. Schiff has also been publicly wistful about the special counsel’s investigative horsepower, telling an audience at the Council of Foreign Relations last February that he was “deeply jealous” of the team Mueller had assembled.

I have a phenomenal staff,” he said at the time, “They’re bright and they work 24/7, seven days a week and they do it with no windows.”

[B]ut they’re largely analysts," Schiff continued, "they’re not trained to be investigators.

As the article goes on to explain, this deficiency will now be remedied as Schiff adds seasoned investigators to his team and brings a new level of commitment to a thorough investigation of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia.

Contrast the focus and dedication under Schiff’s leadership with the roadblocks that Nunes imposed during his tenure - “House Republicans Are Trying to Thwart Dem Russia Probe,” New York Magazine, July, 2018.

Go Schiff! :muscle:


This may not pass…looks like the R’s stopped the placements of sanctions on Deripaska :-1:

WASHINGTON ― Most Senate Republicans voted on Wednesday against the enforcement of sanctions on several companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Eleven Republicans broke ranks with party leadership and the Trump administration by voting with Democrats to advance the measure, but it failed to garner the necessary 60 votes needed to break a filibuster. It garnered 57 votes; all 42 senators voting against it were Republicans.


The shifting statements from Rudy…what a piece of work.


Some fall out for Michael Cohen’s upcoming Feb 7th testimony…pressures from T’s heavy duty criticisms…makes Cohen fear for his family.

As the president continues to engage in what Cohen sees as reckless and unsubstantiated claims he believes are intended to intimidate him, Cohen has expressed to friends his concern that Trump’s heated rhetoric on television and Twitter could incite an unstable person to target him or his family.

Cohen has become so worried that he is now questioning whether a public hearing is in his best interest, sources said, and people close to him have advised him to reconsider.

In an interview with FOX News on Saturday, Trump called Cohen “weak,” accused him of lying to prosecutors in order to get a reduced sentence, and hinted – unprompted and without evidence – that he possessed damaging information about Cohen’s family.


Now there is a TON of speculation as to which shoe is going to drop soon…just after Rudy’s admission of some collusion within the campaign…

Brace yourselves…

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@jimsciutto (CNN)

Breaking: In rebuke to Trump administration on Russia, Senate Democrats & more than 10 Republicans voted to advance a measure to block Treasury from relaxing sanctions on three Russian companies with ties to Kremlin ally Oleg Deripaska.