I caught yesterday’s edition of ABC World News Tonight with David Muir streaming on Hulu and grabbed these screen shots. I was reminded of an old song:
Isn’t it rich, isn’t it queer
Losing my timing this late in my career
And where are the clowns
Quick send in the clowns
Don’t bother they’re here
All right, already. We’ve got the clowns. Where’s the outrage? Then forget about the outrage. Where’s the remorse? Where’s the buyer’s remorse?
Over the past three years I’ve been shedding conservative Facebook friends. Touch them in the wrong spot, and they’re gone. Others have stayed on, but more recently they have become ominously silent. No more posting unflattering images of Michelle Obama and calling her out for lack of style. I’m even seeing less about President Obama being a Muslim. What’s going on? I’m thinking some people are scared. And I think I know the reason why.
Yes, the infamous witch hunt is still chugging along, and with regularity more witches are being brought to the dock. A number of American citizens have been indicted, and there have been guilty pleas. One sentence has already been served. Others indicted are out of reach, because they are foreign nationals living beyond the grasp of American law. That would include a number of Russian military intelligence officers—12 last week:
A Republican congressional committee (House of Representatives) recently hauled an early witch hunter into their chamber and worked at shaming him. The embarrassment to the Republican Party has grown so intense that no amount of sincerity was too great to dispense with.
The meeting of President Trump with Russian strong man Vladimir Putin found no support among American intelligence and little support in Congress, specifically Republicans. The press conference that followed measured a new low in presidential conduct. Richard Nixon became famous for saying, “I am not a crook.” President Trump did not rise to even that standard. A report by CNN captured a number of damning remarks:
7. “I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish. … And I think we’re all to blame.”
8. “There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. And people are being brought out to the fore. So far that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they’re going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign.”
12. “But just to say it one time again — and I say it all the time — there was no collusion. I didn’t know the president. There was nobody to collude with. There was no collusion with the campaign.”
13. “And every time you hear all of these, you know, 12 and 14 — it’s stuff that has nothing to do — and, frankly, they admit these are not people involved in the campaign.”
17. “So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server — haven’t they taken the server. Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?”
18. “My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
19. “What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing; where are they?”
20. “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
That’s a mix. From the CNN item, number 7 relates to a question, “Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular?” It was possibly regarding the probing of political campaign files and the theft of voter data from one state election board, but it could as well have concerned Russia’s invasion of Georgia and its annexation of Crimea, culminating in a proxy war (invasion) against Ukraine and the destruction of a civilian airliner. And the president tells anybody who will listen we are both to blame.
“There was no collusion at all,” which is intended to translate to “Robert Mueller’s investigation is a lot to do about nothing.” Fact is that the DOJ has not reported any collusion, only a vast array of illegal acts committed against the United States by Putin’s government.
“And every time you hear all of these, you know, 12 and 14 — it’s stuff that has nothing to do — and, frankly, they admit these are not people involved in the campaign.” It is 12, Mr. President, and Russia did do it, and if your party had no involvement, then why is it causing you so much heartburn?
The president has great confidence in our intelligence people, but Putin said he didn’t do it, and we need to be satisfied with that. Translation, “Will you guys please, please quit embarrassing me with my friend Vladimir Putin?”
A BBC report sums it up:
Trump sides with Russia against FBI.
The people at the FBI, CIA, NSC, and NSA are not taking any of that. They appear to be increasingly pissed at being disrespected by their own Commander-in-Chief.
Robert Mueller’s investigation had three days prior to the Putin meeting filed the indictment against the Russian 12. And now Mueller is told the president isn’t buying it.
Here’s what came out on Friday. Twelve Russian military officers accused of computer penetration.
Specifically, the accounts of at least 300 people connected to the DNC and to the Clinton campaign came under attack.
One target was email accounts used by Clinton’s personal office.
Meanwhile, not all is kumbaya with Republican members of Congress. South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, who took great relish roasting Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi debacle, was not ready to accept any excuses from his president:
Your first request of Vladimir Putin needs to be, “Tell us which airport we can pick up the 25 Russians…”
Not wanting to be a sore loser, Clinton still felt the need to chime in:
Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?
The answer is becoming increasingly unclear.
Others (Republicans!) are choking on the president’s remarks, made while standing alongside Putin. Here is Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy…
He further has said this is not a last year thing. Our digital infrastructure is now under attack from the Russian government.
Former CIA Director John Brennan minced no words. This…
…was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are You???
Note the triple ???, to which I will add !!!
Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska:
This is bizarre and flat-out wrong.
To which I add, no surprise here:
In early 2016, while both parties’ presidential primary election seasons were in progress, Sasse announced that he would not support Republican front-runner Donald Trump should Trump become the party’s candidate; he was the first sitting senator to make such an announcement. Sasse questioned Trump’s commitment to the U.S. Constitution, in particular accusing him of attacking the First Amendment; he stated that Trump had refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan; and he suggested that Trump “thinks he’s running for King”. He stated that if Trump won the party’s nomination, then he would vote neither for him nor for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, but would probably “look for some third candidate—a conservative option, a Constitutionalist”. According to a Sasse spokesman, he did not say that he would necessarily leave the party if Trump was nominated.
Another Republican who is no surprise is Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. He has previously called out the president on a number of matters and will not be running for re-election:
Shameful. I never thought I would see an American president throw the intelligence community under the bus like that.
Another Republican senator who is not running for re-election is Bob Corker of Tennessee. Prior to the Putin meeting:
The president’s comments … made us look as a nation more like a pushover.
Senator Chuck Schumer was predictably upset:
Americans are scratching their heads and saying if that’s not the explanation, that Putin has something on him, what is it. What the heck could it be>
Retiring Senator John McCain, who was previously mocked by candidate Trump for being captured in war, shows no love lost. He calls the meeting with Putin “a tragic mistake.
He further remarked:
No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.
Ouch! That was stinging, coming from a Republican Senator and a staunch conservative. Ouch, again. Even Fox Network is having a fit.
That’s what made his performance disgusting…
Wait, wait! No! Can’t be! You, too, Newt?
President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—immediately.
Excuse, me, Newt. Fox, too. Where have you been these past two years. Where were you when he introduced his campaign by announcing that Mexico was sending drugs and rapists. Where were you when candidate Trump offered to pay legal bills for those in the audience who beat up protesters? Where were you when President Trump nominated Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy, Ben Carson for HUD, Scott Pruitt for EPA, Kirstjen Nielsen for DHS, and Tom Price for HHS? Where have you been the past 18 months while President Trump uses tax-funded trips to promote his businesses, and funnels official visitors to his hotels and other properties? How much more do I need to pile on before it becomes apparent you have been whoring yourselves for a circus clown president?
Is there more? Unfortunately yes. Only yesterday it was announced that Russian agent Maria Butina has been arrested. Her job? Apparently to work with the National Rifle Association, to assist them in their important work, which includes getting Republicans elected and also to help improve gun rights in Russia.
Wait. Gun rights in Russia?
Russian citizens over 18 years of age can obtain a firearms licence after attending gun-safety classes and passing a federal test and background check. The licence is for five years and may be renewed. Firearms may be acquired for self-defense, hunting, or sports activities. Carrying permits may be issued for hunting firearms licensed for hunting purposes. Initially, purchase is limited to long smooth-bore firearms and pneumatic weapons with a muzzle energy of up to 25 joules (18 ft⋅lbf). After five years of shotgun ownership, rifles may be purchased. Handguns are generally not allowed. Rifles and shotguns with barrels less than 500 mm (20 in) long are prohibited, as are firearms that shoot in bursts and have more than a 10-cartridge capacity. Suppressors are prohibited. An individual cannot possess more than ten guns (up to five shotguns and up to five rifles) unless they are part of a registered gun collection.
Maria, you have your work cut out for you. On the other hand, the U.S.A. is a snap. You need to work your way into the upper circles.
Et tu, Wayne? Say it isn’t so:
Gun-rights activist was Russian agent who sought to use NRA contacts to gather intelligence, prosecutors say
A 29-year-old gun-rights activist served as a covert Russian agent while living in Washington, gathering intelligence on American officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin, federal prosecutors charged Monday.
There must be more to it:
NRA got more money from Russia-linked sources than earlier reported
It makes sense now that it’s been explained to me. Russia gives money to the NRA. The NRA uses the money to campaign for Republicans. The Republicans (we can name one) show favorable treatment to the Russians.
I was too quick in highlighting all those Republicans pushing back against President Trump. There is at least one Republican who still has his head on straight.
Rand Paul sides with Trump on Russia, says critics ‘motivated’ by dislike of president
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Monday expressed his approval of President Donald Trump’s handling of Russia despite the tsunami of criticism the president faced after his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s gotten so ridiculous that someone has to stand up and say we should try to engage even our adversaries and open up our lines of communication,” Paul told Politico after the controversial press conference.
Maybe not all the way on straight. Senator, President Trump not only sought a dialog with Vladimir Putin, he stood in front of the world yesterday and defended the Russian president against charges by American prosecutors that Putin directed attacks on the American political process and is continuing to direct attacks.
Wait, there’s more. Now President Trump says he didn’t say it:
Trump Now Says He Accepts U.S. Intelligence Reports on Russian Election Meddling
WASHINGTON — Under unrelenting pressure from congressional Republicans, his own advisers and his allies on Fox News, President Trump abruptly reversed course on Tuesday and claimed he had misspoken during a news conference with President Vladimir V. Putin about whether Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Trump, reading from a script, said he believed the assessment of the nation’s intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in the campaign after having seeming to have accepted Mr. Putin’s assertion the day before that Russia was not involved.
The misunderstanding, he said, grew out of an unsuccessful attempt to use a double negative when he answered a question about whether he believed Mr. Putin or his intelligence agencies.
“My people came to me,” he said in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. “They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Did I mention “circus clown president?” Yes, apparently I already have. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.