Today was a brain-scrambling exercise in trying to follow the corruption that is oozing out of our government. There’s so much happening that those of us with lives and jobs that do not permit 24 hour-monitoring could use a digest.
For the record, this litany of underhanded dealing makes our country seems increasingly like a banana republic — run by a strongman and supported by his sycophants — rather than a 240-year-old democracy.
It would be funny if it weren’t tragic. It’s worth keeping a running list, and here it is.
You can cry into your Chianti.
Wednesday, March 22:
- News emerged that the chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the House Devin Nunes told the White House that government intelligence had come across information on members of President Trump’s transition team while conducting routine surveillance of foreign targets. He did not tell his Democratic counterpart on the committee. This is like telling the defendant in a trial information that you don’t bother telling the prosecutor.
- Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee in the House, said Nunes is no longer credible in conducting an investigation into Trump ties to Russian intelligence: “Today, Chairman Nunes shared information with WH still withheld from our committee. He cannot conduct a credible investigation this way,” Schiff tweeted.
- A Wall Street Journal editorial Wednesday said Trump may soon be considered a “fake president.” His “falsehoods are eroding public trust, at home and abroad,” said the editorial, adding that Trump is clinging to his tapped-phones assertion “like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.”
- The AP reported that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had a $10 million annual contract with Russian oligarch and Putin ally Oleg Deripaska to “influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government.” No. Seriously. Manafort had previously denied any such payments. Many times. The AP cited documents it was provided: “We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote to Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, in a 2005 strategy memo. Republican senator Lindsey Graham said to NBC on the Manafort report: If true, “that’s basically taking money to stop the spread of democracy.”
- CNN reported that the FBI has information that indicates “associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” Remember, this comes just one day after FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Said CNN: “The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.”
- Politico reported that Democrats are cutting a deal to approve Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court THIS TIME, if the Republicans promise not to use the nuclear option NEXT TIME. (Note from me: the Democrats are the biggest wusses on the planet. They do not deserve to win as they refuse to fight, and capitulate every damn time.) One can only question: what may tomorrow bring?