Senator Sanders and the President Have Both Been Briefed that Vladimir Putin Is Interfering On Their Behalf In the 2020 Presidential Election
The Washington Post has reported that both Senator Sanders and the President have both been briefed that Vladimir Putin is interfering on both their behalf in the 2020 election:
U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter.
President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken. U.S. prosecutors found a Russian effort in 2016 to use social media to boost Sanders campaign against Hillary Clinton, part of a broader effort to hurt Clinton, sow dissension in the American electorate and ultimately help elect Donald Trump.
Senator Sanders both gave The Washington Post an appropriate response, but had his campaign issue it as a formal and official one as well.
“I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said in a statement to The Washington Post. “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.
Unfortunately Senator Sanders was briefed on this information a month ago!
Sanders tells reporters he learned about Russian interference in his campaign about a month ago.
But asked why it came out now, Sanders points to the fact that the NV caucuses are a day away. And adds sarcastically, "Washington Post? Good friends."
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) February 21, 2020
That’s a problem. Despite the briefing being classified there are ways to get ahead of these things and getting the information out, because eventually the information is going to leak out anyway. This information did, indeed, leak out. And it would not surprise me if the President didn’t leak it to try to distract from the reporting about the briefing he and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence received about Putin’s ongoing election interference. The specific problem here is that Senator Sanders knew, the President knew, and Vladimir Putin knew. The rest of us, however, did not know. We may have surmised based on what we know happened in 2016, but we did not know. And that means for the past month the President and Vladimir Putin have had leverage over Senator Sanders. I’m not suggesting that Senator Sanders is an agent of either one’s influence, but by sitting on the information for a month it provided both of them leverage that they could have used against him.
If there is one overarching lesson that we should all take away from what Putin did in 2016 and has been doing since 2016 is that when senior officials, or those seeking high office, refuse to be forthcoming about their activities, actions, and interests (personal, professional, business), it provides the other people that know about these activities, actions, and interests leverage over them. The problem in 2016 wasn’t that the President, as a candidate, was trying to do business in Russia. The problem was he kept lying about it over and over and over all while Putin and several of those around Putin knew the truth. Which provided Putin with leverage over the President. The same dynamic was also at play when Senator Sanders and his supporters demanded to see transcripts of Secretary Clinton’s speeches during the 2016 campaign because they wanted to know what she may or may not have said or promised to those who were paying her to give those talks. There was no indication she promised anyone anything, But the argument then was that it provided the interests paying for her to give a speech leverage on her above and beyond the speaker’s fee and expenses she was paid.
I know, you know, we all know that Senator Sanders is not a witting or unwitting asset of Putin’s. We know that Putin doesn’t actually want him to be president, Putin just wants him or his supporters to create chaos by ripping the Democratic Party apart* in order to achieve the strategic effect that Putin does want: having the President reelected to a second term. Because that strategic effect creates even more chaos, which increases the likelihood that Putin achieves his overarching strategic objective: weakening the US and with it the US created and backed post WW II international order; leaving Putin free to operate with impunity. Loose lips may sink ships, but in this case being forthcoming is the way to ensure operational security and dispel questions and doubts.
* I do not actually know what will happen if Senator Sanders wins the Democratic nomination for president. I would like to believe that we are all mature enough and realistic enough to recognize the threat to the Republic overrides our individual political preferences in a potential Democratic candidate. I would like to say I was sure this would be the case, but I cannot.
Good statement. Good contrast to Trumps eager cooperation. https://t.co/YMltLLghDX— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) February 21, 2020
The right thing to do on this is for all Democrats to condemn Russian interference. There are plenty of legitimate issues to bring up if Sanders isn’t your preferred candidate. One thing we know for certain is that any candidate on the debate stage on Wednesday would be terrible for Putin, especially compared to the current occupant of the White House.
This song is from the film "Tommy Emmanuel, CGP Live at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat, Australia."
[Official Web Site]
Cheers and Jeers is an ignoble weekday post from the great state of Maine.
Late Night Snark: Odds 'n Ends Edition
"Today I bashed people on Twitter, ate junk food and went to a strip club. How did you celebrate 'President’s Day'?"
“This is really insane. Parts of the border wall are being knocked down by wind? Trump shouldn’t tolerate this. He needs to go down to the border and teach these walls how to handle the wind. Because if there's one thing Trump knows, it's how to dodge a draft."
Continued under the invisible saffron bush…
The staff at Crooks and Liars is sad tonight -- we learned that long-time commenter and friend -- known on the site as General Jack D Ripper -- has died.
His IRL obituary is here, his legacy of great comments is how we will remember him.
He was also a Stones fan.
Rest in peace.
Open thread below...
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance joined Nicolle Wallace's panel on Deadline White House today to discuss the new reporting that shocked no one: Russia is still interfering in our election process, again with the intention of helping Trump get re-elected. Also shocking to no one, Trump is outraged, though he's not even trying to hide the fact that he wants the help now.
Wallace asked Vance what we are even debating, at this point? That Russia is up to their old tricks, those rascals? Vance's answer highlighted the new depths of destruction Trump and Russia have achieved against the sanctity of our election security.
● Kentucky: Republicans in Kentucky's state Senate have passed a bill along party lines that would effectively remove Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s control over the state’s Department of Transportation, the latest move in an accelerating trend of Republicans stripping power from Democratic governors before they can take office.
The legislation would limit the governor to nominating a transportation secretary from a list chosen by a new board whose nine members would be selected by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and local government associations, with those members subject to a veto by the Republican-run legislature. Lawmakers would also have veto power over Beshear’s nominee, making this the only cabinet position in the state requiring Senate confirmation.
Jeff Bezos made a big to-do about spending $10 billion on the climate. Maybe some of it will help, but as Bloomberg’s candidacy shows, billionaire philanthropy is more about the influence it buys.
Commentor Luciamia has offered Shakespeare a home — but she doesn’t have transport. Update from Deb S:
My mom has only a week or two to live, Luciamia is in Baltimore… If a volunteer can make the trip, that will make my life easier. I can pay expenses. I also got medication to calm him during the trip that I can administer in advance…
I’m trying to run back home to Maine for a day to get one of my own cats boarded, the one who vanishes and can’t be found to be pilled. By the time I get home she’ll have been off her meds for over a week. I would like to send Shakespeare on his way first. We need to keep him locked away from my mother because she’s on oxygen and we can’t risk him disturbing anything, I’ll feel better knowing he’s out of the apartment before I leave.
Anyone got some spare time this weekend? Big ask, I know. Best would be if people could do shifts, swapping Shakespeare off at service stops between NYC and Baltimore.
I don’t know if public transit would be possible, if someone were willing to ride down & back with his crate under the seat. Does Amtrak permit pets? Is there an intercity bus route that would work?
Other city-to-city pet transport services under short notice? (I’d donate towards costs here… )
Anybody wants to volunteer, or has information that would help, leave a comment below. Or contact me via email and I’ll forward your message to Deb.
The post Cat Rescue Bleg Update: Shakespeare Needs A Ride, NYC – Baltimore appeared first on Balloon Juice.
New video shows Bloomberg’s stance on health care: We have to deny the elderly care or go ‘bankrupt’
A video has resurfaced showing Michael Bloomberg discussing healthcare costs in what looks like somebody’s living room. In the clip, Bloomberg is explaining that healthcare costs are so high that we are looking at bankrupting our country. There are some tough decision to be made, according to Bloomberg, one of which is denying care to the elderly.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: If you’re bleeding we have to stop the bleeding. If you need an X-ray, you’ll have to wait. All of these costs keep going up. Nobody wants to pay any more money, and at the rate we are going, healthcare is going to bankrupt us. So not only do we have a problem, so we gotta sit here and say which things we’re gonna do, and which things we’re not. Nobody wants to do that. [...] If you show up with prostate cancer, you’re 95 years old. We should say “Go and enjoy, have a nice one, you’ve lived a long life. There’s no cure. We can’t do anything.” A young person we should do something about. Society is not willing to do that yet. So we’re gonna go bankrupt.
A new blockbuster report from the New York Times and The Washington Post revealed that Donald Trump was furious at his former acting DNI Joe Maguire for informing lawmakers in Congress that Russia was going to interfere in the 2020 election to help Trump win.Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.
This sent Trump sycophants, minions, and lackeys scurrying to figure out a way to refute what the top intelligence officer had said.
Fox News' Pete Hegseth, the number one presidential fluffer, took up the task by using the Pee-wee Herman defense. "I know you are but what am I?" (Thanks, Fran!)
The best Trump's propaganda minion could come up with is that it's really journalists, TV hosts, and Democratic lawmakers who are actually sowing discontent in America, by discussing this news.
He stayed up all night to come up with that one.
In a reversal, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg said Friday he will permit his company to release women who have accused him of sexual harassment from three non-disclosure agreements, after increasing pressure from his fellow presidential candidates.
Bloomberg also said that, after “a lot of reflecting,” he would not offer confidential agreements to resolve sexual misconduct claims going forward.
“I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Bloomberg said the company has identified three non-disclosure agreements this would pertain to, and that if they’d like to speak about their allegations they may ask for a release.
Perhaps I’m cynical, but I’m doubting that there were only three. I mean, we all know that there were “a very few,” but I’m thinking two digits, minimum.
He has the best consultants money can buy. I was listening to Pod Save America’s debate review today, and they were pointing out that Bloomberg’s performance reflected a stubborn candidate who didn’t listen to the best consultants money can buy. To quote a song Betty might like, “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps). My alternate theory is that, just maybe, the “best consultants money can buy” aren’t that good. This little gambit sure doesn’t seem like a genius move, but I guess even the best can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.
Donald Trump needs foreign help to get reelected in 2020, just the way he needed Russia's help in 2016. In fact, Trump has made it perfectly clear to the world that he welcomes foreign interference on his behalf, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos last year, "I think I'd take it." Of course he would—he needs it.
But that's only what Trump has said in public. In private, we know that he's shaking down foreign leaders in any way possible in order to enlist their help in his reelection bid. That's exactly what Trump did in the "I would like you to do us a favor though" phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, urging him to investigate his political rivals eight times. So publicly, Trump's pushing out open calls for pro-Trump interference by foreign governments and, privately, he's dropping the hammer on countries that need U.S. support in order to extract help from them in his quest to cheat the American people yet again.
During a ridiculous question-and-answer session with the Oxford Union in England that The New York Times called a “wide-ranging discussion,” acting White House chief of staff Mike Mulvaney told the audience that he had no plans on getting rid of the temporary moniker in front of his chief of staff job. Why? “Because it’s a $20,000 pay cut.”
Mulvaney’s salary is a reported $203,500 annually. This salary is indeed about $20,000 more than his predecessors Reince Priebus and John Kelly, each of whom earned $179,700. That’s because Mulvaney is still paid through the Office of Management and Budget, where he can command the higher salary. According to MarketWatch, the White House has said that if Mulvaney was to become the permanent chief of staff he would receive $183,000 per year in salary.
Impeached President Donald Trump is becoming increasingly Stalinesque in his purges of national security officials trying to stop Russia's election interference. He is being aided in this by House Republicans, who immediately informed Trump that Democratic House members had been told of those efforts, so he could try to shut that down.
Meanwhile, Moscow Mitch McConnell is still trotting out his minions to make sure that no election security bills passed by the House advance on the Senate floor. The threat is right there in front of us, and whatever the House Intelligence Committee was informed about last week was so incendiary that it set Trump off on his purge spree. What we do know is this: Moscow is interfering on Trump’s behalf again, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell will not do anything about it.
A new Republican-aligned PAC called Faith and Power has spent $3 million so far on ads praising North Carolina state Sen. Erica Smith and attacking former state Sen. Cal Cunningham ahead of the March 3 Democratic primary, but new campaign finance reports reveal that a very familiar GOP organization is behind the effort.
The Senate Leadership Fund, a powerful super PAC run by allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is responsible for Faith and Power’s entire budget, and its leader acknowledged it was taking action to force national Democrats to spend more on Cunningham. For her part, Smith has spoken out against the GOP for meddling in the Democratic primary to face Republican Sen. Thom Tillis.
On behalf of UMass Lowell, YouGov is out with the first poll we’ve seen in months for the September Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ U.S. Senate seat, and it gives Rep. Joe Kennedy III a tiny 35-34 edge over incumbent Ed Markey. This survey, though, was focused on the March 3 presidential primary, which will almost certainly have a considerably larger turnout than Markey and Kennedy’s contest will get six months later.
Both candidates will have plenty of money, but Kennedy ended 2019 with a financial advantage. Kennedy outraised the incumbent $2.4 million to $1.4 million during the fourth quarter, and he held a $5.5 million to $4.6 million cash-on-hand lead at the end of December.
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National Democrats are supporting Assemblywoman Christy Smith over progressive commentator Cenk Uygur in the March 3 top-two primary in California’s vacant 25th Congressional District, and they’re also now making it clear exactly which Republican they want Smith to end up facing.
The DCCC has begun what Politico reports is a $318,000 buy attacking Navy veteran Mike Garcia, who is competing with former Rep. Steve Knight next month for a spot in both the May 12 special election for the final months of former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s term and in the November general election for a full two-year term. The DCCC spot declares that Garcia backed a tax increase for middle class families while his business repeatedly failed to pay its own taxes.
It's an election year and a census year, so of course the Republican Party is sending out a deceptive "census" form nationwide, one that's really a fundraiser. A Tallahassee, Florida resident got one and shared it with the Tampa Bay Times. It's labeled as a "2020 Congressional District Census."
"You've been selected to represent voters in Florida's 2nd Congressional District," it says, along with the admonition that "Your participation is urgently needed. The Los Angeles Times reported that the mailers started showing up in California last week, in an envelope that warns "Do not destroy," and claims the mail is an "official document." It is actually an attempt to raise money for the Republican Party and a "loyalty pledge" to Trump.
I almost did a post about brokered conventions, but then I remembered something my old gran used to say about “borrowing trouble” and thought better of it. Instead, here is quite possibly the coolest song ever recorded, Só Tinha de Ser Com Você, from Brazilian singer Elis Regina and singer-songwriter-pianist Antônio Carlos Jobim:
Ah, that’s better.
Did your old gran have a saying about borrowing trouble? I had two old grans and was lucky enough to keep both decades after most of my peers lost their old grans; both of mine died within the last 5 years. They were very different women.
One was a ferociously judgmental yet adventurous school teacher, Baptist preacher’s wife and health food nut who lived in town and only listened to Christian programming on the radio. The other was the occasionally foul-mouthed, cigarette-smoking wife of a long-haul trucker who lived out in the country and listened to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.
They had one thing in common: both were known for making cutting remarks. (Maybe it’s an old Southern lady thing.)
Schoolteacher Gran once took a look at me and asked if I used a lawn mower to cut my hair (it was the late 80s, and my ‘do was quite stylish for the time, thankyewveramuch!). Country Gran once informed a plumpish cousin that while the top the cousin was wearing might be sold in that size, that didn’t mean she should wear it. Ouch!
PS: If you do want to read something about brokered conventions, Charles P. Pierce covers it here.