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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Political Satire: What is Trump still hiding about Russia?


He's not heavy, he's my puppet 
Whatever it is, it is bad enough that Donald Trump has enlisted the help of Congress, the intelligence community. And now the FBI has refused to cooperate with the White House by downplaying the news stories about Donald John's close ties with Russia. It involves Trump associates’ ties to Russia and the fact that pressure is being applied to cover this up. Greg Miller of the Washington Post said...
"Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives."
Here's some background on the story. According to Politifact...
"The Washington Post reported Dec. 9 that the CIA concluded Russia meddled in the election with the intent to help Trump, rather than to disrupt the election generally. The New York Times produced a similar report. However, the Washington Post also reported that the FBI isn't as confident in this conclusion. These stories are all based on anonymous sources and cannot be independently verified."
 But just last week, the FBI indicated that it would not downplay these same news reports after a request to do so from the White House. Business Insider Politics said...
"Trump administration officials wanted the FBI to disavow the reports and say there was no contact between people associated with Trump and Russia."
Democrats are still pissed over the fact that FBI Director James B. Comey released critical information about Hillary Clinton's email probe just prior to the 2016 election, yet kept quiet on the fact that Trump's campaign team had been in regular contact with Russia. Hillary Clinton accused Donald John of a direct tie between him and Vladimir Putin in one of the election debates, accusing her opponent of joining with the Russian leader to get rid of NATO. And then early in February, Trump voices his support for NATO admonishing member countries for better support.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said that...
 if the White House “contrived to have intelligence officials contradict unfavorable news reports, this represents a new and even more grave threat to the independence of the intelligence community.”
Former CIA director Michael Hayden expressed his concern that intelligence sources were being strong-armed into providing information that was later being interpreted into political speak and then put into the wording that best fit their message. What's new. But considering the Trump administration's  continued praise of Putin and all the action so far to get it out of the media, does that mean there is a smoking gun? And to cap it all off, Donald John has repeatedly criticized the intelligence organizations recently for leaking misinformation.

The leading example of Russian involvement in the 2016 election was the DNC hack where the embarrassing emails from Debbie Wasserman Schultz were uncovered, resulting in her being removed as chair. In this case the federal intelligence community, cybersecurity analysts, the Homeland Security Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement saying...
"...they believed people at the top levels of Russian government directed the attack in an attempt to interfere in the election."
Donald Trump took the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013, and he is known to have other
It might even look like this
business interests in Russia; specifically a desire to build a luxury Trump hotel in Moscow. But since he won't release his taxes, there is no way to know exactly what is going on. There is one thing we know for sure, Donald Trump is about business. He has been criticized time and again over the lack of complete separation between the presidency and his business-related interests. One son recently cost the federal govt. thousands of protection dollars to protect him in work abroad for the hotels.

Business insider Politics reported...
"Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse this week said he was sure the Russia-related cloud hanging over President Donald Trump's administration would not be clearing up anytime soon."
 The Rhode Island Democrat says Lindsey Graham's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism will look at the issue from three perspectives. 1) Trump's relationship with Russia pertaining to his business enterprises; 2) What did these actually do to affect the 2016 election?; 3) How exactly was the Trump staff involved in, if any, shenanigans in trying to swing the election toward Donald John? It is a fact that more Republicans have evidenced their concern over the possibility that Russia might have some part in getting Trump elected.

It is important to note that three important Donald Trump advisers have left the White House staff due to their Russian ties. First, Paul Manafort, former campaign manager and consultant for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, left early, in August of 2016. Resignation has not been explained. Carter Page, former foreign policy adviser, left in September 2016, with ties to a business consultancy work for state-owned Russian oil giant Gazprom. Page is currently subject to U.S. investigations over his Russian connections. Michael Flynn left recently Feb. 13, for lying to V.P. Pence about speaking with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in December 2016.

Politifact concluded...
"Based on the evidence, it seems highly unlikely that actions by the Russian government contributed in any decisive way to Trump’s win over Clinton."
Senior research scientist at CNA Analysis & Solutions, Dmitry Gorenburg, lamented over all the ruckus over what might have happened. What the U.S. should be concerned about is the fact that Russia even made the attempt. As an observer to all that has been written, that would indicate to me that the hackers felt they had the means to accomplish their goals and it is accepted knowledge that Putin's minions are known to be excellent cyber thieves. They were able to hack into and steal million from U.S. banks back in 2015.

However, former President George W. Bush said, "...that the American people deserve answers on the alleged connection between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia." This from Donald John's own party plus someone who sat in the Oval Office in the same place where he is sitting now just over eight years ago. And then just this past Friday...
"Republican Rep. Darrell Issa called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to hire an independent prosecutor to investigate the connection between the Trump campaign and Russia. Issa joins a number of Democrats in calling for an independent prosecutor."
I would expect that kind of rhetoric coming from a career building blowhard like Issa, but GWB is way beyond having to make a name for himself. Apparently the decision of a prosecutor is Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. This was Trump's, of course, Tweet response...
“Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!” 
And finally, Wilbur Ross, who probably will be confirmed Secretary of Finance tonight, is the latest with Donald John's conglomeration of Russian connections. Esquire reports that Ross has an ownership stake in a Cyprus bank in consultation with Russian President Vladimir Putin who was the first to prop up the institution. The magazine also notes that, "Cyprus banks have a long and painful history of laundering dirty money from Russians involved with corruption and criminality."

Well, it just doesn't get any better.

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