Today's Russiagate Roundup

-edited

Senate Intel acknowledges reality, Trump's data firm's Kremlin connections, and it's one "i" word or the other.

Because America's main geopolitical foe is America's main geopolitical foe, no matter which party's narcissist is in the Oval Office. And that geopolitical foe must be resisted, on all "fronts," on a bipartisan basis, not a partisan one.

'No Doubt' Russia Tried to Meddle in 2016 Election

See, Representative Nunes? Recognizing the fact that the Russians went all-out to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy in 2016 - primarily because they, like literally everybody else, believed that she would win and Vlad Putin wanted a wounded, weakened, compromised president at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and secondarily because having a corrupt, emotionally unstable, fawning fanboy in her place as a consolation prize wasn't a bad outcome for the Kremlin, either - isn't so difficult to pull off after all:

The leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Wednesday they agreed with intelligence agencies' assessment that Moscow sought to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election to boost Donald Trump's prospects of becoming president.

"There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections," the committee's Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr, said in a joint statement with the committee's top Democrat after a closed hearing on the issue.

"After a thorough review, our staff concluded that the (intelligence community) conclusions were accurate and on point," Senator Mark Warner said.

"The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President (Vladimir) Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton," Warner said.

No, nobody (outside "La Resistance," anyway) is asserting that the Russians "installed" Trump or "appointed" him or otherwise "got" him elected via stuffing ballot boxes or hacking voting machines or whatever other means, nor that Trump isn't legitimately and legally the forty-fifth president of the United States. Simply that he's the most accidental POTUS since John Tyler, and that, left to his own devices, he's definitely one with whom Czar Vlad could and would do a great deal of "business," seeing as how The Donald has been doing business of one sort or another with Russian interests for the past thirty years. And no, the Senate Intelligence Committee's report is not any kind of tripwire for impeachment proceedings, either, no matter how much Democrats may and do lust after them.

What does the Senate Intelligence Committee report indicate? That Russia has been manipulating and subverting our political process for years (Remember Barack Obama's "I'll have more flexibility after the <2012> election"?), and the only reason it fully rose to the public consciousness two years ago is because both parties, fully in the maniacal frenzy of partisan tribalism, are now and have never been more vulnerable to it And the manipulating and subverting are still going on, unabated, virtually unopposed, with no end in sight - a reality that could easily flip its leanings against Trumpies and their "Chosen One" at Putin's whim. Funny how that never occurs to them, though it will with a vengeance when that day comes.

Cambridge Analytica Shared Data with Russia

It is still as yet uncertain whether all of this swirling Trump campaign-Russia intrigue will create any legal backsplash for The Donald himself, but it is definitely inarguable that the president has gone out of his way to surround himself with crooks, fixers, shady characters and organizations of all sorts, and that the common thread running through all of them is persistent connections the successor to the old Evil Empire.

Political consulting group Cambridge Analytica used Russian researchers and shared data with companies linked to Russian intelligence, a whistleblower told a congressional hearing on interference in the 2016 US election Wednesday.

Christopher Wylie, who leaked information on the British-based firm's hijacking of data on millions of Facebook users, told a Senate panel he believes Russian intelligence services had access to data harvested by the consultancy.

Wylie told the panel that Russian-American researcher Aleksandr Kogan, who created an application to harvest Facebook user profile data, was working at the same time on Russian-funded projects, including "behavioral research."

"This means that in addition to Facebook data being accessed in Russia, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that CA may have been an intelligence target of Russian security services...(and) that Russian security services may have been notified of the existence of CA's Facebook data," Wylie said in his written testimony.

Wylie added that Cambridge Analytica "used Russian researchers to gather its data, (and) openly shared information on 'rumor campaigns' and 'attitudinal inoculation'" with companies and executives linked to the Russian intelligence agency FSB.

In essence, Kremlin spooks penetrated and compromised Cambridge Analytica for their own purposes and ends. Was that why the Trump campaign retained their services? Well, Wylie did add that one of the goals of CA was to discourage or suppress voter turnout, especially of black voters, and that this was a focus of Trump ally Steve "Darth" Bannon. And it is established fact that overall 2016 Democrat turnout, especially of African-American voters, was significantly less for Mrs. Clinton than it was for Barack Obama in his two elections, though that's just as attributable to her being an abysmally godawful candidate who only inspired people when it came to jamming sharp objects into their ears to block out her droning, condescending screeching. And, of course, to her being white. Does this constitute Trump-Russia collusion? That argument can certainly be made. Does it further confirm that Moscow is exploiting our Hatfields vs. McCoys-esque partisan blood feud to unprecedented levels? You're darn tootin' it does.

Mueller Won't Indict Trump on Russia, Giuliani Says

Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that Russia special counsel Robert Mueller told President Donald Trump's legal team he would not indict a sitting president, CNN reported.

"They have to follow the Justice Department rules," Giuliani told CNN's Dana Bash.

The rule is in the U.S. Attorneys' Manual, an internal Department of Justice document, which generally recommends against naming unindicted co-conspirators — though doing so is not generally prohibited by law or policy.

Um...okay. I'm not sure why this is all that newsworthy, or why Rudy went out of his way to almost gloatingly tout it, as Mark Levin has been doing at the top of his lungs for several weeks now. Has anybody suggested otherwise? I follow these stories on a daily basis, and I haven't seen anybody insisting that Special Counsel Mueller either can or is going to indict Trump. Indeed, the aforementioned Justice Department rule goes all the way back to Watergate, when even President Nixon wasn't indicted, though he was named an unindicted co-conspirator. The reason? The belief that the Constitution does not allow for the indictment of a sitting president due to its provision of impeachment and removal from office as the prescribed procedure to be followed for "high crimes and misdemeanors". This gets back to impeachment not being an electoral mulligan or cudgel of partisan revenge, but a serious tool of last resort in extraordinary circumstances that normal, sane people hope will never happen, but which must to invoked when it does prove necessary. Bill Clinton has been, to date, the classic case of that, and that came after his Special counsel, Kenneth Starr, recommended it to Congress at the conclusion of his wide-ranging investigation in lieu of directly indicting the forty-second president. When Mueller reaches his own conclusions, and if he finds sufficient grounds for it, he'll make his own Trump impeachment recommendations to Congress. If he does not, he won't. I would say it beats me why neither tribe can simply clam up and await those conclusions, given the initial universal acclaim with which they greeted Mueller's appointment a year ago, but I dismally know better.

But surely Rudy knows that negating one "i" word simply invokes the other one, right? It seems he's still not thinking through these tin-eared sound bites before he belches them into the public domain.

I never would have imagined that this Reagan campaign ad would still be so applicably relevant thirty-four years later.

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