Trump might not be able to see where this very slippery slope leads, but the political arsonists around him do. Prepare to reap the whirlwind.
If you're looking for someone who is betraying this nation, look for a person who would deliberately and systematically wreck the institutions that guarantee the separation of powers and the accountability of the executive and legislative branches. Look for a person who would suborn the rule of law to protect himself, his family, and his cronies from justice. If you're looking for someone in the act of betraying the glorious vision of our Founders and our Constitution, look no further than the vulgar, prancing, reality-show clown who holds the Presidency. Look no further than the man who swore to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of this land, yet ignores them, and attacks those who would carry them out. read more
For a year now, lobbyists have swarmed the White House under President Donald Trump, attaining positions within various federal agencies just days after leaving government affairs jobs at lobbying firms, trade groups and corporations. Back in 2009, then-President Barack Obama issued an executive order on ethics that barred lobbyists from joining agencies they had lobbied in the previous two years. But Trump weakened that order shortly after becoming president, allowing lobbyists to join agencies they recently lobbied so long as they recused themselves from working on specific issues on which they had lobbied within the previous two years. The Trump administration has been sidestepping even that stipulation -- in some cases by ignoring it, and in others, by granting ethics waivers. read more
On Tuesday morning -- the day after the House Intelligence Committee voted along partisan lines to send Rep. Devin Nunes' memo, alleging abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to President Trump for declassification -- presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway was confronted with the idea that Russian trolls were promoting the #releasethememo hashtag online. She was offended. Russian trolls, she told a television interviewer, "have nothing to do with releasing the memo -- that was a vote of the intelligence committee." But her assertion is incorrect. The vote marked the culmination of a targeted, 11-day information operation that was amplified by computational propaganda techniques and aimed to change both public perceptions and the behavior of American lawmakers. And it worked. By the time the memo got to the president, its release was a forgone conclusion -- even before he had read it. read more
House Republicans should proceed carefully before making public a House Intelligence Committee memo alleging a variety of abuses by the FBI and Department of Justice, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said Thursday. Thune, speaking to reporters at a Republican retreat, said that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence panel, should first share the memo with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) before releasing it publicly, noting that Burr has been unable to obtain the document. "I think the Senate Intelligence Committee needs to see it, for sure. Sen. Burr would like to see it and hasn't been able to yet," Thune said, arguing that the Senate Intelligence Committee should be apprised before the document becomes available to the public. "There are important national security considerations they need to weigh, and hopefully they're doing that," he said. read more
Riddle me this: If Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have smoking gun evidence of a deep-state conspiracy that threatens American democracy itself, wouldn't they be doing more than playing silly hashtag games, such as #ReleasetheMemo? Hint: The answer is yes. If this were a serious undertaking, congressional investigators would be collaborating with the Department of Justice, FBI and relevant Senate committees to save America from the threat within. But we're no longer dealing in the realm of facts and reason when it comes to grave matters of security and justice. We are, at Donald Trump's behest, fully engulfed in a narrative explicitly designed to impugn and destroy the credibility of the law enforcement agency tasked with investigating the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia during the 2016 election. read more