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  • a) the greatest president in the history of the US, folks!

    2 6.25%
  • b) definitely in the top 45

    30 93.75%
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Thread: Cult 45 The politics catch-all thread

  1. #3616
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    I saw something on FB from Rob Reiner -- he said something about how Trump said he could call an emergency but he's going to wait a few days. Urgency is the key point of an emergency, so if he can wait it's not really and emergency is it? I think he then called him a fucking imbecile or something like that Love Rob Reiner.

    He's totally correct. If this is really, really, really a crisis, then why keep the government closed and wait. Emergencies need immediate action.

    Again, he's just showing the whole world what a moron he is.

    I also saw a good thing about using thoughts and prayers for the border crisis, because it's good enough for mass shootings.
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  2. #3617
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    Source: Washington Post

    Pix&vids at the link^


    Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration













    President Trump greets Russian President Vladimir Putin before a meeting in Helsinki. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

    By Greg Miller



    January 12 at 6:15 PM


    President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi*mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.


    Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.


    The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.


    As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.
    Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is thought to be in the final stages of an investigation that has focused largely on whether Trump or his associates conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. The new details about Trump’s continued secrecy underscore the extent to which little is known about his communications with Putin since becoming president.

    [A beefed-up White House legal team prepares for battle with special counsel]

    Former U.S. officials said that Trump’s behavior is at odds with the known practices of previous presidents, who have relied on senior aides to witness meetings and take comprehensive notes then shared with other officials and departments.


    Trump’s secrecy surrounding Putin “is not only unusual by historical standards, it is outrageous,” said Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state now at the Brookings Institution, who participated in more than a dozen meetings between President Bill Clinton and then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s. “It handicaps the U.S. government — the experts and advisers and Cabinet officers who are there to serve [the president] — and it certainly gives Putin much more scope to manipulate Trump.”


    A White House spokesman disputed that characterization and said that the Trump administration has sought to “improve the relationship with Russia” after the Obama administration “pursued a flawed ‘reset’ policy that sought engagement for the sake of engagement.”



    The Trump administration “has imposed significant new sanctions in response to Russian malign activities,” said the spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and noted that Tillerson in 2017 “gave a fulsome readout of the meeting immediately afterward to other U.S. officials in a private setting, as well as a readout to the press.”



    Trump allies said the president thinks the presence of subordinates impairs his ability to establish a rapport with Putin, and that his desire for secrecy may also be driven by embarrassing leaks that occurred early in his presidency.

    The meeting in Hamburg happened several months after The Washington Post and other news organizations revealed details about what Trump had told senior Russian officials during a meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office. Trump disclosed classified information about a terror plot, called former FBI director James B. Comey a “nut job,” and said that firing Comey had removed “great pressure” on his relationship with Russia.


    The White House launched internal leak hunts after that and other episodes, and sharply curtailed the distribution within the National Security Council of memos on the president’s interactions with foreign leaders.

    “Over time it got harder and harder, I think, because of a sense from Trump himself that the leaks of the call transcripts were harmful to him,” said a former administration official.


    Senior Democratic lawmakers describe the cloak of secrecy surrounding Trump’s meetings with Putin as unprecedented and disturbing.
    Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview that his panel will form an investigative subcommittee whose targets will include seeking State Department records of Trump’s encounters with Putin, including a closed-door meeting with the Russian leader in Helsinki last summer.


    “It’s been several months since Helsinki and we still don’t know what went on in that meeting,” Engel said. “It’s appalling. It just makes you want to scratch your head.”


    The concerns have been compounded by actions and positions Trump has taken as president that are seen as favorable to the Kremlin. He has dismissed Russia’s election interference as a “hoax,” suggested that Russia was entitled to annex Crimea, repeatedly attacked NATO allies, resisted efforts to impose sanctions on Moscow, and begun to pull U.S. forces out of Syria — a move that critics see as effectively ceding ground to Russia.


    At the same time, Trump’s decision to fire Comey and other attempts to contain the ongoing Russia investigation led the bureau in May 2017 to launch a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was seeking to help Russia and if so, why, a step first reported by the New York Times.
    It is not clear whether Trump has taken notes from interpreters on other occasions, but several officials said they were never able to get a reliable readout of the president’s two-hour meeting in Helsinki. Unlike in Hamburg, Trump allowed no Cabinet officials or any aides to be in the room for that conversation.


    Trump also had other private conversations with Putin at meetings of global leaders outside the presence of aides. He spoke at length with Putin at a banquet at the same 2017 global conference in Hamburg, where only Putin’s interpreter was present. Trump also had a brief conversation with Putin at a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires last month.


    Trump generally has allowed aides to listen to his phone conversations with Putin, although Russia has often been first to disclose those calls when they occur and release statements characterizing them in broad terms favorable to the Kremlin.


    In an email, Tillerson said that he “was present for the entirety of the two presidents’ official bilateral meeting in Hamburg,” but declined to discuss the meeting and did not respond to questions about whether Trump had instructed the interpreter to remain silent or had taken the interpreter’s notes.


    In a news conference afterward, Tillerson said that the Trump-Putin meeting lasted more than two hours, covered the war in Syria and other subjects, and that Trump had “pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement” in election interference. “President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past,” Tillerson said.


    Tillerson refused to say during the news conference whether Trump had rejected Putin’s claim or indicated that he believed the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered.



    Tillerson’s account is at odds with the only detail that other administration officials were able to get from the interpreter, officials said. Though the interpreter refused to discuss the meeting, officials said, he conceded that Putin had denied any Russian involvement in the U.S. election and that Trump responded by saying, “I believe you.”


    Senior Trump administration officials said that White House officials including then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster were never able to obtain a comprehensive account of the meeting, even from Tillerson.


    “We were frustrated because we didn’t get a readout,” a former senior administration official said. “The State Department and [National Security Council] were never comfortable” with Trump’s interactions with Putin, the official said. “God only knows what they were going to talk about or agree to.”


    Because of the absence of any reliable record of Trump’s conversations with Putin, officials at times have had to rely on reports by U.S. intelligence agencies tracking the reaction in the Kremlin.


    Previous presidents and senior advisers have often studied such reports to assess whether they had accomplished their objectives in meetings as well as to gain insights for future conversations.


    U.S. intelligence agencies have been reluctant to call attention to such reports during Trump’s presidency because they have at times included comments by foreign officials disparaging the president or his advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a former senior administration official said.


    “There was more of a reticence in the intelligence community going after those kinds of communications and reporting them,” said a former administration official who worked in the White House. “The feedback tended not to be positive.”


    The interpreter at Hamburg revealed the restrictions that Trump had imposed when he was approached by administration officials at the hotel where the U.S. delegation was staying, officials said.


    Among the officials who asked for details from the meeting were Fiona Hill, the senior Russia adviser at the NSC, and John Heffern, who was then serving at State as the acting assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs.


    The State Department did not respond to a request for comment from the interpreter. Heffern, who retired from State in 2017, declined to comment.
    Through a spokesman, Hill declined a request for an interview.


    There are conflicting accounts of the purpose of the conversation with the interpreter, with some officials saying that Hill was among those briefed by Tillerson and that she was merely seeking more nuanced information from the interpreter.


    Others said the aim was to get a more meaningful readout than the scant information furnished by Tillerson. “I recall Fiona reporting that to me,” one former official said. A second former official present in Hamburg said that Tillerson “didn’t offer a briefing or call the ambassador or anybody together. He didn’t brief senior staff,” although he “gave a readout to the press.”


    A similar issue arose in Helsinki, the setting for the first formal U.S.-Russia summit since Trump became president. Hill, national security adviser John Bolton and other U.S. officials took part in a preliminary meeting that included Trump, Putin and other senior Russian officials.
    But Trump and Putin then met for two hours in private, accompanied only by their interpreters. Trump’s interpreter, Marina Gross, could be seen emerging from the meeting with pages of notes.


    Alarmed by the secrecy of Trump’s meeting with Putin, several lawmakers subsequently sought to compel Gross to testify before Congress about what she witnessed. Others argued that forcing her to do so would violate the impartial role that interpreters play in diplomacy. Gross was not forced to testify. She was identified when members of Congress sought to speak with her. The interpreter in Hamburg has not been identified.
    During a joint news conference with Putin afterward, Trump acknowledged discussing Syria policy and other subjects but also lashed out at the media and federal investigators, and seemed to reject the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies by saying that he was persuaded by Putin’s “powerful” denial of election interference.


    Previous presidents have required senior aides to attend meetings with adversaries including the Russian president largely to ensure that there are not misunderstandings and that others in the administration are able to follow up on any agreements or plans. Detailed notes that Talbot took of Clinton’s meetings with Yeltsin are among hundreds of documents declassified and released last year.



    John Hudson, Josh Dawsey and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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  3. #3618
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    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

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  4. #3619
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    Trump tells @JudgeJeanine that he hasn’t left the White House in months

    Trump was warned by McConnell, McCarthy, Ryan and others that he couldn’t win a shutdown. He wanted to fight anyways — even without delineating a clear strategy on winning. 22 days later... https://t.co/fJLIInptBt

    "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?"

    Trump doesn't directly answer: "I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written." Via Fox https://t.co/b91KHzmiFK
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  5. #3620
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    Natasha Bertrand on Twitter....

    Former chief of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at DOJ ���� https://t.co/Xf0Cs9ApVn

    David oversaw parts of the Russia investigation until he left DOJ last year.


    David Laufman....


    "Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country" https://t.co/CHkIZnocW6
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  6. #3621
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    Source: New York Times


    Donald Trump Just Cannot Help It

    The Reichstag fire was at least a fire. Here, there is smoke and mirrors.

    By Roger Cohen
    Opinion Columnist




    • Jan. 11, 2019






    President Trump, according to this columnist, just can't help himself.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

    Watching the Trump show from the distance afforded by my brief leave of absence has been like watching a frenzy of ants. It’s hypnotic, in part because it appears devoid of meaning. Keep your eye on the bouncing ball, goes the adage. But what if the ball is a blur?


    When Trump was in business, his shtick was stiffing contractors. If confronted, he would try some bombast and storm out of meetings, as he did the other day with congressional leaders, ending talks on the partial government shutdown caused by a crisis he has manufactured. His shtick now is stiffing all Americans. The technique is the same: Keep reality at a distance through hyperactive fakery.


    I have been fascinated by Trump’s compulsion. Like birds feasting on mangled flesh in the middle of the road, he cannot help it. Like travelers beset with reflex gluttony in airline lounges, he cannot help it. Like the sulking child denied a video, he cannot help it.


    Like the dog that returns to its vomit, he cannot help it. Like a puppet on a string, he cannot help it. Like the scorpion that stings the frog ferrying it across the torrent, he cannot help it. It’s his nature, you see.



    A manufactured crisis, I said. It’s worth recalling the 5,200 troops ordered to the southern border before the midterm elections to confront the “caravan of migrants.” This was an exercise in manipulative illusion.


    Monthly crossings over the southern border have declined in recent years. The number of migrants apprehended has also fallen over the past decade, with a recent tick upward. There is no humanitarian crisis, just as not a single mile of additional wall has been built since Trump took office. But absent this noise, what does reality offer the president? Robert Mueller, Nancy Pelosi and Michael Cohen, the specters of his insomnia.

    One of the books I read while away included Harry G. Frankfurt’s seminal essay, “On Bullshit.” Here I must excuse myself with readers who may find the bull word offensive. Please look away from the rest of this column. There really is no alternative to it, for Donald Trump is the Michelangelo of bullshit artists.


    The essential distinction that Frankfurt, a professor of philosophy emeritus at Princeton University, makes is between lies and bull. As he writes, “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”


    It is a habit “unconstrained by a concern with truth” whose essence is “not of falsity but of fakery.” The addict of bull “does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.” He is “trying to get away with something.” His “focus is panoramic rather than particular,” and he shuns “the more austere and rigorous demands of lying.”

    Frankfurt’s conclusion may be read as an ominous verdict on this president. The bull merchant “does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”


    It has been said that Trump’s extraordinary election victory owed much to his intuitions about the anger in the heartland. There is some truth in this. But his essential intuition was into the readiness of Americans, suspended between the real and the virtual, for a post-truth presidency.


    Quinta Jurecic, in an important essay for the Lawfare Blog, set out the dangers inherent in this shift before Trump took office. In the essay, “On Bullshit and the Oath of Office: The ‘LOL Nothing Matters’ Presidency,” she cited Frankfurt and argued that Trump’s “foundational disrespect for meaning and consequence” — that is to say, for reality and the very concept of law — would make it “impossible for Donald Trump to faithfully execute the laws of this nation and the duties of the oath of office and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.”


    The president’s apparent readiness to “do national emergency,” as he put it, over a manufactured border crisis amounts to a perfect illustration of this danger. The Reichstag fire was at least a fire. Here there is only smoke and mirrors.


    I would add one element to the reflections of Frankfurt and Jurecic on bull. There may be something amusing, or at least innocuous, about the bullshit artists encountered in a lifetime. They may be waved away. But in Trump the element of sadistic cruelty in his personality (mocking the disabled, for example), and the sheer gall of his fakery, make of him a malignant, rather than a benign, bullshit artist. He happens to occupy the world’s most powerful office.


    Trump cannot help himself, I said. He can’t and won’t. But as citizens, “we have a duty to insist that words have meaning,” as Jurecic writes. If they don’t, neither does the Republic. That’s what the ants told me as I gazed at them, troubled and fixated.










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  7. #3622
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    Two rabid nuts communicating

    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

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  8. #3623
    Elite Member ShimmeringGlow's Avatar
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    Someone posted on Twitter that the CI had to inform the Gang of 8 (the leadership of both houses) that Trump was under a counter intelligence investigation. So, Devin Nunes knew the info that the FBI had on Trump when he started sabotaging the House investigation. He probably gave Trump the info and that's why Trump went after FBI personnel in charge. I bet the reason why Feinstein and Grassely looked so shook in one of their earlier press conferences is because they were told what Trump was up to. Elijah Cummings said almost from day one that Trump was an illegal president. They all knew and have known all along that he was unfit and involved in a criminal enterprise.
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  9. #3624
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    I saw something on FB from Rob Reiner -- he said something about how Trump said he could call an emergency but he's going to wait a few days. Urgency is the key point of an emergency, so if he can wait it's not really and emergency is it? I think he then called him a fucking imbecile or something like that Love Rob Reiner.

    He's totally correct. If this is really, really, really a crisis, then why keep the government closed and wait. Emergencies need immediate action.

    Again, he's just showing the whole world what a moron he is.

    I also saw a good thing about using thoughts and prayers for the border crisis, because it's good enough for mass shootings.
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  10. #3625
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    US intel agencies have been reluctant to call attention to reports of reaction of foreign officials after meeting Trump and Kushner because the reports include disparaging remarks about the president and his subordinates. https://t.co/FTH7Ujsi9F


    A post from last November. Seems a little relevant now....

    Richard Painter & I co-wrote an op-ed examining bizarre behaviors of KEY Republicans in Congress from a rational, evidence-based POV.

    Russians hacked 10 yrs' worth of RNC emails.

    Is their conduct voluntary? We challenge that narrative. @RWPUSA #VOTE

    https://t.co/bnfysmiFOJ
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  11. #3626
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  12. #3627
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    I just saw a commercial showing Anthony Scaramucci on the next season of Big Brother.
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    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

    http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic4098_9.gif Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

  13. #3628
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    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

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  14. #3629
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    Kurt Eichenwald writes for The NY Times. He posted a must read thread on Trump's history of lying to reporters and how the NY media wouldn't print anything he told them because they knew he was lying. Kurt posted that he knew that Trump was mentally unfit as far back as 1987.

    https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald/s...571558914?s=19
    Last edited by ShimmeringGlow; January 13th, 2019 at 05:18 PM.
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  15. #3630
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    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

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