Top US General Disagrees With Trump on Syria
“General Joseph Votel told CNN that IS militants were still active in Syria and US-backed forces were not yet capable of handling the threat alone.”
Votel also testified to the Senate that Trump did not consult him – or anyone else at DOD – before announcing the plans to withdraw.
Gen Votel pretty much echoes my sentiments on the blog and on Twitter, so if you’ve followed me for awhile this is nothing new, but it is important.
“[IS] still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network,” Gen Votel told CNN earlier on Friday.
“When I say, ‘we have defeated them,’ I want to ensure that means they do not have the capability to plot or direct attacks against the US or our allies.” via BBC
National Debt tops 22 Trillion
Woo! Fiscal Conservatism, amirite?
Per DOJ, Whitaker is staying – at least for awhile – even though Barr was confirmed. He is now serving as the senior counselor in the office of Associate AG. Only problem? There is no Associate AG, or acting Associate AG. One might ask who he’s counseling, but given his disaster of a testimony, it’s probably good that the answer appears to be ‘no one.’
Trump’s Craziest Presser Since the Last Presser
If you didn’t watch that, consider yourself lucky. I knew we were in for a disaster when there was no teleprompter, but WOW. This was a freewheeling, completely off-the-rails, “hey guys this is literally why they made the 25th amendment” truckload of word salad.
He did manage to impressively counter his own argument for a national emergency during the Q&A session, though.
“I don’t need to do this, but I want it (the wall) done faster”
That sound you just heard was every DOJ lawyer who has to defend this already dubious order ramming their face through their monitors.
He also seemed to support giving drug dealers the death penalty by doing a horribly offensive imitation of President Xi.
“You have 1.4 billion people. What do you mean you have no drug problem. Why?” He then did an impression of Xi saying: “Death penalty. We give death penalty to people who sell drugs. End of problem.” via NBCNEWS
And not even the way he wanted, drat.
“First, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that attorneys for Stone, Mueller and any witnesses in the case “must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”
As for Stone, the judge said he could keep talking about the case with the caveat that she could change her mind and amend her order “if necessary.” via Politico
Essentially, the gag order only prevents Stone from talking in or around the DC Courthouse, which is good, because I cant wait to see what he has to say about..
Russia, if you’re listening…
Apparently they were, because they were communicating with Stone, who was being ordered to reach out to Wikileaks (read: Russian intelligence) by a high-ranking campaign official.
You can read the full court filing here, but man oh man. It’s a doozy.
“As alleged in the Netyksho indictment, in 2016, the Netyksho defendants stole documentsfrom the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Clinton campaignchairman. Those defendants then released many of the stolen documents, including through a website maintained by Organization 1. In the course of investigating that activity, the governmentobtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transferof stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release. Several of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1.”
Reminder: Organization 1 = Wikileaks. Gufficer 2.0 = Russian Intelligence.
The biggest revelations here are that information in Stone’s case was discovered while looking at the Russians who were charged with interfering in our elections. This is huge. Information from Russian targets led directly to Stone. Also, they prove coordination with the timing of Wikileaks dumps, which again, Stone was directed to work on by a senior campaign official.
Reminder #2: The same day Trump said ‘Russia, if you’re listening’ and suggested they hack Clinton’s emails… Russia tried to hack Clinton’s emails. The first Wikileaks dump came hours after the Access Hollywood tape.
What does this all mean? They tried to sway an election, and it likely worked. Conspiracy to defraud the United States. Collusion. Whatever you want to call it, they’re cooked.
Senate Panel Launches Bipartisan Probe into Think Tank Linked to Butina, Torshin
“The Senate Finance Committee is launching a bipartisan investigation into how a conservative think tank aided Maria Butina, the admitted Russian agent who sought political influence through her ties with the National Rifle Association.
Butina pleaded guilty to acting as a foreign agent in the United States in December, and her alleged Russian government handler, Alexander Torshin, was sanctioned by the U.S. in April 2018.” via NPR
I like today. Much boom.
Sarah Sandwich Interviewed by Mueller’s Team
Those poor agents. I hope she knows lying is a crime, but one wonders if she’s capable of not. Oh well. Womp Womp.
Belgium Spy Chief Suspected of Spying for Russia
“A senior Belgian counterintelligence officer is under house arrest after allegations that he spied for Russia in a case that could highlight the security threat to Nato and European Union headquarters in Brussels.
The major, head of a division in Belgium’s external security department of the General Intelligence and Security Service (Giss), the equivalent of MI6, is suspected of passing secrets to Russia via a Serbian agent.” via thetimes
Not just happening in America, folks. Putin has global aspirations; anywhere they can find a traitor willing to betray their country, they jump at it. Shame they seem to have found a bunch here.
5 Killed in Illinois Shooting
“Five people were killed and six police officers injured in a shooting at a manufacturing company in Aurora, Illinois, on Friday afternoon.
The suspected gunman, killed by police, was identified by authorities as Gary Martin. Authorities believe Martin may have been employed at the plant, according to Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.” via NBC
We face yet another example of an actual emergency in our country on the same day Trump declared his fictitious emergency and then went to play golf.
Manafort… thoughts and prayers? Nah.
“Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort deserves 19.5 years to 24.5 years in prison for his conviction for eight financial crimes, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office said Friday night.”
On this episode of “Criminals are Idiots,” we have Paul Manafort, who spectacularly ruined his plea deal with – and recommended leniency from – Robert Mueller by… lying for Trump. I think it’s cute that all these people seem to think they can keep lying to Mueller… apparently Mueller does *not* think so, because he dropped the hammer in this filing:
“Manafort’s age does not eliminate the risk of recidivism he poses — particularly given that his pattern of criminal activity has occurred over more than a decade and that the most recent crimes he pled guilty to occurred from February to April 2018, when he conspired to tamper with witnesses at a time when he was under indictment in two separate districts,” prosecutors wrote. via CNN