If you’re like a lot of us, this week has seemed like an never-ending flood of scandals, both old and new, denials, rebuttals, and obfuscations. So much so, that it’s hard to keep track of everything going on.
People far more connected than I are actively following these stories, but we’ll take a look at the top issues of the week, in no particular order.
The unsealing of JFK documents
For over 50 years, much of the investigation of the assassination of President John F Kennedy has been surrounded in secrecy and suppressed from the public view with the sealing of investigation and background documents.
An estimated 3,600 documents had still been under seal at the National Archives. Legislation passed in 1992 set a deadline for the release of these documents, which was set as 25 years after the legislation past, October 26, 2017. President Trump announced he would release the document, pending any necessary review.
More than 2,000 of those documents were released last night, with others held back at the request of the FBI and CIA. What excerpts have surfaced are certainly some of the more salacious contents.
While much supposition is flying about the “Deep State” then, and how it ties back to today, the most interesting part of the read so far is the view from the mid to late 60s of Russia and spycraft, keeping in mind this was the era of the rise of Castro’s Cuba and the related Cuban Missile Crisis. There’s enough material to keep conspiracy theorists frantic for several years.
My take? Historically interesting. Everyone is dirty in the spy game. The big questions will remain unanswered.
Robert Mueller and the Russia Probe
Related to the next item, Mueller had been tasked with investigating alleged collusion between the Russian Federation an President Trump’s campaign during the 2016 elections. Nothing substantive at all has come from these inquiries. With the surfacing of new information about the Uranium One deal (next) that included questionable actions on the part of the FBI which Mueller headed up between 2001 and 2013, there are calls for him to step down from this investigation, and rightfully so.
If Mueller were to stay involved in this case, he would effectively be investigating the decisions he himself made as FBI Director, or actions that he authorized and condoned. That this presents a conflict of interest is patently obvious, even the
My take? Mueller must step down. The focus of this inquiry needs to shift to the actions surrounding the run-up to and completion of the Uranium One deal, as well as the rising evidence of collusion not from the Trump camp, but from Clinton’s.
The fact that Hillary Clinton approved and arranged the sale of 20% of our uranium to a Russian-backed firm is really undisputed at this point. The radioactivity level of this deal gets even worse with the typical Clinton pay-to-play actions of accepting a HALF MILLION dollar payment to Bill Clinton for a speech in Moscow, and up to $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation filtered through third parties.
An FBI informant has long been gagged from testifying to Congress on this issue (who is wagging the dog here?), and that gag order has just been lifted, with the expectation of incredibly damning evidence about HRC’s involvement, the FBI’s failure to report Russian activities related to it, and the money trail. Always the money trail.
This Fox News piece with Sebastian Gorka details things nicely.
My take? Between this and the dossier, Clinton is toast, and several people should end up in prison.
The dossier, a briefing paper of sorts about an individual, is a document waved around during and since the presidential election in 2016 as “proof” of President Trump’s collusion with the Russians to influence the outcome of said election.
First, let’s be very clear. Governments and high-profile individuals — and even regular people thanks to the Internet — have long taken interest in the outcome of elections and legislation of other countries. This isn’t new, nor is it nefarious.
The United States has had varying levels of success in supporting one regime or another in dozens of countries around the globe over the history of our nation. That Russia might want to have the election turn out one way or the other is no surprise, nor honestly, would be the production of “news” stories, Facebook posts, and other online information designed to sway opinion. We certainly yap our heads off about Brexit, matters before the EU, and the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of regime changes in less developed countries.
There’s also a concept in elections known as “opposition research.” One side tries to dig up dirt on the other side, see the never ending string of “attack ads” that happen every election cycle.
This dossier was used in the election and since the election to pummel the public with the suggestion that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in order to turn the election in his favor. I’ve long found this preposterous on a number of fronts, primarily the Uranium One deal – we gave them 20% of our uranium, why would Putin then want to ally with Trump who is campaigning on America first?
This week’s information is that while the funding for this dossier allegedly started with a Republican donor who was backing someone other than Trump, when that was set aside, Hillary’s campaign AND the DNC picked up the tab for over $6 million in expenditures, and then buried the spend as legal expenses instead of declaring such research efforts as required by elections law.
On the surface this may sound like a semantic argument to some, and maybe a little creative accounting, but…this was used as the basis for the entire Mueller investigation. Illegally obtained documents, created through espionage, were tendered as the basis for a federal investigation. This is way more than about who wrote the check.
My take? There’s much more going on under the surface here, we haven’t even begun to hear about it yet. This will be big. Yuge.