Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, February 08, 2018


Nunes wants to call Chief Justice John Roberts to testify. I'm not kidding

by digby

I wrote about the latest wingnut shenanigans for Salon today:

On Wednesday morning, the president had some very exciting "executive time." Fox News broke a huge story that supposedly implicated Barack Obama in the Clinton email scandal. Sure, most of America sees the Clinton email scandal as having as much relevance to current politics as Teapot Dome. But to Donald Trump and the right-wing media, it's an addiction they just can't kick.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security, led by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., released a report on Wednesday featuring more of those juicy texts between FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The report pointed to one text in particular from Sept. 2, 2016, in which Page (an FBI lawyer) tells Strzok (an agent) that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.” Johnson implied this was evidence that President Obama had personally interfered in the Clinton email probe, thus supporting Trump's assertion during the campaign that the whole thing had been "rigged."

Fox went crazy, putting the "breaking news" on a loop and calling it a bombshell over and over again. On "Fox & Friends," House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, decoded the text for viewers, saying it meant that Obama “wants to know what they’re doing to stop Trump.”

Trump himself excitedly helped get the word out to his tens of millions of Twitter followers:

Soon, all of right-wing media was screaming with the news that President Obama had his fingers in the Clinton email investigation. The Drudge Report, The Washington Times, Breitbart and Infowars all pounded away at the alleged bombshell.

Rush Limbaugh spelled it out clearly for those who weren't getting it:

We now have more evidence via the text messages from Strzok and Lisa Page that this is all about Obama. That everything here is about protecting Obama, not just Hillary, in order to protect Obama. And I’m talking about the corruption that was the Obama presidency and specifically the corruption of the intelligence agencies and the FBI, well, the entire DOJ.

And I think one of the primary reasons they all wanted Hillary to win was to make sure we never knew any of what we now do know. That was the primary goal of having Hillary Clinton win, was to be able to continue to mask and cover up and hide what Obama and his administration had been doing.

This was huge. Not only was Hillary Clinton the one who was actually selling out the nation to the Russians, as House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had claimed just two days earlier, Obama was in on the cover-up. Of course.

The conspiracy has widened to include the FBI, the Department of Justice, the State Department, the Clinton campaign and now Obama himself.

The only problem is that it isn't true. Judd Legum at ThinkProgress noted that the text was sent months after the Clinton investigation was closed and long before it was reopened in late October. CNN and The Wall Street Journal later reported that sources confirmed the text in question was related to the investigation into Russian interference. In fact, that text came only a few days before Obama's scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin, when he famously told Putin to "cut it out."

So why did every Republican immediately assume that one-line text obviously pertained to the email probe? According to CNN, despite the breathless announcement in Sen. Johnson's report, he was basically just guessing:

In a footnote in his report, Johnson even seemed to concede that the idea the text message referred to the Clinton email investigation was only speculation. The report said the Justice Department said it redacted "text messages that were personal in nature or relating to other investigations." Because this message was not redacted, Johnson's report said, it could be presumed that the Justice Department "believes it may relate to the FBI's investigation of classified information on Secretary Clinton's private server."

Somebody needs to take Johnson off the conspiracy beat. He's the same senator who was all over TV a couple of weeks ago declaring that the texts revealed a "secret society" within the FBI that was meeting off-site to cook up its plot against Donald Trump. That one turned out to be a private joke between Strzok and Page.

Fox News continued to push this story, of course, even after it had been debunked by The Wall Street Journal, which is also published by Rupert Murdoch, their mutual owners. Sean Hannity led with it on Wednesday night:

They're not even pretending to be a news organization anymore. The consensus as of Wednesday evening was that Johnson had officially become the looniest Trump loyalist in either house of Congress. Then Devin Nunes said, "Hold my beer."

In an interview with right-wing activist Hugh Hewitt, Nunes said that he has weighed bringing Chief Justice John Roberts up to Capitol Hill to testify about his involvement in assigning judges to the FISA court and his understanding of the proper procedures. Nunes said:

This is something that we have, like I said, we have thought a lot about this. And the answer is, we don’t know the correct way to proceed because of the separation of powers issue. If, somehow, this case ends up at the Supreme Court, somehow, some way, by sending a letter to Roberts, do you conflict the Court?

You cannot make this stuff up. Indeed there is a constitutional "separation of powers issue" here, since the court is a co-equal branch of government that does not answer to Nunes and his cabal of House Republicans operating on behalf of their leader in the White House. Nunes admitted that he isn't sure how his little scenario might work out:
I’m aware of members of Congress going to the Supreme Court and having coffee with the judges, just to shoot the bull. I’m aware of, you know, dinners where congressmen have been with Supreme Court justices. But I’m not aware of any time where a judge has, for lack of a better term, testified before the Congress.
Apparently a basic understanding of the Constitution, or even a grasp of simple logic, is no longer a requirement for powerful members of Congress. Sen. Johnson is throwing around conspiracy theories based on his willful misreading of innocuous text messages roughly once a week. Nunes thinks that because he chairs the House Intelligence Committee he has unlimited power to pursue anyone and everyone he chooses. Apparently, Justice Roberts may be next on that list. I think about how weird and unlikely all that is, and then I reflect that Donald Trump is president of the United States. This is the new normal.