HOME



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



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
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 August 2018 September 2018


 

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

Hullabaloo


Monday, February 05, 2018

 
Republicans are complaining about partisan oppo now? 
by digby



I wrote about the GOP's laughable handwringing over opposition research being used in an investigation for Salon this morning:

It's been 72 hours or so since the Devin Nunes Memo was released, and it's clear that despite wall-to-wall coverage, the entire spectacle changed nothing. For Fox News pundits and their associates in the GOP, it proves there was a conspiracy among FBI and Department of Justice leadership to destroy Donald Trump. For everyone else, it shows that the rationale for the Russia investigation was a legitimate line of inquiry.

Sean Hannity said that this memo makes clear that charges must be dropped against Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn -- for some reason, even though the latter has already pleaded guilty to a crime. Donald Trump Jr. ranted inanely that Democrats were both McCarthyites and "commies," which is a neat trick. He also said something truly reckless:
There is a little bit of sweet revenge in it for me and certainly probably the family in a sense that if they wouldn't have done this, this stuff would be going on. This would be going on at the highest levels of government. They'd be continuing doing it to my father, trying to undermine his actions.
And here we all thought the president's decision to declassify the memo was all in the interest of transparency and national security.

On the other side of that argument is everyone else, even including some heavy-hitting Republicans like the scourge of Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who went to great lengths to explain that the memo had nothing whatsoever to do with special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation. This obviously came as news to the president, who tweeted this:

Gowdy's deviation from the Trumpian line on this, echoing Paul Ryan's from last week, is a perfect case of trying to have it both ways. Ryan was the ultimate enabler of this farce, signing off on the Nunes crusade, and Gowdy is the guy who read the underlying FISA warrant application documents on which the memo was based. So nobody should get too excited about their supposed "independence" on this. They were primary facilitators.

It's true that a few others have joined that chorus, signaling that at least a handful of Republicans don't want to be associated with the notion that this memo "vindicates" the president. (Notably, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not among them.)

Chairman Nunes is undeterred. Axios reported on Sunday:
The House Intelligence chair and his team have told members and associates they've found other examples of politically motivated "wrongdoing" across various agencies, including the FBI, the broader Justice Department, and the State Department . . . Republicans close to Nunes say there could be as many as five additional memos or reports of "wrongdoing."
One wonders if Nunes has any knowledge of that time in 1950 when a senator named Joseph McCarthy pulled out a "list" he claimed had the names of 200 people in the State Department whom he accused of politically motivated wrongdoing. It didn't end well.

Apparently, the Nunes team think they have more "evidence" of political interference having something to do with longtime Clinton associate and right-wing punching bag Sidney Blumenthal, as well as a man named Cody Shearer, who traveled in Clinton circles 20 years ago.

I have no idea what Blumenthal (who was once the Washington editor of Salon) is accused of doing this time. The Guardian recently reported that Shearer, a former journalist, had evidence pertaining to the Russia investigation which the FBI had been looking at since October 2016. Shearer's "dossier" was turned over to the FBI by the former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, who didn't vouch for his information but noted that it dovetailed with what some of his own sources had told him. Whether the FBI has verified any of Shearer's information remains unknown.

It's easy at this point to imagine the high-pitched howls of outrage spilling forth from the mouth of Sean Hannity over this news. The case right-wingers seem to be building here is that the FBI and the Department of Justice (and apparently other departments as well) are thoroughly corrupted by associations with Democrats and must be purged of the taint. Indeed, the central thrust of the Nunes Memo is that the FBI used information from a source (i.e., Steele) who had been paid by Democrats, which renders the information useless.

Over the course of the last few days, legal experts patiently explained that the motivation of informants and sources is not relevant to the question of whether the information they provide is true. Cases are made every single day on the basis of testimony and evidence provided by people whose motives are anything but pure: gangsters, jailhouse snitches, angry spouses, whatever. It's not as if the authorities just take their word for it. Information has to be corroborated, and apparently the FISA warrant application process is particularly demanding in that regard.

Nonetheless, Trump and his loyalists are arguing that any Democratic member of the government bureaucracy is automatically suspect, and any information that comes from a Democratic partisan must be immediately discounted as unreliable. This is very interesting, considering Republicans' partisan history of feeding information to law enforcement and special counsels.

Most recently, we had the FBI open a case to investigate the Clinton Foundation partially on the basis of charges in the book "Clinton Cash," a partisan hit job by right-wing journalist Peter Schweizer, who is co-founder and president of Steve Bannon's Government Accountability Institute, a conservative nonprofit funded by right-wing mega-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer. After President Trump repeatedly expressed his anger and frustration that the FBI was not "going after Hillary Clinton," it was announced just this month that the Little Rock office has re-opened the case. The recently exhumed Uranium One "scandal" sprang from the same partisan poison pen.

This Republican practice goes way back. The Whitewater scandal was a product of a coordinated partisan campaign called "the Arkansas Project," financed by a right-wing millionaire named Richard Scaife. The Department of Justice, the FBI and the independent prosecutors of that era chased their tails for years running down all the "tips" they got from anti-Clinton sources, from the so-called "elves" who set up the Paula Jones case to the malevolent Lucianne Goldberg, who encouraged Linda Tripp to trap Monica Lewinsky into talking about her affair with Bill Clinton on tape.

The idea that right-wingers are "projecting" their own disorders onto others is probably overdone, but in this case it holds up. Republicans who claim that because the Steele dossier was (partially) paid for by Democrats it is therefore a completely unreliable partisan attack against the president are simply reflecting their own patterns and practices -- which continue as we speak. It's absurd for anyone to take their criticisms seriously. Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be a deterrence to Devin Nunes and his lieutenants. They've got memos lined up from here to Election Day. Their boss will be so pleased.

.