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Senate Intel report slams Trump, Nunes

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Last April’s House Intelligence Committee’s report on Trump-RussiaGate was an unmitigated disaster for American democracy, a clumsily transparent attempt to assist Trump in covering up his crimes and misdemeanors. Devin Nunes, the Committee’s Republican chair, colluded with Trump and most likely obstructed justice, a federal offense. As for his fellow Republicans on the committee, they should be retired by the voters and repudiated by history—and they will be.

The entire report was a whitewash. Perhaps its biggest lie was this: “We reviewed every piece of relevant evidence provided to us and interviewed every witness we assessed would substantively contribute to the agreed-upon bipartisan scope of the investigation.” Bull. Nunes and his Republicans did not interview every relevant witness. They did not interview Michael Flynn nor did interview the 13 Russians whom Mueller indicted nor did they interview Trump himself, who everyone might agree is able to “substantially contribute” to the case. Nor is it remotely true that the committee “reviewed every piece of relevant evidence.” At the time, they didn’t even have the seized material from Michael Cohen. If they really had reviewed “every piece” of evidence—and done it fairly—they would have reached the same conclusion the Senate Intelligence Committee did yesterday. More on that in a moment.

As for the witnesses they did interview, CBS News reported that the ranking Democrat on the Committee, Adam Schiff, “said the committee had obtained only incomplete — and, in some cases, potentially incorrect — testimony from a spate of other witnesses, including Donald Trump, Jr., Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, outgoing White House communications director Hope Hicks and Trump associate and Blackwater founder Erik Prince.”

This makes a complete joke of Nunes’s statement: “We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

 Well, we all knew that the House Committee’s Republican spin was garbage, and now their Senate counterparts have weighed in with proof. Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released their own report directly contradicting the House’s report. It unequivocally upheld the conclusion of the intelligence community that Russia developed a ‘clear preference’ for then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 election and sought to help him win the White House.” Although the report reached no conclusions about possible collusion between Trump, his family and the Russians, “The Senate panel’s overall investigation into Russian election meddling is also still ongoing,” reports The Hill, and “is still in the process of preparing the classified report detailing its conclusions about the ICA,” the “intelligence community assessment” that includes the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency, or NSA. The infamous dossier—the Steele Report, which includes reporting of Trump’s bizarre encounter with prostitutes—is a key part of that assessment.

This is why Trump is stepping up his attacks on his own security agencies. We all know how viciously he’s slimed the FBI. Now, his own National Security Agency is the target of his smears. Yesterday he tweeted that the NSA is a “disgrace and accused it of being part of “the Witch Hunt.” The NSA, it should be recalled, is part of his own Department of Defense, reporting directly to the President of the United States. So we now have the president claiming that his FBI, his NSA, and his Defense Department and who knows who else are all part of a coordinated conspiracy to overthrow him.

This sounds like a classic case of paranoia, but I don’t believe it is. Donald Trump suffers from several personality sicknesses, including narcissism, megalomania and sociopathy, but he is not paranoid. He doesn’t really think his own security apparatus is after him, but he does know that the Republican attack machine has convinced a majority of Republican voters that “the Deep State” is the enemy. It’s after Trump (and therefore after them), and it must be taken out. Of course, that same government is going to be the vehicle (via the Mueller investigation) that levels serious charges against Trump when the Report comes out. So it makes sense that Trump would  undermine his own government’s credibility, in order to protect him from prosecution by it.

We are in very, very serious waters, my friends. The President of the United States has committed major crimes. Chief among these is colluding with foreign powers to weaken America. We will never be able to depend on Republicans in the House, like Nunes, to rise to the defense of their country, because they are have sold their souls for money and power and thus abandoned democracy–exactly the same way as ordinary Germans did for Hitler in the early 1930s. We may be able to depend on Senate Republicans to take a sensible, patriotic approach (to judge from the Senate Intelligence Committee report). But those damned Trump voters are proving to be scoundrels and traitors of the worst sort. They can’t be reasoned with. They can’t be negotiated with. Their minds (such as they are) are made up, ruined by the adroit propaganda of rightwing media. What does a country do when a third of its adult population is insane?

Sadly, I don’t have an answer. Happy Fourth of July!

 

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