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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday's Ride - Formula 1 Pit Stops 1950 & Today



Thanks Ivan

No one can rely on Trump

Angela Merkel says Germany can no longer rely on Donald Trump's America: 'We Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands'

Angela Merkel has suggested Germany and Europe can no longer rely on the US under Donald Trump.
Speaking at a campaign event held in a Bavarian beer tent, the German Chancellor emphasised the need for friendly relations with the US, Britain and Russia, but added: “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.” 
Ms Merkel said that as the traditional western alliance is threatened by the new US presidency and Brexit, “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”
While Germany and Europe would strive to maintain relations with the US and Britain, Ms Merkel said, “we need to know we must fight for our own future as Europeans for our destiny.”
Her comments came after Mr Trump said he needed more time to decide if the US would continue backing the Paris climate deal, which has frustrated European diplomats.

30 Facts About CANADA

HGTV's Bryan Baeumler Explains: The softwood lumber dispute

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday;s Ride - 1957 Flxible Starliner - Restored Vintage Retro Bus Walk Through

Donald Trump moves aside a NATO leader to take centre stage

Crass from the Ass





Meanwhile in Berlin......


Obama gets rock-star welcome in Berlin, praises Merkel

BERLIN — Barack Obama received a rock-star welcome in Berlin as he appeared at a public debate on Thursday with Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he praised as one of his "favorite partners" during his presidency.
Security was tight in front of the German capital's iconic Brandenburg Gate, where Obama and Merkel appeared on a podium before thousands of people attending a gathering marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Police helicopters patrolled the skies and snipers with balaclavas watched the scene from nearby rooftops.
After lauding Merkel as someone who had done "outstanding work," Obama launched a defense of his own presidency and the values of liberal democracy championed by both leaders.

Collusion between the GOP and Russian hackers

Guccifer 2.0. Remember that name. U.S. Intelligence believes it's a hacker inside the Russian spy agencies, or someone connected to the Russian government who breeched the Democrats computers during the last campaign. And now, for the first time, news reports are alleging GOP operatives were working directly with Guccifer 2.0. This is big. Via Salon.

GOP strategist admits he colluded with Russian hackers to hurt Hillary Clinton, Democrats

It’s bigger than Trump


The U.S. intelligence community has long since concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and it was reported shortly after the 2016 presidential election that a GOP superPAC linked to Paul Ryan used illegally hacked material to attack Democratic House candidates. But a bombshell report published on Thursday confirms that Republican political operatives were working with the Russian government to hurt Hillary Clinton and Democrats during the election — the first direct evidence of so-called collusion.
The Wall Street Journal reported that hacked information was posted on a blog run by Aaron Nevins, the political operative, and then passed along to top Trump adviser Roger Stone during the campaign. The Republican operative in Florida received a trove of Democratic documents from the allegedly Kremlin-linked hacker, Guccifer 2.0. For months, both Congress and the FBI have been scrutinizing evidence that associates of Trump may have colluded with Russia during the campaign.
Nevins confirmed to the Journal that he told hacker Guccifer 2.0 to “feel free to send any Florida based information” after learning that the hacker had tapped into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) computers last summer. From the DCCC, Guccifer 2.0 released internal assessments of Democratic congressional candidates, known as “self-opposition research,” to GOP operatives using social media. Nevins told the Journal that, after receiving the stolen documents from the hacker, he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.” The stolen DCCC documents also contained sensitive information on voters in key Florida districts, breaking down how many people were considered dependable Democratic voters, undecided Democrats, Republican voters and the like. Nevins made a war analogy, describing the data he received to Guccifer 2.0 as akin to a “map to where all the troops are deployed.”

A Message for Donald Trump from Former Mexican President Vicente Fox

Little Orange Snowflake

Trump and simplicity

Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday's Ride - Slammed 1956 Volkswagen VW Beetle Hot Rat Street Rod FOR SALE on eBay!

Change is coming

Progressives are flipping Republican statehouse seats to the Democrats — and sending a message to the rest of the country. Two liberal Bernie Sanders-Democrats just won elections where Trump beat Hillary by a landslide.



 ‘This Is a Thunderbolt of Resistance’

Progressives are flipping Republican statehouse seats to the Democrats—and sending a message to the rest of the country.


Christine Pellegrino did not just declare victory after a remarkable special-election win that saw her flip a historically Republican New York State Assembly seat to the Democratic column on Tuesday. The elementary-school teacher turned candidate announced that Long Island was sending a message that will resonate far beyond a legislative district that backed Donald Trump last fall but that has now will be represented by a bold progressive activist.

“This is a thunderbolt of resistance,” announced Pellegrino, a union activist and 2016 Bernie Sanders delegate who had just won what was being described as a “stunning” victory. “This is for all the supporters and voters who understand a strong progressive agenda is the way forward in New York.”
Pellegrino is being modest. In combination with a New Hampshire special-election win on Tuesday (after which the state Democratic Party announced that “Democrat Edie DesMarais…became the first ever Democrat elected in Wolfeboro”), the New York result sends a national message.

This is what the Russians are doing and Conservatives are copying.... yuo;ve been warned

Tainted Leaks: Disinformation and Phishing With a Russian Nexus

May 25, 2017

Categories: Adam HulcoopJohn Scott-RailtonMatt BrooksReports and BriefingsRon Deibert

By: Adam Hulcoop, John Scott-Railton, Peter Tanchak, Matt Brooks, and Ron Deibert

Read Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert’s blog post on the report.

Media coverage: Financial Times.


“Every external operation is first and foremost a domestic one: the single most important role of the agencies is to secure the regime.” — Mark Galeotti on Russian foreign intelligence

Read more: https://citizenlab.org/2017/05/tainted-leaks-disinformation-phish/

This is the result of fake shit

Who were these come-from-away bullies, who travelled to Red Deer to harass schoolchildren?
They included members of the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, Canada. Their Facebook page features a banner showing an armoured, sword-wielding avenging Aryan angel standing on guard for Canada and a caricature showing a Muslim man with a long black beard, demonic pointed ears and the nose of a pig being kicked in the rear with the caption, “Get Out Of Our Country.” The message is not subtle.
Also on hand was the leader of a Calgary-based federal fringe party, the National Advancement Party, which, among other things, wants to ban the production of halal and kosher meat in Canada.
RCMP say there were also at least five uniformed members of the Soldiers of Odin, a Canadian offshoot of a Finnish neo-Nazi vigilante group.
This was, in fact, a travelling hate circus inspired by fake news and viral lies. And when the cameras stopped rolling, the hate clowns jumped in their cars and left town. This week Red Deer. Next week, wherever malice and political opportunism take them.

Paula Simons: Travelling hate circus staged anti-Syrian protest in Red Deer based on lie

Just A Common Soldier



Thanks Kerry

How true


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday's Ride - 1965 Corvair Monza 4 Door with 300 HP 4.3 Liter V6 Hot Rod - Eastwood

Trumps Christian values

Another leak. This time a transcript of the conversation between Donald Trump and Philippine President Duterte. In it, the President praises Duterte for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem". Human rights groups estimate thousands of Filipinos have been murdered since Duterte took office last year. Trump also revealed the previously secret location of two U.S. submarines. Via POLITICO.

Trump praises Duterte for 'unbelievable job' cracking down on drugs in the Philippines


President Donald Trump congratulated his Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, during a phone call last month for doing “an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the Philippines, where the government has sanctioned the extrajudicial killing of suspects.
A transcript of the April 29 conversation published online by The Intercept and reported by multiple media outlets, including The New York Times, comes from the Office of American Affairs in the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs. The transcript is preceded by a coversheet marked “confidential” that lays out security procedures for the document.

Trump, the ultimate hypocrite

Never before has so much steaming hypocrisy occupied the White House: Neil Macdonald

Pundits and politicos better lap it up while they can


Hypocrisy is so deeply embedded in politics that the two words are synonyms. That shamelessness pays is an axiom.
And look, for sure, hypocrisy is the best thing about covering politics.
It's white truffles, it's Belgian chocolate, it's a spigot of fine wine that never, ever runs out.
Some politicians, called on hypocrisy, bluster, claiming they were only adopting a wide stance.
Others, like former president Bill Clinton, retreat to hilarious parsing: I didn't inhale, could you please define "sex," etc.
Still, others never even have to deal with it. Once he moved into the White House, for example, President Barack Obama's often-stated desire to "kneel before that rugged cross" seemed to evaporate. Sunday church outings ended.  
President Donald Trump, though, is the Chronos of hypocrisy. He is Jabba the Hutt, with hypocrisy crouching in a silver bikini, a leash around its neck.

Trump is more capable than even his peers in Third World dictatorships of delivering judgment on something, and then turning around and doing that very thing, fecklessly and without the slightest shame, and then attacking anyone who notices. And like Third World dictators, he surfs on his own personality cult-wave.
It's addictive, actually. On the rare occasion when Trump acts presidential for a few days, reporters and politicos feel like a perk has suddenly and unfairly been cut off.
All right. Some examples:

Trumps travel menu


The Big Bang Theory - 10x24 - Sheldon Proposes To Amy !!!

Страшные аварии тяжелой техники. Безумные водители!



Thanks Randy

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday's Ride - 1965 Ford Cortina GT Mk I For sale

Oily Don bombs again

“We are adopting a principled realism, rooted in common values and shared interests,” Trump told the Saudis and the leaders of another fifty Muslim nations on Sunday. But what on earth are those values? What values do the Americans share with the head-chopping, misogynist, undemocratic, dictatorial Saudis other than arms sales and oil?

Donald Trump's speech to the Muslim world was filled with hypocrisy and condescension 


So after inventing “fake news”, America’s crazed President on Sunday gave the world’s Muslims a fake speech. Donald Trump said he was not in Saudi Arabia to “lecture” – but then told the world’s Islamic preachers what to say, condemned “Islamist terrorism” as if violence was a solely Muslim phenomenon and then announced like an Old Testament prophet that he was in “a battle between good and evil”. There were no words of compassion, none of mercy, absolutely not a word of apology for his racist, anti-Muslim speeches of last year. 
Even more incredibly, he blamed Iran – rather than Isis – for “fuelling sectarian violence”, pitied the Iranian people for their “despair” a day after they had freely elected a liberal reformer as their president, and demanded the further isolation of the largest Shiite country in the Middle East. The regime responsible for “so much instability” is Iran. The Shiite Hezbollah were condemned. So were the Shiite Yemenis. Trump’s Sunni Saudi hosts glowed with warmth at such wisdom.
And this was billed by CNN as a “reset” speech with the Muslim world. For “reset”, read “repair”, but Trump’s Sunday diatribe in Riyadh was in fact neither a “reset” nor a “repair”. It was the lecture he claimed he would not give. 
“Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith,” he announced, utterly ignoring – as he had to – the fact that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is the fountainhead of the very Wahhabi Salafist extremism whose “terrorists” murder “innocent people”. 

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-saudi-arabia-muslim-speech-a7747856.html

The 4th monkey


Israeli company mocks Trump in a commercial during visit

Stormy Weather - Ethel Waters (1933)

Text

video
Thanks Ivan

William Tell Overture..

video

Thanks Graham

Tyrone with His New Taser

Several thoughts came to mind after my viewing of this video:
 
1) Tyrone does NOT have basic knowledge of Electricity.
 
2) This is conclusive evidence of a need for Gene Pool Cleansing.
 
          3) what are the two people in the background doing?

video
Thanks Kerry

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday's Ride - 1970 MONTE CARLO SS454-FOR SALE-North Shore Classic Cars

The swamp deepens

"I have never seen anything like it.”
A quote that could have come from almost anyone in Washington these days, but it happens to be from Walter Shaub, the head of the Office for Government Ethics. Mr. Shaub tells The New York Times he wants to know the names of former lobbyists who are now working in federal agencies or the White House. Team Trump says no. And the swamp deepens...

White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll

The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose the names of former lobbyists who have been granted waivers to work in the White House or federal agencies.
The latest conflict came in recent days when the White House, in a highly unusual move, sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers. In the letter, the administration challenged his legal authority to demand the information.
Dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers are working in the Trump administration, which has hired them at a much higher rate than the previous administration. Keeping the waivers confidential would make it impossible to know whether any such officials are violating federal ethics rules or have been given a pass to ignore them.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/us/politics/trump-white-house-government-ethics-lobbyists.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

Marilyn L. Glynn, who served as general counsel and acting director of the agency during the George W. Bush administration, called the move by the Trump White House “unprecedented and extremely troubling.”

America's embarrassment is the worlds entertainment

Watch our allies laugh and whisper as Trump reveals he still has no idea how NATO works

During his address to NATO, Donald Trump repeated his completely false line that the other member countries need to start paying America for protection. The reactions from the audience said it all.
Donald Trump has always had a problem understanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the military alliance between North American and European states.
And despite backing off his absurd claim the agreement is “obsolete,” he still seems unable to grasp the basics of how it works.
Which is likely why fellow NATO leaders approached his coming address at the summit in Brussels with apprehension.
When Trump took the stand to address the group, he lived up to those low expectations with a speech that proved he still doesn’t understand anything about the alliance:

And the White House DoDo bird lives on to embarrass America another day

Here’s what just happened: Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were about to leave a scheduled press availability — the room was already filled with noisy chatter. Trump and Netanyahu are called back for one last handshake photo. The press gaggle, as it always does, continues to shout out questions, even though it seemed the time for answers has ended. Netanyahu calls out, “Intelligence cooperation is terrific!”
Then Trump offers up his own off-script pronouncement. “Just so you understand,” he says, quieting the press, “just so you understand — I never mentioned the word or the name Israel in conversation. Never mentioned it.” As he’s talking, a clearly horrified Netanyahu’s eyes dart everywhere.
“They are all saying I did,” Trump continues, unaware. “Never mentioned the word Israel.”
But actually no one had said Trump used the word “Israel.” The reports only said that during a visit in the Oval Office, Trump had casually discussed highly classified intelligence with the Russians that, it turns out, had been from Israel — and thus shouldn’t have been disclosed to the Russians without getting Israel’s permission first.
And no one in either administration — Israel’s or the United States’ — had officially confirmed the intelligence was in fact from Israel.
That is, until Trump seems to have done so just now.

SAD



Two articles from Doug Blackmon

"RussiaGate" has become a catastrophic failure of leadership—and a debacle from which the Trump presidency will not recover
---"Trump is a suicide vest strapped around the body of the Republican Party"----
By Douglas A. Blackmon
A little more than a week ago, I said on CNN and wrote here that—based on reporting I’d just completed in Washington D.C.—it was clear that the controversy surrounding Russian contacts with advisors to President Donald J. Trump and his campaign team was about to become much more serious, much more directly focused on the president himself, and have deeply troubling consequences for our democracy.
The revelations of the past seven days have confirmed all that, and will be remembered as the point when an extraordinary but perhaps still manageable political embarrassment for the Trump administration mushroomed into the most serious controversy to engulf a presidency since Watergate.
Based on what we know already, and new revelations that will soon illuminate more key events in this sequence, our country faces a dramatic constitutional exigency. This crisis now is directly about the President himself, and one for which he now bears complete responsibility. Bluntly stated, it has become a catastrophic failure of conduct and leadership—and a debacle from which the Trump presidency will not recover.
What I couldn’t say last week was that, earlier the same day, I spent more than four hours conducting Sally Yates’ first media interview since being fired by President Trump as acting U.S. Attorney General. With me in the interview was The New Yorker magazine’s White House correspondent, Ryan Lizza, whose profile of Yates will appear on Monday, May 22. (I have known Yates for more than 25 years. To read a profile I wrote of her in February, look here: http://slate.me/2l1ROhR)
During our interview, and subsequent conversations in the following days, Yates never disclosed any classified details of the ongoing investigation or specific new bombshells. But by the end of that long series of questions, answers and clarifications, important contours of the scandal—the boundaries of what is known or not known and the enormous scale of the stakes involved—became much more clear to me. Combined with that and other reporting, it became apparent that the Trump-Russia scandal was far more serious than understood when the first revelations of the investigation occurred, and since then have only grown more ominous. These observations are my own, based on my interviews with Yates, national security experts, and other people close to these events, as well as close reading of congressional testimony, publicly available documents, and disclosures by trusted fellow journalists.
To understand why this is so serious, it’s important first to realize what is truly important to the inquiry—and escape some of the distractions of the past six months. Why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November, or exactly how Russian interests attempted to disrupt and influence our electoral process is important, but ultimately not what matters most. Whether former Trump campaign officials and advisors failed to disclose past business dealings with interests in Ukraine, Russia and Turkey is a question that will be answered, but not a defining one. That President Trump and his family have had past business dealings or allegedly engaged in personal hijinks in Russia is hardly important at all.
No, this is an investigation about one thing: the now undeniable fact that a Russian espionage conspiracy accomplished an objective that has never previously occurred in American history—compromising the highest levels of U.S. government, penetrating the White House, establishing influence and leverage over the president’s National Security Advisor, and planting false information with the Vice-President of the United States—who then unwittingly repeated those fictions to the American people.
In our current toxic political atmosphere, filled with charges and countercharges, and ruthless accusations against and among media, it is sometimes easy to lose perspective and fail to see what is significant or insignificant. So let me be clear: What Russia accomplished in this operation represents a breathtaking danger to all Americans, and an immeasurable humiliation to our global prestige. Russian spy agencies successfully reached inside the walls of the White House, the confines of the National Security Council, and the thinking of the second highest ranking elected official of our country. If the highest figures in our government can be duped into self-destruction as easily as this, then none of our secrets are safe, the words of our leaders are unreliable, and the most basic sense of judgment by our president is in doubt.
The penetration of the White House by Russian spy agencies was already known and incontrovertible at the time Sally Yates testified on May 8. Still unknown, though, are the answers to three crucial questions which will ultimately decide the fate of the current presidency:
--QUESTION 1: What did President Donald Trump know, and when did he know it? Most importantly, when did he know that his selection for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, had illegally communicated on Dec. 29, 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and lied about it to other officials in the Trump White House?
--QUESTION 2: Did the Russian spy conspiracy directly reach and compromise President Trump himself? Most importantly, did he encourage Flynn to communicate illegally with Russians, or know about it after the fact, and do nothing?
-- QUESTION 3: Did President Trump take actions to thwart the FBI investigation into the Russian conspiracy—in an effort to conceal that one or more members of his White House staff were compromised, or to hide his own illegal conduct? If so, do his actions amount to the crime of obstruction of justice?
Over the past week, we’ve learned a lot related to Question #3, and the possibility that President Trump committed obstruction of justice—a serious federal offense. Indeed, it was one of the primary indictments leading to the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon, and alone is likely enough to mortally wound this presidency.
The escalating revelations of recent days have included that President Trump allegedly sought an oath of loyalty from FBI Director James Comey soon after inauguration, then later asked him to shut down the investigation into possible ties between the president and Russian espionage officials, then last week fired the FBI director and publicly admitted he did so to stop the investigation. Shortly thereafter, President Trump clumsily shared highly classified information with top Russian officials visiting him in the Oval Office, and bragged to those Russians that his firing of Comey was done to shut down the investigation. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off,” Trump told the Russians, according to a leaked White House memo documenting the conversations.
Under the American system of government—even though the Attorney General who runs that department is an appointee of the president—there is a unique separation mandated between the White House and the Department of Justice. It is legally and traditionally required that the Attorney General reach legal opinions independently of the president or other White House advisors, for instance. To insure that prosecution is never used to advance political interests or settle electoral scores, it is absolutely forbidden for the White House to have any influence over criminal investigations. That proscription is most critical regarding investigations of alleged misconduct by elected officials—and the greatest imaginable violation of that duty of separation would be for a president to directly interfere in a criminal inquiry examining the White House, or himself.
Given all that, the only possibly innocent explanation of the actions of the president to shut down the FBI investigation would be some form of incompetence—that he simply didn’t know such behavior was prohibited and likely illegal. That is a difficult defense to maintain.
On questions #1 and #2, there is still much to be learned before the answers are clear. With the announcement on May 17 that the Department of Justice had appointed an independent special counsel to oversee the ongoing federal investigation, the odds have greatly increased that those answers will be forthcoming, and they are almost certain to damage President Trump.
Most important is what Flynn, the former National Security Advisor who lied about his discussions with the Russian ambassador, told FBI agents when he was interviewed on Jan. 24. The next day, Sally Yates urgently informed the president’s lawyer, White House Counsel Donald McGahn, that based on at least one recorded conversation between Flynn and the ambassador, it was clear that the National Security Advisor had lied to the vice president and others in the White House. McGahn asked for another meeting with Yates the next day to go over the evidence again. Astonishingly, despite Flynn’s apparently improper behavior and deceptions to the president’s team, no action was taken for more than two weeks to remove Flynn from his position or restrict his access to the highest level of confidential national security information.
“We were concerned about the conduct, about what the Russians would know,” Yates told me in our interview. “What really aggravated that was that Flynn was lying to the Vice President and others about it and sending them out to deceive the American people.”
Yates wouldn’t say what Flynn told the Russian ambassador or whether Flynn was truthful in his interview with FBI agents, saying that information remains classified. However, intelligence reports have since surfaced that the content of the Flynn conversation was a request to Russian Premier Vladimir Putin that he not retaliate for sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Russia for attempting to interfere with the 2016 election. Barack Obama was still president at the time of the conversation, and Flynn was still a civilian. Meddling by a citizen in a dispute between the U.S. and a foreign government is illegal under a federal law passed in 1798 called the Logan Act.
According to recent reporting, Flynn also assured the Russian ambassador that the Trump administration would “revisit” those sanctions once in office—a strong suggestion that it would likely reverse them. On the day after that phone conversation, Putin announced that Russia would not retaliate, just as Flynn had requested. Based on other reporting and suggestions in recent congressional testimony, it’s safe to believe that description of Flynn’s conversation.
Yates wouldn't comment on this, but clearly she would have shared all of that with the White House counsel when she warned him that Flynn had been compromised by Russian agents. Indeed, Yates says McGahn, the White House lawyer, asked her whether Flynn was likely to be indicted. Yates says she declined to answer that question—that the White House had all the information it needed to see that Flynn had been implicated.
Obviously, if Flynn had been fully truthful with the FBI, and his actions were not suspect, there would have been no need for Yates to issue her urgent warning to the White House. That strongly suggests Flynn was not honest in his FBI interview—potentially another serious criminal offense.
Nonetheless, President Trump took no action for 18 days.
Instead, Trump fired Sally Yates four days later, after she concluded that the president’s executive order banning immigration from some predominantly Muslim countries was illegal. Only after Flynn’s deceptions to Vice President Mike Pence were revealed more than a week later in the Washington Post was he removed from his job.
All that takes us back to Questions #1 and #2: What did the president know, and when did he know it? Did he know about Flynn’s improper communications? Did he try to hide them from the investigation? Why did he take no action when warned that Flynn had been compromised by Russia?
It is difficult, verging on impossible, to imagine that Michael Flynn did not proudly tell President-elect Trump of his success in persuading Putin not to impose retaliatory sanctions on the U.S. In fact, when Putin made that announcement on Dec. 30, a day after Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador, Trump celebrated Putin’s announcement publicly on Twitter that day: “Great move,” the president tweeted. “I always knew he was very smart.”
If President-elect Trump in fact was aware of Flynn’s improper communications—or even approved of them—then the Russian espionage conspiracy successfully reached the highest official in the United States. At that stage, the president himself would have become vulnerable to Russian blackmail—a stunning and unprecedented compromise of national security and democracy itself.
If President Trump took action to conceal from the FBI investigation either Flynn’s conversation or a connection of his own to those calls, then there is a yet more serious possibility of obstruction of justice.
Flynn is the most apparent person able to answer those questions. Based on everything disclosed thus far, it is difficult to imagine that he is not in criminal jeopardy from the new special counsel’s investigation. It is hard to imagine that an American general faced with imprisonment for such actions would not at that stage, under some circumstances, testify honestly as to the conduct of President Trump.
Before Yates congressional testimony on May 8 and the president’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey on the following day, “Russia-gate,” as it’s being called by some, was a slowly accreting body of injury to the president’s political viability. It was very serious, no doubt. It undermined confidence in his leadership among Republican House members as they eye falling approval ratings before the 2018 midterm elections, and reflected the president’s staggeringly poor judgment in the selection of top aides, his astonishingly bad political instincts other than in the rawest theater of the campaign trail, and his establishment of a White House staff that can only be described as fully dysfunctional.
However, it remained a political blunder—a terrible one, but one that a series of wiser decisions by President Trump could conceivably have overcome: a new chief of staff, mass firings at the White House, a new willingness to listen to the judgments of others and to cut loose bad choices from his team.
--Just as important, (Democrats and committed Trump haters won’t like to read this), as recently as two weeks ago, there was no serious basis in publicly available information to believe that the Trump-Russia scandal extended beyond a series of ugly but limited contacts between parties friendly to, or under the control of, the Kremlin.
--The conclusion by all major U.S. counter-intelligence agencies that Russian espionage operators, under the specific direction of top Kremlin leadership, actively meddled in the 2016 election in an attempt to help Mr. Trump was aggravating to the president, but nothing pointed to his having any direct involvement. Mr. Trump’s public invitation during the campaign that the Russians do more hacking to locate material damaging to his Democratic opponent could be written off as unwitting bluster.
--The past coziness between Russian interests and former campaign manager Paul Manafort was ugly, but was likely legal and had no direct connection to Mr. Trump. The future president’s seizure of an inconsequential Moscow dilettante named Carter Page as a “senior advisor” was a sophomoric aggrandizement to make himself appear to have substantive advice on Russia, but it carried no suggestion of criminality. The false statements of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing that he had had no contact with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, was a bumbling omission. But it came from an Alabama senator already assumed to be bumbling by everyone in Washington—except President Trump. In any case, it was in no way illegal, and touched the president in no direct fashion.
No more. This scandal has metastasized more quickly and destructively than I could possibly have forecast.
I say that with no joy. In the months since Donald Trump was elected last November, I repeatedly cautioned on television and in print against a rush to judge Trump prematurely, or to exaggerate the danger of his bluster, or to see certain disaster in his general lack of knowledge or preparation. I said no one can become president without some strain of genius—no matter what else about him or her one may despise. And no genuine patriot can hope merely out of political disagreements for any presidency to end in disaster. My public promise was to give Donald Trump as much benefit of the doubt as possible. Internally I hoped his disdain for both parties and his “deal making” instincts might actually lead to compromises around key issues. I wasn’t confident that would come to pass, but I felt obligated to hope for it.
There is no longer a rational basis to imagine any such scenario.
There also is no certainty yet that President Trump will be either impeached or choose to resign. But those possibilities, which 14 days ago were almost unimaginable to any informed and fair-minded observer, are now very real. Even if President Trump is able to remain in office through the end of next year, he will have been long abandoned by most serious conservatives in Congress, as the jeopardy of continued association with him becomes clear. Within a few months—and possibly in just weeks—most GOP elected officials will have acknowledged, at least privately, that Donald Trump is a suicide vest strapped around the body of the Republican Party.
The collapse of this administration may or may not be swift.
But it is inevitable.
___________________________________________________________

Sally Yates Doesn’t Care Who You Are


One last testament to the integrity of the attorney general who defied the president.

When President Donald Trump abruptly fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night, it was not the first time Yates faced the wrath of a government chief executive enraged by the refusal of a female subordinate to play along with a directive she considered improper.
It was almost 20 years ago, in 1998. Yates was an assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta, whose gentle Southern accent (of the old families of Atlanta) belied her already fierce reputation. Earlier that decade she’d led a federal prosecution into a massive corruption scheme tied to the city’s airport. I was then a ponytailed investigative reporter at the Atlanta Constitution, burrowing into City Hall criminality and covering the trials in which Yates sent seven men—including two powerful former city council members—to prison. Notably, it was an equal-opportunity prosecution. By the time the cases ended, the new convicts included black and white elected officials and businessmen. Rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, liberal or conservative—if Sally Yates had you on tape taking bribes, you went to jail.