February TW 2018

Feb. 27

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump-linked crime syndicate to world: "Ignore Us!" Wayne Madsen, Feb. 27, 2018. Author, columnist and former Navy intelligence officer Wayne Wayne has compiled a chart (puiblished separately) showing the relationships of more than two thousand Trump, Kushner, Manafort and other corporate entitities.

Feb. 28

paul manafort rick gates nbcnews Custom 2Palmer Report, Opinion: Paul Manafort just backed the Republican Party into a no-win corner, Bill Palmer, Feb. 28, 2018,  The Republican Party was already heading into a no-win situation when it comes to the midterm congressional elections in November. Donald Trump is historically unpopular, his scandals are getting uglier by the day, names of certain Republican Congressman are now showing up in Trump-Russia indictments, and a whole lot of Republicans in Congress have already announced they won't even bother to run for reelection. Now Paul Manafort of all people has just made things even uglier for the GOP.

Manafort (shown at left in adjoining photo) has been charged with dozens of felonies, and his longtime sidekick Rick Gates (shown above right) has agreed to testify against him, but – for the moment at least – Manafort is still planning to stubbornly take his chances at trial. Today the judge in the case announced that Manafort's trial will begin in September of this year. That means the trial will be unfolding just as the congressional races are reaching their peak. Now we know that the trial will include Trump's deputy campaign chairman Gates testifying about crimes that were committed by Trump campaign officials before, during and after the campaign.

That's not remotely tenable for the GOP. It can't go into the 2018 election cycle, which is already a referendum on Trump's corruption and unpopularity, with a Trump-Russia criminal trial dominating the news every day. But what other option do they have? Even if the GOP could somehow convince Manafort to cut a plea deal instead of going to trial, that would just mean that Manafort would have to turn over evidence of Trump's guilt, which would make things even uglier heading into the midterms.

Feb. 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Inside the Manafort money machine: A decade of lavish spending, influence-peddling and alleged fraud, Marc Fisher, Feb. 25, 2018 (print edition). Before they joined the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates made millions from foreign dictators. In a richly detailed expanded indictment, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (shown below right) parted the curtain shielding how the Washington influence merchants worked the system.

robert mueller full face fileAs Donald Trump crisscrossed the nation promising to drain the swamp, two of his top advisers were busy illegally building a colossal fortress of riches deep inside that swamp, according to federal prosecutors.

For a decade prior and on through Trump's populist crusade, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates used offshore accounts, hidden income, falsified documents and laundered cash to maintain Manafort's lush life of multiple homes, fine art, exquisite clothes and exotic travel, the government says.

paul manafort rick gates nbcnews Custom 2In a richly detailed expanded indictment filed Thursday, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III parted the curtain shielding how two longtime Washington influence merchants worked the system. The government contends that Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chairman for five months before being fired, used people all around him, from his buddy Gates (with a beard and shown at right of Manafort) to banks, clients and the IRS, to build a life of conspicuous consumption.

fbi logoGates, who was Manafort's deputy in their lobbying firm and on the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, cutting a deal with prosecutors to give them information that could help Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democratic memo defending FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide is released, Karoun Demirjian and Rosalind S. Helderman​, Feb. 25, 2018 (print edition). In their now-public retort, Democrats charge that the GOP unfairly attempted to malign the FBI and Justice Department for including information from the author of a dossier alleging President Trump had ties to Russian officials in an application to surveil Carter Page, one of Trump's former campaign advisers.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: 5 Takeaways From the Release of the Democratic Memo, Charlie Savage, Feb. 25, 2018 (print edition). The Democratic memo released on Saturday was written to counter Republican claims that law enforcement officials had abused their powers.

Feb. 24

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Is Gaining Steam. Should Trump Be Worried? Peter Baker, Feb. 24, 2018. President Trump and his aides said they were not worried because none of the charges implicate the president. Yet the inquiry seems to be leading to a larger, as yet undefined, goal.

ny times logoalex van der zwaanNew York Times, How Skadden Got Entangled in the Mueller Investigation, Kenneth P. Vogel and Matthew Goldstein, Feb. 24, 2018. The guilty plea of a lawyer from the giant law firm has cast a spotlight on its work for a Russia-aligned former president of Ukraine and its advice to other firms. Defendant Alex Van der Zwaan, shown in a file photo.

Feb. 21

Intercept, Video: Glenn Greenwald and James Risen Debate the Trump/Russia Investigation, Feb. 21, 2018 (video). James Risen and Glenn Greenwald have both won Pulitzer Prizes. They both have found themselves in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for their journalism. And they both write for The Intercept. But Jim and Glenn have taken very different approaches to covering the Trump/Russia story. In this one-hour special video edition of Intercepted, they go head-to-head in a debate.

Glenn is one of the most high-profile critics of the official story bolstered by the U.S. intelligence community, the Democrats, and many media outlets, including some of this country's most powerful papers and news channels. Jim battled both the Bush and Obama administrations — under threat of imprisonment — for refusing to name his sources in some of the most sensitive national security reporting of the modern era.

Jim recently broke a key story on a secret NSA channel to Russia and his first column for The Intercept, about the Trump/Russia investigation, posed the question: Is Donald Trump a traitor?

philip giraldiUnz Review via OpEdNews, Opinion: Russiagate Suddenly Becomes Bigger, Philip Giraldi, Feb. 21, 2018. Philip Giraldi (shown in a file photo) is a non-profit executive and former CIA officer. Last Friday's indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was detailed in a 37-page document that provided a great deal of specific evidence claiming that a company based in St. Petersburg, starting in 2014, was using social media to assess American attitudes.

Using that assessment, the company inter alia allegedly later ran a clandestine operation seeking to influence opinion in the United States regarding the candidates in the 2016 election in which it favored Donald Trump and denigrated Hillary Clinton. The Russians identified by name are all back in Russia and cannot be extradited to the U.S., so the indictment is, to a certain extent, political theater as the accused's defense will never be heard.

In presenting the document, Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, stressed that there was no evidence to suggest that the alleged Russian activity actually changed the result of the 2016 presidential election or that any actual votes were altered or tampered with. Nor was there any direct link to either the Russian government or its officials or to the Donald Trump campaign developed as a result of the nine-month-long investigation.

Even on a worst-case basis, stirring things up is what intelligence agencies do, and no one is more active in interfering in foreign governments and elections than the United States of America, most notably in Russia for the election of Boris Yeltsin in 1996, which was arranged by Washington, and more recently in Ukraine in 2014. From my own experience I can cite Italy's 1976 national election in which the CIA went all out to keep the communists out of government.

rudy giuliani recentPalmer Report, Opinion: No wonder Rudy Giuliani is so nervous, Bill Palmer, Feb. 21, 2018. Two weeks ago, Palmer Report pointed out that Rudy Giuliani (shown in a file photo) was suddenly sounding very, very nervous about the FBI. In fact he went so far as to publicly warn Donald Trump and the Republican Party about messing with the FBI. It was clear that Giuliani, who used to brag about his FBI connections before he got caught up in scandal, was worried that he was going to get busted. Now we're seeing new Trump-Russia developments that point to why Rudy sounds so nervous.

Yesterday, Robert Mueller revealed that he had obtained a guilty plea from attorney Alex Van der Zwaan, who had tried to mislead investigators in the Trump-Russia scandal. The question of course is why Mueller is making such a point of busting Van der Zwaan. The answer may lie in the fact that his father-in-law is the owner of Alfa Bank in Russia, which has allegedly been deeply involved in the Trump-Russia election rigging scandal. As it turns out, Alfa Bank's former attorney is none other than Rudy Giuliani.

alex van der zwaanIf Mueller's strategy here is to get Alex Van der Zwaan (shown at right) to give up what he knows about Alfa Bank's involvement in the Trump-Russia scandal, then it's not difficult to draw a straight line from there to Giuliani. Why was Rudy, a former Trump campaign adviser, also representing a Russian bank that's been connected to the Trump campaign? What are the odds that that's a mere coincidence?

No wonder Rudy Giuliani sounds nervous. Either he fears Robert Mueller and the FBI are about to nail him in the Trump-Russia scandal, or he's already been forced to flip on Trump and he's been left shellshocked by the experience. We'll find out what's really going on here soon enough. But there's a reason why Giuliani, who never met a television camera he didn't like, has been laying so low over the past year. He knew Trump-Russia would get him eventually, and it either has, or it will.

Feb. 18

ny times logomichael cohen 7 14 2015 cnn customNew York Times, Tools of Trump's Fixer: Payouts, Intimidation and the Tabloids, Jim Rutenberg, Megan Twohey, Rebecca R. Ruiz, Mike McIntire and Maggie Haberman, Feb. 18, 2018. As accounts of past sexual indiscretions threatened to surface during Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign, the job of stifling potentially damaging stories fell to his longtime lawyer and all-around fixer, Michael D. Cohen.

To protect his boss at critical junctures in his improbable political rise, the lawyer (shown above in a CNN appearance) relied on intimidation tactics, hush money and the nation's leading tabloid news business, American Media Inc., whose top executives include close Trump allies.

Mr. Cohen's role has come under scrutiny amid recent revelations that he facilitated a payment to silence a porn star, but his aggressive behind-the-scenes efforts stretch back years, according to interviews, emails and other records.

They intensified as Mr. Trump's campaign began in the summer of 2015, when a former hedge-fund manager told Mr. Cohen that he had obtained photographs of Mr. Trump with a bare-breasted woman. The man said Mr. Cohen first blew up at him, then steered him to David J. Pecker, chairman of the tabloid company, which sometimes bought, then buried, embarrassing material about his high-profile friends and allies.

Feb. 17

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Russia Isn't the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too, Scott Shane, Feb. 17, 2018. Bags of cash delivered to a Rome hotel for favored Italian candidates. Scandalous stories leaked to foreign newspapers to swing an election in Nicaragua. Millions of pamphlets, posters and stickers printed to defeat an incumbent in Serbia.

The long arm of Vladimir Putin? No, just a small sample of the United States' history of intervention in foreign elections.

On Tuesday, American intelligence chiefs warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia appears to be preparing to repeat in the 2018 midterm elections the same full-on chicanery it unleashed in 2016: hacking, leaking, social media manipulation and possibly more. Then on Friday, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, announced the indictments of 13 Russians and three companies, run by a businessman with close Kremlin ties, laying out in astonishing detail a three-year scheme to use social media to attack Hillary Clinton, boost Donald Trump and sow discord.

Most Americans are understandably shocked by what they view as an unprecedented attack on our political system. But intelligence veterans, and scholars who have studied covert operations, have a different, and quite revealing, view.

"If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all," said Steven L. Hall, who retired in 2015 after 30 years at the C.I.A., where he was the chief of Russian operations. The United States "absolutely" has carried out such election influence operations historically, he said, "and I hope we keep doing it."

Loch K. Johnson, the dean of American intelligence scholars, who began his career in the 1970s investigating the C.I.A. as a staff member of the Senate's Church Committee, says Russia's 2016 operation was simply the cyber-age version of standard United States practice for decades, whenever American officials were worried about a foreign vote.

Feb. 16

new yorker logoThe New Yorker, Donald Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity, Ronan Farrow, Feb. 16, 2018. One woman's account of clandestine meetings, financial transactions, and legal pacts designed to hide an extramarital affair,

In June, 2006, Donald Trump taped an episode of his reality-television show, "The Apprentice," at the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. Hugh Hefner, Playboy's publisher, threw a pool party for the show's contestants with dozens of current and former Playmates, including Karen McDougal, a slim brunette who had been named Playmate of the Year, eight years earlier. In 2001, the magazine's readers voted her runner-up for "Playmate of the '90s," behind Pamela Anderson. At the time of the party, Trump had been married to the Slovenian model Melania Knauss for less than two years; their son, Barron, was a few months old. Trump seemed uninhibited by his new family obligations. McDougal later wrote that Trump "immediately took a liking to me, kept talking to me - telling me how beautiful I was, etc. It was so obvious that a Playmate Promotions exec said, 'Wow, he was all over you - I think you could be his next wife.' "

Trump and McDougal began an affair, which McDougal later memorialized in an eight-page, handwritten document provided to The New Yorker by John Crawford, a friend of McDougal's. When I showed McDougal the document, she expressed surprise that I had obtained it but confirmed that the handwriting was her own.

The interactions that McDougal outlines in the document share striking similarities with the stories of other women who claim to have had sexual relationships with Trump, or who have accused him of propositioning them for sex or sexually harassing them. McDougal describes their affair as entirely consensual. But her account provides a detailed look at how Trump and his allies used clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep affairs — sometimes multiple affairs he carried out simultaneously — out of the press.

On November 4, 2016, four days before the election, the Wall Street Journal reported that American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, had paid a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for exclusive rights to McDougal's story, which it never ran. Purchasing a story in order to bury it is a practice that many in the tabloid industry call "catch and kill." This is a favorite tactic of the C.E.O. and chairman of A.M.I., David Pecker, who describes the President as "a personal friend." As part of the agreement, A.M.I. consented to publish a regular aging-and-fitness column by McDougal. After Trump won the Presidency, however, A.M.I.'s promises largely went unfulfilled, according to McDougal.

McDougal, in her first on-the-record comments about A.M.I.'s handling of her story, declined to discuss the details of her relationship with Trump, for fear of violating the agreement she reached with the company. She did say, however, that she regretted signing the contract. "It took my rights away," McDougal told me. "At this point I feel I can't talk about anything without getting into trouble, because I don't know what I'm allowed to talk about. I'm afraid to even mention his name."

rob porter filePalmer Report, Opinion: Now we know why Donald Trump's White House Counsel tried so hard to cover for Rob Porter, Bill Palmer, Feb. 16, 2018. The Rob Porter scandal, which initially appeared to be a straightforward if highly disturbing story about about a White House employee (shown in a file photo) accused of serial domestic abuse, has turned out to be something much more deep and vast.

Donald Trump and the highest rungs of his administration bent over backward to try to protect Porter, despite the evidence against him. With each passing day we're learning more about the why and how of the coverup. Now we know why the White House Counsel tried so hard to cover for Porter.

john kelly o dhsWhite House Chief of Staff John Kelly (shown at left) may have played the most egregious role in trying to cover up the Porter scandal.

But of all the Trump senior advisers who knew what was going on, White House Counsel Don McGahn appears to have known about it the longest. That seemed strange, considering he's the lawyer for the White House, and it's his job to prevent these kinds of legal liabilities from becoming problems. As it turns out, this comes down to security clearances. Porter could't get one, and as it turns out, McGahn doesn't have one either.

don mcgahn cato screengrabAccording to a stunning new report from NBC News (Scores of top White House officials lack permanent security clearances), McGahn spent at least his first ten months in the White House without being able to obtain a security clearance for himself. It's confirmed that as of November 2017, he still didn't have clearance. No one is willing to say if he's since gained clearance, which suggests he may still not have it. So what on earth did his background check turn up that would red flag him?

It's fairly easy to understand why Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner have been unable to pass a background check and obtain permanent security clearance. But what the heck is hiding in White House Counsel Don McGahn's past that would cause him to fail a background check? In any case, McGahn appears to have been keeping Porter's failed background check a secret because he didn't want his own failed background check to come to light. It has anyway.

Feb. 15

nbc news logoNBC News, Scores of top White House officials lack permanent security clearances, Carol E. Lee, Mike Memoli, Kristen Welker and Rich Gardella,Feb. 15, 2018 (2:09 min. video). More than 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including the president's daughter, son-in-law and his top legal counsel, according to internal White House documents obtained by NBC News.

Of those appointees working with interim clearances, 47 of them are in positions that report directly to President Donald Trump. About a quarter of all political appointees in the executive office are working with some form of interim security clearance.

White House officials said Wednesday they would not comment, as is their policy, on the nature of security clearances. CNN also reported on the clearances earlier Wednesday evening. It is unclear whether some employees have had their clearance levels changed since mid-November.

The documents also show that 10 months into Trump's administration, at least 85 political appointees in the White House, vice president's office and National Security Council were working without permanent security clearances. About 50 appointees were operating with interim security clearances while serving in offices closely linked to the West Wing, such as the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Trade Representative and the White House executive residence.

jared kushner ivanka trump july 4 2017 facebookWhite House officials who are listed as not having permanent security clearances as recently as this past November include Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser; Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser (the two are shown together on a foreign affairs trip last July); Dan Scavino, the president's director of social media; and Christopher Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives; according to the documents.

All four are listed as operating with interim clearances only for information classified as "top secret" and "TS/SCI," which is shorthand for "top secret, sensitive compartmented information."

One of the president's central arguments against his Democratic opponent in the 2016 presidential election was that Hillary Clinton's alleged mishandling of classified information not only disqualified her but was grounds for imprisonment.

washington post logochristopher wray officialWashington Post, White House reslsts as FBI director rebuts Porter timeline, Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Feb. 15, 2018 (print edition). FBI Director Christopher A. Wray's direct contradiction of the White House's official version of how it handled domestic violence allegations against senior aide Rob Porter plunged the West Wing into a deeper bout of infighting and heightened the uncertainty about Chief of Staff John Kelly's future in the administration.

Wray is shown at right in his official photo and below in a Justice Department photo at his swearing in ceremony on Aug. 2, 2017. With him is his wife, Holly Howell, and Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions.

christopher wray helen howell aug 2 2017 doj photo cropped

trey gowdy SmallRoll Call, Gowdy Launches Oversight Investigation Into Rob Porter Scandal, Griffin Connolly, Feb 15, 2018 (print edition). 'How in the Hell was he still employed?' House Oversight Committee chairman asks. The House Committee on Oversight and Government reform has launched an investigation into the White House's handling of senior aide Rob Porter, who was not issued a permanent security clearance due to allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives.

"Who knew what, when, and to what extent? Those are the questions that I think ought to be asked," the committee's chairman, GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina(shown above right) said Wednesday on CNN.

ny times logoNew York Times, Inaugural Committee Paid $26 Million to First Lady's Adviser, Maggie Haberman and Kenneth P. Vogel, Feb. 15, 2018. President Trump's inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by an adviser to the first lady, Melania Trump, while donating $5 million — less than djt melania liberty ball inauguration 2017expected — to charity, according to tax filings released on Thursday.

The nonprofit group that oversaw Mr. Trump's inauguration and surrounding events in January 2017, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, had been under pressure from liberal government watchdog groups to reveal how it spent the record $107 million it had raised from wealthy donors and corporations.

Its chairman, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. (shown below left), a longtime friend of Mr. Trump, had pledged that the committee would be thrifty with its spending, and would donate leftover funds to charity.

tom barrackheadshotBut the mandatory tax return it filed with the Internal Revenue Service indicates that the group's charitable donations included only an already publicized $3 million for hurricane relief, plus a total of $1.75 million to groups involved in decorating and maintaining the White House and the vice president's residence.

The 116-page filing indicates that the overwhelming majority of the funds went toward expenses related to the inauguration, with the biggest share — nearly $51 million — split roughly evenly between two companies.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Shifting Stories on Porter Prolong Crisis for White House, Peter Baker, Feb. 15, 2018. The rule of thumb for crisis communications is to get the facts out quickly. But President Trump's White House has thrown out the rule book in its handling of the resignation of Rob Porter, the staff secretary who was accused of abuse.

ny times logoNew York Times, Riding an Untamed Horse: Priebus Opens Up on Serving Trump, Peter Baker, Feb. 15, 2018. Reince Priebus, the president's first White House chief of staff, said his tenure was even more arduous than outsiders knew. "Take everything you've heard and multiply it by 50," he writes in a new book.

Feb. 14

michael cohen 7 14 2015 cnnwashington post logostormy daniels djt insight 1 19 2018 CustomWashington Post, Longtime Trump attorney says he made $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels with his money, Feb. 14, 2018. Michael Cohen (shown in a file photo above) did not say why he paid the money to the adult-film star (shown at right on an In Touch Magzine cover last month) — who says she had an affair with President Trump — or whether Trump reimbursed him or knew about the payment.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump's lawyer goes off the deep end, Bill Palmer, Feb. 13, 2018. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in on obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump, we've seen Trump and his allies take increasingly desperate swings and misses in recent weeks, in the hope of fending off the inevitable.

djt stormy daniels screengrabNow Trump's lawyer is trying what can only be described as a desperate last ditch gambit, and it's difficult to see how this is going to work out well for either of them.Trump's affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels (shown at right in a file photo separate from Trump's) was a crime against his wife Melania, but not part of the Trump-Russia criminal probe.

However, Trump's $130,000 payoff to keep Daniels quiet about it is a legal matter. It's been established that Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen created a phony company in Delaware in order to keep Trump's name off the transaction. That's still not necessarily illegal, but the trouble is that the money appears to have come from Trump's campaign finances, which would be a violation of federal law.

Feb. 13

colbie holderness rob porter Custom

Images of Colbie Holderness after an alleged incident with her then-husband Rob Porter in the early 2000s. (Courtesy of Colbie Holderness)

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Rob Porter is my ex-husband. Here's what you should know about abuse, Colbie Holderness, Feb. 13, 2018 (print edition). .Colbie Holderness was the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that she has no reason not to believe statements that Jennifer Willoughby and I have made about our ex-husband, former White House aide Rob Porter. I actually appreciated her saying that she at least did not not believe us.

rob porter fileBut I was dismayed when Conway, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," went on to say that she does not fear for White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who has reportedly been dating Porter (shown at right). "I've rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts."

Borrowing Conway's words, I have no reason not to believe her when she says that Hicks is a strong woman. But her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong. I beg to differ.

Recognizing and surviving in an abusive relationship take strength. The abuse can be terrifying, life-threatening and almost constant. Or it can ebb and flow, with no violence for long periods. It's often the subtler forms of abuse that inflict serious, persistent damage while making it hard for the victim to see the situation clearly.

For me, living in constant fear of Rob's anger and being subjected to his degrading tirades for years chipped away at my independence and sense of self-worth. I walked away from that relationship a shell of the person I was when I went into it, but it took me a long time to realize the toll that his behavior was taking on me. (Rob has denied the abuse, but Willoughby and I know what happened.)

Telling others about the abuse takes strength. Talking to family, friends, clergy, counselors and, later, the FBI, I would often find myself struggling to find the words to convey an adequate picture of the situation. When Rob's now ex-girlfriend reached out to both Willoughby and me, she described her relationship in terms we each found familiar, immediately following up her description with "Am I crazy?" Boy, I could identify with that question.

Then there is the just-as-serious issue of being believed and supported by those you choose to tell. Sometimes people don't believe you. Sometimes they have difficulty truly understanding what you are trying to tell them. Both Willoughby and I raised our cases with clergy. Both of us had a hard time getting them to fully address the abuse taking place. It wasn't until I spoke to a professional counselor that I was met with understanding.

washington post logojennifer rubin twitterWashington Post, Opinion: Kelly needs to come clean, Jennifer Rubin (shown at right), Feb. 13, 2018.​ Now it appears that for days Chief of Staff John F. Kelly (below left) and his subordinates misled the American people, and perhaps the president, in making it appear that john kelly o dhsRob Porter still had the potential to be granted a final clearance.

This is false, raising the question as to why, knowing that he could not qualify for such a clearance, Porter would be kept on and given continued access (we presume) to top classified material.

Feb. 9

washington post logodemocratic donkey logoWashington Post, Trump will not release Democrats' memo on FBI surveillance, Karoun Demirjian, Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky​, Feb. 9, 2018. The president has directed the Justice Department to work with House lawmakers so some form of the document could be made public, the White House counsel said Friday night.

President Trump will not immediately agree to release a Democratic memo rebutting GOP claims that the FBI abused its surveillance authority as it probed Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but he has directed the Justice Department to work with lawmakers so some form of the document could be made public, the White House counsel said Friday night.

In a letter to the House Intelligence Committee, White House counsel Donald McGahn wrote that the Justice Department had identified portions of the Democrats' memo that it believed "would create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests" if disclosed. McGahn included in his note a letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray supporting that claim.

The decision stands in contrast to one Trump made last week on a Republican memo alleging the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain a warrant to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. After the House Intelligence Committee voted on a Monday to make that document public, Trump authorized its release swiftly on a Friday afternoon.

washington post logorachel brand oWashington Post, Justice Department's No. 3 official plans to step down, Sari Horwitz and Josh Dawsey, Feb. 9, 2018. Rachel Brand will take a private-sector job after nine months as associate attorney general, said a person familiar with the decision. She would have been in line to take over supervision of the Russia investigation if Rod J. Rosenstein was

washington post logoWashington Post, 'Very turbulent': Trump and White House consumed with turmoil amid abuse allegations, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Feb. 9, 2018. In a conversation with the president, John F. Kelly said he would be willing to resign as chief of staff if that would improve the situation. But he made the offer casually and did not submit a letter of resignation or take formal action, according to two White House officials.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump still can't get away with firing Rod Rosenstein, Bill Palmer, Feb. 9, 2018. Trump was betting that the Devin Nunes memo would create public outrage about the behavior of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which would in turn give Trump the political cover to get away with firing Rosenstein, thus taking out a key player in the Trump-Russia investigation. But by all accounts that memo failed. It didn't change a single mind when it comes to Rosenstein. The memo put Trump zero percent of the way toward being able to fire Rosenstein.

rod rosenstein cspan Yet many out there, including many fatalists within the Resistance, are certain that Trump is going to somehow use the memo to fire Rosenstein (shown in a file photo), even though the memo completely failed in its goal of giving him the cover to fire Rosenstein, and that Trump is somehow going to magically get away with that firing, even though he has absolutely no cover for pulling it off. Nothing works that way.

Donald Trump simply does not have the political cover to fire him and get away with it. Because of that, if he does fire him, there will be blowback which will make things even worse for Trump. Even Trump, despite being a delusional lunatic, seems to understand this. He knows he's stuck with Mueller because he fired Comey when he couldn't get away with it, and it's probably why he hasn't fired anyone else since.

washington post logojared kushner head shotWashington Post, As Kushner's security clearance is delayed, White House hesitates to act on others with possible problems, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett, Feb. 9, 2018. White House Counsel Donald McGahn and other Trump administration officials have been so vexed by Jared Kushner's months-long inability to obtain a permanent security clearance that they have hesitated to get involved in other cases with potential problems, several people familiar with the matter said.

Dozens of White House employees, including Kushner (shown above right), are still waiting for permanent clearances and have been operating for months on a temporary status that allows them to handle sensitive information while the FBI probes their backgrounds, U.S. officials have said. Two U.S. officials said they do not expect Kushner to receive a permanent security clearance in the near future.

It is not uncommon for ­security-clearance investigations to drag on for months, but Kushner's unique situation has cast a pall over the process in the minds of some, these people said.

The president's son-in-law and close adviser has been allowed to see materials, including the President's Daily Brief, that are among the most sensitive in government. He has been afforded that privilege even though he has only an interim clearance and is a focus in the ongoing special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election.