Well Respected Foreign Policy Goes Street Lingo Says ‘Up to Their Asses in Alligators’ on Russia-Gate Probe

Foreign Policy has a report (source)  with the headline:  ‘Up to Their Asses in Alligators’: Trump White House on Defensive Amid Russia Probe. And the headline surprises me as Foreign Policy is a highly respectable news unit, that is also very much mainstream globally. So for Foreign Policy to use the wording “”Up to Their Asses” surprised me & so I went to look at other news, to see if there are other emotionally charged words.

So I have been reading many reports and articles in the past few days, looking for emotional charged words, and in these, there are lots of highly charged political “Key Words” some more charged, other less charged, i.e. Immunity, Man-Child, Struggle, Up to Their Asses, Go Down, Unanimously Impeach, Tragedy & It Works.

So OK, there been so many words on American politics in past few days, to go through & the following are some.

Immunity:

Twitter moments reported that Trump’s former national security adviser told the FBI that he was willing to be interviewed in the Russia probe if he was granted immunity from prosecution in return, officials said.

Man Child:

Bill Maher just tore into Trump’s White House enablers. On Friday, the “Real Time” host skewered members of the Trump administration who “go on TV and pretend Trump didn’t say what everybody just heard him say.” Maher took aim in particular at White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway and Vice President Mike Pence. “Without these professional liars and deniers, there is no Trump,” Maher said. “It takes a village to help a man-child stay in power.”

Struggles:

WaPo reported (source) with the headlines: “Trump’s White House struggles to get out from under Russia controversy”

The report follows: President Trump entered his 11th week in office Friday in crisis mode, his governing agenda at risk of being subsumed by escalating questions about the White House’s conduct in the Russia probe — which the president called a “witch hunt.”

Trump and his senior aides spent much of the day on the defensive, parrying the latest reports that senior administration officials had potentially acted improperly in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. elections and possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the actions of three senior White House aides who, according to media reports, helped facilitate the visit of the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), to the White House grounds last week to view classified intelligence documents.

“What he did, what he saw, who he met with was 100 percent proper,” Spicer said of Nunes. The chairman later briefed the president on the information and declared publicly that the documents showed Trump campaign aides were swept up in U.S. intelligence surveillance of foreign nationals. That prompted the president to say he felt “somewhat” vindicated in his unsubstantiated allegations that President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap on him.

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Trump, meanwhile, weighed in again Friday via Twitter by suggesting that he supported a request by his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, for immunity from prosecution in exchange for offering to testify in the probe. “This is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems,” Trump wrote. Spicer said the White House was not concerned that Flynn might reveal damaging information, even though Trump fired him in February over revelations Flynn misled senior officials, including Vice President Pence, over his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

But Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, called it a “grave and momentous step” for a national security official to seek immunity. Schiff said the investigation “grows in severity and magnitude by the day,” and he said the committee has “much work and many more witnesses and documents” to review before any witness can be considered for immunity. For the White House, it was another chaotic day in which its attempt to regain control of the political conversation — this time through two executive orders on trade — was relegated to an afterthought in Washington.

Trump aides have expressed growing frustration at their inability to gain control of Washington’s narrative, just over two months into the president’s tenure. And amid mounting attention on Trump’s frequent weekend jaunts to his winter retreat in Palm Beach, Fla., and attendant golf-course outings, aides said the president would remain in Washington this weekend holding meetings at the White House.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is offering to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Here’s what he and President Donald Trump said about immunity in 2016. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post) Trump has a lot to prepare for, with three world leaders — Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Chinese President Xi Jinping — due to meet with the president next week. In many ways, the first weeks of the Trump White House have resembled a chaotic tech start-up. Inside the West Wing, according to White House officials, each new crisis and mishap, including the botched rollout of the president’s travel ban and the failure on the GOP health-care bill, has been viewed as a learning opportunity, to better understand what works and what doesn’t, as well as which staffers can perform under pressure — and, perhaps more importantly, which can’t.

On Thursday, the administration announced its first major staff adjustment, with Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh leaving to oversee an outside political group that supports the president’s agenda. The official explanation was that after the health-care bill’s collapse, Walsh realized she could be of more value to the White House from the outside, helping guide a pro-Trump group that has provided almost no air cover for the president or his agenda. But Walsh, one of the few top women in the West Wing, was never a likely fit in the Trump administration. A longtime confidante of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who had served as the Republican National Committee chairman, Walsh viewed Trump with skepticism throughout much of the campaign. And, in return, she was treated with suspicion by Trump loyalists who distrusted her background in mainstream Republican Party politics and thought she leaked information to the press, according to several administration officials.

The White House took the unusual move of having several aides gather a small group of reporters to insist, on background, that Walsh was not being fired and was simply leaving on her own accord. By Thursday, senior aides were trying to beat back vaguely sourced reports on social media that Rick Dearborn, a deputy chief of staff who oversees legislative affairs, might also be on his way out. David Urban — who served as chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and helped run Trump’s campaign team in that state — was cited as a possible replacement. Urban’s name is often mentioned during times of turmoil, and he was previously floated as a possible replacement for Priebus. Three White House officials insisted that Dearborn’s job was safe, and Cliff Sims, a Trump communications aide, lashed out at reporters on Twitter.

“Get a grip . . . And better ‘sources,’ ” Sims wrote. But it was the Russia probe that continued to dominate the conversation in Washington, forcing the White House into a reactive posture for another day. As the disclosures have mounted over communications between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials during the campaign and transition, the White House has sought to distance itself from the conduct of some members of the president’s campaign team. But the revelations that three senior White House aides, including the top lawyer for the National Security Council, were involved in the handling of the files that were shared with Nunes has raised new questions about the conduct of the president’s staff.

“It’s shocking,” said Michael McFaul, U.S. ambassador to Russia in the Obama administration. “I used to work at the White House. I used to work at the NSC. . . . I never, ever briefed a U.S. congressman on anything in that capacity, and I’m not aware of anyone who did when I was there.” Spicer dismissed suggestions that Nunes was granted carte blanche access to the White House’s 18-acre grounds, which includes the NSC headquarters in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door. “Yes, it is appropriate for a member of Congress to contact someone who contacted him,” Spicer said, referring to reports that Nunes had chosen to meet his source for the information at the White House to view the documents in a secure location. “As Chairman Nunes said himself, he was not hiding or roaming. He was asked to come over here by an individual. He came over, which happens daily.”

Up to Their Asses:

Foreign Policy has a report (source)  with the headline:  ‘Up to Their Asses in Alligators’: Trump White House on Defensive Amid Russia Probe

The reports follow: Revelations about the investigations of Trump’s Russia ties distract the administration at a key moment for the neophyte president.  Just ten weeks into the Trump administration, the White House is in a defensive crouch after the former national security adviser asked for immunity from prosecution to testify, and reports emerged of national security aides feeding classified intelligence to a friendly lawmaker overseeing one of the investigations into the administration’s ties to Russia.

The continued focus from Congress, the FBI, and the media on those ties continue to dog the administration, even as President Donald Trump was hoping to turn a spotlight this week on tougher measures he rolled out on foreign trade, just ahead of a hugely important meeting next week with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Instead, in just 24 hours, what the administration repeatedly tried to dismiss as a “hoax” has gathered fresh momentum, raising the stakes for the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian intelligence operatives to tilt the 2016 U.S. election in his favor. “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember your original intent was to drain the swamp,” one source close to the White House said in describing the mindset of National Security Council staffers.

Late Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn is seeking immunity to testify about the investigation. But the exact parameters of that gambit remain shrouded in mystery. It is unclear what testimony Flynn is willing to divulge, and whether he is seeking full immunity from prosecution from the Justice Dept., or simply the ability to talk freely to Congress without having anything he says held against him later. Also on Thursday, the New York Times reported that at least two White House aides helped funnel intelligence reports to Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which is meant to be investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations Trump aides may have conspired with that campaign. But Nunes cancelled this week’s hearings, and has nearly paralyzed the committee’s work.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Friday that Nunes’s visit to the White House last week to view those reports was appropriate and legal, and took place without the knowledge of senior administration officials.  “We don’t track every person who is on the 18 acres,” Spicer said, describing a White House office complex secured by intense security procedures. “Do we know, generally speaking, who’s in the Oval Office? Not all the time.”

Flynn — who made headlines at the Republican convention last summer by chanting “Lock her up!” about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — apparently is seeking immunity before speaking with investigators, though it is unclear at this stage what kind of information he might have about the inner workings of the Trump campaign or any possible ties to Russian intelligence.  “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should circumstances permit,” Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn said in a statement late Thursday. “No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.”

Go Down:

Politicus USA has a report (source) on Rachel Maddow Explains How Mike Pence Is Going To Go Down With Trump For Russia Scandal

Rachel Maddow pointed out the obvious. None of the excuses that Vice President Mike Pence is giving for his lack of knowledge about the Russia scandal make sense. As the head of Trump’s transition, Vice President Pence is not clean and will go down with Trump for the events that happened during the 2016 election.  Rachel Maddow pointed out the obvious. None of the excuses that Vice President Mike Pence is giving for his lack of knowledge about the Russia scandal make sense. As the head of Trump’s transition, Vice President Pence is not clean and will go down with Trump for the events that happened during the 2016 election.

Maddow said:

Mike Pence had been the head of the Trump transition. As such, he would have been intimately involved with the selection and vetting process for a job as important as national security adviser. Nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence has professed absolute ignorance of any of the scandals of any of the foreign payments, contacts and all the rest of it surrounding Mike Flynn. Pence was the leader of the transition. As leader of the transition, he was notified in writing by members of Congress about Flynn’s apparent financial ties to the government of Turkey. The transition was also apparently notified twice by Flynn’s own lawyers about his financial relationship with the government of Turkey, but nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence says he has no idea about any of that.

….

Vice President Mike Pence claims he had absolutely no idea about that despite him being notified about on the record multiple times and it being a matter of considerable public discussion. Mike Pence’s role in the Mike Flynn scandal is flashing like a red beacon for anyone who sees him as the normal Republican in this setting.

The most common statement that I hear from readers when Trump impeachment is discussed is always some version of, “Yeah, but then Mike Pence will be president.” As I have been writing for months, there is no way that Mike Pence didn’t know what was going on with Russia. The White House’s attempts to firewall off Pence from the rest of the scandal make no sense and will not hold up under investigation.  If Donald Trump leaves office under a cloud of scandal, the investigations, criminal and political, will continue. The Russia scandal won’t go away after Trump is gone. Mike Pence sold himself to Donald Trump when he became his running mate. Pence is deeply involved in this administration.  The political career of Mike Pence will be over when the Russia scandal blows up.

Unanimously Impeach:

East Bay Times (source) reports Berkeley this week became the latest city to call for an investigation that could lead to the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Earlier Alameda and Richmond called for the same.

On March 28, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution, co-sponsored by Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilwoman Sophie Hahn, calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to direct its Judiciary Committee to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for impeaching Trump. “It is our duty to hold the President accountable,” Arreguin wrote on social media shortly after the vote. “From undermining Freedom of Press to the conspicuous connections with Russian officials, Trump’s actions have served to destabilize American democracy,” Arreguin said in a press release. “His attempts to threaten extortion on Sanctuary Cities and create a Muslim Ban defies American values. “Furthermore, many of his actions have served to advance his business both domestically and abroad, in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution. It is our duty to hold the President accountable, and this Resolution serves as a notice that we will not be silent.” With the vote, Berkeley became part of a trio of East Bay cities calling for Trump’s impeachment, after Richmond and Alameda. Richmond passed a resolution in February and Alameda followed suit earlier this month.

Tragedy:

Bloomberg View (source)  has a report with the headline: “Devin Nunes and the Tragedy of the Russia Inquiry”

The report follows: Last week, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Devin Nunes, announced dozens of intelligence reports that inappropriately included details on President Donald Trump’s transition. This week, he told me that his source for that information was an intelligence official, not a White House staffer. It turns out, he misled me. The New York Times reported Thursday that Nunes had two sources, and both worked for the White House. This distinction is important because it raises questions about the independence of the congressional investigation Nunes is leading, which may lead to officials at the White House. Nunes is leading a double investigation of sorts. His committee is probing ties between the Trump campaign and Russia’s influence operation against the 2016 election. It’s also looking into whether Barack Obama’s White House inappropriately spied on Trump’s transition.

The chairman told me Thursday that elements of the Times story were inaccurate. But he acknowledged: “I did use the White House to help to confirm what I already knew from other sources.” This is a body blow for Nunes, who presented his findings last week as if they were surprising to the White House. He briefed Trump, after holding a press conference on Capitol Hill. And as he was leaving the White House, he made sure to address the press again. But this was a show. The sources named by the Times work for the president. They are political appointees. It strains credulity to think that Trump would need Nunes to tell him about intelligence reports discovered by people who work in the White House.

Another U.S. official familiar with the affair told me that one of the sources named in the article, former Defense Intelligence officer Ezra Cohen-Watnick, did not play a role in getting information to Nunes. This official said Cohen-Watnick had come upon the reports while working on a review of recent Justice Department rules that made it easier for intelligence officials to share the identities of U.S. persons swept up in surveillance. He turned them over to White House lawyers. The fact that a serious investigation is being undermined by Nunes’s ever-changing story is a tragedy. Ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed top-secret documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post, civil liberties advocates, progressives and libertarians have raised alarms about the ability of U.S. eavesdroppers to circumvent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This is through what is known as “incidental collection,” when a U.S. person is on the other end of a communication that is legally monitored by the U.S. government.

It Works:

CSPAN ran live Clinton Watts says Trump actively used Russian fake news against Clinton and in GOP leadership race and that is part of reason it works.

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