One Day In Trumpworld

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

These things happened yesterday: (1) Trump gave William Barr total authority to declassify and release anything he wants regarding the Russia investigation, particularly anything from the intelligence community (who was told by executive order to cooperate). I don’t think there is a smoking gun showing that the “Deep State” was out to get Trump by starting what eventually became the Mueller investigation. … Read More

Breaking: White House Declares Executive Privilege Over Unredacted Mueller Report

Ken AshfordBreaking News, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

NY Times: WASHINGTON — President Trump asserted executive privilege on Wednesday in an effort to shield hidden portions of Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report and the evidence he collected from Congress. The assertion, Mr. Trump’s first use of the secrecy powers as president, came as the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning to recommend the House … Read More

Mnuchin Says No To Handing Over Trump’s Tax Returns

Ken AshfordTrump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

Surprising absolutely no one, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thumbed his nose at the House of Representatives on Monday evening and decided not to turn over President Donald Trump’s business and personal tax returns after weeks of saying he just needed a little more time to think about it. In a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, Mnuchin, citing guidance … Read More

Trump Is Challenging Democrats On Many Fronts

Ken AshfordCongress, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

President Donald Trump, while portraying himself as the victim in a political war, is foiling an aggressive House Democratic majority’s investigations with historic fervor by refusing to comply with many subpoenas and other oversight requests. On one level, this is nothing new. Prior Congresses and White Houses have certainly found themselves at odds over how much information to disclose. But … Read More

Whistleblower Says White House Reversed 25 Security Clearance Denials

Ken AshfordTrump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

WaPo: A White House whistleblower told lawmakers that more than two-dozen denials for security clearances have been overturned during the Trump administration, calling Congress her “last hope” for addressing what she considers improper conduct that has left the nation’s secrets exposed.Tricia Newbold, a longtime White House security adviser, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that she and her colleagues … Read More

Devin Nunes, GOP Head of House Intel Committee, Is Subject Of Leak Complaint By Senate Intel Committee

Ken AshfordCongress, Political Scandals, Republicans, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of private text messages between the Senate panel’s top Democrat and a Russian-connected lawyer, according to two congressional officials briefed on the matter. Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat, … Read More

Kushner Can’t See The Secret Stuff

Ken AshfordTrump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

Politico has the story: Presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has had his security clearance downgraded — a move that will prevent him from viewing many of the sensitive documents to which he once had unfettered access. Kushner is not alone. All White House aides working on the highest-level interim clearances — at the Top Secret/SCI-level — were informed in … Read More

New Lead on Trump’s Obstruction Of Justice

Ken AshfordTrump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

The New York Times has a story that might prove pivotal in any obstruction-of-justice case that Mueller may pursue against Trump: The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has obtained a letter that President Trump and a top political aide drafted in the days before Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, which explains the president’s rationale for why he … Read More

Will The Attorney General’s Investigation Into Leaks Snare Trump And Fox News?

Ken AshfordNorth Korea, Right Wing and Inept Media, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

Here is a tweet from Fox News this morning at 5:30 a.m.: U.S. spy satellites detect North Korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to patrol boat https://t.co/BPFXsLffgy — FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 8, 2017 By the way, that’s some serious shit, but let’s set aside the content and just note that Fox & Friends linked to a Fox News site … Read More

Trump’s Vacation Doesn’t Stop The Tweets (and Leaks)

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

Nine tweets so far today from Trump — several attacking the “failing” New York Times for an article about 2020 Republicans contenders against Trump, a few trying to reassure everyone that he is actually “working” on his vacation, and this… … which seems to unintentionally confirm that there was… collusion?  Ah well. Why did Trump go after Blumenthal? Probably this: … Read More

Lot Of Hypocrisy About Leaks

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Political Scandals, Russia, Trump & Administration, White House Secrecy, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

The Pentagon Papers was a leak from Daniel Ellsberg. It helped de-legitimize the Vietnam War. Deep Throat was Mark Felt, a top FBI official. He gave Woodward and Bernstein the deep background on the Watergate scandal. Edward Snowden leaked information about US government surveillance programs. Chelsea Manning leaked documents and video relating to Iraqi air strikes, diplomatic cables, and Gitmo, … Read More

Then And Now

Ken AshfordCongress, Constitution, Obama & Administration, White House Secrecy, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

53 years ago today, an outgoing President Eisenhower said: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” He went on: “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or … Read More

Not The Same Thing, Sarah

Ken AshfordElection 2012, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

Inexplicable? I've sort of been busy lately, so I haven't followed the Wikileaks things closely.  But if I were to offer a premature uninformed opinion, it would be along the lines of "so what?" Is it an embarrassment to the U.S.?  Of course.  Is it surprising that we might diss our allies behind their back?  No.  And we know they diss us, … Read More

Unintelligent Intelligence

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/Torture, White House Secrecy, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Everyone should read the Washington Post's recent effort in investigative reporting, Top Secret America. As a piece of journalism, it represents what actual journalism should be — not what passes for journalism in today's he-said-she-said creaming-heads world. That said, the subject of the piece is distressing. Since George W. Bush, we've had this reckless, ridiculous, uncoordinated expansion of intelligence agencies, all sucking … Read More