Throughout the presidential campaign fact checkers found that Donald Trump lied some 76% of the time. Not that it seemed to matter to his low information, racists and bigotry motivated base of support. Now, confronted with information that Russia has potentially salacious blackmail information on Trump or even worse that Trump and/or his staff may be guilty of treason, Der Fuhrer does what he always does and says it is all "Fake News." One can only hope that this time the news media and allied foreign intelligence services will ignore Trumps lies and go for the jugular and take the man down. I find Mike Pence very frightening, but he might be a safer alternative in some ways than the narcissistic, megalomaniac Trump. A piece in Politico looks at the growing firestorm that I hope consumes Trump and ends his presidency in its infancy. If Pence is implicated, it would be all the sweeter as the GOP becomes the party of treason. Here are article highlights:
Ten days before he’s sworn in as president, Donald Trump is facing a potential crisis amid reports that U.S. intelligence officials delivered a report to the president-elect last week outlining allegations that Russia could have compromising information about him.
Although the details of these revelations remain murky and unverified, their publication Tuesday night, on the eve of Trump’s first news conference since July, is upsetting any post-election honeymoon and forcing him to confront what is, at best, an uncomfortable public relations fiasco and potentially a new geopolitical pressure point that could cast a shadow on his incoming administration.
“FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT,” Trump tweeted at 8:19 p.m. Tuesday, more than two hours after the first reports began to surface.
On Tuesday evening, multiple reports attributed to anonymous sources contended that the nation’s four top intelligence chiefs informed President Barack Obama and Trump of allegations that Russia had collected compromising and tawdry personal information about the president-elect.
After the first report surfaced, BuzzFeed published the longer, unverified document that formed the basis of the two-page synopsis to the official report, which had been classified, that details the kompromat — a Russian term for compromising material — in graphic terms.
Trump, who survived a devastating scandal a month before the election after a tape surfaced of him bragging about his celebrity enabling him to get away with grabbing women's genitals, has had remarkable success pushing past controversies that would have sunk more conventional politicians and in counterpunching his adversaries.
But this situation is different — he's battling the nation's intelligence officers, not rival politicians. Now, it's not his campaign in turmoil but a nascent administration less than two weeks from inheriting the White House. And the stakes go beyond politics. With a matter of national security and geopolitical importance, Trump's uncanny ability to will his own, preferred alternative reality into being may meet its limits.
“I have no idea with Trump. You used to be able to say, ‘I think I know how this ends.’ But there's no way to know now,” said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist.
Neera Tanden, a longtime Clinton ally and the president of the Center for American Progress, said Tuesday evening the new allegations should be fully investigated.
“The intelligence dossier presents profoundly disturbing allegations; ones that should shake every American to the core,” she said in a statement.
The new allegations will provide fodder for critics hoping to block Trump’s planned realignment with Russia. The critics fear Trump could grant Moscow a freer hand in Syria, recognize Putin’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea, lift U.S. sanctions, and even call for a reduced NATO presence in Eastern Europe.
At a minimum, they are likely to make for uncomfortable moments at Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Several Russia hawks from both parties on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were already primed to grill Tillerson on his own relationship with Putin — with whom he struck massive energy deals as CEO of ExxonMobil — as well as Trump’s plans for U.S.-Russia policy.
While Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, was grinding through the first day of a long confirmation hearing, lawmakers in another hearing room were questioning Comey. Asked by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) if his agency was currently investigating any possible contact between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, Comey demurred, saying he couldn’t comment on the nature of any current investigations.
Hours later, the reports detailing the addendum to the official report revealed allegations of an ongoing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.
Again, I hope the irresponsible press will this time smell blood in the water and go on a feeding frenzy that ultimately takes Trump down - and hopefully Pence with him.