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Is Acting DNI Ric Grenell A Literal Actual Foreign Agent Like Michael Flynn? No, He Couldn't Possibly!

White House

We already know many reasons why Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell is uniquely unsuited to be Donald Trump's acting director of national intelligence, even if, as they SWEAR, he's only keeping the seat warm for a little bit before Trump nominates a REAL idiot to be his fully confirmed director of national intelligence. Grenell knows nothing about "intelligence," he's an obnoxious Twitter troll, his host country despises him, and former National Security Advisor and UN Ambassador Susan Rice says he's a "hack and a shill" and "one of the most nasty, dishonest people I have ever encountered." But he knows about kissing Donald Trump's grundle, and that's all that matters in Trump's White House.

But there's other news percolating out there about why Grenell might REALLY, on top of all that, be unqualified for the DNI position, even if he's just rubbing his butt on it until they make him leave. It has to do with all the foreign clients he worked for during his time in the private sector, work that, in a sane America, would prevent him from having any sort of security clearance, much less allow him to oversee the nation's 17 intelligence agencies.


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has sent a letter to the Department of Justice, outlining his concerns and demanding an investigation into whether Grenell might have actually broken the law by failing to disclose all his foreign work, which may in point of fact be literal actual Michael-Flynn-style foreign agent work:

I write to request that your office immediately investigate reports that Richard Grenell did not disclose his past work as a foreign agent in possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. According to public reporting, Mr. Grenell, prior to his service in this administration, did not register with or report to the Justice Department his work in support of a number of foreign entities, including the government of Hungary and Vladimir Plahotniuc, a Moldovan government official who last month was sanctioned by the U.S. government for corruption and who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Shady work for right-wing authoritarians in Eastern Europe? Clients with weirdo ties to Putin? Sounds like a Trump intel official to us!

The letter continues:

If the reports regarding the nature of Mr. Grenell's undisclosed work with foreign entities are accurate, he may be subject to potential civil and criminal liability as well as vulnerable to blackmail in his new position in the Intelligence Community. It also appears that Mr. Grenell may have misled Congress during his confirmation hearing to be U.S. Ambassador to Germany when asked about his writing on foreign policy and any compensation he received for his work related to Moldova.

Possibly vulnerable to blackmail? Maybe lied to Congress? Still sounds like a Trump intel official to us!

So, that all sounds very bad, and we are sure Bill Barr's Justice Department will get right on that, just like it did when it found out Donald Trump was extorting Ukraine for announcements of investigations into his political rivals in exchange for congressionally appropriated military did. Haha, JUST FOOLING, Bill Barr isn't loyal to America or its national security, Bill Barr is loyal, like Ric Grenell, to kissing Trump's royal grundle.

So Is Ric Grenell The Gay Michael Flynn Or Something?

ProPublica has the skinny on Grenell's work as a "media consultant" for Plahotniuc, the Moldovan oligarch and political party leader who, as Schumer noted, is currently sanctioned by America and has Putin ties. Grenell wrote articles for right-wing rags accusing Plahotniuc's opponents of doing Russia's dirty work and doing corruptions, but according to an expert ProPublica spoke to, that A-hole was playing both sides and always had. Specifically the opponent Grenell attacked was a Moldovan prosecutor "who was cooperating with an investigation of large-scale money laundering" as a whistleblower, according to Talking Points Memo, which has an exclusive interview with that prosecutor.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has the details on Grenell's work for the Magyar Foundation, a "U.S. nonprofit funded almost entirely by the Hungarian government led by far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban."

According to ProPublica's reporting, the Moldovan work came about when Grenell's firm, Capitol Media Partners, represented Arthur Finkelstein, a now-dead gay Republican ratfucker who had a bizarre love affair with the fascists who have taken over Hungary. Grenell's lawyers, for the record, say he was just consulting for Finkelstein, and didn't know anything about Finkelstein's clients. They also say he was never paid for all the articles he wrote advocating for various foreign interests. Those just came from his heart, you see.

Wonkette wrote a while back about who the fuck is/was Arthur Finkelstein, in a long post where we tried to at least map out (like Carrie Mathison from "Homeland" on speed) some of the myriad unanswered questions about the Trump-Russia conspiracy:

Paul Manafort and Roger Stone and Donald Trump [all have] weird Hungarian connections, all going back to this one weirdass gay reclusive guy from New York named Arthur Finkelstein, who, as we wrote recently, is, like, the original election ratfucker, and who worked in Hungary to effect the authoritarian takeover by Viktor Orbán, who is allll the way up Vladimir Putin's ass. Finkelstein was a New York buddy of Roy Cohn's and also of Donald Trump's, so he's obviously a nice guy. It also seems like he was the one who hooked Paul Manafort up with all the Russian oligarchs in the first place. There's an independent journalist who has been pretty sure that this entire Trump-Russia road leads back to Finkelstein and Hungary for quite a while now. We've never been sure how much to trust that theory, but we're starting to think he's had this pegged for a while now.

How much was everything in that block quote connected to the Russian ratfucking operation to elect Donald Trump, which Robert Mueller did not prove was not a conspiracy, and also the greater Russian-Eastern European fascist conspiracy to destroy Western democracy? ALL OF IT, KATIE. Too bad Paul Manafort went to prison, taking whatever secrets he knows with him.

So yeah, Ric Grenell worked for that guy Finkelstein -- gay Republicans who dote on authoritarians who'd otherwise probably kill them gotta stick together, we guess! And he worked for the "American" nonprofit funded almost entirely by the authoritarian Hungarian government Trump loves so much.

Any other weird shit, Washington Post?

Grenell also represented people based in countries such as Iran, Kazakhstan, Somalia and China, according to an archived version of his personal website.

Talking Points Memo also found some more former Capitol Media Partners clients listed on that archived website, which is how we get to a TV channel "for the Afghan diaspora" called Zaland, which made this really cool Afghan version of the Judge Judy program:

www.youtube.com

See, now, if the headline of this story was Trump's New Gay-Sexual DNI Brought 'Judge Judy' To The Entire World, we would not be complaining one bit about it.

Anyway, it gets weirder from there, so hit TPM up for that. The Congo-Kazakhstan angle is particularly bizarre.

Who Could Blackmail This Guy? Sounds Like The Question Might Be Who Couldn't?

Again, sounds like a Trump intel official to us!

For the record, all these articles have quotes from White House sources and Grenell's lawyer, saying it's impossible that Grenell could have run afoul of FARA, because he was never actually working for a foreign government. Which is interesting, because Michael Flynn got in FARA trouble for a very similar situation, when he was working for a Turkish-Dutch intermediary entirely for the benefit of the Turkish government during the 2016 campaign. Remember that op-ed Flynn published on election day, about how we just really need to help our very best friend Turkey extradite this Turkish cleric living protected in America, so Turkey could death penalty him? Anyway, Michael Flynn pleaded to lying in his after-the-fact FARA filings, though he is now hilariously trying to withdraw his guilty plea.

Meanwhile, part of why Paul Manafort is in prison is because he hid his own foreign agent work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. But whatever!

Whew, We Sure Are Glad Ric Grenell Is Just The Acting DNI And Trump Will Pick A Much Better Stable Genius For The Role Very Soon!

You bet.

The latest update on Trump's alleged search for a permanent DNI is that we are in a particularly stupid sequel to Back To The Future, where we have just traveled back in time to reconsider yet again whether Trump should nominate paste-eating dipshit Rep. John Ratcliffe for the job. Yes, even though Ratcliffe is probably unconfirmable by the Senate, even though he looks like this, and even though he appears to have fabricated approximately half of his resume. After that Trump thought maybe a different paste-eating dipshit, Rep. Chris Stewart, could be DNI, but then Trump found out Stewart called him "Mussolini" back in the day, and that hurt Dear Leader's feelings. At one point Trump was considering Devin Fucking Nunes for this, and we don't need to add any jokes to that, because Nunes is the joke.

Anyway, maybe Ratcliffe again, SURE WHY NOT.

Point is, we understand why some on Twitter think Trump might just be scheming to keep Grenell in the "acting" seat, because of how Grenell is a white-nationalist-sympathizing Twitter troll who's so bad at "ambassador" his host country wants him to leave and forget where they exist on the map, which means in Trump's bad brain, Grenell is perfect.

Time will tell, but no matter what, we are so fucked.

VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO, GODDAMMIT.

[Schumer letter / ProPublica / Washington Post / Talking Points Memo]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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