It's OK To Treat Trump Like A Russian Agent. The Pentagon Does.
We wanted to underline something we talked about yesterday, in our now world-famous article Oh Dear, Glenn Greenwald Pulled A Glenn Greenwald Again. The subject matter Greenwald was willfully misinterpreting and fucking up, like he does, was news that the New York Timesbroke on Sunday about the United States firming up its ability to get inside the Russian power grid and do funny business. It's serious, and probably quite necessary, because on top of its incursions into our election systems, Russia has also been escalating efforts to hack in to American power grids. This has been going on for a while.
But one of the striking things about that story, as Rachel Maddow noted last night, is Donald Trump's reaction to it, both this weekend and last night. Here were his first tweets when he heard the story:
The New York Times shed some light on why Dipshit up there might have been screaming FAKE NEWS, and it's because nobody told him this was happening:
Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place "implants" — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.
Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.
And that is what we need to underline right here. They're not holding back information from Trump because he's an idiot who ignores intel briefings anyway -- though he is definitely that, and we have heard rumors going all the way back to the beginning of Trump's presidency that the intel community sometimes hides the really good shit from him, for fear of what he'll do with it. But that quote, citing "two administration officials," says right out loud that "Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction," partially because they are worried he will leak it to the Russians just like he leaked code word level Israeli intelligence to the Russians the day after he fired James Comey in order to criminally obstruct the Russia investigation.
Got that? PENTAGON AND INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS are making this assessment. Not Wonkette. Not Elizabeth Warren. Not Rachel Maddow. THE PENTAGON. (By the way, yes we have heard that Patrick Shanahan has been pulled from consideration for the full big boy Senate-confirmed Defense Secretary job, likely linked to the bombshell domestic violence story that just dropped in the Washington Post. Could it also have something to do with this? We surely wouldn't be surprised if it did!)
These ops against Russia are being led by US Cyber Command, which is part of THE PENTAGON. It is strangely comforting, yet also horrifying, that this is happening. Comforting because that means THE PENTAGON agrees with the FBI, which assessed in 2017 that Trump's behavior toward Russia is worrying enough that he might indeed be a Russian asset of some kind, witting or unwitting, and therefore THE PENTAGON is taking the proper steps to safeguard our national security. Horrifying, though, for this to be happening to any president. Such is the dissonance of the Trump era. (By the way, we still don't have any info from the counter-intel investigation the FBI started into whether Trump was truly compromised, because President Foreign Agent's main man Bill Barr is hiding it from House Intel Committee chair Adam Schiff.)
To be clear, this story made the New York Times because THE PENTAGON wants Russia to know it's up in their business and is capable of fucking them up right good. And that's also where Donald Trump learned the information, which he is now desperate to deny.
Rachel Maddow reminded us last night of another story about the Deep State -- or as some call it, more properly, the "steady state" -- flying into action early in the Trump presidency, in order to stop Trump from turning the White House into an outpost of the Kremlin during his first week. Michael Isikoff reported in 2017 that just about the second Trump was inaugurated, his administration started issuing directives telling the State Department, which still had a lot of Obama staffers at that time, to get ready to lift all the sanctions on Mother Russia:
"There was serious consideration by the White House to unilaterally rescind the sanctions," said Dan Fried, a veteran State Department official who served as chief U.S. coordinator for sanctions policy until he retired in late February. He said in the first few weeks of the administration, he received several "panicky" calls from U.S. government officials who told him they had been directed to develop a sanctions-lifting package and imploring him, "Please, my God, can't you stop this?"
The very short version is that State flew into action behind the scenes to get Congress to do something about it, and Congress -- controlled completely by Republicans at that point, remember -- ultimately did do something about it, voting that summer on a gigantic new sanctions package against Russia, which passed 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House, and which included measures saying that any new sanctions relief for the Russians would have to be okayed by Congress.
So that's just another lesser-known example of US officials doing everything they can to prevent President Russian Agent from doing what he really wants to do. Of course, in those days, it was a lot of Obama holdovers at State. Hard for Trump to argue that the Pentagon in 2019 is "Obama people."
We all know the stories of Trump officials essentially telling Trump to fuck off when he gives stupid or illegal orders that shouldn't be followed. The Washington Post has a list of 15 right here, including instances in the Mueller Report, when White House officials ignored Trump's repeated requests for them to commit crimes to obstruct the Russia investigation. Of course, it also includes the time former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis ignored Trump's request that he murder Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
A few more links along those lines:
- Here's an article from the Military Times about the Pentagon ignoring Trump's order to stop making plans to deal with climate change.
- Here's an article from Foreign Policy, from back before Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un began their homoerotic love affair, about the Pentagon and Trump's cabinet ignoring Trump's threats of war against North Korea and Venezuela.
- Here's a massive piece in The Atlantic about White House aides and the Defense Department and even the Department of Justice (HAHA, NOT ANYMORE, RIGHT BILL BARR?) just ignoring all of Trump orders, as a matter of the normal course of business.
The internet is full of this shit.
But somehow we think this is more of a wow moment. A lot of the other 10,000 examples of people in the Trump administration LOL-ing and going about their day when President Baby Shits yells out an order are easier to write off as, quite frankly, the rational response of adults to a president who is a petulant and stupid shit baby.
The Pentagon hiding Russian ops from the president -- and telling the New York Timesit's because they are worried the president will handle that information as a Russian intelligence asset might handle that information -- is something else entirely.
This is a pull the fire alarm moment.
Nancy Pelosi, for the second time in a week, we are saying it's time to pull the fire alarm.
Watch your Rachel:
Donald Trump Flips Out Over NYT Report On New US Aggression With Russia | Rachel Maddow | MSNBCwww.youtube.com
[New York Times / Yahoo]
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