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The #scandal Donald Trump is distracting us with right now.


Donald Trump, authoritarian bag of dicks that he is, has succeeded at least partially in hijacking the news cycle from how he and his team are under multiple investigations for maybe colluding with Russia to play grab-pussy with the 2016 election results. It started when the White House leaked a thing to some "alt-right" cuck named Mike Cernovich -- are we using the word "cuck" right? -- about how former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice (BENGHAZI!!!11!! BLACK LADY!!!!1!!!!) may have "unmasked" the names of Trump team officials whose names were collected in FISA surveillance, something that would be completely routine and normal for a national security adviser who was doing her job. After Cernovich's "journalism" came out, Eli Lake published a non-bombshell waste of our time article about it in Bloomberg, and we were off to the races!

[wonkbar]<a href="http://www.wonkette.com/615020/oh-cool-a-bullshit-non-story-about-susan-rice-doing-wire-tapps-to-donald-trump-burn-her"></a>[/wonkbar]Of course, Trump acts like this is the same thing as the bullshit Obama "wire tapps" tweet he sent a month ago, when the reality is just that Trump is a liar and an asshole doing anything he can to distract us from how at least SEVERAL people in Trump's inner circle are probably guilty as hell, and because the types of wingnuts who support him are easily led pigs who will oink whichever way daddy tells them to, they believe him when he says it's the same.

It's not the first time Trump has distracted us in this way, and it won't be the last. When this stupid Susan Rice thing recedes from view, Trump will act up again, perhaps by being the World's Stupidest President and getting us into a war with North Korea.

[wonkbar]<a href="wonkette.com/613681/obama-people-hid-trump-russia-intel-under-couch-cushions-behind-fridge-just-everywhere"></a>[/wonkbar]But while we're still here, let's clear a few things up. Firstly, the Washington Post has published a handy tracker of all the lies the Trump administration has told about #RiceGate (no, it is not a thing, we made it up), specifically things that have emanated from the face hole of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. There's the weird thing from Spicer's press conference the other day, where he insisted that the TV appearance of an Obama official named Evelyn Farkas (who quit working for the White House in 2015) proved "Obama people" did illegal and bad "unmasking" of Trump idiots, completely eliding the important facts that 1) she was talking about something else entirely (SEE SIDEBAR AT RIGHT) and 2) if Trump names were picked up in conversations with FISA-monitored bad actors, that's kind of significant, considering the FBI's ongoing investigation.

As for Rice, the WaPo notes that Eli Lake originally reported she had asked for "unmasking" DOZENS of times, but it turns out that wasn't true. Rice shed some light on what she actually did do, as part of her job, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC:

MITCHELL: Within the context of the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, did you seek ... to unmask the names of people involved in the Trump transition, the Trump campaign ... in order to spy on them?

RICE: Absolutely not, for any political purposes, to spy, expose, anything.

MITCHELL: Did you leak the name of Mike Flynn?

RICE: I leaked nothing to nobody, and never have and never would.

This would be a good moment to note that there's a difference between an official requesting unmasking -- again, a ROUTINE THING -- and actually leaking somebody's name. As alluded to in that transcript, there are ALL THESE RUMORS that Rice somehow "leaked" Flynn's name, which would be unfair because Russo-Turkish foreign agents who maybe hate America should be allowed to be Donald Trump's national security adviser in peace, should they not? (Also, for the record, Rice says she didn't find out Flynn was an unregistered foreign agent until it hit the press, just the same way the rest of us found out. So if she was ILLEGALLY SPYING AND UN-MASKING, she wasn't doing a bang-up job of it.)

Also, is everyone on the same page with what "unmasking" is? Basically, routine surveillance will pick up conversations between two foreigns, or between a foreign and an American, and in those reports, Americans' names are listed as "U.S. Person #1" or whatever. However sometimes, in order for intelligence gathering to be worth shit, an official will request that the U.S. Person's name be unmasked, so that they may understand the intelligence better. There are procedures for this, and the NSA will either say "yes" or "fuck off," depending on if they agree with the necessity of the request. For more details on how this works, read this, from intelligence vet John Schindler. (For the record, he says the U.S. intel community hates Susan Rice, but he also points out that's small potatoes compared to the INVESTIGATION INTO COLLUSION BETWEEN TEAM TRUMP AND A HOSTILE FOREIGN POWER.)

For the record, Rice noted in her interview with Andrea Mitchell that any time the NSA approved a request for a person's name to be unmasked, THEY WERE THE ONES making that decision, so if wingnuts want to bellyache about this, they need to include the intelligence community in this instead of just screaming "SUSAN RICE OMG!" because it's the dogwhistle they understand.

Anyway, we are very sorry, but there is no #scandal here.

Of course, once the White House leaked Rice's name to Cernovich, the "alt-right" weenus-boy with his eyes too close together, and then the "story" made its way to the pages of Bloomberg, that was enough for idiots like Devin Nunes and the rest of the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to suddenly decide they REALLY need Susan Rice to testify, in their fake investigation into "wire tapps" and now "unmasking." It was also enough for idiots like Senator Rand Paul to say "SQUIRREL!" and do their part to help the White House in its obstruction campaign:

Rand Paul is correct twice a year. This is not one of those times.

As for other Republicans bitching, we're not going to get into the weeds here, but we will show you the "news reports" YouTube suggested we might want to watch, based on how we watched the Andrea Mitchell interview above:

Ooh, did she BREAK THE LAW? Does FOX NEWS have some hard hitting "analysis" for us? Oh look, Rand's daddy RON PAUL and GREG GUTFELD have thoughts! And at the end, there's a panel discussion on Russian state-owned TV! Golly gee, those are some "journalism" videos we won't be watching, because we're not a fucking idiot.

As we said, there is no "there" there. The quicker the media realizes this, the quicker they can go back to reporting on the real issue, which is the Trump team's alleged collusion with Russia, at least until next time Donald Trump pulls a poo from the back of his tighty whities and shows it to the American public on Twitter, at which point we will waste another month fucking around.

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[Washington Post]

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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