Hey, can I see your phone for a sec?

Hey, remember that time when President Good Words accused Barack Obama of doing an evil TAPP to his WIRES during the VERY SACRED ELECTION PROCESS?

By which he means, "We're thinking about tapping some wires up in the White House!" Because if we've learned anything in the past 15 months, it's that accusation is always confession in Trumpland.

Tell us, Daily Beast!

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, whom former national security adviser Michael Flynn brought onto the NSC as senior director for intelligence, sought technical solutions in early 2017 for collecting and analyzing phone and other data on White House colleagues for interactions with reporters. He portrayed his desired leak hunt as an “insider threat” detection effort, according to the ex-officials.

See, the White House didn't like all those leaks coming out before John Kelly came in and put a stop to that entirely. (WE KID!) So they set Michael Flynn's little attack schnauzer to root out the leakers by checking their private phone data. As one does ... when one is a fascist with no regard for the First and Fourth Amendments. Or understanding of the difference between embarrassing information -- like a joke about a sitting senator dying of brain cancer -- and classified data.

The Daily Beast was unable to determine if this harebrained scheme ever got past the planning stage -- although they do note Cohen-Watnick's crack strategy to combat leaks by yelling about what he would do to those wily leakers if he ever got his hands on them.

The officials said Cohen-Watnick used to hold what one ex-official described as “loud secret meetings,” in earshot of passers-by, about finding leakers.

Oh, yeah, dude. You're like if Sun-Tzu and Machiavelli had a baby who was too lazy to go to law school like every other assistant DNI.

Cohen-Watnick is represented by Mark Zaid, who did go to law school and for whom we have a lot of respect. Although we're side-eying this argument HARD.

Ezra worked along with numerous others within the NSC and IC [intelligence community] to facilitate implementation of the Obama Executive Order on insider threats that was issued in the wake of Edward Snowden’s illegal theft and disclosures.

Cohen-Watnick was just trying to root out the next Snowden by monitoring the phones of his own staff? PFFFFT.

Superfans will note the irony of Cohen-Watnick playing leak hunter, when he himself is accused of leaking to everyone's favorite traitor-hack Devin Nunes that night when the Congressman ninja-ed out of his Uber to give that press conference on the White House lawn. Cohen-Watnick denies being Nunes's source, although the DB notes his own colleague refers to him as "the one most likely to end up like Ollie North."

And oh, lookee here! Seems Donald Trump personally ordered the Justice Department to appoint Cohen-Watnick as a senior advisor to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Did we mention that Cohen-Watnick is not a lawyer? But he sure does love him some Donald Trump! Bet Jeff Sessions will be delighted to have that little weenie follow him around all day.


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[Daily Beast]

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

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[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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