Democrats Search For Russians — Any Russians — For Collusion

download-1Below is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the controversy surrounding demand letters sent out by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — and the scope of the discovery sought by its lead Democratic counsel.  The scope of discovery is always a difficult issue in litigation and lawyers resist efforts to limit the scope of evidence.  However, reasonable limits are usually worked out between counsel but, in this case, the Senate counsel appears to have doubled down on a definition that is facially too broad. More importantly, it raises serious constitutional concerns.  The definition reads too much like a street cry to “bring out your Russians.”

Here is the column:

Do you know or have you ever known anyone of Russian descent? Think carefully, because the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence could well be interested in your answer.

In a letter from the Democratic senior minority counsel for the committee, April Doss, various individuals and groups were told to reveal not just any Russian citizens with which they have associated but anyone that an organization “knows or has reason to believe [is] of Russian nationality or descent.” Any degree of Russian blood.

The demand from the Senate raises serious issues of free speech and associational rights. Suspicion based on nationality has a long and dark history in the United States, a history being ignored in the rush to incriminate all things Russian in Washington.The Senate not only demanded information on anyone of Russian descent involved in the 2016 election but involved in some capacity in “activities that related in any way to the political election process in the U.S.” So these individuals and groups are expected to reveal the names and association with anyone with any Russian blood who acted “in any way” with any aspect of the “political election process in the U.S.”

The demand for information from the Senate has gone out to a wide range of individuals, including Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party candidate. As a struggling third party, it is particularly concerning for the Green Party to disclose its supporters and associations to a committee composed of members from the two dominant parties.

The forced disclosure of such names has long been viewed as a threat to core constitutional rights. In the 1958 case National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Alabama in seeking the list of members from the NAACP. The court ruled that the disclosure of such names “may induce members to withdraw from the Association and dissuade others from joining it because of fear of exposure of their beliefs shown through their associations and of the consequences of this exposure.”

While the Senate may argue that the mere disclosure of names does not mean that these individuals have committed any wrongful acts, the Court found that the act of disclosure itself creates a chilling effect on speech. The sweeping Senate demand was issued in December.

Notably, in 2016, I testified in Congress in a controversy over a congressional investigation of state prosecutors and environmental public interest groups involved in an alleged campaign against Exxon Corporation. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others had issued subpoenas demanding disclosure of academics and groups associating with Exxon and other energy companies opposed to climate change reforms. The House Science Committee responded with demands for evidence on coordination or communications between those prosecutors and environmental groups.

At the time, Democratic lawmakers like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) denounced the demand, and many distributed a letter signed by law professors that declared, “The subpoenas, and the threat of future sanctions, themselves threaten the First Amendment — directly inhibiting the rights of their recipients to speak, to associate and to petition state officials without interference from Congress.” In my testimony, I expressed similar concerns over protecting free speech and associational rights. While I concluded that the committee was not constitutionally barred in seeking such evidence, I strongly encouraged the committee to narrow its demands and ultimately did narrow its discovery.

What is striking is that the demand from the House committee that led to the outcry from Democratic members in 2016 is a model of restraint compared to the Democratic demand letter from the Senate committee. This country has had a long and ugly history with investigations or actions based on nationality. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the California Alien Land Law of 1913 to the Japanese internment camps of World War II, we have often yielded to our prejudices or fears. Ironically, Democrats most recently objected to the use of nationality in the Trump travel ban as unlawful and “un-American.”

The demand from Doss, who was reportedly brought on to the Senate committee staff by vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), is particularly worrisome because it is entirely unnecessary. The Democratic members could have simply tailored their questions to focus on specific types of actions or advocacy linked to Russian interests. That would make more sense, since the Russians have used non-Russians to pursue such interests. Instead, individuals and groups received demands for any “Russian persons” who may have had some involvement in the 2016 U.S. election.

We have roughly three million Americans claiming Russian descent, including 750,000 who were either born in Russia or have at least one parent or grandparent of ethnic Russian heritage. These citizens have every right and civic obligation to participate in our elections. They include some of our greatest artistic and social icons, from Woody Allen to Michael Bay to Irving Berlin to Harrison Ford. The list also includes such genetic fellow-travelers as Ben Cardin, William Cohen, Russ Feingold, Al FrankenBernie Sanders and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), whose paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. All of these national politicians participated in the 2016 U.S. election. It would also include my children, since my wife descends from a Jewish family from Minsk in the 1800s.

The Senate committee has every right to look into the role of the Russian government and its surrogates in our presidential election. This will necessarily involve scrutiny of the ties, including business and other ties, between potential targets or witnesses and Russia. However, the Senate Democratic staff has flipped the proper inquiry. Rather than confining its discovery to people engaged in well-defined contacts or conduct and then looking at their background, the Senate is looking for “Russians” and then investigating their conduct. While the letter does not ask if and how long your family has been Russian, the end result is the same.

For those of us who have supported the special counsel and congressional investigations, the Doss letter undermines the credibility of the effort to find the truth about campaign interference. It is not simply a gratuitous insult to millions of Russian Americans, but a careless exercise of congressional authority. Moreover, it conveys a reckless, if not desperate, effort to find Russians to fulfill some simplistic narrative of collusion. The fact is that you do not need actual Russians in the United States for Russian collusion, as any more than being Russian means you are more likely to collude. The evidence of Russian intervention has been found by following moneylines and codelines, not bloodlines.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

127 thoughts on “Democrats Search For Russians — Any Russians — For Collusion”

    1. Thank you Paul and CV. 🙂 I had received an email notification that CV posted that with the multiple US flags but when I went into the thread, I couldn’t find the post. Curious.

  1. Take note that we have people in this country (on this blog) who are perfectly fine with the violation of rights as long as it achieves a particular end. For all the concern over the Russians, our republic’s national security is at a greater risk from these ignorant tools than anything some foreign entity may want to do.

  2. I’m just curious if the redacted subcontractor from the publicly released the Top Secret Memorandum Opinion and Order from the FISA court is Fusion GPS. From pg 83 of the order,

    Pg 83. “FBI gave raw Section 702–acquired information to a private entity that was not a federal agency and whose personnel were not sufficiently supervised by a federal agency for compliance minimization procedures.”

    Will we see some FBI related deposits in Fusion’s bank account? I think the odds are going to be pretty good.

    So if Fusion worked with Clinton and the FBI to develop the Dossier to undermine a candidate would that be subversion?

    1. If Fusion received money for information they provided to American intelligence that exposed spying and payments to undeclared foreign agents by nations like Russia, we can agree it would be money well-spent.

      1. If Fusion received money and spied on Americans using FISA “about queries” that would be a 4th amendment violation.

        1. John, since the FBI already had the FISA warrant for Carter Page without the dossier, why would the FBI then hire Fusion GPS to spy on Carter Page, so that the FBI could then use the dossier that it didn’t need to get the FISA warrant for Carter Page that it already had?

          1. They didn’t have the FISA warrant at the time when the cease and desist from the Rodgers came in about the “about queries” FISA 702(17). He reported it to the FISA court which agreed and since banned the practice. It was a subcontractor spying on American citizens using FISA 702 (17), that is not in doubt as the court agreed and it was the FBI was the supplying raw intel to the subcontractor per the court order. If the subcontractor is Fusion GPS then it’s a huge problem as was spying on American citizens in violation of 4th amendment.

        2. I don’t know if Fusion received money from the FBI…..the most common story in reporting is that the FBI considered paying for Russian Dossier research/ information, but ultimately did not.
          Fusion was working on behalf of the Russians to undermine the Magnitsky Act.
          Toward that end, they are reported to have a relationship with both Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin, both unregistered agents working for Russian interests.
          Fusion itself did not register under FARA.
          So the FBI is feeding 702 information to a firm working on behalf of the DNC, and on behalf of the Russian government with two unregistered foreign agents.
          What could possibly go wrong?😏

          1. Yep – and they have to turn over their bank records now. Inspector General will be done soon and Congress needed to reauthorize FISA before any of this could be publicly released. If it’s Fusion GPS, the FBI isn’t going to be looking very good nor is Obama.

            1. I don’t know if they’ll get a complete record of GPS’s bank records; if so, those records may also shed light Fusion GPS’s work on behalf of the Maduro government in Venezuela.
              There are reasons ( beyond the Russia issue) why FARA exists, and probably reasons why it was treated as a joke for years.

          2. Tom Nash said, “Fusion was working on behalf of the Russians to undermine the Magnitsky Act.”

            Unsubstantiated claims should be presented as allegations rather than facts. For instance, Tom Nash should have written the sentence cited above as follows: Fusion GPS allegedly worked on behalf of the Russians to undermine the Magnitsky Act.

            Meanwhile, the information that Veselnitskaya offered at the Trump Tower meeting was essentially the same Kremlin-fabricated charges against Bill Browder that the Russians used to try and convict Browder in absentia long before the Trump Tower meeting. The only new wrinkle in that fabricated case was the supposed connection between Browder and the Ziff brothers who have a history of campaign contributions to the DNC. So Veselnitskaya would not have needed any information from Fusion GPS to proffer the Kremlin-fabricated charges against Browder. The information about the Ziff brothers connections to Browder and campaign contributions to the DNC could have come from Fusion GPS. But that same information could have been acquired by Veselnitskaya under her own recognizance.

            And that’s why unsubstantiated claims ought not to be presented as though they were established facts when they are actually allegations.

              1. Touche! Nash. Except that Veselnitskaya is allegedly on the record as allegedly admitting that she offered that information at the Trump Tower meeting. Maybe she lied. Oops. There I go again. Maybe she allegedly lied.

              2. Tom, dealing with Diane is near impossible for she consistently distorts the truth. But just to add a bit of tinder you might be interested in this article. I posted a bit of it.

                http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/01/was_seth_rich_killed_over_the_steele_dossier.html

                Was Seth Rich Killed over the Steele Dossier?

                During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in August 2017, Glenn Simpson was questioned about whether he tried to “assess the credibility” of sources behind information uncovered by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who compiled the dossier.

                “Yes, but I’m not going to get into sourcing information,” Simpson said.

                Asked again what “steps he took to verify their credibility,” Simpson declined to answer.

                His lawyer, Joshua Levy, then intervened and said Simpson was just trying to protect his sources.

                “Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work,” Levy said.

                This gets us to Brazille’s book where Brazille worries about her own life.

                1. Simpson’s lawyer Levy is obviously referring to one of Steele’s Russian informants who was found dead in his car under suspicious circumstances. Admittedly, Levy’s allegation that the Russians killed one of Steele’s informants is still a matter of speculation. But just look at what you’re trying to insinuate with the grotesque title question of the article you just cited “Was Seth Rich Killed Over the Steele Dossier?”

                  You have no conceivable business claiming that anyone else “consistently distorts the truth,” you shamelessly contorted distortionist, you. Your “truth” is monstrously disfigured.

                    1. No. Levy did not say that the person who was already killed over the dossier was one of Steele’s Russian informants. However, Levy said that Simpson was protecting his sources. So you have a choice between Levy saying that Simpson is protecting the remaining three of Steele’s Russian informants versus the monstrously disfigured notion that Seth Rich was somehow the person who had already been killed over the dossier, who would then have had to have been one of Simpson’s sources, but who also would no longer have required Simpson’s protection, because Seth Rich had already been murdered.

                      There’s a name for the sort of argument entailed by that second choice: FUBAR. I have every reason to believe that John, Tom and Allan know what FUBAR means. I also have every reason to believe that John and Tom are both thus far innocent on the charge of FUBAR. However, in the case of Allan, there can be no reasonable doubt that Allan is, was and ever will be completely and totally FUBAR.

                  1. “Simpson’s lawyer Levy is obviously referring to”

                    Again, Diane has overstepped reality. She cannot know what is in the mind of another, but she pretends she does.

                    Simpson should have stated where he got his information from and who paid him even though we now know it was at least in part the DNC that was controlled (based upon Brazille’s comments) by Hillary Clinton. Donna Brazille wonders about who killed Seth Rich and I presume worries about her own life. I won’t complete the bridge by saying that Seth Rich was the one referred to by Simpson, but I note how without any proof once again you engage in theory making it seem as if your twisted theories are proven facts.

                    Admit it, Diane, much of what you say is pure fiction or unsubstantiated theory. If you were a lawyer the judge would throw you out of court and the Bar would remove your license.

                2. Allan,…
                  There are continuing suspicions about the circumstances of Seth Rich’s death, but I haven’t seen anything solid to support those suspicions.
                  Throwing that tidbit into Brazile’s book may help sales, but I haven’t heard her offfer anything tangible from Brazile about “who mighy be out to get her (or Seth Rich), and why”.
                  Levy’s answer ( about somebody already being killed over this) looked like a smokescreen.
                  Simpson wasn’t asked “who are your sources”…….he was asked if he took any measures to assess the accuracy of the allegations in the Russian Dossier.
                  It looked like Levy intervened at that point to make the comment that he made.
                  I’d need to see a lot more evidence that Seth arich was killed as a result of his position at the DNC….and I am equally skepital that the Russian guy was killed because he gave information for the Russian Dossier.
                  If these cases ars ever solved, it will most likely be “the oligarchs” who committed both murders.😏

                  1. I don’t know what happened and I don’t like to draw conclusions when the facts aren’t clear. Who killed Seth Rich is an open question. Why he was killed is likewise an open question. I think we have a chance that eventually all these things will be tied together. I posted this piece which had a big “?” at the end of the title not to draw a conclusion but to add a bit of tinder and show how so many of the facts were loose and not proven. Diane likes to pick and choose disregarding evidence that disagrees with her theories and then states her theories as facts.

                    My guess is that Brazille was worried and that the inclusion of this fear was more than just trying to sell a book.

                    1. Allan,,,.
                      On the Seth Rich case……every time I’ve seen a “breakthough” with “new evidence”,it’s turned out to be bogus.
                      Kim.com seems to be behind much of it, and the retired DC homicide detective made a fool out of himself by making false claims about “new information”, or “new evidence”. I don’t know if a BAC was performed on Rich, but he was described as being highly intoxicated.
                      Wlaking alone in a high crime area at 3AM-4AM put him at high risk for a street crime.
                      It’s true that his wallet, watch, phone were not stolen…..but if this was a hit disquised as a robbery, it seems like the assassin(s) would stage it better by making sure that it looked like a robbery.

                    2. Tom, I don’t draw conclusions, but remember thieves and killers aren’t always the smartest crayons in the box.

            1. “And that’s why unsubstantiated claims ought not to be presented as though they were established facts when they are actually allegations.”

              But Diane, you place unsubstantiated facts together all the time and present them as established facts. Then you draw conclusions based on combining allegations in ridiculous ways. That is what most of our previous arguments were about.

              1. Wrong again, Allan. I always add modifiers such as maybe, might be, could be, would be, if , then, supposing and so on that place the remainder of the sentence into the subjunctive mood (aka hypothetical). Did you know, Allan, that all three of the permissible tautologies erstwhile misnamed the laws of thought are presented in the subjunctive mood??? Indeed, two of them are dilemmas. And that’s what most of your previous misunderstanding have been about.

                1. Bull, Diane. I proved you wrong over and over again and even embarrassed you over the risk of police lives. Others have done the same. You are one of the worst spinners outside of the ones that know absolutely nothing.

      2. Linda, John’s question is another red herring. The FISA warrant was for Carter Page. The FBI didn’t need the dossier to apply for that FISA warrant. So now they’re claiming that information from the FISA warrant was given to, rather than received from, Fusion GPS.

        Meanwhile, John’s question about payments from the FBI to Fusion GPS are both speculative and inconsistent with his previous claim that the FBI supposedly gave information to Fusion GPS. Just think about it. John is suggesting that the FBI paid Fusion GPS so that the FBI could give information from the FISA warrant for Carter Page to Fusion GPS for a dossier that the FBI didn’t need to obtain the FISA warrant for Carter Page from which the information supposedly given to Fusion GPS was supposedly gleaned.

        It’s twisted beyond all recognition. But a nonetheless impressively persistent idee fixe. What do you say we call it Mueller Derangement Syndrome???

        1. Your incorrect with your facts. The FISA violations occurred before the FISA warrant was granted. If Fusion GPS was the subcontractor using raw FBI intel to spy on Americans and generate the dossier that was used in part to get the FISA warrant on Carter Page while getting paid from the DNC (a admitted Clinton operation) it’s a real problem. Just read the FISA Court finding and remedies.

          April 2016 – the “about queries” were shut down by Mike Rodgers based on abuses by FBI subcontractor
          October 2016 – FISA warrant for Carter Page.

          1. John said, “The FISA violations occurred before the FISA warrant was granted.”

            You’re not thinking clearly, John. You’re literally saying that the FBI gave information about Carter Page to Fusion GPS before the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page. So how did the FBI acquire the information about Carter Page that the FBI allegedly gave to Fusion GPS?

            Well, reportedly the FBI had a FISA warrant on Carter Page in 2014 (check the link I provided). Maybe the FBI gave information gathered during the 2014 FISA warrant on Carter Page to Fusion GPS. Or maybe not. But, since the FBI already had the information gathered during the 2014 FISA warrant on Carter Page, therefore the FBI didn’t need the dossier to get the 2016 FISA warrant on Carter Page.

            1. The FISA court found violations of American citizens right to privacy by a subcontractor of the FBI who was using “about queries”. “About Queries” 702(17) were shut down by Admiral Rodgers and upheld by the court. Do you dispute that fact?

              1. John asked, “Do you dispute that fact?”

                No. I’m questioning the relevance of that fact with respect to the inferences you’re trying to draw from that fact.

                1. John said, “If Fusion GPS was the subcontractor using raw FBI intel to spy on Americans and generate the dossier that was used in part to get the FISA warrant on Carter Page while getting paid from the DNC (a admitted Clinton operation) it’s a real problem.”

                  Those are the inferences you’re trying to draw from the facts you posted, John. I honestly don’t see how you draw those inferences from the facts you posted. But if you can explain it to me. I’ll entertain it.

                  1. Glenn Simpson first contacted Steele 3 days before the the first report of the dossier was presented to the DNC/Clinton. The Intel for the dossier couldn’t have come from Steele. More likely Steele was brought on to give the “Dossier” credibility in the press. So where did the info come from?

                    1. John, firstly, it might be nice if you explained how you know what you’re asserting. For instance, how do you know that Simpson first contacted Steele 3 days before the first report from the dossier was presented to the DNC/Clinton?

                      Secondly, maybe you meant to say 3 days after rather than three days before. That might warrant your claim that the intel from the dossier couldn’t have come from Steele.

                      Thirdly, how do you know what information Fusion GPS presented in its first report to the DNC/Clinton? For instance, do you know this merely by assuming it? Do you assume because you suspect it?

                      Lastly, why would the FBI give intel to Fusion GPS so that Fusion GPS could give that same intel right back to the FBI??? Please explain.

        2. The right wing and Russians are in overdrive trying to thwart Mueller so, their spin doesn’t attempt to be logical. Fiction, with no anchor in truth, is less easily disproven.

          Going forward, taxpayers want a contractor like Fusion paid if the firm provides evidence linking the Steele dossier to the Russian who died of a heart attack in his car trunk.

          John may be correct that globalists like Gates and the Koch’s don’t want tax dollars spent for intelligence to protect the U.S. but, the biggest tax avoiders are small in number in comparison to those who want the nation’s enemies, external and domestic oligarchs, routed.

          1. Be sure to check out the link within the link on the subject of how many times the FBI interviewed Carter Page.

      1. John started the above section of this thread by saying, “I’m just curious if the redacted subcontractor from the publicly released Top Secret Memorandum Opinion and Order from the FISA court is Fusion GPS.”

        The issue involves so-called 702 “about” signal-intelligence [SIGINT] intercepted by the NSA and, under certain circumstances, shared with the FBI. “About” SIGINT refers to US citizens communicating “about” the target of a FISA warrant rather than sending communication to, or receiving communication from, the target of a FISA warrant. “About” SIGINT can also involve communications within the US that are neither sent to, nor received from, any foreign country.

        Since the FBI had a FISA warrant on Carter Page in 2014, it is possible that Carter Page was a targeted subject of 702 “about” SIGINT. That is, any two or more US citizens communicating with one another “about” Carter Page could have had those communications of theirs intercepted by the NSA. Since the FBI was the originating agency for the 2014 FISA warrant on Carter Page, it is probable that the NSA would have shared with the FBI whatever 702 “about” SIGINT the NSA may, or may not, have intercepted “about” Carter Page.

        Beyond the foregoing observations of possibility, we who remain in groping about it the dark must speculate based upon relevant information that has been publically reported. For instance, John noted that the name of an FBI subcontractor presumably hired for the purpose of intelligence analysis was redacted from the FISA court Top Secret Memorandum Opinion and Order that found fault with the FBI’s minimization procedures and ordered the FBI to cease and desist sharing 702 “about” SIGINT with any and all subcontractors until the FBI complied with the minimization procedure standards.

        But where does that leave us? Guessing, as usual. Could be this, could be that, could be the other thing. Which guess do you prefer?

        John evidently prefers to guess that the FBI shared 702 “about” SIGINT involving Carter Page with Fusion GPS for the sake of receiving from Fusion GPS the infamous dossier that contained, amongst other things, information “about” Carter Page that the FBI already possessed from its 2014 FISA warrant for Carter Page as well as whatever 702 “about” SIGINT the NSA may, or may not, have shared with the FBI as well as whatever 702 “about” SIGINT the FBI may, or may not, have shared with Fusion GPS. In other words, John’s first guess bootstraps John’s second guess, which, in turn, reboot-straps John’s first guess.

        Surely there’s some sort of Latin phrase for such a circular support system of guesswork on top of guesswork. But I still prefer Angleton’s phrase: The Wilderness of Mirrors.

        1. Yes I am guessing at this point. At the end of that FISA Order Court there were a number of action items for the FBI to disclose to the court. I suspect that information would be in the that response. Hopefully it gets declassified.

          In any event the FBI inspector general is starting to turn over docs to Congress based on his investigation into politicization of the FBI, so we are going to find out.

          1. Okay, John. Guessing is allowed. Which is a good thing, since guessing is all we can do until the veil is lifted from our eyes.

              1. You’re welcome, John. Your guess was worthy of analysis. Besides, I could be wrong. (Don’t tell anyone else I said that.) Where’s my black marker. Redact that. Redact.

  3. Turley said, “In a letter from the Democratic senior minority counsel for the committee [the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence], April Doss, various individuals and groups were told to reveal not just any Russian citizens with which they have associated but anyone that an organization ‘knows or has reason to believe [is] of Russian nationality or descent.'”

    Well, Professor Turley, who might these “various individuals and groups” to whom the “demand letter” was sent be? And, more to the point, how are the readers of Turley’s column in The Hill, including his devoted blawg hounds, supposed to know who those “various individuals and groups” might be–if Turley never tells anyone???

    Wait a second. Turley doesn’t know anymore than his readers do; does he? Why not? Because Turley’s not allowed to know to whom the demand letters were sent, either; is he? Because the names of those various individuals and groups have been redacted to protect the [potentially] innocent; haven’t they? Thus, out of concern for the privacy rights of the various individuals and groups, whose rights to freedom of association the overly-broad scope of the demand letter purportedly violates, neither we nor Turley know what the blazes Turley is writing about.

    Are we supposed to fill-in the blanks with our preferred class of innocent naïfs? We are supposed to presume that the various individuals and groups at issue actually are innocent naïfs; aren’t we? If not, then why must their names be redacted even from Turley to protect their presumptive innocence? How a bout a few hints? Followed by a game of twenty questions. O! Bother. Now I have to count the question marks in this very post. Fine then! I’ll put myself in the penalty box. Gee. Thanks Turley.

    1. Uh-oh! Turley wrote, “The demand for information from the Senate has gone out to a wide range of individuals, including Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party candidate.”

      So Turley knows to whom the demand letters were sent. But he leaves his readers to guess at who else besides Jill Stein and The Green Party may have received said demand letters. Does this mean that Turley is protecting the identities of the innocent? Probably. Okay. Fine. I’m still in the penalty box.

      1. We need to find out if the Jill Stein campaign colluded with the Russians, and if the 1% of the popular vote Stein received was due to the Russians helping her. 😄

        1. It’s good to see you enjoying yourself, for a change, Tom. Turley didn’t say how many of these demand letters were sent. He only said that they were sent “to a wide range of individuals and groups.” Neither did Turley say what happens if any of the recipients refuse to respond to the demand letter. And what exactly is a demand letter, anyhow? Is it different than a subpoena? Can the recipients use the demand letter to line their bird cages? Can the recipients use their parakeets to add editorial commentary to the responses they send back to The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence???

  4. The issue isn’t whether or not someone is Russian or any influence on US voters by Russian facebook posts. The issue is Mr Trump’s (and probably the Kushner family) known history of facilitating the laundering of illegal money, much of it from Russia.

      1. Diane – if you remember, The Cone of Silence never worked properly. It was always malfunctioning. 😉

  5. Trump won’t release his tax records. Trump lies more often than not. Trump refuses to comment on the important stuff but comments incessantly on drivel, with drivel. It’s not just about the Russians. We have totally non Presidential material in the White House. If the ends justify the means was the system that got him there then why shouldn’t it be the system that gets his lying a** down the road?

  6. News flash: The Russians have been trying to influence our elections for the past 100 years ever since the founding of the Soviet Union. They infiltrated Hollywood, labor unions, and the anti-Vietnam war movement. They also infiltrated the Manhattan Project and the White House during the 1940’s. What the Russians did in the past election is relatively benign compared to their past activities.

    That said, a guy from Moscow just moved in across the street from me. I had a beer with him a few weeks ago. He seemed like a nice guy, but, of course, you never know. The Ukrainian guy next to him joined us. We discussed eastern European borders. Several days later the Russian guy moved his fence a few feet onto the Ukrainian guys property.

    1. LOL! No. Wait. That’s not really funny, Vince. Please stop making me feel guilty for laughing out loud.

  7. The demoncrats are so far off the farm they will continue their attack against our President until he leaves office which I hope will be for another term. Russia, early Alzheimer’s, the pay bonuses are too small, Oprah for president, we need more illegals and on and on and on. They are a political party that offers nothing for any American.

    1. “the pay bonuses are too small” Walmart is to be commended for hiring people with disabilities and providing jobs they can do. We need tax reform that will narrow the horrific meritless wealth gap.
      “Oprah for president” – few have supported that idea, but she is far more competent than the current p.
      “we need more illegals” – nobody has said that. The US is a country of immigrants, built on diversity, successful because its immigrants have brought great ideas from other parts of the world. Our Statue of Liberty invites refugees from other parts of the world. If you don’t like those principles, move to a closed society. Plenty of those exist.

      1. If Trump was willing to listen long enough, it should be explained to him that the immigrants he prefers (like Norwegians) have higher happiness indicators where they are, than do Americans, who have had no pay increase in 35+ years, who are two paychecks away from disaster, who have no guarantee of healthcare and who have a safety net under siege. It is those like the Haitians and Central Americans, the miserable (and, Russian oligarchs looking to plunder), who move to the U.S. without looking back.

      2. CrispBacon-That’s not the reason we have the Statue of Liberty, as for me going to another country no way, I’ve given my body and blood for this nation. Have you?

  8. I think this is going to end in a massive food fight. However, desperate times call for desperate measures.

    1. Paul, if we don’t know who the various individuals and groups to whom the demand letters were sent, then how are we supposed to know at whom to fling, or not to fling, the mashed potatoes???

      P. S. You’re officially off light-duty assignment, now. Unless you feel a relapse brewing. If so, then I hereby send my get-well-soon wishes in advance.

      1. Diane – I see the food fight between the Congress and the letter recipients. I am not fully recovered and have my first Drs. appt on Monday so they can check that I am alive. I have two more after that, assuming I am alive. My body is at about 60%, my brain is at about 90%. 😉

        1. Okay, Paul. You can go back on light-duty assignment. Watch out for Congressional mashed-potato flingers. They’re everywhere these days; ya know? Oh, and here’s a little bad grammar to speed your recovery:

          Get weller sooner, Schulteacher.

        2. Glad to hear you’re getting around Paul. Been out of the blog a good bit. Saw where you didn’t post for a while. Hope all is looking up.

          We’ll see who gets to use the serving spoon in the mashed potatoes…

  9. As if the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and its lead Democrat think anyone that comes from Russia is a sh*thole.

  10. Turley searches for a doghouse on fire- any doghouse on fire.

    When the main residence is teetering and near collapse, due to an incoherent, incompetent and venal occupant, Turley manages to seek out and focus on a nearby burning doghouse instead of focusing on the residence. Not that a burning doghouse isn’t newsworthy. It is. But consistently focusing on the burning doghouse instead of on the teetering residence is telling.

  11. Warren Zevon Lyrics
    “Lawyers, Guns And Money”

    Well, I went home with the waitress
    The way I always do
    How was I to know
    She was with the Russians, too

    I was gambling in Havana
    I took a little risk
    Send lawyers, guns and money
    Dad, get me out of this

    I’m the innocent bystander
    Somehow I got stuck
    Between the rock and the hard place
    And I’m down on my luck
    And I’m down on my luck
    And I’m down on my luck

    Now I’m hiding in Honduras
    I’m a desperate man
    Send lawyers, guns and money
    The shit has hit the fan

  12. This is the song Bill Clinton was singing at the airport in Milwaukee recently:

    (music)
    Well I sent out with a waitress…
    That I hardly knew….
    How was I to know….?
    She was with the Russians too?

  13. Of course every member of the Trump campaign and administration has lied when asked specific questions about meeting with Russians. Maybe those questions were too narrow?
    Of course “every member” is way too broad. Let me just name Sessions, Kushner, Donald Jr. Manafort. Gates, Papadopoulos. Spicer, Pence, KellyAnne and Sarah have lied about others not meeting with Russians.
    Maybe the Democrats have just started with the basics?

      1. Michael, you would be an example of the bubble people. Most of what I cited was shown on videotape, some came from copies of required government forms, some from watching something other than Fox News.

  14. Yes! One of my students in the previous century was a Russian, an actual Russian!

    Well, maybe he was a Ukrainian. I don’t remember…

        1. True. But then The Ukraine was also known, for time, as The Khanate of the Golden Horde. The Kievan Rus had lots of grass. The Mongols had lots of horses. The Novgorod Russians had lots of conifer and hardwood forests. Go figure.

            1. Michael Orton disputed the distinction that you drew between Russians versus Ukrainians, Dr. Benson. The historical observation that I made is one of the strongest bases for the distinction that you drew between Russians versus Ukrainians. Of course, there are other bases for the distinction at issue.

    1. David, could he have been German since the Germans immigrated to Ukraine or was he Turk since the Turks were there and that is why the Russian Czar encouraged migration of Germans into the area? Could he have had Aztec blood from an earlier migration? 🙂

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