"This is Watergate" Trump tweets that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower to influence the election.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (FISA) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The FISA court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October.
Obama White House believes it maintained plausible-deniability and denies having ordered wiretap on Trump Tower. ("You can't prove that.")
"Barack Obama through his spokesman Kevin Lewis denied Trump's accusation that he had ordered the Trump Tower wiretapped, saying neither he nor any member of the Obama White House, "ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."
"Ben Rhodes, a former senior adviser to President Obama in his role as deputy National Security Advisor, slammed Trump's accusation, insisting that "No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you." He also said "only a liar" could make the case, as Trump suggested, that Obama wire tapped Trump Tower ahead of the election."
"Rhodes is wrong, especially as pertains to matters of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, and its associated FISA court, under which the alleged wiretap of Donald Trump would have been granted, as it pertained specifically to Trump's alleged illicit interactions with Russian entities."
"Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau was quite clear in his warning to reporters that Obama did not say there was no wiretapping, effectively confirming it."
Backstage at the Trump vs Deep-State Cage Match, Pepe Escobar, wherein Mr Escobar reveals the special insights of his deep-throat source, the mysterious "X". Pepe gives some of his own thoughts, following the "X-files". Thanks Eleni. Good stuff.
(Good to see the occasional rational explanation in the midst of all the religious screaming from political factions of all feather. I'm not saying this, or any other explanation is "true". Everybody has hidden interests, so "X" does, too.)
Moon of Alabama: Obama Ordered Abuse of Intelligence to Sabotage Trump Policies (sorta' "proves" it, but not in a court of law) Thanks Eleni.
Here was the Russia question as posed by Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy: “Several of the President-Elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. "Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” Here was Sessions’ answer: “No.”
Untrue? The question was not whether Sessions had been in contact with anyone in the Russian government, but rather whether Sessions had been contact with anyone in the Russian government about the 2016 election. Assuming that Sessions never discussed the election with Kislyak—and no one has been able to offer any evidence that he did—then there was nothing false in his response. There wasn’t even anything misleading. Zero story.
Palmyra is back in Syrian government control after very effective and rapidly evolving attack, led by Russian special forces. Thanks Eleni.
Moon of Alabama analyzes the secure, but ineffectual position of President Erdogan's Turkey. He has gone back and forth between Russia and the US, perceives that the CIA was behind the failed coup against him, has thoroughly purged the military, and it is now useless, untalented and unmotivated (but loyal). His forces are restricted to an area within Syria, along the Turkish border, and cannot move anywhere else in Syria, or supply ISIS or other proxy forces in Syria. Turkey can't really be cut out of deals in the area, but can't bargain very hard with anybody, either. Thanks Eleni.
This article states what I always assumed to be the case, which is that the US was electronically shooting-down North Korean rocket launches, trying hard, and usually succeeding in screwing up their guidance and internal electronics so they crashed right away. This won't stop, but the Koreans are winning a few rounds of this, too.
Gonna' need a visa to travel to Europe this summer...
The UK could walk away from the European Union in 2019 without paying a penny, the House of Lords has said, in a report bound to raise tensions with Brussels in the run-up to Brexit talks. The British government would have no legal obligation to either pay a €60bn (£52bn) Brexit bill mooted by the European commission or honour payments into the EU budget promised by the former prime minister David Cameron, according to analysis by the House of Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee. ("Who's gonna' make us?")
Charles Hugh Smith looks at why the cost of living is so unaffordable. (To deliver a baby in a hospital in 1952 cost $275 in inflation-adjusted dollars, $30 in 1952 greenbacks.)
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