Saturday, March 25, 2017

Guideposts for following the Trump-Russia scandal

James Henry explains in his long article on Trump's connections to various dubious Russian oligarchs (The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections The American Interest 12/19/2016):

... the individual case-based approach to investigations employed by most investigative journalists and law enforcement often misses the big picture: the global networks of influence and finance, licit and illicit, that exist among business people, investors, kleptocrats, organized criminals, and politicians, as well as the “enablers”—banks, accounting firms, law firms, and havens. Any particular component of these networks might easily disappear without making any difference. But the networks live on. It is these shadowy transnational networks that really deserve scrutiny. [my emphasis in bold]
This is a good consideration to keep in mind. It's part of why the Russia-Trump story is popping up so quickly right now in various forms There are a lot of pieces to it.

Matthew Schofield reports on how House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes actions this past week have made it more difficult for the Republicans to avoid an independent investigation of the Trump-Russia legal issues (More signs that House panel’s Trump-Russia probe is reeling McClatchy 03/24/2017):

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced Friday that he’d postponed what was to have been another public hearing on Tuesday, a decision that was angrily denounced moments later by Rep. Adam Schiff, the Californian who is the highest ranking Democrat on the committee. Schiff pointedly called the postponement was a cancellation. ...

Schiff accused Nunes of canceling the hearing, which was to have heard from Obama administration officials, to “choke off public information” and avoid any more embarrassment to the White House. ...

Schiff pointed out that the three former officials scheduled to appear Tuesday – Obama-era Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates – had all agreed to testify in an open session. When they will now appear before the committee is not known, a committee spokesman said.
This followed on Nunes' stunt earlier in the week of publicly saying that he had seen evidence of individuals from the Trump campaign having been monitored in surveillance operations that were aimed at foreign nationals. That action undermined his credibility to head an investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. It also caused a lot of confusion because it wasn't clear what Nunes had seen or what the real significance of it was.

The Young Turks describe that particular mess in Oops: Devin Nunes Backpedals Spying Claims 03/24/2017:

Here's a report on that from the Morning Joe crew, Joe: Devin Nunes Blew Up Hopes Of Independent Russia Investigation 03/23/2017:

The very capable Charlie Savage offers us Amid Trump Inquiry, a Primer on Surveillance Practices and Privacy New York Times 03/24/2017. It mainly focuses on what "incidental collection" is.

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