Where’s The Beef?

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One of responses from the Trump administration with regard to the claims of Russian involvement in the 2016 election has been to call the investigation a “nothingburger”.

Let’s check to see how much beef there really is in this nothingburger.

The most important recent development is the guilty plea of George Papadopolous.  He admitted that he lied to federal agents about his efforts to arrange meetings between Moscow and the Trump campaign.  The Trump administration used their standard response that Papadopolous didn’t have an important role in the campaign, but his role isn’t what is in question (though there is plenty of evidence that he was active as a foreign liaison to Britain and Greece).  The important questions (the beef) are why the Russians were interested in talking with him, why did he want to talk with the Russians, and who else in the Trump campaign knew that he was talking to the Russians?

It isn’t clear why the Russians were talking with him.  What is clear is that the Russians only began to respond to his requests for a conversation AFTER it was announced that he had joined the Trump campaign.

Papadopolous said that he wanted to talk with the Russians because they were offering him “dirt” on Clinton.  That “dirt” was thousands of hacked emails.  Worse yet, his emails show that he was in regular contact with senior Trump campaign officials regarding not only the information but also a proposed meeting between Trump and Putin.  Reports are that Trump received a briefing from Papadopolous.  According to sources who attended the meeting, Trump “didn’t say yes and didn’t say no”.  As a result, Papadopolous continued his conversation with the Russians and received some encouragement from campaign staffer Sam Clovis.  Clovis has since said, through his lawyer, that he was just being polite.  But Papadopolous was told that a meeting between Trump and Putin had bad optics.  Instead the meeting “should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal”.  This whole scenario flies in the face of Trump’s repeated denials that there was no contact whatsoever (polite or otherwise) between the campaign and Russians.

Trump isn’t the only one who has issued a blanket denial of any contacts.  Jeff Sessions was also at the Trump briefing.  This is the same Jeff Sessions who testified before Congress that he knew nothing about any contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign.  Even though, at this point, we know that his department had already accepted a guilty plea from Papadopolous.  This is also the same Jeff Sessions who was told of Carter Page’s trip to Moscow in July to give a speech.  In Sessions’ most recent appearance he narrowed that earlier statement to mean, he did not “conspire with Russia or an agent of the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.”

What this also means is that the Trump campaign knew a month before the meeting that Kushner, Manafort, and DTjr took with a Russian lawyer, that the Russians may have had millions of Clinton emails.  Even more importantly, Trump himself knew when he helped author DTjr’s response when news of the meeting broke, that the meeting was about Russian hacked emails.  The response claimed the meeting was about Russian adoptions.

Based on published reports, we now know that there were at least nine Trump associates who were actively engaged in conversations with Russians during the campaign.  Those include Paul Manafort and Rick Gates who have already been indicted by Mueller for pre-campaign money laundering.

In order to defend his “nothingburger” position, Trump’s response to all of this has been to create an alternate reality which castes large swaths of the government as corrupt.  What this does for him is create a rationale for him to pardon those in his administration as they are inevitably held accountable for their lies.

Trump campaign advisor Sean Hannity’s Trump defense has revived his flagging Fox career and laid the groundwork for Trump’s assertion of executive privilege when the investigation starts to close in on him.

Those include reviving the made-up Clinton uranium and Steele Dossier scandals, and the claim the Comey decided not to indict Clinton well before the FBI investigation concluded.

This leads to the conspiracy theory that Mueller is using the current Trump investigation to cover up his previous failure to investigate Clinton when he was heading up the FBI.

The depth of this delusion should hopefully answer the obvious question about beef.

If there were no beef, there would be no reason to question Mueller’s motivations.  The ONLY reason Mueller was appointed is because Trump fired Comey, Sessions had already recused himself from the Russian investigation, and deputy AG Rosenstein refused to be the fall guy in the Comey firing.  Suggestions that Mueller somehow engineered this whole thing is way beyond the fringe.

The beef is Trump’s lies regarding his knowledge of contacts in his campaign with Russians seeking to influence the outcome of the election.  The beef is the efforts by the Trump campaign and the Trump administration to cover up the contacts that they had with Russians.  The issue is not whether there was collusion.  That may never be proven.  The beef is that the Trump campaign was willing to do anything to defeat Clinton including talking with Russians about hacked Clinton emails.  The Trump administration has been lying about it ever since.  Those lies are the beef that will bring this administration down.

16 Responses to “Where’s The Beef?”

  1. Keith says:

    We shall see…

    And Donna Brazil?

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    We shall see… And Donna Brazil?

    She will sell a lot of books and perhaps find a new audience among those who appear to derive some purpose in life from demonizing the Clintons.

    Just an update.

    The election is over.

    Clinton lost.

    Neither Hillary or Bill will ever run for elected office again.

    What they do in their private life is up to them. Whether or not you choose to pay attention to that is up to you. They may give speeches for large sums of money. They may write books. They may share their opinions regarding current politics, but they will never wield the political power that they once did. The fact that Trump and other conservatives continue to use them both as whipping boys is only evidence of the cover they are seeking. So little has been accomplished by the unified government that conservatives promised would change the world, that they feel they need to bring up the Clintons to remind voters of the only success they can claim. Keeping another Clinton out of the White House.

  3. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, George Papadopolous is reported to have admitted that he lied to the FBI in order to protect the President.

    George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, misled investigators about his contacts with a professor who he believed had deep ties to Russia because he didn’t want to contradict Trump’s public denials of collusion with the Kremlin, a source told ABC News.

    So Papadopolous lied because he didn’t want to expose the fact that Trump was lying when he said there was nothing going on with Russians.

    All of these lies are going to eventually come to light and they will bring down this administration.

  4. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW BTW a federal judge struck down for a second time a request from conservative groups to direct the FBI and the State Department to look for more of Clinton’s “deleted” emails.

    “The FBI pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails.”

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/10/clinton-email-suits-dismissed-244770

    Judicial Watch is one of the plaintiffs in this action. They have 20 ongoing suits involving Hillary Clinton. As long as people are willing to give them money, they will continue filling suits. As far as I can tell, they haven’t won any of the actions that they have filed against her.

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW BTW BTW

    Regarding the tax plan. Remember when Paul Ryan said “every single person, every rate payer, every bracket person gets a rate cut”?

    McConnell said something similar, “nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase”

    Now that the plan is out and being analyzed, guess what Ryan is saying?

    “What the analysis shows us, the average taxpayer in all income levels gets a tax cut.”

    And McConnell?

    “You can’t guarantee that absolutely no one sees a tax increase”

    Truth is that after 10 years even if the expiring tax cuts that the Senate needs to invoke reconciliation rules are renewed, 30% of all taxpayers, and 40% of taxpayers with children will see their taxes go up. That’s a lot more than average and a lot more than just “no one”.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/11/10/paul-ryans-repeated-claim-that-everyone-will-get-a-tax-cut/?utm_term=.7528697ec8dc

    http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tax-plan-mitch-mcconnell-paul-ryan-cuts-rates-2017-11

    How about Trump’s promises?

    1. No, I don’t benefit, I don’t benefit – lie

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/sep/28/donald-trump/donald-trumps-dubious-claim-his-tax-plan-wont-bene/

    2. the biggest tax cut in U.S. history – lie

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/oct/26/donald-trump/donald-trump-wrong-his-tax-plan-biggest-cut-ever/

    3. I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth – lie

    http://fortune.com/2017/09/28/donald-trump-tax-reform-cuts-fact-check/

    4. “The farmers in particular are affected” by the estate tax – lie

    http://fortune.com/2017/09/28/donald-trump-tax-reform-cuts-fact-check/

    You were all over Obama regarding his claim that if you liked your insurance plan you could keep it.

    How do you feel about these lies that Trump, Ryan, and McConnell are using to sell their tax plan?

    You getting tired of these guys yet?

  6. Keith says:

    What tax plan????? Trump didn’t present one. We don’t have one. Lol
    I haven’t read this one, I have no clue. I want the corporate tax rate down. Anything after that is icing on the cake.

    If you think I mention Donna Brazil to point at the Clintons you got it wrong.
    Try again…. the Democratic Party was thoroughly and completely corrupt during the entire process. Spiritual Wickednessanyone? Where was the media?

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    What tax plan????? Trump didn’t present one. We don’t have one. Lol
    I haven’t read this one, I have no clue. I want the corporate tax rate down. Anything after that is icing on the cake.

    Is this really all you’ve got? Sorry not worthy of additional comment until you’ve at least taken the time to familiarize yourself with the material.

  8. Keith says:

    Lol means laugh out loud…I don’t have a response

    If you’re looking for me to defend the Rep’s or think any answer I give is in defense of them you’ve got me wrong.

  9. Keith says:

    To Judge Roy Moore.

    Just a note. I worked at a plant in West Memphis Arkansas in the late 1990’s. 5 of my co-workers or their spouse were 15 when they were married all in the late 60’s or 70’s. Some have age differences of 5-10 years if I understood it correctly. That was another place and another time. I was certainly surprised to learn that but i can tell you it wasn’t a big deal to anyone born and raised there. Thoughts? Context?

    I have no idea what he did or didn’t do.

  10. Jeff Beamsley says:

    to Judge Roy Moore.

    Just a note. I worked at a plant in West Memphis Arkansas in the late 1990’s. 5 of my co-workers or their spouse were 15 when they were married all in the late 60’s or 70’s. Some have age differences of 5-10 years if I understood it correctly. That was another place and another time. I was certainly surprised to learn that but i can tell you it wasn’t a big deal to anyone born and raised there. Thoughts? Context?

    I have no idea what he did or didn’t do.

    The Judge is a pedophile. Whether or not the south supports a culture of pedophilia doesn’t matter. Just like the Catholic Church, abuse of underage children is still abuse, regardless of the stature of the abuser.

    There is far less evidence to call Bill Clinton a sexual predator than there is to confirm Roy Moore as a pedophile. Multiple women with many corroborating witnesses. The prime victim is a Republican who voted for Trump. If you “have no idea”, it’s only because of your political bias.

  11. Keith says:

    No bias on my part. Seems there is on yours. In what I mentioned it was legal for 15 year olds to marry. All that was required, in Mississippi, was an address where a letter would be sent notifying the family in advance a marriage would happen. Not sure how you equated that with what happened with priests?

    What you’re suggesting is my ex co-workers, still married to this day, have pedophile husbands or themselves are pedophile. They’d be interested to know that.

    Again please don’t take this as a defense of Judge Moore, it’s not. I’m simply broadening your understanding.

  12. Jeff Beamsley says:

    No bias on my part. Seems there is on yours. In what I mentioned it was legal for 15 year olds to marry. All that was required, in Mississippi, was an address where a letter would be sent notifying the family in advance a marriage would happen. Not sure how you equated that with what happened with priests?

    One of the reason southern states support marriage at such young ages is because they oppose abortion. The proof is that many states include pregnancy as one of the tests the prohibit issuing a marriage license without the approval of the parents and a judge. Mississippi does not.

    As far as the relevance, whether or not it is legal, doesn’t change the fact that children (under 18) simply don’t possess the ability to provide consent. That’s why they are vulnerable to predators. As a culture, we are starting to realize that it is NOT ok for anyone to be taken advantage of sexually. There is no circumstance where non-consensual sexual activity can be justified. What we are also finding out is that those who use power to prey on those who are weak are not interested in relationships. They have a mental disease that associates power with pleasure. They need treatment and they need to be prevented from coming into contact with children.

    Which brings us to the Catholic Church. That is an example of a culture where sexual predators were protected and allowed to continue to come in contact with children. This same culture exists in the south where bible-belt conservatives blame the victims rather than the predators.

    What you’re suggesting is my ex co-workers, still married to this day, have pedophile husbands or themselves are pedophile. They’d be interested to know that.

    I’m suggesting that at 32 year old cannot have a healthy relationship with a 14 year old. That’s because the 14 year old is still a child mentally and simply is not able to form adult emotional bonds. That doesn’t mean that two childhood “sweethearts” couldn’t have a relationship that matures into a healthy adult relationship. That happens all the time. That’s why statutory rape laws only apply when an older person takes advantage of an emotional child. Two high schoolers exploring their sexuality is not something the law needs to worry about.

    Here’s the bottom line.

    Roy Moore (not going to honor him with a title) is a hypocrite and a pedophile. Most 32 year old men don’t find 14 year old girls sexually attractive. Most 32 year old men know that even if they did find an underage girl attractive, that any sexual contact with that girl is illegal. The age of consent in Alabama has been 16 since 1922. He was an Assistant DA at the time that he “dated” these women. He knew they could not legally give consent to the things that he asked them to do. Yet it did it anyway. He does not deny that he was asking these children out. So please tell me what a 32 year old Assistant DA who was interested in elective office and a legal career would risk “dating” children 18 years younger than him?

    Any answer other than the face that he found them sexually attractive is a lie. The fact that he found them sexually attractive is what makes him a pedophile. Those who are willing to excuse that are delusional.

  13. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Just a couple of other thought experiments.

    Let’s say that a 32 year old teacher in Alabama started dating one of his 14 year old freshman students. What should the school do?

    Let’s say that a 32 year old pastor in Alabama starting dating one of his 14 year old members of his congregation. What should the church do?

    Let’s say that a 32 year old coach in Alabama starting dating one of the 14 year old center on his girl’s basketball team. What should the league do?

    Let’s say a 32 year old Dairy Queen owner in Alabama started dating a 14 year old working in his shop. What should the community do?

    Interested to hear your answers.

  14. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Today or 1971?

    Feel free to answer however you would like. The laws in Alabama in 1971 were no different than they are today.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/08/24/feds-say-corroborating-evidence-backed-menendez-prostitution-claims%3fcontext=amp

    I don’t remember you associating all dem votes with the senator from NY …

    I was unaware of the prostitution charges against Menendez, but both the charge he is being prosecuted for and the claim of frequenting underage prostitutes in the DR, are disgusting. Hopefully his political career is over. He will be up for re-election in 2018. We’ll see if the Senate takes some action to censor him once there is a verdict in the trial. It is entirely possible that he won’t be found guilty because the SCOTUS has narrowed the definition of corruption to be a direct Quid-pro-quo relationship. There is no evidence that Menendez took money to pass any particular piece of legislation. The difference here between the way that Republicans have handled corruption cases in the past and Democrats, is that the investigation into a sitting Democratic senator BEGAN during the Obama administration.

    There is also the possibility that this will twist up into some bigger political squabble. That’s because a Democrat just won the governorship in NJ. If Menendez steps down before that new governor is sworn in, Christy will be able to appoint his replacement who will serve until January 2019. The likely path will be some attempts at embarrassing votes to keep Menendez around until after the new gov is inaugurated. At that point he’ll step down and the new gov will appoint a dem to the seat.

    I applaud McConnell for saying that he believes Moore’s accusers. Hopefully, the voters on Alabama will step up to the plate and reject this perv.

  15. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW BTW BTW BTW

    We now know that Papadopolous met with both Session and Trump in March, 2016. It was at the meeting that Papadopolous claimed Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign. After that meeting the Russians hacked Podesta’s email. The FBI had already told the DNC that their emails had been hacked in September 2015.

    Wikileaks published the DNC emails in July. Shortly after that Trump publicly asked the Russians to release Clinton emails.

    Wikileaks started releasing Clinton campaign emails in October, 2016.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/357851-timeline-campaign-knew-russia-had-clinton-emails-months-before-trump

    We also know that DJjr and Julian Assange from Wikileaks were in regular communication during that period of time. Those conversations were about some sort of “deal” regarding wikileaks releases and efforts by the Trump campaign to more widely publicize the wikileaks releases.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/politics/trump-jr-wikileaks-russia/index.html

    The issue ultimately isn’t whether or not this consituted collusion. The issue is that the Trump campaign lied about their interactions with wikileaks.

    We’ve already seen Sessions get caught in a web of his own lies.

    What is going to happen as Mueller builds solid under oath testimony of what folks like Papadoplous have said and then starts asking people like Sessions and Pence about their denials that nothing was going on?

    They are either going to have to admit that they lied to the American people, or they are going to have to risk imprisonment for lying under oath. Remember that Nixon’s chief of staff, Haldeman was eventually found guilty and served 18 months in jail for saying “I don’t remember”.

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