Trump says he’ll ferret out those in the intelligence community responsible for the leaks tying his administration to Russia. In response, the intelligence community says that he’ll die behind bars.

At this point, I don’t know what there is left to say about Trump’s performance before the press this afternoon. Every synonym for “unhinged” that I can think of has already been claimed. And people have already written about all of the best parts, like the real-time fact-checking by NBC’s Peter Alexander when Trump claimed, falsely, that his was “the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan”, and the fact that Trump actually said “The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water.” And, while it occurred to me that it would be interesting to rewatch the whole thing and count the number of times that he referred to “ratings,” I just can’t bring myself to do it. I barely got through it the first time, with the constant whining about the “mess” he’d inherited from Obama, and the convoluted attacks against the press. [I’m still trying to figure out what he meant when he said that, while the leaks were “absolutely real,” the news stories about them were “fake”.] One thing that I think is still worth talking about, though, is the mention by Trump that the leaks we’re seeing from the intelligence community, which he described as being criminal, were about to stop.

“I’ve called the Justice Department to look into the leaks,” Trump said. “Those are criminal leaks. They’re put out by people either in agencies… I think you’ll see it stoping because now we have our people in.”

[For someone who seemed to be quite fond of leaks in the past, when it was the likes of WikiLeaks and the Russians leaking embarrassing information about Secretary Clinton, he sure doesn’t seem to care for it much now that the leaks are exposing connections between his administration and the Russians. Also, did you happen to notice that, when explaining how the two things were different, he said these hacks against him are worse, as Clinton’s emails weren’t classified? How fucking hilarious is that? After spending a year attacking Clinton for her emailing of classified documents, he now says there wasn’t anything sensitive in them.]

So Trump, after months of attacking the intelligence community, has now essentially declared war on them, saying that he’ll ferret out the multiple leakers who have apparently decided to share what they know with the press in hopes of stopping the administration before they’re able to do irreparable damage to the nation. [For those of you who haven’t been following along, several members of the intelligence community, it would appear, went to the press and told them that Trump Nation Security Advisor Michael Flynn had engaged in illegal communications with Russia, once it became clear that Trump wouldn’t take action against Flynn on his own. And, since then, they’ve made it clear that they intend to continue releasing information about communications between Trump administration officials and the Kremlin during the election.]

According to John Schindler, a former NSA analyst who is now a national security columnist for the Observer, this aggressive turn against Trump by members of the intelligence community started in earnest this past week. In an article for the Observer titled “The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins,” Schindler said that issue had become so bad that our intelligence community had not only started releasing information about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, but was starting to withhold intelligence from the White House, for fear that it might be handed over to the Kremlin.

Trump, when asked about ties between his administration and Putin’s government today, said only that it was “fake news” and a “ruse” perpetuated by the “dishonest media” and the Democrats… something that he’d been saying on Twitter since news became public that his National Security Advisor had lied to the FBI and others about the content of his communications with the Russians.

As for how Trump intends to ferret out the leakers, it would appear, according to the New York Times, that he may be getting ready to give Stephen A. Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, the task of identifying those in the intelligence community who may be disloyal to the administration. [Cerberus Capital Management owns something called the Freedom Group, which is the largest manufacturer of firearms and ammunition in the United States. He’s also connected in some way, we’re told, to both Save Bannon and Jared Kushner.] Schindler, for what it’s worth, doesn’t seem too worried.

Not only does Schindler think that the intelligence community will come out on top when all is said and done, but, according to him, some within the intelligence community believe that, by the end of this, Trump will be behind bars.

I know Trump said earlier that his administration is running “like a fine-tuned machine,” but I think Schindler is likely right. If the administration is going up against the intelligence community, they’re going to lose… And not even the Russian mob can help them.

update: If you missed the press conference, here are some of the more bewildering highlights from Morning Joe.

update: Shortly after Trump’s press conference, it was reported that his pick to replace Mike Flynn, Retired Vice Admiral Bob Harward, backed out. A friend of Harward’s said the retired Admiral saw the prospect of joining the Trump administration as a “shit sandwich.”… “Running like a fine-tuned machine” indeed.

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18 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    John Schindler ‏@20committee Feb 15

    IC thinks Trump is a traitor. I’ll leave to actual lawyers to assess that, but it’s quite a day in any democracy when the spies think such.

    309 replies 1,839 retweets 3,652 likes

  2. Demetrius
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    A year ago, if anyone had told me we’d be looking at open warfare between the POTUS and the national intelligence community – and that I’d be rooting for the spooks – I wouldn’t have believed it.

    Strange days indeed.

  3. M
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    He can’t seem to help himself. He should have, after firing Flynn, brought the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence back onto the National Security Council, and made a firm statement against Russia. Instead, he threatens to find the leakers, and continues to defend the Russians even as they’re deploying missiles in violation of standing treaties. Either the Russians have Trump by the balls, or he’s the stupidest man in history.

  4. stupid hick
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    More likely to die in prison, or get reelected? I never heard of PewDiePie before his anti-Semitic behavior and fall out with YouTube was reported by the dishonest mainstream media but, like a majority of people who post here under their real names, I’m old and out of touch. Guy makes $15M per year from YouTube and is more recognized by teens than Jennifer Lawrence? This article is about PewDiePie, but if it’s not fake news, I think it explains something about the resilience of Trump’s popularity with his base.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/jacobclifton/pewdiepie-isnt-a-monster-hes-someone-you-know

  5. Eel
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Best thing about the presser? Trump saying, “We had a very smooth roll-out of the travel ban….”

  6. M
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    From a conservative friend of Facebook: “I listened to the President Trump press conference today and enjoyed every minute! It is nice to hear someone talk candidly to the American people. I don’t agree with everything he says or does but I appreciate how he doesn’t pull punches.”

  7. Meta
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Washington Post:

    “Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down President Trump’s offer to become his new national security adviser, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.”

    Read more:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/16/trumps-pick-to-replace-michael-flynn-as-national-security-adviser-turns-down-offer-people-familiar-with-decision-say-2

  8. facebook stalker
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The right is trying to manufacture social media support for Trump.

    From a friend: “there are hundreds of recently created accounts with 20 followers tweeting with the tag #MediaLiesAgain”

  9. Eel
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Facebook Stalker, it’s easy to join the Bot Army. Here’s how.

    http://botarmy.org/join

  10. Anonymous
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Is there any question at all as to why Robert Harward backed away from the job just after that press conference?

  11. M
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Trump never would have fired Flynn if the intelligence community didn’t take the story to the Washington Post. He knew since January 26 and did nothing. That’s why the intelligence community took it public. He knew that his national security advisor had been compromised and did nothing.

  12. Kim
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    With headlines like this one today, is it any wonder that the intelligence community is concerned?

    “Trump Appoints Art Historian Victoria Coates to National Security Council”

    https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-trump-appoints-art-historian-national-security-council

  13. Max
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Allegedly Harward called the offer a ‘shit sandwich’ after the presser. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to board this ship at this point. It seems to be taking on water heavily. However, as M states above, I think most people that voted for him are unfazed by the recent revelations and think that he’s being treated unfairly by the ‘liberal media’. On CNN last night, they reported from a bar in Yuma, AZ and everyone they spoke with did not think he was bat shit crazy at the press conference and thought that it was refreshing that he was telling it like it is.

  14. M
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Well, damn, I just read up on Art Historian Victoria Coates, and holy shit. The fact that they took the Director of National Intelligence off the National Security Council and put this woman on speaks volumes. The following is from Esquire:

    “So just who is Dr. Victoria Coates, who appears to be Cruz’s sole National Security Advisor? Let us start with what she is not.

    She has never worked in the Pentagon; never worked in the State Department; never worked in the intelligence community; never served in any branch of the military; never lived overseas representing the United States in any way; never worked for the federal government; never had a security clearance. (Unless, perhaps, for editing. I’ll check that.); never written a book, or indeed any academic or professional article, on national security, any aspect of any of the branches of the military, or on modern international relations; never been in a combat zone, one of ours or anybody else’s.

    So what are her qualifications?

    Victoria Coates graduated college in the early 1990s. In a recent interview with Breitbart, she said that she “missed being a double-major in political science by one class credit.” So close! She stayed in academia, gaining a Masters degree and then, in 1998, a PhD in Art History, in which her specialization was the Italian Renaissance. From 2010 to 2013, she was a “Consulting Curator” at the Cleveland Museum of Art, at which she was an expert for their show “Last Days of Pompeii.” Her only book, which just came out, is a book called David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art.

    Who is behind this rise from art historian at the Cleveland Museum of Art to being the National Security Advisor to one of the presidential front-runners for the Republican Party? It appears to have begun with Donald Rumsfeld.

    In 2007, just after Rumsfeld bailed from the position of Secretary of Defense, he spent a while in transition before setting up his own holding company, which, if you don’t know, is literally a shell. It is a shield used to protect people for financial reasons. Nominally, DHR Holdings LLC said its purpose was in part to provide scholarships, but it appears that the reality was otherwise: its employees mostly worked to produce Don Rumsfeld’s book.

    The LLC had just two employees. The company’s estimated intake for the whole company per year was just $88,000-99,000. Split two ways, in DC, that is not a lot of money. Maybe Rumsfeld subscribed to the wage gap; it is, and apparently has always been, an all-female staff.

    Dr. Coates’ job was as an editor. Editing the English Language does not exactly make you a National Security expert, does it? But working for Donald Rumsfeld was enough to get her a gig with Texan Rick Perry, her first as a “national security expert” when he took a run at the Presidency from late 2011 through the beginning of 2012.

    From there she went on to a one-year position as “adjunct fellow” at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, the neo-con foundation in downtown DC set up in the wake of September 11. Even there, however, it is difficult to see what she actually did, or more importantly learned. The foundation did not publish any work she had written.

    Indeed it appears she’s only ever written five short articles in the past decade, and all of them were of little more substance than an op-ed: Two for the Weekly Standard, and three blog posts on the conservative blog Redstate, none of which were exactly rigorous scholarship.”

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a41941/ted-cruz-victoria-coates-national-security-advisor/

  15. NCK
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for turning my onto John Schindler. I’m reading through his tweets now and I have a question. In the following post, what does he mean by RIS+ROC?

    “Trump’s deep, long-term Kremlin ties are ultimately about money. Involves much RIS+ROC. Everything else is peripheral to the central story.”

  16. anonymous
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Republicans sure bitch a lot about how difficult it is to do their jobs. I don’t remember Obama whining about what a “mess” he’d inherited. While he shared data about where the country was at when he took over, he never complained about the Bush “mess”, and I don’t recall his cabinet whining either, in spite of the situation in Washington. The Trump administration in contrast seem to wallow in their victimhood.

    Another data point.

    DeVos: Critics want to ‘make my life a living hell’

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/02/17/devos-critics-want-to-make-my-life-a-living-hell/

  17. M
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    John Schindler on Twitter:

    “We will not give up until Kremlin pawns are purged from the WH & replaced by Americans who, whatever their flaws, are loyal to this country.”

  18. Meta
    Posted February 28, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Trump blames Obama for the leaks coming from his administration.

    CNN: “President Donald J. Trump says he believes former President Barack Obama has been behind the leaks within his administration and the angry town hall crowds Republicans have faced across the country.”

    http://cnn.it/2m0ZuEx

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