The closer Trump comes to impeachment, the more he’ll talk about God. Mark my words.

I know, during the campaign, Trump, on occasion, would talk about god, and the importance of faith in his life. If I recall correctly, he was especially eager to talk of such things just after the Access Hollywood tape surfaced in which he could be heard talking about how, because of his fame, he could simply “grab” unsuspecting women “by the pussy” without their consent, but there have been other instances as well, instances where he’d awkwardly play “the god card,” encouraging people of faith to pray for him or blathering on nonsensically about the Bible. It seems to me, however, that, these past few days, he’s been talking more about religion than he has since taking office, and I have to imagine that it has more to do with the Mueller’s investigation than in does about any newfound appreciation for the teachings of Jesus Christ. Following, by way of example, are two quotes taken from Trump’s speech at yesterday’s Celebrate Freedom Concert at Kennedy Center. If I’m right, there will be more like this in the days to come… We shall see.

And, as if that weren’t enough, Trump, picking up the ‘War on Christmas’ meme, then went on to say, “We’re going to start staying ‘Merry Christmas’ again” as a nation… Buckle up, America. The closer Mueller gets to Trump, the farther Trump will push us toward theocracy.

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  1. Posted July 2, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    When I posted this same observation on Twitter, I got a lot of comments from conservatives echoing the President’s sentiment about how it should be love of religion, not government, that motivates us (which, by the way, is pretty much the exact opposite of what our founding fathers thought). Here’s an example.

    Odin‏ @blogofodin: “Liberals worship Government. To them, Govt is the end all to all problems, when they are actually slaves to Govt. Institutionalized slavery”

    For what it’s worth, I don’t worship government because I think it’ll end all of my problems. I just think, as did our founding fathers, that, based on the evidence, a free people are better served by accountable, elected government than they are by religious leaders who claim to know what god wants for us. And, of course, this is especially true when it comes to protecting the rights of those in the religious minority, who, without government, would likely find themselves completely disenfranchised.

    I’m still trying to find the words, but I just find all of this completely fascinating… the fact that we have a president telling us not to respect government, etc. And it’s especially interesting given what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a few days ago about how the young in America don’t need for the president to be a role model, as they have Jesus to look up to… Lots of weird stuff to unpack here.

  2. Morbid Larson
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    How is this happening?

  3. Covfefe
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:05 am | Permalink

  4. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

  5. Jcp2
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I’m all for secular government versus religious theocracy. I’m all for classical liberalism in the old school sense, not the current pejorative sense. I have difficulty reconciling tolerance of religious minorities with my general distaste of religious fundamentalism practiced by some of those religions, which at its core rejects classical liberalism in term of personal freedom and autonomy.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Mark– There will be no move to theocracy. Theocrats at least believe a little in religion; they have some faith and religious education. Trump knows fundamentalists make up his core of support so he will speak to them like he did the working class whites– saying whatever they want to hear, so long as it help him secure his power, with zero intention of action to serve them and their interests.

    EOS– Do you really believe Donald Trump to be a moral person? What is your evidence? If you are a true believer, why would you not object to Trump to draping himself in religion as cover for his immorality?

    re your link with selective quotes etc seeming to indicate that the founding fathers wanted a Christian Nation (but only your kind of Christianity)– They may have said all those things and more about God guiding them but religious freedom and it’s back bone– the separation of church and state are the very 1st amendment of the mother fucking constitution.
    — another reason Mark’s fear is over wrought.

    Thomas Paine – “As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith. ” ~~ Common Sense, 1776.

    “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.” ~~ The Rights of Man, 1791-1792

    “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

    Thomas Jefferson –
    “[E]very one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U.S. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.” ~~ Letter to Rev. Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808

    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” ~~ Notes on the State of Virginia , 1781 – 1785

    “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.” ~~ letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

    John Adams – “The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion.” 1797, The Treaty of Tripoli, initiated by President Washington, signed by President John Adams, and approved by the Senate of the United States

    The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. ~~ “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America,” 1787-88

    Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. ~~ “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

    George Washington –
    “We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age, & in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining & holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.” ~~ Letter to the members of The New Church in Baltimore, January 1793

    “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
    ~~ Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

    Benjamin Franklin –
    “I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it.” ~~Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion, 1728

    “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”

    James Madison –
    “The members of a Govt as such can in no sense, be regarded as possessing an advisory trust from their Constituents in their religious capacities. They cannot form an ecclesiastical Assembly, Convocation, Council, or Synod, and as such issue decrees or injunctions addressed to the faith or the Consciences of the people. In their individual capacities, as distinct from their official station, they might unite in recommendations of any sort whatever, in the same manner as any other individuals might do. But then their recommendations ought to express the true character from which they emanate.” ~~ Notes on Government Issued Religious Proclamations

    “[T]he number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.” ~~ -Letter to Robert Walsh, March 2, 1819

    “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
    ~ Writings, 1819

    “Because the Bill [to institute an assessment to fund teachers of Christianity] implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.” ~~ Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, 1785

    Alexander Hamilton –
    “[I]n politics as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.”

    “The [president] has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction. . . .”

  7. Tony
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I have to give him credit for knowing how to play to his audience. If he can convince people that attacking him is attacking God, guns, etc., he can keep his base riled up. I just wish his supporters realized what he really is.

  8. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Christians oppose a theocracy even more so than atheists.

  9. Morbid Larson
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Christians running in circles to find some grain a scripture that might support Trump’s Presidency was a comical show.

  10. Lynne
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    EOS, that is true of *some* Christians but there are others perfectly content to engage in passing laws based on their religious beliefs. (e.g. not allowing same sex marriage or declaring that life begins at conception and therefore abortion should be illegal)

  11. Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    As SHS said a few days ago, he’s a flawed man, but Christianity acknowledges that all men are flawed. What matters is that he’s accepted Jesus as his savior. It’s essentially a get out of jail free card. One would think the religious right would have thrown him to the curb the first time he said “grab ’em by the pussy,” but apparently they buy the whole ‘I’m a sinner trying the best I can’ routine. Or at least they’re willing to buy into that fake narrative as long as they think he’s making the country better for practicing Christians, by keeping Muslims out, making it easier for bigots to practice their bigotry, etc.

  12. Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    And I still can’t get over SHS’s statement about how the only role model the children of America needs is Jesus. Who would have thought we’d find ourselves in a world where the religious right had to say that their president wasn’t a role model?

  13. Jcp2
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure that professing to believe in Jesus as the Savior as a “get out of jail free” card doesn’t really fly with God, as He is all-knowing and would see through that ruse immediately, as it wouldn’t really be a belief.

  14. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


    There’s a big difference between advocating for laws consistent with particular religious beliefs and a theocracy. I believe rape and murder are morally wrong. They violate the Ten Commandments. It benefits all of society to have secular laws that prohibit these acts. I am perfectly content to pass laws based on these religious beliefs. No one has to follow any religious practice to agree that prohibiting these acts is a moral good. Prohibiting rape and murder does not establish any religious hierarchy or denominational preference. I would also endorse prohibiting same sex marriage and declaring that life begins at conception and therefore abortion should be illegal. While these are consistent with Biblical values they could also be strongly held personal beliefs of a non-religious person. These laws would not establish a national religion.

    A theocracy would be the establishment of a national religion. The government would dictate religious practices and prohibit all variations. As soon as the Muslim Brotherhood took control of Egypt, they started destroying Christian Churches. The Saudi government bans copies of the Bible within their kingdom.

    There is a place that prohibits all rules consistent with the Bible. It’s called hell.

  15. Morbid Larson
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Hell sounds like a fun place. I can wear clothing made out of two kinds of fabric!

  16. wobblie
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    Trump may end up being removed from office. 25th amendment solution more likely than impeachment. If impeached it won’t be over “Russiagate”. The MSM has begun retracting the “17 intelligence agency agree the Russians hacked the election” meme. Of course no one ever reads the retractions.

  17. wobblie
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    From July1 NYT’s.
    Correction: June 29, 2017
    A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.

    How many times did Mark, or the MSM repeat the falsehood that all 17 intelligence agencies approved the assessment. For months this falsehood has been repeated.
    Remember that if you tell a lie often enough ….

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    EOS– I agree with your last statement but hold different moral values. And so do the vast majority of this nation, so how, outside of biblical reference, will you establish that your moral code is best for all and convince the majority to agree with you? Without a theocracy you will need to find other means and risk always having your moral code overturned via democratic election. Generally speaking, ideological based policy tends to require all people get in line in order to survive. And it finds pretty untenable ways to do that. Doesn’t matter if the idrlogy is to the left or right. Very curious as to why EOS like so many anti-capitalists I know, thinks everyone will fall in line with her version of revolution?

  19. EOS
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I merely have a seat at the table. I am one voice in the process. I won’t be excluded merely because my moral values align with the Bible. I advocate my personal beliefs as does everyone else. Of course the democratic process allows the opportunity for other views to prevail. But the Creator of the Universe has given us instructions on how things will go best for the majority. He doesn’t seek to deprive us of the best in life, but shows us the way to live life to the fullest. Regardless of any outcome, I will still seek to follow Him. Whether or not you have faith, living by Biblical standards will maximize your happiness, both now and for an eternity.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    That has not been my experience. But to each his own. Happy Independence Day, EOS!

  21. EOS
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Happy 4th of July. Best neighborhood fireworks display to date!

  22. Iron Lung Larson
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Trump is still a fucking moron.

  23. Lynne
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    EOS, sure, there is a difference between theocracy and participating in a democracy based on your religious beliefs. The good news is that ALL American Muslims I have encountered understand that and are against theocracies but like all groups, I am sure there are those with different ideas. Also good news, the first amendment protects Christians from Muslims in the same way it protects everyone else from Christians.

    But honestly, there are still Christians who do crazy things like want to put up the 10 commandments in court houses or wanting to force prayer in public schools which are forms of the state sponsoring religion.

  24. EOS
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Lynne, but the first amendment does not protect anyone from religion. It prohibits the Federal government from establishing a national religion and it protects the right of individuals to freely exercise their religious beliefs, regardless of their faith or denomination.

  25. Jcp2
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, I’m afraid EOS is correct. I believe what you are searching for is the substantive due process clause and the derived right to privacy found in the Fourteenth Amendment, which recognizes a general right to privacy within family, marriage, motherhood, procreation, and child rearing. This is what has been used to support interracial marriage, a woman’s right to abortion, support for same sex intercourse, as well as support for same sex marriage.

  26. Lynne
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    EOS and JCP2,

    You guys don’t think that stuff protects people from religion? Does it protect people from religion in the sense that religious people might vote in laws based on their religious views? No, you are right that it is the 14th Amendment (and others) which do that. But I cannot be forced to accept Sharia law unless it somehow democratically becomes actual law. Nor can I be forced to accept Christian Church laws unless they too become actual law.

    On a side note, the best part of some of the Christian attempts to put themselves in a privileged position tend to backfire on them. For instance, Mississippi recently passed a law that allows medical providers to refuse to treat someone if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. The law was designed to allow Christian health care professions to refuse to treat LGBTQ folks but because of the First Amendment, they couldn’t write it that way. So now they have a vague law which allows any health care profession to refuse to treat anyone. So a male Muslim doctor can refuse to treat women (or vice versa) and Atheists can refuse to treat Christians and so on. Woops.

  27. EOS
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


    Both religious and non-religious persons have the same rights to vote in laws based on their beliefs.

  28. Jcp2
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, again, I believe that these laws will be litigated under the auspices of the public accommodations clause of the Civil Rights Act, which in itself is derived from the Equal Protection Clause, also in the Fourteenth Amendment. The First Amendment allows for the free practice of religion. It’s the Fourteenth Amendment that curtails religious practice from entering into the public sphere as a matter of government rule and regulation. People focus on the Bill of Rights and the first Ten Amendments when it is the Fourteenth that really keeps government out of our personal private lives.

  29. EOS
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink


    I’m afraid I don’t agree with your interpretation. The Supreme Court will rule on the public accommodation laws and how they impinge on religious freedom during the next calendar year. Free exercise of religion certainly doesn’t require avoiding the public sphere or confining all religious activity to any specific building. Some progressives have tried to redefine religious liberty as “freedom to worship” but it will never prevail. And there is no “right to privacy” contained in the 14th amendment either. That is pure fiction created by a rogue court, soon to be overturned as well.

  30. Lynne
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    EOS, I don’t disagree that both religious and non-religious persons have the same rights to vote in laws based on their beliefs. I obviously should have used a better example above. However, I sometimes wonder if many right wing Christians *really* believe that especially when they pass certain laws which then get exploited by Satanists and those Marijuana churches.

    JCP2 – I would have to do some research into particular cases but I am pretty sure that cases involving things like nativity scenes in public spaces, forced prayer in public schools, 10 commandment statues in public courthouses, etc have decisions based soundly in the first amendment’s establishment of religion clause. I do recognize that many other cases do use the rights of the 14th as you say.

    EOS, It is true that free exercise of religion certainly doesn’t require avoiding the public sphere or confining all religious activity to any specific building. It does, however, mean not using *public* resources to favor one religion over another. So if the town hall wants to have a nativity scene, they must also allow other religions the same access, even if what those religions choose to display is offensive to them.

    I guess I am confused about what you mean when you say that some progressives have tried to redefine religious liberty as “freedom to worship”. Of course that is what it means. What else could religious liberty possibly mean if not the freedom to worship (or not worship) as one chooses?

    Well, isn’t privacy a form of liberty? At any rate, Roe was decided on the due process clause of the 14th but later cases reinforced it with the equal protection clause. I don’t expect the SCOTUS is going to overturn anything major like that but I don’t know this new judge well enough to really make predictions. He may be like Scalia who took the view that the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause doesn’t apply to women?

  31. EOS
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Worship is only a small part of religious practice. Faith encompasses every aspect of a believer’s life. A Christian doesn’t leave church on Sunday morning after worship and then live a secular life for the rest of the week. Every thought, word, or action is part of religious practice. I am a Christian where I work, when I vote, and in all interpersonal interactions. It is impossible to separate my life from my faith.

    Read the 14th amendment and show me the part that includes a right to privacy. Or anywhere in the Constitution for that matter. Read the Roe v. Wade decision. They stated that if it is determined that life begins at conception, which is exactly how science defines it, then the equal protection clause requires that abortion be illegal. Justice Kennedy will be leaving the court within the next year and then many decisions of the activist court will be overturned.

  32. Lynne
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I see. You think that ‘worship’ just means church or otherwise going to a place of worship? Or you think that is what liberals think? I am a liberal and I would consider a freedom to worship to encompass all areas of a person’s life. For instance, I would consider it wrong if a public institution forbade someone from wearing a cross (or symbols of any other religion) and I would consider it wrong if a public institution forbade someone from non disruptive prayer.

    The 14th amendment doesn’t have to explicitly use the word ‘privacy’ if the court determines that privacy rights are part of liberty, which it does explicitly mention.

    (I will note for those who voted for Jill Stein or who didn’t vote for president in this upcoming election that EOS may be right about many things being overturned but it is not too late! Vote in the midterms and give Trump a congress not likely to rubber stamp a super conservative judge! Unless I missed something, Kennedy has not officially announced his retirement and so, there is still time and a way to avoid having a moderate justice replaced with an extreme right wing one)

    As for what will happen with the court, I will just say that sometimes appointments to the bench turn out to make decisions differently than how the person who nominated them intends, even on major issues such as abortion (see Planned Parenthood v. Casey). We will see.

  33. EOS
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    But you draw the line at a Christian who uses their vote to honor God by supporting laws that are consistent with Biblical principles? That’s called viewpoint discrimination and is unconstitutional.

  34. Lynne
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    No, that isn’t what I was saying. I was just saying that there are Christians out there who would be perfectly fine with a Christian theocracy and then I used some bad examples. You are right though. voting based on your beliefs is not the same as advocating for a theocracy. Something, btw, I wish more on the Christian right would realize when they start whining about Sharia law or secular accommodations or what have you.

  35. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Kucinich has some interesting views on the impeachment of Trump, Russia, and the media.

    Nine years ago, the left was praising, Kucinich for impeachment efforts.

    What has changed?

  36. Jean Henry
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I hope EOS is noting the massive Trump protests in Germany right now. Guess they don’t think resistance is ridiculous.

    All that said, my son and I attended an anti-Trump protest in A2 last weekend. 3 Trump supporters were there. They were just hanging out and filming video calling protestors idiots etc but not yelling or anything. People (grown ass people) started yelling at them to ‘go back to where they came from,’ calling them ‘brown shirts.’ And saying ‘Fuck you.’ They yelled back a bit and filmed with greater enthusiasm. This was of course exactly the response they wanted. The footage will be used to further divide us. My son felt uncomfortable and asked to leave, so we did. I explained to him that American politics has always been angry and divisive at times. I reminded him of how Hamilton died. He paused and said, ‘but I thought the way to win politics was to convince people on the other side to switch sides???’


    There is a way to do resistance well. Screaming expletives at people who voted for Trump ain’t it. I had to wonder how many in that crowd voted third party…

  37. EOS
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    The anarchists protest every time the G20 meets. Been doing so for years. But I like how some use every opportunity to blame Trump for everything that is wrong with the universe.

  38. Lynne
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    EOS, yes. unfortunately there are those who will do so. I could go on about all of the reasons why we do so but it doesn’t matter. There are those on the left who will blame Trump for things unfairly just like there were those on the right who blamed Obama for everything wrong in the universe.

  39. Jean Henry
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    False equivalence EOS. It’s usually anti-globalists who as protectionists are not anarchists by definition. I don;t care what they call themselves. At any rate, the primary resistance in Germany is anti-Trump, not about anti-globalism. And it’s far larger scale. I know you far right folk have a hard time with things like numbers and facts when they don’t confirm your narrative, but maybe do some research looking at the protests over the years compared to now before asserting your comparisons next time.

    Here are some interesting numbers:
    The Office of Governmental Ethics reports that during the six months between October 2008 and March 2009, as the Obama presidency was taking shape, it got 733 public contacts, such as calls, letters and emails.
    During the October 2016 to March 2017 period in the Trump era, it was swamped with 39,105 contacts — an increase of 5,235 percent.

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    relevant to this post and most recent re Trump’s ‘clash of civilizations’ holy war rhetoric in Poland.

  41. EOS
    Posted July 8, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Yes, his speech in Poland was great.

  42. Meta
    Posted July 8, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Wobblie, here is something from the New York Times that you might find of interest.

    President Trump said on Thursday that only “three or four” of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election — a statement that while technically accurate, is misleading and suggests widespread dissent among American intelligence agencies when none has emerged.

    The “three or four” agencies referred to by Mr. Trump are the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the F.B.I. and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, all of which determined that Russia interfered in the election. Their work was compiled into a report, and a declassified version was released on Jan. 6 by the director of national intelligence. It said that all four agencies had “high confidence” that Russian spies had tried to interfere in the election on the orders of President Vladimir V. Putin.

    The reason the views of only those four intelligence agencies, not all 17, were included in the assessment is simple: They were the ones tracking and analyzing the Russian campaign. The rest were doing other work.

    The intelligence community is a sprawling enterprise that includes military officers who track enemy troop movements, accountants who analyze the finances of Islamist militants and engineers who design spy satellites. There are soldiers, sailors and Marines; tens of thousands of civilian government employees and tens of thousands of private contractors

    Asked about Russia’s election meddling during a news conference on Thursday in Poland, Mr. Trump repeated his familiar refrain that “it could” have been Russia or other countries that interfered in the election, and then appeared to suggest that there was hardly an intelligence community consensus on the matter.

    “Let me just start off by saying I heard it was 17 agencies,” he said when asked about the intelligence assessment.

    “I said, ‘Boy, that’s a lot.’ Do we even have that many intelligence agencies, right? Let’s check it. And we did some very heavy research,” Mr. Trump continued. “It turned out to be three or four — it wasn’t 17 — and many of your compatriots had to change their reporting, and they had to apologize, and they had to correct.”

    Mr. Trump was also correct about inaccurate news reports. Some, including an article in The New York Times, incorrectly reported that all 17 American intelligence agencies had endorsed the assessment.

    But there is no evidence that significant uncertainty or dissent exists across the intelligence community, simply because not all 17 were involved in the assessment of Russian interference.

    Here is what you need to know about American intelligence agencies and what they do:

    The Best-Known Agencies

    When you think of a spy slipping into a darkened safe house to meet an informant, or furtively taking out an Islamist militant leader, you are thinking of someone who works for the C.I.A. It is the best-known American intelligence agency, and it conducts most of the country’s human intelligence and runs most covert operations. It also includes thousands of analysts whose job is to decipher foreign events for American leaders.

    The N.S.A., where Edward J. Snowden worked, eavesdrops on calls and emails. Its bailiwick is what is known as signals intelligence — known among spies simply as “sigint” — and other forms of electronic spying, such as creating computer viruses that caused Iranian nuclear centrifuges to spin out of control or some North Korean missiles to veer off course.

    The F.B.I. enforces federal law, as any good mobster knows. But it also has a role in the intelligence world, leading counterintelligence operations, which are efforts to understand and stop foreign espionage. (That is the work done by Stan Beeman, the fictional F.B.I. agent on “The Americans.”)

    The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was created after the Sept. 11 attacks to coordinate the efforts of all the parts of the intelligence community. The idea was to ensure that the agencies were working together to avoid future attacks.

    Smaller Parts of Big Agencies

    A number of widely known government agencies have their own intelligence arms. The Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department, for instance, helps American diplomats understand the world.

    The Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence helps protect sensitive laboratories and nuclear facilities. At the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis looks out for threats to the United States.

    The Office of National Security Intelligence at the D.E.A. brings together intelligence from around the government to help stop drug smuggling. The Treasury Department has the Office of Intelligence and Analysis to help cut the flow of money to terrorist groups, drug lords and other criminals who operate internationally.

    Then, of course, there is the Pentagon. Its main intelligence arm is the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is the third-largest intelligence agency. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard also all have their own intelligence branches.

    The Little-Known Agencies

    The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency decides what do with the images captured by American spy satellites. And the National Reconnaissance Office designs, builds and operates the satellites.

    The work can be tricky. In 1999, a predecessor to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency incorrectly marked the Chinese embassy on maps of Belgrade, Serbia, which was inadvertently bombed by American warplanes, killing three and wounding 20. And in 2013, the agency incorrectly misplaced a reef by eight miles, leading to the grounding of the Guardian, a naval minesweeper.

    Read more:

  43. wobblie
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The NY Times and other MSM outlets were instrumental in spreading the lie that 17 agencies concluded that Russia interfered in our election. That was a lie. Pure propaganda. Now they are attempting to back track their lies. The next step is to objectively look at what the 4 agencies actually said, and who in those agencies developed the “assessment”. It has been over a year since this propaganda barrage began. Still not one single indisputable fact has been presented. Everything is sourced to anonymous sources. Not one single piece of evidence has been presented to a grand jury.
    Those Senators who have actually looked at the “evidence” used to compile the “assessment” such as Senator Feinstein had this to say in June, “Referring to a briefing Feinstein attended at CIA Headquarters in Langley on the alleged Russia meddling on Tuesday, host Wolf Blitzer asked: “Do you have evidence that there was in fact collusion between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign?”

    “Not at this time,” Feinstein replied.

    “Well, that’s a pretty precise answer,” Blitzer said, quickly bringing the interview to an end.

    That is after a year of yelling The Russians did it, there is no evidence. The essence of propaganda.

    It is no different than Obama’s birth certificate. While the liberal left has been getting all in a lather over Russia, they continue to ignore those factors that actually led folks to not vote for Democrats—like 16 years of war. Just read an analysis that looked at casualty rates, and areas that voted Obama in 08 and 12 but switched to Trump in 16, such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania all of which have suffered much higher war casualties than the national average. For many folks, Trump was the Peace candidate and HRC was the war candidate. But that out look was undoubtedly the result of all those Russian trolls on the internet, right?

  44. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The news stories that freely accuse and insinuate Russian hacking never give details about the extent of the supposed hacking. I do not understand how that is not a red flag in the minds of people who have the impulse to assume the election was compromised.

  45. Jean Henry
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    FF– These investigations take years. Intelligence agencies do not normally release information without clear multi-source substantiation which takes a lot of time. given the hot mess the Comey leaks created, I’m sure they are even more reticent now to release info earlier. What do you think is a reasonable amount of time for a thorough investigation to take place? Watergate took more than two years to come to fruition (and Nixon was re-elected as it was ongoing. If intelligence agencies released more info than they have about specifics, their sources would be compromised.

    It could all amount to nothing. It will be exceedingly hard to prove collusion with the Trump campaign even if it did happen. There is no reason, however, to dismiss out of hand an ongoing multi-bureau investigation that has been confirmed.

    Is there some degree of wishful thinking re Trump’s removal on the part of those on the left (and in the middle and many true conservative GOP stalwarts) — of course. Can you blame them?

    Please tell us, what do you think of Putin and Russian global politics? Would you rather the Chinese and Russians manage global disputes than America? Do you think we should all be giving Trump more of a shot? Truly curious as to why you find so distasteful this speculation about events so consequential as what appears to be the multi-pronged (and effective) influence of Russia on our domestic elections. We have only seen more evidence from reliable sources v less. No it’s not all there yet. Why should anyone expect it to be so early on in the game?

  46. Jean Henry
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    More fake news from the NYT, I guess

  47. wobblie
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    JH just ignore the Senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. What you seem to believe is that the ” intelligence community” is keeping evidence from our most senior elected officials. That they did this both during the Obama administration and now the Trump administration. I guess that might tell us who really runs the country.
    “Please tell us, what do you think of Putin and Russian global politics? Would you rather the Chinese and Russians manage global disputes than America? ” (16 years of war and not one dispute settled)

    Thank you for clearly articulating your support for continued US wars for US hegemony. That is one of the reasons why HRC lost.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for reducing my political viewpoint down to a cliche.
    Seems to be the norm for political rhetoric here.
    Ps that was a question, not a statement.

  49. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink


    Who is advocating the rushing, or giving up, of the investigation of election hacking or meddling? Most advocate for thorough investigations and of the widest scope possible. I would be completely shocked if there was not always already continuous investigations into election meddling–that would be normal, no?

    Media speculation ought to be framed as speculation. Headlines ought to reflect the content of articles….The left might very well be trading long-term credibility for what they perceive as a short term political “power”.

  50. Jean Henry
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Or wishful thinking.

    The legitimate press (aka mainstream media) publishes stories that are verified by multiple sources. They are obligated to do so as they come to light and then offer historical comparison and some sense of what the long term implications are AND a summary of the gaps in our knowledge. They have consistently done that.

    The partisan press like this site, then review the facts and speculate further on the implications, and add ideological moral approbation etc, which makes partisans feel happy and reassured they are not alone.

    That’s all as it should be.

    The right wing partisan press on the other hand frequently makes shit up, takes clips and factoids out of proper context and generally rabble rouses with repeated party line talking points (with little variance– although more recently) ad Infinitum. Google any one of EOS tales and you will find hundreds of hits saying the same thing.

    While this happens on the left, we also engage in spirited debate about it. I don’t think the same degree of narrative bias is present. Certainly it seems less stratehic and cynical.

    I don’t think speculation about critical events diminishes our political reputation.

    I believe this Russia story is important. I remember the two years of Watergate inquiry and it feels the same. I remember Iran Contra and that was quicker to develop and turned to dust. (Though I think it shouldn’t have) If there end up being high level prosecutions in this case, the left will be justified, and even valorized for following. If it all falls away it will be largely forgotten. Just like all the fake news generated on the right.

  51. EOS
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    And yet it is CNN and NYT and other left leaning media that have been exposed for sharing false stories and misinformation. MSM is no longer a legitimate press. Anyone paying attention over the last year has sufficient evidence to reach that conclusion. They were in the tank for Hillary from the start and share the blame for her loss.

    I suspect that Mark keeps printing these accusations on Trump to deflect the attention from the real crimes committed by the left. If anyone really thought that Russia hacked Clinton’s server, why hasn’t the server been confiscated as evidence?

  52. Lynne
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The Russia story is important. This guy, Richard A. Clark, was a guest on RealTime recently and while I haven’t read his book yet myself, I suspect it will be very enlightening. I have an digital ARC of it that expires in a week so I guess I better get busy!

    Warnings : Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes

    I guess the question is how much do we want Russia influencing our elections. It is clear that they have been even if criminal collusion with the Trump campaign can’t be proven.

  53. Lynne
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Heh. I just read the TOC of that book I was recommending. The author was talking about Russian hacking on Realtime but it doesn’t look like there is actually a chapter specifically about Russian hacking as I assumed. Still looks like a good read though!

  54. wobblie
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    ” I remember Iran Contra and that was quicker to develop and turned to dust. ” Your memory is faulty. Over 138 Reagan administration officials were investigated and many were indicted and some did jail time. The most of any administration. Like you I was disappointed that Reagan was never really touched by these investigations. But to say they turned to dust is clearly a misstatement of the facts.
    “Russiagate” will be like Iran-Conta in that it will not convince Trump supporters not to vote for him again. Like during the Reagan administration, most folks are tired of the continuous wars which do nothing but make our lives more impoverished. If Trump promises a way out and seems to be ending the wars he will get reelected, (for many of the same reasons that Obama was elected and reelected ).
    Until the Democrats stop being identified as the war party, the party of international policeman, voters will continue to look for an alternative.

  55. wobblie
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    One other important point about Iran Contra. Bush I, pardoned many of the criminals involved and just like Ford who had pardoned the criminal Nixon, Bush I was not reelected.

  56. Jean Henry
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie– the entire Iran Contra Affair investigation, including congressional review, took about one year. The Tower commission was appointed in Nov 86, issued a report in Feb 87. The congressional hearings bagan in may ’87 and ended in nov ’87. While there were fall guys, no one in significant power to make the decisions was prosecuted. If you think it didn’t turn to dust, then ask any Millennial about it. Then ask them about Watergate.

    I do agree that this is unlikely to end in a Trump impeachment, unless some new information directly demonstrating his knowledge is released. It will however affect his re-election chances, and possibly the 2018 midterms.

  57. Franklin Graham
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Franklin Graham: “I just appreciate that we have a man in office that understands the power of prayer and the need for prayer.”


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