Tag Archives: Senate Intelligence Committee

Preferring to wait for Mueller report

Let’s see, who should we believe?

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says “evidence is in plain sight” that the Donald Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian government operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

There’s that view.

Then we have U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., who says there is “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian goons.

Clear as mud, right?

I believe I am going to await the findings of the special counsel, Robert Mueller III — the former FBI director and a first-class lawyer — to finish his investigation into the Russia collusion matter.

I also intend to insist that he make his report public. Mueller has spent a several trainloads of public money on this investigation. Thus, the public is entitled to see how its investment has paid off, if it has paid off.

As for chairmen Schiff and Burr, they’re likely viewing this matter through their own partisan prisms. I want to hear from the man who has unique knowledge of what happened.

The nation awaits you, Mr. Special Counsel.

Senate panel takes command of the obvious

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has weighed in with what the rest of the country — except for perhaps one man — already knows.

The Russians meddled in our 2016 presidential election and worked to elect Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

Senators have concurred with what every intelligence expert in this country — and some around the world — have concluded. The Russians attacked our electoral process.

According to The Hill: “The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” said Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement.

Did you note that Burr is a Republican? That he’s the chairman of the panel? That he has done what his GOP colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee failed to do, which is issued a bipartisan conclusion?

Trump, meanwhile, continues to give the Russians a pass. He won’t condemn their actions as a virtual act of war on our electoral system. He won’t scorch Russian President Vladimir Putin the way he has, say, the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities. Justice Department and FBI leaders have been vilified by the president, who cannot bring himself to say publicly what intelligence experts have said for months, that the Russians meddled in our election.

The Hill reports: All in all, the Senate panel’s report was a unflinching contradiction of many of the core claims made by Trump allies in the House. 

Read The Hill story here.

Will the president take this latest confirmation any more seriously than he has the previous reports? Absolutely not!

Indeed, he’s getting ready to meet with Putin in a few days in Helsinki, Finland. Don’t expect the president to criticize the Russian strongman over his attack on our election.

Comey sets the table

James Comey’s testimony before a U.S. Senate committee is going to send even more shockwaves through the nation’s capital.

The former FBI director is going to tell the Intelligence Committee that Donald J. Trump pressured him repeatedly to back off an investigation into whether Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had done something wrong while conferring with Russian government officials.

Oh, but wait. Now comes the president’s lawyer who says Trump feels “vindicated” because Comey supposedly told the president he wasn’t under “investigation” personally.

Is that vindication? We’ll have to await the Q&A from senators.


Americans are going to hear Comey say he was “concerned” about the president’s repeated pressure. Will we hear the ex-FBI boss declare that he believes there was an attempt to obstruct justice? Don’t hold your breath. My hunch is that such a determination will have to come from special counsel Robert Mueller — Comey’s old friend and former colleague. Mueller has taken the lead on investigation this Russia matter and whether there was “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian hackers who were seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome.

I do not believe that Comey’s testimony will “vindicate” the president. Nor will it convict him. It is likely to keep the post at full boil while the special counsel and his team do their work to uncover the truth.

Let’s call it James Comey Day

I guess some of the TV news networks think Thursday is going to be a big day.

At least one of them, CBS News, is planning to pre-empt its daytime programming to broadcast the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing featuring former FBI Director James Comey.

Comey is going to speak publicly about his firing by Donald J. Trump, as well as the conversations the two men had prior to Comey’s dismissal.

Hey, it’s a big deal, man!

Comey was heading up an FBI investigation into allegations that Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian government agents and hackers who were seeking to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Then he got canned. Just like that! 

Vice President Pence said the dismissal had “nothing to do” with the Russia probe. Then the president told NBC News that, yep, he fired Comey because of the “Russia thing.”

So, let’s ask former top federal cop what went down, shall we?

Let us also determine which man to believe: a meticulous note-taker such as Comey or a serial liar such as the man who fired him.

Get the popcorn and the soda ready.

Comey set to return to center stage

I understand James Comey is a good lawyer.

He knows the consequences of committing perjury. He understands that when he takes an oath he is bound to tell the whole truth.

The former FBI director, whom Donald J. Trump fired just the other day, is heading to Capitol Hill in a few days to talk to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Reports now are surfacing that Comey is going to tell senators that the president sought to meddle in an investigation Comey was leading. Trump is the focus of the investigation, which now has been taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller. Comey said the FBI was examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Trump denies collusion. He has told TV networks and other media that he fired Comey because of the “Russia thing” and Comey’s investigation into the actions of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. He also reportedly blabbed as much to Russian dignitaries who were visiting him in the Oval Office; the Russians have denied that Trump said discussed Comey.


Comey on the stand

Now we’ll get to hear from the former FBI director himself. I’m quite certain that senators — particularly those on the Democratic side of the dais — are going to get right to the heart of the Big Question.

Did the president of the United States — in your opinion — obstruct justice by asking the FBI director to shut down his probe of Flynn and the campaign’s Russia connection?

Be sure you tell us the whole truth, Mr. Comey.

Maybe the Senate panel can hold it together

U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner have something in common.

They are the chairman and ranking Democratic member, respectively, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is in the midst of a probe into whether Russian spooks colluded with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to influence the 2016 election.

But their commonality? It rests in the dysfunction occurring with the House Intelligence Committee. Chairman Devin Nunes is under increasing fire over allegations that he has compromised himself because of his coziness with the president.

The House panel has been high-centered over the controversy. Meanwhile, Sens. Burr and Warner pledge to remain cooperative and to ensure that their committee proceeds with all deliberate speed to get the facts out.

Many of their fellow Americans — including yours truly — are hoping that they can uphold their pledge.

My own belief is that there needs to be a special prosecutor to do the job that Congress seems incapable of doing, which is to scour the evidence completely to learn whether there was any collusion.

However, I am ready to accept Burr and Warner making a solemn promise to keep their investigation on track.

Rest assured, senators. A lot of us out here are going to hold your feet to the fire.

Trump relies on talking heads for his wiretap allegation?

Donald J. Trump is in command of the world’s most impressive intelligence-gathering network.

He is commander in chief of the world’s greatest military machine.

Does he rely on those immense tools to inform him of the “fact,” as he put it, that Barack Obama wiretapped his campaign offices at Trump Tower?

Oh, no. He relied on talking heads, such as Fox News’s Bret Baier and Sean Hannity; he also has relied on news stories in the “failing” New York Times that “talked about wiretaps.”

With that, the president of the United States launched his Twitter tirade alleging that the former president broke the law.

In the meantime, Senate and House intelligence committee leaders — both Democrat and Republican — say they have “no evidence” of any wiretapping occurring at Trump Tower. Ditto, said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

It ain’t there. The president now wants us to believe yet another lie?

Major attack possible in U.S.? Do ya think?

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein says now is the time for “vigilance” after the massacre at the offices of a Paris satirical magazine.

Well, what do you know? The former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee is demonstrating an impressive command of the obvious.


Feinstein, a California Democrat, is trying to alert Americans to the possibility of a “major” terrorist attack on U.S. soil. I would argue that we’ve been on high alert ever since 9/11. And we should be on alert, possibly for as long as terrorists exist in the world.

The shootout at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris has stunned the world. Twelve people died in the melee. Three of the assassins were killed by French commandos; a fourth remains on the lam.

The Paris mayhem has brought to the fore once again that terrorists will do whatever it takes to strike fear in the world. We’ve known this all along, even before 9/11.

But we let our guard down and on that Tuesday morning 13 years ago we paid a terrible price.

I appreciate Sen. Feinstein’s word of extreme caution.

However, I hope she’s preaching to the proverbial choir.  We damn sure ought to be on high alert already.

Rectal feedings were 'necessary'?

Someone will have to explain to me how the practice of “rectal feeding” becomes a medical necessity.

Yet it’s a practice that Karl “Bush’s Brain” Rove defended this morning on Fox News Sunday.


The term was revealed in that Senate Intelligence Committee report on the treatment of terror suspects by the Bush administration immediately after the 9/11 attacks. One of the revelations is the practice of “rectal feeding,” which Rove said this morning was a “medical necessity.” The report issued by the Intelligence Committee’s Democratic members said otherwise.

Maybe I don’t get out much, but this practice is new to me.

As I understand it, the procedure involves pureeing food and then inserting it into individuals’ rectum. This is how suspects are, um, fed by their captors. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s apparently quite a painful process. It inflicts misery on those receiving these food injections.

If the suspect is refusing to eat as a form of protest, aren’t there other ways to “feed” them? Sedation, perhaps, and an intravenous line inserted into their arm would seem to do the trick.

The Senate report suggests the procedure was meant to torture the suspects and to get them to reveal battle plans or other “actionable intelligence” to which our military and spooks could respond.

It seems to me that rectal feeding goes a good bit beyond what is acceptable.

Leave it, though, to Karl Rove to defend, as necessary, a practice that is ay beyond disgusting.


It's Cheney who's 'full of crap'

Richard Bruce Cheney doesn’t believe, apparently, in the same America many millions of others do.

Oh sure. Many millions of other Americans support the former vice president’s world view. I respect that. I just happen to fundamentally disagree with Cheney. No surprise there, right?


It’s that report on torture that’s got Cheney all wadded up.

The report released by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats asserts that the United States employed illegal interrogation techniques on alleged terrorists taken captive immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Cheney’s view — as if anyone expected otherwise — is to say the “enhanced interrogation techniques” produced “actionable intelligence” that protected Americans from further attacks.

The report says otherwise.

I also am going to climb aboard the same wagon as a bona fide American war hero, Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain, who speaks from personal experience in expressing his support for what the Intelligence Committee Democrats say about torture techniques. McCain’s view of those “EITs” is formed by his own experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He said that captives will say anything to stop the pain and that the information they give to the enemy is more bogus than believable.

Cheney continues to defend tactics that are not in keeping with the values we hold dear in this country. Yes, we’re at war with some loathsome organizations that employ equally loathsome tactics on the people they capture. Does that mean we should sink to that level of barbarism? No.

It means we employ our own sophisticated interrogation techniques to glean information.

And no, no one is saying we should kiss the captives on the cheek, as some have suggested.

What the Senate panel is saying, as I understand it, is that the United States must be true to its claim of being better than the enemy we’re seeking to destroy.