Home Daily News Clips Wednesday News: Russia/Trump Scandal Deepens; Unprecedented White House Incompetence; “It’s Funny ‘Cause...

Wednesday News: Russia/Trump Scandal Deepens; Unprecedented White House Incompetence; “It’s Funny ‘Cause It’s Treason”


by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, February 15. Also check out Stephen Colbert on Michael Flynn, who “just wanted to spend more time with his Russian contacts.”

  • Dan Rather:

    Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.

    When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.

    This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn’s speech from the Republican National Convention – “Lock her up!” in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn’t just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?

    The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies – can’t we finally all agree to call them lies – long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration’s assertions for far too long.

    We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.

  • Robert Reich:

    The trail linking Trump to Russian interference in the election is getting closer and closer.

    According to four current and former American officials, Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign aides and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials and Russian government officials in the year before the election. One of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Ukraine. The officials declined to identify the other Trump associates on the calls.

    American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to interfere in the presidential election. They also coincided with Trump speaking glowingly Vladimir V. Putin, and saying at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

    This is a very big deal. Congress must launch a bi-partisan investigation immediately. The American people cannot rely solely on a Senate intelligence committee run by Republicans, and an FBI under the aegis of the Trump White House.

  • 2013 VA GOP Lt. Gov. nominee claims Flynn’s ouster caused by “communist ethic of the left”


  • Video: Sen. Mark Warner on Michael Flynn Russia Situation


  • Quizzical

    Bi-partisan governors urge adoption of renewable energy
    A morsel of good news

  • Sen. Mark Warner statement on Senate vote that will undermine gun safety

    “I opposed today’s effort in the Senate to reopen a loophole that prevents individuals with serious mental impairments who should not possess firearms from being reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Virginia has long been a leader in providing appropriate data to the national background check system, and following the tragic events at Virginia Tech nearly ten years ago, the importance of having a functioning background check system is all too clear.

    “I appreciate that there are those with concerns about the final rule, but I also do not believe this is an appropriate use of the Congressional Review Act. Repealing the rule in its entirety and prohibiting the future promulgation of a ‘substantially similar’ rule in perpetuity is, in my view, a heavy-handed way to address this complicated issue.

    “Further, given Congress’ inability to pass even the most commonsense bipartisan gun violence prevention measures, it strikes me as particularly imprudent to further erode the quality of our background check system.

    “For these reasons, I did not support the resolution to disapprove of the regulation.”

  • Andy Schmookler


    To: Lowell Feld (February 15 2017 11:05 AM)

    With all our travels, I am not as thoroughly informed as I generally am at home. I recognize, therefore, that what I have to say may or may not be pertinent, or have been overtaken by events, or especially have been said. before. (Lately, I have found that when I formulate my thoughts they are original, but that by 24 hours later they seem imitative.)

    Anyway, all that is to introduce the following brief comment, for you to post if they are not already obsolete for some reason, or not if they are . (And thanks for posting my comment yesterday.)

    Lately, I find myself optimistic about getting rid of Trump. And it seems to me clear that a President Pence, as undesirable as that is by any normal standard, would be far less dangerous than continuing to have this catastrophic President Trump.

    But I am wondering also: is it reasonable to hope for an escape also from having Mike Pence become our president.

    Or, to put the question more specifically: is there a scenario by which the unfolding of this Trump/Russia connection might lead to a complete invalidation of last November’s presidential election?

    After all, Pence is Vice President only because of that election. If wholly intolerable and perhaps criminal behavior on the part of the winner of that election, and his crowd, were indispensable to that election victory, is there some means by which it is politically plausible and constitutionally permissible to invalidate that election altogether?

  • Video: Trump responds to question about racism by talking about electoral college win


  • Video: Trump’s nonsensical answer on two-state solution vs. one-state solution, also on U.S. embassy moving to Jerusalem


  • Interesting…

    Roberts to Chair Fairfax for Lt. Governor Campaign

    Has Chaired Successful Virginia Gubernatorial and U.S. Senate Campaigns

    FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA – Today, the Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor campaign announced that long-time Virginia civic and political leader Larry Roberts will serve as Campaign Chair.

    Roberts, a partner in the Venable LLP law firm, has held numerous leadership roles in local, state, and national civic, business, and political organizations. In 2005, he was Campaign Chair for successful gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine. After serving as Counselor to the Governor and as Chief of Staff to the DNC Chairman, Roberts also chaired Kaine’s successful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign.

    In addition to his law practice, Roberts currently serves on the boards for several well-regarded statewide organizations in Virginia.

    Throughout his career, Roberts has been known not only for his political and organizational acumen, but also his commitment to expanding opportunities and broadening civic engagement, fostering regional cooperation, promoting Virginia’s interests, and making government more diverse and accessible to Virginia residents.

    Upon naming Roberts as Campaign Chair, Justin Fairfax commented that:

    “I am pleased that Larry is taking on this important formal role with the campaign. He has been a tremendous friend, colleague, and advisor. In those roles, he has shown the exceptional wisdom, judgment, capabilities, and integrity that many have come to know over the years. We share a passion for our Commonwealth, helping people from across our state to be successful and pursue their dreams, promoting effective government resources and solutions when and where they are needed, and also ensuring that we have a strong private sector that helps to promote economic security and opportunity and moves Virginia forward. As our campaign continues to gather momentum, it will be great to have Larry in a leadership role.”

    Roberts noted that:

    “I have been very impressed with Justin as I have gotten to know him over the years. He is a highly intelligent, compassionate, and forward-thinking leader who can deliver results and represent our Commonwealth with honor and distinction. He brings a broad range of experiences to the campaign and, as a result, is able to connect with people from all walks of life. Justin has traveled extensively across the Commonwealth for the past four years to listen, help others, and to talk about his hopes for the Commonwealth and its people. He also pays attention to the hopes and concerns his fellow Virginians are expressing at a momentous time in the life of our nation and our Commonwealth, and he will fight to protect and promote our fundamental rights. Justin will bring to the position of Lt. Governor a sound temperament and policy perspective. But more importantly, he will provide the type of positive, hard-working, and innovative leadership that will make a real difference in the lives of Virginians.”

    Prior to his candidacy for Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax received more than 48% of the vote in the 2013 Democratic primary for Attorney General of the Commonwealth. In that campaign, he earned the endorsement of The Washington Post, which cited his “agile and impressive command of the issues” and his “prosecutor’s passion for justice.” Later that year, he was Co-Chair of the successful Coordinated Campaign. In 2014, Mr. Fairfax served as Co-Chair of Virginia U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s successful reelection campaign. He currently serves as a litigator in the Tysons Corner, VA office of the law firm Venable LLP.

    Fairfax previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in the Major Crimes and Narcotics Unit of the Alexandria Division. He is a graduate of Duke University, where he served on the Board of Trustees, and he currently sits on the Board of Visitors of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. He graduated from Columbia Law School, where he was selected to be a member of the prestigious Columbia Law Review. Justin’s wife, Dr. Cerina W. Fairfax, DDS, is a graduate of the VCU School of Dentistry in Richmond, Virginia and Duke University. Justin and Cerina have one son, Cameron, and one daughter, Carys. They live in Northern Virginia where they own a thriving family dental practice.

  • Quizzical

    From time to time I remind myself that Trump is the President, and I want him to succeed because I want the United States of America to succeed. It seems increasingly clear that the Trump campaign insiders who landed White House jobs are over their heads and aren’t adding enough strengths to compensate for Trump’s weaknesses. Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Miller need to be quietly replaced. The White House Counsel’s office needs top flight help too.