Anonymous Intel Officials Say On-Record Briefer Overstated Russian Interference

Moscow helped Trump in 2016. Do they want him back?

A couple of commenters have pointed to a CNN report titled “US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference.” Given that I touted the briefer’s initial statements in Friday’s post “Russians Actively Working to Re-Elect Trump,” it’s worth a look.

There is, frankly, very little to see here.

The US intelligence community’s top election security official appears to have overstated the intelligence community’s formal assessment of Russian interference in the 2020 election, omitting important nuance during a briefing with lawmakers earlier this month, three national security officials told CNN.

The official, Shelby Pierson, told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election with the goal of helping President Donald Trump get reelected.

The US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with. But the US does not have evidence that Russia’s interference this cycle is aimed at reelecting Trump, the officials said.

“The intelligence doesn’t say that,” one senior national security official told CNN. “A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it’s a step short of that. It’s more that they understand the President is someone they can work with, he’s a dealmaker.”

So, on the one hand, we have Shelby Pierson, the “intelligence community’s top election security official” with “more than 20 years of intelligence experience, including as national intelligence manager for Russia, Europe and Eurasia,” briefing Congress in a closed-door session. On the other, we have an unnamed “senior national security official” who is clearly issuing White House talking points. The words “understand” and “dealmaker” are the tells there.

Later in the piece we’re told

One national security official said Russia’s only clear aim, as of now, is to sow discord in the United States.

Is this the same “national security official”? Or another one?

The next paragraph states

Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the aim of helping Trump get elected and damaging then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the intelligence community concluded, writing in its post-election assessment that “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” And while it is not inconceivable that Russia is once again looking to boost Trump’s candidacy, three national security officials said the US intelligence community does not yet have the evidence to make that assessment.

So, while we can assess that Russia interfered to get Trump elected and they’re currently interfering again, we can’t assess that their goal is to get him re-elected. And now we have “three national security officials.”

Which ones? Where do they work? Are they career officials or political appointees?

Literally anyone from Jared Kushner to, hell, me could be described as a “national security official.”

Since becoming President, Trump has consistently questioned that intelligence assessment, including during a news conference alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. And many of Trump’s foreign policies have benefited Russia, from his abrupt pullout of US troops from northern Syria to the discord he has sown with America’s closest European allies. And he has previously expressed a reluctance to impose severe sanctions on Russia.

Those facts, the US assessment that Russia views Trump as someone they can work with and the separate assessment of Russian interference in the 2020 elections may have led Pierson to connect the dots.

She’d have to be a regular Sherlock Holmes to connect those dots.

One source familiar with the matter said Pierson was merely providing her view of the intelligence as she faced a series of questions from lawmakers trying to pin her down on whether the intelligence showed a Russian preference for Trump.

It’s the type of situation intelligence briefers are prepped to avoid, the source said, in part so as not to wade into partisan controversy. The source said the answer she provided has been misconstrued because it lacked context and nuance.

Is this “source familiar with the matter” one of the aforementioned “three national security officials”?

Well into the report, we finally get someone willing to put their name on their quote:

The brouhaha over the intelligence briefing led national security adviser Robert O’Brien to flatly deny the existence of an intelligence assessment regarding Russian interference aimed at helping Trump. But O’Brien did not explain that the US has also assessed that the Kremlin views Trump as a leader they can work with.

“Well, there’s no briefing that I’ve received, that the President has received, that says that President Putin is doing anything to try and influence the elections in favor of President Trump. We just haven’t seen that intelligence. If it’s out there, I haven’t seen it. I’d be surprised if I haven’t seen it. The leaders of our — the IC have not seen it,” O’Brien said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

But while O’Brien denied that assessment, he was quick to seize on reports that Russia is interfering in the election to help Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries — and mischaracterized the reports to suggest Russia wants Sanders to be President.

“There are these reports that they want Bernie Sanders to get elected president. That’s no surprise. He honeymooned in Moscow,” O’Brien told ABC News, parroting a line Trump used during a campaign rally on Friday.

While intelligence agencies warned Sanders that Russia is interfering to boost him in the Democratic primaries, they have not assessed that Russia wants Sanders to win the general election.

Is O’Brien among the “three national security officials” referenced earlier? And why is he confident Russia is trying to help Sanders but not that they’re trying to help Trump? Does he think they’re going to switch to Sanders if he’s the nominee?

And a separate CNN report of O’Brien’s appearance sheds additional nuance:

In the interview, O’Brien made a point of noting that he was not at the briefing where Pierson presented the intelligence. Instead of indicating what the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had told him regarding the intelligence, O’Brien said he received his information from the Republican lawmakers at the briefing.

“Well, what I heard from the Republican lawmakers there, and again I wasn’t at the hearing, so I can’t comment what, what happened to the hearing, and I’m not going to play that Washington game, but what I heard from Republican lawmakers is that there was zero intelligence that was proffered to them to support that sort of comment. I haven’t seen any of that intelligence. So if it’s out there, it’s something I haven’t seen,” O’Brien said.

But that didn’t stop O’Brien from once again getting over his skis:

O’Brien repeatedly claimed Russia would prefer someone other than Trump get elected in 2020.

“I don’t think it’s any surprise that Russia or China or Iran would want somebody other than President Trump,” O’Brien said. He later added, “Why would Russia want the president who has rebuilt the American military, who has given the Ukrainians lethal arms, javelin missiles and has sanctioned the Russians far more than any president in recent history, why would they want him reelected? I mean, that just doesn’t make common sense.”

That’s just embarrassing.

Obviously, given that these are highly classified matters, all we have to go on is the reporting. Is it possible that Pierson, pressed by Members of Congress, simply used common sense in assessing the Russian aims and went beyond what the intelligence showed? It is.

But I’m incredibly suspicious of the CNN report. It’s simply journalistic malpractice to allow sources to criticize on-the-record testimony by a career professional not only anonymously but with such a vague description as “national security officials.” Given that the one most extensively quoted also used words that look right off a Trump campaign speech, it’s quite reasonable to assume that we’re hearing from Trump loyalists rather than intelligence professionals.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Intelligence, National Security, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m a little surprised. The trump admins preferred propagandists reside at FOX.

    2
  2. drj says:

    Also, all this happened just after Trump fired Acting DNI Joseph Maguire for defending Shelby Pierson:

    President Donald Trump became irate in a meeting with Maguire last week for allowing lawmakers to be briefed about the intelligence community’s belief that Russia is already taking steps to interfere in the 2020 election with the goal of helping Trump win, a White House official has told CNN.

    On Wednesday, Trump announced he was naming Richard Grenell, a staunch loyalist and current US ambassador to Germany, as acting DNI despite him not having experience in intelligence.

    And now we have “three national security officials” toeing the White House line.

    Yep, totally legit.

    17
  3. de stijl says:

    I do like the “omitting important nuance” when it comes from the not for attribution Trump toadies.

    Both chutzpah and irony.

    The ballsiness is galling and a bit admirable. You have to stifle a whole lot of of your soul to be a stooge in a designed media hit.

    3
  4. de stijl says:

    @Guarneri:

    I would prefer all the facts got published.

    13
  5. gVOR08 says:

    Aaron Rupar tweeted a video of National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and noted,

    “What I’ve heard is Russia would like Bernie Sanders to win the nomination. They’d probably like him to be POTUS because he wants to spend money on social programs, and probably would have to take it out of the military” — Robert O’Brien’s logic here makes absolutely no sense

    This is where they’re going: The Russians aren’t meddling. They’re meddling to support Bernie as well as Trump. The Russians want Bernie to win, not Trump. TheRussians supported Bernie in the primary so obviously they’re still supporting him in the general, you don’t see it because they’re hiding it better.

    3
  6. de stijl says:

    @gVOR08:

    Anything that contributes to disorganization and ineffectiveness.

    Trump has been a godsend. He actively denigrates allies, and is negative towards NATO.

    It is almost as if he were a Russian asset. As President. Think on that.

    5
  7. Scott says:

    I beginning to feel totally paranoid and suspicious of everything. Not a good place to be.

    Received the following DoD Announcement this morning:

    Department of Defense Directs Review of Army Field Manual 2-22.3

    The Secretary of Defense has directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Director of National Intelligence, to review the Army Field Manual (FM) 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations. This review is in compliance with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) which directed the review of FM 2-22.3 no sooner than three years after the enactment of the law.

    This may be totally normal. Or not. In all my years of reading these mostly benign announcements, this one stood out.

    Anybody have any insight?

    4
  8. mattbernius says:

    @Guarneri:

    three years of agenda driven erroneous and michevous leaks

    All leaks are agenda driven. As far as erroneous — thou doest protest far too much. The reality is that the majority of leaks have turned out to be pretty accurate. Usually what they’ve gotten most wrong have been timelines or specific details. Heck go back through the archives of OTB and you’ll discover that most of the times there have been stories on leaks — especially in regards to staff changes — they have turned out to be what happened.

    As far as mischievous, part of the issue we’ve seen is that some people within the administration have discovered that leaking is their best way to actually influence policy. Much like all of the staff issues with the President’s direct advisory team, there’s really only one person to blame for that.

    8
  9. Kathy says:

    Fine. Let’s assume the Russians are meddling only to help Bernie.

    What is the administration going to do about it? When is El Cheeto going to condemn Putin for interfering?

    15
  10. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Nothing ever goes wrong when a petty, vain man feels like he is being disrespected.

    2
  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: Yes, let’s get the facts out there, starting with the admin fulfilling it’s legal obligations by releasing to Congress all requested documents and communications and all admin officials responding to congressional subpoenas and testifying.

    What a novel concept.

    9
  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    1) Putin helped elect Trump. Fact.
    2) Trump loved it. Fact.
    3) Trump tried to blackmail Ukraine into also helping re-elect him. Fact.
    4) Putin is once again helping Trump. Fact.

    Which in @Guarneri’s mind means: nothin’ to see here!

    I told you you’d end by endorsing treason, Drew. It was inevitable. #Cult45.

    22
  13. de stijl says:

    @mattbernius:

    Some leaks are justice driven.

    Not everyone is transactional.

    2
  14. mattbernius says:

    @de stijl:
    Justice-driven (however you define it) is still agenda-driven.

    Put a different way, generally speaking, no one leaks just for the sake of leaking.

    1
  15. John430 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Michael Reynolds- California’s answer to the Headless Horseman.

    If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

    Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
    Blocking oil and gas pipelines
    Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
    Cutting U.S. military spending
    Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran.

    Oh, wait! Democrats are already trying those schemes.

    2
  16. de stijl says:

    @mattbernius:

    There is a difference between “I believe there is something wrong here and should share what I know” because morals and ethics.

    Think whistle-blower.

    Transactional leaking is substantially different in intent and purpose. You may be too cynical here.

  17. JKB says:

    You do realize the original report of what was said was by an anonymous official violating classified information laws. And comes from a briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman is a known fabulist and leaker of classified information.

    The official, Shelby Pierson, said several times during the briefing that Russia had “developed a preference” for Trump, according to a U.S. official familiar with her comments.

    It is just competing anonymous sources, usually violating the law, feeding journalists who are known to make up things attributed to anonymous sources or being easily duped by anonymous sources. In either case, much ado about nothing. But well timed leaks to try to influence the Democratic primaries.

    1
  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @John430:
    1) Trump covered up Russia’s aggression in 2016.
    2) He hired Manafort, a stooge of Russian oligarchs.
    3) When Congress tried to safeguard elections, he vetoed it.
    4) He has never, not once, had a single bad thing to say about Putin. Indeed he denies that Putin uses violence against political opponents.
    5) He tried to relax sanctions on Russia, blocked by Congress.
    6) He succeeded in easing sanctions on Deripaska, a corrupt Putin crony.
    7) He is actively undercutting NATO.
    8) He blackmailed Ukraine using the threat of withholding weapons they’d use against Russian aggression.
    9) When he agreed to sell Ukraine anti-tank weapons he specified that they could not be used against Russians.
    10) He pushed to get Russia back into the G7.
    11) He has stonewalled every investigation into Russian election meddling.
    12) He fires intel professionals who speak the truth about Putin.
    13) He had his pet AG kill an investigation into Deutschebank money laundering for Russians.

    And Putin wants him to win.

    19
  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    If you’re concerned I’m sure you’ll join all decent, patriotic Americans in demanding Trump release all of his documents and his people to testify. I mean, you want the facts, right?

    Right?

    No? Hmm. Then you remain what you’ve always been, a dishonest hack spreading lies for your cult.

    19
  20. mattbernius says:

    @de stijl:
    I think we’re talking past each other, or rather I’m using a much more inclusive definition of “agenda” that you are. I think you’re assigning a normative value to the term where I’m simply using it as “in service of a larger purpose.”

    I literally work for an *agenda driven* non-profit (to that point, I don’t know any non-profit or organization without an agenda) — we’re regularly asked to articulate our organization agenda vis-à-vis the change we want to create in the world.

    1
  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott:

    INTERROGATION
    1-20. Interrogation is the systematic effort to procure information to answer
    specific collection requirements by direct and indirect questioning techniques
    of a person who is in the custody of the forces conducting the questioning.
    Some examples of interrogation sources include EPWs and other detainees.
    Interrogation sources range from totally cooperative to highly antagonistic.
    Interrogations may be conducted at all echelons in all operational
    environments. Detainee interrogation operations conducted at a Military
    Police (MP) facility, coalition-operated facility, or other agency-operated
    collection facility are more robust and require greater planning, but have
    greater logistical support. Interrogations may only be conducted by personnel
    trained and certified in the interrogation methodology, including personnel
    in MOSs 97E, 351M (351E), or select others as may be approved by DOD
    policy. Interrogations are always to be conducted in accordance with the Law
    of War,
    regardless of the echelon or operational environment in which the
    HUMINT collector is operating.

    Trump wants to bring back torture.

    6
  22. de stijl says:

    @mattbernius:

    Okay. Get it know.

    We had a different definition of agenda.

    Good resolution.

    (BTW, my take was better.)

    1
  23. de stijl says:

    @de stijl: @mattbernius:

    I put a smiley on the end of the last comment. I was being cheeky.

    OTB doesn’t support emojis. Sorry if that came across as rude. Not my intent.

    1
  24. Kit says:

    @Kathy:

    When is El Cheeto going to condemn Putin for interfering?

    Shame on you, Kathy, you should know better: Trump will condemn Putin just as soon as he loses the election. And then, I think, we’ll really see him leap to action and make up for lost time.

    2
  25. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Maybe we got it backwards. Didn’t have time earlier but here is some info:

    From P.L. 114–92—NOV. 25, 2015

    (6) UPDATE OF THE ARMY FIELD MANUAL.—
    (A) REQUIREMENT TO UPDATE.—
    (i) IN GENERAL.—Not sooner than three years after
    the date of the enactment of this Act, and once every
    three years thereafter, the Secretary of Defense, in
    consultation with the Attorney General, the Director
    of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the
    Director of National Intelligence, shall complete a thorough review of Army Field Manual 2–22.3, and revise
    Army Field Manual 2–22.3, as necessary to ensure
    that Army Field Manual 2–22.3 complies with the legal
    obligations of the United States and the practices for
    interrogation described therein do not involve the use
    or threat of force

    Apparently, this rewrite was the result of the McCain-Feingold Anti-Torture Amendment to the NDAA making the Army Field Manual the Single Standard for USG Interrogations.

    My guess is that this was sat on and some Congressperson called DoD out for not complying with the law to rewrite the Manual.

    2
  26. Moosebreath says:

    @JKB:

    “whose chairman is a known fabulist and leaker of classified information.”

    No, that’s the ranking member, Devin Nunes.

    17
  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott:
    If a Congressperson asked for this it will have been a Republican, otherwise he’d have been ignored. If a Republican wants a rewrite of a section that has largely to do with interrogation, I tend not to think they deserve the benefit of the doubt as to their motives.

  28. de stijl says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Republicans will always hate Pelosi. It’s odd and a bit fetishistic.

    They imagine zombie Ronnie rising from his grave and righteously smiting her from on high with righteous right.

    She’s a nice person. Seems like a cool cat. I have no idea why R’s have fixated on her. In the run up to 2018, every local R pol name checked Pelosi and did the scary close up montage in their ads.

    Oh yeah, she’s really good at her job, and she is a girl, so ergo easy to push around and silence.

    Those folks need to catch up with the times. Girls ain’t pushovers. Nancy certainly isn’t.

  29. de stijl says:

    @Guarneri:

    You have a creepy weird fixation.

    6
  30. Moosebreath says:

    @de stijl:

    “Republicans will always hate Pelosi.”

    Not arguing with you, but I was responding to a comment about Adam Schiff.

    1
  31. de stijl says:

    @Moosebreath:

    That also makes sense.

    1
  32. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I think he’s miffed we’re not grateful for the ginormous 600-room, lavish mansion he provides free of rent to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in his head.

    2
  33. de stijl says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Actually, all of the local pols went negative against Pelosi, not the dudes.

    It was almost as if it were a coordinated effort. Wink.

    One of them even went for the old school “San Francisco values” canard. Dude got stomped, btw. Good riddance.

  34. Andy says:

    @Scott and @Michael Reynolds:

    Yes, that’s the text of the 2016 NDAA which directs that the manual must be regularly reviewed to ensure it complies with our legal obligations and maintains the prohibition on threats of force in interrogations.

    In response to some of the more bizarre conspiracy “theories,” floating around it’s important to note that this requirement was passed and became law during the Obama administration and was part of a larger and much more important effort to make compliance with the Field Manual a statutory obligation for all relevant elements of the federal government. It specifically was designed to take to Executive discretion of the kind the Bush administration utilized for EIT’s out of the hands of future Presidents.

    It seems quite obvious and unremarkable that the provisions of that kind of far-reaching requirement would require periodic review for legal compliance with US international agreements (as spelled out in other parts of the legislation) as well as the prohibitions in the Detainee Treatment Act. And the language of the review requirement paragraph plainly states the review will ensure the prohibition against “the use or threat of force” in interrogations by the US government.

    And the simple fact is that our interrogators need definitive, clear and incontrovertible guidance on what techniques they can utilize. A list of authorized techniques ensures there is little wiggle room for compliance. That is a good thing! Ensuring those (and the other parts of the manual) are regularly reviewed normal and necessary.

    So this review is much ado about nothing and is just the federal government complying with federal law.

    4
  35. mattbernius says:

    @Guarneri:

    I see the echo chamber is well oiled and operating.

    Says the man who comes in here and shits out a “well if you want to open your mind read this article that backs up my world view (often without an actual link)” and then disappears when anyone posts a substantive response.

    Still waiting to hear your reaction to David French’s deep analysis of the Stone jury situation which I posted in response to your citing of Turley.

    Or, let me guess, you only pay attention to experts who say what you agree with.

    BTW, I’d also love to hear your reaction to the news that John Solomon (who you used to quote pretty extensively and pass off his opinion articles as “journalism”) has been found by his previous employer to have engaged in quite a bit of deceptive and biased practices:

    https://thehill.com/homenews/news/483600-the-hills-review-of-john-solomons-columns-on-ukraine

    Or are you just going to disappear again or ignore that I posted this?

    10
  36. de stijl says:

    @mattbernius:

    New York Times
    All the news that’s fit to print

    The Hill masthead:
    The Hill
    We parted ways with John Solomon on less than cordial terms

    The Hill is going to wear that Solomon mishigas for a while. That was a long series of very bad editorial decisions with probable economic implications that made him immune from internal criticism. It looks sketchy af.

    Usually it is plagiarism or faking sources, but Solomon was a paid shill. An obvious paid shill whose behavior was condoned by the publisher for many months.

    That’s basically the death sentence.

    1
  37. de stijl says:

    @Guarneri:

    Re: “Turn off Tater and Rachel.”

    I have zero idea what or who “Tater” refers to. You can’t come in sharp elbows akimbo, flailing about, dropping RW buzzwords and expect a Howdie do! Well met! welcome.

    A serious person does not do that.

    Know your audience.

    6
  38. Kathy says:

    @Kit:

    Lose the election? He’s not going to lose. It will be stolen by the Democrats.

    At least that will be the official line.

    We should practice saying “voter fraud” for November.

    2
  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    On what basis do you assume the DoD means to more closely define interrogation methods in a good way?

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    You know, I’m starting to think you’re not just lying. I was giving you some credit for intelligence calling you a liar. You may actually be so far out of touch with reality you believe your own nonsense. You may just be stupid.

    7
  41. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    On what basis do you assume the DoD means to more closely define interrogation methods in a good way?

    Because of the requirements and limitations on methods that are written into the law. Interrogation methods have to meet specific criteria. Any attempt to backdoor torture or torture-lite techniques would be illegal, quickly be discovered, and leaked to the public.

    In the event that Trump ordered the agencies to add in techniques that are contrary to what’s defined as appropriate in the law, it would be an illegal order. If we assume that all the relevant agencies (which is not just the DoD) didn’t care added them anyway, they’d likely be subject to injunction and review by the courts.

    But it would never get to that point.

    This review process isn’t some backdoor to skirt the law, it’s meant to ensure compliance and it’s legally required. Absent some actual acts by this administration to circumvent it or evidence that the relevant agencies are actually trying to bring back EIT’s (and are therefore acting illegally), then this is a big nothing burger.

    2
  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    That’s reassuring.

    But not entirely reassuring. We no longer have a DoJ, the AG is actively conspiring with Trump to conceal crimes. Who would take such a case to court? And if some operators are found to have violated procedure, what will that matter given that Trump has shown he has no reluctance to override military justice? If POTUS will pardon you, why not a little torture?

    Granted that is a question that goes beyond this particular review. But I won’t be surprised to see Trump inject himself into this, demanding a return to torture. Certainly if he got a 3 AM phone call with a tick-tock toward a suspected terrorist attack, he’d immediately authorize torture, put a blanket of security over it all, prosecute any whistleblower and pardon anyone caught up in legal jeopardy. Or is that wrong?

    3
  43. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think the system as it stands is pretty well designed to prevent a repeat of what happened in the Bush years. I can’t think of any practical ways to make it better, at least not without substantially and negatively impacting our ability to do interrogations generally.

    We can speculate about the possible ways that the legal ban on torture might be ignored, end-runned, repealed, or what might happen in a “24” scenario, but we could do that about anything the government does. Absent some clear indication that something is actually happening on this front I think it’s a waste of time to be concerned about it. The only reason we’re talking about it now is because someone posted about the review, and on that score, the review is unremarkable because it’s legally mandated. The fact the review was announced to the public is actually a sign that there’s probably nothing nefarious going on.

    As with everything the government does, it’s always good to be watchful, but in this case there is, as of now, no there there.

    4
  44. mattbernius says:

    @Andy:
    Hey sir, thanks for the thoughtful analysis on a topic I know nothing about. It’s much appreciated!

    3
  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy: @mattbernius:
    I know. Don’t tell Andy but we just got him to do our research for us.

    4
  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: And once again you are too gutless to challenge even one assertion. Another coward just like your hero. Birds of a feather I guess.

    2
  47. Andy says:

    @mattbernius and @Michael Reynolds:

    Thank you both!

    Don’t tell Andy but we just got him to do our research for us.

    #notasecret but I like to research and do it professionally and for fun.

    6
  48. inhumans99 says:

    @mattbernius:

    Jeebus, after reading all that I now no longer believe John Solomon is named John Solomon and now want third party verification confirming that is his legal name. Geez, the dude and his “sources” are shady AF.

    Also, as someone else already mentioned in the comments, this should cast a pall over The Hill for quite some time…how could they let such blatantly unethical behavior go unchecked for such an extended period of time.

    4
  49. Matt says:

    @Guarneri:

    Trump high in the polls

    44% approval is a world record best ever some say they’ve never seen a poll number so beautiful. Some are even writing papers about how amazing it is!!

    @de stijl: Is “Rachel” supposed to be Rachel Maddow? I have no idea who tater is but I do like eating me some taters!!

  50. de stijl says:

    @Matt:

    I do like me some French fried pertators.

    Sling Blade was a passable decent movie.