NSA Has Received No Orders To Act Against Russian Interference In 2018 Election

President Trump continues to deny the reality of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, and he's failing to act to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Admiral Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, told a Congressional Committee yesterday that he has not received any orders from the White House regarding efforts to prevent Russian interference in the 2018 election:

WASHINGTON — Faced with unrelenting interference in its election systems, the United States has not forced Russia to pay enough of a price to persuade President Vladimir V. Putin to stop meddling, a senior American intelligence official said on Tuesday.

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the departing head of the National Security Agency and the military’s Cyber Command, said that he was using the authorities he had to combat the Russian attacks. But under questioning during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he acknowledged that the White House had not asked his agencies — the main American spy and defense arms charged with conducting cyberoperations — to find ways to counter Moscow, or granted them new authorities to do so.

“President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity,'” said Admiral Rogers, who is set to retire in April. “Clearly what we have done hasn’t been enough.”

Admiral Rogers’s testimony was the second time this month that a senior American intelligence official had said that Russia’s efforts to meddle in American elections did not end in 2016, and that the Trump administration had taken no extraordinary steps to stop them. He and other intelligence leaders warned two weeks ago on Capitol Hill that Russia was using a digital strategy to worsen political and social divisions in the United States, and all the intelligence chiefs said they had not been expressly asked by the White House to find a way to punish Russia for its efforts.

The comments by Admiral Rogers on Tuesday reflected what appears to be a widening gap between President Trump and the intelligence agencies he runs. While the president has mocked the notion of Russian meddling in the election he won, American intelligence officials are convinced of it, and they believe Russia is now looking to interfere in the midterm elections in November.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said the Department of Homeland Security was working with state and local elections officials to prevent attacks on electoral systems, which were wider than initially thought during the 2016 vote. She also cited a program to provide $40 million to counter Russian and Chinese propaganda, though she failed to mention that the money was delivered to the State Department only after months of delays and withering criticism from Republicans in Congress.

As for Admiral Rogers, “nobody is denying him the authority,” Ms. Sanders said before blaming the Obama administration, noting that the Russian campaign began on its watch.

Asked during the earlier hearing whether he had the authority and the ability to disrupt the Russian attacks “where they originate,” Admiral Rogers replied, “I don’t have the day-to-day authority to do that.”

“So you would need, basically, to be directed by the president,” said Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.

“Have you been directed to do so?” Mr. Reed added.

“No, I have not,” Admiral Rogers said.

All of this comes in the wake of a month in which several top Administration officials have both reiterated the fact that there is clear and convincing evidence, now backed by a detailed Indictment obtained from a Grand Jury by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, that Russia did indeed interfere in the 2016 election and that they are likely to do so again in 2018 and beyond. At the beginning of the month, for example, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other Administration officials outside the White House reiterated the long-standing belief that Russia had in fact interfered in the 2016 election. Just about a week later, Admiral Rogers, along with the heads of the other top intelligence agencies told the Senate Intelligence Committee that there was already evidence that the Putin regime was seeking to repeat and expand its interference efforts in the upcoming midterm elections.

Despite these warnings, which the intelligence chiefs have no doubt shared with the President, Trump continues to doubt that the 2016 campaign was interfered with at all, a position he held on to even after Mueller announced the indictment of thirteen Russian nationals in what was clearly an effort to use social media to interfere in the election. Additionally, Trump has failed to implement the sanctions that Congress passed into law that were designed to be retaliation for the Russian interference campaign. Why Trump is doing this is, of course, open to interpretation. The most nefarious conclusion, of course, is that he knew about, participated in, or allowed members of his campaign to participate in what ended up becoming a campaign that inured to the benefit of the Trump campaign by undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Somewhere in between that is the conclusion that Trump had no knowledge of what was going on at the time it was happening, but that he has nonetheless sought to undermine the investigation into Russian interference on numerous occasions. The most innocent explanation is that he is basically an egomaniac who is afraid that acknowledging the reality of Russian interference would somehow undermine the legitimacy of his Presidency. Whatever the answer is, though, the reality is that what we’re seeing from the White House now, or to put it more succinctly what we’re not seeing, is a complete dereliction of duty on Trump’s part.

As Admiral Rogers stated in his testimony yesterday, there are some steps he can take as head of the National Security Agency to protect the nation against another Russian interference campaign. In order to do his job the way it should be done, Rogers needs a President who is willing to admit the reality of Russian interference two years ago, and the reality that it is likely to happen again, and who is willing to do whatever it takes to stop it and, if necessary, retaliate for it appropriately. We don’t have that kind of President, though, and as a result, we remain as vulnerable to interference and manipulation today as much as we were in 2018. If a Democratic President were doing this, the Republicans in Congress would be in full-on outrage mode. Instead, they’re basically sitting on their hands doing nothing. Because of that, they are as complicit in this dereliction of duty as the President.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Intelligence, National Security, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore “I can continue this activity”

    Aiding and abetting the enemy.
    While I appreciate your analysis, I would put it more simply. Donnie is clearly acting as a Russian asset. What we don’t know is if it is an agreed-to arrangement, or if he is simply being manipulated by Putin.
    We will have to wait for Mr. Mueller to tell us.




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  2. michael reynolds says:

    This refusal by Trump to do his clear duty is in itself proof of obstruction of justice.

    If a government official stops law enforcement from investigating a crime in which he is implicated, that is abuse of power. This is an impeachable offense. Misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, all to serve a single purpose: to obstruct justice.




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  3. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    Yep, Trump is in effect a Russian agent. The bizarreness of this, the lack of precedent is what stops people seeing the obvious. People imagine spies as motivated ideologues, but most spies just do it for money or to avoid exposure (blackmail), whatever rationale they dream up after the fact. This is why Mueller is focusing on Trump’s money, because Trump’s desperate need for cash was the means by which Trump was recruited. It was a cash-for-services deal, understood by both sides, whether or not it was explicitly stated.




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  4. MBunge says:

    I know it’s kind of hopeless in all the butt hurt but am I to believe that Admiral Rogers and the rest of the intelligence community have not themselves ASKED for the authority to do something about Russian Facebook posts? Have they not suggested certain actions and requested the permission to take them? Have they had no face to face meetings with the President? Are they waiting around for Donald Trump to tell them how to do their jobs? Because that’s exactly how that news story is presenting the situation. If somebody is being derelict in their duty, that would seem to include more people than just President Trump.

    And, of course…

    If a Democratic President were doing this

    Who exactly was President when all this was supposed to be going on?

    Mike




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  5. CSK says:

    I mentioned this on another thread, but the news just broke that the New York banking regulator has asked Deutsche Bank and others to furnish them with info on Kushner, his family, and their companies.

    @michael reynolds: You’re right. This is all about money. Putin bailed out Trump, and now Putin owns Trump. And the rest of the whole sleazy gang.




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  6. CSK says:

    @MBunge:

    Trump has to tell them to do this. He hasn’t.




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  7. Kathy says:

    Trump shouldn’t worry about his legitimacy. He has none.

    Anyone with two brain cells to rub together, knows a loss in the popular vote means there’s a large number of people who will oppose the electoral college winner. Therefore the need to reach out and court the other side, however minimally. Instead Trump has gone out of his way to insult, demean, belittle and attack the other side.

    He’s the president of his base, and maybe of the GOP. Not of the United States of America.




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  8. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    Why would the NSA NEED any kind of special orders to take action?

    On second thought, considering all the alleged Russian “meddling” that happened prior to Trump taking office, maybe there’s some leftover Obama order telling the NSA to lay off and let Russia meddle, and Trump hasn’t gotten around to rescinding it.

    And it’s amusing how the regulars around here are so frothing about the unproven Trump stuff, while militantly ignoring the REAL, DOCUMENTED, PROVEN collusion — Hillary’s campaign and the DNC hired a foreign national (Christopher Steele) to use his Russian contacts (close to Putin) to come up with dirt on Trump (real or fictional) to influence the election.

    It’s all factual, and can’t be rebutted. So that means it’s time for Full Defense — gratuitous personal insults, crass remarks, and calls for my banninizing.

    One final, fun factoid: that Russian lawyer who met with Don Jr. under false pretenses? She was denied a Visa to come to the US, but the Obama administration granted her special permission to come to the US. Immediately before her meeting with Don Jr., she met with the head of Fusion GPS, the smear mercenaries that Hillary and the DNC hired to hire Christopher Steele. And immediately after the Trump Jr. meeting, they met again.

    I’ll take a wild speculation and say that the first meeting was to tell her “this is what you talk about with Trump Jr.,” and the second was to find out how it went.

    But back to the first point: just what happened between the White House and the NSA before Trump took office that makes the NSA think they need special, explicit orders to DO THEIR JOBS and deal with Russian attempts to meddle in our political process? Well, besides Hillary giving them a defective “RESET” button and Obama saying he’ll “have more flexibility after the election” and Obama mocking Romney for saying that Russia was the #1 geopolitical threat to the US, that is. I’m wondering about the other stuff.




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  9. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    Who exactly was President when all this was supposed to be going on?

    Way to parrot the talking points, parrot.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/obama-putin-election-hacking/?utm_term=.b5a5eae086e7




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  10. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Kathy: Anyone with two brain cells to rub together, knows a loss in the popular vote means there’s a large number of people who will oppose the electoral college winner.

    And if that large number of people can’t accept reality and didn’t understand how our elections work, then there are a large number of really, really stupid people who need to learn how the system works, and stop expecting the rest of the nation to cater to their whiny, selfish delusions of grandeur adequacy.




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  11. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Why would the NSA NEED any kind of special orders to take action?

    Who you gonna believe? Mike Rogers, or J E N O S?




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  12. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Two questions, moron:

    1) When did this alleged Russian meddling occur?

    2) Who was president when 1) allegedly happened?

    Or did Trump somehow reach back in time and countermand Obama’s directives to the NSA or something?

    And assuming that every single word of that article is true (considering it’s the WaPo, skepticism is mandatory), it still boils down to “Obama failed to carry out his duty to protect the US.”




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  13. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: That’s the WHOLE POINT of this posting. Since you’re typically clueless, let me repeat the title: NSA Has Received No Orders To Act Against Russian Interference In 2018 Election

    The NSA’s whole point is to “act against” things like this. It is their DEFAULT position. It is their ONE JOB.

    If they’re saying that they need special orders to do their ONE JOB, then they’re as clueless and useless as you.

    Hence my semi-sarcastic “maybe there were some special orders from Obama to the contrary” speculation. But you’re making me wonder if there really were such orders…




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  14. MarkedMan says:

    Can I just shout into the wind here for a moment, and ask people please don’t respond to posts by people who have proven to be completely devoid of intellectual honesty or indeed of any interesting or coherent thought. What I do is that if I see one of their names as either a poster or a reply-to, I just skip the whole post. They are never, never worth the time. Unfortunately, thread after thread devolves into a ridiculous spat between people who think that this one time they will get the scoundrel to admit reason and, well, the wall. This Monty Python bit sums it up nicely.




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  15. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge: McConnell threatened to paint any public statement as a partisan trick. Obama launched the appropriate investigations. When he got confirmation Obama put Moscow on notice that we knew. Obama imposed sanctions (while Flynn was apparently assuring the Russians Trump would reverse the sanctions). Remember Obama had only a few months to react. Trump’s known about Trump’s relationship with Moscow for years.




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  16. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @MarkedMan: Without even looking, I’m guessing “argument clinic.”

    Yup.




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  17. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    If they’re saying that they need special orders to do their ONE JOB, then they’re as clueless and useless as you.

    There are things within their authority, and things outside their authority. (like within your ability to comprehend, and outside your ability to comprehend) According to Rogers they are doing everything within their authority. Rogers has not been given the authority by President Donald Trump to disrupt Russian election hacking operations where they originate. That’s the point of all this. Trump is uninterested in stopping the ongoing Russian attacks. You support his dereliction of duty.
    You were banned from this site…take your idiocy elsewhere…maybe to a reading comprehension course.




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  18. Joe says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    We will have to wait for Mr. Mueller to tell us.

    . . . or President Putin.




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  19. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: So, Rogers wants the authority to commit acts of war?

    I’d be less skeptical if you and yours weren’t so damned insistent on refusing to acknowledge the actual, proven foreign collusion: Hillary’s campaign hired a foreign national (Christopher Steele, who had been fired by the FBI) to collude with his Russian contacts to whip up his fake dossier, which was intended to sway the election to Hillary. And then, when she lost anyway, the Russian-sourced dossier was used to try to subvert the results of the election.




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  20. Brooklyn Dave says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Sigh, talk about arguing in bad faith:

    Why would the NSA NEED any kind of special orders to take action?

    As the article noted, Admiral Rogers IS taking action within his day-to-day authority but his authority is limited, as it should be. Now, can you explain why, after all this time, Trump points fingers and completely fails to provide leadership in this matter?

    Why didn’t Obama do more?

    He should have, even though McConnell argued there was no meddling and others said it would look like he was interfering in the election (which is exactly how it would have been portrayed). But this argument is really in bad faith so as to avoid responsibility. Trump has argued there was no meddling, many many times. So if, now, there really was / is meddling, why is he completely failing to provide leadership?
    Oh, and as for posters making gratuitous personal insults at you? You so obviously are just trolling and simply trying to disrupt others without adding anything remotely of value (other than a bit of sad entertainment) that you richly deserve them.




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  21. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    fake dossier

    Um…more of the Steele Dossier has been verified than has been de-bunked.
    eg: Page’s trip to Moscow and meetings with Russian officials; Michael Cohen’s role in pursuing opportunities for Trump in Russia, such as the Moscow Trump Tower deal; or the allegations in the Mueller indictments regarding Manafort’s ‘off-the-books’ payments from ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party.
    If your opinions are based on total BS, then your opinion is total BS.
    You were banned…take your idiocy and go.




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  22. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, Rogers wants the authority to commit acts of war?

    More importantly…you and your sycophant ilk defend mother Russia committing acts of war against us.
    You were banned…take your treasonous comments elsewhere.




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  23. Kathy says:

    In simple terms, though perhaps not so simple that trump supporters might comprehend, the heads and personnel of the various executive branch agencies have no authority to set foreign policy. That’s the job of the president, and unfortunately it’s largely vacant at the moment.

    For example, the NSA cannot take actions that could be perceived by a sovereign power as a hostile act, without orders or at least consent from the president.

    Why else would you need a commander in chief? Couldn’t Nimitz, MacArthur and Eisenhower just win WWII without Roosevelt having to get involved?

    Executive agencies cannot engage in diplomacy, either, or impose sanctions on a foreign power, or enforce such sanctions, or divert funds from ongoing operations to other matters, among many other things, without orders. Hell, why not let the Air Force and the Navy launch their ICBMs whenever they deem it necessary?

    Trump can run the USA as a banana republic. That doesn’t mean the executive branch should go along or even wants to.




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  24. CSK says:

    Hope Hicks is resigning.

    One day after she testified to telling “little white lies” for her boss.




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  25. Mister Bluster says:

    Why didn’t Obama do more?

    About what? Your boyfriend Pud has assured us:

    “He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did… Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”




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  26. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Um…more of the Steele Dossier has been verified than has been de-bunked.

    So it was salted with legit stuff to give the fake stuff a veneer of credibility. Standard tradecraft 101.

    Say that 60% of the Steele dossier (as provided to him by Putin’s people) is verified, 20% is proven inaccurate, and 20% unverified (and, probably, unverifiable). Standard practice is that when part of the document is proven to be faked, then it’s safer to assume the part you can’t verify is also faked.

    Unless you’re really, really, really, heavily, totally invested in wanting to believe it, as in “clap for Tink” invested, that is. In that case, you bet the house on it being legit, and pretend that the proven fake parts don’t count.

    And you really haven’t gotten over that time recently when I busted you for five lies in one comment, have you?




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  27. Daryl’s other brother Daryll says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    Move those goal posts J E N O S.
    Your typical MO
    You were banned…Show a modicum of self-pride and go away.




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  28. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Daryll: Good lord, you’re a total whiner, on top of everything else.




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  29. MBunge says:

    Man, I think Outside the Beltway has really gotten to the heart of this conspiracy.

    There appears to be nothing about this earth-shattering story at either Talking Points Memo…

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/

    …The Atlantic…

    https://www.theatlantic.com/search/?q=michael+rogers

    …The Daily Beast…

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/

    …or the New Republic.

    https://newrepublic.com/

    How deep does this “Collusion!” go?

    Mike




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  30. michael reynolds says:

    Trump is in worse trouble faster than I expected. It was obvious since long before he was “elected” that he was in bed with Putin and that the root cause was Trump’s ineptitude leading to financial ruin, and from there to money-laundering. But having been through Watergate, this seems to be moving faster. We’ve already got convictions and indictments piling up and rats deserting the sinking ship. We could get a Mueller report before the mid-terms. I won’t be surprised if he gets an indictment of Jared in a few weeks or month. I remain mystified as to where that would leave Ivanka.

    It must be fascinating in a macabre sort of way being in the White House now. Kelly is clearly forming a barrier around Trump, depriving him one by one of his most intimate, trusted people either by forcing them out or by sidelining them. Trump is left with Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, Jared and Ivanka. Everyone else works for Kelly, everywhere Trump looks, Kelly is the real president.

    Ryan and McConnell must know this. What I’m saying, Bung and TM and JKB and the rest of the nitiwts, is this: the Deep State in the person of Deep General Kelly is carrying out a soft coup, isolating, castrating, one might even say civically cuckolding your Dear Leader. And when they castrate Trump they’re also castrating you. Look how they got Trump to suggest taking your guns away. Just because you’re nuts.

    Is that a pizza parlor sex cult I smell?




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  31. michael reynolds says:

    Uh oh, Wal-Mart. No more assault rifles, no guns or ammo to anyone under 21. How can the Trump voters boycott the only store within an hour’s drive of the trailer? This must all be so confusing for them.




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  32. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But having been through Watergate, this seems to be moving faster.

    Nixon was a lot more on the ball than Dotard Don has ever been.




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  33. michael reynolds says:

    Oh, Jared is fwcked. Jared is well and truly fwcked. That boy is going to prison.




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  34. teve tory says:

    Did I read somewhere that he’s getting loans from businesses who are getting White House meetings?




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  35. michael reynolds says:

    @teve tory:
    Why yes, yes you did. Fee fie foe faw, I smell the blood of a son-in-law.




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  36. Mikey says:

    @teve tory: Kushner’s Business Got Loans From
    Companies After White House Meetings

    Early last year, a private equity billionaire started paying regular visits to the White House.

    Joshua Harris, a founder of Apollo Global Management, was advising Trump administration officials on infrastructure policy. During that period, he met on multiple occasions with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said three people familiar with the meetings. Among other things, the two men discussed a possible White House job for Mr. Harris.

    The job never materialized, but in November, Apollo lent $184 million to Mr. Kushner’s family real estate firm, Kushner Companies. The loan was to refinance the mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper.

    Boom.




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  37. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    Yep. And Citigroup lent Jared 325 million…after its CEO visited the White House.




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  38. teve tory says:

    I also heard today that they could get Trump on felony witness tampering just for what he said to Hope Hicks after she testified. Every day these idiots commit more crimes.




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  39. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Look how they got Trump to suggest taking your guns away. Just because you’re nuts.

    Can you imagine if Obama had suggested confiscating guns without due process?
    But Trump says it and the sycophants shrug…meh…¯\_(ツ)_/¯




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  40. wr says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: “If they’re saying that they need special orders to do their ONE JOB, then they’re as clueless and useless as you”

    Hey stupid,

    The president sets the priorities for executive branch. The NSA can’t simply say “hey, we feel like spying on France today because that Macron guy pisses us off.” You might as well say that since it’s the army’s job to fight wars, the top generals are slackers if they decide they need special orders to invade North Korea.




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  41. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: You were never able to buy assault rifles at walmart. Could you roll back your delusions a bit and try to stay somewhat based in reality?

    It’s amazing how dumb you get when the subject of guns is brought up. Especially after you’ve lectured the bob and other right wingers for doing the same thing with other subjects.




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