Gotcha!

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The continuing farce of the deep state versus Trump took another turn with the “revelation” that Jeff Sessions, Trump’s AG and a former Senator, may have met twice with the Russian Ambassador. And then, when asked a question during his confirmation hearings which was, at a stretch, tangentially related to his possible meetings, said he had no meetings about the particular topic he was being questioned about.

This is pretty much politics as usual except for one important detail. The Washington Post which broke “the story” was a bit coy as to its sources for the news of Sessions meetings. I have seen “intelligence sources” mentioned but that could really mean just about anything.

The partisan spin machines came up to speed this morning with the Democrats claiming perjury and demanding a special prosecutor, recusal and resignation and the Republicans suggesting that this is a “nothing burger”.

The accusations themselves may be meritless but the fact they have been made at all based on information fed to the Washington Post by people inside the government is significant. So is the ongoing attempt to implicate the Russians in Trump’s victory.

It is more than a little unlikely that the two meetings Sessions had with the Russian Ambassador will do any great harm, nor will his answer to the Senate Committee, simply because there is very little wrong with either. But that is not, I don’t think, the intent of this attack.

The objective is longer range. Taking on Trump directly is beyond the capacity of the Democratic party at this stage. They can and will snipe at him. But creating a climate of suspicion around Trump officials has the potential for long-term payoffs while keeping the administration off balance.

No single “gotcha” will take down Trump. A series of minor scandals and embarrassments punctuated by the occasional full on investigation, might succeed in rendering the Trump Administration timid and gun shy. At this point, it is the best option deep state Democrats and their media minnions have.

When Hercules battled the hydra – pictured above – one of the ways he won was to have a friend hold a torch to the hydra’s neck as Hercules lopped off the head thereby prevent the traditional two heads from growing in place of the severed one. At the moment Trump and his people are lopping off the media serpents’ heads as fast as they can; but they are not cauterising the wounds they are inflicting and the serpent keeps fighting. What is needed is a more serious strategy, a long term strategy of marginalising the media and responding directly and forcefully to any allegations made. Some guy once said, “Punch back twice as hard.”

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15 thoughts on “Gotcha!

  1. John Cross says:

    Jay: The transcript from the Sessions session is below:

    Franken: “CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that quote, ‘Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.’ These documents also allegedly say quote, ‘There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.’

    “Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

    Sessions: “Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

    Sessions’ answer on its own is clear and constitutes either a lie or a somewhat surprising revelation of the man’s memory. The most favourable interpretation you can put on it is that it was in context of Frankin’s question. So according to Sessions’ answer he either did not have communications with the Russians (now Firmly established that he did) or he wasn’t affiliated with the Trump campaign. That gets down to the definition of what “affiliated” means (reminds me of what does “is” mean).

    In regards to your point about the media, I really don’t follow it. To me it is clear that Trump is deeply concerned about the main street media and what they think of him, hence his consistent arguing with them. I never would have given the size of the crowd at his inauguration a thought until he starts claiming about “fake news” and “alternative facts”. As a numbers guy, that makes me interested right away. Same with voter fraud and a number of other things he has said.

    If he really didn’t care he should accept when he is wrong, acknowledge it to them (with a whatever attitude), give them no story and let them continue their slide into oblivion. Instead he has boosted subscriptions and given them new energy. Best thing that happened to them in years.

    • Terry Rudden says:

      Robert, be kind. A man without public sector experience, real leadership skills or even a scintilla of emotional maturity ran a successful short term sale program and got himself elected President. Jay immediately saw in Trump the makings of a Great American President. That analysis imposes a certain structure on Jay’s required response to the world, rather in the same way that some medieval cosmographers felt forced to assume a geocentric universe. Some of the assumptions about celestial motion you need to make such a universe work (or, in Jay’s case, assumptions about “conspiracies” between Democrats, the “deep-state”, the evil “judiciary”, “the MSM”, and the Templars) require a heroic level of denial and eight dimensional imaging; but it CAN be done.

      • Jay Currie says:

        Terry, if you read John’s transcript of Franken’s “question” I think you will agree that it is the Dems who are running the really very odd theory that, based on material supplied by “the intelligence community” (and leaked to CNN) the Republicans had some sort of supposedly nefarious contact with the Ruskies and Hilly lost so that proves it.

        Sad.

    • Jay Currie says:

      Senator Franken is a better comedian than cross-examiner. His “question” was very vague indeed and pertained to what Sessions would do “if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign”.

      It did not ask if Sessions himself had had any contact with Russians. It did not ask if Sessions was aware of such contracts (if any).

      Within that context the fact that Sessions himself met the Russian Ambassador on two occasions is largely irrelevant so long as Sessions was not meeting the Ambassador to discuss the Trump campaign.

      If Franken was better at cross he would have asked Sessions directly if he had met any Russians and, having established that Sessions had, he would then have asked what was discussed in those meetings.

      That Franken didn’t ask these sorts of precise and detailed questions strongly suggests that Franken knew that the entire “The Russians wot done it” meme was pretty lame from the get go.

      • John Cross says:

        But Jay, you are making things up now. You say “Within that context the fact that Sessions himself met the Russian Ambassador on two occasions is largely irrelevant so long as Sessions was not meeting the Ambassador to discuss the Trump campaign.” The question does not mention any specific subject, just an exchange of information.

        Also, it seems strange that Sessions would respond to that question with a wrong answer. When Frankln asks what Sessions would do if someone communicated, Sessions says ” I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians”.

        The guilty flee where no one pursueth!

  2. Terry Rudden says:

    Jay, if you read John’s transcript of Session’s “answer”, I think you will agree that it was untruthful. Your generous windows into the wonderful world of alternative facts are being exploited by the administration to the hilt, as is the now creaky strategy of “never mind the meetings/the lies about the meetings, what really matters is figuring out who has the temerity to TELL people”? Really, guy, you need to start preparing a backdoor to save yourself TOO much embarrassing recantation.

  3. Jay Currie says:

    Terry, if the question had been, “Have you, Sen. Sessions, in the past year met any Russians?” Sessions answer would have been untrue. But that was not the question asked was it?

    Franken’s preamble essentially stripped his question of any unambiguous meaning. Franken’s actual question seemed to be about what Sessions would do should it come to light that the Trump campaign was in some sort of cahoots with the Russians. Sessions’ answer was that he was unaware of any such activity and that he could not comment on what he would do about activity he was unaware of.

    Essentially the Dems have nothing but are making lots of pious noise about that nothing.

  4. Jay Currie says:

    John, there is very little in the question and very little in the reply which is particularly straightforward. Franken asked a question about what Sessions would do if it turned out that the leaked intelligence community reports of Trump campaign communications with the Russians were true. It was a remarkably silly question. Sessions’ response that he had not had such communications and could not comment was about as good an answer as the question permitted.

    Watching the video of the exchange gives a flavour the words on the page lack:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/03/too-much-of-nothing-2.php

    The Democrats, in so far as they have any clue what they are doing, seem to want to prove some sort of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Probably in respect to the Wikileaks of Podesta’s emails – but that is not at all clear. An ambiguous answer to a misshapen question are not likely to move the dial.

    (And any party which has the temerity to shout perjury over a single answer to a badly worded question after Hilly’s performance before Congressional committees has more gall than sense. At this point it might make a good deal of sense for a Trey Gowdy to make another referral of Mrs. Clinton’s email server testimony to the Justice Department.)

    • John Cross says:

      Jay, I will let you deal in flavours – I will stick to facts. And in this case the simple fact is that if you want Sessions to have answered the question correctly, your argument can only rest on what he took to be the meaning of the work affiliated.

      Or you could argue that he forgot. Is that a successful defense against perjury, I am only a simple engineer so I will let minds greater than mine work on it.

      • Jay Currie says:

        John, questions are asked within context.

        Franken spent several sentences setting up a question about a supposed connection between Trump people and the Russians. Sessions said “Not me and I can’t comment on how I might handle an investigation into this hypothetical.”

        This will die a natural death simply because Frankel is not very good at cross-exam and he had very weak ammunition to begin with.

        As some people are learning today, it is a commonplace for a US Senator to meet with the Russian Ambassador. Duh. What do people think the Russian Ambassador does in Washington and the American Ambassador does in Moscow?

    • Terry Rudden says:

      Jay, I understand the lines of redirection you and your fellow Trump apologists are rolling out in various iterations. They’re basic, and simply a continuation of his campaign strategy: never acknowledge a lie, never acknowledge wrongdoing, and attack the messenger. Nothing new there. And that’s all reasonably effective when it comes to reassuring the committed base that there’s nothing to see here, folks, and that their victimization by the criminal media/elites/muslims/communists/LGBT conspirators/Democrats traitors/RINOs/blacks/environmentalists/George Soros continues. I’m still unsure to what degree you’re actually swallowing that drivel, or whether you’re just an amused and complicit purveyor of it. But the problem is, it doesn’t work outside the base. It’s fine for preventing critical thought among the folks too deeply invested in Trump to risk it: but that’s a relatively small group.

      • derek says:

        Why do you want to start a war with Russia? Are you and your fellow travellers not going to be happy until you see Americans dying on the Ukrainain Steppes?

        Oh you don’t? They why are you going on about this stupidity?

        Sessions answered a very unclear question in a very unclear way. I read the question whether he as part of the campaign met any Russian. He didn’t.

        Frankly, with the way things are going, I suspect that there will be government departments that will not exist soon. Everything that is happening is laying out the groundwork for the necessity of dismantling a good part of the bureaucracy. I wonder if it is a Trump mastermind at work.

  5. bonnibrai says:

    https://ethicsalarms.com/ Jack Marshall over at ‘Ethics Alarms’ has an interesting take.

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