Donald Trump

Sessions, Speeches, and Showers: The Fifth Column Reacts

From repealing Obamacare to dissecting Buzzfeed, the three-headed podcast is back

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The girls on the beach are way out of reach, etc. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

Life comes at you fast, particularly if you're trying to follow the news this week. Late yesterday afternoon, CNN broke the serious news that four senior U.S. intelligence chiefs briefed both President Barack Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump about "allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump." On the subway ride over to record The Fifth Column, the weekly podcast I co-host with Kmele Foster and Michael C. Moynihan, Buzzfeed made the more questionable decision to release an uncorroborated report from an anonymous self-described intelligence source that included, among other allegations, that Trump hired Russian prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed one slept in by Obama. And at the moment we stopped recording, the outgoing president delivered his farewell address.

So obviously the podcast spent the first 15 minutes talking about Costa Rica beaches and British holiday barfing habits. But THEN we get into the nitty gritty, including sober policy talk about Obamacare, the government-aggrandizing senatorial hysteria during Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearings, and, yes, the peeing story. The news cycle has since thundered on, but you can listen to the snapshot reaction here:

Interact more with The Fifth Column check out iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, wethefifth.com, @wethefifth, and Facebook.

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100 responses to “Sessions, Speeches, and Showers: The Fifth Column Reacts

  1. Sessions, Speeches, and Showers: The Fifth Column Reacts

    More quality content. One might even call it gold.

  2. So, the piss thing turned out to be fake.

    What’s sad beard’s take?

    Right Here.

    1. Fake or too good to be true?

      Supposedly there is video… [crosses every finger and toes]

      1. I would think if there were a video, it would have been released by now. If the Russians had such a video, the last thing they would want to do is release it, since doing so would deprive them of any leverage having it gives them.

        So, sadly, I don’t think your dreams of a video will come true.

        1. I would spread the cloths under your feet:
          But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
          I have spread my dreams under your feet;
          Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

          1. What would the video be? Would be of hookers peeing on a bed with Trump orchestrating? At first I thought the accusation was that Trump was into water sports. Now it appears he wanted them to pee on the bed wear Obama slept. I am not sure that make much of a video or Trump would even be in it if it did. If Trump wanted a video record of it, why would he be in it?

            1. As far as I can tell it is supposed to be Russian intelligence video of the bed-peeing incident.

              It really is too juicy to be true. They over-egged the pudding, as MI6 would say.

              1. It is one of those odd claims that is too strange to be true but at the same time too strange to have been made up. If you were faking this story, why would you claim that? I would claim Trump was into beating up the hookers or peeing on them or them peeing on him or them pretending to be 8 years old or something really fucked up that would legitimately shock the public. Why on earth would you think having hookers pee on the bed where Obama slept is the key to turning the country against Trump? Even if it were true, most people wouldn’t even know how to respond to that.

                If it isn’t true and someone made it up, that means someone out there when asked to come up with a truly shocking lie that would disqualify Trump from public life thought him having hookers pee on the bed where Obama slept fit the bill. When you think about it, that is actually more disturbing than if it is true and Trump really did this.

              2. They over-egged the pudding, as MI6 would say.

                British euphemisms. So much classier that accent, yes?

                1. Or as us Yanks would put it, they screwed the pooch.

        2. A glaring absurdity is the claim that the hotel this alleged piss party took place was a front for Russian intelligence, who had bugged the place up and down.

          But it’s also alleged that President Obama and Mrs. Obama stayed in the same hotel suite, which is why a deranged Trump picked it to stage the encounter on the same bed.

          So are we to believe that the President of the United States also stayed in a hotel that’s run by Russian intelligence? Like, that’s something the Secret Service, FBI, CIA et. al. would permit?

          1. That is a good point. The whole thing is absurd. The document reads like an 8th graders idea of what an intel report should look like. My favorite part is that it talks about “The World Cup Soccer Tournament” yet is supposed to have been written by a British intelligence agency. Hello, the British don’t call it soccer.

            1. Hello, the British don’t call it soccer.

              even though they coined the word.

              1. Yes they did. But they don’t use it. And the word was coined as a short form of “Association Football”. It was one of those acronyms that never caught on. Instead, they dropped the association and started calling it football. Americans use the term because after we invented our own football, the name was taken. Regardless, no modern Brit would use the term unless he was talking to an American.

                1. That’s right.

                  The link goes into the whole thing. Apparently the upper classes refered to it as “soccer” to differentiate it from “rugger” or as we call it rugby football. The lower classes called it “football”.

                  It’s just one nugget of hilarity associated with this whole farcical episode.

                  BTW, this is all sugarfree’s fault.

                  1. BTW, this is all sugarfree’s fault.

                    I blame Rhywun. And you should also.

                2. The British, especially in official and semi-official capacities actually DO use “soccer” quite frequently. The notion that “The British” as a whole do NOT use “soccer” is as stupid as the notion that the word is uniquely American.

          2. I know, if you apply just a tiny bit of thought and analysis, you realize how ridiculous the whole thing is.

    2. So, the piss thing turned out to be fake

      I haven’t even had time to read the fake-allegations, much less the debunking.

      is there a link to something other than Yglacias?

        1. …. i’ve honestly never seen the Drudge report, and have no idea why his format still looks like 1996

          Those links are to the “4chan” claims. is that a debunking? Kids on the innertubes say, “LOL WUT KEK” = CIA pwned

  3. An now, next time, Moynihan will remember to buy a full six pack instead of being a cheap self-centered masshole prick who only shows up to a party with enough beer for themselves.

  4. It was not a “questionable decision” for any news source worthy of the term. Buzzfeed is not a news source. You don’t publish wild unsubstantiated allegations and then let the reader “decide for themselves” if it’s true or not.

    That’s like the NYT publishing a new story about the Moon Hoax and saying “you decide whether or not we went to the moon”.

    1. I get that people don’t trust what they’re told. I can even see why there was an incentive to fake a moon shot (we couldn’t actually do it but were trying to beat the Soviets) But here’s the thing, at the time of the Apollo missions, the Soviets had every reason to want to embarass the US, and were fully capable of tracking the craft all the way to the moon. If they saw chicanary by the west, they would have been the first to call it out because they stood to gain by doing so.

      So even before we go through all the actual evidence and whatnot, I’m having trouble believing the basic premise would have lasted past the broadcast of “One small step…”

      1. I think the full theory is that the astronauts were dead in the capsule, so it could have been tracked just fine, but the landing itself had to be faked. And I guess those are actor doubles running around.

        Anyway, The Juice Is Loose!

        1. So we’re so good at remote control in ’69 we were able to remote land the LEM, return it to the command module, fly it back to earth and drop something in the seas to fool the Soviets?

          We could do it today, but even manned they had trouble not crashing in ’69 because of the poor landing site.

          1. Fine, go ahead and swallow whatever the government tells you.

          2. Say what you want. Luna 16 was an amazing achievement.

      2. I would even go so far as to say if it was just ONE mission and that was all there would be plenty of reason for doubt, but they went SIX times. How in the hell do you pull off that hoax six separate times?

        1. I think the more “reasonable” theories suggest that only the first one was faked.

          But it’s all totally stupid.

          Almost all of the supposed evidence of it being faked seems to be based on ignorant assumptions about how photography works and what it would be like on the moon.

      3. Oh my Christ! We’re not discussing the FUCKING MOON SHOT!!!!!!!!

    1. Are the Fifth Column hosts boycotting you? And more importantly, are they aware that they are?

  5. During the live Tillerson confirmation hearing, there were at least two screeching maniacs to interrupt. At intermission right now. Good times.

    1. CodePink crones again? Or KKK Putin cosplayers?

      1. If KKK Putin cosplayers isn’t a thing, it should be.

        1. Like topless on a horse with the hood, right?

          1. That would work. Or skin tight white outfits with hoods carrying an ax.

            1. I watched the video. It was just a generic old lady protester. “I reject you, Rex Tillerson. Save America, reject him, Senators.” And then something about her home being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

              Don’t these people know anything about showmanship?

              1. They really don’t. She should have come in dressed like Rasputin and yelled at Tillerson, “keep being true to mother Russia.” That would have been entertaining at least.

      2. Something about ExxonMobil controlling State Department.

        1. Saudis, Exxon, it’s petrodollars either way.

      3. Code Pink: Women for Peace is a left-wing NGO that describes itself as a “grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally,

        So why are they hysterically shrieking in protest of Trump, but were virtually silent on Obama? What wars and occupations has Trump been responsible for?

        1. If you look at any of the left-wing shills’ talking points, Obama ended the wars. And every drone strike His Holiness did call upon the terrorist infidels spared the righteous. So it is written, so it must be. Also, Libya doesn’t count because it was cheap for the U.S. and that’s suddenly all that matters.

    2. Sweet, screeching environmentalist #3 just got ushered out of the Tillerson confirmation hearing. Complete with Exxon = Debil banner. Just 11,000 viewers livestreaming off Youtube right now, and probably several hundred more off C-SPAN I’m sure. Big actions get big results.

  6. Trump is the luckiest man in the world with his enemies. They can’t seem to help themselves whenever there is a totally retarded and counter productive attack available. Buzzfeed publishes this a document so ridiculous even the Hillary campaign didn’t think it was believable enough to use and Trump now gets an entire news cycle of his critics making retards out of themselves. Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions is sailing through the Senate and Obama is giving his big farewell speech and no one notices. All attention is focused on an accusation that does nothing but make Trump’s critics look like fools. If Ben Smith isn’t on the Trump payroll, he should be.

    1. Sessions? All this time I was supportive, thinking they were talking ‘secession”.

  7. TOO SOON. Almost weekly to now semi-weekly? Make up your minds.

    1. We recorded last Friday, and this Tuesday. Once a week, timing TK.

  8. Moynihan made a really good point on last week’s show, though he was probably too drunk to remember it. Trump is a cretin who has said appalling things that would disqualify any other politician, he clearly has no respect for women or other races, and his businesses are all failure or scams or both. The Russians couldn’t possibly be holding anything over him because he is utterly bereft of shame or self-consciousness.

    1. or maybe they don’t have anything to hold over him, or are not looking for such a thing. And for someone with no respect for women, he sure employs a lot of them in positions of responsibility.

    2. Yeah, his Secret Scandal would have to be really big for the Russians to credibly threaten to use it to harm him.

      Maybe something sheep-related?

      Maybe he actually *did* kill someone in the middle of Times Square?

      /just asking questions

    3. rump is a cretin who has said appalling things that would disqualify any other politician, he clearly has no respect for women or other races,

      Yeah because Trump made a career in the television industry by going around dropping N bombs all of the time. Do yourself a favor Hugh, when your point involves “Moynihan made a really good point”, just walk away because clearly your thought process has gone seriously off track.

      1. The point was good, and before this came out. It was basically that even if you accept the whole email hacking premise put forth by US Intel agencies that the Russians did it to get Trump elected, what could they possibly have on him that would shame him into doing what they ask of him? If the Billy Bush video didn’t kill him, and his long penchant for developing real estate that can’t generate enough current revenue to carry the loans didn’t kill him, why would anyone believe that the Russians had something to blackmail him with?

        And the answer is that no sane person is going to believe that the Russians have any special leverage on Trump.

        This scandal was like an attempt to provide that next link in the chain (the Russians have special leverage on Trump), but it was fake.

        I also like that John fucking McCain is implicated in passing this along.

    4. That’s what I asked in the AM after everyone scurried off. Are we really to believe that Trump is more susceptible to blackmail over political embarrassments than Professional Politician Hillary Clinton? The woman that even her supporters acknowledge will shift her positions for the sake of her image?

      1. They already had the infamous pussy grabbing tape and Trump still won the election. Just what exactly do they thin they are going to find that will make a difference if that didn’t?

        1. Right, though that would have happened long after this plan was supposedly set in motion. But there were plenty of warning signs before then, even before his opening campaign speech.

          It would make for a funny skit: FSB carefully cultivates a Trump campaign and collects a lot of blackmail material, only to find that he brushes off every embarrassing revelation during the election. By the time he’s elected, they realize they have no longer have anything damning on him.

          1. It would make for a funny skit: FSB carefully cultivates a Trump campaign and collects a lot of blackmail material, only to find that he brushes off every embarrassing revelation during the election. By the time he’s elected, they realize they have no longer have anything damning on him.

            Isn’t that prescisely what happened IRL, except sub the DNC for the FSB? Truth truly is stranger than fiction.

            If it’s true that Bubba talked Troomp into running for POTUS, I wonder if he is still kicking himself to this day.

    5. And people say he isn’t (or wasn’t) a politician. Pfft, that’s like Politicking 101.

    6. “Ugh” is shorter, Hugh.

  9. O/T: Is anyone watching this Trump news conference?

    Does anyone else think that we now have the narcissism of Obama just with a New York accent and fewer grammatically correct sentences?

    1. ^^^chemjeff or Cytotoxic? You decide!

      1. Oh come now. That’s clearly Cytotoxic. My love doll is much classier than that.

        1. Indeed. Yuge! The classiest ‘lish…..the bigly productions values! It’s just….spared no expense!

    2. What is the grammatical function of “um” and “ah”?

      1. It gives the listener time to admire his profound thoughtfulness.

        1. Then what are the long pauses and blank stares for?

          1. They reflect his attempts to cope with the trauma of America failing to rise to his level.

          2. Waiting for the time-release opiates to provide another lift.

            1. time release opiates, hmmm? Go on…

    3. If we are just talking about the narcissism, they yeah, probably.

    4. No, in regard to the first question. I used up my entire lifetime quota of life-minutes stolen by narcissistic White House windbags back in 2009.

  10. So, after visiting SugarFree’s website, I’ve been getting ads for this.
    I don’t even want to know why.

    1. not clicking on that

      1. It’s actually SFW.

        1. It may be but I don’t want to be known as a weirdo. *manical laugh*

        2. Sugarfree-level Wrong?

          1. Just…weird.

    2. I gots to get paid, son.

  11. So are we to believe that the President of the United States also stayed in a hotel that’s run by Russian intelligence?

    It’s the sort of 3-D chess move too dazzlingly sophisticated to be comprehensible to libertarian dullards such as we.

  12. I suspect we are being given a double dose of 5th column as a prelude to another 2 week dry spell. I may save this one for later, when my cravings become dire. Noon-ish is too early to listen to people drinking and gabbing.

  13. Wait, is this a new one already? I smell a rat.

  14. Moynihan asserts his geographic authority and declares Costa Rica “not technically part of the Caribbean”.

    I think it probably depends what side you’re on.

    1. Costa Rica does, in fact, have a large shoreline on the Caribbean Sea. Unless he’s asserting that Panama, Nicaragua, the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize and Columbia are also not “the Caribbean”, he’s wrong. I guess he only counts islands.

      1. Costa Rica does, in fact, have a large shoreline on the Caribbean Sea.

        I know, but Mike just said it with such finality and self-assurance that no one bothered to debate the point.

        I guess he only counts islands.

        I’m going to guess his rationale is, its “land-mass trumps body of water” in geographic hierarchy.

        1. I heard it and did a double take.

  15. MM also seems to have taken my encouragement to “do more funny accents” to heart.

    1. The Boston accent (also know as a speech impediment) is great.

      1. I think his ‘natural’ accent is sort of like Boston’s version of George Plimpton.

        But i do also like his version of the Bill Burr-esque, townie-type.

  16. I’m pretty sure no one got “Geordie Shore” reference except me.

  17. “I don’t think that’s true”

    /unbelievably understated Moynihan reaction to something ridiculous said by Nancy Pelosi

  18. BTW, I’m not mad at Buzzfeed, I’m quite happy with what Buzzfeed has done, because it continues to confirm my perceptions as Buzzfeed as a “news” organization.

    1. Trump should send Ben Smith a thank you card. If you were Trump, could you think of a better strategy for dealing with the media than feeding them utterly bogus fake stories to attack you with and in the process allowing you to look reasonable and them to destroy their credibility? I can’t.

  19. The Ambassador from Belize is going to issue a formal complaint against the podcast any minute now.

  20. For the record, Matt, urine is a natural antiseptic.

    1. or that is at least a widespread rumor which i’m comfortable repeating.

  21. I don’t know if i buy the “that’s the way it works” line for…

    “if you badmouth the CIA they will spread rumors about you enjoying being peed-on”

    It seems to me openly admitting that intel agencies are partisan hacks, and not loyal to the civilian govt, and should be swept clean from top to bottom.

    iow, it would seem this sort of stuff *justifies* Trump’s criticisms.

  22. re: Mike = Buzzfeed “could have done a little more legwork”

    This suggest they did any legwork at all. which i don’t think there’s any evidence of.

    if they had unearthed a single independent detail which provided even circumstantial corroboration, they would have waved it around like it was a pulitizer-winner. instead they said, “make up your own minds”

  23. re: Kmele – ‘some people will believe’ the buzzfeed reports…

    the feeling i’m getting re: all the bullshit the news media is pumping… is that they’re actually losing more of their “sane” audience than they are gaining the loyalty of the ‘overly credulous and partisan’ audience.

    meaning, i think this stuff *(and the russian hacking and the ‘spike in hate crimes’ and pepe is a white nationalist frog etc) really has an ultimately-counter-productive result.

    the “News media” is increasingly seen (by me, and i assume others) as little more than a joke.

    there are some ‘serious’ journalists out there, but the institutions they work for are hopelessly corrupted. everything is given so much spin that you have to actively filter the facts out from the bullshit-narratives.

    some might argue its always been this way, but I don’t think so. It feels like the news-industry has completely transformed in the last decade into self-important tabloids.

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