Donald Trump

Conservatism's Not-So-'Secret' Society of Opportunistic Hacks

From Ron Johnson to Fox News and beyond, Team Red has replaced skeptical scrutiny of Obama-era executive branch activity with dimwitted counterpunching for Trump.

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||| Fox News
Fox News

Before we say our final goodbyes to the "secret society" that for a few terrifying moments was puppeteering the deep-state opposition to President Donald Trump, a brief recap of one of conservatism's most embarrassing 41-hour stretches:

* On Tuesday evening, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, made a startling accusation on Fox News about both the FBI and Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation: "So what this is all about is further evidence of corruption—more than bias, but corruption—at the highest levels of the FBI. And that 'secret society'? We have an informant who's talking about a group that was holding secret meetings off-site. There's so much smoke here, there are so many suspicions." Cue endless "Worse than Watergate" headlines in the conservative media.

* Then on Wednesday night, ABC News obtained the "secret society" text-message in question, from FBI lawyer Lisa Page and to her agent-boyfriend Peter Strzok the day after Trump's victorious election: "Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society." In other words, it was probably a joke.

* And on Thursday morning, Johnson told CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju that "It's a real possibility" the text was written in jest.

Oh, and the Justice Department's "conveniently" missing text messages between Strzok and Page from December 2016 and May 2017, that Johnson had been sounding the alarm about? This morning we learned they've been found.

Before we blithely move on as if nothing untoward happened here (sample Americans for Limited Government press release: "Big win for Attorney General Sessions on lost and found FBI text messages, now House must release the memo"), it's worth lingering on how brain-bendingly stupid this whole episode obviously was from the get-go, and what that says about the barely twitching husk of governing conservatism.

Lou, Lou, Lou, it's the beginning of a great adventure ||| Fox Business Network
Fox Business Network

Start with Ron Johnson. A member of the original 2010 Tea Party wave in Congress, Johnson made a name for himself during his first term fighting Obama-administration executive overreach—suing the Office of Personnel and Management for writing broad interpretations of the Affordable Care Act, lambasting Obama's immigration executive orders, arguing that new Authorizations for the Use of Military Force should be passed for new conflicts, and otherwise leaning into his oversight job with vigor. Remember when an exasperated Hillary Clinton told a Senate committee "What difference, at this point, does it make?!" That was Ron Johnson she was talking to.

So what kind of executive-branch oversight is the senator conducting on Homeland Security in his position as chair? This kind: When, as part of its investigation into possible collusion and conspiracy between a nuclear-armed adversary and an incoming administration, Mueller's investigators acquired the Trump transition team's emails from the General Services Administration (GSA), Johnson fired off a sternly worded letter about activities that potentially "disregarded federal statutes." Not by any Trump associates, mind you, but by the GSA.

Johnson's letter, which came on the heels of a similar one from a Trump lawyer, contributed to another 48-hour storm on the right. "A coup in America?" ran the chyron over at Fox News. FrontPage Mag needed no such question mark. "Mueller's Sinister Coup Attempt," ran the headline in David Horowitz's journal. "The special counsel threatens the rule of law by stealing Trump transition documents." There was widespread speculation that Trump was preparing to fire Mueller.

But then it was subsequently reported out that the GSA emails were almost certainly obtained legally, so the pack abruptly dropped that line of attack and moved on to the next available target.

It's that sense of undisguised opportunism, and facially ridiculous connect-the-dots hyperbole, that has come to mark conservative pushback against the Russia investigation. The initially context-less phrase "secret society" was contained in a single text message sent to a single, long-fired member of Mueller's team of three dozen. Yet that was evidence aplenty for hardened sleuths like the Boston Herald's Howie Carr: "The crooked cops even had a name for their Democrat cabal — the Secret Society. It's all laid out in black and white, in the post-election texts the FBI neglected to delete as part of their ongoing obstruction of justice."

There has been more "deep state" on the Fox networks this week than in an entire season of The X-Files. "The deep state strikes back," warned Laura Ingraham. "It may be time to declare war outright against the deep state and clean out the rot in the upper levels of the FBI and the Justice Department," Lou Dobbs thundered. "Talk about Watergate," Sean Hannity said last night, even after the "secret society" text was unearthed, "This is Watergate on steroids and human growth hormones. The constitutional violations are severe and historically unprecedented in this country. You have deep state actors using and abusing the powerful tools of intelligence that we give them to protect this country."

Much has been made, at Reason and elsewhere, and including under my byline, about the way that the media's anti-Trump obsession has led it down the path of hyperbole and comical error, serving to dull their overall critique of an eminently criticizable president. Well, the same and more can be said about the pro-Trump side of the aisle. When every subplot in the Russia investigation—Fusion GPS! Uranium One! Those temporarily missing text messages!—is literally "worse than Watergate," then the suspicion grows that maybe the next claim, no matter how steeped in real FBI misbehavior, will turn out to be vaporware, too.

Twenty years ago this Saturday, a prominent political personality was asked about allegations under investigation by a special counsel that the president had engaged in questionable conduct. "The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it," Hillary Clinton said then, "is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."

Conservatives spent a generation mocking that bit of deflection. As happens all too predictably in American politics, they are now mimicking it.

NEXT: ACLU Sues Pennsylvania For Putting Death Row Inmates in Permanent Solitary Confinement

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  1. The greatest trick the FBI’s secret society ever pulled was convincing Welch it didn’t exist.

    1. Matt should not be knocking Howie Carr because the latter knows far more than the former about the FBI.

      1. That and Carr is a thousand times the writer and journalist Matt is. Carr put his life on the line writing about the Boston mob and the corrupt FBI Agents who enabled them. He had a hitman following him around at one point who decided not kill him because he was with his kids.

        Matt is just shrugging off the politicization and weaponization of a Federal Agency. Flynn was obviously sandbagged and is being prosecuted for lying to one of these political agents in an unrecorded meeting. That kind of entrapment usually sets Matt off unless it’s a Marine General and Trump aide.

        The only excuse I can think off is they don’t want to look like idiots after going all-in on Russia Collusion! right after the election.

        1. It is hard to take an article seriously that misrepresents a serious fact.

          “Oh, and the Justice Department’s “conveniently” missing text messages between Strzok and Page from December 2016 and May 2017, that Johnson had been sounding the alarm about? This morning we learned they’ve been found.”

          They were not the Justice Department’s text messages that were missing, it was text messages of the FBI that the FBI said were lost for good due to a glitch. When the devices were handed over to the DOJ, the DOJ somehow magically recovered them when the FBI said that was not possible due to the “glitch.” When debunking a “conspiracy,” Welch could at least get the facts right.

        2. It’s more important for Matt to hate Trumo because of immigration and crass tweets than to acknowledge obvious and systemic corruption in federal law enforcement.

      2. The only thing Matt Welch needs to know about the FBI is that it’s doing something that makes Trump mad and furthers Democrats.

    2. Matt is a Deep State dupe.

      1. SIV’s deep state involved cupping these babies.

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    4. The greatest trick the FBI’s secret society ever pulled was convincing Welch it didn’t exist.

      That’s a favorite line of ‘reasoning’ among ostensible adults who believe that fairy tales are true.

      1. Ouch, Fist is going to have quite the time trying to cram the word “ostensibly” into the checkbox next to “Adult” when filling out official paperwork.

    5. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

      This is what I do… http://www.startonlinejob.com

  2. If you’re making a list of partisan media hacks you’ll have a long, long list that includes just about everyone.

    1. with his own name somewhere in there

  3. Well let the FBI release all these texts concerning the Hillary and Trump investigations and let the public be the judge.

    1. found: Turns out it was just more nutjob conservative CT

      DOJ recovers missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI agents Strzok and Page

      http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..icial.html

      1. Nutjob conspiracy theory does not convey punch as a descriptor because the term conspiracy theory has lost whatever meaning it might have once had. I submit that it never really meant anything because the two words apply to virtually anything two people agree to do.

        You are too intelligent not to grok this.

        1. No he isn’t.

          1. No, he isn’t anywhere close to that.
            His shoe sole is more intelligent.

        2. Even if he was, he’s far too disingenuous to acknowledge it.

        3. Fake news!

      2. Turns out the messages were recovered after the phones were seized from the FBI / DOJ personnel who reported them irretrievably lost. But lying to the FBI doesn’t count for that team. Nothing to see here, move along.

        http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..icial.html

        1. Who lied to the FBI?

          The ACTUAL text forced Rep. Johnson to rollback his bat-shit crazy secret state.
          Another bad day for the wackos!

          1. Hi, Hihn.

            I see you!

            (Not that I care about this argument at all. I just like catching you when you use multiple accounts.)

            Wouldn’t you know, Michael Hihn posted in this article too. What a coincidence!

            1. Over 50 people posted. Are they ALL a coincidence?

              1. (laughing) And THREE commenters have a “c” as the second letter of their handle, which is REALLY a scary coincidence. World domination by the Illuminati is imminent. Unless we all buy more Cracker Jacks.
                “Pass it along,” he whispers, “They’re gonna kill ME.”.

                1. So, you deny it, again, then?

                  OK, I’ll just leave this here, Hihn(s):

                  https://reason.com/blog/2016/12…..nt_6652623

                  Uses 3 (!) different handles, also uses his Hihn handle to respond to himself? 3 days after no one other than he or I were posting anymore.

                  https://reason.com/blog/2017/01…..nt_6730841

                  Says precisely the same thing using 2 different handles. Begins with a quote of mine “If the child is a living human”.

                  You know, if you’re gonna ruin your name, maybe try to change tactics instead of handles, Hihn!

                  But regardless of your deceit, God Bless you, Hihn!

      3. The FBI said all the texts were missing due to a glitch. When the FBI handed over the devices to the DOJ, the DOJ magically found them when the FBI said it could not recover the text messages. That does not seem weird or sketchy to you? Do you think the FBI is that incompetent that it could not recover the texts and the DOJ could? Or do you think the FBI lied?

        1. That;’s not true. But Kenya.

        2. I don’t think it was magic. I think it’s more likely that the FBI didn’t put a lot of effort into investigating the text messages when the DOJ was willing to do the same job for them. Especially since they had reviewed all the other text messages and there was, to our knowledge, absolutely no evidence of the two agents doing anything illegal.

          Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two of the most polarizing candidates for President ever. I would find it a lot more “weird” if there was nobody at the FBI who had a bad word to say about either of them. I venture that about 30 % of the country detest Clinton and a similar amount detest Trump.

          1. Yep. But that also means Bernie would have beat Trump in a landslide, which is just the beginning of the devastation caused by the today’s GOP. Exactly as Goldwater warned,

          2. “…two of the most polarizing candidates for President ever”: Agreed, I fervently pray that next election the political system gives me choices that don’t trigger my gag reflex. Both sides are constantly bouncing off the walls, where did we go wrong?

    1. Finally, the voice of sanity.

  4. Hey Jesse Walker! You’re the go-to guy on nutjob paranoid Conspiracy Theories.

    Where is your book on Fast & Furious, BENGHAZI!!, the IRS-Obama CT, Jade Helm 15, the Texas Wal-Mart gun seizures by the CIA and all the other crazy fucking bullshit they put out?

    1. You mean how BENGHAZI was cause by a youtube video? Yeah, where is that article?

      1. In the archives of the National Inquirer. Right between the stories of Elvis in the space ship, and Hillary’s stone soup diet.

        1. “In the archives of the National Inquirer. Right between the stories of Elvis in the space ship, and Hillary’s stone soup diet.”
          Or how about from her testimony, EXTREMELY carefully crafted to never quite say so, but hint, hint, nudge, nudge:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
          0BQGMzmzcd0&feature=youtu.be
          Sorry, you lose.

      2. Or how Obama’s handing over guns to Mexican cartels was really Bush’s fault.

    2. Fast & Furious, BENGHAZI!!, the IRS-Obama CT

      All of these things happened. The Obama admin ran guns to Mexican drug cartels, the Obama admin denied the additional security requested at the embassy in Benghazi and blamed the terrorist attack that occurred on a video and jailed the guy that produced said video. And the Obama admin used the IRS to target conservative organizations. These things happened. Own it, you leftist piece of shit.

      1. Although I am saddened by the gullibility exhibited by the half-educated, superstitious, bigoted, disaffected yahoos who constitute the Trump base, that emotion is tempered by gratitude for the prospect that my children will benefit from the same opportunity I have enjoyed — the chance to compete economically with these right-wing goobers.

        1. Well, Gooollly…you talk sooo purtty!!!!

          There’s nothing I love more than a well constructed insult!

          It’s so much more eloquent than a “Hey…Fuck You!!!!

          1. Reverends are just pan handlers with a story.

            1. Can you spare a Benjamin for the Lord?

        2. Well heck Arty, let’s just have a civil war and settle things once and for all. It would be most amusing to wipe the progtards off the map once and for all.

  5. * Then on Wednesday night, ABC News obtained the “secret society” text-message in question, from FBI lawyer Lisa Page and to her agent-boyfriend Peter Strzok the day after Trump’s victorious election: “Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society.” In other words, it was probably a joke.

    So, months of investigating and dozens of interviews and a handful of plea deals and we have yet to actually put Trump in the same room or on the phone with any Russians prior to the election. But

    1. Arg! Markup fail.

      Less than 72 hours after the rumor about a secret memo, we have actual evidence of FBI staff discussing secret societies, just in jest.

      I’m astounded that either one amounts to more than a hill of beans. I’m even more astounded as to how you look at one hill of beans and say, “That’s legit” and look at the other and say “What kooks!”

      Could you imagine if there were a text or a tweet to or from Trump that said, “Wanna hear a joke? Let’s phone up Putin and ask him how to beat Clinton.”?

    2. and we have yet to actually put Trump in the same room or on the phone with any Russians prior to the election. But

      How would you know what Mueller has? And why do you falsely assume Trump would have to do any of that?
      Can you tell us how you know what Trump’s staffers will reveal to Mueller, in return for a plea bargain. Oh? You have no clue? I didn’t think so,

      Here’s what we do know (not reported in the rightwing media)

      1) Trump lied that none of his campaign staff had any contact with Russian. There are now over 30 such contacts, almost all of which had been dishonestly withheld.
      2) Trump essentially confessed to obstruction — how’d you miss it? — when he said he fired Comey over the Russian investigation.
      3) Trump owes his entire fortune to Deutche Bank, a known money-launderer for Russia — the ONLY bank in the world that would lend him money, when US banks refused to (all his many bankruptcies)
      4) His son ATTEMPTED a conspiracy with Russia, in that Trump Tower meeting to get dirt on Hillary.. It REALLY doesn’t both you that he WENT TO RUSSIA .for help with his dad’d campaign.
      5) Trump’s own lawyer expressed concern that Trump would get trapped into saying soemething in a Mueller interview … but he has nothing to hide!

      I’m out of space.

      Left-Right=Zero/

      1. How would you know what Mueller has? And why do you falsely assume Trump would have to do any of that?

        I’m giving you more credit than you deserve but, anyway;
        The FBI isn’t forming secret societies and the agents in question, despite their biases, didn’t conspire to do whatever to the Trump campaign. Even then, 72 hours of floating rumors has revealed texts using the words ‘secret society’ purely in jest.

        Meanwhile or previously, Trump “openly” conspired with his campaign to seek out Russian help in winning the election. A fact that, after months of foreign intelligence dossiers, investigations, and interviews has failed to provide a single text or email with the words ‘Russian’ and ‘conspiracy’ (or similar ‘Putin’ and ‘help’ or whatever) in it. I presume this lack of evidence to be true because, just as with the memo, if you were aware of such abuses going on and you sat on the evidence while critical votes went on, you’re effectively contributing to the conspiracy.

        1. One more time. How would you know what Mueller has? And why do you falsely assume Trump would have to do any of that?

      2. The main thrust of my point is that Welch portrays this 72-hour guffaw as some sort of party crippling blow while downplaying a months long investigation that has, as of yet, failed to impeach the President. Like we don’t have a long and even recent history of ignoring guffaws and punishing parties for long, protracted witch hunts. Which is not to say that the investigation is a witch hunt, but without some slam dunk impeachment evidence (that I presume Mueller and others wouldn’t sit on), as much as it is odd to presume otherwise (even if only prematurely). The 72 hours of FBI-shaming is a guffaw that will harm the party, the Russian conspiracy investigation, which has yet to objectively impeach the president, is or would be a far more party-crippling guffaw.

        I agree that Left-Right = Zero. My point is that, in this case, Welch seems to be suggesting that Left-Right=Left. That the Right has meted itself enough rope to hang itself while the left, meting out more rope by the day via the Russia investigation, won’t possibly hang itself with it (esp. when, arguably because no actual vote or electoral tampering took place, it already has).

    3. and we have yet to actually put Trump in the same room or on the phone with any Russians prior to the election. But

      How would you know what Mueller has? And why do you falsely assume Trump would have to do any of that?
      Can you tell us how you know what Trump’s staffers will reveal to Mueller, in return for a plea bargain. Oh? You have no clue? I didn’t think so,

      Here’s what we do know (not reported in the rightwing media)

      1) Trump lied that none of his campaign staff had any contact with Russian. There are now over 30 such contacts, almost all of which had been dishonestly withheld.
      2) Trump essentially confessed to obstruction — how’d you miss it? — when he said he fired Comey over the Russian investigation.
      3) Trump owes his entire fortune to Deutche Bank, a known money-launderer for Russia — the ONLY bank in the world that would lend him money, when US banks refused to (all his many bankruptcies)
      4) His son ATTEMPTED a conspiracy with Russia, in that Trump Tower meeting to get dirt on Hillary.. It REALLY doesn’t both you that he WENT TO RUSSIA .for help with his dad’d campaign.
      5) Trump’s own lawyer expressed concern that Trump would get trapped into saying soemething in a Mueller interview … but he has nothing to hide!

      I’m out of space.

      Left-Right=Zero/

      1. Oh god, the squirrels teamed up with Hihn! Armageddon is upon us!

        1. Somehow it led to LESS posts than usual.

          1. Wait, the squirrels have the opposite effect on Hihn? Long live the squirrels!!

      2. (not reported in the rightwing media)

        (because it’s completely made up and has been disproven 8 million times so that not even partisan rags like NYT will touch it any more)

      3. “Left-Right=Zero/”

        “All One! All On!”
        ” Cecil replies:
        Not unless you like gooey lemonade. As you can probably tell from the copy (can you imagine a slogan like, “Eternal Father, Eternal One! Exceptions eternally? Absolute none!” on the side of a Tide box?), “Dr.” Emanuel H. Bronner is inhabiting a different plane of being from the rest of us. So don’t take anything he says too literally.”
        https://www.straightdope.com/
        columns/read/904/
        why-the-weird-religious-ravings-
        on-dr-bronners-soap/

        Your newsletter? I DON’T want to get it.

  6. What Welchie Boy’s French wife doesn’t know is that he no longer dreams of moving to Fidel Castro’s Cuba the way he did as a younger lad. He now dreams every night of the world’s largest Chocolate Nixon cock shooting a bucketload in his face.

    1. *rolls eyes*

      Obama is chocolate Bush.

    2. Hey Mikey, the Con Man is about to TRIPLE Obama’s DACA amnesty!

      Do you feel stupid yet?

      You should.

      1. Dow up another 140 points today.

        Choke on it, and don’t forget to polish your Fake News Award at 1435 Euclid Street Apartment 2 in Northwest Washington DC, bitch.

        1. The more you post the more I get the sense you’re a stalker.

          1. Could be, but turd’s constant whining deserves counter by showing revealed preferences are quite clear that turd’s whining is so much bullshit.

      2. Have you paid your bet yet?

        You should.

        1. Schumer couldn’t kick the shit out of a pasture full of bovine.

          1. I’m sure you believe that. And facts do not matter. And Obama’s a Muslim

            Left – Right = Zero

      3. PB, you stupid shitbag, there will be no amnesty. He knows damn well Schumer won’t deal in good faith, and he already pissed on the deal. It is however, a great way to show how the democrats are shrill, insane idiots who are not interested in responsible governance in any way.

        Schumer doesn’t give a shit about the dreamers. Polls of democrats have shown that the dreamers are way down on the priority list. It’s just another wedge issue for them. Like weed, or any number of other issues they have had the opportunity to resolve.

  7. But then it was subsequently reported out that the GSA emails were almost certainly obtained legally, so the pack abruptly dropped that line of attack and moved on to the next available target.

    This is a pattern that emerges again and again in partisan politics.

  8. Dear, what’s our opinion on Nunes refusing to release the FISA memo because it could “undermine America’s confidence” in the government?

  9. Trump amnesty to cover 1.8 million Dreamers; triple Obama’s DACA

    https://www.washingtontimes.com

    Laughing at the Con Man and his useful idiots

    1. Schumer kicked his ass from the White House to the Senate.
      It was painful to watch.
      But funny.

      1. You can tell how hard Mikey Hihn the diaper-shitting senile old fuck is shilling for his party when even the most loyal progressives call bullshit on it.

        These Are the Democrats Who Voted to Sell Out DACA Recipients and Reopen the Government

        Chuck Schumer: libertarian hero. You’re a joke. Except that jokes are sometimes funny.

        1. “It was painful to watch” I said.

          1. “I say I said!”.

            You’re like a bitter and resentful Foghorn Leghorn. Still funny, but in a sad pathetic old man way.

  10. Oh, and the Justice Department’s “conveniently” missing text messages between Strzok and Page from December 2016 and May 2017, that Johnson had been sounding the alarm about? This morning we learned they’ve been found.

    All of them? I have to rely on reports from the fake news media but last I read they had recovered some text messages from the period in question. Weird how the DoJ IG seemingly has forensic capabilities that shame the FBI.

    1. Weird how the DoJ IG seemingly has forensic capabilities that shame the FBI.

      At the very least, I don’t see how it isn’t a nutpunch to Mueller’s investigative capacities.

      1. I guess I could be completely wrong.

        Mueller is a fantastic, even brilliant investigator and Trump, in his collusion with Russia and being the absolute genius that he is, has managed to hide all the smoking guns in places where Mueller can’t find them (or, bizarrely, has found them but is being thorough about finding all of them, well all the rest of them that we don’t know about, before revealing the existence of any of them except for the ones that have already been revealed).

    2. Forensic = political, in this case.
      Not even a Las Vegas bookie will quote odds on ALL the data being recovered.

      1. Horowitz’s letter did not indicate how many messages were recovered and said his effort to locate more was “ongoing.”

        So it may be like an armored car robbery and the police found a roll of pennies in the gutter and Matt “Fake News” Welch is screaming CASE CLOSED !!!

  11. From the first time that text message showed up on the screen, it looked more like TDS fantasy than an actual existing thing.
    I would love to buy a few beers for the ‘informant’, and find out how much fun it was to play the senator.

  12. No one spreading this kind of BS cares if it’s true. They care if it gets out there, because even if it’s refuted later, their team will believe it. Which allows both sides to continuing yelling back and forth, ignoring actual facts, and not paying attention to what’s really going on.

    1. “No one spreading this kind of BS cares if it’s true. ”

      Ding ding ding we have a winner!

      They spread these rumors and lies about DEEP STATE UNDERMINING TRUMP or whatever in order to gin up fear and paranoia, which leads to clicks and bucks and votes for their tribe. (You don’t want the conspirators to WIN, do you? Sign up here to add your support!)

      The saddest part is that these types of idiotic conspiracies are believed by so many. They wouldn’t spread so much bullshit if they didn’t know that the bullshit would have such a positive reception.

      1. The only idiotic conspiracy theory is that the Russian government colluded with Trump to steal the American election a year and a half after an investigation based on a fake dossier purchased as oppo by the Clinton campaign has turned up absolutely nothing except more and more evidence of rampant corruption by the previous administration. You’re right though, the saddest part is that these types of idiotic conspiracy theories are believed by so many. It’s pretty pathetic how partisan shills will lie and make excuses for their party.

        1. Everybody knows the Russia/Trump conspiracy to steal the election is totally believable….And the Deep State/DNC conspiracy against Trump is complete nonsense!!!

          No…. wait….was it the other way around? Dang! …..can’t remember…..

          I

          1. Russian/Soviet history of seeking to interfere with US election is an established fact that only became a problem when Hillary lost.

            1. You calling Trump a liar?
              It was reported in June or July.of 2016

          2. Given that various bureaucrats(the federal bureaucracy IS the ‘deep state’) have proudly put out pieces in which they unabashedly SAY that they’re trying to undermine Trump

            …coupled with the fact that they DO actually have absolutely nothing indicating actually Russian collusion, not only do you not have it turned around, it isn’t POSSIBLE to turn it around.

            The pretense that there WAS a Russia/Trump conspiracy to steal the election is PART of the Deep State/DNC conspiracy against Trump.

            It is a single thing.

            1. coupled with the fact that they DO actually have absolutely nothing indicating actually Russian collusion,

              He calls that a fact!

        2. Mueller hasn’t finished his investigation. You have a special source that tells you they found nothing? Someone telling you what they’re up to, day to day?

          1. Yes.

            Mueller.

            If the man had a crumb–we’d know it.

            He’s publicized countless legal, post election contacts as if they’re criminal

            He’s fastened onto pre-campaign meeting from years sometimes decades ago as ‘evidence’.

            So yes, Mueller is the source.

            1. So the answer is no, then. Thanks. I’ll wait for the actual conclusion to the investigation before deciding on anything.

              Not that I’m expecting any consequences for anyone, BTW. As can be seen in this very thread, the Republican propaganda machine has undercut anything Mueller could plausibly report. Democrats will freak out, Republicans will scoff, and we’ll all go on our way.

  13. TDS, can strike anyone at any time

    This is a message from the Center for TDS Control.

    Sometimes, there’s a man, and I’m talkin’ about The Donald here sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place.

    He fits right in there.

    And that’s The Donald. In Washington DC.

    And even if he’s a boastful man and The Donald was most certainly that. Quite possibly the most boastful in New York City, which would place him high in the runnin’ for most boastful worldwide

    Sometimes there’s a man… Sometimes, there’s a man. Ah, I lost my train of thought here. But… aw, hell. I done introduced him enough.

  14. TDS can strike anyone at any time.

    No one is immune.

    Sometimes, there’s a man, and I’m talkin’ about The Donald here sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place.

    He fits right in there. And that’s The Donald. In Washington DC.

    And even if he’s a boastful man and The Donald was most certainly that.

    Quite possibly the most boastful in New York City, which would place him high in the runnin’ for most boastful worldwide

    Sometimes there’s a man… Sometimes, there’s a man. Ah, I lost my train of thought here. But… aw, hell. I done introduced him enough.

    1. I saw what you did there.

  15. Don’t miss the State of the Union speech on Tuesday. Trump is saving “the memo” for a spectacular revealing that the mainstream media can ignore, misrepresent, or downplay.

    The MM will be gobsmacked and blindsided. All TDS sufferers will start mumbling about how the Russians must have infiltrated the DOJ and did the investigating that produced “the memo.”

    Clever, clever, these Russians are!

  16. Well I guess it’s fitting, for a movement for which its base of support is the 50+ and older crowd, that its main spokespeople sound like your crazy paranoid uncle at Thanksgiving dinner.

    1. It’s certainly a stark contrast to the youthful freshness of Democrats calling for impeachment based on their year and a half long “investigation” into the pee dossier that they bought and disseminated in the first place that hasn’t turned up any evidence.

      1. Yes, nothing says youthful vigor like being led by a bunch of septuagenarians like Clinton, Sanders, Schumer, and Pelosi.

        1. At least Fauxcahontas is a spry young 68!

    2. What the fuck is it with you people and ‘uncles’?

      Every year you’re out there blathering about the ‘crazy, conservative, conspiracy theorist uncles’ at this or that holiday and what to say to show him how much wokest you are so that you might lead all who hear into the promised land of the leftist lobotomy.

      Why is it always ‘uncles?

      Why not ‘dads’ or ‘grandpas’?

      Hell, why not moms, aunts, or grandmas?

      1. Because aunts are goddamn scary. (For that matter, so are moms, dads, grandfathers, and grandmothers.)

        Uncles aren’t scary until they grab your no-nos.

    3. Yes, one day the young people will take over running the country.

      Hopefully, they won’t be like the young people that I supervise at my job…If they are, the Presidential Election acceptance speech will sound like this…

      “My fellow Americans….thank you for making me the Youngest President Ever!!!!”
      “I promise to”…..(stops and looks at cell phone….texts something) …”To do”…..(stops look at cell phone…laughs)
      “We will….ah”…(stops looks at cell phone….takes selfie) “This is our”….(stops looks at cell phone, plays game)

      1. Our young people have their flaws, but their relative lack of bigotry, superstition, and backwardness more than offset those flaws.

        1. FFS, find a new tune you silly bitch.

        2. Hey, comm’on Padre…..I was just joking (you know…like that FBI guy)!!!

          I took a scenario and exaggerated it to the ridiculous….but all in fun…

          I’ve met many young, intelligent and independent thinkers…also met quite a few young phone zombies who have trouble with “focus”…

          Of course, I realize you Rev-types are always interested in adding to the flock…molding those young minds into proper-think….

          Praise the Lord and Pass the Indoctrination!

  17. NOT ignore, misrepresent, or downplay

  18. Watching Reason columnists shoot fish in a barrel is getting tiresome.

  19. Where’s Joe McCarthy when you need him? There’s a Rooskie under every rock, spreading lies and disinformation designed to raise questions about the legitimacy of every sacred American institution from the FBI to the NFL to Lou Reed’s health and everybody’s so paranoid about everybody else’s paranoia that they don’t see it’s all the result of all the fluoride the commies stuck in the water supply all those years ago.

    1. Dianne “McCarthy” Feinstein. Has a ring to it.

      1. Like Adolph Trump!
        Left-Right=Zero

    2. Fluoride in the water is no longer a right wing concern, now it’s the far left that sees it as a problem.

      Please try to keep up.

      1. VAXX is even crazier.

    3. All Joe McCarthy would need to do anymore is start throwing everyone with a ‘D’ after their name in prison.

  20. “It’s that sense of undisguised opportunism, and facially ridiculous connect-the-dots hyperbole, that has come to mark conservative pushback against the Russia investigation.”

    They’re calling for an investigation in the court of public opinion.

    I’m not sure this is connect the dots hyperbole as much as it’s speculation that goes along with calling for any investigation. You don’t need to proof beyond a reasonable doubt to get a search warrant. You don’t even need probable cause. You just need reasonable suspicion.

    The suspicion that the FBI screwed up big time, that agents made some ridiculous calls about Hillary’s email server, among other things, and that the FBI and the Hillary Clinton campaign were neck deep in the infamous Piss-gate Dossier, are perfectly reasonable.

    The only question is whether such an investigation is worth the taxpayers’ time.

    If there’s anything untoward about them speculating and connecting the dots at this point, it’s because it’s in an election year. I’m not interested in wasting the taxpayer’s time, attention, and money on what amounts to creating a wedge issue of an investigation.

    That being said, I think exposing the FBI to public scrutiny can only be a good thing–no matter the motive.

  21. One pundit gets paid to criticize another.

    Ad infinitum.

  22. Oh, and the Justice Department’s “conveniently” missing text messages between Strzok and Page from December 2016 and May 2017, that Johnson had been sounding the alarm about? This morning we learned they’ve been found.

    How is this embarrassing for conservatives? It should be embarrassing for the FBI, since it means they were either trying to withhold evidence by lying about the texts being lost, or they’re incompetent at digital forensics.

    So what kind of executive-branch oversight is the senator conducting on Homeland Security in his position as chair? This kind: When, as part of its investigation into possible collusion and conspiracy between a nuclear-armed adversary and an incoming administration, Mueller’s investigators acquired the Trump transition team’s emails from the General Services Administration (GSA), Johnson fired off a sternly worded letter about activities that potentially “disregarded federal statutes.” Not by any Trump associates, mind you, but by the GSA.

    Dude. You’re complaining about Johnson sounding the alarm about a federal prosecutor obtaining emails of private citizens through potentially illegal means.

    This is not my father’s Reason, or even my older brother’s.

    1. They were not the Justice Department’s “conveniently” missing text messages between Strzok and Page. The FBI was missing them due to a “glitch” or so they claimed. When the devices were given to the DOJ the DOJ magically got the text messages when the FBI said they could not recover them. Welch could at least get basic facts right when standing up for the FBI.

  23. Wait a second, did Matt Welch, former editor of nominally libertarian magazine Reason, just downplay the badness of the govt surveillance complex? And equivalence it to 90s era talk radio? Seriously?

    1. He sure did. No big deal that the FBI is out of control.

      1. If the FBI were once again investigating Hillary Clinton you’d suck its tit and call it mommy.

        1. We know what you are, loser.
          Grow up.

        2. “Pretending” to investigate and uncovering real crimes?

        3. Tony, if the FBI were a little boy you would fuck it’s ass and scream at it to call you daddy.

    2. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Daddy Koch hates Trump so baby Welch hates Trump too. You didn’t think they actually gave a fuck about abusive government did you?

      1. The Kochs dislike for Trump is well known, but I can’t believe they’d side with the entrenched state against him. Makes more sense for them to see it as a battle they wish both sides could lose.

        This seems more like the result of drinking the bathwater inside the beltway.

        1. Deflator Mouse|1.26.18 @ 12:00AM|#
          “The Kochs dislike for Trump is well known,…”

          Which dislike may no longer be true.
          I don’t know, but Trump has managed to change quite a few minds as his results have outrun his statements by several first-downs.

          1. Yeah, if you ignore his tweets and simply look at policy and actions, it looks mostly good.

      2. A real shocker that readership, clicks, and contributions are way down. They’ve exposed themselves as total hacks over the last year and a half.

      3. So much this.

        It’s depressing.

        1. I used to read Reason religiously. I now may come here twice a week, just to see how much further they’ve fallen.

          It is sad and depressing. Reason used to be the standard for libertarians.

          Now they are just virtue signalling Trump haters who are too stupid to realize that that space is already taken.

  24. My next prediction is that the four Trump associates who were rolled by fire-breathing interrogators into pleading guilty to process charges or long ago financial dealings about which reasonable legal experts might disagree, well, this gang of four just might launch a joint lawsuit for malicious prosecution.

    The Memo will add to their pile of evidence and exhibits, although they probably have enough already.

    1. One of them already did. Flynn could easily get out of his plea and would never face trial because that would put Mueller’s team through the discovery process. But he won’t because they’re holding his kid hostage.

      1. Assuming the DOJ actually prosecutes his kid. Mueller has zero control over that.

        Mueller and Comey are the ones who need to be prosecuted.

  25. Calling anyone else an opportunistic hack when you’re sticking up for the FBI in the face of evidence of corruption at worst and incompetence at best and you’ve also spent the last year and a half calling for the impeachment of the president based on a fruitless investigation based on a fake oppo dossier really is really just fucking precious.

    1. If the FBI were investigating Hillary Clinton you’d suck its tit and call it mommy.

      1. We know what you are, loser.
        Grow up.

      2. According to recent news reports, the FBI is investigating Hillary.

        Tony, what do you make of the texts between the top FBI brass regarding Trump? Was it all just good-natured joking? To me, it sure looks like the ones leading the email investigation exonerated Hillary before they did an investigation. And it sure looks like they were/are determined to prevent Trump from being elected, and to destroy Trump if he was elected.

        To me it looks like Putin interfered with the election as best he could, just Russia has done in every election in the modern era, with the aim of weakening America. This time the Russians succeeded because the Democrat party and American media joined in with them.

        1. Tony, what do you make of the texts between the top FBI brass regarding Trump?

          They weren’t brass,

          Was it all just good-natured joking?

          That’s why Ron Johnson walked back his crazy hysteria about a secret state

          And it sure looks like they were/are determined to prevent Trump from being elected, and to destroy Trump if he was elected.

          My, have you been brainwashed. He said he wasn;t excited about the Mueller probe because “there’s no there there.” Probably not reported by Fox, Breitbarf and Infowars.

          This time the Russians succeeded because the Democrat party and American media joined in with them.

          Is Obama a Kenyan?
          Are there monsters under your bed?

    2. Yeah, Matt. Why aren’t you buying into every Team Red conspiracy theory nonsense? Why everyone knows that the FBI is part of the Deep State Complex out to destroy Trump. And if you disagree it means you really want Queen Hillary to rule as sovereign empress. There is no middle ground, either you believe every word that Sean Hannity says, or you believe every word that Rachel Maddow says.

      1. The history of the FBI under Hoover certainly corroborates the Deep State Complex. What makes you think the FBI is now impartial?

        1. Seven years from now, when the DOJ and FBI are stuffed to the gills with Trump people jeff will be here telling us ‘now it’s different.’

  26. Those crazy kids at the FBI were…..Just Joking!!!! What a bunch of mischievous scamps!!!

    I think it was J. Edgar who said….”Humor is one the most important tools that an agent can use…..Well, that and a large telephone directory….to…you know…beat a confession out of a suspect without leaving a bruise…

  27. Did the Russians “hack” the election? Were voting machines reprogrammed? Were votes switched by Natasha to elect Trump? Certainly the Russians, for the first time in American history tried to influence the outcome of the election, right? Was it effective?

    Who colluded with the Russians? Did Hillary collude with the Russians by funding Fusion GPS?

    Was Donald Trump fairly elected?

    1. By the standards of every election I’ve participated in? Yes, he was fairly elected.

      The standards are abominably low, especially since the two parties have completely disenfranchised a significant portion of the electorate.

      I’d like to believe there was more diverse information available to the voting public this time around, and that’s a good thing. Veracity, as always, was in short supply…

      1. How many votes would have had to switch for Hillary to have won the Electoral College?

        1. At this point, what does it matter?

          1. It would make you both full of shit. Inconvenient truths can do that.

          2. At this point, what matters is politically neutering the Trump administration — obstruction of justice and perjury should be ample; any determination of collusion would merely be a cherry on top — and enduring the next couple of years, until the structurally amplified yahoo voices of our political system can resume their rightful place behind the voices of reason, science, tolerance, education, inclusivity, and progress.

            Until then . . . carry on, clingers!

            1. Dead thread-fucking AGAIN, artie poo? It’s in bad taste, brochacho….

            2. Wow, Rev…I think you may be one of my favorite posters!

              I like how you can say….”Can’t wait till we, the politically divine, are in charge so we can tell everybody what to do…..but make it sound so nice !
              Bravo….

  28. The only questions that need to be answered are:

    Would Hillary have been better?
    No. Clearly Hillary would have been worse.

    Is Hillary a “better person” than Trump?
    No.

    Trump is not a guy I would like as a friend, I think, but his accomplishments as president have been exemplary. Hillary would have been worse in every way.

    Bottom line, for me, is that Americans made the best choice in 2016. Thank God for the deplorable, fly-over, cousin-fucking, rednecks. The sophisticated coastal know-it-alls sure fucked things up with Obama.

    1. They both suck. Your time has just about expired.

      1. As human beings, I agree, they both suck. But we had a binary choice and Trump won, fair and square.

        Let’s get on with it. Democrats will have another shot in 2020. Maybe they will nominate Chelsea this time.

        1. You brought it up, not him.

        2. ” Maybe they will nominate Chelsea this time.”

          Of course you’re talking about Chelsea Manning…..right? (that would be GREAT)

          1. It would be an interesting candidate.

    2. This is just parody, right?

      You can’t know what Hillary would have been like as president because she isn’t. Unless you’re a magician that can alternate futures…?

      Trump has made a lot of empty proclamations but done very little. Mostly, because despite having majorities in Congress, the GOP cannot seem to govern and pass laws.

      Trump appointed Gorsuch and passed a tax bill. That’s about it.

      1. It was Clinton’s State Dept. that purchased 77,000 copies of Obama’s books. Crony socialism, is by far a better choice.

      2. Hillary has been in public life for decades, and had her own campaign platform. So yes, we pretty much know what was coming. Especially after some of the contents of the Goldman’s Sack speech were made known.

        She’s pure fucking evil. America really dodged a bullet there.

  29. David French over at National Review has the best approach to #releasethememo.

    Release the memo and all of the evidence that went into writing the memo. Let Americans decide if it is just partisan bullshit by conservatives, or if there really is evidence of deep-state treachery.

    “Release the Memo and Release the Evidence”

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/…..d-evidence

    1. It’s fucking stupid. Tell us why DOJ opposes it.

      1. I can tell you are not very good at playing poker.

        1. (snort) I see your bluff, too.
          Try again,.

    2. But then the media wouldn’t get to speculate about what is in there! Welch wouldn’t get all these pageviews and comments. Transparency is not profitable.

  30. Buck up, Matt! I still love you, sometimes. BUT, Hillary Clinton was right, right, right about the vast conspiracy, and if Big Bill had only been willing to keep his cigar to himself, Ken Starr’s investigation would have turned up bupkis. Try Jeff Tobin’s “A Vast Conspiracy” if you want details. Republicans found nothing to tie Clinton to any Whitewater “crimes”. They conducted seven investigations of Vince Foster’s suicide, sure that there was something juicy there, but found nothing. Ken Starr announced in Feb. 1997 that since the investigation was almost complete, he was stepping down and going back to his old job. The Right screamed in hysteria, and Ken “reconsidered”. Paula Jones’ suit was funded entirely by right-wing interests. Furthermore, she had no case. She argued that Clinton had sexually harassed her, not on the grounds that he had exposed himself to her, but that he had punished her for refusing him, denying her raises and promotions. Except that that isn’t true. She suffered no retribution, and got the same raises and promotions as her co-workers. Throughout all the investigations, friendly Republican judges repeatedly handed down politically motivated decisions intended to destroy the Clintons. There was a vast conspiracy; but Clinton couldn’t resist his appetite for breaking the rules.

    1. The Clintons are certainly adept at covering their tracks given all the rap, murder, corruption and treason they’ve engaged in.

  31. It’s similar to their complain that academia and the media have a liberal bias. Reality has a liberal bias and yet they can’t come to grips with that. They drum up all this smokescreen so that they can pander to their wealthy benefactors. Meanwhile, supposed liberal voters only vote for handouts. Whatever.

    1. Reality has a liberal bias.

      Yes indeed, and it is thus we know that evolution, while a fact, has never affected humans at all. Each is identical, having the same hopes, dreams, proclivities and abilities–any differences whatsoever are in physical form, in gender, in beliefs, in abilities are all social constructs.

      Further, we know that the only thing that can harm the planet is humans unchecked by the control of other humans, who are themselves unchecked.

      We know that random genetic manipulation is an unalloyed good, while directed genetic manipulation is an absolute evil–unless something comes up wherein conservatives are complaining about directed genetic manipulation, in which case it becomes the ultimate good–and being against becomes racist.

      In fact, there it is in a nutshell–

      Because reality has a liberal bias EVERYTHING is racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, xenophobic, and completely, completely unmutual.

    2. Heraclitus….(nice name) “Reality has a liberal bias”?

      You should just be honest and say…My side is great cause it’s my side, your side sucks cause it’s your side.

      Luckily, our ultra-rich liberal 1% benefactors….you know, Tom Steye….that Amazon dude….Mr FaceBook….an that what-his-name Google nerd….only want to tell us…. How to live, where to live, what to eat, where to go, what to think, what to read…For Our Own Good…..Cause….they know better!

      1. Because ultra-liberal billionaires mist be rounded up into gas chamber, so the ultra-conservative ones can goose step across America more easily.

        1. Rounded up and goose stepped? Sounds like a dream date down on the farm…..Are you drunk?

  32. “…the Justice Department’s “conveniently” missing text messages between Strzok and Page from December 2016 and May 2017″

    This is factually wrong. You are a journalist that covers politics and I am a dude with a job and somehow no more than you on this. The FBI lost the text messages with what they said was a “glitch.” That is the reason they said they could not produce the text messages to Congress. The DOJ took the cell phones and were somehow able to recover the text messages the FBI said were lost.

    When you get basic facts wrong about a conspiracy, you give life to the conspiracy. Be better.

    1. He couldn’t help himself. He forgot to take the dildo out before sitting to write this piece.

    2. How does writing DOJ instead of FBI “give life to the conspiracy”? That is actually crazy.

  33. Before we say our final goodbyes to the “secret society” that for a few terrifying moments was puppeteering the deep-state opposition to President Donald Trump…

    Judging from the comments, I’d say it’s a bit too early to declare this fake news “secret society” history. It’s merely another fake brick in a wall that will eventually be used to purge the FBI of “disloyal” agents and discredit any legitimate findings they might come up with regarding Trump and his swampy administration.

    These sorts of things aren’t “one and done.” They’re intended to layer upon each other and reduce public confidence in our federal police.

    1. Possible Russian collusion, actually bad. Possible biased investigators making up Russian collusion story, also actually bad. It is not an either or proposition. And with all the lies out of the FBI, Trump, Clinton, Congress, etc… how can you be so confident about anything? I think it is more likely than not that the investigation and the investigation into the investigation are all BS.

      1. It’s all a mass conspiracy, financed by George Soros and promoted by Black Barry From Kenya.

  34. It was indeed humor. Page used a jocular term to introduce and suggest starting their informal team effort to unseat Trump or at least neuter his efforts. To gloss over and deflect Strzoc’s concerns, and to allay her own guilty conscience in case they were all caught, she cloaked her proposal’s immense dangers and consequences in humor.

  35. I think Page’s secret society comment was only thinking out loud in an unserious way. I think Trump’s “order” to fire Mueller for his blatant conflicts of interest was precisely the same kind of thing. Even if Trump had actually fired the jerk, I am unconvinced that presidential order would rise to the level to be obstruction of justice in light of said conflicts of interest and the fact that Mueller stocked up his investigation team with East Coast lawyers with their own conflicts of interest .

    Can we not ever have a “special investigation” with lawyers from Kansas or Idaho, or even (gasp) Texas? Is it really true that the most competent hot-shot attorneys in the USA can only be found inside the beltway or in New York City?

    Maybe Trump will urge the second or the third special prosecutor that Republicans will soon be calling for to take a nice close look at the fake investigation of Hillary’s email lawlessness and some egregious abuse of the FISA warrant process in 2016! We might get real diversity, a more balanced cross section of America’s investigative genius that surely is not geographically quarantined in just two cities.

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  38. I remember when libertarians didn’t trust the FBI

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