What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

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The Normal Person's Guide to 45’s First 45 Fucking Days

The Trump-Russia connection has played out like a game of Clue: was it Flynn in the billiards room with the candlestick? Or was it Sessions in the lounge with the lead pipe? Or was it Trump in the hotel with the golden shower? Will we ever get the full story on just how deeply intertwined Trump and Russia are? Who the fuck knows.


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1/ Shouting match over Russia erupts at House hearing about Russian interference in the presidential election. Th fight exposed bitter frustration amongst Democrats that Republicans have kept the issue locked in a single committee. (The Hill)

2/ Trump tells O’Reilly he “respects” Putin in Super Bowl interview. In a preview, Trump reveals his plans for dealing with Putin. O’Reilly asked Trump whether he “respects” the former KGB agent: “I do respect him, but I respect a lot of people,” Trump said, “That doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him.” (Fox News)

3/ Trump’s continued defense of Putin confounds Republicans. Congressional Republicans have broken with Trump over dozens of controversial statements he has made during his campaign, his transition and now his presidency. But few issues appear to have confounded lawmakers as much as his consistent defense of Putin. Trump’s coziness is at odds with years of Republican foreign policy orthodoxy calling for a more aggressive stance toward Putin’s regime. (Washington Post)

4/ Kremlin says it wants apology from Fox News over Putin comments. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly described Putin as “a killer” in the interview with Trump as he tried to press the U.S. president to explain more fully why he respected his Russian counterpart. (Reuters)

5/ National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials. Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election. (Washington Post)

6/ In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads. When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was. The phone call with Putin has added to concerns that Trump is not adequately prepared for discussions with foreign leaders. (Reuters)

7/ Flynn holds call with Pence amid calls for probes of contacts with Russian ambassador. Flynn had urged Moscow to show restraint in its response to punitive sanctions being imposed on Russia by the Obama administration, signaling that the Trump administration would revisit the issue when it took office. (Washington Post)

8/ The Trump administration is turning on Mike Flynn while the CIA freezes out Flynn’s aide. The agency denied a security clearance for a key aide to the National Security Adviser, effectively ending his tenure on the National Security Council and escalating tensions between Flynn and the intelligence community. (Politico)

9/ US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent. None of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. The intercepts do confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier. (CNN)

10/ Russia considers returning Snowden to U.S. to “curry favor” with Trump. Trump has called the NSA leaker a “spy” and a “traitor” who deserves to be executed. Russia considers turning over Snowden to be a “gift” to Trump. (ABC News)

11/ Pelosi: Flynn should be suspended and for his intelligence clearance to be revoked until U.S. officials fully review his contacts with Russia’s ambassador. (The Hill)

12/ Trump remains silent as Flynn falls under growing pressure. Neither Trump nor his advisers have publicly defended Flynn or stated unequivocally that he has the president’s confidence. Privately, some administration officials said that Flynn’s position has weakened and support for him has eroded largely because of a belief that he was disingenuous about Russia and therefore could not be fully trusted going forward. (Washington Post)

13/ New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying he needs to clear up questions about whether he discussed sanctions in his pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. (CNN)

14/ Flynn on thin ice but still in at the White House after turbulent few days. Despite a turbulent 72 hours caused by the national security adviser’s inability to deny that he spoke about sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office, Flynn has no plans to resign and no expectations that he will be fired. (CNN)

15/ The Kremlin is starting to worry about Trump. Vladimir Putin’s entourage cheered the outcome of the U.S. election. Now that Trump is in power, political elites in Moscow have stopped cheering. They recognize that Russia’s position has become abruptly and agonizingly complex. (Foreign Policy)

16/ Michael Flynn resigns as National Security Adviser after it was revealed that he had misled Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Flynn served in the job for less than a month. (New York Times)

17/ Trump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign according to four current and former American officials. Phone records and intercepted calls show that the communications happened around the same time evidence was discovered that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee. U.S. intelligence agencies sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election. They have seen no evidence of such cooperation, so far. (New York Times)

18/ Russian lawmakers defend Trump’s ex-national security adviser. Russia’s foreign affairs committees are calling Flynn’s resignation a dark campaign of Russophobia and “thoughtcrime”. (Washington Post)

19/ A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee calls for an exhaustive investigation into Trump-Russia connections following Flynn’s resignation. “The national security adviser of all the people that work with and for the President has to be absolutely trustworthy and truthful and apparently he wasn’t and he paid the price for that…” (CNN)

20/ Senators from both parties pledge to deepen probe of Russia and the 2016 election. Mitch McConnell said an investigation is “highly likely,” and the top two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced that the committee’s ongoing probe must include an examination of any contacts between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. (Washington Post)

21/ Trump knew Flynn misled officials on Russia calls for “weeks” the White House says. The comment contrasts the impression Trump gave aboard Air Force One that he was not familiar with a report that revealed Flynn had not told the truth about the calls. White House counsel Don McGahn told Trump in a January briefing that Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions with Russia. (Washington Post)

22/ Flynn’s departure erupts into a full-blown crisis for the Trump White House. The circumstances leading up to Flynn’s departure have quickly become a major crisis for the fledgling administration, forcing the White House on the defensive and precipitating the first significant breach in relations between Trump and an increasingly restive Republican Congress. (Washington Post)

23/ Trump lashed out at the nation’s intelligence agencies again, accusing them on Twitter of illegally leaking information to the news media. The flurry on tweets come as new disclosures about his dealings with Russia during and after the presidential campaign surfaced. (New York Times)

24/ House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz asks the Department of Justice to investigate the leaks surrounding Michael Flynn. The steady stream of “potentially classified” intelligence community leaks that have thrown the Trump administration into turmoil. (Politico)

25/ The Kremlin ordered state media to cut way back on their fawning coverage of Trump, reflecting a growing concern among senior Russian officials that the new U.S. administration will be less friendly than first thought. In January, Trump received more mentions in the media than Putin, relegating the Russian leader to the No. 2 spot for the first time since he returned to the Kremlin in 2012 after four years as premier. (Bloomberg)

26/ In FBI interview last month Flynn denied discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador. The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy, as lying to the FBI is a felony, but any decision to prosecute would ultimately lie with the Justice Department. (Washington Post)

27/ The F.B.I. is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections. The FBI’s Pittsburgh office is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee’s computer system. The bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who posted John Podesta’s stolen emails. And, agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants, foreign communications intercepts, and financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. (Reuters)

28/ Pence: US will hold Russia accountable and stands with NATO. Trump has repeatedly called NATO “obsolete,” but U.S. officials appear to be concentrating more on pushing allies to meet NATO defense spending commitments rather than focusing on Trump’s desire for a new relationship with the Kremlin, a major fear in Europe. Many European allies see Russia as a security threat following its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. (Washington Post)

29/ Priebus denies any involvement between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian officials. Priebus said he’s spoken with high-level intelligence officials in Washington who have told him that no such involvement occurred. (Politico)

30/ Trump’s personal lawyer advanced a back-channel plan for the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The sealed proposal was hand-delivered to Trump’s office and outlines a way to lift sanctions against Russia. (New York Times)

31/ Pence “disappointed” Flynn misled him about the nature of his conversations with Russia. In his resignation letter, Flynn said he “inadvertently” gave “incomplete information” about multiple calls with the Russian ambassador. He previously said he did not speak with Russian officials about the pending sanctions. (ABC News)

32/ Russia compiles psychological dossier on Trump for Putin. Its preliminary conclusions is that Trump is a risk-taker who can be naïve. (NBC News)

33/ Trump has insisted that he had no contact with Russia during the campaign. Russia says otherwise. Russian officials have at least twice acknowledged contact with Trump aides before the election. That contact would have taken place during the period when it’s believed that the Russian government was trying to disrupt the election. (New York Times)

34/ GOP senator wants Flynn to testify on Russia ties before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Politico)

35/ A California Congressman calls for a special prosecutor to lead an investigation into the alleged ties between Trump and Putin. Rep. Darrell Issa said on HBO’s “Real Time” that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not handle the problem because he was both on the Trump campaign and was appointed by Trump as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. (San Diego Tribune)

36/ White House: Too early to say whether a special prosecutor should look into apparent election meddling by Russia. The assessment comes as a growing number of Democrats are calling for Jeff Sessions, who was a key figure in Trump’s campaign, to step aside as the FBI and the Justice Department probe what happened. (Washington Post)

37/ Rep. Darrell Issa backtracked on his call for a special prosecutor to look into Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election. “I think it’s very important to realize there’s been no allegation by any part of this administration or by anyone who’s been to the hearings about any crimes,” Issa said. “So one of the challenges we have is a special prosecutor exists when you have an individual under suspicion. Currently we don’t have that.” Wat? (CBS News)

38/ Russia looks to exploit White House “turbulence” as it’s becoming increasingly convinced that Trump will not fundamentally change relations with Russia. The Kremlin is instead seeking to bolster its global influence by exploiting what it considers weakness in Washington. Russia has continued to test the United States on the military front, with fighter jets flying close to an American warship in the Black Sea this month and a Russian naval vessel steaming conspicuously in the Atlantic off the coast of Delaware. (New York Times)

39/ House leaders are split on whether a Russian inquiry is needed. The top Republican and Democrat on the Intelligence Committee gave sharply conflicting views of their investigation into Russian efforts to influence the election, raising questions about whether they will be able to work together. Republican Devin Nunes said that there was no evidence anyone from the Trump campaign had communicated with the government in Moscow. Democrat Adam Schiff said that it was too early to rule out the ties, because the panel had not yet been provided with any evidence collected by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. (New York Times)

40/ George W. Bush said "we all need answers" on the extent of contact between Trump’s team and the Russian government. He didn’t rule out the idea that a special prosecutor could be necessary to lead an investigation. (Boston Globe)

41/ FBI once planned to pay former British spy who authored controversial Trump dossier to continue his work. While Trump has derided the dossier as “fake news” compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with the spy shows that bureau investigators considered him credible and found his line of inquiry to be worthy of pursuit. (Washington Post)

42/ Obama administration officials scrambled to ensure intelligence of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia was preserved. They had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators. (New York Times)

43/ Graham and McCain want answers on Sessions-Russia report. If the FBI determines that Trump’s campaign illegally coordinated with Russia, Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from making the decision whether to pursue prosecutions. Graham said a Trump appointee “cannot make this decision.” (CNN)

44/ The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee accused FBI Director James Comey of withholding information on Russia probe. “In order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we’re going to need the FBI to fully cooperate… to fully tell us the length and breadth of any counterintelligence investigations they are conducting,” Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters after emerging from a classified meeting with Comey. “At this point the director was not willing to do that.” Schiff raised the prospect of subpoenaing the agency. (Politico)

45/ Kushner and Flynn met with Russian envoy in December to “establish a line of communication.” The extent and frequency of their contacts remains unclear, and the disclosure of the meeting at Trump Tower adds to the emerging picture of how the relationship between Trump’s incoming team and Moscow was evolving to include some of the president-elect’s most trusted advisers. (New York Times)

46/ Former Trump adviser Carter Page also met with Russian envoy. Sergey Kislyak and Page spoke on the sidelines of the GOP convention last July. (Politico)

47/ Trump cries “total witch hunt” as questions about Russia pile up as to why so many people had so many meetings with Russians that they all forgot about. (NBC News)

48/ A growing list of contacts between Trump associates and Russia is drawing increased scrutiny. Part of the problem underlying the disputed contact is Trump’s pugnacious style that leaves little room for nuance. At a news conference last month, he said that he had “nothing to do with Russia,” and that “to the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.” But in fact, reporting by multiple news organizations turned up multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Putin. (New York Times)


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