More to ignore, Book 92.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Watch the New Lincoln Project Ad running on FOX 'News' that sent Trump into a litigious rage

Lefty Coaster

The Lincoln Project has a terrific new ad on how Mr. Trump has been using his Big Election Lie to raise hundreds of millions from his MAGA rubes.



A furious Trump lashed out at the Lincoln Project, FOX ‘News’, and Paul Ryan.



Lincoln Project’s co-founder Rick Wilson called Trump’s legal bluff: “I double dog dare you!”...”You won’t do it, because you are in fact (as I said previously) completely impotent. Just ask Melania.”

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Navy reservist described by Jan. 6 prosecutors as 'Nazi sympathizer' indicted on new charges

Brandi Buchman

Hatchet Speed, a U.S. Navy reservist already charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol with Proud Boys on Jan. 6, was indicted anew in Virginia for possessing unregistered silencers.

The indictment was made public on Wednesday at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, just a miles away from the nation’s capitol. The McClean, Virginia, man would have been able to keep his silencers legally in Virginia had he registered them, but without doing so, he has now courted three felony charges, according to the Department of Justice.

The unregistered weapon charges come in addition to four misdemeanor charges brought against Speed this summer related to his breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

An affidavit from the FBI agent handling the case said that Speed purchased no fewer than a dozen firearms between Feb. 11 and May 26, 2021. Those purchases included a 9mm pistol, a couple of 12-gauge shotguns and several other styles of firearms. The FBI said Speed was “panic buying” the weapons and laid out over $50,000 to purchase them in multiple states including Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, and Utah. When agents searched his McClean home this June, they found eight guns and seven silencers, court records show.

Speed once worked as a contractor focused on cyberintelligence and defense work in northern Virginia, a common job in a suburban community that is heavily populated by government workers and private contractors due to proximity to the Department of Defense, the headquarters for the CIA, and the FBI.

But as Speed became increasingly radicalized through extremist ideologies, he resigned from that work. An undercover agent who got close to him said Speed became disillusioned with the federal government and remarked that he once saw himself and his work as that of a “good patriot.”

“Speed states that the ‘last fourteen months’—which would have been since January 2021—had been an eye-opener,” the agent wrote in the recently unsealed affidavit.

Prosecutors say Speed revealed himself to be deeply entrenched in antisemitic ideology and often made comments praising domestic terrorists like the “unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber who set off explosives four times between 1996 and 1998. Rudolph ultimately killed two people over the years—including a police officer—and injured hundreds of others. It took authorities five years to capture him.

Special Agent Declaration by Daily Kos on Scribd

Speed allegedly told the agent he didn’t think Kacyznski or Rudolph were “successful” because they targeted “rich people” instead. But he said he could “commiserate” with them, nonetheless.

“So, it's useful to get into these people's heads and you know, try and come up with a better game plan than they had,” the agent recalled Speed telling him.

Court records show Speed was also laudatory of Adolph Hitler, praising the dictator who was responsible for the deaths of more than 6 million people as “one of the best people that’s ever been on this Earth.”

During one exchange with the special agent, Speed allegedly remarked that he “really wants somebody like Hitler to stand up and say, ‘We’re going to stand against this moral incineration that we’re seeing in the western world.’”

Espousing hatred for the Black Lives Matter movement and the antifascist “antifa” ideology, Speed also allegedly went on a tirade over the recent anti-lynching law signed into law by President Joe Biden.

People and those entities like the Anti-Defamation League that spend time advocating or pushing for laws like to be passed, he said, were “enemies.”

That law was only signed, he remarked, because “they know things are ... going to get bad enough, that people like us are going to band together and straight up start lynching people."

Court records also allege that Speed spoke at length about how kidnappings would be more effective than killings and “praised the approach of jihadists” and suicide bombers.

When Speed was arrested in June he was released on home detention and was placed under GPS monitoring.

The same conditions of release were sought in this new felony matter. He will be arraigned on Sept. 22.

Should Speed be convicted on the unregistered felony weapons charges, each charge poses a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. He is being represented by a public defender.

As a petty officer first class, Speed is assigned to the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office located in Chantilly, Virginia. He also obtained top secret clearance as well as clearance to review SCI, or sensitive compartmented information, data.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A question of immunity: House calls on judge to uphold subpoena for Meadows

Brandi Buchman

A bid by Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump’s onetime chief of staff, to stop further scrutiny of him by the Jan. 6 committee was challenged in court Wednesday as a lawyer for the House of Representatives urged a federal judge to forgo the idea that ex-presidential advisers have total immunity from congressional subpoenas.

Meadows sued in December to stop his compliance with a May 2021 subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee for his testimony and records pertaining to the Capitol attack and Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 election.

The former White House chief of staff had intimate conversations and awareness of Trump’s conduct before, during, and after the insurrection. While he did remit tranches of nonprivileged documents and text messages to the select committee, his abrupt decision to stop cooperating set a new lengthy series of legal battles in motion.
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Meadows courted a contempt of Congress vote by the House and a contempt referral to the Department of Justice followed, though the Department did not take up the matter. Prosecutors handling contempt of Congress charges against onetime Trump adviser Peter Navarro indicated in court recently they pursued charges against Navarro because unlike Meadows, Navarro did not cooperate at all.

An attorney for Meadows, George Terwilliger, did not immediately return a request for comment to Daily Kos on Thursday.

In court Wednesday, House of Representatives General Counsel Doug Letter asked presiding U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols—a Trump appointee—to render a decision that would potentially set a significant legal precedent: He asked Nichols to rule that former advisers to a U.S. president are not given absolute immunity once that president leaves office.

This became a thorny matter for Nichols.

The judge, according to The Washington Post, said he was “frustrated” because he felt that the House could have simply relied on the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause to have Meadows’ lawsuit attempting to quash the subpoena tossed out. The clause bars lawsuits against legislators conducting official legislative business.

Letter agreed that invoking the clause would have made their case “iron clad,” but he explained that the House was actually more interested in having the court parse out the finer details on qualified versus absolute immunity for former officials instead of just relying on a catch-all in the Speech and Debate Clause.

A more thorough ruling about absolute immunity powers—or lack thereof—of former aides to former presidents would force the court to unwind Meadows’ position in more depth. And it could also reestablish congressional authority in these scenarios and instill clearer boundaries around the separation of powers.

White House aides, Letter argued, should not be permitted to flatly refuse cooperation when it is compelled.

The impact a ruling from Nichols could have on this, of course, remains to be seen. Nichols said he would issue a ruling sooner rather than later, acknowledging the deadline to disband that the select committee faces at the end of this year.

Notably, The Washington Post reported that Nichols asked Meadows’ attorney if he believed absolute immunity—even if one were to assume it applied to former chiefs of staffs to former presidents—would apply equally to “non-governmental communications.”

Terwilliger said it would and per the Post, he told the judge that “’the purpose of immunity is to protect the [office of] the presidency’ from congressional interference under the Constitution’s separation of powers and that top White House aides must enjoy the same absolute protection as the president.”

The Justice Department weighed in on the matter at Nichols’ request in a brief to the court this July.

The Department of Justice argued then that Meadows could be compelled to respond to a subpoena because former high-level advisers to ex-presidents are only eligible for qualified immunity. This means immunity could be pared back only if the reason proffered to do it was strong enough. In the case of Jan. 6, the Department of Justice felt that bar had been met.

Letter said the House is not trying to force Meadows to testify before the select committee. Rather they hoped the ruling from Nichols might spur him to fulfill his “patriotic” duties and comply voluntarily. Terwillger, Politico reported, found this offensive and said Meadows was proud of his current position, not ashamed of it.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Balakliya and Shevchenkove liberated on the incredible drive to Kupyansk

Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1243021419.jpg

Young girl hoverboards past a destroyed Russian tank. Lukashivka, Ukraine. September 7, 2022,

On Thursday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Blinken is reportedly there to share more good news, in the form of a new $2 billion package of assistance that includes $560M in additional military equipment for Ukraine. Zelenskyy is certain to be happy about this, and at the moment, he has to be feeling pretty good about Ukraine’s relationship with the U.S. and the level of backing it has received from all the NATO allies.

Even so, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that Zelenskyy is a bit distracted. That’s because, right now, this moment, Ukrainian forces are driving ahead on the most daring advance of their counteroffensive, plunging deep into Russian-occupied territory, freeing town after town, and threatening to destroy a huge slice of Russia’s invasion force.

In the daily announcements from the Ukrainian general staff, Gen. Oleksiy Hromov was practically ecstatic as he gave out the statistics for what has happened so far—more than 20 towns and villages liberated in the lightning-fast advance across Kharkiv Oblast. Ukrainian troops have now moved close to 50 kilometers up the P07 highway from Balakliya to Shevchenkove and beyond. The operational details may be under wraps, but the stream of captured Russian equipment, and panic bubbling out of Russian social media, makes it clear this isn’t exactly a secret operation. Russian forces are in danger of losing their entire Izyum force. And they know it.


screencap.jpg

In the last hour, fighting has been reported at Hrushivka and there are reports of Ukrainian forces near Kupyansk.

Obviously, this single action is the focus of everyone’s attention on Thursday. The blue areas on the map above represent those areas known to be under Ukrainian control. The yellow area is the “fog,” where forces have reportedly advanced, but the certainty of events drops way down.

In the last hour (9AM ET / 4PM in Kyiv), there are reports that fighting has begun in Hrushivka, less than 10km from Kupyansk. There are also reports that Shevchenkove has been liberated and the last Russian forces there have surrendered. Other reports put Ukrainian forces as close as 2km to Kupyansk.

Before buying into all these claims, there are several things to note here:

  • Russian forces in the area are expressing messages of panic. Combined with a lot of shooting and explosions, it’s a great recipe for false reports. It’s a lot easier to explain why you’re running if you can claim there are a thousand rumbling tanks at your heels.
  • Ukrainian supporters are overjoyed to see this major counteroffensive. Reports that might have gotten a lot more scrutiny a few days ago, are more likely to be passed along without review.
  • Both Russia and Ukraine have reasons for why they might inflate the scale of events.
A static situation may be boring, but it’s possible to get very confident that the lines are being drawn correctly. This isn’t quite chaos; we’re getting a lot of genuine information, some of which is geo-confirmed through images or backed up by statements from the Ukrainian command—but expect a fair amount of chaff among the wheat.

And, as always, beware of finding reports too friendly to what you want to hear. Ukraine is doing something amazing here, but they’re not about to annex Moscow. Check your sources.

At the opposite end of the scale, there are reports from official Russian media outlets this morning that admit that Ukrainian forces did try to take Balakliya, but they were “thrown back.” Everything in Balakliya is running normally, and stalwart Russian forces repelled every attempt to take other sites in the area. Needless to say, don’t believe that one either.

Some reports now put the entire Ukrainian force advancing toward Kupyansk at 9,000 men. There are also reports that Ukraine pushed into the area around Balakliya with an armored column led by 15 tanks. The forces going in certainly looked like they understood this was their moment.



When it comes to Balakliya, there were reports overnight that Ukraine had fully liberated the town. There have also been a number of images showing Russian soldiers captured after attempting to escape the town wearing civilian clothing. As of this writing, there are fresh reports that the last Russian forces inside Balakliya have surrendered. This has yet to be fully confirmed, but it looks like that yellow circle around Balakliya is about to disappear.

Earlier reports indicated that Ukraine had left a partial force around Shevchenkove while the main force continued to the east. Overnight, there were reports of fierce fighting at Shevchenkove. The DeepState channel on Telegram, which has been a dependable source of frontline information, reports that as of Thursday afternoon (local time) Shevchenkove has been completely liberated. So the blue area may be about to spread up the road at least that far.

Just about every source agrees that the main area of fighting is now around Hrushivka. Russia has reportedly grabbed every unit it could find and rushed them into this area while they desperately try to prepare a defense for Kupyansk—a location they definitely weren’t ready to fight over. There are also reports that Ukraine has already begun artillery bombardment of the rail lines leading out of Kupyansk. Russia has announced a partial evacuation in the area.



Russia took Balakliya in March, in the first two weeks of Russia’s illegal invasion. Now Ukraine has freed that town, and did it without the kind of mass destruction seen in so many locations taken by Russia. And there is, so far, no sign that the Ukrainian advance, here or elsewhere, has been checked.

Again, this is what’s likely happening in just the last couple of hours: Balakliya has been liberated. Shevchenkove has been liberated. Ukrainian forces are fighting at Hrushivka after making a 50km sweep through Russian-occupied territory. The rail hub and bridge at Kupyansk are under bombardment from Ukrainian artillery. That is a very, very good day.

Seems like a good time for a …

PARADE OF DESTROYED AND CAPTURED RUSSIAN EQUIPMENT​






MEANWHILE...​

And now, a couple of reminders that Kharkiv isn’t the only place where things are happening.


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Thursday, Sep 8, 2022 · 12:41:05 PM EDT · kos
Here is how Ukraine is using its Humvees:



155mm M777s are big guns, and they’ll sit well behind the lines. Their error range is too big to use anywhere near infantry. 105mm howitzers are prized for offensive operations. They can be towed by Hummers, and ride just behind the vanguard like we’re seeing in Kharkiv. Britain and Australia already sent a bunch. US piling on means that Ukraine 1) has asked for it, and 2) plans on a lot more offensive operations in the coming months.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Thursday, Sep 8, 2022 · 2:06:24 PM EDT · kos
Good visualization of the logistical importance of Kupiansk.



Follow the rail lines, it’s not just Izyum and Lyman (though they are most affected). Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk are affected, and beyond. There is another rail line further east, but that requires more trucks to carry ammo, fuel, and supplies to the front, and Russia already struggles with their logistics.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Thursday, Sep 8, 2022 · 2:19:03 PM EDT · kos
Notorious Russian propagandist:




That whole thread is funny—goes from “we’re winning!” to “we’re doomed!” in three tweets. But the key here, aside from “entire front collapse,” is “left without reserves.”

For three days, pro-Russian sources have talked about how the reserves were coming. They’ve finally realized no such thing exists. The backfield is empty.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Thursday, Sep 8, 2022 · 2:53:20 PM EDT · kos

I’m dying here:




Troops: we need to save Kupiansk for Izyum! For Sievierdonetsk! For the Donbas!

General: but we still haven’t recaptured Dovhen'ke!

My serious theory is that local commanders have orders and they can’t think for themselves, and the commanders who gave those orders are dead, so it’s last order standing.

luckystupid.jpg
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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“The war in Ukraine will continue until the complete defeat of Russia,” Igor Girkin, a far-right nationalist, grumbled in a video address to his 430,000 followers on Telegram on Monday. “We have already lost, the rest is just a matter of time.”

Girkin, a former Russian intelligence colonel who became a commander of the pro-Russian separatist forces in 2014, is arguably the most prominent voice within an increasingly loud and angry group of ultra-nationalist and pro-war bloggers who have taken to berating the Kremlin for its failure to achieve its tactical objectives as the fighting in Ukraine has entered its seventh month.

After Ukraine’s latest counter-offensive in the south and the north-east of the country, these bloggers – who have so far been granted a public platform denied to many – have intensified their criticism of the Kremlin, slamming the army’s inadequate performance in the war and urging Vladimir Putin to declare a full-scale mobilisation......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine Update: Taking stock of Ukraine's advances ... and Russia's losses

kos

Remember when we’d sit here and talk, months on end, about Ukraine “shaping the battlefield” and dream of future counterattacks? We never lacked topics to discuss, but there was breathing room to explore topics in great depth. But I like this better!

Mark Sumner tracked territorial changes this morning, and all I can add to that is “Ukraine has probably pushed further ahead.” This is a great visual representation:



The animation is fantastic. And as @War_Mapper notes, this is a conservative take. He’s got over 20 settlements that are rumored liberated, but he’s waiting for confirmation. Meanwhile, Kherson wants in on the action:

FcK5w3NXoAIMtcJ

To the north of Kherson, Ukrainian forces took back control of Ternovi Pody.

This isn’t some random settlement (though it is a tiny one)—it was a major Russian defensive position. Here is dramatic video, from an American gunner, of the liberation:



Also check out part II and part III. There is dramatic footage of him firing anti-tank rockets at Russian positions from a moving vehicle as we see return fire land around his vehicle. It’s legitimately amazing.

There are rumors (from Russian Telegram) that the defenders in this sector, the 20th Motorized Rifle Division, have fled their positions and are trying to cross the Dneiper to get back home. Hopefully it’s true! But zero confirmation as of now.

Going over to Izyum, this is … incomprehensible:



Ukrainian forces are within 5-10 kilometers of Russia’s most important logistical hub, serving the entire northeastern front and particularly Izyum proper, and yet Russian commanders in Izyum sent troops to die in a strategically irrelevant, tactically useless, dumbass assault on Dovhen’ke (which is now back in Ukrainian hands).

In other words, some idiot thinks retaking Dovhen’ke is somehow more important than their strategically critical supply center at Kupiansk.

Yes, we’re lucky that Russian forces are this dumb, but how is it possible? Well, Russia explicitly prohibits personal initiative. Too dangerous, someone might get into their head the idea of overthrowing the tsar, in this case, Vladimir Putin. So some local commander has orders to march south toward Sloviansk, and he’ll keep doing it until told otherwise. Except that his superiors are up around Kupiansk and have either fled or are dead. So he’ll keep expending men, supplies, and ammunition on attacks with zero chance of success, just because that’s what he was last told. It boggles the mind!

I don’t even understand these daily attacks! Why not mass men and armor, come up with a plan on taking the next objective, train for that objective, then attack in force—you know, like Ukraine is doing right now? Mark and I are broken records on this: Russia’s inability to advance with any kind of mass doomed them from the first week of the war. But it’s amazing that we’re still seeing this happening seven months in, and that Russia is still trying to push forward in places like south of Izyum despite the utter lack of strategic reasons to do so. Even with Ukraine breathing down Izyum’s neck from the north, supply routes about to be cut, and these morons
still push south. Unbelievable!

After the war I want to write an entire book on Dovhen’ke. It’s such a great story, and “Russia thinks it’s more important than Kupiansk” might be the best part of it.
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This was geolocated here, on the road to Shevchenkove (now in Ukrainian hands), pointing east, attempting to flee the Ukrainian advance. This was reportedly a Russian VDV unit—“elite” airborne forces that truly have spent the entire war getting spanked. Some analysts have argued that they have been grossly misused this war—serving as rote infantry as opposed to shock troops. The argument has some merit, but remember that they were used as intended at Hostomel airport near Kyiv, early in the war, and got spanked there too. So really, it just looks like they’re not what they were cracked up to be.



These are likely salvageable. Ukraine is getting itself a ton of gear. Yesterday, they got themselves six new tanks, 12 armored personnel carriers, three anti-aircraft guns, five artillery guns, and some other assorted random stuff like trucks. Today, you can add 16 armored infantry vehicles, five artillery guns, and a bunch of assorted trucks, anti-aircraft guns, etc.

We’re also seeing tons of confirmed Russian equipment losses, though it’s better to capture them. That’s why best-case scenario is Ukraine takes Kupiansk, then coax Russia’s Izyum garrison to surrender. That could be worth dozens, if not hundreds, of new pieces of armor for Ukraine’s armed forces, not to mention saving hundreds or thousands of lives (on both sides).

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A POW is best-case scenario for everyone involved. Why should Russians or Donbas Ukrainians die for Izyum or Kupiansk or anywhere, really? It behooves Ukraine to treat these POWs well so word spreads that it is safe to surrender. Furthermore, given how things are going, Ukraine may be in position to push into Russian-occupied Donbas before long, and you definitely don’t want that population to resist. Imagine well-treated Donbas cannon fodder calling their loved ones back home and saying “the Russians lied to us, we have nothing to fear from Ukraine!”

We don’t want these Donbas guys, rebelling against their commander, deciding they need to defend their homes: (video has captions)




These are future allies. They’ve seen how much better Ukrainians live on the other side of their border, they’ve seen their Russian commanders loot from those homes, and they’ve seen how callously Russia treats them.

Seriously, why would any of them want to die for a war they care little about? Putin can do his own dying if he cares enough. This translation of a Russian Telegram post shows just how rough those poor saps have it. Let’s win them over, spare everyone a big fight over Donbas.



That is the “Terminator” vehicle Russia introduced into the war with great fanfare. Russian Telegram and Twitter responded in orgasmic glee. But … yeah, whatever. The name was more terrifying than anything. And now Ukraine has one of their own.



That’s a MLRS M270 in Balakliya. If Ukraine is driving these things around in a town they took yesterday, in daylight, it means 1) the front lines are well forward of here, and 2) there is no Russian air presence. These are far too valuable to risk, so Ukraine isn’t feeling this is risky.

Also note the lack of OPSEC demands from Ukraine. In Kherson, it was OPSEC OPSEC OPSEC. “Don’t look at the elephant!” As a result, everyone was staring hard at Kherson trying to figure out what was going on. Including, apparently, Russia, as Ukraine launched its surprise Kharkiv offensive. Even that story claiming US and Ukraine war-gamed different scenarios and decided a single-front counter-attack made the most sense was likely intentional bullshit.


Ukraine pulled off the most masterful misdirection since … D-Day? Seriously, I bet we’ll learn that Ukraine laid out its armor in Kherson region in broad view of Russian satellites and drones, while hiding them carefully around Kharkiv.
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Ukraine got hundreds of these M113s. Lots of countries had them, which is likely why the United States decided to send those instead of more modern Bradleys. Thing is, they arrived months ago. So again, props to the heroic territorial defense forces that held the front lines all that time, allowing Ukraine to properly train on the new equipment, including on tactics to best utilize them. I can’t imagine the misery of sitting in trenches under relentless bombardment, but none of this today would’ve been possible had those lines collapsed. These units would’ve had to been rushed into action before they were ready.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Republicans don't want to talk about the national security cost of Trump's document theft

Mark Sumner

At this moment, thanks to a twisted ruling from a Trump-appointed judge, the Department of Justice can’t use the classified documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago in its ongoing criminal investigation. However, intelligence agencies are still working to respond to what was found in an unsecured storeroom, in a faux-leather cardboard box kept on a shelf in plain view, and in the drawers of Donald Trump’s desk.

The impact on national security is hard to overestimate. Whether or not Trump actually shopped this highly classified information—including military and nuclear secrets of at least one foreign nation—the intelligence community has to treat all of it, all of it, as compromised.

However, as CNN reports, when it comes to the national security implications of what Trump has done, Republicans have nothing to say. In fact, most Republicans are unwilling to even face what Trump was keeping handy in his office. They’re willing to pretend that executing a valid search warrant after more than a year of attempting to obtain documents by other means represents some kind of dire threat. But actual dire threats … documents? What documents?
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Here’s a quick review of what Republicans have to say about news that Donald Trump had 103 highly classified documents in his possession, including documents classified as top secret human intelligence, military intelligence, and even nuclear weapon-related intelligence.


Josh Hawley: "I don't know what he has or doesn't have … Some of it depends on if you declassified them or not, the procedures are, what's in the documents. I don't know.”

As a bonus, Hawley replied that former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger took classified material home and “nothing was done to him.” Let’s reach back to 2006 and see what “nothing” looks like. Berger faced a single charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, each with a potential sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

Ultimately, Berger was fined $50,000, stripped of all access to classified information, and ordered to perform community service while receiving a suspended sentence. So … that kind of nothing.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio continued to argue, “This is really, at its core, a storage argument that they are making. I don't think a fight over storage of documents is worthy of what they have done, which is a full-scale raid." Because, obviously, if Donald Trump had kept top secret information about the military capabilities and nuclear weapons of a foreign power in a better box, this would all be fine.

This really does seem to be a situation in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks for all Republicans.

Mitch McConnell: “I don’t really have any comments on this whole investigation that’s been dominating the news for the last month.”

Of course, that’s not true when it comes to attacking the FBI and Department of Justice, which have become standard stump speech material for Republicans across the country and the 24/7 purpose of right-wing media. At his Wednesday night rally, Trump provided an update on GOP talking points by saying: "The FBI and the Justice Department have become vicious monsters, controlled by radical left scoundrels lawyers and the media who tell them what to do and when to do it.”

What has Donald Trump’s theft of national security information cost? At a bare minimum, all human intelligence sources involved will be lost. Where possible, those sources may be exfiltrated from hostile nations, but more often they will simply be abandoned. Because from now on the intelligence community will have to assume that anything learned from those sources is compromised and may represent false information.


Every document that involves some sort of technological means of data collection, whether that’s listening in on military radios or looking down from a surveillance satellite, will need to be reviewed. In some cases, those systems will be lost. In others they’ll be abandoned because, as with human intelligence, if an enemy knows the U.S. is listening in to a certain communication channel, that represents a perfect opportunity to use that channel as a pipeline for false information. Assumptions will also be made that enemies have increased awareness of the U.S. ability to monitor their activities. At the very least, the value of every system involved will be diminished.

The cost of Donald Trump’s theft will be measured in billions. And in lives. And it will take decades for American intelligence to recover. And that’s the best outcome.

If information from these documents really did get spread around, then those costs could seem trivial.