U.S. intelligence officials are probing a Trump advisor’s ties to Russia, plus this’n’that…. (More)

Note: Miss Cellaneous had a late date last night with the shadowy Mr. Rious, so her mom agreed to fill in as today’s title.

“Significant and disturbing ties”

That’s how Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid described a reported briefing about meetings between Donald Trump advisor Carter Page and senior Russian officials, in an article by Yahoo News chief investigative reporter Michael Isikoff:

U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials – including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.

The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow over the summer as evidence of “significant and disturbing ties” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.

Some of those briefed were “taken aback” when they learned about Page’s contacts in Moscow, viewing them as a possible back channel to the Russians that could undercut U.S. foreign policy, said a congressional source familiar with the briefings but who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. The source added that U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser’s talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being “actively monitored and investigated.”

Of course the Trump campaign knows nothing about anything:

Asked to comment on Page’s public statements and campaign role, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Page was an “informal foreign policy adviser” who “does not speak for Mr. Trump or the campaign.” Trump first named Page as one of a handful of his foreign policy advisers during a meeting at the Washington Post.

Uh huh. Reality Based Community’s Mark Kleiman explains:

Mike Isikoff is about as far from being a Clinton-lover as it’s possible to be on an outpatient basis: he was last seen chasing down a semen-stained dress. But today he broke a blockbuster story: tracing the activities in Moscow of Carter Page, an otherwise utterly obscure person who was nonetheless one of the five people Donald Trump listed as “foreign policy advisers” to his campaign.

It appears that, after Trump named him as an adviser and just before the Republican convention, Page met in Moscow not only with an oligarch on the sanctions list but also with the official apparently in charge of Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, including both the activities of the RT and Sputnik News and the hackers who broke into the DNC emails and released the results to WikiLeaks timed to create maximum heartache for Clinton.

Also today, ABC blew a major hole in Trump’s denial of major economic ties to Russia: his estimated take was in the “hundreds of millions of dollars,” some of it from the Russian mafia. His proposal to put his assets in a “blind trust” run by his children doesn’t pass the giggle test: that trust wouldn’t even need glasses.

As Mrs. Squirrel – no relation to Mrs. Cellaneous – put it: “If it looks like a bull and snorts like a bull, you better watch your step when the chips are down.”


“That pales in comparison to what everyone else is making”

Also, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will make a cool half-million from the Trump campaign – while he’s on the air with CNN:

Corey Lewandowski is set to be paid nearly half a million dollars by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by the end of the year, with almost a quarter of his compensation coming after the controversial political operative was ousted in June as campaign manager.

Lewandowski, who is now a paid commentator on CNN, collected at least $415,000 in salary, bonuses and severance from the Trump campaign between April 2015 and August of this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign finance filings. Campaign officials said he will continue receiving his $20,000 monthly pay as severance until the end of the year, which would give him a total of $495,000 over two years.
“That pales in comparison to what everyone else is making,” he said. “I don’t take a percentage of anything. I get a flat fee.”

CNN has faced criticism for giving Lewandowski a regular platform while he is drawing large severance from the Trump campaign. Network officials have said his payments are publicly disclosed when he appears on the air.

As Yoda might say, “Strong is the scent of bovine excrement in this one.”


“Now that’s interesting”

Speaking of bovine excrement, The Atlantic’s Salena Zito is either shoveling it or exposing it:

The best way, he says, is to provide good education and good jobs in these areas. “Fifty-eight percent of black youth cannot get a job, cannot work,” he says. “Fifty-eight percent. If you are not going to bring jobs back, it is just going to continue to get worse and worse.”

It’s a claim that drives fact-checkers to distraction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the unemployment rate for blacks between the ages of 16 and 24 at 20.6 percent. Trump prefers to use its employment-population ratio, a figure that shows only 41.5 percent of blacks in that age bracket are working. But that means he includes full time high-school and college students among the jobless.

It’s a familiar split. When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.

When I presented that thought to him, he paused again, “Now that’s interesting.”

So Trump spews a home-brewed unemployment number in a speech – and repeats it for emphasis – but we shouldn’t take it “literally.” It’s just a number he made up to make a point that we should take “seriously,” and his supporters understand that.

That’s pretty much a case study in bullshit.


“This is criminal”

As opposed to outright lying:

An officer shot. A bullet stopped by body armor. A 10-day chase for an unidentified shooter.

A newly hired Jackson police officer told a compelling story about what happened late the night of Sept. 13. After only three months on the job, Sherry Hall found herself immersed in a high-profile shooting, pitting a white officer against a black man. At least, that was her account of what happened.

But she made the whole thing up, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“Cops are humans and they make mistakes, but this is not a mistake,” Butts County Sheriff Gary Long said at a news conference. “This is criminal.”

Investigators don’t yet know why Hall shot herself and then made up a story that left residents of the Atlanta suburb worried about what turned out to be a mythical black man stalking police in their community.

Now ask why people of color are so distrustful of cops….


Photo Credit: EWKaufman.com


Good day and good nuts