Judy Woodruff PBS Newshour Interview with Carter Page
A 9–11 style bipartisan, independent commission to investigate Russian election hacking gets a step closer
At the end of the nine minute interview, a fairly rambling, (apparently) dissembling Mr. Page offers, when prompted by Woodruff, to testify, under oath, before Congress. So far, he has not been required to. Whether or not they will soon take him up on his offer, and whether or nor his story will change, under oath, is yet to be seen.
However, the Chair of the committee, Devin Nunes, has already stated publicly that instead, he wants to go after the leakers.
Congress currently has not opened an investigation, specifically, into the particulars of the NY Times article which accused the four former Trump officials of (apparent) collusion with Russian Intelligence. Senator John McCain (R) Arizona is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He has a storied history as a Navy pilot shot down in Viet Nam during the “police action” there in the 1960’s, in which he refused to come home and give in to his torturer’s demands. He notably ran for president in 2008 as the Republican nominee before losing to Barack Obama. Prior to that, he was a champion of bipartisan efforts in congress, working with former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill (prior to the landmark Supreme Court decision on Citizens United).
However, he has also worked with Lindsay Graham (JAG) and former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (now a Trump supporter who introduced Betsy DeVos) on an effort, post 9–11, to classify the entire domestic United States territory as a war zone (based upon the concept that we are at war with terrorists who seek to do us harm, that the space around Armed Services recruiting centers and army bases are considered war zones and that by extending that a certain specific distance, radially, from each individual base or recruitment center, you would eventually cover the entire land mass). So, any effort by the Senate to investigate alleged ties to Russia by either the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence or the Senate Armed Services Committee could eventually be used as an excuse to either go to war with China or N.Korea or Iran because of (yet undiscovered) cyber-espionage claims (which then could morph into something with ICBM’s, nuclear weapons, or in the case of China, land-sea territory disputes) or to ramp up the war on terror with claims of national security.
It should be noted, fairly under the radar, while all this is taking place, we have added 5000 troops to Afghanistan and are now considering putting “boots on the ground” for the first time in Syria.
Representative Mark Warner (D) Virginia is calling for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which has subpoena power, to investigate General Flynn and the mounting evidence of the CIA, FBI and other intelligence gathering agencies being talked about in the news. However, the Chair of the committee, Devin Nunes, has already stated publicly that instead, he wants to go after the leakers. Meanwhile, the House Oversight committee, chaired by Jason Chaffetz (R) Utah, has stated that it doesn’t fall under his jurisdiction, that it would involve sensitive classified material which he doesn’t want discussed in a public forum and thus he would rather have House Intelligence, under Nunes, who has already stated he isn’t going to go after Flynn, but rather those leaking the documents to the newspapers, handle it. It should be noted, too, Jason Chaffetz did not feel this same way about an investigation into Benghazi. Chaffetz uses the catch-phrase “sources and methods” which is doublespeak for the fact that the material is classified, should be handled by Nunes and House Intelligence, and thus, it can’t be discussed publicly because he refuses to, and he refuses to because it can’t be discussed publicly. It should further be noted Chaffetz has come under much heat at home in Utah, where at a recent townhall he was hounded by his constituents to do his job. His response was that they couldn’t be actual Utahns because Utahns (in his estimation) don’t act with such opprobrium; therefore they must needs be paid hecklers.
Elijah Cummings (D) Maryland, the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee has submitted a letter to Chair Chaffetz documenting his repeated attempts to open an investigation on the subject which have been continually rebuffed by Chair Chaffetz, signed by all of the Democrats on the committee.
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He, Cummings, also recently stated in an interview that he has, quite recently, seen a few Republicans on the committee flip, to him, personally, but wasn’t willing, at that time, to name names. It should be noted that if an impeachment proceeding of President Donald J. Trump were ever to begin, while the trial would take place in the Senate, the vote to have that trial would take place in the House of Representatives and most likely originate out of House Oversight. A trial would be unlikely because of the Republican majority in the House and the current strength of the teabaggers there (the Freedom caucus or some such usually referred to as the Tea Party with about 80 members not including Paul Ryan, Speaker, whom they often look to for leadership anyway).
Mitch McConnell doesn’t think they need to investigate Flynn in the Senate. Chaffetz says it is taking care of itself (and meanwhile is investigating Kellyanne Conway, well, giving her a good, firm scolding at any rate). McCain and Graham are very worried about Russia. And the Ukraine, as well as NATO. But they are equally worried about N.Korea, Iran, Hezbollah, Israel and Syria, and they have a very ingrained, well-documented, specific agenda.
However, Chair of Senate Intelligence Richard Burr (R) North Carolina just stated that he is in favor of investigating Russia and that it is not the job of Senate Intelligence to investigate leakers.
On December 7, 2016 Representatives Swalwell & Cummings introduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act to create a 9/11 style bipartisan independent commission, with subpoena power, to investigate Russian hacking. Cummings said tonight that there will be forthcoming action on it in the near future.