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This Actually Happened

So a Republican member of Congress just suggested that articles in the Times and the Post reporting information about Russian ties to Trump associates may actually be using sources who pretend to be US intelligence or law enforcement officials but are in fact Russian agents. This kind of desperate nonsense makes it difficult to remain an entire skeptic about what may remain to be learned.

Quotes after the jump ...

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Such a Mystery

Republican congressmen profess to be very worried that meeting with a foreign ambassador might put them at the center of a counter-intelligence probe. They're also worried that making a paid speech in another country might do the same - if not for them than people who they know. There's a pretty extreme effort to ignore the conclusion that for Trump associates at the center of a counter-intelligence investigation there was probably lots of different clues and developments which got them there.

Remember

It is worth remembering that with any other President, making up out of whole cloth false allegations of serious crimes on the part of his predecessor, would trigger at least talk of resignation.

In this case, most seem willing to move on since it's now been shown that the President was clearly lying.

'No Information'

FBI Director James Comey tells House Intelligence Committee that the FBI – and the Justice Department more broadly– have "no information" to support President Trump's claim that he was wiretapped on order of then-President Obama.

Comey

Comey: "I've been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts."

The significance is all in the final clause. This is a continuing investigation - last issue is not resolved.

Do We Have Lift Off?

We've seen a few drop-offs in support for President Trump since he took office two months ago. But they've mainly rebounded to a relative stability with a high single digit deficit in public approval. This is his steepest dive to date.

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Step Back for the Bigger Picture

Two weeks ago today, President Trump went on Twitter and leveled a series of accusations against former President Obama, most notably that Obama had wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower. The claim has been roundly criticized ever since. Notably, it came on the heels of a new round of damaging revelations about ties between Trump's entourage and Russia. We've now had formal inquiries from the congressional intelligence committees, statements from the Department of Justice and the FBI, a follow on attempt by Trump and Spicer to redefine what the President actually said.

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Your Fault, Folks

As Allegra Kirkland notes here, the remaining defenders of President Trump's preposterous Obama wiretapping claim now find themselves out on a limb. But let's also note the media's responsibility for perpetuating this farce. Even today, I continue to hear that there is "as yet no evidence" for Trump's claims. This is not remotely the normal way anyone discusses things like this.

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