Wow! We have a great controversy! A squib of a memo by the House Intel Comm has completely devoured the media. A constitutional crisis! Egad! In two weeks, or maybe two months, it will be nothing. But for now, well, very very very serious. At a minimum it has distracted everybody from Trump'sz gloriously successful State of the Union speech, which was so well received until this distraction that he thinks will bring about the end of that nasty Mueller investigation.
However, it now appears that this follows an older pattern. When really serious stuff shows up in Trump World, the world is easily distracted by some much more minor scandal that gobbles up media and public attention. So, during the campaign there was an important moment when it was reported that emails of the DNC had been hacked by Russians and handed over to Julian Assange and publicly leaked, with these memos being drip drip drip leaked day by day through the campaign. But did this rather serious report get any public attention? No no no. We had a much more important scandal to distract us with its outstanding shockingness. It was the Grab 'em by the Pussy tapes, that, shock! were supposedly going to completely upend and end Trump's campaign. Within a few weeks again it was no big deal, distracted by further scandals, but in the meantime the more serious matter of Russian serious intervention in the US election barely ever made it to any public attention at all, although we have been living with that attention to it ever since.
So what might this soon-to-be-forgotten memo be distracting us from (and I recognize that it is more serious than the grab 'em distraction)? Well, buried on the inner pages of WaPo yesterday and scattered across secondary parts of the internet is a curious story that looks a lot more important than this nothing memo. Not only did Trump on the day befor his SOTU speech violate the Constitution by failing to obey a 515-5 vote in Congress to impose further sanctions on Russia for interfering in the US 2016 presidential election, but this astounding action was preceded by an apparently historically unprecedented event, the visit to Washington by the directors of all three of the top Russian intel agencies prior to his decision to ignore the mandate of the Congress. Is anybody paying attention to this ultimate payoff to Putin for all the barely hidden Russian money in his unreleased tax returns? Not with this wonderful distraction of this squib memo.
So, who are these unprecedented visitors to Washington? The one garnering the most attention is Sergy Navryshkin, director of the SVR, the Russian equivalent of the CIA, the main foreign intel agency of Russia. In the Soviet era it was a dirzectorate of the KGB, and it had managed to get its own HQ in a suburban area of Moscow, obviously imitating Langley in the Washington NoVa suburbs even down to its architecture. He is especially shocking in that in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea, Navryshkin was placed under a travel ban by Obama. But, hey, that was Obama, and whatever he did is a negative to be undone by Trump. As it is he is reported to have met with his US opposite number, CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, rumored to be the next Secretary of State when Tillerson is finally tossed, and a former Oklahoma congressman known to be a Trump inner loyalist. Supposedly they discussed terrorism, which they might have actually discussed a bit.
But then CIA Director Pompeo also met with Aleksandr Bortnikov, Director of the FSB, the domestic intel agency of Russia, essentially its equivalent of the FBI, also a former directorate of the former Soviet KGB, whose HQ is in the actual notorious old HQ of the KGB and earlier Cheka in downtown Moscow on Lubyanka Square, a location where many people took bullets to the head. Supposedly they also discussed terrorism. As it is, I would think Bortnikov should have spoken with the current FBI director, his obvious opposite number, but, well, there are no reports of that happening. But, hey, who is paying attention? We are all obsessed with the nothing squib memo!
And finally we have the really murky one, the reported visit of Lieutenant General Igor Korobov, the director of GRU, the main Russian military intelligence agency. Neither WaPo nor any other source I have been able to track down so far, but will check further, has reported with whom this character met. Presumably it was at a minimum one or more of the more than 10 US intel agencies housed in the Department of Defense. The two most prominent of those are the NSA and DIA, but the DOD contains more secret agencies, such as the NRO. Frankly I suspect this is the real story, although for those who have managed to get past the distraction of the Nunes memo, to get to this they have to get past the shocking visit of the formerly banned SVR chief, Navyshkin story. But, hey, when you have so many Russian spy chiefs visiting just before the US president ignores a Congressional law to impose further sanctions on Russia, well, who can keep track of all this, and who cares? I mean, that Melania is upset over Donnie paying off a prostitute is much more important!
Addendum: Further checking has yet to turn up whom GRU chief Korobov met with in Washington, although I imagine it will eventually become public. If it does not, well, this would be far more serious and disturbing than any of this, up there with Trump futzing seriously with starting a war with North Korea.