Report: Kremlin Nixed Romney for Putin’s ‘Friend,’ Tillerson

WHEN WE thought things couldn’t get any weirder. … Out pops petrified Roger Stone groupie Sam Nunberg.

Axios does the rundown.

CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, wrapping up the madness under a “Nunberg’s meltdown” headline in his Reliable Sources newsletter last night, posted this question for his colleagues:

“Now an ethical debate is raging in journalism circles. If your source seems drunk or drugged or just plain out of his mind, what is your responsibility?”
Last night on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell asked fellow host Melber: “Did you smell alcohol on Sam Nunberg’s breath? Was he drunk?”

Melber replied: “I did not ascertain that … I do think that it’s quite clear from his conduct … that there is something going on with him … That may be the strain and pressure that comes from a situation like this.”

Melber added: “The obvious significance here is … it’s very rare to hear the names and details of a grand jury subpoena leaked.”
Be smart … Swan tweeted: “Nobody who knows Sam thinks he has anything interesting to offer Mueller. But his friends are worried about him.”

Somewhere between MSNBC’s Katy Tur, Ari Melber, and CNN’s crew, Mr. Nunberg figured out that a special counsel grand jury subpoena isn’t an invitation. It’s a command performance.

The entire spectacle is nothing compared to what Trump’s reaction likely was when Nunberg’s claims hit the airwaves.

What mattered yesterday, however, is something else.

Jane Mayer’s out with a novelette on Christopher Steele and she hits pay dirt…

One subject that Steele is believed to have discussed with Mueller’s investigators is a memo that he wrote in late November, 2016, after his contract with Fusion had ended. This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as “a senior Russian official.” The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney. (During Romney’s run for the White House in 2012, he was notably hawkish on Russia, calling it the single greatest threat to the U.S.) The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President. – Jane Mayer [The New Yorker]