Skip to comments.How Did Russiagate Begin?
Posted on 06/01/2019 8:39:21 AM PDT by billorites
It cannot be emphasized too often: Russiagateallegations that the American president has been compromised by the Kremlin, which may even have helped to put him in the White Houseis the worst and (considering the lack of actual evidence) most fraudulent political scandal in American history. We have yet to calculate the damage Russsiagate has inflicted on Americas democratic institutions, including the presidency and the electoral process, and on domestic and foreign perceptions of American democracy, or on US-Russian relations at a critical moment when both sides, having modernized their nuclear weapons, are embarking on a new, more dangerous, and largely unreported arms race.
Rational (if politically innocent) observers may have thought that when the Mueller report found no collusion or other conspiracy between Trump and Vladimir Putins Kremlin, only possible obstruction by Trumpnothing Mueller said in his May 29 press statement altered that conclusionRussiagate would fade away. If so, they were badly mistaken. Evidently infuriated that Mueller did not liberate the White House from Trump, Russiagate promotersliberal Democrats and progressives foremost among themhave only redoubled their unverified collusion allegations, even in once-respectable media outlets. Whether out of political ambition or impassioned faith, the damage wrought by these Russiagaters continues to mount, with no end in sight.
One way to end Russiagate might be to discover how it actually began. Considering what we have learned, or been told, since the allegations became public nearly three years ago, in mid-2016, there seem to be at least three hypothetical possibilities:
1. One is the orthodox Russiagate explanation: Early on, sharp-eyed top officials of President Obamas intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and FBI, detected truly suspicious contacts between Trumps presidential campaign and Russians linked to the Kremlin (whatever that may mean, considering that the presidential administration employs hundreds of people), and this discovery legitimately led to the full-scale counterintelligence investigation initiated in July 2016. Indeed, Mueller documented various foreigners who contacted, or who sought to contact, the Trump campaign. The problem here is that Mueller does not tell us, and we do not know, if the number of them was unusual.
Many foreigners seek contacts with US presidential campaigns and have done so for decades. In this case, we do not know, for the sake of comparison, how many such foreigners had or sought contacts with the rival Clinton campaign, directly or through the Clinton Foundation, in 2016. (Certainly, there were quite a few contacts with anti-Trump Ukrainians, for example.) If the number was roughly comparable, why didnt US intelligence initiate a counterintelligence investigation of the Clinton campaign?
If readers think the answer is because the foreigners around the Trump campaign included Russians, consider this: In 1988, when Senator Gary Hart was the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, he went to Russiastill Communist Soviet Russiato make contacts in preparation for his anticipated presidency, including meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. US media coverage of Harts visit was generally favorable. (I accompanied Senator Hart and do not recall much, if any, adverse US media reaction.)
2. The second explanationcurrently, and oddly, favored by non-comprehending pro-Trump commentators at Fox News and elsewhereis that Putins Kremlin pumped anti-Trump disinformation into the American media, primarily through what became known as the Steele Dossier. As I pointed out nearly a year and a half ago, this makes no sense factually or logically. Nothing in the dossier suggests that any of its contents necessarily came from high-level Kremlin sources, as Steele claimed. Moreover, if Kremlin leader Putin so favored Trump, as a Russiagate premise insists, is it really plausible that underlings in the Kremlin would have risked Putins ire by furnishing Steele with anti-Trump information? On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that researchers in the United States (some, like Christopher Steele, paid by the Clinton campaign) were supplying him with the fruits of their research.
3. The third possible explanationone I have termed Intelgate, and that I explore in my recent book War With Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagateis that US intelligence agencies undertook an operation to damage, if not destroy, first the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump. More evidence of Intelgate has since appeared. For example, the intelligence community has said it began its investigation in April 2016 because of a few innocuous remarks by a young, lowly Trump foreign-policy adviser, George Papadopoulos. The relatively obscure Papadopoulos suddenly found himself befriended by apparently influential people he had not previously known, among them Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, and a woman calling herself Azra Turk. What we now knowand what Papadopoulos did not know at the timeis that all of them had ties to US and/or UK and Western European intelligence agencies.
US Attorney General William Barr now proposes to investigate the origins of Russiagate. He has appointed yet another special prosecutor, John Durham, to do so, but the power to decide the range and focus of the investigation will remain with Barr. The important news is Barrs expressed intention to investigate the role of other US intelligence agencies, not just the FBI, which obviously means the CIA when it was headed by John Brennan and Brennans partner at the time, James Clapper, then director of national intelligence. As I argued in The Nation, Brennan, not Obamas hapless FBI Director James Comey, was the godfather of Russiagate, a thesis for which more evidence has since appeared. We should hope that Barr intends to exclude nothing, including the two foundational texts of the deceitful Russiagate narrative: the Steele Dossier and, directly related, the contrived but equally ramifying Intelligence Community Assessment of January 2017. (Not coincidentally, they were made public at virtually the same time, inflating Russiagate into an obsessive national scandal.)
Thus far, Barr has been cautious in his public statements. He has acknowledged there was spying, or surveillance, on the Trump campaign, which can be legal, but he surely knows that in the case of Papadopoulos (and possibly of General Michael Flynn), what happened was more akin to entrapment, which is never legal. Barr no doubt also recalls, and will likely keep in mind, the astonishing warning Senator Charles Schumer issued to President-elect Trump in January 2017: Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. (Indeed, Barr might ask Schumer what he meant and why he felt the need to be the menacing messenger of intel agencies, wittingly or not.)
But Barrs thorniest problem may be understanding the woeful role of mainstream media in Russiagate. As Lee Smith, who contributed important investigative reporting, has written: The press is part of the operation, the indispensable part. None of it would have been possible had the media not linked arms with spies, cops, and lawyers to relay a story first spun by Clinton operatives. How does Barr explore this indispensable complicity of the media in originating and perpetuating the Russiagate fraud without impermissibly infringing on the freedom of the press?
Ideally, mainstream mediaprint and broadcastwould now themselves report on how and why they permitted intelligence officials, through leaks and anonymous sources, and as opinion commentators, to use their pages and programming to promote Russiagate for so long, and why they so excluded well-informed, nonpartisan alternative opinions. Instead, they have almost unanimously reported and broadcast negatively, even antagonistically, about Barrs investigation, and indeed about Barr personally. (The Washington Post even found a way to print this: William Barr looks like a toad ) Such is the seeming panic of the Russiagate media over Barrs investigation, which promises to declassify related documents, that The New York Times again trotted out its easily debunked fiction that public disclosures will endanger a purported US informant, a Kremlin mole, at Putins side.
Finally, but most crucially, what was the real reason US intelligence agencies launched a discrediting operation against Trump? Was it because, as seems likely, they intensely disliked his campaign talk of cooperation with Russia, which seemed to mean the prospect of a new US-Russian détente? Even fervent political and media opponents of Trump should want to know who is making foreign policy in Washington. The next intel target might be their preferred candidate or president, or a foreign policy they favor.
Nor, it seems clear, did the CIA stop. In March 2018, the current director, Gina Haspel, flatly lied to President Trump about an incident in the UK in order to persuade him to escalate measures against Moscow, which he then reluctantly did. Several nonmainstream media outlets have reported the true story. Typically, The New York Times, on April 17 of this year, reported it without correcting Haspels falsehood.
We are left, then, with this paradox, formulated in a tweet on May 24 by the British journalist John OSullivan: Spygate is the first American scandal in which the government wants the facts published transparently but the media want to cover them up.
Nothing cheapens an otherwise serious crisis better than throwing a cliched and obligatory fricking “-gate” on to it.
Steve Cohen is one of the few honest libs out there. It’s difficult to beleive The Nation, a left-wing magazine, would publish this.
That was my thought too. Saw the source, and jumped to the conclusion that the content was misleading - which it likely is, but not the same way I prejudged.
There is a TON of evidence that the Russians attempted to hurt Trump and help Hillary Clinton win the election!
The Nation magazine is a communist rag, not to be trusted.
You can find a lot of that evidence on my FR Home page:
You really ought to read up on things before you try to act like you know what you're talking about. The Dems worked closely with the Russians in this elaborate, highly sophisticated, but typical KGB/FSB-style hoax.
First I read of it was grumbling prior to the elections
Then the morning after the election when Hillary wouldnt come out it was reported that Podesta Hillary and Mook and maybe Cheryl Mills and Plieffer were already leaking that they thought the Russians had meddled handing the election to Trump
Because they knew it was already in the works via Brennan and Clapper and Fusion GPS and British subterfuge and Somforth
And it went from there
Thats how I remember it
The former KGB and FSB working in and around Putin must laugh their butts off at how easily people here can be tricked and manipulated. They are masters at the complex game of chess, while most us, unfortunately, suck at simple checkers.
There is a TON of evidence that the Russians attempted to hurt Trump and help Hillary Clinton win the election!2. The second explanationcurrently, and oddly, favored by non-comprehending pro-Trump commentators at Fox News and elsewhereis that Putins Kremlin pumped anti-Trump disinformation into the American media, primarily through what became known as the Steele Dossier. As I pointed out nearly a year and a half ago, this makes no sense factually or logically. Nothing in the dossier suggests that any of its contents necessarily came from high-level Kremlin sources, as Steele claimed. Moreover, if Kremlin leader Putin so favored Trump, as a Russiagate premise insists, is it really plausible that underlings in the Kremlin would have risked Putins ire by furnishing Steele with anti-Trump information?
The point is that point 2, above, and3. The third possible explanationone I have termed Intelgate, and that I explore in my recent book War With Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagateis that US intelligence agencies undertook an operation to damage, if not destroy, first the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump.are mutually exclusive only to someone who accepts the fraudulent conceit that Russians must have illicitly helped Trump or he wouldnt have won.
Now it is true that hacking Podestas email was illegal. But that doesnt mean it was done by the Russians; it might have been Seth Rich.
It all began in Chicago Illinois, October 26, 1947 when the she-devil, little Hillary Rodham was born.
The Russian investigation began because it is the Democrats’ mode of operation to accuse the other side of what they are guilty of. This happens over and over. It does not matter if there is any evidence. They will manufacture some. This is the reason.
This, as opposed to a very strong on defense Trump-Pence team.
Obama-Biden-Hillary gave Putin everything he wanted and more in such critical areas as missile defense, the New Start nuke treaty, the Iran nuke deal, Uranium-One, etc, etc. So OF COURSE they (the Russians) would have wanted Hillary to win the election. Meanwhile, Obama-Biden damn near (purposely) dismantled our military!
Everyone knows, or should know, that the Russians are notorious for interfering in other countries' elections. Just ask the Ukrainians. The guy who ran against Putin's puppet in 2014 is still disfigured from an assassination by poison attempt.
OK, thanks for the response. Will check it out a while later. :)
May 31, 2019
Nunes: "He [Mueller] was so blatantly dishonest yesterday that he says, well, the Office of Legal Counsel says that you cant indict a sitting president.
Well, he should have been gone after day two.
He has no Russians, except for the Fusion and Clinton Russians, and possibly the dirty cop, the FBIs Russians, those are the only Russians that he has, to show connections to the Trump campaign.
Clearly, the Clinton operation is heavily working with Russians or Russian disinformation.
He didnt take time to look into any of that[!]
Partial transcript above begins at about the 1:34 mark in the video:
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