Kimberly Strassel: Is helping to pump the idiotic "theory" that the Dems, Hillary, Loretta Lynch and others ginned up the Steele dossier to "dig up dirt on Trump" and upend his nutso (p)residency. Now we know she - like her Reich cohort - are playing with 52 cards short of a full deck.
As the screws tighten on the Trump-Russia associations and the Mueller probe into undermining of the 2016 election by the same Russkies, it was expected the Right would at some point go batshit nuts and try to contest the facts. That time appears to be now, as across the Reich fake news spectrum (Breitbart, FOX, Drudge Report etc.) they are peddling the nonsense conspiracy that Dems and the Left are the REAL culprits in a "Russiagate" scenario - to take down Trump!
Writing in yesterday's WSJ, we read this codswallop from Kimberly Strassel (p. A13, 'Who Paid for the Trump Dossier?'):
"Here's a thought: What if it was the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton's campaign (who did not sign letters asserting the hiring of Fusion GPS)? What if that money flowed from some political entity on the left, to a private law firm, to Fusion, to a British spook, and then to Russian sources?....What if they specifically made up claims to dupe Mr. Steele, to trick him into writing his dossier?"
Nice try, but you rival Alex Jones (with his Sandy Hook false flag bunkum) and Michael Flynn's pizzagate conspiracy - with this abysmal dreck. Basically, lazily grabbing at any possible "event" and coincidence to attempt to parlay some combination into a conspiracy.
For example, 90 percent of this bull pockey got started when some right wing nitwit (Michael Weiss) found a video or image of Russkie lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, e.g.
Sitting at a hearing (from June 14, 2014) behind then Ambassador Michael McFaul. Weiss - who we can designate as "Dolt Zero", yapped in a "Eureka!"- style tweet:
"Hey, look what I found. Veselnitskaya sitting behind @McFaul at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Russia, June 14, 2014"
As if it was some huge discovery of a nefarious link, as opposed to simple seating coincidence. But this is the nature of egregious conspiracy ideation (can't really dignify it with 'theory'): it grabs isolated events and imagery and tries to stitch these disparate spots into a coherent whole - using all manner of irrational backflips, non sequiturs and hasty conclusions to arrive at some half-cocked rubbish. We've seen it before with Mike Flynn's 'Pizzagate' refuse.
Sure enough, as with all mind virus infections, Weiss' garbage was then picked up by Gateway Pundit - which we shall designate "Dolt Zero + 1". These morons handle a website often known for inaccurate information. Once again, following the playbook of conspiracy ideationists - notorious for jumping to conclusions with zero substantiation - the image was presented as evidence of a connection between Veselnitskaya and the Obama administration. (Based on the fictitious claim Veselnitskaya was "sitting with" McFaul, despite the fact she was doing no such thing. She was seated BEHIND him. BEHIND him is NOT seated with him. If I attend a concert with wifey and our rabid right wing congress critter Doug Lamborn is seated behind us, that doesn't mean we are "seated with" him! Doh!)
The spread of the mind virus then leapt again to "Dolt ZERO + 2" in the guise of the guttersnipes known as the "Sludge ....errrr..... Drudge Report". WikiLeaks - which is now a pathetic shadow of what it once was when it released the Bradley Manning files (in 2011) then became the next victim (or accomplice) on Wednesday , further spreading this nonsense, re-tweeting the image with this:
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at hearing on Russia left of Obama's @McFaul eight days after @donaldjtrumpjr https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMJkgSPSb0o …
This fantasy conspiracy then jumped the shark - infecting the usual stable of half-assed, right wing media personalities (e.g. Hannity, Limburger etc.) who then regurgitated this offal.
They suggested that Veselnitskaya was "hanging out" with Obama administration officials just days after the meeting with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. And VOILA! We have the perfect false equivalence: "How can you media types howl about the Trump Jr., Manafort, Kusher meeting with the Russians when Dems were doing it too!"
Of course this is total horse shit. The proximate seating position of a Russkie lawyer to an Obama official (McFaul) can only be contorted into being "seated with" by a brain devoid of critical thinking and prone to making mountains out of ant hills. But let's not be too surprised as this is the noxious frequent tactic used by the pro-Trump media to try to discredit reporting from credible news outlets It's a tactic we've come to expect from the Trump media mobocracy when faced with political peril. So they try to upend the latest political firestorm facing the Trump administration. (Never mind much of the firestorm is created by Trump and his own hirelings, e.g. "Mooch")
Let's not forget there's another piece of this conspiracy "theory" which evidently originated with Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's outside legal counsel. He said the Russian attorney was linked to Fusion GPS, a DC-based opposition research firm known for commissioning the Steele dossier. This is also clearly what has Kimberly Strassel's dander up. Veselnitskaya was representing Prevezon — a Cyprus company owned by a Russian national that is accused in the US of laundering money — at the same time Fusion GPS was doing work for a law firm that did work for Prevezon, according to the Washington Post. Again, all this really shows is that Fusion was an "equal opportunity" business - happy to work with anyone who'd pay real money. It doesn't prove that there is some nefarious connection or conspiracy, i.e. to slime Trump. (Hell, he doesn't need any help on that score!)
Corallo insisted Fusion “was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president.” But what he and his cohort ignore is the fact that Fusion GPS was initially hired in October 2015 by unnamed Republican clients in order to develop opposition research on Trump to be used during the GOP primary. These Republicans were part of the old (e.g. pro-Jeb Bush) order who respected norms and traditions. They detested the fact that a two bit Queens real estate weasel and lowlife like Trump could possibly become President. So they wanted "oppo" research on him. That is the hard fact. Once Trump won the nomination, the research was continued by Democrats. That proves nothing more than Fusion GPS is a firm that is happy to be employed by either side. If you want, call them a bipartisan oppo research outfit. But don't call them conspirators.
None of this proves a conspiracy or even near conspiracy other than in the deranged brains of the out of control Rightist nuts. Hence, Strassel's claim of Fusion as "the oppo research outfit behind the infamous and discredited Trump dossier ginned up by a former British spook" is false. In fact, all the evidence suggests that the dossier was completed by Steele ca. 2015 or while Fusion was still cooperating with the Republicans on the oppo. Also, all these conspiracy nabobs on the right appear to forget that before going underground, the material gathered in memos was considered so explosive that Steele turned it over to contacts he had in the FBI last summer. This was without informing the opposition research group for which he'd initially begun his project. If Christopher Steele was indeed working with the Dems or Reeps why would he not inform them?
Christopher Steele, as I've written before, is no clown or stooge or even a "spook" likely to be fooled as Kimberly Strassel claims. According to one Financial Times account (Feb. 16) , Steele was the "UK intelligence expert on Russia". It is, therefore, highly unlikely he'd be 'fooled" by any kind of false intel or disinformation as Strsassel seems to believe. James Nixey, the head of Chatham House's Russia and Eurasia program, informed the AP that sections of the dossier document created by Steele "read exactly as reports from the secret services".
Let's also reference the other case being made about Veselnitskaya having ties to Democrats which has the Right's pseudo conspiracy mavens questioning why she got a visa to be in the country on June 9, 2016, i.e. for the meeting with the Trump campaign. The true fact is Veselnitskaya was initially refused entry to the United States when she applied for a visa for herself and her children for the end of 2015. According to court files, she said she was granted a temporary “parole letter” allowing her into the country to assist her client Katsyv, who was facing a trial in the U.S. linked to his alleged part in the $230 million fraud uncovered by Magnitsky. She applied in the Southern District of New York for that temporary access to be extended beyond Jan. 6, 2016, when it was due to expire. Court transcripts show that prosecutors were reluctant to give Veselnitskaya a blank check to remain in the U.S. while the case stalled. Then subsequently, a NY judge ordered an extension, with the expectation that trial would start soon.
Again, nothing mysterious, nothing nefarious - other than in the febrile brains of the Right's idiot conspiracy allies of Alex Jones. Again, none of this matters a whit because ultimately Donald Jr. was happy to have a meeting with someone who told him they represented the Russian government and had dirt to share about Hillary Clinton.
Was this a "nothing burger' because nothing came of it? Maybe, but that's irrelevant. The point is legally the intent was there to dig up dirt using a high profile Russian lawyer, irrespective of it not succeeding. Just because a wife hires a hitman to whack her hubby and he doesn't succeed doesn't let her off the hook.
While the Right media has tried desperately to shift the Russia spotlight to the DNC, Hillary and Loretta Lynch - the incontestable fact is that it has always been Trump in up to his eyeballs with the Russkies - including to save his no good, bankruptcy- filing ass. As noted in The New Republic (Aug./Sept. p. 29):
"A review of the public record reveals a clear and disturbing pattern: Trump owes much of his business success, and by extension his presidency, to a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia. Over the past three decades, at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, or even run criminal activities out of Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money .....Taken together, the flow of money from Russia provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics....It's entirely possible that Trump was never more than a convenient patsy for Russian oligarchs and mobsters."
Of course, this very background helps explain why Trump is hyper paranoid now about Bob Mueller digging into his money trail, including leading right through his family finances. This is why, indeed, he's already telegraphed his guilt - first in firing James Comey, then in his recent obsession with Bob Mueller's probe - even warning Mueller not to veer into his "family finances" which would be taken as "crossing a red line". Why? What's so all-fired important about them? What has Trump got to hide? Why has Trump released no recent tax returns? All of this bespeaks a guy loaded with guilt and committed to obstruction of justice.
Thus, Strassel's blabber that:
"If Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Democrats and the media really want answers about Russian meddling, this (dossier) is a far deeper well than the scant case against Trump"
Is pure horse hockey. Those more in the know than Strassel - concerning the integrity of sources and what the intel really shows - acknowledge that what Steele compiled is very likely true, at least in part. In addition to which the whole shtick fits the modus operandi ("Kompromat") of videoing any one who comes to Moscow and stays at a hotel- perhaps to engage in illicit sexual activities with Russkie "honey pots". Kimberly may revolt at the thought of Russian whores jubilantly pissing all over her master, but there it is. Trump (and his loopy defenders) then may have more to worry about than where Bob Mueller is going. They better worry that if Trump signs the recently passed "sanctions" legislation Putin will go ahead and release the piss video.
The most laughable aspect of this whole farce? The Reich wingers trying to claim that Veselnitskaya was brought on by Democrats because there's no proof that she wasn't. Wow. Great argumentum ad ignorantium.
Methinks we need to send all of these conspiracy hustlers and hucksters back to courses in logic 101 along with critical thinking 100.