"Republican and Democratic voters alike ought to recognize the dangers that face the country if this dishonest, twice -impeached demagogue Trump returns to power. They should demand that the midterm candidates for House and Senate declare whether they are with the former president or against him. Republican office holders who have sold their souls by cravenly capitulating to Trump and his falsehoods about the 2020 election should be voted out of Congress. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and his ilk have shown themselves to be dangerous and unprincipled, and they should pay for their irresponsibility." - Nicholas Goldberg, 'Let's Be Honest- The Real Threat Is Trump', LA Times, p. A13, today
Kim Strassel just can't let it go. She's determined to try to prove again that Hillary and Fusion GPS (along with Christopher Steele) had it in for poor little Trump. To nail him as the snake he is over his misbegotten four years as WH resident. As she scribbles in her NOv. 6 piffle ('Durham and the Clinton Dossier', p. A13):
"According to the FBI, Democrats and the media, Mr. Trump harbored secret and nefarious ties with Russia. We knew that because—as Mother Jones explained in a 2016 article that became the reigning story line—Christopher Steele was a “credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the U.S. government.” He had come across “troubling” evidence of Trump collusion and brought it to U.S. law enforcement. It took a year for congressional investigators to reveal the dossier had in fact been commissioned by the opposition- research firm Fusion GPS, working for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign."
More recently ('Hillary Clinton’s Russian Helpers', Nov. 12, p. A15) , Strassel jumps on her high horse again, yapping:
"Special counsel John Durham’s indictments have turned any number of narratives on their heads, including the question of which 2016 presidential campaign was in bed with Russians. It wasn’t Donald Trump’s.
For five years, that’s been the story line. The original claim was that Russians had “cultivated” Mr. Trump as an asset and held blackmail evidence over his head. When those over-the-top accusations fell apart, Democrats shifted to arguing that Mr. Trump and his associates had secretly colluded with the Kremlin to win the election. The press strove mightily to unearth nefarious Trump campaign contacts with Russians, though it came up with little of substance."
Little of substance? There were literal troves of material in Mueller's Report, e.g.
Also in his indictments of 12 Russian (GRU) agents.
[Read the indictment here.]
Therein (both sources), Mueller documented over 272 direct contacts - including 40 in person meetings- between Trump team members and Russian-linked individuals including GRU agents. Further, at least 33 high -ranking campaign officials and Trump advisers were fully aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition. This included Trump himself. None of those contacts were reported to the proper authorities. Instead Trump's team tried to cover up every one of them with the ultimate coverup (and whitewash) arriving with Barr's destructive four-page of the Mueller report, essentially portraying it as an exoneration.
Earlier in his GRU indictments Mueller showed the active measures taken by Putin ally Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin were used in U.S. social media to influence public opinion in favor of Trump and against Hillary Clinton. All were designed to help Trump and harm HRC, and included: 3,500 Facebook ads and posts reaching more than 29 million Americans - among which my late brother Jerry was one. In addition the Russkie Internet Research Agency (IRA) was actively involved on the ground recruiting Americans to assist its members. Key Trump advisers also acted to reinforce IRA messages by sharing them with contacts to destroy Clinton.
Strassel insists “many Russians routinely interacted” with the Clinton campaign but can’t name any other than the misled and confused Danchenko, whom the campaign never regarded as a serious source and with whom it had only indirect, incidental contact. This elicits the question of why this WSJ hack is so determined to provide cover for the crimes of traitor Trump. Also why she herself never dug into the Mueller report and GRU indictments showing the true extent of Trump campaign contacts with the Russkies. Instead, circulating the continued distorted work of Durham to frame the conspiracy as Hillary-Dem generated.
Barr, to put it bluntly, owns this disinformation ploy - first by release of his fraudulent "summary". But then to top that by recruiting his lap dog Durham to further dilute and distract from the findings was abominable. To use the expression of Louisiana rep Russell Long regarding the Warren Commission's efforts to implicate Oswald as the lone JFK assassin: "These guys would pick gnat shit out of sawdust to try to nail him". And so with Durham's crusade to try to deflect guilt from Trump and Co. onto the Clinton campaign, as well as the investigators of Trump's campaign. This also elicits the question of why a Trump pawn - a Barr enlisted pawn- is still hanging around the DOJ. Why hasn't Merrick Garland dismissed him by now? See e.g.
As Chris Hayes observed in one episode of 'All In' in 2019:
Remember this, during the campaign the only investigation that became public was the one regarding Hillary Clinton, which arguably lost her the election. But the FBI was investigating Trump at the very same time. No one uttered a word about it. If they were so desperate to bring Trump down you'd think someone would have said something. They didn't. So the whole conspiracy theory doesn't even hold together.
So why was Durham even going after the FBI? Why wasn't he instead investigating further the basic links Mueller exposed, e.g. to Yevgeniy Prigozhin? The short response is that Barr likely told him the FBI as well as Obama's national security advisor at the time (Susan Rice) committed some breach by unmasking a number of Trumpies. Of course, this is baloney. Even a WSJ article at the time ( 'Unmasking Requests Released', May 14, 2020, p. A3 ) pointedly noted that:
Unmasking U.S. identities in intelligence reports occurs thousands of times annually, according to statistics maintained by the Office of the Director Of National Intelligence.
And Rice herself, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell, had noted that as Obama national security adviser she was authorized to do so given a compelling national security interest. Well, there was with assorted contacts between Trump campaign drones (like Carter Page) and Russian GRU agents and these were revealed in foreign intercepts. It would have been derelict for Rice or the FBI to ignore them. Even Mike Morrell - former acting CIA director - pointed 0ut in respect to unmasking suspicious people (ibid.):
"You can't do your job without it."
Hence, beginning with the unmasking kerfuffle it was clear that Barr had dispatched Durham on an extended fishing expedition...errrr "probe" to dig up as much dirt as possible on the FBI, Hillary's campaign, Chris Steele and anyone else who'd correctly tied Trump to the Russkies. Given the bogus judicial remit, it was inevitable Durham would eventually find some low hanging "fruit" and Voila! He found it in Igor Danchenko - a low level drone who worked in a Russian foreign affairs branch of the Brookings Institution - who supposedly fed former MI6 spook Christopher Steele the intel that comprised his "Steele Dossier". Later given to Fusion GPS and then to the Clinton campaign.
Now, let's get our heads oriented on the actual origins of the dossier, and the connection of Fusion GPS to the Clinton campaign - which the impetuous Kim Strassel neglects. First, it was none other than Paul Singer a conservative Republican donor and operator of The Washington Free Beacon who hired Fusion GPS in 2015. He did this to unearth damaging information on Donald Trump - whom he regarded as a classless lowlife- also a danger to the nation if elected. Singer was part of the old Republican order that respected norms and traditions. He and his pro-(Jeb) Bush group detested the fact that a no count Queens NY grifter and real estate con artist could possibly become president of the U.S.
However, as Trump was in the process of clinching the GOP nomination Singer reluctantly told Fusion GPS to halt its research, also pressed by little Marco Rubio to do so. It was then picked up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee had begun paying Fusion GPS in April, 2016 for research that eventually became the basis for the Steele dossier.
Christopher Steele, as I've written before, is no clown or stooge or even a "spook" likely to be fooled as the WSJ stable of asswits claims. According to one Financial Times account 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 the WSJ trolls (including Holman Jenkins Jr.) seem 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".
In regard to the infamous "pee tape" about which so much consternation has erupted, I've already posted over a year ago I believe it exists as a form of kompromat. It fits exactly what a former KGB spook like Putin would do - to ensure compliance from an American traitor (see David Rothkopf's book 'Traitor') - and also fits Trump's character from what we already know about his vindictive rat nature. (In this case getting back at Obama by having two Russian whores pee on the bed he slept in while staying at Moscow's Ritz Carlton hotel). Where oh where is this tape? Doh! Putin has control of it and will release it if Trump refuses to comply with an order to attempt to get back into office in 2024 and transform the U.S. into an autocratic satellite state under Russkie control.
Does anyone really believe Putin is stupid enough to allow his prime leverage to get into the public domain before he's exhausted all his blackmail bounty from Trump? C'mon already! This is why George Stephanopoulis and other talking heads in the ABC Steele interview were totally naive - or plain obtuse- to think this tape could just be produced on the spot as "evidence".
In a real way then, Bill Barr has played into Putin's hands by enabling the traitor Trump to have a real chance of getting into power again, thanks to triggering the Durham witch hunt. We can surmise all this just from the partial transcript of an interview he gave on FOX to Laura Ingraham, e.g.
“I think what happened to [Trump] was one of the greatest travesties in American history. Without any basis they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning, actually is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president. So I—to sabotage the presidency, and I think that— or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”
In response we find on Lawfare blog :
No contemporary attorney general has, like Barr in the Durham investigation, offered such extended, opinionated, factually unsupported and damning public commentary, naming names and drawing conclusions, about an ongoing investigation that is at least in part a criminal investigation. Barr’s commentary on the Durham investigation violates several Justice Department rules and norms. The department’s media contacts policy, which applies to “all [Justice Department] personnel,” prohibits “respon[ses] to questions about the existence of an ongoing investigation or comment[s] on its nature or progress before charges are publicly filed.”
Lawfare considers Barr’s actions in terms of three possibilities, the last one being:
“A third possibility is that Barr is an out and out partisan hack—a Sean Hannity equivalent operating from the Fifth Floor of the Justice Department to try to fire up the president’s base or give the president other short-term political advantages.”
But goes on to say: “This widely held view is difficult to square with Barr’s reputation for probity and establishment credentials” .
However, Barr flushed those "established credentials" into the Trumpster toilet when he tried to paint Mueller’s report as more like an "exoneration" in 2019, e.g.
Mueller himself acknowledged that an inability to establish conspiracy or collusion did not mean exoneration. Trump himself, in his 2016 campaign, displayed all the consciousness of guilt a prosecutor could want, setting the stage for outside judicial interests (and the media) to scrutinize every move he made after being elected.
He did it by using Putin and the Russians to get as much help to harm Hillary, as much dirt from Wikileaks, as he could! As former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah has pointed out, based on Mueller's indictments,
"On or about July 27, 2016, the conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts on a domain hosted by a third party provider and used by Clinton's personal office. They also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton campaign. '
Most interesting, this occurred on the very same day Trump appeared before media cameras and openly pleaded with Russia to hack Hillary's emails, bellowing:
"I will tell you this, Russia if you're listening, I hope that you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. You will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens."
“This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable,” on Oct. 12.
Eight days later, he marveled, “Boy, that WikiLeaks has done a job on her, hasn’t it?
What? Is Kim deaf, dumb and blind to this? Doesn't she take his openly professed treason seriously? Conversely, why has Durham taken a small time think tank drone and bit player like Danchenko so seriously as to make "a federal case" out of it? As blogger P.M. Carpenter has accurately noted:
"Mueller has never suggested that the Trump campaign's Russia collusion was smooth, slick or sophisticated. Stumblebums and poseurs are often at the center of political campaigns. "
To the extent the reactionary Right media (e.g. WSJ, FOX) has amped the Danchenko distraction up to being more important than Trump's treason, it is counter productive to any sense of justice and detrimental to this nation's stability. It's purely designed to toss a wrench into the Mueller report by trashing his investigations, the GRU indictments and everything else! To provide a major distraction which has even seeped its way into the mainstream media.
Why the big deal over Igor Danchenko as opposed to Trump's efforts to strong arm Ukraine president Vlodymyr Zelensky to dig up bogus dirt on Biden? I.e. with a July 25th, 2019 phone quid pro quo phone call? (The then Justice Dept. attempted to sequester Barr and Durham from anything to do with the Trump phone call at the time. Why?)
Furthermore, as I already showed,
Barr's designated flunky hasn't shown diddly in terms of overturning the basic narrative that Trump is a traitor and garnered Russian help to get shoehorned into power in 2016. All his Barr-authorized witch hunt has done is distract, making blogger Bill Berkowitz sound even more prescient today than back in 2019, e.g.
As Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe made clear soon after the Mueller Report came out:
"What we have here is a situation where the Mueller report shows without any doubt that a hostile foreign power attacked the United States in this (2016) election. That Donald Trump welcomed that attack, benefited from it and then - the last couple of years - tried to cover it up every possible way."
Anyone paying attention? Well, not in the reactionary press or the mainstream media's gullible Durham probe followers! Let's also note Durham's top aide Nora Dannehy resigned after he tried to recruit her onto his crusade against the investigators. The Hartford Courant originally reported that Dannehy, a top aide for Durham, resigned in part because of improper pressure from the DOJ to produce a report, an extremely disturbing development on its own. A colleague of Ms. Dannehy's said according to a later (9/10/2020, p. A4 ) WSJ account:
"The resignation was especially surprising because of her close relationship with Mr. Durham with whom she worked on complex and sensitive investigations."
But perhaps Ms. Dannehy possessed a genuine moral compass (and conscience) enabling her to see through the real purpose of Durham's "probe". I.e. that it was a baseless witch hunt directed at Bob Mueller and his investigators including the FBI. Can't anyone in the copycat mainstream media see Durham’s probe – set in train by Trump and Barr- was just a foil to get back at those who exposed Trump? Kudos to ABC's George Stephanopoulis btw for his excellent interview with Christopher Steele,
Let's also recall the New Republic's revealing background piece on Trump (Aug./Sept. 2017, p. 39) noting this about his Russian mob connections long before he was elected:
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.
Left out so far in my takedown of the collective media propagandists is another troll, Holman Jenkins Jr. He also is mesmerized by Durham's crusade against the investigators ('Durham Sails Into Deep Waters' , Nov. 13-14, p. A15). This screwball actually claims "we now know the incident in a Moscow hotel room was the invention of a Russian national (Dachenko) with Russian intelligence affiliations". Which is total bollocks and BS, given we know that incident was real - as real as a heart attack. Indeed, the schmuck even admits to there being an "information game between the U.S. and Russia" and that there were real Russian citizen casualties after the Steele dossier was released to the press. Clearly, actual anti-Putin elements leaked material (e.g. about the kompromat tape to Steele) and none of these people were Danchenko - who was residing in Virginia and working for the Brookings Institution.
Jenkins Jr.'s piece is actually an encore presentation from his Nov. 6-7 bunkum ('On Russiagate Durham Indicts the Press Too', p. A13) and appearing the same day as an egregious WSJ Editorial ('Durham Unravels The Russia Case', p. A14). In the latter the WSJ editors blubber:
"Mrs. Clinton lost the election, but the Russia tale sabotaged an incoming president with relentless media assaults and a special counsel investigation."
Oblivious that Trump sabotaged himself even before he got into the Oval office - from openly bragging about assaulting women, to trying to hide campaign money payoffs to Stormy Daniels to buy her silence. Then, once in - trying to enlist then FBI head James Comey to ease up on Mike Flynn, to obstruction of Mueller's probe, to openly assaulting our Constitution and electoral system with his lies and insurrection. The bastard is lucky he wasn't hung by his orange scruffy maggot neck.
Meanwhile in his own piece Jenkins Jr. bellows:
Actually, we know there was a second shooter in Dallas because the evidence points in that direction, i.e. Jackie's lurching over the rear of the limo to try to retrieve a skull fragment -
Look, Trump has consistently demanded “Investigate the investigators,” and we've known why for decades. (See the earlier New Republic account of his sordid background.) Hell, it’s no mystery that Traitor Trump has long sought to diminish the credibility of Mueller's genuine Russia probe replacing it with a bogus one. With Barr heading the Justice Department he got his partial wish, to discredit Mueller and go for the bogus. Even after he departed Barr ensured - by rubber stamping the Durham crusade - that an all too gullible and willing corporate media would oblige by repeating the codswallop. A bunch who may well put the final nail in this nation's coffin given how they've brainwashed so many citizens.
One bad omen related to this appeared in the morning news as an ABC/ Washington Post poll now reveals - on top of Biden's lowest approval yet (41 percent) - that 51 percent of Americans would actually vote for Republicans if the midterms were held now. This is totally batshit nuts and indeed validates the premise of my previous post, i.e.
that we are definitely headed along the same path as the "good" Germans who catapulted Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to power, with catastrophic results. I mean to even remotely consider the notion of electing members of a Trump insurrection, treason personality cult indicates too many have already gone down the rabbit hole of deception and mind fucking. Could Americans be that unhinged and desperate that they would turn to such a worthless cult - NOT a party - as "relief" for their economic woes? Then these voters are not only desperate but mad (as "shithouse rats" to use one of my late brother Mike's favorite terms). Besides, as I showed in my last post Biden has nothing to do with the inflation seen in stores and at the pump. Again, a tragic inability to reason or do the most basic critical thinking. At the very least American voters need to apply the litmus test for election proposed by LA Times columnist Nicholas Goldberg (top quote) before making any reckless voting choice in next year's mid terms.
The Trumpers and anti-Russiagate propagandists keep grasping for straws. They are like QAnoners waiting for Trump’s reinstatement as commander in chief… But even if Durham were to find evidence of inappropriate actions related to the FBI’s decision to investigate Trump associates in connection with Putin’s attack, that would not change the fundamentals: Putin mounted a covert assault on American democracy to assist Trump, and the Trump camp, which falsely denied this attack was happening while it was secretly interacting with Russian operatives, was complicit.