Tag Archives: Russiagate

The Mueller Indictments Still Don’t Add Up to Collusion, By Aaron Maté

You can look very hard, with an electron microscope even, but you still can’t find one data point in what Robert Mueller has done so far that suggests the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. From Aaron Maté at thenation.com:

In just over one year, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia has generated five guilty pleas, 20 indictments, and more than 100 charges. None of these have anything to do with Mueller’s chief focus: the Russian government’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s suspected involvement. While it’s certainly possible that Mueller will make new indictments that go to the core of his case, what’s been revealed so far does not make a compelling brief for collusion.

The most high-level Trump campaign official to be indicted is Paul Manafort, as well as his former business partner and Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates. The charges, as a Virginia judge observed last month, “manifestly don’t have anything to do with the campaign or with Russian collusion.” Instead, Manafort and Gates are accused of financial crimes beginning in 2008, when they worked as political operatives for a Russia-leaning party in Ukraine (and for which Manafort was previously investigated, but not indicted).

There is widespread supposition that Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine make him a prime candidate for collusion with Moscow. But that stems from the mistaken belief that Manafort promoted Kremlin interests during his time in Kiev. The opposite appears to be the case. The New York Times recounts that Manafort “pressed [then–Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor] Yanukovych to sign an agreement with the European Union that would link the country closer to the West—and lobbied for the Americans to support Ukraine’s membership.” If that picture is accurate, then Manafort’s activities in Ukraine during the period for which he has been indicted were diametrically opposed to the Kremlin’s agenda.

To continue reading: The Mueller Indictments Still Don’t Add Up to Collusion

Advertisements

When, Where, and How Will the Empire Strike Back? by James George Jatras

Like any self-respecting horde of cockroaches, you can put a dent in the Deep State, but it always comes back. From James George Jatras at strategic-culture.org:

In any analysis of contemporary international politics it pays to be cautiously pessimistic. As the default mode one can generally expect that any way in which things can go wrong to threaten the peace and security of the planet, they will. Anticipation of improvement is a chump’s bet.

That’s why the analyst’s gut instinct rebels at any indication that things overall may be moving in a positive direction, however haltingly or indirectly. But consider:

To continue reading: When, Where, and How Will the Empire Strike Back?

Pre-Dossier Carter Page: Russian Spy … or FBI Honor Scout? by Paul Sperry

New revelations keep undermining the Russiagate fable. From Paul Sperry at realclearinvestigations.com:

The FBI’s interview with Carter Page in March 2016 is one of the seminal events of the Trump-Russia probe. Democrats have long pointed to it as evidence of the bureau’s longstanding fears that Page might be a Russian spy and to downplay the role of the Clinton-financed dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele in securing a FISA surveillance warrant against Page.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, ranking Democrat on the House intelligence panel. Top photo: Carter Page at a Moscow press conference in December 2016.

“The FBI interviewed Page multiple times about his Russian intelligence contacts, including in March 2016,” Rep. Adam Schiff and other Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee argued in their 10-page memo defending the Obama Justice Department’s monitoring of Page. “The FBI’s concern about and knowledge of Page’s activities therefore long predate the FBI’s receipt of Steele’s information.”

But new information challenges that account. In an interview with RealClearInvestigations, Page insists that the interview in question – held at then-U.S. attorney Preet Bharara’s office in New York — had “absolutely nothing” to do with the Trump campaign or Russian collusion. Instead of being grilled about shadowy ties, he says he answered questions “related to events in 2013, in a case where I had served as a witness in support of the FBI.”

In 2013, a Russian national working as an unregistered foreign agent at a Russian bank in Manhattan sought information from Page, a longtime energy consultant, related to U.S. efforts to develop alternative energy resources, according to court papers filed by the FBI. Although Page thought the man was a legitimate banker after meeting him at an energy symposium in New York City, he was a Russian agent under federal investigation. He was later caught on surveillance dismissing Page as an “idiot.”

The FBI informed Page in 2013 that the Russians might be trying to recruit him.

Evgeny Buryakov, center, in a sketch of the 2016 courtroom proceeding where he pleaded guilty. Carter Page helped convict him.
AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams

The Swamp Strikes Back, by J. Christian Adams

Mueller and team could find Russian collusion in the 2016 election, but they’d have to investigate the Clinton campaign. From J. Christian Adams at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • The culture of the D.C. metropolitan area is one of wealth, privilege and self-proclaimed sophistication. The bureaucrats and insiders know what is best for you, best for your business, best for themselves, and they can make a nice living without being disrupted. Trump campaigned on disrupting this comfortable power perch; that is what they most hate about him.
  • The Russian collusion investigation has not found any collusion because the investigation was never about collusion. It was always about an out-of-control federal government, emboldened by the lawless age of Obama, and flexing its newfound muscle. The Russian collusion investigation is about a clash of cultures, with one culture being the culture of D.C. insiders, and the other being the folks who pay their salaries.

Each week, Robert Mueller’s Wonderlandian investigation into “Russian Collusion” appears “curiouser and curiouser”. Each week, it appears that the entire investigation never really had anything to do with Russian collusion, at least in the Trump campaign; only in the Hillary Clinton campaign, where all the investigators have been conscientiously not looking.

First, Mueller indicted General Michael Flynn for not telling the truth to an FBI squad that appeared unexpectedly at the White House to question him, when now it turns out that Peter Strzok, who interrogated him, said he had not lied. It also now turns out that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe may later have altered Strzok’s interrogation notes, and then destroyed the evidence.

Mueller then indicted Paul Manafort for allegedly laundering money through an Alexandria, Virginia, oriental rug store — a “process crime”. Notably absent from it in any indictment was mention of Russia, collusion or even elections.

To continue reading: The Swamp Strikes Back

Amid ‘Russiagate’ Hysteria, What Are the Facts? by Jack F. Matlock Jr.

Facts are pure poison to the Russiagate fantasists, for facts confirm there is no “there” there. From Jack F. Matlock Jr. at thenation.com:

We must end this Russophobic insanity.

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

That saying—often misattributed to Euripides—comes to mind most mornings when I pick up The New York Times and read the latest “Russiagate” headlines, which are frequently featured across two or three columns on the front page above the fold. This is an almost daily reminder of the hysteria that dominates our Congress and much of our media.

A glaring example, just one of many from recent months, arrived at my door on February 17. My outrage spiked when I opened to the Timeslead editorial: “Stop Letting the Russians Get Away With It, Mr. Trump.” I had to ask myself: “Did the Times’ editors perform even the rudiments of due diligence before they climbed on their high horse in this long editorial, which excoriated ‘Russia’ (not individual Russians) for ‘interference’ in the election and demanded increased sanctions against Russia ‘to protect American democracy’?”

It had never occurred to me that our admittedly dysfunctional political system is so weak, undeveloped, or diseased that inept Internet trolls could damage it. If that is the case, we better look at a lot of other countries as well, not just Russia!

The New York Times, of course, is not the only offender. Its editorial attitude has been duplicated or exaggerated by most other media outlets in the United States, electronic and print. Unless there is a mass shooting in progress, it can be hard to find a discussion of anything else on CNN. Increasingly, both in Congress and in our media, it has been accepted as a fact that “Russia” interfered in the 2016 election.

So what are the facts?

  1. It is a fact that some Russians paid people to act as online trolls and bought advertisements on Facebook during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. Most of these were taken from elsewhere, and they comprised a tiny fraction of all the advertisements purchased on Facebook during this period. This continued after the election and included organizing a demonstration against President-elect Trump.

To continue reading: Amid ‘Russiagate’ Hysteria, What Are the Facts?

For your eyes only: A short history of Democrat-spy collusion, by Roger Kimball

There have been a lot of twists and turns in the Russiagate story. This article is a good guide for those wanting to keep things straight. From Roger Kimball at use.spectator.co.uk:

How highly placed members of one administration mobilised the intelligence services to undermine their successors.

Who what where when why? The desiderata school teachers drill into their charges trying to master effective writing skills apply also in the effort to understand that byzantine drama known to the world as the Trump-Russia-collusion investigation.

Let’s start with “when.” When did it start? We know that the FBI opened its official investigation on 31 July 2016. An obscure, low-level volunteer to the Trump campaign called Carter Page was front and centre then. He’d been the FBI’s radar for a long time. Years before, it was known, the Russians had made some overtures to him but 1) they concluded that he was an “idiot” not worth recruiting and 2) he had actually aided the FBI in prosecuting at least two Russian spies.

But we now know that the Trump-Russia investigation began before Carter Page. In December 2017, The New York Times excitedly reported in an article called “How the Russia Inquiry Began” that, contrary to their reporting during the previous year, it wasn’t Carter Page who precipitated the inquiry. It was someone called George Papadopoulous, an even more obscure and lower-level factotum than Carter Page. Back in May 2016, the twenty-something Papadopoulous had gotten outside a number of drinks with one Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat in London and had let slip that “the Russians” had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. When Wikileaks began releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in June and July, news of the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos was communicated to the FBI. Thus, according to the Times, the investigation was born.

There were, however, a couple of tiny details that the Times omitted. One was that Downer, an avid Clinton supporter, had arranged for a $25 million donation from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation. Twenty-five million of the crispest, Kemo Sabe. They also neglected say exactly how Papadopoulos met Alexander Downer.

As it turns out, George Papadopoulos made several new friends in London. There was Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor living in London who has ties to British intelligence. It was Mifsud—who has since disappeared—who told Papadopoulos in March 2016 that the Kremlin had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

To continue reading: For your eyes only: A short history of Democrat-spy collusion

WSJ Exposes The Real ‘Constitutional Crisis’, by Kimberley Strassel

The FBI and Department of Justice continue to illegally evade legitimate requests from congressional committees investigating Russiagate and the Russiagate investigation itself. From Kimberley Strassel at The Wall Street Journal via zerohedge.com:

The Wall Street Journal continues to counter  the  liberal mainstream media’s anti-Trump-ness, dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs and refusing to back off its intense pressure to get to the truth and hold those responsible, accountable; in a forum that is hard for the establishment to shrug off as ‘Alt-Right’ or ‘Nazi’ or be ‘punished’ by search- and social-media-giants.

And once again Kimberley Strassel – who by now has become the focus of social media attacks for her truth-seeking reporting – does it again this morning, as she asks, rhetorically, why the FBI and Justice Department continuing evading congressional oversight?

Via The Wall Street Journal,

Democrats and their media allies are again shouting “constitutional crisis,” this time claiming President Trump has waded too far into the Russia investigation. The howls are a diversion from the actual crisis: the Justice Department’s unprecedented contempt for duly elected representatives, and the lasting harm it is doing to law enforcement and to the department’s relationship with Congress.

The conceit of those claiming Mr. Trump has crossed some line in ordering the Justice Department to comply with oversight is that “investigators” are beyond question. We are meant to take them at their word that they did everything appropriately. Never mind that the revelations of warrants and spies and dirty dossiers and biased text messages already show otherwise.

We are told that Mr. Trump cannot be allowed to have any say over the Justice Department’s actions, since this might make him privy to sensitive details about an investigation into himself. We are also told that Congress – a separate branch of government, a primary duty of which is oversight – cannot be allowed to access Justice Department material. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes can’t be trusted to view classified information – something every intelligence chairman has done – since he might blow a source or method, or tip off the president.

That’s a political judgment, but it holds no authority. The Constitution set up Congress to act as a check on the executive branch—and it’s got more than enough cause to do some checking here. Yet the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation have spent a year disrespecting Congress—flouting subpoenas, ignoring requests, hiding witnesses, blacking out information, and leaking accusations.

To continue reading: WSJ Exposes The Real ‘Constitutional Crisis’