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Dead Horse Beaters
#11
Sure, it's always been about whiny little bitches that can't get over the fact Trump was elected and people are sick of it.

“Putin” is the number one USA trend on Twitter as of this writing, which is always a reliable sign that something very stupid is happening in American media.

“Putin” is once again the hysterical shrieking buzzword of the day because Donald Trump openly boasted at a press conference of having had an hour-long phone call with the Russian president, in which he claims the two leaders discussed nuclear de-escalation, Venezuela, North Korea, and the discredited “collusion” narrative. When asked whether he’d told Putin not to meddle in the 2020 US elections, Trump replied, “We didn’t discuss that.”

“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia,” the president tweeted. “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing. We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”

Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia. As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019

So of course everyone is now in garment-rending apocalyptic DEFCON 1 catastrophe mode.

“It bears repeating: We have been given no indication that Trump or his re-election campaign will hesitate to take advantage of Russian help again in 2020, in whatever form it might take,” warned the Wall Street Journal’s Dustin Volz.

“President Trump today continues to belittle Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as continued election interference,” CNN’s Jake Tapper solemnly warned today. “The president went on to tell reporters later that he did not tell Putin to stop engaging in election interference which remains, according to Trump’s own top national security officials, a continuing threat to the United States. Based on the president’s public statements, and apparently his private one with Vladimir Putin, the man who led and continues to lead cyber-attacks on the United States, the president’s more concerned with underlining that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to find sufficient evidence that any member of his team was involved in criminal conspiracy with Russia.”

“The simple fact is this: Trump remains — despite all available evidence — a skeptic about both Russia’s past attempts at interference in the 2016 election and, therefore, the country’s attempts to target future elections,” warns CNN’s Cris Cillizza. “That skepticism could have far reaching consequences when it comes to just how much (or little) the administration prioritizes dealing with these threats from foreign powers heading into the 2020 election. And that is a truly scary reality.”

“The 2020 campaign is already in full swing and Trump just told Putin, the man behind the most serious cyber attack on our democracy ever, that he believes it was all a hoax,” tweeted Congressman and virulent Russiagater Adam Schiff. “Once again, he betrays our national security and for what? Nothing more than his own vanity and delusion.”

“Exactly what Putin wanted and expected,” tweeted MSNBC’s Clint Watts. “This is why Russia backed Trump, elevate politicians to achieve what Russia wants – to subvert and weaken democracy, surrender the world to authoritarians, like the Kremlin.”

Exactly what Putin wanted and expected. This is why Russia backed Trump, elevate politicians to achieve what Russia wants – to subvert and weaken democracy, surrender the world to authoritarians, like the Kremlin https://t.co/WVyMhSyFjY

— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) May 3, 2019

So the narrative in mainstream liberal circles today is that Putin is going to interfere in the 2020 elections, and, because that interference will surely advantage Trump, there will be no resistance to that interference.

Only blithering idiots believe this narrative.

To begin with, the public has still seen not one single shred of evidence that Russians interfered in the 2016 election in any meaningful way, and, in a post-Iraq invasion world, only idiots believe on faith the unsubstantiated claims made by government agencies about rival governments. We’ve seen the Mueller report cited as “evidence” of this interference, but the Mueller report contains nothing but assertions, and assertions are not evidence. People have tried to argue with me that Mueller would never make assertions about Russian interference without having seen copious amounts of hard, verifiable evidence, but that is exactly what Mueller did with WMDs as FBI Director in February 2003. Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller’s timeline, making it entirely possible that a bogus narrative is being advanced.

So there’s no reason to accept on faith that Russian election interference happened in 2016, let alone that there’s any risk of it happening in 2020. But even if you do accept the establishment Russia narrative regarding 2016, you can be certain that Moscow won’t be interfering in 2020 for Trump’s benefit.

New on MoA:
Putin Asks And Trump Delivers –
A List Of All The Good Things Trump Did For Russiahttps://t.co/6p6NldXfmE pic.twitter.com/uUP0xS8GEX

— Moon of Alabama (@MoonofA) January 15, 2019

You can be absolutely certain that Russia won’t be interfering to re-elect Trump because Trump has proven to be the most hawkish president against Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, by a very wide margin. For all his rhetoric about “getting along with Russia”, Trump has greatly escalated tensions with the nuclear superpower by staging a coup in Venezuela, implementing a Nuclear Posture Review with a much more aggressive stance against Russia, withdrawing from the INF treaty, bombing and illegally occupying Syria, arming Ukraine, and many, many other hawkish actions taken against the interests of the Russian Federation which his predecessor Obama never dared to take.

Even if Putin were the brilliant omnipotent mastermind with tentacles in every international affair as he is consistently depicted in western mainstream media, it would make no sense whatsoever for him to help re-elect an administration that has been undermining and threatening Russia at every opportunity. That will not happen.

But of course, this obvious fact will not stop the Russia conspiracy theories, because Russia conspiracy theories have nothing to do with facts. We can expect to see fact-free allegations that Russia is planning to help Trump win in 2020 getting louder and louder as the election grows nearer. We can expect to see these fact-free allegations bolstered and amplified by western government agencies who need to manufacture support for further escalations against Russia, by the mass media who need ratings, and by the Democratic Party who need to keep their base fixated on insubstantial nonsense while they force an establishment loyalist through their fake primary.

Or in other words, this conspiracy theory is never going away and we’re all doomed. Enjoy! https://t.co/3z5NSk0LaS

— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) May 3, 2019

It’s so interesting how each mainstream side of this is doing exactly the opposite of what they claim to be doing: Trump claims to want to work with Russia, but in term of action his administration is attacking Russia’s interests in many hugely significant ways to an extent that is unprecedented in a post-USSR world. Democrats claim to be opposing Trump’s pernicious inclinations, but in practice they fully support all his most pernicious agendas, including the potentially world-ending escalations between two nuclear powers, and including the Venezuela regime change operation which is getting more aggressive by the day. Even the supposedly progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been mostly flowing along with this, with Alexandria Occasio-Cortez reportedly saying “I defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this” when questioned on Trump’s Venezuela coup attempt.

The gap between reality and the dominant narratives about reality is getting wider and wider. Something’s going to have to give.

George Orwell would have been in stitches Wednesday watching Attorney General William Barr and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spar on Russia-gate. The hearing had the hallmarks of the intentionally or naively blind leading the blind with political shamelessness.

From time to time the discussion turned to the absence of a legal “predicate” to investigate President Donald Trump for colluding with Russia. That is, of course, important; and we can expect to hear a lot more about that in coming months.

More important: what remains unacknowledged is the absence of an evidence-based major premise that should have been in place to anchor the rhetoric and accusations about Russia-gate over the past three years. With a lack of evidence sufficient to support a major premise, any syllogism falls of its own weight.

The major premise that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee and gave WikiLeaks highly embarrassing emails cannot bear close scrutiny. Yes, former CIA Director John Brennan has told Congress he does not “do evidence.” In the same odd vein, Brennan’s former FBI counterpart James Comey chose not to “do evidence” when he failed to seize and inspect the DNC computers that a contractor-of-ill-repute working for the DNC claimed were hacked by Russia.

Call us old fashioned, but we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) still “do evidence” — and, in the case at hand, forensic investigation. For those who “can handle the truth,” the two former NSA technical directors in VIPS can readily explain how the DNC emails were not hacked — by Russia or anyone else — but rather were copied and leaked by someone with physical access to the DNC computers.

We first reported hard forensic evidence to support that judgment in a July 2017 memorandum for the president. Substantial evidence that has accumulated since then strengthens our confidence in that and in related conclusions. Our conclusions are not based on squishy “assessments,” but rather on empirical, forensic investigations — evidence based on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method.

Bizarre, Medieval

All “serious” members of the establishment, including Barr, his Senate interrogators, and the “mainstream media” feel required to accept as dogma the evidence-free conventional wisdom that Russia hacked into the DNC. If you question it, you are, ipso facto, a heretic — and a “conspiracy theorist,” to boot.

Again, shades of Orwell and his famous “two plus two equals five.” Orwell’s protagonist in “1984,” Winston Smith, imagines that the State might proclaim that “two plus two equals five” is fact. Smith wonders whether, if everybody believes it, does that make it true?

Actually, the end goal is not to get you to parrot that two plus two equals five. The end goal is to make it so you’d never even consider that two plus two could equal anything other than five.

During the entire Barr testimony Wednesday, no one departed from the safe, conventional wisdom about Russian hacking. We in VIPS, at least, resist the notion that this makes it true. We shall continue to insist that two and two is four, and point out the flaws in any squishy “Intelligence Community Assessment” that concludes, even “with high confidence,” that the required answer is “five.”

Doubtful Dogma

Wednesday’s Senate hearing brought a painful flashback to a similarly widely-held, but evidence-free dogma — that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. attacked that country. It gets worse: Many of the same people who promoted the spurious claims about WMD are responsible for developing and proclaiming the dogma about Russian hacking into the DNC. The Oscar for his performance in the role of misleader goes, once again, to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose “credits” go back to the WMD fiasco in which he played a central role.

Before the war on Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put Clapper in charge of analysis of satellite imagery, the most definitive collection system for information on WMD. In his memoir, Clapper admits, with stomach-churning nonchalance, that “intelligence officers, including me, were so eager to help [spread the Cheney/Bush claim that Iraq had a ‘rogue WMD program’] that we found what wasn’t really there.” [Emphasis added]

Last November as Clapper was hawking his memoir at the Carnegie Endowment I had a chance during the Q and A to pursue him on that and on Russia-gate. I began:

“You confess [in Clapper’s book] to having been shocked that no weapons of mass destruction were found. And then, to your credit, you admit, as you say here [quoting from the book], ‘the blame is due to intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help [the administration make war on Iraq] that we found what wasn’t really there.’”

“Now fast forward to two years ago. Your superiors were hell bent on finding ways to blame Trump’s victory on the Russians. Do you think that your efforts were guilty of the same sin here? Do you think that you found a lot of things that weren’t really there? Because that’s what our conclusion is, especially from the technical end. There was no hacking of the DNC; it was leaked, and you know that because you talked to NSA.”

Evidence

Back to the Senate hearing on Wednesday: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), during a line of questioning about evidence of obstruction of justice, asked the attorney general if he personally reviewed the underlying evidence in the Mueller report.

“No,” said Barr, “We accepted the statements in the report as factual record. We did not go underneath it to see whether or not they were accurate. We accepted it as accurate.”

Harris: You accepted the report as evidence? You did not question or look at the underlying evidence?

Barr: We accepted the statements in the report and the characterization of the evidence as true.”

Harris: “You have made it clear that you did not look at the evidence.”

It was crystal clear on Wednesday that Barr had bigger fish to fry, as well as protective nets to deflect incoming shells. He is likely to be preoccupied for weeks answering endless questions about his handling of the Mueller report. It is altogether possible, though, that in due course he plans to look into the origins of Russia-gate and the role of Clapper, Brennan and Comey in creating and promoting the evidence-free dogma that Russia hacked into the DNC — and, more broadly, that, absent Russia’s support, Trump would not be president.

For the moment, however, we shall have to live with “The Russians Still Did It, Whether Trump Colluded or Not.” There remains an outside chance, however, that the truth will emerge, perhaps even before November 2020, and that, this time, the Democrats will be shown to have shot themselves in both feet.

For further background, please see:

VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

VIPS: Mueller’s Forensics-Free Findings

Reprinted with the author’s permission.
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#12
It's about obstruction. 500+ prosecutors believed it reached the level of a grand jury if he weren't the President.
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#13
Hello, dead horse beater.
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#14
Ah knock it off. You know you are not required to respond if you don't want to.

The report mentions unlawful obstruction. It is Congress' responsibility to look into such trivialities. How can they not query Mueller ?

Plus Mueller could prove helpful in the reenergized effort to re-litigate the Obama/Clinton cartel.
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#15
It's all a big, fat nothing-burger.
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