6 Key Questions About RussiaGate

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Guilt by association is insidious because it can't be cleared in court.

The claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election are now known as RussiaGate, in a loose reference to the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s.

In the U.S., the issue has been poisoned by profound partisanship: those who feel disenfranchised by the election of Donald Trump are trying to use RussiaGate to unseat or cripple the Trump presidency, while those who elected Trump feel RussiaGate is nothing but an attempt by the corrupt status quo to disenfranchise them.

Let's see if we can clarify the issues with some key questions.

1. Did Russia meddle in the 2016 U.S. election? This is the entire thing in a nutshell. But this raises a second question: did Russia successfully meddle in the 2016 U.S. election? In other words, we have two investigations: one to identify verifiable, legally actionable evidence of meddling, and a second investigation into the effects of any meddling--should evidence arise that would stand up in court.

2. What federal laws or statutes were broken? This is a serious charge, and the first step in any investigation is to nail down precisely what federal laws were broken? The next step is to assemble evidence for the criminal activity that will stand up in court.

3. What standard of evidence/proof is required in a federal court to convict the accused? Is intent a necessary component of the laws that were broken? What precisely constitutes burden of proof? It isn't enough to accuse persons unknown of wrong-doing: the precise laws that were broken must be identified and the case against specific individuals must be built on verifiable evidence that will stand up in federal court.

Recall that this is not about partisan talking points--it's about justice. Those who reckon justice counts for nothing in this investigation disqualify themselves. If justice no longer matters in America, there is no America left to defend.

4. If incontrovertible evidence of Russian meddling arose in 2016, why did the federal agencies under the Obama administration (Department of Justice, F.B.I., etc.) do nothing? While we can cook up various theories, the common-sense conclusion is 1. no federal laws were broken and/or 2) there was insufficient evidence that would stand up in court.

5. Precisely what meddling occurred? Somebody meeting with a Russian does not constitute proof of anything. rather, this is the classic witch-hunt accusation of the McCarthyite "Red Scare" of the 1950s--guilt by association: you were seen conversing with a Communist, thus you must also be a Communist--or at a minimum, you are tainted by association and thus under a cloud of suspicion that can never be cleared because no accusation of guilt in a court of law is ever made.

Guilt by association is insidious because it can't be cleared in court. Those accused of guilt by association are not innocent until proven guilty--they are guilty until proven innocent, a proof that can never satisfy the accusers.

A precisely defined chain of verifiable actions is required to prove meddling beyond reasonable doubt. So date, all the accusations have failed to meet this most fundamental standard of evidence of wrong-doing.

As for the claim that "all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concur that blah-blah blah"-- Where precisely is the evidence? If there is no verifiable evidence and no chain of events that can be substantiated with hard evidence that will stand up in federal court, then all we really have is accusations of guilt by association, i.e. a witch-hunt.

6. What evidence supports the claim that Russian meddling actually influenced the election? The claim that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee emails has fallen apart for lack of evidence; it now seems clear that the hack was an inside-the-DNC whistleblowing incident.

As for the claim that Russian meddling negatively impacted the campaign of Hillary Clinton: the most damaging bits were all verifiably accurate in the public record:

-- The Podesta emails were in fact Podesta emails.

-- The video of candidate Clinton apparently collapsing on the curb was not fabricated; it was a video recorded by an amateur bystander.

-- Reports of pay-to-play and other unsavory activities within the Clinton Foundation predate the election by years.

-- Candidate Clinton's comments on "deplorables" were her own words.

Again, standards of evidence and proof of guilt of federal crimes require a precise chain of events and actions for which there is evidence that will stand up in federal court, , i.e. evidence that will persuade a jury or federal judge and that can withstand cross-examination and the inquiries of experts hired by the defense.

Given the absolute paucity of actionable, verifiable evidence to date, RussiaGate is so far nothing but a series of unsupported accusations of guilt by association, i.e. a witch-hunt. This is why some in the mainstream media have characterized the whole thing as a "nothing-burger."

Compare RussiaGate to Watergate. Watergate was always about compiling evidence of activities that violated federal laws. People who broke federal laws were identified, evidence was compiled and presented in a court of law where the accused were able to defend themselves against an indictment presented by federal prosecutors. Some were acquitted, many were convicted, others plea-bargained a conviction with a reduced sentence.

Those making accusations in RussiaGate must now put up or shut up: either present the evidence that supports federal indictments, or confess to the pursuit of a witch hunt, i.e. unsubstantiated accusations of guilt by association. Anything less than the presentation of actionable evidence that leads to indictments and convictions is not justice--it's just another witch-hunt that besmirches everyone who participates in the witch-hunt.

Comments

froze25 (not verified) Looney Tue, 08/01/2017 - 14:59 Permalink

Russia "Gate" has been off the Mainstream Media since it was reveled that Team Pedophile (Clinton) / DNC was the one doing the colluding and paid for the fake documents. Oh yeah, McCain aka McShitStain is neck deep in it.

In reply to by Looney

TBT or not TBT Looney Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:03 Permalink

Um, article doesn't mention the Pakistani scammers who had ALL of Debbie Wasserman Schulz communication.  And that of other D congress critters.    Who were on various sensitive Commitees.    DWS Was Chair Of The DNC.   That's atop Podesta's stupidity.     Whodunnit?    Lots of organizations and individuals are trying to fuck with US politics.   Foreign and domestic.   

In reply to by Looney

land_of_the_few Looney Tue, 08/01/2017 - 18:25 Permalink

Ahhh De Niro, perhaps irony is for him something you find near steely."The characters that I played are real — they are real. So they have as much right to be portrayed as any other characters," De Niro said, during promotion Friday of the animated feature "Shark Tale.""Robert De Niro dismissed accusations that his Mafia-thug roles have smeared the image of Italian-Americans...... (jaja!)http://www.cbsnews.com/news/de-niro-denies-hes-anti-italian/

In reply to by Looney

Xredsx veritas semper… Tue, 08/01/2017 - 16:57 Permalink

Putin has a boss just as those in the deep state Seriously, everything changes after this. The days when a population (and media) depended on their government for information are over. There can be no secrets anymore. NONE! But we still need to win to find the truth though. And the fact that no one still doesn't know the exact truth yet, means it has never been written down in any book or movie script. 

In reply to by veritas semper…

Inthemix96 Tue, 08/01/2017 - 14:44 Permalink

Six key answers about RussiaGate:-1:  It a load of bollocks,2:  Nice weather for the time of year,3:  Erm...4:  What 'Gender' are you most fucking offended by this week on Tuesday?5:  Fucking hell, this is harder than one thought,6:  CuntsCunts:-)

az_patriot (not verified) Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:02 Permalink

"Russiagate" is a fantasy cooked up by the Democrats, corrupt RINOs, and deep state actors to inflict as much damage as possible on a Trump presidency.  There are no in-betweens.  And if we want to talk about collusion with the Russians, let's start with some known facts -- like Hillary all cozied up with the Ukraine, and Bill getting paid about half a million dollars for giving a "speech".The real remaining question then, is why on earth is no one going after the Clintons for their obvious and rampant corruption and collusion?  The answer, I believe, is that the Clinton machine has dirt on everyone that sits in Congress, and possibly well beyond that.  The Clinton machine owns and controls so many politicians and people of influence that it might not actually matter who's in power.  If our country is going to survive and thrive, the Clinton machine is the thing that needs to be investigated, shut down, and the perpetrators sent to prison.  The corruption of the Clintons is absolute, and rooted in some of the deepest, darkest evil anyone could possibly imagine.  

thisguyoverhere MonsterSchmuck Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:29 Permalink

These stories are all distraction. Its made for consumption, speculation and division. 'Russia Gate', get serious.

Funny how no one really talks about AI, cashless society, engineered weather and other things of greater significance to humanity. Nah, just f have'm look here, not here.

Here's a hint, if the MSM brings up the issue, its likely NOT an issue. You'll notice that if its a real problem like government drug smuggling, they deflect, "conspiracy!".

On Seth Rich, how many highschoolers do you know that get invited to go train with the Israeli millitary? Seth Rich did.

There is so much speculation so I'll add to it. What if these 'news stories' are fed to the public to keep them looking any any deeper.

What if Seth Rich is living it up in Tel Aviv, his death faked and we're all schmucks, goyim.

Ever own a book store? Watch how fast used Hebraic books like the Talmud get bought up by Rabbis and other members of the temple. You'll see them scan your store for them, God forbid a goy read them and find 'the snake eating its tail' and deeper secrets.

Wake up. Its not all of the traditional religious pious that do these things, just like its not every catholic or protestant.

In reply to by MonsterSchmuck

Too-Big-to-Bail (not verified) Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:07 Permalink

They don't want to anwser any questions, they want to keep up this constant distraction to take us away from the far more important issues like how the FED and the big banks have completely ruined the economy

Mike Masr Tue, 08/01/2017 - 16:37 Permalink

WHAT ABOUT US ELECTION MEDDLING?   The US has been meddling and interfering in other countries elections and internal affairs for decades. This includes US meddling in Russian elections using NGO's. Not only does the US meddle and interfere in other countries elections it overthrows democratically elected governments it doesn't like, and then installs puppet leaders. Our neocons casually refer to this as "regime change". I can only imagine the hell that would break loose in the US if Russia fomented, paid for, and assisted in a violent overthrow of the legitimately and democratically elected government in Mexico, a neighbor it shares a border with. Imagine Russian spymasters working from the Russian Embassy in Mexico City  helping and training  radicals how to use social media to bring out angry people and foment violent pubic unrest. Then Russian Duma members in Mexico City handing out tacos, and tamales emboldening and urging these angry people to riot, and overthrow the government and toss the bums out. Then Putin's executive group hand picking all the new (anti-USA) drug cartel junta puppet leaders of Mexico and a Russian senator, Ivan MiKainlev in Mexico City stating on RT, there are no drug cartels here! On the other side of the world Obama's neocon warmongers spent billions doing exactly this. Instead of drug cartels it was Banderist Neo-Nazis. Obama and our neocons, including John McCain intentionally caused all of this fucking mess, civil war and horrific death in Ukraine on Russia’s border and then placed all the blame for it on Putin and Russia. WTF!!!     Thanks to John McCain and our evil fucking neocons - the regime change policy implemented by Obama, Clinton and Nuland's minions, like Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ukraine today is totally fucked. It is now a banana republic embroiled in a civil war. For the US and NATO the golden prize of this violent undemocratic regime change was supposed to be the Crimea. This scheme did not play out as intended. No matter what sanctions the warmongering neocons place on Russia they will NEVER give back the Crimea! Our neocon fuck heads spent billions of our hard earned taxpayer dollars to create pain, suffering, death and a civil war inside Ukraine on Russia's border! This is a case of don't do what we do [meddle and interfere], only do what we tell you to do! The moral of the story here is its perfectly okay when we do it. We don't like it when we think it's been done to us! It's hypocrisy and duplicity at its finest!  Remember When The U.S. Interfered In The 2012 Russian Election?http://www.militaryvotescount.com/2017/07/09/remember-when-the-u-s-inte… Tech Camp NGO operating out of US Embassy in Kiev (using social media to help bring out radicals- cause civil war-pre Maidan 2013) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9hOl8TuBUM  Nuland talks about $5 billion spent on Ukraine  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaR1_an9CnQ  Neocons -Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt in Kiev's Maidan Square  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVs2tcSyyuA  Nuland plotting on intercepted phone call the hand picked post coop Junta leaders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o US Support of Banderist Neo-Nazis in Ukraine  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-RyOaFwcEw  

replaceme Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:18 Permalink

Where are all the pissed Bernie supporters? If you reallllallalalalallally want to talk meddling, that begins with Hillary and DWShitstain kicking ole Crazy Bernie to the curb.

Brazen Heist Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:22 Permalink

USSA Neoconservatives can depose entire governments at will, murder millions and order the shitty mainstream media to spin it off as a godsend.Meanwhile, the mere mention of possible Russian "interference" (what ever the fuck that means) in already heavily interfered-with elections sends off hypocritical waves of anger and self-righteousness never before seen.Funny world these stupid hacks live in.

Arctic Frost youshallnotkill Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:32 Permalink

GOT TO LOVE THIS NONSENSE! Please tell us noble observer, just exactly HOW is ". . .Trump doing everything to kill the investigation. . ."

OMG! He fired Comey!! GASP! Major surprise and the Democrats would have NEVER done that themselves!!! Firing Comey got a special prosecutor appointed so OOPS, wrong there. . .care to try again?

Maybe what you actually meant to say is, "Why am 'I' doing everything to try and convince people Russiagate is true without ANY evidence?"

In reply to by youshallnotkill

youshallnotkill Arctic Frost Tue, 08/01/2017 - 17:05 Permalink

C'mon he even bragged to Lavrov about how he got rid of "nutjob" Comey. And he tweeted several times that he is pissed at Sessions because he recused himself. To pretend that Trump is not bothered by the investigation doesn't even pass the laugh test.The only question is why does it bother him so much? I don't buy the idea of an outright collusion, so what is it?

In reply to by Arctic Frost

Singelguy youshallnotkill Tue, 08/01/2017 - 20:20 Permalink

It is very simple. Trump knows that wars cost a lot of money; money that is better spent on rebuilding America. He wants better relations with Russia so that less money can be spent on defense. However, the constant drumbeat of the Russia narrative makes that very difficult if not almost impossible, without him being accused of being in bed with Putin.

In reply to by youshallnotkill

Mr. Universe youshallnotkill Tue, 08/01/2017 - 17:29 Permalink

You fail to realize that the Clinton's were plugged into the Satanic Deep state years before reaching D.C.. Their agenda's are one in the same. Ken Starr was a joke and even when impeached, crickets. Trump is part of a different crime family battling his way in. They have set land mines every step of the way and the only people making things worse for him are the corrupt swamp dwellers and the duplicitous media. That's why.

In reply to by youshallnotkill

Arctic Frost Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:26 Permalink

I admit I've pretty much stopped watching mainstream news, and I've seen many reports saying MSM has been dropping the Russiangate narrative. This article also seems to be saying the same thing. Is it true? Has the MSM finally figured out that only 6% of Americans give a crap about Russiagate so they may as well stop spending 94% of their time on the story?

if so, what's a mueller to do?

Phillyguy Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:31 Permalink

The DNC c
/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:107%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
The DNC computers weren’t hacked. Someone within the DNC leaked the information to Wikileaks. See- Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign? by Mike Whitney Aug 1, 2017 Link: www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/01/did-hillary-scapegoat-russia-to-save-he… “ the FBI was never given access to the DNC computers. Let me repeat that: In the biggest and most politically-explosive investigation in more than a decade, an investigation that has obvious national security implications– alleged cyber-espionage by a hostile foreign power, alleged collusion by high-ranking officials in the current administration, alleged treason or collusion on part of the Chief Executive, and the possible impeachment of a sitting president– the FBI has not yet secured or examined the servers that may or may not provide compelling forensic evidence of cyber-intrusion by Russia. Why? Why would the FBI accept the analysis of some flunky organization that no one has ever heard of before (Crowdstrike) rather than use all the tools at their disposal to thoroughly investigate whether or not the hacking actually took place or not? Isn’t that their job?"

Ace006 Tue, 08/01/2017 - 16:04 Permalink

"McCarthyism" was about exposing REAL communists (1) who had infiltrated the U.S. government (people like the Rosenbergs and Harry Dexter White) and (2) who were infesting Hollywood (such as Ring Lardner, Jr. who worked on the script for "M*A*S*H"). It wasn't based on guilt by association, Mr. Smith, it was based on information in the hands of the FBI and congressional committees that people were ACTUAL communists.

The "hysteria" in those times was due to commie bastards trying to divert attention away from their communism, treachery, subversion and hatred of America by yelling about a "witch hunt." Well, it turned out there was a boat load of "witches."

See Diana West's American Betrayal (book available here) and M. Stanton Evans's Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies.

And please cut out the "McCarthyism" and "guilt by association" nonsense.