"It's Over" - Biggest 'Russiagate' Cheerleaders Start Covering Their Tracks

Authored by Daniel Lazare via ConsortiumNews.com,

As months turn into nearly two years and no solid evidence emerges to nail Russia for nabbing Election 2016, some big Russiagate cheerleaders are starting to cover their tracks.

The best evidence that Russia-gate is sinking beneath the waves is the way those pushing the pseudo-scandal are now busily covering their tracks. 

The Guardian complains that “as the inquiry has expanded and dominated the news agenda over the last year, the real issues of people’s lives are in danger of being drowned out by obsessive cable television coverage of the Russia investigation” – as if The Guardian’s own coverage hasn’t been every bit as obsessive as anything CNN has come up with.

The Washington Post, second to none when it comes to painting Putin as a real-life Lord Voldemort, now says that Special counsel Robert Mueller “faces a particular challenge maintaining the confidence of the citizenry” as his investigation enters its second year – although it’s sticking to its guns that the problem is not the inquiry itself, but “the regular attacks he faces from President Trump, who has decried the probe as a ‘witch hunt.’”

And then there’s The New York Times, which this week devoted a 3,600-word front-page article to explain why the FBI had no choice but to launch an investigation into Trump’s alleged Russian links and how, if anything, the inquiry wasn’t aggressive enough.  As the article puts it, “Interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the FBI was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known.”

It’s Nobody’s Fault

The result is a late-breaking media chorus to the effect that it’s not the fault of the FBI that the investigation has dragged on with so little to show for it; it’s not the fault of Mueller either, and, most of all, it’s not the fault of the corporate press, even though it’s done little over the last two years than scream about Russia. It’s not anyone’s fault, evidently, but simply how the system works.

This is nonsense, and the gaping holes in the Times article show why.

The piece, written by Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos and entitled “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” is pretty much like everything else the Times has written on the subject, i.e. biased, misleading, and incomplete.  Its main argument is that the FBI had no option but to step in because four Trump campaign aides had “obvious or suspected Russian ties.”

Flynn: With Stein at ‘The Dinner’

At Putin’s Arm’

One was Michael Flynn, who would briefly serve as Donald Trump’s national security adviser and who, according to the Times, “was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.”

Another was Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign chairman and was a source of concern because he had “lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.”

A third was Carter Page, a Trump foreign-policy adviser who “was well known to the FBI” because “[h]e had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.”

The fourth was George Papadopoulos, a “young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton.”

Seems incriminating, eh?  But in each case the connection was more tenuous than the Times lets on.  Flynn, for example, didn’t dine “at the arm of the Russian president” at a now-famous December 2015 Moscow banquet honoring the Russian media outlet RT.  He was merely at a table at which Putin happened to sit down for “maybe five minutes, maybe twenty, tops,” according to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein who was just a few chairs away.  No words were exchanged, Stein says, and “[n]obody introduced anybody to anybody.  There was no translator.  The Russians spoke Russian.  The four people who spoke English spoke English.”

The Manafort associate with the supposed Russian intelligence links turns out to be a Russian-Ukrainian translator named Konstantin Kilimnik who studied English at a Soviet military school and who vehemently denies any such connection.  It seems that the Ukrainian authorities did investigate the allegations at one point but declined to press charges.  So the connection is unproven.

Page Was No Spy

The same goes for Carter Page, who was not “recruited” by Russian intelligence, but, rather, approached by what he thought were Russian trade representatives at a January 2013 energy symposium in New York.  When the FBI informed him five or six months later that it believed the men were intelligence agents, Page appears to have cooperated fully based on a federal indictment filed with the Southern District of New York.  Thus, Page was not a spy pace the Times, but a government informant as ex-federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy has pointed out – in other words, a good guy, as the Times would undoubtedly see it, helping the catch a couple of baddies.

Page: No Spy

As for Papadopoulos, who the Times suggests somehow got advance word that WikiLeaks was about to dump a treasure trove of Hillary Clinton emails, the article fails to mention that at the time the conversation with the Australian ambassador took place, the Clinton communications in the news were the 30,000 State Department emails that she had improperly stored on her private computer. These were the emails that “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about,” as Bernie Sanders put it.  Instead of spilling the beans about a data breach yet to come, it’s more likely that Papadopoulos was referring to emails that were already in the news – a possibility the Times fails to discuss.

FBI ‘Perplexed’

One could go on.  But not only does the Times article get the details wrong, it paints the big picture in misleading tones as well.  It says that the FBI was “perplexed” by such Trump antics as calling on Russia to release still more Clinton emails after WikiLeaks went public with its disclosure.  The word suggests a disinterested observer who can’t figure out what’s going on.  But it ignores how poisonous the atmosphere had become by that point and how everyone’s mind was seemingly made up.

By July 2016, Clinton was striking out at Trump at every opportunity about his Russian ties – not because they were true, but because a candidate who had struggled to come up with a winning slogan had at last come across an issue that seemed to resonate with her fan base.  Consequently, an intelligence report that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee “was a godsend,” wrote Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes in Shatteredtheir best-selling account of the Clinton campaign, because it was “hard evidence upon which Hillary could start to really build the case that Trump was actually in league with Moscow.”

Not only did Clinton believe this, but her followers did as well, as did the corporate media and, evidently, the FBI.  This is the takeaway from text messages that FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok exchanged with FBI staff attorney Lisa Page.

Andrew McCarthy, who has done a masterful job of reconstructing the sequence, notes that in late July 2016, Page mentioned an article she had come across on a liberal web site discussing Trump’s alleged Russia ties.  Strzok texted back that he’s “partial to any women sending articles about nasty the Russians are.”  Page replied that the Russians “are probably the worst.  Very little I finding redeeming about this.  Even in history.  Couple of good writers and artists I guess.”  Strzok heartily agreed: “f***ing conniving cheating savages.  At statecraft, athletics, you name it.  I’m glad I’m on Team USA.”

Strzok: Thought F’ing Russians ‘nasty’

The F’ing Russian ‘Savages’

This is the institutional bias that the Times doesn’t dare mention.  An agency whose top officials believe that “f***ing conniving cheating savages” are breaking down the door is one that is fairly guaranteed to construe evidence in the most negative, anti-Russian way possible while ignoring anything to the contrary. So what if Carter Page had cooperated with the FBI?  What’s important is that he had had contact with Russian intelligence at all, which was enough to render him suspicious in the bureau’s eyes.  Ditto Konstantin Kilimnik.  So what if the Ukrainian authorities had declined to press charges?  The fact that they had even looked was damning enough.

Clapper: Bogus 'assessment'

The FBI thus made the classic methodological error of allowing its investigation to be contaminated by its preconceived beliefs.  Objectivity fell by the wayside.  The Times says that Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent whose infamous, DNC and Clinton camp paid-for opposition research dossier turned “golden showers” into a household term, struck the FBI as “highly credible” because he had “helped agents unravel complicated cases” in the past.  Perhaps.  But the real reason is that he told agents what they wanted to hear, which is that the “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years” with the “[a]im, endorsed by PUTIN, … [of] encourage[ing] splits and divisions in [the] western alliance” (which can be construed as a shrewd defensive move against a Western alliance massing troops on Russian borders.)

What else would one expect of people as “nasty” as these?  In fact, the Steele dossier should have caused alarm bells to go off.  How could Putin have possibly known five years before that Trump would be a viable presidential candidate?  Why would high-level Kremlin officials share inside information with an ex-intelligence official thousands of miles away?  Why would the dossier declare on one page that the Kremlin has offered Trump “various lucrative real estate development business deals” but then say on another that Trump’s efforts to drum up business had gone nowhere and that he therefore “had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success”?  Given that the dossier was little more than “oppo research” commissioned and funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, why was it worthy of consideration at all?

The Rush to Believe

But all such questions disappeared amid the general rush to believe.  The Times is right that the FBI slow-walked the investigation until Election Day. This is because agents assumed that Trump would lose and that therefore there was no need to rush.  But when he didn’t, the mood turned to one of panic and fury.

Without offering a shred of evidence, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a formal assessment on Jan. 6, 2017, that “Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election … [in order] to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”  The “assessment” contains this disclaimer: “

The New Yorker reports that an ex-aide to John McCain hoped to persuade the senator to use the Steele dossier to force Trump to resign even before taking office.  (The ex-aide denies that this was the case.)

When FBI Director James Comey personally confronted Trump with news of the dossier two weeks prior to inauguration, the Times says he “feared making this conversation a ‘J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,’ with the FBI presenting embarrassing information “to lord over a president-elect.”

But that is precisely what happened. When someone – most likely CIA Director John Brennan, now a commentator with NBC News – leaked word of the meeting and Buzzfeed published the dossier four days later, the corporate media went wild. Trump was gravely wounded, while Adam Schiff, Democratic point man on the House Intelligence Committee, would subsequently trumpet the Steele dossier as the unvarnished truth.  According to the Times account, Trump was unpersuaded by Comey’s assurances that he was there to help.  “Hours earlier,” the paper says, “…he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: ‘This is a political witch hunt.’”

The Times clearly regards the idea as preposterous on its face.  But while Trump is wrong about many things, on this one subject he happens to be right.  The press, the intelligence community, and the Democrats have all gone off the deep end in search of a Russia connection that doesn’t exist.  They misled their readers, they made fools of themselves, and they committed a crime against journalism.  And now they’re trying to dodge the blame.

Comments

NoDebt Hal n back Sat, 05/19/2018 - 14:55 Permalink

"I believe they bugged Trump Tower"

And with those words, spoken a year ago, Trump started to turn the tide on this coup attempt.  You could almost hear them all collectively shit their pants as the media went into overdrive to mock, deride and ridicule that statement.  You could almost FEEL how close to home Trump hit in saying that.  Did they stop, back off and cover their tracks?  Nope.  Kept on pressing the failing offensive.  Now the boomerang has traced it's arc and is headed back the other way.  

Lesson to be learned:  If you're gonna plot to kill the king, you damned well better kill the king.  They messed with the wrong bull.  Now they get the horns.

 

In reply to by Hal n back

macholatte NoDebt Sat, 05/19/2018 - 14:56 Permalink

 

Here’s the problem:
There are tens of millions of brain washed sheeple (Blue Brains) who actually believe the MSM regardless of the facts. Examples: Here, on ZH, we have those numb skulls Krugman and Kunstler, the self declared life long democrats who cannot come to grips with the fact that the democrat party of John Kennedy is long gone and exists only in their imaginations. They would gladly embrace Hitlary if she decided to run for president again completely ignoring the facts about her criminality.

It will take 40 years for the Blue Brains to die off. In the mean time, we are at their mercy.

In reply to by NoDebt

Escrava Isaura The First Rule Sat, 05/19/2018 - 15:41 Permalink

Trump’s policies don’t scare the corporate left, which is the right wing of the Democratic Party. They are not going to overthrow Trump. The goal is to demoralize and impoverish Trump later on.

Which scares the corporate left is that Trump will shift the nation too far to the left with the undecided voters, and the democrats won’t be able to hold the center. It’s already happening on local elections.

Anyway, here’s an example of the damage that Trump does to the corporate left: 

Bill Gates made some eyebrow-raising claims about President Donald Trump on Thursday, saying he doesn't know the difference between two sexually transmitted diseases and that it was "scary" how much Trump knew about Gates' daughter's appearance. When I first talked to him, it was actually kind of scary how much he knew about my daughter's appearance. Melinda (Gates' wife) didn't like that too well."

Taking audience questions about his interactions with Trump at a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation meeting, the former Microsoft honcho said he first met Trump in December 2016. He told the audience that Trump had previously come across his daughter, Jennifer, at a horse show in Florida.

"And then about 20 minutes later he flew in on a helicopter to the same place," Gates said, according to video of the event broadcast by MSNBC late Thursday. "So clearly he had been driven away but he wanted to make a grand entrance in a helicopter.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/18/politics/bill-gates-donald-trump-intl/index.html

 

In reply to by The First Rule

mind-body-spirit brianshell Sun, 05/20/2018 - 00:27 Permalink

@brianshell, yeah, how about those Awan brothers? That one seems to have landed in the same box as Bush and the weapons of mass destruction, a favorite of mine, not to mention nine-eleven, a few of so many heinous crimes which were fully exposed and which floated to the bottom of the pool of restless corpses - where many of our so-called leaders will find themselves, when they shuffle this mortal coil, as shuffle on they must, none of us living forever...

It's not over until Debbie Wasserman Schultz sings...

In reply to by brianshell

land_of_the_few mind-body-spirit Sun, 05/20/2018 - 14:02 Permalink

The Awans will get ther due deserts in time. Patience required.

But Strzok, he really needs to travel and broaden his mind a little. Does he know he believes shockingly ignorant racial/cultural stereotypes and flat-out easily disproven manipulative lies? The Russia stuff he spouted was puerile and shameful. Maybe he needs to learn who the most perennially dirty athletics teams actually are? Clue -  it's nations he calls "friends".

Will he change his mind once things unravel, as they are starting to already?

 

 

In reply to by mind-body-spirit

land_of_the_few brianshell Sun, 05/20/2018 - 13:54 Permalink

Yep and it looks increasingly like the athletics doping thing was a multi-year smear job starting with the Sochi Olympics. Which means team Magic Negro and friends probably hired all the major "sources" and directed the whole racist ignorant op. They tried very hard not to allow proper broadcasts of unmolested footage from Sochi. Endless blabbering voiceovers by Western "experts" and a sudden mysterious lack of time to show things like the opening ceremony aerial performance story with the floating clouds animals and girl clearly.

"Honest Russian whistleblower" exiled in the USA (surprise!)- and investigation by a non-sports legal figure, who calls himself "the independent person" in order to anonymously insert his own baseless slanted opinions into reports he generates  pffffffft.

All that stuff about "Chivas" and "Duchess" reads like it was written by someone supremely ignorant who wanted to sprinkle in a few Western words they thought a Euro or US audience might like.

In reply to by brianshell

Escrava Isaura y3maxx Sat, 05/19/2018 - 16:16 Permalink

That's what I mean by moving left, away from the leaders and money. Sanders was the surprise of the last election and not Trump. Sanders lost because of the shenanigans of the leadership of the democratic party. And Hillary lost because of the young voter, Sander's supporters, boycott the party by not showing up election day.

 

In reply to by y3maxx

the cork Escrava Isaura Sat, 05/19/2018 - 19:14 Permalink

escrava isabooty = stupid dumb-ass

Your hag had hollywood, the mainstream media, late night TV, the the dead vote, the illegal vote, the CIA, the FBI, the DOS, not to mention the RINOS (lame brain mccain etc), on her side ...

AND SHE STILL LOST!

How shitty a candidate to you have to be

to fuck that up?

Now it's coming home to roost.

The Inspector General's report is gonna expose the fraud, criminality, and treason going on at the highest levels, for all to see.

escrava isabooty, we're gonna have your ass.

escrava isabooty gonna Squeal like a PIG !

 

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

MrAToZ Escrava Isaura Sun, 05/20/2018 - 04:56 Permalink

And still he won. Bitch and moan all you like history has made its decision. As for that tired old red Bernie, he would have split the Dem vote and hurt cankles more than damage Trump. We don't elect presidents by popular vote anyway (thank God).

The beauty of having a compass needle that points true north is that you don't need CNN or Fox or any other talking head. You can just smell the fish right when it comes out of the water. Hillary stinks, Bernie stank and Trump smells a little, but good by comparison. 

Give me immortality or give me death...

 

P.S. I hear Bill Clinton is a rapist. 

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

wildbad Escrava Isaura Sun, 05/20/2018 - 02:43 Permalink

yeah.  but bill gates is a cunt.

this article has several factual faults. 

Carter Page was an FBI PLANT, it was not just some chance meeting that the FBI had questions about.

Manafort was a PLANT.

The FBI and DNC operatives took Clinton money to create the "steele Dossier" which was in fact written by Strozk (FBI) to frame Trump.  So Clinton "buys" the DNC with stolen Clinton Global Initiatve cash, kills Bernies chances, creates a fake defamtory dossier against Trump.  Uses the FBI and an illegal title one spying warrant to wiretap trup.  They infiltrate at least three agants into the Trump campaign and then the sett Mueller on his presidency for a year and a half.

This is how the Clintons have operated since Arkansas.  Ask Larry Nichols.  He helped develop their MO.  "if you own the law enforcement who's gonna charge or arrest you?"

Loretta Lynch was promised a supreme court seat for quashing the Killary email crimes.  Obozo knew ALLL about it to.

Military trials are needed because of all of the corrupt judges put in since billy was raping in the Oval spermbank.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Publicus_Reanimated Bigly Sat, 05/19/2018 - 16:06 Permalink

Thank you I have been saying this for more than a year.  Sessions has been sifting through the DOJ to determine who can be trusted and who can't.  That work appears to be nearly done, as we are seeing the beginning of the counterthrust.

Dems have put something in motion that they now have no control over.  That is why their rhetoric has become unhinged and their attitude has shifted from offense to defense.  It's life and death for them now, and the former is the less likely outcome.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

In reply to by Bigly

sheikurbootie Bigly Sat, 05/19/2018 - 16:07 Permalink

Sessions really was one of the first on the Trump train.  He worked behind the scenes and provided Intel/advice to DJT.  Trump likes guys that provide solid intel.  Sessions being DOJ AG is the biggest prize for an attorney short of SC. 

Maybe Sessions had intel about the coup THE WHOLE TIME IT WAS HAPPENING.  He would have to recuse if that were true.  If you know the end of the story, you can root out the bad guys hidden in plain sight (Rod Rosenstein?).

This going to be bigger than Watergate!!!!!!

A swamp attempted coup d'état

In reply to by Bigly