Patterico's Pontifications


Jonathan Rauch on the Hoax of Calling the Russia Scandal a Hoax

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Donald Trump is good at something Brett Kimberlin was always good at. Here’s how it works: you take something you are doing to others, and accuse the others of doing it to you. Robert Stacy McCain always called this the “accuse the accusers” strategy.

So when he mounts an effort to convince the public that the media is trying to hoax you about his connections to Russia, you can be sure that effort is itself a hoax.

Jonathan Rauch sets the stage this way:

“To see what is in front of one’s nose,” George Orwell said, “needs a constant struggle.” Among Donald Trump’s many impressive talents is his gift for obscuring, occluding, and even inverting what is in front of America’s nose.

Most notably, he has convinced tens of millions of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, that he, not Joe Biden, won the 2020 election—which is pretty amazing, when you think about it. In close second place, though, is that he and his supporters have won the Russia narrative. They have convinced millions of people, including many in non-MAGA circles, that Trump and his campaign did not collude with the Russians in the 2016 presidential campaign; that in fact, if anyone colluded, it was Christopher Steele, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the FBI—against Trump.

Rauch details the evidence:

The brazenness and success of this counternarrative are remarkable, because what is there in front of our nose, in plain view, is an undeniable and undenied stack of evidence that the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence viewed the 2016 presidential race as a collaborative venture. The facts are these (all according to undisputed reports by special counsel Robert Mueller, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, and many news outlets):

  • The Trump campaign eagerly and knowingly accepted overtures from the Russian government to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump publicly asked the Russians to illegally steal and dump Clinton documents, and Russian intelligence promptly did exactly that.
  • The campaign and its associates had at least 100 contacts and probably more with assorted Russians, including (according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s account) ones with ties to organized crime and Russian intelligence.
  • Trump’s campaign manager provided internal campaign materials to a business associate characterized by the Senate report and the U.S. Treasury Department as a Russian intelligence operative.
  • The campaign team, including Trump, was well aware of potential plans by Russia’s Wikileaks partner to dump stolen documents, kept close tabs on it, and tried to schedule and exploit that possibility.
  • Trump and his fixer Michael Cohen lied point-blank about Trump’s ongoing business dealings with the Russians.
  • Meanwhile, at no point did Trump and his people report Russia’s activities to U.S. law enforcement; instead, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, the campaign was “elated” by what it regarded as a “gift” from Wikileaks.

That the Trump campaign did all of those things and more is not seriously disputed.

Btw, if you want to yammer about the dossier, Rauch addresses that too.

It’s old news. But it’s worth repeating. Because, as Rauch notes, Trump is big on repetition. Trump will repeat his lies until he dies. The repetition is a big part of the way he gets chump suckas, like the people who use the phrase “Russia hoax,” to buy in to the con.

64 Responses to “Jonathan Rauch on the Hoax of Calling the Russia Scandal a Hoax”

  1. What’s unsaid about the “at least 100 contacts” with Russians (a regime that is a hostile foreign power), is how few contacts the Trump campaign had with foreign nationals from other countries. If there was a country where Trump campaign people had more interactions with more of those foreign nationals, I haven’t heard of it.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  2. Rauch’s article (cited by our host) linked to support in hs bullet points. Those links got stripped out. Rather than see our Trumpers fling poo about this, I am going to try to add citations..

    Bullet point 1 — A Guardian Article entitled “‘I love it’: Donald Trump Jr posts emails from Russia offering material on Clinton”

    Bullet point 2 — Two links here. One to the youtube where “Donald Trump Appears to Invite the Russians to Hack Hillary’s Emails”. second to an NYT article that asks “Trump Invited the Russians to Hack Clinton. Were They Listening?”

    Bullet point 3 — A Time Magazine article “The Attorney General Said There Was ‘No Collusion.’ But Trump Associates Still Interacted With Russians More Than 100 Times”. Also a Lawfare Article “A Collusion Reading Diary: What Did the Senate Intelligence Committee Find?”

    Bullet point 4 — Politico “Manafort was ‘grave counterintelligence threat’ due to Russian contacts, Senate panel says”. Also — AP “US says Russia was given Trump campaign polling data in 2016”

    Bullet point 5 — WaPo “Roger Stone was in close contact with Trump campaign about WikiLeaks, indictment shows”

    Bullet point 6 — Vox — “Trump Tower Moscow, and Michael Cohen’s lies about it, explained”

    Bullet point 7 links to the Senate Intelligence Report.

    In order to avoid moderation and to give a flavor of the citations, I did not provide the links. You keyboard warriors should be able to find anything you are interested in.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  3. if only it was about accusing the accusers

    why even revisit the collusion nonsense, five years on?

    cuz we’re not accusing the accusers, we’re prosecuting them here, here, and here

    and, hopefully, we’re just getting started

    JF (e1156d)

  4. Trumps supporters don’t care about these facts. They didn’t care that a hostile foreign power committed criminal acts to interfere in our presidential election in 2016 and they won’t care now.

    But this is a good summary and does a nice job laying out how Trump and his supporters lie about this. Thank you for sharing it.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  5. @4 nice switcheroo

    so, are we supposed to be concerned about foreign interference in elections?

    i am

    or, are we supposed to continue to buy the trump collusion lie and show concern for that?

    cuz, i’m not concerned about the latter and after five years prosecutors aren’t concerned either

    so, which is it? what are you concerned about?

    unlike his accusers, trump hasn’t been charged

    JF (e1156d)

  6. Hi JF, The answers to your questions are in the linked article. If you read it and didn’t really get what they were trying to say, or felt some part was wrong, you should make that clear.

    To correct one error in your comment; while Trump has been charged several people who worked for him and were involved in the scheme were charged. Trump pardoned them.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  7. @6 who was convicted specifically for collusion with russia, other than clinton associates, and for what?

    this should be easy

    JF (e1156d)

  8. @7 correction: no clinton associates have been convicted— yet

    JF (e1156d)

  9. The election lies (and the insurrection) are far more important than the Russian connection in 2016, although a continuing subservience to Russian desires on the part of an administration would be quite a different matter. That latter worry does not seem to have happened, as any concerns that the Trumpies had for Putin’s needs were not noticeably different that those of other administrations, D & R alike.

    The reason that I don’t view the Russian production of documents and dirt to be important is that 1) the were not lies; 2) Clinton’s cavalier attitude towards digital security made it easy; but 3) and most importantly, the US media were massively involved in promoting Clinton’s candidacy and trashing Trump.

    Russia has national assets that can be brought to bear and should not be taken lightly as a source of disinformation, nor should its ability to obtain detrimental but factual information be discounted. But anything that it does produce is filtered through a US news media that has a decided bias and is effectively doing the same thing for the Democrat side.

    No one would get promoted at the NY Times for nailing a Democrat candidate to the wall. No “high fives” for them. They would instead be forever labeled as “the person who elected Trump.” There are a number of previously respected reporters who, having taken sides against a Democrat, have been sent to the cornfield. Sheryl Atkinson of CBS and her Benghazi reporting for example.

    And the thing is that, for all of Russia’s might and money, what the USA Today prints, or what Facebook promotes, has far more effect that anything that Russia puts out on the Internet. And I think it is unassailable that the Democrat Party and many media outlets have a close and warm connection.

    But none dare call that collusion.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  10. I think it’s important to distinguish between facts and lies.

    The information that was dumped through Wikileaks was factual. The emails were actual emails. The document were not faked.

    The Steele dossier was largely (if not completely) lies.

    So, the complaint here is that Trump may have encouraged foreign actors to get dirt on Clinton and dump it. This was unfair not because of the information, but how it was obtained, like there was some kind of political exclusionary rule.

    The Clintonistas were heavily involved in the UNTRUE Steele dossier, and the DEMOCRAT administration used that dossier — knowing it was a lie — to spy on members of Trump’s team.

    I find pushing lies to be worse than pushing truth. I’m just weird that way. I do agree that, if this made Trump beholden to Putin, it would be a big problem, but Trump seems more to have used Putin than the other way around. In the end, Trump’s decisions are always “how does this help me?” and he would have known that helping Putin would not be good for Trump.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  11. JF, it is easy. Stone, Gates, Papadoplous, Flynn, and Cohen were all convicted or plead guilty to lying to congress or investigators working on the Russian campaign interference. Stone was also convicted of witness tampering.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  12. Kevin, just to be clear: you’re OK with a hostile government breaking US law to steal information and releasing that information in a manner intended to harm the Democratic Party candidate?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  13. The Trump folks encouraged the Russians to get dirt on Clinton.

    The Clinton folks paid for a pack of lies and then pushed them inside the government as truth.

    I think their ethics grades range from D+ to D-, with the difference being that one produced information that was actual factual.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  14. Kevin, Also you comment about Clinton’s security practices is off base. Russia didn’t hack that, they hacked the DNC.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  15. Kevin, just to be clear: you’re OK with a hostile government breaking US law to steal information and releasing that information in a manner intended to harm the Democratic Party candidate?

    Well, we already allow US media hostile to a candidate to break US law and publish information in a manner intended to harm that candidate. And we all know which candidate that would be.

    Sarah Palin’s emails come to mind, which the NY Times not only reported on, they released to the public so that the dirt-finding could be crowd-sourced.

    I am more concerned with the incredible bias that has emerged in the US media in the last few decades that suppresses dirt on one side and trumpets it on the other. Not only is this editorial policy but it is peer-enforced policy. People who stray from this party line soon find that only the minuscule conservative press will hire them.

    LOTS of US laws get broken in campaigns (e.g. Obama’s overseas donations allowed by his carefully unvetted donation site). But few are prosecuted, against officials at least.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  16. So you’re ok with foreign governments breaking US law in an effort to influence US elections. That’s contemptible and unpatriotic. But at least you’re owning it head on.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  17. They have convinced millions of people, including many in non-MAGA circles, that Trump and his campaign did not collude with the Russians in the 2016 presidential campaign;

    He didn;t collude (Vladimir Putin would never trust Trump to keep a secret) but he saw that Russia was trying to help him, and didn’t want to do anything to disturb that possibly helpful factor. Now why Putin was doing it, besides that he mistaenly thought Hillary had principles and was against him, was that he hoped to plant spies in a future Trump Administration. How he got close (Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates) is worth investigating. Manafort, by the way, had no intention of taking a position in a Trump Administration (it wouldn’t pay enough) but he didn’t want Russian inteligence to know that. He slipped them some internal Trump polls to keep Russia interested.

    that in fact, if anyone colluded, it was Christopher Steele, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the FBI—against Trump.

    And they sometimes include Russia.

    The FBI was just trying to keep both political parties off its back. So they pretended to investigate the Trump campaign, but didn’t. Fusion GPS seems to have invented (or revived) a few accusation that didn’t come from Steele.

    Saying that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russia deliberately gets things mixed up.

    In all probability, Russia never guessed that Christopher Steele was working for the U.S. Democrats. And I think Igor Danchenko didn’t invent all the stuff he came up with, but was supplied with genuine Russian disinformation (he’s is not going to say that in a limited hangout)

    I don’t think Igor Danchenko knew that Christopher Steele was working for the Democrats, but thought he was working for British conservatives or the UK government. The Russians supplied false reasons for Putin to support Trump (either that he had a long term relationship with Russia or that the Russians had compromat on Trump) in order to divide the US from the UK in a future Trump Administration and they answered his questions in order to let Steele retain his confidence in his ability to get good info from Russia and so that MI6 would not re-evaluate what they learned in the 2000’s.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  18. Kevin, Also you comment about Clinton’s security practices is off base. Russia didn’t hack that, they hacked the DNC.

    They appear to have hacked both, although the report on Clinton’s server did not state who had hacked it. You are right, however that there is no hard evidence that her server was hacked. Nor that it was not hacked. Many investigators thought it likely, but the DNC servers were obviously an easier target.

    The matter of what was on that server, and the degree to which Hillary was flouting US secrecy laws, is another matter not germane to this discussion.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. Time123 (9f42ee) — 12/13/2021 @ 11:23 am

    Kevin, Also you comment about Clinton’s security practices is off base. Russia didn’t hack that, they hacked the DNC.

    And John Podesta’s GMail acccount because he relied =in a patronage appointment at the DNC for advice.

    The DNC computers did not contain any real Clinton secrets.

    There never was an email account with as much security as that of Hillary Clinton – although it nearly failed when backup messages were put on Anthony Weiner’s laptop and the laptop subpoenaed. But the FBI contrived not to have any human look

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  20. So you’re ok with foreign governments breaking US law in an effort to influence US elections. That’s contemptible and unpatriotic. But at least you’re owning it head on.

    As long as you admit you are OK with US media companies stealing, or using stolen, information to harm their political opponents. Or worse, publishing lies as truth, as with the Steele dossier (also from Russia).

    Do you see no distinction between lies and truth?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  21. 18. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/13/2021 @ 11:40 am

    They appear to have hacked both, although the report on Clinton’s server did not state who had hacked it.

    It never got hacked, None of the usual methods would have worked. It came under dictionary attack, but the SYSOP shut it down till the attack passed. The Russians found out her secret email address but that;s all:

    Look at all the security features it had:

    1) Password so secret even the user didn’t know it.

    2) No backdoor password reset. If any trouble occurred the SYSOP was contacted personally.

    3) Limited thruput. Nothing could be stolen fast.

    4) The SYSOP would notice a penetration attempt.

    5) Impervious to subpoenas – could any other system say that?

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  22. @20, I’m not OK with media companies breaking the law to steal information and have never said I was.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  23. More people would probably agree with you if not for the actions of one of the most tone-deaf politicians of all time – Hillary Clinton. Hillary lost fair and square. She lost votes in states that she ignored. She took those voters and their votes for granted.

    Once she lost, she had to save face so she took the opposition research that she paid for and passed it off to the authorities to sink Trump. Problem is, the dossier is pretty much full of Russian disinformation. But the media and Democrats would have made you believe otherwise. I for one am still waiting for all of Schiff’s evidence that he said he had, but has not released. Probably because he now realizes he bought this Russian disinformation hook, line, and sinker.

    Once the investigation had realized the Alfa Bank, the pee tapes, the Cohen trip to Prague, and most of the other allegations in the dossier were false, all the connections to Russia were tainted.

    If Hillary had any brain, she would have seen that coming. If the media had done some independent research, as they should have, they would have seen that coming.

    To be honest, historians – probably at a much later date – will conclude that Russian played both sides perfectly.

    Hoi Polloi (15cfac)

  24. @11 ok, so we should care about witness tampering and stating the wrong dates in an fbi interview, etc.

    as for “criminal acts to interfere in our presidential election in 2016”, you have nothing

    this three card monte act is five years running

    JF (e1156d)

  25. 11. Time123 (9f42ee) — 12/13/2021 @ 11:11 am

    Stone was also convicted of witness tampering.

    Syone;s big lie was claiming he was in secret contact with Wikileaks. Pf course I’m not satisfied with Tone;s various explanations of what he did, but they never really askeed him how and why he might helped Paul Manafort get his job in the Trump campaign,

    Latest news: A British appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that Assaunge can’t be extradited to the USA because of possible damage to his mental health n US prisons which could cause him to kill himself.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  26. So you’re ok with foreign governments breaking US law in an effort to influence US elections. That’s contemptible and unpatriotic

    What is contemptible is the idea that the US press is patriotic, or that they would not do the exact same thing if it served their political purposes. They also hide behind some exemptions for the same US laws as they do their work.

    As for Russia having been an “enemy” of the USA in 2016, well maybe, but the then-President did not thinks so in 2012 when he called Romney’s assertion of same 1980’s thinking. If the information had come from Israel instead, would that change anything?

    To me, the TRUTH of the information is more important than where it came from. That this source balanced out the incredible internal bias in information we have domestically makes it more palatable. The fact that it was released through Wikileaks implies that it would have been smothered had the US media had the ability to do so.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  27. Shorter:

    Stolen, truthful documents. OK, for US media to publish. First Amendment. Does Russia have no freedom of the press or speech? It would seem to me that the correct response to this is better speech, not censorship, such as “Trump is colluding with Russia” as a campaign message.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  28. @24, Sorry, misunderstood your question. I thought you were talking about people in the Trump campaign directly.

    The indictments regarding the hacking were issued through the Mueller investigations and the evidence summarized in part 1 of his report. Barr dismissed the charges. You can easily find the names and details with google. Once again the information is there if you care about the crime. Which you don’t.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  29. @26 & 27, You’ve made it clear you’re OK with foreign governments breaking out laws to influence our elections. I’m not. I think we need to put the US as an entity first and put value on that. You don’t, and I don’t see where we’re going to find common ground.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  30. Under your definition of collusion to influence the 2016 is so broad to be meaningless as the mueller commission pointed out. Their is no evidence that russia tried to change votes or prevent voting. A better case for collusion could be made that communist china colluded with the biden family to prevent trump’s re-election in 2020

    asset (8202b3)

  31. @28 more three card monte

    convictions, not ham sandwich indictments or accusations

    JF (e1156d)

  32. Time,

    1) There is no law that specifically outlaws foreign governments from hacking [non-classified] servers. The same law that makes what Russia did illegal makes what was done to Sarah Palin illegal. You say this information came from the DNC, not from Clinton’s [arguably] classified server, so I’ll accept that.

    2) There is no law that makes it illegal for foreign governments to speak out about US elections. Or foreign persons. Or, well, anyone. They simply cannot DONATE to US candidates (although Obama flouted that by not validating credit card address data).

    3) The US government itself has utterly no problem doing these things (and much worse) in other countries’ elections. Including Russia’s. Not an equivalence statement so much as disagreeing about the norm.

    4) Hidden facts, whether they are DUI records, tax returns, closed-room pitches to donors, etc, are important to the electorate to know and the means of their exposure are less so.

    I will admit that I do have qualms regarding a successful candidate “owing” a foreign leader for his help, and this is a greater concern than that I have about domestic political debts. But little that Trump did in office showed a particular concern for Putin’s needs, compared to, say, Biden’s obsequiousness towards unions.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  33. The reason that I don’t view the Russian production of documents and dirt to be important is that 1) the were not lies; 2) Clinton’s cavalier attitude towards digital security made it easy; but 3) and most importantly, the US media were massively involved in promoting Clinton’s candidacy and trashing Trump.

    I’ve been chewing on that, Kevin, and I have issues, because Putin wasn’t just involved with hacking websites and publishing the information, it was part of a larger “sweeping and systematic” operation by a hostile authoritarian dictator to help Trump’s chances and hurt Hillary’s. Just because mainstream media leaned toward Hillary, does not justify Putin’s foreign intervention, launching a propaganda and social media campaign using squadrons of trolls and bad actors and his own Russia Today network.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  34. I will point out also that when the NY Times released Palin’s stolen private emails, she was not a candidate for any office. The point was some combination of intimidation and spite, as well as counting-coup against a political opponent.

    Hillary Clinton was a candidate for the Presidency and the information released was relevant to that decision. I wish that Russia (or China or anyone) had hacked and released crap about Trump and the Trump Organization during the primary cycle instead, but sadly they did not.

    There is no such thing as bad Truth.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. Paul, do you think that Putin had more effect than what Facebook promoted to it’s members (as opposed to what they allowed)? Or what CNN said? Or what Netanyahu said, for that matter?

    I believe that foreign governments and foreign nationals have the right to speak up in our elections, as we have hegemonic power over many of them. I also think that our government should not be censoring what they say, outside of wartime. If these are lies, they can be exposed. If these are truth and we only have foreign sources for that truth, this exposes our system of self-governance more than it calls into question the source.

    It is ONLY when the foreign source comes and asks for a favor that a problem comes up. But we have that problem all the time domestically and perhaps should police that better to start. Did you know that some of the “goodies” in the Biden BBB plan are gooder if you use a union shop?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  36. At least putin didn’t send in his marines to michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin to influence the out come of the election as u.s. did in the dominican republic in 1965. U.S. and israel are always trying to influence each others election. We once sent people in to russia to do a lot more then just influence the election for boris yeltsen.

    asset (8202b3)

  37. Let’s go back to Romney tape, which was published in a David Corns piece in Mother Jones. The source of this tape was not made evident, but given who makes up catering staff it was possibly a foreign national. No one has said. Such a person would be just as prohibited from donating to a campaign ans President Xi.

    Then, let’s go to the actual tape, which had two parts. According to Corns, the two-minute gap is due to a technical malfunction, yet it is incredible suspicious.

    1) The first sections with the last syllable of the 47% money-quote. Anything that Romney said to mitigate that position (e.g. “Now some of these people are on Social Security or Veteran’s pensions, and they earned every dime.”) but if so, that was cut out.

    2) The second section starts with the cellphone or pocket camera in the EXACT SAME POSITION as before it was restarted. Look at the last frame of part one and the first frame of part two and you will see that while people have moved, the room’s walls and ceiling have not.

    3) Some have said that it was restarted remotely in some way, but if you look at the camera being set up at the start of part 1, it’s clear there was no remote involved.

    This tape arguably lost Romney the election. It’s provenance is unclear and it’s completeness is laughable. I think that this was realized internally since Corns did not get a Pulitzer for this heavy-impact piece.

    Where was the outrage?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  38. * 1) the first section ENDS with the last syllable

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  39. If nobody’s following laws, what’s against the law?

    This is the Crimecop meme in action:

    “The year is 2304 AD, crime is legal and cops are illegal. Only one man is willing to break the law to make the law legal again: Crimecop!”

    Everyone’s violating these election laws, no one is punished (except the occasional Republican on the outs).

    ingot9455 (64b88b)

  40. What does Steve Bannon think? Here’s what Michael Wolff wrote:

    In January 2018, upon the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which attributed many controversial and inflammatory statements to Bannon, Bannon and Trump became estranged and were widely seen as enemies.[227][228] The book quoted Bannon as saying that Ivanka Trump was “as dumb as a brick”;[33] that the meeting among Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and agents of Russia was “treasonous”;[229] and that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller would cause Donald Trump Jr. to “crack like an egg on live television”.[230] Bannon also warned that investigators would likely uncover money laundering involving Jared Kushner and his family business loans from Deutsche Bank.[231]

    In his 2019 book Siege, Wolff wrote, “Trump was vulnerable because for 40 years he had run what increasingly seemed to resemble a semi-criminal enterprise,” then quoted Bannon as saying, “I think we can drop the ‘semi’ part.” Wolff wrote that Bannon predicted investigations into Trump’s finances would be his political downfall, quoting Bannon as saying, “This is where it isn’t a witch hunt – even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50 million instead of $10 billion. Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.”[232]”

    On the other hand, Bannon later defended Trump against impeachment — and Trump pardoned Bannon for the private wall scam project.

    (FWIW, Trump and his lawyer, Charles Harder threatened to sue Wolff before “Fire and Fury” was published, but never did. Possibly because Wolff taped some of his interviews?)

    For the record: I am not a big fan of Jonathan Rauch, but think the points he makes are obvious. Whether you want to call that collection of facts “collusion” depends on how you define “collusion”.

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  41. Paul, do you think that Putin had more effect than what Facebook promoted to it’s members (as opposed to what they allowed)? Or what CNN said? Or what Netanyahu said, for that matter?

    One, I don’t believe we’ll ever know the full media influence Putin and his trolls had on our 2016 election, and I’m not going speculate that his efforts made the difference, not when there so many other factors at play. Putin didn’t instruct Hillary to steer clear of Wisconsin in the final weeks, and Putin didn’t tell Comey to publicly bring up Hillary twice (which was against FBI protocols) in the course of their investigations.
    I think that whatever bias and corruption in media and the internet and so forth should be the kind that stays on our soil, not infiltrated by a hostile foreign power. After all, this an American election at issue here, and it was made worse because Mueller’s dozen-plus indictments on Russian people and entities made clear that Putin’s efforts were illegal.
    As for foreign governments and their right to speak up, they’re usually circumspect about it because they could be dealing with an unpleasant result if their overtly favored candidate loses. Putin crossed a bright here, especially in 2016, and not a small amount was in violation of American law.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  42. Is there such a thing as “bad truth”? Sure, when published.

    Here’s a famous example: After the Battle of Midway, a Chicago Tribune reporter learned that we had advance intelligence information on the Japanese plans — and the newspaper, an enemy of President Roosevelt, published a story saying so. (The Roosevelt administration considered prosecuting the newspaper, but decided against it, for practical reasons, thinking that such a prosecution would draw attention to our intelligence successes.)

    And here’s another more recent one: When Bradley/Chelsea Manning dumped thousands of secrets on “Russoleaks”, he endangered the lives of many who had trusted the United States to protect them.

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  43. There is no law that specifically outlaws foreign governments from hacking [non-classified] servers.

    Wrong. Foreign governments would be subject to the same laws as anyone else.

    There are several federal laws that address hacking, including:

    The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA);
    The Stored Communications Act (SCA);
    The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA); and
    The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).

    The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the leading federal anti-hacking legislation that prohibits unauthorized access to another’s computer system. Although the law was originally meant to protect the computer systems of U.S. government entities and financial institutions, the scope of the Act expanded with amendments to include practically any computer in the country (including devices such as servers, desktops, laptops, cellphones, and tablets).
    Although the CFAA’s penalties are mostly for criminal violations, the 1994 amendment expanded the Act to include causes of action for civil suits, in addition to criminal prosecution.
    The Stored Communications Act mirrors the prohibitions of the CFAA and protects stored electronic communications and data or data at rest (including email, texts, instant messages, social media accounts, cloud computing and storage, and blogs/microblogs). There is a lot of overlap with the CFAA and often hackers will be in violation of both statutes.

    The EPCA, a counterpart law to the SCA forbids intentional interception of electronic communications in transit or “data in motion,” rather than “data at rest.”

    See also Six Russian GRU Officers Charged in Connection with Worldwide Deployment of Destructive Malware and Other Disruptive Actions in Cyberspace (“GRU hackers and their co-conspirators engaged in computer intrusions and attacks intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against, or otherwise destabilize: (1) Ukraine; (2) Georgia; (3) elections in France; (4) efforts to hold Russia accountable for its use of a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok, on foreign soil; and (5) the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games after Russian athletes were banned from participating under their nation’s flag, as a consequence of Russian government-sponsored doping effort.) and

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. VIKTOR BORISOVICH NETYKSHO ET. AL. “GRU officers who knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other, and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury (collectively the “Conspirators”), to gain unauthorized access (to “hack”) into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  44. @32

    1. Hacking into someone’s computer system and stealing information is a crime no matter who does. The fact that it was Russia in this case makes it worse, but it would have been illegal no matter who did it. Publishing that information is not a crime. Which is why the many media companies that published the leaked information front the DNC hack weren’t breaking the law.

    3. Sounds like a violation of some moral imperative. I wish the world was a better place but until it is I’d like to see people not do this to my country.

    4. Ok, but I’m still not OK with Russia hacking the DNC and releasing the information as part of a coordinated campaign to screw with our election.

    you keep making excuses for what a hostile foreign government did to us. They’re not very compelling.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  45. @31, thank you for reminding my why taking you seriously is a waste of time.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  46. Let’s go back to Romney tape, which was published in a David Corns piece in Mother Jones. The source of this tape was not made evident, but given who makes up catering staff it was possibly a foreign national.

    Wrong again.

    Meet Scott Prouty, the 47 Percent Video Source
    ……..I located a proclamation (issued by the mayor and town council of Davie, Florida) that the source had mentioned earlier. On September 25, 2005, a car had plunged into a canal along I-75 and sunk into the water. Prouty, then working at motorcycle dealership, rushed to the scene. A tall fellow with a strapping build, Prouty jumped into the water and, using a knife provided by a fellow employee, cut the seatbelt, freed the unconscious woman in the driver’s seat, and handed her to a coworker who revived her with CPR. Prouty, who had noticed there was a child safety seat in the car, kept diving into the dark water in search of a child. But there had been no one else in the car. The proclamation noted that Prouty and two of his coworkers had taken “valiant and swift lifesaving actions in the face of an emergency without thought to their own safety” and declared them “lifesaving heroes.” I also found a local newsletter with a photo of Prouty and his colleagues being honored by the Weston City Commission for their heroism (his name was misspelled “Proudly”). The picture did not match either of the mug shots, and I saw that one of the other Proutys was incarcerated in Wisconsin, while the other seemed to be from a different part of Florida. I was relieved. I would later learn that my source was a college-educated bartender, in his late 30s, who had grown up in the Boston area.
    My emphasis.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  47. asset is right, of course, that we have sent people in to Russia to influence matters there. Our biggest effort was during World War II, when we sent millions and millions of tons in aid to the Soviet Union, for example, something like 350,000 GMC trucks. And of course, millions of pounds of spam. (Nikita Khrushchev wrote that, “Without Spam, we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.”)

    (Herbert Hoover’s relief effort in the Soviet Union after World War I undoubtedly saved millions of lives, but it was a private effort.)

    I assume asset disapproves of both efforts.

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  48. Oh, and I also assume that, while we were providing that aid to the Soviet Union, asset knows that Soviet spies were stealing our nuclear secrets.

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  49. Elon Musk is Time’s Person of the Year.

    As if he needs to feed his ego.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  50. The Russians wanted to help Trump get elected, that much is clear. They thought that having someone so clearly unfit for office would weaken the US and help them.

    However, they are not foolish enough to directly collude with Trump or his campaign. Trump is a loudmouth and a loose cannon. If Putin had helped Trump directly, that idiot would have proudly bragged about it at all the hillbilly Nuremberg rallies he did.

    Jasperjava (6ab435)

  51. and the pant suit darling continues tearing up for the non-deplorables
    a counter puncher and partner for the republican lincolnaires

    mg (8cbc69)

  52. Great post.

    I definitely want to chime in and agree that Brett Kimberlin and Trump share this strategy of deflection and manipulation. And also to thank Patterico for never being a wimp when it comes to standing his ground, either against litigious bullies or the ‘correct’ answer for his political party.

    Dustin (150498)

  53. Hear hear.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  54. Is Durham’s Case on Clinton-Tied Lawyer Michael Sussmann Collapsing?
    Regardless of how the Sussmann prosecution turns out, it cannot be gainsaid that the alleged false statement — a lie about the identity of a lawyer’s clients — seems trivial compared to the issue that prompted Durham’s probe: the origins of the Trump–Russia investigation, which portrayed a presidential candidate, and later president, as a suspected clandestine agent of a hostile foreign power.

    …..Durham’s theory is that the FBI was duped…… this is a risky strategy for Durham…… [A] big problem seems to have been that the FBI, at the highest level (which is the level at which Baker was operating), was so predisposed to believe derogatory information about Trump that, at best, it failed to perform rudimentary investigative steps to evaluate the derogatory information it received — although, to repeat, the bureau did look into and reject the Alfa Bank claims.

    It was already going to be tough for Durham to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the FBI was misled, rather than that purveyors of anti-Trump information were pushing on an open door. It will be even tougher to prove a case of lying under circumstances where Baker, the official allegedly lied to, was not especially curious about whether Sussmann was working for a client; Baker may have been uncertain — precisely because it wasn’t that important to him — whether Sussmann was coming to him on behalf of cybersecurity experts who had merely reached out to him, or on behalf of a particular cybersecurity expert whom he was formally representing.

    Third, this raises not one but two serious proof problems for Durham. First, the prosecutor must prove what was said, under circumstances where Baker’s memory may be sketchy. Second, the sketchiness of Baker’s memory strongly suggests that, at the time, it was of little moment to Baker whether Sussmann had come to him on behalf of a client; yet Durham must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Sussmann’s allegedly false statement was material. To put it mildly, Baker does not appear to have acted like it was material: By his own account, he did not press Sussmann on the matter, and there is so far no public claim that any other FBI official involved in the Alfa Bank probe followed up with Sussmann.
    ……..[C]ases involving false statements to investigators are not nearly as tight. Usually, the witness is not under oath and there is no contemporaneous transcript or electronic recording. The case hinges on the memories of the investigators about what was said. Agents use their handwritten notes (which are later whipped into a narrative “Form 302 report”), to aid their recollection, but the witness is not given an opportunity to review the notes or the 302 for accuracy and completeness.

    It is no surprise, then, that this process lends itself to significant disagreements about exactly what was said. In Sussmann’s case, this could be an even bigger problem for prosecutors because (a) Baker was alone (i.e., there was no second FBI official on hand to take notes and testify about what was said), and (b) Baker was a bureau lawyer, not an agent (i.e., his FBI job was not to interview witnesses and conduct criminal or counterintelligence investigations).

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  55. I guess you missed the two-year special counsel’s report and testimony before Congress concerning Trump “colluding” (whatever that means) with Russia.

    What a joke.

    Muthaucker (aadc74)

  56. Rip, IANAL but I think “material” is a low bar to clear.

    Time123 (59cf00)

  57. Something missed by people who hate Trump is that to many it boils down to
    Outsider rube, doesn’t know how to play Washington DC inside baseball.
    Clintons got Russian help the legal inside baseball way.
    The FBI investigated things done outside of the legal inside baseball rules.
    Washington has spent centuries developing laws and backdoors to those laws.
    Two sets of rules. Look at how two sets of rules worked for the US womens gymnastics team and the FBI.
    Clinton has insider lawyers who know insider rules
    Comey and Mueller have insider lawyers who know insider rules.
    Trump showed up with Cohen (which is his own fault, but Cohen knew inside NYC baseball rules until they pulled his privilege card

    People of principle won’t be listened to until they tear down those insider rules.

    steveg (e81d76)

  58. deplorable me
    with steveg

    mg (8cbc69)

  59. Rip, IANAL but I think “material” is a low bar to clear.

    Time123 (59cf00) — 12/13/2021 @ 5:45 pm

    Since it was written by Andrew McCarthy, and not some bleeding heart liberal lawyer, I take the criticisms a little more seriously.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  60. An excellent piece by David Frum on the same topic, covering much of the same ground.

    lurker (59504c)

  61. steveg (e81d76) — 12/13/2021 @ 5:48 pm

    Clintons got Russian help the legal inside baseball way.

    The Russians didn’t think they were doing that. They putsmarted themselves.

    Clinton has insider lawyers who know insider rules

    How to fund an investigation of Trump without disclosing it.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  62. 60.

    Dating back to at least 2006, Trump and his companies did tens of millions of dollars of business with Russian individuals and other buyers whose profiles raised the possibility of money laundering.

    They bought apartments. Trump was happy to take their money. This does not indicate any close relationship with Russia. Caefully omitted from this point is that Putin told his friends and associates in 2015 not to buy any more real estate in western countries (because it would give them an incentive to try to avoid sanctions)

    In 2013….he staged the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

    That was the biggest success he had. Putin had no intention of letting Trump manage a hotel in Moscow because then Trump would know who was being bugged. I mean, isn’t that obvious?

    Early in 2016, President Putin ordered an influence operation to “harm the Clinton Campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration, help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee,

    etc Putin did this without coming to any kind of an agreement with Trump, and we’re not sure the Alexander Downer story is exactly right. Downer or Papadopolous misunderstood a lie (a hint that Russia had copies of Hillary’s deleted emails) as later being revealed as a true secret – that they had hacked the DNC and were going to release some of what they had.

    In June 2016, the Trump campaign received a request for a meeting from a Russian lawyer offering harmful information on Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr. and other senior Trump advisers accepted the meeting. The Trump team did not obtain the dirt they’d hoped for. But the very fact of the meeting confirmed to the Russian side the Trump campaign’s eagerness to accept Russian assistanc

    That;s an interesting take on that. They didn’t need to actually hold the meeting anyway, to know that. I think Russia intended to tell Donald J. Trump Jr lies and urge him to keep it secret, but the plans were derailed because too many people were in on that meeting.

    “Trump and the Campaign believed that Stone had inside information and expressed satisfaction that Stone’s information suggested more releases would be forthcoming,” according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    But Stone was lying about that and he got prosecuted for trying to back up those lies in Congressional testimony.

    “The Trump Campaign publicly undermined the attribution of the hack-and-leak campaign to Russia…

    That is true, And when pressed about it at a press conference Trump said something like “Russia, if you’re listening, try to find Hillary’s deleted emails” / Which I guess could be understood as a plea to them to release them since they were no longer supposed to be connected to the Internet. They didn;t have them but they may even have made another attempt to get them)

    In March 2016, the Trump campaign accepted the unpaid services of Paul Manafort, deeply beholden to deeply shady Russian business and political figures.

    I doubt that that the reason given to Trump for taking him on. Putin wanted to penetrate the Trump campaign (and possible future administration) not collaborate with it. But that doesn;t indict Trump so much.

    At crucial moments in the 2016 election, Trump publicly took positions that broke with past Republican policy and served no apparent domestic political purpose, but that supported Putin’s foreign-policy goals

    No, Trump did that all the time, not just at “crucial moments.” This is being spun to try to make it look like Trump was collaborating with Russia. Trump was not. Mike Flynn, his natonal security adviser, was.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  63. * Putin told his friends and associates in 2014 (not 2015) not to buy any more real estate in western countrie

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  64. Lowlifes only know lowlife ways. Kimberlin has a harder job of it. He actually needs to persuade his marks who write him the checks. All Trump has to do is refrain from telling them anything they don’t agree with.

    nk (1d9030)

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