Saturday, March 10, 2018

Russiagate on the Radar

The read of the week, by Lee Smith: Who Believes in Russiagate?
. . . there is a growing consensus among reporters and thinkers on the left and right—especially those who know anything about Russia, the surveillance apparatus, and intelligence bureaucracy—that the Russiagate-collusion theory that was supposed to end Trump’s presidency within six months has sprung more than a few holes. Worse, it has proved to be a cover for U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement bureaucracies to break the law, with what’s left of the press gleefully going along for the ride. Where Watergate was a story about a crime that came to define an entire generation’s oppositional attitude toward politicians and the country’s elite, Russiagate, they argue, has proved itself to be the reverse: It is a device that the American elite is using to define itself against its enemies—the rest of the country.

Yet for its advocates, the questionable veracity of the Russiagate story seems much less important than what has become its real purpose—elite virtue-signaling. Buy into a storyline that turns FBI and CIA bureaucrats and their hand-puppets in the press into heroes while legitimizing the use of a vast surveillance apparatus for partisan purposes, and you’re in. Dissent, and you’re out, or worse—you’re defending Trump.
Read the whole thing, of course. Ace's take: Who Actually Believes In RUSSIAGate, and Who's Just Pretending to Believe In It Because It's a Necessary Virtue-Signal to Other Media/Government Non-Elites?
Smith's article picks apart this transmission belt of self-interested "intelligence professionals" leaking #FakeNews, like the infamous alleged Russian hack of the Vermont electrical grid, to credulous "reporters" looking for easy, highly-clickable scandal content.
Also from Ace: RUSSIAN Collusion? Susan Rice Told NSC to "Stand Down" and Take No Action Regarding Alleged Russian Election Meddling
Maybe Mueller should be interviewing her.
Former national security advisor Susan Rice issued a stand down order to national security council officials developing aggressive options to respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, a new excerpt from Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump reveals.
NSC officials were reportedly alarmed by Russia's attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, including the hacking of Democratic National Committee officials' emails, and those belonging to Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Michael Daniel, an NSC official responsible for the Russia portfolio, told to the book's authors of multiple plans to strike fear in Russian President Vladimir Putin with the aim of ending Russia's election meddling. These plans included surreptitiously releasing personal information about Putin's family, which revealed corruption in Putin's political party, and even crafting a large cybersecurity exercise as a public threat to Russia.
Daniel additionally told the authors that when Rice caught wind of his planning, she called him and berated him.
Quotes from the book at the link.

Why did Obama roll over and show his belly to Russia?

Maybe they had some kompromat material on him, da?
Erik Prince fights accusations he tried to help set up Russia back channel at secret Seychelles meeting
Prince says, “I never ever have represented as anyone from the Trump transition and the only reason I went to the Seychelles was to see MBZ,” referring to Mohammed bin Zayed, the United Arab Emirates’ crowned prince. “Never has so much been made about so little,” Prince texted when the story broke.

In a phone interview Thursday, Prince said, “No one from the Trump transition team knew I was going,” referring to the meeting that involved members of UAE government.

Prince acknowledges meeting with Russian businessman Kirill Dmitriev on the island, but reiterated his testimony that the meeting was both unplanned and not about any Trump-Moscow ties.

Prince says the only political conversation was superficial, Dmitriev brought up his wishes that America and Russia could have a better relationship, to which Prince said he agreed, and, “if Stalin and Roosevelt could come together to defeat Nazi fascism then Putin and Trump could come together to defeat Islamic fascism.”
. . .
“This is a circular firing-squad argument,” Prince said, before leaving the country for a business meeting, ”If the left’s fantasy of collusion is true, why does a meeting two months after election matter at all.”

California Democrat and Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell told CNN that during Prince's testimony, he “never gave the name George Nader. If he met with George Nader, he lied under oath.”

Prince, who testified without an attorney present, says his comments about meetings with the UAE government, its advisers and delegations in the Seychelles cover Nader who worked for the Emiratis.

Now Schiff wants Prince to testify again before the committee; Prince tells Fox News, “There is no need. Schiff is grasping at straws, and his feelings were hurt when I scolded them about leaking my work I did as a CIA” (nonofficial cover officer — the most dangerous of intelligence work).
Say, who was at that meeting you had in late 2016?

Russian trolls contacted Trump campaign officials through Facebook messages: report.
At least one account messaged the Facebook page for the Florida arm of the Trump campaign, called “Florida For Trump.”

The employee who responded to one of the Russian accounts thanked the person for their “enthusiasm, creativity and support” for Trump. The staffer then gave the account the email address for the Trump campaign’s Florida communications director.
Oh My! I'm pretty sure they contacted me on Facebook too. I ignored them.

Trump Lawyers Seek Deal With Mueller to Speed End of Russia Probe.  Go through the link at Drudge to read it:  TRUMP WANTS MUELLER DEAL...
The president’s legal team is considering telling Mr. Mueller that Mr. Trump would agree to a sit-down interview based on multiple considerations, including that the special counsel commit to a date for concluding at least the Trump-related portion of the investigation. One idea is to suggest a deadline of 60 days from the date of the interview, the person said.

Another consideration for the legal team is reaching an agreement with Mr. Mueller on the scope of his questioning of the president, which they expect to focus largely on his decision to fire former national security adviser Mike Flynn and former FBI director James Comey, according to people familiar with the matter.
 He should give Mueller a date to wrap it up, and fixed budget.

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