Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 01, 2018

NYT Writes Epic Cover For Comey's FBI - Its Sole Source: "Officials Said"

Updated below

In July 2016 the FBI under its director James Comey launched an investigation against the Donald Trump campaign and "Russian influence" on it.

Comey and the FBI is under pressure to explain why they launched this investigation. The assumption has been that the Steele dossier, fabricated by a former British agent hired by the Clinton campaign, was handed to the FBI and led to the launch of its investigation.

If that is true (as it likely is), the FBI and Comey are in deep trouble. The dossier was full of hearsay and abstruse rumors. It was obviously made up and fake stuff paid for by Trump's opponent. To use it to launch an official investigation against a candidate in the presidential election and to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign stinks of partisan motives and may well have been a criminal offense.

On Saturday the New York Times came up with a story that is designed to usher the question away and to give cover to the FBI.

The headline already tells the reader what to believe: How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt

See - it wasn't the Clinton paid Steele dossier that triggered the FBI!

The NYT presents a wild story, with epic details and with lots of obfuscation to confuse the reader. At the core is a minor member of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, who was mostly in London while communicating via email with the campaign staff in the U.S. Papadopoulos advised on foreign policy and tried to build contacts between the campaign and foreign government officials. (He helped to set up a meeting between candidate Trump and the President of Egypt Sisi.)

In the words of the NYT authors:

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

... two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, ...

The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.

The claim that the Papadopoulos rumor, detailed extensively in the NYT piece, triggered an FBI investigation does not seem plausible.

A drunk campaign aid of Trump tells some Aussie diplomat that the Russians have dirt on Clinton. He claims to have learned that from some mysterious Professor Mifsud who was trying to set up a Trump-Putin meeting with the hope to profit from the effort. The professor was some kind of imposter. He also allegedly arranged a meeting for Papadopoulos with "Putin's nice". Both of Putin's siblings died at child's age during the World War II siege of Leningrad - he has no niece. Whatever Mifsud claimed was probably not true. (Update: Alexander Mercouris argues that Papadopoulos is making false claims of what Mifsud told him.)

The Australian diplomat heard from a drunk Papadopoulos that some weird professor claimed to have heard from Russian sources that the Kremlin had dirt on Clinton. Two month later the Aussies tell their U.S. colleagues of that claim. It is fourth degree hearsay when it it reaches the FBI:

Once the information Mr. Papadopoulos had disclosed to the Australian diplomat reached the F.B.I., the bureau opened an investigation that became one of its most closely guarded secrets.

Are we really to believe that the FBI opens highly political investigations based on mere drunken rumors? That sounds implausible to me.

In early July 2016 the former British agent Steele had given the first parts of his dossier to an FBI agent in Rome. (Here is a cheat sheet on the dossier and its content timeline.) The dossier at that time included an alleged wild night in the Ritz Moscow which the Kremlin could use to blackmail Trump. It also included a trip one Carter Page had made to Moscow. The FBI opened its investigation after Steele had shown his claims to an FBI agent. But the NYT claims that the Steele dossier was not what tripped the investigation. It claims that a rumor that some Aussie diplomat had picked up from a drunken Trump campaign aid was the decisive point.

On what grounds does the NYT make that implausible claim?

A team of F.B.I. agents traveled to Europe to interview Mr. Steele in early October 2016. Mr. Steele had shown some of his findings to an F.B.I. agent in Rome three months earlier, but that information was not part of the justification to start an counterintelligence inquiry, American officials said.

And there you have it: "American officials said" is all what the NYT has. "American officials" in Washington press parlance, includes members of congress and even their senior staff. "Officials said" that the Steele dossier was not the basis of the FBI investigation but an unrelated  fourth level hearsay.

The revelation that the most important point of the NYT story, which the headline screams as fact, is solely based on "officials say" comes only in paragraph 40 of the 51 paragraph story. One wonders how many readers read that far.

That the claim is implausible is also suggested by an additional fact. The FBI officially interviewed Steele, the author of the Clinton paid dossier, in October 2016. It waited until January 2017 to interview Papadopoulos. If the hearsay from the drunken Papadopoulos was so important that it triggered the investigation - and not the Steele dossier - why did the FBI neglect him that long?

The Saturday NYT story claims that the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign, which was tightly supervised by Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, was based on some rumor out of London and not based on the Steele dossier. Its sole source for that is "officials said".

Update: Just last April the NYT claimed that it was the Carter Page trip to Moscow, publicly known but also reported in the Steele dossier, that triggered the investigation:

Ever since F.B.I. investigators discovered in 2013 that a Russian spy was trying to recruit an American businessman named Carter Page, the bureau maintained an occasional interest in Mr. Page. So when he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau’s attention.

That trip last July was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials.

Which is it NYT? Was it the Carter Page trip or the blabbermouth of George Papadopoulos that triggered the investigation. Or was it indeed the Steele dossier as Senator Lindsay Graham assumes? - end UPDATE

The long story, dropped over a weekend where few people had time to check the details, is obviously a cover up for the FBI.

At least parts of the FBI and the Justice Department were convinced that they had to do everything and anything to make it impossible that Trump would win the election. They used the fake stories from the Clinton paid dossier to justify an investigation of Trump and to spy on the Trump campaign. This was an obvious attempt by a federal agency to interfere in the election on one side of a presidential campaigns. Heads should role for this. If the Republicans in Congress who are investigating the issue are halfway awake they will further dig into this and expose the culprits.

Then again - why not keep quiet and use similar means during the next election? One wonders how the Democrats will feel about the issue when this table is turned on them.

Posted by b on January 1, 2018 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

Comments

Ain't gravity a bitch to those lead-filled trial balloons? P O P!

Posted by: John | Jan 1, 2018 12:56:46 PM | 1

Downer, the aussie diplomat/ex foreign minister is as corrupt as they come. Timor cabinet offices built and bugged with aussie aid. Screwed out of their sunrise gas field by foriegn minister Downer, which is acquired by Woodside, Downer becomes high paid 'consultant' to Woodside after leaving politics.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 1, 2018 1:06:43 PM | 2

None other than Lindsay Graham is now calling for a new prosecutor based on the ineptitude of the current prosecutor. Alexander Mercouris, today in the Duran, also has a piece on this newest NYTimes stuff, paralleling b's remarks above, and also pointing to the peculiar delay in investigating Papadoupolous. Further, again, all his Russian connections are not government related, so that the investigation continues to scrape and insinuate due to the void in real evidence re the original charge of Putin tampering.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 1, 2018 1:08:59 PM | 3

"Are we really to believe that the FBI opens highly political investigations based on mere drunken rumors?" apparently, lol.. maybe as well believe everything else the nyt prints while you are at it too... i can't believe the fbi is this desperate to cover it's tracks this late in the game! i hope the fbi, or some of those within the fbi that set this dossier in motion pay a heavy price.. they can include mccain in the group too..

Posted by: james | Jan 1, 2018 1:17:05 PM | 4

Heads should roll for this. Probably, but US elite/establishment accountability is about as likely as a unicorn being discovered. This US accountability free zone has resulted in one thing and one thing only: Tyranny. There's simply no other word to describe the current US system. Robert Mugabee could only dream of this kind of system....and he lasted for decades...

Posted by: Stephen Kalil | Jan 1, 2018 1:20:41 PM | 5

I have a theory:

The Clintons are not stupid or careless. Self-inflicted “errors” like Hillary’s email problems and coyly playing with the press (“wiped - like with a cloth?”); Bill’s meeting with the AG on the tarmac; obvious DNC collusion; etc. are very strange coming from such seasoned politicians. In contrast to the Clinton’s self-interested bumbling Trump was always the most pro-military candidate (gonna take care of our veterans!) and said things that hinted that he was “chosen” such as that he could kill someone in Times Square and get away with it.

In this light, the dossier, bogus Russian meetings, and “hacking” seem contrived (by CIA?) to create an issue that would allow Trump to betray his base via a continued agressive FP. What Trump has essentially done is simply to replace a losing strategy (Jihadis) with a new - but no less agressive - approach. There is no peace in ME, no rapproachment with Russia.

Trump is acting just like the buffoons that preceded him: tax breaks for the wealthy and militarism - all cloaked by bullshit.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 1, 2018 1:35:57 PM | 6

emptywheel has an article up on this from a different angle..
quote from marcy - "So there’s no reason to believe the NYT story comes entirely — or even partially — from the FBI. It likely came from Papadopoulos and Australians, perhaps confirmed by former members of Congress."

Posted by: james | Jan 1, 2018 1:37:27 PM | 7

The murderer did not commit the murder, sources close to the murderer said.

Substitute "American officials said" for "sources close to the murderer said" and you have a standard NYT article.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jan 1, 2018 1:37:58 PM | 8

If the Russians really had any documents, why would they tout them to an idiot like Papadopoulos? Given the result if it was ever proved that Russia hacked the document, it's far more likely that the Russians would make an anonymous drop to some media outlet, and not necessarily Wikileaks. This also raises the point that if the Russians really were running Putin, they would already have established secure channels with the Trump campaign to handle such material.
Also, how did Papadopoulos and Downer end up in the same wine bar?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 1, 2018 2:01:15 PM | 9

Behind the Wash Post and FBI lurks the CIA which will try to provide cover for the FBI but will make them the patsy if it gets too hot.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jan 1, 2018 2:04:56 PM | 10

Sorry for sounding like a conspiracy theorist, but this is after all a bar. Pieces to consider... There is a rumor Julian Assam has gone missing with a mysterious tweet. Secondly, Robert Parry just suffered from a stroke just effecting his reading and writing capabilities. Question: Can you poison someone to produce a stroke? All of this happening on New Year's when nobody is paying attention.

Posted by: Michael | Jan 1, 2018 2:26:21 PM | 11

Sorry for the auto correct mistake... That's Julian Assange.

Posted by: Michael | Jan 1, 2018 2:28:04 PM | 12

Zerohedge has covered the subject already in https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-31/nyt-publishes-report-debunking-fbi-use-dossier-gets-shredded-immediately-fake-news

Posted by: s | Jan 1, 2018 3:03:18 PM | 13

Peter AU 1 @ 2: I would add to your remark that Alexander Downer reached the pinnacle of his incompetence on the coat-tails of his father's career which included being High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the same position Junior currently holds and in which capacity he was conversing with the drunken George Papadopoulos.

And there's also this gem about John Howard (with Alexander Downer's agreement as Foreign Minister) ordering AFP officers to abandon a compound of refugees in Dili to the tender mercies of the Indonesian military in September 1999:

Posted by: Jen | Jan 1, 2018 3:03:51 PM | 14

Intriguing yes, but nothing smoking either, but if it helps to bring the Dems down too, fine with me, let it all burn, all of it, it is rotten anyway, and if an innocent burns along, too bad, you are collateral, cant avoid when we cleanse, better that than we miss a guilty! (Stalin said so)

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 1, 2018 3:07:40 PM | 15

Tyranny.. maybe a description less democratic might fit better?

I like Jackrabbit's theory and suggest..Trump betrayal of his base to cover for no peace in ME and no rapproachment with Russia. Consider White house/MBS/Israel Sanctionary Plan (evict Palestinians into military surrounded settlement Jordian controlled state), protect the corporate owned oil and gas in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and aggression to Russia and Iran at all costs, but see. https://southfront.org/kataib-hezbollah-threatens-to-force-washington-to-withdraw-troops-from-iraq/
CLINTON, FBI, everybody's false flag.. At every campaign speech I heard Trump say over and over he supports Settlements...?

Posted by: smellyoilandgas.com | Jan 1, 2018 3:08:27 PM | 16

Oh dear the link fell out of my comment @ 14. Here it is:
https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/world/asia-pacific/2015/12/19/the-truth-about-john-howards-east-timor-liberation/14504436002769

Posted by: Jen | Jan 1, 2018 3:09:34 PM | 17

Read Alexander Mercouris on The Duran. He is reasoning the same way with some extra details.
Why is all this important? The Deep State is planning for war with Russia. They can do it only without Trump.

Posted by: Bajoran | Jan 1, 2018 3:09:35 PM | 18

So, during the "lull", a question that has been troubling me -- if, as Snowden disclosed, the NSA has the capacity to record and retain every inter-computer communication, then why hasn't the recording of "the downloading of the DNC emails by an unidentified third party" (allegedly Russian hackers) been disclosed to counter the widely-held belief that the material supplied to Wikileaks came as a result of a "leak" and not a "hack".

Posted by: chet380 | Jan 1, 2018 3:15:00 PM | 19

Major mistake to buy into party politics as being behind this. Trump is Backed by the mafia, which includes the Russian-Israeli mafia and oligarchs, many of whom if not all reside and/or operate in the US. They needed a cover and are using the Russian government/Putin to provide it.

As for which side the FBI was on. Lest we forget Comey also announced he was reopening the Hillary investigation right before the election. That had far more effect on the election than the Russian investigation which really did not get all that much play before the election. Also, consider who leaked the Hillary emails since it was not Russia? And why is FBI providing cover for the real leakers?.


This has all the signs of a Deep State Operation to get Trump (the man, not the party) ) in office while providing a cover for his Russian-Israeli backers. NYT and the liberal media simply playing their role to divide the population among party lines but their attacks on Trump have no teeth and they protect the deep state , mafia and Israel who are all interlinked

Ask yourself why were the Steele documents not played up by even the liberal media before the election. Why were Trumps mafia connections downplayed as was his History of sexual assault including allegations of an underage girl. Sure, all of it was mentioned here and there but not hammered at and emphasized like Hillary's emails. Hillary was a potential obstacle to Deep State since she knew too much . There was a possibility she could go rogue like Nixon and JFK both of whom were taken out by the Deep State/mafia. Trump has so much dirt on him he is easily controllable. Nothing more than a puppet playing his role and like Reagon has acting experience. Comedy and Tragedy in one sitting. Clap Clap

Posted by: Pft | Jan 1, 2018 3:45:52 PM | 20

Robert Parry's article describing effect of his stroke and covering other issues.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/31/an-apology-and-explanation/

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 1, 2018 3:46:04 PM | 21

The attribution could have been worse: "Sources close to American officials"

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jan 1, 2018 3:48:18 PM | 22

Re: smellyoilandgas.com | Jan 1, 2018 3:08:27 PM | 16 --

Trump regularly breaks his word to people and those he has contracts with. He doesn't need a reason other than his innate greed. As a New Jerseyan, I met more than one contractor while repairing my house who told me of their friends in the business who had been cheated by Ttump, most ending up in bankruptcy. Trump simple does not believe that he should pay an agreed upon amount of money and regularly does not make final payments. Bad man, bad results for those without power.

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 1, 2018 3:49:30 PM | 23

Thanks for the link Jen.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 1, 2018 5:15:25 PM | 24

Dear b,

Can't agree dude. Ask yourself if your story is true how is it that Comey stepped into the ring two weeks out from the election to put the final nail in the tired old whore's coffin.?

Comey fucked Hillary over on Obama's order...period.

In other words Obama chose his successor...Trump.

Seven years in a row Obama goaded Trump at those dinners into running for President himself if he thought he could do a better job. Trump was the number one birther because he had already been chosen to be the next President after Obama. The birther issue was the lured of intrigue which pulled Trump into presidential power flows. Intoxicating. Weighing oneself against a sitting President. Critiquing a sitting President.

He was chosen and he was lured into the game b.

You have found out today that US Presidents choose their successors irrespective of party affiliation. Trump is the watchman appointed by the renegade people to be their king. Trump is the man selected to fulfil the role of the fierce king of Daniel 8. I don't care if you don't bbelieve in a God. I care that you understand their are people in power who believe they are walking the foothills of Armageddon and are convinced their part to play is righteous. Trump will bring astounding devastation.


Posted by: gut bugs galore | Jan 1, 2018 5:28:08 PM | 25

Dear b,

The White House Press Dinner's

Posted by: gut bugs galore | Jan 1, 2018 5:30:07 PM | 26

@8 WorldBLee - "The murderer did not commit the murder, sources close to the murderer said."

That's a wonderful line. Thank you.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 1, 2018 5:33:54 PM | 27

Jrabbit @ 6 said:"Trump is acting just like the buffoons that preceded him: tax breaks for the wealthy and militarism - all cloaked by bullshit."

Yep,bottom line truths IMO...

Posted by: ben | Jan 1, 2018 5:54:13 PM | 28

WorldBLee, Grieved: you both could be referring to whoever murdered Seth Rich.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 1, 2018 6:44:40 PM | 29

"When Fusion GPS lost funding from its Republican client, the contract for the opposition research project was picked up in April 2016 by Marc Elias, an attorney representing the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C., the Post reports. Through Elias’s law firm, Perkins Coie, the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C. continued to fund Steele’s research through the end of October."

Full article:https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/10/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-dossier

Posted by: ben | Jan 1, 2018 7:06:10 PM | 30

@25 I don't mean to argue but would wonder on your second note in the chain, blaming Comey. Clinton was done far far before anything Comey could do at the last minute. In the summer. By then the emails had been released (however that release occurred) to show how she had twisted Sanders away from the nomination and had questions re The Clinton Foundation.

I think Jack Rabbit's question hits the money in that they KNOW what happened. My question is how come the Clintons would have so much clout to control the story away from their shenanigans? It must leak over into significant parts of the Democratic Party itself. PS I may be wrong on this--Crowdstrike is responsible for Guccifer 2.0, at the behest of Hillary.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 1, 2018 8:19:39 PM | 31

Thanks ghost ship @9. I too find it mighty queer that these two and some female others met at the same bar. Certainly Downer is an arrogant braggard and seemingly the opposite of dullard Papodoulos. This seems like a prearranged meeting si I guess a 'meeting between Downer and Trump' was on the agenda.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 1, 2018 8:22:38 PM | 32

@31 supplementary on Crowdstrike activity (intelligence service hired by Hillary Clinton after the leaks/hacks became public):

http://theduran.com/how-crowdstrike-placed-malware-in-the-dnc-server/

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 1, 2018 8:34:37 PM | 33

@Pft, 20:

...why were the Steele documents not played up by even the liberal media before the election.
Actually, the dossier and "golden showers" nonsense was first "shopped around" in late October. David Corn supposedly received a copy but didn't publish anything because he couldn't verify it.

Posted by: William Rood | Jan 1, 2018 10:35:20 PM | 34

Trump, like every President, wants to keep the Democrat vs. Repub. narrative alive. In many ways, it satisfies the peoples' need for catharsis to vent their frustrations of the wasteland that is American politics with partisan criticism. And just like how Trump did not appoint a special prosecutor for HRC, he will let this all slide, or, rather, milk it for tweets to keep his base sated, but no charges will be brought, with the exception of maybe a lower-level scapegoat that EVERYONE hates. I would love to see heads roll, too, but I am starting to feel gamed here. Was HRC vs. Trumpinator just a battle for ego-supremacy? Was there anything really on the line?

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 1, 2018 10:50:27 PM | 35

Yeah the Pravda on the Hudson like Luke Harding at the Guardian and the WaPo are part of the "resistance". The propaganda arm of the "progessives". Democrat partisans who were diehard Obamanites and Clintonistas were put in place in all the top positions at the FBI, CIA, and NSA. The DNI Clapper and CIA Brennan clearly were heavy lifters among the cabal that included Lynch, Sally Yates and her deputy Bruce Ohr at DOJ and of course Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his squeeze Lisa Page at the FBI.

The partisan info-op to defeat a presidential campaign and then to oust an elected president must be obfuscated lest there's momentum among the people for the declassification and release of all documents in all of this including the FISA warrant application and communications among all these muckety mucks.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 1, 2018 11:10:39 PM | 36

@ NemesisCalling who wrote "...but I am starting to feel gamed here."...

The game is Apprentice Plutocrat and either the Clintons were going to double dip or Trump would get his shot, and here we are.

If Clinton II were to be prosecuted for war crimes, treason, murder or whatever else has been reported then perhaps the threads of the curtain in front of the puppets might get a bit thin. And we couldn't have that now, could we?

With the Intertubes the perfidy of the elite is shown some light but the signal to noise level is still quite low and now further compromised by the FCC ruling letting money control access.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 1, 2018 11:17:29 PM | 37

@37 psycho

A Trump presidency to pull back the curtain might have been a long shot, but a man can dream can't he?

Awwww...nuts.

The FCC thing has me thinking that it could be entirely $-related and an apolitical decision, meaning it isn't there to restrict "proporn" sites like b's. Indeed, counter-fake news outlets like b's was a moot point if Trump was still elected and if he truly is Neolibcon v2.0. But it is indeed another tool in the war chest that may prove useful down the road as they continue to align the stars for a perfect blackout of organized dissent.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 2, 2018 12:23:56 AM | 38

"Are we really to believe that the FBI opens highly political investigations based on mere drunken rumors? That sounds implausible to me."

Nonsense.

Downer was Aussie Foreign Minister between 1996-2007, under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. He would have been known to every senior US Defense, State Dept and Intelligence official in those administrations as a completely reliable US supporter in the Pacific. He was definitely a Five-Eyes insider at the highest level and was not just some minor diplomat, even at the time of his meeting with Papadopoulos. P knew that Downer was a conservative who worked well with the Bush team and probably figured he would enjoy a bit of Hillary-hate. Big mistake. Aussie politicians left and right are immune to the GOP disease being all about the Alliance. Papadopoulos may as well have taken out a full page ad in the NYT. Dumb as a bunch of rocks.

Downer reported the Papadopoulos allegations on Hillary emails to Australian Intelligence as would be expected of him. The Australians sat on the information for over a month before deciding that they had to inform their Five-Eyes ally. The issue of potential foreign interference in US elections was too serious not to be conveyed to the FBI. But the Australians were hesitant. They have always been loathe to involve themselves in US domestic politics for fear of jeapordizing the defence alliance. And they definitely were not seeking the kind of publicity that has followed the NYT expose of this incident.

The FBI would be expected to take seriously this report from a trusted ally and a high level diplomat who had long-standing and credible links to US officials at every level.

But keep rabbiting on about how this is all a grand Democrat conspiracy. God knows, there will always be fools ready to believe you.

Posted by: Fred Smith | Jan 2, 2018 2:05:34 AM | 39

One of the mysteries of 2016 campaign is why, after all these years, Democrats did not learn the art of mudslinging (offense, defense) to a degree that would approximate GOP. On defense, why the party establishment settled on the rather hapless Mrs. Clinton? GOP was developing her negative for years, to mentioned few old themes, a collection of murders attributed to her name, smuggling drugs, being bribed by Russians to allow them to corner uranium market, plus fresher stories on her e-mail server, causing deaths in Benghazi and lying about it, being in the pocket of bankers and fat cats from all over the world (including Russians, per uranium story) and on and on.

Clintons built a fundraising machine, and were well positioned to be kingmakers and having huge influence, but without charisma of young Mr. Clinton, they were not suited for the front role. Period. The "dirt" attributed to possibly Russian hacking had marginal role at best. Back during Levinsky affair, Bill Clinton saved his skin for the same reason Ms. Levinsky successfully chased after him -- he was a charmer. Which Mrs. Clinton never was, but Trump is.

Trump himself was a rich target, with a trail of bankruptcy, reneged deals, sleazy "Trump university", general sleaze, incoherent promises, so what did Clintonites settled on? "Praising Putin" etc. Then there are other dubious liberal strategies to "mobilize minorities" and give up the groups that I personally call "hunters", somewhat religious white working class from the countryside, including Vermont, with grievances and "against the establishment". But cherishing their weapons, weary of "defense of reproductive rights" etc.

Clinton machine managed to raise, and waste, about a billion in campaign money. Trump was much weaker fundraiser, but a big bunch of billionaires and lesser very rich folks supported GOP campaigns, including attacking Clinton using mostly themes I have mentioned. History suggests that it is best to settle on some nuggets (select some stinking stories) and repeat them mercilessly, leaving the more preposterous for clandestine websites -- like "Clinton murders". I have seen links to those murders in many places as "supported content". We are not taking about few thousands dollars spent here or there, but nine to ten digit numbers.

=======

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 2, 2018 2:46:47 AM | 40

Two issues must be kept separate:

1) Russiagate was a criminal conspiracy by the Clinton campaign, the FBI, and DOJ to steal the US presidential elections of 2016 and prevent the Trump presidency. It had little to do with any evidence, real or fabricated.

2) What evidence was presented in the two FISA court applications in July and September 2016? If the Papadopoulos story is true, then it should have been included. We will know when the documents are finally leaked to the public. So far, it seems even President Trump has not seen them.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jan 2, 2018 2:51:35 AM | 41

The Deep State is planning for war with Russia. They can do it only without Trump.

Posted by: Bajoran | Jan 1, 2018 3:09:35 PM | 18

I know that one can present evidence in this direction, but on balance, I do not think so. Remember the principle: nothing is as it appears, so extra checks and tests are needed.

Evidence for "planning war":

1. Ukraine (before, Georgia). However, this is a "mini-war", and Trump himself is mini-escalating (more lethal supplies to Ukraine). Larger escalation may lead to the same type of debacle as it happened in Georgia.

2. First strike. USA embarked on a very expensive program of increasing the accuracy of nuclear missiles, and (less expensive) improving intelligence so it would be possible to wipe out Russian nuclear weapons "in one shot". The few remaining weapons would be handled by anti-missile systems. It is definitely a marvelous boondogle, so is the plan to waste a big pile of resources, or to bankrupt Russia with arms race, or indeed, use it all and achieve world domination. On the aftermath, Ango-Saxon elite could make a good living by extracting tribute from other countries (???), without necessity of actually directly controlling a meaningful production base.

However, my impression is that there is a "thinking kernel" of the "deep state" that is actually realistic. For example, one can easily calculate that conquering and controlling Iran would require at least three times more resources than for Iraq, and the latter already stretched the manpower and budget to the breaking point. And every time when it mattered there was an effective resistance within the military to the war option in respect of Iran. The risks of the first strike are many orders of magnitude larger.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 2, 2018 3:16:00 AM | 42

Bajoran @18:

Iran is the target. All this mess is due to the World moving away from the USD for trade, with the Chinese and Russians leading the way.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 2, 2018 4:49:02 AM | 43

Is there any evidence that the “Alexander Downer” named in the NYT article is the same as the former AUS foreign minister, etc? He’s described only as “a diplomat”. It would seem odd to me that the lowly Mr Papadopoulos would meet with some top fish (the Downer ex-foreign minister). An (accidental ?) meeting with a medium level diplomat stationed in London doesn’t seem completely out of place, though.

If that meeting took place and Mr Papadopoulos did indeed babble too much (and assuming that the medium level AUS diplomat stayed sober enough…), then possibly yes, the info might have been passed up the food chain and a warning sent to the US.

Posted by: Philippe | Jan 2, 2018 4:49:42 AM | 44

Phillippe @44

Alexander Downer is the former Foreign Minister of Australia. He is currently the Australian High Commissioner to the UK (equivalent to Ambassador for British Commonwealth countries). It is common for the US and UK posts to be offered to former senior politicians in Australia.

Posted by: dynkyd | Jan 2, 2018 5:23:57 AM | 45

>>>> Philippe | Jan 2, 2018 4:49:42 AM | 44

Is there any evidence that the “Alexander Downer” named in the NYT article is the same as the former AUS foreign minister, etc?

Read his Wikipedia entry.

As a diplomat I would have expected him to give a balanced report on his meeting with Papadopoulos but as a politician, not so much........

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 2, 2018 5:30:04 AM | 46

Phillippe @44

See my detailed post @39. Alexander Downer was Australia's Foreign Minister from 1996-2007. He had extensive high level contacts with Clinton and Bush administration officials. He had close contacts with Bush and Rumsfeld following 9/11. The Aussie PM at the time, John Howard, had offered Aussie military support for the planned Bush invasion of Iraq which was known to Downer and Howard in Feb 2002(!) way before the rest of the world found out about Bush's intentions. That's how much of a political insider he was, that Bush and Rumsfeld could trust him with the knowledge of their Iraq invasion plans 12 months before the rest of the world. So, any suggestion that Downer is a Hillary ally or has some agenda against Republicans is complete rubbish.

Posted by: Fred Smith | Jan 2, 2018 6:22:29 AM | 47

i want to ask Peter AU to confirm if you are the same guy sith Peter_AUS handle in UNZ commentary site , because the Peter AUS in that site are acting like childish troll and acting like crazy warmonger and hasbara all rolled into one..

if you are the same guy then congratulation on acting restrained here pretending to be normal poster while totally gone neocon troll on other sites

Posted by: milomilo | Jan 2, 2018 6:53:52 AM | 48

However, my impression is that there is a "thinking kernel" of the "deep state" that is actually realistic.
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 2, 2018 3:16:00 AM | 42

There must be a reason they want to oust Trump so desparately. Despite they get from this guy all they want. 450 bio $ thru tax reduction, 40 bio $ extra for their military. It's not enough. The only time they love this guy is when he bombs someone or threats someone with nuclear exhaustion. Can't you see it? Their hatred of Russia is for real. I'm living in Germany. This country is controlled by the transatlantic people almost totally. And what they are doing all day long? Fearmongering because of Russia, demonising Putin.... I'm with Paul Craig Roberts in this regard.
My only hope is some real change in my home country. There is one thing the german people don't want: war. And there is one country without you can't go into war with Russia: Germany. So it may be illusional. But I hope that in the end my people wake up and kick all the transatlantic scum out of the country.

Posted by: Bajoran | Jan 2, 2018 7:02:17 AM | 49

@45, 46 - Yes I mostly know who he is.
Hmm, so I managed to miss the fact that the former foreign AUS minister “Alexander Downer” is currently based in London and in some sort of diplomatic job. Makes him a possible candidate for the NYT person, although he doesn’t really match the NYT person based on the article. Yes I know who he is. Still, any possibility that another “Alexander Downer” is currently posted in London for the AUS diplomatic corps? I’m under the impression that quite a few people people carry the name Downer ( I know two who live here, one is USian, the other Australian, both first name John).

Fred Smith @47. Per your description, that makes him a insider in the US plutocracy, but not necessarily someone on Trumps side. Rather the opposite, I suspect the guy to be on the “evil Russia/ evil Putin” side.

Posted by: Philippe | Jan 2, 2018 7:43:46 AM | 50

50 "Yes I know who he is. Still, any possibility that another “Alexander Downer” is currently posted in London for the AUS diplomatic corps?"
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-31/downer-announced-as-australias-high-commissioner-to-london/5355536
A picture of the prick in the link.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 2, 2018 8:09:34 AM | 51

milomilo 48

Fuck off cunt, and no. When I first started posting on blogs, I posted as Peter. That moved to Peter AU, and then Peter AU 1.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 2, 2018 8:17:56 AM | 52

I take it you work for the Australian government or Downer milomilo?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 2, 2018 8:39:38 AM | 53

milomilo 48

UNZ Review has a search function allowing to search by commenter. It shows no results for the user name Peter_AUS you have put up. Nor your user name for that matter.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 2, 2018 9:06:35 AM | 54

Peter AU1...

I'm familiar with the clown PeterAUS on Unz...

There is no similarity...PeterAUS has some shall we say 'issues'...

We have figured out from his mysterious references to Game of Thrones...which baffled those of us who have no idea what this game is about...

...well it turns out that he appears to be an avid 'gamer' who lives in a sort of fantasy world...

He regularly comments about his alleged military career as an officer [of some unspecified armed forces] who had commanded a battalion-size unit...

The poor chap is quite comical...and is the source of much amusement for some of us...

I too have to wonder how anyone could mistake him for our Peter here...

Posted by: FB | Jan 2, 2018 1:31:58 PM | 55

I think it was gut bugs galore that said something about war with Russia...and Trump being the 'fierce-looking king' in Daniel 8...

Well...as a survivor of an evangelical childhood...I am quite familiar with all the biblical prophecies...

Like any good prophecy they are cryptic enough that you can take them to mean whatever you want them to mean...

I don't want to offend anyone here but it took me many years to realize the bible is full of self-contradictions...including the Gospels...

Of course the Bible is a hugely impressive piece of work assembled over a long long time...obviously by some quite capable thinkers and storytellers...

There is a lot of substance there to be sure...but every single denomination has their own interpretations and they quarrel viciously among themselves...

It is a poor substitute for real intellectual nourishment...such as the Great Thnker Aristotle...

As for war with Russia...it's not going to happen...the US and Nato are a paper tiger...

And going downhill fast...

What is more likely is intensification of the financial war already underway...British diplomat Alistair Crooke provides a good read on what we might expect on that front in the coming year...

Posted by: FB | Jan 2, 2018 1:55:23 PM | 56

Holy Smokes !

I went to the comments section (now closed) at the NYT for this story:
"How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt"

It is like there are two separate realities out there.

If you were to live solely off a diet of the NYT and WaPo then you would just have no clue !

You wouldn't know that this article has been thoroughly debunked and that the NYT should have it's head bowed in shame.

Here are four comments selected by the NYT as their top comments:

---------

NYT Pick

UK DC December 30, 2017


When will the honor of my country, outweigh the party loyalty.
I love my adopted country and very sad to see what is happening.
Russia, so brazenly attacking our democracy and all the GOP cares
about is to promote its ideology, shame...

2330 Recommend

---------

NYT Pick

David San Francisco December 30, 2017


This timeline is highly revealing, and perhaps while unintentional, we are reminded that the
FBI had no particular animus towards Trump nor his campaign but rather kept their investigations
under wraps to avoid political damage to the Trump candidacy. I wish they exercised this same
restraint when it came to the email 'bombshell' dropped just days before the election that
undoubtedly damaged Clinton.

3647 Recommend

---------

NYT Pick

Big Text Dallas December 30, 2017

Russia wasn't "colluding" with the Trump campaign, it was running it.
Why else would Trump be so obsessed with doing favors for and "business" with Russia,
a decrepit oligarchy whose economy is smaller than Florida's? No other presidential
campaign in history has been this involved with a foreign power, much less a hostile
foreign power like Russia. Spy novelist John Le Carre' said recently on Terri Gross'
"Fresh Air" program that world oligarchs are colluding, regardless of nationality to set
up puppet regimes and undermine traditional government worldwide, including the U.S.
Thus, the U.S. Koch Brothers and Putin find themselves in alignment, with the wealth
to dictate terms to any government or politician.

2831 Recommend

---------

NYT Pick

John M Portland, ME 2 days ago

The chilling bottom line here is that the 2016 presidential election was a tainted fraud.
If this election had been a jury trial, based on all of the new information that has come out,
a mistrial would have been declared by now and the verdict would have been thrown out by the judge.



As the article notes, critical, disqualifying information about Donald Trump and his campaign's
illegal contacts with Russia was deliberately withheld from the American people by the FBI and CIA.
As voters, we were not given all the relevant information we needed to make an informed decision.



While we were provided every scintilla of negative information about Hillary Clinton, large chunks
of critical information about Trump were covered up or withheld. We didn't even get to see his
tax returns!



The quadrennial presidential election is the crown jewel of American democracy.
Every action and every decision of every person and agency in government should defer to the
sacredness of the American voter in exercising his or her right to vote and being provided
with all relevant information.



If we can't preserve the integrity of our national elections, everything else about our democracy
is hollow and meaningless. The tragic story of the 2016 election is that the institutions that
should have been protecting our democracy, such as the FBI and the news media, chose to put their
own institutional needs ahead of those of the voting public.

Some democracy!

2014 Recommend

---------

Posted by: librul | Jan 2, 2018 2:28:52 PM | 57

Hey @57, I could draw the same conclusion about many of the posts here, including yours. Parallel universe. Not convinced at all by the arguments here.

Posted by: Fred Smith | Jan 2, 2018 6:04:11 PM | 58

@Peter AU

so straight answer , do you post regulary in UNZ as PeterAus ? is that your handle or not.

because if that's you then i applaud your acting skills here in MoA and in SST on how you can play the straight guy here and then go off the wall in UNZ acting like ziocon neocon warmonger

i am a lurker in MoA , SST , UNZ and many more , and i saw quite a bit of people acting restrained in highly moderated blog like SST (as Col Patrick Lang would instantly ban trolls/hasbaras) , then the same people would show their real deal in other forum.

lurker dont post much , mostly observes

Posted by: milomilo | Jan 2, 2018 9:39:09 PM | 60

@FB @55

many people especially astroturfers use different attitude when posting on different forum , in short they acted well and good when they post in a moderated forum with sharp moderator banning trolls and agitators..

these people only showed their real skin on barely moderated forum that allow them to go full bore crazy..

it's trademark of hasbara SOP

Posted by: milomilo | Jan 2, 2018 9:41:50 PM | 61

@ 63...

What's your problem...?

You are making a lot of stupid noises here...

I told you already...and so did peter...

Instead of apologizing you double down on your bullshit...

If you have something intelligent to say then do so... otherwise shut up and move on...

Posted by: FB | Jan 2, 2018 11:38:09 PM | 63

62
Lurkers also happen to hang around kiddies toilets (Bathrooms in the US).
I see you have only broken away from kiddies toilets after I posted the piece about Downer.
I take it for granted you work for Downer/AU government.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 2, 2018 11:53:29 PM | 64

Seems I hit a nerve with that comment on Downer milfuckingmilo. Like I did a few years back with my research on another subject when you bastards broke into my home.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 3, 2018 12:02:22 AM | 65

FB 65

Thanks for explanation and link to the PeterAUS commenter. I don't read UNZ Review much, only when someone has linked an article. Putting an underscore in the user name by milomilo was deliberate.
I have a fair idea about this milomilo character and who he/she belongs to/works for.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 3, 2018 12:38:33 AM | 66

In looking at the bipartisan corruption/deepstate in Australia, they seem to be a separate entity to the US deepstate, but partnered through five eyes.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 3, 2018 12:57:38 AM | 67

Gag orders on court cases involving Timor vs Australia, gag orders on several court cases involving ex PM Abbott who appointed Downer as ambassador to UK.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 3, 2018 1:03:20 AM | 68

ArioBarzan @60, Thank you. Now I understand something about the legitimate concerns of the Iranian people.

Posted by: Penelope | Jan 3, 2018 1:23:08 AM | 69

@Peter AU 1

Ha, ... It seems that without a distinguishable Australian 'foreign' policy these days there is little need for an Ambassador. Basically left to managed by the 'Occupying Entity' of Palestine no doubt.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-03/tim-fischer-criticises-trump-administration/9300920

Unlike that major (headache/risk) in the region called New Zealand.
https://nz.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/our-ambassador/

Posted by: x | Jan 3, 2018 1:28:45 AM | 70

Penelope@71
Thank you,
Can anyone please let me know how can I move this comment @60 to the appropriate article? I have tried reposting under that article as well but i think its detected as spam and doesnt show up,
Thank you

Posted by: ArioBarzan | Jan 3, 2018 2:08:53 AM | 71

"Ha, ... It seems that without a distinguishable Australian 'foreign' policy these days there is little need for an Ambassador"

Will second that x.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 3, 2018 3:09:00 AM | 72

It was always about the money laundering.
From today's Guardian:

Trump predicted in an interview with the New York Times last week that the special counsel was “going to be fair”, though he also said the investigation “makes the country look very bad”. The president and his allies deny any collusion with Russia and the Kremlin has denied interfering.

Bannon has criticised Trump’s decision to fire Comey. In Wolff’s book, obtained by the Guardian ahead of publication from a bookseller in New England, he suggests White House hopes for a quick end to the Mueller investigation are gravely misplaced.

“You realise where this is going,” he is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”

Last month it was reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner property empire. Bannon continues: “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.”

Posted by: peter | Jan 3, 2018 9:16:51 AM | 73

And then The Washington Post redeems itself a little, very little:

There’s still little evidence that Russia’s 2016 social media efforts did much of anything

We’ve known for some time that the various investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election were looking at whether people associated with the campaign of Donald Trump had helped guide the Russians’ digital efforts. Back in July we explored the idea that the Russian efforts to tamp down turnout for Hillary Clinton or boost support for Trump could have benefited from internal campaign data.

That idea was bolstered by a report from Yahoo News this week that investigators working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III were talking to staffers for the Republican National Committee who worked with the Trump campaign on voter targeting efforts. “They are seeking to determine if the joint effort was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate,” sources told Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff.

This plays into a popular sense of how the 2016 campaign unfolded. The Russians launched hundreds of Facebook ads, reaching millions of people in critical swing states. They unleashed thousands of fake Twitter accounts, which got retweeted hundreds of thousands of times. The targeting of users on Facebook in particular was described in various news reports as appearing to be “highly sophisticated” — naturally raising the question of whether the Russians had been aided in their efforts.

All of that, though, requires setting aside what we actually know about the Russian activity on Facebook and Twitter: It was often modest, heavily dissociated from the campaign itself and minute in the context of election social media efforts.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a series of examples of the sorts of ads purchased by the Russians in November. Many, as The Washington Post reported, focused on highlighting divisive cultural issues, like the Black Lives Matter movement and immigration.

Of the 30 ads shared by the Democrats, six, viewed 1.2 million times in total, ran in 2015. Only seven ran in the last month of the campaign, totaling about 340,000 views. The ads targeted none of the four closest states in the election — New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — specifically; most were national ad buys. States that were targeted specifically included Texas and New York, neither of which was considered a swing state.


The comments demonstrate that Americans can't handle this - a lot suggest The Washington Post has overlooked something or other.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 4, 2018 4:05:59 PM | 74

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