6/3/17

On May 25th, the WaPo came out with one of its now standard, at least once a week, front page “screaming” headline concerning “new” allegations relating to the Trump-Russia investigation.
 
The headline read: “Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation.”

If you read the first paragraph it eggs it on:

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters

 
So here are few problems:

  • The elections, if I am not mistaken, were held in November. How could a December meeting relate to the “meddling” in the elections?
  • We already knew of some meetings between Kushner and the Russian ambassador in December. That is not news.
  • Indeed, if you bother to actually read the whole article you get to the stage where the article says that the WaPo was NOT told that Kushner is a target or a central focus. A nice roundabout way of saying that, to the best of their knowledge, he is not either of those and, further, that meetings such as these are not illegal. Nice.

So, why the front page screaming headline? And why the first paragraph; both between them create the impression that this is a big deal when it is not?

This so called “revelation” was followed up by a week of continued headlines regarding this matter by various media outlets, each adding a bit of coal to the … well there is no fire, so just more smoke.
 
When asked about some of the issues in these revelations, a Russia spokesman called the latest “scoop” McCarthyism.

I strongly believe that Russia, actually Putin, is part of the evil in the world, but I have to say that this time I think the Russians are correct.

The hysteria and agitation created by Democrats, supported by the absolutely deplorable media, is nothing short of a witch-hunt, as the President called it, or McCarthyism, as the Russians called it.
 
In his recent testimony on this subject before Congress, former CIA director John Brennen said a few things of interest:

  • Quote: “It should be clear to everyone that Russia brazenly interfered” in the 2016 election.
  • He was the first US official to alert the Obama administration back in the summer of 2016 about the intervention because he was very alarmed by it
  • Quote: “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign.”

 
John Brennen is the worst CIA director in my memory. He is a political hack and contributed no end to the politicization of the CIA. But that is by the by.
 
A few comments:

  1. Starting an FBI investigation into the presidential campaign of an opposing candidate sounds very much like Banana Republic tactics. Right? That is a tried and tested tactic of every tin-pot dictator. One hopes that the US is much different. Therefore, one has to assume that in order to justify such an unprecedented move of investigating an opposing party’s presidential campaign, the concerns and the information that Brennan refers to above in his testimony were both serious and credible.

    

If this is the case, how come 12 months and 100 FBI agents later we have absolutely ZERO. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Even with all the leaks, we simply have zero. Not one indictment, not a leak, anything amounting to anything. How can that be? We have an investigation into a “brazen interference” (Brennan), into the foundation of our democracy (according to other hype by many Democrats), into serious credible allegation of collusion (otherwise why start the investigation in the first place) but a year later we can prove nothing? What does this say about the FBI? Or, more seriously, is it not time to admit that it is a witch-hunt and/or McCarthyism?


  2. If the level of concern within the Obama Administration was so high, why did they not do more—much more—to counter that threat to our democracy? If it was too late to stop the leaks, why did they not do much more to go public and worn the American voters about it? They did publish an unclassified report about these allegations a month before the election, but surely they could have done much more. Is there ANY possible explanation for that dichotomy? On the one hand, the administration is VERY worried about an effort by Russia to harm the free and fair elections—the foundation of the US democracy—AND it has CREDIBLE information of collusion in such effort by  the Trump campaign (if this was not the case then starting an investigation on flimsy basis against the presidential campaign of an opponent is probably THE WORST scandal in American political history), yet the administration is very low key about it until AFTER the elections. Then they impose the “punishment” on Russia in the form of sanctions and ejecting dozens of diplomats, an action which generates huge headlines.

    

Why not do it before and expose the efforts by the Russians before the elections?

    

The only possible explanation was that the Administration was convinced that these efforts are much less of a big deal than what they are trying to portray them now AND that they are actually not working. IE that all the hoopla that we now are hearing about is Monday Morning Quarterbacking (wow, this is probably the first ever sports metaphor that I used in any of my posts…) trying to invent an issue where none existed.


  3. The Clinton campaign did make a big deal of the Russia intervention allegations by repeatedly referencing it more or less on a daily basis. Attacking the Trump campaign about their supposed collusion with the Russians. How did they know about it when we did not? Could it be that the Administration felt that having the Clinton campaign using this information is the best method of countering this nuisance and that it actually was working? Could it be that given the lack of anything serious here, the combined decision of the Administration and Clinton campaign is to leave it in the campaign arena as opposed to try and make something out of nothing?


  4. A point that Democrats work overtime to make us forget, and Republicans are too stupid to make, is the WikiLeaks’ information about the DNC and Podesta e-mails was actually TRUE. So, is the suggestion that the American public was better off voting not knowing the truth? Having less transparency? Or is the suggestion that the Russians had to leak Trump campaign information, too, to be fair? What if they could not get Trump campaign information? It is not even as if they made a serious hacking attempt. They did not make a BIG effort to get the DNC and Podesta e-mails, they simply tried a very basic hack and got lucky. They got it, so they leaked it. They did not get the RNC and Trump’s e-mails (using the same low level efforts), so they did not.


  5. The most important point to make is this: Nothing that Russians have done is unusual or different from what they have done in prior elections or what the US does in Russian elections or other countries. True, the use of cyber tools is probably new, but that is a result of the advance of technology and our reliance on it. In prior elections, same things were done through media disinformation, etc. In the past, the US has used, say, the Voice of America extensively as an official way to influence opinion and shape events in Russia and in the process cause all kinds of political upheaval. But when it is the US that does it, we accept it as part of the normal actions of the Good versus the Evil. When evil does it, we used to accept it as part of what evil does and largely ignored it.

 
There is simply no there, there. Russia did not do anything unusual and certainly had very little success in what they did and zero effect on the final outcome of the elections.
 
The whole thing is the absolute perfect definition of a storm in a teacup. Generated by Democrats, magnified by the hostile media, all in a frantic effort to hide what seems like the biggest scandal of it all: Obama administration efforts at manipulating the elections and meddling badly in the Trump transition efforts after the elections.
 
The success they are having in doing that—and in the process sewing serious discontent in the country—is amazing and a testament to the atrocious level of media partisanship and lack of professionalism on the one hand and on the other hand of how the Republicans, including this White House, are simply terrible at the art of communications.
 
The genius of what the democrats are doing is that they are using their eloquence and close to total control of the media to generate so much smoke that the country, indeed the whole world, forget that there is no fire. Nothing. The total inability of Republicans starting from the White House down to counter that is simply astounding.
 
We are at a stage where the mantra is, “it is good that we have the investigation, let’s see where ‘the facts’ takes us.”

Investigation into what? What about the enormous damage that this investigation is doing? What about the real issues that are not getting investigated, like Clinton’s e-mail matter and the Obama administration’s efforts to interfere in the elections and meddle with the Trump transition?
 
Kafka could not have written a more frustrating story.