Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:57 pm

BenDhyan » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:53 pm wrote:According to Politico, seems Mueller has found nothing on Trump through Manafort...

Ryan Goodman

Guiliani appears to be the very one and only “a source close to the defense” that POLITICO is quoting.

@adamdavidson: “Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, ... told NPR and Politico that Manafort’s coöperation has nothing to do with Trump’s campaign.” ... s-on-trump … 3/

Manafort had to fork over Fifth Ave Properties ....that would be in trump tower

Robert Mueller just seized his first piece of Trump Tower

Roger Stone's BFF

... and he just pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States.



Count One conspiracy covers the time period he was on Trump campagin

Craig Unger

In charging doc, note #Manafort's use of #Lucicle as shell company for laundering $. Lucicle was in name of #IvanFursin, a key operative for Semion #Mogilevich who is the brains behind the RU Mafia, and whose operatives worked w Trump for more than 30 yrs.

he was at the trump tower meeting for god's sake

Flashback. August 19, 2016. Newt Gingrich: "Nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help get this campaign to where it is right now."


So Mueller's day (so far):

1) He just paid for the investigation.
2) He got the witness that EVEN TRUMP has said has the goods on him.

Manafort is cooperating.....what does Politico think that means?


Paul Manafort Will Give Robert Mueller “Complete Cooperation,” His Attorney Says

Inside the courtroom when Trump’s campaign chairman flipped.

Dan Friedman
September 14, 2018 4:22 PM

Paul Manafort defense lawyer Richard Westling, at federal court in Washington, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.Dana Verkouteren/AP

By the time Paul Manafort entered a packed courtroom on the second floor of the E. Barrett Prettyman US Courthouse in Washington at around 11 a.m. on Friday, everyone knew he was going to plead guilty and fess up to engaging in money laundering, undisclosed lobbying, and assorted other crimes. The question was whether the former Trump campaign chairman had flipped, offering to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation.

President Donald Trump, who has described cooperating witnesses as rats, has praised Manafort for refusing to aid Mueller’s probe and openly dangled the prospect of a pardoning Manafort if he stood strong. Defendants often plead guilty to avoid the added expense of trial, without a separate deal to cooperate. Just last month, Manafort’s lawyer said there said there was “no chance” that his client would assist Mueller. And reports on Thursday suggested that Manafort agreed to a plea but may have drawn a line at cooperating against Trump.

He hadn’t. About 20 minutes into Friday’s hearing, after Judge Amy Berman Jackson led Manafort through standard questions about his guilty plea, Andrew Weissmann, the Mueller deputy heading Manafort’s prosecution, said he wanted to clarify an agreement on when prosecutors will drop charges remaining against Manafort from his trial last month in Virginia. “On page two of the cooperation agreement,” Weissmann said, “section three, last two lines, the agreement is, it would be at at the time of sentencing or completion of successful cooperation, whichever is later.” Brief pause. Puzzled looks, then recognition. Manafort had flipped. “Bada bing bada boom,” as Manafort once wrote in an email. Reporters, barred from using electronics in the courtroom, hustled to the door.

In a dark suit, with hair gone grey since he was jailed in June for witness tampering, Manafort looked subdued. But had he executed a literal flip in the courtroom, it would hardly have been more noteworthy. After holding out for 10 months, the last few in prison, Manafort had given in and agreed to divulge what he knows to Mueller and his team.

Of course, it is possible that Manafort lacks information implicating Trump in wrongdoing. And his cooperation could apply to different people or issues, such as other lobbyists and lawyers involved in Manafort’s illegal lobbying for Ukraine. But he is big fish. Prosecutors most likely cut a deal with him only for help making a case against a bigger one. Mueller’s task is to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, including Trump campaign contacts with Russia. That is probably the topic on which Manafort is cooperating. Prosecutors also retain major leverage over Manafort. Convicted by a jury in Virginia last month on bank and tax fraud charges, Manafort must remain in jail until he is sentenced. And his sentencing, in which Mueller will have input, will come only after his cooperation is complete.

Do you understand, Judge Jackson asked Manafort as the hearing neared a close, that “you are agreeing to cooperate, wholly and truthfully, with the inquiry being conducted by the Office of Special Counsel?”

“I do,” Manafort responded.

The hearing ended after Manafort formally pleaded guilty. But reporters still wanted information. Would Manafort talk about Trump? Manafort’s lead attorney, Kevin Downing, refused to take questions following a brief statement outside the courthouse. Downing then strode north up the street, ignoring the cameras and the horde of reporters shouting questions. Richard Westling, another Manafort lawyer, trailed behind the media scrum around Downing. When Mother Jones asked if Manafort’s cooperation included Trump, Westling said he could not comment. But when another reporter approached, Westling shook his hand, smiling and noting the journalist knew his wife. That helped. When the reporter tried the same question—does Manafort’s cooperation cover Trump—Westling replied. The agreement, he said, requires “complete cooperation.”

Read Manafort’s plea agreement. ... rney-says/

Don jr. and Jared your days are numbered

Mark Warner

Today’s admission of criminal guilt by Paul Manafort clearly demonstrates that the President’s 2016 campaign manager conducted illegal activity in conspiracy with Russian-backed entities and was beholden to Kremlin-linked officials.

who's cooperating more General Yellowkerk......Cohen......Gates.......Manafort

Manafort has to meet now with Mueller WITHOUT his lawyer present

Adam Schiff

Manafort’s cooperation agreement is broad and requires him to provide complete and truthful information “in any and all matters” which the government deems relevant. He would be wise to do so, as Mueller’s team has already shown that it will not tolerate obstruction of justice.
12:07 PM - 14 Sep 2018



Manafort's surrender shows Mueller probe's overwhelming force

A surprise guilty plea from Trump's former campaign chairman shows that Mueller's high-powered probe has been nearly impossible to resist.


Robert Mueller
Special counsel Robert Mueller played a role in convincing two other Trump loyalists to turn against a president they had vowed to protect. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Paul Manafort vowed he’d never flip on Donald Trump. After Manafort’s conviction in federal court last month in Virginia, the president declared he had “such respect for a brave man!” because his former campaign chairman hadn’t folded.

About three weeks later, Manafort broke.

The longtime GOP operative, who pleaded guilty Friday in a Washington D.C. federal courtroom days before he was set to go on trial, is now the third close Trump associate to reverse course and throw himself at the mercy of government prosecutors.

The surprise twist provided further evidence of the overwhelming power of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, before which a growing roster of defendants are finding resistance to be futile.

While Mueller passed up the opportunity for a public trial that would bring to light more proof of wrongdoing, legal experts say Manafort’s plea agreement contained important new details that continue what has been a public education campaign of sorts by the special counsel.

“The Mueller team is the A team, for real,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the nonprofit R Street Institute and a former senior counsel to independent counsel Kenneth Starr. “And they are using a series of speaking indictments to, in effect, file their final report.”

Friday’s legal action also provided a new window into the size and scope of Mueller’s investigation, underscoring the sheer legal firepower at the former FBI director’s command.

More than 20 members of the special counsel’s investigation team appeared in the second-floor courtroom Friday morning, where lead prosecutors Andrew Weissmann, Greg Andres and Brandon Van Grack were joined by a phalanx of FBI and IRS agents who did significant grunt work preparing for Manafort’s trial on charges of failing to register as a lobbyist for the government of Ukraine several years ago, before he joined Trump’s 2016 campaign.

It was to be Manafort’s second trial at the hands of Mueller, who last month won the former lobbyist-consultant’s conviction on eight felony counts of tax and bank fraud.

Mueller has also played a role in convincing two other Trump loyalists, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to turn against a president they had previously vowed to protect.

In court Friday, Weissmann seemed to relish summarizing the rap sheet against Manafort. The longtime federal prosecutor, who has tried mafia dons and Enron executives, spent more than 30 minutes listing for a judge all the charges that Manafort initially fought but pleaded guilty to, from tampering with witnesses to failing to register his lobbying on behalf of Ukraine’s government during the Obama administration.

After he was done, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson joked that Weissmann had just given “probably the longest and most detailed summary” of charges she had heard in a plea hearing.

But in the absence of a trial, the presentation served to create a clear if less thorough public record of the wrongdoing Mueller’s team found.

The charges to which Manafort pleaded guilty do not involve Trump or his 2016 campaign. But the agreement does require Manafort to cooperate with prosecutors as they continue probing whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort chaired Trump’s campaign during several moments central to the special counsel’s probe, including the public release of Democratic emails that U.S. intelligence officials say were hacked by Russians, and an infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Manafort also boasts a longtime relationship to a Russian oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Oleg Deripaska, whom he offered to give private campaign briefings during the 2016 campaign. Mueller’s office has said that Manafort’s intermediary to Deripaska, Konstantin Kilimnik, who also served as the lobbyist’s right-hand man in Ukraine, has ties to Russian intelligence.

Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Russia, was to be a co-defendant in the trial. He is not known to have spoken to Mueller’s team.

The past several weeks revealed the breadth of Mueller’s work in other ways. More than a dozen witnesses during Manafort’s trial in Virginia acknowledged receiving subpoenas from the special counsel, demanding everything from television advertisement scripts to an invoice for a Mercedes Benz.

Mueller also demonstrated that he can tap at will into other federal law enforcement branches and their deep bench of experienced investigators when he needs specific kinds of help.

One has been Michael Welch, an IRS special agent whose has spent 25 years leading investigations into tax cheats. Two others are FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos and Paula Liss, a Treasury Department expert in fraud and money laundering. Both testified in the Virginia trial about how the Mueller team relied on their expertise to sift through millions of dollars in payments from secret foreign bank accounts.

The FBI is anchoring Mueller’s probe in other vital ways too. About 14 agents raided Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia, condominium last summer to procure the financial documents and emails so central to the government charges. Special agents also went to the homes of bank executives who did business with Manafort for interviews. One of the contractors who did millions of dollars of work on Manafort’s homes described during last month’s trial meeting “for several hours with a very pleasant young lady from the FBI who went step by step, invoice by invoice, over detail of each invoice, matching it with each payment.”

Mueller’s thoroughness has upended the defense plans for other Trump loyalists. Lawyers for Flynn had maintained regular contact with the president’s attorneys until late November 2017, just a week before the former Trump national security adviser pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s prosecutors rather than face trial for lying to the FBI.

Mueller’s investigators also sicced federal prosecutors in New York on Cohen, whose guilty plea last month – on the same day as Manafort’s conviction in Virginia -- rocked the president’s inner circle. Even after the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room in April, Trump spoke by phone with his longtime fixer, who once said he’d take a bullet for the president. Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney to Trump, didn’t signal until mid-May that Cohen was no longer representing Trump.

Those cases and others are earning Mueller’s team new praise as the latest cooperation agreement sinks in.

“The Manafort plea confirms what many observers knew from the outset — that Mueller had assembled a superb team of professional prosecutors who could track through complex financial transactions and figure out whether federal crimes have been committed,” said Philip Lacovara, an attorney who served on the Watergate special counsel team.

“The track record of convictions demonstrates that Mueller is systematically building his cases and charging only persons who have been caught dead to rights,” he added. “Manafort’s belated capitulation should signal anyone else charged by Mueller that there is little chance to escape.”

Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor who attended Manafort’s Virginia trial, credited the Mueller team with securing the guilty plea and Manafort’s cooperation by redrafting their indictment against him to encompass all his misconduct in a single conspiracy against the U.S. charge while dismissing the remaining counts.

“This accomplished two goals — requiring him to admit to all of his criminal conduct while at the same time reducing his potential sentencing exposure because of the five-year statutory maximum for that count to provide an incentive to plead guilty,” she said.

Duke University law professor Samuel Buell, another federal prosecutor, said he’s most impressed by the Mueller team’s “incredible discipline with which they have been able to tune out and seal off everything around them and just do what federal prosecutors and FBI agents do.”

“So far, it’s as if Trump and his political operation practically don’t exist for them,” added Buell, who worked with Weissmann to prosecute the Enron case. “What is happening to Mueller’s targets is the same thing that has happened to hundreds of others, for years and years, when faced with experienced, talented, determined, and patient prosecutors and agents.”

“In those circumstances, federal criminal law wins almost every time,” he added. “These prosecutors knew that going in and they’ve kept their eyes on that ball. ... obe-825753
Last edited by seemslikeadream on Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:12 am

Before Manafort's homes are given up, I say a mob of ordinary citizens should be permitted to ransack them, down to the copper pipes. Public notice, close the street for a day...might work. :mrgreen:
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:21 am

it would be fun to do to Manafort what the citizens of Ukraine did to his best bud Yanukovich


I wonder if Pauly got the skins from Yanukovich's ostriches for his coat


I wonder if this guy is looking at the docs Manafort's $60 million he got from Yanukovich

Waterlogged: The Mysterious Documents Ukraine’s Leader Dumped in a River on His Way out the Door ... -the-door/

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian's financial backer Rinat Akhmetov and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska propped up Manafort's alleged crimes.

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:45 am



September 15, 2018/56 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
As Paul Manafort’s plea was being unveiled yesterday, a number of legal observers were shocked by how detailed the criminal information was, complete with 38 pages of exhibits. Hopefully, this will stop me from having to bitch incessantly about how many journalists have swallowed Rudy Giuliani’s claims about Mueller writing up a report. As I keep saying (and as Mueller’s boss Rod Rosenstein has said in testimony), there won’t be a report, there will be indictments.

Ostensibly, the exhibits are there to prove the assertion that Paul Manafort lied to DOJ about what kind of work he was doing for Ukraine.

Although MANAFORT had represented to the Department of Justice in November 2016 and February 2017 that he had no relevant documents, in fact MANAFORT had numerous incriminating documents in his possession, as he knew at the time. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a court-authorized search of MANAFORT’S home in Virginia in the summer of 2017. The documents attached hereto as Government Exhibits 503, 504, 517, 532, 594, 604, 606, 616, 691, 692, 697, 706 and 708, among numerous others, were all documents that MANAFORT had in his possession, custody or control (and were found in the search) and all predated the November 2016 letter.

But I don’t think that’s why they’re there.

They’re there to show what Paul Manafort does when he’s running a campaign.

Because they show that for the decade leading up to running Trump’s campaign, Manafort was using the very same sleazy strategy to support Viktor Yanukovych that he used to get Trump elected.

In other words, these exhibits are a preview of coming attractions.

The criminal information provided far more detail about something we had only seen snippets of in the Alex Van der Zwaan plea: Manafort’s use of Skadden Arps to whitewash Yanukovych’s prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko.

It describes how Manafort used cut-outs to place stories claiming his client’s female opponent had murdered someone.

MANAFORT took other measures to keep the Ukraine lobbying as secret as possible. For example, MANAFORT, in written communications on or about May 16, 2013, directed his lobbyists (including Persons D1 and D2, who worked for Company D) to write and disseminate within the United States news stories that alleged that Tymoshenko had paid for the murder of a Ukrainian official. MANAFORT stated that it should be “push[ed]” “[w]ith no fingerprints.” “It is very important we have no connection.” MANAFORT stated that “[m]y goal is to plant some stink on Tymo.”

And it shows Manafort seeding lies that his client’s female opponent had criminal intent when he knew there was no proof to back the claim.

MANAFORT directed lobbyists to tout the report as showing that President Yanukovych had not selectively prosecuted Tymoshenko. But in November 2012 MANAFORT had been told privately in writing by the law firm that the evidence of Tymoshenko’s criminal intent “is virtually non-existent” and that it was unclear even among legal experts that Tymoshenko lacked power to engage in the conduct central to the Ukraine criminal case. These facts, known by MANAFORT, were not disclosed to the public.

This propaganda effort against Manafort’s client’s female opponent included placing stories in Breitbart.


Manafort placed so much effort on inventing stories about Tymoshenko in part to take her out as a political opponent (and to create an opportunity to pitch Yanukovych’s corruption as a tolerable partner to Europe). But he did so, too, to undermine support for sanctions against Yanukovych for human rights abuses, of which Tymoshenko was the poster child. Particularly after John Kerry replaced Hillary, Manafort undermined sanctions by promising raw material exploitation opportunities. (This bullet point, at PDF 25, is dated February 24, 2013).


We’ll learn more about what role Manafort himself played in Trump’s policy on sanctions (even aside from any quid pro quo that may have come out of the June 9 Trump Tower meeting), but we know that Trump’s view on sanctions is among the questions Mueller wants to ask Trump, and we know that in an op-ed encouraged by the Trump campaign (and highlighted to Ivan Timofeev), George Papadopoulos argued that sanctions had hurt the US.



Manafort was even using some of the very same lines that Trump still uses, such as blaming Obama for “losing” Ukraine (this quarterly memo for Yanukovych, at PDF 21-, is dated April 22, 2013).



Shortly after Yanukovych won in 2010, Manafort boasted that he had established a baseline to be able to claim that Tymoshenko’s complaints about election irregularities were disinformation. (This memo, at PDF 6, is dated February 20, 2010.)


Manafort also prepared a full court press to influence the electoral observers in advance of Ukraine’s 2012 parliamentary election (this document, at PDF 5, is dated as October 9, 2012 in the trial exhibit list).


One thing we’re going to see in former Manafort partner Roger Stone’s eventual indictment is a focus on the work of his Stop the Steal PAC, both just after Manafort arrived to manage the Convention, and his voter suppression efforts (which paralleled Russian ones) during the general election.


Finally, as early as February 2013 (see PDF 14), Paul Manafort was advising his client that replacing Hillary Clinton with someone who would value raw material deals over human rights would be a positive development.


As it happens, in 2016, Paul Manafort could please all his clients by offering a man who valued raw material deals over human rights as a positive development.

As I disclosed July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. ... sanctions/

Woodward: I'll release tapes of book interviews if sources ask me to ... asks-me-to
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:59 pm

Paul Manafort's Activities in Ukraine Were Even Shadier Than We Thought. And That's Pretty Damn Shady.
The president's former campaign chairman used identity theft to shield millions in ill-gotten gains.

SEP 17, 2018

Now that Paul Manafort apparently has found the proper key in which to sing with Robert Mueller's ever-expanding canary chorale, we can take a step back and study properly the very strange—and extremely corrupt—ways in which Manafort kept himself in vacation homes and ostrich jackets during his fat years. Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a fascinating account of one of Manafort's suckers in Ukraine.

“Sometimes it seems fun,” Mr. Kaseyev, a 34-year-old hairdresser, said with a shrug during an interview. “I’m a secret millionaire.” Until the authorities came calling, that is, seeking $30 million in back taxes.
I take his point. That does not sound like fun at all.

One of the people who did business with a company opened under Mr. Kaseyev’s stolen identity didn’t mean anything to him. But the name certainly caught the eye of investigators in the United States: Paul J. Manafort. Mr. Manafort, who worked for a decade as a political consultant in Ukraine before becoming chairman of the Trump campaign in 2016, made a deal worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with the shell company under the hairdresser’s name. It was called Neocom Systems Limited, according to a Ukrainian lawmaker.
It seems that, in one of his more successful international scams, Manafort would steal someone's identity, use it to set up a shell company, and then park tens of millions of dollars in the company's accounts. Then, one day, without warning, a Ukrainian hairdresser, say, gets a knock on his door because he owes $30 million in back taxes through his work as a member of the board of directors of a company he's never heard of in his life.

“It’s a frequent problem,” Daria Kalenyuk, chief of the Anticorruption Action Center here, said of the directors, who stand to take the fall if prosecutors investigate. Sometimes the directors are lawyers or victims of identity theft, she said.
Either that, or Manafort and his kleptocratic clients simply would roll a drunk.

But usually “it’s people who are either alcoholics or in poor health, and who simply sell their passports for about $20.” One of the risks to this scheme is that the fake directors might try to claim the millions held in their names. But Ms. Kalenyuk could not recall one instance of such a claim. “You need to have some knowledge and education to know how to do that,” she said, in the tax havens like Cyprus or the British Virgin Islands, where such companies are typically established...
Some homeless men have achieved a measure of fame among activists who track corruption in the former Soviet states because they pop up so often at the head of multimillion dollar companies. One man identified in the Ukrainian media as a homeless Latvian named Erik Vanagels has been listed as the owner of hundreds of companies in Britain, Cyprus, Ireland, New Zealand, Panama and elsewhere. Companies in the network also helped finance the private zoo and sprawling estate of the former Ukrainian president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, who was the main client of Mr. Manafort.
This, I would point out, again, is the guy who was the president*'s campaign manager, and the guy who arranged for Mike Pence to be the vice president. Personally, I'd rather the homeless Latvian was president. ... companies/

Days After Manafort Cuts Deal, Mueller Suddenly Ready to Sentence Michael Flynn

by Matt Naham | 5:37 pm, September 17th, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and special counsel Robert Mueller reached a plea agreement that includes cooperation to avoid a second trial.

Now, just days after the major Manafort news dropped, the special counsel is suddenly ready to sentence fired Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn.

“The matter is now ready to be scheduled for sentencing,” a joint filing from Team Mueller and Team Flynn says.

Previous filings said quite the opposite, saying that “[d]ue to the status of the Special Counsel’s investigation, the parties [did] not believe this matter [was] ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at th[at] time.”

The status of the investigation has apparently changed.

The Manafort and Flynn cases do not appear to have anything to do with one another at first glance, but the timing is noticeable. We simply don’t know whether Flynn provided any information on Manafort, whether Manafort had anything to say on Flynn or whether the two had information on something (someone) else that federal investigators deemed valuable.

Another thing to keep in mind is that former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, another person who lied to the FBI, was recently sentenced to two weeks of jail time. With Papadopoulos and Manafort out of the picture, Team Mueller has much less on its plate to handle. Notice as well that the sentencing date proposed is Nov. 28, which is well out of the way of the mid-term elections.

Sentencing memoranda will also not be filed until after the election.

Flynn has already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and has been waiting for months to be sentenced. Flynn was charged back in Dec. 2017. It’s Sept. 2018 and he’s still waiting to learn his punishment. Flynn was charged for “willfully and knowingly [making] false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI about conversations he had with Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.

[Image via Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images] ... ael-flynn/
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:04 am

Should be interesting times ahead...

Trump orders documents relating to Russia investigation, Carter Page FISA warrant declassified

CNN 17 September 17, 2018

President Donald Trump ordered the declassification of various documents and text messages related to the Russia investigation that both the House Intelligence and House Oversight committees have requested.

The order included selective portions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application on Carter Page and "all FBI reports" prepared in connection with the FISA warrant request, according to a statement Monday from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

The President also ordered the Justice Department to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation from former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official. Trump has singled out all of those individuals in the past with withering criticism, often on Twitter.

"When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America's national security interests. The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President's order," a Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement.

A source familiar with the declassification process confirmed to CNN that the public release will not happen Monday night.
Democrats on Capitol Hill immediately decried the order.

"President Trump, in a clear abuse of power, has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative," said House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff in a statement. "With respect to some of these materials, I have been previously informed by the FBI and Justice Department that they would consider their release a red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods."

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:52 am

since we are playing diversion this morning with classified documents I have a lovely contribution and it is a headline I can not ignore :D


5 hours ago
Trump’s Penis Looks Like Toad From Mario Kart, Says Stormy Daniels

Reuters / Mike Blake
Ever since Stormy Daniels said she was writing a tell-all book, there has been feverish anticipation about what dirt she’d reveal about Donald Trump—but it’s safe to say no one predicted this. According to a copy obtained by The Guardian, the book gives excruciating detail of her alleged affair with Trump, including one nightmarish image in which she compares the president’s penis to Toad—the incredibly annoying mushroom character from Mario. “He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes in a book fittingly titled Full Disclosure. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool… I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart... It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.” So, now you know. ... my-daniels
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Elvis » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:01 am

Donald Trump offered porn actress Stormy Daniels a spot on his reality TV show “The Apprentice” — and suggested she could cheat in order to advance on the competitive reality TV show, she claims in a new tell-all.

We’ll figure out a way to get you the challenges beforehand,” Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, quotes the future president as saying in “Full Disclosure,” a pre-sale copy of which was obtained by The Guardian.

“’And we can devise your technique,’” Trump told her, she claims. “He was going to have me cheat, and it was 100 percent his idea.” ... pprentice/
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:41 am

Mario Kart funnies on twitter

I will never be able to eat a mushroom pizza again


Breaking: Trump releases letter from 69 women stating his dick does not look like Toad from Mario Kart and its nickname is actually Donkey Schlong.

Is it true that Don Jr. and Eric's penises will be introduced as unlockable characters in the next mario kart update

I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm willing to bet that Melania Trump hasn't played Mario Kart in a long time.

Sarah Sanders: "I'm not going to get into a back and forth about whether or not Mr. Trump's penis is shaped like Toad from Mario Kart. I would refer you to his outside counsel, Mr Giuliani."


I hear Ronan Farrow has the Apprentice Tapes!


Entirely on its own this is an impeachable offense

WH: Trump Orders DOJ To Release Top Ex-Investigators’ Texts On Russia Probe

Allegra Kirkland
Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a couple thousand supporters in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday March 1, 2016. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)
Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service

In an unprecedented move, President Trump has ordered the Justice Department and FBI to publicly release a handful of former top government officials’ unredacted texts about the Russia investigation.

The affected officials include former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former senior FBI official Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, and former Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, according to a Monday statement from the White House.

Trump has attacked all of these individuals publicly, smearing them as part of a “deep state” effort to undermine his investigation by launching the “witch hunt” investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The president is not supposed to directly involve himself in ongoing federal investigations.

Trump has also directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Justice Department to immediately declassify a number of documents related to the Russia probe, the White House announced.

The relevant documents are the FBI’s application to obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, all FBI interviews prepared about the Page surveillance applications, and all interviews the FBI conducted with Ohr about the Russia investigation.

The White House claimed Trump is making these requests “for reasons of transparency.” ... pplication

Ken Dilanian

Just in, per @garretthaake: Sen. @MarkWarner, who has read the documents, says of Trump's decision to declassify raw intelligence about his campaign's alleged conspiracy with Russia: "Be careful what you wish for."


Natasha Bertrand

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe got a book deal.
"THE THREAT: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump" will be published in December:

Jeff Sessions, earlier this month: "While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."
Silence today after Trump orders docs declassified in the middle of an investigation (into his own campaign.)

Michael Flynn Will Finally Be Sentenced

The delays fueled speculation about Flynn’s value to Mueller as a witness in the Russia probe.

Natasha Bertrand is a staff writer at The Atlantic where she covers national security and the intelligence community.
Sep 17, 2018

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
After more than 10 months of cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, former National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn—who led chants of “Lock her up!” about Hillary Clinton at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies—now has his own sentencing date in federal court.

In a court document filed Monday, Mueller and Flynn’s attorneys agreed on November 28—well after the midterm elections—for a sentencing hearing, and effectively signaled that Flynn’s cooperation with Mueller’s team could be nearing an end. “Typically, federal prosecutors will postpone a cooperator’s sentencing until that person’s cooperation is complete, or nearly complete,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. “The main reason for that is the cooperation isn’t done until the prosecutor says so, and the cooperator’s motives and incentives need to stay in line.”

Flynn’s sentencing has been delayed three times since he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last December about the nature of his communications with the former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The delays fueled speculation about his value to Mueller as a witness to a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow, which Mueller has been investigating since May 2017. But Flynn’s sentencing next month doesn’t mean Mueller will let him off the hook: He’ll still have to testify “in any trial where his information is relevant,” Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., told me. “This could just be an accommodation to Flynn’s lawyers so that the sentencing doesn’t continue to hang over his head. But he is still under a continuing obligation to testify if Mueller wants him to.”

Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, said that any information Mueller needed from Flynn has probably “already been locked in” before the grand jury, and the former general is most likely no longer of investigative value to Mueller. “I’m sure it’s no accident that Manafort just pled,” Rocah said, referring to the president’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy and obstruction charges and is now cooperating with Mueller. “Flynn likely had information on Manafort and now that Manafort has pled, Flynn isn’t needed as much.”

Flynn served as a high-level surrogate and adviser to Trump during the election, and was a member of Trump’s transition team before he was appointed national-security adviser last January. He was in the job for a little more than three weeks before reports surfaced that he had discussed the issue of sanctions with Kislyak during the transition period, despite repeated denials—including to Vice President Mike Pence—that the topic had ever come up. Intelligence officials, however, had listened in on the Flynn-Kislyak calls as part of their routine eavesdropping on foreign diplomats, and knew that Flynn had lied—he had, in fact, asked Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia” in December 2016, according to an indictment filed by Mueller’s office last year to which Flynn pleaded guilty. In response, Kislyak told Flynn that Russia had “chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request,” the indictment said.

The veteran journalist Bob Woodward touched on the Flynn-Kislyak calls in his new book, Fear. Not only were the sanctions discussed in every phone call, Woodward reported, but transcripts obtained by the White House in February 2017—as they were weighing whether to fire Flynn—showed that it was Flynn, and not Kislyak, who first brought up the sanctions that President Barack Obama had issued in December in response to Russia’s election interference. Then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had misled the FBI about the calls. Still, the White House waited 17 days to fire Flynn, and the day after he was ousted, Trump met with then–FBI Director James Comey and asked if he would consider letting Flynn “go.” That 17-day gap (and Trump’s subsequent request to Comey) has come under scrutiny by Mueller.

Once he began cooperating with prosecutors, Flynn seemed like he was in a position to answer some of the biggest lingering questions in the Russia probe: Did Trump direct Flynn to dangle the easing of sanctions in front of Kislyak during the transition period? And did the president know that Flynn had misled the FBI when he denied ever discussing sanctions with Kislyak? (If Trump knew the extent to which Flynn was in the FBI’s crosshairs when he asked Comey, whom he later fired, to consider “letting Flynn go,” that could dramatically bolster the obstruction case federal prosecutors are building against him.) Furthermore, why did the White House wait nearly three weeks to fire a high-level adviser who was, according to Yates, vulnerable to being blackmailed by the Russians? Flynn also may have had knowledge about a “peace plan” that involved lifting sanctions on Russia in return for Moscow withdrawing its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, which was allegedly hand-delivered to him by the president’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, alluded to his client’s value in a statement last year as he tried to negotiate immunity deals with the FBI and Congress. “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” Kelner said. Indeed, there were signs pointing to Flynn’s high value as a cooperator: Despite failing to register as a foreign agent in 2016, when he was representing Turkish government interests without notifying the Justice Department, and failing to disclose payments from Russia’s state-owned news agency, Russia Today, when he was renewing his security clearance in January 2016, Flynn was charged only with one count of lying to the FBI. (Flynn’s questionable ties to Russia were not limited to Kislyak and Russia Today: The FBI and the CIA reportedly examined his contact in 2014 with a Russian British national, Svetlana Lokhova, who “has claimed to have unique access” to the GRU, Russia’s military spy agency.)

But Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, said he thinks Flynn’s sentencing is an indication that he “is not as central a witness as many believed.”

“I had always thought Flynn’s plea to mere false statements was odd, particularly given the public information we knew about his lobbying in Turkey and his communications with Russia during the transition,” Goldman said. Like Kirschner, Goldman noted that Flynn could still be called to testify after he is sentenced. But if Mueller is going forward with sentencing, Goldman added, “then it likely means this is it for Flynn … And if that’s [the] case, it means one of two things: Either Flynn was not as involved in criminal conduct, including potential collusion, as many suspected—and therefore does not have much information that Mueller could use—or Mueller has so much information that he doesn’t need Flynn.” ... ed/570538/

Tom Arnold Details Alleged Mark Burnett Assault: "Out of His F—ing Mind" (Exclusive)

2:49 PM PDT 9/17/2018 by Seth Abramovitch , Matthew Belloni

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for A+E Networks; Win McNamee/Getty Images
Tom Arnold (left), Mark Burnett
"He grabbed my windpipe hard. Maybe it was something he learned in the U.K. Special Forces," says the 'Hunt for the Trump Tapes' host of the reality TV megaproducer's "kung-fu grip" during an altercation at a pre-Emmys party.

"First of all, how would I get Mark Burnett to cooperate?" asks Tom Arnold. "And I would never file a police report for something fake. I would never go to a doctor. He genuinely choked me out."'

Arnold, the 59-year-old actor-comedian turned investigative journalist, is speaking to The Hollywood Reporter from the waiting room of a Beverly Hills ear, nose and throat specialist, a flock of paparazzi milling outside. He's been asked the most obvious question first: Was an alleged violent confrontation with reality TV mega-producer Mark Burnett at a pre-Emmys party — the one that had all of Twitter buzzing on Sunday night — merely a promotional stunt for his new Viceland show?

No way, says Arnold. He had not initially planned on attending the Evening Before party, an annual fundraiser bash hosted by Jeffrey Katzenberg and benefiting the Motion Picture & Television Fund. But his friend Bryan Fogel — the Oscar-winning director of the 2017 sports-doping doc Icarus — called him on Sunday asking if he'd like to tag along as his plus-one.

It occurred to Arnold that Burnett, 58, would likely be at the event and that things could get awkward. After all, Arnold's Viceland show, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes — premiering Tuesday — is intent on unearthing incriminating footage of Donald Trump, some of it shot on the set of the Burnett-produced The Apprentice. Burnett has long maintained that the Apprentice outtakes are the property of MGM Television, which purchased his firm in December 2015, and therefore legally not his to release.

Nevertheless, Burnett has made little secret of his displeasure with Arnold's show, and his legal team has sent threatening letters to Vice Media over what Burnett deemed to be inaccuracies in Arnold's Twitter feed, sources with knowledge of the correspondences tell THR. According to Arnold, Burnett went further, however, insisting the Apprentice producer made several calls to high-powered figures around Hollywood attempting to have the show killed entirely.

Despite the bad blood, Arnold says he never anticipated that things could get violent at an industry party attended by hundreds of stars and executives. "I thought he’d just blow me off and not speak to me," he says. "People just shun me, which I’m used to."

The trouble began almost as soon as Arnold and Fogel arrived. To enter the party, held outside the Century Plaza Hotel, guests had to mount a stairway. At the top, Arnold, outfitted in black horn-rimmed glasses and a grey checked blazer, spotted Burnett standing with several other people. (One likely would have been Burnett's wife, Roma Downey, who later tweeted a photo of a bruised hand, alleging it was the result of an "ambush" attempt on the couple.)

According to Arnold, Burnett then proceeded to "straighten out and eyeball me." Undeterred, Arnold then ascended the staircase and, he says, quickly got the sense that Burnett was "moving in [his] direction."

"He's getting closer, he's super chesty, he's breathing heavily," Arnold recalls. "Then he bumps into me. I could smell his fucking breath. He's in my fucking face, psycho-eyed. I look at him eyeball-to-eyeball, like, 'Are you fucking kidding me?'"

It was then, he says, that Burnett took Arnold's throat in one hand — what he calls a "kung-fu grip" — and began to choke him. "He grabbed my windpipe hard. Maybe it was something he learned in the U.K. Special Forces." (Burnett served as a parachute commando in the British Army from 1978-1982.)

Arnold calls the maneuver a "sucker choke" for the way it threw him off-balance at the top of a steep staircase. "So I tried to regain my balance," he recalls. "I'm like, 'You better let me get my balance if we're going to fucking fight, you cocksucker. You motherfucker.' And I'm also having trouble getting my wind. All of a sudden I hear one of his buddies say, 'Mark! Don't choke him! Mark! Don't choke!'"

After regaining his footing, Arnold "grabbed some part of his body and wiggled my way up until we squared-up face-to-face. Then they pull us apart. I decide, 'Here's what I’m going to get from this guy: his shirt, his fucking gold chain with Jesus on it, and maybe part of his face or his hair.'"

Arnold then started yelling at Burnett. "I just hammered in on him: 'You fucking crazy, psycho, Trump-fucking bastard!' He had lost it. Did he think he was going to kick me out? 'You’re not getting in,' he told me. I don’t know if he was drunk or what. Did he think he could keep me from walking past him? Did he think he could out-tough me? He had this blank stare on his fucking face like he’s out of his fucking mind."

There were many witnesses, Arnold says, including Kevin Bacon and daughter Sosie Bacon. "Kevin Bacon was shell-shocked," Arnold recalls. "I could tell he was frazzled. He was like, 'I just want you to know Tom, we got your back.' But his daughter was not fazed. She was like, 'We got this.'

"People were stunned," he added.

Arnold did not leave the party. Instead, he mixed with celebrity guests, many of whom backed his anti-Trump TV crusade. "I'm with @Tom Arnold, everyone," tweeted Patton Oswalt from the party. "He's okay. We gotta protect this brutal angel."

Arnold called the Los Angeles Police Department from the event, and an officer instructed him to come to the station the following morning. At 10 a.m. on Monday, just hours before stars would file down the Emmys red carpet, he did, filing a complaint for battery.

"The suspect unprovoked reached out and grabbed the victim by the throat and squeezed his throat," reads the investigative report. "In self-defense, he fought back."

Representatives for Burnett and MGM did not respond to requests for comment. ... nd-1144174

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:20 am

Why Manafort’s Flip May Matter More Than 25 Russian Indictments
Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux2:19 PM
Sep. 18, 2018, at

Paul Manafort is now cooperating with the special counsel probe into interference in the 2016 election.
MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images
For much of the past year, whenever a major new indictment has come down in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, we’ve been showing you a version of this chart.


As Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination with the Trump campaign moved forward, the indictments stacked up with impressive speed. So far, Mueller has charged 32 people in connection with the Russia investigation, far more than other major special-counsel investigations like Whitewater and Iran-Contra yielded. (Among the special investigations on our chart, only Watergate has more.)

There’s a problem, though, with simply comparing the number of indictments in different investigations. That approach assumes that all the indictments are in the same general category. For the Mueller investigation, they aren’t.


The vast majority of the people charged by Mueller live abroad — specifically, in Russia. This means that unless the 25 Russians individuals accused of crimes related to election interference travel abroad, are arrested and turned over to the U.S. or are extradited by Russia, Mueller can’t actually prosecute them. So far, attorneys for only one of the Russian organizations have appeared in a U.S. courtroom, in an apparent effort to force the Mueller team to hand over relevant evidence to the Russian firm.

It’s not surprising that a special counsel charged with investigating Russian interference in a U.S. election would have an international scope, but it does distinguish the Mueller investigation from similar probes going back to Watergate. It also places serious limits on Mueller’s ability to move beyond indictments to obtain guilty pleas and convictions. The indictments of the 25 Russians are symbolically important, but they almost certainly won’t result in a trial or any resulting legal accountability — like a fine or prison sentence — for the people charged.

In addition to the Mueller investigation, there have been 10 special counsel investigations since 1973 that resulted in charges. Of those 10, only two clearly involved the indictment of a person living outside the United States, according to my review of news and government reports. Neither resulted in further legal action — at least, related to that investigation.

One involved Robert Vesco, a financier who had fled the country to avoid charges that he had swindled mutual fund investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. He was living in the Bahamas and Costa Rica when he was indicted in May 1973, accused of fraud and obstruction of justice related to a $200,000 contribution he had made to Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign in an apparent bid to resolve his legal problems. Although Vesco’s case was part of the broader Watergate investigation, he doesn’t appear in the chart above because the indictment against him was filed before a special prosecutor was appointed. Vesco remained a fugitive for years and never stood trial in the U.S.

The other included a Singaporean businessman, Abdul Rahman, who was indicted as part of a minor Clinton-era scandal involving Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, who had been accused of taking kickbacks for federal contracts and soliciting illegal campaign contributions on behalf of Democrats. (Herman was not charged in the investigation.) Rahman was accused of lying about the source of $200,000 in Democratic campaign contributions and improperly making campaign donations as a foreign national. He was the only person charged, and the case didn’t move forward because he lived outside the U.S.

To get a sense for why domestic indictments are generally more consequential than international ones, look no further than Paul Manafort, former chairman for Trump’s 2016 campaign. Manafort pleaded guilty to a reduced sentence last week in exchange for a promise to aid Mueller’s investigation. It was a coup for the special counsel: Mueller had been trying to secure Manafort’s cooperation for months, but even after Manafort was convicted of one set of charges, he seemed initially unwilling to provide Mueller with information.

Manafort is cooperating at a pivotal moment in the investigation. There’s reason to believe that more indictments of Americans may be coming, based on who has appeared as witnesses before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington. Manafort could help get those indictments over the finish line. Manafort is also likely to be asked questions that may be answerable by only a handful of people — like the details of the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, when Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian attorney to learn about “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. And he could provide damaging information about other people in Trump’s orbit and maybe even the president himself.

It’s hard to say exactly why Manafort chose to work with the special counsel. However, Mueller applied a great deal of legal pressure before Manafort agreed to cooperate, including sending him to jail for two months on witness-tampering charges before the beginning of his first trial (on tax and bank fraud charges). Manafort, who is 69, could have spent the rest of his life in prison if he had been convicted in the second trial, which had been scheduled to start in Washington in September. It’s not hard to imagine why he might have decided to cooperate under those circumstances. But Mueller has no such leverage over anyone who is outside the country and won’t be extradited. And that’s why at this point, the 25 indictments of individuals abroad — impressive as they were in both number and content — have less of an impact on the future of Mueller’s investigation (and its implications for the president) than a domestic indictment like Manafort’s, which has the force of the American legal system behind it. ... dictments/
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:40 pm

Olga Lautman

This is interesting! Gang of 8 requests that DOJ, FBI, and DNI to come in for immediate meeting to discuss Trump’s abuse of power over demanding to release classified info that can endanger our methods and sources.

Image ... 0366676993
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:02 pm

"Colluded" is only a word confused people use.

The word and crime is "conspiracy.


September 22, 2018/67 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by empty wheel

The WaPo has an important story about how KT McFarland decided to unforget key details about her role in coaching Mike Flynn through reassuring Russia, on December 29, 2016, that the Trump Administration would ease off on sanctions. McFarland lied about whether sanctions were discussed in a summer 2017 interview with the FBI, then her memory seems to have cleared up after the Mike Flynn plea deal.

When FBI agents first visited her at her Long Island home in the summer of 2017, McFarland denied ever talking to Flynn about any discussion of sanctions between him and the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016 during the presidential transition.

For a time, investigators saw her answers as “inconsistent,” putting her in legal peril as the FBI tried to determine if she had lied to them.


Not long after Flynn’s plea, McFarland was questioned by investigators again about her conversations with Flynn, and she walked back her previous denial that sanctions were discussed, saying a general statement Flynn had made to her that things were going to be okay could have been a reference to sanctions, these people said.

McFarland’s account does not answer the question of what the president knew or didn’t know about Flynn’s interactions with the ambassador, these people said.

McFarland didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment, including emails and calls to her home.

Eventually, McFarland and her lawyer Robert Giuffra were able to convince the FBI that she had not intentionally misled the bureau but had rather spoken from memory, without the benefit of any documents that could have helped her remember her exchanges with Flynn about the Kislyak conversations, these people said.

This is thoroughly unsurprising, and it probably has as much to do with McFarland withdrawing her nomination to be Ambassador to Singapore as did any concerns about a confirmation hearing where her past lies to Congress would be an issue. It explains part (though just part) of the Transition Team’s outrage that Mueller had obtained emails that the Trump people would have otherwise claimed privilege over. By doing that, Mueller caught McFarland (and, likely, a number of other people) in lies by showing their extensive communications that contradicted the emails.

Nor is it surprising that McFarland was able to clear up her testimony (indeed, the WaPo notes that Sean Spicer was telling similar lies as McFarland was telling, so he may have also had to have cleaned up testimony). She’s got a serious attorney, Robert Giuffra, and unlike George Papadopoulos she (presumably) didn’t do anything stupid, like deleting her entire Facebook account, when she tried to clean up her lies. That happens in cases like this (especially where the witnesses are powerful enough to fight a false statements case aggressively). Remember that Karl Rove cleaned up his testimony in the Plame investigation four different times.

Indeed, similar unforgettings have probably happened in the wake of each plea deal, or with the unveiling that Mueller obtained search warrants for at least five AT&T phones (and probably a similar number of Verizon phones) in the wake of the Rick Gates plea. That’s what I meant when I suggested that the Paul Manafort plea may set off a kind of mass Game Theory, as each of up to 30 co-conspirators consider whether they want to change their testimony before the former campaign chair clarifies it to Mueller for them, or before their fellow rats jump ship first.

They’re trying to stave off an awful game of prisoner’s dilemma.

Consider if you’re one of the other 37 (which might be down to 34 given known cooperators, or maybe even fewer given how uncertain Rudy seems to be about Don McGahn’s third session of testimony) members of the Joint Defense Agreement, especially if you’re one who has already testified before the grand jury about matters that Manafort (and Gates) might be able to refute. So long as there’s no chance Trump will be touched, you’re probably still safe, as you can count on Trump rewarding those who maintain the omertà or at the very least working to kill the Mueller inquiry shortly after the election.

But if you have doubts about that — or concerns that other witnesses might have doubts about that — you still have an opportunity to recall the things you claimed you could not recall a year ago. Depending on how central your testimony is, you might even be able to slip in and fix your testimony unnoticed.

So each of 37 (or maybe just 30) people are considering whether they have to recalculate their decisions about whether to remain loyal to the President or take care of themselves.

While I suspect Mueller has key players in the case in chief largely sewn up, this should accelerate the process and make any prosecutions easier (assuming the NYT doesn’t get Rosenstein fired before then).

So one takeaway from this story — told probably eight months after the fact — is that Mueller has been slowly chipping away at the omertà, and that process will only keep getting easier (in part because virtually none of these people have any decent operational security).

But the other takeaway, and the likely explanation for it coming out, is that my assessment of why the Transition squawked so loudly last year is correct: they wanted to hide how closely Donald Trump micromanaged the sanctions conversation with Sergei Kislyak, and so both Flynn and McFarland lied about it, then subsequently cleaned up their lies. That puts Donald Trump attempting to deliver the quo of the quid pro quo.

Trump may be answering the take home exam he told Mueller he’d be willing to complete, which includes this question, which got added in the wake of Flynn’s plea and probably McFarland’s revised testimony: What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding Russian sanctions?

The correct answers to that question are getting narrower and narrower.

Update: Fixed syntax of Spicer description.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. ... the-truth/


September 17, 2018/64 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
Between setting the first status hearing in Paul Manafort’s case as November 16, and setting the Mike Flynn sentencing for no earlier than November 28 (with the reports submitted on November 14), Mueller’s office seems to be suggesting they’ll wait until after election day to roll out the case they just added Trump’s Campaign Manager’s testimony to.

Not long after the release of the Flynn status hearing, Trump ordered the release of yet more stuff on the Steele dossier (the stuff in the first paragraph), plus unredacted texts on what the investigation looked like before August 1, 2017.

At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.

Depending on how much the various parties put into these texts (I doubt Comey was much of a texter, for example), this will show unbelievable detail on how FBI runs counterintelligence investigations.

But it will also show voters what the investigation looked like before some key evidence came in, such as the communications surrounding the June 9 meeting and whatever the FBI seized from Paul Manafort’s home. Andrew McCabe was the last person in a key role on this investigation, and Christopher Wray took over that role on August 1.

It’s a desperate gambit, I think, throwing the last of the Steele dossier details out there, plus a picture of what the investigation looked like before the FBI learned that the President’s son entered into a conspiracy with Russians exchanging Hillary emails for sanction relief.

Which I take as yet more confirmation that that conspiracy — and whatever Manafort just gave the government — would (will, eventually) utterly damn the President.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. ... r-14-2018/

Aaron Maté does an "interview" with Luke Harding but couldn't take the time to read his book beforehand :roll:
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:50 am


Michael Cohen is giving Mueller's Russia probe 'critical information' on Trump

Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer says he is providing "critical information" as part special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges last month, said Thursday he is providing the information to prosecutors without a cooperation agreement.
For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer, and he was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer says he is providing "critical information" as part special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges last month, said Thursday he is providing the information to prosecutors without a cooperation agreement.

Trump's longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians. For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer, and he was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who had both alleged they had affairs with Trump. It was the first time any Trump associate implicated Trump himself in a crime, though whether — or when — a president can be prosecuted remains a matter of legal dispute.

On Thursday night, Cohen tweeted: "Good for @MichaelCohen212 for providing critical information to the #MuellerInvestigation without a cooperation agreement. No one should question his integrity, veracity or loyalty to his family and country over @POTUS @realDonaldTrump."

The tweet was deleted almost immediately and was later reposted by his attorney, Lanny Davis, who said he wrote the tweet for Cohen and asked him to tweet it because he has a "much larger following." Davis said he was delayed posting the tweet on his own account, so Cohen tweeted it first.

ABC News reported earlier Thursday that Cohen has met several times — for several hours — with investigators from the special counsel's office.

The television network, citing sources familiar with the matter, said he was questioned about Trump's dealings with Russia, including whether members of the Trump campaign worked with Russians to try to influence the outcome of the election.

Davis had asserted last month that his client could tell the special counsel that Trump had prior knowledge of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer, Trump's son-in-law and Trump's eldest son, who had been told in emails that it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. But Davis later walked back the assertions, saying he could not independently confirm the claims that Cohen witnessed Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., telling his father about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand.

In the last two weeks, the special counsel secured the cooperation of Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; signaled that he has obtained all the information he needs from former national security adviser Michael Flynn — who was also a government cooperator; and dispensed with the case of the campaign aide who triggered the Russia probe.

The president has continued a very public battle against the Mueller investigation, repeatedly calling it a politically motivated and "rigged witch hunt." He has said he is going to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move that he says will show that the investigation was tainted from the start by bias in the Justice Department and FBI. ... ump-2018-9

Russian state TV goes into overdrive defending Trump’s genitalia: ‘Stormy’s expectations are unreasonably high’
David Edwards
23 SEP 2018 AT 15:30 ET


Russian state TV covers Donald Trump (Twitter/Julia Davis)

Russian state television has recently accelerated its defense of U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Sunday, Russia media monitor Julia Davis revealed the latest examples of how Kremlin-sponsored news programs are coming to the defense of Trump.

Reporters paid by the Russian Federation have recently taken to referring to the Republican Party as “The Party Of Trump,” Davis said.

State television has also begun replaying Fox News clips. Davis noted that “juxtaposition of the logos is very apropos.”

During one news program, Davis said that the Russian host defended the size of the U.S. president’s penis after adult film actress Stormy Daniels, in her new book, compared it to “the mushroom character in Mario Kart.“

“Russia’s state TV is defending Trump with gusto, down to the size of his unmentionables,” Davis explained. “The Kremlin’s top propagandist, Dmitry Kiselyov, claims Trump is being ‘bullied’ and Stormy’s expectations are unreasonably high, in light of her occupation. Sorry, trying to keep it PG-13.”

Read Davis’ tweets below.

#Russia's state TV worries about the outcome of the midterms, refers to the GOP not as the Republicans, but as "The Party of Trump."


#Russia's state TV broadcasts Fox News' clips, defending Trump and assailing his critics. Juxtaposition of the logos is very apropos.

#Russia's state TV is defending Trump with gusto, down to the size of his unmentionables. The Kremlin's top propagandist, Dmitry Kiselyov, claims Trump is being "bullied" and Stormy's expectations are unreasonably high, in light of her occupation. Sorry, trying to keep it PG-13.

#Russia's state TV claims that based on recent reports, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was "organizing the overthrow of the government."
Image ... U0.twitter
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:17 pm

Roger Stone sought contact with WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, email suggests

PHOTO: Roger Stone speaks at Politicon 2017 at Pasadena Convention Center, July 29, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif.Michael Schwartz/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Michael Cohen interviewed multiple times by Mueller's team

As the special counsel’s office appears to be focusing in on President Donald Trump’s longtime political ally Roger Stone, an email recently obtained by ABC News suggests Stone sought contact with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange during what may have been a critical moment in the 2016 campaign.

The email is one of at least two between Stone and Jerome Corsi, a political commentator and self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist, that refer to London-based conservative author Ted Malloch, according to people familiar with the emails.

The July 31, 2016, email appears to be an explicit attempt by Stone to connect with Assange using Corsi and Malloch as intermediaries. ABC News was not able to independently verify the email’s authenticity, though Stone confirmed to ABC News that he sent it and two separate sources confirmed its existence.

“Malloch should see Assange,” Stone wrote to Corsi.

PHOTO: Jerome Corsi arrives at the immigration department in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 7, 2008.AP, FILE
Jerome Corsi arrives at the immigration department in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 7, 2008.
Earlier this year, Malloch, 65, an American academic and conservative author, spent almost an hour interviewing with investigators on Mueller's team. Malloch wrote in a recently published book that investigators were interested in discussing his ties to Stone, Corsi and WikiLeaks.

Stone told ABC News the message “proves I had no advance knowledge of contents of WikiLeaks’ DNC material, and like every politico and journalist in America, I wanted to know what the content matter was.”

The email was sent just nine days after WikiLeaks made public the first batch of stolen Democratic Party documents allegedly obtained by hacker Guccifer 2.0, later identified as Russian state hackers. It appears to bolster the assertion that Stone, a prominent Trump ally, was attempting to communicate with Assange about the politically explosive leaks.

Stone proposed contact with Assange on a day Trump was facing withering criticism for challenging Gold Star parents of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War. Khan’s parents spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention.

Some Democrats have alleged Stone gave cues to WikiLeaks to publish stolen documents at key moments when the Trump campaign needed to distract attention from bad news for the candidate. The first release of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, for instance, came just hours after The Washington Post posted footage from Access Hollywood that was damaging to Trump’s bid.

Stone has denied those claims.

“Corsi either never passed the suggestion on, or Malloch ignored it — but I think it is the latter,” Stone told ABC News. “The key is Malloch never contacts or sees Assange and never gets anything from him.”

In interviews earlier this year, both Stone and Malloch were emphatic that they did not work together to pass messages to Assange.

PHOTO: Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, May 19, 2017.Frank Augstein/AP, FILE

“There has been some inference in the media that Ted was somehow a go-between between me, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange,” Stone told ABC News in May. “This is false.”

When asked about the email — and whether he carried out the suggested tasks outlined by Stone — Malloch told ABC News on Sunday: “I was not involved in any of these matters. I have never tried to reach Assange or visited that embassy.”

PHOTO: American businessman Ted Malloch, Feb. 9, 2017.Frank Augstein/AP, FILE
American businessman Ted Malloch, Feb. 9, 2017.

Corsi was also interviewed at length by Mueller’s team in recent days. Last week, he appeared before the grand jury convened by the special counsel in a Washington, D.C., courthouse. He declined through his attorney to comment to ABC.

The email contains two more directives from Stone to Corsi to pass on to Malloch.

Stone suggested that Malloch find a British woman who had leveled accusations against former President Bill Clinton. (Stone authored a book in 2016, “Clinton’s War On Women.”) Stone also suggested Corsi ask Malloch to find Sen. Bernie Sanders’ brother “who called Bill a Rapist [sic]” and “turn him for Trump.”

Stone, a longtime political agitator who was an early supporter of Trump’s political campaign, has been under increasing scrutiny from the special counsel investigation in part because of statements he made in August 2016. Political opponents allege Stone knew that WikiLeaks was going to leak damaging information on former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before it was released. Stone also confirmed he briefly communicated with Guccifer 2.0, the unnamed hacker who has taken credit for breaking into Democratic National Committee email servers.

On Friday, ABC News reported that Corsi became the 11th associate of Stone’s to be contacted by the special counsel. ... d=58032438

Brits Warned Trump Against Releasing Carter Page Surveillance Docs
The U.K. is America’s closest intelligence ally and has a strong interest in keeping the surveillance application out of sight. But Trump still hasn't ruled out declassification.
Spencer Ackerman
09.22.18 9:05 AM ET

The United Kingdom implored President Donald Trump not to release an unredacted surveillance warrant application on his former campaign adviser, The Daily Beast has confirmed.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on Thursday night and in a Friday morning tweet, Trump admitted that “key Allies” are alarmed that the release of the document could reveal highly sensitive information implicating their own intelligence networks, particularly those concerning Russia. Trump did not identify the allies.

The UK, far and away the U.S.’ closest intelligence collaborator, is one of them. London has particular equities in keeping the application for the surveillance, known as a FISA warrant, out of public view.

“We do not comment on intelligence and security matters,” a U.K. government spokesperson said. White House and FBI officials declined comment.

Christopher Steele, the author of a dossier that the political right has turned into a Da Vinci Code of Trump persecution, was for over 20 years an MI6 officer, with much of his tenure focused on Russia. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence at the time the FBI placed then-Trump adviser Carter Page under surveillance, has said the Steele dossier wasn’t the “primary source” and was “perhaps an input” for the FISA application. And a redacted version of the FISA application, released in July, explicitly states that Steele’s funders were “likely looking for information that could be used to discredit [Trump’s] campaign.”

All of that undermined the theory pushed by Trump and his allies that the Justice Department politicized the surveillance process, but their response is to demand release of the FISA application without any redactions.

The U.K. has other reasons to keep the surveillance application unseen. Another wellspring of the FBI investigation into Trump’s Russia ties, the predecessor to special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry, occurred on British soil.

George Papadopolous, another former Trump campaign adviser, met in London in March 2016 with a professor there, Joseph Mifsud, who was connected to the Russian ministry of foreign affairs. Mifsud, who has since disappeared, wanted to set up a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin. The following month, at London’s Andaz hotel, Mifsud told Papadopolous that Russia had “dirt” on Trump presidential rival Hillary Clinton through “thousands of emails.” That was months before Russian military intelligence’s penetration of the Democratic National Committee servers was public.

That wasn’t all. In May 2016, Papadopolous would later confess, he told an Australian diplomat about the Russian “dirt” during a meet up at London’s Kensington Wine Rooms. Downer did what Papadopolous wouldn’t: he told the FBI what he had heard from a Trump campaign adviser about a Russian intelligence operation against a major American political figure.

Papadopolous has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia connections and is cooperating with the Mueller probe. Earlier this month, Papadopolous was sentenced to serve 14 days in prison.

Despite the entreaty by the U.S.’ closest intelligence ally, Trump is delaying but not foreclosing on the release, all in the hope of stoking misplaced outrage amongst his followers. The Justice Department has warned him of what he characterized as a “perceived negative impact on the Russia probe,” which is his goal, as expressed by his attorney Rudy Giuliani. Trump announced on Twitter that he’s asked the Justice Department inspector general to “review these documents on an expedited basis” and he can “declassify it if it proves necessary.”

The New York Times first reported on Friday night that the British had registered objections to the declassification.

After the July release of the redacted Page surveillance application, the Cato Institute surveillance scholar Julian Sanchez, who has been a vociferous critic of the intelligence community’s documented privacy abuses, wrote that “we are now witnessing an effort to gaslight the press and the public in support of a discredited narrative about politically motivated surveillance of the Trump campaign.”

On Thursday, the former acting CIA director John McLaughlin argued that “sensitive sources, human and technical, would be exposed” by the unredacted application release. In a Washington Post op-ed, McLaughlin said that the release would send a “message to other intelligence services and to specific sources… that you can’t trust the United States to protect secrets. Our own intelligence and law enforcement services would be demoralized by the president’s political use of their hard-won intelligence.”

But against the U.S.’ closest intelligence ally, senior former U.S. intelligence officials and knowledgeable surveillance skeptics, Trump has a countervailing force: Fox News bloviators.

“I have been asked by so many people that I respect,” Trump this week told The Hill TV’s Buck Sexton, “the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful, great Jeanine Pirro.” ... lance-docs

The couple has deep business ties to a number of Trump associates, including former Trump adviser Felix Sater and Trump’s current lawyer Rudy Giuliani.


A British high court ruled Thursday that Ilyas Khrapunov, the son of the former mayor of the Kazakh city of Almaty, conspired with the former chairman of the Kazakh bank BTA to swindle over $6 billion. Court documents suggest that some of the funds may have been laundered through the real estate empire of President Donald Trump.

Kazakhstan’s BTA bank has been fighting its former chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov to return the billions he allegedly stole from his former employer. On Thursday, a British High Court ordered Khrapunov to pay BTA around $500 million in damages for having helped Ablyazov break a freezing order that allowed him to swindle some of the funds. Khrapunov enlisted the assistance of an English accountant to break the freezing order, the judgment claims.

“Mr Aggarwal was an English accountant, but well versed in making use of offshore companies and other entities by which the true ownership of particular assets could be concealed,” the judgment reads. “Mr Aggarwal provided services to Mr Khrapunov, and Mr Khrapunov told Mr Aggarwal he was acting on behalf of a number of clients, but did not reveal the truth, which was that his true client was in fact Mr Ablyazov.”

The bank’s shareholders, who have been fighting court battles across numerous jurisdictions for around nine years, said the ruling was a step in the right direction.

“Mukhtar Ablyazov has been hiding behind a smokescreen of self-styled political dissidence in his efforts to evade international justice. This ruling from the British High Court is a significant step towards recovering more than $6 billion embezzled by Mr. Ablyazov and his co-conspirators,” Kenes Rakishev, a shareholder of BTA Bank, told Newsweek.

An image shows Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Ilyas Khrapunov has been accused of laundering money through Trump Towers in SoHo.

“In 2012, Mr. Ablyazov fled English jurisdiction to avoid serving a 22-month prison sentence. This ruling, which finds Ilyas Khrapunov guilty of conspiring with Mr. Ablyazov to remove funds out of the reach of a freezing order, demonstrates that Mr. Ablyazov and those helping him cannot continue to run from the law,” Rakishev continued.

Ablyazov also allegedly enlisted the assistance of Khrapunov, who is his son-in-law, to launder the money through large real estate projects in the U.S. and Europe. Khrapunov purchased three condos in Trump SoHo, a development project led by the Trump Organization and the company Bayrock Group LLC, and the quickly resold the properties, according to reports.

A court in Kazakhstan is also hearing a corruption case against Ilya Khrapunov’s parents, former Almaty mayor Viktor Khrapunov and his wife Leila. The couple is accused of money laundering, embezzlement, abuse of office, and a litany of other crimes. They claim the allegations are politically motivated. The couple has deep business ties to a number of Trump associates, including former Trump adviser Felix Sater and Trump’s current lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The city of Almaty has also sued Viktor Khrapunov in a New York court.

The family is currently living in Switzerland. ... ed-1088665
- trump May 17, 2017

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:28 am

How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump

A meticulous analysis of online activity during the 2016 campaign makes a powerful case that targeted cyberattacks by hackers and trolls were decisive.

Jane Mayer
October 1, 2018 Issue

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, of Penn, has done a forensic examination of the campaign.

Donald Trump has adopted many contradictory positions since taking office, but he has been unwavering on one point: that Russia played no role in putting him in the Oval Office. Trump dismisses the idea that Russian interference affected the outcome of the 2016 election, calling it a “made-up story,” “ridiculous,” and “a hoax.” He finds the subject so threatening to his legitimacy that—according to “The Perfect Weapon,” a recent book on cyber sabotage by David Sanger, of the Times—aides say he refuses even to discuss it. In public, Trump has characterized all efforts to investigate the foreign attacks on American democracy during the campaign as a “witch hunt”; in March, he insisted that “the Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever.”

Few people, including Trump’s opponents, have publicly challenged the widespread belief that no obtainable evidence can prove that Russian interference changed any votes. Democrats, for the most part, have avoided attributing Hillary Clinton’s defeat directly to Russian machinations. They have more readily blamed James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, for reversing Clinton’s thin lead in the final days of the campaign by reopening a criminal investigation into her mishandling of classified e-mails. Many have also expressed frustration with Clinton’s weak performance as a candidate, and with her campaign’s tactical errors. Instead of investigating whether Russia tipped the electoral scales on its own, they’ve focussed on the possibility that Trump colluded with Russia, and that this, along with other crimes, might be exposed by the probe being conducted by the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

The U.S. intelligence community, for its part, is prohibited from investigating domestic political affairs. James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, told me, “We try not to spy on Americans. It’s not in our charter.” He emphasized that, although he and other intelligence officials produced—and shared with Trump—a postelection report confirming an extensive cyberattack by Russia, the assessment did not attempt to gauge how this foreign meddling had affected American voters. Speaking for himself, however, he told me that “it stretches credulity to think the Russians didn’t turn the election.”

Ordinarily, Congress would aggressively examine an electoral controversy of this magnitude, but the official investigations in the House and the Senate, led by Republicans, have been too stymied by partisanship to address the ultimate question of whether Trump’s victory was legitimate. Although the Senate hearings are still under way, the Intelligence Committee chairman, Richard Burr, a Republican, has already declared, “What we cannot do, however, is calculate the impact that foreign meddling and social media had on this election.”

Even the Clinton campaign has stopped short of attributing its loss to the Russians. Joel Benenson, the campaign’s pollster, told me that “a global power is fucking with our elections,” and that “every American should be outraged, whether it changed the outcome or not.” But did the meddling alter the outcome? “How will we ever know?” he said. “We probably won’t, until some Russians involved in it are actually prosecuted—or some Republican, in a moment of conscience, talks.”

Politicians may be too timid to explore the subject, but a new book from, of all places, Oxford University Press promises to be incendiary. “Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President—What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know,” by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor of communications at the University of Pennsylvania, dares to ask—and even attempts to answer—whether Russian meddling had a decisive impact in 2016. Jamieson offers a forensic analysis of the available evidence and concludes that Russia very likely delivered Trump’s victory.

The book, which is coming out less than two months before the midterm elections, at a moment when polls suggest that some sixty per cent of voters disapprove of Trump, may well reignite the question of Trump’s electoral legitimacy. The President’s supporters will likely characterize the study as an act of partisan warfare. But in person Jamieson, who wears her gray hair in a pixie cut and favors silk scarves and matronly tweeds, looks more likely to suspend a troublemaker than to be one. She is seventy-one, and has spent forty years studying political speeches, ads, and debates. Since 1993, she has directed the Annenberg Public Policy Center, at Penn, and in 2003 she co-founded, a nonpartisan watchdog group. She is widely respected by political experts in both parties, though her predominantly male peers have occasionally mocked her scholarly intensity, calling her the Drill Sergeant. As Steven Livingston, a professor of political communication at George Washington University, puts it, “She is the epitome of a humorless, no-nonsense social scientist driven by the numbers. She doesn’t bullshit. She calls it straight.”

Indeed, when I met recently with Jamieson, in a book-lined conference room at the Annenberg Center, in Philadelphia, and asked her point-blank if she thought that Trump would be President without the aid of Russians, she didn’t equivocate. “No,” she said, her face unsmiling. Clearly cognizant of the gravity of her statement, she clarified, “If everything else is a constant? No, I do not.”

Jamieson said that, as an academic, she hoped that the public would challenge her arguments. Yet she expressed confidence that unbiased readers would accept her conclusion that it is not just plausible that Russia changed the outcome of the 2016 election—it is “likely that it did.”

An airtight case, she acknowledges, may never be possible. In the introduction to her new book, she writes that any case for influence will likely be similar to that in a civil legal trial, “in which the verdict is rendered not with the certainty that e=mc2 but rather based on the preponderance of evidence.” But, she points out, “we do make most of life’s decisions based on less-than-rock-solid, incontrovertible evidence.” In Philadelphia, she noted to me that “we convict people on probabilities rather than absolute certainty, and we’ve executed people based on inferences from available evidence.” She argued that “the standard of proof being demanded” by people claiming it’s impossible to know whether Russia delivered the White House to Trump is “substantially higher than the standard of proof we ordinarily use in our lives.”

Her case is based on a growing body of knowledge about the electronic warfare waged by Russian trolls and hackers—whom she terms “discourse saboteurs”—and on five decades’ worth of academic studies about what kinds of persuasion can influence voters, and under what circumstances. Democracies around the world, she told me, have begun to realize that subverting an election doesn’t require tampering with voting machines. Extensive studies of past campaigns, Jamieson said, have demonstrated that “you can affect people, who then change their decision, and that alters the outcome.” She continued, “I’m not arguing that Russians pulled the voting levers. I’m arguing that they persuaded enough people to either vote a certain way or not vote at all.”

The effect of such manipulations could be momentous in an election as close as the 2016 race, in which Clinton got nearly 2.9 million more votes than Trump, and Trump won the Electoral College only because some eighty thousand votes went his way in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In two hundred and twenty-four pages of extremely dry prose, with four appendixes of charts and graphs and fifty-four pages of footnotes, Jamieson makes a strong case that, in 2016, “Russian masterminds” pulled off a technological and political coup. Moreover, she concludes, the American media “inadvertently helped them achieve their goals.”

When Jamieson set out to research the 2016 campaign—she has researched every Presidential election since 1976—she had no intention of lobbing a grenade. She was spending a peaceful sabbatical as a fellow at the Shorenstein Center, at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, exploring a rather narrow topic: the 2016 Presidential debates. She’d chosen this subject because, having devoted decades to examining the impact of advertising and other forms of persuasion on voters, she believed that most of the big questions in the field of political-campaign communications had been answered. Also, she admitted, “I have what you could call a debate fixation. Every year since 1996 I’ve done some kind of social-science look at the effects of debates.”

This expertise helped Jamieson notice something odd about the three debates between Trump and Clinton. As she told me, “The conventional wisdom was that Hillary Clinton had done pretty well.” According to CNN polls conducted immediately after the debates, she won all three, by a margin of thirteen per cent or greater. But, during the period of the debates, Jamieson and others at the Annenberg Center had overseen three telephone surveys, each sampling about a thousand adults. In an election that turned more than most on judgments of character, Americans who saw or heard the second and third debates, in particular, were more likely than those who hadn’t to agree that Clinton “says one thing in public and something else in private.” Jamieson found this statistic curious, because, by the time of the first debate, on September 26th, Clinton’s reputation for candor had already been tarnished by her failed attempt to hide the fact that she’d developed pneumonia, and by the revelation that, at a recent fund-raising event, she’d described some Trump supporters as “deplorables”—a slur that contradicted her slogan “Stronger Together.” Other Annenberg Center polling data indicated to Jamieson that concerns about Clinton being two-faced had been “baked in” voters’ minds since before the first debate. Clinton “had already been attacked for a very long time over that,” Jamieson recalls thinking. “Why would the debates have had an additional effect?”

After insuring that the surveys had been properly conducted, Jamieson analyzed whether this change in a voter’s perception of Clinton’s forthrightness predicted a change in his or her candidate preference. To her surprise, she found that it did: as she put it to me, there was a “small but significant drop in reported intention to vote for her.” This statistic, too, struck Jamieson as curious; she knew from years of scholarship that Presidential debates, barring major gaffes, typically “increase the likelihood that you’re casting a vote for, rather than against,” a candidate.

Last year, while Jamieson was trying to determine what could have caused viewers’ perception of Clinton’s character to fall so consequentially, the Washington Post asked her to write an op-ed addressing whether Russian operatives had helped to elect Trump. Jamieson agreed to do so, but, she admitted to me, “I frankly hadn’t thought about it one way or the other.”

Jamieson is scrupulously nonpartisan in her work. Beth Myers, who helped lead Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 and worked with Jamieson on a bipartisan project about Presidential debates, told me, “If Kathleen has a point of view, I don’t know what it is. She’s extraordinarily evenhanded. She is fair and fearless.” Anita Dunn, a Democratic adviser to Barack Obama, agrees. She, too, worked with Jamieson on the Presidential-debates project, and she studied with her as an undergraduate. Jamieson, she says, “is constantly pointing out what the data actually shows, as opposed to those of us who just assert stuff.”

Jamieson began her study of the 2016 election with an open mind. But, in the fall of 2017, as she watched the House and the Senate hold hearings on Russia’s social-media manipulations, and reviewed the sampling of dozens of Facebook ads released by the House Intelligence Committee—all paid for by Russians during the Presidential campaign—she developed suspicions about the reasons behind Trump’s victory. Before the hearings, Facebook’s chairman and C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg, had maintained that the amount of Russian content that had been disseminated on social media was too small to matter. But evidence presented to the Senate committee revealed that material generated by the Kremlin had reached a hundred and twenty-six million American Facebook users, leading Senator Dianne Feinstein to call the cyberattack “cataclysmic.”

House Democrats later released not only the ads but also their “targeting data”—the demographics and the geographic locations of users receiving them—which indicated to Jamieson “whom the Russians were going for.” Among other things, she could discern that the Russians had tried “to minimize the vote of African-Americans.” Bogus Kremlin-sponsored ads that had circulated online—including one depicting a black woman in front of an “AFRICAN-AMERICANS FOR HILLARY” sign—had urged voters to tweet or text rather than vote, or to “avoid the line” and “vote from home.”

Jamieson’s Post article was grounded in years of scholarship on political persuasion. She noted that political messages are especially effective when they are sent by trusted sources, such as members of one’s own community. Russian operatives, it turned out, disguised themselves in precisely this way. As the Times first reported, on June 8, 2016, a Facebook user depicting himself as Melvin Redick, a genial family man from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, posted a link to, and wrote that users should check out “the hidden truth about Hillary Clinton, George Soros and other leaders of the US.” The profile photograph of “Redick” showed him in a backward baseball cap, alongside his young daughter—but Pennsylvania records showed no evidence of Redick’s existence, and the photograph matched an image of an unsuspecting man in Brazil. U.S. intelligence experts later announced, “with high confidence,” that DCLeaks was the creation of the G.R.U., Russia’s military-intelligence agency.

Academic research has also shown that political messages tend not to change the minds of voters who have already chosen a candidate; they are most likely to persuade undecided voters. And in 2016 an uncommonly high percentage of voters liked neither candidate and stayed undecided longer than usual. By some counts, about thirty-seven million Americans—fifteen per cent of the electorate—were still undecided in the final weeks before the election.

Jamieson argues that the impact of the Russian cyberwar was likely enhanced by its consistency with messaging from Trump’s campaign, and by its strategic alignment with the campaign’s geographic and demographic objectives. Had the Kremlin tried to push voters in a new direction, its effort might have failed. But, Jamieson concluded, the Russian saboteurs nimbly amplified Trump’s divisive rhetoric on immigrants, minorities, and Muslims, among other signature topics, and targeted constituencies that he needed to reach. She noted that Russian trolls had created social-media posts clearly aimed at winning support for Trump from churchgoers and military families—key Republican voters who seemed likely to lack enthusiasm for a thrice-married nominee who had boasted of groping women, obtained multiple military deferments, mocked Gold Star parents and a former prisoner of war, and described the threat of venereal disease as his personal equivalent of the Vietcong. Russian trolls pretended to have the same religious convictions as targeted users, and often promoted Biblical memes, including one that showed Clinton as Satan, with budding horns, arm-wrestling with Jesus, alongside the message “ ‘Like’ if you want Jesus to win!” One Instagram post, portraying Clinton as uncaring about the 2012 tragedy in Benghazi, depicted a young American widow resting her head on a flag-draped coffin. Another post displayed contrasting images of a thin homeless veteran and a heavyset, swarthy man wearing an “UNDOCUMENTED UNAFRAID UNAPOLOGETIC” T-shirt, and asked why “this veteran gets nothing” and “this illegal gets everything.” It concluded, “Like and share if you think this is a disgrace.” On Election Day, according to CNN exit polls, Trump, despite his political baggage, outperformed Clinton by twenty-six points among veterans; he also did better among evangelicals than both of the previous Republican nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain.

In her Post article, Jamieson wrote that it was “hard to know” if Russian propaganda and dirty tricks—including the steady release of hacked e-mails, starting with Democratic National Committee correspondence that was leaked just before the Party’s convention—had made a decisive difference in 2016. Nevertheless, she argued, the “wide distribution” of the trolls’ disinformation “increases the likelihood” that it “changed the outcome.”

After the article’s publication, she returned to her sabbatical project on the debates, with a newly keen eye for Russian trolls and hackers. After reviewing the debate transcripts, scrutinizing press coverage, and eliminating other possibilities, Jamieson concluded that there was only one credible explanation for the diminishing impression among debate viewers that Clinton was forthright: just before the second debate, WikiLeaks had released a cache of e-mails, obtained by Russian hackers, that, it said, were taken from the Gmail account of Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. They included excerpts from speeches that Clinton had given to banks, for high fees, and had refused to release during the campaign. The speeches could be used by detractors to show that, despite her liberal rhetoric, she was aligned with Wall Street. The hacked content permeated the discourse of the debates, informing both the moderators’ questions and the candidates’ answers. All this, Jamieson writes, gave legitimacy to the idea that Clinton “said one thing in public and another in private.”

During the second debate, on October 9th, before 66.5 million viewers, one of the moderators, Martha Raddatz, relayed a question submitted by a voter: Did Clinton think that it was acceptable for a politician to be “two-faced”? The question referred to a leaked passage from one of Clinton’s previously unreleased paid speeches; Russian hackers had given the passage to WikiLeaks, which posted it two days before the debate. In the speech, Clinton had cited Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln” as an example of how politicians sometimes need to adopt different public and private negotiating stances. The point was scarcely novel, but the debate question—which took her words out of context, omitted her reference to the movie, and didn’t mention that Russian operatives had obtained the speech illegally—made Clinton sound like a sneaky hypocrite. When Clinton cited “Lincoln” in order to defend the statement, Trump pounced.

“She got caught in a total lie!” Trump said. “Her papers went out to all her friends at the banks—Goldman Sachs and everybody else. And she said things, WikiLeaks, that just came out. And she lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln!”

The dynamic recurred in the third debate, on October 19th, which 71.6 million people watched. When Trump accused Clinton of favoring “open borders,” she denied it, but the moderator, Chris Wallace, challenged her by citing a snippet from a speech that she had given, in 2013, to a Brazilian bank: “My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.” Again, there was no mention of the fact that the speech had been stolen by a hostile foreign power; Wallace said that the quotation had come from WikiLeaks. The clear implication of Wallace’s question was that Clinton had been hiding her true beliefs, and Trump said to him, “Thank you!” His supporters in the audience laughed. Clinton said that the phrase had been taken out of context: she’d been referring not to immigrants but to an open-bordered electric grid with Latin America. She tried to draw attention to Russia’s role in hacking the speech, but Trump mocked her for accusing Putin, and joked, “That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders.” He then warned the audience that, if Clinton were elected, Syrians and other immigrants would “pour into our country.”

The fact-checking organization PolitiFact later concluded that Trump had incorrectly characterized Clinton’s speech, but the damage had been done. Jamieson’s research indicated that viewers who watched the second and third debates subsequently saw Clinton as less forthright, and Trump as more forthright. Among people who did not watch the debates, Clinton’s reputation was not damaged in this way. During the weeks that the debates took place, the moderators and the media became consumed by an anti-Clinton narrative driven by Russian hackers. In “Cyberwar,” Jamieson writes, “The stolen goods lent credibility” to “those moderator queries.”

As Jamieson reviewed the record further, she concluded that the Russian hackers had also been alarmingly successful in reframing the American political narrative in the crucial period leading up to the second debate. On Friday, October 7th, two days before it took place, three major stories landed in rapid succession. At 12:40 P.M., the Obama Administration released a stunning statement, by the Department of Homeland Security and the director of National Intelligence, accusing the Russian government of interfering in the election through hacking. This seemed certain to dominate the weekend news, but at 4:03 P.M. the Washington Post published a report, by David Fahrenthold, on an “Access Hollywood” tape that captured Trump, on a hot mike, boasting about grabbing women “by the pussy.” Then, less than half an hour later, WikiLeaks released its first tranche of e-mails that Russian hackers had stolen from Podesta’s account. The tranche contained some two thousand messages, along with excerpts from the paid speeches that Clinton had tried to conceal, including those that would be mentioned in the subsequent debates. (Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, has denied working with the Russian government, but he manifestly despises Clinton, and, in a leaked Twitter direct message, he said that in the 2016 election “it would be much better for GOP to win.”)

If the WikiLeaks release was a Russian-backed effort to rescue Trump’s candidacy by generating a scandal to counterbalance the “Access Hollywood” tape and the intelligence report on Russian interference, Jamieson writes, it worked splendidly. The intelligence community’s report faded from the headlines; that Sunday morning, none of its authors were invited on any major talk show. Instead, the programs breathlessly discussed the “pussy” tape and the Clinton campaign’s e-mails, which were portrayed as more or less exposing both candidates as liars. Jamieson notes, “Instead of asking how we could know that the Russians were behind the hacking, the October 9 Sunday show moderators asked what effect the disclosures would have on the candidates’ respective campaigns and what the tape and speech segments revealed about the private versus public selves of the contenders.” If not for WikiLeaks, she writes, the media discourse in those crucial days likely would have remained locked on two topics advantageous to Clinton: Russian election subversion and Trump’s treatment of women.

Jamieson also argues that, in most hotly contested elections, the candidates blunt each other’s messages, which results in fairly balanced media coverage. In 2016, she believes, Russia’s involvement upset this equilibrium. She asks readers to imagine how different the 2016 election might have been if Trump’s campaign had also been hacked, disgorging the e-mails of Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump, Jr. Among other things, this would have exposed correspondence about the notorious June, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, and Trump’s payoffs to a pornographic actress and to a Playboy model. Documents that Trump has kept concealed, such as his tax returns, also might have come to light. Instead, Jamieson writes, throughout the autumn of 2016 a steady stream of content stolen from the Clinton campaign—which the press generally described as coming from WikiLeaks, rather than from Russia—“reweighted the news environment in Trump’s favor.”

As Jamieson dug further into Russia’s discourse saboteurs, she decided that she had the makings of a book. Most discussions about the 2016 election results, she believed, had been misguidedly framed around the question of whether the Russians had “changed votes directly.” There wasn’t evidence for this. Instead, she suspected, the Russians had “influenced who voted, or didn’t vote, and that could have changed the outcome.”

She set aside her debates project and continued sleuthing. She amassed more evidence this past February, when the Justice Department, in connection with the Mueller probe, released a detailed indictment of thirteen Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm in St. Petersburg. The operatives were described as having worked day and night waging “information warfare against the United States of America.” Then, in July, Mueller indicted twelve Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the computers of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. The indictment maintained that the Russian government had executed a sprawling and sustained cyberattack on at least three hundred people connected to the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, infiltrating their computers and implanting malware that, in some instances, enabled spies to covertly monitor their keystrokes. As the Times reported, the Russians had leaked stolen files “in stages,” a tactic “that wreaked havoc on the Democratic Party throughout much of the election season.”

Strikingly, the July indictment showed that Russian hackers’ first attempt to infiltrate the computer servers in Clinton’s personal offices had taken place on July 27, 2016, the same day that Trump had declared, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand e-mails that are missing,” adding, “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Another revelation from the indictment which jumped out at Jamieson was that the Russian hackers had stolen the Clinton campaign’s data analytics and voter-turnout models. A month later, when we met in Philadelphia, Jamieson said, “So we’re starting to close in on a pretty strong inference that they had everything needed to target the messaging” at “key constituencies that did effectively mobilize in this election.” Cocking an eyebrow, she added, “The possibility that this happened starts to become a probability—starts to become a likelihood—pretty quickly.”

Joel Benenson, the Clinton pollster, was stunned when he learned, from the July indictment, that the Russians had stolen his campaign’s internal modelling. “I saw it and said, ‘Holy shit!’ ” he told me. Among the proprietary information that the Russian hackers could have obtained, he said, was campaign data showing that, late in the summer of 2016, in battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, an unusually high proportion of residents whose demographic and voting profiles identified them as likely Democrats were “Hillary defectors”: people so unhappy with Clinton that they were considering voting for a third-party candidate. The Clinton campaign had a plan for winning back these voters. Benenson explained that any Clinton opponent who stole this data would surely have realized that the best way to counter the plan was to bombard those voters with negative information about Clinton. “All they need to do is keep that person where they are,” he said, which is far easier than persuading a voter to switch candidates. Many critics have accused Clinton of taking Michigan and Wisconsin for granted and spending virtually no time there. But Benenson said that, if a covert social-media campaign targeting “Hillary defectors” was indeed launched in battleground states, it might well have changed the outcome of the election.

Benenson said, “We lost Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin—three states of our Blue Wall—by about eighty thousand votes. Six hundred and sixty thousand votes were cast in those three states for third-party candidates. Winning those three states would have got us to two hundred and seventy-eight electoral votes.” In other words, if only twelve per cent of those third-party voters were persuaded by Russian propaganda—based on hacked Clinton-campaign analytics—not to vote for Clinton, then Jamieson’s theory could be valid.

Benenson said that, when he first learned about the theft, he “called another consultant on the campaign and said, ‘This is unreal.’ ” The consultant reminded him that, in focus groups with undecided voters in the fall of 2016, “we’d hear these things like ‘I really hate Trump, but Hillary’s going to murder all these people’—all sorts of crazy stuff.” Benenson admitted that many Americans had long disliked the Clintons, and had for years spread exaggerated rumors of their alleged misdeeds and deceptions. But he wonders if some of those conspiracy-minded voters hadn’t been unknowingly influenced by Russian propagandists who were marshalling the Clinton campaign’s own analytics.

Philip Howard, the director of the Oxford Internet Institute, in England, agrees that the Russian interference could have been decisive, but he is less convinced that the stolen analytics were key. He told me, “It’s plausible, but the Russians wouldn’t have needed the Clinton campaign—they could just as easily have targeted the network of Bernie Sanders supporters.”

“Did we make mistakes?” Benenson asked, about the Clinton campaign’s performance. “Sure.” But, he said, he believes that Russian interference in the 2016 election was “the biggest threat to democracy we’ve ever had in this country, other than the wars we’ve had to fight.”

Jamieson has long been respected by the Washington media establishment, but it’s a safe bet that the Trump White House will dismiss her work as more “fake news.” A senior Trump adviser who was involved in the 2016 campaign, and has yet to see Jamieson’s book, recently sent me a text: “Where is the evidence? And when do people start to feel ashamed that they can’t accept the election results and the crappy candidate they ran?”

Other academics may also be skeptical of “Cyberwar.” A forthcoming book on the 2016 campaign, “Identity Crisis,” by the political scientists John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck, argues that Russian interference was not a major factor in the Presidential election, and that the hacked e-mails “did not clearly affect” perceptions of Clinton. Instead, they write, Trump’s exploitation of divisive race, gender, religious, and ethnicity issues accounted for his win. But the two books are not necessarily incompatible: Jamieson shows that Russian saboteurs inflamed polarizing identity issues, including resentment among whites that minority groups were benefitting at the expense of “real” Americans—which is exactly what “Identity Crisis” says swung the election.

Recently, Brendan Nyhan, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, suggested, in the Times, that most fears about the impact of Russian information warfare in the 2016 campaign are exaggerated. He wrote that “a growing number of studies conclude” that “most forms of political persuasion seem to have little effect at all,” and cited studies suggesting that television ads, direct mail, and door-to-door canvassing rarely sway voters. Moreover, he argued, though the number of Russian-sponsored messages during the 2016 campaign might sound alarmingly large, the universe of information that most voters are exposed to is so vast that the impact of fake news, and other malicious online misinformation, is diluted. He noted, “Twitter, for instance, reported that Russian bots tweeted 2.1 million times before the election—certainly a worrisome number. But these represented only 1 percent of all election-related tweets and 0.5 percent of views of election-related tweets.” He concluded, “It’s hard to change people’s minds!”

Conservative news outlets like the Daily Caller have embraced the view that Russia’s social-media operations were negligible. But Jonathan Albright, of Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, who has been at the forefront of documenting the spread of online disinformation from Russia and other sources, describes the “drop in the bucket” argument as a case of “false framing.” He told me, “A better way to think of it is not as a drop of solution but as pollution. Every piece of messaging has some effect.” It’s misleading, he says, to focus only on the relatively small number of obvious propaganda messages, such as paid Facebook ads. Far more important, in the 2016 campaign, was “organic content”: the countless messages, created by masked Russian social-media accounts, that were spread by algorithms, bots, and unwitting American users. The reach of such content, he told me, “turned out to be huge.” Of the four hundred and seventy Facebook accounts known to have been created by Russian saboteurs during the campaign, a mere six of them generated content that was shared at least three hundred and forty million times. The Facebook page for a fake group, Blacktivist, which stoked racial tensions by posting militant slogans and stomach-churning videos of police violence against African-Americans, garnered more hits than the Facebook page for Black Lives Matter.

The Blacktivist ruse was part of a larger Russian plot to divide Americans, according to Senator Mark Warner, the vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. An expert told the committee that automated accounts typically push extremist views twenty-five to thirty times more often than authentic American social-media users do. “It blew my mind,” he told me. “It was an OMG moment. The extremes are screaming while the majority whispers.”

It is now understood that Russia’s influence was far larger than social-media companies originally acknowledged. Facebook initially claimed that Russian disinformation posted during the campaign had likely reached only ten million Facebook users; it subsequently amended the figure to a hundred and twenty-six million. Twitter recently acknowledged that it, too, was deeply infiltrated, hosting more than fifty thousand impostor accounts.

James Clapper told me, “It’s hard to convey to people how massive an assault this was,” and added, “I think the Russians have more to do with making Clinton lose than Trump did.” Yet he remains cautious about saying that this is provable. So does Albright, of the Tow Center. He has accumulated a huge quantity of data documenting Russian meddling, but he believes that it remains “difficult to quantify what the impact was on the outcome.” He told me that Russian interference “provoked outrage, created discontent with social systems such as police and safety, pushed certain urban and disadvantaged communities to feel marginalized, and amplified wedge issues beyond authentic reach through social media, which then magnified media coverage of certain issues.” He went on, “That’s an impact. But to translate that into voting patterns is very difficult.” Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A. and the N.S.A., is also agnostic. He has called the Russian attacks “the most successful covert influence operation in history,” but concludes that, although Russian hackers may have, as he put it, “put their thumb on the American electoral scale,” there’s simply “no telling the impact. . . . It’s not just unknown, it’s unknowable.”

Jamieson quotes Hayden making this argument, but writes that she must respectfully disagree.

“Cyberwar” doesn’t simply document Russia’s hacking and social-media campaigns. It also pinpoints another, less well-known, instance of Russian sabotage, and Jamieson argues that this dirty trick, in combination with the actions of trolls and hackers, may have changed the course of the 2016 campaign. In her telling, James Comey’s decision to issue a series of damaging public pronouncements on Clinton’s handling of classified e-mails can plausibly be attributed to Russian disinformation. As evidence, Jamieson cites Comey’s own story, told in interviews and in his recent memoir, of what happened behind the scenes.

Jamieson became curious as she watched Comey, on July 5, 2016, make the first of three public statements during the campaign about e-mails that Clinton had mishandled while serving as Obama’s Secretary of State. At a press conference, Comey announced his intention to recommend that the Justice Department not charge Clinton, but first he denounced her actions as “extremely careless.” Jamieson recalls wondering, “Why are you doing this?” She told me, “It was odd.”

Ordinarily, when the F.B.I. ends an investigation with no charges, it says nothing. In very high-profile cases, it sometimes issues a “declination” statement. But, even though Comey wasn’t the head of the Justice Department—he was only the F.B.I. director—he had unilaterally designated himself the spokesman for the entire investigation, and had called a live press conference without asking the permission of his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

As Jamieson worked on her manuscript, she noticed that Comey repeatedly hinted that his decision to preëmpt his boss was prompted, in part, by classified information, which, if leaked, would undermine the over-all integrity of the Clinton probe. In public, he mysteriously declined to be more specific about this intelligence, but claimed that it had compounded concerns already stirred by an impromptu private visit between Lynch and Bill Clinton, on June 27th, at an Arizona airport.

Six months after the election, the Washington Post broke a story that solved the mystery. At some point in 2016, the F.B.I. had received unverified Russian intelligence describing purported e-mails from Lynch to a member of the Clinton team, in which she promised that she’d go easy on Clinton. An unnamed source told the Post that the intelligence had been viewed as “junk.” Nonetheless, Comey has reportedly told aides that he let the disinformation shape his decision to sideline Lynch. Fearing, in part, that conservatives would create a furor if the alleged e-mails became public, he began to feel that Lynch “could not credibly participate in announcing a declination.” A subsequent report, by the Justice Department’s inspector general, described Comey’s behavior as “extraordinary and insubordinate,” and found his justifications unpersuasive.

Nick Merrill, a former Clinton-campaign spokesman, describes Comey’s actions as “mind-blowing.” He said of the intelligence impugning Lynch, “It was a Russian forgery. But Comey based major decisions in the Justice Department on Russian disinformation because of the optics of it! The Russians targeted the F.B.I., hoping they’d act on it, and then he went ahead and did so.”

In the fake Russian intelligence, one of the Clinton-campaign officials accused of conspiring with Lynch was Amanda Renteria. She was shocked to learn of the allegations, and told me that, although she is friendly with a woman named Loretta Lynch—a political figure in California—she does not know the Loretta Lynch who was the Attorney General. Renteria said, “To me, it says that, in the new world of politics, even if something isn’t real, it can still move things. You aren’t living in the world of reality anymore.”

Comey declined to comment for this article, citing the classified nature of the intelligence in question. As with the other incidents described in Jamieson’s book, it is hard to assess precisely how much of a difference his damaging statements about Clinton made at the voting booth. But it certainly didn’t help her candidacy when, just ten days before the election, Comey—reprising his self-appointed spokesperson role—announced that the F.B.I. was reopening the investigation because more Clinton e-mails had been found. Seven days later, he made a third announcement, clearing her again. Adam Schiff, the Democratic representative who is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told me that, if you take Comey at his word that the fake intelligence drove his decision to publicly censor Clinton in the first place—there are skeptics who suspect that Comey’s grandstanding moralism was a bigger factor—then “it probably was the most measurable” and “the most significant way in which the Russians may have impacted the outcome of the election.”

Polls suggest the likely impact. According to the Web site FiveThirtyEight, at midnight on October 28, 2016, the day Comey announced that he was reopening the investigation, Clinton was ahead of Trump by 5.9 per cent. A week later, her lead had shrunk to 2.9 per cent. Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight, has noted that, during this time, coverage of the Clinton e-mail investigation dominated the news, “drowning out other headlines.” According to researchers at Microsoft, the Times ran as many front-page stories on the e-mails that week as it ran front-page stories about the candidates’ policy proposals in the final few months of the campaign. Silver concluded that all the talk about Clinton’s e-mails may have shifted the race by as much as four points, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida to Trump, and possibly North Carolina and Arizona, too.

Jamieson, ever the social scientist, emphasizes in her book that there is much that Americans still don’t know about the campaign, including the detailed targeting information that would clarify exactly whom the Russian disinformation was aimed at, and when it was sent. She told me, “We need to know the extent to which the Russians targeted the three key states, and which citizens’ voting patterns differed substantially from the ones you would have predicted in the past.”

Philip Howard, the Oxford professor, believes that Facebook possesses this data, down to the location of a user’s computer, and that such information could conceivably reveal whether an undecided voter was swayed after viewing certain content. He also thinks that, if there was any collusion between the St. Petersburg trolls and the Trump campaign, Facebook’s internal data could document it, by revealing coördination on political posts. But, he says, Facebook has so far resisted divulging such data to researchers, claiming that doing so would be a breach of its user agreement.

Even if this targeting information were released, though, questions would remain. Jamieson notes that postelection interviews are often unhelpful, since few voters are able to accurately recount what influenced their decision. Scholars know even less about nonvoters. As a result, she writes in “Cyberwar,” efforts to make an “ironclad” case will be “thwarted by unknowns.” Nevertheless, her book concludes that “Russian trolls and hackers helped elect a US president.”

Jamieson told me that one of her greatest concerns is that voters were unaware of the foreign effort to manipulate them on social media. Had the public known, she believes, there likely would have been a significant backlash. “We want voters to be aware of who is trying to influence them,” she said. “That’s the reason we have disclosure requirements on our campaign ads. We’ve known, at least since Aristotle in Western culture, that the source is judged as part of the message.”

Americans eager to declare Trump’s election illegitimate will be disappointed by one of Jamieson’s arguments. Regardless of her findings about the Russian scheme, she writes that, “barring evidence of tampering” with voting machines or ballot boxes, “Trump is the duly elected President of the United States.” She says that she will leave it to others to decide whether Trump should remain in office if conclusive evidence emerges that he colluded with the Kremlin in order to win the election. “My personal judgment is yes, even then Mr. Trump would be President,” she writes. “But probably not for long.”

This article appears in the print edition of the October 1, 2018, issue, with the headline “Russia Won.”
Jane Mayer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995. ... -for-trump
- trump May 17, 2017

Dotard = Bulger Rat

trump is member of a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government

Why we do think that trump owes debt to Putin? 50 reasons
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