Pump Up the Volume 5
Why isn't anyone talking about the damning findings of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report? (Discussion with Alison Greene and Aaron Harris)
On January 10, 2017, Buzzfeed News released the full series of intelligence reports written by Christopher Steele, the former Moscow station chief of MI6. The so-called Steele Dossier was an open secret in media circles, with some members of the press, most notably David Corn of Mother Jones, having already reported on its existence and spilling some of its tea. Après-Buzzfeed, we could all read the dossier and draw our own conclusions.
For the mainstream media, this meant zeroing in on a single salacious story, that of Donald and Melania Trump retaining the services of Russian sex workers to micturate on a California King at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow:
According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s (perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew President and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. The hotel was known to be under FSB control with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.
Even Steele makes clear that this story is just a rumor and should be treated as such. But all we heard about in the press—and the late-night talk shows—was the “pee-pee tape.” Now, it may have been that the media worked this angle because the story is so specific, so strange, and so over-the-top. (Did any of the sex workers eat asparagus, one wonders, before participating in the show?) But there is another factor: that bizarre anecdote is on the second page of the dossier. It could be reported on without having to read the rest of the 35-page document.
An ADHD media that couldn’t be bothered to read a brief series of intelligence reports, compiled by a retired spy of some renown, was never going to parse the full text of the Mueller Report—not when it could just run with the two-page letter Attorney General Bill Barr wrote to neutralize it.
And a press too slothful to read the full Mueller Report was never going to stop its breathless horse-race coverage of the 2020 election to read and accurately present the findings of the unappealing-titled Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate, On Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election, Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities—not when the damned thing is 966 pages long.
Released in the dog days of August, 2020—in the middle of both a global pandemic and the most consequential presidential campaign cycle of my lifetime—Volume 5 of the Senate Intelligence Report is a bipartisan study of many of the links (there were a shit-ton) between the Trump campaign and Russia. And it pulls no punches. Right up top, it states, unequivocally:
The Committee found that the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multifaceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Volume 5 then goes into great detail about various Trump/Russia topics, including: the seditious activities of the Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who worked closely with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence officer who specializes in election sabotage; the hapless not-so-useful idiot George Papadopoulos; the infiltration of the NRA brass and the GOP nomenklatura by Putin BFF Alexander Torshin and his protégé, Maria Butina; the bizarre activities of Carter Page and Michael Flynn; the Trump Tower meeting and Candidate Trump’s foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel; and much, much more.
The document was authorized by Democrats as well as Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including the then-chair, Richard Burr. Almost as soon as he signed off on Volume 5, Burr was sacked from the Committee—the FBI was investigating him for insider trading—and replaced by ethics-deficient traitor Marco Rubio, who did his level best to, as Alison Greene puts it on the podcast, “Bill Barr” the Report—to do to Volume 5 what Bill Barr did to the Mueller Report. This meant taking up the legally meaningless NO COLLUSION narrative. The non-Burr Republicans on the Committee—Senators Risch, Rubio, Blunt, Cotton, Cornyn, and Sasse—felt the need to add this addendum to the report (italics and boldface in original text):
Volume 5 exhaustively reviews the counterintelligence threats and vulnerabilities to the 2016 election, but never explicitly states the critical fact: the Committee found no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government in its efforts to meddle in the election.
Below, you can watch this sniveling amoeba of a man sell out his country for a mobbed-up con man:
If you analyze it frame by frame, Zapruder film style, you can pinpoint the exact moment where the last traces of his soul leaves his poltroon’s body.
While Senators Risch, Rubio, Blunt, Cotton, Cornyn, and Sasse may have found “no evidence” that the Trump campaign “colluded,” they found ample evidence that the chair of that campaign coordinated, conspired with, worked with, sought advice from, and otherwise got help from Russians with close ties to Vladimir Putin.
Cooperation is the word the Democrats on the Committee—Senators Heinrich, Feinstein, Wyden, Harris, and Bennet—employ, in their addendum:
The Committee’s bipartisan Report unambiguously shows that members of the Trump Campaign cooperated with Russian efforts to get Trump elected. It recounts efforts by Trump and his team to obtain dirt on their opponent from operatives acting on behalf of the Russian government. It reveals the extraordinary lengths by which Trump and his associates actively sought to enable the Russian interference operation by amplifying its electoral impact and rewarding its perpetrators—even after being warned of its Russian origins. And it presents, for the first time, concerning evidence that the head of the Trump Campaign was directly connected to the Russian meddling through his communications with an individual found to be a Russian intelligence officer.
These are stubborn facts that cannot be ignored. They build on the Committee's bipartisan findings in Volume 2 and Volume 4 that show an extensive Kremlin-directed effort to covertly help candidate Trump in 2016, and they speak to a willingness by a major party candidate and his associates, in the face of a foreign adversary's assault on the political integrity of the United States, to welcome that foreign threat in exchange for advancing their own self-interest.
The Committee's bipartisan Report found that Paul Manafort, while he was Chairman of the Trump Campaign, was secretly communicating with a Russian intelligence officer with whom he discussed Campaign strategy and repeatedly shared internal Campaign polling data. This took place while the Russian intelligence operation to assist Trump was ongoing. Further, Manafort took steps to hide these communications and repeatedly lied to federal investigators, and his deputy on the Campaign destroyed evidence of communications with the Russian intelligence officer. The Committee obtained some information suggesting that the Russian intelligence officer, with whom Manafort had a longstanding relationship, may have been connected to the GRU's hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election. This is what collusion looks like.
This is what collusion looks like! That should have been the headline in every newspaper across the country. Of course it was not, because bothsides blahblahblah—and also, I charge, because reading a Moby-Dick-sized document is too much work for our indolent Beltway press.
There are many reasons why the media failed in 2016, and continues to fail now. In the case of Volume 5, I submit that laziness is the primary culprit.
On Episode 8 of the PREVAIL podcast, I’m joined by Alison Greene (@grassrootsspeak) of David Cay Johnson’s DC Report and researcher Aaron Harris (@clearing_fog), author of “The Ukraine Thing” here at PREVAIL, to talk about the nuts and bolts of the most damning indictment of Donald John Trump.
Description: Volume 5 of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election makes it pretty clear that, while there may have been no “collusion,” there was plenty of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence. It is damning. Why was the release of the Report in August 2020 not a bigger deal? Alison Greene and Aaron Harris join Greg Olear to discuss.
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