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Cole writes: "An avalanche of news about the connection of key Trump political operatives to Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation rolled down ominously on the West Wing on Wednesday."

President's former campaign manager Paul Manafort at a discussion on security at Trump Tower, August 17, 2016. (photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
President's former campaign manager Paul Manafort at a discussion on security at Trump Tower, August 17, 2016. (photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

The Russian Job: The Plot Thickens

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

25 March 17


n avalanche of news about the connection of key Trump political operatives to Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation rolled down ominously on the West Wing on Wednesday.

The evidence for collusion between Trump figures and the Russian Federation to gain the White House for Trump is still mostly circumstantial, but some of it is beginning to cross over into being direct.

Paul Manafort was chairman of the Trump presidential campaign from March until late August of 2016, including during the Republican National Convention. He served much longer than did Steve Bannon, the Breitbart fake news purveyor, who succeeded him.

During the Republican National Convention, Manafort orchestrated the removal from the Republican Party platform of a pledge to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine with which to oppose Russian incursions into the east of that country. Obviously, removal of that plank was something Russia wanted very badly, and Manafort obliged them. Why?

Manafort is a third-generation Italian-American and an attorney and Republican Party fixture who worked on the Ford, Bush Sr., and Dole campaigns. For Reagan he had served as Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House.

In Washington, knowing rich and powerful people personally is worth gold and offers the hail fellow well met the opportunity for enormous riches as a lobbyist.

By 2006, the intrepid reporters Jeff Horwitz and Chad Day Associated Press reported, Manafort was hired for $10 million as a lobbyist by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to lobby for him and for Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation. The arrangement would “greatly benefit the Putin Government.”

As the post-Soviet political system evolved in Russia a group of billionaires or oligarchs rose from the ashes of socialism. As Putin gradually established his power from 2000, he was visibly uncomfortable with the pluralism of political power that battling billionaires could wield, and with the independent media some of them were running. He gradually brought them to heel and attached them to himself. Those who refused to be so coopted were destroyed by exile, imprisonment and mulcting.

Those politically destroyed included media owner Vladimir Gusinsky, Boris Berezovsky and the fantastically wealthy Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Putin himself also arranged to join the ranks of the remaining oligarchs, amassing great wealth that however cannot be specified with certainty. He certainly has at least a few billions, and may be wealthy enough to place in the top ten of Forbes’ list of the wealthiest persons in the world.

Deripaska is therefore not just a random aluminum mogul. That he is allowed to be an oligarch bespeaks his subordination to Putin. Working for him is the same as working for Putin. And the AP report of Manafort’s deal with Deripaska makes this point quite clear.

One of Manafort’s charges, was to open a pro-Russian television station in the Ukraine, which however never materialized despite an $18 million payment. Deripaska charged Manafort with bad faith and last summer spoke of suing him, but once Trump won the election he said no more about a suit.

Manafort denies that the work he did for Deripaska had any political dimensions, and initially seemed to deny doing this kind of work for a powerful Russian concern at all.

Although his relationship with Deripaska seems to have ended in 2009, Manafort went on to do similar work for pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych . Yanukovych was overthrown by the Euromaidan crowds in 2014 and now lives in exile in Russia. Russia then took back Crimea from Ukraine, which had turned hostile to Moscow (Khrushchev gave Russia’s Crimea to Ukraine when all were part of the same country in the 1950). As a result of the annexation of Crimea, the United States and Western European countries placed sanctions on Russia. Russia wants those sanctions removed. One deal ruined by the sanctions was a $500 bn. arrangement with Exxon-Mobil, i.e. with current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Putin and his circle believe that Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and tilt toward the European Union was engineered by the CIA, and that it is possible that Washington may try to get up a color revolution in Moscow itself. Russia would like to break up the European Union, break up NATO, recover Ukraine as a sphere of influence, and erase US and European sanctions. These goals have been voiced by Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and others in their circle who came to power in Washington last November.

Then as the Manafort news was breaking, someone in the FBI leaked that the agency had evidence of Trump operatives being in direct contact with Russian officials and colluding to sink the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif) also said Wednesday that the evidence for collusion between Trump operatives and Russian ones to hand Trump the elections was not simply circumstantial. That is, he is aware of direct evidence to that effect.

In other words, Wednesday was a very bad day for the Trump team.

Then Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, went to see Trump to reassure him, and said publicly that the US intelligence community may have acquired communications of the Trump team because they had had non-US citizens under surveillance, and then the Trumpies called them up. Who ever is in contact with a person under investigation in this day and age also comes under investigation.

Trump took Nunes’s pronouncement to vindicate his allegation that President Obama ordered him wiretapped inside the Trump White House.

Nunes, however, continued to say that there was no evidence that Obama ever ordered that Trump be put under surveillance.

Nunes was criticized for visiting Trump and saying these things since it brought into question the integrity of the House investigation of Trump’s Russia ties. Nunes may also have revealed classified information.

Sen. John McCain immediately called for a joint select committee on intelligence to be shared by the House and the Senate.

So the evidence trail leading to Russia is getting deeper and the Trump administration has no idea what to do about it. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+9 # Radscal 2017-03-25 16:39
"One deal ruined by the sanctions was a $500 bn. arrangement with Exxon-Mobil, i.e. with current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson."

And yet, not only has the Trump Administration NOT ended the Obama Administration sanctions as the "Russia did it" narrative claims was the goal, Tillerson just announced a number of new sanctions against Russia.

It would have been great if the Trump Administration really did plan to work with Russia to reduce tensions as he promised during the campaign. But the reality is he is continuing and expanding the very same aggressive programs that Obama and HRC promoted.

And the Trump supporters are largely in denial that he is continuing the pro-Wall Street, anti-Russian and pro-Zionist Extremists that he campaigned against.

And the HRC supporters are in denial that Trump is doing exactly what we warned that HRC would do.
+2 # lfeuille 2017-03-25 22:43
I've read speculation that the whole purpose of this "Russia did it" caper, at least on the part of the CIA and neocons, was to put pressure on Trump NOT to try to ease tensions with Russia as he indicated in the campaign that he wanted to. Trump doesn't have any strong convictions and bend if it is more convenient. They get the Clinton foreign policy without Clinton. If this is true, it is working perfectly.
+1 # ericlipps 2017-03-26 10:11
The key word is "speculations."
+3 # Radscal 2017-03-26 14:40
Yeah, I've read such speculations also. I've become convinced that this is all just Kabuki Theater. That is, Trump was (s)elected specifically to carry out the AAZ Empire's ongoing program of global domination.

But by framing it as the Democrats and CIA are "pressuring" Trump to do what his supporters believed he would not do, the media is successfully keeping us divided. Only this time (the opposite of the 2012 election) it is "liberals" pushing for aggression against Russia and "conservatives" angry that their hero is being manipulated into it.
+4 # lfeuille 2017-03-26 17:25
I don't think the "deep state" is as together as you assume. It has too many different elements and no way of enforcing discipline. I don't think it has the power to dictate outcomes.
+7 # Radscal 2017-03-26 18:18
I don't think the Deep State is monolithic. There are certainly factions within it that compete with one another.

But when one sees a consistent US policy that spans multiple Administrations , I think it reasonable to assume that there was consensus made behind the curtains.
+3 # librarian1984 2017-03-27 09:38
And if there are indeed factions this political chaos suggests TPTB are in turmoil as well, because it's not like Trump swept in and then a well-oiled machine started clicking along. The Kochs didn't get their health reform and moderates were peeling off. The GOP is not showing their usual unquestioning loyalty, which suggests that at most it's a subset of the ultrapowerful who've succeeded with this election.

I just don't believe there wasn't some segment of the self-perceived master race who didn't want the dependable Clintons in charge rather than the mercurial Trump.

It's possible no one expected Trump to win but after it happened the oligarchs were in disagreement about how to proceed. I think everything is in upheaval, and no one has yet grabbed all the power.
+3 # Radscal 2017-03-27 14:42
Again, of course there are competitions within the 0.01%, but he decades-long policies of the AAZ Empire seem to be accelerating, and are not in chaos whatsoever.

As we all know, Obamacare is HeritageCare. The theatrics about Republicans hating it and "liberals" allegedly loving it make no sense... except as theatrics meant to keep us bickering amongst ourselves.

What I see happening on Healthcare is that the Sanders campaign brought Expanded Medicare For All back into the limelight. The "chaos" over the failed Ryan bill, etc. could allow Progressives to actually finally give us what the US public has wanted for decades. So, this presentation of "chaos" is allowing the Corporate Dems to present as heroes for saving HeritageCare! Again!

The corporate media spent the last year of the election campaign telling us that the Republican Party was fracturing, and some were even saying we were witnessing the end of that Party.

Turns out is the Democratic Party that has lost significant portions of its support as its facade has been ripped off.

But we remain distracted by Partisan Politics as Obama's "All of the Above" expansion of dirty energy accelerates and his "regime change" policies in Syria and Yemen are accelerating, and the New Cold War against Russia is not abating as even MORE new sanctions against Russia were added last week and a Soros-style "color revolution" is growing in Moscow.
+14 # babalu 2017-03-26 04:49
"Tillerson just announced a number of new sanctions against Russia." Please expand and/or provide link.
+1 # Radscal 2017-03-26 14:48
As usual, the US corporate media isn't making a point of this, since it doesn't fit their Trump is Putin's Puppet narrative. But here ya go:
0 # madame de farge 2017-03-27 07:27
having sanctions is one thing, but it is NOTHING without action.....
+2 # librarian1984 2017-03-27 09:46
Agreed. But people need to be aware of how much the msm hides from US. Fortunately with the advent of the web we are not entirely at their mercy, but the corporate media has an agenda and people like those here -- intelligent, informed readers who care about politics -- can't be content with the pablum we get from shills of TPTB -- Fox, CNN, MSDNC, ABC, CBS, NPR etc. -- and perhaps more importantly, the news we DON'T hear.
+3 # Radscal 2017-03-27 14:44
Exactly. The first tactic of propaganda is simply deciding which events are "news." To most people, if it ain't on the 6:00 o'clock news, it ain't real.
+2 # RMF 2017-03-26 09:12

This investigation is not about efforts to "reduce tensions."

Rather, the entire affair is about whether US electoral PROCESS was subverted, by THEFT, and perhaps other unlawful means, for the benefit of a foreign power whose interests are at odds with those of the US.

And I'm not aware of any new sanctions against Russia -- can you support that claim, of which the veracity is very suspect.

As for Trump being "pro Wall St," that is certainly not an anti-Putin move -- the oligarchs use Wall St and other financial centers for money laundering and as a repository of wealth (they can't keep it in Russia -- which lacks the outlook for long-run political stability, putting wealth stored in-country at high risk.) So, any Trump actions to weaken regulation of Wall St, which also includes reporting requirements, is consistent with the financial/custo dial needs of the Russian oligarchs.

Russia has shown itself to be stridently antisemitic, historically and in the present -- and the Trump team has seemingly gone out of it's way, if only by omission, to show antipathy toward efforts to reduce antisemitism.

Overall your comments approach those of an apologist, not a disinterested observer.
+2 # Radscal 2017-03-26 14:55
The US has provided ZERO evidence for their continued claims that Russia hacked and somehow flipped the election.

Crowdstrike, the company the DNC hired, is the ONLY source for the "Russia hacked" claim (remember that DNC refused to allow FBI access to their servers to do their own forensics).

Now even US propaganda organ, Voice of America states that CrowdSource was completely wrong about their assessment of Ukrainian military losses. And it was that "discovery" on CrowdSource's part that led them to claim "high confidence" that the same Russian hackers attacked the DNC.

My point about Trump's Wall Street fealty is that his supporters were suckered into his campaign rhetoric calling out HRC for her fealty to Wall Street.

And I am NOT a "disinterested observer." I am scared to death that this polarization through propaganda is leading us to war against Russia and Iran and the "completion of 1948" by Israel.
+1 # RMF 2017-03-29 16:55
Russia is a criminal state. Attacks against political opponents, antisemitism, homophobia, intolerance of political dissent (Pussyriot members jailed for speaking out,) and extensive financial self-dealing and corruption.

This is not about Russian people or political tensions.

All of the US intelligence agencies affirmed and ratified the conclusion that the Russian state hacked into the DNC server -- indeed there was unanimous testimony to that conclusion during the House Intelligence hearing!

Moreover, the Russian hacking of DNC was theft of private property and a violation of applicable law. Whether it flipped the election is hard to say, but no doubt had substantial impact, esp during closing days of campaign. In any case, it's well beyond "No Harm-No Foul" as unconvincingly alleged in your post.

Trump is now in charge of war policy and it is unlikely he is going to attack his Russian oligarch friends and business associates.

In short, your defense of the criminal Russian regime is unconscionable.
-1 # Radscal 2017-03-29 19:14
Your defense of the criminal DNC and deeply corrupt US government oligarchy and the US foreign policies making it by far the most deadly terrorist organization in the world is unconscionable.
+1 # RMF 2017-04-03 11:17

The level of corruption in the US pales in comparison to Russia.

In the US we still have democratic process, although now certainly under assault.

A couple examples -- the US does not have a state-owned media propaganda arm, nor is the US run by a small group of oligarchs, both of which are pillars of the Russian criminal state.

Your enthusiasm for Russia, and it's corrupt underpinnings, suggests you may be one of the thousands of "bots" on the Russian payroll, as disclosed in recently leaked reports.
+7 # lfeuille 2017-03-26 17:02
If they were really concerned about the elections PROCESS they would be screaming about DOMESTIC voter suppression and uncounted votes. They would have joined the recount effort. They would be advancing legislation to take control of national elections away from the states. This has noting to do with stolen votes or election integrity.

There are a couple of factors in play, the Democrats who just want to get Trump any way possible regardless of the potential blowback and the Intelligence agencies and the neocons who actually want a revived cold war. This faction also includes the more hawkish Democrats like HRC.
-1 # Radscal 2017-03-26 18:21
Actually, Congress passed and then-President Obama signed into law the transfer of control over our elections to the Department of Homeland Security.

That does not make me feel more secure.
+1 # RMF 2017-03-29 16:58
Elections in the US are largely governed by the states (where do you dig up this propaganda?)
0 # Radscal 2017-03-29 19:16
You are incredibly ill-informed for someone so sure of one's opinions.

"The Obama administration on Friday afternoon announced that it has designated the country’s election infrastructure as ‘critical,’ a move that brings added federal protections to voting systems.

“Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law,” Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a statement."
-24 # CDMR 2017-03-25 18:44
I don't know what is wrong with Juan Cole. I can understand this from a Wapo journalist or CNN. But Cole should be much better informed and rational than this. He totally mis-reports what Nunes went to see Trump for and what he discovered. Why misrepresent the facts in this way, especially when Cole is claiming that there are facts connecting Trump's opeeratives with Putin's operatives. My operatives are telling me there are no such facts. I guess Cole's operatives are telling him something different.
-7 # lfeuille 2017-03-25 22:45
It could be he is taking his basic facts from NYT and WaPo.
-10 # lfeuille 2017-03-25 22:49
And, he may believe the propaganda because he wants to. He is look for a quick end to the Trump machine and sees it where it doesn't exist.
+17 # babalu 2017-03-26 04:51
So exactly WHAT do you think Nunes went to see Trump about? When you make an accusation like that, you should back it up. Who are your operatives? Fox News?
0 # CDMR 2017-03-27 07:44
My use of the word "operatives" was to point out by satire Juan Cole's prejudicial use of this term. This is how "yellow journalism" works. Calling the Trump administration "operatives" is just smearing.

I don't what Fox or any cable news channel.

To be clear, leaked reports were sent to Nunes. These were reports on communications among Trump's compaign team and transition team that were intercepted by the "intelligence community." These prove that the Obama administration was monitoring and intercepting Trump Team communication. In short, his phones were tapped.

Nunes went to the White House to tell Trump that the reports exist and they will be investigated by the committee.

There are no details yet because the reports have not been published. I'm sure there is quite a battle right now over publishing them. They could be the smoking gun that could lead to prosecution of Obama administration members.

Here is the NYT story on this issue
+2 # harleysch 2017-03-26 20:46
I wonder if Cole truly believes it was somehow bad that Manafort intervened to remove a plank calling for sending lethal weapons to Ukraine from the GOP platform? Does Cole agree with McCain and the neocons, that the U.S. should give lethal weapons to the Ukrainian neo-Nazis in charge of their defense and security establishment? While Manafort's intervention on this was something the Russians would support, it is also what any sane American should favor.

Another example of the anti-Putin hysteria causing otherwise thoughtful people, like Juan Cole, into an alignment with the most miserable war-mongering neocons, such as McCain and Victoria Nuland.
+2 # librarian1984 2017-03-27 09:55
Exactly! Whenever one finds oneself defending John McCain and the CIA .. isn't that a REALLY good time to reassess one's beliefs .. maybe look for some actual facts?

Unfortunately, rational and objective observers find themselves attacked by multiple factions .. including neoliberals with an obvious agenda .. and the reactionaries who are following them.
-6 # CDMR 2017-03-25 19:16
Cole should read Paul Craig Roberts. He seems to be able to see clearly that the charge of a Trump-Putin conspiracy has thickened but is just about petered out for lack of any evidence at all.
+12 # babalu 2017-03-26 04:57
Thanks for citation! It was written the same day as the AP released info on Trump pre-meeting and does not take that into account. Moreover, it mentions the clinton-media alliance - which if real - was overwhelmed by the TWO BILLION in free coverage given the Trump campaign and the fake news, repeating and making up new lies about the Clintons.
Yes, Craig is a good source to cite to unreasonably denigrate the treasonous conspiracy of the Trump family.
+8 # MJnevetS 2017-03-26 10:36
So Cole should read Paul Craig Roberts, who has alleged that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack, the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack and the 2016 Orlando attack, as all false flag operations and further questioned whether Sandy Hook actually happened at all! Yes, I'm sure that he is a wonderful source of information to determine whether Russia has influenced, or attempted to influence our elections.
0 # Skyelav 2017-03-27 07:51
Code Yes everyone should read Roberts for the other side. TD obvious Kochs, Mercer, the Rockefeller group, and Soros are all fighting a with luck they will kill each other off. Trump best watch out. The last to defy them were Carter, Nixon, And JFK. Who have I left out?
+28 # Farafalla 2017-03-25 21:51
I agree with most of this article. But when I see: "Euromaidan crowds", I wonder why Cole did not mention the legions of unreconstituted nazis in Kiev inside the Ukranian state.
+3 # RLF 2017-03-26 04:25
Farfalla...That would be a reason for our own Cheeto Reich to like the Ukraine!
+4 # wantrealdemocracy 2017-03-26 10:12
There is no mention of the funding from the United States to the Nazi to overthrow the elected President of Ukraine. No mention of the American appointed new President to outlaw the use of the Russian language in Ukraine. No mention of the vote by the citizens of three regions of Ukraine to withdraw from that nation and request Russia to accept them into the Russian Federation.
-2 # ericlipps 2017-03-26 10:13
I think you mean "unreconstructe d."
+3 # jsluka 2017-03-25 22:31
Connections between some American millionaires and some Russian oligarchs is hardly evidence of espionage to undermine the US elections. Meeting and making "deals" is what rich people do with their international counterparts. So at this stage it would be premature to conclude that these meetings are evidence of anything more than the usual "wheeling and dealing" of wealthy people. I'm not saying it may not be that more evidence will emerge to prove the espionage connection, but at this stage its still pretty much circumstantial and conjectural.
+4 # SusanT136 2017-03-26 09:08
Quoting jsluka:
Connections between some American millionaires and some Russian oligarchs is hardly evidence of espionage to undermine the US elections. Meeting and making "deals" is what rich people do with their international counterparts.

True, but this is precisely why Presidents need to have a truly blind investment portfolio, in contrast to Trump just having his children run his businesses, which doesn't resolve any conflict of interest issues. It also raises the question about Manafort. To me the idea of Tillerson being able to head the EPA is in itself one giant conflict of interest. He has "retired" but he still gets big bucks from Exxon. He still owns Exxon stock.
+6 # Radscal 2017-03-26 15:03
Tillerson is Secretary of State.

And it would be great if the in-your-face corruption of having Exxon's CEO as the nation's most important diplomat. I think the last time I can recall such obvious corporate/gover nment collusion was when Ford's CEO became Sec. of State in 1961.

I think the turning point goes back to the Wall Street lawyer, Dulles becoming Sec of State in 1953, and his brother becoming Director of CIA.

It is long past time for the 99% to unite against these fascists instead of bickering over which fascist is nicer.
+2 # SusanT136 2017-03-26 17:51
Quoting Radscal:
Tillerson is Secretary of State. .....

I think the turning point goes back to the Wall Street lawyer, Dulles becoming Sec of State in 1953, and his brother becoming Director of CIA.

It is long past time for the 99% to unite against these fascists instead of bickering over which fascist is nicer.

oops my bad re carelessness Tillerson Sec of State vs EPA (Scott Pruitt)
+2 # ericlipps 2017-03-26 10:19
A lot of folks here seem to want to disbelieve the possibility that Trump took power with Russian help because it undercuts their thesis that It Was All Hillary's Fault.
0 # lfeuille 2017-03-26 17:10
We don't believe it because there is no evidence. All they provide is unfounded assumption that they then decree to be fact and pile more unfounded assumption on top of. It only works because so many people want to believe it among other reasons because it relieves them from confronting the problems with the Clinton campaign and the whole neoliberal/neoc on philosophy it was based on.
-1 # Robbee 2017-03-29 07:10
Quoting lfeuille:
We don't believe it because there is no evidence.

- fingerprints of your hatred for hill are all over rsn? what prevents you from seeing them?
+1 # librarian1984 2017-03-27 10:00
Good point. While the powerful divide us by race, nationality, gender etc, they are fighting a class war -- and we are losing.

I have little doubt the ultrarich across all borders feel more familiarity and loyalty to each other than they do to any of us members of the great unwashed masses.
+7 # vicnada 2017-03-26 09:10
It concerns me that as a struggling-to-b e-informed citizen that there is such dissonance from sources that I have come to greatly respect like Paul Craig Roberts and Juan Cole. I see Robert Parry being dissed for positions that he has, in my opinion, defended well over the years. My question about CDMR's comment: "...a Trump-Putin conspiracy has thickened but is just about petered out for lack of any evidence at all" is, "Does lack of evidence matter in our world of spin-news?" It's almost 4 years since Snowden made his world-rocking revelations from the Mira Hotel in HongKong and disinformation has finally been discounted regarding the eleven days he supposedly went missing.
No one expects retractions from MSM that have profited by conspiracy theories based on this lie due to supposed "lack of evidence". There we had receipts from the Mira. Why did THAT take 4 years?
+2 # markovchhaney 2017-03-26 12:15

Seems like Juan Cole, too, has become a pod person. Sad. `
0 # CDMR 2017-03-27 07:48
mark -- thanks for this link. It is good. Coleen Rowley has always been a truthful FBI agent. Comey is just toeing the party line. He's in trouble now because he lied to congress and under oath. Or well, technically he did not lie because he repeated the inaccurate words about "wire tapping" which is not what happened. Rowley explains it this way ==

"CR: I think Trump is vindicated, again he didn't understand the terms that he was using. And he did misuse the term, so when Comey said "No... that that tweet about being wiretapped, we have found no evidence of that." Comey was able to be honest because a wiretap has a specific meaning. But, you notice, in five hours Comey never said that there's been no surveillance of anyone connected to the Trump campaign. In fact, he implied the opposite. He implied that the Trump campaign, some persons, he didn't mention names, but some of them have been investigated since this summer.

And, so, obviously that does mean that, for starters, if you think... remember all of the disclosures from Edward Snowden and the other NSA whistleblowers, they can access all of the communications that have already been collected. That's for starters, so if you have somebody that you are now investigating, you can go back into these NSA databases and say pull up everything on so-and-so."

Everyone used Trum's term so they won't be lying under oath.
+2 # Donna Fritz 2017-03-27 10:20
To those who cite that no evidence has been presented which shows that Russians tried to influence our election, what kind of evidence would you have to see to convince you?
0 # Radscal 2017-03-29 19:22
A great first step would be for the DNC to acquiesce to the FBI"s repeated "requests" and turn over their servers so FBI can do their own forensics. As it is, we have only the word of a private company (CrowdStrike) which recently had to admit that it had produced a report that claimed citations it never received, and is completely Fake News. And that report was provided to bolster its claims that Russians hacked the DNC server.

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