The Democrats' Russian Roulette
Once again operating out of their well-worn playbook, the Democrats are spinning the cylinder and placing the gun to their heads in suggesting the Russians are backing the President’s re-election, and once again they missed the empty chamber and fired a bullet into their leading candidate.
In 2016, when they claimed that Trump was Russia’s choice and had secured his election, they ended up with highlighting to voters what the media had covered up: It was Hillary Clinton who approved the Uranium One sale of 20% of U.S. Uranium. It was Hillary who received assistance to this end from the Russian-paid lobbying firm APCO Worldwide. It was her husband who was paid $500,000 for a short talk in Russia by a bank connected to the Kremlin. It was Hillary’s foundation that received $145 million from companies connected to the Russian nuclear company Rosatom. It was Hillary who was responsible for not providing security to our diplomats in Benghazi and who bald-faced lied about the murder of our ambassador and his defenders. It was Hillary who prompted the murder of Qaddafi after he was cooperating with us on nuclear disarmament and set off the greatest wave of refugees since World War II.
As ridiculous as the Democrats' claim was, it was good enough for the Obama administration’s Department of Justice and FBI to illegally sweep up communications of anyone with any connection to the Trump campaign and anyone they ever talked to or emailed. It was enough for them to file false affidavits to the FISA court to do this. It was enough for them to abuse anyone with any connection to the Trump Administration with trick interviews, hoping to catch them in process crimes. It was enough for them to unmask the communicators, leak often false accounts to a compliant press, and even to charge people for crimes, force them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in defense, to suffer psychological distress, and sometimes to face or suffer prison.
The story was always without factual foundation or logical analysis. But apparently the payoff was sufficient for them, so they reprised it anew in claiming that the President illegally used a “quid pro quo” to force Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden. Once again it backfired, only highlighting the Biden family's corruption in Ukraine and China. They rammed through a one-party impeachment and lost, but the damage to the man who was once their leading candidate is incalculable and the lie only strengthened the President in the polls and in fundraising. They managed to turn him into this year’s underdog -- a remake, if you will, of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
They must be slow learners, because they’re trying it again. The NY Times led with an account indicating that the President ousted Joseph Maguire, acting DNI, for a secret briefing to the loathsome liar, Adam Schiff. The Washington Post, a leading years-long recipient of CIA leaks, reported that Maguire’s deputy Shelby Pierson showed that Russia was “interfering in the 2020 campaign to get President Trump re-elected.” Hot Air quotes Jake Tapper and the President’s tweets on the subject.
This time even CNN was smelling the merde. Tapper notes that Pierson exaggerated. At best, the intelligence is that Russia is planning to meddle (psst -- it always does), but there’s no evidence they were planning to meddle on Trump’s behalf. Moreover, after the Russian and Ukraine disasters, Tapper noted “both Democrats and Republicans were challenging this at the briefing.”
Catherine Herridge offered more specific rebuttal of the claim:
Source familiar w/house briefing @CBSNews says briefers pressed for evidence to back up claims Russia “trying to help POTUS in 2020.” Asked if there was signals intelligence -- such as phone intercepts or “SIGINT” -- to back up claims, source said briefers had none to offer #DNI
And the President swatted back on Twitter:
Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa. Hoax number 7!
On the other hand, it appears that Russia is trying to help Bernie Sanders's campaign. Unlike the 2016 debacle where the intelligence community thought for some illogical rationale unknown to me that Russia was for Trump and used that to begin a witch hunt that lasted for years, they notified Bernie Sanders so he could be on guard. It’s not clear how the IC thinks Russia plans to do this, the suggestion being manipulation of voters through social media.
To this, wretchardthecat tweets a useful warning:
If anyone Russia roots for on Twitter is disqualified, Putin has an automatic veto over who runs for US president. The real test is in policy. Who increases the defense budget? Who vows to cut it? Who increases energy independence? Who decreases it? Or similar tests.
I don’t have to tell you the answer, do I?
In case you are stumped, Walter Russell Mead wrote the answer for you three years ago:
If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:
- Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
- Blocking oil and gas pipelines
- Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
- Cutting U.S. military spending
- Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran.
Tom Rogan details why the entire report is bunk. In the first place it is unlikely, under present circumstances (the impeachment debacle), that we can produce the kind of diverse high-value sources which are necessary to “offer a high degree of confidence assessment.” Then he analyzes Putin’s strategic objectives and contrasts the records of the President and the Democrats’ likely candidate -- Bernie Sanders.
He notes, among other things, that the President was instrumental in obtaining “significant increases in U.S. and NATO defense outlays, resistance of Russian ballistic missile proliferation“ and the deployment of U.S. nuclear strike capabilities designed to challenge Russia’s evolved strategic doctrine.” He has strengthened Ukraine’s defenses, and by supporting fracking he’s fired up the “economic weapon Putin most fears… In contrast, the 2020 Democratic Party is a Putin dream world on this energy issue.” Trump’s Middle Eastern diplomacy clipped Russia’s initiative to be a major power broker there.
He adds, on the question of Russia’s preferred candidate:
Bernie Sanders. Because the idea that Putin would prefer all the above to a president who took his honeymoon in the Soviet Union, likes many of Russia's allies, and wants to gut U.S. defense spending, end or greatly diminish U.S. alliances with the Sunni monarchies, and ban fracking?
The real aim, it seems to me and Tom Maguire, is that the purpose of this tall tale is to “de-legitimize the eventual winner” so the losers can assuage their trouncing with another temper tantrum.