Russia Monitor: Bipartisan Senate Committee Investigation Concludes Putin Gamed The 2016 Election


By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (7/5/18)

Dear Fellow Readers,

The Senate Intelligence Committee had this to say: Senate Intelligence Committee Backs Assessment Of Russia Election Meddling.

Not only did the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee conclude that Russia indeed meddled in the 2016 election, there was a strong conclusion that the Russians sought to benefit Trump, the meddling continues and this:

“The finding that reveals Russia meddled in far more extensive ways than previously known is yet another strong rebuke to Trump and many of his allies who continue to cast doubt on the finding from the intelligence community that Moscow carried out an operation to help his candidacy and hurt Hillary Clinton.”

We will certainly learn much more about the the committee findings. But the initial conclusions stand in contrast to the House Intelligence Committee report that was a highly partisan backing of Trump: Bipartisan Senate Panel Gives Middle Finger To Devin Nunes.

The Daily Beast subhead gives a summary of the Senate efforts:A bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee says intelligence agencies were right to find the Russians interfered in the election to harm Clinton and elect Trump.

The Senate report states firmly that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump. The House report says the FBI, NSA and CIA was wrong and there was no attempt to benefit Trump. Here’s the House version:

“One of the key findings of the GOP report, led by critical White House ally Devin Nunes of California, was that the three intelligence agencies erred in their assessment of “Putin’s strategic intentions” behind his election interference. Nunes’ report struck a delicate balance. It conceded that the election interference happened and that most of the intelligence community analysis (ICA) “held up to scrutiny,” but accused the agencies of not meeting their own standards for tradecraft.”

The Senate report offered this conclusion:

“The Senate Intelligence Committee, however, reached a much firmer conclusion: The January 2017 intelligence community was right to find the Russians meddled in the election to defeat Clinton and aid Trump.”

Nunes did not respond to requests for comment.

Given the conclusions put forward by the Senate report, we’ll likely see a stern Senate message to follow.

While the story is tucked behind a paywall, the Financial Times reported: US Senators Call For ‘new beginning’ In Russia Relations Ahead Of Trump-Putin Summit.

The article subhead observed: It is an ‘opportune time’ to improve bilateral relations, US senators said.

The headline alone does a good job of summarizing Russpublican efforts to protect Trump and follow his lead on embracing all things Russian instead of risking the anger of the Trump cult.

Any bets on whether one of the Russpublican Senators develops some backbone calcium and goes on record as saying he demanded answers from his Russian counterparts about election interference and they denied everything? You can only ask so many times.


Trumputin reporting to the home office

This is not even close to the only news we’ll hear about the ‘new beginning’ between Trump and Putin: Trump Plans One-on-one Meeting With Putin.

Because it worked so well — cough-cough — with North Korea given Trump and the North Koreans agreed about what was said and accomplished in the private meeting for almost 12 hours:

“President Donald Trump plans to meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin at the start of their July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland, according to a person familiar with the plans, before allowing other aides to join the highly anticipated encounter with the Russian leader.”

Trump national security adviser John Bolton offers his assurance that Russian election interference will come up. And Democrats demand answers and accountability with the elections, Russian annexation of Crimea, Ukraine and other subjects. Certainly this will happen. Or, maybe Trump and Putin just have a good laugh. After all, it’s been a great year … for Putin. Certainly media will get to the heart of the issues with Trump and Putin. More likely is something similar to Putin’s remark at the G20 conference when he asked Trump about the media present, “These are the ones hurting you?”


We’ll wrap up with three articles that are food for thought…

Article One…

The first is maybe a simple explanation for why traditional allies like the U.K., Germany, Holland and others are no longer allies but targets of a Trump trade war. Trump is famous for grudges and vendettas: The Brits Told Us the Russians Were Hacking Our Election.

The article subhead gives you a good taste of what the artcle explores: To the British eavesdroppers who uncovered Russia’s hack of Democratic headquarters, it looked like Watergate all over again. But no one in the U.S. seemed to care.

Seems the Brits, or at least director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan, had a good memory of Watergate and focused on signs of Russian hacking of a DNC computer. He alerted his U.S. NSA counterparts, got a note of appreciation – and that was that.

Article Two…

Here’s an juicy story representing a possible nasty little risk to Trump: Broidy Ending Playmate’s Hush Payments Doesn’t Add Up — Unless He’s Covering for Trump.

Elliott Broidy is a big money Russpublican lobbyist, donor and Trump hanger-on. In a nutshell, Broidy has decided to stop paying hush money to former Playmate Shera Berchard leaving many to wonder why. Given Broidy’s relationship with Trump and the lawyers (Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen for one) happening to be the same lawyers used to settle non-disclosures and payments to alleged Trump mistresses Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal leaves many possible angles.

It’s a spoiler, but here’s the conclusion of the article.

“By claiming that their agreement is void, Broidy is putting Bechard in a position to tell her story — whatever it may actually be — in whatever forum she likes.

“I suspect this last point contains a key to understanding why Broidy is trying to back out of the agreement now.  Perhaps like so many other people, Broidy has concluded that Donald Trump is a bad business partner.”

Broidy is electing to break the contract and Berchard is free to tell her story. Is Broidy at risk or is Trump at risk? Will we learn more?

Article Three…

And last but not least, we have this article from The Spectator on the possible key person to undoing Trump: What Does Michael Cohen Know?

The subhead summarizes Cohen’s role in the serpentine tangles of Trump World: He kept the President’s secrets about Russia as well as ‘the women.’

Cohen is apparently no longer willing to take a bullet for Trump, like all Trump relationships, he’s learning it’s a one way commitment. So now:

“From Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, comes a warning to his old boss. “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen told the ABC anchor, George Stephanopoulos, off-camera, “I put family and country first.” He was answering a question about whether he would cooperate with the Feds and flip on the president if that were the price of his freedom. Such a deal may be a real possibility now, following an FBI raid on his offices, home and hotel room. Cohen said, menacingly, that the president’s lawyers had better think very carefully about their next steps: “I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defence strategy. I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.””

Depending on your point of view, it’s a fun read.

To be clear, if an Elliott Broidy, Stormy Daniels or Michael Cohen are the demise of Trump instead of Trump-Russia corruption we’ll just have to live with that. Certainly there will be more than one movie — or perhaps reality TV opportunity for Trump — made to explain all.