Russia Monitor: Get Ready For The Return Of The 2016 Script & Players


By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (10/24/19)

Who says he did it? Trump says he did it. Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says he did it and then tells us to, “get over it”. Trump’s crazy lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he did it.

Now the former Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor says he did it.

This was Trump’s plan; he directed the details.

Who cares? Mulvaney also said, “we do it all the time”. So doesn’t everyone “do it all the time”? No. It’s illegal, but let’s stay with the question of who cares, should anyone care?

Tribal Politics – the Right Version

Many on the Right do not care. And some that do care will defend Trump regardless.

A large majority of us, including Trump supporters, accept that Trump breaks the law. Human experience says that if Trump is willing to lie, cheat, steal and throw anyone under the bus when it suits his needs, no one is safe. But many Trumpsters believe they are safe and we know his daughter and White House accomplice Ivanka would be one of the last to get thrown under the bus. She’ll do anything to protect him because she believes he’d do anything to protect her.

Trump supporters will do anything to protect Trump because they believe he’d do anything to protect them and that’s been mostly true. Trump supporters know coal is not ‘coming back’, but they believe he has their back. I remember a coal miner who did get his job back and noted that he and his family would support Trump forever. When pushed about his neighbors that just lost their jobs…it wasn’t that he wasn’t empathetic – but he saw the world through his own immediate experience because it was his identity – as a man he had to have a (coal) job and provide for his family and now he could, again.

Farmers have been put to the test and many will lose their farms. But you’ll hear some farmers repeat the Trumpian view of ‘someone had to fight China’. True or not, or fight that way – they see a guy who they believe is fighting for their values, even if he loses the fight.

Religion. Abortion. Identity politics. Immigration. Trump’s loyal followers see a man that is fighting for them as they feel under attack – and the dissonance of a lying, cheating, philandering, bumbling con man is dismissed, not even considered. It’s dismissed as ‘fake news’, it’s lies, ‘I only trust Trump’. Some lament in turn: “Oh those ignorant Trump supporters, there’s no reasoning with them.”

But we all filter our news through our beliefs. I do it, you do it. We all share some degree of ignorance.

Tribal Politics – the Left Version

How do you feel about this – “But Her Emails…; A three-year investigation finds no criminal wrongdoing in Hillary Clinton’s email practices, which many members of the Trump administration have now embraced”?

Seriously, how do you feel about this? Many on the Right and many on the Left either lost interest as soon as it was about Hillary, or had a visceral negative reaction. Some on the Right were likely ready to get their “Lock Her Up” yard signs out of the garage.

A presidential election may have been decided on this point. The Right hammered Clinton on this and Benghazi for months – and they are great (as in nastier than hell) at focus and repetition. It took the help of former FBI Director James Comey to bring this up on the cusp of 2016 voting to maybe put a final nail in the coffin, unwittingly or not. Many on the Left didn’t like her to begin with and many of these same people don’t have a lot of sympathy or emotion around this issue any more. Stay with me, sure there were other factors, very important factors, but was this Dems pulling defeat from the jaws of victory or Republicans successfully undermining, attacking and sowing discord – let’s just go with Yes.

Because my point it is happening again.

Republicans and agents of Republicans are sowing discord again

Trump aimed to take out a political opponent armed with a story sewn together with endless lies and conspiracy theories and put Rudy Giuliani in charge.

What Trump did was use the leverage of US government foreign policy and pre-approved military aid to insure the newly elected president of Ukraine, Zelensky, cough up the ‘goods’ against Biden and start by announcing that he was opening an investigation to do that.

The New York Times has a great summary of the ‘what’ based on Taylor’s testimony before Congress on Tuesday. I like this version because it is organized with sub-heads as:

  • “Taylor described an explicit quid pro quo”


  • The White House had two channels on Ukraine policy: official and unofficial. Giuliani helped steer the unofficial policy”,


  • Demands were made for secrecy and career officials, including Taylor, were left in the dark about key events”

There’s more (isn’t there always more), like how Ukrainians would die at the hands of Russian led-forces because of Trump’s withholding/delaying military aid. All of this is in Taylor’s 15-page opening statement that took him an hour to read in advance of questioning. You can read Ambassador Taylor’s statement is here.

To Trump this was all about dirt against Joe and Hunter Biden and the fact that Putin and Putin/Bannon buddy hard-liner Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban convinced Trump that Ukraine had undermined him during the 2016 election. Does this remind you of Trump meeting and laughing with Russians in the White House following his firing of Comey? Or Trump’s subservience to Putin in Helsinki?

“Orban visited the White House in May over the objections of many in the administration. The two leaders began the visit with an hour-long meeting in which no note-takers were present.”

Fine you say, but so what? Putin is happy, Erdogan is happy – and like Trump’s willingness to make Ukraine collateral damage, it’s the same thing he’s done to the Kurds in Syria – it’s always about Trump and his appeasement of his strong-man buddies. Here’s one of many headlines, Russia and Turkey reach deal to push Kurdish forces out of zone in northern SyriaAs of Wednesday [10/23] Trump has even lifted his Turkey sanctions ‘lite’ claiming the cease fire that was never a cease fire has worked and is now — magically perhaps — permanent.

While Trump is telling us, the Kurds are “very happy about the way things are going”. They aren’t.

Do you care?

Many don’t care. I listened to a caller on radio (On Point) who yelled about how she was happy it was happening to the Kurds and not US soldiers. She said she was ‘sorry’ as she said it, but I don’t think so – as I reflected on the 11,000 Kurds who lost their lives and God only knows how many were injured and traumatized combating ISIS with their US allies.


Discord: It’s happening again and the 2016 players are back.

The Russians are ever-present. Here’s John Sipher writing for Just Security explaining that Trump may be a Putin asset but is unlikely an agent, I think it is entirely plausible that Mr. Trump is somehow compromised by his personal and financial dealings with Russia and Russians, but I do not think he is an “agent” in the sense that intelligence professionals use the term. It’s an interesting quick read to see how he presents the differences, made more relevant as Dem candidate Tulsi Gabbard is defended by former Green candidate Jill Stein against discussions/accusations of Russian assets/agents.

The Russian oligarchs are still on the scene. In a recurring role from 2016 we have indicted Russian oligarch Dmytro Firtash fighting US extradition for bribery lawyering up with Trump loyalists/Fox commentators Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing who are worth their heavy fees having already managed a face-to-face with Trump lawyer and attorney general William Barr. Firtash, the money behind indicted associates Lev Parnas and Igor Furman AND RUDY GIULIANI. Of course a face-to-face with Barr makes sense since he’s Trump guy to construct the alternative 2016 election theory to counter the US intelligence conclusions about Russian interference benefiting Trump.

House Speaker Pelosi floated a first draft of articles on impeachmentIf you want to do your own improved version, consider George Lakoff’s coaching on how to present Impeachment based on values.

I encourage everyone to consider both of these links because WE are the ones that will decide Impeachment and/or Impeachment/Remove. I hear friends on the Left say Impeachment is ‘in the can’ and some add that ‘Remove’ will never happen. But make no mistake, just like 2016, Wisconsin is a hotspot for impeachment, removal and the 2020 election. And while ‘Impeach and Remove’ is trending with a majority nationally, it is -10 points for the battleground states (which includes Wisconsin).

With Trumpsters it is always ‘us’ versus ‘them’, no matter the issue. There is an interesting view put forward by the New York Times where three women who had abortions when they were younger support Trump’s efforts to make those same services unavailable to others because they “didn’t use abortion as birth control like these girls now”.

Trump cabinet stupidity – Trump Defense Secretary says, “of the 11,000 or so detainees that were in prisons in northeast Syria, we’ve only had reports of a little bit more than a hundred that have escaped… So right now we have not seen this big prison break that we all expected.” Expected!

How do we go forward? Do we care about election interference? Do we only care based on how it affects our candidate? If it hurt Clinton, well she had so many other problems…. If it hurts Biden, well the stage is too full so… But then who is next? Will it matter if it’s your preferred candidate?

Do we care about Impeachment? If we don’t, do we agree Trump is above the law? Or maybe we agree with Trumpsters, everyone does it – the very goal of ‘discord’?

Do we accept that ‘removal’ can’t happen? Is that the lesson from Watergate?

There is no law or value Trump won’t violate in his own interest. And as long as he keeps his supporters he may get away with anything and even get reelected.

Impeach and Remove. Republicans for the Rule of Law believe it’s possible.