“Russia if you’re listening…”
— Candidate Trump publicly invites Russian election interference during 2016 campaign.
“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it.“
— Trump saying he’d accept foreign election interference (6/19)
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (1/16/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
By the time you read this, the House will have voted to send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for trial.
Meanwhile Trump-Russia never went away. Former special counsel Robert Mueller predicted as much when he testified before Congress in July 2019. When asked if Russia would again attack US elections Mueller replied, “They’re doing it as we sit here”.
And here we are.
That’s right, Russian intelligence and private researchers known by their alias, “Fancy Bear”, are at it again and don’t care who knows:
“With President Trump facing an impeachment trial over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, Russian military hackers have been boring into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the affair, according to security experts.”
It’s the same Russian group that hacked the D.N.C. and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, the same group indicted by the U.S. Justice Department, the exact same M.O. and with the knowledge they’d eventually be detected. The fact that the group paid no price for their actions in 2016 is one rationale for why they so blatantly made no attempt to disguise or wipe the fingerprints from the scene of their Burisma hack attack.
We know who did it, we know why they did it, we know who benefits. A 2016 fear that is now a 2020 fear is that trolling for dirt is one thing, but it’s also a possibility the hackers ‘introduce’ dirt – all you’d need is one (fictitious) email, no matter how obscure, and it would be Benghazi again for Fox and Trumpsters.
Picture the brazenness – Trump’s 2016 welcoming of Russian election interference whether it rose to the standard of coordination, Trump personally coordinating Trump-Ukraine Russian election interference including his Ukraine president Zelensky call the day after Mueller testifies before Congress, Trump states he’ll accept foreign election interference a month prior to Mueller’s testimony…
And now we have Russian election interference to benefit Trump made public the day before the House votes on sending Articles of Impeachment to the Senate accusing Trump of orchestrating foreign election interference to benefit his reelection.
Will the Senate trial be a fair trial or — as Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pledges — a rubber-stamp of ‘not removed’ for Trump? Trump is forever Impeached but he certainly cares about reelection. The Senate trial can make this more or less embarrassing or challenging for Trump.
Most voters want a fair trial, including calling witnesses to appear before the Senate. Even Republicans are in favor (40% for, 39% against) of witnesses.
You decide whether this is encouraging: a Hill-HarrisX poll shows a slight increase in favor of Impeach And Remove by Republican respondents increasing from 14% to 17%. While that is small, Trump support amongst Republicans has been unassailable.
But the most important chink in the Trumpster Trump armor is the outlook for witnesses being called through the Senate trial – McConnell does not want this, Trump does not want this, McConnell, who is up for reelection, is under fire from his constituents who also do not want witnesses.
CBS reported Monday night there may be enough Republican defections to pass votes to call witnesses. Count Trump and McConnell as unhappy if this happens:
“Senior White House officials tell CBS News they increasingly believe that at least four Republicans, and likely more, will vote to call witnesses. In addition to Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado, the White House also views Rand Paul of Kentucky as a “wild card” and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as an “institutionalist” who might vote to call witnesses, as one official put it.”
The key witness envisioned by many is former Trump national security adviser John Bolton who famously called Trump’s Ukraine bribery a “drug deal” according to the testimony of Bolton associate former Russia adviser Fiona Hill.
Expect Republicans to respond with a tactic promised by Trumpster Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and call former VP Joe Biden’s son and former Burisma board member Hunter Biden. Russia if you’re listening, we’re going to need your Burisma ‘dirt’ soon…
But if inanity is not a filter for Senate witnesses, let’s hope we get Trump’s clown lawyer Giuliani’s indicted associate Lev Parnas. I mean he’s gone to the trouble to make his own video offering his services, this from a Commoner Call reader:
Shooting America on 5th Avenue
By now you also may be convinced that Trump cares little about US federal election laws, or many other laws. He has shown he will break the law when it suits and is convinced he won’t be held accountable. History says he’s right. Trumpsters say they could care less,. And Trump’s Department of Justice and personal attorney general William Barr has proven he’s all-in for shielding Trump. Let’s consider one of many ways Barr benefits Trump.
Health care is regularly highlighted through polling as issue #1 for voters. On Monday Trump tweeted his support for protecting health care coverage for pre-existing conditions. But of course it’s a lie. Trump’s efforts to ‘repeal and replace’ would have weakened protections for pre-existing conditions.
Part of Trump’s attempts to sabotage existing health care protections is a law suit filed in Texas that could eliminate the Affordable Health Care Act – and a federal judge has agreed. If this were to stand with the Appeals Court the issue would go before the Supreme Court – again.
Meaning prior to the election Trump’s Department of Justice would be arguing to rescind the ACA including protections for pre-existing conditions. Have no fear, there is no rush, “accelerated review petitioners seek is unnecessary” according to Barr’s Solicitor General Noel Francisco.
Any bets on whether this assault on pre-existing conditions gets “accelerated” after the election should Trump be reelected?
Trump offers another bold-faced lie. A direct contradiction to his actions. Just like arguing that his assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasam Soleimani was a result of an imminent threat, he now says “it doesn’t really matter”. And Trumpsters revise their defenses and Trump crowds cheer.
Want a better example? Barr is now making it more difficult to investigate a “U.S. presidential candidate or campaign”. Barr agues expansively that a sitting president, Trump, cannot be investigated. But just in case, he’s going to make it harder to do so.
History says Trump is right, it doesn’t matter – if enough people, if the right people, don’t care – Trump is right. We move on to the next assault on law and reason and eventually accept that it just doesn’t matter, this is how propaganda works. It’s an under-appreciated dark art – we’re all ‘persuadables’ whether we think we are the exception or not. Pick candidate A, B or C – if the attack is not against your candidate, do you care? If the attack is perpetrated by your candidate, it was somehow justified as ‘not-an-attack’?
If you want to look at what’s being done to us through social media, please take the time to review this three-part episode from the January 7 edition of Democracy Now!:
- “Meet Brittany Kaiser, Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Releasing Troves of New Files from Data Firm”
- “The Great Hack: Big Data Firms Helped Sway the Election, Could it Happen Again in 2020?”
- “Propaganda Machine: The Military Roots of Cambridge Analytica’s Psychological Manipulation of Voters”.
Can you see yourself as a potential ‘persuadable’, on any issue, in any instance?
Impeach And Remove!
The Russian 2020 Election Hack Is Already Underway
Democratic Party servers have already come under attack.
The Daily / New York Times (1/15/20)
At the heart of President Trump’s impeachment is his request that Ukraine investigate how his political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., could be connected to an energy company called Burisma. New reporting from The Times suggests that Russian hackers may be trying to fulfill that request — and potentially hack into the 2020 election itself.
On today’s episode:
Nicole Perlroth, who covers cybersecurity for The Times, spoke with Oren Falkowitz, a former analyst at the National Security Agency and co-founder of the cybersecurity company, Area 1.