The Real Motive Behind the FBI Plan to Investigate Trump as a Russian Agent

Coverage of this episode by The New York Times and CNN further stigmatizes any dissent from new Cold War policy toward Russia, writes Gareth Porter.

By Gareth Porter
Special to Consortium News

The New York Times and CNN led media coverage last month of discussions among senior FBI officials in May 2017 of a possible national security investigation of President Donald Trump himself, on the premise that he may have acted as an agent of Russia.

The episode has potentially profound political fallout, because the Times and CNN stories suggested that Trump may indeed have acted like a Russian agent. The New York Times story on Jan. 11 was headlined, “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” CNN followed three days later with: “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.”

Robert Mueller. (All Your Breaking News Here via Flickr)

Robert Mueller. (All Your Breaking News Here via Flickr)

By reporting that Russia may have been able to suborn the president of the United States, these stories have added an even more extreme layer to the dominant national political narrative of a serious Russian threat to destroy U.S. democracy. An analysis of the FBI’s idea of Trump as possible Russian agent reveals, moreover, that it is based on a devious concept of “unwitting” service to Russian interests that can be traced back to former CIA director John O. Brennan.

The Proposal That Fell Apart

The FBI discussions that drove these stories could have led to the first known investigation of a U.S. president as a suspected national security risk. It ended only a few days after the deliberations  among the senior FBI officials when on May 19, 2017, the Justice Department chose Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, to be special counsel. That put control over the Trump-Russia investigation into the hands of Mueller rather than the FBI.

Peter Strzok, who led the bureau’s counter-espionage section, was, along with former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker, one of those involved in the May 2017 discussions about investigating Trump. Strzok initially joined Mueller’s team but was fired after a couple of months when text messages that he had written came to light exposing a deep animosity towards Trump that cast doubt over his  impartiality.

The other FBI officials behind the proposed investigation of Trump have also since left the FBI; either fired or retired.

The entirety of what was said at the meetings of five or six senior FBI officials in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director on May 9, 2017, remains a mystery.

Closed-door Testimony

The CNN and Times stories were based on transcripts either obtained or, in the case of the Times, on portions read to it, of private testimony given to the House Judiciary and Government Oversight and Reform committees last October by Baker, one of the participants in the discussions of Trump as a possible Russian agent.

Excerpts of Baker’s testimony published by CNN make it clear that the group spoke about Trump’s policy toward Russia as a basis for a counter-intelligence investigation. Baker said they “discussed as [a] theoretical possibility” that Trump was “acting at the behest of [Russia] and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will.”

Baker went on to explain that this theoretical possibility was only “one extreme” in a range of possibilities discussed and that “the other extreme” was that “the President is completely innocent.” 

He thus made it clear that there was no actual evidence for the idea that he was acting on behalf of Russia.

The New York Times Building in Manhattan. (Adam Jones on Flickr)

Times building in Manhattan. (Adam Jones on Flickr)

Baker also offered a simpler rationale for such an investigation of Trump: the president’s firing of FBI Director Comey. “Not only would [firing Comey] be an issue of obstructing an investigation,” he said, “but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security.”

But the idea that Comey’s firing had triggered the FBI’s discussions had already been refuted by a text message that Strzok, who had been leading the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians, sent immediately after the firing to Lisa Page, then legal counsel to Andrew McCabe, formerly the bureau’s deputy director who was then acting director.

“We need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting,” Strzok wrote, referring to McCabe.

As Page later confirmed to congressional investigators, according to the CNN story, Strzok’s message referred to their desire to launch an investigation into possible collusion between Trump and the Russians.  Strzok’s message also makes clear he, and others intent on the investigation, were anxious to get McCabe to approve the proposed probe before Trump named someone less sympathetic to the project as the new FBI director.

Why the FBI Wanted to Investigate

The New York Times story argued that the senior FBI officials’ interest in a counter-intelligence investigation of Trump and the Russians sprang from their knowledge of the sensational charges in the opposition research dossier assembled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele (paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign) that the Putin government had “tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.” 

But the Times writers must have known that Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general, had already given McCabe, Page and Strzok information about Steele and his dossier that raised fundamental questions about its reliability.

Ohr’s first contacts at FBI headquarters regarding Steele and his dossier came Aug. 3, 2016, with Page and her boss McCabe. Ohr later met with Strzok. 

Ohr said he told them that Steele’s work on the dossier had been financed by the Clinton campaign through the Perkins-Cole law firm.  He also told them that Steele, in a July 30, 2016 meeting, told him he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” according to Ohr’s contemporaneous notes of the meeting. 

So, key figures in the discussion of Trump and Russia in May 2017 knew that Steele was acting out of both political and business motives to come up with sensational material. 

Strzok and Page may have started out as true believers in the idea that the Russians were using Trump campaign officials to manipulate Trump administration policy.  However, by May 2017, Strzok had evidently concluded that there was no real evidence.

Peter Strzok during congressional hearing in July 2018. (Wikimedia)

Peter Strzok: “No big there there.” (Wikimedia)

In a text message to Page on May 19, 2017, Strzok said he was reluctant to join the Mueller investigation, because of his “gut sense and concern” that “there’s no big there there.”

Why, then, were Strzok, Page, McCabe and others so determined to launch an investigation of Trump at about the same time in May 2017? 

CNN article about the immediate aftermath of the Comey firing reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and senior FBI officials “viewed Trump as a leader who needed to be reined in, according to two sources describing the sentiment of the time.”

That description by anti-Trump law enforcement officials suggests that the proposed counter-intelligence investigation of Trump served as a means to maintain some leverage over his treatment of the FBI in regard to the Russia issue.

That motivation would be consistent with the decision by McCabe on May 15, 2017 – a few days after the discussions in question among the senior FBI officials – to resume the bureau’s relationship with Steele. 

The FBI had hired Steele as a paid source when it had earlier launched its investigation of Trump campaign official’s contacts with Russians in July 2016. But it had suspended and then terminated the relationship over Steele’s  unauthorized disclosure of the investigation to David Corn of Mother Jones magazine in October 2016. So, the decision to resume the relationship with Steele suggests that the group behind the new investigation were thinking of seizing an opportunity to take off the gloves against Trump.

The ‘Unwitting Collaboration’ Ploy

The discussion by senior FBI officials of a counter-intelligence investigation of Trump has become part of the political struggle over Trump mainly because of the stories in the Times and CNN.

The role of the authors of those stories illustrates how corporate journalists casually embraced the ultimate conspiracy theory – that the president of the United States was acting as a Russian stooge.

The reporters of the CNN story — Jeremy Herb, Pamela Brown and Laura Jarrett — wrote that the FBI officials were “trying to understand why [Trump] was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russia.” 

The New York Times story was more explicit.  Co-authors Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos wrote that the FBI officials “sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

FBI headquarters. (Library of Congress)

FBI headquarters. (Library of Congress)

The same day the Times story was published, the lead author on the piece, Adam Goldman, was interviewed by CNN. Goldman referred to Trump’s interview with NBC’s Lester Holt in the days after the Comey firing as something that supposedly pushed the FBI officials over the edge.  Goldman declared, “The FBI is watching him say this, and they say he’s telling us why he did this.  He did it on behalf of Russia.”

But Trump said nothing of kind. What he actually said — as the Times itself quoted Trump, from the NBC interview —was: “[W]hen I decided just to do it, I said to myself – I said, you know this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” The Times article continued: “Mr. Trump’s aides have said that a fuller examination of his comments demonstrates that he did not fire Mr. Comey to end the Russia inquiry. ‘I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people,” Mr. Trump added. ‘He’s the wrong man for that position.’ ” Goldman was evidently trying to sell the idea of Trump as a suspected agent of Russia.

Goldman also gave an interview to The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner, in which the interviewer pressed him on the weakest point of the Trump-as-Russian-agent theory.  “What would that look like if the President was an unwitting agent of a foreign power?” asked Chotiner.

The Times correspondent, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, responded:  “It is hard to say what that would look like.” Goldman then reiterated the concept. “People were very careful to tell me that: ‘It is wittingly or unwittingly.’” And in answer to a follow-up question, Goldman referred to evidence he suggested might be held by the FBI that “perhaps suggests that the President himself may be acting as a foreign agent, either wittingly or unwittingly….”

The idea that American citizens were somehow at risk of being led by an agent of the Russian government “wittingly or unwittingly” did not appear spontaneously. It had been pushed aggressively by former CIA Director John O. Brennan both during and after his role in pressing for the original investigation.

When Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017, he was asked whether he had intelligence indicating that anyone in the Trump campaign was “colluding with Moscow.”  Instead of answering the question directly, Brennan said he knew from past experience that “the Russians try to suborn individuals, and they try get them to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly.” And he recalled that he had left the government with “unresolved questions” about whether the Russians had been successful in doing so in regard to unidentified individuals in the case of the 2016 elections.

Brennan’s notion of “unwitting collaboration” with Russian subversion is illogical.  Although a political actor might accidentally reveal information to a foreign government that is valuable, real “collaboration” must be mutually agreeable. A policy position or action that may benefit a foreign government, but is also in the interest of one’s own government, does not constitute “unwitting collaboration.”

The real purpose of that concept is to confer on national security officials and their media allies the power to cast suspicion on individuals on the basis of undesirable policy views of Russia rather than on any evidence of actual collaboration with the Russian government. 

The “witting or unwitting” ploy has its origins in the unsavory history of extreme right-wing anti-communism during the Cold War. For example, when the House Un-American Activities Committee was at its height in 1956, Chairman Francis E. Walter declared that “people who are not actually Communist Party members are witting or unwitting servants of the Communist cause.”  

The same logic – without explicit reference to the phrase — has been used to impugn the independence and loyalty of people who have contacts with Russia. 

It has also been used to portray some independent media as part of a supposedly all-powerful Russian media system.

The revelation that it was turned against a sitting president, however briefly, is a warning signal that national security bureaucrats and their media allies are now moving more aggressively to delegitimize any opposition to the new Cold War.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian writing on U.S. national security policy. His latest book, “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” was published in 2014. Follow him on Twitter: @GarethPorter.

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79 comments for “The Real Motive Behind the FBI Plan to Investigate Trump as a Russian Agent

  1. CoyoteOldMan
    February 23, 2019 at 18:34

    Sorry, but too many definite maybe questionable facts taken out of context to create a surreal possibility of something questionable.

    In other words, a barrage of tidbits of facts, incoherently assembled in a fashion to prove an imagined point.

    I’m not biting or buying.

  2. OlyaPola
    February 20, 2019 at 09:20

    “The Real Motive”

    What significance do you assign to motive?

    What significance do you assign to “realness” of motive?

    Why do you seek to restrict notions of multiple motives through framing of “real motive” (singular)?

  3. February 19, 2019 at 22:35

    Who on earth suggested Trump’s service to Putin was “unwitting”? It cetainly appears entirely “witting” to me.

    By the way, pointing out that the FBI people behind the decision to investigate Trump as a Russian agent have been fired or otherwise driven from their jobs?…It is beyond ludicrous to suggest that means thei investigation was ill-advised.

    • OlyaPola
      February 20, 2019 at 09:24

      “Trump’s service to Putin was “unwitting”? It cetainly appears entirely “witting” to me.”

      What significance do you seek to assign to unwittingness and wittingness?

      Why do you fail to evaluate outcomes on the bases of utility?

      Why do you fail to evaluate “service” on the bases of evidence ?

    • February 20, 2019 at 23:11

      I usually respect Consortium News reporting (especially on foreign affairs). But, what’s with thinking that Donald Trump is somehow being VICTIMIZED by the investigations gong on. Do you people know NOTHING about Trump’s history? WHERE has he gotten his LOANS from for the last 20+ years? How much has he done MONEY LAUNDERING for DRUG CARTELS (early 1990s) & since, then for RUSSIAN KLEPTOCRACRATIC OLIGARCHS in recent years. What about Trump’s long time dream to build Trump Tower MOSCOW? What about all the CORRUPT Billionaires he’s put in his Cabinet? If the FBI was so intent on HURTING Trump—then, WHY did they keep investigations of his campaign SECRET until long after the election???? Instead, it was the investiagation INTO CLINTON THAT WAS MADE PUBLIC–not just once, but, TWICE. (And I am NOT a Clinton supporter & do NOT believe that Russian Facebook posts cost her the election. MANY factors cost her the election. I did NOT vote for her–I voted for Green Party’s Jill Stein). But, surely any progressive person can se what a DESTRUCTIVE force Donald Trump is. Those who thought his “saving grace” MIGHT be that he WASN’T someone who’d push more wars should look at how he’s ESCALAT4ED conflict of Israel-Palestinians, RAISED Pentagon budgets & is TARGETING Iran & VENEZUELA. Plus: there’s talk that of Trump giving SADI ARABIA nuclear technology—CREATING A NUCLEAR ARMS RACE in the Middle East. Here at home, Trump is inspiring levels of division that cold become a Civil War, given how armed to the teeth so many Americans are. STOP defending Trump!

      • Adrian Engler
        February 24, 2019 at 13:07

        That is just ridiculous. Trump‘s business was very active in many countries, but Russia was just one of the countries where Trump had very little economic activity.

        Oh, yes, you don’t just count the Russian state, but any business contact with people of Russian nationality or citizenship. First, this shows that you are an extremist xenophobic bigot (I wonder if you would so easily use this line of thinking for other ethnicities). Second, it is obviously absurd to pretend Russian mafia bosses and oligarchs who transfer money out of Russia and invest it in property in London or New York act on behalf of the Russian state. The Russian state would prefer rich Russians to invest money in Russia itself, and quite a number of rich Russians who live in London and New York live there because in Russia they are indicted of economic crimes.

  4. Shave CIA collaborators
    February 15, 2019 at 18:06

    CIA is not particularly worried about the US head of state conducting diplomacy without CIA supervision – although they shot Jack Kennedy for it and they vilify Trump for it. What really scares them is the prospect of an old-time Cold War kitchen debate: Who gets the better deal from their government, Russians or Americans? Because the question has been asked and authoritatively answered.

    Compare the US and Russia on the comprehensive top-level indicators of the OHCHR. In every category, Russia’s human rights performance is superior to that of the US government. Across the board. Russians get a better deal from their state than downtrodden American flag-wavers.

    https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Indicators/Pages/HRIndicatorsIndex.aspx

    Dig down as deep into the data as you want. It’s documented down to the gnat’s ass, compiled from NGO reports by elected independent international experts acting in their personal capacity.

    Here’s them:
    https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/RUIndex.aspx
    Here’s you:
    https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/USIndex.aspx

    Any American with half a brain would trade.

    If Russia decapitated the Washington regime with a few well-aimed Sarmats and invaded, your human rights would improve by leaps and bounds overnight. Because Russia interprets its human rights obligations in good faith, and the US government does not. So let’s get it over with. Dibs on the hangman job at the Langley war crimes tribunal!

  5. Antiwar7
    February 15, 2019 at 13:44

    What’s especially interesting is how these same people were not interested in pursuing clearly true felony charges against Hillary Clinton, for storing classified documents on her private server.

    Talk about selective prosecution. That’s their “superpower”.

    • Brian Murphy
      February 15, 2019 at 15:41

      ….

      It seems like prosecution is a political tool. It has nothing to do with wrongdoing, which is the norm for all these people. If you get prosecuted, it means someone thinks you are politically vulnerable, a good target. That’s why Hillary wasn’t prosecuted. She was the darling of the people who do the prosecuting.

      ….

    • Tom
      February 15, 2019 at 16:34

      Exactly!!

  6. Alcuin
    February 15, 2019 at 08:23

    To what extent are the Russian charges and the attempt to re-start the Cold War simply a diversionary tactic, an attempt to shift attention away from domestic political espionage?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Acja-5U5ydw&feature=youtu.be

  7. Dean
    February 15, 2019 at 04:18

    Gareth Porter completely misses the mark in this article. Porter writes, “The New York Times story argued that the senior FBI officials’ interest in a counter-intelligence investigation of Trump and the Russians sprang from their knowledge of the sensational charges in the opposition research dossier assembled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele (paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign) that the Putin government had “tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.”

    That paragraph (which he builds much of his first argument around) takes the New York Times story completely out of context. A full reading of the the New York Times story would says something like, “The New York Times story argued that the senior FBI officials’ interest in a counterintelligence investigation of Trump and the Russians sprang from their knowledge of … Trump’s unusual campaign behavior and actions, sensational charges in the Steele dossier, and the revelations coming out of ongoing counter-intelligence turned criminal investigations of “four of Mr. Trump’s associates over their ties to Russia”.

    It should also be noted that the dossier was first paid for by a Republican opposition, DNC opposition and Fusion GPS (headed by a former Wall Street Journal investigative reporters and editors). Steele had no idea who was paying Fusion GPS for the raw intelligence reports, later to be known as the “Steele Dossier”.

    Steele also made clear that since the intelligence was raw, he figured only 80% or so would be actually factual. It should be noted many of the main assertions in the dossier have been found to be true. Including, the big accusation that Manafort agreed to a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership…” and the Russians promised to feed the emails it stole from Dems to WikiLeaks in order to “sideline” the whole Ukraine sanctions/interventions. Oh, and Manafort would still get some “kickback payments” from Ukrainians. All of this has now been proven in recent Manafort court filings.

    Finally, it’s been widely reported Steele only became “passionate about him (Trump) not being president” AFTER he had started putting together the dossier. Thus, like Porter’s out-of-context reading of the New York Times story, Porter’s claim, “Steele was acting out of both political and business motives to come up with sensational material” seems completely off mark.

    Read the New York Times article for yourselves: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/us/politics/fbi-trump-russia-inquiry.html

    • Antiwar7
      February 15, 2019 at 13:40

      Yes, your statement of their reasons is as they claim, but it’s clear that the laughable Steele dossier was the only “evidence” they had to a start their investigations.

    • Tom
      February 15, 2019 at 16:44

      Steele had no idea who was paying Fusion GPS for the raw intelligence reports, later to be known as the “Steele Dossier”.

      Thats a lie……not only did the DNC pay the bills but the FBI was working with Steele ….you think Fusion GPS works for free?

      And the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr also worked for Fusion GPS…..

      The FBI was also working with Stepahn Halper….. ”

      At the same time he was in contact with the media, Halper was also working as a spy for the FBI as part of its investigation of possible Russian infiltration of the Trump campaign.

      As part of that operation, Halper was in contact with three Trump campaign associates: Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos. The relationship with Page began in July 2016 and lasted through September 2017.”

      The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election

      Glenn Greenwald

      https://theintercept.com/2018/05/19/the-fbi-informant-who-monitored-the-trump-campaign-stefan-halper-oversaw-a-cia-spying-operation-in-the-1980-presidential-election/

      https://dailycaller.com/2018/05/31/stefan-halper-media-flynn/

    • Mike
      February 18, 2019 at 13:05

      The dossier was never a part of the prior investigation initiated by the Free Beacon. In fact after Trump became the nominee, the investigation was halted by Free Beacon. Fusion GPS then shopped what they had, which wasn’t much, to the Clinton campaign. The hiring of Steele who was the one who compiled the phony dossier, came after Clinton and the DNC came aboard. Steele and the dossier was never a part of the Free Beacon’s investigation. So quit with the lies about it. You look like a fool.

    • Blaine Decker
      February 20, 2019 at 18:00

      Wow, there is so much misinformation in this comment it’s hard to unpack.

      Republican opposition did not pay for the dossier. The Free Beacon, run by Bill Kristol’s son in-law and fellow never Trumper paid for oppo research during the primary and stopped when Trump won

      Clinton and the DNC hired Fusion through their cut-out lawyers Perkins Coie to develop an unverified smear campaign using a Brittish former spy and other Brittish intelligence assets.

      Fusion then colluded with Hillary opperatives to plant the unverified smears to the press and FBI/DOJ who were all too willing to use them to depose Trump and take him down

  8. David Otness
    February 15, 2019 at 02:21

    Way o lay it out, bevin.
    Applause!

  9. DH Fabian
    February 14, 2019 at 20:45

    The current episode of this ongoing series. Well, Democrats have nothing left to sell, so they bring this back every few weeks. Every anti-Russian allegation to date has been investigated, and fell flat. The Mueller investigation resulted in a long list of indictments last summerr (handful of convictions to date) for business/financial crimes, not political crimes — with no connection to the anti-Russian claims. (So yes, he has been sent back, presumably to “find” something.) Where the Russia Tale crashes into the wall of reality: Trump has taken a number of dangerous steps to date to incite a catastrophic war, US vs. Russia and China. These ranged from reinforcing economic sanctions against Russia to increased US “meddling” in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, to increased hostilities between US and Russian troops in the Mideast, now in Venezuela. The duopoly has maintained over two years of hard-core anti-Russian propaganda, with no end in sight. These critically important points are buried beneath the anti-Russian propaganda. Does anyone believe for a minute that this is in the best interests of the country or the world?

    • Mike
      February 18, 2019 at 13:08

      You make excellent points DH Fabian. And yet those with pure ideological hatred refuse to look at facts and reality and continue to trot out falsehoods to bolster their fantasy. I’d hate to ever operate with such a closed feeble mind as Tom does.

  10. Andrew D. Thomas
    February 14, 2019 at 20:23

    And, as the ridiculous Russia/Putin control Trump farce grinds on, the sanctions remain, the economic war against it continues, and Trump ‘s incoherent presidency continues. Threaten North Korea, then have a “summit” that will solve that farce, and put Pompeo in charge of the details. I cannot even come up with a metaphor extreme enough for the idiocy involved in that. Announce that the US is leaving Syria because the US has crushed Isis- a neoconservative fantasy if I have ever heard one (any reader here knows damned well how Russia, Syria and Hizbullah did the vast majority of any good there) and then, incoherently (again) backs away; goes all in regarding the Venezuela coup, hardly a surprise considering he had already asked why the US can’t just invade; sending the Navy into the South China Sea, where we could start World War III with our already well-demonstrated proclivity to accidentally run into other ships. Trump is on board with everything the deep state wants except in
    North Korea, and, after Pompeo finishes his sabatouge of that, he’ll be threatening Kim and the whole population of North Korea again with his big rockets. I am afraid that this pissing contest arises from the egomaniacal deep state scum being so outraged at being the very idea that they could get kicked around in a campaign that they’ll never forgive him, and the fact that he is a bigger egomaniacal narcissist than anyone alive who is never mistaken about anything even when he directly contradicts himself within minutes of his first assertion. Add: the MSM wants to distract their followers from the fact that no institution was more responsible for Trump than them; Trump’s occasional statements that come out of some undamaged synapses that are threatening in the extreme to the neocon nuthouse ( the joint exercises with the South Korean military are a deranged and expensive provocation; no reason exists to regard Russia as an enemy; the epic takedown of Jeb that in 2 minutes exposed his daddy and destroyed his candidacy.) Some things just cannot be said, and once said cannot be forgiven. Trump could, and should be, impeached just for the crimes against humanity deliberately undertaken at the Mexican border. He is criminally insane. And so are his deep-state and media hack enemies. And the loony, equally fact-free media in his corner, cheering on the craziness and ignoring his occasional attacks of clarity. Yes. We are that screwed.

    • Dean
      February 15, 2019 at 04:36

      The Russian sanctions on the oligarchs that helped Manafort and the Trump campaign have been lifted. I think I read the Russian oligarchs made more than a billion US dollars overnight with the lifting of these sanctions.
      https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/chuck-schumers-campaign-block-russia-sanctions-relief-comes-short

      • Tom
        February 15, 2019 at 16:48

        Sanctions based on lies and propaganda…..and ZERO evidence

        Dont forget it was PUTIN who threw out the Oligarchs who refused to pay taxes and were literally starving the Russian people….if only the USA would do that.

        Why do you want WW3 based on lies ?Whats that about?you are still in search of a crime with ZERO evidence and started another cold war based on nothing and you think Trump is dangerous?

      • Mike
        February 18, 2019 at 13:18

        Yeah we could start with throwing out Jeff Bezos whose company Amazon paid $0 in federal taxes for 2018 but who contributed millions to the campaign of democrats. Nice trade off for Bezos. He saves tens of millions in taxes for millions in campaign donations to democrats and yet not one democrat has pointed out this hypocrisy.

    • Mike
      February 18, 2019 at 13:15

      to which crimes against humanity at the Mexican border are you referring, that hadn’t already been done by obuma’s regime? Use of tear gas? Yup, obuma’s BP used it too. Pictures of kids in cages? Those widely circulated pics were taken in 2014 during the reign of the obuma regime. Separating children from the adults they were with? That was done because many children were not accompanied by their parents but by traffickers. And was also done under the obuma regime. Repair your ideological blindness or you will forever be nothing more than a sheep who succumbs to the illogical self serving messages of the corporate owned media.

  11. Patricia P Tursi, .
    February 14, 2019 at 19:36

    I recall that the Podesta and HRC’s emails were getting traction & Comey was not interested. The emails were real, but the Russia stuff was hot …even if created out of air. “Mounting evidence” never materialized, but was continually promised as just over the horizon I have never liked Trump, but I don’t like scams and I lived through the first “The Russians Are Coming…The Russians Are Coming!”

    • Tom
      February 15, 2019 at 16:54

      Worse?…….We know the DNC was working with the FBI…..and they wanted Hillary and Hillary created the Russiagate gate ruse to deflect from the fact that she is now empirically the most hated candidate in US history and is less popular than Trump who is the least popular president in US history.Hillary had pushed the world into another cold war and democrats are pining for WW3 with Nukes.Democrats have used McCarthyism to push Trump from the BUSH neo con Right wing .Democrats are now responsible for the aggressive smearing of the anti war progressives….not TRUMP……at least the Republicans used McCarthyism to go after the LEFT because they were their enemy…..today its DEMOCRATS going after the LEFT….

    • February 20, 2019 at 23:18

      if Trump & his associates are So “innocent”, why do they keep on LYING about contacts with Russians? WHY did Jared Kuchner want a “back channel” to Russia? WHY does Trump DESTROY notes from translators of his one-on-one with Putin? I sure do NOT want another Cold War (much less a hot war) with Russia. I also think Trump is totally CORRUPT AND DESTRUCTIVE to our our country.

  12. Robert Mayer
    February 14, 2019 at 18:53

    My apology 2 CN 4 not proofing comment below. I Do Not retract the info however

  13. Robert Mayer
    February 14, 2019 at 18:26

    Thanx CN 4 covering this from “follow the power” perspective. My speculation (though fact based” differs as follows.

    Diebold hackable vote counting computers were introed in Georgia if memory serves 1984.

    Red Voting Act passed 2004, bankrolling similar machines for individual jurisdictions 2002 or so.

    I believe the strategy is to voter suppress and
    “Ruski hacks” as covers for 2 actual truths… “the best US hacker wins” & count by secret ballot rather than public transparency.

    An essential page in the BigLie playbook.

    • DH Fabian
      February 14, 2019 at 20:54

      On the 2016 election, simply check the data. Roughly half of all registered voters rejected both Clinton and Trump. They voted third party or withheld their votes. In the end, Clinton got more votes (in spite of much Dem voter opposition to the Clinton wing), but Trump got the most electoral votes — something a foreign government couldn’t steal, hack into, influence, etc., etc. We can also say with near certainty that Trump will be re-elected in 2020. Presidents are almost always re-elected, and Democrats are stuck with having split apart their voting base (mainly by class).

  14. Rael Nidess, M.D.
    February 14, 2019 at 15:09

    Aside from Porter’s usual excellent historical analysis, the salient point in this essay is the last line: “…national security bureaucrats and their media allies are now moving more aggressively to delegitimize any opposition to the new Cold War.” It is becoming more and more clear that the ‘west’ (the U.S., NATO, GCC, & Israel) are embarked on a quest of global hegemonic domination (see: Wolfowitz Doctrine) with the ultimate prizes being the subjugation of both Russia & China. To this end, all the assets of western power, political, military, & media (all the corporate media: NYT, WaPo, WSJ, Guardian, and more), have been engaged to advance whatever narrative seems best suited to advance that cause. Venezuela not in line? It’s a ‘socialist dictatorship’ that must be subverted. Syria not playing ball? Assad’s a ‘brutal dictator’ killing his own people for… fill in the rationalization, for which 100K jihadis must be imported to overthrow. The list goes on, Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Ecuador; everyone know the list. Thus, anyone opposing this assault on the non-U.S.-aligned nations is a “Putin puppet’ (Tulsi Gabbard_, an ‘anti-Semite’ (Ilhan Omar), a ‘Socialist’ (Sanders), or worse a ‘Commie’ (Hugo Chavez – in Sanders’ opinion).

    This global ‘jihad’ is predicated on NeoCon ideology of American exceptionalism, faith in neoliberal economics (I doubt that any of the true believers trashed their copies of ”The End of History”), and what appears to be blind faith that Russia & China will capitulate to ‘western’ domination rather than risk nuclear war & the actual ‘end of history’; although it may require the use of a few ‘dial-a-nukes’ to convince them their civilizations must give way to ‘Western Values’ & the ‘Western Rules’Based Order’. Naturally, their no more right about this than they’ve ever been about anything but being a NeoCon means never having to say “Boy! Was I wrong about that!!”.

    It’s two minutes to midnight & the clock’s ticking…

    • DH Fabian
      February 14, 2019 at 20:57

      Middle class liberal, right? There’s no legitimacy in adding Israel, of all countries, to the list. I would only urge you to learn about the Mideast region and the people, and then analyze the legitimacy of the anti-Israel ideology. Israel is merely the classic scapegoat for much of what the US does.

  15. grayslady
    February 14, 2019 at 12:14

    Small proofreading point in an otherwise fine article:
    The DNC law firm is Perkins Coie, not Perkins Cole.

  16. Glenn Goodman
    February 14, 2019 at 12:02

    “a warning signal that national security bureaucrats and their media allies are now moving more aggressively to delegitimize any opposition to the new Cold War.“ You could just as easily use the term Hot War. Giuliani and Netanyahu just announced inPoland their fond desire to wage war with Iran. So while our FBI works diligently to protect us from Russia’s desire for peace and cooperation, the foreign power that does rule us prepares to risk our future on an insane desire to shed the blood of Iranians. America is in no way ready for the promised consequences, but we ought to think about doing something before major war erupts and we find ourselves under marshal law breathing the smoking ruins of our devastated lives. Great article.

    • Patricia P Tursi, .
      February 14, 2019 at 20:06

      I appreciated your succinct analysis. You have to give credit to our intelligence propagandists which convinces everyone that if they don’t swallow the messages, they are foreign agents, conspiracy theorists or just plain stupid. Oh, and proof is just around the corner.

  17. February 14, 2019 at 11:10

    I feel very strongly that the editors of Consortium News should explain why they remove posts from their otherwise loyal audience, namely me, today.

    Since there was no foul language nor even any personal attacks against another on this site or against any person for that matter it is befuddling to be censored by an outlet most of us consider to be one of the last bastions of free thought expression.

    Perhaps we should engage in a real debate on the subjects that cause your editors such angst. I feel I can easily defend my assertions that 9/11 was a false flag and can offer up a mountain of physical evidence to prove it, but this subject scares you folks and so people are left to nibble away at the tertiary issues of cause and effect of the slide to total fascist oligarchy while letting the cold-blooded mass murdered go scott free and even grow fat on government pensions.

    Besides, I was only agreeing with the post above mine so why not censor all mentions by everyone of 9/11?

    • Skip Scott
      February 14, 2019 at 11:57

      Lee-

      The comment section here is squirrelly. To see your recent comments, you have to post a test comment. Then your recent comments and others will magically appear, unless the comment has gone into moderation, which occasionally happens. Then you can reload the page on your browser and delete your test comment. Otherwise your comment will usually show up at the end of the day, or early the next day.

      • Realist
        February 14, 2019 at 15:14

        I think most of the regulars have finally caught on to that bizarre undisclosed “trick,” but it seems to remain quite unfair to unsuspecting newcomers. Moreover, eliciting the reactions seen by the likes of Lee does not serve to expand the readership. It seems more like a tactic to retard such growth. I’m not convinced that, in an attempt to eliminate the rather small intrusion of trolls onto this site, CN chose the right gatekeeper. At least we don’t have to register and provide a password to communicate as they have to do on most other forums… or, heaven forbid, open a Facebook account.

        Anyway, thanks for routinely apprising the newbies about this problem, Skipp. You are doing the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s work, sir.

      • Skip Scott
        February 15, 2019 at 07:36

        I think we’ve lost many good commenters to this “gatekeeping”. It’s a real shame.

      • Realist
        February 16, 2019 at 01:06

        I miss Backwards Evolution’s contributions.

      • February 15, 2019 at 18:16

        I reloaded the site and my comment appeared, then later in the day it was gone and I haven’t seen it reappear. I really like this site and enjoy the Intelligence and fairness of the commentators, it’s disconcerting to see your post disappear when you know your comment contained nothing objectionable as far as personal attacks go.

        Oh well, I’ll keep plugging away.

  18. February 14, 2019 at 09:57

    Not to mention, now all the weapons treaties are Trump trashed, we can test out our battle ready nuclear weapons in the field on them.

    http://opensociet.org/2019/02/13/the-most-dangerous-weapon-ever-rolls-off-the-nuclear-assembly-line

  19. February 14, 2019 at 01:07

    The initial charges trumpeted by MSM day after day were of the Trump campaign “colluding” with Russia AND the Russian’s assisting Trump’s election by hacking the DNC emails that when released proved to anyone who cared to know that HRC and the entire Democratic leadership are complete crooks. Charging the Trump campaign with “collusion” is essentially a charge of treason. Two years and running into this nonsense and no evidence of “collusion” or treason, just some indictments for relatively speaking unrelated petty crimes. Really?

    It is as if the Trump was charged with murder (treason), but no body was found, no murder weapon was found, and in fact no evidence produced that a murder even ever took place. However, in the course of this “murder investigation” the feds managed to find a small baggie of pot and some rolling papers stuffed in Trump’s couch cushions (financial crimes, lying, etc. by his cronies), and now this bag of pot seeds and stems is being used to pretend it somehow lends support of some kind to the charge of a “murder” that never happened. Freaking amazing. I’m guessing that in the zip codes and tax brackets shared by Trump’s cronies such financial criminality is rather “normative” behavior if the Feds ever actually cared to look. Criminal as such things may be, they cannot be equated with treason, or with “collusion with the Russians.”

    I have dear friends who watch MSM and little else and belief in fervent belief in Russiagate and signing on for Muller-worship seem as natural to them as breathing. I swear if Rachel Maddow started calling the Pope a “Putin-Puppet” on her show everyday, that after a few months many people would support bombing the Vatican to institute a regime change on the Holy See. As Caitlin Johnstone likes to point out, it’s “all about who controls the narrative,” rather than whether said narrative is in fact “true.”

  20. bevin
    February 13, 2019 at 23:09

    The logic behind the campaign against Russia is impeccable: Russia is the one power capable of deterring US attempts to establish the end of history in the shape of hegemony over the globe.
    A project which would freeze humanity into its current, unsatisfactory socio-economic system, with its enormous inequalities, billions living in perpetual famine, politically impotent and doomed to existences akin to serfdom and slavery. All in order to preserve private property from the regulation of the human race.
    Russia, and in particular Russia as currently governed, is an impassible obstacle in the way of the ambitions of the peculiar castes and class which dominates the United States through its control of the media, the political system, the economy, the educational system and the organs of state, not least the police and military.
    The current crisis arose in Syria and Ukraine, both of which our rulers imagined were ripe fruit ready for the plucking. And Russia proved them to be wrong. Ukraine is staggering towards complete disfunctionality, riddled with corruption, modified only by extreme fascist gangs for whom democracy is an obscenity. To their credit they are unable to pretend otherwise, just as they are unable to bring themselves to pretend that Russian speaking citizens, who constitute a majority even of the rump Ukraine without the seceded Don cities, are deserving of equality political and civil. To the dismay of the western promoters of Maidan the ‘pro-democracy’ narrative designed to blind domestic and world opinion, has proved to be a bad joke.
    As has the same narrative, with minor variations, in Syria where it is untenable to put forward the view that the regime change forces there, backed by Saudi Arabia and Israel, are anything other than the Al Qaeda militias whose hatred of democracy and taste for the simple solutions of genocide and massacre makes attempts to sell their politics non-starters just about everywhere.
    And yet had it not been for Putin’s refusal to go along with these imperialist policies, not because he liked them or believed that they benefited Russia but because what America wants America gets, the Ukraine would be integrating itself back into a Polish Lithuanian polity, dominated by the US and Syria would be signing away the Levant to Israel.
    It is that certainty that no matter how ill conceived, ill managed or incompetently led, US actions always succeed that Russia has put into question.
    That is what we see in Venezuela- the automatic response to the recent coup announcement was that, like it or not, it would succeed. Guiado would become President. The oil reserves would be carved up by the usual suspects and the will of the people of Venezuela would, once more, become of no more interest than the philosophical views of lizards or fish.
    Why? It might have been asked. And the answers were simple enough: Russia and China will fall into line once arrangements have been made to piece them off with a slice of the loot. So would the military in Caracas, the officers anyway, and who cares what the other ranks think?
    Washington is run by seriously deluded people, selected for their abilities to delude themselves. And Putin keeps waking them out of their pleasant trance. It is necessary therefore to establish that this is done for no good reasons.
    It cannot be conceded that Russia or China or Iran or Venezuela can have interests that contradict those of Washington’s political caste. All humanity desires, in its heart of hearts, that America rule the world and dictate to every nation. Only the perverse could believe otherwise: not believing in US hegemony must mean believing in Chinese, Iranian or Russian hegemony.
    At the basis of it all is the old Plantation belief that all men need masters and that civilisation is impossible unless those masters, recognisable by their wealth and power, have the ability to make others conform to their will.
    It is enough that Russia and China and Iran, whatever else they might believe, do not believe that it is either necessary or proper to accede to all of Washington’s desires.
    And the thing is this: if Washington finds in Venezuela that it can do nothing to prevent the government there and its Bolivarian regime from maintaining itself, and if, as seems likely, the US and its allies cannot restrain themselves from upping the ante of economic warfare into military adventures, contras and death squads infiltrated over borders in a Latin reprise of Syria’s long crucifixion, then they are very likely to start a war which will consume the continent. The makings of conflagration are all there in Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil and Argentine, all that is needed is a spark.
    And this is the case because what Russia can do, if it chooses, is to remove US military superiority from the equation, by making it clear that the escalation that took place in Iraq and Libya, the use of airpower unchallenged by air defences and the employment of enormous resources of men and money, against, essentially, unarmed civilians, such an escalation will not be allowed to take place again.
    In other words Russia will be saying we don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do, we’ve got the means and the will, if necessary, to do so.
    Back off! Russia could say to the US and the US would have no recourse but to do so or to make itself a target for weapons that, if used, will bring the world, as we know it, to a quick and complete end.

    • Realist
      February 14, 2019 at 02:15

      Thank you. Now I don’t have to say anything further on the matter, as you have said it all–and so very well. None of Washington’s psychopathic belligerent foreign policy is done for the benefit of the American people, or for humanity, or for “freedom and democracy” as always so hypocritically claimed. As has been discerned and explained a million times by the remnants of this earth’s population with a still-functioning brain, the clear objective has always been to coalesce all power and wealth into the hands of a tiny clique of brutal thugs will illusions of godhood because, under our man-made laws, they claim to own most of everything on this planet.

      This tiny focus of evil is getting pretty damn close to achieving its goals, mostly because so many who have little or want more for themselves are so easily bought off by the crumbs thrown their way by the plutocrats who buy their souls and their public offices. That’s how Paul Craig Roberts has always described what he personally observed during his years close to the center of power in Washington. If you are in a position of potential influence you are offered pallets of hundred dollar bills or the probability of a short lifespan. As the Taliban was reportedly offered for bin Laden back in 2001: “either a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs.” Your “choice.” All U.S. politicians and many if not most foreign leaders are bought and owned by the American Deep State, says Mr. Roberts.

      Would people of this mentality see several billion people nuked to achieve their hegemonic goals? In a heartbeat if they believed they personally could survive the cataclysm and enjoy some semblance of a “normal” life–including necessary luxuries you, movie stars or even MLB MVP’s could never dream of. What they actually believe on that matter I do not know, but it will determine whether their threatening words are just bluff or inevitable extinction for most of us. Maybe only their doubts keep us alive.

      We know for a fact that they are totally unashamed to put the financial screws to multi-millions of little people in their own country to enhance their own already enormous wealth. They don’t care if the consequences are bankruptcy, broken families, starvation, sickness and death to their victims whom they’ve purposefully driven into delinquency through myriad tricks and traps. Why would they not employ extreme brinksmanship against foreign countries, most of which they disdain as subhumans. How else are they able to repeatedly roll the likes of the oldest, most developed and supposedly civilised countries in Europe to do their despicable bidding against other targeted countries? I’m not buying it for a New York minute that May, Macron, Merkel and the rest of those weasels who repeatedly betray their own citizens to appease Uncle Sam are in it for the “freedom and democracy,” or that the occasional dissenting leaders within the EU (from Italy, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Czechia, etc) represent dangerous “authoritarian” and “anti-democratic” movements. Orbin wins at the ballot box, not at the barricades with stun grenades like Macron. If Washington wants to target a genuinely authoritarian regime, try fascist Ukraine. But in Washington groupthink, the closer a government is to fascism, the closer it is to the perfection of “freedom and democracy,” so Poroshenko will continue to get IMF loans, American weapons and NATO personnel.

    • OlyaPola
      February 14, 2019 at 06:49

      “In other words Russia will be saying we don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do, we’ve got the means and the will, if necessary”

      Projection is always a statrategic weakness as some understand facilitating opportunities for some.

      Many of the opponents have been and continue be immersed in varying assay of jingoism sometimes presenting as “exceptionalism” which increases the facilitation of opportunities for some.

      As a thumbnail of some of the opponents’ perceptions and their lateral interactions your contribution makes some valid comments, but I would suggest that, as in most activities, over-extension and projection can prove catalysts of “disadvantage” as illustrated by both “The Crimean War” and “The Boer War” which like “The Vietnam War” were so designated in part to obfuscate the motivations/participation of respective empires.

      • GMC
        February 15, 2019 at 05:01

        If I may add to your post O P. The same Financiers/Freemasons/ Illuminati or what ever their names are – are the same ones that created Bolsheviks, al Qaeda, Isis, Democrats , Republicans, Communism, Socialism, Corporate Capitalism, Western Democracy etc. etc. etc. They use these movements in order get a full circle of return on their Investments. They have created both the ” Good guys and the Bad Guys and care little , the outcome, only the profits. My neighbor and I were in the Vietnam War , he was Russian army and I was American army. We got paid indirectly by the same Financiers that created one side – ” Communism” and the other side ” the liberators” – Lev got rubles and I got dollars. Today we drink Vodka – paid for – still in Rubles and/or Dollars { indirectly}. I’m sure Joe Tedesky understands this – too — spacibo

      • OlyaPola
        February 15, 2019 at 08:11

        “If I may add to your post O P. The same Financiers/Freemasons/ Illuminati or what ever their names are – are the same ones that created Bolsheviks, al Qaeda, Isis, Democrats , Republicans, Communism, Socialism, Corporate Capitalism, Western Democracy etc. etc. etc.”

        The opponents evangelise notions of property – your – attempting to deny that “knowledge” is social and interactive, whereas others share hypotheses that can be tested if so minded.

        This is a component of why some use this portal as an entry point into “wonderland” to transcend equal but different where but precludes equal thereby underpinning notions of differential “right” to access social products including hypotheses, by equal and different where and facilitates both equality and difference .

        Denying complicity through assigning agency/blame to others is a form and indicator of immersion in the opponents’ encouraged perceptions.

        “The same Financiers/Freemasons/ Illuminati or what ever their names are – are the same ones that created Bolsheviks, al Qaeda, Isis, Democrats , Republicans, Communism, Socialism, Corporate Capitalism, Western Democracy etc. etc. etc.”

        The creation and timeframes were facilitated by the complicity of “the people” as continues to be the case.

        Timeframes can be truncated through affording opportunities to test hypotheses and that was/is a significant factor in the continuing transcendence of “The Soviet Union” which was never the, or Soviet or a Union – the description Russian Federation also being chosen by design not default, although for a different purpose.

        “Today we drink Vodka”

        The opponents are also complicit in affording opportunities to test hypotheses one of which – the anti-alcohol campaign of Mr. Gorbachev to reform “The Soviet Monday” and hence productivity being particularly productive in angering almost the whole adult population of “The Soviet Union”.

        Like the period of prohibition in “The United States of America” this was a major opportunity for “capital accumulation” for some of the “oligarchs” based on somagon and ensuing blindness of many of the population of “The Soviet Union”.

        This has improved since the 1990’s including in the post-nightclub generations who increasingly use alcohol as a catalyst for sharing rather than a catalyst of oblivion.

        Enjoy your journey and thank you for your data-stream (not a pejorative although many have been evangelised to perceive it so through immersion in coercive social relations, thereby engendering fear of difference in attempts to circumvent equal and different) whilst like snails in progress creating other data-streams that can be evaluated.

  21. Joe Tedesky
    February 13, 2019 at 22:37

    Let’s face it gang our beloved nation, especially with this Russia Gate nonsense has, gone down the proverbial tubes. Although by the looks of it the Establishment has backed Trump into their corner where at least war is concerned. So maybe this Russia Gate thing provided to the DC critters everything they needed to get the Donald to where they wanted him… I don’t know but, it’s run havoc over the rest of the nation that’s for sure. Don’t mind me. Now go on about your business. Peace

    • OlyaPola
      February 14, 2019 at 07:00

      “our beloved nation”

      Beloved by whom?

  22. neal
    February 13, 2019 at 21:43

    Actually the Dossier was initially commissioned by Washington Free Beacon. Seems like an important detail.

    • February 13, 2019 at 23:24

      That was separate opposition research during the Republican primary. The Steele dossier paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign is totally different.

  23. Tom Kath
    February 13, 2019 at 19:50

    In my German origins there is a term called “Bauchnabeln” which literally translated means playing with your belly button, or more broadly, obsessed with yourself. As a current Australian, I find this internal American obsession with domestic issues fairly boring. The USA seems to be struggling pathetically with a severe lack of identity.
    About the only real interest most people have in these internal issues is the vague awareness that this identity crisis is not restricted to the USA.

    • John A
      February 14, 2019 at 03:38

      In England, we have a similar term, ‘navel gazing’.

      • LarcoMarco
        February 15, 2019 at 01:12

        Late 1960’s Hippie term, ‘mutual omphaloskepsis’.

    • AnneR
      February 14, 2019 at 08:54

      Eternal American obsession – yes, I would agree to a great extent. Even among the well-educated American (or at least expensively educated) FB friends of my late husband, one would be exceedingly hard put to find postings concerned with what the US (and its FUKIS allies) is doing and has done in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the destruction it and its allies have wrought on those “lesser” peoples. The overwhelming focus is on and, I would argue, only on what happens here, within the borders of the US.

      Americans are, and have been for a long time, a most parochial people. Yes, there are exceptions but the generality care only about domestic affairs. And doubtless most peoples in most countries are similarly focused. But most countries are not the one(s) dictating how the world will work, who will benefit, are not the ones bombing, invading (sorry “intervening”), starving into submission those peoples who refuse to bow and scrape, refuse to join the corporate-capitalist-imperialist bandwagon, lick the boots of the western nations. They, poor sods, are the ones on the receiving end of our “bountiful” attentions.

      Meanwhile back in the home countries of the beneficent west, particularly in those of the worst purveyors of “humanitarian interventions,” the numbers of people enduring poverty, homelessness, increasingly inaccessible or poor health care, crumbling infrastructure, continue to grow as their governments – filled with the excessively comfortably off – attend only to their plutocratic cronies and the lobbyists for such like-minded rulers as those in Saudia and Israel.

      It may be cynical of me, but I think that much of the Russia (or China or Iran – depending upon the manufactured problem of the moment) “did it” hatred is in fact manufactured to distract and to create a “reason” for the continued financial support for the MIC. Yes there are certainly hard core Russophobes in the US (most around my age) and, for reasons which escape me, in the UK (my birth country). But for many in the MSM (I only get a daily unwanted dose on NPR/BBC world service radio and even that has me nauseated and ranting at the wireless), those born say from the 1970s on – surely they know that what they purvey is propagandist claptrap? Or did they swallow Cold Warrior hatred of all things USSR-Russia with their mother’s milk?

  24. February 13, 2019 at 19:26

    You can view the hatred of Russia as opportunism, but it does seem real. The question, if not opportunism, what is behind it? What has Russia done in the minds of so many that causes geysers of hate to spray over all of us.

    The last time it, then the USSR, gave America a black eye and its humiliation was the Vietnam war. Since then we’ve given them a few in Afghanistan, helping destroy their economy with Russia’s help, and maybe some other. Yes, Syria is another black eye for us, but that was after all the hatred came forth.

    A form of insanity, very dangerous.

    • OlyaPola
      February 14, 2019 at 07:22

      “The last time it, then the USSR, gave America a black eye and its humiliation was the Vietnam war. Since then we’ve given them a few in Afghanistan, helping destroy their economy with Russia’s help, and maybe some other.”

      Conflating the “USSR” with the Russian Federation is evangelised by the opponents as a tool of obfuscation but not held by the some of the opponents in fashioning and implementing “strategies”.

      In many respects “The Soviet Union” emulated practices of “The United States of America” as the framing of your sentence above also emulates.

      Consequently “The Soviet Union” at no point ever posed an existential threat to “The United States of America” although the opponents evangelised such notions as a tool of obfuscation to facilitate their continued existence.

      However the Russian Federation and its associates do pose existential threats (plural) to the temporary social relations presently self-defined as “The United States of America”, rendering “necessary” the opponents’ oscillation between evangelising that the Russian Federation and its associates do and do not pose a existential threat to the temporary social relations presently self-defined as “The United States of America” which the opponents seek to conflate with “We the people” facilitated by “..hold these truths to be self-evident”.

      Similar dances were apparent in “The Soviet Union” facilitating opportunities for many.

      • OlyaPola
        February 15, 2019 at 06:51

        “rendering “necessary” the opponents’ oscillation between evangelising that the Russian Federation and its associates do and do not pose a existential threat to the temporary social relations presently self-defined as “The United States of America” which the opponents seek to conflate with “We the people” facilitated by “..hold these truths to be self-evident”.”

        An example of this was what some refer to as “Russiagate” which was catalysed and informed by two of Mr. Rove’s observations.

        1. “We are an Empire, we create our own reality to which others react.
        Whilst they are reacting we create another reality to which they react.”

        2. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you should concentrate on ( hoping that a significant sum of the others are suitably engaged in observation 1 above.)

        The need for oscillation was predicated on uses of “strategies of chaos/strategies of tension” and a prevalent default of bridging doubt, (encouraged by levels of immersion in “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident” and consequent encouragement of bluff in respect of “knowledge” to seek to be a part of “we”), by belief to attain confirmation/comfort.

        Partly as functions of contempt that some have for “their target audience (possessive case)” and perception of the potential audience predicated on “exceptionalism”, the attempts by the opponents of “perception management” are increasingly inept given the constraints of seeking to re-enforce linear paradigms in lateral systems.

        In respect of “The Soviet Union” an illumination of such processes can be found in the adventures of GOSPLAN.

        Other trajectories facilitating “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident.”

        https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-fascist-politics-treat-children-as-disposable/

        Fiats including notions of “strength” have been of significant importance from
        inception of the “United States of America.

        From inception the “United States of America” has been a construct of fiat
        dependent upon the beliefs of others, including the beliefs of their (possessive
        case ) population, which oscillated/oscillates and changes assay through interaction.

        From inception of the “United States of America” most of “we the people” in the “United States of America” were and continue to be born disposable – this was always inherent in some assay in the social interactions and design within/of the temporary construct the “United States of America” obfuscated by notions of we.

        In Russia and elsewhere the gathering of mushrooms is a widely performed activity.

        If mushrooms require removal to turn the land to other usages, the presenting mushrooms
        require picking but also the spores in the soil require careful removal generally on more than one occasion over a period of time.

        The tendency in coercive social relations on matters of removal is to emulate the Roman practice of salting the fields of opponents, a perceived quick fix, the biosphere being perceived as requiring domination – this was in some measure the practice in the “Soviet Union” – but salt is dissipated over time but often the memory of salting does not dissipate to the same degree or at the same velocity.

        Despite the efforts of many including Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Gorbachev as a function of inherent design the “Soviet Union” could not be reformed, an accelerant being Mr. Gobbachev’s ignorance of “The Soviet Union” increased by his notion of “I know best” – a function of “exceptionalism” derived from his long practice in “schmoozing” in Krasnodarsky oblast and elsewhere which led to his ascent to Moscow as one of the chosen.

        It appears that as a function of inherent design the “United States of America” also cannot be reformed despite the wishes and efforts of some.

        Therefore it appears that the “United States of America” requires to be transcended not through emulating a salting of fields but through a lateral process to turn the land to other usages in cooperation with others.

  25. Brian Murphy
    February 13, 2019 at 18:38

    The FBI, along with the rest of the federal government, is a political tool in the hands of the owners of the government, who are often referred to as “oligarchs,” and can loosely be thought of as the Boards of Directors of all the major corporations within the dominant industries, including defense, fossil fuel, and banking (plus maybe some health care/pharma, and tech in there).

    The ruling oligarchic class, whose will is implemented in part using the federal government, did not want Donald Trump to be President, even though Trump may be a member of this oligarchic class. The public is not supposed to elect a President that is not stamp-approved by these people. Once Trump was elected, the entire weight of the force of the federal government would be applied, on behalf of the owners of the government, to minimize his political influence by undermining his political legitimacy and draining his energy with a constant barrage of investigations and other forms of harassment.

    This includes the FBI. From the time the national security state was created in 1947, the top levels at the various national security related agencies of the federal government, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, have always cooperated to enforce the will of their corporate masters. This was done right from the start, but was expressed spectacularly in the state-sponsored assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK in the 1960s; but, also recently in the cover-up of the events of 9/11, the bogus Russia gate narrative.

    The FBI seems to be disproportionately involved in cover-up operations. So, for example, then-Director Mueller went before the public after 9/11 and said the FBI had ironclad evidence linking Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda to 9/11, even though no such evidence has ever been produced and the FBI never wanted Bin Laden for the events of 9/11.

    So, it seems weird to be parsing what this or that FBI agent did under this or that circumstance as if there is some good faith being exercised by the FBI in such matters. The FBI is a bad actor in these affairs, and has been for a long time. There is no benefit of the doubt to be extended to the FBI, no presumption of good intentions.

    • Skip Scott
      February 14, 2019 at 08:01

      That’s it in a nutshell. However, I don’t think they see Trump as one of their own. He’s relatively “new money”, and he espoused a multi-polar world (although he may not be smart enough to know it) when he said “wouldn’t it be great to get along with Russia”. That was like pissing in the punch bowl at their garden party. If not for his heavily armed MAGA base, I think he’d been JFK’d by now. As it is, I think they’ll be satisfied to keep him on a short leash for 2 more years, especially if he succeeds in Venezuela.

    • February 14, 2019 at 09:08

      “and can loosely be thought of as the Boards of Directors of all the major corporations within the dominant industries, including defense, fossil fuel, and banking (plus maybe some health care/pharma, and tech in there).”

      All “industries” have their say, but they are organized as lobbying groups and typically, fight only for their narrow interests. The military-industrial complex is interested in grandiose foreign policy, tech, healthcare — they do not care too much, except that US domination gives them some benefits in terms of pressure on other countries to regulate in their favor. But step on their toes and they are veritable tigers.

    • February 14, 2019 at 09:54

      Agreed, the media pretends we thinking people ALSO hold the intelligence age in high esteem when we in fact regard them as co-conspirators in on going treason against the citizens of the USA and in war crimes and regime overthrow against other countries. Assassinations and false-flag attacks are weapons in their arsenal and if more people had your courage to mention 9/11 as the false flag operation it most assuredly was then we would have had a massive shock and awe awakening by the public as to just how demented and evil is our economic/corporate/bankster system.

  26. Eric32
    February 13, 2019 at 18:07

    The FBI has been politicized since its start.
    In recent decades it has been increasingly politicized and corrupted.

    The basic source of this campaign against Trump is the fear that he might expose the corruption of the FBI and CIA and the Clinton money laundering highly corrupt “foundation”, and the surrounding high level “law enforcement” officials who have been turning up repeatedly over the decades, protecting them, and participating.

    There’s deep institutionalized criminality for many wealthy “public servants” to be in fear of being exposed.

    The big unknown about all this, is why didn’t Trump act more competently in combating it?

    And, why wasn’t the giant banking – mortgage fraud that caused a debacle in 2008 criminally dealt with by Obama?

    Why and how has the Federal govt. accumulated $20 trillion in undocumented accounting over the last 20+ years?

    There’s a layer of poisonous criminality that is floating over the US like a toxic cloud, and no sign that it’s going away.

  27. Jeff Harrison
    February 13, 2019 at 17:34

    Excellent piece. It is increasingly obvious that the National “Security” apparatus is a cancer on the body politic of the US and will, like all cancers, ultimately kill its host.

    • Brian Murphy
      February 14, 2019 at 16:29

      ….

      Right. Long after the demise of the USA, once all the great historians have had plenty of time to chew on it, I think they will come to view the formation of the national security state under Harry Truman as the death knell for the United States of America, and will have to regard Truman as the worst President in US history for presiding over the setting in motion of the country’s destruction. Honorable mention would go to W for being so incompetent that he allowed Cheney to hit the gas pedal on the nihilistic tendencies of the national security state.

      ….

      • OlyaPola
        February 15, 2019 at 07:22

        “once all the great historians have had plenty of time to chew on it, I think they will come to view the formation of the national security state under Harry Truman as the death knell for the United States of America ” and will have to regard Truman as the worst President in US history for presiding over the setting in motion of the country’s destruction.”

        Evaluation is a function of facility, framing, and purpose.

        If the purpose is to transcend the self-designated “The United States of America” then an evaluation could be made that Mr. Truman was one of the best presidents facilitating such purpose, although some hold that all presidents from the inception of “The United States of America” were complicit in such activities from inception given the framing of “The United States of America” , as some evaluate Mr. Lenin, Mr. Stalin, Mr. Krushchev, Mr. Brezhnev, Mr. Andropov (although laterally he did learn from his activities in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968), the missing one who was regularly missing but not in body, Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Yeltsin in the respect of “The Soviet Union” given that phenomena have half-lives.

        Your phrase quoted above infers that “all great historians” will come to the view you posit, that “all great historians” will base their evaluations on common framings derived from common purpose, and perhaps a modicum of inference that “all great historians” will assign a similar significance to the temporary social relations presently self-described as “The United States of America”; perhaps in emulation of Mr. Trump’s efforts to “Make America Great”?, and that the opponents’ divisions of labour will continue to exist facilitating “historians” great or otherwise.

  28. Bob Van Noy
    February 13, 2019 at 16:52

    As a longtime Consortiumnews reader it is not unusual to be treated with honest and clear Journalism but in this case, this issue is so important that it must be thoroughly investigated to its conclusion. Thank you Gareth Porter for your reporting, keep it up, and Joe Lauria you’re doing a Masterful job of keeping us informed. I think this may be the most important story yet. Many Thanks!

    • Gareth Porter
      February 19, 2019 at 20:42

      Thanks for your supportive comment, Bob. I do believe that the truly evil character of the argument that was deployed to justify a “national security” investigation of Trump — and will inevitably be used more and more against those who seriously question the narrative about an existential threat from Russia — must be given emphasis and raised over and over again.

  29. Rob
    February 13, 2019 at 15:49

    Excellent analysis. If, as I expect, both Mueller and Congressional investigators ultimately produce no real evidence of collusion or election interference, hardline Russiagaters will not be mollified. They will continue to beat the same drum that they have already beaten to shreds, as their emotional investment in the Russiagate conspiracy theory is too deep (and too useful) for them to let go.

    • Jeff Harrison
      February 13, 2019 at 17:40

      I agree. So, for that matter, does Patrick Lawrence. What really pisses me off is that Three Names, not satisfied with the damage she did as co-President and later as one of the most ineffective Secretaries of State ever, just couldn’t contain herself and had to sow poison on Russia, complicating our foreign policy with Russia immensely.

      • Realist
        February 14, 2019 at 03:15

        What was Barack Obomber’s motives for facilitating her and incessantly poisoning the waters with Russia every step of the way, with the biggest inflection point being the coup perpetrated on the Maidan under Nuland’s guidance and its unending ever-escalating aftermath? What leverage did Hitlery have on Obomber, or what sick values did they share to make them so sympatico on this issue? To the point where Obama finagled spying on the Trump campaign by the intel agencies?

        Was it pure racial/ethnic bigotry, personal animus towards Putin, or a deep shared hatred of Donald Trump? Just as these two colluders were gaming the Democratic primaries to ensure Bernie Sanders’ demise, they, the intel agencies and the MSM were surely striving mightily to help Trump first win the GOP nomination so she had the easiest match-up in the general. She was conspicuously using Russophobia, Putin Derangement Syndrome, “Putin Puppetry,” Russian “hacking” and social media ad buys long before the actual election as a major campaign strategy. Losing only caused her to double, triple and quadruple down on it, making the entire confection the center piece of her public life now. Hillary and Obama might be the stupidest smart people around, so surely they realise the damage they’ve caused in international relations and how precipitously close to nuclear annihilation they have purposely brought us and the world, but yet they seem not to care.

        If they were simply smart people without ulterior motives and malign agendas they would have realised that the most straightforward way to exert power and influence in Russia, and to share in her vast natural resources needed on a planet characterized by androgenic environmental destruction, resource depletion and energy dissipation, would be to foster good relations and trade deals with that country, especially since there are at least two other behemoth countries (China and India–and maybe a third which most Westerners might not see coming: Indonesia) even more desperate to compete for those same materials. The idiots handed the inside track and probably the lion’s share to China, while at the same time trying to impede “our allies” the Europeans from accessing these necessities of life (by shutting down South Stream, trying to impede Nord Stream, and sanctioning practically every bit of trade, finances and banking with that country conceivable). Meanwhile, Deep State insiders continue to try to stifle the trade bridges that would naturally develop between Western Europe and far Eastern Asia via the One Belt/One Road initiative because it is under the aegis of China and Russia who must be economically damaged at every turn by American policy. How does any of that help us get what we want or need, unless the object is total war?

      • Skip Scott
        February 14, 2019 at 07:44

        I think it all goes back to Bill Browder and his ilk’s looting of Russia being stopped by Putin, and the resulting Magnitsky Act. Putin’s looking for “fair” trade with the West doesn’t fit their ideology. The empire demands vassals, not partners. When Trump said “wouldn’t it be great to get along with Russia” he was painting a big target on his back. He was promoting a multi-polar world, which is the biggest possible sin in the eyes of empire.

        It seems to me that one thing the MSM never explores is why “getting along with Russia” is a bad idea. It is just taken as “given” that Russians are evil and have evil intentions. By refusing to treat the Russians and the Chinese as partners, we are isolating ourselves. The empire refuses to concede that their PNAC vision is delusional. Soon the vassals will begin to realize it, and start going their own way. One belt/One Road will offer them more than serfdom.

      • OlyaPola
        February 14, 2019 at 09:34

        “I think”

        Perhaps a more representative phrase would read – I believe.

        Mr. Suslov chose 1922 as a point in process whilst others chose 1612.

        “It seems to me that one thing the MSM never explores is why “getting along with Russia” is a bad idea.”

        It largely as a function of relatively constant exploration of “why “getting along with Russia” is a bad idea” that MSM “publishes” what they “publish” given that:

        “It is not held good manners or wise to wee in your own rice bowl and consequently some who are beneficiaries of the rice bowl seek to evangelise notions of we to facilitate wee-ing in the rice bowls of others and/or confiscating the rice bowls of others.”

      • OlyaPola
        February 19, 2019 at 04:29

        “Mr. Suslov chose 1922”

        Why?

        Among the components of the reasons, Mr. Suslov was obliquely commenting on the use of “aid” by “The United States of America” from the First World War “famine relief”, through “lend lease” in the Second World War, the UN, IMF, World Bank and Marshall Plan in the “Cold War” and the prolongation of the “Vietnam War”.

        https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/18/startling-truth-about-herbert-hoover-role-in-prolonging-world-war-one.html

      • OlyaPola
        February 14, 2019 at 09:20

        “How does any of that help us get what we want or need, unless the object is total war?”

        Communication takes many forms including implementation.

        Implementation requires facility to implement, including perception of that which is to be implementated.

        Facility to implement is often facilitated by limitation of modes of communication.

        So if you receive “an answer” to your question it would be wise to evaluate it including through why, why now, why in this form processes and notions of “we” – urine tests also having utility.

      • Rob
        February 14, 2019 at 13:13

        Obama was cowed by the “national security state” from day one. Only late in his presidency did he publicly acknowledge the overwhelming influence of what he called the “blob,” but by then the damage had been done. Whether he ever understood the ramifications of a new Cold War with Russia is unclear, but leaving office as he did by delivering a healthy kick-start to the Russiagate hysteria suggests that either he did not understand or did not care. Obama knew that the intelligence agencies’ assessment in January 2017 contained absolutely no proof of collusion or election interference, but he tacitly endorsed it nonetheless.

      • OlyaPola
        February 19, 2019 at 12:08

        “Hillary and Obama might be the stupidest smart people around…”

        Among the reasons that they were not smart and hence could not be the stupidest smart people around, is that they thought/think they were/are smart, and that others were the stupidest, forgetting Mr. Putin’s remark of “Do you think your opponents are as stupid as you are?

    • Gareth Porter
      February 19, 2019 at 20:48

      True, Rob, but when that day of reckoning for the Mueller investigation investigation comes, there will be a serious opportunity for much more aggressive — and effective — analyses of the entire phenomenon of the whole Russia threat hype behind it.

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