Consortium News’ Record on Russia-gate—A Series of Articles on How CN Covered the ‘Scandal’: No. 1—‘The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate’

From the “scandal’s” outset, Consortium News adopted journalistic skepticism, led by founding editor, the late Robert Parry, with Ray McGovern, Daniel Lazare, Patrick Lawrence, Gareth Porter, Joe Lauria & VIPS debunking much of the mania that seized the land. 

In the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in which no one was accused of “colluding” with Russia to steal the 2016 U.S. presidential election, we begin a series of republication of articles originally appearing at Consortium News that called the entire fiasco into question. Bob Parry was in the forefront of Russia-gate skepticism,  recognizing its domestic and geopolitical dangers.

We begin with this article by Bob Parry published on March 29, 2017.

The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate

By Robert Parry
Special to Consortium News

An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp’s contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources. Friends of that political campaign paid for this anonymous hearsay material, shared it with American journalists and urged them to publish it to gain an electoral advantage. But this campaign was not Donald Trump’s; it was Hillary Clinton’s.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And, awareness of this activity doesn’t require you to spin conspiracy theories about what may or may not have been said during some seemingly innocuous conversation. In this case, you have open admissions about how these Russian/Kremlin claims were used.

Indeed, you have the words of Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, in his opening statement at last week’s public hearing on so-called “Russia-gate.” Schiff’s seamless 15-minute narrative of the Trump campaign’s alleged collaboration with Russia followed the script prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele who was hired as an opposition researcher last June to dig up derogatory information on Donald Trump.

Steele, who had worked for Britain’s MI-6 in Russia, said he tapped into ex-colleagues and unnamed sources inside Russia, including leadership figures in the Kremlin, to piece together a series of sensational reports that became the basis of the current congressional and FBI investigations into Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow.

Since he was not able to go to Russia himself, Steele based his reports mostly on multiple hearsay from anonymous Russians who claim to have heard some information from their government contacts before passing it on to Steele’s associates who then gave it to Steele who compiled this mix of rumors and alleged inside dope into “raw” intelligence reports.

Lewd Allegations

Besides the anonymous sourcing and the sources’ financial incentives to dig up dirt, Steele’s reports had numerous other problems, including the inability of a variety of investigators to confirm key elements, such as the salacious claim that several years ago Russian intelligence operatives secretly videotaped Trump having prostitutes urinate on him while he lay in the same bed in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton used by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow

That tantalizing tidbit was included in Steele’s opening report to his new clients, dated June 20, 2016. Apparently, it proved irresistible in whetting the appetite of Clinton’s mysterious benefactors who were financing Steele’s dirt digging and who have kept their identities (and the amounts paid) hidden. Also in that first report were the basic outlines of what has become the scandal that is now threatening the survival of Trump’s embattled presidency.

But Steele’s June report also reflected the telephone-tag aspects of these allegations: “Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP for a least 5 years.

“Source B asserted that the TRUMP operation was both supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir PUTIN. Its aim was to sow discord and disunity both within the US itself, but more especially within the Transatlantic alliance which was viewed as inimical to Russia’s interests. … In terms of specifics, Source A confided that the Kremlin had been feeding TRUMP and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary CLINTON, for several years. …

“The Kremlin’s cultivation operation on TRUMP also had comprised offering him various lucrative real estate development business deals in Russia, especially in relation to the ongoing 2018 World Cup soccer tournament. However, so far, for reasons unknown, TRUMP had not taken up any of these.”

Besides the anonymous and hearsay quality of the allegations, there are obvious logical problems, especially the point that five years ago, you could have gotten astronomical odds about Trump’s chances to win the U.S. presidency, although perhaps there is more an astrological explanation. Maybe the seemingly logical Putin went to some stargazing soothsayer to see the future.

There also may have been a more mundane reason why Trump’s hotel deal fell through. A source familiar with those negotiations told me that Trump had hoped to get a half interest in the $2 billion project but that Russian-Israeli investor Mikhail Fridman, a founder of Russia’s Alfa Bank, balked because Trump was unwilling to commit a significant investment beyond the branding value of the Trump name.

Yet, one would assume that if the supposedly all-powerful Putin wanted to give a $1 billion or so payoff to his golden boy, Donald Trump, whom Putin just knew would become President in five years, the deal would have happened.

Whetting the Appetite

Despite the dubious quality of Steele’s second- and third-hand information, the June report appears to have won the breathless attention of Team Clinton. And once the bait was taken, Steele continued to produce his conspiracy-laden reports, totaling at least 17 through Dec. 13, 2016.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

The reports not only captivated the Clinton political operatives but influenced the assessments of Obama’s appointees in the U.S. intelligence community. In the last weeks of the Obama administration, I was told that the outgoing intelligence chiefs had found no evidence to verify Steele’s claims but nevertheless believed them to be true.

Still, a careful analysis of Steele’s reports would have discovered not only apparent factual inaccuracies, such as putting Trump lawyer Michael Cohen at a meeting with a Russian official in Prague (when Cohen says he’s never been to Prague), but also the sort of broad conspiracy-mongering that the mainstream U.S. news media usually loves to ridicule.

For instance, Steele’s reports pin a range of U.S. political attitudes on Russian manipulation rather than the notion that Americans can reach reasonable conclusions on their own. In one report dated Sept. 14, 2016, Steele claimed that an unnamed senior official in President Vladimir Putin’s Presidential Administration (or PA) explained how Putin used the alleged Russian influence operation to generate opposition to Obama’s Pacific trade deals.

Steele wrote that Putin’s intention was “pushing candidate CLINTON away from President OBAMA’s policies. The best example of this was that both candidates [Clinton and Trump] now openly opposed the draft trade agreements, TPP and TTIP, which were assessed by Moscow as detrimental to Russian interests.”

In other words, the Russians supposedly intervened in the U.S. presidential campaign to turn the leading candidates against Obama’s trade deals. But how credible is that? Are we to believe that American politicians – running the gamut from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to President Donald Trump – have all been tricked by the Kremlin to oppose those controversial trade deals, which are also broadly unpopular with the American people who are sick and tired of trade agreements that cost them jobs?

Steele’s investigative dossier suggests that we can’t really think for ourselves. We are all Putin’s puppets.

Greater Skepticism?

Normally, such a ludicrous claim – along with the haziness of the sourcing – would demand greater skepticism about the rest of Steele’s feverish charges, but a curious aspect of the investigations into Russia’s alleged “meddling” in Election 2016 is that neither Steele nor the “oppo research” company, Fusion GPS, that hired him – reportedly with funding from Clinton allies – has been summoned to testify.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California

Usually, official investigations begin with testimony from the people who are making the allegations, so their credibility and motives can be tested in an adversarial setting. Plus, some baseline information should be established: Who, for instance, paid for the contract? How much was the total and how much went to Steele? How much did Steele then pay his Russian contacts and did they, in turn, pay the alleged Russian insiders for information? Or are we supposed to believe that these “insiders” risked being identified as spies out of a commitment to the truth?

None of these answers would necessarily discredit the information, but they could provide important context as to whether this “oppo” team had a financial motive to sex-up the reports to keep Clinton’s friends coming back for more. Arguably the funders of this “oppo” research should be called to testify as well regarding whether they would have kept ponying up more money if Steele’s reports had concluded that there were no meaningful contacts between Trump’s people and the Russians. Were they seeking the truth or just dirt to help Hillary Clinton win?

Since last November’s election, Steele has ducked public inquiries and Glenn Simpson, the former Wall Street Journal journalist who heads Fusion GPS, has refused to divulge who hired his firm or answer other relevant questions. That means we still don’t know which Clinton friends paid for the dirt and how much money was given to subcontractors like Steele and his Russian associates. (One source told me it may have totaled around $1 million.)

According to various press reports, Fusion GPS first worked for a Republican opponent of Trump’s, but then switched over to the Clinton side after Trump won the Republican race. With Steele generating his reports every few days or every few weeks, people close to Clinton’s campaign saw the Russia allegations as a potential game-changer. They reached out to reporters to persuade them to publish Steele’s allegations even if they could not be verified.

Before the election, a longtime Clinton operative briefed me on aspects of Steele’s investigation, including the “golden shower” allegations, and urged me to at least publish the accusations as a rumor citing the fact that some major news organizations were looking into the charges, an offer that I declined.

In a different setting – when Gov. Bill Clinton was seeking the presidency and Republican “oppo” researchers were pushing various wild and salacious allegations about him – the Clinton team dismissed such claims and the motivations of the people behind them as “cash for trash.”

Following the Storyline

Yet, Schiff’s opening statement at the hearing on March 20 relied heavily on Steele’s narrative and the supposed credibility of the ex-British spy and his anonymous Russian sources, even to the point of naming Americans who presumably joined in a scheme to collaborate with the Russians to help rig the U.S. election, an act that some commenters have compared to treason.

President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)

The California Democrat said, “Russian sources tell [Steele] that [Carter] Page [a Trump foreign policy adviser who made a public trip to Russia in early July 2016] also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft. … According to Steele’s Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company.”

These “Russian sources” also tell Steele, according to Schiff, that “the Trump campaign is offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like Wikileaks. The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump Administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fare share.”

Schiff continued: “Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company Rosneft sold a 19 percent share after former British Intelligence Officer Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size? Is it a coincidence that Steele’s Russian sources also affirmed that Russia had stolen documents hurtful to Secretary Clinton that it would utilize in exchange for pro-Russian policies that would later come to pass?”

However, is it also not possible that Steele and his profit-making colleagues made their reports conform to details that already were known or that they had reason to believe would occur, in other words, to match up their claims with independently known facts to give them greater credibility? That is a classic way for conmen to establish “credibility” with marks who are either gullible or simply want to believe.

Also, clever prosecutors in presenting a “circumstantial case” – as Schiff was doing on March 20 – can make innocent coincidences look suspicious. For instance, though Trump’s resistance to escalating tensions with Russia was well known through the primary campaign, Schiff made a big deal out of the fact that Trump’s people opposed a plank in the Republican platform that called for shipping lethal military supplies to Ukraine for the government’s war against ethnic Russian rebels in the east. Schiff presents that as the quo for the quid of the Russians supplying purloined emails from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks (although WikiLeaks denies getting the emails from the Russians).

In his opening statement, Schiff said: “In the middle of July, Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager and someone who was long on the payroll of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests, attends the Republican Party convention. Carter Page, back from [a business meeting in] Moscow, also attends the convention.

“According to Steele, it was Manafort who chose Page to serve as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Russian interests. [Russian] Ambassador [Sergey] Kislyak, who presides over a Russian embassy in which diplomatic personnel would later be expelled as likely spies, also attends the Republican Party convention and meets with Carter Page and additional Trump Advisors J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares. It was J.D. Gordon who approved Page’s trip to Moscow.

“Ambassador Kislyak also meets with Trump campaign national security chair and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions would later deny meeting with Russian officials during his Senate confirmation hearing. Just prior to the convention, the Republican Party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of ‘lethal defensive weapons’ to Ukraine, an action that would be contrary to Russian interests.

“Manafort categorically denies involvement by the Trump campaign in altering the platform. But the Republican Party delegate who offered the language in support of providing defensive weapons to Ukraine states that it was removed at the insistence of the Trump campaign. Later, J.D. Gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision at the time it was being debated and prior to its being removed.”

Problems with the Conspiracy

So, not only is Schiff relying on Steele to provide key links in the conspiracy chain but Schiff ignores the surrounding reality that Trump had long opposed the idea of escalating the confrontation with Russia in Ukraine – as, by the way, did President Obama who resisted pressure to send lethal military hardware to Ukraine.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (Filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Plus, Schiff ignores other logical points, including that party platforms are essentially meaningless and that the savvy Putin would not likely take the huge risk of offending the odds-on winner of the presidential race, Hillary Clinton, for something as pointless as a word change in the GOP platform.

There is also the point that if Trump were a true “Manchurian candidate,” he would have taken the more politically popular position of bashing Russia during the campaign and only reverse course after he got into the White House. That’s how the scheme is supposed to work. (And, of course, all embassies including American ones have spies assigned to them, so there is nothing unusual about Ambassador Kislyak presiding at an embassy with spies.)

Other independent-minded journalists have noted various chronological problems with Steele’s narrative, such as Marcy Wheeler at her emptywheel.net Web site.

In other words, there are huge holes in both the evidence and the logic of Schiff’s conspiracy theory. But you wouldn’t know that from watching and reading the fawning commentary about Schiff’s presentation in the mainstream U.S. news media, which has been almost universally hostile to Trump (which is not to say that there aren’t sound reasons to consider the narcissistic, poorly prepared Trump to be unfit to serve as President of the United States).

The journalistic problem is that everyone deserves to get a fair shot from reporters who are supposed to be objective and fair regardless of a person’s popularity or notoriety or what the reporter may personally feel. That standard should apply to everyone, whether you’re a foreign leader despised by the U.S. government or a politician detested for your obnoxious behavior.

There is no professional justification for journalists joining in a TV-and-print lynch mob. We also have seen too often where such wrongheaded attitudes lead, such as to the groupthink that Iraq’s hated dictator Saddam Hussein was hiding WMDs, or in an earlier time to the McCarthyism that destroyed the lives of Americans who were smeared as unpatriotic because of their dissident political views.

So, yes, even Donald Trump deserves not to be railroaded by a mainstream media that wants desperately – along with other powerful forces in Official Washington – to see him run out of town on a rail and will use any pretext to do so, even if it means escalating the risks of a nuclear war with Russia.

And, if mainstream media commentators truly want a thorough and independent investigation, they should be demanding that it start by summoning the people who first made the allegations.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. 

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49 comments for “Consortium News’ Record on Russia-gate—A Series of Articles on How CN Covered the ‘Scandal’: No. 1—‘The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate’

  1. Skip Scott
    March 28, 2019 at 07:55

    WTF!!! This crap stays up for 2 days but good comments get held in moderation until everyone has moved on.

  2. Jean
    March 26, 2019 at 23:01

    Another thing this investigation has accomplished: the foundering of Rachel Maddow’s career on the Shoals Of Hillary. I wonder what the Vunderkin will learn from that? Prob’ly to double down on the Neolib/ Comcast narrative run by, with and for Jaba The Hut and David effing Corn. In some ways Herr Drumpf IS cleaning up the swamp.

  3. susan sunflower
    March 26, 2019 at 14:25

    I was most impressed by Isikoff admitting that the Steele Document (warts and all) shaped the expectattions and world view even of those who refused to use it as a source. (Available many places, Chris Hayes show with David Corn sort of nodding to the side)

    Some rabid Republicans have believed this was a coordinated attempt to “depose” a duly elected president by fraudulent accusation and the entire “source material” origin of the Steele Report is being avoided (as if not relevant) in coverage. Would this inquiry have gotten anywhere without the Steele Report with the Clinton & Company imprimatur?

    Maddow is apparently pushing secondary/tertiary theories. The destruction of the media’s reputation may be dwarfed by the destruction of the Democratic Party as anything but the Clinton Party of Endless Revenge … Eventually people will not only stop listening but come to deeply resent this endless refusal to accept the 2016 defeat. I do. (I voted SEP)

  4. robert e williamson jr
    March 25, 2019 at 17:50

    The Deep State, owns “NATIONAL SECURITY APPARATUS” by controlling the DOJ. Thus FBI, CIA, NSA and THE SECRET FISA COURT and by doing so maintain control over their secrets. That they are held to absolutely no accountability under the rule of law simply ensures we are a bunch of screwed pilgrims.

    It seems obvious that the federal Judicial system of this country has reached a point it is unable to perform it’s function with the respect to the intelligence community. No one keeps them in line. Ever. Which is exactly why the Deep State apparatus finds them so useful. Denial of culpability.

    Think not, I’ll let you know more about why I feel this was after the report we taxpayers paid for is rendered unreadable by the national security state apparatus in their effort to hide their terrible performance. Which I might remind you we pay for also.
    Sources and methods have nothing to do with why such enormous amounts of the public record are classified forever.

    Enough is enough. Years of the legislative clock burnt up not producing domestic legislation but dodging the truth so the Super Wealthy Elitists can run foreign policy by way of the courts and CIA, NSA, DOJ and the Council on Foreign Relations. Four organizations that no one is elected to,

    I have been saying this for years, since separating from the military, the only people the U.S. government keeps in the dark are it’s citizens. Until people wake up we are SOL.

    Much Belated Thanks to Robert Perry

  5. LJ
    March 25, 2019 at 17:31

    “Slack jawed , mouth breathing, skirt chasing, queer loving , draft dodging , dope smoking “….,FORMER Chief of Staff Bill ‘Bubba Blythe’ Clinton and and Duchess Rodham of the ‘Gaping Maw’ looked so good together on the campaign trail . Even more so with their vacuous and willing daughter in tow. What could have possibly gone wrong? This is much deeper than Russia Gate. Wikileaks is the tip0of the Iceberg. There needs to be another Billion Dollar + investigation . Somebody really smart, even smarter than Trump if one can be found MUsust lead the Investugatuiion..

  6. March 25, 2019 at 14:48

    The idea of Trump colluding with Russians to influence our elections was always far fetched. But far more plausible is the theory that elements of the Trump empire have conducted illicit or even illegal financial transactions such as money laundering for Russian oligarchs.

    One has to wonder just what is the purpose of those 500+ companies, most of which are shell companies, that belong to the Trump empire and what do they really do.

    • Post me for once
      March 27, 2019 at 21:23

      “elements of the Trump empire have conducted illicit or even illegal financial transactions”

      All you have to do is expand that thought to include every single player in the game, including your favorite brands and teams/party and your halfway there.

  7. Susan Sunflower
    March 25, 2019 at 14:33

    I think this is whole debacle is testimony to the influence, even power of the Clintons with the deep state …. bad and reckless losers both …
    I wonder when Mueller realized that nothing like an actual conspiracy was “coming together” … a nightmare …. but he still had to follow every lead (likely plentiful) lest he anger the wrong people.

    • Groy
      March 25, 2019 at 18:57

      Mueller knew all about the phony dossier it was shown before Trump was even elected…I think deep staters were counting on Mueller to create a false pretense forever more…j

    • Robert Mayer
      March 26, 2019 at 12:44

      Tnx CN 4 reprint of Robert Parry’s initial comments re: Ruskigate.

      1. Another Steele (sp?) in this case RD?… ex(?) spook & “Potus candidate” in interview w/ S. Stone spent time xplaining the value of “open source” info2 intelops… a pic in my head formed of a “troll station” (multi-outlet facility w/different addresses & capability2 surveil/ info plant).

      2. Sorry forget source but appx time of Ukraine elections net report of similar vote manipulation op 2 affect Ukraine vote.

      3. Didn’t Mueller Himself dis-endorse HC 2 Days B4 Election?

      4. Anonymous claims of interrupting info flow at Ky? Vote Hacker Central.

      5. I stand by past comments re: US vote hack redops.

  8. Brain James
    March 25, 2019 at 14:27

    While everyone was destracted, Mar 22, 2019 Fitton: Foreign Governments Bought Favors from Hillary Clinton

    https://youtu.be/HTWm7wX5r9s

    FEBRUARY 19, 2015 Foreign cash pours into Clinton family foundation

    More than 40 percent of the top donors to the Clinton family foundation are based in foreign countries, which could lead to conflict-of-interest questions for Hillary Clinton as she prepares to launch her campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article10677056.html

  9. Eric32
    March 25, 2019 at 13:33

    This Russia-Trump collusion thing is and has been a criminal conspiracy to undermine and possibly remove from office an elected President, and it has taken Russian-American relations down to a plainly dangerous level.

    Why not get something positive out of it?

    I think there’s evidence that this conspiracy was a product of Hillary Clinton, her staff, the DNC, elements of the FBI, FBI director Comey, CIA director Brennan, other elements of the CIA, elements of British intelligence, possibly elements of the Ukrainian govt., and possibly persons tied into the corrupt Clinton “charity” foundation and its networks.

    The US govt. is deeply corrupt – murderously corrupt – that’s been plain at least since the Kennedy assassination in 1963, followed by the murders of a number of other prominent American political figures.

    Why not use this recent obvious conspiracy to start a real investigation using a newly created, large well funded investigative organization independent of the above mentioned corrupted organizations, to investigate what has going on?

    If this most recent deep state operation is allowed to pass un-investigated, without punishment and a long overdue rooting out of what’s been making this country’s government sick and corrupt, it’s going to be taken as a sign of encouragement by certain actors, with future actions that will make past ones look mild.

    • Groy
      March 25, 2019 at 18:59

      Exactly…

    • Skip Scott
      March 26, 2019 at 07:15

      “Why not use this recent obvious conspiracy to start a real investigation using a newly created, large well funded investigative organization independent of the above mentioned corrupted organizations, to investigate what has going on?”

      Great idea. The problem is that the DOJ is just as corrupt as the rest of them. The MSM is controlled by our so-called “Intelligence” Agencies to a large extent, so any independent body wouldn’t get any coverage or traction outside of the internet.

      The Evil Empire has nearly achieved “Full Spectrum Dominance”, and sites like this are like gnats on an elephant’s ass. We are locked in a “sound-proof free speech zone”. Soon it will be time for re-education camps.

      • Eric32
        March 26, 2019 at 12:46

        >DOJ is just as corrupt as the rest of them<

        I mentioned the investigation would have to be done by a newly formed independent group. There's no way the FBI and other existing Federal investigative groups could be used – they're too compromised.

        But then, where are the investigative results taken for indictments, prosecution, trials?

        We've seen how well the governments of G.W. Bush, and B.H. Obama investigated, indicted, prosecuted the Iran-Contra weapons/drugs conspiracy, the 9/11 attacks conspiracy, the Clinton "charity" foundation conspiracy, the conspiracy involving the use of the NSA to violate 4th Amendment protection of the entire US population, the conspiracy aimed at overturning the Trump election, and who knows what else has been going on that might be even worse?

        The reality is, the top 20 pct of the Federal Government would have to be locked out of its offices, and replaced. There would need to be use of State and Federal military forces at least for some months to provide security against a widespread deep state assassination /terrorist campaign of the type they have great experience in.

        So yeah, voting for Beto or Bernie won't quite do it. Maybe nothing can. But a real investigation turning over the rocks, using the internet to make the US population aware of what the real state of the nation is, might set in motion what would lead to a big house cleaning.

        Otherwise, what?

        • Skip Scott
          March 27, 2019 at 10:52

          “But then, where are the investigative results taken for indictments, prosecution, trials?”

          That’s the crux of the problem. There is good investigative work being done all the time. It would be nice if it were more consolidated. But with the MSM playing the role of Bob Parry’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” any findings are limited in exposure to those of us who visit sites like this one, and no pressure is put on the DoJ to prosecute.

          I am hopeful that more and more people are becoming distrustful of the MSM, and that young people are spending more time on the internet than watching network TV. That said, they remain largely distracted by “infotainment”. I would love to see Tulsi go over to the Green Party and launch an internet based campaign before the net becomes “contained”. If she could just make it to the 15% mark to get to the TV debates, I think we’d reach a tipping point, and the DNC/RNC flimflam would be over. If we got a Green Party president I think many of the progressives languishing in the democratic party would switch to the Greens. If we got to the point where congress and the president signed us on to the ICC, we could really clean house and ship our war criminals off to the Hague.

  10. evelync
    March 25, 2019 at 13:11

    Silly me…I keep wondering why the loudest voices in the “Russia stole the election narrative” aren’t sponsoring election reform legislation in the Congress. Where’s the standardized voting machine reform including audit ready paper trails for each vote; where’s standardized early voting dates, weekend voting, accessible voting locations, etc etc. Where’s a disinterested panel of third party voting machine experts to verify the honest count/hack free security of the machines.

    I have never seen evidence of exactly how the election was “influenced”, “stolen”.
    It’s as though the Russians are thought to have planted “vote Trump” thoughts into the heads of registered voter zombies.

    Noam Chomsky said that whatever the Russians may have done or not done to influence the elections pales in comparison to the (misinformation) efforts to influence voters here at home…..

    • Skip Scott
      March 26, 2019 at 07:30

      evelync-

      The stealing of our elections is real, it’s just not done by the Russians. I also find it amazing that election reform legislation never seems to get any traction. Our elections are mostly theater. Put your tin-foil hat on and read this:

      https://truthout.org/articles/anonymous-karl-rove-and-2012-election-fix/

      • evelync
        March 26, 2019 at 20:13

        Skip Scott

        Thanks! I remember how shocked Rove was when Megan Kelly gave him the news….he couldn’t accept it and (I think) told her to wait and she went running out to the room where the FOX election results analysts’ were working to see what was happening.

        Good for her! I thought, wondering what Rove “knew” or thought he knew that the rest of us didn’t…..

        The consortium which presents itself as civic minded, apolitical hackers called Anonymous (whom I’ve read about) are something….

  11. G. Michael
    March 25, 2019 at 12:34

    Thanks to Robert Parry, a great journalist.

  12. T.J
    March 25, 2019 at 12:34

    Robert Parry, a man of integrity who shone light into the darkest corners and revealed to us the truth. He was a remarkable human being who was incorruptible, a rare thing in the profession he pursued. He is dearly missed but his legacy lives on, in this valuable publication, which he founded in 1995. The article above demonstrates how perceptive and incisive he was in dealing with the issues and presenting them to the reader in a logical and understandable fashion. He has left us a thing of great value. From this reader, God bless you Robert Parry.

  13. March 25, 2019 at 11:56

    Critical readers must remember that Mueller and his police-state team are still disingenuous members of the national security state in that they repeat and thereby lend legitimacy to the biggest canard of the whole disgraceful charade: that the Kremlin hacked the election and/or that Russian officials interfered in the ’16 presidential election to swing it to Trump. This “fact” will now be bandied about by the right, center and many on the left as being sacrosanct, like the sun rising in the east.

    See how this worked? The ruling elites clear the Trump regime but still leave Moscow holding the bag. It’s something I suspected would happen all along, especially after realizing Mueller’s half-baked investigation never interviewed Binney and his magnificent team nor Craig Murray.

    This is Russophobia of the worst sort. It’s extremely dangerous and it’s a castle built on lies, distortions and outright fabrications. The militarists in the national security state win all the way around; the Kremlin’s vilified to a massive degree so more absurd weapons contracts are justified more so than ever before.

  14. Eric32
    March 25, 2019 at 11:55

    It’s not a news/information media – it’s a carnival populated with perverted careerist side show freaks.

    Most Americans believe what the freaks are putting out, and they even have to pay for cable / sat TV, “news”papers etc. where the crap is being shoveled out from.

    Considering that, it’s hard to regard democracy as anything but a sham run by the most effective manipulators.

  15. Andrew Thomas
    March 25, 2019 at 11:28

    Somehow, the Mueller report concluded that the emails were “hacked by the Russians”, and yet there was no collusion. All of the Trump associates who admitted to lying, and then agreed to “cooperate with the investigation “ apparently lied just to protect themselves and provided nothing that implicated anyone else. The alleged “hack” which has been disproven six ways to Sunday by the VIPS here on CN, remains assumed, but of no interest. The only things we know for sure are that the Mueller report and the Barr synopsis are nonsense. Those two conclusions are not mutually exclusive.

    • CitizenOne
      March 25, 2019 at 20:26

      It doesn’t matter that Mueller got it wrong about the email hacks. If you are expecting truth to ever come out of these things good luck with that. Any justice system that depends on humans is bound to be FUBAR. We remember the great moments in history where justice was served and they are just that, moments. Moments in time where a glimpse of sanity pulled its head out of the morass of nonsense spoke a few wise words that were recorded and was sucked back down under.

      What I’m saying is if you want every detail to be technically correct or else you will not believe the overall conclusion then you need to go be a scientist somewhere. The rest of us can’t figure out how to add two plus two. We’re all good with the report. Mueller emerged, said no collusion and disappeared.

      Are we done yet?

      The democrats that will continue to fight this “brave fight” remind me of a skit from Monty Python

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s35rVw1zskA

  16. Kim Louth
    March 25, 2019 at 11:12

    Instead of going after trump for legitimate offenses such as his violations of the Emoluments Clause, the Democratic party invested itself so heavily in the “RussiaGate scandal,” it now will look like sour grapes to pursue such actual violations. Mueller’s Much Ado About Nothing cluster-f*ck leaves trump looking like a truth teller.

  17. F. G. Sanford
    March 25, 2019 at 11:02

    Why not sing along with Youtube: Al Jolson, April Showers (1921)

    Life is not all meetings in Trump Towers,
    Or dates with prostitutes in Moscow’s Ritz,
    When Comey offers claims of golden showers,
    And Rachel Maddow’s Russian slander blitz-

    Those golden showers, May come your way,
    And superpowers, Could cause doomsday,
    Without swamp draining – And Putin’s threats,
    Remember Adam Schiff may find … Some Cold War Soviets!

    When Mueller’s witch hunt, Upon the hill,
    Becomes a lame stunt, From Clinton’s mill,
    Was that meeting on the tarmac – A plot the Feds got wrong…
    Before the golden showers came along!

    Though golden showers, May come your way,
    Since Clinton paid for, That dossier…
    If Nadler’s whining – Have no regrets,
    Remember Clinton’s charity Is crooked as it gets!

    When there’s no ‘there’ there, And Mueller’s done,
    They’ll find a new scare, For made up fun-
    So keep an eye on Abrams, And don’t let Bolton play-
    They could have golden showers on the way!

  18. March 25, 2019 at 08:57

    Consortium News was way out in front of the so-called Russia-gate scam from its inception. I have learned and unlearned many things here.

    Now is the time for America to catch up and learn about propaganda and what it has done to our culture. This is an excellent place to start:

    https://opensociet.org/2019/03/25/youre-never-too-old-to-learn-something-stupid/

  19. March 25, 2019 at 08:18

    The point that comes across in reading the article is what an outstanding journalist Robert Parry was and how he is missed. The second point is that the relentless attacks which started back when Robert Parry was still alive served to destroy any opportunity for détente with Russia and preserved the rest of the agenda where enemies are necessary for our foreign policy regime to continue.

    The first comment does not diminish the high quality of work done since Mr. Parry’ s passing which remains of very high quality and integrity.

  20. ted markstein
    March 25, 2019 at 05:17

    truth comes calling
    knocking on the door
    no-one opens for fear
    of what the cost might be

  21. mrtmbrnmn
    March 25, 2019 at 01:47

    Thanks for re-posting that article. It is a pity the great Robert Parry, who was correct from the jump on this PutinGate con, is not here to see the Dementedcrats yelping and whining, with their knickers in a twist, over the hack malpracticer Mueller’s report that there was no there. Their only hope/prayer (?) left for their collective lunacy now is that somehow PeeWee Herman is indicted and confesses…. The Dementedcrat ship be sinkin’…

  22. Joe Tedesky
    March 25, 2019 at 01:05

    Just as I was thinking of going back into the Robert Parry archives too credit his reporting in regard to the 2 year plus years this ‘Russiagate’ coup via the Mueller Report finding no collusion validates the common knowledge around here at Consortium News and then this republished piece of Robert Parry appears… thank you Mr Lauria & Associates.

    In a fair world run by just minds the next thing would be would be to investigate too how this whole Russiagate business got started at its core… but do ya think that will happen with or without a show trail? Then what? Everybody back to they’re bases. Business as normal. Who has the most dirt wins. Sorry I’m cynical.

    This kind of reality has to be dealt with. Starting with local government on up to rid our governments, as much as we can, of corruption. The socialism in the USA is certainly reserved for the Pentagon and parts adhering to it. A for profit soap is okay but, a war profit military is not. You could apply the profit analogy to healthcare and a few other things required for the common infrastructure but, why do that when it’s about profits? It’s anti-American to think otherwise.

    Lastly when others were listening intently too Maddow and a list of others like her at least we had Robert Parry to intelligently guide us step by step to actually walk into the story and see it in detail by detail. Often you the reader reached your own conclusion like being on a jury. It’s good to see the Parry traditional lives on.

    • Wendi
      March 25, 2019 at 20:03

      Ditto, Joe. And redouble thank you, Mr Lauria & Assoc

      Robert Parry is the sort of truth ‘they’ can’t handle.
      ‘We’ could make an app for that, a viral handle: Press Play, rather than go on trying to conform it in the shape tv can handle.

      We each have to go to truth, it doesn’t come to each of us in massmedia.

  23. Dan Anderson
    March 25, 2019 at 00:20

    Consortium was way out front of this whole Russiagate story. Salute the late, great Robert Parry.

  24. ML
    March 24, 2019 at 23:54

    Indeed, CitizenOne! Thank you, CN. You are integral in helping me understand the reality we face. I contribute and will continue to do so.

  25. Jeff Harrison
    March 24, 2019 at 23:16

    Robert Parry was the greatest. And I “met” him only after his death. I’ve said many of the things that he has said, just not so eloquently or succinctly. But that’s probably why I’m a physicist and he’s a journalist. Robert Parry’s loss is such a terrible thing. Everything of his that I’ve read shows a clear light shining on the depredations of the US government which, after all, is the journalist’s job.

  26. CitizenOne
    March 24, 2019 at 22:47

    Now that the report is out there are a lot of questions to be answered surrounding the intelligence about collusion and why democrats signed on to the theory that Trump was a Putin puppet in the first place. Some questions do seem to have answers for a president with an itchy twitter finger revealing an almost naive understanding of the law and indignation that he was accused of colluding with the Russians. The remaining threats for Trump include possible of obstruction of justice. It will be very difficult to prove that Trump obstructed justice when the entire democratic party was aligned on the presumption of his guilt. Was he obstructing justice or just reacting to the onslaught of attacks and allegations of his collusion with Russia he knew were false. Trump has been consistent that the entire investigation was a witch hunt and now Muller after two years has failed to come up with an indictment.

    It would be one thing if Trump was facing charges he lied and tried to obstruct justice to hide his crimes. It is quite another thing to reach the conclusion that the accused obstructed justice defending himself but was after all found to be innocent of the false charges.

    Now there needs to be an investigation surrounding how those charges and allegations led to a two year investigation. How did this false accusation reach such a level that special prosecutors were hired to investigate a sitting president without credible evidence?

    CN has done a fantastic job of questioning the veracity of the claims and through its reporting has from day one of the allegations viewed them with a skeptical eye calling out the inconsistencies and the highly dubious claims.

    Great job CN! Commercial news outlet would be wise to study how this tiny news consortium with a group of highly qualified and experienced contributors got it right while so many other commercial news outlets fell victim to the group think in Washington that Robert Parry set out to battle when he first launched his website Consortium News in 1995. It is a testament to the journalistic integrity of this website and chief editor the late Robert Parry who won many awards for journalistic integrity by well respected organizations.

    • Annie
      March 25, 2019 at 05:11

      Did they fall victim to it, or were they simply colluding with these false claims?

  27. KiwiAntz
    March 24, 2019 at 22:34

    Finally, after 2 yrs of Mueller seaching for something that never existed in the first place & wasting $30 million of Taxpayer dollars Russiagate has officially been revealed as a Big Fat “nothingburger of lies”! Heads need to roll at the MSM Organizations & the Democratic Party who perpetuated & enabled this crock of crap! Even now the denials & failure to admit that their disastrous campaign of blaming Russia for their incompetent defeat to Trump at the 2016 Election, has the Democratic Party in full, Trump derangement syndrome, meltdown mode, trying to double down on the lies & attempting to invalidate the findngs of Mueller’s stupid Report? The disturbing thing is despite, any evidence, the Democratic Party is still saying Russia hacked their dopey server? Why didn’t Mueller & the FBI subpoena the DNC server to establish, without a doubt whether this was a DNC leak, rather than a Russian hack? What’s utterly disgusting & hypocritical beyond belief is how then can blame Russia for Election meddling in their own Democracy but have the barefaced cheek to meddle in the affairs of every other Nation on Earth, especially in Venezuela! Investigators now need to go after Hillary Clinton & the Democratic Party for wasting Govt resources in this phony witch-hunt designed to divert attention away from the criminal actions of HRC! Also America, Russia & Putin deserve a apology & compensation from you for the toxic lies & ridiculous slander that America has told to discredit this innocent Country & blaming them for this totally fabricated, cesspool of lies called Russiagate? But I guess the apology & compensation is in the mail!

    • DH Fabian
      March 25, 2019 at 20:17

      Begin countdown to demands for another investigation. Expect another “bombshell” by summer of 2020. This tale is really all Democrats have left to sell. They never did “get” just how deeply the Clinton wing split the Dem voting base apart, middle class vs. poor, a split made permanent during the Obama years. They sure aren’t going to get how risking a catastrophic war with their lies against Russia made them too dangerous to vote for.

  28. CitizenOne
    March 24, 2019 at 22:05

    Thanks as ever CN for steering a clear course of truthful accuracy through this sordid affair.. The Late Robert Parry would be proud of your continued journalistic integrity.

    • Maxwell Quest
      March 24, 2019 at 23:14

      Hear, hear!!

      It wasn’t easy for the last 2 1/2 years to hold one’s ground, while delicately maintaining important relationships that were incredibly strained by one of the most divisive stories of our time.

      • Doggrotter
        March 25, 2019 at 08:45

        Try living in Brexshit Britain….

  29. nomad
    March 24, 2019 at 21:55

    You had forgot to include Marc Turi into the mix:
    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2016/11/20/mysterious-saga-arizona-arms-dealer/94023174/

    The Benghazi incident was something never resolved.

    • Linda Furr
      March 25, 2019 at 12:36

      “The Benghazi incident was something never resolved.”

      Isn’t it interesting how the US manages to corrupt almost everything it touches….even the definition of words like ‘freedom’, ‘Democracy’, and … ‘incident’!

      • Lian
        March 27, 2019 at 11:01

        So true. Orwell speak in action. Whenever the US media says something, you need to flip it around to get to the truth.

  30. SocraticGadfly
    March 24, 2019 at 21:54

    My wrap, including the idea that both Jeb!/Never Trumpers and Hillbots still don’t consider they might have gotten “played” by Russia all along on the Steele Dossier. https://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2019/03/whats-next-for-trump-after-mueller.html

    • nomad
      March 25, 2019 at 20:27

      Johnny,

      They played themselves into believing their own Russian lies that had disintegrated.

      These mention it:
      https://freespeech.org/stories/as-mueller-finds-no-collusion-did-press-overhype-russiagate-glenn-greenwald-vs-david-cay-johnston/

      http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/01/glenn-greenwald-russia-investigation.html

      They should had paid attention to the electoral college states and address their problems; this was Sander’s and Clinton’s strategic mistake.
      Now, they have to worry about what pragmatic problems and solutions they will have to provide for the upcoming 2020 election.
      They have to worry about their current internal democratic civil war.
      They also have to worry about payback they will be getting from the opposing political party operatives.

      You, like many others, got played into believing and propagating the fake Russian collusion story.

      • Susan Sunflower
        March 26, 2019 at 14:51

        I was startled repeatedly by Maddow and others suggesting clearly that the Steele Dossier had been proven true … full stop … when, what, how was never answered … so the Steele influence (MI5 operative) was no invisible, nor were the most dubious, unconfirmable, salacious elements not boosted by being included in its embrace.

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