WATCH THE REPLAY: WikiLeaks Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, Michael Isikoff, Pepe Escobar, As’ad AbuKhalil on CN Live!

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, journalists Michael Isikoff and Pepe Escobar, political scientist As’ad AbuKhalil and author George Szamuely on Episode 2 of CNLive! 

Hrafnsson joined CNLive! to speak on the latest about imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, including CNN’s recent hit piece; Isikoff discussed his Yahoo! News series on Seth Rich; Escobar gave keen insights into the major scandal engulfing Brazil as well as his observations of Italy after his recent trip there; AbuKhalil dissected Middle East politics and war and Szamuely commented on the lot with hosts Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria on CN Live!  Download and listen to the podcast.

Watch it here:

110 comments for “WATCH THE REPLAY: WikiLeaks Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, Michael Isikoff, Pepe Escobar, As’ad AbuKhalil on CN Live!

  1. evelync
    July 24, 2019 at 19:38

    Chuck, sorry your comment didn’t make it here for some reason.
    I’ll add my criticism of what Michael Isikoff (and David Corn) seem to have turned into – namely political hacks.
    Did you notice how defensive Michael Isikoff was in this interview?
    He seemed very uncomfortable defending his position.
    I think he has staked out the position that leans into the DNC/Clinton excuse for her loss – maybe to sell that darn book? – that blames the Russians for her loss when she herself did more than anyone else to bring it about. After what had happened to the working classes over the last 40 years, people have lost faith in both parties and especially Clinton’s obvious insincerity and “I know better than you” sales pitch when in fact she was very much a part of all that’s been going wrong.

    Noam Chomsky has opined that to the extent the Russians may or may not have “interfered” it would pale by comparison to what is done to the voters here at home.

    Plus, as a voter, I feel that blaming the Russians means they think I’m a fool or a dupe as a voter – suckered by any nonsense I read…..

  2. Skip Scott
    July 23, 2019 at 11:30

    I finally finished. Great show. Can’t wait for next weeks edition. Hopefully Ed Butowsky will be on with all the latest on his court case.

  3. Bret Bowman
    July 22, 2019 at 22:36

    Argument by Authority is the worst, least permissible, argument against a control fraud conspiracy theory because the its central premise and raison d’etre is very pointedly that authority is dangerously corrupt, has harmed the public, and has managed to hide this fact from view. You cannot defeat a control fraud conspiracy argument by saying you trust the authorities the argument identifies as culprits.

    Isikoff’s primary argument throughout rests on the authority of the very agencies most likely to commit precisely this suite of black propaganda and cyber operations: CIA/NSA/FBI.

    Was it established in 1984 that the word “journalist” would be revised to mean “mercenary manipulator dressed as super hero to operate beyond reproach or appeal”?

    Joe, this is magnificent drama worth watching. I will be watching every minute of CN Live! going forward because watching professional, well established journalists and academics who read against the corporate grain, get wound up and emotionally engaged with their instant encyclopedic access to facts and history, is so absent and so essential I cannot describe in words how important it is, and how grateful I am, for Consortium News having launched this project. Well done. Keep going as long as you can. Keep talking to establishment hacks willing to fall down on camera–over and over. Reality TV ain’t got nuthin’ on CN Live!

    I don’t know how a person with a mic learns not to interrupt genius, but the CN contribution was being perfectly objective witnesses to extemporaneous Pepe. Thank you for that and for everything else. Been reading this site a long damn time because it’s just wonderful.

  4. Skip Scott
    July 22, 2019 at 15:03

    Well, I’m still making my way through the segments, and just finished watching Pepe. What a mind and wealth of knowledge that man possesses! I look forward to his next installment. I loved the “his master’s voice” quip, and wonder if any of the younger generation understand the RCA reference?

  5. Keith Brooks
    July 22, 2019 at 11:59


  6. Willow
    July 22, 2019 at 10:22

    CN team. Thank you for your essential public service. Next time Isikoff is a guest please have William Binney on to present the opposing view re leak vs. hack.. Also, Ambassador Craig Murray said that he knows who person and it was a leak, not a hack. . And the Russian “agents” did show up in in US Court to dispute to fight the indictment. Muller never expected them to and has been asking for delay of trial and objecting to turning over discovery to the Russian defense attorneys. Here is the link to Craig Murray’s website and 2016 article about the leak
    The CIA’s Absence of Conviction: – via:@CraigMurrayOrg

      July 22, 2019 at 12:13

      We brought up VIPS findings and Isikoff never responded at all. Just ignored it.

      • Abe
        July 22, 2019 at 12:23

        “Just ignored it.” = The Higgins Maneuver

        Michael Isikoff and fellow propaganda water carrier David Corn bloviate ad nauseum about “Putin’s War on America”.

        As the “Russian hackers” house of cards spectacularly collapses, Isikoff and Corn can be expected to double down on the deception, just as fake “independent journalist” Eliot Higgins and the Atlantic Council’s Bellingcat “investigation team” have doubled down on their multiple propaganda scams.

  7. Skip Scott
    July 22, 2019 at 10:05

    I am slowly making my way through the video, and just finished the Isakoff section. I think he could have been challenged a bit more in a couple of crucial areas.

    First of all, he keeps stating “evidence” provided by the intelligence community, when in fact there has been no evidence provided, only assertions. Any actual evidence (if there is any) always seems to be conveniently “classified”. The fact that there have been no whistleblowers from within the current membership of the “intelligence” community is easily understood considering the treatment of previous whistleblowers.

    Secondly, he should have been challenged on the identity of Guccifer 2.0. There is ample evidence provided by VIPS and others that Guccifer 2.0 was a stitch up by the “intelligence” community or crowdstrike to purposely obfuscate the source of the original leak. Wikileaks emails back and forth with Guccifer could easily have been an effort to “get more”, and/or corroborate what they got from the leak. The Wikileaks editor said earlier that there was possibly more than one source.

    Thirdly, Isakoff seems to pooh-pooh Ed Butowski’s claims without any back-up, and never fully addresses the Sy Hersh recording. His upcoming interview with Ratner (which he shamelessly pushes) could easily be her effort to obfuscate the role she played. I can only hope Butowski has ample evidence of Ratner’s role that will come out in court. I can’t imagine that he would make the claim in court without hard evidence to back himself up.

    The many complications of RussiaGate makes it difficult to prosecute all the inconsistencies, but I hope that you can have Isakoff on again at a later date and do a better job of challenging his narrative.

  8. vinnieoh
    July 21, 2019 at 18:53

    Wow. Can’t believe I ate the whole thing (listened to it all.)

    Thanks so much for Pepe Escobar, even though the news he delivered is so frightening and depressing. I remarked this past week on the virtually un-remarked virtual coup in Brazil and the monkey-wrenching of BRICS. He is as much fun to listen to as he is to read, even though my connection didn’t let the video keep up with the audio. Doesn’t matter, just closed my eyes and listened.

    Thanks Joe Lauria and CN. I know why you REALLY had Isikoff on – it was comedic relief. It worked – he was a hoot!

    I believe, because I believe.

    • Skip Scott
      July 24, 2019 at 06:37


      I have found that the syncing is better (at least on my computer) if you click on the youtube connection and watch it from there.

  9. tom
    July 21, 2019 at 18:37

    Isikof is a deep state tool who pushed the Steele dossier which he now acknowledges were bogus

    Isikoff: Media should have had ‘more skepticism’ over Steele dossier, which was ‘thirdhand stuff’

    Wasnt that his job?

    Strikes me that the Seth Rich story is a preemptive shot at the fact that there is now a lawsuit that is asking for the Evidence of Russia hacking and who killed Seth Rich

    Lawsuit outs Ellen Ratner as source for Seth Rich information……..

  10. Marko
    July 21, 2019 at 17:34

    Those who complain about Isikoff’s appearance need to review Aaron Maté’s interview of Luke Harding on The Real News , discussing Harding’s book “Collusion”. TRNN is generally progressive , and many would have considered their invitation to Harding to be an abandonment of those principals. However , in this interview , Harding was publicly hung , drawn , and quartered by Maté. He didn’t know what hit him , and it was a “can’t miss” episode that showed the value of these sorts of confrontation.

    The final twitch from Harding’s dismembered corpse managed to hang up the phone , ending the interview. It was truly priceless.

  11. July 21, 2019 at 14:08

    Why does CN give this loon air time?

      July 21, 2019 at 14:18

      The culture of news is being wiped out in the United States. Inviting someone on a news program to be questioned and challenged is in no way an endorsement or promotion of that person. Unfortunately this appears to be little understood in these days of tribalism and hyper-partisanship.

        July 21, 2019 at 14:49

        We also believe Isikoff was successfully rebutted. He admitted he never saw the Russian intelligence document he cited and is simply taking the word of the former prosecutor. We pointed out a Washington Post story that made his claim false that Russia initiated the Seth Rich story. We got him to admit that a bizarre website was unlikely to be used by Russian intelligence. We left him unable to say how much social media play the article on that website generated. We challenged him on his assertion that the emails were hacked and not leaked and that Assange was lying. We criticized him for treating a mere indictment of Russian GRU agents as a conviction. We challenged his reporting that the FBI was not involved with what Sy Hersh has said, and also brought up Ed Butowsky’s story that contradicts everything Isikoff wrote. He countered that his next installment would debunk Butowsky’s story, so we will just have to wait and see. We are inviting Butowsky on next week to comment. Perhaps many viewers did not watch the entire segment and had a knee-jerk reaction to Isikoff’s mere appearance. In addition, this interview was not about collusion, which has been thoroughly discredited, but about Seth Rich’s story, which has neither been proved nor disproved and thus would not elicit the same harsh response to Isikoff as a segment on collusion would have.

        • Jill
          July 21, 2019 at 16:05

          Thank you so much for bringing on Mr. Butowsky!

          I also hope that one day, (even though this is not within the scope of Mr. Butowsky’s lawsuit), that Seth Rich’s murder will be solved. No matter how that happened, it deserves to be known.

        • Willow
          July 22, 2019 at 11:39

          Thank you for your public service

          Re the Mueller knowing the Russians wouldn’t come to the US. The Russian did come to the US to respond to the indictment and the trial is pending. Mueller was not counting on that. Mueller has objected to providing the Russian defense lawyers the necessary pre-trial discovery.

          Re Seth Rich, Fmr. Ambassador Craig Murray is on record that he met with and knows the identity of the leaker.

          The CIA’s Absence of Conviction: – via:@CraigMurrayOrg

          If Isikoff is invited back for a re-match, it would be ideal to have William Binney on to debate him.

            July 22, 2019 at 12:21

            You are confusing two different indictments, one against Concord Management, parent company of the Internet Research Agency, on which their representatives did appear in court, and the indictment against the GRU Russian military intelligence agents, which has never seen the inside of a courtroom.

  12. Frances
    July 21, 2019 at 11:20

    “Rolling” Coups in Brazil, and USA. Listening to the excellent Pepe Escobar, I couldn’t help but see the similarities. “Rolling” Coups seem to be the current ongoing method to oust a government (and even political Parties) which the “Establishment/Corporations/Intel Agencies” don’t want. The People and elections be damned.

    Would the other ‘B’ that Pepe was trying to remember be ‘Banking’?

  13. Tim Jones
    July 21, 2019 at 02:47

    When the justice disappears—civility also disappears. When the people have no more voice—they raise the sword. Then, the worst atrocities will be committed.

  14. Katy M.
    July 20, 2019 at 21:08

    Doesn’t anyone remember (or know about) the Warren Commission Report? The Mueller Report is the same thing. Orwellian “crimestop” dominates our society. The purpose of both was to obstruct justice, and those involved are accessories after the fact of Seth Rich’s murder. From Mueller’s clear avoidance of any evidance other than his predetermined conclusion about the DNC emails he imiplicates himself as part of a surveillance state conspiracy to murder Seth Rich. The cause of Rich’s death is no mystery whatsoever after the behavior of Mueller and his committee. An innocent government would have sought all evidence. It was just the same with the Warren Commission that protected the CIA coup (still not confronted), as clearly exposed by among others Vincent Salandria, Gaeton Fonzi, Martin Schotz. History Will Not Absolve Us.

    • Tim Jones
      July 21, 2019 at 02:23

      Because the chain of collusion is so complex, only evidence and some key whistle-blowers willing to testify, can make a case against obstruction of justice. We may say, it is plain to see that it is a case of obstruction and a conspiracy—but only evidence and sworn testimony plus a willingness to carry out a true investigation by our highest legal institutions can effect change. And they will not. When enough people have no access to justice—they will take justice into their own hands. This is my prediction. And yes, we should recall that the very man who Kennedy sacked, Allen Dulles, was on the Warren Commission. I can imagine the chilling effect that Dulles’s presence on the Commission had.

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 21, 2019 at 09:26

      Thank you again Kaity M. (And again Yes!) in fact, there may be a closer tie than we know if Bob In Portland is correct that: “Robert Swan Mueller III married his childhood sweetheart Ann Cabell Standish in 1966, three years after the JFK assassination. Her grandfather, Charles Cabell, was second in command at the CIA during the Bay of Pigs failure and was fired, along with Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell, for lying to him about the mission, which had been doomed to failure before its start. Her great uncle, Earle Cabell Jr. was the mayor of Dallas when it hosted the JFK assassination in 1963.”

      • Lorenzo
        July 21, 2019 at 15:02

        Ann Cabell Standish (Robert Mueller’s wife) is descended from the same Cabell family of Colonial Virginia, but she is not a granddaughter of Charles P. Cabell who served as Deputy Director of the CIA and whose brother Earle was Mayor of Dallas in 1963. Her mother was something like a 6th cousin of that Charles Cabell.

        • Bob Van Noy
          July 21, 2019 at 15:53

          Thank you Lorenzo, I’ll keep looking for both connections, but that’s helpful…

  15. James Main
    July 20, 2019 at 16:19

    Very good show, enjoyed your guests apart from the propagandists vomit spewed
    out by Michael Isikoff. Seriously ! Seth Rich conspiracy ? Only a conspiracy
    theory according to the MSM and the mueller professional liars and their deluded
    deceived or ignorant followers. Questioning the veracity of Assange ? Who has a
    perfect record of honesty over more than a decade of hundreds of thousands of revelations. The MSM and the Western governments cant go a day without
    disgracing themselves with their constant flow of propaganda and slanderous character assassination hit pieces against honest investigators that contradict their narratives. The credibility of Assange himself, bill binney and Craig Murray
    is beyond reproach. Mueller ? A career of breathtaking lies and cover ups.
    I understand listening to all perspectives for a balanced view of stories.
    However most of us sincere tortured news seeking souls, follow alternative news
    sites like this ! to escape state sponsored propagandised debunked fairy tales.
    If i wish to listen to verbal diarrhea like that espoused by michael Isikoff i can just go turn on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, BBC or any of the other usual suspects
    amongst the pitiful dying lame stream media ? Consortium News is with all due respect above such guests ! There are so many promising, balanced, genuine
    investigative journalists longing for a greater audience. I would much rather
    see opportunities given to journalists more deserving ? Even if they are unproven.
    Michael Isikoff is already proven. Proven he isnt worth listening too.

  16. Skip Scott
    July 20, 2019 at 15:41

    I’m just getting through the first part with the wikileaks editor, but I must take issue with his repeated referral to CNN as a member of the “liberal media”. This to me is a prime example of how words turn “Orwellian”. What exactly is “liberal” about supporting our so-called “intelligence” agencies and their propaganda narrative? They are not liberal media, they are a propaganda tool of an evil empire.
    Journalists should be careful to use the true meaning of words.

    • Michael Wilk
      July 20, 2019 at 19:26

      I concur.

    • Marko
      July 20, 2019 at 19:28

      “Journalists should be careful to use the true meaning of words.”

      Keep in mind that for most Europeans , “liberal” is closer in meaning to what we would call “neoliberal’ , and thus is an accurate description of CNN and the rest of the US “liberal” media.

      The confusion this engenders is probably something that has been carefully cultivated by TPTB. Kind of like the Nazis calling themselves “socialists”. Manipulation of the very meaning of the language we use is a powerful control device.

    • Katy M.
      July 20, 2019 at 21:15

      Liberal now means the same thing as “neoliberal,” which closely associated with “neoconservative.” Words have lost their traditional meanings. The same goes for “left” and “right.” I’m afraid they cannot be recovered.

    • Lily
      July 21, 2019 at 05:46

      I agree. This made me stop listening. Liberal today means neoliberal or neoconservative. It is the same every where in the Europen vassel states.

      This word became someting opposite of what it used to mean which had also to do with respect to other opinions or to a different approach. Now it means the dictatorship of the global oligarchy everywhere and nothing else.

  17. Antonio Costa
    July 20, 2019 at 15:04

    First I agree with the intent of having MI on which demonstrated to anyone with eyes and ears how fast and loose this guy plays with his “evidence/facts”. His report was published for the true believers in Russia-gate who grasp at anything to reinforce their unwillingness to give it up no matter.

    It also highlights the importance of what real investigative reporters like Robert Lauria and Elizebeth Vos provide the public. MI’s reporting could not stand up to journalistic scrutiny.

    Enjoyed this whole series. Excellent…look forward to next week’s. Pepe Escobar and As’ad AbuKhalil were very insightful!

  18. Hawaiiguy
    July 20, 2019 at 14:17

    I’d like to suggest a show that goes indepth into the Clinton, Podesta, Weiner etc emails. I know I’ve only read a tiny fraction of them and I think that is the case with most people. I’m sure it would take a few months minimum to put together time lines of her illegal movements and business dealings etc. I think it’s certainly in the public interest to bring her back into the spotlight, for the right reason.

    • Raymond Comeau
      July 22, 2019 at 11:04

      I agree 100% and would like to see that witch in the dock to be tried for her heinous crimes.

  19. Hawaiiguy
    July 20, 2019 at 13:38

    Please make this SoundCloud playable. Thanks for a 2nd amazing show, Robert would be proud.

  20. Jill
    July 20, 2019 at 10:19

    M.I. is not an investigative reporter. His evidence was the oral testimony of someone who had seen 2 classified Russian documents which had been translated into English. He told us she had a good memory of the documents then proceeded to corroborate her memory with a website which he claimed, without evidence, was a Russian government site. He did not provide the documents in their original language (or even in English). At this point, he is engaging in speculation but he calls this “evidence”. It isn’t.

    He then proceeded to say that maybe the FBI could be criticized for failing to look at the DNC computers but that was not such a big deal. The truth is, the FBI did not engage in even the minimum standard of good, investigative law enforcement. They should have demanded the computers or told the DNC to get lost. Instead, the FBI simply took a redacted report from a private firm and said, yeah, we’re o.k. with that. Our “work” here is done! That is simply laughable. Yet that is all the “proof” needed for M.I.

    He then claimed that all the intelligence agencies had agreed it was a Russian hack. Again, that isn’t correct information. He claimed to have seen 2 documents which were proof positive of Russian involvement. Of course, no one in the public gets to see these documents.

    Basically his was one speculation after another or it was an argument based on authority. Arguments based on authority should always be disregarded. Speculation isn’t wrong, but it’s also not a finished product called investigative journalism. Speculation presented as fact is propaganda. That is what M.I. was doing. He has simply written a piece of propaganda.

    Finally, we arrive at the basic point, one MI never considers. Was the information published by Wikileaks true? Yes it was. This information gave insight into Hillary Clinton that the American public needed to know. The actual information has been ignored from the beginning. That tells us a lot about how much control over the press takes place in the US.

    There is a lot of information pointing to this being a leak, not a hack. There is testimony by Kimdotcom, Craig Murry,
    as well as other information which will come out in Mr. Butowsky’s lawsuit which points to Seth and Aaron Rich as the source of the leaks. Some of that evidence will come out on July 22 I believe. There will also be documents coming from and FOIA to the FBI (who originally denied having any information on Seth Rich but have recently found they did have some) in Aug. We will see how MI and other propagandists will deal with this evidence. Nevertheless, the fact remains that wikileaks published truthful information.

    That truthful information should have been the focus of all media. Instead, attention was diverted to Russiagate, and this baseless propaganda was used to destroy people’s ability for rational thought and to turn people against each other. I find that despicable.

  21. R.Oro.
    July 20, 2019 at 07:07

    Isikoff gets spoofed by Sorcha Faal… Those of us here in “conspiracyland” are well familiar with the site, and have long known it to be dubious, but at least entertaining. Inevitably, some newbie posts a article on a message board, or whatnot, and then is kindly informed: ‘beware, that site’s disinfo’ -can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen. You’d think everybody would know by now to treat it like the Weekly World News, but nevertheless I’ve seen Sorcha Faal stories propagate widely on occasion -for instance, a story on Christine Blasey Ford being CIA, which made it all the way to Zero Hedge, among other fairly major sites. It happens because one site re-posts a story from another site without checking to see if the story actually originated at that site, when instead it is just regurgitated Sorcha Faal.

    Isakoff however -no mere amateur blogger- is a complete fool, who in debunking the Seth Rich “conspiracy” blindly accepts the Sorcha Faal sourcing, which, for virtually every story, is supposedly the SVR. One thing is curious: how is it that his intel source corroborated the Russians originating the Seth Rich conspiracy theory on the same day that it was published on -Could this tell us something about the actual origin of Sorcha Faal disinfo? Not the Russians, but the CIA perhaps?

    In any case, it seems that Isokoff is once again being spun within a web of circular reporting, as was the case when his reporting based on the Steele dossier was treated as an “independent” source corroborating the dossier that it was based on, for obtaining FISA warrants against the Trump campaign.

  22. July 20, 2019 at 05:49

    On thewhole Leak versus Hack Debate, there is one thing we now know for certain. Michael Isikoff is a Hack.

  23. geeyp
    July 20, 2019 at 04:32

    Top episode! The show is starting to hit it’s stride already. I would add, a little more Ms. Vos, please. So now Isikoff is the gossip columnist for Yahoo News. Who the hell reads Yahoo for news? Is Katie Couric still there? Hmmm.. Isikoff – sounds like a Russian name. You know what that means…

  24. Nance
    July 20, 2019 at 02:27

    I wish someone would ask the smug opportunist Michael Isikoff and the rest of the mainstream media why they never bothered to interview Julian Assange during all those years he was in the embassy, especially after 2016. And do they think Mueller should have interviewed him? It strikes me as an unspoken implication that Assange doesn’t deserve to have a voice, and that would seem to qualify as a form of the “mobbing” by the press that Nils Melzer described. It should be pointed out because it is a vicious denial of someone’s right to speak for himself.

    CN Live has had excellent guests and is a much-appreciated isle of sanity and meaningful discussion. Thank you!

  25. July 20, 2019 at 01:39

    I think the best thing for Julian and Truth Seekers is if he does go on trial in the US. I also think that could be a reason he won’t be extradited at all. Thing change very quickly theses days.

  26. Marko
    July 20, 2019 at 00:04

    Based on Isikoff’s statements , I can confidently predict that another potential whistleblower has been silenced : Ellen Ratner. Just like Sy Hersh , who was expansive about Seth Rich’s involvement in the DNC leaks when he thought it was off the record , then denied everything after it went public , you can expect about the same from Ms. Ratner. If this was not the case , Isikoff wouldn’t be interviewing her in his current podcast series.

    Dead whistleblowers tell no tales. Potential whistleblowers who’d prefer to stay alive simply stop whistling.

    • Marko
      July 21, 2019 at 22:57

      The good news : Ellen Ratner is already on the record , so it will be entertaining to see how Isikoff attempts to spin her past comments. The following tweet includes a clip of a Ratner interview on Nov 9 , 2016 , just after the election and just a few days after she had visited Assange in the embassy. She says that Assange told her that the DNC leaker was a disgruntled insider , not “da Russians” :

  27. July 20, 2019 at 00:03

    It’s inaccurate to describe Michael Isikoff’s delirious “Conspiracyland” podcasts as a “major investigation.” I know you were trying to humor him to get him on, but that was over the top.

  28. Marko
    July 19, 2019 at 23:50

    I disagree with Joe that it doesn’t matter who stole the emails , that the only thing that matters is what was in them. From a publisher’s perspective ( i.e. Assange ) that may well be true. But for the people of America , it matters greatly if a state actor was behind the theft , and we should all want to know which state it was. It’s entirely possible that Seth Rich was merely a peripheral party to the larger scheme of a foreign state. This would not be that unusual. Not every American is “America first”.

    If you look at how US policy has changed since the 2016 election , and ask “Cui bono ?” regarding the Trump victory, the first object of suspicion among state actors would have to be Israel.

    • Joe Lauria
      July 20, 2019 at 00:02

      If Russia or any foreign government were spreading lies and disinformation about a candidate that would be an attempt to sabotage an election. But when the information is true, as it was in the DNC and Podesta emails, it was journalism. The motive is irrelevant when the information of public interest is verified.

      • Marko
        July 20, 2019 at 03:20

        Sorry Joe , but I find that awfully short-sighted. The NSA has virtually every communication produced in many countries whose elections they’d like to influence , like , say , the UK. Would it be OK with you if the US gov’t decided to covertly release dirt – all of it true – on only Labour Party candidates before an election , leaving the Tories unscathed ? No lies and misinformation , but very selective truth-telling , designed to swing an election in the desired direction. Would that be journalism ? The US does this sort of thing all the time to meddle in foreign elections. I doubt that voters in those countries would be happy to know that their votes had been manipulated in this way.

        I don’t fault Assange for releasing information regardless of source , because he can never truly know who was at the top of the chain of command that resulted in the information leak. But if the DNC and Podesta leaks were ultimately the work of a foreign government , I want to know who it was if at all possible.

        • Joe Lauria
          July 20, 2019 at 11:48

          The journalism is on the receiving end of the information. A determination has to be made whether the information is accurate, no matter who the source. Are you suggesting that accurate, damaging information, even if it is about a side you may favor, should be suppressed because you don’t have equal information about the other side in an election? If you do then you disagree with Kristin Hrafnsson and with me. That would really be unforgivable to sit on true information about any side in an election, depriving the voters of that information. The source and motive is irrelevant if documentary evidence that can be proven to be true is provided. Source and motive is relevant if the evidence is only spoken, with no documents to back it up.

          • Hawaiiguy
            July 20, 2019 at 13:57

            Sadly, our world isn’t sane, if it were the initial focus would have been a deep investigation on Hillary and cohorts. Julian should never have been promoted above Wikileaks. That team has done impeccable work and the world should have changed drastically with there information. Sadly it’s all about Assange, a decade later. The defending silence of Epstein child pedophilia elite ring is proof positive nothing is going to change without storming the castle. PS, love the show so far Joe.

          • Marko
            July 20, 2019 at 19:16

            “Are you suggesting that accurate, damaging information, even if it is about a side you may favor, should be suppressed because you don’t have equal information about the other side in an election?”

            Read what I said in my last comment. I was very clear what I was suggesting. I said I agreed with Wikileak’s decision to publish , but if the ultimate source of the information was a state actor , that is something the American people would want to know. If state actors are the real source of most apparent “whistleblowing” , we will be on a fast track to fascism and totalitarianism. We will be manipulated to believe that the only bad actors are the people the source state wants us to believe are the bad actors. This is bad enough if it’s our own state doing the manipulation , but doubly bad if its a foreign state.

            On the limited point you insist on focusing on , I do agree with you and Hrafnsson , what I disagree with is the broader claim that “the source doesn’t matter”, but in any case such appeals to authority carry no weight with me.

          • michael
            July 22, 2019 at 09:24

            Agree that damaging, embarrassing, true information on politicians and government always should be published whenever possible. However, damaging, embarrassing, true information is almost always classified (despite what the government claims) so it is difficult to obtain supporting documents, and FOIA requests always seem delayed, or the server involved has been wiped clean “with a cloth?” or the information is irreparably lost due to a “technical glitch” as with the FBI’s handling of texts between Strzok and Page.
            Moreover, a much bigger problem is “self censorship” to stay in the good graces of the Establishment. Intentionally NOT reporting damaging, embarrassing, true information seems to be the mode in which MSM operates these days. There are not so many jobs in the media these days, and most of our journalists are not the risk takers and iconoclasts needed for investigative journalism.

      • Catherine
        July 20, 2019 at 15:44

        The Podesta emails showed nothing of importance, other than his excellent risotto recipe. Wikileaks went out of their way to highlight bits and pieces in their attempt to make them look like criminal activity. And then the crazies spun them into conspiracy theories. I’m pretty sure it was Podesta’s emails that spawned Pizzagate and pushed the idea of Killary.

        • Skip Scott
          July 21, 2019 at 12:35

          Catherine, you are either a paid troll or have drunk too much of the MSM Kool-Aid. Podesta’s emails showed that Hillary is a self-confessed liar who holds “public” positions different from her “private” positions. I would say that is of some importance to the voters. And that is just one revelation of many.

        • Gregory Herr
          July 21, 2019 at 20:21

          Hillary Clinton favored sanctions (you know, the kind that deprive people of medicines, medical supplies and equipment) against the people of Iraq. Sanctions strangle populations to make them “scream” — eventually at their “leader” is the idea. Collective punishment for being born in a nation that had a CIA-installed Hussein who had deteriorated his usefulness. Her role model for Secretary of State was Madeline Albright who thought these sanctions that essentially Killed 500,000 children was “worth the price”. Hard to fathom what she meant by “price”— her life certainly wasn’t “sacrificed”.
          Another role model for Hillary was Kissinger, a power freak with a penchant for dirty wars and dictators for Wall Street.

          Clinton pushed for her husband’s killing field in Yugoslavia and supported the Cheney-Bush war of terrorism and decimation of Iraq.

          As Obama’s Secretary of State, her policy of antagonism towards Russia was most evident in her understudy neocon Victoria Nuland’s new-Nazi coup in Ukraine. And she famously (like the good Roman she is) came, saw, and Killed Gaddafi. But of course the Killing wasn’t limited to his person—the whole of Libya “paid the price”. She no doubt favored the dirty war on the people of Syria—but as Presidential candidate exposed her impatience in destroying Syria with a proposal that would have led to even worse chaos and bloodshed.

          No “theory” is responsible for the moniker “Killary”. It’s an earned designation—and a tragic reality with ongoing vile consequences.

  29. JWalters
    July 19, 2019 at 23:38

    Great interview by Joe Lauria, a true reporter in his heart, of Michael Isikoff, a clearly shameless liar for the Deep State, with able help from Elizabeth Vos. Any “reporter” today who begins by belittling all “conspiracy theories” has not been following the massive accumulation of evidence of conspiracy against America by outside and inside parties. Or he has some ulterior motive for hiding what he knows. Further, his ready use of straw man arguments is totally unprofessional. Isikoff is either an extremely credulous “reporter”, or a tool of disinformation. His repeatedly evasive mannerisms suggest he needs to attend a Deep State workshop on how to better conceal his true intentions.

  30. July 19, 2019 at 21:58

    I was totally wowed by CNN thinking that Mr Hrafnsson, Wikileaks editor, was a woman. Geez. Can not any reporter from CNN do just a little bit of research? How hard is it to determine one’s sex?

    • jeff montanye
      July 20, 2019 at 05:21

      getting harder by the day, apparently.

    • Katy M.
      July 20, 2019 at 21:26

      Well, these days it can be difficult with so many possible choices.

  31. July 19, 2019 at 21:49

    no. We do NOT know that the DNC was hacked. No one in the FBI or did Mueller have access to the DNC server. And NOW there is plenty of real evidence that they were leaked. No hack proven. But VIPS have proven that it is NOT a hack. Had to be a leak.

    • Catherine
      July 20, 2019 at 15:48

      What does it mean by leaked? Leaked by who? Someone who had permission to have access to the emails. Otherwise, it would be a hack.

      • Skip Scott
        July 21, 2019 at 12:39

        Yes, a disgruntled DNC employee named Seth Rich had access to the emails. Also, a leak is done with a storage device on the premises, a hack is done from a remote location over the net.

  32. July 19, 2019 at 21:19

    No Isikoff. There is plenty of evidence that it was definitely Seth Rich & his brother Aaron who leaked the DNC emails. The Russian conspiracy that you want so much to promote just doesn’t exist. You are covering for HRC and the DNC. Spend your time getting the evidence re Seth’s murder. Therein lies the answers. Are you strong enough to stand up to the deep state and find the truth?

  33. July 19, 2019 at 20:56

    Good point, Ernie! Freedom of the truth is continuously under attack by our OWN goddamned government.

    Our mainstream media often CIA controlled, eg, Wash Post owner Jeff Bezos with a $600 million contract with the CIA thru Amazon which he also owns.

    Or the viciousness under which Wikileaks and Julian Assange are attacked and held prisoner for revealing the truth of US war crimes! I well recall that collateral-murder video of some years back of Reuters News personnel being gunned down trying to protect some children from harm.

    Or Israel’s demands for criminalization of criticism of Israel. What do they have to hide? Lots!! Ask American Rabbi Michael Lerner, head of Jewish think tank, Tikkun, which has called Israel’s Netanyahu a liar and a coward. Netanyahu is under criminal investigation there.
    He once stated support for a two-state solution. It was a lie. He promised no new settlements, yet they continue.
    Palestinian kids are gunned down by Israeli soldiers. The West Bank is an open air prison, bombarded regularly.

    And so it goes…..

  34. ML
    July 19, 2019 at 20:25

    Joe, you handled the contentiousness of M.I very well. I was wondering why you didn’t bring up Bill Binney’s forensic work on the so-called “hack” (leak), but I suppose even if you had, Michael would have never believed you anyway and he probably has already heard about Binney’s work. Good job today to you both, Elizabeth and Joe. Pepe Escobar is brilliant as is AbuKahlil. Thank you all. Love your show.

    • Joe Lauria
      July 19, 2019 at 21:09

      Hi ML…Thanks. I did bring up VIPS forensic work on a leak not hack, but Isikoff didn’t respond to it.

      • ML
        July 19, 2019 at 21:54

        I see. I know you didn’t have time to go into the details. I do remember hearing you say a sentence or two, but Isikoff wouldn’t let you get a word in edgewise. He was pretty cagey and recalcitrant. Plus, you were a very congenial host and respectful to him while being firm. Good job and we all so appreciate you and CN!

      • Bob Van Noy
        July 20, 2019 at 08:34

        Many thanks Joe Lauria for your efforts, we live in a unique time when we have an opportunity to struggle for the very legitimacy of the Fourth Estate and I applaud CN’s leadership in that battle.

        Alan Dulles realized the power of literature when he hired Cord Meyer to run Operation Mockingbird as a formal tool of propaganda and misinformation and that program’s success leads to the battle being fought now.

        For those unfamiliar with Mockingbird :

        • Katy M.
          July 20, 2019 at 21:33

          Mary Meyer (Cord’s ex-wife) should be held in the highest esteem by all Americans for her courage in trying to bring to light the truth about the CIA assassination of JFK. Ditto for Jim Garrison. These “old” heros (of my day) have a timeless message for today’s conspiracy fact revealers.

      • July 20, 2019 at 13:34

        You should have pressed it. This is a critical component of the Russiagate farce. Without it, the house of cards collapses.

  35. michael
    July 19, 2019 at 18:51

    Was good to see the CIA’s stenographer Michael Isikoff given a chance to explain his view of Russiagate, to which he has contributed so much. He is indeed one of the initial architects of Russiagate! Would be illuminating to see him debate Aaron Mate or John Solomon on the conspiracy theories involved.
    I was surprised to see Michael Isikoff given a pass on his spreading of the contents of the Steele dossier (claimed by Steele to be from two operatives in the Kremlin, and thus spreading Russian disinformation). Ishikoff’s duplication of Steele’s dossier material was proposed to be important confirmation for the FISA warrants for surveillance of the Trump campaign. Bruce Ohr has dismissed his wife’s contribution and the Steele dossier as biased opposition research and told the FBI that Steele was “desperate that Trump not be elected”. Would have been interested in Ishikoff’s views on this.
    Moreover Ishikoff kept noting that Wikileaks received much of their e-mails later published from Guccifer 2.o, a “Russian hacker”. My impression was that Guccifer 2.0 was a Crowdstrike or New Knowledge technician or perhaps someone from the NSA, pretending to be a Russian (just as New Knowledge did when they interfered in the Alabama Senate special election)? From the time-course of wikileaks releases of the DNC e-mails they would have been obtained much earlier than Assange’s interactions with Guccifer 2.0; from what I’ve read there was nothing released from Guccifer 2.0, either material was unverifiable or just duplicates of what wikileaks already had. Since the FBI never bothered to secure the custodial chain of evidence, there is always the possibility that Guccifer 2.0 may have changed some of the files submitted to wikileaks as well.
    The “appeal to authority” logical fallacy seems a strange basis for a “journalist’s” actions (and career), but Ishikoff truly is a faith-based believer in whatever narratives he is fed from our Intelligence Agencies. And why would they lie?

  36. July 19, 2019 at 18:00

    Much improved production values, especially the video intro.

  37. Jen Nouri
    July 19, 2019 at 17:42

    Malcom Nance claims he wrote this book – ‘The Plot to Hack America”. The date of publication of the Ebook was the SAME DATE Obama got the IC report on Russia Hacking. WITH IDENTICAL REFERENCES. Coincidence? I doubt it. This is how they distributed the ‘intelligence report’ to the community, handing everyone the same key talking points. Could be broadcasted widely and easily by email.

  38. lils york
    July 19, 2019 at 17:13

    A brilliant program with important guests. thank you. Not sure why you gave Isikoff airtime. His own arguments are “conspiracy theories”

  39. Farhad Farzaneh
    July 19, 2019 at 16:53

    Excellent show Joe. Is this going to be a weekly show?

  40. Michael Wilk
    July 19, 2019 at 15:55

    Isikoff is lying and he knows he is lying. He knows for a fact that there was no hack, by Russia or anybody else, and that indeed it was an internally sourced leak.

  41. July 19, 2019 at 15:46

    Joe, Kim Dotcom is evidence of a sort about Seth Rich

    • July 19, 2019 at 19:45

      I’m rather surprised you found my comment about Sorcha Faal, nominal writer of “What Does It Mean”, actually being ex(!) CIA David Booth, unworthy or unable to be published. Maybe it was the inclusion of hinted-at URL. But google it.

  42. John Hawk
    July 19, 2019 at 15:40

    Michael I does not belong on CN! He is a CIA asset…I mean, his obsession with ‘conspiracy theories’ is a dead giveaway. In 1967 the CIA created the term ‘conspiracy theory’ to impugn the integrity of US journalists who were questioning the outcome of the JFK inquiry. Ask Ed Snowden who ‘Guccifer 2.0’ actually is. M I is a shill…you have tarnished the memory of my friend Robert Parry!

    • July 19, 2019 at 19:40

      With all due respect, I think Isikoff fits nicely between microscope slides, and his exposure here is very informative. I intend to revisit his remarks because I think he tried to support an insupportable case.

    • Joe Lauria
      July 19, 2019 at 21:46

      I think you are confusing public relations with journalism. Inviting a guest on does not mean we are promoting him or her. He was brought on to be challenged. Bob would have interviewed Adolf Hitler if he’d had the chance (as several American journalists did.) Newsmakers will appear as we can get them, to be challenged, not promoted.

  43. Lawrence
    July 19, 2019 at 15:39

    You guys need Arron Mate fast. He is slow-walking your silence.

  44. July 19, 2019 at 15:33

    Joe — you really need to look at this source material regarding “WhatDoesItMean” dot com

    “Before I go into this subject in any great depth, I would first like to deal with Sorcha Faal, otherwise known as David Booth of the CIA.

    David Booth works within the Central Intelligence Agency in COINTELPRO. Other western intelligence agencies known for using COINTELPRO methods include MI5, MI6, GCHQ, and the think-tank, DEMOS. To be quite blunt, all intelligence agencies have their own COINTELPRO departments.

    Sorcha Faal does not exist. There is no “spokesperson” within the GRU named Sorcha Faal.

    Intelligence agencies rarely make public statements, and when they do, it is always through either someone in the highest echelons of the organization or a government minister with the correct clearances, and never a mere “spokesperson”.

    Do leaks ever happen through lesser agents? Yes, but those agents if caught are dealt with very strictly, usually with “Holy Orders” to keep their traps shut. By rights, if “Sorcha Faal” was really working within the GRU, she would have been silenced by now. Permanently.

    It appears that David Booth is a major thorn in the side of the Alternative Intelligence Community, as well as the Patriot and Truth Movements. This is a gross understatement. Over the past week or two I have had to take aside many people and let them in on the whole Sorcha Faal thing.

    Known sites run by Sorcha Faal/David Booth:

    So why does David Booth do what he does? ”

    Read the rest at the top link above.

    • Marko
      July 19, 2019 at 21:22

      Indeed. WhatDoesItMean is 8chan on shrooms , and with evil intent.

    • Stygg
      July 23, 2019 at 16:11

      He’s got nothing better to do since his NHL career fell apart.

  45. jacob rothman
    July 19, 2019 at 15:32

    ferchrissake – what is isikoff doing on this program. corporate media incorporated. and a liar. jeesh

  46. John Hawk
    July 19, 2019 at 15:29

    Michael I is off his meds with his russophobia…!

  47. William H Warrick III MD
    July 19, 2019 at 15:00

    You don’t have to be a journalist to have 1st Amendment rights. It applies to everyone.

  48. Kathy Lambert
    July 19, 2019 at 14:59

    Ask Asad about Iran exiles, in comparison to what he just said about the Syrian exile he knew at Georgetown.

  49. Starbright
    July 19, 2019 at 14:40

    Why did Julian Assange cancel his appeal?

  50. Esteleen
    July 19, 2019 at 14:16

    Julian Assange did not need to draw attention to Donald Trump. There is already so much in the public sphere regarding Donald Trump that shows him in a negative light. Why does anyone take this question seriously? Also, #Unity4J has been restored on twitter. Why does Julian Assange apologize? He is not responsible for the millions spent on surveying him. Those in power have unlawfully wasted pounds and dollars trying to capture Assange to cover their war crimes rather than provide for the people.

  51. Abe
    July 19, 2019 at 13:20

    Szamuely “will comment on the lot”.


    What would really be great is if the entire lot of commenters (from Hrafnsson, Isikoff, Escobar, and AbuKhalil to Lauria and Vos) would be so very kind as to comment on the obvious:

    Pro-Israel Lobby influence manifest in Trump-Bolton-Pompeo-Pence proclamations, and US actions from Brazil to the EU to the Middle East, all of which concern grave matters of “politics and war”.

    Here’s a 2000 article by Szamuely to help orient commenters’ comments (or not) on the lot of cases in point:

    “Every other country gets hit with sanctions the moment it fails to follow Washington’s orders, but not Israel. No country in the world is the object of so much hysterical veneration, so much anguished cheerleading and so many outrageous double standards as Israel. Case in point […]”

    Israel’s Powerful Friends
    By George Szamuely

    • Gregory Herr
      July 19, 2019 at 20:13

      Looks like we got “the worst possible outcome.”

    • Abe
      July 21, 2019 at 14:35

      As Elizabeth Vos observed in her op-ed at Disobedient Media in 2018:

      “In the worst possible scenario, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US would join forces to militarily ‘intervene’ in Iran, leaving it in the same variety of devastation and destabilization that previous intercessions have created, including the starvation and rampant cholera currently ravaging Yemen.

      “As John Bolton calls for the US to impose regime change in Iran, a military source who wished to remain anonymous tells Disobedient Media that Saudi interests are planning to take advantage of the fluid situation in Iran by: ‘possibly launching a surprise attack on the country, which will include targeting civilian populations.’ They stated that: ‘The CIA is not only a fully aware of the situation, they are advising the Saudi’s in conjunction with Israeli military leaders.’ When President Trump vows to ‘support the Iranian people,’ it is hardly a statement of moral solidarity or emotional support. It is an intimation of military intervention, and should be treated as such.”

  52. Ed Butowsky
    July 19, 2019 at 13:13

    I want to ask Isikoff a few questions

    • Nancy
      July 19, 2019 at 20:24

      I support you Mr Butowsky! I hope you have a chance to speak with Isikoff. He seems to be lacking in all the facts. He is reported to be an CIA asset.

    • Marko
      July 19, 2019 at 21:17

      Mr. Butowsky , I hope you will pursue your lawsuit to its conclusion , including discovery and a jury trial. A juicy pre-trial settlement may well be offered , but I beg you to resist. This is too important , for the entire country.

  53. Glenn Finley
    July 19, 2019 at 13:07

    Seymour Hersh in a recording has claimed that Wikileaks paid for the DNC emails. Assange has stated that Wikileaks never pays for information. Your comments on Hersh’s statements or on Wikileaks policy?

    • Marko
      July 19, 2019 at 21:12

      “Assange has stated that Wikileaks never pays for information. ”

      Have a source for that ? I’ve seen evidence that Assange has claimed that he never publishes information for pay , i.e. that he doesn’t publish on contract , but I’ve never seen any evidence that he claimed what you suggest.

  54. ronnie mitchell
    July 19, 2019 at 12:53

    I hope Michael Isikoff gets asked what narrative the CIA, Pentagon etc. wants him to spin this time.

  55. cjonsson1
    July 19, 2019 at 12:34

    Please address the fact that Mike Gravel will not be permitted in the next Democratic debates. He met the number of individual donors required. We want to hear what he has to say. The DNC says his poll numbers aren’t high enough but Gravel was not even included in the poll to include.
    I stand with Mike Gravel to be in the Democratic Primary Debates. Stand with me and demand the DNC show former Senator Mike Gravel the respect he deserves and allow him to speak on the stage with the other Democratic candidates. Mike has crucial messages for us that no other candidates are talking about.

    • July 20, 2019 at 13:44

      I donated to get him in the debates and am furious he won’t be in. He has the guts to speak truth to power and the public needs to hear him!

  56. Jill
    July 19, 2019 at 11:15

    Yes, I concur in this Andrew. The hand written letter seems very off to me. I want to know if this is a free choice or a “free”choice made after drugging/other torture.

    I had the chance to hear KSM’s government appointed attorney speak. Did you know that KSM confessed to killing JFK? He signed a statement that he did that.

  57. Les
    July 19, 2019 at 09:34

    Keep up the GREAT work!!!

  58. Andrew F
    July 19, 2019 at 06:13

    Please ask Mr Hrafnsson:

    Why didn’t Assange appeal against the bail conviction?
    Why hasn’t Wikileaks commented on the letter from Assange to Gordon Dimmack (the only direct communication from Assange to the outside world in the last 16 months) or on the bail sentence appeal?
    Having commenced an appeal against the bail sentence more than 2 months ago, why has it suddenly been dropped less than a week before the hearing (since it was virtually the maximum sentence possible, he had absolutely nothing to lose from running the appeal)?
    Why weren’t we told that the appeal hearing had been listed for 23rd July?
    Why do his visitors (including lawyers) never convey a direct message out from Assange to his supporters?


    • Esteleen
      July 19, 2019 at 14:17

      Great questions!

    • Nance
      July 20, 2019 at 01:49

      I think Assange’s letter to the judge is a show of good faith and puts the lie to judges calling him a narcissist. It’s my understanding that, after half of his sentence is served, he may be able to move to a facility where he would have access to a library. He needs to focus on his defense in the extradition trial, and he is struggling with illness and the effects of isolation. Dropping the appeal seems like a good move.
      I’ve heard that he appreciates the letters he receives. What more do you want from this unimaginably burderened man?

    • Andrew F
      July 20, 2019 at 05:38

      Well, one out of five isn’t bad I suppose. Thanks for at least asking about why the appeal against the sentence was dropped.

      But I was underwhelmed by the (later seemingly contradicted) response from the Wikileaks editor.

      His answer was that the appeal was dropped because it would be a waste of resources and the focus is on fighting extradition, but then went on to describe how terrible the sentence is and how it hinders Assange’s ability to prepare for the extradition fight. That makes no sense. Firstly, why lodge an appeal over 2 months ago and then suddenly decide it’s a waste? Why bother in the first place?

      Secondly, if the appeal had proceeded next week Assange could potentially have been released from prison conditions immediately (sure, he’d still likely be on remand but at least he could apply for bail – a possibility completely ignored by most apologists for his legal team). It is beyond doubt that Assange would prefer to be out on bail between now and the extradition hearing and similarly there is no way he would have agreed to forego that possibility at the last minute. Having dropped the appeal there is no second chance, it’s gone forever.

      As things stand Assange will be in jail serving this 50 week sentence all the way up to the extradition hearing. Despite what many people have said, including the Wikileaks editor today, there is no guarantee that he will be “released” (from one jail to another where he will be held on remand) in October after serving 50% of the sentence. That would be the normal thing, but it isn’t compulsory and absolutely nothing about the treatment of this case has been “normal”.

      The Wikileaks editor later said they will be pursuing court action before November against the Guardian over the “Manafort” slur, how is that a priority, or good use of resources?

      If they had announced they were only going to pursue the appeal with a separate legal team devoted only to that and on the condition that they could crowd-fund the fees, say $20,000, I bet they would have raised the needed funds in less than 24 hours!

      Assange is being very poorly served by those who have surrounded him and appointed themselves his keepers in my opinion.

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