RAY McGOVERN: Turn Out the Lights, Russiagate is Over

The possibility that Trump will not chicken out this time, and rather will challenge the Security State looms large since he felt personally under attack.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Seldom mentioned among the motives behind the persistent drumming on alleged Russian interference was an over-arching need to help the Security State hide their tracks.

The need for a scapegoat to blame for Hillary Clinton’s snatching defeat out of the jaws victory also played a role; as did the need for the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT) to keep front and center in the minds of Americans the alleged multifaceted threat coming from an “aggressive” Russia. (Recall that John McCain called the, now disproven, “Russian hacking” of the DNC emails an “act of war.”)

But that was then. This is now.

Though the corporate media is trying to bury it, the Russiagate narrative has in the past few weeks finally collapsed with the revelation that CrowdStrike had no evidence Russia took anything from the DNC servers and that the FBI set a perjury trap for Gen. Michael Flynn. There was already the previous government finding that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia and the indictment of a Russian troll farm that supposedly was destroying American democracy with $100,000 in Facebook ads was dropped after the St. Petersburg defendants sought discovery.

All that’s left is to discover how this all happened.

Attorney General William Barr, and U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Barr commissioned to investigate this whole sordid mess seem intent on getting to the bottom of it. The possibility that Trump will not chicken out this time, and rather will challenge the Security State looms large since he felt personally under attack.

Trump and Barr on Feb. 14, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Writing on the Wall

Given the diffident attitude the Security State plotters adopted regarding hiding their tracks, Durham’s challenge, with subpoena power, is not as formidable as were he, for example, investigating a Mafia family.

Plus, former NSA Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers reportedly is cooperating. The handwriting is on the wall. It remains to be seen what kind of role in the scandal Barack Obama may have played.

But former directors James Comey, James Clapper, and John Brennan, captains of Obama’s Security State, can take little solace from Barr’s remarks Monday to a reporter who asked about Trump’s recent claims that top officials of the Obama administration, including the former president had committed crimes. Barr replied:

As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concerns over potential criminality is focused on others.”

In a more ominous vein, Barr gratuitously added that law enforcement and intelligence officials were involved in “a false and utterly baseless Russian collusion narrative against the president. It was a grave injustice, and it was unprecedented in American history.”

FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Meanwhile, the corporate media have all been singing from the same sheet since Trump had the audacity a week ago to coin yet another “-gate” — this time “Obamagate.”  Leading the apoplectic reaction in corporate media, Saturday’s Washington Post offered a pot-calling-the-kettle-black pronouncement by its editorial board entitled “The absurd cynicism of ‘Obamagate”?

The outrage voiced by the Post called to mind disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok’s indignant response to criticism of the FBI by candidate Trump, in a Oct. 20, 2016 text exchange with FBI attorney Lisa Page:

Strzok: I am riled up. Trump is a f***ing idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer.


Page– I don’t know. But we’ll get it back. We’re America. We rock.

Strzok– Donald just said “bad hombres”

Strzok– Trump just said what the FBI did is disgraceful.

Less vitriolic, but incisive commentary came from widely respected author and lawyer Glenn Greenwald on May 14, four days after Trump coined “Obamagate”: ( See “System Update with Glenn Greenwald – The Sham Prosecution of Michael Flynn”).

For a shorter, equally instructive video of Greenwald on the broader issue of Russia-gate, see this clip from a March 2019 Democracy Now!-sponsored debate he had with David Cay Johnston titled, “As Mueller Finds No Collusion, Did Press Overhype Russiagate? Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston”:

(The entire debate is worth listening to). I found one of the comments below the Democracy Now! video as big as a bummer as the commentator did:

I think this is one of the most depressing parts about the whole situation. In their dogmatic pushing for this false narrative, the Russiagaters might have guaranteed Trump a second term. They have done more damage to our democracy than Russia ever has done and will do.” (From “Clamity2007”)

In any case, Johnston, undaunted by his embarrassment at the hands of Greenwald, is still at it, and so is the avuncular Frank Rich — both of them some 20 years older than Greenwald and set in their evidence-impoverished, media-indoctrinated ways.

Deranged by Trump

There is no defense for most Trump policies or his personality, but a greater wrong is the politicization of intelligence agencies meddling in domestic politics against him and potentially future elected leaders.

Sadly, as is apparently the case with Covid:19, older people seem particularly susceptible to what has been called Trump Derangement Syndrome—the notion that Trump is uniquely evil, while, for instance, George W. Bush, who illegally invaded Iraq—what Nuremberg termed the worst war crime, the crime of aggression—was not.

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Johnston now has his own website: DCReport.org. A piece dated May 8, bears the title “How Barr Is Advancing Trump’s Quest to Become President For Life.”

Adducing “evidence” of this purported effort by Barr, Johnston indicates that he does not like what Barr’s Justice Department did in moving to drop the charges against Gen. Michael Flynn. He does not like it, not one bit! Here are some additional gems from Johnston’s latest:

“— Flynn and his company were on Putin’s payroll

Flynn made himself susceptible to blackmail by taking Russian money and lying about it.”

Johnston drivels on:

Trump denies the Russians helped him become president. But America’s intelligence agencies, the bi-partisan chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the 418-page Mueller report and emails from none other than Donald Trump Jr. all make clear the Kremlin helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. The only issue on which the facts are not complete was whether Trump was a passive beneficiary or he knowingly worked with the Kremlin, whether obliquely or hand-in-glove.

Just weeks after assuming office Trump held an unannounced meeting in the Oval Office with Russia’s foreign minister and Russian ambassador and a “photographer” for the Kremlin-owned Tass news agency. The Russians revealed the meeting. They also disclosed that Trump gave them “sources and methods” intelligence, which is closely guarded to protect human and technological assets.

This latest abuse of power to protect a criminal crony who was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll and a secret foreign agent is more than an impeachable offense. Trump, Barr and Shea also sent a clear message: Team Trump harbors no regard for the rule of law, the foundation of our liberties and democratic freedoms.”

Frank Rich Not Immune

Rich. (Wikipedia)

David Cay Johnston enjoys the company of other erstwhile respected pundits, notably Frank Rich. In younger days, both wrote for The New York Times, where, sadly, writers of all ages are showing acute susceptibility to the syndrome.

In a New York magazine article by Frank Rich entitled, ‘Obamagate’ Means Trump Is Desperate,’ he attempts to analyze Trump’s recent coinage of “Obamagate.” Read it and lament over what has become of yet another formerly respectable journalist. He uncritically quotes a New York contributor, Alex Carp:

“‘Obamagate’, in Trump’s brilliant coinage, is a conspiracy so vast, a crime so dastardly, that it should guarantee his reelection as soon as he figures out how to tell voters exactly what it is. As best as I can glean from his spokespeople on the Rupert Murdoch payroll — at Fox News, the New York Post, and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal — it was a coup that involved both installing Trump in the White House so that he could preside over the most corrupt and incompetent administration in American history and propelling a beloved national hero, the Kremlin sycophant and former Obama official Michael Flynn, to prison. For a moment, it seemed that at least that second goal might be thwarted by Bill Barr’s effort to hand Flynn a Get Out of Jail Free card. But thanks to the deep-state intervention of a U.S. district judge in Washington this week, Flynn may end up behind bars after all. Obamagate Accomplished!”

Has Rich lost it? Is this dismissive gibberish meant to be facetious, sarcastic? Is it a pedantic attempt at reductio ad absurdum? — like Saturday’s Washington Post editorial board pronouncement of “ The absurd cynicism of ‘Obamagate’”.

Does Rich keep up with the news, or is he now filing from Joe Biden’s basement? Is Consortium News included in his diet of reading? Quick. Someone tell Rich that “Russia-Trump collusion” and the far-fetched charges that the Russian Internet Research Agency helped Trump become president — as well as the tall tale that Russia “hacked” the DNC emails — have all collapsed.

‘Statutory Senility’

My father, for many years a professor at Fordham Law School, used to speak jocularly of another all-too-familiar syndrome he nonetheless took seriously: he called it “the age of statutory senility.” As Chancellor of the Board of Regents, he resigned well before he reached that age, offering his own example to superannuated Board colleagues (to no avail).

These days, I think he would probably consider 70 the age of “statutory senility”, especially were he able to read the blather of once respected journalists — like Frank Rich, whose work he used to enjoy. Let’s make sure someone is working on a vaccine for the Trump Syndrome.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career as a CIA analyst, he led the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and prepared and briefed, in person, The President’ Daily Brief. Full disclosure: Ray is 80.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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49 comments for “RAY McGOVERN: Turn Out the Lights, Russiagate is Over

  1. May 22, 2020 at 00:54

    Ray, what about Judge Emmett Sullivan?

  2. Raymond Comeau
    May 21, 2020 at 16:16

    Thank you, Excellent Consortium News People.
    While reading the comments relative to your excellent articles I keep being amazed how so many commentators can be so confused about what is wrong with the USA Government Voting system when, the following issues are facts.

    1. There is only one branch of Government in the USA which Democratics and Republicans (joined at the hip) share and represent. While the CIA, FBI, and all the other secret service agencies do the dirty work for filthy rich Oligarchs and the system never changes!

    What is wrong with the regular people. Are they afraid to kick the criminals out of government?
    The USA will either wither on the vine or take the free world with its self in a badly planned Nuclear War.

    Wake up good citizens of the USA and re-take your country from the miserable criminals who own it at present!

  3. May 20, 2020 at 23:25

    OK Ray, i need some help here. Since you call “lights out” on this deal. Whats the problem with making the ancient Mueller Grand Jury records public?

    • robert e williamson jr
      May 21, 2020 at 16:08

      Calling Cal

      Ever hear of the Supreme Court of the United States, you need to ask them that question. No gamble just the facts man!

  4. Jay
    May 20, 2020 at 17:50

    “Read it and lament over what has become of yet another formerly respectable journalist. He uncritically quotes a New York contributor, Alex Carp:”

    Much better than Rich performsing, or whatever–or whatever the term was.

    Yes, sad that Rich just let Carp spew nonsense denials of Obamagate; this choice emphasizes that Rich, and the New York Magazine editors, simply have not paid attention to easy to verify facts regards the multiple huge fallacies of Russiagate trotted out over the last more than three and half years.

  5. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg
    May 20, 2020 at 10:04

    As I watch the unfolding struggle between re-aligning factions in the ruling claque, I often wonder how much you know about which power groups Mr. Trump and Ms Clinton represent. The fireworks have not been so publically visible since the days of McCarthy’s hearings. Anybody here hip to the Mary Carter Paint Company? The Safari Club? Clinton Foundation corruption? The rot goes so deep, this global eternal Rome they’ve been trying to hammer out is bound to implode.

    • robert e williamson jr
      May 20, 2020 at 16:23

      Sure General, you ever heard of George H.W. Bush in connection with the Safari Club and BCCI Bank? It is always about money with the CIA. I’m not sure at all the their anti-communist crusade but I do know they love money!

      Larry Devlin? Lawrence R. Devlin, that is. The Devil’s Chessboard page 385, last paragraph in part,

      “Larry Devlin was no rogue agent . . . ., The Congo station chief’s decision to keep Lumumba’s fate quiet until it was too late to do anything about it was clearly made in consultation with his supervisors. Devlin suffered no agency reprimands for his actions in the Congo, and in fact, his intelligence career continue to thrive after Lumumba’s demise. Before retiring in 1974, to pursue a new career Congo’s lucrative diamond industry, Devlin rose to become chief of the CIA’s Africa Division.”

      Seems the Church committee knew nothing of Mr. Devlin’s dirty deeds that lead to the death of Mr. Lumumba.

      I wonder if CIA is still connected at the hip with Africa’s blood diamond industry?

  6. michael888
    May 20, 2020 at 08:04

    Bush/ Cheney created a Fascist Police State after 9/11, Obama honed and perfected it. Remarkably, idiot Trump has not been able to harness that steed, fighting as he is the DNC MSM, the Intelligence Agencies and the Establishment (like the MICIMATT term!) Trump lacks the competence (the desire?) to advance imperialism beyond empowering Israel. Even with wretched John Bolton and Mike Pompeo we have had no new Forever Wars, which must be driving MICIMATT nuts!)
    Outside of his National Emergency with sanctions against Nicaragua and the coup in Bolivia (compared to Obama’s genocide in Yemen– support in exchange for calming the crazed Saudis complaints about the Iran deal, Obama’s destruction of Syria, funding both Pentagon and CIA opposing groups, Obama’s destruction of Libya, the only rich, progressive African nation, Obama’s wars against Somalia and Sudan (and National Emergencies with ongoing sanctions against Burundi and Central African Republic– must be a lot of resources there!, Obama’s tripling of troops in Afghanistan left over from the Never-ending War against Iraq, Obama’s National Emergency with sanctions against Venezuela, Obama’s National Emergency with sanctions against Ukraine– with massive corruption from that coup and the American neoNAZI state, the coup in Honduras (which Hillary said was not a coup or the money by law would stop flowing)– Honduras now a narco state, like many in Latin America, adjuncts of the War on Drugs, the coup in Egypt to get rid of Morsi and replace with our typical puppet dictator Sisi, and countless less publicized Obama military “adventures”), Trump has been an underachiever. The MICIMATT needs another Total Fascist who can control and increase both Forever Never-ending Wars for our Global Elite Imperialists, and efficiently put the Intelligence Agencies in charge of suppressing Dissent. trump cannot do it. Biden has the requisite track record (since joining the Senate in 1973) but hopefully he is too addled to be effective. But an effective Dictator, modeled after all the Governments set up by the US worldwide, is coming!

  7. Dianne Foster
    May 20, 2020 at 02:58

    Oh, and BTW, we are not alone – Matt Taibbi is right in there with us.

  8. May 20, 2020 at 00:28

    It is really sad that AnneR is right, RussianGate warrior being “Dem face of the Janus party”. In Rome, one face of Janus was for war, and the other, for peace. As the modern time strive for consistency, with have a deity with two war faces.

  9. Zhu
    May 20, 2020 at 00:24

    Russiagate, like Birther nonsense, won’t disappear, but other examples of stupidity, will come to the fire. Eg, “China did it!”

  10. William H Warrick III MD
    May 19, 2020 at 23:51

    This Fiasco has been a Cult since the “Pussy Hat March” (a completely pointless event) and #Resistance, which prevented bringing the GIs home. It is still a Cult and it will never die.

  11. Zhu
    May 19, 2020 at 23:29

    Russiagate, like Birther nonsense, won’t disappear, but examples of stupidity, will come to the fire. Eg, “China did it!”

  12. David F., N.A.
    May 19, 2020 at 18:27

    Excellent report. Worth a bookmark.

    Pick a side, any side. You can’t win if you don’t play.

    Does the truth really matter? (yes (especially when it comes to journalism)) Our corporately-owned CIA has played us once again by using our corporately-owned government and corporately-owned media to lead and mislead us (Starr/Schiff, Limbaugh/Maddow…).

    So, what did the multinational corporations get out of this whole charade? Was it only used to distract us from bipartisan legislation (economic, civil liberties…), or maybe it was used to keep the political divide strong?

    Since these CIA tactics have worked so well in the US, maybe the multinational corporations will start using them in other countries. Oh wait…

    Buckle up everyone, here comes coronavirusgate. Don’t forget to pick a side.

    • May 19, 2020 at 22:11

      Are there more than two sides to “pick” from?

    • robert e williamson jr
      May 20, 2020 at 11:10

      David I agree with you in a most vigorous fashion. CIA loves to divide and conquer, the one and only thing that “Donnie Virus Denier” seems to have accomplished. Well that and proving that it takes absolutely no talent to be a flaming #**hole!

      Cal Lash , yes there are only two sides to pick from. One can win the lottery but the average voter has no more hope of “winning’ something, anything, by picking either one of what appear to be the most morally bankrupt political organizations on earth, than one does winning the lottery.

      So I will hold my nose and keep my barf bag handy as I vote for the lesser of two evils for the umpteenth time!

      Partisan politicians might want to look into the mirror, one way or the other their days are numbered. Simply ask some of the youth who are soon to become furious when they finally wake up to the mess of hopelessness we have left them.

      Dave one last thing, I vote and as it has turns out I feel I get the right to bitch about what happens in D.C.. now if I only could figure out how to get my moneys worth out of the taxes I pay, because sitting by and watching as my country kills innocents world wide with it is not rewarding in any way.

      Thanks to all at CN

    • David F., N.A.
      May 20, 2020 at 16:14

      Sorry Cal, this is Duopoly: United States Edition. Try reading the official rules on the CIA website. I think there’s a clause in there about entertainers/influencers and Russian hackers.

      Hey robert, America doesn’t negotiate with viruses.

  13. robert e williamson jr
    May 19, 2020 at 16:57

    Have I reminded everyone to please remember not to underestimate the power of large groups of stupid people who are very wealthy? We all have around 6 months to figure out what to do next. Nothing currently seems to be going very well.

    I have no clue what Dems plan to do, I don’t think they know. Nothing new there. Nothing new here either I’m still trying to spread hate and discontent amongst partisan politicians and all who practice the long outdated loyalty to evil doers.

    In a parting shot at loyal Trumpians I wish you this. Please get out there and support your candidate, hug each other, shake hands, do the high five thing. and make sure to cheer him on very loudly. No masks please as they infuriate the “Supreme Ruler” and we can not have “Donnie Virus Denier” upset now can we.

    I guess if Billy P. pardons enough people maybe he could get elected president, on the other hand maybe he will out live his corrupted idea of how justice is to be dispensed or maybe end up in jail himself.

    Thanks Ray, be safe!

    • May 20, 2020 at 13:37

      Bob, i dont gamble.
      And there are many that disagree with supporting the “least evil.” And those that sailed the Adriatic wirh a movie star.
      The Americas were ok until 1450.

  14. Buck Field
    May 19, 2020 at 16:24

    This reads like something written by someone in a cult…

    I don’t understand how a reasonable person can continually claim the declassified transcript documents admissions by the witness of “no evidence”, when the witness repeatedly stated the opposite, and provided his reasoning, official standards of evidence, and explained his inability to discuss topics (including evidence) that were classified…

    p24 re: “We said that we had a high degree of confidence it was the Russian Government. And our analysts that looked at it that had looked at these types of attacks before, many different types of attacks similar to this in different environments, certain tools that were used, certain methods by which they were moving in the environment,and looking at the types of data that was being targeted, that it was consistent with a nation-state adversary and associated with Russian intelligence.”

    p26: Regarding identification of Russia: “look at an aggregate across many different attacks over a long period of time’ years in many cases, and the intelligence that you collect leads you to a certain conclusion. I think that’s the case here.”

    p29: “Everything in my experience, sir, having done this for many,many years, both in the government and in the private sector, says that it was the Russian Government.”

    p32: “32UNCLASSIFIED, COMMITTEE SENSITIVE counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC’ we have indicators that data was exfiltrated. we did not have concrete evidence that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated’

    pages 38-41 describe the criteria used for determining state vs non-state intruders.

    p40: cannot discuss evidence used to identify state actors because it’s classified.

    p59: : “data over the course of many intrusions over many years, and some of the infrastructure that we saw and some of the specific tactics and tools we’ve only seen associated with this particular [Russian] actor, and it goes back MANY YEARS.”

    • May 20, 2020 at 13:23

      To: Buck Field

      Thanks for your comment, Buck. You are not alone in finding it difficult to deal with sworn testimony as opposed to evidence-free “assessment” (whether with high or just medium confidence!).

      With Crowdstrike boss Shawn Henry’s sworn testimony that his cyber-firm has no technical evidence that the intrusion into the DNC was a hack (exfiltration) by Russia or anyone else, we now have sworn EVIDENCE from the horse’s mouth (in addition to our own forensic conclusions). And yet, so many prefer to place confidence in the likes of Brennan, Clapper, and Comey. You may recall that in formal testimony to Congress on May 23, 2017, ex-CIA chief Brennan went so far as to tell Congressman Trey Gowdy, “I don’t do evidence.” Remarkable.

      consortiumnews (dot) com/2019/01/15/russia-gate-evidence-please/

      We VIPS smelled a large rat in the porridge of Russia-gate in late 2016, and the misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” of Jan. 6, 2017 raised the stench still higher. I had an unusual opportunity to brace Congressman Adam Schiff on this, five days after President Trump was inaugurated. Let me ask you to spend the two minutes necessary to view this clip.

      raymcgovern (dot) com/2017/01/31/thats-bogus-ray-mcgovern-pwns-congressman-schiff-on-russian-hacking-fairy-tale/

      Like the now discredited Schiff, far too many folks seem to think it is somehow okay to have “every confidence but no evidence.” VIPS has been demanding evidence for three and a half years. We veteran intelligence officers used to gather and use as much evidence as we possibly could before reaching important conclusions; we did not simply “assess” things and then express some degree of “confidence.” And we confess to having been nonplussed at John Brennan’s congressional testimony of May 23, 2017, when, in reply to a question from Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy about evidence Brennan on Russia-gate, Brennan replied: “I don’t do evidence.” See: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/01/15/russia-gate-evidence-please/

      As Mark Twain is said to have warned, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” Whether he actually said it or not, Russia-gate has proven the adage true — in spades.

      After three and a half years of “Russia-Russia-Russia” in the corporate — and, sad to say, also in many “progressive” — media (CommonDreams, Truthout, Counterpunch, for example), this conditioning will not be easy to reverse.

      Suffice it to add, as my old Russian teacher used to say, “This is nothing to laugh!” Yet I find that humor helps me keep my sanity.

      Here’s how one astute observer with a sense of humor described the situation, in a comment under one of my pieces on Consortium News:

      “… One can write the most thought-out and well documented academic-like essays, articles and reports and the true believers in Russiagate will dismiss it all with a mere flick of their wrist. The mockery and scorn directed towards those of us who knew the score from day one won’t relent. They could die and go to heaven and ask god what really happened during the 2016 election. God would reply to them in no uncertain terms that Putin and the Russians had absolutely nothing to do with anything in ‘16, and they’d all throw up their hands and say, ‘aha! So, God’s in on this too!’ It’s the great lie that won’t die.”

      I’m not so sure it will never die. But, sadly, it is likely to be a while yet, before the proverbial fat lady sings.

      Ray McGovern

    • Ash
      May 20, 2020 at 15:24

      You’re correct that they don’t contain “admissions” per se, as of course the witness doesn’t want to admit that they’ve got nothing. But there is, once again, zero actual evidence. These are yet more assertions that ‘we totally have evidence, trust us’… personally I am perplexed that anyone is still satisfied with that answer years later though.

  15. May 19, 2020 at 15:26

    Ray. We are both 80. Looks like my previous post is being held up. So with all due respect to your contributions, experience and intellect i am concerned that your 80 years currently appear to be influenced by mythological influences.
    Cal Lash, retired cop.
    Retired White Collar Crime investigator.
    Retiring PI.
    Old guy in a tin can in the Great Sonoran Desert.
    What’s left of it.
    In memory of Gary Webb, Robert Parry, Charles Bowden and Edward Abbey.

  16. TimN
    May 19, 2020 at 13:24

    Really sad to see a once-fine journalist, David Cay Johnston, turn so completely into braying Russiagater. That’s a tough one. I heard a couple years ago that the reason FAIR (Fairness and accuracy in reporting) didnt really cover Russiagate’s awful descent into tabloid lying and security state collusion is that one of FAIR’s honchos was a Russiagater.

  17. Rob
    May 19, 2020 at 12:36

    Though I detest Trump and every single person associated with him, I hope that the investigation of the Russiagate hoax will at least set a precedent for holding prior administrations accountable for their crimes and misdeeds. Just think how different the nation and the world might be if Bill Clinton had pursued the perpetrators of Iran-Contra affair or Barack Obama had gone after the Bush II people who started the Iraq War on false pretenses. Presidents and their advisors would think twice or thrice about being judged for their actions after they leave office.

    • ML
      May 19, 2020 at 17:23

      Caitlin Johnstone wrote a recent piece on how the swamp protects its own and that you can’t bring down the swamp, if you’re a swamp creature yourself. I agree with her. No presidential administration is ever going to bring down the hand of justice upon the previous administration(s) for any misdeeds, be they blatant war crimes or the usual grifting and lying and stealing. They all protect each other because ultimately, once you’ve reached that level of ether, their perks are too dear to them and their fear of getting murdered is too real. And so it goes… “It’s a big club and we ain’t in it.”

    • Rob
      May 20, 2020 at 14:15

      @ML You are correct in pointing out why Presidents never hold their predecessors accountable. It would set a dangerous precedent for their own potential accountability. But wouldn’t it be nice if gross illegalities were subject to legal investigations and even prosecution? Of course, it’s a pipe dream.

      It’s the same principle as impeachment. Trump could have been impeached for major acts of genuine corruption and malfeasance, but the hapless Democrats settled on a relatively trivial event that few Americans understood, let alone even cared about. Surely, the Democratic leaders knew that going in, but Nancy Pelosi always opposed an impeachment effort and made sure that it would be a complete dud in every sense of the word. Otherwise, impeachment might have gotten the public truly riled up about matters where the wrongdoings of past Democratic Presidents could have been brought to light. The swamp protected itself.

  18. Rob
    May 19, 2020 at 12:27

    I have an off-topic question: Ray McGovern’s avatar–who is that guy?

    • May 19, 2020 at 17:08

      Thanks for asking, Rob.

      Assuming you are referring to my disheveled state. For explanation, please see:

      raymcgovern (dot) com/2019/05/28/the-julian-assange-beard-jab-movement-a-suggestion/


    • Bart Hansen
      May 19, 2020 at 18:32

      John Brown?

  19. May 19, 2020 at 12:20

    Ray, i am just on my first cup of coffee here in the great Sonoran Desert. At 80 years i am slow and probably fit your description of senility in this piece. So even though i have mucho respect for your experiences and intellect i am going to think hard about your comments here while i read Greg Olear.
    I have to put aside my subjective instincts that Barr, Pompeo and Trump are international terrorists.
    I’ll get back after a breakfast of more coffee and some cactus fruit.

    • Steve
      May 19, 2020 at 23:47

      They are international terrorists. But saying that isn’t the same as proving they are Putin’s puppets. I personally think they are far more dangerous to vastly more people than is Putin. While that was true of their predecessors, Pompeo, for one, is a chortling sociopath, delighted to contemplate who will be the next victim of his sadistic violence. Trump is a hyper-narcissistic bully who demands subservience and dominance. In contrast, Obama was merely a cold, back-stabbing, toadying conman, obsessed with catering to the super-rich. The funny thing about Obama was that after a lifetime of kissing rear ends, he rose to a position where people should have been kissing his rear end and he didn’t know what to do. He was constantly trying to rearrange things so he could toady to McConnell, Dimon, Blankfein, and other rich and powerful men, and win their approval.

  20. Uncle Bob
    May 19, 2020 at 11:24

    “Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT)”
    MICIMATT reminds me Newspeak.

    “Resistance Journalism” , coined by Ben Smith describing Ronan Farrow, is its sibling?

  21. AnneR
    May 19, 2020 at 11:21

    Thank you once again Mr McGovern. I do wish, however, that the Blue Faces on NPR (there are no dissenting views expressed – and I don’t mean from the Red faces of the Janus party but from the willing to admit their over-eagerness to jump on the Russia did it DNC bandwagon) could actually bring themselves to accept what you have written: “the Russiagate narrative has in the past few weeks finally collapsed with the revelation that CrowdStrike had no evidence Russia took anything from the DNC servers and that the FBI set a perjury trap for Gen. Michael Flynn.”

    No chance, apparently.

    Every news item or whatever that raises the Flynn case does NOT reveal to its audience the fact that evidence has now been made available which demonstrates clearly that the FBI (under orders) set out to entrap Flynn and used extortionist methods to do so. No. Not a bloody word about this. Instead, in true Orwellian-Huxleyan style, every recent mention thus far has reiterated and underlined verbally that Flynn “Lied to the FBI” about his chats with the Russian Ambassador. Nor has there been (at any point since this whole farrago) any mention of the fact that such chats are perfectly *legal* and *normal* for incoming admins etc. (But then NPR *never* admits to being a publicly – as in government via taxpayers – funded, corporate-capitalist-imperialist foundation funded institution. Just as the BBC never admits to being a state funded media – via taxpayers’ mandatory license fees.)

    The Blue Face supporters (Dem face of the Janus party) cannot let go of Russiagate. And I truly don’t think age is the major factor although they are, perhaps, the most likely to be (like HRC – but she was a Goldwater Girl) Cold War, anti-USSR folks.

    • May 20, 2020 at 00:28

      It is really sad that AnneR is right, RussianGate warrior being “Dem face of the Janus party”. In Rome, one face of Janus was for war, and the other, for peace. As the modern time strive for consistency, with have a deity with two war faces.

    • Dianne Foster
      May 20, 2020 at 02:57

      These are all great comments. I, too, have a problem with confronting the phony “Russiagate” conspiracy theory, and that Obama was a shill for Wall Street, for fear of being thrown into the duopoly of pro-Trumpies. In truth, I expended more time and energy on fighting the neoliberals and neocons of the Obama years than previously the Bush years, (primarily in Occupy, and various other lefty activist groups like Wa Fair Trade Coalition), and exhausted myself into a leukemia diagnosis fighting the TPP. Now post-transplant, I don’t see much optimism for the future without the Bernie campaign. Since my state will not vote for Trump, I plan to write-in Bernie’s name in protest of the oligarchy. BTW, I’m 73, and tired of voting for the “lesser of 2 evils.”

  22. anonymous
    May 19, 2020 at 10:37

    Somebody forgot to tell the NYT, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC … ?

    Corporate media is the propaganda arm of the deep state.

    “There is no deep state” — former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, NEWSWEEK 5-30-18

  23. Nathan Mulcahy
    May 19, 2020 at 09:15

    Great commentary. In my list of once admired journalists who have fallen prey to an apparently highly contagious disease belongs James Risen. In his “prime age” he did some excellent reporting on NSA and CIA. Several years ago, I followed a debate between him and Greenwald in Intercept on Russiagate. Greenwald, as usual, tore everything about Russiagate to shred. Risen is only 65.

    Of course it is not only elderly American journalists, but also a huge number of Americans who have been infected with this “disease”. There is no sense arguing with them, just like there was no sense in arguing with them back in 2008 that Obama was not a peace president.

    The other interesting thing is the use of “conspiracy theory” as a weapon to shut up any questioning about any narrative by the establishment… while using a real conspiracy to fool the people. Not sure what to expect about the future of this country – the one that God supposedly has blessed.

    • Where's my money honey
      May 19, 2020 at 14:36

      I agree about “conspiracy theory”. But have you seen Greenwald’s latest? He abuses the term dozens of times in it.

      I’ve been resisting the watering down of the term and rendering it into meaninglessness for years, but maybe I’ll just give up and completely ignore/skip it. It’s too frustrating to deal with, and it’s too late to save. So, we may need a new term for the Tuskegee Experiments, COINTELPRO, and other true conspiracies (and those who are investigating the possibility of those types of things, other than the pejorative “conspiracy theorists”)

      theintercept (dot) com/2020/05/18/ben-smiths-nyt-critique-of-ronan-farrow-describes-a-toxic-corrosive-and-still-vibrant-trump-era-pathology-resistance-journalism/

  24. Skip Scott
    May 19, 2020 at 08:21

    Unfortunately RussiaGate has only collapsed for people who pay attention. Robert Parry’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” cares nothing about truth or evidence. All that is required is VOLUME and repetition.

    I would like to know why Ray has such confidence in Bill Barr. Given his obvious “caving” on the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide”, as well as previous services to the “Deep State”, I think having trust in Barr to take this fight to the likes of Brennan, Clapper, and Comey is a highly questionable position. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Someone else
      May 19, 2020 at 11:53

      Maybe Ray has a beautiful memory of Barr’s expertise in having Poppy Bush pardon all the would be Iran-Contra felons to save Poppy’s own beautiful backside on Christmas 1992. Ding dong merrily on high!

    • jdd
      May 19, 2020 at 12:01

      Actually, it should never have happened at all. Had not then CIA Director Pompeo (who may be deeply implicated in the imprisonment of Julian Assange) hidden his interview provided with former NSA top analyst Bill Binney in October 2017, and Adam Schiff not suppressed the testimony of Crowdstrike’s Sean Henry later that year, the myth of “Russian hacking” would have been exposed long ago.

    • May 19, 2020 at 16:16

      Thanks, Skip. A legitimate question.

      It’s not so much about “confidence in Bill Barr.” It is the various dynamics now in play. The more Barr says about what happened — I think demonstrably happened — and the more he alludes to the abundant evidence that U.S. Attorney John Durham is collecting, the more I am inclined to think he MAY even follow through and let Durham do his job. Trump, too, is way out in front, naming names and speaking of “crimes”. Durham, sadly, will “follow orders”, as he did before when Obama chickened out and insisted that those demonstrably doing torture for the CIA be let off.

      Will Trump chicken out a la Obama? This is the big unknown. Ex-Acting Drector of the CIA John McLaughlin blurted out publicly (last November) “Thank God for the Deep State” (and, soto voce, its power to rein in presidents who have weird ideas like “getting along” with Russia and pulling troops out of foreign quagmires and, my God!, even criticizing the performance of intelligence).

      Chuck Schumer publicly warned Trump two weeks before he was inaugurated that the intelligence community has “six ways to Sunday” to get you if you cross it. I believe Trump thinks about that — and specifically about what happened to JFK when he took concrete steps to “get along” with Russia and pull troops out of another big quagmire. Trump doesn’t read? Well, maybe someone “read him out of a book”, as we used to say in the Bronx.

      I believe Trump is a coward; but Barr perhaps less so, at least at this stage of his life. In any event, I believe Barr will do what the president tells him to do. So, in my view, the odds seem somewhat less than even that Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, and other obvious miscreants will be indicted and somehow held to account. But given the political and health chaos in store for us over the next 6 months, anything seems possible. I still think Barr should obtain and hold onto the passports of the above-mentioned Security State gentlemen. In my view, they are a flight risk.

      For what worth,


    • May 20, 2020 at 21:07


      You write that you “would like to know why Ray has such confidence in Bill Barr. … I think having trust in Barr to take this fight to the likes of Brennan, Clapper, and Comey is a highly questionable position. I hope I’m wrong.

      I don’t think it’s a matter of trust in Barr. That would be a huge mistake. And the outcome will depend on Trump, not Barr. And Trump’s timidity before the Security State is all to clear. He has thrown Devin Nunes under the bus (whatever happened to those eight criminal referrals Nunes prepared in April 2019, for example?). (consortiumnews (dot) com/2019/04/09/ray-mcgovern-unaccountable-media-faced-with-dilemma-in-next-phase-of-deep-state-gate/)

      There is no reason to rule out Trump’s doing the same to Barr and Durham, rather than dare to indict senior-level miscreants like the trio of Comey/Brennan/Clapper. If I were a betting man, I would give the odds to the probability that Trump will chicken out, as he has done so many times in the past. When push comes to shove within the next month or two, Barr and Durham can be expected to do what the up-until-now-cowardly Trump tells them to do. And yet there is so much uncertainty as the election approaches and the virus persists.

      And at the same time one has to acknowledge that both Barr and Trump have been unusually outspoken, and by most accounts Durham has been silently tenacious. On Monday Barr put it this way: “What happened to the President in the 2016 election and throughout the first two years of his administration was abhorrent … a grave injustice and it was unprecedented in American history. … The law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of this country were involved in advancing a false and utterly baseless Russian collusion narrative against the president.”

      And the president has been naming names. And more and more secrets are coming to light.

      People ask me: How in god’s name did the top intelligence and law enforcement officials of our country think they could get away with their extracurricular activities against Trump? The answer, in my view is simple: Hillary was a shoo-in, remember? If they took liberties with the Constitution and the law, they “knew” they would not be caught; they fully expected to be richly rewarded, not indicted.

      As former FBI director Comey put it in his ironically titled book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership” — he was operating in an environment “where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump.” (consortiumnews (dot) com/2018/07/13/ray-mcgovern-strzok-hoisted-on-his-own-petard/ )

      Indeed, they were so confident of that, that they did not think they needed to take rudimentary measures to hide their tracks. (Presumably, that has been a big help to U.S. Attorney John Durham.) But She Didn’t Win. I believe that part of the motivation behind the post-election activities of the trio was/is to try to divert attention and retroactively to hide tracks already on the electronic or paper record.

      In the end, it has to do with which side will win: the Security State, or the Constitution, which my colleagues and I swore to support and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. We spent our government careers defending against the former; we never expected to see our duty as including defense against domestic enemies of the Constitution, but our oath makes no distinction between the two. And our oath has no expiration date.

      VIPS has been at it for more than 18 years now. People often ask us how it can be that we “don’t get tired.” We didn’t swear to support and defend the Constitution until we got tired.

      Ray McGovern

  25. John R
    May 19, 2020 at 08:11

    I would like to forward this piece to a number of my D-friends but I will not because – 1 ) they get angry with me and call me a tRUMP supporter and 2 ) they wouldn’t be open to it or even read it.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      May 19, 2020 at 09:20

      I don’t want to count how many friends I have lost since 2008 for pointing out Obama’s and the Dems’ true nature. So, on the one hand, I want to suggest that you don’t. But on the other hand, if friendship is about emotional and intellectual compatibility, then are they really friends?

    • Homer Jay
      May 22, 2020 at 21:46

      Bingo. Both sides have been so completely brainwashed by their chosen form of dogma, the truth has become identifiable only by whether or not it supports their respective political party. And now for president we have the “choice” between 2 sex offenders with Dimentia. And if Biden doesn’t win it will be our fault for not voting for him, just as in 2016. It won’t be the DNCs, for offering up another stooge of the “MICIMATT” —really like this one Ray

  26. Dictynna
    May 19, 2020 at 06:49

    I’ve always thought that when you wrong someone, you give them power over you. Several people are about to find out what it means to be in the power of someone like Trump.

  27. Kathy Woods
    May 19, 2020 at 04:51

    I knew what the response to the most recent revelations was going to be and I dreaded it. The more conclusive the evidence, the more desperately they cling to the lie. Evidence will not persuade them because their belief is not evidence based. For various reasons they wanted to believe it and made a leap of faith. Evidence will not fell faith, but it can trigger a painful flare up of cognitive dissonance. They either have to admit that all the op-Ed’s and analysis and arguments are based on a faulty premise, or they double diwn. They always double down which makes doubling down the next time more imperative and rational thought more toxic to them. That’s why we have to suffer through their increasingk insane, convoluted thinking as this incredibly destructive, unbelievably silly narrative crumbles.

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