TrumpRussia: What do we know, when did we know it?


“What did the president know and when did he know it?”

Most people recognize this famous question even if they don’t know it came from  Howard Baker, a Senate Republican and a close friend to then President Richard  Nixon.

What’s forgotten today is Baker thought he was protecting Nixon with that line. He was attempting to wall off the president from the actions of aides who might have done something wrong.

“He evidently meant to exculpate Nixon from prior knowledge of the break-in,” wrote historian Fred Emery in his book “Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard Nixon.”

But Dean turned this question around. Among other things, he charged that Nixon had been involved in discussions about clemency for those who had carried out and organized the break-ins, as well as talks about payoffs. Dean said the president had continued these activities even after he, as White House counsel, had warned his boss of a “cancer” on the presidency.

Nixon had already denied all these things. It was his word against Dean’s. In that standoff the president might well have won the benefit of the doubt from the Senate and the US people.

Then in early July, another Nixon aide revealed to the panel the existence of the White House tapes. A record existed that could prove whether Nixon or Dean was right.

At that point, Baker continued to press, not for Nixon’s advantage, but for the truth. His careful and detailed questioning won him widespread national attention and praise.

The Christian Science Monitor

In the real world an overwhelming amount of verified public evidence suggests the President and all of his men are guilty of conspiring to subvert the rule of law and polls show a majority of Americans believe that Trump has committed a crime.

Consider this January 26, 2018 statement from Dianne Feinstein in which she observes that Trump doesn’t respect the rule of law or the Constitution.

Screenshot of a statement from Dianne Feinstein in which she observes that trump doesn't respect the Constitution or the rule of law.
It’s unfortunate that this president doesn’t respect the Constitution or the rule of law.

Trump’s disdain for the law is such a given it’s as if Feinstein is dishing a bad choice of tie: “…too bad trump needs to have what looks like a long red tongue dangling between his legs. ”

It may be comforting to compare TrumpRussia to Watergate but the two scandals are not alike; Watergate was an attempt to rig an election by stealing documents and illegally recording the DNC; TrumpRussia is an ongoing conspiracy to subvert the government of the United States of America.

If the Watergate Scandal was a cancer on the Presidency, TrumpRussia is a flesh-eating bacteria.

Russian Propaganda is gaslighting; a form of psychological abuse designed to make you doubt what you know.

This timeline covers stories that broke before election day 2016.

So, what do we know about Trump and TrumpRussia?

We knew as early as 2014 that Putin was financing an army of trained propagandists: The Kremlin’s  Troll Army.

Screenshot of Russian propaganda portraying Obama as weak and effete
August 12, 2014 example of Putin’s trolling in an Atlantic Article about Kremlin Trolls


We knew Putin’s army is trained and vicious:

‘Trolling covers a multitude of sins but a particularly nasty strain has emerged in the midst of the armed conflict in Ukraine, which infests comment threads on the Guardian and elsewhere, despite the best efforts of moderators. Readers and reporters alike are concerned that these are from those paid to troll, and to denigrate in abusive terms anyone criticizing Russia or President Vladimir Putin.”

Uk Guardian

Screenshot of the UK Guardian editors note on Pro-Kremlin Trolls
…a particularly nasty strain (of trolling) has emerged in the midst of the armed conflict in Ukraine, which infests comment threads on the Guardian and elsewhere, despite the best efforts of moderators

 

Every day at the Internet Research Agency was essentially the same, Savchuk told me. The first thing employees did upon arriving at their desks was to switch on an Internet proxy service, which hid their I.P. addresses from the places they posted; those digital addresses can sometimes be used to reveal the real identity of the poster. Savchuk would be given a list of the opinions she was responsible for promulgating that day. Workers received a constant stream of “technical tasks” — point-by-point exegeses of the themes they were to address, all pegged to the latest news. Ukraine was always a major topic, because of the civil war there between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian Army; Savchuk and her co-workers would post comments that disparaged the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, and highlighted Ukrainian Army atrocities. Russian domestic affairs were also a major topic. Last year, after a financial crisis hit Russia and the ruble collapsed, the professional trolls left optimistic posts about the pace of recovery. Savchuk also says that in March, after the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was murdered, she and her entire team were moved to the department that left comments on the websites of Russian news outlets and ordered to suggest that the opposition itself had set up the murder.  The New York Times, The Agency

 

We knew as early as June 2016 that Putin was using this army of paid propagandists to support Trump’s run for President.

 

June 2016 Politico Graphic of Putin and Trump
We knew in June 2016 that Putin was backing Trump’s run.

 

In August of 2016 we learned that Trump was being sued for fraud:

 

an August 2016 news item reporting that a Judge found evidence to let the lawsuit against Trump University to proceed.
August 2, 2016 Judge Allows suit against Trump University

 

August 2016 we learned that Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was under investigation for his activities in the Ukraine

 

Screenshot of an August 2016 news item reporting that Manafort is under FBI investigation
August 20, 2016 Feds investigate Manafort

“I want to know what money he got from a pro-Russian organization in the Ukraine,” Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday.

 


In August of 2016 Democratic Senator Harry Reid was so concerned about Russian election tampering he called for an FBI investigation:

 

Screenshot of a News item Dated August 29, 2016, Senator Harry Reid cites evidence of Russian Tampering,
August 29, 2016, Senator Harry Reid cites evidence of Russian Tampering,


In a letter to the F.B.I. Director, James B. Comey Jr., Mr. Reid wrote that the threat of Russian interference “is more extensive than is widely known and may include the intent to falsify official election results.” Recent classified briefings from senior intelligence officials, Mr. Reid said in an interview, have left him fearful that President Vladimir V. Putin’s “goal is tampering with this election.”  The New York Times

In that letter to FBI Director James Comey we learn that former Director of Central Intelligence, Michael Morell viewed Trump as an unwitting agent of Russia and the Kremlin:

Screenshot of August 29, 2016 - Letter from Harry Reid to FBI- regarding Russian Election Tampering
August 29, 2016 – Letter from Harry Reid to FBI- regarding Russian Election Tampering

On October 3, 2016 we hear reports that Putin is trying to compromise Trump:

Screenshot of an excerpt from a letter to Congress from Harry Reid.
October 3, 2016, we learned the FBI was informed that Putin is trying to compromise Trump.

This material is known as the Steele Dossier.

We’ve known since January of 2017 that Christopher Steele’s was first hired by Republicans for opposition research into Trump and later by the Democrats.

This was widely reported.

Fusion GPS had been hired by Republican opponents of Mr Trump in September 2015. In June 2016, Mr Steele came on the team. He was, and continues to be, highly regarded in the intelligence world.

In July, Mr Trump won the Republican nomination and the Democrats became new employers of Mr Steele and Fusion GPS. In the same month, Mr Steele produced a memo, which went to the FBI, stating that Mr Trump’s campaign team had agreed to a Russian request to dilute attention on Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.

Four days later, Mr Trump stated that he would recognise Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Officials involved in his campaign had already asked the Republican party’s election platform to remove a pledge for military assistance to the Ukrainian government against separatist rebels in the east of the country.

Mr Steele claimed that the Trump campaign was taking this path because it was aware that the Russians were hacking Democratic Party emails. No evidence of this has been made public, but the same day that Mr Trump spoke about Crimea he called on the Kremlin to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.  The UK Independent

Screenshot of a story in the Hill, October 13, 2016 report of regarding information connecting the Trump campaign to Moscow
October 13, 2016 report of regarding information connecting the Trump campaign to Moscow

October 12, CNN reports that Federal Law Enforcement officials have reason to
believe Florida’s voting machines were hacked by Russia:

Screenshot of CNN Report that American Law Enforcement think Russia hacked Florida's voting machines
CNN Report that American Law Enforcement think Russia hacked Florida’s voting machines

October 3rd The Access Hollywood Tape is released:

October 12, reports surface that a woman who claims Trump raped her when
she was 13 has a court date:

screenshot of the court date set for a woman who claims she was 13 when trump raped her
On October 12 we learned that a court date was set for a woman who claims Trump raped her when she was 13.

A judge has ordered a status conference hearing into a lawsuit submitted by a woman who claims Donald Trump raped her when she was 13-years-old in 1994.

Federal Judge Ronnie Abrams has ordered the hearing for 16 December in a New York court. She has asked for both sides to provide information to assist the Court in advancing the case to settlement or trial. The Independent

screenshot of UK Guardian Story on Rape charges from a woman who claims she was 13 when Trump raped her.
UK Guardian Story on Rape charges from a woman who claims she was 13 when Trump raped her.

November 09, Putin celebrates Trump’s ‘win’.

Screenshot of NYT article regarding celebrations in Moscow
November 9th, Moscow celebrates Trump’s victory over Clinton

This timeline does not include everything that we knew prior to the night of the
election but all of it is public information and every bit of it can be cross checked across multiple media outlets.

I also chose to use the British press to illustrate that these were widely reported stories.

Don’t let Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump play gaslight with you.

The only conspiracy is the one we can see with our own eyes.

Rob Goldstein 2018

 

 

15 tip-offs that it’s Russian Propaganda

I posted this checklist as the close of,  ‘If you based your vote on Russian Facebook ads you were tricked‘ but decided to post it as an Info-graphic for
people to download and share.

This check-list comes from the Ukraine so the translation into English is a
little shaky. The point is Trump/Putin are pulling the same stunts in the
United States.

Screen shot of 15 points of Russian Propaganda from Euromaidan Press (EP)
15 points of Russian Propaganda from Euromaidan Press (EP)

The only way to stop Putin’s Cyber Attacks is to take his weapon away
from him. We can that, in part, by saying no to his racist appeals and
cynical distortions of the truth.

A russian facebook ad targeting immigrants
One of 470 sites set up by a Russian troll farm –Facebook ads from Russia

Russian information warfare is a psychological attack based on decades
of advanced Soviet Era research into human behavior. 

Peter Pomerantsev, the author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia” says,Moscow’s propaganda works because it breaks down the distinctions between fact and fiction and provides emotionally satisfying narratives regardless of their truthfulness.”

Screenshot of a russian facebook ad blaiming immigrants for American poverty
Russia’s stories are more emotional and the stories are more exciting even if we know they’re not true.

“The Kremlin narrative,” says Pomerantsev, “is ‘there is no truth out there, and you’ll never find it; but go with us because our emotional content is more vital.”

That promotes cynicism and “cynicism breaks down critical thinking” because at its root is something quite medieval and emotional – a world of myths and storytelling.”

“When you don’t believe in facts,” Pomerantsev concludes, “you are just left with that.”

from Euromaidan Press (EP)

Russian Propaganda Works by confusing fact with fiction

Please download and share the graphic.

Thanks,

Rob Goldstein

If you based your vote on Russian Facebook ads you were tricked

I finally had a long hard look at Russia’s 2016 Facebook ads.

The Vladster had a Facebook Page for everyone.

Were you a Blacktivist? Vlad was there with a false story
to convince you your government
has always hated you:

A Russian Facebook that makes a false connection between the persistance of the KKK and the demise of the Black Panthers
A Russian Facebook Ad that falsely claims the Black Panthers were founded to fight the KKK

Actually, the Black Panther’s formed as an armed citizens’ patrol to monitor the behavior of officers of the Oakland Police Department and challenge police brutality in Oakland, California. The Justice Department was formed to fight the KKK.

Are you LGBTQ? Vlad wants you to think of Bernie Sanders as a gay rights
superhero (especially ‘Berniacs’ who didn’t know Clinton and Sanders held
the same positions on Gay Rights):

A russian facebook ad that depicts Bernie Sanders as a gay superhero
Vlad says color me Bernie!

Or maybe you’re concerned about Police Brutality and the killings of
unarmed African-Americans:

 

A russian facebook page purporting to be against police Brutality
A Russian Facebook Page against police brutality

Perhaps you wondered if Black Lives Matter was a problem:

A Russian Facebook ad that blames Black Lives Matter for Policeman's death
Did you wonder if ‘Black Lives Matter’ was the problem?

Or maybe you were a ‘Woke Black’ willing to think the ‘Democrat welfare
state’ keeps Black People down:

 

A Russian Facebook page called 'Woke Blacks"
A Russian Facebook Page for ‘Woke Blacks’

If you were a white supremacist who kept his racist shit to himself, Vladdy
was there to set you free, with this:

A Russian Facebook ad for Southern Heritage
Or maybe you were a White Racist who kept it to himself.

And this:

A 2016 Facebook Ad defaming Latino Immigrants
A hypothetical Immigrant crossed our border to have a hypothetical baby that deprives a hypothetical vet of his or her benefits

And this:

A Russian Facebook ad attacking Muslim Women: ban the Buurka
A Russian Facebook ad attacking Muslims

And these:

A Russian Facebook Ad defaming Liberals
A Russian Facebook ad defaming liberals and Mexicans.
A russian Facebook ad that creates a false dichotomy between citizens and Refugees
Hypothetical Citizens before Hypothetical refugees

And if you happen to hate Trump, Vladdy has a Facebook page for you, too!

A 'Not my President anti-Trump Facebook page
A Russian anti-Trump Facebook Page.

Information is your best defense against Russian bullshit.

Animated Gif that says 'All the Lies and All the Bullshit
found on GIPHY

If you see one or more of the following 15 points in a news story, or hear them used by a public figure be suspicious:

  • A black and white division of the world into “ours” and the “alien” other;
  • Epithets that imply more than they describe;
  • Constant assertions that those supporting Putin or Trump are more numerous and united.  (The results of manipulated and flawed polls are often used to support such assertions);
  • Empty declarations that mean nothing but seem to promise or
    prove everything;
  • Playing games with cause and effect, often reversing their true order;
  • Making false accusations but not providing proof;
  • A vicious circle or tautology where the second part of an
    assertion is simply a repetition of the first;
  • Confusing the part with the whole by focusing on only one part
    of something such as liberals within the opposition;
  • Creating false dilemmas that don’t exist;
  • Careful preparation of headlines which are the only thing
    most people pay attention to;
  • Citations to experts, often false and even more often out of context;
  • Claiming all media reports when only one media outlet does;
  • Using weasel words like “so-called” or “it would appear” to give an appearance of objectivity;
  • Outright falsification; and
  • Conspiracy theories and suggestion of hidden motives.

The 15 Point Propaganda Check List is from Euromaidan Press

Russian Facebook ads found at the NYT and Google Search