Thursday, July 19, 2018

Epiphany Day

"President-elect" Donald J. Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, the day he was briefed on cyberattacks designed to sway the 2016 American election.CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times
(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election." - The "failing" New York Times' lede, July 19, 2018
Looks as if there was a second meeting at Trump Tower that undermined his so-called "presidency". It took place on January 6th, 2017, appropriately Epiphany Day, two weeks before the inauguration. Except, in direct contravention to the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June the previous year, this one was attended by American intelligence officials.
     Trump was briefed that day by "John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director; James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence; and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and the commander of United States Cyber Command." Also present was then FBI Director James Comey, who would be fired by Trump four months and three days later over the Russia probe, a firing that automatically triggered the Mueller special counsel investigation.
     It brings to mind the August 6th 2001 intelligence briefing given to Bush about the likelihood of Osama bin Laden striking the US with our own planes and Bush dismissively saying afterwards, "Alright, you've covered your ass." It was even unambiguously entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." Except in the Trump Tower meeting between Trump and the heads of our most powerful intelligence agencies, the news was in the past tense. "Putin Was Determined to Strike in the USA and Had."
     If they had any balls, they would have told Trump to his face that the election was a sham and that he was not really the president-elect. And why Barack Obama had not immediately declassified this briefing in the waning hours of his administration so the American people could be warned that a traitor and a fraud was about to supplant him in the White House will or should be debated at a later date (although dependable right wing saw horse Mitch McConnell had something to do with that.). It would or should go down in history as Obama's last and worst capitulation out of countless ones to the right wing.
     Ironically, Donald Trump himself had criticized the 44th president for not doing more to stop him and his Russian employers and puppet masters in the Kremlin.
     Sitting atop this information for over a year and a half and waging a one man propaganda program during that time, Trump claiming the Russia probe was a "witch hunt" would be a political disaster even were the Russian cyberattacks unsuccessful. But the attacks were successful and persuaded public opinion in the 11th hour of the campaign, which makes this Watergate-on-steroids exponentially more devastating to this illegitimate administration and to the entire Republican Party within the last four months of a crucial midterm. Felix Sater, aka Mr. Stabby Face, the Russian mobster, was even bragging about his so-called role in getting Trump elected a full year before the election. (Trump later denied even having met Sater despite a vast plethora of photographs of Trump with Sater.)

     However, it would be fallacious to assume that Trump knew nothing of these cyberattacks and the years-long Russian determination and involvement to put this real-life Manchurian Candidate in the White House to do their bidding. Trump knew all along what Russia was doing on his behalf because the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 happened in TRUMP TOWER and was attended by his son (who'd written Daddy an email 20 minutes later telling him how it went), his son in law Jared Kushner and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Two weeks before the inauguration? No. #Trumpknew.
     So, how does this involve the entire Republican Party aside from Mitch McConnell refusing to allow Obama to warn the American people through bipartisan consensus about the Russian hacks? To answer that, we'll have to look at

The Real Red Sparrow
In 2013, a novelist and CIA insider named Jason Matthews published the first part of the Red Sparrow trilogy. It wallowed in obscurity for a few years until getting a major shot in the arm when the Jennifer Lawrence movie Red Sparrow came out last year. The Sparrow program indoctrinated both men and women to act as espionage agents and trained to infiltrate their targets even to the point of letting their bodies be used for sex.
     Stop me if this is starting to sound familiar.
     Butina was arrested by the FBI last Sunday, the day Trump arrived in Helsinki to get his marching orders from Putin. Last Wednesday at a bail hearing, Butina was not allowed to go free and the judge decided (despite two Russian diplomatic officials being allowed into the hearing) she was too much of a flight risk to release. Her lease expires at the end of this month and the FBI noted she had boxes
already packed in her apartment. That plus, well, she is a Russian secret agent who was seen talking to her handler. The US does not have an extradition treaty with Russia and if she'd been released for even a second, she would've been whisked into a diplomatic car and driven out of the country.
     So, who is this real-life Red Sparrow and why is she so important?
     Well, let's start with the ubiquitous Butina funneling $30,000,000 through the National Rifle Association with the aid of another Russian agent. Even with money being as fungible as it is, since the NRA spent $10,000,000 by themselves getting Donald Trump "elected", I'll give you a wild guess where the lion's share of that loot came from. Butina also met with Donald Trump Jr at an NRA function and was even allowed to ask Trump himself a question about Russian sanctions.
     And that's just the tip of the iceberg, comrades.
     She's also had her picture taken with Rick Santorum (R-Froth), Scott Walker and a whole host of right wing luminaries. She was arrogant enough to take a selfie of herself at the inauguration two weeks after Trump was briefed about Russia's involvement and sent it to a friend. Then she was spotted at not just one but two prayer breakfasts, both attended by Trump. Essentially, Maria Butina is the Zelig or Forrest Gump of the Republican Party. And, as is often the case, when a government gets toppled, it's because of a woman.
     The National Prayer Breakfast that essentially toppled the wall that should be separating church and state starting in 1953 is, as everyone in the Beltway knows, a great back door channel for Russian nationals and others who wish to circumvent official State Department channels to meet with American power brokers, politicians and Kingmakers. Butina was allowed to worm her way into two of them, plus the inauguration, speak to Trump and meet with his oldest son and namesake. And all this time, she was communicating her findings with the Russian FSB. Basically, she's the linchpin that should, if there's a benevolent God overseeing all this, bring down the entire Republican Party, considering her ubiquity, lovingly documented by Moms Demand's Shannon Watts, who deserves a Pulitzer for documenting Butina at so many right wing events.
     And that brings us to Michael McFaul.

Pride Goeth Before McFaul
 “What he did, is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.” - Donald Trump in Helsinki, July 16, 2018
Michael McFaul had been out of the public eye ever since he quit his last job and we could be forgiven for forgetting who he is and what he'd done for his country and human rights in general. All that changed today when it was revealed that one of the things discussed between Putin and Trump during those two secret hours in Helsinki was Michael McFaul.
     As our man in Moscow during the later Obama years, McFaul had made it his mission to publicly criticize Putin's never ending human rights abuses. He was attacked by the Russian state press, who'd called him "Putin's personal enemy." Because you see, one of the reasons why Trump wanted to talk to Putin with just two interpreters present during this generic summit was so he could negotiate a way for Putin's people to interrogate McFaul in exchange for Mueller's people going to Moscow to interrogate the 12 Russian military agents named in the indictments announced by Rod Rosenstein when Trump was in Windsor.
     It cannot be stressed enough how brazenly treasonous this is on the part of a United States President to even entertain for a nanosecond handing over a former US asset in our diplomatic corps to agents of a foreign enemy. Yet that is what Trump is doing right now with his closest aides. If they're worth their weight in borscht, they would be telling Trump that if he hands over a former US diplomatic official who'd enjoyed diplomatic immunity while in Moscow, it would be the final nail in his political coffin.
     In fact, the US Senate was reduced to planning to hold a vote today on a non-binding resolution warning Trump not to hand over McFaul. Doing so would not only be an act of treason that would be automatic grounds for impeachment but it would set a false equivalence between Russian interference in our electoral process and Putin nursing a grudge against an American critic of his human rights abuses.
     Also, let us not forget how and why the Magnitsky Act came into being in 2012. In fact, Putin was brazenly arrogant enough to bring up Bill Browder, a US-born British investor who basically had all his holdings in Russia stolen by one Vlad Putin. Investigating this, Browder hired Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian attorney who was then subsequently arrested by the Interior Ministry (police) and who later mysteriously got a case of the deads while still in Russian police custody.
     We have Browder to thank for lobbying Congress to draft and pass the Magnitsky Act, a raft of sanctions that would be levied against Russia for committing the same human rights abuses of which McFaul had been so vocal. And Donald Trump is seriously considering handing this man over to Russian agents more dangerous than even Maria Butina ever was. And the United States Senate now is forced to vote on a resolution warning Trump not to do that.
     This is the State of the Union... of the Post Soviet Socialist Republic. Let this be your surfboard in the Blue Tsunami this November, people.

(Addendum: 98 angry Democrats just voted against Trump handing over McFaul to the Russians.)


At July 19, 2018 at 5:38 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

I'm keeping my beer chilled on ice for The Big Moment- cause the hangover the following day will be called... Pence.


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