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Great Vocal Majority Podcast Volume 58: The Case Against Donald Trump?
7 days ago
I woke up this morning and came across an article by Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei on the Axios website called, "The Public Case against Trump." I figured I had better read it because if there is a public case against this President, I'd like to know what it is. I was immediately disappointed. The very first sentence in the article makes a false claim. It says, "One thing is true of all major political scandals: What we know in the moment is but a tiny, obscured, partial view of the full story later revealed by investigators." I thought to myself, "is there even one case where that was true?" The authors claim it has been true "of all major political scandals." Yet, when I think back to the mother of all political scandals, Watergate, the American public knew pretty early on that President Nixon was involved. And unlike Watergate, where an office was burglarized and people were arrested, the investigators of Trump and Russia aren't even investigating a crime. They are investigating hoping to find one. There is nothing to compare that to in previous political scandals. So, right from the jump, Allen and Vandehei want their readers to think all political scandals end in a crescendo of unanticipated revelations. To me, it sounds like the boys have watched way too many movies. But I digress. I soldiered on to the meat and potatoes of their "case". Allen and Vandehei go through a list of "knowns" they believe should have already ended the Trump Presidency. It's worth addressing each one, because it reveals something really disturbing: Allen and Vandehei are desperately attempting to keep the Russian collusion fantasy alive when they know there's nothing there. The only other alternative is even more disturbing: that both men believe this set of "knowns" are sufficient grounds upon which to end a Presidency and reverse the results of an election. 1ST KNOWN: "We know Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chair, has been indicted on 32 counts, including conspiracy and money laundering. We know he made millions off shady Russians and changed the Republican platform to the benefit of Russia." Allen and Vandehei fail to point out that the charges against Manafort had nothing at all to do with Russian collusion. They are related to bank and tax fraud charges two year before Manafort's involvement with the Trump campaign. Incidentally, Manafort was only involved with the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 and the NY Times admitted that the charges against Manafort were simply an effort by the Mueller team to pressure him. In fact, the Mueller team has been reprimanded by the trial judge publicly for using strong armed tactics. 2ND KNOWN: "We know that the U.S. intelligence community concluded, in a report released in January 2017, that Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” to “denigrate” Hillary Clinton and with “a clear preference for ... Trump.”" Allen and Vandehei fail to point out key facts here, as well. For months, Democrats and their allies in the media like Allen and Vandehei, were declaring "all 17 intel agencies agreed about Russian interference." This was an intentional falsehood designed to give the public the impression that the full weight of the US intelligence establishment agreed, when 13 agencies rendered no opinion and had no interest in weighing in. It was simply a way to make the case sound more overwhelming than it was. Furthermore, while it was true that Putin and Russia worked to denigrate Clinton, it was not necessarily to benefit Trump. That canard was perpetrated by James Comey in Congressional testimony who said he saw no other motivation. But simple logic would tell you that the Russians, like everyone else, expected Clinton to win the election and their only motivation was to de-legitimize her. We have evidence this is true, because immediately after Trump won the election, the Russians organized a protest against his victory in New York City. So, the preference for Trump by Putin is belied by the fact that his people organized that protest. 3RD KNOWN: "We know that in May 2016, Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat Russia had political dirt on Hillary. "About three weeks earlier," according to the N.Y. Times, "Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton."" These were barroom conversations, not evidence of collusion. It would be wise at this point to remember that Hillary Clinton operated a mail server that was so lacking in security, it wasn't even up to date with the regular security patches issued by Microsoft. And while official Washington has denied there being any evidence her email server was hacked by a foreign power, a number of former government officials have come forward, on the record to state that it is virtually impossible to think Clinton's server wasn't hacked because foreign intel agencies continuously attempt to hack the communications of our top officials. Having an unsecured server isn't even a challenge for government grade hackers. In other words, whatever was said betwee Papadopoulos and a Russian professor in London, is really almost meaningless because anyone who wanted Clinton's emails, had them. 4TH & 5TH KNOWN: "We know that in June 2016, Trump’s closest aides and family members met at Trump Tower with a shady group of Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary. The meeting was billed as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."" "We know the Russian lawyer who helped set it up concealed her close ties to Putin government." This meeting was a big nothing. Rather than being evidence of collusion, it's actually evidence that there was no collusion. Because if there was collusion, the meeting would not have been abruptly ended. The Russian attorney with ties to Putin would have come with information on Clinton pointing to collusion. Yet, she didn't. Some will say that Trump's son and son in law attended hoping to get information on Clinton, but even if that is true, nobody at the time knew whether she was tied to Putin. 6TH KNOWN: "We know that in July 2016, Trump said: "“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Hillary] emails that are missing,” and urged their publication." Of all these so called "knowns", I find this one to be an embarassment for Allen and Vandehei. Why? Because if a Presidential candidate is going to collude with a hostile foreign power in order to win an election, it would seem that the best way to do that would probably not include a public campaign speech. Anyone who's seen the video of Trump making this speech knows he was needling the Democrat media as Trump often does to the delight of his supporters. 7TH KNOWN: "We know that on Air Force One a year later, Trump helped his son, Don Jr., prepare a misleading statement about the meeting. We know top aides freaked out about this." This is water over the dam, too. Donald Trump and his son are both political novices. Whatever they crafted is of no consequence because Donald Trump Junior's emails leading up to the meeting with the Russian lawyer have been released to the Special Counsel and made public. 8TH KNOWN: "We know Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting." Actually, we don't know this for a fact. All we know is that an anonymous source to the NY Times revealed this. Even if it occurred, it is neither illegal or an indicator of collusion. The President has the authority by virtue of his office to declassify anything he wishes. Trump's conversation with Lavrov are not evidence of anything resembling collusion. 9TH KNOWN: "We know Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and close campaign aide, lied to Vice President Pence and FBI about his Russia-related chats. We know he’s now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. We know Trump initially tried to protect Flynn with loyalty and fervency rarely shown by Trump to others." What the authors are not telling you here is how those "chats" Flynn had were of no consequence because they didn't involve collusion of any kind. Furthermore, people associated with the Flynn case within the FBI have asserted he did not lie to them as Allen and Vandehei suggest here. Only James Comey continues to insist he lied to FBI investigators. Even Andrew McCabe, the disgraced 2nd in command at the FBI has said Flynn did not lie to his investigators. Additionally, Flynn is being prosecuted and having his life and reputation destroyed over lies he never told, while Hillary Clinton and her entire team were exonerated and given immunity from prosecution while actually lying to investigators. 10TH KNOWN: "We know that during the transition, Jared Kushner spoke with the Russian ambassador "about establishing a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and Moscow." We know Kushner omitted previous contacts with Russians on his disclosure forms." The key phrase here is "during the transition." There is nothing extraordinary about a newly elected President having his team of advisers establishing lines of communication with other governments. To cast suspicion on something as routine for an incoming administration as this, is nothing short of staggering. 11TH KNOWN: We know Trump initially lied about why he fired James Comey, later admitting he was canned because of the “Russia thing.” Article 2 of the Constitution gives the President broad authority to fire or hire Federal agency officials. In the exercise of those duties under Article 2, the President is not required to justify any firing he makes. He can fire James Comey because he's too tall or has bags under his eyes. He can fire him for ANY REASON or NO REASON. Therefore, it really doesn't matter why Trump fired him or what he ever said about it, one way of the other. 12TH KNOWN: We know Michael Cohen was a close adviser and lawyer, the fixer and secret-keeper. We know Trump seethed when the FBI raided Cohen's office. The authors here are being blatantly dishonest by not revealing all the facts. We also know that President Trump was not the only person "seething" from the raid on Cohen's office. The raid was a unnecessarily heavy handed move, rarely used, especially on a cooperating witness as Cohen was, and even more especially on the President's attorney. Former Federal prosecutors and DOJ officials were highly critical of this action. It's hardly used even on organized criminals, much less Presidents of the United States. The question readers of Allen and Vandehei need to ask is, why are these authors not giving the entire story? 13TH KNOWN: "We know that in January 2016, just before Republicans began voting, Michael Cohen tried to restart a Trump Tower project in Moscow." This is an incredible overstatement of what actually occurred. Donald Trump had only a non-binding letter of intent that was signed in 2015, regarding real estate development in Russia. Felix Sater, a Russian business associate wrote Michael Cohen about getting the project underway, but there is no evidence Cohen ever responded to those emails. So, how Allen and Vandehei could conclude that Cohen tried to restart the project is simply baffling. In addition to that, there is also no evidence that Sater ever delivered on any of his promises, according to the New York Times. So, what the hell are Allen and Vandehei even talking about? 14TH & 15TH KNOWN: "We know Mueller questioned a Russian oligarch who made payments to Cohen who used the money to pay off a porn star who allegedly had an affair with Trump." "We know that oligarch was a bad enough dude that the Trump administration sanctioned him." This is pure speculation. The Russian oligarch being referred to is, Viktor Vekselberg. He was in attendence at the same dinner in which Michael Flynn and others were seated with Vladimir Putin. Also in attendance at that dinner, was Jill Stein, who remarked that Putin sat down for a photo op and was not even introduced to the people sitting at the table. If Vekselberg is such an ally of Trump, it's difficult to explain why Trump sanctioned him in April of 2018 along with about a dozen other Russian oligarchs. It should be clear from this incredibly slanted article, that Allen and Vandehei have staked their reputations on the Russian collusion story and are desperately grasping at straws, using selected facts, speculation, mischaracterizations to mislead the public. This is not to say there was no Russian collusion. Here are a few facts we actually do know. 1. We know that within 24 hours of the election, the Hillary Clinton campaign team talked about floating the idea that Russian interference was responsible for her defeat. This was mentioned in a book memorializing the Clinton Campaign, written by two liberal reporters, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." 2. We know that the Clinton Campaign shelled out millions of dollars to acquire what has come to be known as the "Russian Dossier", generally regarded as a fraudulent document. It was relied upon to acquire a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump Campaign and transition. The FBI never interviewed the sources of the claims in the dossier, a violation of their standards and practices. 3. We know that Hillary Clinton maintained an email server that was unsecured in direct violation of her duties as Secretary of State and for which she suffered no legal penalty. 4. We know that former Deputy Director of the CIA, Mike Morell, Michael Hayden, former Director of the NSA, and a number of others have said it is virtually impossible to believe Clinton's mail server wasn't breached by a multitude of hostile governments. 5. We know that John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman and his brother in the Podesta Group, lobbied on behalf of Russia. 6. We know that Clinton destroyed numerous electronic devices, which could have been mined for evidence against her. 7. We know that the people leading the FBI investigation of Clinton were anti-Trump, pro-Clinton partisans. 8. We know the FBI investigators broke with their standards and practices by permitting all of Clinton's staff to be represented by a single attorney, which gave them the opportunity to coordinate their testimony. This violates protocol because in an investigation, the FBI looks for inconsistencies in testimony. 9. We know that Russian entities donated in excess of $150 million dollars to the Clinton Family Foundation during the same timeframe that Hillary Clinton's State Department approved the Uranium One deal, which ultimately resulted in Russian control of 20% of American Uranium ore resources. 10. We know that since the Uranium One deal, Russian entities have not given any noteworthy donations to the Clinton Foundation. 11. We know that James Comey wrote the exoneration letter for Clinton, months before she and her team were actually inteviewed. I could go on, but the point has been more than sufficiently made: Hillary Clinton not only colluded with Russians against Trump, she also was a key player in policy decisions that allowed Russia to have access to strategic nuclear materials and benefited financially, even if only by coincidence, but certainly warranting as deep an investigation as anything Trump is alleged to have done. To make matters even worse, it appears that high ranking officials in the Obama Administration, DOJ and FBI conspired to exonerate Clinton of any wrongdoing, even though it was clear she had broken the law. People like Allen and Vandehei don't even see this as an issue anymore. But their attitude is prevalent throughout the media and it is precisely why growing numbers of people just don't believe them anymore and have stopped taking them seriously as impartial reporters. For the Great Vocal Majority, I'm Tony Codispoti. Thanks for listening.