Time to start Chapter 5 of Seth Abramson's pretty thorough new chronicle of how Trump, the Republican Party, and the Russians (and some other countries) worked together to steal the election; Proof of Collusion.
You can buy a copy of the book here: simonandschuster.com/books/Proof-of…
An archive of my readthrough of the first few chapters starts here.
As I've said, I'm not trying to summarize or review the book; I just decided that as I read it, I'm sharing the parts that either really resonate with me or teach me something I didn't know, which, despite the amount of time I've spent reading about #TrumpRussia....
over the last few years, there are still a lot of tidbits I hadn't seen before. So, Chapter 5 is entitled "The National Security Advisory Committee: January to March 2016."
That March convening is a pivotal one, and it's where we first met the traitorous dolts Carter Page and George Papadapolous, the latter of whom is having quite the time right now, and sharing his delusions with us from his Twitter feed: @GeorgePapa19.
I'll give him credit. Dude's great at shoveling deeper into a hole he dug for himself. washingtonpost.com/politics/forme…
Anyway, I'm starting on Page 102. Let's see what we have here...
Huh. So one thing I'll share for those of you who don't know -- In early 2016, when it became clear that Trump was the frontrunner for the nominee, he was getting skewed in foreign policy circles for the fact that he didn't seem to know anything about, well, foreign policy.
So he assembled a group of no-namers (at the time) as a "National Security Advisory Committee," mostly for the purpose of telling the press that he had, um, a "National Security Advisory Committee.
The members of the group mostly had strange ties to Russia, but the media really normalized this quickly, and pretty much framed it as Trump taking national security seriously (THERE'S THE PIVOT!).
Here's an interview he did with the Washington Post at the time: washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-par…
Trump was asked: "We’ve heard you’re going to be announcing your foreign policy team shortly… Any you can share with us?"
His answer: "Well, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names… Walid Phares, who you probably know, PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives caucus, and counter-terrorism expert; Carter Page, PhD; George Papadopoulos..."
"he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy; the Honorable Joe Schmitz, [former] inspector general at the Department of Defense; [retired] Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more. " First off, he had thought of doing it, of course. It was mostly a put-on.
We all know that Trump would be incapable of naming that many people and their credentials without having rehearsed it. And even as such, he tacks on "quite a few more."
At the time, I just found it funny. It seemed like he just strung together a random group of the only people in national security who were willing to admit they worked for him. I didn't really think of the Russia thread that much of the time.
Even the Republicans were scratching their head at the motley crew, which was chaired by Jeff Sessions. politico.com/story/2016/03/…
Here's what I learned on p. 102: "... at least one national security advisor expected to be named into the committee -- retired U.S. army lieutenant general Michael Flynn -- is not named at all." Huh.
I didn't think about it at the time, but Mike Flynn had pretty much been the face of Trump's dim national security policy up to that point.
It turns out that the group wasn't so random. P. 102: " A number... are a subject of puzzling contacts with the Russians: one was recruited to be a Russian spy by the SVR FF (Russia's foreign intelligence service) in 203; another had been part of a secret plot..."
".... to sell Russian arms to Syrian rebels in 2014; another worked as an analyst for Kremlin-funded propaganda outlet RT in in 2015; another will be approached by a Kremlin agent in Italy... and be asked to serve as an intermediary between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign..."
"... an offer to which the Trump adviser will immediately agree." And with all of these Russian connections, with Mike Flynn as the cherry on top, and of course we know Jeff Sessions had his dalliances with the Russians as well. washingtonpost.com/world/national…
You would figure that someone in the mainstream media would be able to tie this all together. I mean, this is another point where Trump should have been immediately disqualified, if not officially, then reputationally.
But the press had more important things to focus on, like the Clinton Foundation, WHICH WAS ONLY A SCANDAL BECAUSE STEVE BANNON MADE IT ONE. washingtonpost.com/investigations…
And I've explained for YEARS that official reports showed that it shouldn't have been a thing at all, like here: thegreatconsolidation.com/2016/09/not-wh…
But I digress (seriously, I'm only two pages into the chapter). The rub: p. 103: "At the first meeting... Trump orders the committee to change the GOP platform at the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland in a way, that... 'guts [its[' anti-Russia stance on Ukraine."
That's an important fact. At the time, I brushed that off as Manafort doing a favor for a former client and that's all. I didn't think Trump even knew it was happening. Well, he did. I think this was the first "quo" for the "quid" that was Russia boosting Trump in the race.
p. 104: "The overwhelming majority of pre-election back-channel contacts between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin will involve at least one member of the National Security Advisory Committee, Paul Manafort or both." And most of them will probably serve time, just like Manafort.
On February 29, 2016, Trump is sent a note from Aras Agalarov saying that, (p. 106) "his campaign has not only the elder Agalarov's 'support' but also 'that of many of his important Russian friends and colleagues -- especially with reference to U.S. Russia relations."
Huh. Didn't know this about Carter Page. Prior to the campaign, he (p. 2016) "work[e[d in a building connected to Trump Tower by an atrium (and is consequently 'a regular presence in Trump Tower, per CBS News, 'volunteers' to work for Trump in December 2015."
So Trump knew Page before he picked him. Potentially pretty well. And, Abramson continues: "... the same month... Michael Flynn dines with Vladimir Putin in Moscow." I'd love to see the proof of cause and effect there. Hopefully it's coming one of these days.
Uh, p. 108: "In August 2013, Page would boast to a published, 'I have had the privilege to serve as an informal adviser to the Kremlin." And I don't think a goddamned member of the mainstream media (or even non-mainstream media, mentioned this in March 2016.
In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the first time *I've* read that quote.
Sorry, stuff like this that was hiding in plain sight long before November 2016 sticks in my craw.
But wait, there's more! "Reuters writes in February [2016] that 'Donald Trump' is receiving foreign policy advice from a former U.S. intelligence chief who wants the United States to work more closely with Russia to resolve global security issues..." Uh, red flag, anyone?
Oh, this is luscious, p. 109: "[George Papadapolous's wife Simona Mangiante, tells CNN that after his March 6, 2016, hire Papadapolous 'didn't take any initiative on his own without campaign approval.'"
Yeah, this assclown who has now decided to make up a story out of pretty much nowhere that he was set up. And is trying to grift sympathetic Republican donors out of $250,000 (it isn't working -- Republicans don't have much sympathy to offer).
Not a lot new here on Papadapolous (I'm a little obsessed with his story because it, and he and his wife, are so batshit. But if you're not familiar, here's some background. Yes, there's a dead professor in the story. Good stuff. newsweek.com/joseph-mifsud-…
p. 112: "What is certain [about the March 31 meeting] is that three witnesses insist Papadapolous was never reprimanded, silenced, or rebuked by either Sessions or Trump [for offering to set up a summit between Trump and Putin]." That's OK -- Mueller is dealing with him.
p. 112: "What all agree on is that no one at the table contacts the FBI to inform the Bureau that the Russians may be trying to infiltrate the Trump campaign." Again.
p. 114: "In the two years before Manafort joins the Trump campaign, for part of his time on the campaign.... the FBI uses a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Manafort... As CNN reports, "Some of the intelligence... sparked concerns among investigators that...
"... Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign..." Know who's got this intelligence? Mueller. But you know who didn't do anything about this? James Comey. Who, for no apparent reason, was too busy doggedly chasing #ButHerEmails. ARRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!
Just FYI, in the post I linked to earlier where I read the DOJ Inspector General's report on the #ButHerEmails investigation, he also was puzzled that the FBI was investigating that, which turned out to be nothing, instead of #TrumpRussia, which is more than something.
I knew this happened, but never put together the timing... p. 115: "During the same two-week period that Michael Flynn become and official Trump adviser and Manafort told [billionaire and Trump adviser Tom] Barrack he had to 'get to' Trump so he could offer...
his services for free as a convention manager, the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, finalized its plans to support Trump's candidacy..." Which, as mentioned before, was also the same time Carter Page came on board.
Man, this is all going to make for one heck of a timeline a few years from now once more of the story is revealed. Well, if the fascists don't get to write the history books.
Next is a bit on the search for Hillary's missing e-mails (which weren't really missing, but the press didn't seem to care), and Peter Smith, whom you can find a fresh story about here:
Dontcha love how this story is still forming? If it weren't so life-or-death for the whole planet, this would be a lot more fun.
p. 118: [Joseph] Schmitz... spearheaded a secret plot to use seventy thousand Russian military weapons to arm Syrian rebels; as reported by the Wall Street Journal in May 2014, the CIA had to intervene directly to put a stop to it." Wow.
So the CIA knew that a member of Trump's committee had done this. For all of the idiots like George Papadapolous and Sean Hannity, who say that there was a "deep state" plot to stop the Trump campaign WAY before the election, it seems so irresponsible that there *wasn't* one.
Oh, and according to Seth, Schmitz had worked for Erik Prince. Because of course he did. How Erik Prince hasn't been brought before the Hague already is beyond me. For those who aren't familiar or don't remember, THIS is Erik Prince. brookings.edu/articles/the-d…
And this is Erik Prince, too: washingtonpost.com/world/national…
This is also Erik Prince. washingtonpost.com/world/national…
And I didn't know about this one, but here's more Erik Prince: washingtonpost.com/news/world/wp/…
And here's Erik Prince's sister! Small world, eh? nbcnews.com/news/us-news/d…
p. 119: "Papadapolous had long been in communication with Eli Groner, then a top aide to current Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu." Huh.
More evolution of the story... when Seth wrote this, Papadapolous was heading to prison for only two weeks. I think he's got a lot more time ahead of him, and I'm relishing the thought. But mark my words, it's going to be a clown show before he does. politico.com/story/2018/11/…
It's worth remembering generally that Putin may be kind of a international criminal mastermind, but Jesus, he left the execution of the plan to a ton of bozos.
Anyway. there's plenty more in the chapter and more to come. Buy Seth's book here: simonandschuster.com/books/Proof-of…
I was hoping to do two chapters tonight, but the day kind of got away from me... I have to head out for a while, but maybe I'll feel ambitious when I get back and take on Chapter Six. Maybe not, but you never know. Later, all...
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