I just completed Chapter 8 of my livetweeting of my reading of Seth Abramson’s book, Proof of Collusion, which you can buy here: simonandschuster.com/books/Proof-of…
My threads on previous chapters are here:
Chapter 9 is called “’The Hunt for Her Emails.’” Of course, no one ever found them (these were emails that the FBI let Hillary, with the aid of her lawyers, delete when they handed over a large cache of them to the FBI, because as they were going to be published publicly...
... (it’s crazy how transparent HRC actually was in a ridiculous investigation), the government agreed that emails that were personal in nature because they included other people’s personal details about people who had nothing to do with anything.
But the missing emails were conflated by the press, and thus the public, with the hacked DNC e-mails and John Podesta’s emails, and created fertile ground for the Comey letter in October (which I believe Seth covers in the next chapter)...
to significantly damage Clinton’s support in the final days before the election. That’s heavily covered ground though. Let’s see what nuggets Seth has uncovered.
p. 179, “In September, Page travels to Hungary and discusses U.S.-Russia policy with several Hungarian government officials; while there, he meets with a Russian whose name he will not divulge, even to Congress.”
Wow, I didn’t know that last bit. Guess who’s going to be called to testify again in 2019, this time with the Republicans unable to shield him?
p. 179, “During the summer of 2016, Joseph Schmitz… finds a trove of supposed Clinton emails from an unspecified source and takes it to a congressional committee, the FBI, and the State Department..."
"... the emails are presumed to be fake by an outside cybersecurity expert, and his request to transfer custody of the emails to the State Department and to the inspector general for the intelligence community is denied."
What’s fun about this and other aspects of this hunt by Schmitz and others for #ButHerEmails is that it reflects a ridiculous feedback loop between the Congressional Republicans, the Trump campaign, and the InfoWars wing of the Republican Party, which essentially merged in 2016.
The “investigation,” as it were, wasn’t really about Hillary Clinton’s email server. It was an offshoot of the umpteen congressional Benghazi sham investigations, in which the Republicans in Congress decided to do anything they could to potentially embarrass the former SoS.
The story began with GOP members of Congress, knowing that Hillary was the likely Democratic frontrunner for 2016, and they decided to try to tear her down early.
For those of you who weren’t paying attention in 2012-ish, a US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by Islamic militants and four Americans stationed there were killed.
Now, this sort of thing happens all the time, American diplomatic and military bases and outposts were attacked many times during the Bush years. huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/the-…
But the Republicans needed something, and the right-wing noise machine began to come up with stories that explained why exactly this attack was so egregious and why Obama and Clinton needed to be punished.
The story morphed, and ultimately the right-wing noise machine convinced its base (and apparently several congressman) of some pretty outlandish things, including that Hillary and Obama wanted the four Americans to die and that Hillary laughed as it happened.
They became convinced that if only they could access Hillary’s communications, they’d find evidence that this was her fault, intentionally or unintentionally. Now Hillary handled it like a boss, npr.org/sections/itsal…
But the Republicans refused to let go and managed to force her to release all of her emails from her time as Secretary of State. I’m not going to into the specifics, but the e-mails that were released weren’t enough for them (or the media)...
, and as soon as those e-mails turned up nothing, the Republicans decided that, even though they knew the government had given Hillary permission to delete those emails, they’d find the REAL evidence of her wrongdoing if only they could find them, and insinuated...
(again, along with the media), that she deleted them to hide something sinister (as opposed to, say, hiding that a friend had marital troubles or cancer or something like that).
As we’ve seen in the last couple of days with Ivanka, the Republicans really don’t give a shit about whether someone uses a personal account for government email; they do it all the time.
HRC really didn’t violate any rules, but that didn’t matter to the Republicans. They were just out to take her down, and conveniently, so was Vladimir Putin.
Anyway, the Republicans apparently convinced themselves it was all true, and many operatives inside and outside the Trump campaign decided to mount a search for them for months and months, believing they’d find *something* that showed that Hillary did, um, something.
Kinda maddening, huh? But it does show you how downright stupid the Republicans are. They might be evil, but they’re evil idiots.
The list of Republicans pursuing these emails Is incredibly long; it seems like almost ALL of them actually now believe something that just isn’t so. They’ve gotten beyond consciously lying and are trying to prove to themselves, and America, that their fantasies are true.
In 2016, I thought that Trump and his team were just trolling when they talked about her emails; it turns out given the amount of time and expense, they actually went all Walter Mitty…
And it isn’t just the Republicans; revanchists all over the world did it. P. 181, In London, Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, which has been hired by the Trump campaign… reaches out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to try to track down Clinton’s emails.”
Pretty ironically, it was one of the first searches for the emails that turned the FBI on to George Papadoloplous (boy, his name comes up a lot for a 29 year old nobody) –
p. 182: “… the FBI’s counterintelligence operation having been prompted by a drunken George Papaodopolous telling an Australian diplomat in a London bar in May 2016 that the Russians have been peddling ‘dirt’ on Clinton.” Evil idiots.
But wait, there’s more! P. 185, “In a November 4, 2016, Breitbart interview, Erik Prince claimed to have learned the content of certain ‘missing’ Clinton emails: ‘[The NYPD, in its search of Anthony Weiner’s laptop] found a lot of other really damning criminal information..."
"... including money laundering, including the fact that Hillary went to this sex island with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Bill Clinton went there more than 20 times..."
"... Hillary Clinton went there at least six times. The amount of garbage that they found in these emails, of criminal activity by Hillary, by her immediate circle, and even by other Democratic members of Congress was so disgusting they gave it the FBI, and they said..."
"... ‘We’re going to go public with this if you don’t reopen the email investigation and you don’t do the right thing with timely indictments.’’”
So, aside from Prince being batshit, he gave up the game that elements of the NYPD railroaded James Comey into issuing his letter on October 28, and that the Trump campaign knew it was coming and encouraged it.
Of course, we knew that a few days before, and now we let Rudy Giuliani pretend he hadn’t spilled the beans. cnn.com/2016/11/04/pol…
p. 187, “Schmitz’s trip to Hungary was taken right in the middle of his summer 2016 search for Clinton’s deleted emails; Prince flatly refused to tell Congress when he was in Hungary.” Betcha Adam Schiff can’t wait to get Prince back on the stand.
Here’s something Abramson has talked about a lot that I’m surprised hasn’t come up more. P. 188, “Trump’s August 17, 2016, classified briefing irrevocably changed his legal status with respect to Russian cyber-aggression: "
"... the Republican nominee was now obligated to act as a ‘reasonable person’ under federal law in evaluating the likelihood that Russian actors were, as of August 2016, committing crimes against America.”
This one’s on the intelligence community – I mean, knowing his history, how could they ever have expected Trump to act like a “reasonable person?” Absurd.
Abramson continues: “Once Trump left his classified briefing on August 17, 2016, both he and any aide who was in the room with him during the briefing, and any aide with whom he shared the classified intelligence he’d received in the briefing..."
"... were immediately required as ‘reasonable persons’ under the law and accept that there was a ‘high likelihood’ Russian nationals were committing crimes against the United States.”
In all seriousness, this really is on the intelligence community – they couldn’t figure out by then that Trump and his people were actually guilty of working with Russia to try to steal the election and that they were not going to stop.
Shouldn’t the FBI have ended this right there and then? I mean, Trump and his people (aided by Russia, I’m pretty sure), have concocted this phony post hoc story of the Obama administration, the American intelligence community...
... , and, depending on whose account, different foreign actors, up to the point where they scream “HILLARY COLLUDED WITH THE RUSSIANS!”
I believe at some point, we’re going to find out that one or more of the following reasons for why the FBI didn’t do anything to stop this from happening is true:
1.They wanted to do something, but the Republicans planted landmines to make any actions taken by the FBI, CIA, and the Obama administration’s seem partisan and perhaps whip their base into a violent frenzy. There’s ample evidence of that here: politico.com/story/2018/01/…
"In the fall of 2016, as reports of Russian-backed hacking of state election systems were surfacing, Georgia's Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, rejected federal offers of help to secure his state's voting systems." Ah, yup, Kemp didn’t just cheat in elections in his own state.
2.They just decided that the American people couldn’t handle that one of its political parties would collaborate with a foreign power to steal an election: politico.com/magazine/story…
3. Believing that Trump wasn’t likely to win, they took a calculated risk and let things slide for a while to get more of the international right-wing conspiracy, led mostly by Putin, into the open.
Remember what I said earlier (I think in my Chapter 8 thread) about lies that turn out to be true in the context of a larger story being evidence that the larger story being true?
p. 190: “Trump’s criminal intent is further underscored by the fact that his entreaty to Russian hackers was preceded by a series of deliberate lies about his ties to Russia. Most notably, as part of his response to CNN’s Jim Acosta, he said, “I have nothing to do with Putin..."
"... . I’ve never spoken to him. I don’t know anything about him.’ Later in the exchange, when Trump says, ‘[I]f it is Russia [hacking the DNC] – which it’s probably not, nobody knows who it is.’"
"... Trump was hiding back-channel information he well could’ve received from his national security advisors or his own family…” We know he was lying about all of that, right to our collective faces.
With that, we’re more than 2/3 of the way through the book. The more I read it, the more I realize how critical it is that everyone else do so. So, buy Seth’s book here. simonandschuster.com/books/Proof-of…
I’ll be back in the next couple of days to do at least another chapter. Thanks for reading!
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