Last week I made the case for why the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) from January 2017, which concluded that Russia was trying to damage Hillary and help Trump win, was 180 degrees WRONG. It’s no longer just a wild right-wing conspiracy theory, but, I believe, the only logical conclusion, to say that Russia was actually trying to hurt Trump and stay on what they assumed was the winning side, Hillary’s.
Let’s start making sense: if certain “dossier” stories were Russian disinformation designed to help Trump, as recently-declassified footnotes in the IG report suggest the FBI suspected, then they wouldn’t have been anti-Trump falsehoods like Michael Cohen’s imaginary trip to Prague or Trump’s fictional romp in a Moscow hotel with a couple of full-grown Betsy-Wetsy dolls. Heck, the Russians would have been working on a “dossier” of their own, full of terrible Hillary stories (as if we didn’t have enough of those).
It certainly makes sense to think they’d assume Hillary was going to win. (And surely they would not want the scenario of Hillary winning and then finding out they’d been working for her opponent!) Hillary was a known quantity, she headed an unfathomably-huge international political power machine, they’d supported the Clinton Global Initiative and they’d paid her husband a fortune just to give a couple of speeches. Surely they were expecting some big things in return. One of these things they’d already received, when she signed off on an agreement that led to Russia owning 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves. Do they think President Donald Trump in their wildest dreams would have gone for THAT?
But as John Solomon wrote over the weekend, “As the Obama administration was headed out the door in January 2017, its intelligence leaders concluded with moderate to high confidence that Russia’s meddling in 2016, including the hack of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic Party, was designed to help Trump defeat Clinton.” And that was their narrative (with cooperation from the media) going into Trump’s administration –- not just Russian "meddling," but that Trump's campaign had actively conspired with the Russians. They claimed this with no evidence at all, as the special counsel would determine much later.
You know, we still don’t even have hard evidence that the Russians were the ones who got those emails in the first place. The DNC never did turn over the information on their servers to the FBI, only the report from CrowdStrike. Yet for some baffling reason the FBI were okay with that and went along with the DNC’s self-serving conclusion. Others have come up with some very different possible scenarios for the hacking or leaking of that information, but these are dismissed as wild conspiracy theories.
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Daniel Hoffman, the CIA’s former Moscow station chief and one of our top experts in Russian spycraft, said he believed all along that the Obama administration’s assessment was wrong and sees the newly-declassified footnotes as confirmation. In other words, the Russians were NOT trying to help Trump get elected. On the other hand, he thinks the whole issue of whether the Russians were helping Trump or Clinton is “superfluous.” If I understand correctly what he’s quoted as saying, I disagree strongly with that because of the anything-but-superfluous political consequences of the "helping Trump" narrative chosen by Obama’s outgoing administration.
So, considering there was no evidence that Trump was “colluding” with Russians, where did the FBI get that idea? According to Solomon, Republican investigators such as Rep. Devin Nunes of California, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, are focusing on what John Brennan’s CIA was telling the FBI in 2016.
Hoffman said he’s always maintained that the Kremlin was tracking Christopher Steele’s information-gathering efforts. “Putin would have recognized the opportunity to infiltrate Steele’s work and plant misinformation, which would not immediately be spotted because Steele was supposed to be a reliable, retired MI-6 officer with a strong background on Russia,” he said. (I would add that if Putin thought that about Steele, he was wrong, as the FBI had been doubting him as a reliable source since 2015.)
I still say Putin was doing this to help Hillary, to gain additional favor with her, as he must have assumed she would find out after she was President about his efforts to help her win. No telling what he might get in return --- plus it occurs to me that it might be an interesting blackmail opportunity for him as well. Nobody thought Trump was going to be President (well, except for me and a few other independent thinkers.) “The Steele dossier was used as fodder in our partisan, political meat grinder,” according to Hoffman. “Putin’s goal is to exacerbate the already high level of animosity between Democrats and Republicans, with an eye towards degrading our democracy.”
Well, his effort to help Hillary with anti-Trump "disinformation" failed, but he certainly degraded our democracy, with plenty of help from Democrats.