• Thanks! Putin's Russia Financially Propping Up Republican Party In Decl

    From Wi1liam T@21:1/5 to All on Thu Feb 10 19:48:01 2022
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    Will learning Russian soon be mandatory for all GOP politicians and

    U.S. Intelligence Says Republicans Are Working With Russia to Reelect
    By Jonathan Chait

    Two weeks ago, William Evanina, director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center, published a somewhat vague
    warning about various forms of foreign interference in the upcoming
    election. On Friday, he followed up with a more direct and incriminating
    one, specifically warning that Russia is working to help reelect Donald
    Trump. Even more important is what this warning unmistakably implies: that Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are actively cooperating with Russia’s campaign.
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    Trump obviously tends to respond with rage at the suggestion that Russia
    wants him to win, let alone that he is accepting the assistance. So
    Evanina’s summary delicately surrounds the revelations about Trump and
    Moscow with superficially balancing material. The report highlights three countries that want to influence the election: Russia, China, and Iran.
    The report notes that the latter two want Trump to lose, while Russia
    wants him to win.

    This seems intended to let Republicans claim that there is foreign
    interference on both sides. And it’s true, as far as it goes.

    But the comparisons end there. What is China doing to defeat Trump? Its government has “grown increasingly critical of the current
    Administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston Consulate,
    and actions on other issues.” And Iran’s efforts “probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content.”

    In others words, Iran and China are undermining Trump by criticizing him
    in public remarks, possibly including some mean tweets.

    Russia’s efforts to help Trump include all that. In addition, the
    statement notes, “pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption — including through publicizing leaked
    phone calls — to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party.”

    Derkach and his Russian allies despise Biden, who spearheaded the administration’s efforts to reform Ukraine, rein in its oligarchs, and
    diminish Russian influence. They have attempted to depict Biden’s reform efforts as a corrupt plot to enrich his son Hunter.

    Derkach has been working openly with Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. None
    of this is a secret. Here are the two of them meeting in Kiev in December:

    Giuliani told the Washington Post earlier this summer that Derkach
    “doesn’t seem pro-Russian to me.” In case that ruse was fooling anybody,
    U.S. intelligence has now officially described Derkach as an organ of
    Russian political interference.

    Meanwhile, Senate Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee are
    holding hearings in an attempt to substantiate this charge — or, more realistically, to insinuate it. They have produced no evidence to advance
    their charge. The Russians have given Republicans stolen tapes of secret conversations Biden held with Ukrainians during his tenure as vice-
    president, and pro-Trump media outlets have hyped up the material, but
    nothing they have is inconsistent with the narrative that mainstream news organizations found. Biden was working to clean up Ukraine.

    Senate Republicans tried to be cagey about their activities. After pro-
    Russian Ukrainians said they’d passed materials on to Republican
    officials, a Johnson staffer told NBC News in July that it was “‘false’
    the committee has received any ‘oppo,’ or opposition research, without responding directly to whether that covers any materials from foreign

    The Washington Post reported that Homeland Security Committee chairman Ron Johnson received secret documents from Ukrainians. And former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has confessed to putting Devin Nunes, the top
    Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and perhaps Trump’s most energetic defender on all things Russia, in touch with one of the
    Ukrainians releasing documents in the United States.

    There is hardly any secret to what they’re up to. Johnson says he plans to release his report on Biden in September. It hardly matters if the
    information Russia gives him actually substantiates his allegations, or
    even whether it is authentic. The obvious plan is to splash some headlines
    into news screens in the heat of the campaign that seem to connect Biden
    to some kind of wrongdoing.

    In reality, it is not a scandal about Biden at all. It’s a scandal about Republican cooperation with a Russian propaganda campaign.

    What makes Evanina’s statement on Friday so significant is that it makes
    clear that the passing of information, real or otherwise, from various Ukrainian figures to various Trump allies is part of a Russian-directed
    scheme to help Trump win. Republicans could tell Russia that Russian- controlled media are free to say anything they want, but Republicans
    aren’t going to launder their propaganda for them. Instead, they are doing everything in their power to exploit it.

    Update: The unanswered question of why Evanina followed his first, vague statement with a second, more specific one has an answer. On Saturday
    morning, the New York Times Magazine? published a long, devastating story
    by Robert Draper about Trump’s politicization of intelligence. Draper’s reporting forced Friday night’s release, which directly acknowledged
    Russia’s active preference to help Trump win.

    Draper’s story also helps contextualize the essentially decorative
    mentions of China and Iran. Intelligence officials are terrified of
    enraging Trump by confirming that Russia wants him to win, even though the conclusion is obvious. If you want to understand why officials added
    references to China and Iran to create the illusion of balance — even
    though those two countries don’t seem to be taking any steps to help
    Biden, and Biden certainly isn’t cooperating with them — Draper’s
    narrative explains the intense pressure they’re facing.

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