Counterintelligence versus Criminal: George Papadopoulos

While I was playing in an undisclosed location in Europe, Chuck Ross wrote two stories based off access to people in the immediate vicinity of George Papadopoulos.

The first purports to answer whether Papadopoulos [thinks he] colluded with Russia. The second reports that someone with close ties to CIA and MI6 reached out to Papadopoulos after the US government learned of Papadopoulos’ comments to Alexander Downer about Hillary emails.

There’s a funny movement between the two. In the first, Ross feigns concern about how long it took the FBI to reach out to Papadopoulos after learning of his email conversation.

Papadopoulos was not interviewed by FBI agents until Jan. 27, 2017, nearly six months after the start of the investigation. That six month delay is puzzling to both congressional investigators and to Papadopoulos. He has wondered to associates why, if he was actually suspected of conspiring with the Russian government, the bureau would have waited so long to contact him.

He doesn’t mention, of course, that the FBI reached out to Papadopoulos just one week after the presidential transition period — which Papadopoulos played a role in — ended. That is, there was virtually no delay between the time Papadopoulos separated from Trump’s retinue and the FBI investigated. That doesn’t feed the poutrage about FBI’s investigation of politics, however, and so goes unmentioned.

Meanwhile, the second piece expresses shock that someone tied into Anglo-American intelligence reached out to Papadopoulos, Page, and one other Trump aide during the election.

Two months before the 2016 election, George Papadopoulos received a strange request for a meeting in London, one of several the young Trump adviser would be offered — and he would accept — during the presidential campaign.

The meeting request, which has not been reported until now, came from Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.

Halper’s September 2016 outreach to Papadopoulos wasn’t his only contact with Trump campaign members. The 73-year-old professor, a veteran of three Republican administrations, met with two other campaign advisers, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.

Papadopoulos questioned Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’ thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

While Ross focuses on the FBI investigation, which started as a counterintelligence investigation, he doesn’t mention the separate Task Force run out of CIA (or, for that matter, the Steele dossier, though given how shitty the dossier is on the hack-and-leak, I question whether that’s what this was).

In any case, there were several investigations, even within the US, and while law enforcement has certain squeamishness about engaging in politics, our foreign allies do not.

All that said, Ross provides details about Papadopoulos’ reported timeline and beliefs which are useful to understanding the events of 2016. Chief among those, he dates the meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer to May 10.

On around May 10, 2016, two weeks after the Mifsud meeting, Papadopoulos met with Downer at Kensington Gardens in London.

Ross also relays Papadopoulos’ reported belief that the emails floated by Joseph Mifsud were the deleted Clinton Foundation emails.

Papadopoulos has also said he believes that the emails in question were the 30,000-plus emails that Clinton deleted in Dec. 2014 before turning her State Department emails over to the agency. Clinton’s deleted records were a hot topic of debate during the 2016 presidential campaign, well before WikiLeaks began releasing emails that were stolen from the DNC and Clinton campaign.

This is entirely unsurprising (and useful for Papadopoulos to have out there). It means Papadopoulos doesn’t claim to have had more advance details about the stolen Hillary emails, and instead just assumed Mifsud (and his sources) were responding to the burning issue of the day, the Hillary investigation.

The confirmation that the Republicans had early likely been fed an expectation they might have gotten those emails provides important insight on the later Peter Smith effort to get those emails, the reported outreach by people associated with the campaign to Guccifer 2.0 to get those emails, and Guccifer 2.0’s false claims to be leaking them. Papadopoulos likely confirmed to Mifsud that that’s what the Republicans thought of as valuable oppo research, and multiple later efforts focused on making Trump aides believe they would get them.

To understand just how much Ross’ sources were feeding an exonerating narrative, however, consider that he or they refused to say whether Papadopoulos passed on news of the emails to other campaign people.

Miller did not respond to the email, but it is unclear whether Papadopoulos told Miller, who currently works in the White House, or anyone else on the campaign about Mifsud’s comments about emails. TheDCNF’s sources did not say whether Papadopoulos told the campaign of Mifsud’s remarks.

Instead of the answer to the critical issue (to which we have good reason to suspect the answer, even if it hasn’t been confirmed), Ross instead passes on a non-denial denial of something Papadopoulos has never been accused of.

[S]ources familiar with Papadopoulos’ thinking say he has told associates he did not see, handle or disseminate Clinton emails.

Further, Ross claims there’s no evidence that meetings between Russia and the Trump campaign took place, in spite of the fact that Don Jr, Jared, and Trump’s campaign manager took a meeting 6 weeks after the emails-as-dirt got floated based on a promise they’d get dirt on Hillary.

There is no evidence that those meetings took place.

To back this no collusion claim, you’d have to prove both that none of the participants in the Trump Tower meeting had heard about Papadopoulos promise of emails (in spite of Don Jr’s reference to “if it’s what I think it is”), and you’d have to prove that the Russians didn’t consider a meeting with the campaign manager a high level meeting.

George Papadopoulos does not, by himself, prove “collusion.” But neither does this transparent attempt to deny collusion by issuing a non-denial denial disprove it. Moreover, it was never going to be the case that one person — not even Paul Manafort, not even Michael Cohen, possibly not even Trump himself — would offer the Rosetta stone on what happened in 2016.

64 replies
  1. Trip says:

    Marcy, what do you make of the MSM push on the John Barron story?
    Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes.
    Posing as ‘John Barron,’ he claimed he owned most of his father’s real estate empire.

    All of a sudden, this story is everywhere.  Now pundits are contemplating the big con that Trump fraudulently got investment money by lying about his wealth to Forbes, and it may be the reason why he fears exposure of his tax returns. This moves the narrative away from Kremlin-connected financial propping up of the Trump ’empire’. How is it that this is only becoming a big deal now? Was this reported during the campaign?

    About Papadopoulos: why would the contact have to specifically be Miller (according to Ross), when Papadopoulos was clearly part of the entire team, as demonstrated by this photo on March 2016:

    Unless the given date is somehow incorrect.





    • Willis Warren says:

      There’s a push away from the russia stuff because it’s ALWAYS been there.  For those of us that believed that the tRUmp camp knew all along that the russkies were helping them, we got ridiculed from the start.  It’s always been obvious to me that tRUmp’s “Russia, if you’re listening…” was a tell.  I guess it didn’t help that the TPains and Louise Mensches of the world were out there spreading horseshit.

      I think the media wants to sell the story about fraud in NY as much as possible because they know tRUmp can’t pardon his way out of that stuff.  Or maybe they’re just too proud to believe there’s a Russian asset in the White House.  Probably the latter more than the former.  But maybe the intel community is trying to cover up the embarrassment.

      • bmaz says:

        Actually, if the reliance has to be on New York, Scneiderman and the state are in far worse of a position than people think as to double jeopardy protection under state law after a Trump federal pardon. The big “oh, states will pick up the slack if Trump pardons” meme has always been a joke in my eyes. Don’t put your eggs in that basket.

        • Trip says:

          Yep. But there may be some benefit in holding back charges which don’t exceed the statute of limitations, as they pertain to state related indictments, right?  It seems to me, anyway, that some of the players aren’t being charged with the full extent of their actions. It could be to get the flip/cooperation, but doesn’t it also leave wiggle room in the future for state charges?

        • bmaz says:

          This brings up interesting questions, but, no, my inclination is that is not right. Trump can give a blanket pardon for all federal conduct, whether charged or not, up to the point of pardon. I think this hamstrings NY. And, to be clear, this is just how it putatively appears, there is not a lot of precedence on this.

        • Chetan Murthy says:

          Hmm …. has a different take — quotes from findlaw:

          The problem arises under Article 40 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Under that law, jeopardy attaches when a defendant pleads guilty, or, if the defendant proceeds to a jury trial, the moment the jury is sworn.

          It seems like, for uncharged federal offenses, even though Dampnut can pardon, it can’t stop NYS from later prosecuting.  But IANAL, so I could be completely wrong.

        • Avattoir says:

          I agree that the questions brought up by this dynamic are “interesting”, to say the least. So interesting, they deserve, IMHO, at least one dedicated post and thread.

          One of my areas of not-actually-just-academic interest is comparative legal systems. The Constitution’s pardon power is not unique among western representative democracies that rely materially on The Rule of Law, but it certainly is uniquely struck, and IMO has been uniquely under under-considered.

          This current POTUS already has evidenced an inclination to overcome at least some of that dearth, particularly, one might say, in weaponizing the power.

          Also IMO, the whole area of what crimes in this mess might be left for state prosecutors to pursue in court, is pretty much inseparably bound up in the federal executive’s pardon power.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Re the Don’s early lies about his non-existent wealth, it demonstrates that he lies early, he lies often, he lies about anything.  It demonstrate what he considers his greatest success – lying about who he is.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        I don’t read it as some kind of concerted effort at distraction. I think it’s a case of editors looking for something different to report, and the stuff about John Barron is seen as fun for readers in a way that discussions about exceptions to attorney-client privilege or successors to Rosentstein is not. Most white collar crime is never going to be as good for clicks and headlines as an imaginary spokesman (or extramarital affairs, for that matter).

      • Avattoir says:

        … noting that the fact of this particular POTUS being a liar does not of itself particularly distinguish him from the run of POTUSi – as well as that, based not just on our politics but more broadly on the history American culture, IMO there’s a pretty impressive body of evidence to support the conclusion that at any given time quite a large percentage of The American People have a great and enduring fondness for certain kinds of tellers of tall tales, especially those told in furtherance of big Stings and grifts, when told by Mad Men, movie men, Music men, carnies, confabulators, con artists, full-throated mongers of bigotry, fear & snake oil, and tent & TV gospel preachers.

        • Trip says:

          I enjoy the fictionalized plot of a scheme. Especially if it culminates in the larger sense of real justice and righteousness, one example: Shawshank Redemption. I can’t say I have a fondness for the racket in government or criminal enterprise for the express purpose of satisfying greed, sadism and absolute control in real life. Trump is no renegade hero fighting “the man”, because he is “the man”. And that might be the biggest con of all.

    • harpie says:

      “Was this reported during the campaign?”

      Tim O’Brien has been reporting about Trump’s “long con” for a long time. Today, he writes:
      How Long Can Trump’s Long Con Last?    Trump has exaggerated his wealth for years. In office, he’s trying a similar scam.; Tim O’Brien; April 23, 2018, 7:00 AM EDT

      […] Greenberg’s column is a reminder that Trump has been running a very long con on the American public, and it raises a question that now has an urgency it didn’t decades ago: How long can the long con last? […] That con now has global consequences. Trump doesn’t fulminate about North Korea or building a wall on the Mexican border because he’s a policy maven with deeply held principles. It’s because he knows that toying around with sensitive and sometimes dangerous subjects gets the media’s attention and keeps certain blocs of voters interested in him. […]


      • Trip says:

        @harpie, I think there is a move afoot from a segment of the GOP to start undermining Trump. They got what they wanted, as in the majority, and the billionaire tax cut. But they will push back to save their own skin and maintain power, as support for Trump may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

        A little bit of an inkling of behind the scenes machinations here:

        and here:

        A more likely scenario is that Republican politicians will eventually discover that they can stand up to a Republican president without fear of reprisal. Since fealty to Trump has always been premised on a transactional calculation (as opposed to personal affection, shared goals, or mutual respect), the only thing binding them to Trump is the perception that their political base demands it. When that changes—and history suggests that this happens to even the most popular presidents—the levee breaks.

        • Trip says:

          Then you have the ex Ivana telling the Donald to just go and play golf:
          “He has a good life and he has everything. Donald is going to be 74, 73 for the next [election] and maybe he should just go and play golf and enjoy his fortune,” the president’s ex-wife said.

          If he didn’t go apeshit tweeting at her (I don’t know, since I don’t follow him), then perhaps she is setting the stage for Trump to resign or not run in 2020, so he can “enjoy his life” as a reason, rather than his legal woes.

        • maybe ryan says:

          Whatever the extent of his pardon power, it is certainly an important tool for him, and I have trouble seeing him give up the presidency, and the ability to pardon, unless some agreement can be reached relieving him of criminal and/or civil liability.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          This comes across to me as similar to the way the US Chamber of Commerce tried to pivot the party toward immigration reform after they joined the Tea Party wave in 2010.

          The Chamber quickly found out nobody cared about them. They made a weak push to support a few candidates in primaries, and constantly found themselves outflanked on the right by Koch orbiting groups and the religious right.

          I don’t know if Trump will survive the scandals surrounding him, but I have little doubt that Trumpism will outlive him well past 2020.

        • harpie says:

          I think there is a move afoot from a segment of the GOP to start undermining Trump.

          Yeah. I think they’ve been planning on this ever since Pence was chosen for VP.

          It’s difficult not to feel like this would be US, from frying pan —>>>fire.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          I think the bigger effort afoot is to undermine FBI and DOJ. Recently, over 20 domains were registered that relate to the ‘lyincomey’ meme.

          The only reason I can fathom any logic behind that move is that there will be a huge ad campaign coming up utilizing force-viewed FaceBook ads, which will require many servers for the bandwidth, but also with the false resaoning that they all could not be blocked quickly.

          And do not forget the Tweeet-bots.

          (Overall, I welcome such a strategic mistake)

  2. Rapier says:

    “[S]ources familiar with Papadopoulos’ thinking say he has told associates he did not see, handle or disseminate Clinton emails.” and “two sources familiar with his thinking”

    Is “familiar with his thinking” a common form of attribution? It strikes me a pretty funny. I’ll spare the jokes. The articles represent a lot of work in the service of disinformation but to what purpose? Why bother with such a deep dig to convince the already convinced, NO COLLUSION!!!!!.

    Well I am not familiar with Tucker’s shop so maybe it’s par for the course. It probably is I’ll conclude since I am familiar with his thinking.

    • Trip says:

      It’s the relative/counterpart of Trump’s  infamous Everyone is saying fill in the blank BS consensus.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I thought coffee boys were not supposed to think, except to remember who ordered what.

      The description of the unnamed source as “familiar with X’s thinking” would exclude most people in this White House.  They might be know each other, perhaps biblically, but “thinking” doesn’t seem much in evidence.

      This reporting begins to sound as credible as a Donald Trump I.O.U.

    • Alexander von Humbug says:

      It’s a journalistic shorthand for “the person whose thinking it was and/or those with whom she/he shared her/his thinking.”

  3. Jill says:

    The New York Times states that Carter Pages’ trip to Moscow  was “a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign”

    The New York Times states that the hacking of the DNC server and Papadopoulos’ knowing about it were “driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired…”

    DNI Clapper tells Jake Tapper that he never heard of Papadopoulos while he was the head of DNI

    Hard the believe the FBI was running a counterintelligence operation based on someone that DNI Clapper had no knowledge of.

    • bmaz says:

      What is “hard to believe” is that after repeated warnings, you relentlessly return with trolling and intentionally misrepresented bullshit. You are doing it intentionally, and offer nothing of value. Get out.

    • SteveB says:

      If you are going to quote Clapper from a transcript of a TV Q&A, it would be usual to quote the 3 sentences of his answer, plus the question so the full meaning of his statement is made plain.

      Did you cherry pick for a reason?

      The Question from Tapper was a long one outlining Papadopoulous contact with Downer, culminating in :

      Is it possible that something like that would have prompted an entire investigation

      I paraphrase his answer but in sum it was :

      “Its possible

      I don’t know the specifics…. Papadopoulous not on my scope

      I think it would, it was probably one of several stimulants for the investigation but not the only factor”

      Why do you want to assert /insinuate that DNI Clapper should have known of Papadopolous strand to FBI investigation and that something is amiss if he didn’t?



      • Trip says:

        Did you cherry pick for a reason?

        Disinformation is the commenter’s modus operandi. I simply ignore at this point.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, misinformation, dishonest quotes and complete trolling is the consistent, and only prevailing, pattern of newly appearing commenter known as “Jill”.

        • SteveB says:

          I know that feeding the troll is to be discouraged, but ocassionally  I like to call them out on a clearly definable point.

          A short sharp rebuttal helps me dissapate the anger a bit, as does familiarising myself with the truth they sought to distort.

          Apologies if the effort seemed like an unnecessary distraction to the thread.

        • Sandor says:

          bmaz has been very patient with Jill. I am “familiar with his thinking” and trust him implicitly. For others, perhaps those new here, it is important occasionally to provide, as you did, a “summary” of sorts before the troll execution.

          Mostly, thanks to everyone for all that you do here. And for those of us who are mostly just watching — and benefiting from all the hard work that is done — remember that there is a tangible way to show our appreciation and support. Please give.

        • Trip says:

          @SteveB, I did the same, in the past (responding). I didn’t intend to tsk-tsk you, I was letting you know the point I’ve come to.

        • SteveB says:

          Not feeling admonished: just wanted to be courteous to the contibutors and mods who sustain the intelligent and honest discussion here.

          All good

  4. Peterr says:

    From the first piece, quoted above:

    Papadopoulos was not interviewed by FBI agents until Jan. 27, 2017, nearly six months after the start of the investigation. That six month delay is puzzling to both congressional investigators and to Papadopoulos. He has wondered to associates why, if he was actually suspected of conspiring with the Russian government, the bureau would have waited so long to contact him.

    This is hilarious. It points to the complete cluelessness and naivety of Papadopoulos. IANASpook, but my clear sense is that the first reaction of the FBI to discovering someone who may be part of an otherwise unknown intelligence operation against the US is not to call up the person to say “Hey, are you a foreign intelligence agent?”

    The answer to his question is simple: they waited to talk to him, because the FBI wanted to watch him and others more carefully, to see who he might lead them to, what projects he might reveal, what plans he might spill, and other such counter-intelligence matters.

    This isn’t a case of Amex calling him up to say “Mr. Papadopoulos, we’ve noticed some suspicious activity on your card from six months ago, and would like to see if you could explain it.”


    Yet another example of how Trump works with “only the best people . . . “

  5. Lisa Murphy says:

    I’m confused…what Clinton Foundation  emails were stolen?  The reference you quote talks about he emails from when she was at State Dept..,which were never stolen.  Note that the 30k emails were supposed to be deleted by the IT guy in December as a part of routine records retention practice but were not until March because he forgot…and then seemed to panic when the subpoena came down.

    Note that the State Dept required that the email records be PRINTED OUT as they had no means at that time to archive digital content.

    The practical matter that the emails were not ever stolen should be a factor in considering how the Russians used hope and misinformation to manipulate a lot of folks.

      • Lisa Murphy says:

        I have enjoyed reading the posts here and gained new insights.  But the reference to Clinton Foundation is confusing; what emails were stolen from them?  And we now have high confidence that the 30k emails deleted from Clinton’s sever were never hacked or stolen. And in any case, as those 30k were deleted because they did not meet the standard of records at State.. they were always a low value target EXCEPT for their propaganda value.

        • harpie says:

          I agree. Marcy writes,

          Ross also relays Papadopoulos’ reported belief that the emails floated by Joseph Mifsud were the deleted Clinton Foundation emails.” ,

          but the article states:

           “Papadopoulos has also said he believes that the emails in question were the 30,000-plus emails that Clinton deleted in Dec. 2014 before turning her State Department emails over to the agency.” , 

          which has nothing to do with the Clinton Foundation, but with the private server. [I often feel very confused about this whole mess, but I’m fairly certain this is correct. ???] 

          As Marcy says, “the Republicans had early likely been fed an expectation they might have gotten those emails,”  which did indeed [imo] prove to be highly valuable propaganda, because there has not yet been one bit of proof provided that those deleted emails were ever discovered by anyone. 

        • Lisa Murphy says:

          FBI has her servers and has recovered the 30k emails.  As I said they were deleted per record retention rules (as applied by one of Clinton’s lawyers), which means that if those rules were applied correctly that they were trivial, personal, or duplicative.

        • Trip says:

          Someone here rightfully said we need a Venn Diagram on Clinton Emails. It is very confusing.

          However, the GOP was pushing the narrative that the deleted emails included Clinton Foundation correspondence; making the deleted emails a conflict of interest from the State Dept job.

          Here’s (bmaz’s favorite) Chuck Todd asking about Clinton Foundation emails on the server within deleted email #s:

    • emptywheel says:

      Can you show me where I said they were?

      We don’t actually know whether they were or not–the Republicans spent a whole bunch of time chasing down what they hoped would be hacked (that is, stolen) emails.

      But the passage where I talk about the Clinton Foundation ones talks about Papadopoulos’ claimed understanding, and from there I turn to talk about what we actually know existed, the stolen Guccifer 2.0 and Wikileaks emails.

      That said, if Pap thought the Russians had Clinton Foundation emails, the Russians would have gotten them by stealing them.

      • Lisa Murphy says:

        Just confused; you parsed the material to make a certain point, and I was trying to match it up to my understanding, so not saying that YOU said that, but that the entire story implied, somehow, that Clinton emails were stolen, and that some of those were Clinton Foundation emails.  Answers by others helped me understand it better.

        Thank you for your efforts to make sense of this situation from a perspective that is rare and valuable.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        “That said, if Pap thought the Russians had Clinton Foundation emails, the Russians would have gotten them by stealing them.”

        Maybe, but maybe not. He could have *thought* that was the case based upon his knowledge. Maybe he was fed misinfo.

        Awan and bad opsec (password reuse) by HRC, DWS, and others could result in a leak, not a hack.

        Of course, still no evidence the emails in question are really out in the wild anyway.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This quote, from a 1994 Dan Baum interview with John Ehrlichman, highlights the uses and abuses of intel ops, including those involving the press:

    “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

  7. Trip says:

    MSNBC just found out about the connection of Gatestone and Bolton. What next? Discovering Dershowitz is connected too? Late to the party, dudes.

    • matt says:

      Derchowitz is AIPAC.  In all the obsessive focus on Russia, the media has failed to see anything wrong the high level Trump meetings with Netanyahu, or Kushner’s visits to KSA, or Bin Salaman’s visits to the US.  I mean Israel and KSA have no political influence here in the US, right?  They don’t buy up half of K street think thanks and lobbyists to influence our foreign policy, right?

      I’m obviously not condoning hacking or emails (if Russia did that) or other illegal election interference, but why would Russia not also be able to lobby for genuine trade or foreign policy interests like everybody else?

      The biggest foreign power bugs in Trumps ear are Russia, Israel, and KSA- the problem is that Russia is at war with the Israli-Saudi-(US?) alliance.  This is the issue behind all the 2016 hullabaloo, and if Americans would give a damn about the world outside themselves they learn who the real enemies are.

      • Trip says:

        The Kremlin benefits from a EU in chaos. They were actively promoting hard right candidates in Europe. The entire pretext of working together, from Trump and Putin, is fighting terrorists/terrorism. Gatestone promoted the theme of Muslim immigrants wreaking havoc on European Countries; The “No Go Zones” and dangerous boogeymen. Who stops this (as far as the narrative)? Hard-right leadership. The Kremlin benefits from less democratic nations and less cohesion among long standing allies. It gets on a bigger stage, if the stage is made smaller. Of course, Bibi wants this for his own obvious agenda.

        There are times when strange bedfellows join forces, even though some of the goals may conflict. Think for a second about how Breitbart (a online ‘news’ aggregate) with Israeli loyalties and origins, cultivated the hard right, white supremacist, anti-Semitic neo-nazi following, in support of Trump. You would think that might kind of conflict, right?

        It may not be either/or, but rather both or “all”.  I am of the mindset that the US should look at the overreach of Israeli influence, especially in light of the treatment of Palestinians. Israel sits in a precarious part of the world, so I can understand, on one hand, the sense of vulnerability. On the other, they are doing the exact opposite of promoting peace, or endearing their leadership and policies to proximal nations and peoples. The Palestinians are basically existing in a modern Apartheid.

        • matt says:

          I hear what you are saying…  what I’m most against is more war and the continued suffering of Syrians, Libyans, Tunisians, Iraqis, Afghans, Kurds, Iranians, Yemeni, etc…from failed US foreign policy and the “let it go to hell” attitude of the Israelis.

        • Trip says:

          I agree with what you said about causing misery around the globe. But the Kremlin is also complicit, at least as far as Syria is concerned. For your consideration:

          The Kremlin prefers a military narrative for Syria because it puts Russia and the U.S. on an equal footing. A military narrative makes Syria a story of two great powers fighting for dominance in an important part of the world…And sanctions are not an attractive story for the Kremlin; and especially when aimed at Russia’s moneyed elites, they do inflict economic pain…

          This is why the military narrative is so important for the Kremlin. It relishes the story of a “Great Game” rivalry. For its home audiences, the Kremlin wants to convey the drama of an evil power pushing for a regime change and a good power defending the legitimate government of a sovereign nation.Moscow does not want a war—but it does want Russians to stick to a war mentality. The images of war flickering on the screen help foster a great story of Russia, Putin at its helm, waging a just war against U.S. aggression.


          The “Chef’s” Wagner mercenaries (sidenote: the Chef is also involved in the Troll Factory):

          More than 200 contract soldiers, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base held by U.S. and mainly Kurdish forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. The U.S. official put the death toll in the fighting at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured, but was unable to say how many were Russians.


          In February and March, New Day published several dispatches by Mr. Borodin from the town of Asbest, home to several men who had left for Syria to fight in the ranks of the Wagner Group, a secretive paramilitary organization with murky ties to the Kremlin that suffered dozens of fatalities after an attack on United States forces in Syria in February.

      • Trip says:

        Last comment as to not monopolize the thread, this AM.

        Just an FYI on Gatestone:

        The website is currently chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, the former Bush administration official who was reportedly vetted by the Trump administration for a national security-related role, but was ultimately passed over. The Gatestone Institute lists Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Fox News pundit Pat Caddell, and Breitbart News editor Raheem Kassam as “distinguished senior fellows” who contribute to the site.


    • matt says:

      In Lee Fangs article from the Intercept last month, he mentions that Rebecca Mercer was on the board of Gatestone.  How nice.  I wonder if she was able to nudge Bolton’s name for National Security adviser.

      I’m not fan of Fox news, but does it strike anyone as “odd” that Tucker Carlson gave Bolton an ass whooping on his TV show, while the liberal mainstream media has refrained from heavy criticism of this lying warmonger?

      • Trip says:

        That (Tucker Carlson story) brings to mind the broken clock analogy.

        And yes, the Mercers pushed for Bolton. I think I linked something to it a little while back. As I recall reading recently, some group also pushed for the Bolton appointment with Bush. It was some kind of Faustian bargain for something else, but right now I’m too lazy to look it up again, and my recall is fuzzy.

  8. harpie says:

    From Zoe Tillman:  Latest in the George Papadopoulos case: Special counsel’s office has asked to file a status report in another month (update was due today) / Recall that last week Papadopoulos’ lawyers put out a statement saying he was still cooperating with Mueller’s office (in response to being named as a defendant in the DNC’s RICO lawsuit)

    • harpie says:

      added 3:45pm ET: Judge granted the special counsel’s office request for another month before they file an update on the status of George Papadopolous’ case (sentencing has been delayed while he cooperates)

  9. Avattoir says:

    Is Chuck Ross a journalist? Chuck Ross claims so.

    Here’s a list of publications Chuck Ross is reported “as seen in” by (in reverse alphabetical order):

    The Daily Signal

    The Daily Caller


    Fox News


    The ‘journalistic’ habits of Chuck Ross exhibit an inordinate fondness for SOFAWHIST (acronym for ‘sources familiar with his thinking’). It features twice in the first Ross post linked by Fearless Leader, once in the second. (I use the word “feature” here in the pejorative.).

    In theory, Ross’ “his” here could include “her”; in practice, I doubt that. IAE, as used, Ross does not mean the “his” in SOFAWHIST to refer to Ross – tho in at least one sense it always does.

    At risk of being accused of online thread hackery, I propose that Chuck Ross’ use of SOFAWHIST is not a bug.

  10. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that Simona Mangiante has been weird-tweeting (and then claiming to have been hacked) over the past few days.

    The Papadopoulos story is going to get weirder, I suspect. (“Where’s Mifsud?”) Did MI6 know that the London Institute For Something Or Other Studies was a front?

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