A Less Obvious Question about NYT’s Reporting on Trump-Russia

[NB: As always, check the byline. /~R.]

Over the last several years, one thing has bothered me about The New York Times, something not immediately obvious in these related pieces of what may be the most important work the paper published since the early 2000s and the Iraq War. By “important” I don’t mean effective, nor do I mean constructive.

October 31, 2016

Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia
POLITICS By Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers

WASHINGTON — For much of the summer, the F.B.I. pursued a widening investigation into a Russian role in the American presidential campaign. Agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, searched for those involved in hacking the computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead — which they ultimately came to doubt — about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank.

Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump. …

January 20, 2017

Trump, Russia, and the News Story That Wasn’t

LATE September was a frantic period for New York Times reporters covering the country’s secretive national security apparatus. Working sources at the F.B.I., the C.I.A., Capitol Hill and various intelligence agencies, the team chased several bizarre but provocative leads that, if true, could upend the presidential race. The most serious question raised by the material was this: Did a covert connection exist between Donald Trump and Russian officials trying to influence an American election?

One vein of reporting centered on a possible channel of communication between a Trump organization computer server and a Russian bank with ties to Vladimir Putin. Another source was offering The Times salacious material describing an odd cross-continental dance between Trump and Moscow. The most damning claim was that Trump was aware of Russia’s efforts to hack Democratic computers, an allegation with implications of treason. Reporters Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers led the effort, aided by others. …

May 16, 2018

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation
POLITICS By Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos

WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane. …

January 11, 2019

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia
POLITICS By Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos

WASHINGTON — In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice. …

I can’t help wondering what NYT’s former former executive editor Jill Abramson would have done in 2016 when presented with a draft of what would become the October 31st article.

I can’t help wondering yet again, a handful of years later, what the real reasons were that Abramson was fired in May 2014 — during a mid-term election year — after a mere 32 months in that role. Her predecessor Bill Keller had been in that same role for eight years.

Admittedly, I don’t think much of current executive editor Dean Baquet‘s decisions, and not just about this particular story arc. But it’s this arc which really gives me pause about NYT’s editorial management, as does the irrational amount of coverage the NYT focused during the 2016 campaign season on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Did we end up with this mess because a traditional media company had difficulty with a woman’s editorial management style? Or because she might be sympathetic to women running for public office?

You’ve got a lot to say about the NYT’s reporting on this topic. Go for it.

155 replies
  1. oldoilfieldhand says:

    The NYT is a perfect example of a new organization that has been compromised by corporate culture. Emphasis in the digital age is headlines that mostly distort and distract from the actual news and produce clicks on websites, while the rest of the paper is basically still useful for wrapping fish.

  2. Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

    The NYT WAS once a great paper. Now it is birdcage liner. It’s a corporation, which once owned a portion of the Boston Red Sox, and the paper’s PoV is corporate rather than liberal. Moreover, the standards have been steadily declining since the Jayson Blair scandal (and probably before that). Fuck them and their “butter emails.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Some years ago, a good friend acquired a bound copy of the NYT dating back to the 1920s at a library giveaway.  Enough large, folio-sized volumes to fill a large closet.  The evidence suggests that the Times establishment bent goes back a long way.

      • posaune says:

        Yes.   The Times has always been deferential to real estate developers. Always.   Over the years, the Sunday Real Estate section grew thicker and thicker.   So much ad revenue.   And they rarely (if ever) reported critically on Trump.   Only Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic, reviewed buildings, and they clipped his wings when he critiqued Trump Palace in 1991.

  3. S Hornby says:

    The assumption that Hillary would win caused a number of outlets to change their reporting, including the NYT. They thought they were being fair to remain tough on Hillary. It also generated clicks. In hindsight it merely helped to push Trump over the finish line.

  4. Cicero101 says:

    “Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump. …”

    I vividly recall that statement in the NYT as it seemed calculated to weaken a major objection to the election of Trump. It came about the same time as Comey’s disastrous intervention against Clinton. I didn’t believe the NYT, but I knew many would believe it. By this time the NYT, WAPO and CNN were utterly discredited by their persistent, grotesque false equivalence campaigns, exemplified by “But her emails!!!”

    • silcominc says:

      I thought the same thing.  The NYTimes is TrumpCo favorite dumping ground and their ambitious reporters are all too happy in this age of access journalism to publish whatever rubbish they get. But its also true that a new AG is about to emerge and maybe some in the Bureau thought it wise to get this out now.

      • pittsburgh says:

        The AG angle was my thought, too. The NYT story will make the hearings a bit awkward for Barr, the Trump defender.

  5. Trip says:

    I caught a little bit of this last night, and sadly, when I saw Schmidt in the byline, my immediate reaction was, “Okay, how does this help Trump?”. So I realized it’s twofold: 1). (an ongoing deep state narrative) That the corrupt FBI was looking for reasons to impugn Trump right away after his presidential win, some were fired and 2). the investigation began before Mueller, but there are no sources reporting that it continued under his purview and/or whether it ever found/confirmed evidence of such, and now Trump Inc can holler that Mueller hasn’t indicted Trump (after two years), so he’s in the clear.

    Aside from the completely obvious “Duh!, someone should/would look at the national security aspect in re Trump and Russia” versus just the criminal element, why now? And why NOW after it has been reported by many others, including frontrunners here, a long time ago? Schmidt isn’t an investigative reporter, nor is he skilled at contextual analysis, he’s basically an access stenographer. My take on that is angry UNPAID FBI agents threw a bone to Schmidt, knowing he’d chew it up and spit it out, without even attempting to follow through on this story to its logical end, because Schmidt and the NYT want to pretend they are first. The sources may or may not be those who claimed Rosenstein was going to wear a wire and brought up the 25th Amendment.

    The NYT places too much faith in access journalists (see Judith Miller). They are the untouchable darlings of the news room. But I will argue that there are still excellent muckrakers at the paper. They just don’t get the same splash.

    If Abramson was somehow pushing back against the direction of access journalists and/or editorial darlings, or otherwise disrupting the income with less sensational stories, she would be butting heads with the powers that be.

    Editing to add: I just read Willis’ comment and THAT is a distinct possibility as well, Trump as the source.

    • Rayne says:

      If this was supposed to be a ‘deep state narrative’ story, I’m not seeing it. If anything it furthers the case the ‘deep state’ hasn’t been able to stop the Trump machine. Couldn’t stop him during the campaign, couldn’t stop him after Comey’s firing, and still hasn’t filed the worst indictments anticipated.

  6. Willis Warren says:

    Remember, Amy Berman Jackson has ordered Mueller to show evidence for the Manafort accusations on Monday.  I’m guessing that the NYT “bombshell” is designed to get in front of that.  It could be they’re assuming leaks from Mueller still, but it could also be they anticipate something else happening this week.  Whatever it is, there’s no way the NYT is finally getting this right.

  7. BobCon says:

    Yesterday I mentioned this New Yorker article that talks about the “No Clear Link” story.


    Primarily it is about the Trump-Alfa Bank data transfers, and I want to set aside whether or not the speculation is true, because it also expands on the Spayd piece.

    Eric Lichtblau was ready to publish what he knew about the curious Trump-Alfa connection before the election, but Dean Baquet spiked he story. Not becuse he doubted Lichtblau’s reporting, but becuse he questioned its significance. And when the story finally was published, Times editors had turned it into the “No Clear Link” piece. Lichtblau cited this as a major reason for quitting later.

    Baquet was obviously exhibiting a double standard between Clinton and Trump. Weakly reported, speculative pieces about Clinton went live, while strongly reported pieces about Trump languished.

    The Times under Baquet has occasionally printed good reporting on Trump – the tax fraud story is a top example. But there is no question the political reporting is broken — it is subjective, speculative, catty and arrogant. I suppose in Baquet’s defense, it’s been that way for decades. The shadow of Johnny Apple still darkens many desks. I don’t know if Abramson would have fixed 2016 – her firing is a sign that she would have been undercut by ownership even if she had survived the earlier putsch.

    But maybe a few more decent editors and reporters would have been on the beat, and maybe the maddening false omniscience that permeates the institution would have been dampened a bit in favor of rational skepticism. It infects not just the national news, but the opinion, arts, foreign and regional writing too. Maybe some day we’ll see what that’s like, but I don’t think it will be soon.

    • Desider says:

      There have been reports of NYTimes staff having their emails hacked, potentially for kompromat, but this would have preceded that by a couple of years. Still, the idea of the Kremlin preparing early & organizing a “coup” is not entirely far-fetched (at this time – earlier it would have been outrageous conspiracy theory).

      • Desider says:

        Though to be fair, Abramson’s book makes it sound like part of her failing at the Times was not quite getting the digital transition & her role in it – https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/01/jill-abramson-dishes-about-new-media-and-her-tumultuous-times-years

        Meanwhile, Digby reminds how Ryan’s House covered for Russia’s influence at home:

        [Ukrainian Prime Minister ] Groysman, on an official visit to Washington, met separately with Ryan and McCarthy on June 15 at the Capitol.He told them how the Russians meddled in European politics and called for “unity” in addressing the threat, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials. Ryan issued a statement after the meeting saying, “the United States stands with Ukraine as it works to rebuild its economy and confront Russian aggression.”

        …And the prime minister described Russian tactics that include “financing our populists, financing people in our governments to undo our governments.”

        Ryan said Russia’s goal was to “turn Ukraine against itself.” Groysman underlined Russia’s intentions, saying, “They’re just going to roll right through us and go to the Baltics and everyone else,” according to Ryan’s summary of the prime minister’s remarks in the recording.

        “Yes,” Rodgers said in agreement, noting that the Russians were funding nongovernmental organizations across Europe as part of a wider “propaganda war.”

        “Maniacal,” Ryan said. “And guess, guess who’s the only one taking a strong stand up against it? We are.”

        Rodgers disagreed. “We’re not . . . we’re not . . . but, we’re not,” she said.

        That’s when McCarthy brought the conversation about Russian meddling around to the DNC hack, Trump and Rohrabacher.

        “I’ll guarantee you that’s what it is. . . . The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp [opposition] research that they had on Trump,” McCarthy said with a laugh.

        Ryan asked who the Russians “delivered” the opposition research to.

        “There’s . . . there’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said, drawing some laughter. “Swear to God,” McCarthy added.

        “This is an off the record,” Ryan said.

        Some lawmakers laughed at that.

        “No leaks, all right?,” Ryan said, adding: “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

        “That’s how you know that we’re tight,” Scalise said.

        “What’s said in the family stays in the family,” Ryan added.

  8. BobCon says:

    @WWarren, Trip

    Those tweets definitely do not read like Trump originals. You spotted the sparse caps, there is also an atypical coherence and use of words like usurpation.

    Somebody wrote those for him. I agree that the Times article has White House spin and damage control behind it, but I suspect Trump is depending on intermediaries. This may be to close to the bone for him right now.

  9. Trip says:

    @BobCon, Truth be told, I haven’t read the twit’s tweets. There’s only so much lunacy any one person can take in a given day and it’s too early for that shit.

    I really wish the NYT hadn’t rushed out this story, without follow through. On the other hand, if it keeps the wanna-be autocrat at bay from declaring an emergency, maybe it’s not all bad.

    On that note, it’s unbelievable that Trump is whining about not being able to return to Maralago, while he has zero empathy for people he has put out of work, or put to work, with no pay. He is selfishness personified.

    • BobCon says:

      Adam Goldman and Schmidt were the reporters behind the disasterous September Rod Rosenstein 25th Amendment story. I suspect they and their editors are pulling another poorly reported fiasco out of their… hats.

      It’s not so much that they don’t have sources somewhere behind their story, but odds are long they have significant details wrong, are missing key context, and are presenting opinion as fact.

  10. Rapier says:

    The main oddity of the Times downplaying Russian involvement in the election is that for 20 years at least, and increasingly by the mid oughts, the NY Times was involved in a virtual jihad against Russia. Several times a week the top of the online page would have a story saying in one way or another Putin is the devil. I am not saying Putin is Peter Pan but the over emphasis was stunning.

    While half a million were being killed and millions were made refugees in Libya and Syria because Saudi funded jihadis from all over the Muslim world bent on establishing a medieval form of Islam were sent there the NY Times regaled us with endless stories of Olympic athlete doping. The scale was simply astoundingly wrong. Then, at the moment when the most relevant to America story about Russia since the fall of the USSR broke they went all mamby pampby about Russia and especially Putin. This is exceedingly odd.

    My rough Grand Unified Theory of the NY TImes dating to the 30’s is that it seeks to normalize fascism because fascism is American as apple pie so we get stories of the regular guy in Toledo who happens to be a Nazi. He keeps his lawn mowed so WTF, no biggie. That this has continued over several generations demands a motive but good luck with that. That Putin’s Russia has become more fascist didn’t stop the Times jihad against it, until the last half of 2016. Throw in that central to the push back against the Mueller probe has been that it is an outgrowth of a phobia against Russia. A phobia engendered by 20 years of above the fold stories in the ‘even the liberal NY Times’ conditioned liberals to hate Russia, with total success. Then when it came time to swoop in for the kill?

    • Rayne says:

      Bill Keller, NYT’s executive editor from 2003 to 2011, used to work the paper’s Moscow bureau from 1986 to 1991. I imagine as long as he was on editorial staff, the paper was sensitive to Russian issues.

      That said, Keller was a key reason we ended up at war in Iraq thanks to Judith Miller’s “journalism.”

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    One would be remiss in not asking what the position of A.G. Sulzberger and family is on this issue. Dean Baquet is in and Abramson is out because of their priorities. There’s a strong case those include sexism. They include also maintaining their access “journalism” and never rocking the establishment boat.

    That the Times is releasing this “news” now suggests it can no longer keep a lid on it and wants to pretend to get out in front of it, and that other news might begin to fall. The rest of the MSM seems to be falling in line by taking the “breaking news” claim and the Times’s reporting of it at face value.

    It takes little effort to imagine what this generation of the NYT’s leadership would do, were it presented with the as yet unpublished Pentagon Papers in the middle of a war. Bill Keller would have asked Trump what to do. Baquet must think he already knows what Trump would do and no longer needs to ask.

    • BobCon says:

      This bit about AG helps explain why the NY Times has screwed up its coverage of Trump voters so badly:


      AG shares the classic Times mindset of the Midwest as a place where subhumans with poorly developed soft palates struggle to articulate intelligible speech. They are to be pitied, treated at arms length, and when they are written about, it doesn’t really matter what you say because they probably can’t read anyway.

      He was the KC bureau chief but clearly never bothered to understand the place, and somehow thought that it was impossible to find vegetarian food there. Which helps explain why his paper employs the patronizing lies of people like Bari Weiss and why it continues to publish garbage analysis of national politics — they can’t get their heads around the world outside of a tiny set, and as a result they fall prey to any huckster reinforcing the worst instincts of the management of the Times. It’s not far to go from believing it’s impossible to be a vegetarian in KC (or Cleveland or Kentucky) to believing in an undifferentiated mass of unyielding Trump voters from just West of the NJ suburbs all the way to just East of Beverly Hills, all of whom are seething with anger at NYC elites for having the money to spend on fancy haircuts and bottled water.

      • Samuel Meneely says:

        This always seemed obvious to me. Their NY-centric snutiness is clear and often hilarious. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to meet with my fellow peasants down at the Aplebee’s salad bar to chatter together in fear and ignorance.

    • FarmerNed says:

      Thanks. I made a similar comment to a friend of mine. I said, “The New York Times is leading the Slow News Movement.”

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This regime’s claimed number of “known or suspected” terrorists entering via the US southern border seems to be less accurate than the number of communists Joe McCarthy found in the State Department or the daily “body count” reported by MAC, Vietnam.

  13. Trip says:

    earlofhuntingdon says:
    January 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Some years ago, a good friend acquired a bound copy of the NYT dating back to the 1920s at a library giveaway. Enough large, folio-sized volumes to fill a large closet. The evidence suggests that the Times establishment bent goes back a long way.

    @earl, I don’t know if anyone reads the printed version anymore, but the biggest clue about who the paper catered/caters to was always revealed in the multiple full page luxury ads. Also, some of the local stories were pushed by whiny editors in the realm of first world rich people pet peeves. It has always amazed me how well the right brainwashed all into believing it was some liberal/leftist rag for the poors.

    • posaune says:

      Yes, I remember all those full page color ads in the Sunday Magazine that featured SFA wool coats for 6-year olds at $5,000 a pop.   Ugh.

      • P J Evans says:

        I think it’s the same audience as “Architecture Digest” – the stuff is gorgeous, but most of us aren’t going to be paying that kind of money for furnishings.

  14. P J Evans says:

    My assumption for many years has been that newspapers of more than local circulation, and locals if they’re part of a chain, are going to report establishment views favorably, and back businesses – ads are where their money comes from! This isn’t really anything new: you can find newspapers in the 19th century that are quite similar (and without the pictures); back then the ads were on all pages and usually not marked as such.

  15. Trip says:

    I didn’t know where to post this, but Prigozhin (and Russia) are fully moving into Central Africa (2 stories)

    Meduza in English‏Verified account @meduza_en

    Yet further evidence that “Putin’s chef” has blood on his hands: investigators tie July’s murder of three Russian journalists in Africa to Evgeny Prigozhin


    Related: Central African Republic Open to Russian Military Base

    The Central African Republic (CAR) does not rule out the deployment of full-fledged Russian military bases on top of an existing training facility, the CAR’s defense minister has told Russian media.


    • allison holland says:

      Its a great place for a winter docha, especially if you subscribe to Architectural Digest.  The rare wood timbers for building, blood diamonds for cocktail parties and uranium for when your boss’ ex friends happen by. and to add..endangered wildlife in case the trump boys helicopter in. Putin and his stalinist chefs/murderers are everywhere now. I dont like them in Venezuela. it makes me nervous. I dont like them anywhere, to quote my always nervous cat. The disruption they sew can never be undone. The enslavement and terror they release in their wake seems to be unstoppable. All for money and power and nothing for mankind. Everything we ever feared in an alien invasion.

  16. harpie says:

    Nate Silver :

    5:39 PM – 11 Jan 2019 I’m not trying to be a jerk but the Times still owes its readers an explanation about what the f*** was going on with this vector of its reporting in 2016. / To hone in: I don’t care about an *apology* so much as an *explanation*. NYT screwed up some shit in 2016. It’s OK. It was a hard election to cover. NYT is great. But the “no clear link” story is literally sort of incomprehensible, in light of subsequent reporting. What happened?”

    Cheryl Rofer responds:

    I’ve done a timeline comparing the two here. // Tonight’s News Dump And Another Long Ago — Tonight’s New York Times news dump on two FBI investigations, for counterintelligence and criminal activity, is strangely parallel to that October 31, 2016, news dump that said the FBI was not investigating Donald Trump. Let’s look at a timeline for the material reported in the two. I’m taking dates from the articles rather than looking up the precise dates in order to get this out quickly. […] “

    • Troutwaxer says:

      The Hillary/Trump election wasn’t hard to cover. The issues were very simple. Trump and Clinton becoming the Presidential candidates was the ultimate failure of both the Republican and Democratic establishments. Hillary was a mildly corrupt party apparatchik, and Trump was a buffoon with way too many ties to Moscow, a record of stiffing contractors, and a major connection with “funny money.” Hillary was obviously the one to vote for in this election, but mainly as the (much) lesser of two evils.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        When both parties largely ignore the needs of the many, or deride them as unworthy in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy, it tends to drive the protest vote.  In 2016 for some strange reason, that went to Donald Trump, who is as much in favor of the have nots as he is in being on a no carb, no McDonald’s, no Coke diet.

        I suspect he’d rather wear Bermuda shorts, a tank top, and a crew cut before doing anything – as opposed to talking about, the needs of the have nots.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trip, central Africa, particularly West Africa, has a lot of essential resources, scarce metals, industrial diamonds, gold, copper, oil, etc. Resources found in the Congo make possible the modern cellphone and similar laptop devices. I would expect conflict there to go up, now down.

    • Rayne says:

      DRC already sold the rights to all its cobalt to China a handful of years ago. My guess is they are trying to infiltrate that supply chain and/or going after other rare earth minerals.

    • Trip says:

      Prevezon Holdings….Leviev Africa (diamonds)…Kushner, all connected.

      Denis Katsyv’s companies are closely connected to the business empire of Lev Avnerovich Leviev, the billionaire Israeli-Russian businessman whose empire stretches across the world.
      According to company records, Katsyv’s company, Prevezon Holdings Limited Cyprus, owns 30 percent of four companies that are part of Leviev’s Africa Israel group of companies. Africa Israel Ltd. The Prevezon-AFI connections can be seen in property records from New York where the companies are in business together.



      What makes the story so interesting now, a  little more than 6 years later, is that Prevezon Holdings is not only connected to Leviev, but also to the family of Jared Kushner who, it is widely known has had dealings with Leviev, both in the diamond industry and in Leviev’s Africa-Israel land dealings. What makes the story even more interesting is the recent arrest of  Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney who had meetings with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manaford in the Trump Tower in 2016. https://lostmessiahdotcom.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/the-prevezon-story-throwback-to-2012-the-money-flow-denis-katsyv-and-millions-never-recovered/


      …the Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who is controversial because he is suspected of trading in blood diamonds. He is one of the world’s biggest diamond traders and owns prestigious stores in New York and Moscow, but he is also the owner of Siebel, the Netherlands’ biggest jewellery chain. Leviev has ties with Russian president Putin, US president Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Trump, however, claims he hardly knows this “King of Diamonds”


      • Rayne says:

        pssst…remember that many readers use mobile devices with small displays. Dividing content with a line of hundred-plus dashes ends up wrapping multiple times and pushing content down, down the screen.

      • Jockobadger says:

        Rare earth metallic elements e.g. Scandium, Yttrium, and the Lanthanides are the biggies.  Used in cell phones, etc.  There was one rare earth mine in the US, the Mountain Pass, in SE Cali.  It closed in ’02.  Then reopened.  Iirc, I think it’s now shut down again due to competition from China and environmental issues.  It’s still a large, rich deposit and at one time it supplied most of the world.  Right now China is the only source for RE’s.  Not good, but Mountain Pass could be/should be reopened.  I believe that they’re working on it.

        ~did some geologic mapping down there when I was in school.  Cool country.

        • Rayne says:

          Beg to differ. Some of the world’s largest reserves of Ilmenite, manganese, palladium, platinum, vanadium, and zirconium are in South Africa. But it’s the continent’s massive carbonatites deposits and monazite sands which attract investors attention because they contain rare earth elements.

          There are existing rare earth mining projects across the continent, including:
          — Gakara mine, Burundi
          — Steenkampskraal mine, Western Cape, South Africa
          — Zandkopsdrift project, Northern Cape, South Africa
          — Lofdal project, Namibia

          Believe two of these are already publicly-listed entities trading in stock markets.

      • Paul Ferguson says:

        The author of the blog “lost messiah” has been sued by real estate developers from Brooklyn for articles published on her website.  The case has been sealed and she has gone to the media to figure out why.  www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Rockland-County-Blogger-Reveals-Herself-Amid-Court-Battle-501917552.html

  18. Jenny says:

    Am I missing something? Isn’t it obvious the FBI would investigate Trump about being a possible Russian asset?

    Trump a walking red flag with all the old and new connections going back 30 years. Cohen and Sater; first wife Czechoslovakian, third from Slovenian; Russian rubles (Jr. said in 2008 a lot of family assets come from Russia); Ms. Universe contest in Russia; build Trump Tower in Moscow and so much more.

    Malcolm Nance, Clint Watts and Sarah Kendzior have talked about this for 2 years.



    • Rayne says:

      It seems obvious to us there would have been counterintelligence investigations — plural — from at least as early as 2015 and ongoing. Russia had hacked the Pentagon and the White House before the 2016 campaign season began, and they’d also tried to recruit Carter Page. There’s also Team Trump’s hiring of Flynn after Obama’s warning. There were far too many reasons for counterintelligence to be engaged all along, up to and after Comey’s firing and the no-press visit from Russia’s diplomats in the White House.

      (I still want to know what casino(s) were visited in the Buryakov case, mentioned in the indictment.)

      It’s the counterintelligence activity I remind folks will likely not be in any report, if Special Counsel’s Office publishes one. We may not know for years exactly what counterintelligence has done and what they have found.

      • Jenny says:

        Thanks Rayne.  I have always questioned Trump’s mob connections in NY and NJ.  Roy Cohn, Mr. Ruthless was his mentor for years.

        Why did the media let this known grifter slide?  Many stories buried for years until Agent Orange took the escalator ride.

        The NY FBI and NY police had to know he was connected with the mob.  Why has Trump skated from prosecution?  Did he get a pass because he was mob connected?  Who does Trump have dirt on in NY circle of law enforcement?

        Inquiring minds want to know.  So many questions – so many crimes.  More exposure …

        • Trip says:

          His father and then he contributed to NY Mayor Abe Beame. Then there was a potential investigation by the NY FBI into Trump, but it went away when Trump offered to donate money to then US attorney SDNY Giuliani’s campaign for mayor. Trump has greased all the slimy wheels, and there have been plenty.

      • Tom says:

        A week or so ago around the time that Trump made those comments in support of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan stating that the Russians were “right” to do so, I saw a clip of Frank Figliuzzi (former FBI counter-intelligence agent) in which he said the fact that the U.S. President was spouting Russian propaganda would alone be grounds for starting an investigation into Trump and his reasons for siding with the Kremlin on this revisionist (i.e., false) history.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah. Somebody else in my feed pointed out the stuff Trump says about Russia must be coming from non-U.S. sources because the U.S. isn’t publishing/broadcasting that stuff anywhere.

          • silcominc says:

            There is a lot more here Rayne.  The coordination is remarkable.  Two days ago, almost in unison, someone close to Putin tweeted that RBG should leave the court now.  Within hours, the white house leaked that it was looking for her replacement.  It is as though they have a direct link between the Kremlin and the White House.

            • Rayne says:

              You have any links to this, please share here. I thought it was a head game when I saw the story about a replacement search for RBG.

              Hope she has adequate security in spite of the shutdown.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Len Leo and the FedSoc are always looking for candidates and strategizing how to replace anyone to the left of Genghis Khan on the Supreme Court. It’s no different than when big city newspapers prepare obits for the high and mighty long before they shuffle off their mortal coil.

              What is new is this White House’s unprecedented crudity and ghoulishness.  Trump’s minders are likely using this talking point to inflame the base, deride the left, and pretend it has the power to remove RBG.  As Trump’s biographers keep telling us, he destroys whatever he touches.

              Someone also probably let slip that there’s a new well-received film out about RBG that characterizes her as a hero.  That would give the Don gas and send him into paroxysms.

              The crudity and ghoulishness are normal for Donald Trump.  They are NOT normal in any president or senior politician, regardless of how much they might talk that way when huntin’ ducks (or each other) or sharing drinks in some private, members only enclave. It is so not normal that I’ll bet John Roberts is taking note.

              This is also likely to be one more distraction from the net closing in on Donald Trump. As the Great Colbert said, the slats on Trump’s pretend wall are not the bars we would like to see him behind.

              • milton wiltmellow says:

                It has been obvious that the USSC has been an arm of the Republican party SINCE DECEMBER 2000.  That must be dealt will before confirming anyone else –should have been dealt with in 2008.

                It is a mystery to me why Democrats treat the subject as if it has cooties.

                The Republicans cheated.  Repeatedly

                They know it, the Democrats know it, and anyone paying attention knows it — including every editor of the New York Times from Joseph Lelyveld onward.

  19. Watson says:

    In addition to acquiring minerals and geo-positioning, foreign entities, e.g., from Saudi Arabia and China, are also buying up arable land in Africa.

  20. harpie says:

    wrt the Twit’s Tweets [h/t Trip], Kyle Griffin has a run down, here:

    * 4 attacking NYT report * 1 false claim that he has been tougher on Russia * 1 attacking ex-FBI officials * 3 attacking Dems over shutdown * 1 on undocumented immigrant crimes * 1 attacking WaPo reporter * 1 claiming he has a shutdown strategy

  21. Milo says:

    Since the Schneiderberg thing, I’m been wondering, I guess conspiracy-style, if the NYT is simply compromised.

    • J R in WV says:

      There is a big, huge difference between “sloppy” and totally suborned by fascist enemies of democracy, which more closely describes the NY Times than merely sloppy. Today’s Times, I am told, has a big think piece by Frank Bruni about how the Times missed the big election story.

      That full page article does NOT contain the word “Russia” anywhere in it. Imagine that. Bruni can’t even type that word Russia in a 3,000  word article once, when talking about the election and subsequent FBI investigation, he can’t type the word “Russia” once, let alone discuss the absence of any discussion of Russian corruption of the election and Russian ownership of President Trump.

      The NY Times has been a big booster of fascism both in the middle-European sense of that word AND in the USSR/ Russian Federation sense of the word for a century now. They obviously are not planning to stop suddenly now, today, as fascism is one step away from taking over the United States of America. Nothing could make them happier than for Trump to take over our government more completely than he already has.

  22. Trip says:

    Rayne says:
    January 12, 2019 at 11:21 am

    If this was supposed to be a ‘deep state narrative’ story, I’m not seeing it. If anything it furthers the case the ‘deep state’ hasn’t been able to stop the Trump machine. Couldn’t stop him during the campaign, couldn’t stop him after Comey’s firing, and still hasn’t filed the worst indictments anticipated.

    That’s only because you retain critical thinking skills. I’ve mentioned before that if the deep state was against Trump, they would have rigged the election in favor of Clinton and manufactured ‘trumped-up’ (pun intended) charges against Trump BEFORE the election. But this won’t stop the tin foil from being activated. And unfortunately, this NYT story doesn’t go far enough in asserting via sources that this investigation continues with paydirt.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      With regard to Trump and the Deep State, the “Deep State” (if it exists) prefers to lead with a criminal investigation rather than some other kind of action, and hopes that a proper prosecution will solve all problems, and this is very, very good, because it keeps American Democracy (mostly*) above reproach It will be very interesting to see what the “Deep State” does should Mueller and all the various investigations be shut down, because the next step is a doozy!

      * “(mostly) above reproach” in that the “Deep State” doesn’t drag “traitors” out of their beds late at night and leave the bodies in the street as a warning to others. I’m not dealing with other possible critiques of the “Deep State” in this post.

    • mrtmbrnmn says:

      The Deep State didn’t rig the 2016 campaign for Hillary.  They didn’t have to.  It was pre-rigged already.  It was gospel that she would win! Operation Crossfire Hurricane (for example) was more an Op to “create” a solid alibi for the Hillary administration to regime change Putin by trailing false PutinDidIt “bread crumbs” thru the Trump campaign.  Nobody with a functioning brain even hallucinated that Trump would win.  The Deep State was trumped by Trump’s victory.  However, there was no point in the Deep State sore losers wasting a good pack of lies.  With overeager propaganda delivery devices like NYT, everything was quickly repurposed into Operation Regime Change Trump, which continues to merrily roll along.  The wonder is how many times the Deep State can recycle and the NYT can rewrite the same pack of lies and propaganda in the hope of getting a different result.  Today’s breathless breaking news story is just the same cud chewed over.  The end result is always methane gas!

  23. harpie says:

    The New Yorker‘s Isaac Chotiner interviews NYT‘s Goldman wrt: this article:
    How the Times Reported the F.B.I. Counterintelligence Investigation Into President Trump: An Interview with the Journalist Adam Goldman  Isaac Chotiner 9:47 A.M.
    […] To discuss the Times piece, I spoke by phone with Adam Goldman, who reported the story along with Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos. During the course of our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed why the F.B.I. felt it had to take such an extreme step, the atmosphere in the Bureau after the Comey firing, and whether the Mueller investigation is really nearing its end. […] 

  24. MissyDC says:

    Read or listen to Sarah Kendzior’s Gaslit Nation if you want to know more about the Trump/NYT dance. She had an entire pod on news complicity for many reasons, wealthy white privledge and nepotism a couple.

    Maggie, Mike & Ken Vogel are the worse Trump apologists/sycophants but agree it starts with Dean.

    The question is why? As Sarah points out, it’s not money. Because the REALITY of Trump is far more interesting that the palace intrigue. If NYT wrote truthful stories they would have more readership and credibility. I don’t know anyone with smarts who finds the “jurnos” covering Trump reliable.

  25. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    I believe that the rolling coup we have been experiencing was first conceived in the early 1970’s with Nixon’s on going efforts to destroy the Democratic party’s ability to mount an effective opposition to his re-election. The width and breadth of the institutional connections and complicity included all of the permanent security state . Of course the entire thing was solidified in 2001 by many of the same characters we are seeing today including the current nominee for Attorney General and goblins like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort. Since 2001 there has been a battle going on inside both the FBI and the CIA and the 8 years of GW Bush left a bureaucracy  in both that was politically at war with itself. The corporate oligarchy in America which includes NYT is almost exactly like the German economic powers in the late 1920’s and early 30’s in that by 1931-32 the German powers (like the Krupps) thought that they could control Hitler and that re-armament would lead them to a permanent place in leadership in the western world. The rest as they say is history. But we are not done yet fellow Emptywheelers, history does not repeat itself it just gives us the opportunity to finally get it right. Namaste fellow patriots, peace love and strength.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve wondered about a long-term program since I watched this video of former KGB officer and defector Yuri Bezmenov. Is this all a part of a program Putin picked up and continued? How much of what Bezmenov says is true and how much might be another disinformation op — perhaps a non-Russian op?

      The answer to the problem isn’t to these questions. The answer is for the U.S. to know its values and to live them. If we believe in a liberal democracy, then we do our best to create one. Trump was never a move toward liberal democracy.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        “The answer is for the U.S. to know its values and to live them”

        And this is what history has given us since 1789, the chance to get it right. It’s the last chance we’re gunna get in this incarnation.

      • Arj says:

        As an Englishman watching the Trump-Clinton contest, I was surprised to hear ‘liberal’ used pejoratively for the first time in my life.

        • Rayne says:

          The word was turned into a pejorative here over decades, from 1960s through 1990s. Anti-war protesters were dirty hippie liberals as were 1970s tree hugging anti-pollution activists. By the 1990s Fox news and right-wing talk radio had institutionalized the bashing of liberals and the label tightly glued to American leftists.

          Unfortunately it meant the original meaning of liberalism was lost. It’s difficult to talk to conservatives here about “liberal democracy” now because they shut down reflexively at “liberal” before we can even get to “democracy.” Makes it easier to disenfranchise voter groups when we can’t even talk about the basics of democracy.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        The issue is this. The “bear” is still a bear. It may no longer be a communist bear, but it will still act like a bear. We’re seeing the same kinds of positive actions by Russia towards the American Right that it used to take to help the American left.

        And yes, Norskie Flamethrower’s comment below is entirely on point. We need to live our values.

      • Rayne says:

        I should point out there’s a bit somewhere after 33:00 minutes in which Bezmenov talks about American journalists’ mindsets and how they were manipulated. This is before Bill Keller’s time in Moscow but did the approach ever change?

  26. Trip says:

    NorskieFlamethrower says:
    January 12, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    And Statesman War Criminal Henry Kissinger has been involved in advising on geopolitics/diplomacy since he betrayed LBJ for Nixon.

  27. Mark Ospeck says:

    NYT, the so-called paper of record, remains problematical for me. Having read it since 89, I also found the Abramson firing and the subsequent Dean Baquet Ed. decisions to be v perplexing. In any case, this last story about Trump having been previously defined by the spooks as a potential Russian agent and a national security threat-NYT seems to be doing a solid for the country (and the world). But this weekend I’m just going to watch football and avoid thinking about how much trouble we’re in.

    • Jim195 says:

      I don’t want to carry water for the NYT’s journalistic practices.  But right now, I’ll take The Establishment over the narcissistic fool in the White House.  If we’re lucky and stay unified, we can sort out later all these recriminations among those of us on the side of the Constitution.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      Pre-internet, if you ran a big-city paper, you could break a couple really big stories a year, possibly offend an advertiser/the government, and still be assured of staying in business. I’m not sure that big newspapers have that much room anymore. (Though yes, the NYT is definitely arrogant beyond all reason.)

  28. Reader 21 says:

    132 — 0. One figure represents the number of times the NYT’s political reporters (chiefly Maggie, here) wrote about Clinton’s emails and/or Benghazi. The other figure corresponds to the number of times that same Maggie wrote about Individual-1’s long-standing, notorious and, in New York at least, widely-known mob ties. Care to guess which is which?

    • J R in WV says:

      Maggie H is the daughter of two well-connected and well to do people who have made a fortune representing Trump, paid by Trump to make Trump look better.

      Maggie’s private school education was paid for by Trump, and thus by money being laundered by mobsters. So she — Maggie — doesn’t have the same feelings about the mob, and the Russian mob, as we ordinary working for our living people do. She thinks that’s just smart business, to make a lot of money making mobsters look good. So that’s what she’s doing, making mobsters look good.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Maggie’s dad was a longtime NYT reporter, her mom was a senior officer for a big PR firm in NYC.  They would have been a connected couple.  Maggie would have learned what that all means in her crib.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Does anyone remember how many of the DoJ and FBI people that Trump has fired had experience and expertise in Russia and counter-intel investigations?

    Asking for a friend, who is upset that so many in the MSM and blogosphere (Wittes, that includes you), have just woken up to the possibility, indeed, the likelihood, that we have a president working for Valdimir Putin.

    • P J Evans says:

      I don’t have a number, but it’s a bunch, from Comey and Yates down through Strozk. All of them with experience, and all of them sending up flares about Himself and his connections.

  30. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Corporate “journalism” has always worked this way and in the case of their coverage of Clinton, they were simply working to secure expanded profits and power if Trumpty Dumpty were to be elected. If Clinton were to win, she would already be emasculated and damaged such that impeachment would occur in the first year of her term with Tim Kaine being the Democrat’s version of Pence. Now that they have learned that the Dumpster is simply eating their share of the profits and power, and is replacing them at the table with Russia, they are squealing like pigs who have discovered that they are gunna be the main course for dinner at the Kremlin ( kinda like Bibi in Israel) Namaste, and keep the faith but pass the ammunition.

        • Rayne says:

          I know, right? And the etymology on it drives me insane, always treated as an entirely Old English word dis- (bundle of flax) staff (spindle on which mostly women spun fiber into thread) instead of the more likely hybrid word dis- (Latin, as in removed) staff (Old English stick). Especially since spindles were used to create thread from wool, flax, and other fibrous materials — not just flax (dis-) and the point was those without the stick (women) or those who did work only on a borrowed stick (spindle work mostly by women).

          Distaff — those with the stick removed (I will not say from where).

  31. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    OK Ryan, my bad, she would have been prepped like a bull in the ring in Tijuana back in the day when a few of us GI’s used to go across the border in El Paso.

    • J R in WV says:

      Tijuana is just south of San Diego, CA, and El Paso is in Texas, a very long way from Tijuana. No offense, just a geographical detail I’m aware of and remembering…

      Ciudad Juarez is just south of El Paso TX.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        Sorry my memory got all tangled up with the period immediately after I left the army and went to Irvine, CA. Juarez is the place we went for the 13 months I spent at White Sands Missile Range after getting back from SE Asia.  I’m sure the bull fights in Tijauna in 1968 were just as awful as in Juarez.

  32. Jockobadger says:

    Keep writing Norskie, and Rayne, and Marcy and EarlOH, and bmaz, Trip, and all the rest of you EW’ers. I thank dog that you’re here.
    Damn but it’s comforting to know that there’re still come critical thinkers out there.

    “Namaste, and keep the faith but pass the ammunition” – Nice one Norskie. Right on! My boys say that makes me sound like an old hippie.

  33. harpie says:

    Emma Best [NatSecGeek] has a new article out, [in which she mentions Marcy‘s work]:

    6:07 AM – 12 Jan 2019 My first piece with @Gizmodo: The U.S Government Has Amassed Terabytes of Internal #WikiLeaks Data […] On approximately July 6, the organization sent another message encouraging Guccifer 2.0 to send “anything [H]illary related” in time for the Democratic National Convention, which WikiLeaks thought Clinton would use to solidify support. The quoted portion of the exchange ends with WikiLeaks saying they thought conflict between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Clinton would be “interesting.” These exchanges, about maximizing impact and damage, are relevant to one of the theories of Assange’s potential prosecution outlined by noted national security journalist Marcy Wheeler. […]

  34. gmoke says:

    If you read the history of the NYTimes you will discover that their Italian correspondents during the 1920s were agents of Mussolini, that they were apologists for Hitler early and often, that they refused to look into the reports of extermination camps during WWII until they absolutely had to, and that’s only scratching the surface.

    All major media are corporations and their corporate interests are always more important than an informed citizenry until that point when circumstances force them to do what they should have been doing from the get go.

    The NYTimes is, unfortunately, the paper of record, a broken record, which sometimes does very good work but often just repeats the same conventional corporate BS over and over again.

  35. Vinnie Gambone says:

    ‘ Thank Dog ” ?

    Old Joke, but,… What do you get when you cross an insomniac, a dyslexic, and an existentialist?

    A: A person who stays up late at night wondering if there is a dog.

    Or. What do you call midget psychic who has escaped from jail ?

    A:  A small medium at large.
    And speaking of prison….

    What do you call a lifetime russian mob operative with 3 years free time  who was once a major player in efforts to sabotage America’s most fundamental institution of free elections?

    A: A best selling book author who got rich selling the movie rights.

  36. Eureka says:

    Gotta add NYT’s elimination of its Public Editor/firing of Liz Spayd as an explicit ‘thinking face’ item, besides the fact you cited one of her articles.  Here’s how Baquet described that article:

    Executive editor Dean Baquet described Spayd’s column on the paper’s pre-election Russia coverage as “bad.”

    (internal link removed)

    See also Daily Beast, Politico (respectively):
    Why The New York Times Fired Its Public Editor in Favor of a ‘Reader Center’

    New York Times eliminates its public editor

  37. Trip says:

    Shocking, I know, that Veselnitskaya has no intentions of returning to the US. She claims the meeting with Junior wasn’t political. What is more political than removing Russian sanctions? The email from Goldstone is below:

    Regarding the Trump Tower meeting and the ongoing investigation into the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia, Veselnitskaya also said she was willing to speak to special counsel Robert Mueller, but his office has made no attempt to contact her. She told Yahoo News she believes Mueller or his team hasn’t attempted to interview her because the meeting had “no political significance.”…Veselnitskaya has long insisted that overturning the Magnitsky Act was the focus of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.


    On Jun 3, 2016, at 10:36 AM, Rob Goldstone wrote:

    Good morning

    Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.

    The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

    This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

    What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

    I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.


    Rob Goldstone

    • Rayne says:

      NPR, Miller Case Resonates in ‘New York Times’
      October 16, 2005

      NAYLOR: So how does Judy Miller emerge from all this?

      FOLKENFLIK: I think she emerges pretty bruised and battered. By The Times’ own account, she essentially couldn’t remember who was her first person who told her about Valerie Plame. She wasn’t particularly cooperative with the reporters on this thing. She essentially withheld from her colleagues vital information about this. The managing editor, Jill Abramson, at one point, was asked by reporters for today’s piece, `What do you regret about this case?’ And she said, `Everything about it.’

      Changing Times – Jill Abramson takes charge of the Gray Lady
      October 24, 2011

      Miller ended up writing a series of stories about Saddam Hussein’s weapons stockpile that turned out to be exaggerated and erroneous. Raines asserts that Abramson edited several of the erroneous stories on W.M.D.s. Abramson counters that Judith Miller “did not work for me.” Douglas Frantz, who was the investigations editor, and oversaw Miller, agrees that Abramson did not edit Miller’s stories, and says that “Miller operated outside the normal reporting and editing channels.”

      Abramson, however, accepts some blame. In 2008, she wrote in the Times, “I failed to push hard enough” to publish an article, written by James Risen, the Times national-security reporter, that was skeptical of claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. She also says, “My responsibility as bureau chief is that I did not pay sufficient attention to the stories Judy was writing. Many were based on Iraqi defectors. I wish I had been more skeptical.” Miller, who now works as a commentator for Fox and as a drama critic for the online magazine Tablet, declined to comment, saying, “I will be addressing these issues and more in my forthcoming book.”

      Emphasis mine.

      • SaltinWound says:

        This seems to focus on her own regrets and perceptions of her mistakes. I had my own opinions, following it at the time. Didn’t we all?

  38. Desider says:

    Jill Abramson was fired on May 14, 2014. Tad Devine was emailing Rick Gates (essentially Manafort) and then 2 more to Gates & Kilimnik by June 9-16, 2014, just 4 weeks later, negotiating to come to Kiev at $10K per day for 4-5 days from June 16 – https://twitter.com/riotwomennn/status/1032663542560903175 ; https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/07/bernie-sanders-strategist-tad-devine-paul-manafort-files-mueller – and then they stopped communicating. But 5 months later – Nov 10, 2014 – Tad Devine signed on as Bernie’s campaign strategist. Doesn’t say Abramson’s firing & Devine’s comms were connected – just that 2016 campaign activity was firing up that early.
    Devine’s work for Bernie wasn’t *necessarily* funny – Devine had worked with Bernie in the 90’s, though he did crooked work on 3 campaigns for the Kremlin’s puppet in Ukraine, Yanukovych, much more recently – 2006, 2009, 2010 – along with other dirty campaigns around the world.
    But when Hillary’s DNC database was opened & ended up downloaded by Bernie’s camp, did that database end up with Kilimnik & Moscow? Any chance that Bernie’s primary win in Michigan was an early test of an invalidated-voter-registration strategy that would be repeated in the general election?

    • Rayne says:

      This entire program consisting of several operations began before 2010, IMO. I think Trump’s M A G A brand development work was an indicator of his buy-in or co-option; Trump’s son’s acknowledgment they were getting money from Russia circa 2008 combined with the crash may have been the trigger for the entire Trump family wrt this program (though Trump was probably amenable long before, just not fully hooked and prepared until some point into The Apprentice series, maybe 2006-07 season).

      While the dominoes at NYT and Sanders’ campaign team were being lined up, there were other media/social media pieces being manipulated into position. Like Yuri Milner and Alisher Usmanov buying a stake in Facebook c. 2009, and Viktor Vekselberg buying into Gawker in January 2016.

      The eventual timeline on this entire mess is going to be wild.

  39. Jockobadger says:

    Rayne, apologies for responding here – reply button didn’t work and I’m on mobile. You’re right wrt SA, but they’ve just gotten going. Rainbow is producing out of some seriously high-grade ore eg 67% oxide. The best Mountain Pass showed was 18-20. Anyway, they really only got the mill going in 2017, and it’s still the only one actually operating. SA’ll get more going. Soon.

    My reply was poorly written for which I apologize (again.) The problem is that there are issues re: ownership of those very rich prospects, including those mentioned in your post. Long-standing issue.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve been watching for an investment opportunity in rare earth and nothing yet inspires confidence. I’m sure it’s there but I’m not confident it’s as developed as lithium production, for comparison.

  40. NJrun says:

    The NYT’s political coverage has long been perplexing, and the 2016 campaign was disgraceful. That said, maybe the schizophrenia reflects the natural messiness of a newspaper rather than purpose to tip the scales.

    Newspapers you have lots of reporters doing their own investigations based on their own sources and specialties. Editors have to allow them rope while answering to executives. There’s pressure to compete with other papers (individually and colllectively) while trying to not make mistakes.

    I don’t know the answers, but I also think it’s a mistake to attribute everything that happens to an agenda.

    • Rayne says:

      Except editors were actively involved in the October 31 story, removing key content while framing it with a misleading headline so that readers came to a different conclusion. There’s a reason Lichtblau isn’t with the NYT any longer.

      Having been a managing editor, I know there certainly can be an agenda which is invisible to those who don’t look or ask, though not every media organization has one/some agenda/s.

      Add the twisted op-ed skew provided by Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss on top of a chain of crappy editorial decisions and one would be stupid not to ask if there’s an agenda.

  41. Adriano says:

    Where is Stephen Miller in all this? Is he functioning as the king’s brain and driving the shutdown “strategy”? How deeply is he compromised and corrupted by Putin? Was he involved with the campaign or is a he a jonny-come-lately? I’d love to hear.

    • Rayne says:

      Excellent question given his role as progenitor/promoter of Team Trump’s racist policies. IMO I don’t think he’s a link to Russia directly but a link to white nationalists who are in turn connected to Russian white nationalists.

      He needs to go, though. Period.

      p.s. welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. Thanks.

  42. Wm. Boyce says:

    Well, I suppose the sentiment is that the Times is awful, or something. Certainly nothing they’ve done recently holds a candle to the disgrace of Judith Miller’s “reporting” and the war drums beaten before we destroyed Iraq. (The Washington Post was as bad if not worse.)

    But for better or worse, you’d better hope they are able to continue with some kind of holding at least some of the powerful accountable, because there’s damned few choices left. Local journalism has largely disappeared, and that’s the trend: downward. Much of the country operates in total darkness, information-wise, and the Internet is no substitute. In fact, it’s far worse than what we had before, in terms of information gathering.

    This is a large part of the  reason that the creature still has 35% of the public backing him: There simply isn’t anything out there to contradict the party line of Fox/Rush/Ann/Puke! You can hear Rush anywhere in the country, but try to find the Times in a major city – it’s impossible in San Antonio, for instance.

    We gave up on our formerly major regional paper recently and have subscribed to the Times out of desperation for some signs of intelligent life in America. While is much reduced from before (no copy editors) it’s still better than 95% of the crap out there.

    • Rayne says:

      I think we can agree that journalism in local newspapers has suffered over the last two decades. It simply couldn’t adapt fast enough to internet-based business models to save its breadth of reporting. Unfortunately its weakened position has left it vulnerable to attack like the tronc-ing the former Tribune papers received from a vulture capitalist.

      But as for NYT which hasn’t that excuse: is its role in a trillion-dollar boondoggle to promote the creative destruction of universal fascism via Iraq worse than its role in undermining the U.S.’ 242-year-old democracy? I don’t think we’re far enough along yet to measure the all the costs from the latter and the former isn’t yet completely played out.

      There is another major threat to local journalism I have yet to write about – watch for that piece. But our only answer is to continue to support local journalism when it’s good, like Detroit Free Press and Flint Journal in my state. Otherwise they’ll be tronc’d, too, and eventually disappear, leaving the field to a very small number of easily co-opted major papers.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        A major threat to journalism has been thirty years of financialization, and the normalizing of resource extraction as the primary business model.

        Firms used to be run as going concerns, with an eye toward stability and longterm operations.  Stewardship of resources was important, as was a recognition of the multiple networks required to keep them going: employees, customers, creditors, suppliers, local communities.

        That was an ideal often not met, but it was a model to work within.  It has largely been replaced by Friedmanite neoliberalism, which inverts the role of shareholder from last in line to first in line.  It is most extreme in private equity, which buy and own companies only long enough to extract cash, replacing it with large amounts of debt, leading virtually inevitably to bankruptcy.

        Like small banks, formerly family and small corporation newspapers were widely bought up in the 1980s and after.  Some continued to be run well.  The Johnstown Tribune Democrat was a good example.  Others were more quickly burdened with debt, their management, newsrooms and operating budgets were slashed as private equity sought to extract the maximum cash.  The LA Times and Chicago Tribune are examples of the latter.

    • Trip says:

      I don’t think anyone is advocating a shutdown of the Times in their criticism. There are excellent investigative journalists onboard. The issue lies with editors and owners in who gets the most play, and does so without critical analysis.

  43. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Regarding Benjamin Wittes’s attempt to revise the perception of the tragedy that is DonaldTrump – What if the Obstruction Was the Collusion? – welcome to the party, pal.  As for his exculpatory – “It was about Russia. It was always about Russia. Full stop.” – bullshit.

    He is correct that Russia appears to be a persistent malicious actor in all this seems.  That’s not new or a change.  But the American political star in this dark tragedy remains Donald J. Trump.

    Vladimir Putin may be Iago, but Trump is the main character.  He may be embarrassingly vain, grossly incompetent, stunningly ignorant, and extraordinarily blackmailable, but he’s the President.  Without Trump, Vlad would be whistling in the wind.

    Trump remains, however, thanks to the stunningly hypocritical Republican Party, most especially its representatives in the Senate, who have put party and power ahead of country.  This sad play would have closed long ago were they not all-in for their Don.

  44. Marinela says:

    So the FBI started to investigate sitting president for the possibility he may be a national security thread regarding the Russia dealings.
    Do we know if this investigation is still ongoing?
    Didn’t read the Times article.

    • Rayne says:


      The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.

      The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.

      • Marinela says:

        Thanks for the feedback.

        The time line on when this FBI investigation started, implies Peter S. was not limited to the FBI hr desk yet.

        The firing of Peter S. later on is deeply alarming in my mind, considering he is expert in Russian counterinteligence matters.

        But on the other hand, Trump fired Comey, so should be no surprize they would go after anybody.

        • Trip says:

          It wasn’t just the Comey firing. Within days of that firing, Trump calls Russians to the Oval office, says the pressure is off him, shares classified intelligence, won’t allow any US press, but allows Russian State media.

          This is after he publicly asked Russia to get the Clinton emails, among other things during the campaign. This is also after Flynn calls the Russians not to react to sanctions. I would call the firing and meeting a tipping point. If any of this reportage is true.

          The problem with a lot of the coverage of Trump is that people tend to excerpt tiny bits and then dismiss them individually rather than seeing them collectively as a big picture.

          • Marinela says:

            Ageed that Trump coverage is not adequate.

            Not an expert in journalism, but I try to stay informed the best I can, the MSM coverage at times seem as if they are trying to “normalize” Trump.

            Most of the MSM coverage, opens up more questions for me.

            I do appreciate that I can ask questions in this forum.

  45. greengiant says:

    “some former law enforcement officials” read Giuliani, or former assistant director Kallstrom, both inches away from ground zero in Trump Russia fiasco. Unregurgitated team Trump spin.

  46. Manqueman says:

    Rayne, you’re suffering from the delusion that the Times is a liberal paper, that honest reporting is a priority and not a reflection of biases.
    As for Abramson, her gender isn’t directly relevant. The prior publisher much preferred mediocre editors with whom he felt personally comfortable. (I’d further submit that he never gave a crap about journalism, just the ability to boast about how great the Times was.) Keller and Baquet good, Raines bad. (All flawed but I would submit Raines was the least bad.) While I’m sure Abramson’s gender was likely a problem, I don’t buy that it was a crucial factor in her being replaced.

    • Rayne says:

      1) Not under any delusion that the Times is left of center (let’s not muddy the word liberal further at this point). I have been under the delusion the Times reported news and attempted to offer well-reasoned opinion occasionally. Clearly under Baquet’s watch the opinion columns have slipped further while already suffering under the feckless weight of Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, Ross Douthat.

      2) Your argument about gender failed when Liz Bayd was let go. Amazing what percentage of people identified as women who had any opposing sentiment toward the October 31 piece.

  47. Tom says:

    Sorry for going off topic, but I’m hoping someone asks Michael Cohen about his connection with Sean Hannity when he (Cohen) appears before Congress on February 7th.

  48. Semanticleo says:

    Everyone has a beef with the Media as though they have engineered their own demise.

    Capitalism is the boner that was fully engorged in the early 1970s when bean-counters won the revenue wars over News Division exemptions from the network budget.

    Previously they were autonomous because they were not beholden to ADVERTISING rates based on viewership.

    Their steady decline as objective journalism can be traced from 1970 on.

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