[Some of] Where Trump Wants to Go with the Server in Ukraine Story

As I emphasized in this post, before Trump pushed Volodymyr Zelensky to frame Hunter Biden, he first pressed Ukraine’s president to “get to the bottom” of the “what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine.”

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

Contrary to virtually all the coverage on this, there is reason to believe that Bill Barr can get information from Ukraine that will feed the disinformation about the Russian operation. Trump has obviously been told — and not just by Rudy Giuliani (as Tom Bossert believes) — to ask for this, but some of this is probably part of the disinformation that Russia built in to the operation.

Rudy Giuliani wants to frame Alexandra Chalupa

This morning, Rudy Giuliani explained that he wants to know who in Ukraine provided information damning to Trump during the 2016 campaign.

GIULIANI: I have never peddled it. Have you ever hear me talk about Crowdstrike? I’ve never peddled it. Tom Bossert doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I have never engaged in any theory that the Ukrainians did the hacking. In fact, when this was first presented to me, I pretty clearly understood the Ukrainians didn’t do the hacking, but that doesn’t mean Ukraine didn’t do anything, and this is where Bossert…

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, why does the president keep repeating it?

GIULIANI: Let’s get on to the point…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, this was in the phone call.

GIULIANI: I agree with Bossert on one thing, it’s clear: there’s no evidence the Ukrainians did it. I never pursued any evidence and he’s created a red herring. What the president is talking about is, however, there is a load of evidence that the Ukrainians created false information, that they were asked by the Obama White House to do it in January of 2016, information he’s never bothered to go read. There are affidavits that have been out there for five months that none of you have listened to about how there’s a Ukrainian court finding that a particular individual illegally gave the Clinton campaign information. No one wants to investigate that. Nobody cared about it. It’s a court opinion in the Ukraine. The Ukrainians came to me. I didn’t go to them. The Ukrainians came to me and said…

STEPHANOPOULOS: When did they first come to you?

GIULIANI: November of 2016, they first came to me. And they said, we have shocking evidence that the collusion that they claim happened in Russia, which didn’t happen, happened in the Ukraine, and it happened with Hillary Clinton. George Soros was behind it. George Soros’ company was funding it.

This is an effort to frame Alexandra Chalupa, who while working as a DNC consultant in 2016 raised alarms about Paul Manafort. This is an effort that Trump has pursued since 2017 in part with a story first floated to (!!) Ken Vogel, an effort that key propagandist John Solomon was pursuing in May. Remember, too, that Chalupa was hacked separately in 2016, and believed she was being followed.

Peter Smith’s operation may have asked for help from a hacker in Ukraine

But per the transcript, this is not about Rudy, it’s about Barr. And even leaving Rudy’s antics aside, there is more that Trump may be after.

First, a fairly minor point, but possibly important. According to Charles Johnson, he advised Peter Smith to reach out to Weev for help finding Hillary’s deleted emails.

Johnson said he also suggested that Smith get in touch with Andrew Auernheimer, a hacker who goes by the alias “Weev” and has collaborated with Johnson in the past. Auernheimer—who was released from federal prison in 2014 after having a conviction for fraud and hacking offenses vacated and subsequently moved to Ukraine—declined to say whether Smith contacted him, citing conditions of his employment that bar him from speaking to the press.

At the time (and still, as far as I know), Weev was living in Ukraine. The Mueller Report says that his investigators never found evidence that Smith or Barbara Ledeen (or Erik Prince or Mike Flynn, who were also key players in this effort) ever contacted Russian hackers.

Smith drafted multiple emails stating or intimating that he was in contact with Russian hackers. For example, in one such email, Smith claimed that, in August 2016, KLS Research had organized meetings with parties who had access to the deleted Clinton emails, including parties with “ties and affiliations to Russia.”286 The investigation did not identify evidence that any such meetings occurred. Associates and security experts who worked with Smith on the initiative did not believe that Smith was in contact with Russian hackers and were aware of no such connection.287 The investigation did not establish that Smith was in contact with Russian hackers or that Smith, Ledeen, or other individuals in touch with the Trump Campaign ultimately obtained the deleted Clinton emails.

Weev is a hacker, but not Russian. So if Smith had reached out to Weev — and if Weev had given him any reason for optimism in finding the emails or even the alleged emails that Ledeen obtained — it might explain why Trump would believe there was information in Ukraine that would help him.

CrowdStrike once claimed its certainty on Russian attribution related to a problematic report on Ukraine

But that’s not the CrowdStrike tie.

At least part of the CrowdStrike tie — and what Zelensky actually could feed to Trump — pertains to a report they did in December 2016. They concluded that one of the same tools that was used in the DNC hack had been covertly distributed to Ukrainian artillery units, which (CrowdStrike claimed) led to catastrophic losses in the Ukranian armed forces. When the report came out — amid the December 2016 frenzy as President Obama tried to figure out what to do with Russia given the Trump win — CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch pitched it as further proof that GRU had hacked the DNC. In other words, according to CrowdStrike, their high confidence on the DNC attribution was tied to their analysis of the Ukrainian malware.

In a now deleted post, infosec researcher Jeffrey Carr raised several problems with the CrowdStrike report. He correctly noted that CrowdStrike vastly overstated the losses to the Ukranian troops, which both an outside analyst and then the Ukranian Defense Ministry corrected. CrowdStrike has since updated its report, correcting the claim about Ukrainian losses, but standing by its analysis that GRU planted this malware as a way to target Ukrainian troops.

Carr also claimed to know of two instances — one, another security company, and the other, a Ukrainian hacker — where the tool was found in the wild.

Crowdstrike, along with FireEye and other cybersecurity companies, have long propagated the claim that Fancy Bear and all of its affiliated monikers (APT28, Sednit, Sofacy, Strontium, Tsar Team, Pawn Storm, etc.) were the exclusive developers and users of X-Agent. We now know that is false.

ESET was able to obtain the complete source code for X-Agent (aka Xagent) for the Linux OS with a compilation date of July 2015. [5]

A hacker known as RUH8 aka Sean Townsend with the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance has informed me that he has also obtained the source code for X-Agent Linux. [11]

Carr argued that since CrowdStrike’s attribution of the DNC hack assumed that only GRU had access to that tool, their attribution claim could no longer be trusted. At the time I deemed Carr’s objections to be worthwhile, but not fatal for the CrowdStrike claim. It was, however, damning for CrowdStrike’s public crowing about attribution of the DNC hack.

Since that time, the denialist crowd has elaborated on theories about CrowdStrike, which BuzzFeed gets just parts of here. Something that will be very critical moving forward but which BuzzFeed did not include, is that the president of CrowdStrike, Shawn Henry, is the guy who (while he was still at FBI) ran the FBI informant who infiltrated Anonymous, Sabu. Because the FBI reportedly permitted Sabu to direct Antisec to hack other countries as a false flag, the denialist theory goes, Henry and CrowdStrike must be willing to launch false flags for their existing clients. [See update below, which makes it clear FBI did not direct this.] The reason I say this will be important going forward is that these events are likely being reexamined as we speak in the grand jury that has subpoenaed both Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond.

So Trump has an incentive to damage not just CrowdStrike’s 2016 reports on GRU, but also CrowdStrike generally. In 2017, Ukraine wanted to rebut the CrowdStrike claim because it made it look bad to Ukranian citizens. But if Trump gives Zelensky reason to revisit the issue, they might up the ante, and claim that CrowdStrike’s claims did damage to Ukraine.

I also suspect Trump may have been cued to push the theory that the GRU tool in question may, indeed, have been readily available and could have been used against the DNC by someone else, perhaps trying to frame Russia.

As I’ve noted, the GRU indictment and Mueller Report list 30 other named sources of evidence implicating the GRU in the hack. That list doesn’t include Dutch hackers at AIVD, which provided information (presumably to the Intelligence Community generally, including the FBI). And it doesn’t include NSA, which Bossert suggested today attributed the hack without anything from CrowdStrike. In other words, undermining the CrowdStrike claims would do nothing to undermine the overall attribution to Russia (though it could be useful for Stone if it came out before his November 5 trial, as the four warrants tied to his false statements relied on CrowdStrike). But it would certainly feed the disinformation effort that has already focused on CrowdStrike.

That’s just part of what Trump is after.

Update: Dell Cameron, who’s one of the experts on this topic, says that public accounts significantly overstate how closely Sabu was being handled at this time. Nevertheless, the perception that FBI (and Henry) encouraged Sabu’s attacks is out there and forms a basis for the claim that CrowdStrike would engage in a false flag attack. Here’s the chatlog showing some of this activity. Hammond got to the Brazilian target by himself.

127 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    Anything to keep himself out of prison for his own crimes, and damage everyone else that he can.
    This is not the action of someone whose mind is fully functional.

    • d4v1d says:

      au contraire, he may not be playing chess, but he is many, many moves ahead of fools who play by the rules. (and one of those rules is when you lose the election, you leave the white house. not gonna happen.)

  2. orionATL says:

    “… In other words, undermining the CrowdStrike claims would do nothing to undermine the overall attribution to Russia (though it could be useful for Stone if it came out before his November 5 trial, as the four warrants tied to his false statements relied on CrowdStrike). But it would certainly feed the disinformation effort that has already focused on CrowdStrike…”

    i’m puzzled about any possible trump scam. private firms aside, i thought that independently of any private security firms, the government computer labs in pittsburg and san francisco had uniquely identified the hackers as from the gru russian military intelligence unit right down to numbers involved (12) and the names of the two officers. is this not in the special counsel report?

    • P J Evans says:

      I don’t see the information about who identified them – that’s probably in the redacted stuff – but that part of the report is Volume I, Section 3.

      • orionATL says:

        thanks, p.j.

        a story like this brings one to a road that forks.

        one fork leads down the twisting trail emptywheel has described with loops and switchbacks and other impediments to a clear understanding.

        if you are another investigative journalist, an ordinary reporter with a concern for detail, or an attorney doing an interrogation, this trail is for you.

        if, however, you are a democratic politician on a talkshow, you never want to go down that path because you will always get trapped into “what about’s” – contentious, conspiratorial details. you want instead to be able to talk above the trump fable and conspiracy tale and say firmly and simply, “the russians did the hacking. this has been proven by [government computer labs]. there is no serious doubt about who did the hacking.”

    • orionATL says:


      POTEMKJN, and
      Defendants. *
      (18 U.S.C‘ §§ 2, 371,1030,1028A, 1956,
      and 3551 et seq.)
      JUL 13 2018
      Clark, U.S. District & Bankruptcy
      Courts for the District of Columbia


      The Grand Jury for the District of Columbia charges:

      (Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States)
      1. In or around 2016, the Russian Federation (“Russia”) operated a military intelligence
      agency called the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (“GRU”). The GRU had
      multiple units, including. Units 26165 and 74455, engaged in cyber operations that involved the
      staged releases of documents stolen through computer intrusions. These units conducted large￾scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 US. presidential election.. “

  3. P J Evans says:

    The current occupant of the Oval Office is threatening both the whistle-blower and Schiff. The whistle-blower apparently is getting federal protection because of the threats.
    Another item for the impeachment charges: witness intimidation and *threatening a member of Congress*.

  4. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Any thoughts on who is pushing Trump on crowdstrike other than Guliani? Trump’s brain is too ossified to remember infosec nouns unless he is constantly prodded. My mind goes back to the source of T’s short lived adoption cover story for the TT meeting after he met Putin.

    Ofc stone, manafort have skin in the game too, and reporting/Mueller have demonstrated they aren’t sitting quietly waiting for the judicial process.

    • Will says:

      That was my question as well! Yes, morally, I think Trump is capable of this kind of pressure… But intellectually I think he needs a team. To his credit, anyone would.

      On the surface, making a chilling mafia style threat to Biden’s son would directly benefit Trump. Yet Russia, and R Stone would benefit as well.

      Stone is no longer allowed to send signals with social media, but he must have some way of communicating possibly joint defense or some abstraction of that)

      The phone calls he is locking away in a more secure server seem likely to be where he is getting his orders. But with Barr, for some unexplained reason, owned by Trump it will be an uphill battle to get those records public.

      • Will says:

        Upon looking up the timeline, it was apparent that Stone wanted the crowdstrike reports and was denied them a few days before Trump mede his demand to Ukraine(public info, no direct coordination needed, maybe no “smoking gun” evidence exists of coordination in that regard:/)

  5. orionATL says:

    i don’t know how reliable any of this is, but at least it makes clear why trump would order a fatwah against alexandra chalupa, a ukrainian-american who worked for the clinton campaign, which was a puzzle to me:


    the problem if there is one with this story is that it was researched and written in early january 2017 and may not have all the relevant info. it certainly seems to hint at “trump the victim”, el presidente’s most comfortable response to criticism.

  6. Americana says:

    I’m curious if American intelligence or law enforcement will ever determine if Trump was given assurances by Russia that none of this activity would be traceable to Russia and the GRU. Clearly, Trump has taken certain types of covert action tradecraft in several instances that have subsequently blown up in his face where Trump seems to never have expected to be caught. Although it’s not evident in this series of Ukrainian phone calls, it seems Trump must have been given tradecraft as well as legal suggestions from at least a few people along the way whether from Erik Prince or Rudy Giuliani. For instance, it seems extraordinary for Rudy Giuliani to have taken such a circuitous route across Europe to make contact w/the Ukrainians whom he interviewed to attempt to get dirt on the Bidens.

    On the other hand, this series of Ukrainian phone calls seems to be Trump once more acting far too impressed w/his executive privilege being a shield against oversight of any kind. (It reminds me of his shock over the fact that crimes he’d committed via Michael Cohen could mean Cohen’s office could be raided.) Surely, Trump couldn’t have believed Giuliani had gotten close to locating the Holy Grail of International Turpitude that would damn the Bidens and so Trump decided it was time to pressure the Ukrainian president? Trump did seem to believe the BS about the Hillary servers having been spirited away to Ukraine though… Still, it seems crazy (and not at all like a fox) for Trump to believe he could take the sequence of individual steps that he took in this instance: 1) withhold the Ukrainian aid; 2) start a series of phone calls to the Ukrainian president to pressure him; 3) making the final pitch about the quid pro quo; 4) hiding the series of phone calls in an ultra-high secret cache that was available only to a select few individuals; 5) after he gets caught, Trump quickly releases the aid to Ukraine and adds another $150 million to sweeten the unspoken omertà deal w/the new Ukranian president. Trump always seems to take that one extra illegal step too many that signifies he’s aware of the criminality and, to hell w/it, he’ll try for the cover up.

  7. SteveL says:


    Don’t you think Trump’s primary goal may be to undermine the Stone prosecution, perhaps thereby alleviating the need to issue a pardon? Possibly a similar motivation exists with respect to Manafort, though of course he’s already been convicted. The goal would be to help ensure that these men’s secrets never come out and to reward their silence to date.

    Not saying a material impact on the Stone trial is likely

  8. tvor_22 says:

    I assume you’ve seen this already: http://web.archive.org/web/20170506162644/http://g-2.space/jb/

    I think I told you this already, but early on when I was still on speaking terms with “Carter”, trying to convince him that W.Flood was completely irrelevant to anything, he was jabbering about a conspiracy involving Ukrainians visiting the whitehouse. It was actually probably one of my last exchanges with him. Anyway, reading this made me go search through his reddit history to see if he ever wrote anything in public about whatever it was… and I found this article he posted on May 6 2017.


      • Rayne says:

        What a maroon. He’ll get his chance when the House finishes impeaching him and turns it over the Senate for trial. He’s an overgrown toddler.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Trump would have him escorted to the White House in a tumbrel, with a short stop along the way.

        Trump is past, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” He is recruiting a mob.

        He will fight until no follower is left standing, then retire to a life of luxury, like every other dictator. He needs to be disappointed in that fantasy.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Never underestimate a tyrant’s ability to cry poverty while squirreling away enough to live in Swiss luxury for a lifetime.

          Look at Trump’s followers, consider how he would misuse presidential powers to collect the dirt necessary to keep himself in cheeseburgers and faux gold cuff links for life.

  9. Tom S. says:

    As the coordinated deflection featuring feigned indignation over Schiff’s sarcasm last Thursday was dropped on each Sunday show, why did no Dem, or for example, Jake Tapper point out that Schiff delivered a fact based hearing opener and the opposite could be said of Nunes?

    I’ve been checking weekly on Durham’s “progress”.


    Aug. 8 – Giuliani tells Fox News that U.S. Attorney John Durham was investigating Ukraine. Durham had been named by Attorney General William Barr as part of a probe into the origins of the investigation into Russian election meddling and connects to the Trump campaign…


    Four days after that call, Mr. Trump said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program that he “would imagine” that Attorney General William P. Barr would like to review information about Ukraine’s actions in the 2016 election.

    On Wednesday, the Justice Department said that the official named to review the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Trump’s campaign, John H. Durham, is looking into the role of Ukraine, among other countries. “While the attorney general has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

    OPINION COMMENTARY John Durham’s Ukrainian Leads
    What the prosecutor has found may be quite different from what the Democrats are looking for.
    By Michael B. Mukasey Sept. 29, 2019 3:50 pm ET…..

  10. sproggit says:

    I am sorry if I am repeating “old info”, but I’d just like to share some data concerning the “Server” being in Ukraine. I haven’t worked directly with Crowdstrike personally, but I have worked in cyber security since before it was called cyber security and have commissioned or performed cyber forensics for more than 20 years.

    When a company like Crowdstrike is asked to investigate a server that is suspected of compromise, they have two primary objectives. The first is to ensure that they capture *all available detail* from the host in question and the suspected event. The second is to get their client back in to production operations as quickly as possible. The first part is “preservation of evidence”. The second is good business practice.

    To preserve evidence in the case of a server/host compromise, a good forensics company would take a forensic copy of all local storage that the host was equipped with. By “forensic copy” I mean a bit-wise copy. (Computers store our data as 1’s and 0’s (these are called bits). For convenience, we group these, usually in to blocks of 8 bit and we call these bytes). Once the forensics company has bit-wise copies of all the server storage, they will then check the firmware of all connected devices. This would include the motherboard[s] (e.g. the BIOS), as well as the firmware of hard drives, optical drives, etc. (since these can also be compromised). Once all the *hardware* and *firmware* has been determined to be “malware-free”, then the client can be told that the server can be thoroughly wiped, re-loaded and put back to work.

    Sometimes, of course – for example when the client has spare machines sitting idle – they may elect to preserve the hacked system. But in most cases the client is trying to run business operations and needs their hardware back pronto. Imaging can take a matter of hours.

    Once the images have been taken and copied, they can then be downloaded into a “sandbox” environment operated by the forensics company. “Sandbox” means “a secure container”, such that if the downloaded content includes malicious code, then that malicious code can’t get out.

    The forensics company can now dissect the “server” at their leisure. What they have is a complete and perfect “photograph” of the machine. They can lift out any single file, part of a file, small portion of a sector of a disc… and they can examine it, literally bit by bit. They can place chunks of code in a separate container and run it, to see if it does anything malicious. They can look at the length of the program file, the date it was written, they can look at all the individual characters inside it and from this determine if the file has been modified in any way.

    They can do these an a dozen other things to determine what the threat was, how it got access, what it touched and looked at and so on. In many cases, they will recognize “patterns” in the malicious code – like a hand-written signature – that makes it possible to figure out the group or individual that perpetrated the attack.

    In many cases the FBI actually prefer when a respected 3rd party does this work; the private companies have the resources – and often have a commercial arrangement with the impacted party – to work quickly. The FBI gets the full analysis for zero cost and in less time. They also have access to a forensic copy of the data if they need it.

    Pretty much EVERYTHING the President has claimed about the DNC Server hack has been fabrication on his part. (I concede that he was correct when he stated they were hacked).

    All he is trying to do here is to deflect attention away from being caught, red-handed, breaking the law. And then being stupid enough to release evidence that confirms he broke the law.

    But for the record, the “Server in Ukraine” story is a complete and total fabrication.

    • orionATL says:

      September 30, 2019 at 7:35 am

      thank you, sproggit, for this informative technical comment. i found it very helpful. for all the thousands of words that have been written about this matter generally, this kind of detail has been missing.

      i don’t know about the fbi in particular, but I can certainly vouch for the fact that gov officials often do not have the manpower, expertise, or free staff time available to do a technical job, e.g., check out a server. that’s where contracting with private companies with specialized capability and private flexibility provides an excellent solution.

      i take your comment about the fbi and the dnc server to be in part a rebuttal to the criticism that the dnc did not “hand over” the server to the fbi.

      • bmaz says:

        I do not have the technical sophistication to comment on the deeper stuff in this discussion. What I can easily say though is that it is completely standard for forensic analysis to be conducted off of images. And not just when a business wants to keep functioning either. Even when law enforcement seizes servers and computers, they often image the data for forensic analysis. Anybody that says this is not acceptable and standard practice is nutty.

        • orionATL says:

          thanks, bmaz. this kind of firm, “no more nonsense from you boys” is essential for democratic media interviews and messaging,

          here is a supporting bit from politifact :


          “… Clinton had previously drawn criticism for conducting State Department business on a private email server as secretary of state, and about 33,000 emails were deleted after she received a subpoena for Benghazi-related communications in March 2015. (The FBI found no evidence that the emails were deleted deliberately to avoid the subpoena, but more on this later.)

          That controversy served as the fuel for Trump’s belief that, despite Crowdstrike and the FBI’s investigation of the DNC hack, Clinton’s campaign was hiding something. (We should note that Clinton’s email server and the DNC servers were two entirely different sets of computers.) 

          “With regards to our investigation of the DNC hack in 2016, we provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI,” said Ilina Cashiola, director of public relations at Crowdstrike, in a statement sent to PolitiFact. “As we’ve stated before, we stand by our findings and conclusions that have been fully supported by the U.S. Intelligence community.”

          In October 2016, the intelligence community released a statementsaying it was confident that Russia was behind the DNC hack. That conclusion was reached partially with the help of Crowdstrike’s audit of the DNC servers…”

          • Vince says:

            RE: Politifact

            “Clinton had previously drawn criticism for conducting State Department business on a private email server as secretary of state”

            Let’s be clear, REAL ‘State Department business’ was done on a separate secure and encrypted email system, requiring one to be seated at dedicated terminals with multiple login security protocols. The kind of ‘State Department business’ being conducted on the .gov email system would involve discussions of whether to serve chicken or beef at the state dinner for the visiting Canadian prime minister, and which flowers to use for the centerpieces.

            “about 33,000 emails were deleted after she received a subpoena for Benghazi-related communications in March 2015”

            Actually, Clinton left the State Department in 2013, and subsequently strictly complied with federal law, which required all federal employees to separate their personal emails from their work emails, archive the work emails and do whatever they liked with their personal emails.

            • P J Evans says:

              She had permission to have a private server, and wasn’t the first Secretary of State to do so. (It also wasn’t hacked.)

            • orionATL says:

              vince –

              thank you.

              the nation does not need any more confusion or obfuscation over the calculated deceit about the “importance” of the security of sec of state clinton’s email. in fact, the secretary and her staff were as conscientious as any previous had been. it is just that they were subjected to an unrealistic set of politically adjusted expectations which included ex-post and “re-classification”.

    • Rayne says:

      Not to mention that Trump is parroting right-wing+Russian disinformation which
      1) conflates more than one hacking event;
      2) hacking events that targeted his opponent and not him to his opponent’s detriment (because they never discuss the RNC hacking);
      3) persists in claiming a ‘single server’ when the hackings all targeted virtualized and cloud computing environments; and
      4) moves the events to another country never involved.

      Save for Ukraine, your technical skills overlooked these points which are key to this disinformation operation.

    • Vicks says:

      Is there a way to “freeze” a server that they are investigating?
      It would seem to me that every time you connect to it, open a file or run logs you would no longer have a server in its original state.
      I’m trying to think of an analogy, and all I can come up with is team Trump is arguing along the lines that fingerprints or photos taken at the crime scene aren’t good enough.
      Where is the server? sounds as stupid to me as “where are the hands”?
      Dems need to shut this crap down by vividly showing that this defense strategy seems to be all that team Trump has and it simply doesn’t work around thinking people.

      • Rayne says:

        STOP, right there. What you are asking is only exacerbating the problem.

        *** THERE IS NO ONE SERVER. *** Everybody needs to get it through their head THIS IS A FUCKING MYTH, pure disinformation.

        There are two posts at this site to read about the fucking single server myth:


        Everything Trump, his minions, Roger Stone are doing is
        1) an attempt to sow FUD — a term commonly used in the tech industry meaning ‘Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt’;
        2) an attempt to disrupt the current operations of political opponents (like me, wasting time on this AGAIN);
        3) an effort to save their asses, especially Stone’s and Manafort’s, and now Trump’s, by encouraging unforced errors on the part of Congress, other investigators, their opponents;
        4) encouraging Ukraine or pro-Russian friendlies inside Ukraine to make up shit to meet this false narrative.

        The more you ask about this, the more you are validating their frame. Read about George Lakoff’s work on framing before asking about that right-wing lie again because they got inside your head and fucked with it.

        I should have come down harder on sproggit because his highly limited techno babble only reinforced the right-wing myth — some of the disinformation is that subtle, it tells us it’s expert and it’s too easily believed.

        • Vicks says:

          Sorry I should have been more clear, I assumed everyone understood a server was not a static thing and that was why I was asking if it could ever be frozen in time for the purpose of investigation.
          Perhaps you could respond to the point I was making?

          • Dev Null says:

            Vicks: “frozen in time”

            1) Do you mean “at a given nanosecond”?

            Or do you mean “once you have the image, how can you use it more than once”?

            They are quite different questions; I’m not sure which question you are asking.

            2) I don’t get Rayne’s fulminations.

            One server / multiple servers, one-time / multiple times, the procedures are conceptually the same. It’s divide-and-conquer all the way down.

            There’s nothing political about the procedures, and understanding the procedures can usefully guard against disinformation.

            • Rayne says:

              If you don’t get my fulminations, thankfully an expert explains Trump’s and the right-wing horde’s bullshit.


              This bit is absolutely essential to note in Rid’s article:

              … By physically handing over a server to the FBI as Trump suggested, the DNC would in fact have destroyed evidence. (Besides, there wasn’t just one server, but 140.) …

              Read it and you’ll understand why ‘freezing’ a server’s operations wasn’t optimum let alone trying to do so across 140 servers.

              Add that to the former FBI cybercrime agent’s remarks in Kevin Poulsen’s piece that turning over equipment disrupts ongoing operations at the height of a campaign season and you’ll understand why yammering away about the “single server” myth only does more damage — it encourages the right-wing to interfere AGAIN with the DNC’s operations while covering up foreign interference at the same time.

              And fucking up evidence while revealing means and methods of detection helps exactly who now?

            • Vicks says:

              I am trying to,figure out if there is any common sense at all to team Trump’s argument.
              I just assumed that for investigations that involve technology, like the things people use when they want to get to their “stuff,” they clone or copy everything and then investigate to their hearts content on copies knowing if they mucked something up or triggered a self destruct mode they would just start over with another in its original state.
              My question is how would they even work on the originals?
              I used the word “freeze” maybe “suspend” would have been better. Unless there is a way to do either while they poke around it seems to me that every keystroke is moving evidence further from its original state

              • Rayne says:

                NO. Jesus Christ, NO. There’s NO common sense to this because it’s based on now-archaic assumptions of business two decades old. It works on people like you.

                And you’re still drilling on this anyhow. Clearly you’re not making any effort to read either our posts or other actual technical information, relying on commenters whose credentials you can’t vet.

                At least make the point of reading Thomas Rid’s article. Note carefully that one of the points made is about traffic in and out of the system. Fuck it, I’ll spoon feed it to you:

                … For the purposes of an investigation of this type, images are much more useful than handing over metal and hardware, because they are bit-by-bit copies of a crime scene taken while the crime was going on. Live hard drive and memory snapshots of blinking, powered-on machines in a network reveal significantly more forensic data than some powered-off server removed from a network. It’s the difference between watching a house over time, carefully noting down who comes and goes and when and how, versus handing over a key to a lonely boarded-up building. …

                It’s like watching a surveillance camera in front of a warehouse door to see who the crook is, AND without punishing the warehouse owner by stopping their business.

                And nobody questions the use of a surveillance camera. Nobody asks for the camera or the warehouse — they ask for the tape. If you think of the forensic work done as surveillance cameras and videotape, can you see how stupid this constant harangue is about the mythic server? Think harder about why Team Trump would harass about the camera and the warehouse and not the videotape.

                • Vicks says:

                  Oh for Pete’s sake I read all of the posts and none of them, nor your rants at me directly address the the problem of Trump conflating the endless reporting that Hillary turned over her private email “server” to the FBI (and according to reporting they gave it back) with the Russian hacks.
                  The public needs to be reminded these are unrelated incidents and explained in the simplest of terms how the investigation of each was handled properly.
                  Hurling insults about how well I or anyone else was able to process the information in these posts misses that point entirely.
                  I will give you the last word here, I gave it my best

                • P J Evans says:

                  When they had to do stuff to our work computers, they’d image the disk drive so they could put everything back the way it was. It’s a copy of what’s there at a given time, that’s all.

        • orionATL says:

          your cloud computing is really an excellent educational article (with very nice graphics ). including, e.g.,

          – its connection to blogging. blogging in the early days was tedious.

          – that “cloud computing” is a cutesy name for a remotely located data center. will computer folk ever get away from untraceable metaphors, e.g., “hard drive”.

          – i assume the devices called “blades” are solid state storage devices.

          – extremely disruptive to a campaign organization at the height of a campaign.

          – i assume that if all the dnc were using amazon web service there would not be a dnc “server” like there is a desktop in your office because everyone at dnc would have been hooked up to aws by fiber cable. the exchanging of data would have taken place out on the amazon farm not within the dnc space just as my email travels over fibreoptic cable to to the telephone company then to the isp then to yahoo, outlook, gmail etc.


          • P J Evans says:

            Google can be your friend:
            “A blade server is a compact, self-contained server that consists of core processing components that fit into an enclosure with other blade servers. A single blade may consist of hot-plug hard-drives, memory, network cards, input/output cards and integrated lights-out remote management.”

            Cloud computing is a data center that you don’t see when you’re using it.

            Hard drives are physically hard as opposed to floppy drives. (Look up the history of floppy disks.) They’re generally magnetic material on aluminum. A hard drive crash can be very physical, up to the heads gouging the aluminum substrate (not recoverable, but very impressive to look at).

            • orionATL says:

              but no mention of ssd’s, solid state drives. maybe because they are expensive.

              i would have thought with no moving parts they might be preferrable in a data storage farm due to higher reliability, but maybe data checking and redundancy systems make disk drives preferable on price.

              • P J Evans says:

                SSDs aren’t considered to be “hard drives” as such, but they’re used a lot for cache memory, and they’re also used a lot in laptops.

                • milestogo says:

                  30 years in the industry here.

                  SSDs are in some cases replacing hard drives in the data center as reliability is rapidly approaching HDDs. SSDs are also used for permanent storage, not just cache memory.

                  The single server vs cloud computing multiple server is a complicated nuanced discussion but it is importnant as Rayne and bmaz point out to consider very different methods of data preservation depending on the storage methodology.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Absolutely not. This:”single server vs cloud computing multiple server is a complicated nuanced discussion” is NOT a nuanced discussion.

                    It is pure disinformation. How many times do I have to get shouty all-caps about this fucking myth? Quit repeating it.

                    If this continues I’m going to put references to it in moderation.

                    • harpie says:

                      I know you linked to Thomas Rid’s article above, but I thought I’d put his [MANY CAPS] tweet here, too :-):
                      https://twitter.com/RidT/status/1178687342208520192 8:05 AM – 30 Sep 2019

                      [quote] Hard to believe I’m still getting media requests on “the server.”

                      It’s not just that there were many servers, that they were cloud-based, or that images can be superior to physical access—


                    • Rayne says:

                      Yeah, it’s not just me getting all shouty-cappy. Just so fed up with the combined lack of technical knowledge in this country combined with lazy news consumption grabbing at the easy explanation. Americans are so easily manipulated into believing bullshit.

                  • orionATL says:

                    milestogo –

                    thanks for your discussion here and below.

                    as a long-time, very interested amateur i found it very informative.

                    i do have a question that no one has answered to my satisfaction:

                    why were there 140 servers and where were they housed.

                    my answer to myself is either:

                    employees at the dnc building had a computer box that might normally be called a “desktop” were it in a home’s study, but was instead outfitted with software to be a “server” connecting one or more employees to other dnc’s, to printer/scanners, to email, and to the internet.


                    the 140 were on a server farm and similar and the “blades” rayne discussed in her article above.

                    any light on my basic questions appreciated.

                    • P J Evans says:

                      It sounds to me like a server farm.
                      (At work, the floor we ended up on in fire drills had a server room with a window to the hallway. Lots of racks with servers. You could easily have 140 in a smallish space.)

              • Rayne says:

                SSDs wear out faster than HDDs if they are used for writing+rewriting though they are smaller, lighter, quieter. HDDs are slower but they are durable. A cloud environment will rely primarily on HDDs but there will be a mix of SSDs, HDDs, and tape depending on the kind of data and its use. Every major cloud service will have its own specs — can’t make a universal assumption about their drive+media mix. The technology is also on the verge of a major change, just waiting for whatever will replace 15K rpm HDDs.

    • Mickey Souza says:

      Is it possible that some of the data on DNC systems is desired by someone: Russians, RNC, Trump etc.? All this posturing may be hiding yet other schemes related to blackmail or classified information. If it were me, I would feel positively violated that someone went through my personal or professional emails.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second comment under your third user name. Please stay with this one. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Rayne says:

        That’s not why Trump’s conspirators are poking around in Ukraine, or asking Australia to get involved. Use your head. Asking questions like this without taking the time to research and think first only promulgates the right-wing myth.

    • Xboxershorts says:

      More than a ‘server” is imaged, by the way.

      If I remember correctly, Crowdstrike’s attribution to Russian actors APT29 and APT28 included more than just analysis of the malware used or the key loggers installed.

      There were Russian language residuals in the Spear Phishing Emails that were sent.

      But more importantly:
      There was tracking of IP Addressing used to access various servers and workstations which traced back to well known TOR VPN entry and exit points that are well known to cyber security professionals. In order to come to this conclusion, network firewalls had to also be imaged and analyzed. And Amazon Web Services, which hosted a lot of DNC data, had to cooperate in providing firewall logs for review and analysis.

      But the spin works because 99% of America doesn’t understand how these things work.
      The same rule applied to the “Email Server”.
      Every single transaction to or through that server leaves a LOG entry that can then be correlated
      by time stamp to a network event that will include data that identifies the source and the destination and even,
      in terms of email, the senders name and email address, recipients name and email address…and the subject.

      But people don’t understand this logging and the depth of data collected. And this is why the totally bogus
      assertions about the email server and 33000 messages took hold.

      They don’t realize that every single machine that managed that message from initial send to final receipt, has a log entry
      that identifies it and it’s nature.

      And just like email servers, a firewall that supports network address translation (Pretty much ALL modern firewalls)
      will log a great deal of information about each Address Translation transaction, including source network address, destination network address, the types of applications involved in the transaction and the time stamps for when these occurred.

      Crowdstrikes work was affirmed by everyone else who examined it, with that 1 minor exception relevant to malware use in Ukraine, which was a minor thing compared to the firewall analysis and spear phising email content analysis.


        • Xboxershorts says:

          Thanks, I been busy getting old. Turned 60 on Tuesday…and the hangover took longer to pass than I’m comfy with

          I do need to spend more time here, there are a lot of really knowledgeable people here and the discussions often do shed meaningful light. Mistakes and errors are corrected and bullshit is rarely tolerated. Which all makes for some great discussions…

          • bmaz says:

            I hear you on the age deal. Hitting the 60 thing is kind of eye opening. As in “Shit, this getting old is really happening!” Oh well, we cannot stop it, might as well plug along. Also, Happy Birthday.

  11. CD54 says:

    Just truly don’t understand.

    Why isn’t there any Progressive “talking head” (neh, phalanx of talking heads) which responds instantaneously and prominently out front for each and every Republican “horseshit” dump with the simple, demonstrative declaration that ALL Republicans are lying sacks of shit, and everything Republicans say is a bad faith LIE?

    Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t any so-called “leader” do this 10 times a day, day in and day out? Why don’t Progressives stand up for us; stand up for the country? We can’t do it. We don’t have the platform. Why don’t Progressives with a platform stand up for all of us?

    Progressive leaders do nothing but betray all of us and betray the entire country.

    • Rayne says:

      Progressive leaders do nothing but betray all of us and betray the entire country.

      The folks who produce this website for free — barring donations to pay for site maintenance, bandwidth, hosting, security — are just sitting here thinking of fresh ways to betray you today. Ri-ight. Sure. Give me a fucking break.

      Try harder to look around the gatekeepers. At least make a goddamned credible effort to see the gatekeepers. Kind of hard to miss one in particular in the orange wig who causes some key progressives to work with additional security.

  12. orionATL says:

    re: rst above @2:25am

    thank you, rst. this side of the story needed telling.

    i really did not like the tone of the politico article at all. from the headline and intro it seemed it could have been written to satisfy a trump publicist – access journalism rears its ugly head again. still, inside the article was some interesting info about chalupa, including about chalupa being seriously harrassed.

    i wish i could be sure i have the entire text of chalupa’s Facebook piece. i do not “belong to” facebook and refuse ever to accede to its demands to “sign in” or give it any personal information.

  13. Diggo says:

    >>”Why isn’t there any Progressive talking head”

    Did you watch the West Wing TV series much? Each time the Bartlett admin were pushed to behave like the GOP, it was always “We don’t do that”

    • Rayne says:

      That’s not really the reason, though. No media corporation will put a progressive pundit on a show as a regular because they would talk against the very roots of the corporation’s existence. They aren’t going to invest in a pet that bites them even if they deserve it.

  14. JustMe says:

    Nice description of the process Sproggit only you fail to recognize that the same can be done on the server and equipment that actually launched the attack. If the attack had been done by Ukrainians or anyone else and you had access to those things it would paint quite a different story than crowdstrike portrays.

    • orionATL says:

      justme –

      your comment casts doubt but does not provide enough information on its own to make your claim convincing.

      can you add two or three paragraphs that elaborate on the technical details involved in:

      – “the same can be done on the server and equipment that actually launched the attack.”


      – “If the attack had been done by Ukrainians or anyone else and you had access to those things it would paint quite a different story than crowdstrike portrays.”


    • bmaz says:

      And for speech and actions taken in Congress, which literally can never be a crime because of the Speech and Debate protection. Trump is seriously insane.

      • P J Evans says:

        He’s ignorant enough of how government works that I think he doesn’t know about the Speech and Debate protection.(Remember, he thinks he can fire Pelosi-as-speaker.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I don’t think Trump cares whether there’s a Speech and Debate clause. He follows Cokie’s rule: “It’s out there” is sufficient reason to play something up. Like Cheney, if “it” is not out there, he’ll put it out there.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Note to Stephanie Ruhle: Donald Trump routinely defends his crimes by lashing out at his accusers and projecting his crimes onto them. He calls whistleblowers “like spies” and accuses senior members of Congress of treason for accusing him of crimes. Donald Trump is not a French king, he and the state are not the same.

    Tell your viewers why Trump’s framing is false. Do Not use it. Do Not copy his buzz words. Do Not ask, if there’s a spy, who is he spying for? It’s like eating year-old candy out of his tiny hands.

    • Anne says:

      How come we never hear about “argumentum ad hominem”? High school debate club anybody? Beginner’s mistake, you learn quickly to avoid it.

      • Vicks says:

        I was not in the debate club but it seems to me that if your opponent is Ad hominem-ing, you’re winning.
        Your opponent has either run out of facts, or there are no actual facts to support their position.
        It’s a childish strategy, and it would be interesting to see Dems maintain control of the argument and come with up responses that would shut them down instead of engaging

  16. MattyG says:

    While the “Ukraine thing” is really bad just by itself – what’s worse for DT & Company is any hint that it’s connected to Mueller Report Volume I Russian collaboration material, let alone corroborated in any way. Expect them to empty the tank on this one. But can a business centered on Russian Oligarch funding/laudering, a campaign crawling with Russians, Russia actively supporting DTs run, and a “president” who takes his intel and game plan straight from Putin (DT has nor real alternative in this, whether willing or not) – can he possibly survive? Nope.

    DT should have been impeached after the Helsinki Treason but rubber legged pol reaction muted vigorous response. Barr effectively papered over Mueller Report Vol I, and rubber legged pol reaction again let that slide. But the “long fuse” has been lit – the one that coils all the way from the Ukraine to the Kremlin. Will Putin try to ackwardly distance himself from DT, or discretely throw gas on the fire now that it looks like the relationship may be over and he may well see advantage in a DC running amok? What Putin’s plan now?

    • cat herder says:

      This is Putin’s plan. If you wanted to weaken a geopolitical foe, what better way to do it than to install a criminal buffoon as their head of state?

  17. Pete says:

    This is really too complicated for most people to understand. And it was one of the shortcomings of the Mueller investigation and why Trump with his 140 char tweets was able to control the narrative.

    Is there a “Crowdstrike for Dummies” version?

    The other “get me dirt on Biden if you want the money” is a whole lot easier to understand.

      • Pete says:

        Sure but those summaries did not explain to the layman succinctly why Trump was not indicted for obstruction.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Pete” or some variant. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Mooser says:

      What’s easy for me to understand is that Pres. Trump was squeezing Ukraine. Got them squeezed between Trump and Putin. That’s the way the US does business now? In conspiracy with Russia?

  18. P J Evans says:

    Russia is now claiming that US transcripts/readouts of calls with Putin can’t be published without their permission.

    MOSCOW, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Monday that Washington would need Russian consent to publish transcripts of phone calls between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

    Also the WH occupant’s tweets this morning are crazier than yesterday’s – he wants Schiff arrested for treason.

      • P J Evans says:

        It makes me think the stuff they hid in the compartmented server must be thoroughly incriminating, if they don’t want it coming out, even in a limited way.

        • MattyG says:

          Red Square has all the stuff on tape – DTs “private” seances, the lot. They are chortling – win/win for them since US intel either has read it all anyway – so they’re just sticking a plastic fork in it just for fun, or, US intel is flying blind given DTs privacy and concealment dictates on “Russian matters” – in which case the Kremlin is having a ball “innocently” pointing to the drawer where DT keeps all his stuff hidden…. you know, the top left hand drawer.

        • Rayne says:

          Or they are screwing with us, the old Brer Rabbit trick, “Don’t throw me into the briar patch!” head fake.

          What happens if the transcripts are pulled and they are innocuous because the Russians expected to be recorded? What if the real conversations were conducted via other channels which wouldn’t have been recorded and they aren’t in the SCI?

          We already know most of what we need without pulling the transcripts. We need the testimony this coming week to clinch the fact our foreign policy was being hijacked to meet Russia’s aims and to serve Trump’s re-election campaign. He’s already toast and he knows it.

          • MattyG says:

            Yes, I’ve been wondering – as a practical logistical matter – what channels DT has used for direct comms with Putin. DT was probably a mess in their first few head to heads, so what kind of intermediary was set up to ensure less public spectacle. Hard to imagine anyone in the WH – and Mara Lago for all it’s Casino Royale vibe looks to obvious. Who would they use – or how could they actually pull this off?

            • Rayne says:

              The most obvious is Rudy Giuliani.

              “There’s a call from your lawyer and adviser on line 1, Mr. Trump.”
              “Oh, thanks! Hello Rudy? Oh, hello Pootie, too!”

              • MattyG says:

                Rudy slippery sloped into the role? To wack to even contemplate – put possible given the DTs dumpster fire approach to administration. But Poots would be concerned. I tend to think he has an operator on the ground – in the mix – he might trust. Very dedicated or very compromised. Or comms haven’t been face to face but use agreed upon drops of some kind.

            • P J Evans says:

              Sending someone else trustworthy (in his view) with a verbal (and coded) message would be my choice. RudyRudyRudy, one of the other less-obvious minions, maybe even Pence. It might have been Manafort in the past.
              (Makes me wonder about the various congresscritters who have made trips to that region. Were they carrying messages also?)

    • John B. says:

      I thought we (USA) were a sovereign country. Do we need Pooty Poot’s ok to release conversations? Isn’t this “threat” from the Kremlin just more salt in the wound and a big red flag to anyone and everyone? Why even say it?

    • Mooser says:

      “The Kremlin said on Monday that Washington would need Russian consent…”

      Even I can translate that. It says “Go ahead and publish, Comrade. Please.”

      • Tom says:

        Or is Putin trying to impale the President on the horns of a dilemma? If the memo of the Zelensky conversation is any indication, the other transcripts might be equaling damaging; perhaps even more so, because in Putin’s place wouldn’t you want to have Trump on record as saying as many outrageous things as possible to demonstrate his unfitness for the job? So if Trump releases the transcripts to show he’s not in thrall to the Russians, he’s screwing himself. On the other hand, if he tries to protect himself by shielding the transcripts, then he looks like he’s Putin’s puppet. Unless, of course, Putin says he has no objections to the transcripts being released, in which case if Trump holds on to them, the question will be, “What have you got to hide, Mr. President?” But maybe I’m overthinking this and Putin is just being a shit-disturber.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      So what are the Russians gonna do it we DO publish the conversations ? Put us on double secret probation ??

      • Rayne says:

        I think the answer is have the transcripts read by the committee chairs only to determine if they should be presented publicly based on the possibility they could damage foreign relations.

          • Rayne says:

            True, but it won’t be him alone AND this stuff is toxic waste. We’d also know the point of origin if it leaks and he can face the House’s wrath on camera before going into an election season.

  19. Pete Gunther says:

    Do we let bureaucrats in Moscow dictate policy for us?

    If one could be arrested for shading things, Trump would be serving a lifetime sentence.

  20. Ruthie says:

    I just read that McConnell is now saying he won’t change Senate rules to avoid a vote on impeachment. Does this mean he’s willing to cut Trump loose, or is he planning something else, I wonder?

    • Geoff says:

      I read this : “I would have no choice but to take it up,” McConnell said. “How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.”

      …as a way of saying, sure, I won’t stop us taking up the impeachment vote, but essentially, we are going to filibuster that. Meaning, no Republicans will ever have to go on record as supporting the impeached President.

      • bmaz says:

        I hear people clack this all the time. I would urge any and all to actually familiarize themselves with the Rules of the Senate for Impeachment.

        Please note the liberal use of the mandatory term “shall” throughout. And please take particular note of Section IV and the fact that if the impeachment at hand involves either the President or Vice-President, it is the Chief Justice who controls the process.

        • P J Evans says:

          McConnell should be familiar with that, but he may be talking otherwise to keep his own supporters in line.

  21. dwfreeman says:

    The impact of the Mueller report is precedent, in black and white. Trump and his minions did everything alleged, they just hid their actions well enough that Individual One, who couldn’t be indicted or challenged without impeachment.

    Only part of his deep collusion with Russia could be directly pinned on his campaign, so his minions got indicted and convicted or pled guilty. The Democrats keep letting the Republicans slide on this fact, allowing them to keep falsely asserting the Mueller report proved nothing.

    The Mueller report is the reason Trump is ensconced in the Ukraine scandal. When this fiasco started, Trump was trying to weather the prospect of getting impeached based on the unknown work of Mueller’s investigators. To counteract that prospect, Trump went after the Ukraine conspiracy theory to deflect attention onto the Democrats and play both the Hillary and Biden cards, looking forward.

    Bringing Barr into the fold, enabled Trump to go on the legal offensive, protect and defend his congressional flank while shielding Giuliani et. all’s political skullduggery abroad with the help of Fox and Friends. It doesn’t really matter what Giuliani’s mission was because he was a fixer taking orders and operating on a private agenda, and that agenda changed with the shifting tides of news and political events at home and in the Ukraine.

    The whistleblower complaint might be a shorter roadmap to Palookville for Trump than the Mueller report, and its fucking World Book encyclopedia definition of terms of his illegitimate presidency. The WB complaint by contrast reads as a simple police report. Nothing but the facts. Both the Mueller report and the WB present their cases based on the same methodology: documentation of secondhand accounts and firsthand knowledge of known government systems and practices. Btw, that’s the way news is reported everywhere.

    The Mueller report wasn’t a failed venture, it was an eye-opener to Trump’s salutation to foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election, leading to his unfit and illegitimate time in office.

    Trump and his GOP lackeys keep saying that opponents can’t get over his election. And they are right, because if you win with foreign help, and it’s documented, it should necessarily disqualify the candidate, his support and party. Once that illegal aid is documented and proven, you’ve forfeited the right to represent this country. And Mueller more than documented that foreign interference with full Trump campaign acceptance.

    When the GOP argues in their talking points that the country was dragged two years through a remorseless political investigation, always remind them it was their own doing. Everyone involved in its cause and effect belonged to their party. They launched it and ran it.

    They are the ones who put the country through Trump’s amoral foreign affairs with our democracy. They are the ones who knew the corruption facts like Kevin McCarthy and the NRA, and did nothing or lied about them to enable their party to hold power.

    Trump’s happiest day in office, i believe, was the day he kept the US press away from an exclusive meeting inside the Oval Office with the beaming Sergei’s Lavrov and Kislyak. Trump was privately photographed laughing and grinning with the two Russian leaders the day after he fired FBI director Jim Comey. Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported new details of that private session in which Trump reportedly acknowledged forgiving support for Russia’s election help, as if that was necessary.

    Later that night, Giuliani took a picture with GOP political operatives Charles Johnson and Cassie Fairbanks (perpetrators of the Weiner laptop Carolina conspiracy) at Trump’s DC hotel celebrating Trump’s victory over the FBI and any likely campaign scrutiny. Maybe if Barr had been his Roy Cohn then, he could have spun it a different way.

    After all, Trump believed he had relieved all of his office pressure in one fell swoop getting rid of that “nut job” Comey.

    No one has yet asked any GOP leader about the latest Wapo account of that May 2017 meeting or the prospect that White House officials hid information about it in the secret code-access server. That is because they have more to hide from the American public than they can ever willingly share in order to protect themselves from Us. Perhaps even support of Putin’s sweeping and systematic advocacy for US division and Trump’s apparent backing of all-out Civil War.

    • P J Evans says:

      “The Democrats keep letting the Republicans slide on this fact, allowing them to keep falsely asserting the Mueller report proved nothing.”
      Until the last few weeks, the media were letting the GOP-T run the storylines. It’s just since then that it’s become clear that the Dems were on the right track.

    • Tom says:

      If Trump wants to re-fight the Civil War, he can play “Old Fuss-an’-Feathers”, the 300 lb General Winfield Scott.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Unfortunately the vast majority of the electorate has no idea how the government runs and couldn’t care less how Trump got into office. Remember, there are people who voted for Obama, and then voted for Trump.

      At least the Ukrainian issue is a simpler concept for them to grasp.

  22. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Would it be useful to investigate the FBI report on right wing extremist groups that was buried? I have been looking for someone to go after this “event” since it was first reported. At the very least, someone with oversight in the House of Representatives could do some real good with this. When the POTUS starts calling for a reignition of our smoldering 159 year old civil war, maybe it’s time to start looking for the troops and troop movements of the traitors. The burying of the report might fit nicely into the timeline of this rolling coup.

  23. Tom says:

    Trump is pursuing the “Biden is corrupt!” line with such frenzied desperation that I wonder if he’s reacting to what his own internal polling numbers are telling him.

  24. P J Evans says:

    Rudy on getting subpoenas from three committees:

    Giuliani statement: “I have received a Committee subpoena from 3 Commitees of the House. It raises substantial constitutional and legal issues as well as attorney-client and other privileges. These and other issues must all be considered before a proper decision can be made.

    I guess Rudy NounVerb9/11 forgot that he’s a personal attorney, not part of government, and shouldn’t be involved with foreign diplomacy.

    • Rayne says:

      He’s also said at least once in the last week he wasn’t Trump’s attorney. Wish I’d saved that. He’s just making himself look like a hack who should be disbarred RTFN.

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