The First Time Trump “Colluded” with Russia Was To Help Bibi Netanyahu

The first time Donald Trump worked via back channel with Russia to undermine Barack Obama’s foreign policy, it was to help Bibi Netanyahu dodge repercussions for illegal settlements in the West Bank.

And yet that effort — and the way that Jared Kushner mobilized a group of countries to undermine the sitting President’s foreign policy decision — has gone unmentioned in recent months, even as Bibi blows off Joe Biden’s requests for moderation in advance of the November election, even as Vladimir Putin holds overt meetings with Hamas, even as Kushner — effectively an employee of Mohammed bin Salman at this point — meets with Qatar and tours Kfar Aza.

The Mueller Report actually soft-pedaled what happened in December 2016.

On December 21, 2016, Egypt submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling on Israel to cease settlement activities in Palestinian territory.1208 The Security Council, which includes Russia, was scheduled to vote on the resolution the following day.1209 There was speculation in the media that the Obama Administration would not oppose the resolution.1210

According to Flynn, the Transition Team regarded the vote as a significant issue and wanted to support Israel by opposing the resolution.1211 On December 22, 2016, multiple members of the Transition Team, as well as President-Elect Trump, communicated with foreign government officials to determine their views on the resolution and to rally support to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.1212 Kushner led the effort for the Transition Team; Flynn was responsible for the Russian government.1213 Minutes after an early morning phone call with Kushner on December 22, Flynn called Kislyak.1214 According to Flynn, he informed Kislyak about the vote and the Transition Team’s opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution.1215 Later that day, President-Elect Trump spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi about the vote.1216 Ultimately, Egypt postponed the vote.1217

On December 23, 2016, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, and Venezuela resubmitted the resolution.1218 Throughout the day, members of the Transition Team continued to talk with foreign leaders about the resolution, with Flynn continuing to lead the outreach with the Russian government through Kislyak.1219 When Flynn again spoke with Kislyak, Kislyak informed Flynn that if the resolution came to a vote, Russia would not vote against it.1220 The resolution later passed 14-0, with the United States abstaining.1221 [my emphasis]

1208 Karen DeYoung, How the U.S. Came to Abstain on a U.N. Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlements, Washington Post (Dec. 28, 2016).

1209 Karen DeYoung, How the U.S. Came to Abstain on a U.N. Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlements, Washington Post (Dec. 28, 2016).

1210 Michelle Nichols & Lesley Wroughton, U.S. Intended to Allow Passage of U.N. Draft Critical of Israel, Reuters (Dec. 21, 2016).

1211 Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 12; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 2.

1212 Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 12-14; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 2.

1213 Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 12-14; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 2; Kushner 11/1/17 302, at 3; 12/22/16 Email, Kushner to Flynn; 12/22/16 Email, McFarland to et al.

1214 Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 13; Call Records of Michael T. Flynn

1215 Statement of Offense ¶ 3(d), United States v. Michael T. Flynn, No. 1:17-cr-232 (D.D.C. Dec. 1, 2017), Doc. 4 (“Flynn Statement of Offense”); Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 12-13.

1216 Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 2; Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 13.

1217 U.N. Vote on Israeli Settlement Postponed, “Potentially Indefinitely”, Reuters (Dec. 22, 2016).

1218 Somini Sengupta & Rick Gladstone, Rebuffing Israel, U.S. Allows Censure Over Settlements, New York Times (Dec. 23, 2016).

1219 Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 12-14; Kushner 11/1/17 302, at 3; 12/23/16 Email, Flynn to Kushner et al.

1220 Flynn Statement of Offense ¶ 3(g).

1221 Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms, 7853rd Meeting (PM), United Nations Security Council (Dec. 23, 2016).

This account separates the description of the December 1, 2016 meeting including Sergey Kislyak and Flynn at which Jared suggested setting up a back channel via secure Russian channels, as well as the December 13, 2016 meeting with sanctioned banker Sergey Gorkov at Tom Barrack’s office, a meeting Jared claimed was diplomatic but Gorkov claimed pertained to business.

The Report doesn’t reveal which Senator’s office alerted Flynn to the risk that Obama would allow Israel be sanctioned.

The Report doesn’t describe all the calls that took place on December 22. In a warrant affidavit targeting Flynn, multiple calls are described as taking place on Flynn’s phone — suggesting the possibility that Trump used Flynn’s phone to call al-Sisi. McFarland later noted that Flynn, “worked it all day with trump from Mara lago.”

The Report did not mention that Jared asked toand did — release a false report claiming that Egypt had initiated this effort.

Can we make it clear that Al Sisi reached out to DJT so it doesn’t look like we reached out to intercede? This happens to be the true fact patter and better for this to be out there.

Because it remained under investigation, the Report doesn’t mention the suspected $10 million payment an Egyptian bank had given Trump in September 2016, important background to Trump’s call to al-Sisi.

It doesn’t describe that KT McFarland had likened the effort to undercut Obama’s foreign policy to Richard Nixon’s effort to forestall peace in Vietnam and Ronald Reagan’s effort to delay the release of hostages from Iran.

Based on her study of prior presidential transitions, McFarland believed the sorts of things Flynn did were not unusual. She cited Richard Nixon’s involvement in Vietnam War peace talks and Ronald Reagan’s purported dealings with Iran to free American hostages during an incoming administration. Most incoming administrations did similar things. No “red light” or “alarm bells” went off in her head when she heard what Flynn was doing. The President-elect made his support for Israel very clear during the campaign and contrasted his position with President Obama, who he believed had not treated Israel fairly.

And Mueller — likely working under the normally safe assumption that the call intercepts with Sergey Kislyak would never be released — left out several damning details revealed when John Ratcliffe did release the transcripts in May 2020.

First, Mueller implies that Egypt, by itself, decided to delay the vote, but on their second call, Sergey Kislyak told Flynn that they would push for a delay too.

Kislyak: Uh, I just wanted as a follow up to share with you several points. One, that, uh, your previous, uh, uh, telephone call, I reported to Moscow and it was considered at the highest level in Russia. Secondly, uh, uh, here we are pointing [PH], uh, taking into account, uh, entirely your, uh, arguments.

Flynn: Yes.

Kislyak: To raise a proposal or an idea of continued consultations in New York. We will do it.

Flynn: Okay.

Kislyak: Uh, to give time for working out something, uh, that would be, would be, uh, less controversial.

Flynn: Okay. That. .. That’s good news.

[snip]

Kislyak: But, uh, responding to your, uh, telephone call and our conversations, we will try to help, uh, to~ uh~ postpone the vote and to allow for consultations.

Flynn: Okay. That’s .. that’s good.

In Kislyak’s call with Flynn (in which he had to cut off the blubbering General to make his carefully scripted points), he made it clear that he had discussed the topic with “the highest level in Russia,” which can only mean Putin.

When Flynn called Kislyak back on December 29, the Russian Ambassador told him that they were not going to support Obama’s other framework for the Middle East at the time.

KISLYAK: Oh, General, thank you very much for calling me back. I was trying to reach you for quite a while because I have several, uh, issues to raise with you —

FLYNN: Uh huh.

KISLYAK: – rather to inform you. If you’ll allow me, one by one.

FLYNN: Please.

KISLYAK: One, uh, since you were interested in the issue of the Middle East and you called me on that issue

FLYNN: Uh huh.

KISLYAK: We wanted to convey to you and through you to the President Elect that we had uh significant reservations about the idea of adopting now the principles for the Middle East, uh, that our American colleagues are pushing for. So we are not going to support it to — in the quartet, or in the Security Council. And we have conveyed to our American colleagues. So in the spirit of full transparency I was asked to inform you as well.

FLYNN: Okay.

KfSLYAK: So it’s not something that we – Russia – are going to support.

FLYNN: Okay that’s good.

Kislyak tied that, implicitly, to a demand to reverse Obama’s sanctions; he used Flynn’s discussion about cooperating on counterterrorism to note that GRU and FSB would need to be part of the cooperation.

FLYNN: We have to eliminate the common threat.

KISLYAK: We agree. One fo the problems among the measures that have been announced today is that now FSB and GRU are sanctions, are sanctioned, and I ask myself, uh, does it mean that the United States isn’t willing to work on terrorist threats?

FLYNN: Yeah, yeah.

KISLYAK: Because that’s the people who are exactly, uh, fighting the terrorists.

Most importantly, a point utterly inconsistent with the conclusion in the Mueller Report that it was never clear if Trump knew of this back channel, on their December 31 call, Flynn told Kislyak that “boss is aware” of an invite that Kislyak had extended.

Remember that a pro-Trump FBI agent was pushing the conclusion that all this was a big misunderstanding, a conclusion that largely held the day.

And that’s just what is included. Ratcliffe didn’t release the December 22 transcript, the one that started this discussion.

Flynn was in Mar-a-Lago on December 22 — and the December 29 transcript suggests that Flynn may have been on speaker phone (he made the call from his hotel phone, and so could have had his own phone connected back to MAL). So it’s not impossible that Trump was actually involved in the calls placed on December 22. As bolded above, in the Report, Mueller didn’t describe what he knew from the transcripts; instead, he attributed his version of the December 22 calls to Flynn.

At a time when Trump was advised — at least partly — by adults, he didn’t hesitate to intervene back channel to undercut his Democratic predecessor in order to help Bibi Netanyahu. Per KT McFarland, it was all in the tradition of Nixon and Reagan intervening in foreign policy to help win an election.

This post is part of a Ball of Thread I’m putting together before I attempt to explain how Trump trained Republicans to hate rule of law. See this post for an explanation of my Ball of Thread.

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50 replies
  1. Ginevra diBenci says:

    KT McFarland: Go ahead and do it! Republicans do it all the time! (Especially the ones counseled by Roger Stone.) Never mind that history hasn’t looked too kindly on those previous machinations–which, by the way, occurred before and in order to secure elections, raising the question (again) of just how much Trump did to secure his own election before it happened.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      The other question is why hasn’t the Archivist held a public ceremonial burning of the Logan Act already?

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Along with the Emoluments Clause. Looks like we’ll probably be tossing Amendment 14, section 3 in there too.

  2. zscoreUSA says:

    On December 21, 2016, Egypt submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling on Israel to cease settlement activities in Palestinian territory

    Later [12/22/16], President-Elect Trump spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi about the vote.1216 Ultimately, Egypt postponed the vote.1217

    Does it seem weird that Egypt put the resolution forward only to ask for postponing after speaking with Trump? Given the various alliances and activities going on in 2016, wouldn’t they already know Trump’s position?

    With Egypt support for Trump, seems interesting that they brought the situation that embroiled Trump.

    • vigetnovus says:

      Yes. Yes it does.

      The whole thing seems very clumsy. Almost as if it were a trap to get Trump on tape. How much you wanna bet that Trump yelled at al-Sisi on Dec. 22nd about how he supposedly was on Trump’s side and now he’s stabbing him in the back?!?! And I’d wager either Trump or al-Sisi might even have mentioned the $10 mil bribe. How else would the FBI have known about it?

      Then there’s the even more serious question of whether or not the “back channel” actually did occur between Putin and Trump on day 1 of his presidency. I seem to remember something about maybe Flynn correcting the president that Netanyahu wasn’t the first person to have congratulated him on becoming president….

    • timbozone says:

      It seems to stretch credulity that the three things are not substantially linked. However, one must remember that these are not the only players here on the world stage. Israel would have been pulling out all stops to get this stopped. As such, Trump would be just one avenue to try to get the Egyptians to back down, etc. There would have been other partners of Israel, enemies of Israel, etc, etc, involved in this all of course.

  3. cruxdaemon says:

    The odd thing about this whole episode is that the “1 President at a time” thing is probably not realistic when a consequential foreign policy issue comes up that the outgoing and incoming administrations strongly disagree on. I never understood why Flynn wasn’t just completely transparent about their communication using the (reasonable?) justification that they didn’t want to be stuck with Obama’s policy just to have to “fix” it a month later. Naturally I lean more to Obama’s views here, but Trump did win in 2016 and gets some say.

    Of course the plot thickens once you learn about all the money exchanging hands between Middle East interests and the Trump family.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The one president and one foreign policy at a time thing works just fine. It’s even illegal for a private citizen to interfere with the current administration’s foreign policy. What doesn’t work is the failure to organize a transition, which Trump refused to do coming and going.

      There are several possible reasons Flynn refused to disclose to the Obama administration what he was doing for Trump and himself. Among them, it was illegal, it directly conflicted with Obama’s foreign policy, it was organized with the help of regimes adverse to the US, Flynn was making money on the side from all or part of it.

    • tje.esq@23 says:

      violates the Logan Act to pre-empt a sitting president, 18 U.S. Code § 953, enacted in 1799 as session law 1 Stat. 613.

      Re: the McFarland comment — Looks like others in Trump’s circle also had faulty moral compasses. To justify your actions by citing the two most immoral acts undertaken by ANY candidate for president (Nixon in 1968 and Reagan in 1980)? OMG!

      Such a huge contrast to what Pres. Johnson did, when he learned of Nixon’s “treason” (as LBJ characterized it). Johnson knew about Nixon’s attempt to get Vietnam peace negotiations scuttled in October, before the November 1968 presidential election, but refused to allow a WH staffer to confirm a reporter’s (for the Christian Science Monitor) scoop story on it. It could possibly compromise intelligence assets, he thought, but more importantly undermine the country’s faith in a person who could be elected to the presidency.

      https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/nixon-prolonged-vietnam-war-for-political-gainand-johnson-knew-about-it-newly-unclassified-tapes-suggest-3595441/

      • tje.esq@23 says:

        https://truthout.org/articles/the-almost-scoop-on-nixons-treason/ — >> paraprasing and quotes sourced here

        Johnson had learned that U.S. Intelligence sources had tape recordings of conversations where Nixon’s agent “was trying to convince both the South and North Vietnamese that they would get a better deal if they” refused to negotiate and waited until Nixon took office. Nixon would give the parties a “better deal” than Johnson, he promised. Johnson was not running for re-election, but his Democrat Vice President had just clinched the party’s nomination, and the news scoop was oppo research on steroids!

        Johnson called up his Republican counterpart when he had served in the US Senate — Minority leader Senator Everett Dirkson — to get the word back to members of the Nixon campaign that Nixon needed to stop interfering with potential peace talks. “I don’t want to get this in the campaign,” Johnson said. . .”This is treason… — it would shock America if a principal candidate was playing . . . like this on a matter of this importance. . .They’re contacting a foreign power in the middle of a war! If they don’t want it on the front pages, they better quit it.”

        Dirkson relayed the message, but Johnson was told it happened again — twice — with one instance involving a direct message from “the top.” Then, just days before the election, the Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau, asked the White House to confirm their scoop that presidential candidate and former Republican VP, Richard Nixon, was trying to scuttle President Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks. The paper said it couldn’t run the article without WH confirmation. “President Johnson had one more chance to bring to light the Nixon campaign’s gambit before Election.”

        Johnson consulted with three advisors and all were against ‘going public.’ “Some elements of the story are so shocking,” warned Johnson’s Defense Secretary. It might not “be good for the country to disclose the story,” and then, if Nixon wins, “it could cast his whole administration under” a dark cloud and “be inimical to our country’s interests.”

        Hmmmmm. Country over party. Novel idea.

        Johnson agreed.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21768668

        • John B.*^ says:

          Yeah, country over party…I still think it’s nuts for LBJ to not disclose what was happening by Nixon and his folks…because it gave us the nightmare of Richard M. Nixon…

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It doesn’t seem as simple as characterizing it as country over party. That anecdote left out, for example, consideration of what it would mean Not to expose a character like Nixon. What would he do with the unrivaled power of the presidency? Prolong a war? Spy on his critics and abuse the power of the state to punish them for being his critics?

          The argument applies to Trump, too. It’s clear that if Trump obtains the White House, he will discard the few restraints he honored the last time, and hire only staff who will support him in doing it. He will abuse his power to keep the White House, to attack his critics, to subvert rules that make the country governable other than by use of armed force. And this Republican Party will support him all the way.

          • Joeff53 says:

            The amount of damage done “for the greater good” when “wise heads prevailed” and “kept our powder dry” is truly sickening. Quite a daisy chain, from Johnson to Mueller. Makes you question the whole concept of institutional power.

            • BRUCE F COLE says:

              “Wise heads *flailed*,” more like. And that’s still the ongoing SOP.

              My guess is that Dem FP folks don’t want the Logan Act to become an actual legal thing because they are churning their own interactions with foreign contacts and officials during their out-years, although probably not with such Machiavellian fervor and effectiveness as the GOP has exhibited. It’s more a revenue stream issue for the Dems when they’re on the out (again, I’m guessing) as opposed to crass, “treasonous” power-grabbing that all the GOP non-incumbents seem to have fallen back on at this point in their election cycles — but those Dem behaviors still might be framed as lower-level Logan Act violations.

              That’s just my frustrated explanation for why those gross violations by the GOP of that law haven’t been prosecuted; it’s the only one, short of some kind of perverse, self-defeating complicity with them, that I can come up with.

              OTOH, if someone were to track Tori Nuland’s or Geoff Pyatt’s out-of-office foreign interactions between administrations they’ve worked for, they’d likely find a Machiavellian fingerprint or two.

              • Rayne says:

                You had better lean hard into that “My guess” because you have zero data to support that conspiracy theory.

                • BRUCE F COLE says:

                  True dat. The only data I have is that a very clear prohibition in the US Code against non-govt actors engaging in FP has not been used against such violations in the last 100 years, despite the 4 of the 6 last GOP administrations having committed the most egregious examples of such crimes prior to their swearings-in, and paid absolutely no legal penalty for same.

                  So yes, just scratching my head.

                  Oh, and ps, it’s not a conspiracy theory in the sense that it’s in any way thought out. It’s more like a dysfunctional laissez faire FP approach

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Dirkson, our senator at the time, could also have gone public. It just wasn’t done then; ugliness got swept under the rug, for a few more years at least.

          I’ve often wondered if Dirkson regretted not pushing Nixon harder in the 1968 campaign. He was among those who succeeded in convincing him to resign six years later. He remains an icon among Illinois politicians today.

  4. Marc in Denver says:

    Dr. Wheeler, would I be mistaken to believe that, when Russians in or close to the center of power there are carefully going through talking points that (a) they assume they are being recorded and (b) they are seeding kompromat material in that recording?

    • emptywheel says:

      I assume that, absolutely.

      If you read the transcript you’ll see that before one of the Embassy officials left a message for Flynn they said something to the effect that Americans had done the hacking.

    • OneFineMonster says:

      As Marcy knows, I’m finishing an animated documentary featuring my encounter with this cadre of fuckwits in the state dept. what’s very interesting about the illicit recording thing is that I recorded all of our encounters and one encounter where they hired a woman with a huge rap sheet of felony convictions to sleep with me/threaten me in an encounter on K Street. I turned over all this documentation to the office of special council under mueller and then all hell broke loose.
      I mention all of this because hat was so ironic is that all of these Flynn cronies were shocked and accuse me of betrayal because I dared record them.

      • zscoreUSA says:

        Wild. Sounds like a thrilling documentary.

        Have your events been documented in any articles or court records?

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        I missed this earlier, OneFineMonster. Do you plan to use the original recording in your documentary, or voice actors? And will you make it accessible to the public?

        I am fascinated.

  5. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    Excellent piece.

    Roman Abramovich works closely with Netanyahu and Jared Kushner. And Putin choreographs their decisions to meet his objectives in Russia, Ukraine, the Mideast and the USA.

  6. harpie says:

    And, here’s Marcy looking forward [OY!]:

    https://nitter.net/emptywheel/status/1742606484330975650
    Jan 3, 2024 · 5:58 PM UTC

    The chances Putin asked Hamas to hold US hostages to help Trump get elected is … well north of zero. [screenshot]

    In that screenshot, 2 tweets:

    Richard GRENELL tweets:
    It’s been 88 days of Americans held hostage by Hamas.
    Where’s @JoeBiden??

    Bernard KERIK responds:
    He’s very busy on vacation!

  7. Stacy (Male) says:

    A side issue: What has the US achieved by slavishly supporting Israel at every turn since 1967? Obama slightly deviates from our role as Israel’s ex officio bodyguard at the UN for a nano-second and this whole megillah erupts. Trump spends four years over-fulfilling Israel’s wettest dreams of American subservience. Biden is all in on fascist Bibi’s liquidation of the Gaza ghetto. All to the manifest injury to US relations with every other nation in the world.

    • observiter says:

      A large “side issue” for a different discussion. But I can’t stop myself from mentioning that Israel, like the U.S., is comprised of folks with a span of ideologies. Netanyahu represents those in the far-right, including violent ultra-orthodox settlers. The far-right do not represent all Israeli citizens/residents, but have (unfortunately) achieved a semblance of power that kind of mirrors what’s happening in the U.S. You probably remember the recent protests and government/military shutdowns in Israel against Netanyahu’s government, that Hamas took advantage of.

      I finish my “rant” by adding that it was one of these settlers who, in 1995, assassinated Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin, no dove, sought peace with the Palestinians. The assassination took place during an anti-violence rally Rabin spoke at in support of the Oslo peace process.

    • zscoreUSA says:

      Here’s something that I keep in the back of my mind as these larger issues are playing out.

      1/6/14

      Netanyahu and Putin to get direct and secure hotline
      Move comes as Russia seeks new allies in wake of crisis with West over annexation of Crimea.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have upgraded their relationship, with an agreement that the two leaders will be connected by a special hotline between their two bureaus.

      The decision, which comes even as ties between Russia and Israel’s major ally the US sink even lower, was announced Friday by Moscow.

      https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4526082,00.html

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        There is no illogic from Putin’s POV with engaging more directly with Netanyahu, while boosting Hamas at the same time: both are inimical to the Biden DoS and, as stated above, fanning the flames of the Oct 7 war enhances the strategic interests of all 3 of those sets of actors — and not coincidentally harms those of the Biden administration.

        Not that Putin will be helping to arm both sides, lol. The US is taking care of Israel in that respect, which is the icing on Putin’s cake: it creates an immediate, almost commensurate deficit in our ability to keep UKN even at stalemate levels against the RU criminal incursion that was just in its initial stages when the link you shared was published.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jared Kushner is such a butthead. He advocated that an incoming presidential administration use a “secure” private communications channel provided by the Russian govt, meaning its foreign intelligence service. FFS. Even Kushner would have known that would have been secure, if at all, only from the US govt, not the Russians.

    Presumably, that was the point. He was either asking to be compromised or confirming he and the team already were. If Jared were a cartoon French noblemen during the Terror, he would have volunteered to ride in the tumbrel because it was the easiest way to get through the crowd to the Place de la Concorde.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I wonder how he’s using his mediocre mind and inflated influence now to try to tank the Biden economy. As in: preventing the Fed from lowering interest rates, so as to bring on that “depression” Trump so craves.

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    Jared Kushner created one of my favorite typos of all time.

    Can we make it clear that Al Sisi reached out to DJT so it doesn’t look like we reached out to intercede? This happens to be the true fact patter and better for this to be out there.

    emphasis added

    I’d like to suggest that “fact patter” (quote marks included) is a perfect description for what Stefanik was doing on MtP.

    • Matt___B says:

      So…”the true fact patter” is a euphemism for ‘false statement’? I’d hesitate to guess what “the false fact patter” might mean. Google Dictionary defines “patter” (when used as a noun) as “a repeated light tapping”. So a repeated light tapping of facts are actually “fact substitutes”, “diet facts”, “artificial facts” or even “fact-like”. Word salad slicing-and-dicing is what I call it. A close cousin to the gish-gallop: “rhetorical technique in which a person in a debate attempts to overwhelm their opponent by providing an excessive number of arguments with no regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments”, as Elise Stefanik has evidently mastered.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Jared is educationally challenged, notwithstanding the schools he went to. Factually, it’s a pattern in Trump’s circle.

  10. wa_rickf says:

    That Robert Mueller did not come out forcefully and denounce Bill Barr’s lying “summary” of the Mueller Report at the time, is beyond the pale. To this day, Trump supporters believe what Bill Barr told them. This misinformation is equally on Robert Mueller for not forcefully setting the record straight – then or even now. Yes, yes, there was a very timid and meek rebuttal at the time from Mueller. A lot of good THAT did.

    • Rayne says:

      We don’t know what else was going on behind the scenes. We still don’t know what was happening with the counterintelligence investigations.

      Do I like what happened? Fuck no. But I think there were a lot more moving parts which shaped Mueller’s reaction AND that of his investigative team.

      It’s kind of like the noise about “Garland didn’t indict fast enough” until one actually looks at what was required to get to an indictment.

  11. Fancy Chicken says:

    Read this yesterday but am just now posting as I fell down a rabbit hole chasing The Ball of Thread.

    It struck me as really curious that an issue involving Israel was the first instance in which Trump colluded with Russia. Why would he choose that issue? Trump’s engagement with Israel and American Jews is so strangely ambivalent.

    Going down the rabbit hole I discovered that Fred Trump denied his German ancestry and decided to cultivate relationships within the Jewish community soon after his arrest at a NYC Clan event. As a real estate developer in heavily Jewish areas of the boroughs he felt that and his German ancestry would hurt his business prospects, and the top local real estate moguls that he needed help from were Jewish.

    The Jerusalem Post has a great piece on Fred and DJT’s early relationships with the Jewish community and individuals and the affirmative prejudice swirling through all this.

    “Pride and affirmative prejudice: Donald Trump and the Jews”

    https://www.jpost.com/us-elections/donald-trump/ pride-and-affirmative-prejudice-the-complex-history-of-donald-trump-and-the-jews-468120#google_vignette
    (Space between / pride)

    “Growing up Trump” https://momentmag.com/ growing-up-trump/ (space between com/ growing) is more focused on DJT’s early friendships with Jews and his choice to surround himself with them in his professional life.

    After spending the better part of an afternoon reading it becomes clear that DJT inherited his affirmatively prejudiced relationship with Jews from his father as a cover for their other prejudices against blacks and Hispanics in particular which was the subject of that housing discrimination suit against their business in the 1970’s.

    At the same time DJT and his daddy saw many Jews in real estate as having what they desired and viewed individuals as having financial and business skills they admired.

    As we all saw DJT’s inability to see the presidency and the running of government as separate from him and different from how a business is run, it makes total sense that his transition team would be gung ho to begin cementing a relationship with Israel and willing to involve Russia to do so.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Nothing Trump does is about anyone but Trump.

      Resentment and discrimination against Jews, and specifically against successful and wealthy Jews, goes back millennia. It was rife in America during the post-WWI obsession with threats posed by the large number of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. It was a component of the first red scare of the period, given the beliefs of Hoover and others that they were bringing in not just hated Catholicism, but socialism and Communism.

      Jews featured prominently among those from Eastern Europe. Most were refugees from Russia and its former imperial lands to its west, including what’s now Poland. Among the reasons for discrimination was their success in becoming a kind of middle class in a peasant-noble society, which made them agents for nobles, who collected taxes for them and acquired monopolies on the sale of staples, notably the vodka that allowed them to tolerate their peasantry.

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