Posted tagged ‘Collusion’

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington

October 17, 2017

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington, Gatestone InstituteNonie Darwish, October 17, 2017

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

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The true threat to the US, the West, and even stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is political Islam as furthered by groups such the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al-Qaeda and their offshoots.

This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of collusion in order to silence any opposition — have now moved into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media would apparently like to regard as their new “enemies.” This the same media that defends sharia law and inaccurately insists that Muslim terrorists who shout “Allahu Akbar” have “nothing to do with Islam.”

Now that the note supposedly showing “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia has been outed by Foreign Policy as mainly an attempted Russian hit-job on William Browder, what is the true threat to the United States?

For months, the lawless FBI has snubbing subpoenas (is complying with subpoenas optional?), and avoiding transparency under Special Counsel Robert Mueller[1] and his equally lawless, crime-“challenged” “investigation.” The true threat to the United states — if not Mueller and the FBI itself — is not the president, his campaign or even the Russians. Moreover, it is not exactly a news-flash that many countries have been spying on one another for ages.

“Collusion with Russia” was just the newest dirty word in American politics created by anti-Trump political operatives and the media. It seems intended to confuse the public in order to tarnish Trump’s reputation and bring down his administration. It is an extremely old ruse.

Collusion,” or the “appearance of collusion,” has been a common fear tactic used by Arab media for centuries. Fear tactics are the only solution in cultures that refuse to deal with the truth in the open.

The major red line that no citizen of a totalitarian system can ever cross is engaging in behavior that might bring about an accusation of “collusion” — collaboration with enemies or perceived enemies. Arab citizens have learned to avoid any contacts, friendships, communication, shaking hands or even being in the same room with “undesirable” enemies of the state. Try asking any Arab diplomat on how he or she acts and feels in the presence of an Israeli official. For decades, when Israeli officials gave speeches in the United Nations, Arabs left the room.

In much of the Middle East, Christians, if they refrain from praising Islam and Muslims or blame them for their oppression, get the same treatment as Jews.

In Egypt, in the days of anti-Semitic tyranny when the mere appearance of any kind of friendship, or just being in the same room with a Jew, could mean death, Christians always had to keep their distance from the Jews: the price to pay was simply too high.

After a visit to the United Kingdom in my youth, after innocently telling a journalist college friend that I had met Jews in the UK and could not believe how nice they were, her response was: “You know what happens to those who collude with Jews? They come back to Egypt in a box.” Shortly after, when a few of us teenagers, speaking English combined with some French and Arabic — not uncommon among some Cairo residents — were stopped in a village on the way from Cairo to Alexandria, the villagers called us Jews and the police were called. It took a while to get out of that mess.

Reality, finally, has hit Egypt. Its enemies’ list had to change in the face of the constant challenge to the stability of moderate governments. The true threat to stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is not Israel; it is political Islam from groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and so on. This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

After Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Arab nations developed the courage to demand shutting down Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar. In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. In an atmosphere such as that, no moderate Muslim leader is able to bring his nation out from under the coercion of jihadist terror and sharia tyranny.

Every Arab leader knows that to bring modernity and serious reformation would be considered a violation of sharia. Islamists are not only feared because of their promotion of terror, but they are also considered the guardians of sharia. Islamic law dictates that every Muslim head of state must rule by sharia, wage jihad against non-Muslim nations and never allow himself or his citizens to collude with, or seek peace with, Islam’s enemies. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia is to be commended for finally issuing a decree that allows half the population of his country, women, to obtain the paperwork to drive — but they usually still need permission from a male guardian to leave the home alone.

As the last thing the Muslim public is ready for is the truth, convoluted games and accusations are the only way that many Arab leaders think they can preserve their legitimacy. The war between moderates, who want less sharia, and Islamists, who want full sharia, consists — regardless of “truth” — of winning over the average Arab citizen and leading him to believe that they represent the “real Islam”.

All sides thereby play the game of “collusion”. When Islamists accuse moderate leaders of collusion with the West, moderates respond by accusing Islamists of being the creation of the West. On many Arab media outlets, ISIS is the creation of the West (as was Al-Qaeda before it).

As a moderate Arab leader, it is therefore not easy to survive without the constant threat of an Islamist uprising. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan are considered moderate leaders, and many want them to stay that way, but the pressure from Islamists is immense. Recently Sisi said that he wants to promote a new form of fear, a “phobia against bringing down the State.” One can sympathize with his attempt to put into words the obstacles to governing in a majority Muslim nation. Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. What he seems to be telling Egyptians is that revolutions, coups d’état and assassinations are not the solution to every problem but rather, it is — or should be — the ballot box.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

Because the views of the critics of sharia and jihad resonate with average Arabs, radical Arab media outlets have no choice but to counter the enthusiasm for modernity and freedom of the public with false accusations: that critics of jihad and sharia are in fact colluding with terrorist groups. The Arab media evidently see such wildly false accusations against critics of jihad as the only way, in their minds, to save radical Islam.

Today, a segment of Egyptian society, especially the vulnerable and uneducated, have been lulled into believing the propaganda that moderates and critics of jihad and sharia are colluding not only with infidel enemies of Islam, but also with radical Muslim groups such as the unpopular Muslim Brotherhood.

A prominent Egyptian magazine, Rose El Youssef, in 2007, falsely portrayed Dr. Wafa Sultan and this author in their front-page as “alt-jihadists” — collaborators with the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesterday, a close friend in Egypt sent a warning of rumors in the Egyptian media, after the assassination of a journalist by the Muslim Brotherhood, that the Muslim Brotherhood has apostate “collaborators” in the West such as me. This shameless and reckless propaganda is intended to confuse the Egyptian public about who their true enemies and friends really are.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of “collusion” in order to silence any opposition — are now moving into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media regard as their new “enemies” — the same media that defends sharia law, Islam and Islamic terrorism in the West.

Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of “Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values”

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[1] Like the false investigation that wrongly accused Scooter Libby of a leaking the name of then CIA agent Valerie Plame, that they knew all the while had been leaked by Richard Armitage.

The Rohrabacher-Assange meeting

August 21, 2017

The Rohrabacher-Assange meeting, Washington TimesDavid Keene, August 20, 2017

Smoking Gun Flash Drive Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The piece resulted in turmoil within the left-wing publication [the Nation] itself with many writers and contributors bitterly suggesting it should never have been printed because the publication has some sort of obligation to only publish material that strengthens rather than weakens the case against the president they despise.

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s recent three-hour meeting with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange as reported earlier this week by The Hill may prove interesting in light of the allegations of several former high-ranking U.S. intelligence analysts that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians or anyone else prior to last fall’s presidential election.

Mr. Rohrabacher said little after the meeting other than that Mr. Assange repeated his denial that the materials he obtained and made public did not come from the Russians, but claimed he had more information about what actually happened that he intended to share with President Trump.

The “common wisdom” in Washington circles is that the Russians were responsible for illegally hacking into the DNC computers during the campaign and leaked the emails thus obtained through WikiLeaks, but recent revelations suggest that there is at least a possibility that the “common wisdom” is dead flat wrong. If it is wrong and can be proven, the charges of “collusion” so dear to Mr. Trump’s opponents could collapse.

The Nation magazine earlier this month published a lengthy report on the conclusions of a number of intelligence analysts who have looked at the available evidence and concluded that it would have been physically impossible for the Russians to have done what Mr. Trump’s critics allege.

They maintain that the information that made its way into the public sphere wasn’t hacked at all, but leaked by someone within the DNC itself.

The Nation piece, by Patrick Lawrence titled “A New Report Raises Big Questions about Last Year’s DNC Hack,” claimed that for technical reasons, the data that was supposedly downloaded to a hacker could not have been downloaded in the manner alleged because the underlying data they analyzed showed it was downloaded far faster than would have been possible given the technology available to the supposed hacker at the time.

The only way they believe the data could have been downloaded in the time it was in fact downloaded was if the job was done internally to something like a thumb drive that was later turned over to WikiLeaks.

The piece resulted in turmoil within the left-wing publication itself with many writers and contributors bitterly suggesting it should never have been printed because the publication has some sort of obligation to only publish material that strengthens rather than weakens the case against the president they despise.

Many were particularly upset that the piece was picked up and praised by a number of conservative publications and commentators.

In response to the attacks, Katrina vanden Heuvel, the Nation’s editor and publisher has launched what she is calling a “post publication review” of the article.

It is certainly true that the allegations in the article are both controversial and contested, but it is at least possible that whether the Nation decides to trash its own writer and disavow the conclusions of his article, the analysts quoted in it are right.

The Obama administration, Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump’s enemies take it as fact that the Russians were behind the “hacks” and that they constituted an attempt by Vladimir Putin’s regime to “affect” the outcome of the election and hint openly that it was all done in collusion with the Trump campaign. That, after all, is what Special Counsel Robert Mueller is trying to prove.

They almost as one dismiss evidence to the contrary, relying on the “consensus” view of “seventeen” US intelligence agencies that it was indeed the Russians who did it. The “consensus” view as former Obama Director of Intelligence James Clapper has since admitted was put together by “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies and never underwent the rigorous review one might have expected.

This is, of course, the same James Clapper who had earlier been caught lying to Congress.

When the Nation article first appeared, the Democratic National Committee responded in writing “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration.”

When The Hill article reporting on the Rohrabacher/Assange meeting appeared, the DNC was at it again, “We’ll take the word of the U.S. intelligence community over Julian Assange and Putin’s favorite Congressman,” said DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson,

There are conspiracies and then there are conspiracies. Julian Assange may have the proof as to who is right and who is fantasizing and if he provided that proof to Mr. Rohrabacher things could get very interesting for all involved and especially for Mr. Clapper and those who have relied on his “consensus view.”

Trump Campaign Repeatedly Rejected Efforts to Set Up Russia Meetings

August 15, 2017

Trump Campaign Repeatedly Rejected Efforts to Set Up Russia Meetings, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, August 14, 2017

What about Paul Manafort, supposedly a key player in the alleged collusion? The Post says he expressed concern about meetings with Russian officials and, as campaign chairman, rejected a May 2016 proposal that such a meeting take place.

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The Washington Post reports that in 2016, a new member of the Trump foreign policy advisory committee sent emails to the Trump campaign urging that the candidate meet with top Russian leaders including Putin, but that the campaign repeatedly rejected this suggestion. The Post’s report is based on emails that it says were “read to The Post by a person with access to them.”

The foreign policy adviser in question is George Papadopoulos, described by the Post as “a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience.” According to the Post, between March and September of 2016, he sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump or members of his team to meet with Russian officials.

The campaign’s response is bad news for those who claim that Trump colluded with Russia. According to the Post:

Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.

What about Paul Manafort, supposedly a key player in the alleged collusion? The Post says he expressed concern about meetings with Russian officials and, as campaign chairman, rejected a May 2016 proposal that such a meeting take place.

The Post argues that “the internal resistance to Papadopoulos’s requests is at odds with other overtures Trump allies were making toward Russia at the time, mostly at a more senior level of the campaign.” Not really. Reading the two sets of emails I believe the Post has in mind — the ones involving Papadopoulos and the ones involving Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer — the logical conclusion is that Team Trump was not interested in making overtures to, or negotiating with, the Kremlin, but was willing to check out information harmful to Hillary Clinton provided by Russian sources, including ones with possible ties to the Kremlin.

The first position is exactly what one would hope for and expect. The second should not shock anyone’s conscience.

It seems to me that if the Trump campaign wanted to collude with Russia, as opposed to simply reviewing “dirt” on Clinton provided by Russians, it would have been eager to meet with top Russian officials including Putin. The emails reportedly show a decided lack of interest in such meetings by top campaign officials.

It’s possible that the candidate himself was interested in overtures, negotiations, or some other form of collusion with the Russians. It’s even possible that he did these things through back channels. But there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support this speculation. And the fact his campaign managers appear not to have believed Trump had any interest in such endeavors cuts against claims of collusion.

Thus, the Post’s story, which it bills with the headline “Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings,” seems like a significant setback for the Russia collusion story.

Trump Jr.’s Emails Undermine Collusion Conspiracy Theory

July 12, 2017

Trump Jr.’s Emails Undermine Collusion Conspiracy Theory, Front Pae MagazineMatthew Vadum, July 12, 2017

No matter what happens the Left will keep attacking President Trump and his family members and campaign staff because that’s what they do.

In the Left’s rolling coup attempt against President Trump facts are irrelevant.

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Donald Trump Jr. fought back yesterday against the increasingly desperate shrieking from the tinfoil-hat Left by publishing online the emails that led to his innocuous campaign-season meeting a year ago with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

By releasing the chain of emails leading to the much ballyhooed but brief get-together at the Trump Tower in Manhattan, Donald Jr. is hoping to dispel any notion that the Trump campaign somehow colluded with the Russian government to affect the outcome of the November 2016 election. (I wrote about the Trump Jr. meeting story yesterday here at FrontPage before the emails became available.)

The emails do not indicate any knowledge of Russian government wrongdoing, such as hacking, or Trump campaign involvement in such activities. Yet the mainstream media is going berserk, hyping the overheated ravings of leftist idiots like Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) whose disastrous performance in the vice presidential debate against Republican Mike Pence may have helped to sink the Democrat ticket last year.

Kaine accused Donald Trump Jr. of committing treason by agreeing to meet with Veselnitskaya. “We are now beyond obstruction of justice,” Kaine said Tuesday. “This is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason.”

Of course, Kaine is no stranger to treason. He himself may have engaged in seditious activity in late January when he said Democrats would have to “fight in the streets” against the Trump administration.

And how quickly the Left forgets that the Ukrainian government took action to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign with nary a peep from left-wingers. As one media outlet reported:

The actions taken by government officials included disseminating “documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”

Meanwhile, the Left is trying to stigmatize and de-normalize everything Trump’s father does as president, pretending opposition research is something new and shady when it has been part of the electoral process ever since elections began. Nor is it illegal, immoral, or somehow unethical to “collude,” by which the Left means, communicate, with foreign nationals in conducting opposition research in connection with an election. The U.S. does have the First Amendment, after all. But all of this nonsense and misdirection is part of the Left’s campaign to delegitimize the Trump administration.

But honest left-wing law professor Jonathan Turley trashed an ethics lawyer for claiming that the Trump Jr.-Veselnitskaya meeting “borders on treason.”

“There is not a clear criminal act in such a meeting based on the information that we have,” Turley writes. “Moreover, it is not necessarily unprecedented.”

The president’s oldest son said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show yesterday that he didn’t bother his busy father with the particulars of what turned out to be a pointless meeting with Veselnitskaya.

“It was just a nothing,” the younger Donald said. “There was nothing to tell. I mean, I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.”

Yesterday morning, Donald Jr. published what appears to be the complete email chain on Twitter through his @DonaldJTrumpJr account. He released a statement alongside the email chain, which reads:

To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016. The first email on June 3, 2016 was from Rob, who was relating a request from Emin, a person I know from the 2013 Ms. Universe Pageant near Moscow. Emin and his father have a very highly respected company in Moscow. The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research. I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. I decided to take the meeting. The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official. And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act. To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue. As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was “the most inane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.”

According to the BBC, Goldstone is a Manchester, England-born former journalist who now heads Oui 2 Entertainment, which has worked with the Miss Universe competition that used to be owned by President Trump.

Using the subject line “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential[,]” the initial email from Goldstone to Donald Trump Jr. time-stamped June 3, 2016, 10:36 a.m., states:

Good morning[.]

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

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

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

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

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

Goldstone’s assertion that the “very high level and sensitive information” comes as a result of the Russian government’s purported “support for Mr. Trump” is merely an unsubstantiated claim at this point. And even if it had been true that the Russian government was trying to help the Trump campaign, there is still no evidence that its efforts had any impact on the election, or that the campaign in any way collaborated with the Kremlin.

In the email, “Emin” refers to Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, an Azerbaijani singer-songwriter and businessman popular in Russia. Emin’s father is billionaire businessman Aras Agalarov. “Rhona” seems to refer Donald Sr.’s longtime assistant, Rhona Graff.

Russia is a not a monarchy so there is no such position as “Crown prosecutor” in that country. Crown prosecutors may be found representing the government in criminal trials in the United Kingdom, Canada, and other parts of the (British) Commonwealth of Nations. The expression in the email is likely a botched translation of the Russian words for the post of prosecutor-general of the Russian Federation, or more simply, attorney general. The current prosecutor-general of the Russian Federation is Yury Chaika, a position he has held since 2006.

Young Trump replies at 10:53 a.m., signing the email as “Don.”

Thanks Rob[.] I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I [should] just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?

Three days later, at 12:40 p.m. on June 6, Goldstone emails Donald Jr., writing:

Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day[.] Best to you and family[.] Rob Goldstone[.]

There are then five banal emails discussing times for the meeting, along with future telephone calls. Then, at 4:20 p.m. on June 7, Goldstone emails Trump Jr.:

Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday. I believe you area [sic] aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you? I assume it would be at your office.

Then at 5:16 p.m. Donald Jr. replies with, “How about 3 at our offices? Thanks[,] rob[.] [I] appreciate you helping set it up.”

Three minutes later Goldstone replies:

Perfect…I won’t sit in on the meeting, but will bring them at 3pm and introduce you etc. I will send the names of the two people meeting with you for security when I have them later today.

At 6:14 p.m. Donald Jr. writes back to Goldstone, saying, “Great. It will likely be Paul Manafort[,] my brother in law and me. 725 Fifth Ave 25th floor.”

A few more emails are exchanged and the meeting time on Thursday, June 9 is changed to 4 p.m.

On June 8, 2016, at 12:03 p.m., Trump Jr. emails then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, advising them that the “[m] eeting got moved to 4 tomorrow at my offices.”

The Hill newspaper described the disclosed documents as a “stunning chain of emails,” which no doubt it is to greenhorn journalists who don’t understand retail politics in this country. Moreover, Hillary Clinton was already under criminal investigation in the United States, so why would it be so hard to believe she was also under some kind investigation in Russia where the Clintons have had so many shady dealings?

To refuse the meeting would have been crazy, reckless, and irresponsible.

And it now appears that Goldstone was either fibbing about the information Natalia Veselnitskaya had in her possession or perhaps embellishing a bit to get her the meeting with Trump staffers.

Veselnitskaya told NBC News she had no connection to the Kremlin and met with Donald Trump Jr. to chat about Russian-American relations, not to divulge dirt on Hillary Clinton.

“I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton,” she said. “It was never my intention to have that.”

When asked why the Trump campaign seemed to believe she had damaging information about Democrats, Veselnitskaya took a wild guess.

“It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.”

She explained that she put together a package of information for one of her clients about a business run by a former citizen of the United States. She added the concern failed to pay taxes either in Russia or the U.S. and may have also given money to the Democratic National Committee.

Veselnitskaya said at the meeting Donald Jr. asked only one question.

“The question that I was asked was as follows: whether I had any financial records which might prove that the funds used to sponsor the DNC were coming from inappropriate sources.”

She said she had no such records and that “it was never my intention to collect any financial records to that end.” She added she wanted to let people know about “the real circumstances behind the Magnitsky Act,” and was hoping to testify about the sanctions statute before Congress.

“I never asked anybody for a particular meeting with Mr. Donald Trump Jr., or with anybody else,” she said.

Trump Jr.’s new attorney, Alan Futerfas, said Monday “that Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed” in the meeting and called news reports “much ado about nothing.” He noted that Veselnitskaya, who had been a prosecutor 16 years ago, was no longer a government official.

No matter what happens the Left will keep attacking President Trump and his family members and campaign staff because that’s what they do.

In the Left’s rolling coup attempt against President Trump facts are irrelevant.

The New Meaning of Collusion

July 11, 2017

The New Meaning of Collusion, Power Line,  Scott Johnson, July 11, 2017

There is no evidence that the Russian lawyer had damaging information to deliver. There is no evidence that the Russian lawyer delivered damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. asked the Russian lawyer to come back with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. would have promised the Russian lawyer anything if she had agreed to return with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. came away from the meeting with anything but disappointed expectations.

Is this some kind of a joke?

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Today the New York Times credits four reporters with the story advancing the latest installment of the “collusion” story involving the Trump campaign and a mysterious Russian lawyer. We are colluding in comedy.

In today’s episode the Times reports that before Donald Trump, Jr. arranged a meeting with “a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.” The Times has posted related stories here on the pageant angle to provide context.

In today’s installment of the collusion comedy none of the four Times reporters has seen the email. The Times does not report that anything was delivered in the meeting. So far as we can tell from the story, the thing was some kind of a hoax.

With the reporters’ heavy breathing and the anticlimactic plot, we have a laugh riot on our hands.

Commence the heavy breathing:

The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting. In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Trump acknowledged that he was interested in receiving damaging information about Mrs. Clinton, but gave no indication that he thought the lawyer might have been a Kremlin proxy.

Mr. Goldstone’s message, as described to The New York Times by the three people, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information. It does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign.

Now comes the approach to the anticlimax:

There is no evidence to suggest that the promised damaging information was related to Russian government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails. The meeting took place less than a week before it was widely reported that Russian hackers had infiltrated the committee’s servers.

The story continues, but the Times’s four reporters do not pause to itemize other blanks or holes. This is the true anticlimax. “There is no evidence” for much more. The reader is left on his own to draw the relevant inferences.

There is no evidence that the Russian lawyer had damaging information to deliver. There is no evidence that the Russian lawyer delivered damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. asked the Russian lawyer to come back with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. would have promised the Russian lawyer anything if she had agreed to return with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. came away from the meeting with anything but disappointed expectations.

Is this some kind of a joke?

The Left Won’t Let Go of the ‘Russian Collusion’ Meme

July 10, 2017

The Left Won’t Let Go of the ‘Russian Collusion’ Meme, PJ MediaMichael Walsh, July 10, 2017

Natalia Veselnitskaya (Yury Martyanov /Kommersant Photo via AP)

Having established the smear of “collusion,” the Times must now link every story with the word “Russia” to it in the hopes that the rubes and suckers won’t stop believing that Trump somehow cheated his way into the White House.

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Now the top story on the Drudge Report, the top Must-Read on Lucianne.com and listed on Real Clear Politics: my latest column for the New York Post regarding the ridiculous stories in the New York Times about “Russian collusion.”

The news was  delivered by the New York Times in the breathless tones that might announce a cure for cancer or the discovery of life on Mars: “President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”

To which a rational response is … who wouldn’t? And also: So what? A third response is unprintable.

As I said on the Dennis Prager radio show an hour ago: think David Mamet.

Just as the “Russian collusion” fantasy — a resentful smear cooked up in the immediate aftermath of Clinton’s stunning defeat last fall — was finally fading from the fever swamps of the “resistance” and its media mouthpieces, along comes the Times with a pair of journalistic nothingburgers.

They first reported that Trump Jr., along with Paul Manafort (then the campaign manager) and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer “linked to” the Kremlin, back in June, shortly after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination. The second claimed she’d promised dirt on Clinton and the Democrats in order to entice Trump Jr. and the others.

According to the younger Trump, the Clinton angle was just a ruse: “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” he told the Times.

The real reason, it seems, was that Veselnitskaya wanted to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, an Obama-era law that allows the US to deny visas to Russians thought guilty of human rights violations. In retaliation, the Russians promptly ended the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.

Honestly, where does this end? Having had their two big scoops instantly blasted back into their faces, the Left has now moved on to claiming that Donald Jr. “lied” about the meeting with a Russian lawyer nobody ever heard of. This is the baleful legacy of the Mike Flynn affair, where it was not the “crime” of meeting with Russians (is that against the law?) but the “coverup” of a non-existent transgression.

But this is where we are now: once the instruments of the state roll into action, the slightest discrepancy or memory loss can now be twisted into a felony: just ask Martha Stewart or Scooter Libby.

And that’s what all the fuss is about? No campaign in its right mind would turn down an offer of information on their opponent. That is what opposition research is all about. You can bet Hillary wouldn’t have hung up on the person who claimed to have dirt on The Donald. After all, the Clinton campaign lobbied the comedian Tom Arnold two days before the election to release potentially embarrassing footage from Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.” Arnold declined.

But in the end, the lawyer had nothing, gave nothing, got nothing in return, in a meeting that lasted 20 minutes. This is a scandal? Having established the smear of “collusion,” the Times must now link every story with the word “Russia” to it in the hopes that the rubes and suckers won’t stop believing that Trump somehow cheated his way into the White House.

Understand that the two Times stories arrived a) in the aftermath of Trump’s triumphant speech in Warsaw last week, a speech that drove the anti-American and anti-Western left into paroxysms of anger and b) just as the “Russians!” meme was fading. But the Times and the other Leftist house organs are by now too fully invested in the “resistance,” and must now play their hand all the way to the end.

Hasn’t the Times learned its lesson from  its disastrous Feb. 14 story, also anonymously sourced, about the Trump campaign’s “repeated contacts with Russian intelligence”? In his congressional testimony last month,  former FBI Director James Comey said: “In the main, it was not true.”

But then, so are the other “collusion” stories the left is trying to peddle as proof of some sinister plot to subvert democracy. And all because they refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election. As the president might say: Sad!

This won’t end well for them.

Today in Collusion

July 1, 2017

Today in Collusion, Power LineScott Johnson, July 1, 2017

(Huh? “If you’re confused, I’d ordinarily suggest that you go back and read the report a time or two. But life is short and rereading would not much clarify this spaghetti bowl hurled against the wall, in the hope that some of the Flynn sauce might stick.” — DM)

Lee Smith notes in his Tablet column “The strange tale of Jay Solomon” that the news side of the Wall Street Journal is straining to join the opposition to the Trump administration led by the Washington Post and the New York Times. “As one senior D.C. reporter told me recently,” Lee writes, “‘lots of Journal reporters want to join the anti-Trump resistance but they can’t do that because the editorial board thinks the Trump Russia narrative is absurd, as does the readership.’”

In yesterday’s paper, the Journal made a downpayment on membership dues in the Resistance with Shane Harris’s story “GOP operative sought Clinton emails from hackers, implied a connection to Flynn.” Harris’s story is behind the Journal’s subscription paywall, but the New York Post has an accessible summary by Todd Venezia here.

Andy McCarthy breaks down Harris’s story in his weekly NRO column here. Here is his summary and first pass at it:

About ten days before he died in mid-May, an 81-year-old man who did not work for the Trump campaign told the Journal he had speculated that, but did not know whether, 33,000 of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails had been hacked from her homebrew server. The now-deceased man, “a longtime Republican opposition researcher” named Peter W. Smith, had theorized that the e-mails must have been stolen, “likely by Russian hackers.” But he had no idea if this was actually so, and he himself certainly had nothing to do with stealing them.

Smith’s desire to obtain the hacked emails, if there were any, peaked around Labor Day 2016 — i.e., during the last weeks of the campaign. This was many months after the FBI had taken physical custody of Clinton’s homebrew server and other devices containing her e-mails. It was also two months after the Bureau’s then-director, James Comey, had told the country that the FBI had found no evidence that Clinton had been hacked . . . but that her carelessness about communications security, coupled with the proficiency of hackers in avoiding detection, meant her e-mails could well have been compromised throughout her years as secretary of state.

In other words, Peter W. Smith was one of about 320 million people in the United States who figured that Clinton’s e-mails had been hacked — by Russia, China, Iran, ISIS, the NSA, the latest iteration of “Guccifer,” and maybe even that nerdy kid down at Starbucks with “Feel the Bern” stickers on his laptop.

Besides having no relationship with Trump, Smith also had no relationship with the Russian regime. Besides not knowing whether the Clinton e-mails were actually hacked, he also had no idea whether the Kremlin or anyone close to Vladimir Putin had obtained the e-mails. In short, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether Trump and Putin were colluding with each other because he wasn’t colluding with either one of them.

But — here comes the blockbuster info — Smith was colluding with Michael Flynn. Or at least he kinda, sorta was . . . except for, you know, the Journal’s grudging acknowledgement that, well, okay, Smith never actually told the paper that Flynn was involved in what the report calls “Smith’s operation.”

It’s a long column. As ancient history is involved, Andy helpfully fills in the backstory to Harris’s article:

The Journal does not see fit to remind readers that the 33,000 e-mails Smith was trying to dig up were the ones Clinton had tried to destroy, even though they contained records of government business (which it is a felony to destroy), contained at least some classified information (which it is a felony to mishandle), and had been requested by congressional committees (whose proceedings it is a felony to obstruct by destroying evidence).

These penal inconveniences aside, there were also explosive political implications. Clinton had insisted that the e-mails in question were strictly of a personal nature, involving yoga routines, daughter Chelsea’s wedding, and the like. She maintained that she had turned over any and all government-related e-mails to the State Department. She had also laughably claimed that her homebrew server system was adequately secure. And there is every reason to believe many of these destroyed e-mails related to Clinton Foundation business — the Bill and Hill scheme to monetize their “public service” — which was liberally commingled with government business during Mrs. Clinton’s State Department tenure. Public disclosure of these e-mails, then, would have been very damaging, concretely demonstrating her dishonesty and unfitness.

There is every reason to believe the destroyed e-mails related to Clinton Foundation business — the Bill and Hill scheme to monetize their ‘public service’ — which was liberally commingled with government business during Mrs. Clinton’s State Department tenure. Understand: None of that is Russia’s fault, or Trump’s, or Flynn’s, or Flynn Jr.’s, or Smith’s. It was solely the fault of Hillary Clinton. She was a five-alarm disaster of a candidate. That’s why she lost.

Harris has the goods on crimes committed in connection with his story, but Harris won’t be revealing the perpetrators:

All this sound and fury turns out to be throat-clearing. The juicy news in the Journal’s report is not about Smith; it stems from yet another leak of classified information. According to “U.S. investigators” involved in the Russia probe (i.e., the Mueller investigation), there are intelligence reports that “describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain e-mails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary.”

Who are these investigators? The Journal doesn’t tell us — the actual crime of leaking classified intelligence being of less interest than the non-crime of “collusion.” The purported Russian hackers are not identified either. Nor is Flynn’s “intermediary” — the Journal cannot say whether the leak is accurate, whether there really was an intermediary, or whether Smith could have been the intermediary. There is, moreover, no indication that any supposed Russian hacker actually made any effort to obtain the Clinton e-mails, much less that Flynn — let alone Trump — had any knowledge of or involvement in such an effort.

Quick: somebody start writing up the articles of impeachment!

Well, Harris is still on the case. The Journal has his follow-up story today (with Michael Bender and Peter Nicholas).

At the same time, Lawfare has posted the first-person account of Matt Tait, Harris’s source. “I was involved in the events that reporter Shane Harris described, and I was an unnamed source for the initial story,” Tait writes. “What’s more, I was named in, and provided the documents to Harris that formed the basis of, th[e] follow-up story…” Tait’s account is full of smoke, including the assumption that Smith had obtained the deleted Clinton emails from an unnamed person representing the “dark web.”

Tait puts it this way: “[Smith] said that his team had been contacted by someone on the ‘dark web’; that this person had the emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server (which she had subsequently deleted), and that Smith wanted to establish if the emails were genuine.” Tait thereafter assumes that Smith had obtained the deleted emails.

“In the end,” Tait concedes, “I never saw the actual materials they’d been given, and to this day, I don’t know whether there were genuine emails, or whether Smith and his associates were deluding themselves.” Tait to the contrary notwithstanding, I can find nothing in Tait’s column to suggest he knows whether Smith had in fact obtained the deleted Clinton emails. Tait adds that it’s possible, after all, that “Smith” only “talked a very good game.”

The Brookings Institute is promoting Tait’s first-hand mystifications as some kind of a contribution this morning. That’s how I was alerted to it. Andy McCarthy hasn’t gotten to Harris’s follow-up story or to Tait’s account yet, but I think his comment in the NRO column applies generally to Harris’s follow-up Journal article and Tait’s account: “If you’re confused, I’d ordinarily suggest that you go back and read the report a time or two. But life is short and rereading would not much clarify this spaghetti bowl hurled against the wall, in the hope that some of the Flynn sauce might stick.”