The Russian dirty trick allegations

Details from the Mueller report on what was allegedly done from Russia to disrupt the US elections.

Bloomberg: Mueller Shows How Russians Sowed Discord With Dirty Tricks

The sweeping conspiracy detailed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller exposes the sophistication of Russian efforts to undermine U.S. democracy using social media — and how vulnerable the U.S. remains to foreign intervention ahead of 2018 midterm elections.

In an indictment on Friday, Mueller outlined how scores of workers at a St. Petersburg, Russia, troll farm set out in 2014 to sow discord in the U.S. political system, ultimately by supporting Donald Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton.

Assuming fake American personas on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, they wrote provocative posts on divisive political issues, bought ads, coordinated with unwitting Trump campaign workers and paid U.S. activists to plan rallies.

In detailing the most sweeping foreign electoral interference in U.S. history, the indictment against 13 Russians and three companies takes the conspiracy to the door of Russian President Vladimir Putin — with allegations that the operations were largely financed by a Russian often referred to as “Putin’s cook.”

Mueller, who was appointed last May to investigate Russian meddling in the election, didn’t reveal any collusion by the Trump campaign. Rather, the 37-page indictment focuses on the information war, one strand of a many-pronged investigation by the special counsel’s office.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters the indictment doesn’t allege that the conduct altered the election’s outcome.

Starting around April 2014, the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency — a company widely reported to be a front for Russian government — had more than 80 employees dedicated to “spread[ing] distrust toward U.S. candidates and the political system in general.”

Their primary funding came through Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering, two of the co-defendants. By September 2016, prosecutors say, the agency was submitting a budget of more than $1.25 million a month that Concord paid through bank accounts of more than a dozen affiliates. Concord is headed by Yevgeniy Viktorivich Prigozhin, a Russian restaurateur and caterer known for hosting Putin’s state dinners with foreign dignitaries, prosecutors wrote.

“Americans are very impressionable people, they see what they want to see,” Prigozhin told RIA Novosti. “I have great respect for them. I’m not at all upset that I ended up on this list. If they want to see the devil – let them see it.”

Studying the politics and reach of various groups active on social media, the agency created hundreds of social-media accounts of people meant to look like U.S. “public opinion” leaders. One fake account, @TEN_GOP, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.

Members of the organization worked day and night shifts, circulating a list of U.S. holidays so they could tailor their posts accordingly.

“Specialists were instructed to post content that focused on ‘politics in the USA’ and to ‘use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except [Bernie] Sanders and Trump — we support them.)’ ” according to the indictment.

Some of the Russians traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign, according to the indictment. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake drivers’ licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities. They used clandestine methods to communicate and gather information, employing special cameras, “drop phones” and “evacuation scenarios” to ensure security.

The Russian organization had settled on Trump as their favored candidate by at least April 2016 and began producing and purchasing ads promoting the reality-TV star to voters and “expressly opposing Clinton,” according to the indictment.

The social-media operation was sophisticated, with managers tracking the posters’ audience responses, likes and other metrics. Defendants and other senior managers, checking behind the posters, made sure the posts looked like they came from real U.S. posters.

“It is imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton” in future posts, the creator of a Facebook group called Secured Borders was told in mid-September 2016.

The indictment shows how the Russians’ fake accounts were intertwined with real political activism. One persona the Russians created: Matt Skiber who rallied online contacts via Facebook to help organize pro-Trump marches. A grass-roots activist in Texas wrote to Skiber account, recommending a focus on “purple states like Colorado, Virginia and Florida.”

“This is what we’re organizing in FL,” the Skiber account responded to the Texas activist on Aug. 19, 2016. The Skiber account included a link to a Facebook page listing Florida rallies and asked the Texas-based activist to pass it to Tea Party members in Florida. The activist said he’d share the information.

More than 100 real U.S. persons made their way onto a list of social media contacts the Russians kept, according to prosecutors. The defendants’ internal list included the contacts’ names, political views and the activities the defendants had asked them to perform.

The effort went well beyond social media. The Russian effort included organizing rallies for Trump and paying Americans to participate in them or perform tasks at them. One American was paid to build a cage on a flatbed truck; another was paid to portray Clinton in a prison uniform.

Rallies were promoted with Facebook ads. Paid ads included this one on Oct. 19, 2016: “Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is.”

After the election, the group organized both pro- and anti-Trump rallies, including a “Trump is NOT my President” rally in New York the week after the election and one in Charlotte, North Carolina, the following week.

The defendants were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Mueller’s office said that none of the defendants was in custody.

Collusion with the Trump campaign is as yet unproven, is denied by Trump – see Trump on Twitter – but the investigation is ongoing.

The investigation into collusion is continuing, according to a person with knowledge of the probe. Grand jurors have already heard about others involved in the scheme, the indictment notes.

See also Trump: Russia succeeded ‘beyond their wildest dreams’ at sowing discord in America

This is pertinent to New Zealand because the same could be attempted here, either as an external or an internal operation. There is no suggestion that any international interference happened in our 2017 election, most attention was focussed on internal disruption due to dramatic the rise and fall of Metiria Turei and ther Greens, and the abdication of Andrew Little and the sudden elevation  of Jacinda Ardern.

I doubt that the Russians or Americans or Chinese care who of National or Labour run our government.

 

70 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  February 19, 2018

    “One fake account, @TEN_GOP, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.”

    What was the back story to this then? Sounds like twitter was made aware of it back in 2016 but did nothing.

    “Sullivan says the State Republican Party often tried to report the page.

    As it grew and more and more folks were confusing them, and their content became more questionable, we began reporting them,” he told News Channel 9.

    That first report happened on Sept 17, 2016. The official page told Twitter the “TEN-GOP” page was impersonating them. Twitter advised the page was not in violation of it’s impersonation policy, saying they allowed accounts that were parodies.

    “They weren’t making any attempt to make it seem like they were trying to parody the news, or parody the Tennessee Republican Party,” said Sullivan. “They were very serious about what they were pushing.”

    http://newschannel9.com/news/local/tennessee-gop-says-they-tried-to-report-ten_gop-before-doj-indictments

    • David

       /  February 19, 2018

      “One fake account, @TEN_GOP, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.”

      How many of the followers were fake accounts?

  2. And after a year and a half what exactly did they uncover relating to the last election?
    An interest group posted on the Internet !
    Does the FBI really believe that the Internet is that powerful that it can change minds ?????
    They can’t even stop a gunman in spite of his advertising his murderous intent

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  February 19, 2018

      I think you underestimate the impact of the spending power of the Internet Research Agency troll farm – their spending made them one of the largest Super PACs operating in the 2016 elections.

      McCain warned about this in 2012: “I guarantee there will be a scandal, there is too much money washing around politics, and it’s making the campaigns irrelevant.”

      McCain felt the Super PAC approach allowed private money to have an unfair advantage in electing candidates to federal office – and I think even you’ll agree that’s a problem…

      …as is the fact that Super PACs are required under law to register with the Federal Election Commission.

      Just imagine the erosion of democracy with all those unregistered Super PACs floating round – oh, that’;s right we don’t have to imagine any more. The Russians have already been there, done that… and doing it again

  3. High Flying Duck

     /  February 19, 2018

    Hmmm. Collusion – or just sowing discord?

  4. Griff

     /  February 19, 2018

    Investigations so far
    1 : Find member’s of the organisation who can be turned for information and evidence.

    2 : Establish the alleged crimes committed.

    To come
    3 : link the target of the investigation to the crime.

    Whateraboutism begins.

    Stay on topic its not about Obama
    , Hillary ,The dossier, yada, yada, yada.
    It is can trump and others in his organisation be link to Russian interference.
    Was there collusion?

    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 19, 2018

      You talk about ‘Whataboutism’.
      The fact is the collusion links to Trump so far are Nil.
      But they HAVE found links to Clinton and Obama as part of the Meuller investigation.
      Meetings, funding, FBI internal comments in direct conflict with Obama statements about staying out of it.
      They have also found political bias.
      That is not Whataboutism, that is talking about the investigation.

      If or when we get any information about any actual Trump link to the Russians we can talk about that as well!

      • Griff

         /  February 19, 2018

        How many on the trump team have been charged with telling porkies about contact with russia again?
        See point one.
        Was there interference?
        See piont 2
        Is there a link between the trump team and the interfernce.
        We dont know yet.
        That would come at the end of the investigation you dont charge the President unless you have an iron bound case.

        Trumpies of course know there is no link.
        They have seen every detail of the talks with those already charged and just know more than the investigators.
        Meanwhile the rest of is admit We dont know all the details yet but there was interference and Muller has insiders could expose evidence it exists.

        L

        • High Flying Duck

           /  February 19, 2018

          The charges laid against Trump campaign workers has not been related to collusion (however as you say, this may change).
          I was just pointing out the Obama and Hillary angles are not Whataboutism, they are an intrinsic part of what is happening.
          People aren’t banging on about Hillary’s distant past. They are talking about actions taken by her campaign as part of the last election. Same with Obama.

          Don’t let me stop you talking about Trump. But the Democrats as much, if not more widely implicated *at this stage* than Trump is.

    • David

       /  February 19, 2018

      What I cant get my head around Griff is you talk a lot about alleged collusion with Trump but a year in there is none of it but there is actual documented evidence of Hilary using Russia and paying for it yet you dont seem to have a problem with her doing it.
      Also you hold great regard for the Mueller investigation yet pay no mind to the congressional/senate investigations despite their quite eye opening proof of interference in the democratic process from law enforcement.
      Its like evidence doesnt matter to you but potential evidence is enough to convict someone.

  5. Zedd

     /  February 19, 2018

    It seems the push to get Mr T into the white house & keep Ms Clinton OUT, was coming from the Russian Oligarchs; Maybe not so much, collusion with POTUS, but the preferred option by the ‘Putinites’ ?
    A huge jump to the extreme right.. from the days of USSR !! 😦

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 19, 2018

      Actually it seems the push was to keep Clinton out since they first tried with Bernie before switching to Trump. So why did they hate Clinton?

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 19, 2018

    The Facebook VP of Advts sets a few records straight on Russian objectives but MSM not too keen on reporting since it doesn’t hit on Trump:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/17/facebooks-vp-of-ads-says-russian-meddling-aimed-to-divide-us.html

    • Gezza

       /  February 19, 2018

      The fact that it all benefited Trump, was just an added plus for Russia, according to Goldman.

      “I think the Russians believed that Trump would be a more divisive leader,” he said.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 19, 2018

        Second choice after Bernie?

        • Gezza

           /  February 19, 2018

          Don’t think he says that. Goldman’s tweets seem to be what Trump & cnbc are talking about. Probably worth a look to see exactly what he says there.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  February 19, 2018

          The Russian activity began in 2014 before Trump was a candidate and was targeted at Clinton favouring Sanders.

          • Mefrostate

             /  February 19, 2018

            Trump told Agalarov that he was going to run in November 2013.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              Why have you posted here? This thread is pointing out that Trump’s line (which you’ve happily echoed because you’ll defend him at any opportunity) that the Russians started before he announced his candidacy is misleading.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              Perspective is a wonderful thing, Mefro. You should try it sometime.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              You’re not actually addressing the point Alan.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              Trump speculated running for President for a long time:
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump_presidential_campaign,_2016

              His first decisive preparatory action seems to have been in Feb 2015.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              True, except that he also told Agalarov that he was going to run, in November 2013. So Trump’s point, which you’re happily repeating, is meaningless.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              It’s amazing to me how effective Trump’s strategy is at muddying the Russia discussion. Even when we get confirmation of Russian interference, I have to spend the entire time shutting down these side issues, attempts to downplay the significance of Mueller’s indictments, whataboutism, and misrepresentations of the facts.

              We never end up having a good faith discussion of the practical significance of the facts, because people who like Trump are so well trained to defend him at all costs, via these distract and deflect tactics.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              So are you saying that the Russian objective was not to weaken the US by enhancing internal dissension?

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              It absolutely was.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              Then you agree with Trump?

              <i<f it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              I agree that one of Russia’s goals is discord, disruption and chaos. And that getting Trump elected was an extremely effective way to achieve those goals.

              Unlike Trump, I wouldn’t use that as the basis for an attack on Committee Hearings and Investigations. Those are important constitutional checks which will enable the truth to come out, so the country can respond and move forward. It’s interesting to me that Trump is so opposed to this.

              I’d also note that for months Trump was running the line that there was no Russian interference (he’s now shifted the goalposts to no collusion, on which we’ll see). Now that we have definitive proof that the Russian state was attempting to mess with the US’s democratic process, in the interests of divisiveness, do you think we’ll see a strong response from this champion of America? I’d expect a loud condemnation of Russia for these actions, and harsh sanctions, at a minimum. Anything less would be quite suspicious.

              I think Trump is one of the main causes of the partisan state of the US, largely due to his willingness to attack anyone who criticises him.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              Of course Trump is one of the main causes of the partisan state of the US but it is largely due to his willingness to oppose and revoke the policies promoted by the political and media Left and elite. That is why there has been a frenetic continuous attempt to overthrow him which he has the temerity to resist.

              The Russian meddling is a trivial, meaningless sideshow being used as a weapon by your mates. From all accounts it pales into insignificance relative to perpetual meddling in other countries’ politics and elections by the US and Israel to name but two.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              Sounds like you’ve swallowed his populist rhetoric wholesale. Trump’s the champion who cares only for the everyday American, fighting back against the elites.

              But you’re wrong. He’s a narcissist who will turn on any individual, group, nation or institution that doesn’t show complete loyalty. Mexicans, Muslims, media, intelligence community, courts. Dare to criticise him and you’re the enemy. He actively courts divisiveness, and is thus extremely beneficial to Russia’s interests (regardless of whether this is deliberate or accidental).

              Russian meddling is absolutely not a sideshow. It might be, if the president were a strong character who was willing to take action to protect his nation’s democratic process from further interference. But while attacking all and sundry, he seems to have no interest in criticizing or sanctioning Russia.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              And while it was actually happening, Obama did what?

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              And right on queue you deflect to Obama.

              Obama saw a foreign nation interfering with his country’s democracy, and responded by expelling 35 diplomats and seizing their compounds: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/29/barack-obama-sanctions-russia-election-hack

              Oh, and then Trump tried to reverse it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-moves-to-return-russian-compounds-in-maryland-and-new-york/2017/05/31/3c4778d2-4616-11e7-98cd-af64b4fe2dfc_story.html?utm_term=.ce88c996f19b

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              Right on cue*

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              Wonderful… Dec 30th 2016, just prior Trump’s inauguration, Obama took brave and decisive action blaming Russia for the Democrat email hack. Nothing more and nothing sooner.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              As for Trump’s response, at that time he needed Russia to help clean up the ISIS disaster Obama had created. I guess he figured out which was worse.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              If he’d done it before the election you’d have been up in arms complaining about him trying to defend Hillary and deflect attention from the email investigation by shifting attention onto Russia.

              Anyway, this conversation was actually about Trump, Alan. Try to stay focused. What’s he done about Russian meddling?

              By the way, did you know that whataboutism is strongly associated with Russian propaganda efforts? Maybe the Internet Research Agency are hiring.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              The meddling allegedly began in 2014 and Obama ignored it for nearly three years?

              Any indication that it is still continuing or has Trump stopped it? Maybe the Internet Research Agency has stopped hiring.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              “he needed Russia to help clean up the ISIS disaster Obama had created

              Russia were already full speed ahead in Syria at that stage, and while Trump’s policy shift did help speed the demise of ISIS, it also secured Assad’s position. Assad the war criminal, an ally of Putin.

              So Trump had to avoid punishing Russia for information warfare in the US, so that he could help Russia achieve their goals in Syria. Compelling argument you have there.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              Seriously, how much punishment do you think expelling a few “diplomats” is?

              Assad is a war criminal but so unfortunately were many of his opponents, not least ISIS. Obama lived in fantasy land. Trump is a realist though you won’t accept that of course.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              “The meddling allegedly began in 2014 and Obama ignored it for nearly three years?

              It’s unclear what information about the Russians Obama had available to him at what time. Presumably the information supporting Mueller’s indictments is relatively new, else the FBI would have sought retaliation earlier. This is a dumb line of attack. But somehow we’re back on Obama again.

              “Any indication that it is still continuing or has Trump stopped it? Maybe the Internet Research Agency has stopped hiring.”

              Certainly the IC seem to think they’re still a risk.Source.

              Please provide any evidence you have of actions Trump has taken to stop meddling by Internet Research Agency or other Russian groups.

              So far the main action to investigate, publicise and punish this meddling seems to be coming from Mueller’s investigation, which Trump has spent several months disparaging, happily aided by you echoing his attacks on this forum.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              “Seriously, how much punishment do you think expelling a few “diplomats” is?”

              It’s mostly symbolic, and about sending a message, but has its role in diplomatic relations. Trump agrees. Once again, it’s unclear how much Obama was privy to at that stage. He probably could have been stronger, but he’s way less doveish than Trump.

              “Assad is a war criminal but so unfortunately were many of his opponents, not least ISIS. Obama lived in fantasy land. Trump is a realist though you won’t accept that of course.”

              I literally said that Trump’s policy helped speed the demise of ISIS. Then I talked about how the outcome of Trump’s policy was beneficial to Russia’s interests.

              Both of these attempts to defend Trump for his lack of action on Russia are extremely weak.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 19, 2018

              I wouldn’t expect any of this kind of intelligence to be made public other than in the context of using it to attack Trump and defend the Democrats. Mueller is on point there.

              Got to go and do some work now.

          • Joe Bloggs

             /  February 19, 2018

            The Russian disinformation campaign started in 2014 but you should remember that in 2013, trump formed a Presidential Exploratory Committee & spent over a million US on electoral research to assess how he could win in 2016. His lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2013: “We did not spend $1 m on this research for it just to sit on my bookshelf.”
            https://pagesix.com/2013/05/27/trump-researching-2016-run/

            trump told the Agalarovs he was running while he was in Moscow for the Miss Universe contest in November 2013.

            That November 2013 trip to Moscow was the same trip in which trump boasted that he had a relationship with Putin

            Putin had “done a very brilliant job”, Trump told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, before declaring that Putin had bested Barack Obama. “He’s done an amazing job – he’s put himself really at the forefront of the world as a leader in a short period of time.”

            https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/18/trump-in-moscow-what-happened-at-miss-universe-in-2013

            Even before then trump was preparing for his tilt at the presidency – he applied to trademark MAGA for the purposes of “promoting public awareness of political issues” back on November 19, 2012, only two weeks after Romney lost to Obama:
            http://time.com/5084673/donald-trump-make-america-great-again-trademark/

            trump may not have announced publicly he was running until June 16, 2015, but he was doing the spadework for years before.

    • Mefrostate

       /  February 19, 2018

      He says, while posting a MSM link.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 19, 2018

        More
        Very excited to see the Mueller indictment today. We shared Russian ads with Congress, Mueller and the American people to help the public understand how the Russians abused our system. Still, there are keys facts about the Russian actions that are still not well understood.
        ….
        Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.
        ….
        The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election.

        • Mefrostate

           /  February 19, 2018

          Ok, so what were the Russians doing with their $1.25m per month and roughly 300 staff, for all of 2016?

          Oh yes, supporting Trump.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  February 19, 2018

            The facts say otherwise since a number of their efforts opposed Trump.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              Yes, their effort appears to be primarily an anti-Clinton one.

              Which of course manifested into them supporting Trump and attacking Hillary for most of 2016.

              Trump has repeatedly denied this occurred and refused to sanction them.

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              Their anti Trump efforts were entirely after the election.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  February 19, 2018

              Goldman’s posts contain “deflections that may be designed to protect Facebook from appearing negligent or complicit” … because, as we now know, there were repeated violations of US law on Facebook.

              You’ll also have seen already that Goldman’s post refers to Russian ads and ad-spend, but Mueller’s indictment shows that buying ads was a just one part of the troll farm’s efforts, which reached a “significant” number of Americans through more direct use of Facebook posts. How significant? NYTimes estimates the Russian campaign reached 126 million Americans.

              https://qz.com/1210342/donald-trump-and-facebook-executive-rob-goldmans-tweets-mislead-about-russias-election-interference/

          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 19, 2018

            From the above it sounds like the “support” was for 7 months, after Sanders was knocked out. Once Trump was elected, the funding switched to opposing the president.
            The indictment points strongly to Russians trying to subvert and divide the nation rather than working with Trump.
            According to Joe, this is all part of Meuller’s maser plan to get Trump, so we will have to keep on waiting.

            In the meantime we can look at why FBI’s agents were talking about Obama having to see all the information at all times, while he public said he had no involvement at all.
            And why so many large publications kept printing anti-Trump Russia stories based on one source who’s dossier has been discredited and was being paid by the Democrats?
            Was that not intended to influence an election?

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              Why have you put support in air quotes? The Russians did support Trump.

              Trump Russia stories come from many many sources, as investigative reporters constantly find dodgy links between Trump’s circle and Russia. The Steele dossier makes up relatively few of the articles, since the allegations in it are largely unproven (although none have been proven incorrect so far). Most reporting on the Steele dossier is simply describing its contents, which is certainly newsworthy. The Steele dossier was not released or used to attack Trump during the campaign, so no it wasn’t used to influence the election.

              I don’t know what you’re talking about with respect to Obama.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 19, 2018

              You are understating the impact of the Steele dossier on the election Mefro:

              Christopher Steele, the former British spy who allegedly authored the documents claiming ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, told the FBI he wasn’t talking to the press about his investigation. In a British court, however, Steele acknowledged briefing several media organizations on the material in his dossier.

              According to the British court documents, Steele briefed the New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo! News, The New Yorker, and CNN. In October, he talked to Mother Jones reporter David Corn by Skype. It was Corn’s October 31 article anonymously sourced to Steele that alerted the FBI their informant was speaking to the press. Grassley and Graham referred Steele to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation because he lied to the FBI.

              The list of media outfits and journalists made aware of Steele’s investigations is extensive. Reuters reported that it, too, was briefed on the dossier, and while it refrained from reporting on it before the election, its national security reporter Mark Hosenball became an advocate of the dossier’s findings after November 2016.

              BBC’s Paul Wood wrote in January 2017 that he was briefed on the dossier a week before the election. Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald likely saw Steele’s work around the same time, because he published an article days before the election based on a “Western intelligence” source (i.e., Steele) who cited names and data points that could only come from the DNC- and Clinton-funded opposition research.

              A line from the Grassley-Graham letter points to an even larger circle of media outfits that appear to have been in contact with either Steele or Fusion GPS, the Washington DC firm that contracted him for the opposition research the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee commissioned. “During the summer of 2016,” the Grassley-Graham letter reads, “reports of some of the dossier allegations began circulating among reporters and people involved in Russian issues.”

              Indeed, it looks like Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson may have persuaded a number of major foreign policy and national security writers in Washington and New York that Trump and his team were in league with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those journalists include New Yorker editor David Remnick, Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg, former New Republic editor Franklin Foer, and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum.

              Building an Echo Chamber of Opposition Research

              Many have noted the absurdity that the FISA warrant on Page was chiefly based, according to a House intelligence committee memo, on the dossier and Michael Isikoff’s September 23, 2016 news story also based on the dossier. But much of the Russiagate campaign was conducted in this circular manner. Steele and Simpson built an echo chamber with their opposition research, parts of the law enforcement and intelligence communities, and the press all reinforcing one another. Plant an item in the open air and watch it grow—like Page’s role in the Trump campaign.

              http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/15/media-stopped-reporting-russia-collusion-story-helped-create/

            • Mefrostate

               /  February 19, 2018

              This all appears to amount to the single Mother Jones article on October 31st. None of the other media outlets published the Steele dossier because, like the decent journalists they are, they couldn’t corroborate it. That’s why it was a big deal when BuzzFeed released the dossier in early 2017.

              Page’s FISA warrant wasn’t chiefly based on the Steele dossier. He’d been monitored as early as 2014.

  7. Gezza

     /  February 19, 2018

    The Facebook Ad VP’s Tweet that preceded Trump’s one:

  8. MaureenW

     /  February 19, 2018

    The Russian investigation is a clown show, China and Russia must be pissing themselves watching on.
    The intrepid gum-shoe (with a few skeletons in his closet), investigating the elections of one of the most corrupt nations on earth, and blaming The Ruskies for the election loss of their own favoured, corrupt candidate.

    US, home of the worlds military and technology might, indicting a handful of Russians for buying some Facebook ads. They’re doing more harm to themselves than the Russians could have ever hoped for.

    • Gezza

       /  February 19, 2018

      I keep telling people Putin’s smarter than Trump.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 19, 2018

        Putin told you to say that though, didn’t he?
        We all know you’re a Kremlin plant sent to sow discord and promote Pukekos (a known pest!) on this blog.

  9. Corky

     /  February 19, 2018

    First it was the Russians playing us as Soy Boys. Now Islam has joined the party. Geez, what a bunch of prats we are. This comrade explains. He also confirms my perception of how runty and wimpish men on liberal protest marches look….and act.

    https://redgreenalliance.com/2016/06/17/yuri-bezmenov-insights-from-a-kgb-defector/

    • Gezza

       /  February 19, 2018

      Geez, what a bunch of prats we are.
      Speak for yourself, Corks.

    • Corky

       /  February 19, 2018

      I was trying to save liberals the embarrassment of being described as prats by including myself in that description. Of course, I don’t consider myself a prat…only liberals. The proof is in every protest march we see. In the gay march just gone. What a joke watching all those straights wanting to show they are inclusive. TV 1 went ga-ga. Little did they realise many of the onlookers were there just to watch the ”freaks”

      • Mefrostate

         /  February 19, 2018

        all those straights wanting to show they are inclusive

        Seem like decent people to me, showing their support for LGBT rights against exclusive intolerant people like yourself.

        • Corky

           /  February 19, 2018

          What makes you think I’m intolerant? I’m just stating some personal observations.
          Personally, the only thing pissing me off about gays are those who continually focus on their sexuality to the exclusion of everything else. My criticism was more regarding ‘straights’ and their fawning. I wonder what they say in private, with a little booze loosening their lips?

          • Mefrostate

             /  February 19, 2018

            “What makes you think I’m intolerant? I’m just stating some personal observations.

            Your comment certainly came off as intolerant, attacking the character of those attending Pride, and using the word “freaks”.

            “Personally, the only thing pissing me off about gays are those who continually focus on their sexuality to the exclusion of everything else.”

            The entire reason LGBTs feel the need to celebrate their sexuality & identity is because society has treated them so horrifically for so long. If you really are tolerant, why don’t you post about how awful our history of gay rights has been, and how wonderful it is that we’ve progressed so far?

            “My criticism was more regarding ‘straights’ and their fawning. I wonder what they say in private, with a little booze loosening their lips?”

            Why don’t you just come out and use the phrase ‘virtue signalling’ so everyone can more rapidly realise you’ve got nothing of value to say?

            You have no idea how sincere Pride attendees are, your attack has no substance, you’re just trying to undermine their intentions.