“The warrant was not based on the dossier,” Smith said, claiming there was a “mountain of evidence” that Page had been having improper connections with Russian intelligence operatives.He said there is also abundant evidence of high-ranking Trump officials — like former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — having met with Russians during the course of the campaign.“The dossier was not the key or did not have anything hardly to do with the getting of the warrant against Carter Page,” Smith stated, accusing the authors of the memo of “cherry-picking facts.”
Smith said the argument that is advanced by the memo is that the only way the FBI and Justice Department could have obtained a FISA warrant against page is by using the dossier, which he said is “factually false.”
“There is a mountain of evidence about Carter Page’s connections to Russian intelligence, his trips back and forth to Moscow — just like with Michael Flynn and a lot of other people — that had nothing to do with the dossier,” Smith said. “That is a known fact.”
The Russians targeted “any disaffected U.S. audience” with “active measures,” a term that essentially means concentrated campaigns to exploit existing social tensions and divisions with the goal of weakening the country’s global standing, allowing Russia more latitude to assert its own interests. Watts described how these efforts were then turned onto the 2016 presidential race — and made it clear the issue is a bipartisan one, even though the targeting of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign to bolster Trump got the most public attention at the time
.. the Kremlin is more cynical than ideological in its approach to foreign influence. She told us that under Putin’s influence, pragmatism outweighs any coherent set of principles, and Moscow will exploit whichever side of the political spectrum suits their interests in any given context
.. The main advantage of conspiracy theories as political tools is that they can spread a general anti-establishment sentiment and they can destroy the credibility and trust in all the established leaders and institutions. It’s not only an American phenomenon that conspiracy theorists are popping up and operating around anti-establishment candidates.
.. But once those same anti-establishment candidates succeed in getting hold of the reins of power, the same dynamic that secured their victory can easily be turned against them. Krekó compared conspiracy theories as a political tactic to a boomerang, as “they can hit you back when you are in power.”
.. That belief in conspiracy theories was strong before the U.S. election in the Republican camp because they felt themselves to be the ones out of power. Usually conspiracy theories are the tools of people who are out of power; they aim to destroy the current institutional setting. After the election there are some indications that Democratic voters believe more conspiracy theories because they target those in power.
.. cherrypicking disparate and unrelated events and weaving them into a narrative without understanding what they don’t know