The ‘Russian Lawyer Meeting’ Story Is a Giant Red Herring

Notice how the goalposts have shifted. The question of collusion has always concerned Russian efforts to intervene in the 2016 presidential election, allegedly by hacking the Democratic National Committee and other targets.

What the Russian lawyer allegedly offered was entirely different — information “that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton,” Trump, Jr. told the Times.

.. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the hacking allegations, and actually inverts the dominant media narrative, as it suggests that Clinton, not Trump, might have been the one colluding with the Russians in the 2016 election.

What to Make of Donald Trump’s Early-Morning Tweets

One of the articles is based on Senator Orrin Hatch’s remark about the wiretaps that led to the downfall of Michael Flynn as the national-security adviser. Another is based on Mark Levin, a conservative radio host, who recently accused Obama of “police state” tactics to carry out a “silent coup” against Trump.

.. One of President Trump’s most consistent rhetorical maneuvers is a fairly basic but often highly effective one—the diversionary reverse accusation. When he is accused of benefitting from “fake news,” he flips the neologism on its head; suddenly CNN, the Times, and the rest are “fake news.” When Democratic politicians such as Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi call for investigations of his campaign’s contacts with Russian officials, Trump posts pictures of those critics meeting publicly with Vladimir Putin and calls for an investigation.

.. Ironically, the Obama Administration, after being informed that the Russian government was likely behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee and that the effort was intended to undermine Hillary Clinton, did not act more forcefully for fear of appearing to favor its own political party.

.. The book describes Putin’s system as a “protection racket” in which he views himself as the “CEO of Russia, Inc.,” and is served by “crony oligarchs.” “In reality,” Hill and Gaddy write, “his leadership style is more like that of a mafia family Don.”

.. the methods used in the Russian secret services to discredit opponents. “Core individuals collect and amass detailed compromising material (kompromat in Russian) that can be used as leverage on every key figure inside and outside of government,”

.. They wanted to amplify someone like Trump because what he says is music to their ears.”

.. Also, this is not just two-way superpower. There is China, the rising powers. I almost see it as like the great power competition from the time before the Second World War.”

.. the Russians, partly because they “have” Edward Snowden, in Moscow, possess “a good idea of what the U.S. is capable of knowing. They got all of his information. You can be damn well sure that [Snowden’s] information is theirs.”