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Did Russia play both sides for fools?

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Did Russia play both sides for fools

For a few weeks, I’ve been looking into a theory about Russia’s involvement in American politics that goes well beyond simply trying to sway elections. I don’t normally research stories for this long (I prefer writing easy commentary over difficult investigative reporting), but I had to be very sure before sharing my thoughts. The reason: it’s a conspiracy theory. The last thing we need is more conspiracy theories without evidence to support them.

As it turns out, my delay was fruitful. The last piece to the puzzle was released yesterday when it was revealed Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC paid to have the infamous Trump-Russia Dossier compiled:

House Clinton: The sizzling series finale, featuring the Trump ‘dossier’

http://noqreport.com/2017/10/24/house-clinton-sizzling-series-finale-featuring-trump-dossier/After the election, in January, Buzzfeed, with zero evidence of the veracity of their “scoop” (which in fact had been shopped to all the major media), published it. FBI Director James Comey personally briefed Trump on the dossier and its contents–knowing that Christopher Steele, the British former intelligence officer who compiled it, was working for the FBI itself.

Fusion GPS, the shadowy oppo research firm that paid Steele, has been fighting Congress tooth-and-nail, invoking their Fifth Amendment rights, and battling Rep. Devin Nunes subpoena of its bank records to discover who paid what to whom.

Before I get into my theory, let me lay out a few disclaimers up front. I supported Ted Cruz for the GOP presidential nomination. I would have preferred his opponent had been Bernie Sanders, not because I would support or ever vote for him but because I wanted zero chance of Hillary Clinton being the President. Also, I’m co-founder of the Federalist Party, so if there’s a hint of bias against the Democrats and Republicans, it’s because I don’t trust either major party anymore. Both are opposed to limited government so I’m opposed to both of them.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the theory.

Russia played both sides

It’s for more diligent journalists, law enforcement officials, or Capitol Hill panels to determine what Russia’s involvement has been in both the elections and the state of American politics. I don’t know if they have dirt on President Trump or those close to him. I don’t know for certain what they’re holding over Hillary Clinton or those associated with her. This theory is based upon the fairly safe assumption that Russia has been making moves to gain leverage over people within the United States government.

The theory was born from a simple question: why Trump? Vladimir Putin is known to favor the status quo in nearly every situation. Clinton represented the epitome of the status quo, so if we’re to assume Russia was helping Trump, one would have to wonder why. It didn’t make sense for any of the three main reasons people were giving. Let’s look at those three reasons and why none made sense.

  1. “Putin didn’t like Clinton but did like Trump and through he could either trust him more or manipulate him more easily.” Don’t read into the alleged bromance between Trump and Putin. They are leaders of nations that aren’t direct enemies anymore but whose interests exist in contention with the other’s. Therefore, it comes down to politics. Putin not liking Clinton is irrelevant. Even if he actually likes Trump (he doesn’t), it would also be irrelevant. Superpowers do not make decisions about one another based upon personality compatibility.
  2. “Putin has dirt on Trump.” This may be true, but there’s almost no chance he doesn’t have dirt on Hillary as well. We’re seeing some of that with Uranium One. They may have more of her emails that haven’t been released. Then, there’s the Dossier which we’ll get to shortly.
  3. “Russia liked Trump’s ‘America First’ policy because they thought it would give them the advantage in foreign affairs.” There may be some truth to this, but it’s completely negated by Trump’s promises about the military. The last thing Russia wants is a President who bolsters the United States military.

If none of the solutions to a problem make sense, the next step is to reevaluate the assumed problem. What if the premise was flawed? Maybe Russia wasn’t really trying to support Trump. What if they were playing both sides? If their goal was not to put one or the other into the White House but to have leverage regardless of who won, then the premise is no longer the notion they were supporting Trump. The new premise would be that they already had enough dirt on Clinton and wanted to stir up dirt on Trump. What’s the easiest way to do that? To be his friend. To talk to his people. To offer assistance. To earn their trust.

To collect dirt.

The flaw to this theory was twofold. The first flaw resolved itself with the Dossier itself. I’ll cover that shortly. The second flaw resolved itself in the last two weeks. That flaw was really more of a question that needed to be answered: What dirt did they have on Clinton? Uranium One seemed to be an easy choice, but it wasn’t enough to make me feel secure that it was the real smoking gun, though some have been saying it was exactly that. The emails they hacked were also an easy choice, but it seemed as if most that were accessible had already been leaked. If they got to her emails before they were wiped, then perhaps that really was the ace they had up their sleeves. Still, there was something else pricking at my brain for a while.

When the news broke that she participated in funding the Dossier, I realized this was it. No, it’s not what was in the Dossier or her involvement in putting it together. Her fingerprints wouldn’t be directly on it. What they have is something we don’t know and likely will never know now that she lost. Put your tinfoil hat on before you read this because now is when I get into the very speculative portion of today’s broadcast…

From here out, it’s all speculation

Before I go into detail about the conspiracy theory itself, let’s consider the Dossier itself. This is an important clue. It reada like a fake documentary co-directed by David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky, written by Oliver Stone, and starring Rodney Dangerfield. It was intended to be so outrageous that only die-hard Trump haters could believe it. That’s not to say none of it was true. Because very little of it was verifiable by any stretch of the investigative imagination, it was completely ineffective.

As intended.

Why was it produced like this? Because Hillary and the DNC wanted dirt on Trump and were willing to make promises in order to get it. They paid to get the information, but then they were swindled. They were told there was damning information uncovered, but before they could get their hands on it the interested parties (the Russians) wanted assurances. They wanted to know where Clinton stood on certain topics. They wanted a deal.

Again, this is purely speculation, but if the deal to get the Dossier out there included a conversation directly with Hillary to make the right assurances, it’s possible she did so. That’s the leverage they wanted over her if she won. All they needed was to have some form of proof that Clinton paid for and made a deal to get the Dossier.

Once the deal was done, all that was left was to over-deliver on the goods. They handed them a Dossier that was so damaging to Trump he would never be President. The problem was that it was too damaging. It was too sensational. It was so damaging and so spectacular that they couldn’t use any of it. Sticking with the movie analogies, they were promised a script for the next Star Wars franchise and were handed Waterworld.

How Russia’s winning today

I’m not one to admit defeat easily, but with all the turmoil in DC today, Russia is getting what they wanted. Putin loves the status quo, but don’t underestimate his appreciation for disarray within the status quo. The polarization of today’s American political environment is based solely on feelings rather than function. Some people like Trump’s ideas until they find out their his. Others would follow Trump off the proverbial cliff if he said so. It doesn’t matter that the Republicans are putting out an insanely large budget or that the Democrats seem to be embracing certain precepts of federalism. The dichotomy in philosophies isn’t nearly as large as the dichotomy of allegiances.

We are a divided house. Russia doesn’t care whose responsible for division as long as it’s happening. It would have happened had Hillary won as well. Either would just be a leader in DC that Russia hoped to sway. That’s what they really wanted. That was their end game. It’s not that they wanted one over the other. They wanted sow discord and have leverage regardless of the winner.

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

Education

Whoopi is right about the behavior of UCLA Basketball players in China

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Whoopi Goldberg

I’m not a big fan of Whoopi Goldberg, okay but I have to tell you that I agree with her regarding the following statement.  This is in regards to a couple of UCLA basketball players who thought they could take something from a store in China and not pay for it.

You embarrassed your families, you embarrassed the country, and you embarrassed the president. Now I’m not a big fan of the president, but the fact that he had to call and get your asses out of there is not anything to be proud of or think is cool.  If this isn’t the stupidest thing a young person has done, particularly if you’re over six-feet tall, and black… is this just the ridiculous stupidity of youth?

Let me add one more thing. You’re an embarrassment to UCLA itself, and their athletic department as well.  Now I am not a big fan of those who run academia, but if these jerks are given the right punishment, I shall give the university credit and praise for doing it.  All right UCLA, the ball is in your court.  Do something right for once.

Further Reading

Whoopi Goldberg to ‘Stupid’ UCLA Players: You’re Fortunate Trump Could ‘Get Your A**es Out’ of China

http://freebeacon.com/issues/whoopi-goldberg-ucla-players-fortunate-trump-get-out-china/“Now, you’re in China—you’re this big!” she said, reaching high into the air to indicate the players’ height. “It’s not like you’re gonna blend, you’re not going to blend in, run out.”

Goldberg said their families and mentors had no doubt told them numerous times not to do things like this, and she said the foolishness of youth is the only explanation for something so dumb.

President Trump says ‘You’re welcome’ after UCLA Bruins players thank him for help with China incident

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/21432885/president-trump-says-welcome-ucla-bruins-players-thank-help-china-incidentUCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill stole from three stores, were arrested and surrendered their passports. Trump, who was already on an Asia trip, spoke to President Xi Jinping of China about the incident, and the players were allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, all three read prepared statements at a news conference in which it was revealed that they have been suspended from the team indefinitely. They thanked the Chinese government and police for how they were treated and United States officials for helping secure their release.

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Economy

Trump gives China “great credit” for “taking advantage” of U.S. on trade

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Trump gives China great credit for taking advantage of US on trade

From the day Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency up until election day, he railed against China for taking advantage of the United States economically. His push for “fair trade” even changed the long-standing Republican paradigm of free trade.

As President on his first trip to China, his tune has changed. He still believes that China takes advantage of the United States on trade, but he doesn’t blame them. In fact, he gave China and President Xi Jinping great praise.

“I don’t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the sake of its citizens?” he said shortly after signing non-binding business deals worth $250 billion. “I give China great credit.”

It has been a common aspect of the President’s modus operandi when dealing with U.S. and world leaders to be cordial and complimentary towards them when with them or talking to them directly, then returning to negative rhetoric later. This was most clear in his dealings with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

While the business deals were positive notes for these initial meetings, the topic of North Korea was more severe. Trump called on China to cut economic ties in an effort to make them halt their nuclear weapons program. He said the Chinese President could “easily and quickly” resolve the situation through pressure as the biggest ally to North Korea.

“I know one thing about your president, if he works on it hard, it will happen,” Trump said while addressing the crowd at the signing ceremony. Following light chuckles from the crowd, he added, “They know.”

Further Reading

Trump does not blame China for ‘unfair’ trade

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41924797The total trade relationship between the pair was worth $648bn last year, but trade was heavily skewed in China’s favour with the US amassing a deficit of $310bn.

While still characterising the relationship as “very unfair” and “one-sided”, Trump said on Thursday that China was not at fault, instead blaming previous US administrations.

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Foreign Affairs

Russian lawyer claims Trump Jr. said administration would reconsider Magnitsky Act if Trump won

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Natalia Veselnitskaya

If it can be proven, it could be the smoking gun special counsel Robert Mueller needs to tie the Trump campaign directly to Russian collusion. It will likely take more than the testimony of Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, though, and her potential testimony is the only evidence that the Magnitsky Act was ever discussed.

The act was punishment signed by President Obama in 2012 for the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. It affected 18 Russians, preventing them from entering the United States or using its banking system.

Magnitsky Act – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnitsky_ActThe Magnitsky Act, formally known as the Russia and Moldova Jackson–Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, is a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama in November–December 2012, intending to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009.

In 2009, Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison after investigating fraud involving Russian tax officials. While in prison, Magnitsky developed gall stones, pancreatitis and calculous cholecystitis and was refused medical treatment for months. After almost a year of imprisonment, he was beaten to death while in custody.[1][2][3]

Veselniskaya claim she met with Trump Jr., then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, and adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. During the meeting, she claims Trump Jr. made a veiled offer.

“Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,” Trump Jr. said of the 2012 Magnitsky Act, according to Veselnitskaya. “I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it.”

Even if he didn’t make the offer, the alleged attempt to acquire opposition research on Hillary Clinton, which Veselniskaya claims he kept going back to in their conversation, is enough to be considered worthy of investigation.

At this point, it’s her word versus theirs and there’s little to no chance anything can be made of it legally. The account of one witness, particularly one who is as shady as Veselniskaya, won’t be enough to make Mueller move forward. He’ll inquire. He’ll search for any other evidence, but if nothing else is found, he’s nowhere. The allegations of one eyewitness cannot be enough to take down a President, his campaign, or his administration.

Further Reading

Russian lawyer: Donald Trump Jr. said Magnitsky Act could be reconsidered if Trump won

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/russian-lawyer-donald-trump-jr-said-magnitsky-act-could-be-reconsidered-if-trump-won/article/2639744Veselnitskaya attended a meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, with Trump Jr., then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Veselnitskaya said she met with Trump Jr. and other campaign officials last year to show them evidence that Democratic donors evaded taxes and to push for the repeal of the 2012 Magnitsky Act.

Specifically, she said she had sent Trump Jr. information about Ziff Brothers Investments, which is linked to hedge fund manager William Browder. Browder and Ziff Brothers Investments invested in Russia, and Browder pushed for passage of the Magnitsky Act, which Veselnitskaya is lobbying against.

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