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From Watergate to Russiagate: from the sublime to the ridiculous

The string of false media stories about Russiagate shows the media’s desperation as proof for the Russiagate collusion allegations fails to appear

Alexander Mercouris

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The recent string of misfires of Russiagate stories in the US media, and the growing signs of alarm amongst proponents of the Russiagate conspiracy theory in the media and elsewhere following the angry exchanges between Republican Congressmen and FBI Director Christopher Wray in the House Judiciary Committee, are symptoms of the growing desperation within the media and amongst proponents of the Russiagate conspiracy theory that the evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians that they counted on is failing to turn up.

To understand the reason for this alarm it is merely necessary to compare the time line of the Watergate scandal – the scandal which provides the benchmark for all political scandals involving US Presidents – with the progress or rather lack of it of the Russiagate scandal.

The origins of the Watergate scandal were in a meeting held in January 1972 chaired by the then Attorney General John Mitchell who as well as being President Richard Nixon’s personal friend was shortly to become the chair of Nixon’s campaign team.

The meeting – chaired by the nation’s Attorney General who is the head of the Justice Department and the US government’s most senior law officer, and also attended by White House Counsel John Dean – plotted various illegal activities to ensure President Nixon’s re-election later that year.

This meeting set in train a sequence of events which resulted in two burglaries – both obviously serious crimes – of the Democratic National Committee located in the Watergate building on 28th May 1972 and 17th June 1972.

In the second of these two burglaries – the one which took place on 17th June 1972 – the burglars were caught.

Within days of the arrest of the burglars President Nixon – who almost certainly had no prior knowledge of the burglary – engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct justice by initiating a cover-up intended to conceal the connection between the Watergate burglars and the Nixon campaign.  This involved an attempt to use the CIA to block a full investigation of the burglary by the FBI, and the payment of bribes to the Watergate burglars to ensure their silence.

The cover-up was a failure.  Though it did succeed in keeping the scandal out of the media until the Presidential election was over in November, all that it in the end achieved was create a money trail leading back to the Nixon campaign which highlighted the Nixon campaign’s involvement in the burglary, as well as the fact that the Nixon administration was trying to cover the fact up (thus the famous phrase “follow the money”).

By 10th October 1972 – i.e. just four months after the start of the FBI’s investigation into the burglary and before the November election took place – the FBI was already reporting to the Justice Department that the Watergate burglary was part of a massive campaign of spying and sabotage carried out on behalf of the Nixon campaign.

Strategically placed leaks in the media by deputy FBI Director Mark Felt (“Deep Throat”) between July 1972 and January 1973 kept the story alive, and following the Watergate burglars’ conviction on 30th January 1973seven months after the burglary – it became the lead story in the media.

With questions about the scandal being asked by Congress, and with the Senate setting up on 7th February 1973 – i.e. within a week of the conviction of the burglars – a special committee chaired by Senator Sam Ervin to investigate the scandal, it quickly became obvious to Nixon that those individuals who were most directly implicated in the cover-up – his chief of staff Bob Haldeman, his aide John Ehrlichman, and White House Counsel John Dean – would have to go.

Thus on 30th April 1973ten months after the burglary – with the existence of the cover-up by now public knowledge, Nixon announced Haldeman’s and Ehrlichman’s resignations, the dismissal of Dean, and the appointment of Special Counsel to investigate what had happened.

The sequel was that on 13th July 1973 – a year after the burglary – a White House aide Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of a taping system in the White House.

A protracted legal battle lasting a whole year then followed to obtain the release of the tapes.  When a decision of the Supreme Court in July 1974 – two years after the burglary – finally forced the White House to release the tapes the extent of Nixon’s personal involvement in the cover-up – and therefore in the conspiracy to obstruct justice – became clear, and in August 1974 Nixon was forced to resign.

In summary, it took the FBI just four months to arrive at a clear picture of what had happened.  Within ten months – by the time of Haldeman’s and Ehrlichman’s resignations and Dean’s dismissal – the existence of the cover-up was known fact.  Within a year the existence of the evidence which would implicate Nixon himself in the cover-up (“what did the President know and when did he know it?”) had been discovered

Contrast this with the Russiagate investigation.

It is known that the Russiagate investigation began in July 2016, following Wikileaks’ publication of the DNC emails and the FBI’s initial meetings with Christopher Steele, the compiler of the Trump Dossier.  Eighteen months later it has however come up with no evidence of the conspiracy between the Trump campaign team and the Russians which it is supposed to be investigating.

This despite the fact that the investigative resources committed to the Russiagate investigation – which included surveillance of US citizens during the election – have been immeasurably greater and more intrusive than anything seen during Watergate.

What we have instead is a barely publicised admission that the Trump Dossier – the report which appears to have initiated the whole investigation and which provided its narrative frame – cannot be verified, and cannot therefore be used in court as evidence to secure convictions.

An investigation which has achieved nothing after eighteen months other than three indictments which do not touch on the crime it is supposed to be investigating – two of which were only for the process crime of lying to the FBI about matters which were not in fact crimes – is clearly an investigation which is on the wrong track.

Republicans in Congress are starting to sense this and the pressure on Mueller, the Justice Department and the FBI is now – very properly – at last building.

We should not be fooled by the outraged chorus in the media defending Mueller which is trying to argue otherwise.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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Why Joe May be Courting Stacey

Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


Of 895 slots in the freshman class of Stuyvesant High in New York City, seven were offered this year to black students, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before.

In the freshman class of 803 at The Bronx High School of Science, 12 students are black, down from last year’s 25.

Of 303 students admitted to Staten Island Technical High School, one is African-American.

According to The New York Times, similar patterns of admission apply at the other five most elite high schools in the city.

Whites and Asians are 30 percent of middle school students, but 83 percent of the freshman at Bronx High School of Science, 88 percent at Staten Island Technical and 90 percent at Stuyvesant.

What do these numbers tell us?

They reveal the racial composition of the cohort of scientists and technicians who will lead America in the 21st century. And they tell us which races will not be well represented in that vanguard.

They identify a fault line that runs through the Democratic Party, separating leftists who believe in equality of results for all races and ethnic groups, and those who believe in a meritocracy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed anger and frustration at the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in the elite schools. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have ignored his pleas to change the way students are admitted.

Currently, the same test, of English and math, is given to middle school applicants. And admission to the elite eight is offered to those who get the highest scores.

Moreover, Asians, not whites, are predominant.

Though 15 percent of all middle school students, Asians make up two-thirds of the student body at Stuyvesant, with 80 times as many slots as their African-American classmates.

The egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party sees this as inherently unjust. And what gives this issue national import are these factors:

First, the recent scandal where rich parents paid huge bribes to criminal consultants to get their kids into elite colleges, by falsifying records of athletic achievement and cheating on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, has caused a wave of populist resentment.

Second, Harvard is being sued for systemic reverse racism, as black and Hispanic students are admitted with test scores hundreds of points below those that would disqualify Asians and whites.

Third, Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Here are Biden’s quotes, unearthed by The Washington Post, that reflect his beliefs about forced busing for racial balance in public schools:

“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with.

“What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist!

“Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?

“I am philosophically opposed to quota systems. They insure mediocrity.”

That was 44 years ago. While those views were the thinking of many Democrats, and perhaps of most Americans, in the mid-’70s, they will be problematic in the 2020 primaries, where African-Americans could be decisive in the contests that follow Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden knows that just as Bernie Sanders, another white male, fell short in crucial South Carolina because of a lack of support among black voters, he, too, has a problem with that most loyal element in the Democratic coalition.

In 1991, Biden failed to rise to the defense of Anita Hill when she charged future Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a law-and-order champion responsible for tough anti-crime legislation that is now regarded as discriminatory.

And he has a record on busing for racial balance that made him a de facto ally of Louise Day Hicks of the Boston busing case fame.

How, with a record like this, does Biden inoculate himself against attacks by rival candidates, especially candidates of color, in his run for the nomination?

One way would be to signal to his party that he has grown, he has changed, and his 2020 running mate will be a person of color. Perhaps he’ll run with a woman of color such as Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

An ancillary benefit would be that Abrams on the ticket would help him carry Georgia, a state Donald Trump probably cannot lose and win re-election.

Wrote Axios this morning:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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