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A Russian’s view of RussiaGate

Who better to hear from about Russia’s response to RussiaGate than a Russian? We present Alexey Kovalev’s opinion piece with comments.

Seraphim Hanisch

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So, what did Russian people think of the RussiaGate investigation? Some of us here at The Duran live and work in Moscow, but we are usually Americans, and not Russians ourselves. This makes us able to listen and opine, but only as foreigners and not as people that are really, heart and soul, affected by the news and allegations that RussiaGate did to their country.

In other words, it ain’t personal for us, at least not in the same way.

But on March 29th, The New York Times performed a random act of journalistic integrity (though after the fact, as media outlets continue to feign a self-inventory of what drove them to pursue such a poorly verified story to the American public for two years), and they published an op=ed from a Russian citizen.

While it is not possible to say that what is contained here reflects the point of view of all Russians (I know this personally because I talk to so many of them here), it does reflect exactly what its writer, Alexey Kovalev, thinks. We present his thoughts to you here, with some added emphasis. At the end we offer some closing thoughts, but here is Mr. Kovalev’s piece:

Russians weren’t waiting for Robert Mueller’s report with quite the same excitement as Americans.

Russian state media’s coverage of Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency has vacillated between breathless adoration, mockery and outrage, but one thing has been consistent: The idea of Russia electing and controlling an American president has always been deemed absurd. Most references to the Mueller inquiry and the Trump-Russia story in state media are preceded by a qualifier: “the so-called Russia investigation,” as the prominent TV host Dmitry Kiselyov puts it.

It’s not just the state media that has rejected the idea that Mr. Trump colluded with Russia. Even liberals and opponents of President Vladimir Putin have been deeply skeptical, pointing out that Russia’s ruling circles are barely competent enough to prop themselves up, let alone manipulate a superpower.

When the news broke last week that Mr. Mueller had finished his report, Moscow’s political and media circles reacted with a mixture of contempt and derision. Far from being a top news story, it was practically forgotten after a few angry comments from state officials. Coverage focused far more on the coming election in Ukraine.

Alexey Pushkov, a former diplomat and a political analyst, tweeted to his 360,000 followers on Tuesday, following the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report: “The results of Mueller’s investigations are a disgrace to the U.S. and their political elite. It’s now confirmed that all their allegations have been plucked out of thin air. The media have played a shameful role of lie-mongers in a campaign built on lies. The adherents of this conspiracy theory are discredited. Only an idiot can believe them now.”

To the Kremlin and its supporters, Russia is the aggrieved party here, and the government’s consistent denials of interfering in America’s internal affairs have been fully vindicated. Appearing on the Russian talk show “60 Minutes,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, said the ministry was preparing a report to name and shame the “brigade of propagandists” — pointing at, among others, Fareed Zakaria — who tried to tie Mr. Trump to Russia. She added that “apologies are expected.”

These commentaries conveniently focused on the portions of Mr. Barr’s summary of the report that ruled out the Trump team’s coordination with Russian operatives, and they disregarded the fact that the full report has not been released. Other important portions of the report, which reached the unequivocal conclusion — also supported by independent investigations, including in Russian media — that there were, indeed, Russian efforts to influence the 2016 American election, went completely ignored.

But while government officials and state media tell one-sided stories and revel in “I-told-you-sos,” liberal Russians like myself and many of the people I know are less joyous. Online and in private conversations, it becomes clear that whatever the outcome of the Mueller investigation, our relationship with America has changed.

We interrupt Mr. Kovalev’s piece to reaffirm this last point he just said. Observations here on the ground in Moscow with many Russian people show that the relationship with America has changed. I have personally seen my dearest friends here, and my own wife, who is Russian, erupt with anger and bitterness over the treatment that their homeland receives – unjustly, from their American partners.

The fact is that for much of the time since the 2014 Olympics, and especially since the 2016 elections, Russia has been handed what amounts to an excrement sandwich over and over again from the American media and very prominent people within the American government.

Sadly, this includes President Trump himself at times, though he still gives open spaces that the media seems to (thankfully) miss, and President Vladimir Putin’s own relative silence on the latest in the tense relations (about the US, Russia and Venezuela) seems to be a signal that there remain some behind the scenes efforts to at least not escalate matters further.

Still, the bitterness and sense of frustration has caused many Russian people to give up on hopes for a better relationship with the American nation. They are mixed emotionally, because they do not hate Americans, but they often ask me to explain why the US policy decisions are going the way they are going.

The Russians are hardy people, and they are honestly quite used to their country being assailed and assaulted. But they are people too, and it is discouraging and maddening for them to see their amazing efforts to show who they really are as a nation (pro-life, pro-Christian, pro-traditional values) be simply blocked and ignored by the West.

Mr. Kovalev continues:

We’ve seen anti-Russian xenophobia spread into the American mainstream. Etched in our minds are comments like the one James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, made in an interview when he said that Russians are “almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever.”

“To those of us who paid attention to American media and politics over the past two years, it quickly became clear that too many in the United States know nothing about our country.

This climate hasn’t just offended us; it’s making our ability to communicate and share experiences with Americans more difficult. Take the example of Leonid Volkov, an opposition political operative who went to the United States last year as part of the Yale World Fellows program. In a blog post he wrote while there, he described his frustration while trying to monitor the midterm elections to gain insight for his own campaigns in Russia. The very idea of a Russian volunteering for an American political campaign is today so toxic, Mr. Volkov wrote, that he had to abandon his plan.

In the atmosphere where “contacts with Russians” has become cause for suspicion, every bank transaction and visa application faces extra scrutiny. I’ve heard from people I know about how exchange programs, conferences and businesses are suffering.

To those of us who paid attention to American media and politics over the past two years, it quickly became clear that too many in the United States know nothing about our country. Ominous images of onion-shaped domes taking over the White House baffled us; St. Basil’s Cathedral is not part of the Kremlin complex and has no political connotation. The ubiquity of hammers and sickles in visuals accompanying Trump-Russia reports seemed likewise absurd. Our country hasn’t been Communist for about 30 years.

We have few illusions about our own government, its dirty dealings abroad or our own toxic media. But we expected better of America.

Oleg Kashin, a prominent Russian journalist, wrote in a 2017 op-ed essay that “every time a Russian television network or pro-Kremlin newspaper reaches a new low, it was once commonplace among independent thinkers to say that the Western media giants never allowed themselves such mistakes.” That’s much harder to do now.

The end of the Mueller investigation and the conclusion that the Trump campaign didn’t collude with Russia may allow Washington and Moscow to begin to try to fix diplomatic and business relations. I’d be glad to see that. But my perception of the United States’ politics and media might have suffered irreparable damage as a result of #Russiagate, and I’m afraid that’s the case for many people like me. Robert Mueller can’t fix that.

It is truly remarkable that The New York Times ran this piece at all. Perhaps it was part of their mea culpa to try to save face after two solid years of deliberate false reporting designed to remove President Trump from office.

It is unlikely that we will ever get an honest admission. But Mr. Kovalev’s words are certainly honest from his point of view, and his thoughts and perceptions are a solid match for what we personally observe in Moscow and elsewhere in the Russian Federation. As an American, it is difficult to feel proud of what our country’s media and political elíte has done here.

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john vieira
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Fascinating how an attempt to deflect the Wikileaks, which coincidentally have NEVER been debunked, by the administration led, with the help and manipulation of a corrupted sold out mainstream fake media, to two years of extreme “bovine excreta” that anyone with a 1/4 brain SHOULD have realized before it even gained the traction it did…wonder what will happen in the future if another attempt is made to “unseat” an American president by the “deep state” as the censorship gnomes of social media have allied themselves with the MSM to deliver the “one” narrative???

Bob Valdez
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Bob Valdez

Well spoken.

Cudwieser
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Cudwieser

In short Russia never gave a shit about russiagate as it was typical US blow and bluster that ran old rhetoric and changed nothing so many thousand miles away…assuming a few Russian didn’t occasionally jest about the funny Americans.

Bill
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Bill

Assertions of Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election treated the American people as mindless idiots once no proof was offered or required. It all meant the further dumbing down of Americans.

Isabella
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Isabella

Curious about these “dirty dealings abroad” that the Russian Government gets up to, according to this writer.
Any chance he could list some, give us details and evidence for veracity?

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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Can Zelensky bring peace to a Ukraine torn apart by Obama’s Maidan coup? (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 150.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at Vladimir Zelensky’s landslide victory against incumbent Petro Poroshenko in Sunday’s historic Ukraine, second round, Presidential election.

Not much is known about Zelensky’s political acumen, but the job of uniting a country torn apart by an Obama funded Maidan coup in 2014, will prove to be a daunting task for the comedy TV star.

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Via TASS News…

Ukraine’s ‘Opposition Platform – For Life’ party will support Ukrainian president-elect Vladimir Zelensky only if he takes practical steps to bring peace to Donbass, Chairman of the party’s Political Council Viktor Medvedchuk said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Monday.

“Today, we can’t say that we support him because support is only possible if he truly wants peace in Donbass, if we see that he is taking actual steps to achieve this goal,” he said.

According to Medvedchuk, this is the only condition on which the ‘Opposition Platform – For Life’ party is ready to provide assistance to Zelensky if the need arises.

Ukraine’s presidential runoff took place on April 21. With 99.53% of the vote counted, leader of the Servant of the People political party Vladimir Zelensky has received 73.23% in Ukraine’s presidential runoff, while incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko gained 24.45%.

 

 

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TRUMP  –  The Reckoning

The Trump/Russia hoax has been called bigger than Watergate, in reality it dwarfs Watergate.

The Duran

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Submitted by Alexander Baron via Medium…

Now that the Mueller Report has been published and Donald Trump has been cleared of colluding with Russia, heads will roll.

Donald Trump was nearly seventy years old when he announced he was running for President of the United States. He had been asked if he would run way back in the 1980s, and ruled it out. Having literally no political experience, he was treated largely as a joke candidate, something he took in good humour, but the joke turned sour, first when he decimated a seventeen strong field of Republican hopefuls, and then when he beat Hillary Clinton losing the popular vote but winning the electoral college and thus the Presidency.

By this time, the jokes had turned to hysteria. What would any reasonable person have expected him to do at his age? With a much younger wife, a young son, an extended family, fame, and wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, he could have spent his golden years playing golf, doting on his grandkids, and doing anything he wanted and was able to within reason. Instead he elected to spend six hundred million dollars of his own money on a long shot to capture the Presidency, then work like a dog afterwards. Why? Because he saw his country being trashed and figured only he could save it.

You can call that wishful thinking, arrogance, even a Messiah complex, but the fact remains he put his money where his mouth is and delivered the goods. He didn’t even take a salary. And he has clearly been enjoying himself in both the run up to the election and in his Presidency, but there has been a dark side, a very dark side. While Trump has won millions of fans, he has earned the scorn of the elites, the intellectuals, the mass media, and the leadership of the Democratic Party. To date he has been the victim of an albeit half-hearted assassination attempt by a deranged British national, he has been assassinated in effigy in imitation of the Ides of March, decapitated in effigy, slandered and libelled from pillar to post.

After his Republican enemies released the now notorious Access Hollywood tape, a gaggle of demented and simply dishonest, attention-seeking females came forward to accuse him of a variety of sexual misdemeanours. He has been branded a bigot, a money launderer for the mob, his sanity has been questioned, and crude innuendo has been directed at him about his relationship with his eldest daughter.

Not content with trashing the man himself, elements of the media have attacked his daughter, his son Donald as a Russian “colluder”, his wife has been branded a prostitute, even his young son Barron has not been spared. Fifty years from now or even twenty, future American historians will look back on his treatment in shame. But the biggest lie, one that should never have been credited, is that he was somehow in the pockets of the Kremlin, or Vladimir Putin in person. How this lie came about has now been thoroughly documented, not by the mainstream media but by Fox News and its pundits who have broadcast the findings of Gregg Jarrett, Dan Bongino, Sara Carter, Joe diGenova, the Judicial Watchteam, The Epoch Times, and other Conservative organisations. To this list must be added the names of several leading Republican politicians, including Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Louis Gohmert, Jason Chaffetz, Trey Gowdy and Lindsey Graham.

So how did the Russian collusion hoax begin? It is based entirely on a spurious so-called dossier written ostensibly by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, a man who had excellent credentials, although in view of its contents one is entitled to ask if those credentials should not now be scrutinised carefully. The most outrageous claim of this dossier is that while he was in Moscow, Trump hired a brace of prostitutes to urinate on a mattress in the hotel suite that had been used by the Obamas.

Although there is little or no chance of his ever submitting himself to questioning by Congress, Steele has now admitted (ie claimed) in civil proceedings that he didn’t actually visit Russia to “research” this dossier but did so by telephone. This has led some people to claim the Russians have played the Democratic leadership for fools, but we have no proof that any Russians much less any working for the Russian Government had anything to do with the Steele dossier. Dan Bongino has pointed out that this Russian collusion stupidity actually originated as far back as 2007 and has simply been rewritten and tailored to fit Trump. Dick Morris, who knows how a certain person’s sick mind works, suggests it was written in-house by two Clinton henchmen.

Whoever actually wrote the dossier, most of this so-called opposition research was funded by Hillary Clinton who disguised its funding by paying for it through the law firm Perkins Coie. This is not so much a campaign violation as money laundering, but as with her e-mail scandal, laws are for the little people.

Although Clinton was responsible for the Steele dossier, Republicans were initially involved, including the late John McCain. McCain may have been a war hero, but that was the limit of his humanity. If he had beaten Obama in 2008, the Middle East would quite likely have gone up in flames.

The dossier was used not only to spread disinformation in the mainstream media but to dupe the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court into issuing warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Its contents were fed to the Yahoo! News hack Michael Isikoff, a so-called investigative journalist, and the resulting news reports were used to bolster its authenticity, a classic case of circular reasoning. This allowed rogue operators to spy on Carter Page, and in effect on Trump himself.

If the Steele dossier and spying on Page had been the limits of the conspiracy, that would have been bad enough, but the extent of it and the names of the major players is breath-taking. We know now for certain that in addition to Hillary Clinton, the following people were involved: James Comey, John Brennan and James Clapper — the top men of the three major intelligence agencies; Andrew McCabe, the number two man at the FBI; Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, also top FBI agents; Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie, the former being a senior Department Of Justice official; Susan Rice, a top aide to Barack Obama; Loretta Lynch, Attorney General in the same administration; and Sally Yates, an Obama holdover who was sacked by Trump for insubordination.

The Trump/Russia hoax has been called bigger than Watergate, in reality it dwarfs Watergate, this was America’s Gunpowder Plot because its intention was nothing less than to destroy a duly elected President and topple his administration. That amounts to sedition, some would even call it treason.

Not content with simply spreading disinformation about Trump/Russia, the conspirators used agents provocateurs to infiltrate the Trump campaign and try to set up innocent men as Russian assets. Two we know of are the academic Stefan Halper and the mysterious Joseph Mifsud.

The attempt to set up Donald Trump Junior by arranging a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was blatant. Don Junior was clearly gullible, otherwise he would have arranged for his attorney to be present, or better still his attorney and a video camera. Adam Schiff made much of this claiming it was an attempt to collude to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Then he was hoist by his own petard when two Russian comedians phoned him at his office and offered him photographs of Trump naked! Schiff was enthusiastic, but he is so far gone he doesn’t see the double standard.

How did they expect to get away with this? As Joe diGenova has pointed out, under President Hillary Clinton, all this would simply have gone away; the problem is, she didn’t win. The conspirators also had other, greater aims besides taking down Trump, in particular covering up Clinton’s earlier crimes, stopping any future Trumps, and, some of them, of reigniting the Cold War.

It is not difficult to understand why the Deep State and its operatives hate Trump so much and moved Heaven and Earth to get rid of him. Trump is a businessman, he knows how big business operates, how it plays the system and buys influence. He intended to put a stop to that, and has done to a certain extent. He was also intent on downsizing so-called capitalist America’s massive bureaucracy. A simple but spectacular example of this is his simplification of the tax system which especially benefits small companies and the self-employed. Now, most Americans filing their tax returns need fill out only one double-sided sheet of paper instead of thirty or so pages. Think of the bureaucracy and make-work jobs that destroys.

Apparatchiks are extremely well paid, have excellent terms of service, fat pensions, and are all but unsackable. All that is changing under Trump. Now imagine he gets only so much done, and ten, twenty years from now someone like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg comes along, someone who like him is wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice so cannot be bought, bribed or intimidated. The Hell Trump has been put through was designed to ensure that never happens. The Deep State and their allies have also sought not only to punish Trump but anyone who has the temerity to work with him.

This is why we have seen people on the fringes prosecuted for process crimes like lying to the FBI, crimes that would not have been committed but for the Mueller investigation, and crimes that are extremely minor. This is why Paul Manafort and Roger Stone were arrested by armed agents in dawn raids, tactics that may be suitable for taking down terrorists but not for men accused of white collar crimes. Manafort is now serving a heavy prison sentence for such crimes committed years before Trump announced his Presidential run. The arrest and pressurising of Roger Stone and others was done in the words of Alan Dershowitz, not only to make them sing but to compose.

Trump’s lawyers wisely advised him not to sit down for a formal interview with Mueller because it was clearly a perjury trap. In situations like this, perjury is anything the “investigators” say it is. Their utter ruthlessness is proof positive of that.

Another reason his enemies have gone all out to stop Trump is to cover up the crimes of Hillary Clinton. When she was Secretary of State, she set up a private e-mail server in her home on which she conducted Government business. This was uncovered accidentally by Judicial Watch. This is such a big thing because the e-mails of a public servant belong to the state. A humble police constable or low level local government administrator who did what she did would be sacked. But Hillary Clinton was using her private e-mail to for correspondence that must remain secret because lives could literally be at stake. And, as theYouTube vlogger HA Goodman has pointed out repeatedly, Clinton or someone close to her found a way to transfer top secret information from JWICS onto the regular Internet. JWICS is a high security American Government Intranet, so communications cannot be transferred onto the Internet accidentally; such transfers must have been manual. This alone constitutes serious espionage, and it begs the question why?

The answer to that question is simple, Clinton was peddling influence through the foundation she and her husband set up after he left office. Eric Trump summed it up with a question, what service or goods did they supply that made them so rich? The Clintons are now worth hundreds of millions of dollars, yet when they left the White House, he had lost his law license and was at best looking forward to making a living on the rubber chicken dinner circuit, a perk of the Presidency. That would certainly have kept him in cigars, but would it have stretched to a private jet? If Jason Goodman and especially Charles Ortel are right, the corruption of the Clintons and their associates is off the scale.

The third reason the Deep State was and remains so anxious to take down Donald Trump is because there are lunatics in high places who seek to reignite the Cold War. Indeed, there are some who even want to see war with China. How insane is that? It isn’t for those who make money out of it, only for us peasants, especially those who are sacrificed in these obscene, never-ending, no-win wars.

It is difficult to assess how much damage these people have already done. We know for example that Chinese agents hacked Clinton’s e-mails while she was Secretary of State. And this absurd mantra of “Russia, Russia, Russia” has even pushed Trump in the direction of confrontation instead of cooperation with Russia because every time he backs off , he is attacked as a Putin puppet, absurd as that is.

There are signs though that big change is coming, and it may be coming sooner than anybody thinks. Trump himself has said what happened to him cannot be allowed to go unpunished, and that nothing like this must ever be allowed to happen to a future President. The Democratic leadership and the mass media may howl and scream in unison, but there is already more than enough damning information in the public domain for Trump and his new Attorney General to do what he promised back in 2016: drain the Swamp.

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