- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians

It was a remarkable moment in a remarkable press conference. President Donald Trump had just finished a controversial summit meeting in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and the two were talking to the media [1]. Jeff Mason, a political affairs reporter with Reuters, stood up and asked Putin a question pulled straight out of the day’s headlines: “Will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a U.S. grand jury?”

The “12 Russian officials” Mason spoke of were military intelligence officers accused of carrying out a series of cyberattacks against various American-based computer networks (including those belonging to the Democratic National Committee), the theft of emails and other data, and the release of a significant portion of this information to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The names and organizational affiliations of these 12 officers were contained in a detailed 29-page indictment [2] prepared by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and subsequently made public by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on July 13—a mere three days prior to the Helsinki summit.

Vladimir Putin responded, “We have an…existing agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, an existing treaty, that dates back to 1999, the mutual assistance on criminal cases. This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently.”

Putin then discussed the relationship between this agreement—the 1999 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty [3]—and the Mueller indictment. “This treaty has specific legal procedures,” Putin noted, that “we can offer the appropriate commission headed by special attorney Mueller. He can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal and official request to us so that we would interrogate, we would hold the questioning of these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes and our enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States.”

In the uproar that followed the Trump-Putin press conference [4], the exchange between Mason and Putin was largely forgotten amidst invective over Trump’s seeming public capitulation on the issue of election interference. “Today’s press conference in Helsinki,” Senator John McCain observed afterwards in a typical comment, “was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

It took an interview with Putin after the summit concluded [5], conducted by Fox News’s Chris Wallace, to bring the specific issue of the 12 indicted Russians back to the forefront and give it context. From Putin’s perspective, this indictment and the way it was handled by the United States was a political act. “It’s the internal political games of the United States. Don’t make the relationship between Russia and the United States—don’t hold it hostage of this internal political struggle. And it’s quite clear to me that this is used in the internal political struggle, and it’s nothing to be proud of for American democracy, to use such dirty methods in the political rivalry.”

Regarding the indicted 12, Putin reiterated the points he had made earlier to Jeff Mason. “We—with the United States—we have a treaty for assistance in criminal cases, an existing treaty that exists from 1999. It’s still in force, and it works sufficiently. Why wouldn’t Special Counsel Mueller send us an official request within the framework of this agreement? Our investigators will be acting in accordance with this treaty. They will question each individual that the American partners are suspecting of something. Why not a single request was filed? Nobody sent us a single formal letter, a formal request.”

There is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which makes all the calls for Trump to demand the extradition of the 12 Russians little more than a continuation of the “internal political games” Putin alluded to in his interview. There is, however, the treaty that Putin referenced at both the press conference and during the Wallace interview.

change_me

Signed in Moscow on June 17, 1999, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty calls for the “prevention, suppression and investigation of crimes” by both parties “in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty where the conduct that is the subject of the request constitutes a crime under the laws of both Parties.”

It should be noted that the indicted 12 have not violated any Russian laws. But the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty doesn’t close the door on cooperation in this matter. Rather, the treaty notes that “The Requested Party may, in its discretion, also provide legal assistance where the conduct that is the subject of the request would not constitute a crime under the laws of the Requested Party.”

It specifically precludes the process of cooperating from inferring a right “on the part of any other persons to obtain evidence, to have evidence excluded, or to impede the execution of a request.” In short, if the United States were to avail itself of the treaty’s terms, Russia would not be able to use its cooperation as a vehicle to disrupt any legal proceedings underway in the U.S.

The legal assistance that the treaty facilitates is not inconsequential. Through it, the requesting party can, among other things, obtain testimony and statements from designated persons; receive documents, records, and other items; and arrange the transfer of persons in custody for testimony on the territory of the requesting party.

If the indictment of the 12 Russians wasn’t the “dirty method” used in a domestic American “political rivalry” that Putin described, one would imagine that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would have availed himself of the opportunity to gather additional evidence regarding the alleged crimes. He would also have, at the very least, made a request to have these officers appear in court in the United States to face the charges put forward in the indictment. The treaty specifically identifies the attorney general of the United States “or persons designated by the Attorney General” as the “Central Authority” for treaty implementation. Given the fact that Jeff Sessions has recused himself from all matters pertaining to the investigation by the Department of Justice into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the person empowered to act is Rosenstein.

There are several grounds under the treaty for denying requested legal assistance, including anything that might prejudice “the security or other essential interests of the Requested Party.” However, it also requires that the reasons for the any denial of requested assistance be put in writing. Moreover, prior to denying a request, the Requested Party “shall consult with the Central Authority of the Requesting Party to consider whether legal assistance can be given subject to such conditions as it deems necessary. If the Requesting Party accepts legal assistance subject to these conditions, it shall comply with the conditions.”

By twice raising the treaty in the context of the 12 Russians, Putin has clearly signaled that Russia would be prepared to proceed along these lines.

If the indictment issued by the Department of Justice is to be taken seriously, then it is incumbent upon Rosenstein to call Putin’s bluff, and submit a detailed request for legal assistance per the mandate and procedures specified in the treaty—in short, compel Russia to either put up or shut up.

Any failure to do so would only confirm Putin’s assertion that the indictment was a political game to undermine the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West’s Road to War [6].

42 Comments (Open | Close)

42 Comments To "Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians"

#1 Comment By Rob On July 17, 2018 @ 11:03 pm

Very cogent analysis. Putin, who’s incredibly well briefed, knew exactly what he was offering, and thought that by doing so, would force the DoJ/Mueller to either take him up on his offer or otherwise display the overt politicism of the indictments. But the American anti-Trump mindhive is so completely addled, they of course miss the point entirely. The absence of reason among the anti-Trump/anti-Russia collective is truly something to behold – it’s scary.

#2 Comment By Janek On July 17, 2018 @ 11:29 pm

The request V. Putin proposed and Scot Ritter writes about, if send to Russia, would be equivalent to ‘go and whistle’ and would be treated the same way the Russians treat the requests from Poland to return the remains of the Polish plane that crashed in controversial and strange circumstances near Smolensk on April 10, 2010. They, the Russians, did not return the remains of the plane up until today and the place where the plane crashed they bulldozed the ground and paved with very thick layer of concrete. Such request would only give the Russians propaganda tools to delay and dilute any responsibility from the Russian side and at the end they would blame the USA for the whole mess with no end to their investigation, because they would investigate until the US investigators would drop dead. Anybody who seriously thinks about V. Putin offer to investigate anything with Russia should first have his head examined by a very good, objective, and politically neutral head specialist.

#3 Comment By b. On July 17, 2018 @ 11:50 pm

“If the indictment issued by the Department of Justice is to be taken seriously, then it is incumbent upon Rosenstein to call Putin’s bluff, and submit a detailed request for legal assistance per the mandate and procedures specified in the treaty—in short, compel Russia to either put up or shut up. Any failure to do so would only confirm Putin’s assertion that the indictment was a political game to undermine the presidency of Donald J. Trump.”

That was one long-winded way of recognizing that Putin just told the US biparty establishment behind the manufactured “Russia!” hysteria to put up or shut up.

#4 Comment By b. On July 17, 2018 @ 11:52 pm

I suppose Putin also can rest assured that Donald J. Trump does not need nobody’s assistance in undermining his own presidency either.

The whole shtick about that world full of malignancy working tirelessly to bring down the Good Ole’ U.S. of A.? Those guys can’t keep up with Made In America Again.

#5 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 18, 2018 @ 2:57 am

I don’t think that Pres Putin has anything to lose here.

“ARTICLE 4 DENIAL OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE

The Central Authority of the Requested Party may deny legal assistance if:

(1) the request relates to a crime under military law that is not a crime under
general criminal law;

(2) the execution of the request would prejudice the security or other essential
interests of the Requested Party; or”

whether accurate or not the treaty permits a denial of request, if said requests threaten Russian security. Almost by definition, an investigation interrogation by the US of the peronnel in question because said questioning might very well stray into other areas , unrelated to the hacking charge.

Now Pres. Putin has played two cards:

a treaty is in place that deals with criminal matters between the two states

and surely must have known that and should have already made the formal requests in conjunction with the treaty or he didn’t know either way, the rush to embarrass the president may very well backfire.

as almost everything about this investigation has.

#6 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 18, 2018 @ 3:15 am

that’s my take.

And should Pres. Putin, not have been bluffing — triple trump and “bully” for him.

i can see it now men in US intel and FBI jackets pouring through GRU computers.

laugh

#7 Comment By Realist On July 18, 2018 @ 3:16 am

“The DOJ should call his bluff.”

Right! That’s not going to happen….the DOJ has no proof….their indictment was a ploy to queer any deal with Russia. Anybody that believes anything the ‘intelligence’ agencies say, without proof, is an idiot.

#8 Comment By Kent On July 18, 2018 @ 6:09 am

If Russian investigators are the ones questioning the Russian officers, couldn’t they provide the questions and answers to the press? I don’t see how that would help the intelligence community.

#9 Comment By Charles On July 18, 2018 @ 7:16 am

It would be naive to belief this is anything other than a tactic for stalling and obfuscation by Putin. Similar ‘co-operation’ was offered to the UK over the Litvinenko poisoning and Scotland Yard allowed to question the two suspects in Moscow. The detectives were given the run-around and ultimately abandoned the effort after a meaningless ‘interrogation’ where it became clear nothing would be answered and that the Russian officials present were clearly there to assist Lugovoi and Kovtun rather than the British police.
Any US request would take months or years to fulfil, due to the ‘unavoidable requirements or necessities’ of the Russian legal system, any meetings would be delayed and then interrupted or cut short and nothing of use learned, after which Putin would feign offence at American ingratitude at the generosity of the Russian assistance offered.

But don’t worry, President Trump will be able to unwind from the pressure of all this ‘fake news’ as the US taxpayer pays for his round of golf at his Scottish golf course, or one of the other 16 he owns or has an interest in…

#10 Comment By john35 On July 18, 2018 @ 8:35 am

Putin sees the entire Russia conspiracy story like a Trotsky Show Trial, bless his authoritarian little heart.

#11 Comment By Kent On July 18, 2018 @ 8:56 am

Charles,

“Any US request would take months or years to fullfil, due to the ‘unavoidable requirements or necessities’ of the Russian legal system, any meetings would be delayed and then interrupted or cut short and nothing of use learned,”

Well that’s the way most investigations work with anyone who has an attorney present. No one would expect officers of the GRU to say “Yeah, we did it, we didn’t want to, but Trump paid Putin to make us…”.

But it is a masterful stroke by Putin that puts the DOJ on defense.

I’m an IT guy and work in security. There is no way the GRU guys are stupid enough to leave their fingerprints behind on this operation. And it is very simple to cover this up. So I know the DOJ and intel community can’t produce their evidence because it can only be so circumstantial that your average Joe on the street wouldn’t trust it.

I am in no way a Trump supporter. But I know the FBI and intel folks are lying and the media is fully supporting them. They have to know they’re lying too. I never thought, in my lifetime, that I would see deep state and media so flagrantly abusing their reputations in order to bring down a sitting president. Trump must be dangerous to the goals of people controlling those organizations in ways I can’t understand.

#12 Comment By SteveM On July 18, 2018 @ 9:04 am

Law professor Jack Goldsmith has written an excellent explication of how 2 can play that game. (With references to the obvious unintended consequences that the Washington Nomenklatura and MSM cluelessly ignore (as usual.)

[7]

It is a very good read.

P.S. the fish does rot from the head…

#13 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On July 18, 2018 @ 9:05 am

what did you expect? as we know, why WOULD/WOULN’T any Russian military intelligence operative/officer lie to DoJ investigators from the United States? it’s a win/win for Putin and a move I suspect Mueller expected. were I a betting man, I would bet Mueller will take the bait, not because it is bait, but to ignore the offer would be a dereliction of duty (more ammo for the Fox News/bubble crowd). like Putin, Mueller strikes me as a thorough, methodical, tactical “operator”. with this classic move, Putin is saying to Trump; “heel” AND “…please step aside and allow me to continue this chess match with the better prepared opponent…”. as I have argued since November 2016, politics/policy aside, Donald Trump lacks the experience, gravitas, critical thinking, and integrity to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” emphasis on “ability” (and not in an ad hominin manner of speaking)

#14 Comment By Phil On July 18, 2018 @ 9:46 am

I’m not sure if you’re truly this naive or if there is something in it for you, but Russia has no intent to perform a proper investigation. We have seen this in the past with the Alexander Litvinenko U.K. poisoning investigation as well as a multitude of other investigations. Putin received what he wanted, which was Trump declaring (on stations across the world) that he could not see how Russia was involved. The retractions/corrections are meaningless. The U.S. will get nothing.

#15 Comment By Fran Macadam On July 18, 2018 @ 9:48 am

The United States and Russia, the eternal geopolitical feud until the end of time … Which may be hastened by the unbridled quest for global thermonuclear supremacy.

Abetted at this stage, by “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

#16 Comment By FloridaTim On July 18, 2018 @ 10:06 am

Would anyone elaborate on this point and its implications: “Putin said he’d allow members of Mueller’s team into Russia only if the US allowed him to reciprocate — to allow Russian operatives into the US.”

#17 Comment By Winston On July 18, 2018 @ 11:15 am

He knows any evidence can’t be released to anyone, let alone the Russians, because it would reveal NSA and Five Eyes capabilities, perhaps new methods used because the Snowden leaks compromised ones used previously. BTW, the Snowden leaks showed that we send daily phishing emails to the Russian government and industries and most every other country seen as an adversary. We have a huge hacking effort against same which should be no surprise to anyone even without the Snowden leaks.

#18 Comment By SteveM On July 18, 2018 @ 12:02 pm

Re: FloridaTim, “Would anyone elaborate on this point and its implications: “Putin said he’d allow members of Mueller’s team into Russia only if the US allowed him to reciprocate — to allow Russian operatives into the US.”

It’s the William Browder/Magnitsky Act story. Here’s a review of a documentary that outlines the storyline:

[8]

Film maker Andrei Nekrasov who was a Russian film-maker who intended to make a film about the heroic Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky whose murder led to the passage of the Magnitsky act by the U.S. Congress.

However as Nekrasov peeled back the onion…well let the reviewer speak to it:

This shocking tale of alleged Russian official corruption and brutality drove legislation that was a major landmark in the descent of U.S.-Russian relations under President Barack Obama to a level rivaling the worst days of the Cold War.

But what the film shows is how Nekrasov, as he detected loose ends to the official story, begins to unravel Browder’s fabrication which was designed to conceal his own corporate responsibility for the criminal theft of the money.

As is so often the case, the Nitwit Congress got played.

The Russians believe that American citizens were criminally complicit in that affair. Putin wants Russian authorities to interrogate them in the U.S. if the U.S. DoJ elects to come to Moscow to interrogate the alleged cyber-criminals.

Washington should be careful what it asks for…

#19 Comment By Boris On July 18, 2018 @ 12:52 pm

This post from Mr. Ritter is akin to an argument that a mouse seeking justice from a cat for eating its family should send the cat a request for cooperation in the investigation. Any requests to Russia for cooperation by Mueller/Rosenstein would be equally useful, if not worse, since the requests would provide the Russians with an excellent propaganda opportunity (“we interviewed these officials and determined that the American claims are baseless”).

#20 Comment By Janek On July 18, 2018 @ 1:19 pm

This whole hullaballoo about election interference in USA is just a comedy play by moralizing politicians and their stooges for the confused American public. Any foreign election interferences in US should be strictly FBI/CIA operation performed in a very quiet and professional way. This whole story about states interfering in another states affairs is the same like two whores in a brothel are arguing which one is a better and more virtuous virgin. What the USA could expect after deregulating and contracting everything since R. Reagan including security and military services even to foreign governments and ‘firms’? Now the chicken are coming home to roost as should be expected and it was only question of time before US foreign adversaries will take full advantage of the situation. USA has to first ‘fix’ the neoliberal/neocon deregulation racket and foreign money flowing into US politics before it even can start thinking how to increase the security and prevent foreign governments interferences in politics, economy etc., etc. USA completely messed up the Middle East and you probably lost it for the long time to come and now US is messing up the Europe and Asia that you will probably loose as well. So, why are you surprised? You are giving the Russians everything they wanted, but were afraid to ask.

#21 Comment By JK On July 18, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

This article completely misses the point in that it’s not Robert Mueller’s or Rod Rosenstein’s job to make foreign policy. It’s the President’s job. If the President is disinterested in the investigation because he doesn’t care what happened 2 years ago, but it’s interfering in his foreign policy goals – the investigation should shut down. Period. Making peace and cooperation is about the future, not about hashing up old grudges and grievances and obsessing about an adversary’s capabilities in order to find pretexts not to make peace. It’s about letting bygones be bygones. The suggestion of keeping this investigation going and in the headlines is absurd and diametrically opposed to what President Trump thinks is important and wants to do.

#22 Comment By CLW On July 18, 2018 @ 2:36 pm

This is not about DOJ, Mueller, the media, or even Putin, this is about how Trump has, one again, foolishly made an important event or issue all about him. By refusing to admit that Russia has maliciously interfered in our internal affairs, Trump has demolished the likelihood of finding a way forward that holds Russia accountable while leaving room for needed engagement on critical issues.

#23 Comment By John V. Walsh On July 18, 2018 @ 3:43 pm

Superb article by the brilliant Scott Ritter.
Putin is indeed calling Rod Rosenstein’s bluff.
If RR and Dirty Cop Mueller do not respond, it will further make the case for their removal and open the door further to Detente 2.0 – and perhaps even open the road to getting rid of the nuclear menace of 1500-2000 nukes on each side sitting atop rockets and ready to go within minutes.
Let us hope that we are indeed on this road and that the Trump-Putin Summit is the first of a series of great successes.

#24 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 18, 2018 @ 4:40 pm

” Mueller strikes me as a thorough, methodical, tactical “operator”. with this classic move, Putin is saying to Trump; “heel” AND “…please step aside and allow me to continue this chess match with the better prepared opponent…”. as I have argued since November 2016, politics/policy aside, Donald Trump lacks the experience, gravitas, critical thinking, and integrity to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That is why the president of the us has lawyers, but nonsense on the gravitas or lack thereof. this debate is not really about the president. it has become and argument between the the fbi, the special prosecutor, certain core intel faculties and the russians.

if the loss of the previous election had come on the candidate of a male, we would not be having this discussion this 2 year act of chivalry serves to reaffirm manly defense of womenhood and softening up the electorate to vote for a woman next time because the last one was unfairly taken and you guys who voted colluded with russians and as a consolation vote for a woman . . . .

I for one was unaware of the agreement. However, despite its detail, I don’t think it was intended for use for spies as the alleged case makes, not only spies, but operational actors. Then said actors escaped scott free and clear. Well, apparently one stayed behind because she found life here quite enjoyable, especially our access to guns.

take these peculiar lines from the report,

“Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local
electoral boards. DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or
compromised were not involved in vote tallying.

 Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences”

Whoa, access to election boards is a very intense hands on process. here are some examples of election boards

[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

a breif look at what said election boards do is suggests there is a need here for more specifics, what did said activities regarding access actually entail. Apparently in Maryland the accusation is that a russian based company that provided services did more than provide services.

[13]

but low and behold, no nefarious activity was noted according the fbi. No doubt the headlines was enough and so it goes. So one is still left wondering which election boards and what did the russians do among said boars to hamper or prevent a fair election.

We have seen this before, it was called the red scare. A period in time in which there was actually entrenched spies within us boarders and despite having rooted them out by the the mid fifties or before, the country was hit by spy fever, and there were russian spies everywhere. A period in which normally well educated reasoned men and women get locked into a spell of fear, anxiety and damaging recrimination of our fellow citizens and the very nature of the system and that period too was linked to the failures in intel and the fbi. A period in which every word, every action, every behavior is second guessed, and interpreted as sinister and a confirmation of the preconceived notion of “person with malicious intent.”

That black people seem susceptible to this is odd given how effectively the fear mode of governance is used to ensure their second or third class status and turned into policy initiatives across the country. Though I get it. The color proclivities of the president can be understood as overwhelming and his desire to repair relations with the russians just confirms it. After all the Russians are about import some thousands of Boers into Russia along with their ill gotten booty no doubt.

Why while liberals are on a red scare tear is beyond me. our president embraces same sex relations, wants national healthcare, fawns lavishly over Israel, loves children enough to make war on other countries, even supported protecting children from would be “coyotes” at the border, supports education initiatives, is spending money to employ us citizens . . . is pro home ownership . . . cares for widows and orphans, wants to secure the border for us children and their posterity, opened relations with north korea decreasing tensions.

certainly, there’s more at play here than an election. I have my suspicions, but i think it’s fair to hear from you. And i think we need to root out these election boards forthwith who allowed access to there activities and processes for manipulation.

#25 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 18, 2018 @ 4:43 pm

Just for the record,

I have received no payments from:

Saudi Arabia, Israel, North Korea, or Russia for my vote and support. But based on the case, I should have.

maybe the checks are in the mail yet. I will let you know.

#26 Comment By ukm1 On July 18, 2018 @ 5:09 pm

American or British military intelligence “Community” is a highly political apparatus on earth.

American intelligence told us that, Saddam Hussein al’Tikriti of Iraq had chemical, biological and nuclear weapons manufacturing capabilities!

American intelligence “Community” told us that, Dr. Bashar al’Assad of Syria used banned chemical agents on Sunni Jihadists (i.e., rebels) inside his country!

British military intelligence “Community” told us that, Vladimir V. Putin of the Russian Federation used “Novochok” chemical substance(s) inside British heartland to kill former Russian double-agent(s) while the double-agent(s) actually did not die, rather survived.

Then, British military intelligence “Community” told us that, Vladimir V. Putin of the Russian Federation used “Novochok” chemical substance(s) inside a British park where a habitual drug-addict British citizen actually died.

American military intelligence “Community” so often fabricates “stories” to persuade gullible Americans that, it is difficult to accept anything as true, which comes out of the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI and the White House now-a-days.

#27 Comment By Youknowho On July 18, 2018 @ 6:37 pm

@JK

Protecting your country from foreign attack is also part of foreign policy.

First, there is no proof that the Russians have STOPPED meddling and will not do so again So we DO have to protect ourselvs. The President should be the one leading the charge.

I understand that we are in a conflict with Russia. Shots are being fired. There is no need to demonize them, nor to blame them exclusively for the pass we are in, nor to close the door to a truce leading to some peace

But nowhere in that list I gave you says that we have to make targets of ourselves.

#28 Comment By Tzx4 On July 18, 2018 @ 7:25 pm

1. “And it’s quite clear to me that this is used in the internal political struggle, and it’s nothing to be proud of for American democracy, to use such dirty methods in the political rivalry.”
Somehow it really rubs me the wrong way to have Putin lecture us on American democracy.

@EliteComminc [Trump] ” wants national healthcare:
Please. please direct me to any action taken as POTUS towards this goal.

#29 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On July 18, 2018 @ 7:50 pm

Scott Ritter is on to something, but John Kelly et.al. won’t go for anything so threatening to the credibility of the Deep State. Too hard to replace Kelly, but why can’t Trump give a huge promotion to Stephen Miller? Say, by creating an Office of Presidential Scheduling w/ cabinet level status and putting Miller in charge of it. Miller can get the right people in to see the president, and influence policy a well as can be done under the circumstances.

#30 Comment By 57nomad On July 18, 2018 @ 9:20 pm

Putin doesn’t have to send anyone to the US to interrogate anyone because he already knows everything. He knows Browder got out of the country with the 400 mil and he knows which US intel operatives helped him launder it out of Russia and into the Clinton Foundation. Why do you think Brennan is freaking out? Putin knows who was colluding with Russians and now so does Trump.

#31 Comment By Lenny On July 19, 2018 @ 12:47 am

So much ink spilled that the NY Times just laid to waste

President elect Trump was shown text messages from Putin ordering the election meddling specifically to benefit him. He has know for over a year and yet he calls it witch hunt.

Which team are you on: TrumPutin or America.

What a bunch of shameless Russian apologists TAC has become. Why do you hate America that much?

#32 Comment By T On July 19, 2018 @ 6:02 am

Kent says:
“I’m an IT guy and work in security. There is no way the GRU guys are stupid enough to leave their fingerprints behind on this operation. And it is very simple to cover this up. So I know the DOJ and intel community can’t produce their evidence because it can only be so circumstantial that your average Joe on the street wouldn’t trust it.”

Total nonsense. You probably need to perfect your craft. It is very difficult not to leave fingerprints/footprints especially when you don’t have full control of the network/servers. The DOJ presented clear and concise evidence by reconstructing the Russians interference key stroke by key stroke as detailed in the indictment documents. Not siding with the DOJ but the truth has no side.

#33 Comment By Kent On July 19, 2018 @ 12:54 pm

“Total nonsense. You probably need to perfect your craft. It is very difficult not to leave fingerprints/footprints especially when you don’t have full control of the network/servers. The DOJ presented clear and concise evidence by reconstructing the Russians interference key stroke by key stroke as detailed in the indictment documents. Not siding with the DOJ but the truth has no side.”

LOL

#34 Comment By Sid Finster On July 19, 2018 @ 6:27 pm

On a server or series of servers that the FBI itself has never had possession of, but has at all times relied upon mirrors provided by a biased and interested third party.

Color me unimpressed.

#35 Comment By blase_faire On July 20, 2018 @ 10:42 am

Do you ever wonder how many Russians are paid to comment on these websites to sow confusion and mistrust? Not that Scott Ritter is a Russian or anything, but the comments are essentially anonymous.

@UKM1 says ‘American or British military intelligence “Community” is a highly political apparatus on earth.’

That sentence wasn’t constructed by a native English speaker and the message was not in the usual anti American intelligence tone. It was straight up pro-Russia.

Russians (and Macedonians, other East Europeans) used social media, fake news to sow discord in the United States leading up to the election. I wonder if they are here among us right now…

#36 Comment By Apolonius On July 20, 2018 @ 5:08 pm

Today, everybody hacks everybody. Is that so difficult to understand?
I am from West Europe, and I am very concerned. This affair can bring all humanity to the brink of catastrophe. Imagine survivors, speaking to their children “They did it because of one hack”… This histeria, for the sake of all us, should end.

#37 Comment By Josep On July 20, 2018 @ 6:11 pm

@ Lenny
Instead of impugning TAC’s allegiance towards America, you could at least tell us what beef you have towards Russia.

#38 Comment By SteveK9 On July 21, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

balse_faire: They are under your bed.

#39 Comment By delia ruhe On July 23, 2018 @ 4:38 am

The 12 Russians can breathe easy, if they were ever breathing uneasy in the first place. For under no circumstances will the DOJ avail themselves of the opportunity of trying them in an American courtroom. As with the entire Russiagate propaganda narrative, there’s no evidence. There has never been any evidence. The propaganda spinners don’t need evidence for their aim—which they have achieved in spades.

It’s not only Americans who would swear on a stack of bibles that Russia is hell and Putin is its Satan. My Canadian and Australian correspondents are also okay with that.

So let’s kick it up a notch, let’s have an arms race—think what it would do for our economies—and let’s move that doomsday clock a minute ahead and really scare the bejesus out of everybody. Let’s Make America Great Again.

#40 Comment By the blame-e On July 23, 2018 @ 9:30 am

Herr Mueller. Call this guy for what he is. Herr Mueller. This guy is about as American as Goebbels. Herr Mueller makes Joseph McCarthy look like a saint. Due process? Fair and speedy trial? Herr Mueller’s witch hunt will go on for as long as our duly-elected president remains in office.

Herr Mueller is just trying to run the clocks out on all the statutes of limitations running on all the crimes committed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ. Just to name a few.

The Russian Dossier has been proved to have been a “White House job.” Strzok and Page have shown themselves and their bias for what they are — the very flower of the FBI. FISA has been proven to have been used illegally against an American Citizen; Trump had never served in public office until he became president. The American MSM has been completely captured by the five (5) corporations that own them and does nothing but hate, hate, hate on Russians and Trump 24/7.

Hacking smacking. Everybody hacks everybody else. Our CIA does more of it than anyone. So what?

Hey Herr Mueller, sh*t or get off the pot. As an American Citizen you represent nothing our Constitution, or Bill of Rights, or its citizens stand for.

#41 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 23, 2018 @ 11:12 am

“@EliteComminc [Trump] ” wants national healthcare:
Please. please direct me to any action taken as POTUS towards this goal.”

I will not dispute that he has not come back to this issue since the inability to reform through congress.

[14]

But he long held that single payer healthcare should available. And it is true that people such as myself, responded to his desires with some chagrin.

President Trump has an over riding desire to be seen as someone who helps others. And one of the reasons he hopes that the eventual collapse of the current system will make way for something simpler, in the view of many single payer.

Frankly, I would bargain away single payer to end murdering children in the womb and other abhorrent practices the country now abides.

#42 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 23, 2018 @ 11:16 am

“Herr Mueller is just trying to run the clocks out on all the statutes of limitations running on all the crimes committed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ.”

He no longer has to. Th president agrees that the Russians spied and the president of russia is to blame.

sadly

The issue is no did they. the sole issue seems to be whether the president was involved.