Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Today's Links

"Sanders is by no means the first political snake oil salesman to peddle the lie that the Democratic Party ever was or ever could be anything other than a party of the capitalist ruling class. He is, however, one of the more practiced of this breed, having been at it for decades, during which he has used his façade of “socialism” and “independence” to provide the Democrats with a much needed left cover. He has spent some 30 years in Congress performing this service for the ruling class, and is now being handsomely rewarded, earning not only political prestige and media attention, but also a cool million in income last year." Jerry White, WSWS

"The reality is that Sanders’ role has been to try to capture the explosive anger among millions of workers and youth, and channel it back into the two-party capitalist system. The various tendencies and organizations represented at the Left Forum are performing, each in their own way, the same function." The collapsing left

"The latest eruption of political warfare in Washington is rooted in intractable social, economic and geopolitical crises that are eroding the foundations of the global dominance and national stability of American capitalism. Twenty-five years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the efforts of American imperialism to sustain its dominance through military action have led to a series of debacles. Nearly a decade after the global economic crash of 2008, in which the recklessness of Wall Street played the major role, the American financial system remains highly unstable, sustained by an endless expansion of debt. The diseased character of the American economic system has created an oligarchic social system, the chief characteristics of which are parasitism and a staggering level of social inequality." Palace coup or class struggle

Did anyone ever ask you to stop the Russia investigation?” Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr asked Comey.
"Not to my understanding, no,” Comey answered.

Every American who is concerned about the future political use of the U.S. intelligence agencies’ powerful surveillance tools should have shuddered a bit over what was done to Flynn. But many on the Left so desperately want Trump removed from office that they have joined the Russia-gate stampede as the best way to trample Trump.....amid the mainstream media’s increasingly frenzied talk about Trump’s potential impeachment, this other remarkable story – how the U.S. Intelligence Community is moving to reverse the outcome of a presidential election – is getting ignored in plain sight.

1--Corbyn's triumph--Labor returns to its leftist roots

Corbyn has proved himself the most popular Labour leader with the electorate in more than 40 years, apart from Blair’s landslide victory in 1997. But let’s recall the price Blair paid for that very small margin of improvement over Corbyn’s vote. Behind the scenes, he sold Labour’s soul to the City, the corporations and their lobbyists. That Faustian pact secured Blair the backing of most of the British media, including Rupert Murdoch’s stable of papers and TV channel. The corporations mobilised their entire propaganda machine to get Blair into power. And yet he managed it with only 2 percentage points more than Corbyn, who had that same propaganda machine railing against him....

he has just won the largest increase in the share of the Labour vote over the party’s previous general election performance since Clement Attlee in 1945. In short, he’s turned around the electoral fortunes of the Labour party more than any other party leader in 70 years

2--Corbyn's Labor Manifesto

The “Labour Manifesto” was also an act of courage, sticking to the principles of economic and social justice that had long motivated the party’s base as well as most of its voters. It proposed a substantial expansion of the national health service, government-provided child care, labor rights legislation to increase the bargaining power of workers, prevented increases in the retirement age, and increased public investment. Taxes on corporations, high-income earners, and financial transactions would be increased to pay for new social spending.
As with Bernie Sanders’ proposals for free college tuition, universal health care, and taxes on Wall Street, it has been a mass movement led by younger people that put these popular reforms on the political map.

3--Comey and Mueller: Russiagate’s Mythical Heroes

Deputy Attorney General James Comey, too, went along with the abuses of Bush and Cheney after 9/11 and signed off on a number of highly illegal programs including warrantless surveillance of Americans and torture of captives. Comey also defended the Bush Administration’s three-year-long detention of an American citizen without charges or right to counsel.
What’s not well understood is that Comey’s and Mueller’s joint intervention to stop Bush’s men from forcing the sick Attorney General to sign the certification that night was a short-lived moment. A few days later, they all simply went back to the drawing board to draft new legal loopholes to continue the same (unconstitutional) surveillance of Americans....

Neither Comey nor Mueller — who are reported to be “joined at the hip” — deserve their current lionization among politicians and mainstream media. Instead of Jimmy Stewart-like “G-men” with reputations for principled integrity, the two close confidants and collaborators merely proved themselves, along with former CIA Director George “Slam Dunk” Tenet, reliably politicized sycophants, enmeshing themselves in a series of wrongful abuses of power along with official incompetence.

It seems clear that based on his history and close “partnership” with Comey, called “one of the closest working relationships the top ranks of the Justice Department have ever seen,” Mueller was chosen as Special Counsel not because he has integrity but because he will do what the powerful want him to do.

Mueller didn’t speak the truth about a war he knew to be unjustified. He didn’t speak out against torture. He didn’t speak out against unconstitutional surveillance. And he didn’t tell the truth about 9/11. He is just “their man.”

4--Eurasia security--So Long USA

The CSTO is, thus, a modern security organization, fully in line with the post-Cold War geopolitical reality. So it’s based not on ideological unity, but on time-tested Westphalian principles of international relations, set out in the UN Charter.
These are, first of all, sovereign equality, independence, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs. It means that it is a joint enterprise driven by national interests, defined by each member-state and collectively

5--Navalny protests: Western media don’t care about facts when cheering their Russian opposition hero

More fake news on Russia

6--Washington claims the "right" to support terrorists in Chechnya

The US is to blame for the rise of Al-Qaeda and its late mastermind Osama bin Laden, which it empowered to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan, Vladimir Putin told Oliver Stone. Putin also said there is proof the CIA supported terrorists in Russia’s Chechnya.

Al-Qaeda is not the result of our activities. This is the result of activities of our US friends. This all started in the times of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when the US security services supported different movements of Islamic fundamentalism in their struggle against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan,” Putin told Stone, adding that the “US side has nurtured both Al-Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden.”
Washington should have foreseen that backing Islamists will backfire, with extremists eventually getting out of control.
“It always happens like this. Our US partners should have been aware of it. It is their fault,” Putin said.
Nevertheless, Moscow stood by the US’s side after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, claimed by Al-Qaeda. In a show of solidarity with Washington, Moscow decided to scrap the scheduled war games following the attack, Putin revealed to Stone.
“In these kind of situations the first persons are in need of moral and political support. We wanted to show that kind of support,” the Russian leader said.

CIA styled Chechen terrorists as ‘opposition’

Speaking to Stone, Putin accused the US of both openly cheering and covertly financing the Islamist militant groups in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya during the two Chechen wars. Moreover, the president said there is evidence available that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) even admitted keeping in touch with the terrorists, styling them as the “opposition.”
“If we speak about a political support, there is no need in proving evidence. It has been done publicly, openly. And if we speak about urgent financial support – we have such evidence and furthermore have already provided it to our US colleagues,” Putin said.

Putin revealed he confronted George W. Bush about the CIA supporting Chechen militants and got a response from Bush that he would “deal with it.”
Later, however, Moscow got a letter from the CIA through “partner channels,” which suggested there will be no change in policy on the issue...

Indeed, we have later received via our partner links a letter from the US CIA, which said that our colleagues consider that they have a right to maintain relations with all the representatives of the opposition and would continue to do so. It was obvious that it was not only about opposition groups, but about terrorist groups and organizations,” Putin said.

7--Setting the Story Straight: Russian Diplomat Writes Book About Aleppo Liberation

"It was the Aleppo issue that in many ways sparked the search for better negotiation formats to resolve the Syria conflict. It was Aleppo that revealed the monstrous hypocrisy and cynicism of the Western press, which hushed up the numerous crimes of radicals in the city, including the shooting of civilians attempting to flee via the humanitarian corridors created by Russia and Syria. Unfortunately, some UN officials were also involved in this unscrupulous campaign," Khodynskaya-Golenischeva told RIA Novosti.

"I decided to write this book because it is impossible to ignore the truth about the dishonest games going on around Aleppo, what sophisticated techniques were used to obstruct Russia's efforts to support the Syrian army in its fight against terrorists in the city, to slander and denigrate our efforts to provide humanitarian aid to ordinary Syrians," Khodynskaya-Golenischeva told RIA Novosti.
"This must not be forgotten, in order to prevent it from repeating in the future. The Syrian conflict is not over yet, and certainly some will be tempted to repeat the unscrupulous techniques developed in Aleppo in other similar situations. We need to be prepared for it

In December 2016, the Syrian government, backed by Russia, finally liberated the city from Jabhat al-Nusra and other allied militant Islamists after several months of fighting.
In addition to military support for government troops, Russia provided humanitarian support for those trapped in Aleppo. Before the liberation, Russia was providing the people of Aleppo with 35 tons of food per day and hospital supplies capable of treating 450 people per day

8--Trouble in Qatar--It's a gas, gas, gas

Iran has agreed to give Qatar a share of its rights in the pipeline to Syria and Damascus has agreed as long as Qatar discontinues its support for Al-Qaeda, ISIS and all the other rat groups like Faylaq Al-Rahmaan.  Soon, Qatar’s useless military officers will be withdrawn from MOK in Jordan.  And, better yet, Qatar is now absolved from any further obligation to the so-called “Saudi coalition” in the very unpopular war in Yemen.

The Saudis are enraged.  How could Qatar support the Muslim Brotherhood, a group of Islamist fundamentalists who are deeply opposed to rule by primogenture or dynasticism?  And, how could Qatar, a fellow rag-head nation hand its baton to Shi’I Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main enemy in the region?  How, indeed?  The Egyptians, so affronted by Qatar’s actions, accepted a check from Saudi Arabia in the billions in order to get it to pull its embassy out of Doha. Even the “government” in East Libya also departed.

Will Saudi Arabia attack Qatar with the U.S. base right there?  Hardly, unless the U.S. pulls its assets out which will cost Mr. Trump a pretty penny.  And how can Saudi Arabia do anything about it when it has its own paws full in Yemen?  Politics make strange bedfellows – the U.S. and Iran in a menage a trois fit for the history books.  I can’t wait to hear Trump explain this one away.
Don’t pay attention to the Washington stink tanks. They are deliberately hiding the facts from the pushover press.  Pathetic. Let’s watch and see how long Saudi Arabia will take to act now that it’s enemy, Iran, is right on the border.

9--At “People’s Summit,” Sanders backs Democrats’ anti-Russian warmongering

Sanders is by no means the first political snake oil salesman to peddle the lie that the Democratic Party ever was or ever could be anything other than a party of the capitalist ruling class. He is, however, one of the more practiced of this breed, having been at it for decades, during which he has used his façade of “socialism” and “independence” to provide the Democrats with a much needed left cover. He has spent some 30 years in Congress performing this service for the ruling class, and is now being handsomely rewarded, earning not only political prestige and media attention, but also a cool million in income last year.

In fact, the Democratic Party long ago abandoned any policy of social reform and spent the last four decades undoing the New Deal and War on Poverty programs. It continues to move to the right, not the left.
The Democratic Party has almost nothing to say about the biggest attack on social programs in history. It is not holding congressional hearings on Trump’s destruction of Medicaid or his attacks on democratic rights. Instead, it is holding hearings to pressure or even remove Trump so that the American ruling class can escalate its aggressive policy against Russia, including preparations for war.
Sanders’ support for the anti-Russia campaign expresses the essence of his class position as a capitalist and imperialist politician

Sanders lent his support to the neo-McCarthyite campaign of the Democrats and the military-intelligence apparatus, which sees Russia as the chief obstacle to US imperialism’s drive for regime change in Syria and Iran. “I find it strange we have a president who is more comfortable with autocrats and authoritarians than leaders of democratic nations,” Sanders said. “Why is he enamored with Putin, a man who has suppressed democracy and destabilized democracies around the world, including our own?”

Consistent with his presidential campaign and his post-election efforts to shore up the Democratic Party, Sanders made no mention of the Democrats’ record of militarism or the danger of a military confrontation with the world’s second largest nuclear power.
Instead, he continued to advance the duplicitous line that it is possible to wage a struggle against the economic and political domination of America’s “billionaire class” while backing that same class’s imperialist foreign policy.

The election of Trump was not an accident.

Trump is the personification of the oligarchy that rules America. His administration, composed of billionaires and former generals, is sharply escalating a bipartisan program of social counterrevolution and reckless militarism internationally. But within the ruling class there exist bitter divisions over how American capitalism should respond to its national and international problems. These divisions have assumed, under Trump, an extraordinary intensity.

The working class confronts in Trump and his administration a vicious enemy, dedicated to the destruction of its democratic rights and a further lowering of its living standards. It is a government that is pursuing an international agenda based on “America First” chauvinism. The working class must oppose this government and seek its removal. But this task must not be entrusted to Trump’s factional opponents in the ruling class. The working class cannot remain a bystander in the fight between Trump and the Democrats. Rather, it must develop its struggle against Trump under its own banner and with its own program. This requires that it has a clear understanding of the class dynamics of the unfolding political crisis

First, there is the opposition of powerful sections of the capitalist class. Trump’s opponents within the political establishment, including both Democrats and Republicans, speak for a faction of the corporate and financial elite. The methods they are using in their campaign against Trump are fundamentally anti-democratic, involving behind-the-scenes plotting with elements within the military/intelligence establishment and corporate-financial elite. These are the methods of a palace coup.

8. Their differences with the Trump administration are centered primarily on issues of foreign policy. Their real concern is not with Russia’s supposed “subversion” of American democracy, as if this could compare to the subversion of American democracy by the ruling class itself, but with Russia’s actions in Syria, which have frustrated US efforts to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad. They are determined to prevent Trump from weakening the anti-Russia policy developed under Obama, which the Hillary Clinton campaign was dedicated to expanding....

The destruction of Russia’s ability to frustrate American military operations is seen as central to control of the Eurasian landmass, without which an American victory in the long-term conflict with China is considered impossible...

The top 1 percent of families now possess roughly the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90 percent, while 20 individuals have as much wealth as the bottom half. Forty percent of families in the US have zero or negative wealth, meaning their debts surpass their assets. The individuals who comprise the wealthiest 0.1 and 0.01 percent of the population function as their own political weather systems, having at their disposal vast sums of money to buy elections, bribe politicians and otherwise control the political process. The Trump administration is, itself, the political reflection of the oligarchic character of American society, the outcome of a half-century of social counterrevolution overseen by both Democrats and Republicans

11--Oliver Stone Reveals a Vulnerable Putin

12--Rosenstein's Mutiny (This all smacks of a set up)

Asked what he would do if the president ordered him to fire Mueller, Rosenstein said, “I’m not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders.” He added later: “As long as I’m in this position, he’s not going to be fired without good cause,” which he said he would have to put in writing.

13--FBI never had access to DNC computers?? The whole Russia story is fake

FBI never had access to DNC computers??

Comey was asked again about this curious oversight on June 8 by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr:
BURR: “And the FBI, in this case, unlike other cases that you might investigate — did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked? Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?”
COMEY: “In the case of the DNC, and, I believe, the DCCC, but I’m sure the DNC, we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. But we didn’t get direct access.”
BURR: “But no content?”
COMEY: “Correct.”...
BURR: “Isn’t content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?”
COMEY: “It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks — the people who were my folks at the time is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016.”
Burr demurred on asking Comey to explain what amounts to gross misfeasance, if not worse. Perhaps, NBC could arrange for Megyn Kelly to interview Burr to ask if he has a clue as to what Putin might have been referring to when he noted, “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia.”

The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the “Vault 7” trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines. But the Deep State has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for “proving” the Russians hacked into Democratic Party emails.

In other words, it is altogether possible that the hacking attributed to Russia was actually one of several “active measures” undertaken by a cabal consisting of the CIA, FBI, NSA and Clapper — the same agencies responsible for the lame, evidence-free report of Jan. 6, that Clapper and Brennan acknowledged last month was not the consensus view of the 17 intelligence agencies.

There is also the issue of the forensics. Former FBI Director James Comey displayed considerable discomfort on March 20, explaining to the House Intelligence Committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the Democratic National Committee’s computers in order to do its own proper forensics, but chose to rely on the examination done by the DNC’s private contractor, Crowdstrike.

The firm itself has conflicts of interests in its links to the pro-NATO and anti-Russia think tank, the Atlantic Council, through Dmitri Alperovitch, who is an Atlantic Council senior fellow and the co-founder of Crowdstrike.

14--Macron turns france into police state. Ho hum

15--Are We Nearing Civil War?, Pat Buchanan

Comey’s deceit was designed to enlist the police powers of the state to bring down his president. And it worked. For the special counsel named, with broad powers to pursue Trump, is Comey’s friend and predecessor at the FBI, Robert Mueller.
As Newt Gingrich said Sunday: “Look at who Mueller’s starting to hire. … (T)hese are people that … look to me like they’re … setting up to go after Trump … including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information into major cases. …
“This is going to be a witch hunt.”...

Not in memory have there been so many leaks to injure a president from within his own government, and not just political leaks, but leaks of confidential, classified and secret documents. The leaks are coming out of the supposedly secure investigative and intelligence agencies of the U.S. government.
The media, the beneficiaries of these leaks, are giving cover to those breaking the law. The real criminal “collusion” in Washington is between Big Media and the deep state, colluding to destroy a president they detest and to sink the policies they oppose.
Yet another example is the unfolding “unmasking” scandal.
While all the evidence is not yet in, it appears an abnormal number of conversations between Trump associates and Russians were intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies.
On orders higher up, the conversations were transcribed, and, contrary to law, the names of Trump associates unmasked...

He should campaign against the real enemies of America First by promising to purge the deep state and flog its media collaborators.
Time to burn down the Bastille.

At issue in the Comey hearing is something entirely different: a bitter conflict within the ruling class fought out primarily over questions of foreign policy....

The claim that Trump is blocking a legitimate investigation is based on the antidemocratic assumption that the FBI has the “right” to launch investigations against whomever it chooses while hiding the supposed factual basis from the population...

They fear he is undermining the long-term interests of American imperialism and they will quickly warm up to Trump if he accedes to their foreign policy goals. They are equally aware that the election of Trump has only deepened social opposition, and they fear the prospects of a social explosion. Their anti-Russia campaign is in part aimed at directing this opposition along reactionary, nationalist lines...A fight against this reactionary agenda must not be contaminated by alliances with the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and the Democratic Party

We hear daily on cable TV of the “Trump-Russia” scandal. Yet, no one has been charged with collusion, and every intelligence official, past or prevent, who has spoken out has echoed ex-acting CIA Director Mike Morrell:
“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark.”
Where are the criminals? Where is the crime?

Trump ran in 2016 not simply as the Republican alternative. He presented his candidacy as a rejection, a repudiation of the failed elites, political and media, of both parties. Americans voted in 2016 not just for a change in leaders but for a revolution to overthrow a ruling regime.

Thus this city has never reconciled itself to Trump’s victory, and the president daily rubs their noses in their defeat with his tweets

If Trump is brought down on the basis of what Putin correctly labels “nonsense,” this city will have executed a nonviolent coup against a constitutionally elected president. Such an act would drop us into the company of those Third World nations where such means are the customary ways that corrupt elites retain their hold on power.

“Did anyone ever ask you to stop the Russia investigation?” Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr asked Comey.
"Not to my understanding, no,” Comey answered.
In an interview with Sputnik, Moscow-based US-affairs expert Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak said that the senators wanted to hear from Comey just one thing that could prod Congress to impeach Trump.
"What they wanted from [James] Comey was just one phrase. If he said: 'Yes, Trump asked me not to investigate,' it would be enough legal reason for them to launch the impeachment procedure,” Sinelnikov-Orishak said.

On the Eurasian integration front, President Putin stressed that “in a week, we will formalize India’s full-fledged accession to the SCO.” Russia has always supported India’s entry to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
And there’s more to come. China has declared its full support to Iran’s membership of the SCO – to be discussed in detail at the pact’s summit this week in Astana, Kazakhstan, with President Xi Jinping in attendance. And China is also ready to consider any application from NATO member Turkey, whose president, Tayyip Erdogan, has said he’s all for it.

Putin also sent a clear, subtle message on BRICS: “This organization was actually born here in St. Petersburg. At first, there were the three of us – Russia, China and India – but then Brazil and South Africa joined in. We believe that this is a very important platform to harmonize our positions.”
Crucially, the President of the BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB), K. V. Kamath, added: “There is consensus between BRICS countries that we should increase the use of local currencies.”



This is not about truth or fairness or protecting this country from foreign threats. It's about toppling a democratically-elected government that the permanent class in Washington doesn't like. For the record, collusion with a foreign government against the interests of the United States  is tantamount to treason. It is  definitely a moral crime and we would never defend it, we would attack it.  But there's no evidence that it actually happened. This whole story is a hoax, it's a lie that those who tell it are beginning to believe. That is the definition of mass hysteria. It is deeply hurting our country and yet, otherwise smart people are press forward as if it is all entirely real, despite mounting evidence that it's not real at all. Yesterday, for example, James Comey told the Senate that a major New York Times story from February that pushed a "Russia collusion" narrative was actually garbage. The story in question, you won't be surprised to learn, was based on anonymous sources and, after Comey made his comments, the Times admitted it couldn't even find those sources for a response. (sarcastically) Whatever. The Russians hacked our democracy, let's find another witch to burn.
Tucker Carlson

"Do you ever wonder why of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that's never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation?" Senator Marco Rubio addressing former FBI Director James Comey

The Democrats are also seeking by means of their neo-McCarthyite campaign against Russia to channel mass anger within the US over Trump's attacks on democratic rights and social programs behind the war agenda of American imperialism.

The entire edifice of charges of supposed Russian interference in the election in support of Trump, promoted by the US spy agencies and the Democrats, rests on bald assertions backed by no substantive evidence.

The role of the media in promoting this hysterical campaign, whose logical outcome is war between the world's two largest nuclear powers

was Russian intelligence probing U.S. electoral systems? Quite plausibly yes, and it should be a matter of concern for every American as it suggests a vulnerability in the electronics behind how we vote. But did Russia actually interfere with the election or seek to use the probing to elect a particular candidate? The answer is clearly no. The article and the document it is based on should serve as a wake-up call to those who are complacent about the security of our technologies. But on a political level, we are back to square one, with often hysterical allegations surfaced as part of the media and political storm we now refer to as Russiagate

Comey's nearly three-hour testimony, broadcast live by all of the major TV networks, and the response of the so-called “liberal”  media generally aligned with the Democratic Party have underscored the reactionary content of the political campaign by sections of the intelligence establishment and the Democrats to demonize Russia and brand Trump a stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Comey speaks for factions within the spy apparatus and the state more broadly that are determined to shift Trump's more conciliatory line on Russia and reassert the Obama administration policy of escalating economic, diplomatic and military confrontation with Moscow, or, if necessary, to force Trump out of office. The president, whose foreign policy is no less reckless and war-mongering, wants to prioritize US aggression against China, North Korea and other targeted countries such as Iran.

Collins elicited the one big previously unknown revelation of the hearing: that Comey had deliberately leaked his memo of the Feb. 14 session to the media through a friend at Columbia University Law School. 
Collins said she has doubts “about whether the tapes really exist or whether that was just an attempt by the president to put some pressure on Mr. Comey or to raise some doubts about his testimony.”

Comey had twice signed off on waterboarding, but drew the line at combining it with other methods of torture.

comey claims he leaked in response to Trump tweet when in fact the tweet took place the day before

Mr. Comey confirmed that Mr. Trump never tried to block the FBI’s larger probe of potential Russian entanglement in the election and even encouraged the FBI, noting that “if some of my satellites did something wrong, it’d be good to find that out.” Despite this probative evidence, Mr. Comey claims that in an Oval Office meeting in February Mr. Trump importuned him to close the case on Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser who had recently been fired for misleading the Vice President.

This conclusion is reinforced by Comey’s own remarks about the Times in his testimony. Asked by Republican Senator James Risch to comment on a February 14 New York Times article titled “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence,” Comey said of the report that “in the main, it was not true.”...

Here's how one blogger summed it up:

The fact is, we’ve already seen analysis reports from intelligence
agencies on the alleged Russian election meddling, like this one by the
DHS and the FBI in December, and this one by the Office of the Director
of National Intelligence in January, and like the Intercept’s NSA leak
those didn’t contain any raw intelligence either. I received the same
“bombshell”, “smoking gun”, “ha ha bet you feel stupid now” comments
when those reports came out as well, but none of that changed the fact
that there has never, ever been even one shred of tangible evidence for
people to look at apart from the say-so of official-sounding people that
any Russian hacking occurred. The NSA leak differs in that the analysis
is more detailed and in that it was leaked to the press rather than
officially released, but the amount of hard evidence contained in it is
the same: zero.

James B. Comey’s testimony about conversations with President Trump will be scrutinized by senators at Thursday’s hearing, but many Americans will also be listening with a skeptical ear after Comey’s controversial final year as head of the FBI.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday found fewer than 4 in 10 adults trust what Comey says about possible Russian interference in the presidential election “a great deal” or “a good amount,” while a 55 percent majority trust him “just some” or “not at all

While Comey has taken criticism from leaders in both parties in the past year, today he holds the most credibility on the left. Over half of Democrats and liberals trust what Comey says on Russia and the election at least a good amount, compared with fewer than 1 in 5 Republicans and conservatives.
Comey’s credibility is underwater among Americans in the political middle with 32 percent of independents and 37 percent of moderates trusting Comey’s statements. Roughly 6 in 10 moderates and independents trust Comey’s statements “just some” or “not at all” (59 percent for independents 60 percent for moderates).


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