Reconsidering The Steele Dossier

 

It’s time to reconsider the Steele dossier. Not necessarily to show how much Christopher Steele got right or wrong, but because it is a relatively compact collection of information about how the Donald Trump campaign may have worked with the Russians. Looking at it can help to organize the torrent of information coming at us.

Lawfare has posted an excellent summary, in narrative form, of recent evidence in court filings that supports the material in the dossier. It also gives a good background summary of what the dossier is.

The narrative form tends to impose a particular organization on the material. The dossier is a raw compilation of human intelligence, with no evaluation. The court documents now available do not point to one single scenario; in fact, much of their material is redacted, so we know that there is much more to the story.

I’ve seen people more informally claim that the dossier is supported, but they seem to be referring to a general sense that a story that can be elicited from the dossier are similar to what is in the news. This is often correct, but when I have checked some of these claims with my breakdown of the dossier, the correlation is often cloudy.

My breakdown of the dossier is a listing of its claims, in the order in which they are presented in the dossier. In this post, I’ll state the claim and add evidence for or against it. I may have missed some things; there’s a lot out there.

In this post, the claims are in italics, often shortened from the wording in the dossier. They are identified by the numbers in my breakdown, along with the Company Intelligence Report (CIR) number and date of the document in the dossier. I have included a broader selection of relevant evidence than do the Lawfare authors. The summaries of information may be verbatim from sources or shortened. If you want to do detailed analysis, refer to the linked sources.

 

1 and 22 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016; CIR 097, 30 Jul 2016). The Russian regime has been supporting and cultivating Trump for at least five years (eight years in CIR 097). Many sources trace Trump’s interest in Russia back as far as 1987.

The top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB. It took place while Kryuchkov was seeking to improve the KGB’s operational techniques in one particular and sensitive area. The spy chief wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans. (Politico)

After the 2016 elections, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “There were contacts. We are doing this and have been doing this during the election campaign.” (Reuters)

2 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016). Putin is directing the operation, wants to cause discord in West, return to 19th century Great Power politics. That Putin would like to return to Great Power politics is widely accepted. The DNI report of January 2017 says the operation was directed “at the highest levels” but does not name Putin.

3 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016). The Kremlin has offered, but Trump has declined, lucrative real estate deals. Trump has wanted to build a Trump Tower Moscow since at least 1987. Various approaches have been made from Trump’s side, and the dealing continued through the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump’s company may have offered the $50 million penthouse in a Trump Tower to Putin.

4 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016). Trump has accepted intelligence on electoral rivals, particularly Hillary Clinton. Full proof is lacking. The June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower and the activities of Roger Stone and his colleagues with Wikileaks are the most likely connections that have been made public.

5 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016). Prostitutes were hired to urinate on bed where Obamas slept in Moscow Ritz Carlton. The “Pee Tape” has not been shown to exist. Trump’s bodyguard at the time, Keith Schiller, testified to the House Intelligence Committee that “he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to then private-citizen Trump’s hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.” (CNN)

6 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016). “Trump’s unorthodox behavior in Russia over the years had provided the authorities there with enough embarrassing material…to blackmail him” The Russians collect kompromat on everyone significant who visits there.

7 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016). The FSB has a file of kompromat on Clinton, focused on internally contradictory things she had said. Again, such a file would not be surprising, although it would be less useful than the emails proved to be. Nothing specific is known about this particular file.

8 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016). The Clinton file is controlled by Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press secretary, and not available to Trump. No supporting information publicly available. More about Peskov in later claims.

9 (CIR 086, 26 Jul 2016). Russia is involved in extensive cyber operations in many countries. FSB is the lead organization. The DNI report of January 2017 confirmed this, with plenty of additional confirmation. GRU is also involved. The two organizations have a history of competition. See also claims 15 and 16.

10 (CIR086, 26 Jul 2016). Russia’s success was limited in penetrating foreign, especially Western, governments, so its effort was redirected into Western private banks and smaller states, like Latvia. Hundreds of agents were recruited with monetary inducements or contractual favors from RUS government. Caused a money laundering problem for Central Bank of Russia. The Estonian branch of Danske Bank seems to have been a major conduit for money laundering.

11 (CIR 086, 26 Jul 2016). US citizens of Russian origin were approached to be recruited for cyber operations. FSB provides the money, has been successful in installing malware via cheap Russian IT games. See claims 15 and 16.

12 (CIR 086, 26 Jul 2016). An IT operator inside a leading Russian state-owned enterprise, who had been employed on conventional (defensive) IT work there, helped the FSB to penetrate the personal IT of a “foreign director of the company”. Through this, the FSB gained backdoor access to “various important institutions in the West.” Nothing so far seems to match up with this specifically.

13 (CIR 086, 26 Jul 2016). “Telegram” encryption, used by social activists, was cracked by FSB. Reported here, but not confirmed.

14 (CIR 086, 26 Jul 2016). Non-state cyber activity a problem within Russia. Central bank targeted. Organized crime also involved. A possible example of this is continuing phoned bomb threats over the last year and more. Paul Goble has covered this, for example here and here.

15a (CIR 095, no date). Well-developed “conspiracy” of cooperation between Trump campaign and Russian leadership to defeat Clinton. Paul Manafort and Carter Page, others, are intermediaries.

15b (CIR 095, no date). Russian regime behind leaks of DNC emails to Wikileaks for plausible deniability.

15c (CIR 095, no date). In return, Trump campaign agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as campaign issue and raise NATO/US defense commitments in Baltics/Europe to deflect attention from Ukraine.

The first two of these are now well established. The indictment of 12 officers of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU) corroborates these allegations from Steele’s sources. Trump advisor Roger Stone publicly acknowledged that he had communicated with Guccifer 2.0 and was likely the unnamed individual to whom the indictment refers.  The draft statement of offense for Jerome Corsi provides more information. Details are given in the Lawfare article.

Emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and entertainment publicist suggest connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump people intervened to make the Republican platform milder toward Russia. Carter Page called it “excellent work” in an email to Trump campaigners. No causal connection between that and the leaks of DNC emails has been established.

16 (CIR 095, no date). The intelligence network against Clinton was composed of three elements: 1) Agents/facilitators within the Democratic Party itself; 2) Russian emigre and associated offensive cyber operators in US; and 3) State-sponsored cyber operators in Russia. The mechanism for transmitting this intel involves “pension” disbursements for Russian emigres living in US as cover, using consular officials in New York, DC, and Miami. Tens of thousands of dollars involved.

The participation of state-sponsored cyber operators in Russia has been confirmed by numerous sources, including the DNI report and the indictment of 12 officers of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU). In November 2017, BuzzFeed reported more than 60 money transfers sent by the Russian Foreign Ministry to its embassies across the globe, supposedly “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

17 (CIR 095, no date). Trump campaign was to provide info to Russia on business oligarchs and their families and activities in the US. No evidence so far.

18 (CIR 095, no date). Attention on Russia diverts press and public attention from Trump’s dealings in China and developing markets, involving bribes and kickbacks. No evidence so far, unless “developing markets” includes the Middle East, for which a great many interactions are now being documented. Other than this, the Steele dossier mentions nothing about the Middle Eastern connections to the Trump campaign that are being found. Some of those connections involve Russia as well.

19 (CIR 095, no date). Trump had gone to St. Petersburg to try to make real estate deals and had to settle for prostitutes instead. Trump’s attempts to put together a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow are now known to have extended into 2016. Michael Cohen’s statement of information explains his role in pursuing a deal to get a Trump-branded building in Moscow as late as June 2016. More detail in the Lawfare article. See claim 5 on prostitutes.

20 (CIR 94, 19 Jul 2016) and 42 (134, 18 Oct 2016). “Recent” secret meeting between Carter Page and Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft. Sechin raised issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects of removing Ukraine-related sanctions. Page reacted positively. Page was in Russia in June 2016. Throughout his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Page denies he met with Russian officials. Sechin’s name comes up on p. 118 (brought up by Page). “I have never met him” (p. 136). Asked about it by WSJ on July 26, 2016 (p. 198).

21 (CIR 94, 19 Jul 2016). Igor Diveykin, senior police official in Presidential Administration, also met with Page. Diveykin brought up a kompromat file on Clinton, suggested it could be shared with Trump campaign. In his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Page says he met with Arkadiy Dvorkovich during his July visit to Moscow (pp. 47, 52, 71-78, 82-84,  207, 11/3/17) The Russians paid for the trip (pp. 105-108, 11/3/17) “And I immediately – you know, all these false allegations regarding Igor Sechin and Mr. Diveykin. You know, Sechin I had obviously heard of. Diveykin I had never heard of.” (p. 118, 11/3/17) Does not know Diveykin. (pp. 176-177, 240, 11/3/17) He met with Andrei Baranov in July 2016 (pp. 141-146) and in December 2016 (pp. 158-162).

Vox reports that in a memo and an email sent to Trump campaign staffers at the time, Page painted a very different of his picture of his trip. He wrote that he’d had a “private conversation” with Dvorkovich, and that he had received “insights and outreach” from several other Russian politicians.

  • Page wrote in a memo to the Trump campaign that “In a private conversation, Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems.” (This suggests a much more substantive and lengthier interaction between Page and Dvorkovich.)
  • And on July 8, Page wrote to two Trump campaign staffers from his trip, “I’ll send you guys a readout soon regarding some incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential administration here.” (This suggests Page had several other Russian political contacts while he was there.)

22 (CIR 097, 30 Jul 2016).  High degree of anxiety in Trump team on disclosure of DNC emails because of accusations against them and in Kremlin because things threatened to spiral out of control. Kremlin wanted situation to calmdown  but for plausible deniability to be maintained, so situation unlikely to be ratcheted up. Kremlin has more kompromat on Clinton, but not known when it will be released, and plenty of kompromat on Trump but cooperation means it will not be released.  This is the first mention of concern about reactions to the disclosure of the emails, which were released through May. From the January 2017 intelligence report: “Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign.”

23 (CIR 100, 5 Aug 2016). Sergei Ivanov, Putin’s chief of staff, felt Dmitry Peskov’s team had gone too far in interfering with foreign affairs with their “elephant in a china shop black PR”. Ivanov claimed always to have opposed this approach, advocated that Russian leadership “sit tight and deny everything.”

24 (CIR 100, 5 Aug 2016). Peskov “scared shitless” that he will be scapegoated by Putin. Ivanov determined to stop Peskov from playing independent role in relation to US.

25 (CIR 100, 5 Aug 2016). Dmitry Medvedev and colleagues want good relations with US, whoever is elected, so they can travel there, officially or privately. Refused to cover up for or support Peskov.

26 (CIR 100, 5 Aug 2016). There had been talk in the Kremlin of Trump being forced to withdraw from presidential race as a result of recent events. From the dossier, it appears that there was a difference of opinion between Ivanov and Peskov (Putin’s press secretary) about the operation, run by Peskov, to disclose the emails. On August 12, Putin fired Ivanov as chief of staff and replaced him with Anton Vaino. The firing was unexpected and unexplained. Vaino’s reputation is primarily as a bureaucrat. If the firing was over this disagreement, Putin sided with Peskov’s riskier strategy.

27 (CIR 101, 10 Aug 2016). While still technically deniable that the Kremlin is behind the leaked DNC emails, releasing more was judged too risky. Tactic now will be to spread rumors and misinformation about existing leaks and make up new content. The audience is educated American youth. The objective is to bog Clinton down as president with reconciling the American public. Despite problems, Putin was generally satisfied with results. No direct evidence, but consistent with Ivanov’s firing.

28 (CIR 101, 10 Aug 2016). Recent visits to Moscow by Jill Stein, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, and a delegation from Lyndon LaRouche were “indirectly” paid for by the Kremlin. Stein and Flynn were present at the tenth anniversary celebration of RT in December 2015, along with Putin, Ivanov, and Peskov. Stein says she paid for the trip. Flynn received a $45,000 speaking fee from RT. Page made trips to Russia in July and December 2016. No information is available on how he paid for them.

29 (CIR 102, 10 Aug 2016). Wikileaks release of DNC emails moved voters from Sanders to Trump. Trump campaign had underestimated reaction to emails, against Trump. Trump camp looking to television to remedy this. Some anger in Trump camp against Putin for overreach. No evidence for or against.

30 (CIR 136, 20 Oct 2016).  Clandestine meeting between Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Kremlin representatives in Prague in August 2016. Rossotrudnichestvo used as cover for meeting, making it plausibly deniable while fully under state control. Konstatin Kosachev, Duma head of Foreign Relations Committee, is liaison. Cohen strongly denies such a meeting. His letter to the House Intelligence Committee. McClatchy claimed in April 2018 that the Mueller investigation has evidence that Cohen was in Prague at that time.

31 (CIR 105, 22 Aug 2016). In meeting between Putin and Victor Yanukovych on August 15, Yanukovych told Putin that he had authorized substantial kickback payments to Manafort, but left no trail. Putin and others were skeptical about Yanukovich’s ability to cover his tracks and feared the payments were a political liability. Handwritten ledgers showed $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials. Trump accused Kiev of having attempted to “sabotage” his presidential campaign – a perception based in part on Ukrainian officials’ disclosures of Manfort’s alleged link to the black ledgers. Manafort’s work for, and bankrolling by, Yanukovych is at the core of the criminal charges against him—conduct he has admitted. The superseding indictment filed by Mueller’s office in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia goes into extensive detail about Manafort’s ties to Yanukovych and other Ukrainian political and business interests. (Via Lawfare)

32 (CIR 105, 22 Aug 2016). In addition to Ukraine issues, Corey Lewandowski wanted Manafort out of the Trump campaign. General rivalry between the two was widely reported. Lewandowski says Manafort wanted him out.

33 (CIR 111, 14 Sep 2016). Issue of Russian hacking has become incredibly sensitive, and Putin ordered government insiders not to discuss it in public or private. On one side were Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and an independent group headed by presidential foreign policy advisor Yuriy Ushakov, who urged caution. On the other was Ivanov backed by SVR, who urged boldness. Vaino was selected to replace Ivanov because he was not involved in the US election actions. [Note: claims 22-25 indicate that Ivanov was on the side of caution.] See discussion after claim 26.

34 (CIR 111, 14 Sep 2016). Thinking about releasing more Clinton emails. Final decision up to Putin. Growing element in Moscow’s strategy to shift consensus in Moscow’s favor no matter who won.

35 (CIR 111, 14 Sep 2016). Mikhail Kulyagin was withdrawn from Washington on short notice because of his involvement in the payment scheme for hacking. Replacement Andrei Bondarev is clean in this regard.Two people with knowledge of a multi-agency investigation into the Kremlin’s meddling have told McClatchy that Mikhail Kalugin was under scrutiny when he departed. He has been an important figure in the inquiry into how Russia bankrolled the email hacking of top Democrats and took other measures to defeat Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump capture the White House”. Kalugin denies the allegations. Same week as resignation of Michael Flynn.

36 (CIR 112, 14 Sep 2016). Leading figures in Alpha (Alfa) group were on good terms with Putin. Significant favors were done in both directions. Mikhail Fridman of Alfa Group communicates with Putin directly and via Oleg Govorun, now a senior Presidential Administration official who was the delivery boy for large amounts of illicit cash to Putin when he was mayor of St. Petersburg and also was an official of Alfa. Alfa held kompromat on Putin and his corrupt business practices from the 1990s. Fridman and others at Alfa sued Christopher Steele over the publication of the dossier; the suit was thrown out of court. No connection to this claim is obvious, but it might be noted that a strange computer link between Alfa Bank and The Trump Organization was investigated by the FBI. It’s still not clear whether the connection was significant.

37 (CIR 113, 14 Sep 2016). Trump paid bribes to further his real estate interests in Russia. Araz Agalarov would know more. BuzzFeed reported that Trump planned to give Putin a $50 million penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow.

38 (CIR 113, 14 Sep 2016). Trump participated in sex parties, but all direct witnesses had been bribed or coerced to disappear. Araz Agalarov would know more. No evidence.

39 (CIR 130, 12 Oct 2016). Putin and colleagues disappointed that Clinton’s leaked emails didn’t have more of an effect on the campaign. No evidence.

40 (CIR 130, 12 Oct 2016). More hacked emails were in the pipeline to Wikileaks, but best material was already out.

41 (CIR 130, 12 Oct 2016). Putin angry at subordinate’s overpromising on results and blowback. Russia wants to upset the global status quo, have Ukraine sanctions rolled back. No evidence for first; second is generally accepted.

42 (CIR 134, 18 Oct 2016). In their July meeting, Sechin offered Page/Trump a brokerage of 19% of privatized stake in Rosneft for lifting of sanctions against Russia. Sechin no longer believed Trump could win the presidency, so was seeking other contacts Page gave the impression that he was speaking for Trump and implied that sanctions would be lifted if Trump were president. See also claim 20.

From Page’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee: Page had a conversation with a “junior attache” about Gazprom around March 2013. According to Page, no offer or request was made (p. 133). Owns no shares in Rosneft, did own a “small” amount in Gazprom, which he sold about the time of Harry Reid’s letter (p. 141). Did meet with Andrei Baranov in July 2016 (pp. 141-146; pp. 173-176) and December 2016 (pp. 158-162). “Had nothing to do with any Rosneft deal” (p. 173). Baranov may have mentioned sale of Rosneft in July, may have mentioned sanctions (p. 175). “Nothing even  remotely close to allegations” p. 176). Aware of Rosneft sale through the news (p. 241). “I never had any discussions with him about changing any sanctions policy or things I could conceivably do in that regard.” (p. 138)

43 (CIR 134, 18 Oct 2016). Michael Cohen played a key role in the relationship. Cohen denies; see claim 30.

44 (CIR 135, 19 Oct 2016). Cohen is secret liaison between Trump campaign and Russian leadership. Earlier, it was Manafort.  Cohen heavily engaged in damage control, met with Russian officials in an EU country in August 2016 to deal with situation around Manafort and exposure of Carter Page’s Moscow visit. Cohen denies; see claim 30.

The Kremlin farmed out activity to trusted agents of influence working in pro-government policy institutes like that of Law and Comparative Jurisprudence. Replacement of Ivanov by Vaino related to these issues. See claims 26 and 33.

45 (CIR 166, 13 Dec 2016). Cohen was accompanied by three colleagues on his trip to Prague in August 2016. The agenda was how to make deniable cash payments to hackers in Europe under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign. A company (name redacted) and its affiliates used botnets and porn traffic to plant bugs, transmit viruses, steal data and conduct “altering operations” against Democratic leadership. Discussions in Prague also covered contingencies if Clinton won the presidency and damage limitation re Manafort and Page. It was agreed that Romanian hackers, others, would stand down. Ivanov’s team responsible for hackers. Cohen denies; see claim 30. See also claim 15 on hacking.

 

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.






114 replies
  1. 1
    zhena gogolia says:

    Bozhe moi, I have work to do today! Can’t you have mercy on me?

  2. 2
    beef says:

    Honestly, at this point, I think it’s time to reconsider how much credit we give to the various crazy people on Twitter (Mensch, Schindler, etc). It’s become pretty clear that they had the general shape of this whole treason thing correct from the getgo.

  3. 3

    @beef: The general shape is easy. Those crazy people mixed in a lot of other stuff. If you throw enough at the wall, some is bound to stick. Blind squirrels, nuts, and so on. Wild guesses are not the same as analysis, nor can they be used that way.

  4. 4
    wenchacha says:

    @beef: I have really struggled with not having a way to discern fact from flack. Among the mensch-bunch, there is so much spy vs spy stuff, j’accuse!, I know you are but what am I . I read that Spencer guy, a professor, and he has giant threads that are compelling. And other compelling people say he is crap. All this,at a time when I know that social media is filled with trolls and bots trying to confuse and cause infighting. It makes me feel incredibly stupid and vulnerable.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    @beef: I’ll be sure to have the Supreme Eagles of Justice Marshals deliver my hand written apology to her.

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    a lot to digest….

    Has Cohen denied his trip to Prague since he flipped? Seems to me that if they had that evidence, that would’ve been significant leverage in getting him to flip

    I’ve become a pee tape skeptic since reading the Corn/Issikoff book, Russian Roulette. You can see how the night club scene they describe could get telephoned into the scene at the Moscow hotel.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @beef: Mensch didn’t. She had one almost correct claim, a couple of items that look reasonable if you squint at them, and then a ton of stuff that is bug fuck nuts.

    Schindler has been correct in the broad strokes and many of the specifics. But as a former CI technical lead at NSA and a military historian who specializes in eastern Europe, that is to be expected. He’s not crazy, he’s just somewhere between obnoxious and an asshole.

  8. 8
    beef says:

    I think that one gains confidence by finding specific claims and evaluating them. Mensch, at least, has been right often enough on specifics — see her recent prediction that Cohen would be shown to have been trying to keep information from Mueller — that I think she’s been fed info by someone in the US/UK intelligence community. Ditto Schindler. The others (e.g., truefactsstated) I’ve paid less attention to. (Although two anonymous accounts I can think of — counterchekist and minggao26 seem to have better than average correlation with the news.)

    Now, to rerail the discussion, let me point out:

    *In their July meeting, Sechin offered Page/Trump a brokerage of 19% of privatized stake in Rosneft for lifting of sanctions against Russia.*

    This means that Page/Trump/etc would be paid a small fraction of the value of the that 19%, of order $50 to $100 million (given a $66B market cap.) Page saying he doesn’t own shares of Rosneft is at best a red herring. There’s no reason that the broker managing the sale would get paid in shares.

  9. 9
    Debbie L Bowman says:

    I’m going to have to read this more carefully later, but I think this is an underestimate:

    1 and 22 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016; CIR 097, 30 Jul 2016). The Russian regime has been supporting and cultivating Trump for at least five years (eight years in CIR 097). Many sources trace Trump’s interest in Russia back as far as 1987.

    He opened his Atlantic City casino in 1984. Even as he was building it, he was hitting Russian financiers for funding. I say Russia has been cultivating him since the early 1980s at least.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    From a briefing I prepared in April 2016 and that I actually delivered/briefed in May of 2016 for the Commanding General, Command Group, senior staff/section heads, as many of their deputies and staffers as could be jammed into the auditorium of XVIII Airborne Corps, senior members of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve joint multinational staff (a bunch of Canadian and Australian general officers), and senior personnel at a number of out stations (Geographic Combatant Commands, Special Operations Companies, etc):

    A final complication is Russia. In addition to maintaining its warm water port, Russia has a larger regional and global agenda rooted in Putinism. A significant portion of this is to sow discord among NATO, as well as the EU, in order to weaken if not break up the alliance and union. Reminiscent of the KGB’s strategy of seeking to interfere with the development of the European Common Market, Putinism seeks to roll back NATO expansion, weaken, and, if possible, break up the alliance. A similar revanchist approach has been taken towards the EU and even the US. Putin is overtly financing and supporting France’s Front National, and covertly – though not well… – all of the other anti EU, nationalist, and often neo-Fascist parties throughout the European Union. He has even established a relationship with the largest of the Texas secessionist movements. The leadership of which was invited to, and attended, the Putin sponsored conference last August attended by all the anti-EU parties in St. Petersberg, Russia.

    In the case of the Levant, Putin’s play is two fold. The first part is to bait Turkey into a confrontation that would require the invocation of Article 5 of the Atlantic Charter to either force NATO to become further involved or to cause NATO to fracture over an unwillingness to support an increasingly unreliable Erdogan. The second goal is to leverage the refugee crisis, and specifically the refugee flow into the EU, to increase pressure on the EU in order to bring the nationalist and anti-EU parties he’s supporting to power and thereby advance his goals of fracturing both the EU and the NATO alliance.

  11. 11
    debbie says:

    I’m going to have to read this more carefully later, but I think this is an underestimate:

    1 and 22 (CIR 080, 20 Jun 2016; CIR 097, 30 Jul 2016). The Russian regime has been supporting and cultivating Trump for at least five years (eight years in CIR 097). Many sources trace Trump’s interest in Russia back as far as 1987.

    He opened his Atlantic City casino in 1984. Even as he was building it, he was hitting Russian financiers for funding. I say Russia has been cultivating him since the early 1980s at least.

    (Please delete my previous post. I mistyped my name. Thx.)

  12. 12
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Adam, how did you read Putin and MBS’s mean girls’ giggling and high five-ing fest at the G-20? Is there more to it than ticking off Trump?

  13. 13
    West of the Rockies says:

    I would love to see western and allied powers return fire on Russia and reduce its place on the world stage.

  14. 14
    Mike in DC says:

    Cheryl, thanks for this. About 4 dozen discrete claims. I think Steele himself said he now thought the dossier was about 60 to 90 percent accurate, and I think the publicly available information tends to be in line with that. I wonder what the impact on the election would have been if this went public a week or two before the election.

  15. 15
    debbie says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    Each country could start by publicly calling this out:

    Putin is overtly financing and supporting France’s Front National, and covertly – though not well… – all of the other anti EU, nationalist, and often neo-Fascist parties throughout the European Union.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    After trump was elected, I gravitated to Mensch, etc. because I was hoping to discover some type of magical answers. It took awhile to determine that there are not magical answers. There are facts which are slowly emerging.

  17. 17
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Thanks for this. I have often pondered the fact that the operation was large enough and thorough enough that an almost top-10,000 blog earned its own Russian troll in BorisInPutinland.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: Ticking off Trump. Also: we’re getting everything we want from our investments. Can you believe how stupid this guy and his kids are?

  19. 19
    JustRuss says:

    Just want to say The Steele Dossier is an awesome title for a spy thriller. Kudos to whoever’s managing this timeline.

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive analysis. Could you do one thing, though – I know old habits die hard, but Ukrainians ask that the capital of their country be spelled in English as “Kyiv” and not “Kiev.”

  21. 21

    @Mike in DC:

    I wonder what the impact on the election would have been if this went public a week or two before the election.

    The dossier is said to have circulated widely in the media from at least October 2016 and probably the end of the summer.

  22. 22

    @Gin & Tonic: Good point. I went with the spelling in the dossier.

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    @JustRuss:
    It does have a kind of Robert Ludlum ring to it, doesn’t it?

  24. 24
    debbie says:

    Huh, Trump (or staff member) retweeted the border tweet without that “boarder” misspelling. Merciless mocking seems to work, after all.

  25. 25
    Mike in DC says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Right. And nobody was willing to touch it. Too hard to confirm, too explosive, etc. Wish someone had.

  26. 26

    Let me repeat: My point in this post is simply to collect reasonably reliable information related to the claims in the dossier. I am not trying to prove anything “right” or “wrong.” There are some things that are looking firmer, but for the most part, we simply don’t know. And the dossier itself is raw intelligence, which can always be expected to contain both.

  27. 27
    JR says:

    As an aside, how does the balance of power look if the western world makes an accelerated move away from oil. Russia and Saudi Arabia are obviously petroleum-dependent economies, and they would take it in the shorts. On the (relatively) bad side, China is the world’s largest consumer and our direct neighbors in Canada and Mexico are major oil exporters themselves.

  28. 28
    PJ says:

    @A Ghost To Most: I don’t think BiP was a Russian troll (though obviously pro-Russia.) His comments demonstrated a general emotional instability, and at one point, he mentioned something about having worked for the post office and some kind of FBI investigation in the early ’70s that had ruined his career/life. I obviously don’t know if there is any truth behind that, but it does seem totally believable to me that an old hippie (I’m guessing) who believed that had happened to him would come to be the type of person who believed that US policy, whatever it was, was bad, and anything or anyone that was against US government policy was good.

  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    I have believed the Dossier from the beginning.
    Period.

  30. 30
    debbie says:

    Even as the market is tanking, the Trump administration continues their abuses. I hope the Dems move speedily to protect the CFPB.

  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    This is a great post.
    Thanks for putting this all in one place. :)

  32. 32
    PeakVT says:

    @JR: Reducing America’s consumption of oil has been an obvious way of shifting power away from the Russia state and Middle Eastern kleptocracies for decades. We just won’t, mostly because of internal rigidities and stupidities.

    Developing nations’ consumption (mostly China) is much higher now, so a crash program in the US wouldn’t have the same effect as it would have in the 1980s, however.

  33. 33

    @rikyrah: Me too. And I believed HRC too. It would be interesting to know which media organizations were infiltrated by Russians.

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mike in DC: They were a bunch of professional cowards who saw their mealticket and future access disappearing right in front of their eyes. Their bosses probably shit themselves thinking of the potential lawsuits and loss of revenue. Buzzfeed needs major props for posting it, but they took their sweet time.

  35. 35
    PJ says:

    @PJ: And if he was a Russian troll, he was one who had done at least a little reading on leftist movements and the FBI in the late 60’s/early 70’s, when, frankly, most of these trolls seem incredibly lazy about detail (which one would expect when they are making dozens of postings to dozens of sites a day.)

  36. 36
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Putin is directing the operation, wants to cause discord in West, return to 19th century Great Power politics. That Putin would like to return to Great Power politics is widely accepted. The DNI report of January 2017 says the operation was directed “at the highest levels” but does not name Putin.

    Somehow, I don’t think returning to 19th century Great Power Politics is in humanity’s long-term interest. I also don’t think that 19th century Great Power politics and climate change will work too well together either.

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    What the hell is a “falsity”?

  38. 38
    Hungry Joe says:

    @JustRuss: @Amir Khalid: In order to be a Ludlum, the first word in the title would have to be three or more syllables. “The Shlobotnik Dossier,” maybe.

  39. 39
    PJ says:

    @schrodingers_cat: They don’t need to infiltrate the media; it has been pro-Republican since the late ’80s. There was plenty of public information out there about Trump’s business activities that could have been investigated (and has only been investigated really in the past year), which they couldn’t be bothered with, because Hillary was going to win, and they needed momentum to keep investigating her after she became President. Fahrenthold’s reporting on Trump’s fraudulent charitable activities was the only real journalistic investigation into Trump going on in 2016, and that didn’t gain much traction elsewhere in the media.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in DC: @Cheryl Rofer: It goes beyond just that the dossier was being circulated. There were serious attempts by top GOP campaign operatives to derail the President during the primaries, in some case in spring 2015 before he even announced, by taking well sourced oppo research to the major newspapers – NY Times, WaPo, etc – and the major networks/cable news outlets. This includes, among others, Rick Wilson who had worked for Giuliani when Giuliani did his mayoral run and, as a result, had a deep file on the President and his professional and personal behavior going back to the early 90s. In every case neither the newspapers, nor the news networks would bite. Largely because they couldn’t get anyone inside the President’s orbit to provide additional confirmation because of NDAs. Those NDAs, which included non-disparagement clauses, and the reliance on them by people in the President’s orbit not to confirm or deny anything, should have been confirmation enough. Moreover, the Stormy Daniels story actually originally broke way back in 2011, but no one would rerun because Cohen was threatening them in 2016. Same with the McDougal affair that Pecker at AMI bought the story so he could kill it. And that gets to the additional problem. We know that both Pecker at AMI and Harvey Levin at TMZ were buying stories, including audio and video, about the President’s business and personal life to kill them because they were supporting the President and his campaign.

  41. 41
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @debbie:

    The CFPB is required by statute to submit the report on the same day annually to multiple agencies and congressional committees. Previously the agency has submitted the report in October, but this year October came and went with no report.

    So the admin is blatantly breaking the law in a clear cut-and-dried way? Cool. Now I can shove this in my Trump-supporting aunt’s face next time I see her.

  42. 42
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    We know that both Pecker at AMI and Harvey Levin at TMZ were buying stories, including audio and video, about the President’s business and personal life to kill them because they were supporting the President and his campaign.

    Shouldn’t that be against the law?

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Hungry Joe: Then explain The Bourne Ultimatum?

  44. 44

    @PJ: All the serious media pursuing the nothingburger of emails and not T’s juicy scandals for over a year. I am sure it was all a coincidence.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: I’m the wrong person to ask. The fact that it appears that both Pecker and Levin blackmail people with the stories they buy up under catch and kill is, however, something that should be prosecuted. That’s why Pecker and AMI cut an immunity deal in exchange for cooperation last week. Otherwise they would have been charged not just with conspiracy to defraud the US through campaign finance violations, but also blackmail.

  46. 46
    NeenerNeener says:

    I remember reading in more than one place that Jeb Bush commissioned the dossier and then didn’t have the guts to use it, and it eventually wound up with the Democrats. Nowadays it’s creation is solely credited to the Dems. Anybody know who originally asked Steele to do the research?

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Flynn’s business partners have now been indicted:
    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-men-charged-conspiracy-and-acting-agents-foreign-government

    Department of Justice
    Office of Public Affairs
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Monday, December 17, 2018
    Two Men Charged with Conspiracy and Acting as Agents of a Foreign Government
    An indictment was unsealed today charging Bijan Rafiekian, aka Bijan Kian, 66, of San Juan Capistrano, California, and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 41, of Istanbul, and a Turkish national, with conspiracy, acting in the United States as illegal agents of the government of Turkey, and making false statements to the FBI.

    Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.

    According to allegations in the indictment, the two men were involved in a conspiracy to covertly influence U.S. politicians and public opinion against a Turkish citizen living in the United States whose extradition had been requested by the Government of Turkey. The plot included using a company founded by Rafiekian and a person referred to as “Person A” in the indictment. The company, referred to as “Company A” in the indictment, provided services based upon Person A’s national security expertise.

    The indictment charges that the purpose of the conspiracy was to use Company A to delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of the American public and United States politicians, with the goal of obtaining his extradition, which was meeting resistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. At the same time, the conspirators sought to conceal that the Government of Turkey was directing the work. However, not only did Turkish cabinet-level officials approve the budget for the project, but Alptekin provided the Turkish officials updates on the work, and relayed their directions on the work to Rafiekian, Person A, and others at Company A.

    According to allegations in the indictment, the scheme included using a Dutch company owned by Alptekin to appear to be the “client” of Company A and to pay the company’s fee of $600,000, which was to be paid in three installments. Alptekin made the payments from an account in Turkey. The indictment alleges that after Alptekin made the payments to Company A, it was to kick back 20 percent of the payments to Alptekin’s company in the Netherlands, and two such kickbacks were made.

    Rafiekian is charged with conspiracy and acting in the United States as an illegal agent of the government of Turkey. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, and 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government.

    Alptekin is charged with conspiracy, acting in the United States as an illegal agent of the government of Turkey, and four counts of making false statements to the FBI. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government, and 5 years in prison for each of the four false statement charges.

    The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

  49. 49
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @rikyrah:

    I have believed the Dossier from the beginning.
    Period.

    Chuck Rosenberg says nothing in the dossier has been disproved. Much has been proven.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NeenerNeener: A PAC working on behalf of Jeb Bush, funded by one of the people who funds a conservative news site, was initially funding oppo into the President through Fusion GPS. Around the time that Fusion GPS commissioned Steele to begin his deep dive into the President’s Russian activities and connections, that funding stream stopped and Marc Elias, the preeminent Democratic election/electoral litigator began funding it on behalf of whoever would become the Democratic nominee. Shortly thereafter Clinton clinched the nomination. From all the reporting, as well as from Elias’s statements, the Clinton campaign was unaware that Elias was doing this.

  51. 51
    Fair Economist says:

    @A Ghost To Most: The operation has had trolls on blogs for ages, back at least to the W adminstration. Besides BiP here, there is Oui at BooTrib, who became obvious the past few years but has been there for ages. There are several others I am very suspicious of as well. Some of the nutbars at DailyKos have to be agents too.

    Putin has control of about 200 billion. He can hire a lot of trolls.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Hungry Joe: The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy indicate otherwise.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Ooopsie!

  54. 54
    rikyrah says:

    @NeenerNeener:

    it was a conservative publication

  55. 55
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I hope that immunity deal and subsequent cooperation by Pecker and Levin has provided US Attorneys with plenty of useful info. There’s so much happening that I have hard time remembering it all.

  56. 56

    @Adam L Silverman: There’s emerging evidence that the Russians were helping Trump in the primaries and, as you point out, possibly before then. But not solid enough to include in this post. This is a work in progress. I’ve seen one headline today that I think is more evidence I might include but haven’t had a chance to read the article.

    And the pace is accelerating. Not gonna stop until the denouement.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in DC: @Cheryl Rofer: @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

  58. 58
    Fair Economist says:

    @PJ: The freelance trolls are lazy. Trolls working for Putin are there to plant ideas into the memespace and will do whatever works best. Providing legit leftie data and opinion is a great way to get your propaganda listened to on leftie sites.

  59. 59

    @A Ghost To Most: The Lawfare article I link in the opening post also says that nothing in the dossier has been disproven. I thought about adding that statement to my post, but thought I’d let people decide for themselves.

  60. 60
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Fair Economist:
    You think Putin has had trolls on blogs since at least the early 2000s?

    I remember Unlimited Corporate Cash Guy, but that was much later and I suspect he was a more traditional domestic right-wing troll.

  61. 61
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I wasn’t actually referring to the President’s Russian connections prior to 2015, whether business or for political support. What Wilson and the others were shopping was evidence of dozens and dozens of affairs, at least a dozen abortions that the President had paid for as a result of those affairs. Mob connections regardless of which organized crime group it was. Things like that. They couldn’t get any traction.

  62. 62
    gene108 says:

    I am not sure a one to one correlation between what Mueller turns up and what is in the Steele Dossier really matters.

    I think the value of the Steele Dossier is that it put some details together showing how Russian wanted to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump, and that Trump and his campaign actively worked with the Russians.

    Even, if it isn’t 100% in line with Mueller’s final report, the fact is it brought to the public’s attention that Donald Trump worked with the Russian government to become President.

  63. 63
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You can only count “Bourne” once. It’s in the rules. Look it up.

  64. 64
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Adam L Silverman: no-one can

  65. 65

    @gene108:

    I am not sure a one to one correlation between what Mueller turns up and what is in the Steele Dossier really matters.

    That’s not what I’m doing. Always a good idea to read what you’re criticizing.

  66. 66

    @Adam L Silverman: Both law enforcement and the media have been blind to Trump’s wrongdoing for a long time.

  67. 67
    rikyrah says:

    NBC News has obtained both reports prepared for the Senate, which add vast new detail to the picture of Russian social media manipulation. Particularly interesting is the voter suppression effort against African-Americans.

    — Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) December 17, 2018

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Great Schism II: Blintz Boogaloo!

  69. 69
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I remember Wilson and the terrifying Liz Mair smugly assuring everyone on twitter that they info on trump that would end his campaign, but they weren’t going to do the Dems’ homework for them. I think they were overestimating their own fellow travelers on the right.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Hungry Joe: Three books, three titles. It counts three times.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Always a good idea to read what you’re criticizing.

    That’s just crazy talk!!!

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: If there’s one overarching benefit from what Mueller’s investigations are doing it is that we’ve suddenly appeared to have Federal law enforcement and the NY State AG’s Office focused on white collar crime.

  73. 73
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I concede. Call it “The Hungry Joe Capitulation.”

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: They were indeed. As well as that of the news media.

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: They’ve both been playing the “deep operative who knows dark things that I can’t say out loud but it’s coming and when it gets here you’ll know I was always plugged in and right once again”.
    Liz Mair also seems to have retracted her Never Trump status somewhat, I guess for a paycheck somewhere. I don’t check her feed much anymore because she’s still fucking evil on just about everything.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I fortunately missed Mair when I was at St. Andrews. She started the year after I left. There is something really weird in a wrong sort of way about her.

  77. 77
    HeleninEire says:

    Big fat stupid night. My mom died when I was little. Of cancer. Her best friend in America was a Scottish woman called Isabella. They both emigrated at the same time. Met in America.

    Her children I’ve known my whole life. Isabella has now been been diagnosed with Cancer. Its so bad she’s not gonna do Chemo.

  78. 78
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: There is something really weird in a wrong sort of way about her.

    A Vampire from the Uncanny Valley

  79. 79
    Elizabelle says:

    @HeleninEire: I’m sorry, Helen. All the best to Isabella, and may she be comfortable in the time she has left. Very sad news.

  80. 80
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    $3million/month

    Damn. That’s a lot of free advertising. I didn’t realize something like that had to be reported. Did AMI have an agreement with Trump/his campaign to provide this free advertising in their publications? I remember CNN gave him a lot of uninhibited air time.

  81. 81

    @JR:

    On the (relatively) bad side, China is the world’s largest consumer and our direct neighbors in Canada and Mexico are major oil exporters themselves.

    I think China would be happy to go along with a policy of reducing reliance on petroleum, both because they’re likely to get a big piece of the green energy action- they’re already leading the way in solar panel production- and because they don’t like having to import fuel to run their economy. And while it’s true that both Canada and Mexico are major oil exporters, their oil exports are a smaller part of their overall economy than Russia, and a much smaller part than Saudi Arabia. Canada’s economy is a bit bigger than Russia’s, and Mexico’s is a bit smaller*, but Russia exports almost twice as much oil as Canada and almost 5 times as much as Mexico. To put some rough values on it, oil exports are less than 2% of Mexico’s economy, a bit over 3% of Canada’s economy, about 6% of Russia’s economy, and close to 20% of Saudi Arabia’s. It’s obvious who decreasing oil exports would hurt the most.

    *Exactly how much depends on whose figures you use, but everyone seems to agree that Russia’s economy is between Canada’s and Mexico’s in size.

  82. 82
    catclub says:

    @debbie:

    I hope the Dems move speedily to protect the CFPB.

    I don’t see how.

    as an interesting note, if Mulvaney keeps his job as OMB head while he is Chief of Staff, he is still subject to testifying before Congress, as a senate confirmed cabinet officer. The advice was that if he really is COS, he better drop OMB.

  83. 83
    JPL says:

    @HeleninEire: I’m so sorry.

  84. 84
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @catclub:
    He did. He resigned December 11, the same day a new director was approved by the Senate. The new director, Kathleen Kraninger, is alleged to have had some role in the family separations policy.

    From wiki:

    On June 16, 2018, White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters announced that U.S. President Donald Trump had the intention of nominating Kraninger to the office of Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a position then held by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. The nomination was criticized over a perceived lack of qualifications by consumer groups and conservatives in the Senate. Senator Elizabeth Warren threatened to block the nomination over Kraninger’s alleged role in the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that drew criticism for separating migrant children from their parents at the Southern border of the U.S. Kraninger was confirmed, however, 50-49.

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Hungry Joe: If we count Hungry Joe as one word, because its a name, that’s three syllables. So I’ll allow it.

  86. 86
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I don’t even watch the show, but I keep thinking about that whole semi-acknowledgement that Joe & Mika were briefly blackmailed by Trump after the election for better coverage (that is, before they got married)
    . But there’s long been speculation that he got them to let him call in all the time before the election. IOW IIRC didn’t we used to speculate in 2016 about the way those 2 flirted all the time on air, & how Trump got so much free media from them? Did anyone ever figure out how much free media he got from MSNBC or CNN?

    ETA grammar & punctuation

  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I think I saw that movie.

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HeleninEire: We’ll keep good thoughts.

  89. 89
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @HeleninEire:
    I’m so sorry. Keeping you and her in my thoughts.

  90. 90
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: He’s still the OMB Director, which is still Senate confirmed. Therefore he can be called to testify before Congress. This was about the dumbest staffing move to fill the COS position the President could have taken.

  91. 91

    @Adam L Silverman:

    the biggest Christian schism in a millennium.

    Is it really bigger than the Reformation, or does that not count because it was a whole bunch of schisms rather than a single big one?

  92. 92
    Tenar Arha says:

    @HeleninEire: I’m sorry Helen. I wish her the ending that respects all that she wishes.

    (& a hearty sympathetic “fcuk cancer” from me).

  93. 93
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Roger Moore: That is honestly not a simple answer. Especially as the Protestant reformations internal divisions didn’t happen all at once. And, to be honest, are still ongoing.

    The Great Schism is the break between the eastern and western Churches/Constantinople and Rome.

  94. 94
    catclub says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: well, that takes him out of CFPB, but he is still head of OMB.

  95. 95
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    @catclub:

    Correct. I was just letting catclub know that Mulvaney was no longer head of CFPB.

    I suppose being the director of the CFPB, OMB, AND “acting” COS would have been too ridiculous.

    I think the real question is whether Mulvaney will be in the COS role long enough to get involved in illegal Trump hijinks. Odds on that are pretty good and honestly he’s in the admin already. He’s a corrupt individual anyway to take a spot in this admin. On top of that, he already failed to release the annual CFPB report on student debt complaints in October (during his tenure), which is required by statute.

  96. 96
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore: how about: “maybe the biggest schism in the orthodox church since stylites were a thing.”
    The biggest is the break between the eastern and western churches, the reformation does not seem as a much a schism between two organizations
    as a breakup of the western church – kind of a family squabble. I suspect none of the protestant churches changed their creed to match the eastern version.

  97. 97
    oldgold says:

    This story about the funding of Trump’s transition team explains a whole lot about damn near everything that has occurred.

    Since the passing of the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act in 2010, U.S. law states that once each major party has chosen its presidential nominee, the candidate is legally obligated to prepare for entering government.

    Trump only realized the scale of his transition team’s operation later, when he saw a news story detailing the millions of dollars that his team had raised to pay staff. Far from being pleased, Trump was furious and wanted the operation shut down. “The money that people donated to his campaign Trump considered, effectively, his own,” Lewis writes. “He thought the planning and forethought pointless.”

    According to Lewis, Trump accused Christie of “stealing my fucking money” and accused Steve Bannon of “letting [Christie] steal my fucking money.” When the pair pointed out that a transition team was required under federal law, Lewis writes that “Trump replied: ‘Fuck the law, I don’t give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.'”

    Here:
    https://www.newsweek.com/unprepared-president-chaos-trumps-transition-team-revealed-michael-lewis-1141493

  98. 98
    Fair Economist says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    You think Putin has had trolls on blogs since at least the early 2000s?

    Oui on BooTrib has been obviously trolling for the Russians for years (since MH117 in 2014, I think). He’s been there since the start in 2004 or so. For many years he was quite reasonable if a little bit far out on the “everything the US does is wrong” limb. Perhaps he was a legit commenter who got bought but I think he was probably a plant from the start. Keep in mind the Russian’s goal has been to steer conversation and it serves their purposes just fine to push reasonable positions that happen to benefit them (e.g. “the US shouldn’t get involved in the Russian sphere”). I think the more obvious trolling of the past few years has partly been that the Russian propaganda has moved from reasonable positions that benefit them to stupid stuff like “Russia taking Crimea is justified” or “Hillary is as bad as Trump”, so the trolls become more obvious.

    My reasons for being suspicious of BiP is primarily that towards the end he was spouting some of those transparently stupid Russian lines. That’s not what I expect from an old hippie.

  99. 99
  100. 100
    PJ says:

    @Fair Economist: There are lots of old leftists who buy whatever RT is selling just as much as old right-wingers buy into Fox. I have met enough Americans who have never received a dime from Putin but who still think that whatever America does is bad to just assume that BiP was a paid troll (though he might have been, and if he was, it was The Long Troll.)

    ETA: Don’t underestimate the number of people out there who are dissociated from reality. There was the guy this year who would pop up to defend Elon Musk so often and so vehemently that I thought he must either be paid, or be Elon himself, but Adam had a colloquy with him and decided he was an environmentalist who had been driven round the bend and was convinced Musk was going to save the world from climate change.

  101. 101
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @PJ: On the other hand, that’s the sort of thing a professional troll might say just to establish a persona that seems bona fide. But the reason I don’t think he was one of them was that I’m pretty sure I saw him around here talking about other subjects well before Russia would really have had much interest in trolling this blog. I really doubt the Russians were grooming these people on rando political blogs years before the Crimea conflict.

    I think he was one link down the chain, a useful idiot who had fallen for a lot of propaganda from the trolls and from RT, Sputnik, etc. His main argument was always “the government lied to you about Iraq, therefore I’m right and you’re wrong.”

  102. 102
    Chris Johnson says:

    Yeah looks like the guy nailed it. In so many ways, this is exactly what happened.
    Starting at 2:22:10 in Adam Curtis’s documentary ‘Hypernormalization’ is the Putin section. Note particularly the section on Vladislav Serkov, 2:23:42, outlining Putin’s internal strategy of chaos and confusion first practiced in his own country, where he used Kremlin money to sponsor groups from fascist to the opposite, specifically to disorient and fragment people’s very perception of reality. It worked there and it worked here (with a lot of help from Facebook and Google, etc)

    Sergei Ivanov, Putin’s chief of staff, felt Dmitry Peskov’s team had gone too far in interfering with foreign affairs with their “elephant in a china shop black PR”.

    there was a difference of opinion between Ivanov and Peskov (Putin’s press secretary) about the operation, run by Peskov, to disclose the emails. On August 12, Putin fired Ivanov as chief of staff and replaced him with Anton Vaino. The firing was unexpected and unexplained. Vaino’s reputation is primarily as a bureaucrat. If the firing was over this disagreement, Putin sided with Peskov’s riskier strategy.

    Cohen was accompanied by three colleagues on his trip to Prague in August 2016. The agenda was how to make deniable cash payments to hackers in Europe under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign. A company (name redacted) and its affiliates used botnets and porn traffic to plant bugs, transmit viruses, steal data and conduct “altering operations” against Democratic leadership. Discussions in Prague also covered contingencies if Clinton won the presidency and damage limitation re Manafort and Page. It was agreed that Romanian hackers, others, would stand down.

    And obviously they never did stand down. They’re on Facebook, they’re here, they make YouTube comments, they’re on 4chan and Reddit and all over the place. Jaron Lanier (as part of his ‘delete your social media’ campaign) calls it BUMMER networks. Behavior modification, under the control of Russia or simply flooded with paid posters, upvote/downvoters, manipulators. The Steele stuff suggests that this campaign escalated so hard that both Russia and the Trump campaign got concerned it was going too far. They doubled down, and we can see the results. It’s just like Adam Curtis outlined in Hypernormalization, but weaponized against the United States.

    You should see r/chapotraphouse. There’s shitloads of trollskis monitoring ‘new posts’ and they’re coordinated: the intention is to belittle and downplay the very idea of Russian hacking, and you get fucking buried instantly if you call it out. Dozens of instant downvotes. They really hate Beto and intend to scuttle him using his own basic centrism against him, and they’re trying very hard to re-play the Sanders/Clinton campaign as a do-over, despite the fact that neither are appropriate for 2020: doesn’t matter, Sanders must run, according to them.

    Here it’s the opposite. Nobody needs to be poisoned against Beto here, so you get people trying to bring up Sanders over and over and over. This side is the side designated to run Beto, or Hillary again if at all possible. It’s about splitting the Left. Now that the Republicans are completely owned and discredited, the Russian folks are working very hard to split the Left.

  103. 103
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Fair Economist: Internet Research Agency was apparently formed in 2013, several months before the invasion of Crimea. Before that, Russia clearly had a lot of propaganda operations going on that dated back to the Soviet era, but do you really think they had enough Internet trolls going a decade earlier to bother planting them on places like Balloon Juice and Booman? It seems like longer-term planning than they generally do.

    I always got the impression their efforts were mostly concentrated on big social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where they would have more leverage, and they didn’t really ramp up until around the time of Euromaidan.

    I suppose it doesn’t matter that much, given that a paid agent and a useful idiot can do much the same job, and a useful idiot in fact seems more natural.

  104. 104
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    She had one almost correct claim, a couple of items that look reasonable if you squint at them, and then a ton of stuff that is bug fuck nuts.

    I love the super-black mil-spec terminology used so often in discussions of Russian ratfuckery!!! Seriously!!!!

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: Tier 1 operators going to Tier 1 operate. Or something.

  106. 106
    J R in WV says:

    @HeleninEire:

    I’m sorry for your bad news, Helen!

  107. 107
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I learned a lot in the Navy as a bosun’s mate. Bug Fuck only one tiny toe in that deep dark water! Operators were just UDT back then… we would see them run by with a boat up on their shoulders every morning at dawn and say, “SO glad that isn’t me!”

  108. 108
    KSinMA says:

    @HeleninEire: Oh, Helen, I’m so sorry.

  109. 109
    Fair Economist says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    do you really think they had enough Internet trolls going a decade earlier to bother planting them on places like Balloon Juice and Booman? It seems like longer-term planning than they generally do.

    It wasn’t “long term planning”. They weren’t planning ahead for the invasion of Crimea. They were just trying to influence political opinion in ways that benefitted Russia at the time – trying to downplay the “color revolutions”, then trying to embarrass the US for the Iraq fiasco, then trying to stop US intervention in ex-Soviet states. Plus, always, trying to interfere with action on climate change.

    I agree a useful idiot can do the same job, and I think a moderate amount of commentary is bought with soft money – donations accompanied by praise for certain positions, criticism of others. Yves Smith, for example, seemed to get a lot more Russia-friendly around the time she had to start begging for money. I think a lot of people are not working for Russia but have been influenced by financial contributions ultimately from Russia.

  110. 110
    RobNYNY says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I’m still saying “The Ukraine.”

  111. 111
    rikyrah says:

    @HeleninEire:
    So sorry, Helen.😪😪

  112. 112
    Tehanu says:

    @HeleninEire: So sorry to hear this. Hope she gets the best possible pain relief.

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    @HeleninEire:
    Very sorry about the cancer.
    I hope that she doesn’t suffer much.
    3 of 5 in my immediate family have had cancer, my sister passed from it.
    It isn’t in any way fun. My best to your life long friend.

  114. 114
    Procopius says:

    Thank you so much for this. I found especially helpful your point 2, which reminded me the DNI report of January 2007 did not actually name Putin. John Brennan, then the director of the CIA, did so, claiming to have evidence that Putin was personally directing the operation. I’ve always thought the ifhe were telling the truth that would be a “leak” much more harmful to U.S. national security than Snowden, Manning, and Wikileaks combined.

Comments are closed.