What kind of hold does Russian President Vladimir Putin have over Donald Trump? There must be something big, because it appears that the former KGB leader has the U.S. president in the palm of his hand. The Trump administration started the Ukrainian debacle in an attempt to cut the legs about from under the Mueller investigation.
Of course, we know how well that worked out. Then, the number Russia-connected people around this president has been astounding. They include Trump’s personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, POTUS’ former campaign chair Paul Manafort, and his “longtime adviser Roger Stone.” The first two have already been serving prison time. The number of people affiliated with Moscow is startling, and these are the top three.
The big question for Manafort was why he gave 2016 polling data to a person linked to Russian intelligence. Giuliani spoke to the ultra-conservative TV/radio personality Glenn Beck. He claimed, according to The Washington Post:
‘I knew they were hot and heavy on this Russian collusion thing, even though I knew 100 percent that it was false. I’ve got what a defense lawyer always wants: I can go prove someone else committed this crime.’
An attorney sitting on the independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s team during the President Bill Clinton impeachment hearings, Paul Rosenzweig has been concerned about Russian propaganda:
‘All roads lead to Russia.’
The U.S. president firmly asserted:
‘They say a lot of it started with Ukraine.’
Trump’s playbook has been “to undermine the investigation’s legitimacy, refused to cooperate fully with it, and publicly attacked witnesses.”
Democrats have been considering whether his actions in the Russia investigation and the Ukrainian investigation should be included in the Articles of Impeachment. Those will spring out of the House Judiciary Committee.
‘What Trump learned was always punch back. Demonize everyone. Fight to the last drop. Do what you want — it’ll work out in the end.’
Senator John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press last Sunday:
‘I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.’
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Richard Burr said:
‘Every elected official in the Ukraine was for Hillary Clinton. Is that very different than the Russians being for Donald Trump?’
Last November, Giuliani tweeted:
‘The investigation I conducted concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption, was done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges, that kept changing as one after another were disproved.’
Giuliani told The Post this November:
‘I believed there was a lot of evidence that the [Democratic National Committee] and the Clinton campaign had a close connection to Ukrainian official.’
Ukrainian journalist and previous legislator Serhiy Leshchenko wrote an op-ed opinion piece for The Post:
‘Giuliani’s entire approach is built on disinformation and the manipulation of facts.’
According to legal experts, Giuliani’s conspiracy theories seemed to be targeting and shaping the public’s perceptions. Former senior Justice Department official who helped implement the Russia investigation at the beginning David Laufman said:
‘It strikes me as less of a legal strategy than a public-relations campaign to distract attention from the core operative facts. It is true that Mr. Giuliani is a lawyer. It does not mean that every endeavor he engages in involves providing legal services, rather than other types of services.’
Trump has had no problem claiming a debunked conspiracy theory indicated that the cybersecurity organization CrowdStrike was hacked by Ukraine. The company analyzed the DNC hacking. He told Zelensky:
‘I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike. . . . I guess you have one of your wealthy people. . . . The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation.’
Previous Homeland Security advisor Tom Bossert spoke about Giuliani on ABC’s This Week:
‘I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again, and for clarity here . . . let me just again repeat that it has no validity.’
Previous National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified in November. She said that any Ukrainian effort to influence the 2016 election could only have been a private individual’s or group’s efforts. She said any allegations that Ukraine interfered the U.S. elections were:
‘[a] fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian Security Services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.