28 July 2018

Facts Do Not Matter Where Russia Is Concerned

There is one certain method to send Democrats and the legacy media into major meltdown mode: simply use "Trump" and "Russia" in the same sentence.  The sentence need not even be coherent or logical. The sentence works best if it does not rely on facts, for facts are simply not relevant where Russia is concerned. 

Witness the latest "bombshell scoop" from CNN, where Michael Cohen claimed to have been in the room when Donald Trump and Don, Jr., discussed meeting a Russian national with dirt on Hillary Clinton. Presumably, this now "proves" that Donald Trump is merely a Putin puppet, and all the excoriations heaped upon him by the legacy media are now justified.

What a pity none of that is true.

As has been noted on Gateway Pundit, the lead rebuttal witness against Michael Cohen is--wait for it--Michael Cohen. CNN's recent breathless reporting even makes a passing note of the obvious contradiction:
Cohen privately testified last year to two Congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. A source familiar with Cohen's House testimony said he did not testify that Trump had advance knowledge. Cohen's claims weren't mentioned in separate reports issued by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
However, Michael Cohen's actual statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee leaves little room for his latest revelation to be true, as he declaimed not only any knowledge of any such improprieties, but also that Donald Trump participated in any improprieties:
Given my own proximity to the President of the United States as a candidate, let me also say that I never saw anything - not a hint of anything - that demonstrated his involvement in Russian interference in our election or any form of Russian collusion.
If we assume, as the legacy media insists we must, that a meeting with a Russian claiming to have opposition research on Hillary Clinton, represents "Russian interference," then either Cohen is lying now, or he perjured himself before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The one and only escape valve that would reconcile his past and current statements is if Don, Jr.'s, now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower is in fact not an instance of Russian meddling--a conclusion which immediately topples the entirety of the Russian collusion narrative. 

Cohen is not the only factual problem faced in perpetuating the current hysteria over Russia.  Even Special Counsel Robert Mueller's latest round of indictments, alleging a dozen Russian intelligence agents hacked the DNC computers and released several embarrassing documents retrieved from those systems, runs afoul of earlier claims and assertions made regarding Russia.

Mueller's indictments specifically allege that the named Russian agents used a hacker known as "Guccifer 2.0" to facilitate leaking the stolen data:
Beginning in or around June 2016, the Conspirators staged and released tens of thousands of the stolen emails and documents. They did so using fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0.”
However, not only does the original forensic analysis by Crowdstrike identify two different Russian hacking entities--"Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear"--thus discounting the claimed involvement of the Guccifer persona, but further analysis of Guccifer-related material by cyber security firm ThreatConnect explicitly discounts Guccifer's involvement.  ThreatConnect's conclusion is that Guccifer is an intentional distraction from the "real" Russian cyberattack:
Although the proof is not conclusive, we assess Guccifer 2.0 most likely is a Russian denial and deception (D&D) effort that has been cast to sow doubt about the prevailing narrative of Russian perfidy. While targeting political campaigns for espionage purposes is not new, the greatest concern would be the use of the Guccifer 2.0 persona to leak documents of questionable integrity and authenticity in an effort to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
Both the Mueller indictments and the Crowdstrike/ThreatConnect analysis are themselves challenged by analyses performed by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which makes the case that the "hack" was in fact an inside job: 
Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2017, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.
As I have observed before, the VIPS memorandum is one of the few analyses which can be independently assessed, as the source materials are made available to public scrutiny--a quality noticeably lacking in the Crowdstrike report and ThreatConnect's complementary analysis.

In almost every regard, the current narrative of Russian electoral interference is contradicted by the 2017 version of that same narrative. Even if we assume that Russian meddling happened (an assumption which must be regarded as problematic, given the VIPS memorandum), we are still confronted with reconciling past and current reporting regarding said meddling. As with Michael Cohen's latest claims, the 2018 narrative can only be true if the 2017 narrative is false. Mueller's indictments of Russian agents can only be sustained if the Crowdstrike analysis of the DNC hack is refuted.

For the rationally-minded, this will not do. Historical facts do not change--the past is always permanently etched in stone. Understanding can only come when all established facts are scrutinized and reconciled--something the legacy media has not even attempted to do. Whatever malfeasance Russia may have done is not revealed by a constantly evolving and incomplete recitation of the underlying facts. A case for impeaching--or defending--President Trump is not advanced by a constantly evolving and incomplete recitation of the underlying facts. Strengthening measures for guaranteeing the integrity of our elections cannot happen when there is a constantly evolving and incomplete recitation of the underlying facts. 

Despite the rantings that pass for reporting among the legacy media, we must look at the facts--all of the facts--without regard to the conclusions they support if we are to come to a full understanding of them. Regardless of the hyperventilations of the legacy media, the facts--and only the facts--matter.

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