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Sunday, March 05, 2017

Breaking News - Trump, Putin, Jeff Sessions and the Russian Ambassador

My brother Charles just posted a series of tweets by a statistician known as Carolyn O., who decided to do a nexis-lexis search to identify events surrounding Jeff Sessions's September 8 meeting with Ambassador Kislyak--the one that Sessions spontaneously denied while Al Franken was questioning him.  The results were quite astonishing and I'm summarizing them here.

On September 2, President Obama met with President Putin at a G-8 Summit.  They discussed US sanctions against Russia that Obama had imposed the day before, and Putin described them as an obstacle to cooperation between the two nations.

Five days later, on September 7, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, suggested for the first time that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee.

On the very next day, September 8, Trump told a Russian TV correspondent that he did not believe Russia was behind the hack, and Sessions met with Kislyak. Trump also said publicly that, "If we had a relationship with Russia, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of ISIS?" And on that same day, Trump and Pence made a whole series of statements praising Putin's leadership style. and on the same day, Tass announced, "Moscow expects Washington to display political will on building good relations with Russia after the presidential election," quoting Dimitry Peskov.

Now I can't post all this without registering a caveat.  Moscow time is about 8 hours ahead of Washington time, and thus it seems very unlikely to me that the Russian spokesman, Peskov, could have issued his optimistic statement as a direct response to whatever went on between Sessions and Kislyak.  But it seems that, in the wake of a difficult meeting between Obama and Putin, Trump went on the offensive seeking better relations with the Russians, Sessions's meeting with Kislyak was part of this, and the Russians did their part.  The question, of course, is what did the Russians do--or promise not to do--to secure Trump's good will and suggestions of a better relationship?

Carolyn O. did a fantastic demonstration of what is possible with open source research.  I did this post, exceptionally, because as far as I could tell with a google search 15 minutes ago, no news organization has yet picked up this story.  You read it here first!


Bozon said...

Great stuff. Many thanks.

I am curious re what the perception of a better relationship w Russia than that of the Deomcrats may have had on Trump's campaign team playing it this way, rather than lying low on past Russia contacts by Trump Inc?

Has it really been about domestic politics so far.

I had thought that Putin would be suspicious and distrustful of Trump, more so than of Clinton, a known adverse but dependable quantity.

All the best

Energyflow said...

Again, what was red baiting by the right wing in the 50s as evil soviets were sworn counists has become russophobia by the left now that rusia has become orthodox eurasian leader against nato expansionism, protectector of iran, syrian, chinese autonomy against US global hegemony. I don't recall reading in the UN charta where a global American dictatorship is law. Apparently however the consensus of the Western left, MSM is that any opposition to 'unconditional suurrender' post WWII is to be seen as satanism, treason against progressive enlightenment values. Just follow the crowd professor. The lemmings all fall off the cliff together.

Bruce Wilder said...

Hostility to Russia is not obviously good policy. We should expect disagreement. Obama committed himself to acting in accord with a questionable policy direction and a candidate of the other Party questioned its wisdom and offered a contrasting approach. That is democracy in action. Why are you using the language of conspiracy theories to de-legitimize it?

That the target of Obama's sanctions opposes those sanctions and wants to encourage alternatives is also hardly surprising.

The only element in your narrative, which is an actual red flag is the perjurer, James Clapper, suggesting with authority of office but without evidence, that Russia drove the hacking of the DNC.

We might also note that the hacking of the DNC served to reveal true information to the voters about, among other things, the circumvention of the campaign finance laws by the Clinton campaign that served to funnel big donations to Clinton's incompetent operation and away from State Parties, which were, of course, weakened by the drain. Not that we should worry that the debility of the Democratic Party after Clinton and Obama plays a part in our dangerous politics.

Trump is an absurdity, but the legitimacy crisis that has been building across both Parties since Whitewater, the Clinton impeachment and the 2000 election by the Supreme Court is not. It deserves a serious analysis with historical perspective. I hope you will reconsider your analysis, perhaps using your own emotional entanglement in the moment as data.

Unknown said...

Interesting generational dynamics here... What creates a Crisis is not necessarily the external threat itself, but rather our response to it.

An external player has interfered with our election, and America finds itself fighting internally, rather than facing this external challenge as a unified entity. Our response is inward looking (Boomer influence) rather than outward facing (Gen X/Millennial).

Simple Mind said...

More head-scratching developments: Roger Stone admits ties to Wikileaks and to Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0; General Flynn registers as a foreign agent for...Turkey...after receiving $500k, Nick Farage visits Julien Assange today.

sglover said...

Thanks to Bruce Wilder for introducing an element of sanity here. A year from now, if not sooner, people swooning before this bizarre Russia hysteria are going to want to change the subject whenever somebody says, "Hey, remember when Dems actually seemed to believe that Putin was the Grand Puppetmaster of the world?"