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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Are there incriminating recordings of Kushner and Bannon?

Since so many people now disdain Louise Mensch -- whose attacks on Joy Reid were seemingly intended to alienate liberals -- adventurous souls in search of "edgy" anti-Trump claims now turn to her occasional partner Claude Taylor. He has said some noteworthy things today (and when I say noteworthy, I do not necessarily mean probable or credible):
Senior CNN Executive: "We have seen and have copies of transcripts of calls between Kushner, Bannon and high level Russian officials".
"At the least, those two committed treason, and it's hard to believe Trump wasn't part of it".
Not many minutes ago, he offered this follow-up:
GOP will soon shift to Trump too cray to actually be a traitor and if he is a #Treasonweasel he's not responsible because it's not illegal.
Why do I question this? Not because I consider Bannon or Kushner incapable of such activity. I simply cannot comprehend why CNN would sit on this kind of evidence. Why would a history-changing bombshell reach the ears of a guy like Claude Taylor and no-one else?

On June 26, Trump tweeted:
...they have zero "tapes" of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!
It is odd that he would reference "tapes." Would he do so if he knew that there were actual tapes floating around out there?

If such evidence exists, the only non-Russian sources would be the NSA or Britain's GCHQ (or maybe the Israelis). Since CNN is based in the United States, I presume that they are likelier to have acquired a leak from the NSA than from the Brits.

If, if, if the claimed transcripts are real.

Mike Rogers. The "edgy" anti-Trump sites -- the ones featuring the work of those eccentric worthies I call "the spooks against Trump" -- have long hinted or stated that damning recorded evidence exists. Such claims has been floating around for months.

Back in May, John Schindler -- who heads up what I prefer to call the Double-Cross Committee -- wrote a piece in which he claimed that NSA Director Mike Rogers gave a remarkable speech to NSA officials worldwide...
As Rogers explained, he informed the commander in chief, “I know you won’t like it, but I have to tell what I have seen”—a probable reference to specific intelligence establishing collusion between the Kremlin and Team Trump.

Rogers then added that such SIGINT exists, and it is damning.
The obvious questions:

1. Why have we learned about this speech only from John Schindler? Other reporters have NSA sources.

2. Why is Schindler's story so difficult to square with Rogers' testimony before Congress?

3. If Mike Rogers really does have damning SIGINT, why has he continued to provide cover for Trump?

We now know -- thanks to the heroism of Reality Leigh Winner -- that the NSA hid proof that Russia hacked American election officials and at least one supplier of voting equipment. Isn't it strange how this story has gone down the memory hole? Perhaps predictably, the argument over Winner's criminality overshadowed the amazing revelations contained within that "liberated" document -- even though Winner's legal fate is a matter of concern only to her and her family, while the information in that document is a matter of grave concern for the entire world. 

Let me repeat a supremely important point which everyone else seems to have missed: The information in that document was known to NSA head Rogers -- and Rogers kept the information under wraps.

What does this fact tell us about Rogers?

In my opinion, he had an incontrovertible moral obligation to make this information known. (Obviously, there were ways to do so without revealing sources and methods.) There are times when silence equals complicity.

That said, Rogers has always been very hard to read. This is from his testimony in March...
CONAWAY: And then finally, Admiral Rogers, that assessment went on to say that president Putin and the Russian government aspired to help president -- I guess he would have been candidate Trump at the time -- but president-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton. You had a lower...

ROGERS: Confidence level.

CONAWAY: ... confidence level. Is that still the case?

ROGERS: Yes, sir.

CONAWAY: Can you tell the group why you were...

ROGERS: I'm not going to get into specifics in an unclassified forum but for me, it boiled down to the level and nature of the sourcing on that one particular judgment was slightly different to me than the others.

COMEY: To be clear, Mr. Conaway, we all agreed with that judgment.

ROGERS: We all agreed with the judgment.
Basically, Rogers agreed that Russia was helping Trump, as opposed to merely undermining the American electoral system, but the NSA had moderate as opposed to high confidence in this assessment. (Almost needless to say, this testimony conflicts with Schindler's dubious report: There's a huge difference between damning evidence of collusion between the Kremlin and Team Trump and moderate confidence that Putin was helping Trump.)

However, in more recent meetings between Rogers and congressfolk, the situation seems rather different.
National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers is frustrated that he has not yet convinced President Trump that U.S. intelligence indicates Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, CNN reported Wednesday.

Rogers vented frustration over his fruitless efforts to lawmakers during a recent closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill, a congressional source familiar with the meeting told the news network.

The NSA director also reportedly said the White House lacked focus about the continued threat of the Kremlin's cyber efforts, especially regarding voting systems in the U.S., another congressional source said.

The intelligence community continues to brief the president on new information on Russia's election involvement as it comes to light.
If we could question Rogers, he'd probably remind us that the NSA exists to serve one primary client: The president. That's the system. The intel community provides information to the president, who makes decisions accordingly.

But what if the president himself has been compromised? If intelligence reveals that the president is a crook, there seems to be little point in sending him a report which says "You're a crook." If intelligence suggests that the president is illegitimate, there seems to be little point in trying to convince him that he is illegitimate.

When I mull over this situation, I keep visualizing a meeting between Al Capone and his lawyer: "Sir, I must inform you that it has come to my attention that certain of your associates have become involved in the illegal distribution of alcohol."

Why is Trump unwilling to act upon, or even pay much attention to, NSA reports of Russian interference in the election? The obvious conclusion is that Trump was always in on the conspiracy. Mike Rogers is a very intelligent man. He must understand this.

So why is he engaged in what appears to be a charade? Looks to me as though his testimony amounts to a CYA paper trail: If Trump falls, Rogers can plausibly claim that he tried his best to do the right thing. In reality, however, he has demonstrated complicity. The Reality Winner document proves the point.

The president may be the NSA's main client, but Rogers took an oath to serve the United States, not to serve Trump.

CNN. Let's return to the claim that CNN has obtained transcripts of "tapes" of Bannon and Kushner engaged in damning conversations with Russians. I'm tempted to dismiss this claim as disinformation -- in fact, the original draft of this post ended with the sounding of that very note.

But on further reflection, it seems possible that Reality Winner may not have been the only NSA leaker. Perhaps a transcript does exist.

A transcript is not a recording. A transcript is easier to fake -- and much harder to verify.

The existence of such a transcript would explain why Team Trump has recently made CNN the focus of such a brutal propaganda barrage -- a campaign which, I've been given to understand, has resulted in CNN reporters receiving numerous death threats. The hyperbolic reaction to that retracted CNN story (which has all the earmarks of an O'Keefian sting operation) is but one part of a demonization campaign reminiscent of the one that destroyed Hillary Clinton. (O'Keefe and Julian Assange are both relentlessly attacking CNN right now -- and it is very interesting to see them, in effect, working together.)

Why are the Trumpers so focused on CNN, as opposed to the NYT or the WP, the two media outlets which (heretofore) have broken most of the important stories about the Russia/Trump connection? This constant bombardment of "CNN=Satan" agitprop insures that, even if the transcripts do exist, the network would sit on the story until it can be irreproachably verified.

The post originally ended with the suggestion that Claude Taylor is either the victim or the propagator of disinformation. That may still be the way to bet.

But...maybe not.
Comments:
Wait, you're saying that Mike Rogers didn't let anyone outside the NSA know about the election voting interference? My understanding was that he shared it with the POTUS/rest of the IC as he should've, just not to the public. If I recall, Reality Winner's reason for leaking the document is that she heard an Intercept podcast where they claimed there was no proof of Russian interference, so she provided it. I could be wrong, but I've never known Rogers horde serious intel from the rest of the government.

But it does seem like Mike Rogers is trying to cover his ass. If Trump is innocent (haha), he can so he didn't "demonize" him like so many others. If he is guilty, he can claim to be a part of Team Patriot. It's possible this is the only reason he didn't assess Russia's motives to help Trump with high confidence.
 
It's highly probable that they're targeting CNN over The NYT because people don't read. They watch cable news.

This sickening drumbeat of nonsense about North Korea (which I only know because of holiday weekend down home) may provide a cover story for "patriots" to hide this treason...because we need to support the cheatin' Cheeto in Chief to shore up against the demented Dr. Evil Axis.

 
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