Did Russia Interfere In The U.S. Election?

By: Emma Jane Black | Our Voice Contributor

The last couple of years have been like nothing we’ve seen before. Unprecedented influence and interference into our presidential election was committed by both a political party and State actors. But what is spin? what is propaganda? What is the truth?

Whispers of Russian interference started early in the election cycle helped along by unfounded rumors that Putin endorsed Trump and Sanders over Clinton. Also, many social media and email provider platforms started planting the seeds that a state actor may target people for hacking. However, none of the corporate giants would disclose how they reached their conclusions or provide any supporting evidence for their claims.

I’ll stick to the allegations of Russian influence / interference into our election process after the nominations for the general election were determined. The evidence against the DNC, Clinton campaign, and media collusion is a whole other can of worms.

The Origin of the DNC Hacking Allegations

https://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/604019/fbi-probes-dnc-hack-suspicions-russian-involvement-widen/

The real heat behind the allegations started when DNC Ethnic Outreach Director, Alexandra Chalupa, conducted opposition research on Paul Manafort, leveraging her Ukrainian government contacts. Allegedly during her research, Chalupa received an alert from Yahoo that a State-Sponsored actor had targeted her account. She reported the problem to DNC leadership on May 4, 2016. It just so happens, Chalupa is well connected to an IT security firm and government agencies that have the ability to falsify an attack.

Opposition research was not part of her job duties at the DNC, but as a Ukrainian activist she appeared to have a personal vendetta against Paul Manafort who had been named Trump’s campaign manager. He was fired a few months later and replaced with Kellyanne Conway due pressure from the press over his political consulting work for pro-Russia Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. It should be noted that the U.S. backed Ukrainian revolution included extreme right wing revolutionaries with ties to Nazis and fascism. It is unclear whether or not there was really a good guy on either side of that fight.

While Manafort’s ties may raise an eyebrow, Chalupa’s seem to be vastly more entangled. Her mother, Irena Chalupa, is a member of the Atlantic Council, alongside shady Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk and Crowdstrike CTO Dmitri Alperovitch. The Atlantic Council is a think tank that focuses on shaping foreign policy and is deeply involved in the energy war with Russia. Among its donors are the U.S. State Department, George Soros, and the Clinton Foundation. Pinchuk has donated approximately $25 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation and has a close relationship with the entire family. He has also paid Trump $150k for a speech in 2015.

“Bears in the Midst” — The CrowdStrike Report

http://www.wsj.com/video/who-are-the-alleged-russian-hackers-behind-dnc-breach/E44B5DEC-227D-403D-8A39-E2034BD70DAF.html

Shortly after Chalupa’s allegations, CrowdStrike released a report implicating Russian hackers as breaching the DNC servers. This is where Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear originated. The DNC has never allowed the FBI to analyze the servers directly, and so all allegations of Russian hacking to date are based on this report.

CrowdStrike wrote a similar report alleging Russia hacked Ukraine’s artillery app. Once debunked, the report was rewritten. And so now we have eyebrow raising relationships as well as credibility issues.

Guccifer 2.0 DNC Leak

http://www.vocativ.com/330201/guccifer-2-0-hacker/

On July 13, 2016, a Romanian hacker, or hacker collective, by the screenname Guccifer 2.0 leaked DNC emails online. This was the first time speculation that Russia was trying to help Trump win the election was reported in the press. Since these initial allegations and claims of credit were reported, new evidence has emerged that this leak originated from the DNC network rather than a hack. It is speculated that this was a preemptive leak to spread misinformation about the actual leak that was published by Wikileaks. With the publication of Vault 7, we learned that the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools was leaked to the world and contained tools that could manufacture evidence to falsely accuse a foreign state.

The name Guccifer 2.0 is an homage to the hacker Guccifer, Marcel Lazăr Lehel, who acquired personal information to access the high profile email accounts of Dorothy Bush Koch (George W Bush’s sister), Sidney Blumenthal (Hillary Clinton’s BFF), Colin Powell, Romanian officials, and many more. He is currently serving consecutive sentences for his crimes in Romania and the United States.

Guccifer 2.0 went on to leak additional information that included forgeries, further damaging the credibility of all leaks since the press was conflating these damaging revelations together as coming from a single source: the Russians.

https://www.facebook.com/seth.rich.77/photos?lst=100000368276590%3A1319160294%3A1500486864&source_ref=pb_friends_tl

Just three days before Guccifer 2.0 leaked a batch of DNC emails, on July 10, 2016, DNC Voter Outreach Data Director Seth Rich was murdered in a botched robbery. But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Wikileaks DNC Leaks

On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks published the DNC leaks. Revealed in the leaks was clear bias by the DNC in favor of Hillary Clinton and active thwarting by the DNC of the Sanders campaign. The publication dropped just before the DNC Convention where Hillary was officially named the Democratic nominee. Anger from the progressive delegates was so intense that despite the party’s best efforts to hide and suppress protests, the boos were heard around the world. Information leaked in this publication may also be used in a class action lawsuit against Debbie Wasserman-Schutlz and the DNC.

https://youtu.be/6RjF1ziPuIA

Wikileaks Editor in Chief, Julian Assange, adamantly denied that the leaks were hacks or provided by a State actor. Further fueling speculation that the DNC emails were leaked from the inside, Wikileaks offered a $20k reward for any information leading to the capture of Seth Rich’s killers. The DNC has not offered a reward to help solve this murder, but oddly a Democratic damage control spokesperson was anonymously hired for the Rich family. Brad Bauman actively suppresses discussion of Rich’s murder both online and in the news media. He also doesn’t share the anonymous tip line or the Rich family GoFundMe page to help solve the murder.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-seth-rich-conspiracy-20170523-htmlstory.html

Thy process server for the DNC Fraud Lawsuit, Shawn Lucas, also mysteriously died of an alleged overdose only a couple weeks after serving notice at DNC headquarters.

But I digress.

FBI Investigation into Clinton’s Private Email Server

Running parallel to these events was the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server, mishandling of classified information, and obstruction of justice. Shortly after Bill Clinton had a “chance” meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac, FBI Director James Comey announced that he did not recommend the case go to prosecution.

All of the key witnesses were granted immunity but plead the 5th when asked to testify to Congress. This held true even when Clinton’s IT specialist, Paul Combetta aka “StoneTear”, was outed as purposely deleting 33k of her emails with Bleachbit so they would not be recoverable in any way, shape, or form. The FBI investigation notes were released on Friday news dumps over the course of a few months. The IT firm, Platte River Network, that managed Clinton’s email server, dubbed the document retention policy as the “Hillary Cover-up Operation.”

After suppressing the FBI investigation, Comey was forced to admit that new evidence emerged that resulted in the case being reopened just one week before the election. This is one of the many events Clinton cites as excuses for her loss. A week later, Comey claimed the new emails did not change his initial opinion that the case should not be prosecuted.

Fears that the Vote Would Be Hacked

http://www.businessinsider.com/trevor-noah-agrees-with-donald-trump-that-election-is-rigged-2016-8

Shortly after the revelations of collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, Trump started claiming on the campaign trail that the election was rigged against him. To offset any fears the public might have in that regard, several articles were published in multiple mainstream news media sources over the course of five months, including but not limited to:

Time: It’s Almost Impossible for the Russians to Hack the U.S. Election. Here’s Why.

Fortune: 5 Reasons Why Hackers Can’t Rig the U.S. Election

CNN: No, the presidential election can’t be hacked

Washington Post: Reminder: There’s Almost No Chance Our Elections Can Get Hacked by the Russians, Here’s Why

And straight out of President Obama’s mouth.

This has ultimately come back to bite them in the butt now that information is leaking to the contrary. Keep these articles in mind when we get to the Intercept NSA Memo leak.

The Podesta Emails

On October 4, 2016, Julian Assange held a press conference to announce that Wikileaks would be publishing for 10 consecutive weeks. The leaks would contain information damaging to Google, Clinton, et al and would pertain to war, spying, the U.S. election, etc.

It is common practice to dump damaging information in the Friday evening news cycle since the subject has limited ability to respond. On Friday October 7, 2016, at almost the same time Wikileaks published the damaging Podesta Emails, Democrats leaked the almost equally damaging Trump Tapes obtained from Access Hollywood.

The Podesta Emails contained more evidence that the Clinton campaign actively colluded with the media and the DNC. On the first day of publication, Jake Tapper, host of The Lead on CNN, found the above embarrassing email and pinned it to the top of his Twitter feed, where it remained for at least a month. The email was a response to Tapper’s investigation into allegations that Democratic policies hurt the black community as well as Bill Clinton’s approval of a nod to the Confederacy on the Arkansas State flag.

One of the biggest bombshells was that Donna Brazile, who was the interim DNC Chair and former campaign manager for Al Gore, had leaked primary debate questions to the Clinton campaign. This revelation resulted in her ultimate dismissal as a correspondent for CNN. However, the DNC kept her as interim chair and she remains on the payroll to this day.

Another key revelation was that the Clinton campaign pressured the media to take Trump as a serious candidate because they believed he would be easier to beat in the general election. Among their preferred Pied Piper candidates included Trump, Cruz, and Carson.

The leak also included some of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street where she told financial executives, who had crashed the housing market and sent us into the Great Recession, that they should be in charge of our country’s financial strategy, that she believed in open trade and open borders, and she outlined how she lies to the American people by having both public and private positions.

Brazile, Tim Kaine, and many other Clinton pundits refused to authenticate the leaks, even though Clinton unwittingly did so during the second debate. WikiLeaks also used DKIM verification to prove the emails were not altered. Brazile and Kaine were very outspoken that the emails couldn’t be trusted and likely contained forgeries. However, since the emails in question were sent and received by all involved, we now know for certain that they were flatly lying.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo went so far as to say that it was illegal to read Wikileaks. Of course, that was absolutely ludicrous and as anyone knows, the minute something is banned, everyone wants to read it.

To demonize Assange, a covert smear campaign was launched by an opaque organization alleging he engaged in pedophilia via an online dating website. The company also tried to trick him into accepting a $1 million dollar payment from a Russian source.

In direct retaliation to this publication, Secretary of State John Kerry pressured Ecuador to cut Assange’s internet access, hoping this would stop the daily publication of embarrassing emails. This only increased interest and kept the publication in the news cycle on a daily basis through election day.

ODNI / DHS Joint Statement

On the evening of the first Podesta Emails publication, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement with the Department of Homeland Security.

All statements and reports have been similar in nature. They were accusations, innuendo without evidence. Clinton used this statement to perpetuate the lie that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed; Russia was trying to interfere with our election. Her basis for saying so was that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, oversaw the other 16 agencies. However, at the point this statement was issued, only one intelligence agency endorsed this view and since that time 12 other agencies have still not endorsed the narrative. Only the CIA, NSA, and FBI have participated in this propaganda with the DHS.

Clapper is also well known for helping to excuse the intelligence failure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Reaction to the Election Results

Between the FBI investigation; the damaging leaked emails; the poor policy positions; lying about her position on TPP, the fight for $15, and free education; lack of campaigning in swing states, disenfranchised Sanders supporters, collapsing at a 9/11 event, and constant scandals; Clinton lost the election by a wide electoral gap. But she won the popular vote by a considerable margin.

It was a very divisive election season with targeted messaging of us vs. them from both campaigns. People were very upset and backlash for the overly emotional reaction to the results was swift. Hate crimes rose by 20% over the course of five months with many incidents immediately after the election.

And so here’s where the Ukrainians come back into the story.

On November 9, 2016, the day after the shocking election results, Ukrainian activist and journalist, Sarah Kendzior published an OpEd titled A Facist’s Win, America’s Moral Loss, calling on Americans to “fight this future.” Kendzior is also connected to George Soros’ Freedom House and Open Society Foundations. Her doomsday predictions went further on Twitter where, with the help of Andrea Chalupa, she started promoting the hashtag #Coup and calling on the military to rise up against Trump. Andrea, not so coincidentally, is the sister of Alexandra Chalupa and daughter of Irena Chalupa. All of the tweets with #Coup have since been deleted.

Alongside the calls for a coup, Soros’ MoveOn.org started organizing the hashtag #Resist movement, including the organic (but also organized) protests in every major city on the days following the election, as well as earliest stages of the Women’s March with Linda Sarsour. The Women’s March was not in fact a celebration of women, but rather a pro-liberal, anti-Trump march. And that’s fine and dandy, but let’s call it what it is rather than pretend it’s something else.

In the meantime, Victor Pinchuk wrote an OpEd for the Wall Street Journal titled Ukraine Must Make Painful Compromises for Peace With Russia that, at face value, was written for a Ukrainian audience. However, being that it was published in America, in English, in a conservative paper read by Wall Street executives; the audience was very clearly the 1%.

A concerted effort was made to flip the electoral college, which backfired spectacularly.

During the electoral college vote, electors from Maine, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii, and Washington state who were supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton refused to do so. Some were replaced or forced to change their votes for Clinton, but four from Washington voted for Colin Powell and Faith Spotted Eagle. Many of the others had cast their votes for Bernie Sanders before being disqualified. Trump only lost two electors from Texas who voted for Ron Paul and John Kasich.

But wait, there’s more! It wasn’t enough to unsuccessfully try to flip the electoral college. Several House representatives attempted to stop the ratification of the vote, even staging very theatrical protests during the vote count.

Fake News

Because the Podesta Emails were published in raw, unredacted format with very little context or commentary provided by Wikileaks; amateur journalists dug deep into speculative territory. Within Podesta’s emails contained odd references to Pizza and a Spirit Cooking dinner. The resulting conspiracy theories, while only circulated among a fringe group, became the centerpiece of innuendo for the next stage in Russia blame: Fake News.

For as long as tabloids have existed, we have all seen fake news. But not until 2016 was it given a platform in the mainstream media. The fight to control the election narrative was so intense and the blame on Russia for the election results so fierce, that even everyday conspiracy theories were given a national voice with the intention of convincing Americans that they were tricked into voting for anyone that wasn’t Hillary Clinton.

The most egregious of these accusations was a Washington Post article titled Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say, that cited an opaque organization called Prop or Not that targeted dozens of independent media outlets as being agents of Russia. The Post quietly issued a critical disclaimer a couple weeks later to distance itself from Prop or Not, which some speculate may be connected to Irena Chalupa and Ukraine, due to her known participation in similar propaganda efforts for the Atlantic Council.

There has since been two studies, one from Stanford and another from the Qatar Computing Research Institute, that refute the claim that fake news had a meaningful impact on the election results.

ODNI / DHS Joint Analysis Report

As demands for proof that Russia influenced the election grew louder, President Obama needed the Intel community to provide something more concrete than the October statement. As a result, the ODNI and DHS produced a Joint Analysis Report that was a mere echo of the Crowdstrike report. This would become the basis for taking action against Russia, however the report included the above disclaimer, negating its validity. Notice the DHS does not “endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise.” That means they cannot endorse the Crowdstrike report.

Russian Sanctions, Property Seizure, and Ejections

On December 30, 2016, President Obama pushed the accusations into action when he announced sanctions against four Russians for unrelated charges who were already on the FBI’s most wanted list, the seizure of two Russian Embassy compounds, and the ejection of 35 diplomats. In seizing the properties, Obama violated the Vienna Convention and set a dangerous precedent for diplomatic relations.

Russia responded by trolling President Obama on Twitter (shown above) and inviting all children of the 35 U.S. diplomats to the Kremlin to see the Christmas tree.

More importantly, Obama created a scenario where any previous meetings with Russian government officials by the Trump campaign would now be viewed as potential treason. This included all meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who was not expelled from the U.S. and met with everyone and their mothers throughout 2016. He even sat on the Democratic side of the House during Trump’s address to Congress on March 1, 2017.

This affected everyone on the Trump campaign that didn’t disclose meetings with Russian government officials including Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, and potentially Roger Stone.

ODNI Intel Report

This is when the Intel community really doubled down on claims that Russia had interfered with our election. Except, the report was filled with conjecture and assumptions. The only significant statement in this report was that the Wikileaks publications were in fact authentic. We had been promised that the Intel community had identified the Go-Betweens for Moscow and Wikileaks, but no such information was included and not a single politician who has seen the classified version of the report has indicated that to be the truth. To date, no arrests have been made in connection with any alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Fusion GPS Steele Memo

On January 10, 2017, Buzzfeed published a salacious memo with largely unfounded claims that Trump and his associates were colluding with Russia and that Russia had damaging information that would be used to blackmail Trump. The memo was compiled as opposition research provided by British M16 intelligence official, Christopher Steele, and commissioned by Fusion GPS. Initially it was funded by Republicans during the primary and then Clinton donors took over the funding during the general election.

Not only was the memo filled with inaccuracies and fantastical claims, it received immediate criticism for using paid Russian sources to collect the information.

Fusion GPS is a strategic intelligence and research company that was founded by former journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch. This is important to remember when we get to the WSJ interview with GOP operative, Peter Smith. Among its body of work, Fusion GPS has worked with pro-Russian lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, and Russian government lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to lobby against Magnitsky Act, which is a key issue for Vladimar Putin.

The Democrats also used Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Mitt Romney during the 2012 election when he was scoffed at for saying Russia was the greatest threat to our country. The motive for distributing this memo becomes even more suspicious with the multiple accounts that John Podesta invented the Russian election interference narrative.

Flynn Resignation

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/north-america/president-trump/white-house-national-security-adviser-michael-flynn-resigns-as-us-adviser-over-russia-row-35449760.html

Whether malicious or out of sheer ignorance and arrogance, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak once President Obama issued Russian sanctions. This may have been a violation of the Logan Act and the first evidence that the Trump team had stupidly fallen for the trap laid out. No doubt to protect the rest of the campaign, Flynn didn’t disclose this conversation to Vice President Mike Pence, who was head of the transition team. As a result, he was forced to resign on February 13, 2016.

Additionally, Flynn didn’t disclose his lobbying activity for Turkey even when legislation favorable to Turkey was passed. FBI Director James Comey later testified before Congress that Flynn is under FBI investigation and that the investigation is separate but touching the FBI’s Russian Election Interference investigation.

In addition, because of the building allegations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose confirmation was hotly contested in the Senate, was forced to recuse himself from any investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Termination of the FBI Director

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/10/527744863/trump-defends-comey-firing-as-russia-questions-continue-to-swirl

There were at least two times in 2016 when the hashtag #FireComey was trending in social media. First, by those upset with his decision not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton. Second, by those upset that he reopened the investigation into her mishandling of classified documents.

On May 3, 2016, Comey testified before Congress regarding the Russian investigation as well as his conduct during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server. He claimed that he had no choice but to reopen the case because thousands of new classified emails were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. On May 9, 2016, FBI sources leaked that they were in damage control mode because Comey had lied to Congress. There were only a few classified emails on the laptop.

Later that day, he was fired by Trump. Included in the decision to fire Comey was Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. Comey was in Los Angeles at an FBI event and learned of his dismissal from a television in the room. Almost immediately, the public, who just that morning were outraged by his incompetence, were now celebrating him as a symbol of the resistance. The Watergate comparisons couldn’t come fast enough.

It could’ve ended there, but Trump is really so clueless. He included a very odd sentence in the middle of Comey’s termination letter.

https://www.intellihub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/

Even worse, Trump did a one on one interview with CNN’s Lester Holt in which he claimed that he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation. Then Comey started leaking details of his conversations with Trump to the press. He claimed Trump demanded his loyalty.

Not to be outdone, Trump made things much worse for himself by implying he had recorded the conversations. This resulted in at least four letters from Congress demanding copies of the recordings and an investigation into Comey’s firing. The White House has now denied the existence of any such tapes.

Comey testified in front of Congress that he had documented his conversations with Trump. He stated that Trump wanted him to drop the Flynn investigation and needed repeated assurances that he was not personally under investigation. Comey also revealed that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had asked him to call the Clinton investigation a “matter,” which he felt was an inappropriate request to use Clinton campaign language. He also admitted that leaking his memo to the press was an attempt to get a special prosecutor to investigate.

And it worked.

Of the memos written by Comey that have been turned over to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, it has now been determined that some contained classified information, which brings into question whether he broke any laws.

Intercept Publishes Leaked NSA Memo

https://theintercept.com/2017/06/05/top-secret-nsa-report-details-russian-hacking-effort-days-before-2016-election/

On June 5, 2017, the Intercept published a leaked NSA Memo that speculated several State voter registrars had been hacked and that voter data had possibly been compromised or altered. This is how the Russian influence narrative got around all those pesky articles that it was nearly impossible to hack the election. Very odd that a document supporting the permanent government storyline would leak to the press. But even stranger that the purported leaker was caught only a few hours after publication. And, I kid you not, the leaker’s name was Reality Winner.

If this was a planted leak, it accomplished two goals. First, it deepened the allegations of Russian election interference, and second, it discredited an important independent media source that is well-known for advocating whistleblowers rights. Because Winner was captured so quickly, the Intercept was blamed for not properly protecting its source.

There was no “raw intelligence” in the memo. Rather, it was an interpretation of “raw intelligence” not viewable to the public. But even more interesting is that the allegations of tampering with voter registration data indicate that the hacking occurred during the primary. Most complaints of this sort were from Sanders supporters, not Clinton supporters. So was Russia trying to help Clinton win? Or was the NSA making it up? Or was there another actor that hacked the voter rolls and the NSA was pegging it on Russia to propagate the narrative?

Wall Street Journal Interview with Peter W Smith

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-peter-smith-death-met-0713-20170713-story.html

On June 29, 2017, the Wall Street Journal published a damning article that GOP operative, Peter W Smith, working with Michael Flynn’s son, had solicited Russian hackers to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing 33k emails that were deleted from the illegal private server. In the interview, he claimed to turn the emails over to Wikileaks for publication and was surprised that they were never published. Wikileaks denied ever receiving the emails and didn’t publish any such thing. However, the article was published after Smith had died reportedly of natural causes on May 14, 2017. So naturally, he couldn’t refute anything WSJ had written nor was a recording of the interview ever released.

Two weeks later, the Chicago Tribune broke the story that Smith did not die of natural causes, but in fact had committed suicide. Most bizarre, he left a suicide note that stated “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER.”

Don Trump Jr.’s Meeting with the Russian Lawyer

On July 8, 2017, the New York Times broke the story that Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (mentioned above in connection with Fusion GPS) on June 9, 2015 to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. He claims that she had nothing of value and only wanted to discuss Russian adoptions, which have been halted by Putin in response to the Magnitsky Act.

This was probably supposed to be leaked over time to make sure it stayed in the news cycle and did the most damage possible. Don Jr. headed off the next installment story by releasing his emails over Twitter. However, additional innuendo took place when Julian Assange Tweeted that he had contacted Don Jr. and recommended releasing the emails through Wikileaks.

There was a rather incriminating paragraph in the email chain that showed Don was aware that the Russian government wanted to help Trump win.

Mind you, not only is this exactly the same sort of thing as the Democrats paying Fusion GPS to find dirt on Trump, but some of the exact same people who are connected to Fusion GPS are involved. So we must conclude that if Don Jr. broke the law here, so did the Clinton donors that funded the Steele memo.

This is a developing story and we keep learning more everyday about who was in attendance and what may or may not have been discussed. What we know so far is that Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, entertainment publicist Rob Goldstone, Natalia Veselnitskaya, pro-Russia lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, Russian translator Anatoli Samochornov, and VP of the Crocus Group Ike Kaveladze (who may also have been acting as a translator) were all in attendance at the meeting.

Ukraine Connections Leaked

On July 13, 2017, the same day we learned about Peter Smith’s suicide and the bizarre note he left behind, a pro-Russia hacking group leaked documents that showed Victor Pinchuk had been donating hefty sums to Clinton during 2015 and 2016 election cycle. This leak was not covered by mainstream media and has yet to be authenticated. And so it may be the missing link in the Ukrainian connections or it may be as worthless as the Guccifer 2.0 leaks.

Also uncovered was an email showing active work towards pushing the Russian election influence narrative.

In Conclusion

It’s clear that we had interference in our 2016 election, however the culprit is not as clear. The common theme among everything we’ve learned over the last year is that it all came from leaks; Whistleblowers and planted stories. People sworn to protect state secrets are leaking without any consequences while lower level whistleblowers face the most extreme punishment for this crime in the history of our country.

Regardless if you hate or love Trump and his policies, it’s important that we, the American people, hear the truth rather than the permanent government narrative. We should never have been put in a position where the only two candidates who had an actual shot at the White House were both morally bankrupt and incapable of effective leadership.

Will Trump be impeached or forced to resign? Probably. But it won’t be as a result of the Russian interference narrative. It will be due to his own incompetence and ignorance. As well as the incompetence of his cohorts. He will lose the presidency over procedure and unwittingly, or maybe even willfully, violating federal law. This is because he is arrogant, delusional, and an absolute pawn.

Granted I am a mere citizen without a legal background. So I can only speculate that since it is unlikely Congress can prove Russia interfered with our election, they will probably focus on obstruction of justice, due to James Comey’s termination, and possibly the Emoluments Clause violations. Don Jr., as a private citizen, may be prosecuted directly by the Department of Justice. But this all remains to be seen.

However, Trump’s ultimate demise will do nothing to resolve the problem we have with government. Some politicians are even using this scandal to gain name recognition whilst ignoring the needs of the American people.

If and when you march to stand up for what you believe, ask yourself if you are protesting for a cause that will benefit the American people or if you are protesting simply because you hate the current administration. With focused efforts, we can make positive change. But first, we have to stop letting the media distract us with all of this nonsense.

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