How Many Rudy Giulianis Does It Take For Russia To Steal An Election For Trump?
Yesterday, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines, who is highly qualified and who is NOT some Trump-licking moron stooge hired to hide evidence against Trump, released the National Intelligence Council's (NIC) unclassified assessment of foreign attacks on the 2020 election.
The classified version of the report went to the White House and congressional leadership on January 7, the day after the attack on the Capitol. So to be clear, this report was prepared by the intelligence community under Donald Trump, not Joe Biden.
The toplines are that Russia attacked the election pretty severely to try to hurt Biden and help Trump, naturally, while Iran attempted some fuckery to try to help Trump. China didn't do shit. In other words, noted intelligence analyst "Wonkette" was correct and Bill Barr and all of Trump's other minions were either outright lying or obfuscating when they said with straight faces that China was the real threat this time, attacking the election to hurt poor Trump.
The report also says it has "no indications" any hostile foreign country or entity tried to mess with the actual nuts and bolts of the election, like voter registration or vote counting or anything like that. However it notes that Russia and Iran tried to spread misinformation to make Americans think there was something hinky with the ballot counting. Hey, where have we heard THAT before? (From Donald Trump. It was his fascist Big Lie, that any election result where he didn't win was fraud. Russia helped with the messaging there.)
And the report doesn't get into the actual effects of these attacks on the election. That's not the intelligence community's job. That's other agencies' job. So stop asking them to do that job!
Let's dive in and see if we run into any of Paul Manafort's friends OH HELLO, RUSSIAN SPY KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK! You tried to help steal the 2020 election for Donald Trump, just like you did in 2016? Interesting!
But we are getting ahead of ourselves!
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Russia Did It.
We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US. Unlike in 2016, we did not see persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure.
The report says it has "high confidence" in this assessment, which they don't say if they don't really mean it. Vladimir Putin authorized attacks to hurt Biden, help Trump, and damage Americans' trust in our elections. But this time they didn't try to actually attack the voting systems.
Here's the biggie, though, about the 2020 Trump/Russia campaign against America, which was obvious and in all our faces:
A key element of Moscow's strategy this election cycle was its use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives -- including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden -- to US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration.
Aha, let's dig a bit deeper, because Rudy Giuliani Ron Johnson Fox News say whaaaaaaaaat?
For example, we assess that Putin had purview over the activities of Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian legislator who played a prominent role in Russia's election influence activities. Derkach has ties to Russian officials as well as Russia's intelligence services.
And Andriy Derkach had "purview" over the activities of ...
Rudy Rudy Rudy Rudy Rudy FUCKING Rudy!
If you've been reading Wonkette the last few months, you know a lot about Andriy Derkach.
Steven Mnuchin's Treasury Department announced in September that it was sanctioning Derkach for trying to fuck with the election. That guy had been feeding Giuliani and Senate's Dumbest Republican (and then-Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair!) Ron Johnson disinformation about HUNTER BIDEN!11!!! and JOE BIDEN!11! and BURISMAAAAA!11!1!1 for months. National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director Bill Evanina told the House Intelligence Committee the same exact thing last summer.
The guy literally went to KGB spy school, but Rudy Giuliani wasn't bothered by it, even though he was told a thousand fucking times. Giuliani told the New York Times, "I have no reason to believe he is a Russian agent. There is nothing I saw that said he was a Russian agent. There is nothing he gave me that seemed to come from Russia at all." He did also say, "How the hell would I know?"
Here are some bullet points Wonkette wrote about a bunch of things Derkach did:
- The time Derkach, who literally went to KGB finishing school, was whispering to Rudy Giuliani that Joe Biden and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch had stolen $5.3 billion in American aid for Ukraine, to give it to (((George Soros))), naturally. Derkach and Roodles the Clown are BFFs now.
- The time Derkach's Kremlin propaganda bullshit about the Bidens stealing money also, according to Rudy Giuliani, implicated Adam Schiff, because one time Adam Schiff owned a piece of a mutual fund. Or something. It's a total acid trip, it's not supposed to make sense.
- The time Derkach, who used to be part of Ukraine's pro-Russia Party of Regions that Paul Manafort worked for, was also sending care packages full of Biden bullshit to Trump Republicans like Devin "A Man A Plan A Cow" Nunes.
- And of course, Derkach is a prime source for Senate's Dumbest Republican Ron Johnson and his Carmen Sandiego quest to find THE REAL TRUTH about the Bidens in Ukraine, a Senate investigation that is literally advancing Kremlin propaganda for Trump's benefit in this election.
The intel community was on top of all of this the whole time. Dude is a literal Russian spy. He fed intel directly to Giuliani, and he fed it through an intermediary to Ron Johnson for Johnson's VERY IMPORTANT campaign to spread Russian disinfo to hurt Joe Biden from his perch in the Homeland Security Committee. (Johnson called it an "investigation." It was not an investigation.)
Hey, remember how last summer Bill Barr shitcanned the Southern District of New York's investigation into Giuliani, as well as its subpoenas for his electronic records? Weird how he would do that when the intel community was STARING AT THIS SHIT EVERY DAY. It's almost like it was his job as Trump's Roy Cohn to hide the evidence!
Anyway, Derkach didn't work alone. He had a little buddy.
WANTED: Konstantin Kilimnik, for attacking two American elections in a row to help Donald Trump and Russia.
This brings us to Konstantin Kilimnik, AKA Paul Manafort's old Russian spy buddy, who the then-GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI) outright called a Russian spy in its report on the 2016 election. Kilimnik was apparently all over the 2020 election attack too!
This graf from the report is like a condensed milk version of everything Wonkette has written on the subject for the last four years, with all the dick jokes removed:
A network of Ukraine-linked individuals — including Russian influence agent Konstantin Kilimnik — who were also connected to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) took steps throughout the election cycle to damage US ties to Ukraine, denigrate President Biden and his candidacy, and benefit former President Trump's prospects for reelection. We assess this network also sought to discredit the Obama administration by emphasizing accusations of corruption by US officials, and to falsely blame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.
NO RUSSIA! NO RUSSIA! NO RUSSIA! UKRAINE IS THE REAL RUSSIA! That is a thing Donald Trump liked to say, and it was a lie that originated in Putin's mouth.
May we quickly remind you what Kilimnik, Paul Manafort's longtime business associate/LITERAL RUSSIAN SPY buddy, did for Manafort and Trump in 2016? He is the guy Manafort was passing internal Trump campaign Rust Belt polling models before the 2016 election. It always seemed pretty clear Kilimnik was handing that data to Putin's favorite oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was also one of their business associates. He is the guy Manafort lied to special counsel Robert Mueller the most about, according to the Mueller Report, and neither Mueller nor SSCI could suss out exactly what they were doing, because of the lies, and because they used encrypted apps that deleted their comms.
SSCI had info suggesting Kilimnik was somehow "connected to the GRU's hack and leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election." SSCI also thought Manafort himself may have been connected to the Russian hacking in 2016. Please go back and read this piece when you have time.
And what did Kilimnik do with Derkach in 2020? Back to yesterday's report:
Derkach, Kilimnik, and their associates sought to use prominent US persons and media conduits to launder their narratives to US officials and audiences. These Russian proxies met with and provided materials to Trump administration-linked US persons to advocate for formal investigations; hired a US firm to petition US officials; and attempted to make contact with several senior US officials. They also made contact with established US media figures and helped produce a documentary that aired on a US television network in late January 2020.
What documentary? You mean they were behind THIS documentary that the One America News Network (OANN) made in 2020? It was called "The Ukraine Hoax: Impeachment, Biden Cash, and Mass Murder," and as Mother Jones notes, it was hosted by Michael Caputo, who somehow last year became the spox for the Department of Health and Human Services until he had that weird meltdown.
All of this makes sense, because SSCI asserted that Kilimnik was one of the earliest seeds for the bullshit Kremlin narratives about how it was really Ukraine that attacked the 2016 election, way back as far as 2016. After all, part of doing a successful covert attack on an election is also doing a successful coverup!
Meanwhile, literally every bit of the Russian influence attack on the 2020 election was about spreading a seedy narrative about Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine. Kilimnik's activities with Derkach in 2020 are just a natural extension of his activities in 2016.
Makes you wonder what Paul Manafort was doing from ankle-bracelet-COVID-jail last year.
Rachel Maddow noted last night that it was weird when suddenly last month the FBI put up a fancy new "wanted" poster for Kilimnik, offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. He's been under indictment and hiding out forever. Why the sudden urgency last month? Might have something to do with all this!
There's a hell of a lot more in the report, and you should read it on the beach this summer with a mai tai, but we need to move on.
Other Russian Attacks!
Like we alluded to above, Russia was goosing the message that became Trump's Big Lie about the election. In the 2019 primaries, they "backed candidates from both major US political parties that Moscow viewed as outsiders" (that you, Tulsi?) and pushed claims that "establishment" candidates were helped by election fraud. Their trolls also amplified messages that mail-in ballots are full of fraud (heard that before ... somewhere!) and that the Democratic Party does a lot of voter frauding.
If you go back and change all the "Russia" nouns to "Donald Trump" in that last graf, it still works. Indeed, it says they often outright repeated Trump's messaging for him, to help spread it.
The report notes that Russia's big troll farm — the artist formerly known as the "Internet Research Agency" but now goes by "Lakhta Internet Research" — and other influence operators pushed disinfo on COVID and tried to amplify racial tensions, on top of all the bullshit they were spreading about the Bidens in Ukraine and the Democratic Party.
Oh yeah, and it says Russia is still at it, and has been at the forefront helping to spread Trump's Big Lie about winning an election he actually lost.
So WTF Did Iran Do?
IT STOLED THE ELECTION FOR JOE BIDEN!11!!!
Actually the report says Iran's activities weren't really about promoting Joe Biden, but rather just "denigrating" Trump. It mentions that weird thing where Iran was sending emails to Democratic voters claiming to be the Proud Boys, threatening people to change their voter registrations and support Trump OR ELSE. It was bizarre at the time, but this report seems to suggest Iran's activities were designed to make Trump look bad. Maybe they figured that if Democrats got emails from "The Proud Boys" threatening them, that would make Trump look bad.
Whatever. We still don't get it. Good try, though, Iran!
'GIIIIIIIIIINA ... Did Not Do It.
We assess that China did not deploy interference efforts and considered but did not deploy influence efforts intended to change the outcome of the US Presidential election. We have high confidence in this judgment.
The report says China didn't see it being advantageous enough for them to try to tip our scales one way or the other.
That's it. It wasn't worth it. So whatever Barr and Ratcliffe said they were seeing from China, you know, fuck off.
And that, in the shortest form we could muster, is what happened to the 2020 election.
The good news is that it wasn't successful enough. To paraphrase Russia's golden orange boy, Russia moved on the 2020 election like a bitch — and they really had a lot of fun with Rudy Giuliani and Ron Johnson in the process, even after those guys were told one million times that they were being used for a Russian election attack! — but they couldn't get there.
We're just curious to see how this whole Konstantin Kilimnik thing plays out, and whether Manafort might somehow find himself in trouble again, in some way that's not covered by his pardon from Trump.
And obviously we're curious to see what new Attorney General Merrick Garland does with all this Rudy Giuliani evidence lying around the Justice Department.
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