We have established, just with the Paul Manafort stuff, that the Russia report from the GOP-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is a pretty holy shit document, one that just absolutely proves that yes, darlings, there was an insane amount of NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

You know, unless you think campaign chair Manafort repeatedly giving a Russian spy highly detailed polling models on the Rust Belt, before pulling off the greatest Rust Belt inside straight in human history, is not collusion somehow. In which case you might be committee chair GOP Senator Marco Rubio, who this particular week might be a greater enabler of Russia's efforts to destroy American democracy than even Ron Johnson or Lindsey Graham. (It doesn't have to be a competition, you guys! You're all the best un-American scum!)

"[T]he Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election," said Rubio and the Republicans in the report, who really hope you're too stupid and/or busy to read the 996 pages of "no evidence" they found.


Fuck These Un-American Republican Liars

We decided to flip to the back of the SSCI report, where senators added their own remarks and analyses, to see exactly what kind of traitors we're dealing with on the GOP side. The first section of that features additional comments from GOP senators Rubio, Jim Risch, Roy Blunt, John Cornyn, Ben Sasse, and literal actual fascist Tom Cotton. And would you believe that all the metric assloads of "NO EVIDENCE" they found is actually just evidence that Trump wanted to do a "Russian reset" just like Barack Obama did, and all the NO COLLUSION they found was actually just that?

The Trump campaign publicly and repeatedly promoted a policy of improving relations with Moscow which, in some ways, was a view not much different than the effort by the Obama administration to "reset" relations between the two countries. Such a policy does not itself constitute collusion or a counterintelligence threat. Volume 5 includes sections that address foreign policy actions taken by the Trump transition team in line with this policy, not because the Committee found any evidence that these foreign policy actions were the result of collaboration with the Russian Government, but to show that after an exhaustive investigation allegations of cooperation can be put to rest. Decisions taken were the result of a foreign policy viewpoint, not illicit Russian influence. We feel Volume 5 should have explicitly stated this.

Hate how Volume 5 was too busy showing what Paul Manafort was doing to really explicitly state that this was all just totally normal foreign policy stuff. We all love the part of the "Russian reset" where you give a Russian spy highly detailed models of how to suppress the vote in the Rust Belt. It's a very generous "Russian reset"! What else did the Trump campaign give the Russians, for "Russian reset"?

The Republicans jerk themselves into a frothy lather talking about how tough on Russia Donald Trump has been, expelling Russian spies in response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in London (Trump threw a fucking tantrum when he found out how many spies we were kicking out) and selling Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine (which he then used to try to shake down the Ukrainians into helping steal him the 2020 election, for which he was impeached). It also, unbelievably, extols Trump's decision to pull out of the Open Skies and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaties, as being tough on Russia, because of how Russia was violating the treaties anyway, so YOLO! (If there's no treaty, you can't punish the Russians for violating it, morons. But then again, that seems to be Trump's point.)

Fuuuuuuuck these un-American shitmouthed Republican senators, who are lying through their teeth about what their own fucking report actually says. Jesus Christ.

NO COLLUSION! NO COLLUSION! You Know, Except For All The Collusion.

Let's look at the Democratic senators' addendum at the back of the report to see if this was all just a "Russian reset" or if their GOP colleagues are literal actual traitors.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, Martin Heinrich, Ron Wyden, Michael Bennet and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris add some actual context, which we are going to excerpt liberally, like common liberals, because y'all needa read it:

The Committee's bipartisan Report unambiguously shows that members of the Trump Campaign cooperated with Russian efforts to get Trump elected. It recounts efforts by Trump and his team to obtain dirt on their opponent from operatives acting on behalf of the Russian government. It reveals the extraordinary lengths by which Trump and his associates actively sought to enable the Russian interference operation by amplifying its electoral impact and rewarding its perpetrators - even after being warned of its Russian origins. And it presents, for the first time, concerning evidence that the head of the Trump Campaign was directly connected to the Russian meddling through his communications with an individual found to be a Russian intelligence officer.

But, but, Russian reset!

The Committee's bipartisan Report found that Paul Manafort, while he was Chairman of the Trump Campaign, was secretly communicating with a Russian intelligence officer with whom he discussed Campaign strategy and repeatedly shared internal Campaign polling data. This took place while the Russian intelligence operation to assist Trump was ongoing. Further, Manafort took steps to hide these communications and repeatedly lied to federal investigators, and his deputy on the Campaign destroyed evidence of communications with the Russian intelligence officer. The Committee obtained some information suggesting that the Russian intelligence officer, with whom Manafort had a longstanding relationship, may have been connected to the GRU's hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election. This is what collusion looks like.

And what else?

The Committee's bipartisan Report found that a member of the Trump Campaign's foreign policy advisory team was provided with advance notice of the Russian plot to anonymously release hacked emails that would damage Trump's opponent, and the Report found that it is implausible that this information was not passed to the Campaign. The advance notice of a forthcoming covert Russian intervention on Trump's behalf came from an individual linked to the Russian government, and took place in April 2016, prior to any public awareness of the Russian meddling effort. No authorities were notified.

Love the part of the "Russian Reset" where the Committee confirms that dumb Russian target George Papadopoulos "likely learned" (page x) in April 2016 about the Russian attacks on Hillary Clinton and American democracy for Trump from his Maltese perfesser friend Joseph Mifsud, and then totally blabbed about that to other governments, including Australia, which tipped the FBI off in the first place. (You know, which is exactly the way we all understood it happened. Which makes one wonder what the fuck Attorney General Bill Barr was doing in Italy chasing rabbits to try to find made-up evidence that Papadopoulos was FRAAAAAAAMED BY DEEEP STAAAAAATE.)

And yes, the Committee finds it "implausible" that Pap did not tell the Trump campaign.

Back to the Democratic senators:

The Committee's bipartisan Report found that Russia's goal in its unprecedented hack-and-leak operation against the United States in 2016, among other motives, was to assist the Trump Campaign. Candidate Trump and his Campaign responded to that threat by embracing, encouraging, and exploiting the Russian effort. Trump solicited inside information in advance of WikiLeaks's· expected releases of stolen information, even after public reports widely attributed the activity to Russia, so as to maximize his electoral benefit. The Campaign crafted a strategy around these anticipated releases to amplify the dissemination and promotion of the stolen documents. Even after the US government formally announced the hack-and-leak campaign as a Russian government effort, Trump's embrace of the stolen documents and his efforts to minimize the attribution to Russia only continued. The Committee's Report clearly shows that Trump and his Campaign were not mere bystanders in this attack - they were active participants. They coordinated their activities with the releases of the hacked Russian data, magnified the effects of a known Russian campaign, and welcomed the mutual benefit from the Russian activity.

Love the part of the "Russian Reset" where Roger Stone kept Trump informed about upcoming dumps from the Russian cut-out called WikiLeaks. Indeed, Stone told Trump ahead of time that the next big WikiLeaks dump would be about Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. And OMG, on October 7, 2016, it was! (And OMG, Trump lied about that to Robert Mueller!)

Speaking of that day, remember how weird it was that the "Access Hollywood" tape came out, and then like 85 seconds later, Russia-We-Mean-WikiLeaks dumped the Podesta emails? Remember how it was almost too perfect, especially on the afternoon of the morning the Obama administration first publicly confirmed the ongoing Russian attack? The report addresses that, relaying details of a phone call between Roger Stone and his good pal Jerome Corsi. You see, the Trump team knew the "Access Hollywood" tape was coming out about an hour ahead of time, and Roger Stone knew too. Corsi says Stone "[w]anted the Podesta stuff to balance the news cycle [...] right then or at least coincident." (p. 249)

According to Corsi, Stone also told him to have WikiLeaks "drop the Podesta emails immediately."

You know, the emails stolen by Russia and laundered by WikiLeaks that Roger Stone and Trump knew about, which Manafort and his Russian spy friend very well might have been connected to the stealing of. Those Podesta emails.

What a very good RUSSIAN RESET this all was!

NO COLLUSION! Except For Also All This Other F*cking Collusion!

As for other findings, the Committee restates that Vladimir Putin personally ordered the attacks to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump, and to undermine our democracy in general. It also says the Committee found "significant indications" that WikiLeaks knew exactly what it was doing for Russia, because REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. On page 208, it's explicit, saying "the Committee found significant evidence that, in the summer of 2016, WikiLeaks was knowingly collaborating with Russian government officials," MARCO.

The Committee confirms everything we know about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, where Russian lady lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, at the direction of Trump family Russian oligarch buddy Aras Agalarov AKA "Putin's builder," approached Donald Trump Jr. and promised him sweet Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton. The Committee notes that Junior totally fucking knew this was coming from people connected to the Russian government. (This is not new information, it just is good to see it in this report with the GOP's signatures all over it, MARCO.) Also it sounds like Veselnitskaya is a lot more of a Russian spy than we knew, allegedly. (And remember, that meeting was about Trump lifting sanctions on Russia.)

Ditto for everything we know about Donald Trump and Michael Cohen pursuing a Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign, while Trump lied to the American people and said he had no deals with the Russians.

Surely no collusion, though, MARCO. Very muchly Russian reset!

Regarding All Those Redactions!

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden has his own section at the back, about how absolutely bullshit a lot of the redactions in this very report are. He writes, "The American people [...] deserve better than a double standard in which information related to Russian interference in U.S. elections remains heavily redacted while information that might cast doubt on investigations into that interference is released wholesale." He notes that "in nearly 1,000 pages of text, we are not aware of a single case where the information that is redacted makes the conduct of Trump or his associates less concerning. To the contrary, across the Report's most critical sections, the redacted information makes the already alarming public findings even more granular, explicit and concerning."

He specifically calls out the insane number of redactions in the sections about Paul Manafort and his literal actual Russian spy friend Konstantin Kilimnik, saying it's highly troubling that intel about Manafort's passage of RUST BELT POLLING DATA to his RUSSIAN SPY FRIEND are redacted, as well as "indications that Kilimnik, and Manafort himself, were connected to Russia's hack-and-lack operations." Which was, again, the original crime of the Russian attack on the 2016 election.

Sounds like some RUSSIAN RESET the American people might like to know about, don't you think, MARCO?

Wyden also says it's just about criminal how little the Senate Intelligence Committee followed Trump's money, considering how that is "Counterintelligence 101."

NO COLLUSION! NO COLL- ... Oh Fuck It.

Now we know why they released this in the middle of the DNC. The report was already done, and it's fucking damning as hell. So Republicans decided they'd act like a common Bill Barr, release it while screaming "NO COLLUSION!" and hopefully all y'all are too stupid and/or distracted to read it for yourself.

To be clear, as Benjamin Wittes writes at Lawfare, by releasing this report at all, these Senate Republicans have "knifed [Trump] in the back," and also Attorney General Bill Barr. Because we can read it, and the Lincoln Project can make ads out of it. They can scream "NO COLLUSION!" all they want, but it's a joke. They confirmed the Mueller/Russia investigations Barr has been waddling around the globe trying to discredit, and they exposed even more than those investigations did. (God knows what's behind all those black redaction bars!)

"Witch hunt"? Fuck off. "Spying occurred"? "Obamagate is the biggest crime and the biggest crime is Obamagate"? Go eat Big Macs in hell.

We all know what happened. Or more of what happened than we did at the beginning of this week. And maybe one day we'll know all of it. Like after President Joseph R. Biden's inauguration.

Just gotta save this year's election from this year's Trump/Russia election stealing first.

Jesus Christ.

OPEN THREAD.

[Senate Russia report]

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Evan Hurst

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