Big Tech Matt Taibbi Media Russiagate

Matt Taibbi: Shouldn’t Hillary Clinton Be Banned From Twitter Now?

Trial testimony reveals Hillary Clinton personally approved serious election misinformation. Is there an anti-Trump exception to content moderation?

By Matt Taibbi / Substack

Last week, in the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis asked ex-campaign manager Robby Mook about the decision to share with a reporter a bogus story about Donald Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank. Mook answered by giving up his onetime boss. “I discussed it with Hillary,” he said, describing his pitch to the candidate: “Hey, you know, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter… She agreed to that.”

In a country with a functioning media system, this would have been a huge story. Obviously this isn’t Watergate, Hillary Clinton was never president, and Sussmann’s trial doesn’t equate to prosecutions of people like Chuck Colson or Gordon Liddy. But as we’ve slowly been learning for years, a massive fraud was perpetrated on the public with Russiagate, and Mook’s testimony added a substantial piece of the picture, implicating one of the country’s most prominent politicians in one of the more ambitious disinformation campaigns we’ve seen. 

There are two reasons the Clinton story isn’t a bigger one in the public consciousness. One is admitting the enormity of what took place would require system-wide admissions by the FBI, the CIA, and, as Matt Orfalea’s damning video above shows, virtually every major news media organization in America.

More importantly, there’s no term for the offense Democrats committed in 2016, though it was similar to Watergate. Instead of a “third-rate burglary” and a bug, Democrats sent schlock research to the FBI, who in turn lied to the secret FISA court and obtained “legal” surveillance authority over former Trump aide Carter Page (which opened doors to searches of everyone connected to Page). Worse, instead of petty “ratfucking” like Donald Segretti’s “Canuck letter,” the Clinton campaign created and fueled a successful, years-long campaign of official harassment and media fraud. They innovated an extraordinary trick, using government connections and press to generate real criminal and counterintelligence investigations of political enemies, mostly all based on what we now know to be self-generated nonsense. 

The Clintons, and especially Hillary, have been baselessly accused of all sorts of things in the past, the murder of Vince Foster being just one example. The “vast right-wing conspiracy” was so successful that the Clintons ended up aligning with and helping fund its chief architect, David Brock, ahead of the 2016 cycle. Along with Perkins Coie and the research agency Fusion-GPS, headed by former Wall Street Journal reporter and current self-admiring sleaze-merchant Glenn Simpson, they engineered three long years of phony “collusion” headlines. No matter what papers like the Washington Post try to argue this week, this was an enormous scandal. 

The world has mostly moved on, since Russiagate was thirty or forty “current things” ago, but the public prosecution of the collusion theory was a daily preoccupation of national media for years. A substantial portion of the population believed the accusations, and expected the story would end with Donald Trump in jail or at least indicted, scrolling for a thousand straight days in desperate expectation of the promised justice. Trump was bounced from Twitter for incitement, but Twitter has a policy against misinformation as well. It includes a prohibition against “misleading” media that is “likely to result in widespread confusion on public issues.” 

I’m not a fan of throwing people off Twitter, but how can knowingly launching thousands of bogus news stories across a period of years, leading millions of people to believe lies and expect news that never arrived, not qualify as causing “widespread confusion on public issues”?

Let’s travel back in time to the first months of 2017, when “Russiagate” became the dominant news story in the world. Full panic arrived on the wings of a series of blockbuster events. One was the release of an Intelligence Assessment by the office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on January 6, 2017, which concluded Russia ordered an “influence campaign” with a “clear preference” for Trump. Days later, there was an “absolute bombshell” of a leak reported in CNN, about four intelligence chiefs — Clapper, CIA head John Brennan, FBI chief James Comey, and the NSA’s Mike Rogers — who supposedly presented president-elect Trump with “claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.”

Instantly, much of America was in a fever of speculation over the suddenly plausible-sounding possibility that the incoming president was a real-world “Manchurian Candidate” under Russia’s control. That phrase would be used by the Washington Post, New York Times, Vanity Fair, Salon, Daily News and countless others:

The impact on the population of these and other stories was awesome, defining the Trump presidency before it began. An Economist/YouGov poll from late December, 2016, in other words even before Russiagate even came to a full news boil, showed an astonishing 50% of Clinton voters believed Russia had “tampered with vote tallies.” This is one of many interesting pieces of news only discoverable on the WayBack Machine now. 

Americans saw Russiagate as a two-tiered story. Tier one was the notion that Russia “hacked the election,” by leaking Democratic Party emails and through schemes like buying Facebook ads. This assertion remains more or less unquestioned, even though it probably shouldn’t be, as multiple key pieces of evidence now look dubious at best, from the suspect conclusions of auditor Crowdstrike about the hack of the DNC to the dicey reliability of a human source in Russia who may have led Brennan to conclude over other analyst objections that Russian “interference” was done on Trump’s behalf. However, that’s a subject for another time. 

Tier two was the idea that Trump aided Russia’s “election hacking,” as the New York Times tabbed it unequivocally at the time. We now know the initial public accusations that Trump “colluded” came more or less entirely from the Clinton campaign, based on information that was not just unreliable but fraudulent.

Primarily, this was disseminated to the public via two disinformation streams. The first was the dossier generated by former spy Christopher Steele, on behalf of Simpson’s Fusion-GPS. 

The public campaign began with a Yahoo! report, based on Steele’s reports, describing Carter Page as a “possible back channel” brokering “significant and disturbing ties” between Trump and the Kremlin. Later, there was the aforementioned Intelligence Assessment, which contained a classified annex referring to Steele’s claims about Russia having “compromising material” on Trump. Those would-be explosive secret Steele claims — hinted at in an October 31, 2016 Mother Jones story that failed to have wide impact — finally came out in technicolor thanks to that bombshell CNN story from early January 2017, featuring Watergate legend Carl Bernstein on the byline, about the four intelligence chiefs delivering the Steele material to Trump.

That CNN story, which told America via anonymous sources there had been a “continuing exchange of information” between “Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government,” quickly led to Buzzfeed’s publication of the whole Steele enchilada. Once out, those Steele reports sent reporters on years of wild goose chases, inspiring prolonged journo-hunts for everything from the pee tape to evidence of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen meeting with Russian hackers in Prague. 

The second source of early collusion claims was the preposterous Alfa Bank story. This drama is almost too dumb to recap, but the gist is Clinton’s lawyer Sussmann worked with academics who’d improperly accessed non-public data from a federal contract to build a case that a “Trump server” was communicating with a Russian bank, in what the New York Times later described as a “mysterious computer back channel.” The problem was, it was all hooey. According to Sussmann’s indictment, researchers worried they “couldn’t make any claims that would fly public scrutiny,” with one complaining: “The only thing that drives us at this point is that we just do not like [Trump]… Folks, I am afraid we have tunnel vision. Time to regroup?” 

No such luck: instead of regrouping, the campaign boldly submitted the nonsense to the FBI, along with a white paper by Fusion-GPS, before leaking this bilge to the media with, we now learn, the explicit approval of Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

The idea that Trump was communicating in a super-secret way via inscrutable beeps and bops with a Russian bank was so stupid that multiple normally dependable anti-Trump outlets, including the Times and a few writers at the Washington Post, were unable to find a way to take the claims seriously. 

However, as the above video shows, there were plenty of big media fish that still bit on this most ridiculous of hooks. Rachel Maddow, in keeping with her pattern through this period, was the most extravagant offender, making the inadvertently revealing statement about the Alfa tale that “This could be the missing link” proving collusion, the long-sought “Holy Grail” of proof. She is also seen telling New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins, one of the primary press marks (along with Slate’s Franklin Foer) trusted by the campaign to be dumb enough to shepherd this absurd story into print, “We are blessed as a country to have journalists as talented as you and Franklin Foer writing about this.” 

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle was still more deranged, declaring that Alfa’s “server was found in Trump Tower… give me a break,” as if a Russian server was literally discovered in Trump’s bedroom. Deep state spokesmodel Natasha Bertrand yuks, “What more evidence do you need?” We also see Evelyn Farkas, who at one time served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia under Barack Obama, muttering, “I feel like there are a lotta dots here.” She’s referring not to her humorously unfocused, marble-like eyes, but the idea that these “dots” would someday add up to evidence. Farkas remember once went on MSNBC and insisted she had firsthand evidence of Trumpian collusion — “I knew there was more” — only to later admit under oath before congress, “I didn’t know anything.” 

Even Watergate’s other reporting legend, Bob Woodward, said on MSNBC in October 2018 about a Filkins story, “This is really important incremental coverage… I mean that [New Yorker] piece is very significant,” adding, “You just have to chip away at it and if we stop chipping away at it, we’re not gonna get to the big answer.” 

Both the Alfa stories and all of the key Steele stories went on to be demolished by official inquiries. The breakdown began with the terse conclusions of onetime votive candle subject Robert Mueller. Ol’ saggy-face power-crapped on the Prague story in his long-awaited report (“Cohen had never traveled to Prague”), which also detailed at length how Alfa Bank chief Petr Aven was charged by Putin late in 2016 to find ways of “getting in touch with the incoming Trump Administration.” Mueller showed how Aven failed utterly at the task, rebuffed by Dmitri Simes by way of a businessman named Richard Burt. Mueller wrote that poor Aven had to go back to Russia and personally recount to Putin his “lack of success” at building “relations with the Trump administration.” 

All this failure came during the period when, according to both Perkins Coie and Slate,Trump and Alfa were supposedly conspiring away in diabolical computer beeps, like Heaven’s Gate cult members. Maddow incidentally was completely wrong when she says Mueller didn’t address the Alfa story. All of the above spoke directly to that issue. 

Later, in his catastrophic congressional testimony, Mueller failed to answer in the way fans expected when asked by Republican Will Hurd about Slate’s claim that the Trump-Alfa connection was “akin to what criminal syndicates do.” As we see in Orf’s video above, a bewildered-looking Mueller answered, “My belief at this point, it’s not true.”

The real end came with the release of an exhaustive 2019 report by Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz about the FISA applications on Page. This scathing document first of all flatly rebuffed the Alfa story, saying the Trump-Alfa connection had been investigated by FBI, who by February of 2017 concluded “there were no such links.” This means FBI higher-ups let the likes of Bob Woodward ramble away about this moronic conspiracy theory for more than a year after they knew it was nonsense.

After Horowitz was finished, none of the headline Steele claims — not the pee tape (revealed to have come from sources speaking “in jest” over “beers”), not Cohen-in-Prague, not the “well-developed conspiracy” of five years, not the giant stake in Rosneft offered as a bribe for dropping sanctions, not the U.S.-based Russian spy ring paid via a nonexistent consulate in Miami, nor any of the other absurd collusion accusations — had any meat left on the bone.

Horowitz’s revelations should have ended the careers of at least a dozen prominent journalists, inspired mass resignations within the FBI, and left the Clinton campaign facing an avalanche of official questions and sanctions. Though few of those things happened, the report did effectively kill Russiagate as a day-to-day media phenomenon, even among those who want Donald Trump to go away,” as Times editor Dean Baquet famously put it

The new revelation by Mook about Alfa, that “I discussed it with Hillary” and “she agreed to that,” is significant because it shows the candidate was directly involved with the deception. This knowledge makes the campaign’s public statements about collusion stories from that early period look far worse, and they already looked bad. 

The first time the Clinton campaign fed tales about Steele and his material to the press, via the September, 2016 Yahoo! story about Page as a “back channel” to the Kremlin, the Clinton camp released a statement pretending to be shocked, shocked by the news. 

They wrote (emphasis mine): “It’s chilling to learn that U.S. intelligence officials are conducting a probe into suspected meetings between Trump’s foreign policy adviser Carter Page and members of Putin’s inner circle while in Moscow.” The release came complete with a big smiling picture of Hillary:

With Alfa a month or so later, the campaign did the same thing, issuing a brassy statement in the form of a tweet by current Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan. This Big Twitter Lie among other things announced, “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow”:

When the Horowitz report came out years later, blue-friendly media ecstatically reported the conclusion that the FBI’s official “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation launched in the summer of 2016 had not been based on Steele. The bureau, Horowitz said, had an “authorized purpose” to open an inquiry, based on a convoluted tale involving onetime Trump aide George Papadopoulos supposedly telling an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer about “dirt” Russians had on Clinton (Papadopoulos never actually spoke to any Russians, but such details were considered minor at the time). Papadopoulos, not Steele, was reported by papers like the Times to be the “catalyst” for the Trump-Russia investigation. 

This is technically true. However, we know from subsequent testimony by FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe that the Bureau knew by August, 2016 — within about a month of the opening of the investigation — that Papadopoulos was a dead end. He told Republican congressman Trey Gowdy this was why the Bureau shifted focus back then to Carter Page, because the evidence “didn’t particularly indicate” Papadopoulos “was interacting with the Russians.” Moreover we learned from Horowitz that despite what Democrats and the press had claimed, the Steele material played a “central and essential role” in allowing the FBI to pursue FISA authority on Page in September of 2016. Without Clinton’s bogus reports, the Trump-Russia investigation might never have gone past September, 2016. 

Russiagate die-hards will wave their hands here and point to the Senate Intelligence Committee report of 2020 that concluded there was collusion based on the idea that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort gave “sensitive internal polling data” to his former deputy Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the report bluntly says “is a Russian intelligence officer.” The Senate Committee could not say what their evidence was against Kilimnik, or what he supposedly did with that polling data, or why. They did say they obtained “some information” that Kilimnik “may have” been connected “to the GRU’s hack and leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election,” though the portion of the report explaining this remarkable supposition is redacted. 

I’d argue all of the above — that Senate report is a joke on multiple levels — but it’s irrelevant. Kilimnik didn’t really show up in popular collusion theories until early 2018, well over a year after the Russiagate madness began. The collusion train in the crucial first period of late 2016 through late 2017 was driven by Clinton-concocted news phantoms, during a time when the public was not yet aware that the Clinton campaign funded the Steele reports. 

Clinton and her campaign systematically lied throughout, both about “collusion” and about their involvement in disseminating popular theories about it. We know this for a fact. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign recently agreed to pay a $113,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission for concealing their role in producing the Steele research, a role by the way her campaign never admitted to, and which was only disclosed through dogged effort by the House Intelligence Committee nearly a year after the 2016 election.

Clinton’s ex-lawyer Sussmann now stands accused of submitting the “tunnel vision” research about the silly Trump-Alfa tale to the FBI without revealing the (admittedly obvious) connection between that research and her campaign. Worse, both she and the current National Security Adviser Sullivan tweeted — tweeted! — an assertion that this same story represented “the most direct link yet” between Trump and the Kremlin. This is not just misinformation, it’s the most sophisticated kind of disinformation, an intentionally false story spread with official imprimatur. 

For all the whining by the likes of Gobbels-for-a-nanosecond Nina Jankowicz of the now-paused DHS “Disinformation Governance Board,” disinformation is a real danger in the Internet age. The most dangerous variety, however, isn’t from random users in porn-like chats, but the kind exposed by the Clinton campaign. There’s just no defense against privately-generated fake news stories, commissioned by prominent politicians who in turn hand them to the corporate press, which then runs them with off-the-record nudges of encouragement from agencies like the FBI. 

Especially if reporters decide en masse to act like political aides instead of doing their jobs and questioning these stories, the public is really helpless to stop such deceptions. The fast-receding early years of Russiagate prove the point, as does the laughably obvious collective decision by all the major networks to non-cover the Mook testimony dragging Clinton into this mess. 

It’s unconscionable that Jake Sullivan has been allowed to remain in high office given his demonstrated role in perpetrating this public fraud, and though I never like to say any colleague should lose a job, anyone in media who who printed this transparent political concoction is either too stupid or too dishonest to work in journalism. 

Hillary Clinton was falsely accused many times earlier in her career. This time she’s guilty. It’s not society’s fault there’s no legal name for the offense she and her campaign committed. It was serious, and there should be serious consequences.

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Divide, Griftopia, and The Great Derangement, was a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary.

56 comments

  1. Haven’t read this piece. Other side of that coin is that I am not ever going to do so.

    Really Matt? This is the best use of your time?

    Shaking head sadly.

    1. Right. Here we are, facing a fascist takeover of our country, and this?

      1. The Clintons have been planning this fascist take-over since the 90s.

      2. What are you doing here? The “fascist takeover” will come because of the criminal fecklessness of Clinton and the Dems and you’re complaining about Taibbi pounding the final nails into your pet conspiracy theory? The Ukraine war– a proxy war wholly generated by those idiots and nitwits in the Dem Party and their friends, the neocons, threatens WW3, and you’re STILL moping about the exposure of Russiagate as a fraud? Sub-adult behavior.

      3. Bill Clinton started phase 2 of the fascist takeover, what the hell are you talking about. Hillary is a war criminal for what she did to Libya and should be in prison for life for that reason alone. She also perpetrated all the Russiagate BS that laid the ground for the mass anti-Russia hysteria in the U.S. over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What the hell are you talking about? Anyone who’s not interested in this is not interested in knowing what’s really going on.

    2. I read the entire boring account in which we discover that Hitler doesn’t have one testicle and two Jewish grandparents. American politics is high stakes and dirty. The account of Peter Lawford and Robert Kennedy drugging Marilyn Monroe and stealing her diary at Covert Action is so much juicier. Marilyn went on an ambulance junket to nowhere while Peter was rushing Bobby to the airport the wrong way down a one way street about 3am. As Madison Cawthorn might observe, “Trump and Hillary are both thugs.” (“Jake Sullivan too,” adds Matt.) When the dopes we elect are required to sell The Big Lie to involve us in collateral mass murders how can you expect them to turn off the hose when they are campaigning? What is the name of the error when a reporter nitpicks etiquette points idealistically way after the events and can’t assign danger proportionately? We don’t have a name for that yet. I’ll just suggest the term “Taibbi” and you can make other suggestions.

      1. Your reference to Hitler’s alleged condition got me recalling the ditty of British schoolchildren in WW2:

        Hitler…has only got one ball,
        Goering…has two but very small,
        Himmler…had something sim’lar,
        But poor old Goebbels…has no balls at all.

      2. it’s called tip-toeing
        it’s done so one isn’t completely canceled

    3. Robert’s bought one of those two-headed coins.
      Think I’ll log onto the US MoneyMint and do the same.
      They have proof sets made of copper covered in gold leaf that come in pairs:
      Two-tails; two-heads. So you can cheat and delude yourself even as you dazzle your marks.
      My last submission was censored because I referred to a story @ Covert Action about Robert Kennedy. You know, William vanden Heuvel’s buddy who paled around with the Rat Pack.
      This week on Sheared Post it’s all about legerdemain. The best trick (Penn and Teller stuff) is when Lee Camp points with his bat to a section in the stands and then proceeds to hit a home run out of the park. Matt (above) tries juggling but can’t keep his plates spinning. But the champ of hocus-pocusbroken is Bob himself who tries to transform census tracts into investigative journalism. Thank you Moderators… Ed Sullivan and Ernie Ford.

      1. Man oh man, David Copperfield. You make these posts disappear and reappear like a puking memory hole.

    4. Seriously Robert. Very like the Trumpers who will brook no discussion of their Fuhrur’s failings.

      As a one time Clinton supporter, I say that the “vast right-wing conspiracy” against Clinton was real. But at every turn, she made the wrong choice, took the wrong action, snuggled up to the wrong people, and became the very thing the conspirators said she was. The foul person that Hilary is was wrought by the choices that she herself made.

      As for the fraud of “Russiagate.” We are able to poll and get data sets on everything, everyone, and every response. Yet no one can, or ever has said, “X % of voters were influenced Russian pro-Trump advertising/programing.” A successful campaign and no one can provide the data? You would think everyone would be working on getting this valuable data? They tried to prove collusion, but dared not address actual numbers from that fiction. I called BS on it the first time out.

      1. agree w/ the russiagate was a spoof but when hrc:
        “…made the wrong choice, took the wrong action, snuggled up to the wrong people”
        it was b/c she had been always that way

      2. @Kaiso
        Hillary Clinton was on Walmart’s board of directors long ago. She’s always been evil, this isn’t a new development.

    5. You’re not going to read the piece, but you somehow know it wasn’t worth writing, so you condescendingly shake your head? Don’t worry – whatever might come out about Hillary, you will still be able to use her for a role model.

  2. Thank you, Matt. Just because Trump is a proven crook doesn’t mean that everything said about him is true. Hilary is almost as bad a crook in her own way.

    1. @Prem Chand
      In some very important ways, Clinton is worse than Trump. While Trump doesn’t care about anything buy money and his ego, at least he seems to have a small anti-war instinct. Clinton, on the other hand, is a major war criminal (Libya) and a total war monger that has no problem getting us into WWIII with Russia. They’re just psychopaths for different reasons, but neither is worse than the other.

  3. Despicable pols along with their MSN mouthpieces. Taibbi’s insults are sometimes funny; in fact his real calling would seem to be standup comic, if he could only stand on topic.

    1. Where did he not stay on topic? You’re pissed because the Russiagate fiasco Co tinues to blow up in your face, and you’re condemning the messenger. Too bad for you.

      1. @TimN
        These people will never let it go. They’re as delusional as Trump voters. People are freaked out about the nutcase QAnon crap, but they only have a small handful of people in Congress. Blueanon, on the other hand, has a huge number of people in Congress that right now comprise a majority, and they’re every bit as delusional.

  4. Matt’s statement that in the past Hillary has been “wrongly accused” of wrong doing is, I believe, too generous.

    It would be enlightening to have those accusations fully investigated before Matt’s conclusion can be believed.

    1. Vince Foster is spinning in his cript begging, “Dig me up and make them pay.”
      As a person who thought the Foster case was all right wing blather, the recent stuff that’s leaked out raises some questions. Vince’s poor old carcas was dragged all around the park, like Marilyn Monroe. A cover up is unnecessary for a suicide.

      1. Suicide? So is that the final word on MM in the time of Hoover and the Kennedys?

  5. “Hillary Clinton was falsely accused many times earlier in her career.”

    when

  6. in contrast to the 2 above who took the piss, i request true anti-imperialist left to decontextualize & inspect the mechanism against us. There is a giant pink 800lb gorilla in the middle of the living room that we unacknowledged are expected to unfairly grapple with as mere individuals. i liked what this article explored in overview about twists & turns & blind adherence & uncertainties & collective delusions & fighting corporate mind control force field & parcing through narratives & spins & the agonies of going back over dead horses & old saws to nail down what actually happened. Understand one aspect of the weapon of the juggernaut evil machine after all of us. Here for me, this is the best part:

    There’s just no defense against privately-generated fake news stories, commissioned by prominent politicians who in turn hand them to the corporate press, which then runs them with off-the-record nudges of encouragement from agencies like the FBI.

    i don’t give a damn about naysayers who dismiss nextgen like Matt Taibbi who are xacto-blade sharp & can wordsmith swashbuckle any opponents down, having their chops & teeth cut already & deserve respect & are expected, are in line to take baton from greats eventually rotating out like Dr. Hedges.

  7. To TL; DR types:

    Who nevertheless feel that being unfamiliar with the subject at hand is no barrier to opinions. Of course we ignorant working class peasants eagerly await your erudite comments.

    However, it isn’t about Twitter…or twits. It’s about how the leader of the Ivy D mob personally okayed the deliberate lies of a vile disinformation campaign. And was aided by the sycophants of the MSM; so much for the once good name of Bob Woodward. Want details? Read the piece! Like those of us who don’t assume we already know everything relevant.

    The “H” of Hillary Clinton’s campaign was an ironic tell, a Freudian slip. Two blue lines overridden by a red arrow. Were that a traffic sign, it would mean “move right.” All the way to the red party? Rah-rah neo-cons! New Dems, same old cons.

  8. A science fiction short story — can’t remember the title — told how aliens implemented their decision to hobble the rise of humanity.

    They killed everyone over 12 years old.

    The “education” system, social media and absurd self-pleasuring outlets like Twitter have accomplished something similar here.

    TLTR DR is the emblematic snark by people “too bored” to actually read anything substantive.

    No Vast Right Wing Conspiracy required, even though there are some of these — it’s the natural outcome of capitalist enterprises finding their sweet spot profits in the lowest common denominator, and social media’s cocaine-like prodding of resentment and anger.

    All of these technical developments were born with glorious promises of enlightenment and a new age of comity and communication.

    Anyone who remembers how the CB radio fad collapsed — with people screeching and talking over each other — will see a model for our new information age.

  9. Pull the whiskers from her chin.
    Stick her with a safety pin.
    Make her drink a Mickey Finn.

    I love you, Mrs. Clinton.

    It’s a hard-knock life.

  10. Capitalism
    Creates
    EMPIRE

    “Do you know why the streets are shit?” — Many don’t answer anything. Then I simply say — “Because Billionaires don’t drive cars”

    “Do you know why ‘Least Worst Voting’ occurs?” — Most don’t answer. And I reply — “Because Billionaires really like their private Empire”

    These are my newest, simplest, and double-sided signs that my LOV campaign will be using:

    LOVE OVER
    POWER, MONEY
    HATE & EMPIRE

    GROW LOVE
    END EMPIRE

    Expose this damned “Quiet American” Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal Child Killing & War-Starting EMPIRE, controlled by the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides Empire behind their totally corrupted dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy.

  11. You’d think Taibbi halfhearted apology for his claims Russia would not invade Ukraine – he actually blamed “Western misbehavior” for his poor analysis skills – would make him more cautious in penning pro-Russian unsubstantiated nonsense, or at least provide some corroborating source for his habitual mudslinging.

    Instead, he doubles downs with comparing Clinton part in exposing Russian interference in the 2016 to Watergate of all historically renown political crimes.

    I guess no one taking you seriously anymore, Mr. Taibbi, has its perks allowing you to spew conspiratorial BS as fast as your left-ish, Neo Progressive imagination can come up with them.

    Welcome to the realms of fantasy fiction!

    1. Actually, the vile that Hillary spread and her admitted coup she was planning in Russia (still is) has results much worse than Watergate. Matt’s report is needed at this exact moment. It’s complete for those who were too dense to figure out what was happening from the beginning of Hillary’s mudslinging lies.

      1. @ Roy

        Right.

        Just like Russia would not invade Ukraine…

    2. Democracy Gone Astray,

      1. See “Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement” to learn why name calling and derogatory diversion (“spew conspiratorial BS”) is ineffective criticism.

      2. As for the inability to be even minimally sincere or seriously thoughtful, I cannot recommend you grow up, as for all I know you are 17 years old; but for readers I will note, Taibbi does NOT compare these events to Watergate as you imply he says, “Obviously this isn’t Watergate.”

      Not that your post is worthless. The irony of a habit of posting insult-laden statements of attitude while overusing the term “corroborating” is not lost on me. If this comment area were a class in juvenile sarcasm, the instructor might use your work as a teaching example.

    3. Ashtray:
      I predict that Biden is such a caring humanitarian that he will refuse to order a first strike. If I’m wrong I’ll be gone.
      My take is that Matt T. was expressing a wish (that Russian Federation would not cross Ukrainian border) and was not making a bet. Really, because Matt T. has no control over world events and no more knowledge than Democracy Gone, Ashtray.

  12. “the decision to share with a reporter a bogus story about Donald Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank”

    First problem; it was not ‘bogus’. There was very suspicious DNS activity implying a link between Trump and Alfa Bank. The experts who discovered it were trouble by it, and still are*. The FBI took it seriously. At the time the Clinton campaign passed it on to the Times, they had no basis to assume or conclude there was nothing there.

    “There is no evidence to support Musk’s claim that Sussmann or the Clinton campaign peddled information they knew was untrue. Multiple witnesses testified that respected cyber experts harbored genuine national security concerns about the data,” https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/20/politics/hillary-clinton-robby-mook-fbi/index.html

    The Clinton campaign provided this info to the Times in hopes they would follow up, basically letting the Times do oppo research for them. They did not want Sussmann to go the FBI because that would have taken the investigation private and prolong it, i.e. that would take the investigation, and anything found, off the table for the campaign. And, in fact, the FBI did just that, asking the Times to hold the story. So Sussmann saying he did not bring it to the FBI as part of his work for Clinton seems to be absolutely true. https://www.thebulwark.com/the-alfa-bank-hoax-hoax/

    Lastly, the Times reporter (Lichtblau) who was investigating the DNS activity, found it to be very suspicious and concerning: “In the intervening month, Lichtblau had been sharing the data with other cybersecurity experts. He told the New Yorker in 2018 that those conversations led him to believe that “Not only is there clearly something there but there’s clearly something that someone has gone to great lengths to conceal.”

    “In late September 2016, Lichtblau had determined that he had enough information to write a story about the servers. On September 21, he reached out to Alfa Bank’s lobbyists in D.C. about it. Two days later the Trump domain that had been the recipient of the Alfa Bank DNS lookups disappeared from the internet. Within a week the connection stopped.

    “What a coincidence!

    “As this reporting was underway, Lichtblau was called by an FBI official who asked him to come to the bureau’s headquarters. During that meeting the FBI asked Lichtblau to delay his story about the servers, as it might interfere with their ongoing investigation into the potential relationship between the Russians who were interfering in our elections and domestic contacts possibly associated with Trump.

    “The Times decided to honor this request after what executive editor Dean Baquet described as “a really intense debate,” since the paper had not determined the underlying reason for the server connection.”

    1. @James McCormick
      You’re either lying or you have no idea what you’re talking about. The Alfa Bank story was total BS. It turns out that Alfa Bank was sending spam, and some of it landed on Trump’s server. And you’re quoting propaganda outlets like CNN to make a point? You’re totally lost.

  13. The lies of Russiagate accomplished a great deal. First it fed those who couldn’t see past Trump’s ugliness or HRC’s having a vagina, it put Trump on defense (at least in the public’s mind), and it fed Russophobia and neo-conservative, imperialist fear of a Asiatic planet (along with the fear of a Black planet foisted by their domestic supremacist brethren). Russia’s defiance of the US and it’s Euro lapdogs and its alliances with China and the possibility of a new, multi-polar world needed something like a new Pearl Harbor, or 9/11 to get the citizens of this country to scrap what remained of their critical faculties. Trump ended up getting impeached for holding up weapons to Ukrainian Nazis!!! Damn, we suck as a country. Looks like we got HRC whether we were ready or not.

  14. To the defenders of Hillary

    Because of Hillary and her corrupt machinations — we got Donald J. Trump as president.

    The immense corruption of the Clinton machine was blazingly exposed by Donna Brazile.

    Donna Brazile’s bombshell about the DNC and Hillary Clinton, explained
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/2/16599036/donna-brazile-hillary-clinton-sanders

    How many ways can this loser be wrong?

    If she had won, it would have been by a squeak-through margin — just like Trump.

    They were deservedly two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in recent memory.

    The fact that she couldn’t beat a sexist, misogynist, racist total goofball psychopath is her historical legacy.

    Fact: she lost important segments of voters who voted twice for Obama.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article147475484.html

    Ever since her monumental healthcare FUBAR — where she alienated even Democrats — it’s been clear she’s an incompetent, self-indulgent mountebank who’s been stamping her feet ever since she was a student, demanding that the world roll over and throw rose petals.

    She’s funded by reactionary billionaires like Haim Saban, lately the darling of Breitbart

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/08/23/haim-saban-president-trump-nazi-anti-semetic/

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/haim-saban-hillary-clinton-donor-230711

    Saban engineered the defeat of Ellison — a true progressive — and assured the election of the cyborg Perez to head the DNC.

    Hillary was the advocate for Obama’s most serious foreign policy fiasco — the destruction of Libya.

    She’s part of a duo that’s paved the way for a fascist takeover.

    Bill inflicted real economic damage to the US, steps that led to the financial collapse of 2008.

    His massive deregulation completed the “Reagan revolution.” The day of big government is over, he declared. The American middle class was played with the same political sliminess as the black prisoner prominently executed by Bill as a sop to white racists.

    Feral schemers the both of them, vermin, infected body lice on the nation.

  15. As Taibbi says, “There’s just no defense against privately-generated fake news stories, commissioned by prominent politicians who in turn hand them to the corporate press, which then runs them with off-the-record nudges of encouragement from agencies like the FBI.” Rather than any of these individuals and institutions manipulating unsuspecting others, what we’ve got is a coordinated operation among those colluding to manipulate us. Which would make any banning of Clinton cause for suspicion as to the purposes behind the theatricks.

    Of course, getting us to think in terms of banning, canceling, deplatforming…people, online and beyond, serves the interests of all the aforementioned actors and more who have come to form a fascist corporate state for the most part acting in the shadows of the vastly coordinated theater of spectacle and illusion that misdirects us from our real enemies, as they manufacture others for the consuming public. And so we are conditioned to cry for protection once again from the very ruling interests who own and control the propaganda apparatus, just to insure our perceptions are properly managed (and don’t you know we can’t be left to figure things out for ourselves!).

    Russiagate and all the scandal-mongering surrounding Trump’s presidency recalls the kind of theatrics accompanying previous executives for ruling interests. Recalling some history of the Clinton crime clan, the kind that gets subjects’ attention for a WH aide performing her duties in the Oral Office while we the people are getting fucked over by bizzness as usual (e.g., NAFTA and economic warfare abroad and domestically, Yugoslavia and other crimes of war, crime bills for Jim Crow and the prison industrial complex, deregulation (formerly Reaganomics) of media for more monopoly, deregulation of banking and finance capital).

    The Trump storylines have accustomed us to such themes, or trigger words, as cyberwar and fake news, creating more heat than light when it comes to understanding how these are part of a grander narrative, a great reset of the social contract, now oppressing us, as Russia conveniently becomes official enemy in cold war 2.0 with threats of cyberwar mounting, and fake news freaks, like conspiracy theorists, become objects of contention more than the machinery of production curating controversy.

    While most ruling interests may have preferred Clinton in 2016, Trump was (and still is, continuing to be prominently featured) far from a disappointment (thus, Trump 2024). After all, he oversaw unprecedented transfers or thefts of wealth to elites. And while staged standoffs between Trump and Fauci posed for audiences false choice over whether Science Is Real, Operation Warp Speed warped what was left of any semblance of democracy during early imposition of medical martial law of the covid coup.

    As CIA Director William Casey said, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” (Note that this quote’s authenticity has been officially debunked by establishment fact checkers!) We’re living in Wonderland now in the new abnormal, where everything coming at us is potentially taking us down rabbit holes of psyops and false flags. That’s what the information revolution has been all about.

    (What’s up with the (blocked?) Substack link?)

  16. Funny, I take him seriously. He put the horn, accurately and repeatedly, into your pet paranoid fantasy. As to Taibbi being wrong about the Russians invading Ukraine, he’s in good company, and it hardly takes away from his truth-telling on Russia gate. You fell for it, and continue to. Amazing. If I were you, I’d be hitting the hustings and somehow try talking super pissed-off voters into getting behind your Dem Party candidates of choice. Good luck.

  17. “Former President Donald Trump’s special counsel John Durham has spent three years trying to sink members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for supposedly trying to frame Trump over his connections to Russia.

    On Tuesday, after under seven hours of deliberation, the jury concluded that the Clinton campaign lawyer, Michaell Sussmann was innocent of lying to the FBI when he turned over information that they discovered.”

    An apology and a retraction are in order, Mr. Taibbi. That is, if Scheerpost was a decent media outlet, and you a proper journalist…

  18. “A jury’s acquittal Tuesday of former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, after just six hours of deliberation, on a charge he lied to the FBI in 2016 when he shared a tip about potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, was an embarrassing defeat for the three-year-plus investigation of special counsel John Durham. But it was also a blow against the attempt to rewrite history to vindicate the wild lies of a man who hopes to be elected president again. “

    1. Actually I don’t think the Russian connections, whatever they actually were, are going to have any significant impact on the majority of voters.

      This was always a meaningless diversion from far more important matters, such as taxes, immigration, foreign policy and healthcare. The fact that Trump admires Putin is an asterisk, compared to the kinds of things people actually care about.

      Barring some deus ex machina event, the Democrats are going to be eviscerated, because Biden’s grandiose promises and “vision” were nullified by president Manchin, and the gigantically stupid idea of bipartisanship.

      He just called Mitch McConnell a “rational” Republican on gun control.

      Biden is a hapless, hopeless version of Chris Matthews, immersed in his nostalgia bubble and white dimwit privilege.

  19. One cannot read the Mueller Report & walk away thinking that nothing happened between Russian officials & the Trump campaign. There was bad stuff pretty much on every page.

    To that end, Durham was on a wild goose chase with respect to Sussman et al, to maintain his bona fides with Bill Barr & Trump himself, of course.

  20. In its horrible negative effect on U.S. society and even the entire planet, Russiagate was far worse than Watergate. Priming the U.S. population to hate another country, especially a major one with so many nuclear weapons, greatly outweighs one corporate party stealing documents from or spying on another one. And then there’s the negative effect that opponents of the establishment can successfully be labeled as Russian stooges. And of course the initial reason for this propaganda, which was to convince people that Clinton didn’t lose to a despicable jerk because she totally sucked (which she did), but because of Russian tampering with the election (which she didn’t). Watergate was a minor detail in comparison.

    1. You’re not paying attention.

      The US has been relentlessly “hating” Russia from the moment poor drunken Boris took over there: moving NATO relentlessly eastward, destroying Libya, a long-standing fiend of the USSR and Russia, illegally intervening in Syria to try to get Assad out and close Russia’ base there, relentlessly backing an attempted insurrection in Chechnya, and sponsoring an attempt to get Georgia in NATO -=- the US foreign policy Blob basically wants to disassemble Russia and pick off the pieces.

      The “crime”of Russiagate was that it distracted from the outrageous neofascist and often totally loony policies of the Trump “administration.” It was an exercise that moved nothing on the political stage, a rabbit-hole adventure.

      Putin’s biggest violation was his support of rightists, racists and neo-Nazis here.

      The evidence is clear and blatant .

      David Duke set up shop in Russia in 2003 to gain support there for his anti-Semitic, racist program.

      David Duke, To Russia With Hate
      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/david-duke-to-russia-with-hate/

      Is Russia the Key to White survival?
      http://davidduke.com/is-russia-the-key-to-white-survival/

      Richard Spencer — a leading white nationalist — is married to a Russian white nationalist rabble rouser.

      Meet the Moscow Mouthpiece Married to a Racist Alt-Right Boss
      She spreads the words of Russia’s most virulent propagandist. He’s a leading racist hate-monger. Nina Kouprianova and Richard Spencer are a very different kind of power couple.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/20/meet-the-moscow-mouthpiece-married-to-a-racist-alt-right-boss

      Tellingly, the Confederate -nostalgic mob protesting removal of Confederate statues by New Orleans chanted “Russia is our friend.”

      http://lawnewz.com/crazy/protesters-chant-russia-is-our-friend-during-pro-confederate-statue-rally-watch/

      Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia
      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915

      All that said — Russia is not our enemy and its attack on Ukraine was provoked, if much too late in the game.

      Nuland & Co. should have been eliminated before they could organize the coup, and Ukraine’s nascent military destroyed by intelligent targeting before it got all the western help and arms.

      Putin essentially wasted a lot off time whining about the US’ “unfairness” and apparently waiting for some change. You don’t talk to a feral animal, you stop it.

      1. @BabaYaga
        Your response is all over the place, so I’ll just reply to the first portion.

        Russiagate had multiple effects, one of which is the one I mentioned. If you think that the people who run things only do things for one reason, then it’s YOU who aren’t paying attention. Another main goal of Russiagate was to distract people from seeing just how awful Hillary Clinton (major war criminal for Libya, BTW) and the Democratic Party are by blaming Russia for Trump’s election. You pointed out another effect of Russiagate. These effects are not mutually exclusive; to the contrary, they are all real. But that all said, it’s clear that the main reason for Russiagate was to convince the public that Clinton didn’t lose because she’s also awful, she lost because of Russia.

        You also conflate the elites and their government lackeys with hating Russia on one hand, with the public hating them on the other. There was little or no substantial public hatred of Russia before Russiagate. And BTW, Yeltsin was a U.S. corporate stooge who allowed U.S. corporations to steal Russian resources by privatizing them, then selling them at far less than they were worth to U.S. corporations. The U.S. government and its masters certainly didn’t hate Yeltsin, regardless of their refusal to disband NATO or admit Russia into NATO, and eastward expansion of NATO.

      2. @Jeff

        “All over the place” is your deflection of Trump’s REAL convergence with the racial hate encouraged by Putin. Unaware, went right past you. His victory was built on that racial atavism, and Hillary as incompetent as usual — had no effective answer.

        The e-mail/Comey nonsense was FAR more effective than the Russian stuff, but the real reason for her loss washer obvious contempt for and disconnection from ordinary Americans, many of who were severely damaged by the 2007-8 financial collapse. Obama was incredible better at fooling people: he actually sold out to the banks and Wall Street, using the people’s money. No one cared about Libya, that’s typical American brain numbness and ignorance.

        The campaign against Russia began soon after the end of the USSR, and the public as usual was gulled. Just like the anti- China campaign. Yeltsin allowed former apparatchiks to buy state property at treasonous prices, where’s your evidence that American corporations cashed in?

        The American elites laughed at Yeltsin, they didn’t need to hate him.

      3. @BabaYaga
        We’re talking past each other. I couldn’t care less why Trump beat Clinton or which one won the election. Clinton is not incompetent, she’s evil and contemptible, a war criminal who should be in prison for what she did to Libya, and a psychopath for advocating a no-fly zone over Syria that would have risked a war with Russia. You’re correct that she clearly has contempt for regular people, but that’s only one of her very many defects.

  21. “For over five years, Trump and his minions have endeavored to beat back the Trump-Russia scandal with denial and distraction. They have done all they could to change the subject from the basics of the affair: the Kremlin attacked the 2016 election to help Trump; while this assault was underway, the Trump camp had troubling interactions with Russian operatives and was told the Kremlin intended to covertly assist Trump; Trump hid from the public his effort to land a major development deal in Moscow (for which he sought help from Vladimir Putin); the Trump campaign aided and abetted the Russian attack by denying and/or downplaying it; and, as president, Trump tried to impede the investigation. All of these are confirmed facts that make a damning case that Trump committed a grand act of betrayal to become president. Trump and his defenders, though, have tried to change the subject: the problematic Steele dossier, an improperly obtained search warrant, baseless conspiracy theories about the Democratic Party’s computer servers being whisked away to Ukraine, and, most recently, the Sussmann meeting. “

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: