Wednesday, 05 April 2017

Ranking Democrat Investigating Trump's Russian Connections: No Definitive Proof

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In the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the recent presidential election, much of the focus has been on the alleged connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. And since at least that part of the investigation is little more than a witch hunt, it has produced about as much evidence as one might expect: zero.

On Sunday, Representative Adam Schiff (shown, D-Calf.), the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN’s State of the Union that there is no solid proof that there was ever any link between Russia and the Trump campaign. “I don't think we can say anything definitively at this point,” he said. Yet, even while admitting the lack of anything resembling proof, Schiff went on to justify the continuation of the investigation. “We are still at the very early stage of the investigation,” he said, adding, “The only thing I can say is that it would be irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this.”

Of course, his definition of “very early stage” is — as might be expected — ill-defined. The investigation predates Trump’s presidency. In fact, in the weeks before the inauguration of President Trump, the intelligence community produced multiple reports concluding that there were connections between the Kremlin and Trump — including a spurious document purported to be a “dossier” of Trump’s immoral, illegal, and scandalous behavior while in Russia. That “dossier” claimed to present evidence that Russian agents were both blackmailing Trump and providing him with support in the form of information on Clinton to assure his election.

As The New American reported at the time the “dossier” was making its way around the news cycle, the document was rife with errors, misspellings, bad grammar, poor formatting, and was marked by an overall lack of anything credible or professional:

Besides the misspellings and factual errors, the document is rife with such poor grammar formatting that a high school teacher would be forced to either return the document as incomplete or give it a failing grade. Furthermore, the “dossier” accuses Aleksej Gubarev and his company XBT Holding of “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.” (A botnet is a group of Internet-connected computers often used to send spam e-mails or conduct other hacking operations.) Again, as before, the claim of the report lacks anything resembling evidence, and is — in fact — contradicted by facts.

According to a report by McClatchy, Gubarev, a Russian venture capitalist and tech expert, claims to operate 75,000 servers around the world and employs technology to provide real-time information reports in the event of any hacking or illicit activity on any of those servers. He says there has been no evidence of such activity. “I don’t know why I was there [in the report],” Gubarev said, adding that perhaps one of his competitors was attempting to discredit him. Gubarev continued: “I still don’t understand the true reason for this report.”

At this point, any objective person who has taken a hard look at the wild claims in the report would be compelled to either share Gubarev’s confusion over “the true reason for this report” or conclude that it is a classic example of disinformation. As The New American reported previously, anonymous members of the Internet messageboard and imageboard 4Chan claimed to have created the claims in the document — at least the salacious claims of bizarre sexual misbehavior by President-elect Trump while visiting Moscow — out of thin air, as a prank.

It is now evident that if either that “dossier” or the intelligence reports that relied — at least in part — on it were credible, there would be some evidence to demonstrate that. Instead, all these months later, there is none. That conspicuous lack of evidence is especially noteworthy considering the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Trump campaign — surveillance that apparently included wiretapping Trump Tower. As we reported in a previous article:

As part of the investigation into alleged — and unproven — connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, the Obama administration appears to have wired Trump tower for sound. The New American previously covered the intelligence community’s attacks on Trump — first as a candidate, then as President-elect — including the release of a “dossier” purported to show that Trump was both under the control of and the beneficiary of Russian intelligence services. Claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Trump in the White House, Trump’s enemies in politics and the intelligence community — with an assist from the liberal mainstream media — pushed forward with an “investigation” to prove those claims, while ignoring clear evidence that the Clinton campaign had direct ties to Russia.

And:

Retired U.S. Army Intelligence Officer Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer told FOX News that President Trump has the “paper-trail” to prove his claims. Speaking from his experience in intelligence, Shaffer said, “I don’t doubt for a minute that Mr. Trump has got sufficient — I would say critical mass — of evidence.” He also said that the FISA court did indeed issue the order and that is “one piece of evidence” that Trump’s claims are true.

That FISA order is a foregone conclusion. Earlier in the same video segment of FOX News linked above, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan danced all around the issue without ever actually answering the question. But one thing is clear: The Obama administration first made a FISA request on June 16, 2016 to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and other campaign officials. That request was turned down. The administration reworked the request and renewed it in October. That request — to wiretap Trump Tower — was approved, according to FOX News. Of course, the “investigation” of which this surveillance was a part did not turn up any connection between the Trump campaign and Russia.

With the heavy investment they've put into undermining Trump’s presidency, his enemies in politics and intelligence seem determined to prove the Russian connection they manufactured. And they are not likely to let a little thing like a lack of evidence stop them. Even while admitting that no one involved in the already months-long investigation “can say anything definitively at this point,” Representative Schiff refuses to admit the obvious implication: They can’t find it because it is not there to find. Instead, his words indicate that the witch hunt will likely continue.  

 Photo: AP Images

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