The long-awaited Office of the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III‘s thorough and explosive Report on the Russian interference into our 2016 presidential election, and the obstruction of justice issues that arose during the subsequent investigations has raised like never before the question of whether or not to impeach Donald Trump for what clearly are extremely serious offenses against our democracy.
It should be understood going in that all of us will be going into the dark together, in what may well prove to be the most consequential decision of our lifetimes. In deciding the question of the fate of our current illegitimate, babyish president Trump, the Mussolini of our times, any discussion of the topic must begin and end with that.
There will be trouble in every last street and bar and coffee shop in the nation; brother will turn on brother. There will be a rage on both sides like nothing we have seen since the Civil War, exceeding by far what we saw in the 70s with Richard Nixon and Watergate. There will be more than one event like Charlottesville, where our sister the martyr Heather Heyer was run down by a cursed soul and dragged to her death behind his van. We’re pleased to report he’s now rotting in prison. But that too is one more link in the chain.
Elsewhere down South, where many people like the men below would rather be Russians than Democrats, internationally known televangelist Franklin Graham is literally telling his followers to prepare for civil war if impeachment proceedings against Trump go through. People listen to that guy down there. If they start giving orders to open fire, it is our opinion that they will do so. Without a doubt.
Anecdotally, we had one sick man named Rene Hollan visit our Facebook Page and say,
“Understand this Democrats. If Trump gives the order I will kill as many of you as I can.”
We gave that to the FBI the following morning.
There were hopes, in the beginning, that the likes of John McCain and Susan Collins and once strident Trump critic Lindsey Graham would eventually realize just how crooked he is when the Mueller Report finally came out and proved he’d benefited willingly from Putin’s help. But neither the voluminous document itself nor the subsequent comments of Robert Mueller that essentially proved Trump a criminal has proved to be the game-changer we had hoped for. This is not the Republican Congress of the 1970s that acted with honor during Watergate.
Insofar as Trump’s sleazy role in it all is concerned, it seems that a lifetime’s worth of doing deals with a wink and a nod allowed him to maintain plausible deniability- barely. On the question of obstruction, the case is far more straightforward, everything from trying to fire the Special Counsel Mueller to trying to get former White House counsel Don McGahn to change his story on a number of particularly ham-handed attempts at co-opting a good civil servant. The web of lies, untruths, and viciousness Donald Trump has spun around himself is like a leper’s shroud, hard to see through.
The common strand of corruption is the only thing obvious and unquestionable.
We all live in the madhouse as a result of trying to come to terms with it all, but at least about one thing, there can be no doubt at all. The man is deeply corrupt, we say again, and he’s been a real disaster for America.
But that is not quite the question we face.
Trump is an unworthy leader in every possible way, yes. He cheated and bullied his way into the White House. But although it was a blatant theft, the unpleasant fact remains. In the end, he did win the election, and his tenure in office is already a fait accompli. Nobody’s talking about the 25th Amendment and removing him due to insanity, more’s the pity. Given that, and from what we know for sure as of this minute, can we really say we’re certain he should be impeached? In lieu of all the chaos and the cost?
All this is to say nothing of the fact that any measure of impeachment we do try would at this time merely be symbolic. It will never, ever, ever pass a Republican-controlled Senate. Impeachment may well be getting considered by our strategists as a nuclear option of sorts, a last-ditch attempt to prevent him from running wild completely between next year and 2024 if the great tragedy strikes a second time. With a Democratic Congress, we could remove him if we had to. But unless we are patient now, that will never happen.
We’ve got to think strategically here, with our heads as well as our guts. Trump wants us to try and impeach him, because he knows it is the one thing we could do to turn him into a pitied figure, one the public might actually view sympathetically. The stakes of this are too high for premature attacks made for the sake of showy idealism.
It may well be that national honor will force our hand in the end, but we ourselves do not have all the facts yet. A vast amount of research and contemplation must go into formulating a workable strategy here, for all of us Americans are now dancing on the razor’s edge together. There’s no need to bother asking me what I’d like to see happen to Trump for all of this as a private citizen; just look around. But in terms of the law, things are somewhat different.
Fortunately, we’ve got the best legal minds in the vast United States of America working on it around the clock as we speak, and under the most competent leader we could ever want: Nancy Pelosi, whose talent for organizing her caucus and keeping track of time is unparalleled, and gave us Obamacare among many other a legislative score.
Having Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s chair was the single most immediately crucial factor in the Blue Wave of 2018.
She got more important bills passed in her first six months in office back in 2008 than the Trump administration has in nearly three years. In short, she’s good. Really good. And that is good for us. Because whoever has to take this on had better be the best. To impeach or not impeach is largely her decision.
In April 1970, while in session, Congressman Gerald Ford raised an old rhetorical question: “What is an impeachable offense?” Ford at this time was the House Minority Leader (Pelosi’s job pre-Blue Wave 2016-2018), and his answer to the question was stark and illustrative.
That majority in today’s House of Representatives belongs to the Democratic Party. We definitely do have the right to start these proceedings.
That is why we are being so careful!
Impeachment is an utterly drastic step, a divisive and frankly tragic one, regardless of the outcome. They do not make the country look good, to say the ludicrous least. Lurid Ken Starr the pornographer wiped slime on the courts that will never come off when he painted his lurid fantasy tales about the sexual exploits of Bill Clinton, the second president to be tried for impeachment in the Senate. The Republicans were annihilated in the next Congressional elections- just as we Democrats were after Nixon.
The reason why? Both Clinton and Nixon were very popular among their respective camps, who judged themselves abused, whether or not this was the case. Retributive backlash in the form of division and strife swept the country twice and left rankling wounds in the hearts of members of both parties. It set the stage for a third one to be totally apocalyptic.
In closing, we must keep in mind going forward that impeachment is nothing to speak of lightly. It rips countries apart. It may well prove necessary to give it a try in the end- but not without first considering every option with meticulous care.
While it is not easy to be patient about this-for surely, We the People have never before had such a surreally egregious cause- it is vastly important to understand how high the stakes are and how dangerous the strategy would be. It’s an incredibly tough call given the circumstances, which is why we at Millennial Democrats haven’t weighed in on it hard either way. It is our opinion that Hillary Clinton’s recent suggestions involving televised hearings and utmost caution provide an excellent roadmap for the future.
This observation leads us to the primary thesis of the article. We have got to stand behind our Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the smartest and toughest people in America today.
In closing, Nancy Pelosi has been our choice to be our leader from the Trump era’s Day One. She is by far the person in the best position to make the call, and whatever way it goes, it is our firm opinion that she’ll have made it. We need to support her fully in any case and circumstance.
The one thing we cannot afford right now is for our coalition to dissolve into more fractious squabbling. The world needs our power now more than ever, and to bring it to bear, we must centralize and fully focus it. There is only one person in all of these vast United States of ours who can do it as God knows it must be done, and that person is Nancy Pelosi.
It is still too early to issue a one hundred percent endorsement, but no one can deny that as things stand right now, Biden is the clear front-runner. The idea that it might be the one-trick pony Bernie Sanders is ridiculous. Democrats don’t want him, Republicans laugh at him, and the sane center will never accept him as more than just another screaming wingnut on the fringe. Biden is the former vice-president, his career and resume speak for themselves, and he doesn’t wear a blue clown suit around, nor look like an insane Mr. Rogers.
No one is going for it. Trump would pick his teeth with Bernie’s bones. In the recent Reuters survey, Sanders’ support fell to just 15%, nearly 10 points below Biden. And we’re the progressive party. What do you think the moderates and NeverTrump Republicans are going to feel about him? It is undoubtedly for this reason that Grant Woods, the old chief of staff of John McCain came on CNN to assure Americans that this is true. “Biden will beat Trump in Arizona,” he stated with utter confidence. “Bernie has zero chance.”
"Joe Biden beats Donald Trump in Arizona. Write it down. Bernie Sanders has zero chance. Elizabeth Warren has zero chance," says @GrantWoods, John McCain's former chief of staff.
Currently, those people are siding with us, more and more. The longest-serving Republican in Iowa, State Rep. Andy McKean, flipped his voter registration card publicly at a press conference last week, saying he is now a Democrat because he won’t have anything to do with what Trump is selling.
How long will that last if he sees us all go crazy for socialism?
It is very important to realize that the loud and highly internet visible Bernie Bros are masters at making themselves seem more numerous than they actually are. Their faction is far too radical both in policy and appearance.
We have chronicled the many failures of the Bern faithfully, on this site and many others, ever since 2015. Now that others are also vetting Bernie, we are soon to see him out of gas completely. This is good because if McConnell and his ilk succeed in painting them as our base it’ll be a disaster.
Biden has a very good relationship with the African-American community, and his popularity with women has only increased since the Bernie Bot hitjobber Lucy Flores-who is shown in many pictures letting Bernie literally slob all up on her neck, as our Twitter coordinator pointed out recently- tried to do her nasty number on him over a hug.
Bernie can’t even make a sincere apology when it comes to his campaign being infested by Russians (his old campaign manager, Tad Devine, was the first witness called at Paul Manafort‘s trial), or about not telling his crazy supporters to not riot in the streets of Philadelphia while Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic Party Presidential nomination. He set it up so that he had to flip and flop, just for being economically successful. In the wonky world of cyber topsy turvy he created in 2016, having done well for yourself in life was practically a crime.
Going forward, it’s quite clear what we’ve got to do- stand with Joe Biden and the other good Democrats running, like Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris, while utterly rejecting the whiny fake left and its nutty programs. We want to get someone in that nomination’s seat who can actually win. We do not need a new George McGovern. Look for Bernie’s unpleasantness and inflexibility to take center stage against Biden’s lifetime of service and achievement.
The name of Bernie Sanders did not appear on the ballot in a single state during the 2016 general election. But a large share of the blame for this disaster that is the current administration lies squarely on his shoulders.
The Bernie or Bust movement was a nightmare, the blatant racism and sexism shown by his campaign were a worse one. But in terms of national security, however, worst of all was the Russian support, particularly on social media, that kept his campaign alive long past the point of reason.
Using illegally acquired data from Wikileaks, emails that suggested little wrongdoing, the Russians successfully goaded Bernie, and his supporters showed his anger on the streets of Philadelphia, while inside the Democratic National Convention, Paul Simon played the first notes of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.
Bernie’s conduct, when questioned about this, has been defensive and rude, and this reaction has added to the number of raised questions that linger to this day about where the senator stands on the shadowy foreign figures who were once involved with his campaign.
The evidence is clear that Sanders became the Ralph Nader of 2016, peeling off just enough votes from the Democratic candidate to spoil the election. All the chaos he created on the left drained just as much support away from Hillary Clinton as it took for Donald Trump to win. By this point, the proof is huge and glaring that he, and to a less well-known and effective extent, Jill Stein, allowed themselves to be used as Putin’s other puppets.
We had hoped he would be smart enough not to split the whole left by running again, but that is not going to be the case. So now that Bernie Sanders has formally declared his candidacy, a bad but not unexpected move, we’re coming across a lot of different questions regarding what manner of man he is.
Is he a socialist? Yes. He’s been calling himself a “Democratic Socialist” since the 1960’s. The word “Democratic” is not a qualifier; it is better off deleted. He means he’s a socialist, plain and simple.
Is he less than one hundred years old? We’re not sure, but he claims to be. Birth records support this claim, technically, but not by much.
Is he an escaped Walking Dead extra? No one can say for certain, either way.
All of these are good questions, and the disturbing answers to them raise serious concerns about his viability to compete in a general election. But the big questions are these. How much damage did Bernie Sanders do in 2016, and how bad were the Russians infested in his campaign apparatus?
In the three states that put Trump in the Oval Office, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, a high number of voters who voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary in those states crossed over and voted for Trump in the general election.
One in ten, to be exact. We’re talking thousands of people here. Registered Democrats who went so far as to actually vote for Trump.
Is it true that he and his campaign were involved in the Russian plot to interfere with our 2016 presidential election? The one that Trump says was fake news, but was actually so real it’s truly awful?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes, and we’re going to make the case for it thoroughly.
Let’s start by taking a look at the Russian motive, means, and modus operandi for giving Bernie Sanders a hand against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
Motive: Vladimir Putin wanted to cost Hillary Clinton the election, by any means necessary. The most effective, obvious, and accessible ways for him to do it was to give her opponents a hand.
One of these opponents was Donald Trump, the obvious recipient of most of Putin’s goodwill. Another, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, was physically present at the infamous December of 2015 dinner meeting with former National Security Adviser and Retired General Michael Flynn. The third, and the focus of this article was Bernie Sanders, her primary opponent.
Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton have laid out the reasons for this in detail. Vladimir Putin, of course, is the multibillionaire dictator of Russia who paid for all this to take place.
Hillary Clinton strongly condemned the validity of Russia’s parliamentary elections in December of 2011. This made Putin very unhappy. He had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama.
“Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton’s December 2011 condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama. They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.”
“He was very upset [with Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the top Russia official in Obama’s national security council from 2009 to December 2011 and then was U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback.”
He ended up getting it, but not without a lot of domestic help. It came from the far left, and it came from the alt-right, suggesting strongly what we strongly believe: The alt-right and the far left are one.
A spokesperson for the publication told Town and Country Magazine that was because they haven’t been able to figure it out. “While Forbes has been able to track money tied to Putin’s allies, we have not been able to come up with a defensible, provable estimate of his net worth.”
For a guy like this, throwing a few tens or even hundreds of millions into manipulating the elections of other countries to make them more amenable to Russian interests is nothing. It would almost be strange if he didn’t do it.
Putin has paid for “destability” campaigns worldwide. The far right is not alone among radicals in getting plenty of Russian assistance. The far left, which has shown just as strong a resurgence as its counterpart since the Great Recession happened, is also getting more than its fair share. Russia, it seems, is never short of rubles to spend on troublemaking.
Director of the Political Capital Institute Peter Kreko has been recently involved in research regarding this matter. He concluded two facts about the intentions of Putin. First, that he is becoming the frontman of a worldwide anti-human rights movement, and second, that he is investing in, stirring up, and inciting radicals on both ends of the spectrum that are trying to “sabotage democracy in Europe”.
Kreko describes Russian tactics focused on destabilizing the EU and advancing Moscow’s ideology. This includes supporting parties and candidates on the margins, such as Bernie Sanders, or Jill Stein and the Green Party.
In America, we are experiencing many problems with so-called progressives who are still insisting, in the face of the overwhelming evidence that keeps piling up, that “the Russia thing” is simply a distraction from the main issue, that in their view being how the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders (it didn’t). These people are doing the entire human race a grand disservice.
By turning a blind eye to the machinations of the most nakedly aggressive power to arise in the world since Hitler’s Third Reich, for the sake of stoking a petty grudge, they are in fact helping to make possible the same specific chaotic social conditions that in the past allowed far-right populist movements like Germany’s National Socialism to thrive.
They don’t understand that they are being duped by people who long ago grew cynical and full of boredom regarding the sorts of dreams and theories Bernie Sanders is espousing. After all, they invented most of it, and more a hundred years ago.
The left’s affiliation with the Kremlin can be explained better via the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” principle. Marx long taught that Communists should make any such alliances as are helpful toward the ultimate goal of dissolving the State. Russia’s state-controlled economy, which promises to keep “big capital” in check, has proved attractive as a model for many anti-capitalists.
Democratic Socialists, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have clearly labeled themselves as anti-capitalist. This would have made them extremely valuable to Soviet propagandists working from inside the KGB. It still does.
Modus Operandi: Hiring hackers to spread dirt and lies around to influence elections is part of the Russian toolkit. The 2016 plan was not a new strategy, but rather a direct descendant of the original Cheka Disinformation Office, founded by “Iron” Felix Dzherzhinsky in 1923. Working both ends of the radical spectrum, left and right, to destabilize the interior of an enemy country. That is what they do.
Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has a researcher named Ben Buchanan working for them, also a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The focus of his research lies in examining how nations use their capabilities for attack and espionage in cyberspace against one another and examining the strategies that drive this usage. His words in their unaltered form may help to shed some light.
“There is a demonstrated pattern of Russian cyber operations stretching back several decades. One major early case, dating from the late 1990s, is commonly referred to as Moonlight Maze. In that case, Russian hackers penetrated a wide range of American networks for espionage purposes. Since then, Russian cyber operations have continued to expand greatly, hacking into key military, political, and economic institutions.”
“These operations show adeptness in several ways. Perhaps most significant is that they demonstrate how the Russians have developed new digital methods to accomplish old tasks. A series of espionage cases show the Russian aptitude for gathering information using computer hacking. The 2007 attack on Estonia and 2008 attack on Georgia are an exhibit of how Russia uses cyber operations against democratic states. Though we have somewhat less information about it, the 2015 blackout in Ukraine—the first ever publicly known case of a power outage caused by cyber-attack—shows the potency of cyber-attacks that appear to be Russian in origin. And the 2016 election interference demonstrates that the Russians have married their longstanding history of influence operations with their more recently developed capacity for hacking.” -With thanks to the Wilson Center.
The particulars of how these political digital influence campaigns worked out in practice in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary will be only too memorial to any Democratic activist who was around in 2016. We’ve included an anecdote that sums up what they were trying for precisely.
Around September 14 in 2016, for example, one “account specialist” of a Russian-controlled Facebook group called “Secured Borders” was reprimanded for having a “low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton.”
The specialist was also told, “it is imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton.”
Later on, Russian operatives used accounts they controlled — including an account called “Woke Blacks” and “Blacktivist” — to urge Americans to vote for third-party candidates or not to vote at all. “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein,” one such message read. “Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”
Not for Russia, anyway.
No, indeed, Donald Trump was not the only candidate the Russians tried to help during the 2016 presidential campaign. One other name was mentioned specifically. Senator Bernard Sanders, I-VT. The Mueller indictments of a year ago offer solid confirmation of what we have been saying all along. The specific mention of Trump and Sanders shows that the Russian government decided early on to oppose Clinton.
A personal anecdote, that I’ll admit to having shared before. The editor of Millennial Democrats was online alongside legions of others, out there for HRC from 2015 onward, every day, for many hours. Anyone who was there back then can tell you. It can be stated categorically that there was a tangible, palpable disinformation campaign going on against Hillary Clinton. It worked, too. The Bernie Bots truly hated us, and their viciousness knew no bounds at all.
It still doesn’t.
In my experience, this blog and its affiliate Millennial Democrats Facebook Pages and Millennial Democrats Twitter account, which is a fifty state plus nationwide apparatus, has been attacked by Trump trolls maybe one out of ten in the ratio of how often it has been attacked by Bernie trolls. This has little to do with what side of the country we are talking about. It goes right across the board.
I’ve written in a 3 to 1 ratio of pieces targeting the right rather than the far left, although it is my deeply-held conviction and the conclusion pointed to by evidence that they are the same entity. But even when the week of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is taken into account this remains true. Any moderate Democratic activist online will tell you the same.
You would go into groups and talk to people, who were steadfast in their refusal to listen far beyond the bounds of reason or even fanaticism. These guys were professionals.
It was like they were getting paid per response. They all seemed to be equipped with the same list of hit points about Hillary Clinton. This became clear after a while because the very same slanders would be laid out every time, in sequential order. In many cases the wording was actually identical, although most took the time to switch about at least a thing or two. And they were just as prevalent on the left as on the right.
It got especially bad during the last month of the Democratic primary, which was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division.
During this time, we were savagely attacked. Anything we posted would be Reported as Spam/Abuse by political adversaries from both the alt-right and radical left. We were barraged with nasty messages and threats; as a matter of fact, we continue to get them. They just keep rolling in, day after day, month piled on top of month. It’s called gaslighting; they want to wear you down so you give up.
One particularly rabid group of Bernie Sanders supporters told one of our contributors that they hoped she was gang-raped.
The list is long, sick, and sordid. Drop by drop, it has convinced us to take an unequivocal stance of #NeverBernie– and stick to it.
During the 2016 electoral cycle itself, nobody wanted to listen. Most Bernie supporters still will not listen; many today will actually go so far as to claim that Russia is participating in the campaign against Bernie.
This is the equivalent of a mugger calling for help as he snatches an old lady’s purse.
“Looks like we finally know for sure why Bernie would not vote to sanction Russia,” I wrote at the time, still in a state of shock at just how surreal it was for Bernie to reinforce all this by being one of two senators who refused to pass the bill for new sanctions in 2017.
He just called in sick for the vote to lift sanctions on close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum company recently. And this from a guy who very rarely misses work. Of the new crop of presidential candidates, only Elizabeth Warren has missed fewer votes than Bernie.
Bernie’s people have never wanted him to touch “the Russia thing”, and most even to this day will make claims about how “it’s not all about Russia” and we need to “Talk about the issues”. They want to laugh it off, even while when it comes time to talk about what Trump was doing. This is hypocritical. When Trump does it, it’s a big threat. But when Bernie does it, it’s as though it is just a little fun.
This gives you a look at how it was back then. It’s a Russian Twitter account called “Missouri News” (@MissouriNewsUS), which sent out pictures of Sanders and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the line “Bernie Sanders is basically a New Deal Democrat, #feeltheBern.”
Our entire intelligence community unanimously agrees that they’re targeting us. We know that they’ve been able to get malware into our power grids. We know also that they’re considered a complete menace in Europe, where they have demonstrated their ability to turn off the lights on huge swathes of Ukraine and take Estonia offline completely. But Bernie will not talk about it, so they simply will not look at it.
They will physically squirm in real life conversations. They remind me of Fox News devotees.
“A guy who was on my staff … checked it out and he went to the Clinton campaign, and he said, ‘You know what? I think these guys are Russians,’” Sanders said.
A former Clinton campaign staffer told Politico it was nonsense that Sanders’ campaign had reached out to Clinton’s about potential Russian interference. “No one from the Sanders campaign ever contacted us about this” — not in September, and not in “April and May.”
They never said or did a thing of that nature. Nothing of the sort ever happened. Not once. Not even after Bernie had offered his weak, half-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Guy on your staff, eh, Bernie? And just to think. All of this is before we’ve even mentioned Tad Devine.
Devine was Bernie’s chief campaign strategist, the most senior of advisers to the 2016 Sanders campaign. He was also the good friend and colleague of decades of Paul Manafort, who at the same time was running the Trump campaign. Devine was the first witness called at Manafort’s trial. Here is a picture of Tad Devine with Paul Manafort and the man suspected to be his contact within Russian intelligence, Konstantin Kilimnik, himself wanted by Mueller’s team for questioning and likely more.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank did a piece at the time, titled “The Deep Cynicism of Bernie Sanders’ Chief Strategist“. It pointed out how during his run as chief strategist for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, Devine was always the first to scream and howl about the corrupting influence of money in politics. He said “our economy is rigged,” that “special interests” buy politicians, that “all of the new wealth is going to the top of America,” that there is a “corrupt system of campaign finance” of which Hillary Clinton offered an “egregious” example.
Sanders, by contrast, “supported the little guy.”
But as we know by now, Devine had worked repeatedly to secure the election of one of the world’s most corrupt political figures and then his allies, Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych, a crooked pro-Putin autocrat.
Thanks to Mueller’s prosecution of Paul Manafort, who earlier this weekend saw a heavily redacted- to the tune of eight hundred pages- sentencing memo presented to the court on his behalf, the former Trump campaign chairman and business associate of Devine, we now have the glimpse of Devine’s possible role in organizing Russian help for Bernie.
Though he is hardly the first to grab cash from foreign leaders, the ease Devine had in making the switch from cold-blooded profiteer strategist to social reformer firebrand strategist seems reptilian to us in the very extreme. It’s exactly that type of bold callousness that the Russians would look for in an asset.
Tad Devine is a figure of great interest in the Russiagate investigation, in our opinion. We’ve been expecting the special counsel assigned by the Justice Department to look into Russian meddling in our 2016 election cycle, Robert Mueller, to get around to him sooner or later.
Put it this way: If Manafort is the key to understanding exactly what the Russians were doing for Trump, and Kilimnik is the key to understanding what Manafort did for the Russians, then Devine, their old friend, is the key to what the Russians were doing for Bernie. He is by far the most likely connection between the Russians and the Sanders campaign. It is our view that this connection has not been explored anywhere near thoroughly enough, and we encourage our readers to write in with what they know. We would make responsible use of it.
Radio Free Europe provides some light on the situation by providing a March 31, 2014 email from Tad Devine to Rick Gates, who in 2016 was the chief aide to Manafort, and later became a star witness against him.
There we find that Devine was the one to write Yanukovych’s 2010 victory speech. That detail was found attached to his email to Gates, in the form of a draft agreement for Manafort’s firm to work on another Ukrainian’s campaign.
That all these people know each other so well cannot be a coincidence. No wonder Trump the other day said “I like Bernie”, all atwinkle in his smiling eyes.
By the time the Fourth of July rolled around in 2016, the Federal Election Commission had repeatedly contacted the Sanders campaign with warnings that hundreds of his donors exceeded the $2,700 contribution limit. They further warned him that hundreds more may have been foreign nationals illegally giving Sanders money. The Sanders campaign, however, did not take any action.
It bears repeating that it’s a very convenient coincidence, that three of the top strategists who ran against Hillary Clinton has been doing Putin’s bidding in this capacity for longer than a decade.
Last Thursday afternoon there was a meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the subject of Russian meddling into our 2016 election cycle.
During it, Retired Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, said that Russian operatives targeted both liberal and conservative voters in its disinformation campaigns during the 2016 election.
Democratic committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner (VA) asked the panel if they had any doubt that Russia had attempted to interfere in some aspects of the 2016 election. Alexander said not only did he have no doubt, he could get very specific.
“Senator, I think what they were trying to do was drive a wedge within the Democratic Party between the Clinton group and the Sanders group,” said Alexander. This seems clear at this point to everyone but the willfully uninformed and the fanatically indoctrinated (and disingenuous Republican and other conservatives/libertarians).
The supporters of Bernie Sanders were ruthlessly taken advantage of by the Russians, who used their genuine zeal and idealism as a hammer for smashing Democratic unity to bits. They were duped by false information that came from within the Kremlin itself, and thus unwittingly became Putin’s other puppets.
The man who was in the best position to act as a conduit between the headquarters of the Sanders campaign and the Kremlin was Tad Devine.
This picture provides a vivid reminder of what Democratic activists on Facebook and Twitter have been warning everyone about in the direst of terms since 2015, namely, that the Bernie Sanders campaign was just as lousy with Russian entanglements as the Trump campaign was.
Devine may well hold an important piece of the puzzle here, which undoubtedly lies within the Sanders campaign. As Robert Mueller continues his journey to this discovery, our prayers will be with him.
By now this article has grown to prodigious length, and we applaud the reader who has followed the line all the way home. In his Rise of the Roman Empire, the ancient Greek Polybius said that the most important reason to learn history is so you have a chance to make good predictions about what may happen in the future. Russian interference is heating up for 2020 like never before, Trump has given no funding to the new national cyber-coordinator job, which basically leaves us on our own again, and we’ve got to be prepared for new forms of the same old tricks. Check out our article on Defense for Democrats.
Since this electoral cycle began, Sanders supporters have been joined and even overshadowed by the Tulsi Gabbard trolls.
One allied group of our friends recently created a Facebook page, Tulsi Gabbard Must Go. It’s been around all of a month, and yet, hundreds of trolls have fallen on it since then, like wild dogs. Some of them have shown up to troll the blog, also, like this charming lady.
Lisa Wolf Edit
This wasn’t written by a millennial. This was obviously written by a neo-liberal, 3rd Way Baby Boomer and stinks of David Brock. Reply
As for David Brock, we have good things to say about him and every other dedicated Democrat, but we don’t personally know the guy. What I will say, is that I like the smell of my hair pomade. The pleasing fragrance is half the point.
Getting back to Tulsi and Bernie and the rest of the fake left, none of this is very surprising. They’re collecting paychecks for it. Check out the amount of fake activity that accompanies everything she tweets. Keep in mind, Twitter is fighting this. Facebook is not. There are two billion people using Facebook. How incomparably worse must it be!
From this, we can see that the fake left has found a new stronghold in Bernie’s close ally.
Going forward, raising awareness on all this will become more and more important, and although the story is long and multifaceted, the narrative is clear throughout. Russia and Vladimir Putin were definitely feeling the Bern. Look for them to feel him some more as we head into the next presidential cycle.
When America saw that Paul Manafort was found guilty yesterday, many of us shouted for literal joy. One lone holdout juror refused to vote to find him guilty on all eighteen counts, so ten of them ended up being a mistrial. He’ll have to go to court again on those.
On eight counts, however, he was guilty then and there. It’s enough to make sure he goes to prison.
“I won’t be this happy on Christmas, unless they find some other, even bigger, Trump crony to throw in the can,” said one of our senior contributors on the subject.
Manafort is said to have held out and went to trial believing he would get a pardon from Trump, who refused to deny he was considering it, even though bipartisan condemnation would surely follow.
There can be no doubt. After two years of brazen lies, insults, and claims that all we say is fake news, finally. The slobs who watch Fox News can willfully deny no longer, and neither can their Republican masters.
They can gripe, they can whine, they can get ready to start obstructing again after we take back all power from the Republicans and never give any of it back to them. They had better adjust to that reality quick, for their own sakes.
Because Robert Mueller- whose public approval rating has jumped 11 points in the last 24 hours- absolutely blasted Trump yesterday.
Big as a deal as the Manafort conviction was- on any other day, I can’t even imagine another topic taking precedence- it was actually overshadowed by the court appearance and subsequent plea deal taken by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney.
Cohen’s admission that he paid hush money to Stormy Daniels at Trump’s behest makes Trump the uncharged conspirator in a major felony case.
To understate the case all but absurdly, it’s a big deal. For the first time since he got elected, talk of his impending impeachment may not be far from reality-although if it is, the Republicans should be the ones to do it. We don’t want to split the country like they did with Bill Clinton. They can clean up their own mess, while we raise awareness about their incapacity to do it.
At any rate, Trump has been caught with his pants down, both with Stormy and with former Playboy centerfold Karen MacDougal. He paid her off too.
The question now on everybody’s mind is what comes next.
Justice Department policy regarding the indictment of a sitting president in the past suggests Mueller won’t charge him directly. But there’s never been a president this crooked before either, so we really don’t know. It is our opinion that at this point, the possibility should not be ruled out.
Indictment or no, the damage this will do to our unpleasant 45th president is almost impossible to overstate.
Between Cohen and Manafort, it’s been the hardest day for Trump since the day of him boasting about other sex offenses he committed on the “Grab ’em” tape recorded by Access Hollywood. It was a one-two punch of epic proportions. Trump is reeling.
Things have reached the point where it’s becoming normal. The bar of expectations set by our citizens for our leaders is having to be lowered by the day, and that is very dangerous to our democracy.
Most recently, it’s been his decision to start stripping people who criticize him of their security clearances, starting with former CIA director James Brennan.
Axios recently tweeted that Trump has become enamored with the unchecked powers of the presidency. “What he enjoys most about this job is finding things he has absolute power over,” said one source who’s worked closely with Trump.
Sources recently told Mike Allen that Trump “got a kick out of pardons, that he could pardon anybody he wants and people would come to him to court him and beg him.”
60 former CIA officials have signed a letter responding to the removal of Brennan’s security clearance, pointing out that “The country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”
Of course it will, but that is not what Trump cares about.
Trump’s attack on John Brennan is meant to distract us from his crimes, starting with the fact that he and his crew are almost certain to be proved guilty of agreeing to conspire with a shady Kremlin plot to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
Even at this minute, he is aiding and abetting Putin’s attack on the election by denying it was happening. He’s still doing it.
Meanwhile, his old campaign manager Paul Manafort’s trial drags on, because the jury is still deliberating. Why? There is enough evidence against that guy to throw him in the can for a million years.
The jurors must be at least as aware of it as we are, which is what makes it fishy that they’re still in there arguing with each other about it. T.S. Ellis, the judge, who has been threatened himself, says they’re scared. Who can blame them?
All the while, Trump is talking about how sad it is that a guy who stabbed America like Manafort did is on trial at all.
Not very democratic of him, but that’s the kind of guy he is.
The bottom line is that democracy is an impediment to Donald Trump. He does not find it useful, so he holds it in contempt. To him, the natural order of things involves debauched old white guys on top of every power structure, shouting orders and bossing everybody around.
Democracy has been in the process of rejecting this worldview for more than a hundred years. So why respect it? It’s an albatross around his neck.
If he can manage to whip up a sort of spit-polished authoritarianism, some form of rule that would retain a veneer of democracy while skewing the contest to ensure its result, that would be ideal for Trump, and also for his right-wing nationalist buddies all throughout the world.
Trump wants Erik Prince to build him his own private army. he was talking about building him a private spy network a few months ago. They want to privatize the war in Afghanistan.
He’s been talking up his dictator buddies, like Putin and Kim and Maduro, right from the start. As long ago as 1989, he was making public statements deploring the “lack of control” the Soviet Union had over its people. He wants to do whatever he wants to do, and he can’t completely disregard the rights of others because he lives in a democracy.
How then to get rid of it?
In the clouded and foggy mind of Trump, these notions are not well conceived. They are murky impressions at best, addled further by the dementia Omarosa says he’s got. But other authoritarian leaders, like Putin, understand them very well and would like nothing better than to see them take place here.
America is the center of the current, liberal world order that has given us everything since the conclusion of World War Two, a struggle over these same ideas that nearly finished us. In order for that to change, America must abandon its values. That is why Trump, a man who values nothing he can’t stain his T-shirt with, was so favorable a candidate for other despots to support.
Going forward, we have got to come together strongly to affirm that we will not give up our values for anyone or anything. That is what the Resistance is for. Preservation of all we have in America depends on our success.
We have received numerous requests for a focus piece regarding cyber-defense for Democrats, especially right now as we are going into the midterms. In it is an introduction to a number of the techniques we can use to defend ourselves going forward. Knowledge is power. Pass it on.
Regular readers of Millennial Democrats will not require a lot of explanation as to how and why the threat of Russian hacking is real. We have been up against it for years. The time has come to soberly and objectively assess Russia’s cyberwarfare capabilities, and examine how we plan to fight back.
In 2016, America was caught off guard and we got a bloody nose. Guys like Roger Stone’s buddy Guccifer 2.0, or the guys in Fancy Bear pulled a fast one, to be sure.
They had the element of surprise back then. Most people had no idea what they were doing(and rolled their eyes at those who were trying to warn them, but that’s another subject). These days things are very different.
Regardless of the lies of the great orange malignance, America knows the Russians are out to get us. Trump is sticking his head in the sand on this and will do nothing to help us, so we’re going to have to learn to help ourselves, and each other.
It’s too bad we’ve got no national leadership on this, but it is what it is. We’ll get by on our own.
In starting out, the most important thing to keep in mind is this: Hackers rely on our mistakes, and mistakes are most often made when we don’t know we are making them. They need to catch us off guard, and their job is to find creative ways to use their tools to get us to slip up.
The first place a smart hacker will look is outside the box, so to speak. They’re always looking for ways to burrow in that you wouldn’t think to look for.
Employing a given system, be it a human being or a PC, for a purpose it wasn’t designed for is what hacking means. However, if you’re careful, neither you nor your computer will end up thus employed. It’s all about being careful.
Hackers are clever, be they Russian or from elsewhere, but they are far from invincible. We’ve already stopped a number of Russian cyber-assaults directed at Democrats this year, such as the ones aimed at our Claire McCaskill.
Without the element of surprise, hackers have many limitations. It’s not that easy to brute-force open a website. Just ask these guys:
Basic cyber-hygiene techniques would cut down on more than 80 percent of cyber attacks and cyber thefts, according to Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. It will benefit us to learn a few.
There is a great deal of white-hat(ethical hacking) work that can be done to defend America in this realm, and most of it has to do with how careful we are.
We repeat- It’s all about being careful. This cannot be repeated too often.
In this piece, we’re going to talk about a few common mistakes made by end-users(that means us, the consumer) and how they are exploited by criminals. We’re also going to talk about some of these cyber-hygiene measures and assign them three rules of thumb.
Don’t open strange emails.
Don’t click on strange links.
Don’t accept chat messages from people you don’t know, particularly on Facebook.
Before we get started, think for a second about all your other social media accounts. Are they just as secure as your Facebook or Twitter? Make sure they are! That’s the first place a hacker will go to collect more data about you. You’re particularly vulnerable to having your account on the ones you don’t often use pried open.
As an aside, this is also why you don’t want to use the same passwords for everything. Passwords are obviously critical, as somebody who’s got them has got all your information at his fingertips. Be careful!!
A great deal of a hacker’s job revolves around getting the passwords of their victims. Their most popular tools are all various ways to apply “spear-phishing” hacks, designed to steal passwords and personal data. The unlucky “phish” who opens one has become a victim and is now open to all kinds of trouble.
There are all kinds of ways to go spear-phishing. A brand new one showed up not long ago when U.S. government agencies recently received letters via snail mail.
One example that all readers of this blog will vividly recall took place on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious e-mail messages hit the inboxes of thirty people who were closely associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Inside them were links that were actually viruses, like worms on a hook.
Nearly all of them were failures. All but one, actually. But one was enough.
Within nine days, a horrendous amount of critical data had been stolen and passed along to Wikileaks, to be strategically released in a way they figured would hurt us. It did.
Those leaked e-mails, in which Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was seen to be fussing over Bernie’s lack of ability to fill out campaign finance forms correctly, were spun up into a narrative that Bernie(who lost by four million popular votes) had been cheated.
Bernie or Bust bought it, there were riots in the streets of Philadelphia, and a rift was torn in the Democratic Party that still has yet to heal.
All of that was made possible, with just a few phished passwords.
To combat phishing is to make sure everyone knows how common and damaging these attacks can be. Everyone should keep their guard up when checking emails, and they should report any email they find suspicious.
It’s necessary to point out here that Facebook phishing in particular is horrendously easy. They can hack you right through your chat box. We recommend in the strongest possible terms that you put as little of your personal information as possible on Facebook.
Facebook presents about a million added vulnerabilities to all of us that use it. When Edward Snowden was asked what to do to keep your data safe on that platform, his response was, “Delete your account.”
We can’t recommend that, as Facebook gives us access to 2 billion people, but we can recommend this much. If people you don’t know send you strange messages on Facebook, don’t accept them.
“We are looking at just some of the malicious material that already may be circulating or will be released before the midterms. It also bears repeating that we know the campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was targeted.”
Cyber-intelligence experts see this as being major, and with clear reason.
Moving on, it isn’t only Facebook and social media you’ve got to be careful with. Websites too are vulnerable.
Anecdotally, the webmaster of this site has seen hackers from all over the world try to take us down, from Beijing, China to Lviv, Ukraine, from Adelaide, Australia to Beauharnois, Quebec. They use all kinds of tricks, but they’ve never gotten in and they never will.
This is not because I’m a cyber-genius who speaks binary code, but because WordPress is awesome.Sucuri, the plugin that keeps safe all of us Millennial Democrats, is likewise excellent. They care about their clients and they hold the same liberal values sacred that we do.
WordPress users should strongly consider using Sucuri, not least for the reverse IP trace it automatically performs. This has the benefit of letting you know a lot more about who’s trying to hack you. Sometimes it will tell you everything.
Once a flower store owner from Adelaide, Australia tried to hack us. By using a reverse IP trace, Sucuri let us know who she was as soon as she had done so. Then we went to a site called WhatismyIPaddress.com, put it in, and voila.
We were able to get the name of her business by looking at the name of her domain. We then used that to look her up, and jackpot. We found the store’s address, website, and owner. We also found far-right garbage smeared all over her life.
I could put her on blast right here with a screenshot like this one:
Luckily for her, I’m not that mean. But the next guy might be. It’s a dangerous game for newbies (noobs- learn your hacker-ese) to play. It’s easy to run into trouble.
Change your life, would-be hacker flower store owner! Mend your wicked ways, before it’s too late.
Speaking of WordPress, using the two-factor authentication feature they offer as part of their platform is another good idea. This is a highly effective security measure and is available for Facebook, Gmail, WordPress, and many other major platforms.
Using this feature means a second device’s input will be required to access email accounts or websites on new computers, usually by prompting you and sending an SMS code to your phone or whatever. This can prevent scammers from accessing compromised accounts.
In addition to good cyber-hygiene, which amounts to common sense, caution, and our three rules of thumb, there are some tools we can use to make our online experience safer still. You may find this necessary, from time to time.
Guccifer 2.0 recently made a mistake and forgot to turn his VPN on, and we connected him to an IP address connected to Russian intelligence. Now his whole identity is blown because he didn’t use his VPN.
We strongly recommend getting one of these, specifically IVPN. They take protecting their customers super seriously and they are located on the Rock of Gibraltar. That fortress strikes me as a good place to keep anything valuable.
HotspotShield is another good one, and also NordVPN. There’s a lot of them; shop around and find one that’s right for you. We feel it’s worth repeating that they are a very good investment.
Additional tools include TOR(The Onion Router), which offers a former naval encryption system that we can now all use. Tor takes all your internet traffic and routes it through its own network, providing total anonymity.
The DuckDuckGo browser, which Tor employs, is good to know about also. It has a number of different features that keep you safe, including a “Flame” feature that burns up all your cookies in a second. Pretty cool.
Now, just as then, there is a need for deterrence, to defend the nation and hopefully prevent a further escalation of tensions. There is more at stake than we can even put into words. We need to be ready.
There are bigger dangers here than the usual America vs. Russia, liberal world order vs the new world order that the extremist crazies keep screaming that they want kind of thing. This is different completely.
One superpower actively destroying the democratic process of another is new and very dangerous, especially since Russian destability tactics rely heavily on disinformation and a systematic devaluing of the truth.
One of the chief strategists of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, Tad Devine, has finally gotten a phone call from Robert Mueller.
He has been listed as one of 35 witnesses who will be called to the stand in the upcoming trial of Paul Manafort to provide information about their lobbying activities in Ukraine, where he was Manafort’s right-hand man for many years.
It’s so similar to what happened in 2016 that it’s eerie. The only difference was that in 2004, Manafort and Devine were working together directly, whereas in 2016 they were ostensibly opposed to one another.
That is very convenient for the enemy.
In the end, Bernie lost by four million votes, although you will still hear the embittered remnants of Bernie or Bust complaining about superdelegates having cost Bernie the election.
The Russians did all they could to encourage that narrative.
Those very same sad sack Busters were juicy prey for the Russians, who seem to have known they would be, right from Day One. They couldn’t have planned it better.
The primary medium they used to reach our people was Facebook, which in many ways is a world unto itself. Back then it was overrun with accounts who had convinced themselves fanatically that Bernie was a shoo-in to win.
They were deeply hurt and angry when he did not, so much so that they turned the last few months of the primary into an absolutely miserable time, filled with acrimony and division.
Why? Because Wikileaks dumped hacked DNC emails showing Debbie Wasserman-Schultz fussing over Bernie’s inability to fill out campaign forms.
On a side note, it is our extreme pleasure to report that Julian Assange, that foul organization’s leader, is facing imminent expulsion from Ecuadorian embassy he’s been hiding in like a rat these past few years.
The question is, to whose benefit? Who stirred them up so much, and why was it so effective? How could they have been so convinced he would win a completely lost battle? It didn’t add up, and at the time it really felt wrong. On every level.
Once the reports on the Russian cyber-tactics used in 2016 started coming out, and we started seeing them describe the things we had all experienced, it all fell right into place.
Around September 14 in 2016, for example, one “account specialist” of a Russian-controlled Facebook group called “Secured Borders” was reprimanded for having a “low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton.”
A personal anecdote. The editor of Millennial Democrats was online alongside legions of others, out there for HRC from 2015 onward, every day, for many hours. Anyone who was there back then can tell you.
It can be stated categorically that there was a tangible, palpable disinformation campaign going on, particularly on Facebook.
The time has come for America to look objectively at this whole situation, through the eyes of Robert Mueller, and to do what it takes to remedy it. That means traveling across party lines, and going wherever the trail leads.
It has been our opinion for a long time that trail will eventually highlight Tad Devine as the Russians’ man inside the campaign of Bernie Sanders. Now that his role has been revealed, many an important piece of this puzzle is about to start falling into place.
As this story continues to develop, we’ll be keeping you posted on all of it.
They say the past always catches up, and it seems like in this case, that is true.
In the last year, we have seen the myriad investigations into Donald Trump range all over the place, as America continues to learn more and more about what manner of man holds court in its highest office. This last week has illustrated the situation for us, in microcosm.
Obviously very damning, but by then it was old news.
That one came courtesy of Trump’s lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who really loves to talk.
He told us all that Trump knew of the Cohen payments on Sean Hannity’s talk show a day after he got the spot on the bench of Trump’s legal team. You’d think that would have taught him to shut up, but it didn’t. Earlier this week, he was talking again, to CNN’s Dana Bash.
Who expected that? We’re obviously not going to send the sitting president to prison! He’d have to stand up for the morning head count, in the middle of security briefings! That was never the plan, it would be ludicrous.
If Rudy’s intent was to console his capo, by reassuring him he’s not getting locked up next week, it seems to this Millennial Democrats contributor that he has admirably failed in that duty.
It’s hard to understand why a legal expert would do this much talking, even if he is demented and past his prime. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. But that’s the nature of this administration and life in the country during it. Nothing makes sense, everything is topsy-turvy.
As this article was getting ready to publish, the news broke that Rudy Giuliani is talking again. This morning, he says that Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of his questioning in order to interview Donald Trump himself.