The New York Times released this, eh, surprising news yesterday:
WASHINGTON — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia authorized extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the election last year, including by mounting covert operations to influence people close to President Donald J. Trump, according to a declassified intelligence report released on Tuesday…
…The reports, compiled by career officials, amounted to a repudiation of Mr. Trump, his allies and some of his top administration officials. They reaffirmed the intelligence agencies’ conclusions about Russia’s interference in 2016 on behalf of Mr. Trump and said that the Kremlin favored his re-election. And they categorically dismissed allegations of foreign-fed voter fraud, cast doubt on Republican accusations of Chinese intervention on behalf of Democrats and undermined claims that Mr. Trump and his allies had spread about the Biden family’s work in Ukraine.
The line we often hear, about shady things done by powerful people, is that it’s not the crime itself, it’s the cover-up that gets you. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller wasn’t appointed because of well-founded suspicions that the Trump campaign had had strategic help from and over a hundred contacts with Putin’s agents during the lead-up to the 2016 election — he was appointed when Trump fired Jim Comey for not dropping the investigation into Trump’s former National Security Director Mike “Lock Her up” Flynn. Flynn had been reluctantly fired by Trump for lying about his own contacts with Russia, then Trump attempted to squash the investigation and gloated by immediately celebrating Comey’s firing with a bunch of Russians in the Oval Office. It all looked so openly corrupt that Robert Mueller had to be appointed.
Mueller, of course, wound up having to write an entire second volume on Trump’s repeated attempts to interfere with his investigation, cover up his attempts to cover up widespread contacts with Trump’s benefactor Vladimir Putin, instruct his people to stay strong and say nothing, his obstruction of justice. Mueller was forced to do this because Trump’s people lied to him over and over, people like Paul Manafort who Trump later pardoned for not “singing” like a “rat”. Mueller’s short summary of the Obstruction of Justice volume would have made an excellent article of impeachment, but Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic braintrust did not have the stomach for that fight, banking instead on American outrage about Trump’s attempt to shake down the new president of a country few had ever heard of.
One star of the new revelations about Putin’s attempts to sow discord and secure another four years as American president for his pliable friend is slippery Russian intel officer/spy Konstantin Kilimnik:
The report also named Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a former colleague of Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort, as a Russian influence agent. Mr. Kilimnik took steps throughout the 2020 election cycle to hurt Mr. Biden and his candidacy, the report said, helping pushed a false narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for interfering in American politics.
During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Manafort shared inside information about the presidential race with Mr. Kilimnik and the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs whom he served, according to a bipartisan report last year by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“Kilimnik was back at it again, along with others like Derkach,” Mr. Schiff said. “And they had other conduits for their laundered misinformation, including people like Rudy Giuliani.”
Neither Mr. Giuliani nor his representatives returned a request for comment.
You know, this guy:
Kilimnik was mentioned hundreds of times in the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report about massive Russian interference in the 2016 election that came out in five volumes, the last of them well after Mueller’s discarded work was done. The Republican led committee documented meetings and constant communications between then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (Roger Stone’s former partner in political dirty tricks) and Kilimnik, the man the FBI is now seeking for Obstruction of Justice and Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. They documented how Manafort had shared detailed polling data with Kilimnik, information that might have come into play when Trump’s surgically precise Electoral College victory was engineered. Though he lost he popular vote, he won every district he needed to win for his 78,000 vote Electoral College mandate.
The Republican led committee got much more detailed information on Trump’s collusion/coordination/close work with Russia than Mueller was able to find. And, because Americans are not sophisticated consumers of information, the Republicans on the committee publicly distanced themselves from their own findings, repeating the mantra that it was all a big nothing fabricated by vicious partisans who hated Trump, no matter how much so called evidence of this collusion they themselves had turned up.
Can anyone really be surprised about this “news” that Putin wanted his guy reelected in 2020? During the 2020 campaign Trump and Barr constantly echoed the incendiary and baseless Putin talking point about mail in voting fraud. Evidence? “It’s common sense,” snorted Barr on national TV, more than once. Draw a straight line from that lie about massive potential fraud by those who voted against Trump, through Trump’s constant carping about a rigged election, to his open attempts to sabotage the US mail system by having his megadonor dismantle hundreds of urban high speed mail sorting machines, remove mailboxes and slow down mail delivery by other shenanigans, through literally hundreds of baseless lawsuits to prevent voting or contest electoral losses, to the well-funded months’ long Stop the Steal publicity blitz, to the riot organized and launched to prevent the certification of the election results, to the screaming about the cancellation of Dr. Seuss and the snarling threats of “scorched earth” in the Senate — and… well, Putin’s laughing, anyway.
Maybe he’s right, comrades. This nation may be too fucking stupid and weak to remain a democracy.