This will be the compiling of the news I’ve scoured the bowels of the “interwebs” for…get ready for some “heavy stuff”…
First, a Twitter Storm of news from a in-the-know Patriot. It’s from Matt Welch, a free-market capitalist, Conservative-Libertarian writer for Reason magazine. It is long and detailed…BUCKLE UP…
Here is my working Trump/Russia theory. I’m sure it suffers from my usual lack of imagination. Worse, it’s a g*dd*mned tweetstorm!
1) There is a genuine alignment of interests between Trump/LePen/Orban nationalism & Putinism. All loathe/distrust Western multilateralism.
2) Trump may dislike PC elites. Orban may dislike condescending Germans. Putin may dislike NATO & the EU. All emphasize national sovereignty
3) It’s logical for these parties to be friendly with one another. Particularly since these are still marginalized POVs among Western elites
4) Meaning, it’s hard to find good foreign policy talent from the Trump/Bannon/Gorka school. Pool’s too shallow. This will become important.
5) So, it behooves Russia to marshal help for these Western movements any which way they can. Since Russia ain’t clean, that means dirt.
6) Doesn’t need to be kompromat, or whatever term you pretended to begin knowing last week. Just a friendly bank, or oil exec; whatever.
7) “Hey Oleg, I want you to meet a guy in Paris, maybe his political party needs a loan, maybe you can help him out.”
8) Point being, it doesn’t have to be 13-dimensional Soviet chess; it can be normal functioning of an abnormal state wielding influence.
9) So one question re: Trump is, what are the categories of help that A) he needed, and B) Oleg was able to provide?
10) I don’t know the answers to those questions, in case that’s not obvious. Trying to organize the thinking here. But!
11) A plausible category of help could be, “Hey, since we’re semi-pals, could you give this presidency an early win?”
12) The glee with which Trump greeted the late-December news that Putin wasn’t retaliating against the U.S. was not that of a puppet.
13) Lester does not say of Willie, “I always knew he was very smart!” Trump was bursting with pride at his back-channel accomplishment.
14) But being Trump, he handled every bit of that transaction as ham-handedly as humanly possible. It may yet sink his presidency.
15) Let’s imagine for a second that there WASN’T collusion between the Trump campaign and the FSB during the election, and no secret loans.
16) Given that scenario, does Trump’s behavior vis-à-vis Russia during the campaign, and since, follow any logic? I’d argue yes.
17) He wanted (and got) a diplomatic win in December. He’s a NATO-skeptic America Firster, and acted like that this week. Hearts Brexit.
18) You have a better story about Russian influence over Trump when Trump acts in ways that DEVIATE from what we know of his beliefs.
19) He hasn’t done that, AFAIK. Meanwhile, the admin’s Russia-softies have been purged, and there’ve been tough words over Syria.
20) But going back to the alarmingly shallow pool of Trumpite foreign policy talent, this poses American problems and Russian opportunities.
21) The American problems are, this pool of Trump-aligned FP dudes is so shallow you need known batsh*ts like Mike Flynn way up high.
22) Batsh*ts can provide much-needed correctives to stale consensus. They can also, through batsh*ttery, act themselves out of office quick.
23) Jared Kushner may not be batsh*t (I don’t know), but he has considerably less foreign policy experience than I do. I’ll let that sink in…
24) He has little evident sense about what you can and cannot say and do in an international/intergovernmental setting. He will f*ck up.
25) The entire intelligence community, after being targeted by their president, is geared to pounce on every possible administration misstep
26) Kushner could be part of some dark, treasony cabal, as my Twitter feed is anxiously informing me all night. But isn’t it also possible….
27)… that he could be an incompetent, tripped up on his dullard methods, as he tried to midwife a cheap-*ss diplomatic win during transition?
@jacobsullum has noted, Trump is almost comically inept at orchestrating cover-ups.
The president’s ham-handed efforts to stifle interest in Russia’s election meddling have only drawn more attention to it.
29) We knew going in that Trump was a narcissistic, serially lying New York *sshole, who would act when cornered like a common subway rat.
30) Given what we know about Trump’s awful personality, and his nationalist ideology,has ANY of his Russia behavior been inexplicable? [ME: NO. It ALL fits in perfectly and smoothly.]
31) And given the gross amateurishness of the Trump team, Russia is faced with a win-win: Either friends run DC, or the U.S. is in turmoil.
32) (And yes, the U.S. will arguably be in turmoil no matter what the Fletch happens during the next four years.)
33) But let’s not forget the common trait of all great tragedies: All of the protagonists are acting according to their own internal logic.
34) If Trump is proven to be a puppet, pulled by strings we cannot currently see, this Twitter thread will look foolish. My bad, Ma! [ME: There ARE strings that tie DT and Putin together. May not be a puppet so much as paid for, willing accomplice.]
35) But ask yourself this: What if Trump exits, and there WASN’T any puppetry, just incompetence + common interests + intense scrutiny?
36) I like neither Trump nor the presidency in general, so I do not weep to see him & his team twist in the wind.
37) But in the wish-fulfillment that passes for much political commentary, I wonder if we’re fast-forwarding past a more banal explanation.
ME: Now Matt Welch asks a LOT of questions. He posits “What If” Trump is not so much a puppet but more of a well compensated accomplice? My view? Either way it’s treason.
These next two entries ANSWER many of Matt’s questions-
The Budapest Bridge: Hungary’s Role in the Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and the Russian Secret Service
Dr. András Göllner’s essay is the first installment of a three part series in HFP.
It was during the 2016 Presidential election campaign, and for the first time in American electoral history, that a hostile foreign power, aided and abetted by one of the candidates, was able to decisively intervene and significantly influence the outcome of an American election.
American public opinion, the mass and social media, the political establishment and, the country’s secret services, are bitterly divided about the veracity of the relationship between the Russian secret services and Donald Trump’s campaign team. Most commentators claim that even if conclusive evidence of collusion were to be found, it is well nigh impossible to prove, that the relationship had any tangible impact on the outcome of the election.
This first, of a two part series, summarizes some fresh evidence about the nature of the collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. It will provide some empirically verifiable evidence of the electoral impact of the Russian leaks, in the context of the strategic aspirations of the Trump campaign.
We do not claim to have any insight into the evidence at the disposal of the FBI about the alleged collusion between the Trump team and the Russian secret service. What we have, is evidence, that the FBI is forbidden by law to investigate, because it lies outside the territory of the USA.
This series argues that the place where the FBI, Congress, and the American mass media should be looking for evidence, about the collusion between senior Trump staffers and the Russian secret service is not in America, but in far away Hungary, a member of NATO, the European Union, and a champion of Vladimir Putin in the West.
Our investigation has uncovered „the smoking gun” about the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian secret services. It shows that the connection between the Russian secret services and the Trump campaign is not a direct one. It did not run through the Russian embassy in the US or through the spies that have been expelled by Obama. It did not run through New York City or Moscow, or in conversations between campaign staff and the Russian ambassador to the US. It ran through Budapest, which is the European Headquarters of Putin’s FSB. Budapest was the „bridge” between the Trump campaign and the Russian secret service.
Some of our evidence is well known. It is known, for example, that the Russians and the Trump campaign had identical strategic interests. They both wanted to position Hillary Clinton as a „crooked and untrustworthy” candidate. What has not been known, up to now is, that the unacknowledged architect of this grand strategy was the notoriously secretive Arthur J. Finkelstein, a long time New York associate of Donald Trump, going back to the Roy Cohen days.
Finkelstein is perhaps the most bitter opponent of Hillary Clinton amongst a small circle of pro-Republican campaign gurus, and a frequent flyer to many of the capitals where Putin is seen as a hero. Finkelstein introduced Paul Manafort years ago to Putin’s pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs, who use their corporate hats, to advance Putin’s fortunes abroad. Finkelstein also had a big hand in Manafort’s addition to the Trump team. Finkelstein has also served as chief political strategist for the past 10 years, to Putin’s most loyal follower in the Western alliance – the Hungarian PM, Viktor Orbán. Finkie, as Orbán is fond to call him, also works for some of the most notorious autocrats of the former Soviet Republics, and always indirectly, so his pay-masters can’t be easily identified – a skill that he passed on to Trump’s ex-campaign chairman, Manafort.
As Steven Bannon confessed to the Hollywood Reporter, after the elections, polling and visceral messaging, a Finkelstein specialty, played a critical part in the Trump campaign. It is not a coincidence, that the campaign’s senior pollster was Tony Fabrizio, who learned his craft on Finkelstein’s knees. Virtually the entire top tier of the Trump campaign, including Roger Ailes and Roger Stone, have close personal ties to the man, who is known worldwide, as „The Merchant of Venom”.
While Finkelstein has been consciously kept out of the Trump campaign’s limelight, the campaign worked from his playbook, and that playbook had an important, hitherto unseen chapter on the art of dealing with Russia’s secret services. This series argues, that the Trump campaign had not only criminal intent (aiding and abetting Russian hacking of a political opponents’s confidential data base) but benefited from its criminal activities, by cornering the political market. (As our evidence about Finkelstein’s role in the campaign began to gather momentum, Finkelstein became unreachable. His friends and associates say, that he is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer. We hope this is not yet another Finkelstein maneuver to throw people off his scent. We wish him speedy recovery so we can ask him directly, what he was doing on „the Budapest Bridge”.)
This is the continuation of Part 1 of Dr. András Göllner’s essay, which appeared in HFP on Thursday.
In the first part of this series, we argued, that the key players in Trump’s electoral scam have slipped under the FBI’s radar because US laws prohibit the Agency to pursue evidence outside the territory of the US. We also argued, that working with the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, an adjunct of the Russian secret service, would be the kiss of death to any American investigation.
We offered concrete evidence of the Orbán government’s payment of millions to influential Republicans, such as Connie Mack IV, with the aim of whitewashing the Orbán regime’s ties to the Russian secret service. The publicly available information that we accessed is but the tip of the iceberg, of a massive effort by Hungary to mislead Congress and American public opinion.
It is not our job to tell the FBI or US Congressional bodies how to pursue their job. But it is our duty to inform the representatives of the American people in which direction they should look in pursuing the truth. The second instalment of this report is designed with this purpose in mind.
The electoral impact of the Russian hackings
Evidence about the impact of the Russian hackings on the outcome of the 2016 US elections is so overwhelming that it’s blinding. Trump’s principal campaign message was, that Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted to fix the problems that plague America. She was portrayed day after day, as “Crooked Hillary” the woman who belongs behind bars, rather than in the White House. Every single time, the Russians released some of the DNC’s stolen e-mails, they were feeding this narrative and added oxygen to Trump’s fire.
It is important to acknowledge, that Donald Trump himself, was above board: he openly abetted Putin to disclose what Russia’s secret services stole from the DNC’s data base. The impact of the Wikileaks disclosures is irrefutable. Their impact on Clinton’s trustworthiness rating can be retroactively measured and verified. These leaks measurably increased Clinton’s negatives, played into the Trump campaign’s narrative, decreased her competitiveness at critical moments of the campaign, and especially in the marginal battleground states. While presidential candidates may lie, numbers do not.
The architects of the scam
In our first installment, we argued, that the dynamic behind the numbers was not an accident but was part of a conscious campaign strategy, developed by a trusted Trump advisor, Arthur J. Finkelstein, whose modus operandi is to remain completely out of the public limelight. Even Finkelstein’s closest associates acknowledge his genius in evading detection. Larry Weitzner, CEO of political consulting firm Jamestown Associates, says this about his mentor: “He prefers to work behind the scenes and let the candidate do the talking, unlike other [consultants] who prefer to be Fox TV stars.” A CNN report on Finkelstein had this to say about him: “He is the stuff of Hollywood: A man who can topple even the most powerful foes, yet so secretive that few have ever seen him. Finkelstein has been compared to criminal mastermind Kaiser Sose in The Usual Suspects, who lay so low that some doubted he really existed.”
Finkelstein was Trump’s pick for the anti-Hillary onslaught. Trump knew him well, and used him on previous occasions. He too is a member of the gang that admired the techniques of Roy Cohn, the brain child of McCarthyism, the man, who developed the science of making accusations stick without proper regard for evidence. Finkelstein has been instrumental in numerous Republican victories in New York state. His entire life was dedicated to demonizing Democrats and progressive ideas. And most importantly, he spearheaded the “Get Hillary” campaign in 2006 – he held a decade long personal grudge against Hillary. Finkelstein fit Trump’s aspirations like a fine leather glove fits a hand.
Finkelstein spent most of his time during the Trump campaign in Budapest, off the publicly disclosed campaign payroll. Until recently, and parallel to his “hidden” role in the campaign, he was in virtually daily contact with Hungary’s pro-Russian prime minister. Leakage of the hacked documents, according to our sources was coordinated through Budapest, the European HQ of the FSB, and with Orbán’s knowledge. It is Orbán’s personal ties to the players on “The Budapest Bridge”, that makes him a liability now in the White House. He is drawing too much heat, as the Congressional investigations begin to cast a wider net. Orbán was hoping for an early visit with Trump, as a token of the American President’s gratitude. With the Congressional investigations under way, plans have changed. In a fit of anger, Mr. Orbán recalled his Ambassador to Washington, Réka Szemerkényi.
We have learned that the London based joint company, set up by Finkelstein and Habony at the start of the Trump campaign (Danube Business Consulting Ltd) played an important role in the transfer of the hacked documents to Assange and Wikileaks. We suggest that apart from Finkelstein, his American consulting partner in Hungary, George E. Birnbaum, and Finkelstein’s Hungarian affiliate, Árpád Habony, Tamás Lánczi, the CEO of Danube Business Consulting should all be questioned under oath. The financial records of the company should be scrutinized, with the assistance of the Scotland Yard. But the net should involve all the players we have named in our first installment.
The line of questioning of those who used the „Budapest Bridge” is also critically important. One of the first questions the FBI, the House and Senate committees should ask Roger Stone, and under oath is this: Does he know of Finkelstein’s “silent” role in the campaign? Was he in contact, during his visits to London with Tamás Lánczi, the Director of Danube Business Consulting, Ltd, and did any of his discussions with Lánczi pertained to the hacked documents of the DNC and their transfer to Wikileaks ?
One of the first things the FBI should do, along with the Congressional intelligence Committees, is to examine J.D. Gordon’s Hungarian agenda book. Gordon was Jeff Sessions’ deputy during the campaign, and served as National Security Advisor to the Trump campaign. He travelled six times to Budapest, the European Headquarters of the Russian secret service. He should be questioned under oath and asked point blank: Who paid for his visits to Hungary, during the campaign? Why was it so important for him to spend so much time in this small, politically insignificant country, as a member of the Trump campaign team? Did he meet Finkelstein or Habony in Budapest, or Lánczi in London? Who were the oligarchs or officials he met in Hungary, and did he ever examine his contacts’ connections to the Russian secret services? Does he know anything about the corrupt passport business run by Orbán’s government? He should also be questioned under oath, why he would classify the Orbán regime as the Trump presidency’s “model” when Orbán, publicly declared, that his government’s “model” is Communist China, and Putin’s Russia, and Erdogan’s Turkey?
Hungary today is anything but a democracy. According to a press release, on March 21 of this year, Hungary’s Civil Liberties Union, and more than one hundred of the country’s top non-government organizations notified the world, that the Orbán regime has declared war on Hungary’s civil society. The freedom of the press is highly restricted. Two years ago, Republican Senator John McCain, referred to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as a “neo-Fascist dictator”. Things have become even more desperate since then. . Last week, Hungary’s highest ranking privately owned university – the Central European University – was the victim of a retroactive law, that singled it out for special treatment and without any consultations, because its principal donor is the US financier, George Soros. By the end of year it will have to shut its doors, like its sister University in St Petersburgh. Most international experts, refer to the Orbán regime as Russia’s Trojan Horse in the Western alliance. Given its anti-democratic, pro-Russian track record, it took many Hungarians by surprise, that top Trump advisor J.D. Gordon traveled to Budapest during the campaign and declared that „The team of President-elect Donald Trump deeply admires the Hungarian leader. With Trump in the White House, a new chapter will be opened in American-Hungarian relations. Mr. Trump and Mr. Orbán will become good friends”? Could Trump’s friendship with Putin’s Hungarian disciple hold the clue to how Russia manipulated the margins in the battleground states, the margins, that according to Finkelstein’s pick for the top polling post in the Trump campaign, Tony Fabrizio, led to Clinton’s defeat?
Similar questions should be put to all the other Finkelstein operatives in the US, especially to ex-Republican Congressman Connie Mack VI who is being paid millions by the Orbán regime, to cover up the Hungarian government’s duplicitous relationship with Russia’s secret services.
To further address the questions raised by Matt Welch, there is this:
[TRANSLATED FROM HUNGARIAN.]
We see great leader Orbán Viktor, one of the best worldwide. Someone who is grounded in common sense – says Jeffrey D. Gordon, Donald Trump elected US president’s foreign policy advisor to the cushion. According to Gordon, the Pentagon spokesman also previously worked as Trump brings fresh air to politics totally, disastrously handled the migration crisis in Europe, the US failed attempts to export democracy will be over. Nagyinterjúnk.
Now here is the same article from an English news source-
Trump Advisor: “We See Viktor Orbán as a Great Leader”
Shortly after last month’s presidential election, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán phoned Donald Trump to congratulate him on his victory. The following article features excerpts from an interview about Hungary with Jeffrey D. Gordon, a foreign policy advisor to the president-elect.
Many thanks to CrossWare for the translation:
Trump Adviser: Viktor Orbán is a Great Leader, One of the Best in the World
Donald Trump’s campaign team has deep admiration and respect for the Hungarian Prime Minister, said Jeffrey D. Gordon, a campaign adviser for the newly-elected US President, who was interviewed by András Stumpf. He had this to say: Viktor Orbán stands on the ground of common sense, and now new chapter will begin in the US-Hungarian relations.
- Trump’s campaign team knew immediately about his speech in Tusványos, and Trump heard about it too.
- The advisor believes the solution for the migrant crisis is the path the Hungarian Prime Minister already suggested.
- A new chapter will open in American-Hungarian relations.
András Stumpf: Viktor Orbán said it first, last summer: Trump would be better for Europe. Does it matter right now in Washington — or is all the same — what the government of a country of only ten million says?
Jeffrey D. Gordon is an American foreign policy and communications consultant who is active in a number of American media outlets as an expert, an advisor to several senior politicians, and was a Pentagon spokesman for four years. In February he joined the staff of Donald Trump’s campaign.
GOP operative confirms receiving hacked data during campaign
And, lastly, from another Patriot investigative reporter’s Twitter-Storm:
Veteran of 3 presidential campaigns, served on White House staff (Clinton). Engaged in protecting our democracy. My car is faster than yours. Chaos Agent.
1. This is what I have from a source with knowledge of the investigation. “Flynn has begun the proffer process with U.S. Atty Office”.
2. This involves him sitting down with the FBI & USAG and proferring what he could offer in a trial against his co-conspirators. If his
3. proffered info is deemed reliable, the government will file a 5k.1 motion, requesting a downward sentencing departure. This is absolute
4. fact. His proffer statement has begun”. That’s the full statement I received.
5. *clerical error by yours truly. It’s a 5K1.1 motion. Error is mine. Sue me. 🙂
6. Trump successfully lost $915 million in 1995. TRUMP Received $950mil from German Bank (Russian Money Laundering Bank) DOES Putin Own TRUMP?
7. He has to spill ALL illegal he’s every done, if caught lying about 1 single crime the deal is off. Transcribed for use in court FBI Form 302
8. If he’s doing a proffer, it means he flipped
9. He offers bigger fish possibly.
10. The only people he could turn on would be Trump & possibly Sessions? Maybe Pence? Otherwise a 3 star/NSA is a big scalp, why deal?
11. As long as he delivers the big fish…The big bloated orange fish with tiny fins.
12. It’s about time. Wouldn’t want to be the last one out of the pool.
13. That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. How can FBI “lean” on a perp who knows he’ll be pardoned? Threats of prison are meaningless….Trump cannot pardon anyone due to being informed of impeachment proceedings
Mike Flynn Turns on Trump, Talks To FBI
Sources with links to the Justice Department indicate that General Flynn has already been indicted. On Twitter, Claude Taylor exclusively reported on May 14th that an indictment against Flynn had been returned by a Grand Jury and that this indictment was sealed. I can further report that Flynn’s indictment is thought to be for his failure to register under FARA, the Foreign Agents’ Registration Act, for his lobbying for Turkey. Reporting by NBC of Grand Jury subpoenas in an investigation for which Flynn is the subject, sources say, cover separate offenses of Mike Flynn’s that are linked to Russia. These are being investigated under prosecutors at the Northern District of Virginia, with an attorney accustomed to handling espionage prosecutions.
Sources believe that General Mike “Misha” Flynn, to give him the Russian nickname he awarded himself when picked up by British intelligence committing treason in Cambridge, England, panicked when he heard that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been appointed to head the investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia.
Mike Flynn may also have interpreted Donald Trump’s text to him, ‘Stay Strong,’ on the day the subpoenas for evidence in the ongoing case against him were announced, as a threat. Sources believe that Flynn informed the FBI, and multiple other persons, of Trump’s text himself.
Separate sources with links to the intelligence community confirm our earlier reporting on how Mike Flynn co-ordinated Russia’s propaganda attack on the West on behalf of Trump, giving advice across Europe to far-right parties linked to the Russian state. These include, but are not limited to, UKIP, Marine Le Pen in France and a far-right party in Austria. Flynn regarded himself as a partisan of the Russian state, and his assistance in Russia’s messaging was not limited to hacking the American election, but in trying to boost Nazi ideology and Putin allies right across Europe. These sources state that Gen. Flynn could receive the death penalty for espionage for these activities, if charges are brought on the matter and he is found guilty.
15. As I said before, Flynn taking the 5th in Congressional Hearings was expected. FBI is running the game and will keep his testimony for GJ.
19. Praying this is true and he gives up the BOF (Big Orange Fatso) & all of Team Treason. The Mideast-Europe trip has been too much to take.
21. They just reported on Cnn that he’s talking to the Justice Dept and no one Knew on the Committee’s!
24. And presumably the proffer involves the CiC. There’s no one else he can offer who’s higher up than himself.
25. Few minutes ago on CNN Manu Raju: Dem on Senate Judiciary Committee says it’s possible Flynn cooperating w/ Justice Department…as part of investigation and nobody knows about it and wants to know if that is the case.
Flynn Wants Immunity. Here’s Why It’s Complicated: QuickTake Q&A
27. This only works if he tells the “truth”. How do Atty’s know if he is? They already have the info. This is to verify to get bigger fish.
28. My clients have never been offered proffers by gov’t unless(1) client is smaller fish(2)gov’t already has info & preparing for litigation.
29. Proffers are pure litigation strategy. Not an “investigative” tool. Proffer offers only to build a case they already have the evidence for.
30. Now they just broke on NBC that kushner is under FBI investigation…
31. as I read the tea leaves on the proffer stage a) they have evidence in Flynn to issue significant charges they feel are likely to prevail
B) Flynn knows it and so he’s trying to negotiate – “hey I know stuff…I’ll tattle for a reduced or slap on wrist”
C) prosecutor – show me your cards and we”‘ll talk. It better be thourough and complete. Who do you work for? What Americans involved?
D) if he provides something of value – only then will there be a narrowly tailored deal of cooperation for witness testimony.
E) if not, he gets prosecuted. Doesn’t mean Trump investigation stops.