“Truth is complicated but lies are obvious and Russia-gate was a lie,” left-wing comedian/actor Russell Brand says in this new clip. Just to put that in perspective, Brand is coming from the far left. He says so himself in this clip. Later he talks about his idea of democracy which sounds a lot like Democratic Socialism to me, i.e. the kind of democracy where workers get to vote on every decision made in the workplace, etc. He is not a right-wing guy, though he sort of sounds like one here.
Brand is reacting to the recent indictment by John Durham against Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann. Ed wrote about that story last week and his take is worth reading if you missed it. Brand’s video is mostly a recitation of a piece written by Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is also on the left, though he has become something of an outcast because of his willingness to write things like this:
The lie that Sussman allegedly told the FBI occurred in the context of his mid-2016 attempt to spread a completely fictitious story: that there was a “secret server” discovered by unnamed internet experts that allowed the Trump organization to communicate with Russia-based Alfa Bank. In the context of the 2016 election, in which the Clinton campaign had elevated Trump’s alleged ties to the Kremlin to center stage, this secret communication channel was peddled by Sussman — both to the FBI and to Clinton-friendly journalists — as smoking-gun proof of nefarious activities between Trump and the Russians. Less than two months prior to the 2016 election, Sussman secured a meeting at the FBI’s headquarters with the Bureau’s top lawyer, James Baker, and provided him data which he claimed proved this communication channel.
It was in the course of trying to lure the FBI into investigating this scam conspiracy theory when Sussman allegedly lied to Baker, by concealing the fact — outright denying — that he was peddling the story in his role as lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign as well as a lawyer for a “tech executive” hoping to be appointed as the top cybersecurity official in the soon-to-be-inaugurated Clinton administration. Sussman’s claims that he was just acting as a concerned private citizen were negated by numerous documents obtained by Durham’s investigation, including billing records where he charged the Clinton campaign for his work in trying to disseminate this story, including his meeting with Baker at FBI’s headquarters.
To me, that last bit is the most shocking revelation. Sussmann allegedly went to the FBI with this supposed dirt on Trump and claimed he was acting as a concerned citizen. But Durham apparently has evidence that Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for the meeting with the FBI. These guys apparently took advice on how to generate a campaign hoax from Jussie Smollett, leaving a paper trail of their own involvement.
David Corn, who was involved in spreading Russia collusion stories prior to the 2016 election, is now playing defense, arguing that “this unusual internet communication between servers at a Russian bank and a business related to Trump—was never a key part of the Russia investigation.” If so, someone forgot to tell Hillary. She was tweeting about it just days before the 2016 election.
It's time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia. https://t.co/D8oSmyVAR4 pic.twitter.com/07dRyEmPjX
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 31, 2016
The sudden denials that the Alfa Bank story ever mattered to anyone is just nonsense. Some said the same sorts of things about the Steele dossier once that became a problem for them. In that case, IG Michael Horowitz put a stake in the heart of those denials when he concluded the dossier “played a central and essential role in the FBI’s and Department’s decision to seek the FISA order.”
Ultimately, the Alfa Bank story wasn’t central because nothing was truly central. It was just one more point many on the left used to claim there must be a fire somewhere because there was so much smoke surrounding Trump and Russia. The fact that Clinton’s cronies were the ones delivering all of this bogus information to the FBI suggests a pattern of behavior or perhaps an electoral game plan. The Alfa Bank story is a microcosm of how they were operating more broadly, i.e. pay for some unverified October surprise nonsense and get the FBI to legitimize it with an investigation. I imagine all of this was intended to counterbalance the stories about Hillary’s emails and her private server.
As for the underlying claims of the Alfa Bank story, it was all bunk.
It has long been known that the Trump/Alfa-Bank story was a fraud. A report issued in December, 2019 by the DOJ’s Inspector General revealed that “the FBI investigated whether there were cyber links between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, but concluded by early February, 2017 that there were no such links.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller thought so little of this alleged plot that he did not even bother to mention it in his comprehensive final report, which admitted that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Even the more anti-Trump Senate Intelligence Committee report acknowledged that, while unable to explain the data, “the Committee did not find the DNS activity reflected the existence of covert communication between Alfa Bank and Trump Organization personnel.”
But as Greenwald argues, that wasn’t clear at the time which gave left-leaning media a window to elevate the story prior to the election. In this case it was Slate that elevated the Alfa Bank story on the same day that Mother Jones was raising the dossier story.
The central role played by the U.S. media in perpetuating this scam on the public — all with the goal of manipulating the election outcome — is hard to overstate. The fictitious story was first published on October 31, 2016, by Slate, in an article by Franklin Foer (who, like so many Russiagate fraudsters, has since been promoted to The Atlantic by the magazine’s Iraq War fraudster/editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg). Published just over a week before the election, the article posed this question in its headline: “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?”
Getting back to Russell Brand, it’s interesting to see the light go on when he realizes that the Clinton campaign lied to everyone to get this story out there to influence the election. “To discover that this was propaganda, a construct, a confection by the Democratic Party, who of course are now in government, it’s kind of beyond disappointing because you begin to question and query what other things may not be true,” he said. Indeed, you should.
Here’s the full clip.