Trump White House under mounting pressure from anti-Russia campaign
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Feb 20 2017
The Trump White House is under increasing pressure from the anti-Russian campaign instigated by the IC and spearheaded by the bulk of the corporate-controlled media, the Democrat Party and a section of the Thugs. Over the past several days, the first official action has been carried out by a congressional committee investigating claims of Russian involvement in the 2016 election campaign. The Senate Intelligence Committee has sent letters to more than a dozen government agencies, organizations and individuals asking them to preserve all materials that may be relevant to the committee’s investigation. The letters were authorized by GOP Chair Richard Burr and ranking Democrat Mark Warner. The letters were sent after a two-hour classified briefing by FBI Director James Comey on the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC + Podesta emails. Senators left the hearing without divulging anything of what took place but hours later, the request was dispatched for the preservation of documents on alleged Russian interference in the campaign and related issues, which reportedly include the allegations of “constant contact” during the campaign between Trump advisers and aides and Russian intelligence agents, first made in the NYT last week and later in a broadcast by CNN. Neither report presented any actual evidence, citing only the claims of unnamed intelligence officials, who said they had monitored phone calls or reviewed telephone transcripts.
The letters from the Intelligence Committee came a day after Senate Democrats sent similar appeals to the White House, the FBI, the DoJ and other federal agencies asking them to preserve any relevant materials. This letter, signed by all the Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was sent to White House Counsel Donald McGahn, asking the administration to preserve “all materials related to contacts between the Trump organization, Trump campaign, Trump transition team, or Trump administration, or others acting on their behalf, and Russian government officials or associates.” Chuck Schumer warned the Senate last week:
There is real concern that some in the administration may try to cover up its ties to Russia by deleting emails, texts and other records that could shine a light on those connections.
Nancy Pelosi chimed in:
I’m afraid they’re going to destroy the documents! But the fact that I would even say that that level of trust has gone so far low in all of this!
Pelosi and Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, sent their own letter to acting DNI Mike Dempsey (*):
(We request) a comprehensive intelligence briefing on Russia by Feb 28 2017 … This briefing should include information about Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials, and should also provide unredacted transcripts of any intercepted conversations or communications he had with Russian officials.
Some Congressional Demagogs are raising the specter of treason charges against Trump or his aides. Rep Seth Moulton from Massachusetts, an Iraq war veteran, said on CNN:
If members of the administration are essentially conspiring with Russia … that’s the definition of treason. This is a very very serious affair.
At the same time, Congressional defenders of Trump are pushing back against his opponents within the IC. House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes sent a letter Friday to the FBI, asking it to investigate leaks of classified information to the media. He suggested that the leaks came either from career officials who oppose Trump’s policies, or from holdovers from the Obama administration. According to one press report:
He believes that Trump is being targeted by the IC. It’s an abuse of authority.
Reince Priebus appeared on three Sunday TV shows to denounce the media reports of “constant contact” between the Trump campaign and Russia as false and deliberately aimed at undermining the Trump administration. Speaking on NBC Meet the Press, Priebus acknowledged receipt of the Senate Intelligence Committee letter, and said the White House would cooperate with the request. He said:
I know what they were told by the FBI, because I’ve talked to the FBI. I know what they’re saying. I wouldn’t be on your show right now telling you that we’ve been assured that there’s nothing to the NYT story if I actually wasn’t assured.
He also said that no-one at the White House except ex-NSA Mike Flynn (that is, ex-National Security Adviser, not ex-National Security Agency – RB) had been interviewed by the FBI. Significantly, all three interviewers avoided raising the issue of the motivation behind the IC leaks to the media that have fueled the anti-Russian campaign. Nor did Priebus raise the issue himself, even though Trump touched on it in his press conference Thursday, when he suggested that his opponents would praise him if he ordered a Russian spy ship blown up, or otherwise took a more belligerent position towards Moscow. The real driving force of the factional struggle within the Pindosi ruling elite is a conflict over foreign policy towards Russia. Dominant sections of the MIC (the Pentagon – RB) want to continue and intensify the campaign of sanctions, provocations and military build-up undertaken under the Obama administration, whose logical outcome would be a direct military confrontation. Trump’s foreign policy is if anything even more militaristic than Obama’s, but it targets China & Iran first, so they (the Pentagon – RB) view it as undermining their build-up against Russia. The most strident voice on this issue is that of Walnuts McCain, who gave an address Friday to the Munich Security Conference in Germany during which he warned that the solidarity of the Western imperialist powers against Russia faced its greatest challenge in half a century. In an interview taped Saturday for broadcast on NBC Meet the Press, McCain denounced Trump’s Friday
sermon fatwa Tweet, that branded the press as “the enemy of the Pindo creeple. McCain said:
A free press is needed to preserve democracy as we know it and without it, I’m afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.
While he added that he was not calling Trump a dictator, the implication was nonetheless clear. In an interview and cover story in NY Magazine published this weekend, Walnuts intensified the anti-Russian campaign in the media, saying:
Russia’s interference in our presidential election is a grave threat to democracy! I view it with the utmost seriousness! I view it more seriously than a physical attack! I view it more seriously than Orlando or San Bernardino! … As tragic as that was, the far-reaching consequences of an election hack are certainly far in excess of a single terrorist attack!
The logical conclusion of such an analysis is that Pindo imperialism should be even more aggressive in relation to Russia than it has been in relation to Daesh, which is a formula for military escalation against a nuclear-armed country with catastrophic consequences.
(*) Michael P Dempsey became the Deputy Director for Intelligence Integration at the ODNI in Aug 2014, previously serving as Assistant Deputy Director for Intelligence Integration. Prior to this assignment he served as the Director of CIA’s Office of Africa, Latin America, and Global Issues (ALAGI), as well as the Director of the Office of Transnational Issues (OTI). Dempsey began his intelligence career with CIA in 1990 and has served in a number of management and analytical positions there, including Deputy Director of the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, Arms Control Center (WINPAC), as well as Deputy Associate Director for Military Affairs. He also served as Deputy CIA Representative to the JCS, and Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the NSC. Prior to joining CIA, Dempsey served for four years as an artillery officer in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Dempsey graduated from SIENA college. He also has degrees from SUNY at Albany and SAIS at Johns Hopkins.