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World & Current Events > Breaking News: Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

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message 1: by Alex (last edited May 26, 2017 07:40PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Where there's smoke, there's fire.

I wonder where this is going to lead.

Speculative thoughts?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...


message 2: by Matthew (last edited May 26, 2017 08:08PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Not another one! Didn't we just hear that Erik Prince was the guy trying to establish a "back channel" to Moscow?

Oh, speculative thoughts... I speculate that this was yet another step in the Trump campaign seeking to establish permanent ties with Putin's government to cultivate an unholy relationship! And I'm only SEMI-exaggerating. :)


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Another explanation and if the info is true - Trump team must've believed they were being eavesdropped and monitored.
I wonder whether there is a strong anti-Russia nucleus within different US authorities, so that those who'd want to improve relations are afraid to be derailed.
I remember Kerry's agreement with Russians on Syria from last September, supported by Obama, but effectively blocked elsewhere...


message 4: by Anita (new)

Anita (neet413) | 78 comments I'm not as politically up on things as a lot of people, but it does seem odd that the Democrats are just so full on "Let's hate Russia" that it blinds them to everything else.

There is no doubt in my mind that had Clinton won the election we would be at war with them right now in some shape or form. We already have the proxy war happening in Syria.

Is it really that bad of an idea to make peace with Putin? He can't be any dirtier or more corrupt than the majority of US politicians.


message 5: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2105 comments Alex G wrote: "Where there's smoke, there's fire.

I wonder where this is going to lead.

Speculative thoughts?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...-..."

Not for nothing, but lot of what our government does is done in secret...President Obama was engaged in secret talks with Iran outside the normal channels.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-de...

The article mentions the intent was to avoid being spied on. That sounds nefarious on its surface, and I won't deny that the timing was sketchy since Obama was still President at the time, but we now the FISA court with a ruling that the Obama Administration did in fact violate American's privacy rights and commit a "very serious Fourth Amendment issue."

http://circa.com/politics/barack-obam...

If he is trying to forge a closer relation with Russia, it's no wonder he was so paranoid over the Obama Administration, and it's no wonder he can't trust the Justice Department to handle the investigations into him fairly. The question should not be over these channels themselves, but over the intent, the purpose of those channels. And of course he had to take some blame for these attacks because he couldn't wait until after the inauguration to get things moving.


message 6: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Anita wrote: "Is it really that bad of an idea to make peace with Putin? He can't be any dirtier or more corrupt than the majority of US politicians. ..."

Yes he can! For one thing, he has blood on his hands, the blood of all the Russian political opponents, journalists and businessmen he ordered assassinated.


message 7: by Anita (new)

Anita (neet413) | 78 comments Michel wrote: "Anita wrote: "Is it really that bad of an idea to make peace with Putin? He can't be any dirtier or more corrupt than the majority of US politicians. ..."

Yes he can! For one thing, he has blood o..."



You could say the same about Hillary Clinton.


message 8: by Michel (last edited May 27, 2017 12:16PM) (new)

Michel Poulin Anita wrote: "You could say the same about Hillary Clinton."

I find that a rather cheap, dishonest shot, Anita. Hillary Clinton may have shown incompetence during the Lybia crisis, but you can't compare her to Putin, who deliberately and very consciously ordered the deaths of a number of his opponents and critics.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments A lot of things are alleged against Putin and some investigations were closed, but it's not that he's convicted in anything though. Not that I believe there are many chances for evidence to surface, even if there is something.
Karen Davisha conducted a very thorough investigation, yet she had significant hardships procuring an evidence ..


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9248 comments In defence of Anita, Hillary Clinton indicated she would enforce a "no-fly" zone over Syria. That is effectively stating she wanted an air war with Russia, much to the joy of ISIS.

However, back to the main issue. There is one other possibility that seems to have been overlooked. All the evidence against Kushner comes from a "secret" message from Kislyak to Moscow and intercepted by US intelligence to the effect that Kushner wanted this secret channel. Suppose it is untrue? The Russians might have sent it just to check on how secure their communications really were, in the full knowledge that someone in US Intelligence would be bound to leak such a piece of politically charged information if they had it. So far, everyone assumes the Russians are a bunch of incompetent dolts. If it were really true that Kushner wanted that, why did they not send their messaged in diplomatic bags? Why would the Russians pass up such a chance to test US ability? And with the current political atmosphere, so easy to do too.


message 11: by Matthew (last edited May 27, 2017 04:14PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) J.J. wrote: "Alex G wrote: "Where there's smoke, there's fire.

I wonder where this is going to lead.

Speculative thoughts?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/......"


Except, once again, this was done before Trump had formed a government - which is illegal! The reason they were trying to avoid surveillance was because they knew this, as did Flynn and Sessions when they met with Russian officials and later lied about it. How many times does this need to be said before all this "this is all run of the mill government stuff" is put to rest?

As for bringing up domestic spying, that's irrelevant to the issue. The claim that the Obama administration tapped Trump's phone has been thoroughly debunked and its been proven that the only reason Trump's team showed up in surveillance was because they were having clandestine meetings with Russians who were under surveillance.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wor...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...

As for the purpose and intent, that's precisely what is being investigated. And it's pretty obvious at this point why it was being done. It's been established that the Russians were responsible for the key events that tipped the election in Trump's favor. Both the DNC hack and Comey's announcement that they were reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails 11 days before the election were both traced to Russian hacking. Trump's hope to foster closer relations with Putin were likely part of a quid pro quo, where he scratches Putin's back to repay him for helping with the general election by lifting sanctions against Russia. And he wanted to do it on the down low because such an act is (again) illegal when he wasn't even president!

http://www.businessinsider.com/james-...
http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/30/r...

It's painfully obvious that collusion was taking place. Why anyone is making excuses for it or trying to normalize is beyond me. I can only assume these same people are in denial about what Putin represents. He's a power-hungry autocrat who has made it his policy to interfere in foreign elections so he can augment his country's power and influence abroad.

Yeah, yeah, I know, the Americans have been doing that for years! If we agree that it was wrong when they did it, surely we can agree that Putin doing it is also wrong???


message 12: by Matthew (last edited May 27, 2017 04:21PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "A lot of things are alleged against Putin and some investigations were closed, but it's not that he's convicted in anything though. Not that I believe there are many chances for evidence to surface..."

That's probably because Putin exercises complete control over the police, security forces and media within Russia, and all his opponents and critics are either dead or in jail. You're seriously going to use the "never convicted" logic there? The only reason Putin hasn't been investigated and arrested by his own government is because all chances at opposition have been crushed.

And do you mean Karen Dawisha? How did she have "hardship" producing evidence? Her expose laid out Putin's corruption and power-mongering in excruciating detail. In fact, that was the biggest criticism of her book, the way people reading it would be drowned by the over 100 pages of footnotes and citations.


message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Matthew wrote: "And do you mean Karen Dawisha? How did she have "hardship" producing evidence? Her expose laid out Putin's corruption and power-mongering in excruciating detail. In fact, that was the biggest criticism of her book, the way people reading it would be drowned by the over 100 pages of footnotes and citations. "

@_@ wouldn't that be like a third of a sci-fi novel. (i just looked it up) Dune is 604pp. so a sixth of sci-fi novel tome.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Matthew wrote: "That's probably because Putin exercises complete control over the police, security forces and media within Russia, and all his opponents and critics are either dead or in jail. You're seriously going to use the "never convicted" logic there?..."

Sure, the total control is the main reason.
Everyone can believe what he wants, but we can't know for sure the degree of Putin's involvement as we can hardly count on independent investigation within Russia. Or maybe he will come to testify before the Senate committee? -:)
I read Dawisha's book and that's what she herself wrote, that she'd problems procuring evidence and indeed her study is exceptionally well referenced ...
As far as I understand, a former UK judge investigating Litvinenko polonium poisoning concluded that the operation was 'probably approved' by Putin and that's the closest it probably goes.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Matthew wrote: "Both the DNC hack and Comey's announcement that they were reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails 11 days before the election were both traced to Russian hacking. ..."

That's something new. How comes Comey's announcement connected to Russian hacking now?

Matthew wrote: "It's painfully obvious that collusion was taking place...."

But what if for example Russia believed they have compromising materials on Trump, thus believing they had a leash on him and made their bet on Trump without any collusion?
'Obvious" explanations can be plentiful


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9248 comments I don't think we can get into Putin's mind on this issue. There is a reasonable case he wanted to get even with Hillary following her stirring up difficulties for Putin during the 2011 Russian election, when she was Secretary of State. Putin may well have thought, if you like intervening, let me return the favour. But apart from that, I can't see Putin's long term objective. Perhaps the one thing he did achieve is he has found out a lot more about US intelligence capability, and how gullible some are to fake info, and I guess he has a bonus in he has managed to generate a leak culture. Perhaps that is all he wanted???


message 17: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Putin's ultimate long term objective is not hard to figure out: POWER! The more, the better! Or, as the joke goes: Power corrupts; absolute power is even nicer.


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9248 comments Michel, as far as I am concerned Putin already has power. My question really is what does he want to do with it? How does he want to use it?


message 19: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Putin's ultimate dream is already well known to many: to resurrect the old Soviet Union under a new name. And he is not going to do it by giving flowers around. Ask the Ukrainians and Georgians.


message 20: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2105 comments Matthew wrote: "ept, once again, this was done before Trump had formed a government - which is illegal! The reason they were trying to avoid surveillance was because they knew this, as did Flynn and Sessions when they met with Russian officials and later lied about it. How many times does this need to be said before all this "this is all run of the mill government stuff" is put to rest?

As for bringing up domestic spying, that's irrelevant to the issue. The claim that the Obama administration tapped Trump's phone has been thoroughly debunked and its been proven that the only reason Trump's team showed up in surveillance was because they were having clandestine meetings with Russians who were under surveillance...."


If you actually read what I said, I did say the issue with the meetings was the timing. Bottom line is if those meetings had taken place after the inauguration, there would be no issue because as President, he has the prerogative to form international relations as he sees fit.

The reason these issues aren't "put to rest" is because the actual investigation has just begun. I know it's hard to believe, but we don't know all the facts. Most of what you say is mere speculation and personal conclusions...not that there's anything wrong with analysis because it gives us ideas to debate and discuss, but the issue is when you try to claim those conclusions as fact when they are not. Fact is, you do not know what was in the minds of Flynn or Trump when they set up those meetings. Maybe Trump's wiretapping claims were outrageous, but we're beginning to see there might be something behind the paranoia if not the actual claim. If you go back to my previous post and actually check the links, I posted to a source where the FISA court itself ruled on problems with Obama's wiretapping. We've had discussions before on the Constitutional question, and now we have word from the very body responsible for handing out those warrants that the administration did in fact cross the line. And just because they had a warrant to monitor Page, doesn't give them a blanket right to monitor anyone else. Your link to the Independent links to another article from the Guardian.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2...
Discussing the confusion the British seem to have over our reluctance to look at their intelligence, the authors of that article seem to understand what is missing: "This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “

Going back to your link to the Independent for a moment, here is exactly why it's hard to take anything seriously that comes from the press. According to the Independent, "New evidence PROVES discussions took place 'between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material,' a source allegedly told the Guardian."

But when you click the link to the article from the Guardian, they do not say that evidence "proves" collusion...here is the quote: "One source SUGGESTED the official investigation was making progress. “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” the source said. 'This is between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.'”

Digging into the Guardian article a little more, here is what they say about the intelligence coming from the British:

"GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added."

"Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said."

NOWHERE in the Guardian article does it say the intelligence established collusion - that comes from the Independent taking lines and statements out of context and drawing their own conclusions. That's not to say the investigations won't discover collusion, but to point out that at this point it's not fact.

Another case in point, the link to foreignpolicy.com. That article largely details the Congressional investigation into the hacking. That investigation has not yet found evidence of collusion or involvement on Trump's part, but they throw in the conclusion at the end, "Asked why the Russian campaign was so successful, [Watts ] offered a simple DIAGNOSIS: Active measures worked this time because 'the commander in chief has used Russian active measures at times against his opponents.'” Watts represents the Foreign Policy Research Institute which is a think tank, not an law enforcement entity.

I don't pretend to know how the judicial system in Canada works, but here in the states, we have a principle "innocent until proven guilty." Yes, these leaks and these accusations look bad for Trump, but lawyers would have a field day destroying these anonymous sources and the claims made by the press, because for all that the left tries to claim everything it reads in the media as facts, they aren't facts - they're analysis, opinion, spin, and in many cases disingenuous.

In politics, what's going to matter more than the case itself, more than the findings of Congress, more than the claims of the press, is the perception the public has at the end of it all. Here in the US people care more about jobs, more about the health care debate, more about things that affect our everyday lives, and the voters who supported Trump watch to see if he delivers on his many promises, at least in spirit. If he can deliver to the people despite the scandals, then most Americans will perceive these scandals as nothing but a partisan effort to destroy him - the press will lose what credibility it has left and the Democrats might as well pack it in. But if these become too much of a distraction and prevent him from moving forward with his domestic agenda, they'll punish him for his inability to overcome the problems.


message 21: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2105 comments For some perspective on these accusations, this was from NBC's Meet the Press yesterday and these quotes are from the WSJ's Kimberly Strassel. I will warn you, the below link appears to be from a sight with a strong conservative bias, but they did post a link to the video clips, and I will stick to the quotes rather than engage in their conclusions.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/n...

“I think we are having a discussion that is absolutely divorced from reality this week. It is astonishing,” she quipped as she reminded them of how then candidate Obama (not President-elect Obama) set up a highly covert back channel with the Iranians:

Let me set the scene for you: It’s 2008, we are having an election and candidate Obama, he’s not even president elect, sends William Miller over to Iran to establish a backchannel, and let the Iranians know should he win the election they will have friendlier terms. Okay? So this is a private citizen going to foreign soil, obviously in order to evade U.S. intelligence monitoring and establishing a backchannel with a sworn enemy of the United States who was actively disrupting our efforts in the military in the Middle East."

This one brings in the issue of wiretapping:

MSNBC's Joy Reid questioned Trump's desire not to have the intelligence community listening in on these talks:

" “Are you telling me that the now elected Trump administration did not trust John Brennan that somehow these straight arrow guys in our intelligence services were going to now work to actively undermine, are they now seeing them as some sort of dissidents,”

Strassel's answer:

"One of the most interesting pieces of news that actually came out this week, was the FISA court revelation that they said that the Obama administration had been actively engaged in abusing fourth amendment protections by unmasking people’s identities on a routine basis, which they did not acknowledge to the court. And which they said, brought up major, major concerns. So maybe you wouldn’t trust that team in fact."


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments J.J. wrote: "Let me set the scene for you: It’s 2008, we are having an election and candidate Obama, he’s not even president elect, sends William Miller over to Iran to establish a backchannel, and let the Iranians know should he win the election they will have friendlier terms. Okay? So this is a private citizen going to foreign soil, obviously in order to evade U.S. intelligence monitoring and establishing a backchannel with a sworn enemy of the United States who was actively disrupting our efforts in the military in the Middle East..."

Don't know whether a back-channel with Iran is a fact and, if it is, whether it was known, but I don't remember even half a cry about how wrong it was, 'collusion' or anything of the sort.
A convincing presentation of double-standards in my opinion.


message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9248 comments All of which reinforces my long-held opinion: we should wait until facts are established as opposed to opinion. The problem with analysis is as soon as a non-truth enters at any point, the psychological effect "Confirmation Bias" cuts in - statements that support your desired conclusion stand out way ahead of anything else. What is important is that for any set of statements, a set of all different propositions that could explain them is established. You then look for facts that falsify the propositions until only one is left standing.

On a personal level, I actually see nothing wrong with a candidate informing foreign governments what his policy will be if elected. The reason is it might prevent them from taking actions that would be against everyone's best interests, and persuade them to wait and see what happens. As for Russia, I see no reason why it should be regarded as some great evil, or at least an exceptional one. Thus we see now that ISIS has received about $1 billion worth of US arms. What has Russia done that is worse than that?


message 24: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2105 comments Nik wrote: "A convincing presentation of double-standards in my opinion.
..."


Isn't that politics in general though? :D


message 25: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments J.J. wrote: "Isn't that politics in general though? :D"

So it seems...


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