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Monday, March 25, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Led by chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and vice chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), the Senate Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing Thursday on Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections. Equal parts illuminating and harrowing, it offered fresh insight into the Kremlin’s spy games and raised new questions about the Trump administration’s possible collusion with Putin.

Here are five of the more revelatory moments.

1. Trump appears to parrot Putin’s ‘fake news.’

“Part of the reason active measures have worked in this U.S. election is because the commander-in-chief has used Russian active measures at time against his opponents,” noted Clinton Watts, Robert A. Fox Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Trump’s claims that the election was rigged appeared to parallel Russian propaganda: “The number-one theme pushed by RT, Sputnik News… all the way up until the election.”

2. Russian ‘active measures’ have been in play for nearly a century.

Roy Godson, professor emeritus at Georgetown University, spoke of the overt and covert methods used by Russian officials since the 1920s and ’30s. “[They] created an enormous apparatus in the world,” he said. “They used this apparatus to be able to influence the politics of Europe after the war.”

The methods were used to “help Europe and sometimes [the U.S.] in fighting the Nazis and the Italian fascists,” Godson noted. “But they were also preparing for being able… to undermine democratic and liberal parties, including in the United States.”

 3. ‘Russian propaganda on steroids‘ helped employ thousands.

“The Russians employed thousands of paid internet trolls and botnets to push out disinformation and fake news at high volume, flooding our social media,” Sen. Mark Warner confirmed.

“This fake news and disinformation was then hyped by the American media echo chamber and our own social media networks to reach and potentially influence millions of Americans,” he added.

“This is not innuendo or false allegations,” Warner hammered. “This is not fake news. This is actually what happened to us.”

4. Russian operatives sought to undermine American politics long after the election.

“This past week, we observed social media campaigns targeting Speaker of the House Paul Ryan hoping to foment further unrest amongst U.S. democratic institutions,” Watts told senators. He claims one of its targets was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a vocal critic of Russia.

5. The money trail is littered with bodies.

“There’s been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. They are dropping dead, even in western countries,” Watts concluded. “These are all huge openings to understand how they are funded by the Russian government. I don’t have the capability to do that from where I sit, but I think that’s a huge angle.”

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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10 responses to “5 Revelations From The Senate Intelligence Committee’s First Public Hearing On Russia And The 2016 Elections”

  1. Joan says:

    The dead bodies and Russian rubles we are following may not provide a proven direct link to Trump. What is emerging and what all but true Truminites will see, is that Donald Trump is President largely because Putin wanted him to be.

    • plc97477 says:

      Which brings up the question. What’s in it for putin?

      • Joan says:

        Americans fighting with each other rather than impeding Putin’s efforts in Syria, his annexation of neighboring countries and his further consolidation of power in Europe. An ally in his efforts to distabalize NATO and the EU. A conduit for money laundering by Russian oligarchs. Putin is a racist and misogynistic – he hated Hillary and Obama.

        • idamag says:

          Americans fighting with each other is no accident. There have always been active anti-government groups. There are survivalist groups all over the country whose plan is to take over the government. My small state, Idaho, has 8 active hate groups, including KKK and a nazi party. Florida has hundreds. The deep south is overrun with them. Their goal is not democracy for all. When a Black man was elected to the Presidency, the hate groups doubled. They are a malignancy on Democracy and will eventually destroy it. The tea party is one. They were born of Obama’s Presidency. They found the republican party the easiest one to infiltrate and take over.

      • Wolfesgang says:

        What’s in it for Putin? (1) Dividing the ‘West’, for which he and his cronies have a hatred beyond belief; (2) stoking up more nationalism, unrest, and confrontation in Europe without having to fear too much in terms of counteraction from the U.S.; (3) making a good time for himself and his oligarchs without finding himself compelled to bring about change in Russian society: and thus to drag Central and Western Europe down to Russian standards, without too much expense. His final aim is probably to restore the Soviet Union, at least in terms of territory, and to go down in history as something like Vladimir the Great.

      • johninPCFL says:

        Putin’s now got Agent Orange to leave Assad in power in Syria. Agent Orange’s hotel in Azerbaijan was built with Iranian loans, putting him in line for blackmail.

  2. yabbed says:

    Trump will forever be known as the illegitimate president.

    • InformedVoter says:

      You mean like obozo is known as the illegitimate president because he wasn’t born in the USA? Before it’s over, President Trump will unmask obozo as to his real birth country – Africa.
      That will really upset things.

  3. Dominick Vila says:

    The question at this point is not so much whether or not Russia intervened in the 2016, but what their goals are. Putin is an arrogant, ruthless, ideologue who will stop at nothing to restore his dream of a Russian empire. Considering the limitations of the Russian economy, and the robust opposition he would face if he tries to invade neighboring countries, his strategy may very well include dividing the world in three, with the USA, China, and mother Russia each getting a slice of the pie.
    It is not yet clear whether or not Trump realizes that he is being played for a fool, by a savvy former KGB agent. What is clear is that he is willing to emulate Russian actions in Aleppo in Mosul, that he did not hesitate to encourage the Russians to spy on us and release their findings to the world, that he has expressed his admiration of Putin repeatedly, and that he has surrounded himself with several staff members with close ties to Russia.

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