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Tag: devin nunes

Trump's Truth Social App Is Five Alarm Dumpster Fire About To Collapse

Losing the 2020 presidential election was obviously the most tremendous blow to former President Donald "Mango Mussolini" Trump after having been raised to be a winner no matter the cost -- hence his complete and utter breakdown and eventual insurrection. But considering Trump started his foray into politics as a troll on Twitter, one might surmise that getting the boot from the popular social media app is what hurt the most.

Since getting banned from all social media, Trump has been feverishly trying to find another digital platform to host his daily deranged musings without fear of accountability. Well, let's just say that his foray into the business of social media has been about as successful as Trump University. His 45office.com, for example, was basically a crappy website you'd put together for your kid to think they're a king or something. As a result, the site is pretty much a total failure and hasn't been updated in nine months.

Last month, Trump announced the launch of the social messaging app Truth Social, but its launch was a laughable disaster. Led by former far-right Congressman and big-time Trump sycophant Devin Nunes, the launch on February 21 was riddled with errors. Despite having a large number of downloads in the Apple store, a vast number of people were shunted into a "waitlist" to be accepted as a user. Scores of people also encountered system errors when they tried to enter their birthdates to register and received the following message: "Something went wrong. Please try again."

Hilariously enough, Trump himself doesn't even post and, reportedly, is losing interest in the "Truth" app. And even funnier, the corporation that fronted the money predicted that 88 million would be using the app, but so far the former guy only has 80,000 followers.

It looks like Trump is just going to have to find another way to keep trolling America from his asylum at Mar-A-Lago.

'Puppet Theatre': A One-Act Play

Former congressman Devin Nunes, now the chief executive officer of Trump Media and Technology Group, enters Donald Trump’s office at Mar-a-Lago.

NUNES: Ta, da! Triumph!

TRUMP: Yeah, two prosecutors quit from the Manhattan’s DA’s office. A thing of beauty. The new guy doesn’t care. Ha, ha. Those stupid accountants who dropped me, if they’d only waited. Wait this out, that’s the thing. They’ll get lost in the numbers.

NUNES: Yes, Boss. But I mean Truth Social.

TRUMP: They kicked me off Twitter. Now you’re supposed to put them out of business. Get me out of Twitter jail with our own app. Love that instead of tweets it’s going to be “truths.” Retweets, “retruths.” Perfect. Not alternative facts—truths. But—what the fuck?—the launch, thirteen hours outage, 300,000 people couldn’t get on.

NUNES: Yes, Boss. We’re building it from scratch. If you build it, they will come. And up and working, Don, Jr.’s tweet is out there. “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!” Sorry, I don’t mean tweet. Truth.

TRUMP: Melania won’t even use it to sell the NFT of her eyes and her hat. You’re killing us, Devin.

NUNES: Yes, Boss. But we’re rolling. Big news. I blocked my first account.

TRUMP: Now you’re talking. Block them just like they block us. Who’d you ban, Mitch McConnell? Keep the Old Crow from reaching our base.

NUNES: Check this out. “Your account @DevinNunesCow has been banned.”

TRUMP: Turn him into a Trump Steak. But we need this app to get out of the barnyard. We’ve got a big agenda.

NUNES: Yes, Boss.

TRUMP: We’re finally going to get what we need out of Ukraine. That’s why we need Truth Social, to get the truth out about it. We’re going to get the goods at last. Putin’s a genius, he’s savvy. You know what this invasion is really about, don’t you? I mean, really.

NUNES: No, Boss.

TRUMP: When Putin takes over, we’ll be proven right all along. Putin should have invaded a long time ago. I’d still be president. No question. Ukraine is at the bottom of it all. A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine. It’s very interesting. They have the server, right? From the DNC, Democratic National Committee. The FBI went in, and they told them, ‘Get out of here, we’re not giving it to you.’ They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian, they say he’s not, but I say he is, and I still want to see that server. You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. Deep state, out to get me. That’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company? See, it wasn’t Russia that hacked the DNC. It was Ukraine. And Putin will find that server and deliver it to us. That’s what the word is.

NUNES: Genius.

TRUMP: When we get that server from Ukraine, then after the Republicans get control of the House after the midterms—guess what?—we’ll get that impeachment, the first one, wiped away. I want you to call Jim Jordan.

NUNES: Yes, Boss.

TRUMP: Zelensky, that’s what I asked him, that’s what the phone call was about. That's what I asked actually in my phone call, if you know. I mean I asked it very point blank, because we’re looking for corruption. There’s tremendous corruption. We're looking for—why should we be giving hundreds of millions of dollars to countries when there’s this kind of corruption? I asked for the server. And the investigation into Biden. I would like you to do us a favor. Perfect phone call.

NUNES: Yes, Boss.

TRUMP: If Zelensky had done the right thing, Biden would have been toast. Election, easy. No January 6th. No second impeachment. We’d have had the server. No first impeachment. Zelensky caused all this trouble. Zelensky didn’t cooperate. Now Putin will deal with him. Putin knows what Zelensky did. Zelensky will have to answer to Putin for what he did to me. Perfect phone call.

NUNES: When do we get the server, Boss?

TRUMP: It’s there. It’s in Kyiv. Some basement. Once Putin gets there, he’ll get it. And all the information on Biden is there. Promise. You’ll see, Rudy will be off the hook. Sent him to Ukraine to get the proof on Biden. If Putin gets to it soon enough, we’ll get it to Rudy, and he can bring it to that phony January 6th Committee, and they’ll have to shut down. Putin’s a genius. Stand back and stand by.

NUNES: How will Putin get it to us, Boss?

TRUMP: There’s going to be a new president of Ukraine. Zelensky is a fraud, a hoax. Putin will put in the right guy who should have been there from the start. Maybe Paul Manafort can go back to advise him. The pardon was perfect.

NUNES: Savvy, Boss.

TRUMP: I’ve got it all worked out. The right guy in place, think about this, Trump Tower Kyiv.

NUNES: Perfect.

TRUMP: It begins with the server. And then Biden will be gone like Zelensky. The House will impeach him. Just make that call to Jim Jordan. And we’ll put a stop to all these investigations. Puppet, puppet, who’s the puppet?

Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has published three books of a projected five-volume political life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, Wrestling With His Angel ,and All the Powers of Earth. His play This Town, about a scandalous White House dog, was produced in 1995 by LA TheatreWorks. This is the thirteenth in his "Trump Cycle" series of one-act plays published in The National Memo, including The Pardon, Epstein's Ghost, Ivanka's Choice, Sunset Boulevard, The Exclusive, The Role Model, A Modest Proposal, The Exit Interview, The Hitler Gospel, Father Knows Best, The Gold Medal Winner, and All I Want For Christmas Is Melania’s Non-Fungible Token.

Led By Nunes, Trump's Social Media Media Startup Falters

Donald Trump, expecting to make lots of money off his upstart social media venture Truth Social, has turned down offers to work with other platforms such as Gettr and Parler already on the rise in a flood of right-wing media sites.

Trump is simply too greedy to cut in anyone else on what he's sure will be a rich payoff from the conspiracy-laden haven he’s itching to launch. There's just one problem: It's a Trump venture and, therefore, already flailing, per The Washington Post.

Sure, Trump had a knack for sending off bogus tweets that lit his MAGA cultists on fire. That was his daily, if not hourly, ritual for four full years at the White House. That was governance to Trump.

But actually starting up a company that supposedly does something other than bloviate is proving to be a touch more difficult of a task for ol' Trump. For months, that failure has reduced twitchy-finger Trump to releasing nothing but a string of disgruntled statements that limp along in the mediascape until they're soon forgotten.

Twitter has permanently suspended Trump following lies he spouted in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Facebook and Instagram ultimately imposed a two-year suspension on Trump, which pushes the prospect of his reentrance on the platforms past the midterm election. While blowing up Twitter with lies and outrage was Trump's favorite pastime, Facebook actually served as a better small-dollar fundraising tool for Trump.

In the meantime, Trump's “Truth” platform has fallen victim to a series of delays ranging from the dozens of hires necessary to staff it up to scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission over a planned merger between Trump Media and a publicly traded company, Digital World Acquisition. Such mergers, made through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company or SPAC, typically take five to six months from the time the merger is announced to the time the deal closes, according to Michael Ohlrogge, an assistant law professor at New York University.

Enter new Trump Media CEO Devin Nunes, the newly resigned California congressman and former dairy farmer who appears to have no credentials equal to the task of standing up a social media startup.

Trump also didn't exactly hit it out of the park with his debut of TruthSocial.com last fall. The Post writes:

The early version of the site was quickly taken down after pranksters posted a photo of a defecating pig under the username “donaldjtrump.” Days later, the creators of the open-source social media software that the site used, Mastodon, sent Trump Media a letter saying Truth Social had violated the terms under which the software could be used.

Following that debacle, a planned beta launch in November never actually took place. Apple's App Store pegs the expected launch date for the Truth Social app at February 21.

Meanwhile, Nunes is reportedly burning up the phone lines with venture capitalists to get the lowdown on how to build a company.

Nonetheless, a Trump spokesperson said he remains undeterred.

“The demand for President Trump, his leadership, and his ‘America First’ solutions continue to grow despite Big Tech’s attack on his freedom of speech,” spokesman Taylor Budowich said.

If he could just find an outlet, Trump's special brand of paranoia would be super duper popular. Too bad he’s tripping over his greed.

Devin Nunes Retiring From Congress To Head Trump Media Outfit

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California is retiring from Congress at the end of 2021 to work for former President Donald Trump.

The news was first reported by Alex Tavlian of The San Joaquin Valley Sun, which initially claimed he'd stay on until 2022 before updating with the much more rapid timeline. The Trump Media and Technology Group later released a statement confirming that Nunes had accepted an offer to become its CEO, a position he'll assume in January of the new year.

Many observers quickly pointed out that Nunes was next in line to be chair of the Ways and Means committee, should Republicans take control of the House of Representatives — a particularly powerful position in Congress. But apparently, his options outside of government were even more enticing.

Nunes came to public prominence as a fierce defender of Trump during his presidency. For the first two years, Nunes led the House Intelligence Committee and waged an aggressive campaign against the government's investigations into the then-president. He was an aggressive opponent of the Russia investigation and stoked conspiracy theories about an inside plot to bring Trump down.

Nunes was also an outspoken critic of the House investigation of Trump's efforts to induce Ukraine into going after Joe Biden, which eventually led to the first of his two impeachments.

Since taking a prominent place in American politics, the California congressman launched a sweeping effort to silence some of his critics by weaponizing a series of lawsuits against media organizations and individuals whose reporting and commentary displeased him. Those lawsuits have been largely unsuccessful in court, but the effort may have nevertheless contributed to a chilling effect on people interested in speaking out against him.

How Bill Barr Is Trying To Clean Up His Declining Reputation

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Attorney General Bill Barr's record leading the Justice Department is coming into clearer light as Merrick Garland takes the reins of the agency, and new revelations are bringing the much-maligned Trump acolyte under new scrutiny. It's now clear that under his watch, DOJ obtained the communication records of multiple journalists, a disturbing use of government power that is supposed to face stringent restrictions. Some argue it should never happen at all. The news was revealed when the new administration contacted the journalists to inform them of what had happened.

And the public has also learned that Barr's DOJ sought to force Twitter to unmask an anonymous account critical of California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, a close Trump ally. Shortly after Garland was sworn in as attorney general, DOJ dropped the subpoena against Twitter.

So how is the former attorney general reacting to the new administration airing his dirty laundry? From all appearances, it looks like he's trying to launder his reputation by anonymously giving Trump administration scoops to reporters.

There've previously been signs that Barr has a tendency to plant stories in the press when it serves his interest, but a recent piece in Politico may be one of the most blatant and transparent efforts from the former AG to manage and rehabilitate his reputation.

The piece is titled "Inside Trump's push to oust his own FBI chief," and it's sold as delivering an "explosive" story about scandal in the White House, a genre that's become quite common in the past four years. But read just a little bit between the lines, and what's happening is clear: Barr is personally pushing this story to sell a narrative about himself as principled and independent from Trump. It's not clear if it's coming in direct response to the other revelations about Barr mentioned above, or if he's just more broadly concerned about differentiating himself from Trump; perhaps both motivations are playing a role.

The story, like so many tales of White House intrigue, is sourced anonymously, so how am I able to confidently say it came from Bill Barr? Because without saying so directly, the story as written makes it unambiguously clear.

Consider this passage:

It all came to a head in late April, when Barr went over to the White House for a routine meeting in then-chief of staff Mark Meadows' office.
Instead, a staffer from his office intercepted Barr and told him he was actually going to meet in the Roosevelt Room, where such meetings were not usually held.
Barr found it strange to be put in that room, especially given that no one else was there when they entered it. Soon afterward, John McEntee, the powerful head of the presidential personnel office and a hard-core Trump loyalist, entered. Then [William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, also came into the room.
Barr asked McEntee, "What's this all about?" recounted one of the former Trump officials.
McEntee demurred and checked his phone. They were waiting on others, he told Barr.
Fuming, Barr walked out of the room and barged into Meadows' office. "What the f--- is going on?" he asked.

The story is clearly told from Bill Barr's point of view. We're told Barr "found it strange" to be in a room — who would know his feelings but Barr himself? Then when others enter the room, it's Barr who is active. His remarks come in direct quotes, and we're told they were recounted by "one of the former Trump officials." That leaves only three possibilities for the source of the information, and Barr is the only plausible candidate.

McEntee is described having "demurred and checked his phone." That's not how someone tends to talk about their own actions. And then when McEntee speaks, the words are not in quotation marks. This makes sense if Barr is telling the reporter the story — Barr can be directly quoted for his own past remarks that he recounts, but his recounting of any responses from others is more likely to be paraphrased, so these words don't merit quotation marks.

And here's the clincher: As the setting of the story changes, the narrative follows Bill Barr leaving the room and going to another room, where he talks to Mark Meadows. This is Barr's story, he's the protagonist, and it's being told from his point of view. He's the primary source for the narrative.

The story continued:

Then, in a meeting later that day with both Meadows and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Barr demanded to know what was happening. When told that Trump wanted to replace Wray with Evanina and make Patel the deputy director of the FBI, Barr calmly told them he couldn't stay in his job if Trump's preferred picks were installed at the FBI over his objection, two of the former officials familiar with the encounter said.
Cipollone, who also said he was completely unaware of what was going on until that day, sided with Barr: He told his two colleagues that the attorney general should be involved in the decision process about who should be FBI director, and that Wray should stay.
And that was it: The White House ultimately backed off on the plan once they realized Barr would quit, according to two of the former Trump officials.

Now we have two sources for the story. We know Barr is one of them. The other is Cipollone, Barr's ally in the story. He, like Barr, comes off looking like one of the "heroes" of the narrative after they take a stand together.

Further corroboration of these inferences comes near the end of the story, which noted:

A spokesperson for Trump didn't respond to a request for comment. Patel and Meadows also didn't respond to requests for comment. Evanina and McEntee declined to comment.

Politico doesn't say Barr or Cippolone declined to comment, because they did comment, anonymously. If they hadn't, the outlet would've felt compelled to reach out to them for comment on the story and note if they had declined to comment.

The opening of the story says it had three sources "familiar with the episode" in total — though the key passages only indicate two sources present for the events. This suggests there is a third source, perhaps a Barr aide, who was told contemporaneously about the events but didn't witness them directly.

In the end, it's not that revelatory a story. We know that Trump and many of his allies would've liked to see Wray gone, but many obstacles stood in his way. It's not clear this episode is really as dramatic as it was framed — it might have been more of a casual discussion than it seems in this recollection.

What we already know about Barr and Trump's relationship is frankly more interesting. Barr did indeed stand up to Trump in the end of his term in office, declaring that the DOJ hadn't found evidence of substantial fraud in the 2020 election. And Barr was sharply critical of Trump after the January 6 insurrection, pinning blame for the mob's actions on the then-president. Those public events don't erase Barr's complicity in many of Trump's worst actions in the prior two years — perhaps most notably, his eagerness to sow doubt in the 2020 election before it was carried out — but they're more significant than the episode recounted by Politico.

But the fact that he is trying to spread the story now does tell us something interesting about Bill Bar. He's tried to give the impression that he doesn't care what people think of him. When asked about the damage working for Trump had done to his reputation, Barr gave a memorable answer.

"I am at the end of my career," he told CBS in 2019 ."Everyone dies, and I am not, you know, I don't believe in the Homeric idea that, you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?"

As I've long argued, though, that isn't true. He cares deeply about his reputation. Barr was clearly obsessed with the media coverage of the Trump administration He saw it as his job to, in part, protect Trump from his critics in the press and sometimes bent or broke Justice Department rules to do it.

Now he's out of office, and perhaps he's abandoned the project of helping Trump. But he's still obsessed with what the media is saying.

Seedy Trump Loyalist Punted From Key National Security Post

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima reports that long-time Trump loyalist Michael Ellis had resigned from his position as top lawyer for the National Security Agency after almost three months of being "sidelined" during Joe Biden's presidency. Journalist Steve Benen, in an op-ed for MSNBC's website, lays out some reasons why Ellis' departure from the NSA is an important development and a positive thing.

"Last fall, the day after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential race, Team Trump tapped Ellis to serve as general counsel of the National Security Agency, but the news wasn't well received," Benen explains. "Gen. Paul Nakasone, the NSA's director, didn't want Ellis for that post. In response, Christopher Miller, Trump's acting defense secretary, ordered the NSA director to install the Trump loyalist as the agency's top lawyer, whether Nakasone wanted him or not."

Benen notes that after Biden was sworn into office almost three months ago, "a gradual process began in which the new administration cleaned house, at least to the extent possible" — and Nakasone placed Ellis on administration leave.

"NSA general counsel is an important job, and not a position for partisan operatives," Benen points out. "With this in mind, it didn't come as too big of a surprise when Nakasone put Ellis on administrative leave literally the same afternoon as Biden's inauguration — at which point, the NSA director no longer had to worry about Team Trump's directives."

To understand just how Trumpian Ellis' history is, one should take a look at his activities during Trump's presidency. Ellis is a major ally of GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, and he was a counsel to the House Intelligence Committee when it was still being chaired by the far-right California congressman. During the Trump era, Ellis and fellow Trump loyalist Ezra Cohen-Watnick were the two White House officials who gave Nunes intelligence reports claiming to show that former officials in ex-President Barack Obama's administration had improperly "unmasked" members of the Trump transition team in late 2016 -- early 2017. Sen. Richard Burr, chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the "unmasking" narrative was "all created by Devin Nunes."

Ellis' name was also heard in connection with the Ukraine scandal. Trump's first of two impeachments stemmed from a July 25, 2019 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who Trump tried to pressure into helping him dig up dirt on now-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. And Ellis was the White House lawyer who ordered NSC officials to move the transcript of that conversation to a classified server.

Biden was the Democratic presidential hopeful Trump feared the most in 2019, and it isn't hard to understand why he dreaded the possibility of Biden receiving his party's nomination. Biden, in November 2020, defeated Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote.

Trump was hardly the first politician to pursue opposition research on a political rival, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — when she called for Trump's impeachment in 2019 — stressed that it was wildly inappropriate for Trump to make that request from a foreign leader. And to make matters worse, Pelosi said, Trump made that opposition research a prerequisite for military aid to Ukraine.

In March 2020, Politico's Kyle Griffin reported that Ellis had been named senior intelligence director on the NSA.

Benen wraps up his op-ed by making it clear that he is glad to see Ellis resigning from his NSA position.

"There are still plenty of Trump appointees who've 'burrowed' into career civil-service positions," Benen observes, "but as of now, they won't be in the NSA's general counsel's office."

Kremlin Assets Aided Pro-Trump 2020 Documentary Featuring Caputo, Nunes

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Russian government proxies "helped produce a documentary that aired on a US television network" as part of the Kremlin's wide-ranging effort to influence the 2020 presidential election by falsely accusing President Joe Biden of corruption in Ukraine, the U.S. intelligence community revealed in a report Tuesday.

The report does not explicitly identify the documentary or network in question. But the timeline and subject matter match The Ukraine Hoax: Impeachment, Biden Cash, and Mass Murder, which the pro-Trump One America News Network aired in late January 2020. Former Trump aide Michael Caputo hosted that one-hour special, which featured separate interviews with a former Ukrainian official later sanctioned by the federal government for his role in a Russian influence operation and with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), at the time the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

According to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized Russian influence operations aimed at undermining Biden's campaign and supporting then-President Donald Trump during the 2020 election cycle. The report assesses that Russian intelligence services and their Ukraine-linked proxies -- including "Russian influence agent" Konstantin Kilimnik and Ukrainian legislator Andriy Derkach -- sought to use U.S. media outlets and prominent Americans to launder allegations of corrupt ties between Biden, his family, and Ukraine, and to falsely accuse Ukraine of interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

The report does not specify which Americans or media outlets were caught up in the Russian plot. But it's clear to anyone who followed political news in 2019 that the intelligence community is referencing Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani's anti-Biden disinformation campaign. Giuliani sought to bolster Trump's reelection by working with shady Ukrainians, some with links to Russia, to dig up dirt on Biden and then spread itthrough right-wing writer John Solomon, Fox News, and OAN. The effort blew up in Trump's face when the then-president's corrupt effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into the Bidens became public, triggering his first impeachment by the House of Representatives later that year.

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as part of the effort by Kilimnik, Derkach, and their associates to use U.S. media outlets to damage Biden's political standing on behalf of the Russian government, the Russian proxies "helped produce a documentary that aired on a US television network in late January 2020."

That timeline matches the release of The Ukraine Hoax, which first aired on January 25, 2020. Moreover, the content of Caputo's film echoes the Kremlin-backed narratives described in the report, as well as other Russian government talking points.

OAN CEO Robert Herring Sr. described the special as "exactly what our One America News Investigates series is all about" in a press release announcing its premiere. That's undoubtedly true -- in keeping with his network's general aesthetic, The Ukraine Hoax is an hour of conspiracy theories united by slavish devotion to Trump. Caputo argues that Trump's impeachment is an unjust persecution that emerged from U.S. meddling in Ukraine, corrupt dealings by the Bidens, and joint efforts by Democrats and Ukrainians to stop Trump's election that resulted in Robert Mueller's special counsel probe. He concludes, "as Democrats pursue Trump, they're destroying America and Ukraine."

Caputo denied Russian government involvement in his film and said he had not talked to Derkach or Kilimnik, the proxies named in the report, in an interview with Mother Jones.

But Caputo's star interview is with Andrii Telizhenko, a former low-level Ukrainian diplomat and Giuliani ally who the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned in January for his role in a "Russia-linked foreign influence network associated with" Derkach.

Treasury's press release describes Telizhenko as a member of Derkach's "inner circle" and states that he participated in Derkach's disinformation campaign aimed at influencing the 2020 U.S. presidential election. According to the release, Telizhenko "orchestrated meetings between Derkach and U.S. persons to help propagate false claims concerning corruption in Ukraine." Telizhenko previously sought to distance himself from Derkach.

In his interview with Caputo for OAN, Telizhenko falsely claimed that the Ukrainian government, with the encouragement of the Obama administration, interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.


Telizhenko became a fixture in right-wing media circles for that allegation because it allowed Trump propagandists to argue that Clinton, and not Trump, had been the real beneficiary of foreign interference in the 2016 election. The intelligence community report released Tuesday describes the effort to "falsely blame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election" as one of the aims of the Russian proxies.

The documentary also features an interview with then-House Intelligence Committee chairman Nunes. Nunes was one of several Trump allies that congressional Democrats said received materials from Derkach aimed at smearing Biden during the impeachment push.

In his interview, Nunes criticized pro-democracy organizations backed by American philanthropist George Soros, saying that they "have agendas" and that Soros "is extreme left-wing and he supports extreme left-wing causes." He apparently agreed with Caputo's claim that Soros was "building an extreme left-wing government" in Ukraine. Nunes also lashed out at "the Russia hoax," saying that "if people are not held accountable, you're going to have generations of Americans, part of the Republican Party, who will never trust the FBI, the Department of Justice, the CIA."

Elsewhere in the film, Caputo described the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, in which protesters ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, as a violent coup instigated by the U.S. government and Soros.


The description of the revolution as a U.S-backed coup echoes language used by Putin in defending Russia's invasion of Ukraine later that year, while the Russian presidentand Russian-backed governments have for years targeted Soros over his pro-democracy efforts.

Caputo also revived the false right-wing smear that as vice president, Biden improperly pushed the government of Ukraine to fire Viktor Shokin, the country's prosecutor general, to stop the investigation of a Ukrainian company and benefit his son Hunter Biden. The Ukraine Hoax includes clips from Shokin himself making that claim.

In fact, Shokin had been widely faulted by Western governments and Ukrainian anti-corruption activists for failing to prosecute corruption, including corruption by the company's founder; the probe had reportedly been "shelved" under Shokin; and his successor acknowledged that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. The intelligence community report appears to reference this false claim, stating that the Russian proxy network "sought to discredit the Obama administration by emphasizing accusations of corruption by US officials."

After producing a pro-Trump documentary, allegedly with Russian assistance, Caputo went on to bigger and better things. Less than three months after OAN aired his special, Caputo joined the Trump administration as assistant secretary for public affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services. He subsequently drew criticism for politicizing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about the coronavirus pandemic, and took a leave of absence after his Facebook video accusing CDC scientists of "sedition" became public.

In an interview promoting his special with OAN correspondent and Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, Caputo bemoaned that some of the people he wanted to interview "ghosted" him during the filming process. But apparently he found help from other sources.

Devin Nunes Says Democratic Party Is ‘Socialist...Like The Old Soviet Union’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Tuesday compared the Democratic Party to Soviet Russia and the Chinese Communist Party. His comparisons are wildly false.

Soviet Russia, or the USSR, which existed from the early 1920's to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, was led for a few years by Vladimir Lenin and then for decades by Joseph Stalin. The dictator Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions.

"The Democrat Party is a socialist party, set up similar to the Chinese Communist Party, or the old Soviet Union or even Russia today where you have a politburo style system," Nunes said, in his false statement.

It did not go well on Twitter for the California Republican, who is closely tied to Trump.