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Ron Paul: Trump Does The Bidding Of ‘Deep State’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

For many years, former Rep. Ron Paul was the most prominent libertarian in Congress — often frustrating fellow Republicans by voting against their spending bills. Paul, now 84, left Congress in early January 2013 but still speaks out about politics. And in his February 24 column for the Ron Paul Institute’s website, the Texas libertarian is vehemently critical of President Donald Trump for, as he sees it, throwing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the bus.

Paul hasn’t always been critical of Trump. The former Texas congressman asserts that in 2016, Trump “upset the Washington apple cart” and “set elements of the Deep State in motion against him.” But Paul quickly adds that Trump has since become part of the “Deep State” he once challenged.

“Trump loved it when WikiLeaks exposed the criminality of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as it cheated to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party nomination,” Paul writes. “WikiLeaks’ release of the (Democratic National Committee) e-mails exposed the deep corruption at the heart of U.S. politics, and as a candidate, Trump loved the transparency. Then Trump got elected.”

Paul goes on to say that the “real tragedy of the Trump presidency” is “nowhere better demonstrated than in Trump’s 180-degree turn away from WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.”

According to Paul, Trump’s administration is pushing for a “show trial of Assange worthy of the worst of the Soviet era” — and the U.S. “is seeking a 175-year prison sentence.”

“It is ironic that a President Trump, who has been (a) victim of so much Deep State meddling, has done the Deep State’s bidding when it comes to Assange and WikiLeaks,” Paul laments. “President Trump should preempt the inevitable U.S. show trial of Assange by granting the journalist blanket pardon under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Mueller Hits Trump Hard For Encouraging Wikileaks’ ‘Illegal Activities’

Trump repeatedly said he ‘loves’ WikiLeaks. That’s a real problem to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Special counsel Robert Mueller had harsh words about Trump’s exuberant praise of WikiLeaks, the organization that illegally released emails from the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign. During a Wednesday hearing with the House Intelligence Committee, Mueller called Trump’s actions “problematic.”

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) noted during the hearing that Mike Pompeo, when he was director of the CIA, had assessed WikiLeaks as “a hostile intelligence service.” Mueller agreed with that view.

Quigley then read numerous statements by Trump, who frequently praised the outlet during the 2016 campaign.

“I love WikiLeaks,” he said. “This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable.” “Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks.”

Quigley asked if those quotes disturbed Mueller and how he reacted to them.

“Problematic is an understatement,” Mueller replied, “in terms of what it displays and giving some hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity.”

Trump praised Wikileaks more than 140 times in the final month of the campaign.

After its founder Julian Assange was indicted in April of this year on federal charges, Trump tried to walk back his adoring praise, claiming, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks.”

During both the earlier Judiciary Committee hearing and the Intelligence hearing, Mueller has confirmed that the Trump campaign welcomed help from hostile entities like WikiLeaks, and even created campaign plans to maximize the impact of the illegal leaks.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Newly Unsealed Documents Reveal Fresh Details Of Flynn Cooperation

Court documents from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team revealing details about the cooperation of Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and campaign aide, were unsealed on Thursday.

The new information shows Flynn was particularly helpful to the team in the investigations of both WikiLeaks and of potential efforts to obstruct his testimony.

Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, and after that, he became a cooperating witness for Mueller. He has yet to be sentenced for his crime.

“The defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” the documents said. “The defendant even provided a voicemail recording of one such communication. In some of those instances, the [special counsel] was unaware of the outreach until being alerted to it by the defendant.”

While Mueller made clear in his final report that he believed Trump likely tried to obstruct justice by encouraging witnesses not to testify, it’s not clear who in Congress might also be implicated in such a scheme.

Flynn also revealed to Mueller behind-the-scenes details of the Trump campaign’s reactions to WikiLeaks’ email dumps. The FBI has assessed that WikiLeaks was essentially acting as a proxy for Russian intelligence, an accusation that the group and its founder Julian Assange have denied.

“The defendant relayed to the government statements made in 2016 by senior campaign officials about WikiLeaks to which only a select few people were privy,” Mueller’s team explained. “For example, the defendant recalled conversations with senior campaign officials after the release of the Podesta emails, during which the prospect of reaching out to WikiLeaks was discussed.”

Russia May Decide Our Next Election, Thanks To Trump

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, a foreign adversary conducted a devastating attack on the United States. It was stealthy, strategic and effective. Russian agents, likely acting under orders from President Vladimir Putin, managed to boost the campaign of Donald J. Trump; to further polarize, anger and embitter American voters; and to weaken democratic institutions.

But that’s not the worst news from what will go down in history as a seminal strike on the United States. The worst news is this: Russia is poised to strike again as the 2020 presidential election nears, and the U.S. government is not doing nearly enough to stop it.

That’s because President Donald J. Trump insists on minimizing — or dismissing outright — the threat. And it’s now clear why: With the release of the report of special counsel Robert Mueller, it’s evident that Trump and his top campaign officials were aware, by the spring of 2016, of efforts by some Russian actors to assist his campaign, and that Trump benefitted from that help. If the Russians are to be stopped, then, Congress, state legislatures and top Trump officials brave enough to contradict the president will have to step up their efforts to thwart them.

Trump and those closest to him have done nothing but stonewall or prevaricate on the subject of Russian interference. Just a few weeks ago, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, downplayed Russia’s role, claiming, incredibly, that Mueller’s investigation did much more harm to the country.

“But I think the investigations, and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads,” he said.

Ahem. Russia did much more than buy a “couple” of Facebook ads, in an attack that Mueller characterized as “sweeping and systematic.” Last year, Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the digital files of the Democratic National Campaign Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton. They passed embarrassing information on to WikiLeaks, which served as a funnel to credulous American reporters. The resulting headlines dominated the campaign for weeks, probably helping to turn some voters against Clinton.

But Russian efforts didn’t stop there. Taking advantage of the free flow of information in the U.S., Russian agents, according to Mueller, used social media to disguise themselves as American partisans, disseminating propaganda to disparage Clinton, boost Trump, or often, just to exacerbate the partisan divide. The disinformation campaign reached hundreds of millions of U.S. users of Facebook and other social media sites, according to investigators. Last, but certainly not least, Russian agents tried to breach electronic voting systems in at least 21 states, according to Homeland Security officials.

You’ve got to give the Russians credit for their savvy. While the U.S. has spent billions of dollars building tanks and fighter jets and guns, Russia, a much poorer nation, mounted a grievous attack that cost next to nothing.

Its campaign started during the administration of President Barack Obama, and his administration deserves criticism for failing to mount an effective defense. Much more troubling, though, the nation still hasn’t mounted an effective defense.

While Facebook is reportedly more vigilant now — after Obama’s quiet warnings to CEO Mark Zuckerberg were initially ignored — social media giants are still vulnerable to being used by foreign propagandists. And state-run election systems are still vulnerable to hacking by foreign agents. Congress has appropriated $380 million for election security, but that’s not enough. (Curiously, Republicans blocked a Democratic push for more funds.)

That leaves it to individual states to set aside millions more to protect their systems from cyberespionage — funds that are less likely to be available in GOP-led states where officials take their lead from the president.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts have told Politico that they see signs indicating that disinformation campaigns have already been launched against leading Democratic presidential candidates. Those include false allegations tying some of them to racially inflammatory gestures or messages. Brett Horvath, one of the founders of Guardians.ai, a tech company that works to disrupt cyberattacks, said, “It looks like the 2020 presidential primary is going to be the next battleground to divide and confuse Americans.”

If we haven’t learned anything from the last attack, Russia will win the 2020 election, too.

IMAGE: Facebook Russia illustration by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters.