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Monday, April 3, 2017
It’s the Democrats who Collude with the Russians
Steve Baldwin and Scott S. Powell
Are those pushing the Trump/Russian collusion conspiracy living in Alice in Wonderland or what? Accepting this conspiracy narrative requires both the suspension of common sense and the collective amnesia about the history of Democrats' actions that have earned favor from Soviet and Russian leadership over past decades and right up to the present.
Vladimir Putin is shrewd, calculating, and fairly predictable. If he were serious about influencing the outcome of the November 2016 U.S. presidential election, he would not have favored the relatively unknown and impulsive Donald Trump, who had no history of doing favors for Putin or Russia. It is far more likely Putin would have chosen to help Hillary Clinton -- the known, predictable, progressive candidate with a history of helping Russian interests.
By doubling down on drama rather than facts, leaders of the Democratic Party show disdain for nearly half the country who voted for Trump and a seditious inclination to destroy his presidency. What can you say about a party that hasn't learned anything from humiliating defeats -- an unprecedented string of national losses at the polls in the last three elections? Overall, on the state level the Democratic Party is now at its weakest point in nearly 100 years. On the national level, Trump garnered a significant margin of victory in the states' tally of Electoral College votes because people wanted change and they simply could not get over the chain of deceit and dishonesty exhibited by standard-bearer Hillary Clinton.
Before leaving office on January 20, 2017, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose job it was to review and consolidate the findings of all the U.S. intelligence agencies, reported there was no evidence of Russian hacking the 2016 presidential election.
Conveniently ignored by the major media is the fact that it is physically impossible for the Russians or anyone else to hack our national elections because the U.S. does not have a nationwide vote tallying system. Each state controls its elections, but the various counties in each state generally have their own election counting systems. While these counties and states may post election results on their websites, the vote tabulation part of most county election systems are generally not online and not vulnerable to being hacked. And now, nearly five months since the election, not a single state or county has reported any "hacking" of its respective vote tabulation systems.
The majority of today's pundits appear to be either in denial or ignorant of the evidence and long history of Russia and its predecessor, the U.S.S.R., having had far more substantial ties with the Democrats than with the Republicans. So let's take a stroll down history's memory lane with a mind to assessing the plausibility of the Trump/Russian collusion conspiracy.
The most egregious compromise of U.S. national security occurred in the Democratic administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II. CIA documents that became available in the 1980s, the 1995 release of the Venona Intercepts -- the FBI recordings of Soviet embassy communications between 1944-48, and files released from KGB, GRU, and Comintern archives in Moscow in the 1990s show that over 300 Americans were wittingly and unwittingly spying on behalf of the USSR during this time. The result was that almost everything the USA did during WW II, and for nearly a decade afterwards, was known by the Soviets. Even though FDR was repeatedly warned about Soviet penetration of his government, he chose to do nothing about it -- perhaps because of his naiveté and denial; perhaps because the USSR was considered beyond reproach as the first socialist ideal type society; and most certainly because the U.S.S.R. was an important an ally in World War II in the struggle to defeat Hitler and the Nazis.
At the end of World War II, FDR attended the Yalta conference with two of his closest advisors -- Alger Hiss and Harry Hopkins. The answer to the question of why FDR made major concessions at Yalta that ensured Stalin's consolidation of power over all Eastern Europe is now better understood from the Venona Intercepts and other Soviet intelligence documents that confirm that Harry Hopkins, like Alger Hiss, was a Soviet agent. Hopkins was FDR's closest advisor and was even referred to as "Deputy President." He was in the words of Soviet NKVD officer Iskhak Akhmerov, "the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States." FDR also gave Stalin $11.3 billion (equivalent to $150 billion today) in the Lend Lease aid program, which funded military hardware and weapons that were used to crush resistance in Eastern European countries after the war.
After World War II, the Truman administration's decisions to abandon General Chiang Kai-Shek and support the Communist leader Mao Tse-tung in his quest to conquer China, were heavily influenced by holdovers from FDR's State and Treasury Departments. In addition to Hopkins and Hiss, dozens of these officials, all Democrats – such as Lauchlin Currie, Harry Dexter White, John Patton Davies, Noel Field, John Abt, Lee Pressman, and Owen Lattimore, to name a few -- were later exposed as highly influential spies and agents of influence for the Soviet Union and the Communist cause by the Venona intercepts and Soviet archive files. Hayden Peake, the nonpartisan curator of the Central Intelligence Agency's Historical Intelligence Collection is on record noting in the case of the FDR government (whose staff largely remained intact for some time under the Truman administration until Truman instituted the Loyalty Program in March, 1947) that, "no modern government was more thoroughly penetrated."
Fast forward 35 years, and we find new patterns of similar political sympathy and alignment among Democrats. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president on platform of peace through strength that included modernizing the nuclear missile deterrent systems both in the U.S. homeland and in NATO countries in Europe. The Soviets immediately countered Reagan's initiative by launching a major active measures and propaganda campaign and providing funding and leadership through various front organizations for what came to be known as the "nuclear freeze movement." The Democratic Party was quite vocal in support of this movement, even though its objectives were aligned with the positions of the Soviet Union and its communist front groups operating in the U.S. such as the World Peace Council and the U.S. Peace Council.
In the early 1980s, Democrats introduced resolutions in Congress and in state legislatures all over the U.S. in support the "nuclear freeze" position. In addition to opposing nuclear deterrent modernization, the Democrats also opposed most every aspect of the Reagan military buildup, which was the key to demoralizing the USSR and causing its collapse. The Democrats tried to curtail Reagan administration efforts to aid anti-Soviet resistance movements around the world, cutting off all funding for the Nicaraguan resistance, even in the face of intelligence that the Soviets intended to build a military base in Nicaragua. Fortunately, by this time the centrally planned socialist Soviet system was failing and could not keep up with the West economically or militarily. By 1989 the Iron Curtain was collapsing with the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia and other Eastern European countries asserting their independence. The Cold War was over a year later.
Fast forward again to more recent times, and we find that both Obama and Clinton made concessions to the Russians, which resulted in ties far more substantial than those of any of Trump's former advisors. In 2009, the first year of his administration, Obama's preference for appeasing Russia over strengthening NATO was revealed for all to see in his unilateral cancellation of a hard-won pact (negotiated by the Bush administration over a number of years) to deploy a new generation of NATO defensive missile systems in the Czech Republic and Poland. The decision was announced (perhaps not coincidentally) on September 17, 2009 -- the exact 70th anniversary date of the Russian invasion of Poland.
Then there was the infamous comment made by Obama at the end of his first term to the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev when he thought he was off-mic: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility." That comment was part of a larger conversation about nuclear weapons and, incredibly, Obama was referring to dismantling part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in order to appease Russia.
When the Russians annexed the Crimean peninsula and undertook subversive military action in eastern Ukraine, Obama found reasons not to arm anti-Russian factions in either area. When it came to Syria, there was the infamous "Red Line" that Obama refused to enforce. Instead, Obama proposed to partner with Putin in bombing the Syrian resistance. Also noteworthy is the fact that during the 2012 presidential election, the entire Democratic Party apparatus mocked Republican nominee Mitt Romney as a "cold war relic" for saying that the Russians still posed a threat to the USA.
In the first year of his second term, Obama had no response when Russia violated the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States by building a new medium-range system, known as the Yars M Missile, which was banned under the treaty. More noteworthy during this time was Obama's secret nuclear deal with Iran -- Russia's most important ally in the Middle East -- which paved the way for Iran to develop nuclear weapons, not to mention Obama's concession to sweeten that deal by turning over approximately $150 billion to Iran, even while acknowledging the potential for these resources to fund terrorist operations all over the Middle East. Then there was the controversial $400 million payment that Obama released and sent to Iran in January 2016, just as four American hostages were released, followed by several more planeloads of Euros, Swiss Francs, and other currencies totaling another $1.3 billion delivered to Tehran over the next month.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's favorable relationship with Russia was seen in the actions of both the Clinton Foundation and in her official capacity as Secretary of State. She, along with other Obama officials, signed off on an agreement that allowed Russia to purchase 20% of America's uranium supply -- a deal that was likely greased by a $2.35 million donation to the Clinton foundation made by banks and individuals connected to the Russian government, and by a $500,000 fee to Bill Clinton for a Moscow speech paid by people with ties to Russian intelligence.
Clinton's campaign chairman, longtime Democrat operative John Podesta, essentially became a business partner with the Russian government when he joined the board of an energy company called Joule Unlimited, whose largest investor was a Russian government investment fund called Rusnano, an entity created in 2007 with connections to Putin. It has been alleged that Posdesta was working with this Russian-controlled fund at the same time he was advising Secretary of State Clinton.
In 2016, John Podesta's brother, Tony, was paid $170,000 by the Russian Government to represent Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, for the purpose of lobbying the Obama administration to end the sanctions imposed on Russia after its seizure of Crimea. Had Hillary won the presidential election, the Podestas would likely have played key roles in her administration.
Lastly, there are the nagging questions about why a number of Russian oligarchs and officials gave large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation, and what they expected to get in return.
In conclusion, there is a long history of Democrats' collusion with the Soviet Union and now Russia. If Putin and Russia wanted to influence the 2016 presidential elections, they would obviously have favored helping the connected, on-the-take, progressive establishment candidate Hillary Clinton, not the brash and unpredictable businessman from New York with minimal dealings that advanced Russian interests.
Steve Baldwin is former Director of the Council for National Policy and former three-term California State Assemblyman, 77th district. Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute. Reach them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org