Regarding this NYT story from this weekend, imagine you are a FBI Agent working Russian counterintelligence in 2016 and you witness the following: https://nyti.ms/2RH4nD4?smid=nytcore-ios-share …
- you witnessed Russian hackers targeting a wide swath of Americans including the DNC, DCCC, former Secretary of State & a Presidential candidates staff
- someone previously targeted by Russian Intelligence joins the Trump campaign and then appears on a stage in Moscow supporting Russia policy and speaking negatively of US policy
- A Presidential candidate hires a new campaign manager whose not been in the business in the states for years, but has been seen pushing a Russian agenda in Ukraine and has Russian intel contacts
- an Australian official contacts you and says the Russians have stolen emails of a Presidential candidate & may want to give them to the candidate’s competitor
- a Russian lawyer & others tied to Russian government visit a Presidential candidate’s son in the candidate’s building in NYC
- Candidate Trump stands on a stage and calls out Russia and asks about emails from his competitor, says they will be rewarded if they have them and release them
- website that’s released sensitive & classified documents from US for years, helped deliver a US insider to The Kremlin, begins publishing document & emails during Dem convention, content you know was stolen by Russia. Site administrator once hosted a TV show on Russia State TV
- A strange, unexpected policy change occurs at RNC convention, the change is a less supportive position toward Ukraine and is advantageous to Russia
- candidate’s campaign manager goes on CNN and asserts a false terrorist attack in Turkey, one tied to and advanced by Russian propaganda https://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/manafort-off-base-on-terrorist-claim/ …
- during this time, you watch a campaign associate tweet with a Russian account that’s pointing people to stolen documents from the opposing campaign. The campaign associate predicts something will happen to the opposing campaign manager- his emails are later released
- as Election Day approaches, Presidential candidate makes allegation, without evidence, voter Fraud & Election Rigging, Russia propaganda echoes this, social media accounts associated Kremlin do the same, at same time, you watch Russian Hackers hit state election infrastructure
After election, current President issues sanctions against Russia, but the incoming National Security advisor makes calls to Russian officials from 3rd country, when approached for clarification post inauguration, the advisor lies about contents of phone call w/Russian officials
During summer fall leading into the election, you receive raw intelligence from highly reliable source whose proven invaluable on other investigations. source provides intelligence on Russia’s efforts to support a presidential candidate, the info is consistent with other info
Before inauguration your bosses, your leaders from all intelligence agencies brief president elect on classified info showing Russia influenced the election on behalf of President elect. President elect rejects intelligence from all your superiors and suggests Russia innocent
From the summer of 2015 all the way through the election and after inauguration, you watch as the candidate, president elect and now president offers overt effusive support for Vladimir Putin who you know has been helping the President get elected.
Shortly after inauguration, your new commander-in-chief spouts false information about Polish aggression toward Belarus. This is not supported by the Intelligence community you are in, and the only source for this viewpoint is Russian propaganda
After firing of National Security Advisor that lies to you agencies investigators, the President corners your boss 1-1 asks him to go easy on National Security Advisor who lies about his conversation with Russians
During this period, the President inexplicably and repeatedly asks your boss if he’s under investigation with regards to Russia, despite your boss and other intel heads going out of their way to brief the President about Kremlin efforts to potentially compromise & manipulate him
While Congressional committees investigate Russian interference, the President fires your boss for his handling of an email investigation into the President’s opponent, an investigation that helped elevate the President rather than hurt him
You later find out a draft memo from President to your boss regarding his firing cited the Russia investigation
The President then goes on national television and in an interview says he fired your boss because of the Russia investigation
A week after firing your boss, the President invites Russian leaders into the Oval Office, Russian photographers capture the moment, but US media is not allowed to observe. President then brags to Russian leaders about firing your boss
Sometime during the spring, if you’re not already aware, you read a news story alleging the President’s son-in-law may have sought a way to communicate with Russia via a back channel not monitored by you and your colleagues
During summer, you watch the President attend NATO summit and shove Montenegro PM, in an Interview claim Montenegro is aggressive, might start a war. This mirrors Russian propaganda & you know Russia backed covert operation destabilize Montenegrin election
For next year, either you, your colleagues and your organization, FBI, are discredited by President. He mixes true and false information in public disclosures which you are not allowed to respond to. If you do respond, your accused of leaking and could be fired or even jailed
Documents & information from confidential sources you’ve pledged to protect, are selectively leaked into public through those who are supposed to provide government oversight. These inappropriate disclosures make your job as an investigator nearly impossible & hurts your sources
At some point during the summer or before, you learn that the President’s son was receiving & responding to direct messages from website that was releasing emails stolen from the President’s opponent by Russia
1st two years President’s term, you watch him take a negative, adversarial stance toward NATO and particularly Germany. This strains your relationship with your most valuable intel partners, your Counterterrorism agent colleagues depend on them & they help fight war on terror
Over next 2 years, President aggressively seeks meetings with Putin who helped elect him. Need for meetings is not clear. one President meets in private with Putin for 2 hours without witnesses but translator. To this day, you, your bosses don’t really know what was discussed
President emerges from private meeting with Putin and on world stage in Helsinki accepts and validates Russian denials about election interference & rejects years of your teams intel work. This badly damages your reputation and partner trust with your organization
Separately, your President publicly discusses a Russian proposed partnership on cyber security, this insane concept is mind boggling to you as an investigator as you’ve just spent years tracking these same Russians who just attacked your country
Even further, your President publicly mentions a possible exchange where Russian investigators might interview and interrogate you and other Americans about their attack on you and America. A crazy, frightening and bizarre threat to you as a civil servant.
Throughout your investigation into Russian interference, you watch as your President’s attacks on the Special Counsel, Justice Department & FBI are amplified and spread in America by the very Russian troll social media accounts and state sponsored propaganda you are investigating
Throughout the Special Counsel indictments, hearings and trials, you watch the President and his legal team publicly interject, discredit witnesses and discuss pardons, all subverting the rule of law and justice which you’ve dedicated your life to protect and defend
You either know or learn a parallel investigation shows Russians representing a bogus Russian gun rights movement penetrated the political party hosting members who’ve tried to discredit you - you recognize this as a TEXTBOOK espionage/influence op you learned at FBI academy
After two years, the Attorney General over you, who appropriately recused himself from Russia investigation, is fired for seemingly no clear reason after taking public lashings from the President
Your AG is replaced by an acting AG whose unqualified for position, has limited experience justify such high level appointment, you’ve watched him on TV discrediting your agency and your team’s investigation despite seeing none of evidence or knowing anything Russian influence
The same month, the President’s personal lawyer pleads guilty in federal court and says he continued negotiations throughout almost the entire Presidential campaign for a Tower in Moscow. This is in opposition to President’s public denials.
You read public reporting that the best apartment in the Moscow Tower project pursued by the President’s business was offered to Russia’s President Putin, the same Putin your President always sides with over you and your agency, the Putin who helped your President win
You either knew or learned through a redaction error that the President’s campaign manager was alleged to have lied about providing polling data to a Russian whom he owed money, via a former Russian GRU contact
Wrote thread through day from memory without web searches, I’m sure I missed a lot, & this is all on the public, can’t imagine what it must feel like to serve FBI during this investigation,we clearly don’t know everything Mueller team knows, I imagine there is much more to learn
Special Counsel investigation must continue, this is a crisis, this is a national emergency
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