Category Archives: Conspiracy Theory

Trump’s Twitter rant of Obama ‘wire tapping’ is falling apart (updated)

The House Intelligence Committee had given the Justice Department until Monday to turn over any wiretapping applications, orders or warrants related to President Trump and his associates in their investigation of Trump’s Twitter rant that his campaign was “wire tapped” by President Obama.

The Justice Department, now run by Trump campaign booster Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, instead requested a delay in its response. Justice Dept. seeks more time after Congress requests proof of Trump wiretap:

The Justice Department on Monday asked for more time to respond to a request from the House Intelligence Committee to turn over any wiretapping applications, orders or warrants related to President Trump and his associates.

In a one-paragraph statement, spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the Justice Department had called the top Democrats and Republicans on the committee “to ask for additional time to review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what if any responsive documents may exist.” The committee had set a deadline of Monday to turn over the information.

President Trump earlier this month asserted that President Barack Obama “had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” just before Trump’s victory in the presidential election. He has not provided any evidence to support his claim. Obama and former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. have denied that such wiretapping took place, and U.S. officials told The Washington Post that FBI Director James B. Comey asked the Justice Department to issue a statement refuting it.

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The GOP’s post-truth politics: the ‘conspiracy-theory feedback loop’

I covered an aspect of this in yesterday’s post about the GOP’s post-truth politics.

Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post’s media columnist, has an update on what I call Epistemic closure and the ‘conservative misinformation feedback loop’ media bubble with a new monicker, the “conspiracy-theory feedback loop.” Pro-Trump media sets the agenda with lies. Here’s how traditional media can take it back.

To save Tinkerbell, all you had to do was clap your hands and really, really believe in fairies.

To send a conspiracy theory on its vicious way around the world, you need to do more than just believe. You need help.

Luckily for those who wanted to elect Donald Trump, that help was available during the presidential campaign, and still is. It comes from a collection of new right-wing hyperpartisan media outlets that are having a huge effect on politics.

Consider, for example, one outlandish idea from just last week: that the CIA hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails, gave them to WikiLeaks and then framed Russia.

Business Insider traced it: from replies to the WikiLeaks Twitter account, through conservative radio and then Breitbart News, and out into the semi-mainstream — Sean Hannity on Fox News — all within 48 hours.

Similarly, the right-wing radio host Mark Levin may have started the evidence-free idea that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of now-President Trump. It made its way quickly through the media ecosystem, after Trump saw it, apparently on Breitbart News.

Once the president tweets it, it’s undeniably news, picked up everywhere and re-amplified — especially by right-wing sites.

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Follow the money: Coincidence or conspiracy? The Carter Page connection

Back in January, “Baghdad Sean” Spicer claimed that former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Cater Page “is an individual whom the President-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign.”

Per usual, this was false. “In an interview with The Washington Post editorial board in March, Trump named “Carter Page, Ph.D.,” as one of the people he was considering for his foreign policy team.” Trump news conference: CNN’s Reality Check team vets the claims:

Carter Page founded an investment company, Global Energy Capital, and has worked as an investment banker in London and Moscow.

Page has denied the allegations that he met with sanctioned Russian officials, telling The Washington Post, “All of these accusations are just complete garbage.”

That was, until last week in an interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes. Carter Page: ‘I don’t deny’ meeting with Russian ambassador.

And now this complete reversal from “Baghdad Sean” Spicer’s false denial in January: Trump campaign approved adviser’s trip to Moscow:

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski approved foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s now-infamous trip to Moscow last summer on the condition that he would not be an official representative of the campaign, according to a former campaign adviser.

A few weeks before he traveled to Moscow to give a July 7 speech, Page asked J.D. Gordon, his supervisor on the campaign’s National Security Advisory Committee, for permission to make the trip, and Gordon strongly advised against it, Gordon, a retired naval officer, told POLITICO.

Page then emailed Lewandowski and spokeswoman Hope Hicks asking for formal approval, and was told by Lewandowski that he could make the trip, but not as an official representative of the campaign, the former campaign adviser said. The adviser spoke on the condition of anonymity because he has not been authorized to discuss internal campaign matters.

The trip is now a focus of congressional and FBI investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

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Trump tries to preemptively distract the media from the actual scandal that is just below the surface

In case you have a life away from politics, you may have missed that the always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief, Donald J. Trump — after media pundits, without justification, declared him “presidential” after his address to Congress on Tuesday — has returned to his old habit of early-morning Twitter rants this weekend.

This time, Trump’s Twitter rant is meant to distract the media with a bright shiny object from the actual scandal that is just below the surface of recent media reports on the Trump-Putin campaign connections. The intelligence agencies have been “following the money” and reviewing intercept surveillance, and they may be close to a bombshell story that is ready to break in the not-to-distant future.

This is a preemptive attempt by the Trump administration to get  out in front of the story and to gin up the conservative media entertainment complex with its comfort zone, Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Remember that Donald Trump emerged from the fever swamps of right-wing paranoia conspiracy theories — he was the head cheerleader of the Obama Birtherism conspiracy theory after all — when you consider his latest Twitter Rant.

The New York Times reports, Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones:

President Trump on Saturday accused former President Barack Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower the month before the election, leveling the explosive allegation without offering any evidence.

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A spokesman for Mr. Obama said any suggestion that the former president had ordered such surveillance was “simply false.”

The Washington Post similalry reports, Trump accuses Obama of ‘Nixon/Watergate’ wiretap — but offers no evidence.

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Intelligence agencies have intercepted calls between the Trump campaign and Russian Intelligence officials

The intelligence agencies continue leaking to the media about the unprecedented level of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials that they are investigating. The New York Times reported overnight that Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

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The Kremlin’s handler for Trump, Michael Flynn resigns under pressure

National Security Advisor and former commentator for Russia Today (RT), retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, resigned on Monday evening. Michael Flynn Resigns as National Security Adviser:

Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, resigned on Monday night after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Flynn, who served in the job for less than a month, said he had given “incomplete information” regarding a telephone call he had with the ambassador in late December about American sanctions against Russia, weeks before President Trump’s inauguration. Mr. Flynn previously had denied that he had any substantive conversations with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, and Mr. Pence repeated that claim in television interviews as recently as this month.

But on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

Wait, the White House sat on this hoping that no one would notice until someone leaked the information to the media last week? “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.”

In his resignation letter, which the White House emailed to reporters, Mr. Flynn said he had held numerous calls with foreign officials during the transition. “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” he wrote. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”

“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” Mr. Flynn wrote.

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