Latest GOPropaganda talking point (defense) for Trump-Russia collusion falls apart under scrutiny

The Trump administration’s Minister of Propaganda at FAUX News, Sean Hannity, tried to distract his intellectually challenged audience from Donald Trump Jr.’s public admission that he sought to collude with the Russians through the Russian mafia’s lawyer for dirt on Hillary Clinton — look, squirrel! — with their favorite opiate, another unfounded Clinton conspiracy theory.

This latest GOPropaganda talking point falls apart under scrutiny. Philip Bump of the Washington Post reports, Exploring Sean Hannity’s defense of Donald Trump Jr.: Clinton and Ukraine did it, too:

Sean Hannity’s defense of Donald Trump Jr. during his Fox News interview on Tuesday evening began with a lengthy and muddled pastiche of ways in which the Democrats — and Hillary Clinton in particular — had behaved just as badly. Or, maybe, worse.

Trump Jr. was there, you’ll recall, to respond to questions about his having accepted a meeting with an individual who explicitly promised negative information about Clinton offered by the Russian government. That Hannity was his first interlocutor on the subject is hardly surprising; the Fox News host has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to gloss over negative news about the administration. And as the show began, he made that clear.

Hannity revisited one of the points from his introduction later in the show — a point that Trump Jr. himself had made on Twitter on Tuesday morning. What about a Politico report from January, Hannity asked, suggesting that Ukraine was colluding with the Clinton campaign to help her candidacy?

After loosely describing that Politico report, Hannity suggested that the media was ignoring it at their peril. (Was this accompanied by creepy organ music?)

“I pose this question to everybody in the media that’s forced to tune in tonight,” he asked. “Which is worse?”

The Russia-Trump Jr. issue is worse. Allow us to explain.

What happened

Hannity’s argument stems from a January Politico article by Ken Vogel and David Stern, titled, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire.”

It centers on a woman named Alexandra Chalupa — no, not that chalupa — who worked as a consultant for the Democratic Party throughout the 2016 cycle through her firm, Chalupa & Associates. Her role with the party was outreach to ethnic communities, but, a Ukrainian American herself, Chalupa had been researching Paul Manafort’s work in that country even before he was tapped to serve as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in March of last year. Chalupa, Politico said, “occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and [Hillary] Clinton’s campaign” — though the timing on this sharing isn’t clear.

When Manafort began his work with Trump, Vogel and Stern write, Chalupa “found herself in high demand.” The day after he was selected, Chalupa briefed the party’s communications staff on Manafort’s background.

More to the point, Chalupa allegedly also worked with the Ukrainian Embassy in researching Manafort and any links between Russia and Trump. In an interview with Politico, she describes the embassy staff as being “helpful” in trying to answer her questions. A former political officer at the embassy told Politico that an aide to the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States had ordered him to help Chalupa in that regard. He described a meeting in which that aide, Oksana Shulyar, asked him to update Chalupa on an investigation into Manafort being conducted by an American media organization.

Vogel and Stern also report that Chalupa introduced reporter Michael Isikoff, who was working on articles about Manafort, to “the Ukrainians.” Chalupa’s work with the party ended in July.

It’s worth noting that Chalupa gained some renown after the election for promulgating an unproven conspiracy theory on Facebook. [Because conspiracy theories are where FAUX News’ sources for it stories.] Promoted by a viral tweet from her sister Andrea, who described Chalupa as having “led Trump/Russia research at DNC,” the Facebook post hinted darkly at Russian meddling directly in vote tallies, speculating about a Justice Department investigation into votes that were “manufactured in favor of Trump in heavily Republican counties in key states.” No evidence of this happening has been demonstrated in any form.

The Politico story also notes another way in which the Ukrainians allegedly submarined Manafort. He left his position with the Trump campaign last summer after a secret ledger detailing nearly $13 million in under-the-table payments to Manafort from the pro-Russia Party of Regions for which he’d been working in Ukraine. The ledger was first reported by the New York Times after being discovered by a Ukrainian government agency and promoted by a journalist who was also a member of the country’s parliament — which some argued meant that the country’s prime minister approved of the leak in order to damage Manafort.

Where it diverges

The short-hand version of this story — Russia helped Trump, but Ukraine helped Clinton! — suffers badly from a collapse of scale.

While the Politico story does detail apparent willingness among embassy staffers to help Chalupa and also more broadly documents ways in which Ukrainian officials appeared to prefer Clinton’s candidacy, what’s missing is evidence of a concerted effort driven by Kiev.

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed his intelligence agencies to hack into and release private information from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. That effort included hackers from two different intelligence agencies which spent months inside the DNC network before releasing thousands of pages of documents to the public.

What’s more, they coordinated a widespread campaign to amplifying unflattering stories about Clinton and promote Trump. Russia also repeatedly probed American election systems, prompting an unusual warning to states from the federal government.

American intelligence agencies saw signs that people allied with Trump’s campaign may have been aiding the Russians in that effort. That’s why this is all being discussed right now, of course, since Trump Jr.’s emails draw the clearest line between the Russians and the campaign we’ve yet seen. The FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s meddling a year ago.

By contrast, Politico’s report details the work of one person who was researching Manafort with help from inside the Ukrainian Embassy and who, at some undetermined point, provided info to the Clinton campaign, though she worked for the DNC as a consultant until shortly before the party conventions. That, coupled with the Manafort ledger revelation, is the full scope of the Ukrainian plot that’s been revealed. A weak link to the Ukrainians and a weaker link to the Clinton campaign.

False equivalency to FAUX Nation. Clinton’s the devil!

The legal issues

You don’t have to take our word for it, though.

Lawrence Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, spoke with The Washington Post on Tuesday about how Trump Jr.’s emails might pose a legal risk to him. Over email, he weighed in on the Politico story as well.

“I think the article raises some troubling questions about Ukraine involvement in our elections,” Noble said. “The difference is that there is not clear evidence of the Clinton campaign coordinating with a foreign national or encouraging or accepting their help.”

But facts do not matter to FAUX Nation — “we believe it, that makes it true!

“If the Ukrainian government did oppo[sitional] research in coordination with the Clinton campaign or the DNC and they knowingly accepted the information,” he added, “there is a possible foreign national contribution. But if Chalupa was gathering the information and passing it on, the question is who did the work and what did the Clinton campaign and DNC know.” That’s not clear from the report.

“If the Ukrainian government did the same with Clinton as the evidence suggests Russia did with Trump,” he said, “it’s just as serious. But we are not there.”

To any objective observer, that’s clearly the case. Neither Trump Jr. nor Hannity meets that description.

Our Russia/Trump/Faux News blog trolls are not objective observers either. They are addicted to the opiate of FAUX News and repeat its conspiracy theories in the comments here.

UPDATE: The New York Times also fact checks Sean Hannity’s bullshit and comes to the same conclusion. Stories of Foreign Election Influence, Separate and Not Equal.

30 Responses to Latest GOPropaganda talking point (defense) for Trump-Russia collusion falls apart under scrutiny

  1. if this is the best you got to bring trump down. good luck you will need it. the 2018 election is slowly approaching. got anything to get white working class voters to vote democrat? this crappola won’t do it.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      You’re right, let’s just forget all about RussiaGate and let Putin run America, and let a crooked Manhattan crime family and their friends rob us blind, while Bannon dismantles the Constitution and re-creates America as a Catholic Dictatorship, his stated preferred form of government.

      All while building walls to keep us in and more prisons if we don’t like it.

      Let’s all just go bowling.

      • not tom. the voters will decide not upset liberal elitists or distraught media. the attributes you claim trump has the voters said we don’t care! so if you want to stop trump & friends you will have to get the voters on your side here in arizona. and don’t waste time on clinton won popular vote. democrats lost senate, house, state legislature, governors and even dog catcher! clinton’s 5 million vote edge in california didn’t mean squat! the collusionists are being counter productive. your making donald trump a sympathetic figure as the country hates liberal elitists and the media as much if not more then they hate trump! liberal elitists think their job is to annoy voters so they vote for them. if you disagree ask yourself who does arizonas voters hate more trump or liberal elitists. none here ever dares answer this last question. polls? they are now polling even non citizens to get trumps numbers down not likely registered voters. unless we see why people won’t vote democrat here in arizona we will have to wait on the growing latino vote to solve the problem. and running latina candidates will help.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          You make some good points. But if the Dems want to win, they need to reach out to the 40% of registered voters who couldn’t be bothered to get to the polls.

          Most of those folks lean left, and it’s going to be up to the local candidates to get them motivated.

          Meantime, we still need to remove Putin’s puppet from office, if for no other reason than his fragile little ego has given America’s most racist politician, Kris Kobach, a chance to purge the voter rolls of Dems.

          Which is going to make 2018/2020 even tougher.

          • john huppenthal

            Rob us blind? They have already put 4 trillion in our IRAs, our 401ks, our teacher pension funds, our police pension funds and our 501c3s.

          • the 40% who don’t vote. how do we get them to vote? even 15% of them voting would do it. however most non voters I talk to mostly white and latino ;but even some black lean republican not left so its good they don’t vote. I worked on a few and they came around ;but republican propaganda is strong and democrat refutation is almost non existent with this group. social security going bankrupt is mostly what I have to explain that they don’t lose every thing they put in. instead democrat candidates acting like grinning idiots in their ads talking about their boots or trying not to offend republicans they should talk about republican lies on social security going bankrupt!

    • “…got anything to get white working class voters to vote democrat?”

      Are you referring to those white working class voters who voted for Trump to
      1. Blow things up and/or
      2. Make America White Again and/or
      3. Bring back their good paying working class jobs?

      We’re better off if all of the above stay home on election day. What exactly might the Democrats do for these people?

      And all the while black folks are the most loyal Democratic voters. What exactly do they get for that except postponement of their issues?

      And what do you suppose their number one issue might be? I’ll give you a hint:

      • I should have put a WARNING on this video. It is very graphic.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          Here’s an example of police trained to actually protect people, even the ones they arrest, and to de-escalate a bad situation.

          Here are five Swedish cops on vacation in New York, breaking up a fight between two men.

          Notice how they try to calm everyone, and ask if the people they are subduing are okay as they restrain them.

          We need to train our LEO’s better.

    • Furthermore, censored, if you want to continue to weep and gnash your teeth for the poor, racist, disenfranchised white working class who get nothing from the Democrats (and will get less than nothing from Trump), then you’re the one who doesn’t understand how to win elections.

      The Democrats don’t need to learn how to win the 2016 election. They need to learn how to win 2018 and 2020. The game has already changed, dramatically.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        You’re right, as usual, but we already know how to win. Run progressive candidates.

        Bernie would have beat Trump. The overwhelming majority of the country agrees with Sanders platform, America leans left. Sanders is the most popular politician in the country by far, and Mitch McConnell is the least, by far.

        The entrenched Democratic neoliberals want to make excuses and keep their well paid positions, and kiss the velvety, pampered asses of their donors, but screw them. They say that the GOP cheats and Russia helped Trump, and that’s true.

        But they still own all the local and state losses over the last seven years. And they fought Bernie to hand a crown to HRC. Screw them.

        Dems that run as progressives can win, Bernie proved it. He’s recruiting and training progressive candidates with his OurRevolution group.

        It’s not going to happen overnight, the Dems abandoned the folks the Captain is talking about and it will take some convincing, but what they’ve been doing is clearly failing.

        The failings of the Trump administration, no jobs, no wall, few if any promises kept, should help.

        • Yeah, I agree that Bernie could have won. We’re only talking 70K votes in three blue states where Bernie’s message resonated quite well.

          It is really distressing to think about what might have been.

        • “Bernie would have beat Trump.”

          Somehow, that seems a bit doubtful since he couldn’t even muster enough interest from the left to get him the nomination.

          “The overwhelming majority of the country agrees with Sanders platform, America leans left.”

          Tom, this is what happens when you only allow yourself to hear other people who agree with you. The echo chamber makes you think that things you believe are true. If the Nation truly leaned left, then the democrats would likely hold more governorships, more state legislatures, the Senate, Congress, the Presidency, or some massive majority of something, don’t you think? Especially if it was an “overwhelming majortity”.

          “They say that the GOP cheats and Russia helped Trump, and that’s true.”

          I know saying that makes you feel better, but those are terribly feeble excuses for why the left keeps losing, especially since neither one is true.

          “Dems that run as progressives can win, Bernie proved it.”

          Really? I must have missed something. What exactly did Bernie win? What did he prove? The last time I checked, he lost the nomination, and he only “proved” that he was willing to sell out to Hillary. Correct me if I wrong.

          “The failings of the Trump administration, no jobs, no wall, few if any promises kept, should help.”

          I know that you and the other think that Trump supporters are too stupid to poor pee out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel, but underestimating the opposition is a classic failure for any endeavor. I can assure they aren’t so stupid that they don’t realize where Trump’s failure to keep his promises comes from: The absolute refusal of the democrats to work with Trump on anything, no matter how trivial and unimportant. They know it and they blame the democrats, not Trump. Of course, the truth of that will be demonstrated in 2020.

          Getting back to Bernie, I noticed how silent you and Liza and all the others are about the FBI investigation into bank and mail fraud based on Bernie and his wife finagling loans when she was working a her old job. He probably didn’t do anything serious, if anything at all, but it is an actual ongoing FBI investigation, and we know how much you love those…

      • liza only some white working class are racist and we democrats can and should appeal to them on economic issues which will help minority community at the same time. economics matter to the black community as much if not more then police shootings and the white voters we can appeal to are not racists.

        • “…economics matter to the black community as much if not more then police shootings…”

          That does not seem to be the case. It does not mean that poverty, education, healthcare, etc… are less important because they are, of course, major issues. But the policing problems are way, way above everything else. Your Harvard degree doesn’t get you far if you’re dead. Democrats being in denial about this and trying to stay within the “economic” frame are hurting themselves with their most loyal voting bloc. It will get worse.

    • Oh, and here’s another interesting issue about the Democrats’ black firewall. They are not terribly fond of white liberals right now, at least in the aggregate. You may have noticed their low level support for Bernie Sanders.

      However, did the Democrats address their most important issues in 2016? No. Did they vote for Hillary anyhow? Yes. And why? Because they are good voters, because they don’t vote to “blow things up”. Because they believe this is their country and that ultimately, it will do better for them. And most importantly, because they or their parents or their grandparents remember when people like them died for the right to vote.

      They don’t sell out their country when they’re mad.

      • they voted for hillary because she seemed the safer choice to protect themselves.

        • They voted for Hillary because they are Democrats and because they vote (unless they are victims of voter suppression and can’t vote).

          • “They voted for Hillary because they are Democrats and because they vote (unless they are victims of voter suppression and can’t vote).”

            Really?!?!? My understanding is that Arizona has plenty of democrat voters, they just don’t seem to get out and vote every election. And that isn’t because they are “suppressed” and can’t vote. They just choose not to vote. That is what censored talks about all the time.

          • I wasn’t talking about Arizona and I wasn’t talking about ALL Democrats. I was specifically speaking about black voters who Hillary fondly referred to as her firewall.

        • But yes, of course, Hillary was the safer choice. Too bad those racist, angry white working class folks didn’t think so and chose to “blow things up”. And don’t argue the racism issue. Trump’s racism was and is on full display. In fact, he revels in it. And besides that, he hasn’t got a single good quality. So, it makes perfect sense they should vote for him.

          • “And don’t argue the racism issue. Trump’s racism was and is on full display. In fact, he revels in it.”

            I am not surprised you don’t want to discuss the racism issue, Liza. It may force some painful introspection because, sometimes, things are accepted as fact when, in fact, there is nothing factual about them. You and Tom constantly refer to Trump as a racist, but I cannot remember either of you ever offering any evidence of it. It seems that the “racist” bromide is one of those that you all just assume fits conservatives in general and nothing further needs to be said. Doesn’t require proof, or examples, or any support whatsoever…it is just understood to be that way. And if you really hate them, then it is an absolute article of faith that they are racist. Again, it doesn’t require proof, or examples, or any support whatsoever…it is just understood to be that way, only MORE so.

            I have always thought of liberals as a bit racist because they have the racism of low expectations. They naturally assume that minorities are helpless without liberals to help them. They feel minorities are basically incapable of doing anything for themselves and they need that paternalistic help of liberal whitey to ever succeed in life. To me, that is one of the nastiest forms of racism there is…the natural assumption that minorities can’t do it on their own. It is sad in the extreme.

          • “Too bad those racist, angry white working class folks didn’t think so and chose to “blow things up”.”

            Yeah, white people really suck, don’t they?!?!? You do realize, don’t you, that in calling them “racist”, “angry”, and “white”, you are sort of describing yourself as an angry racist? In case it hadn’t occurred to you, I thought I would point that out.

            “So, it makes perfect sense they should vote for him.”

            Or…perhaps this traditional democrat voting block is a potential sign of things to come. Perhaps they finally realized that democrats never deliver on their promises and they switched horses. It could be that they are the vanguard of traditional democrat voting blocks that are wising up to the broken promises and dreams provided by the democrats and other such departures will occur in the future. So, it may well “make perfect sense” they vote for him, but not for the reasons you think.

          • All I’ve got for the above two comments of yours, Steve, is to suggest you go jump in a lake. Actually, it’s a good day for it.

          • “Steve, is to suggest you go jump in a lake.”

            Why, thank you, Liza. I am looking forward to it. Tomorrow, all the Grandkids and I are going up to the lake where we can go jump in the lake if we want to. One last getaway before vacation is over. Some boating, waterskiing, a little fishing, a couple nights at the cabin…it’s going to be fun. I can’t believe how quickly the Grandkids grow up! It is kind of scary watching them get so big and maturing so quickly.

  2. Trump’s family now victims of the “greatest Witch Hunt in political history” …but the WH is “functioning perfectly”.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 5h5 hours ago
    The W.H. is functioning perfectly, focused on HealthCare, Tax Cuts/Reform & many other things. I have very little time for watching T.V.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 5h5 hours ago
    Why aren’t the same standards placed on the Democrats. Look what Hillary Clinton may have gotten away with. Disgraceful!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 8h8 hours ago
    Remember, when you hear the words “sources say” from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 8h8 hours ago
    My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!

    • For Sure Not Tom

      I like it when Trump Tweets that Russia is fake news, and then blames Russian meddling on Obama.

      How dumb does he think his “followers” are? Or is it just him?

      Don Junior has brought down his fathers Presidency, and now we get to watch while Trump throws his oldest son and his son in law under the bus.

      BTW, it’s now referred to as “which hunt”, as in to “which” investigation are you referring?

      • I think it would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall at the WH right now and hear what they are really talking about.

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    Donald Trump Jr’s story changed four times. Like his father, he’s a lying sack of crap. Proven time and again.

    And we know how Don Junior feels about liars, because he had this little rant on CNN in July of last year talking about liberals:

    “It just goes to show you their exact moral compass, I mean, they’ll say anything to win,” Donald Trump Jr said, working himself up into a state of indignant rage that anyone else would dare to treat the truth and facts like his father does.

    “I mean this is time and time again, lie after lie, he won’t say well, I say this,” Trump Jr. continued. “His house cat at home once said that this is what’s happening with the Russians. It’s disgusting, it’s so phony.”

    Yep, everyone’s a liar except the Trump’s, who keep getting caught lying.

    For the Trumpaloompa’s, I suggest you learn who Eric Schneiderman is and study up on RICO.

    Because in a a few years, all Trump’s stuff is gonna’ be ours.