Wednesday, September 8, 2021


 There are a lot of anti-Trump books and I thought I had read enough of them, but then he is still free to rant egotistical madness to audiences.  Peter Strzok had a good case, but it was distracted because of an affair and opinionated texts he had.  He uncovered evidence  that should have added to the case against Trump and needs to be heard.

We tend to think where there is smoke there must be fire.  There has been a great deal of smoke regarding Russian intrusions into American politics including a long history of Trump dealing with Russia  and  numerous contacts from his team with Russian insiders.  Paul Manafort was a campaign manager who had worked in Ukraine to bring about a pro Russian administration at first successful, but eventually overturned.  It was noted that the only effort by the Trump team to effect official Republican policy was to eliminate financial aid to Ukraine who was fighting off a Russian invasion.

 The reading is slow and more detailed than one might want and I would describe the tone as "defensive."  But that lends to credibility.  There is much information withheld because it is classified.  The affair that distracted from his mission is only referred to near the beginning with the explanation in the interests of his family he will not be explaining it.

We learn that Peter has a long history in international affairs.  At age 8 he watched his father burn sensitive documents in Tehran at the time of the Iranian Revolution.  After that he was taken to Burkina Faso and Haiti where he came to understand the abuses of autocratic dictators. 

Involved with investigation of Hilary Clinton's emails.  Concluded there was a lot of mishandling (common enough), but no criminal intent and not essentially different from other political positions.  Resented resources devoted to that while more serious investigations starved for resources.

He had been involved with Russians infiltrating American society.   Some of the Russian tactics are recounted with one of the key ones being they seek to gain what they called "Kompramat", but what we might think of as "Compromised."  Once they are able to find some dirty secret the Russians feel they can force such an individual to do what they want.  We actually do know some compromising information about Trump, but suspect a lot more.

The Soviet undercover agents Strzok uncovered ended up being part of a prisoner exchange with the Russians.  Peter notes that one of the Soviet "traitors" involved later was a victim of a poisoning attempt using known and unique Soviet methods.

During his campaign Trump declared he had no business connections to Russia while we have learned he was having Michael Cohen negotiating for a Russian Tower.  Probably would not have deterred very many of his supporters, but Russian held back, perhaps because they had more serious secrets and wanted Trump to win. 

One interesting detail was that Russians look for birth certificates of people who died young.  In one case they dug up Canadian records (probably a trifle harder to trace in America) used in one of the counter-intelligence cases.

The so called Steele Dossier attracted a lot of excitement, but according to Strzok it was not as big a factor to open an investigation as reports of George Papadopoulos bragging about Russia offering election support.  The striking bit about a "golden shower" may or may not be true, but Trump's reaction was strange--he did not deny, but was offended that it was claimed prostitutes were involved and then asked what year it was.  The author speculates that Trump thought he was famous and powerful enough not to have to deal with prostitutes and that the year (2013) implied there might have been different incidents on different years. 

Most of the solid information that the FBI was able to assemble concerned staff members and not Trump directly.  It is hard not to wonder how these contacts would be unknown to Trump.  One key connection was when Paul Manafort and Rick Gates provided detailed polling information to Konstatin Kilimnik.  We do know Russians were very skilled at directing social media where it could be most effective.

Trump found ways to get rid of pesky bureaucrats like Comey.  The next day after firing Comey he forbade the media while he talked with Russian diplomats in the White House

Peter had made some texts that conveyed some of his political thoughts and once they were uncovered it led to his being taken off the Trump investigation (for the Mueller Report) then to losing  accessibility and he endured threats to him and his family and finally was fired.  Public servants are entitled to personal opinions, but can also be expected to maintain an objective approach to their jobs.  Trump several times called Peter a traitor.  It was part of Trump's campaign to discredit the Mueller Report that Peter had contributed to. 

The Mueller Report was taken by Attorney William Barr who reviewed it and provided a summary that in effect misled.  I also believe that several classified sections may well have hidden incriminating evidence.  Peter testified both behind closed doors and in public and noted that in public politicians seem more interested in grandstanding than in determining the truth.

It does seem strange that after decades of the Republicans castigating Russian efforts that Trump welcomed their contributions to their campaign and the self-righteous power hungry Republicans went along with it. 

Trump still has supporters.  To me Hilary Clinton was not far wrong when she declared they were "deployables" in many cases, racists (at the very least tolerant of racists), shallow celebrity worshipers and otherwise resistant to necessary change.  Hopefully this book will at least arm sane people with the logic.

Links to other anti-Trump posts

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