Day 632 Wednesday October 10, 2018 949 Days to Go
Two Events made me start writing these screeds: one was the loss of Hillary Clinton and the other was an article published on Halloween 2016 in Slate. The article was entitled “Was a Trump Server Communicating with Russia?”
You don’t have to be any kind of techie genius to conclude that there was a server communicating with a server in Russia. It passes “the reasonable person” test. That is to say “A reasonable person would conclude …”
In fact, there is no other explanation. All others have been eliminated as implausible. As implausible as, “Yeah, well, it could have been aliens from Mars or Pluto, but that’s highly unlikely.”
This article led me to believe that Trump (and by that I mean someone and mostly likely several people including Trump himself) were communicating with Russians.
Now there are those who will say, “there is no proof.” There is proof. That it was faked is not likely to impossible. That it was a conspiracy to make it appear that way is also near impossible. Besides, why would a conspiracy be doing something to make it look like something nefarious in such a way that they would not be caught? That it was really scanning of old archival data that sent out data pings. Really? Well then two organizations had the exact same type of archival data scan problems at the exact same time, and were communicating with the Trump server: one was the Russian server and the other was a server owned and operated by a Betsy DeVos company, Spectrum Health.
Additionally, the kind of traffic and the timestamps eliminate it as an automatic email blast type program. It had the footprint of human communication. It happened in bursts of pings, then quieted down, then flared up again. This was likened to a criminal enterprise that needed some top level direction and didn’t want to get caught.
A new article in The New Yorker picks up the trail – two years later. There are a few other things that point to human interaction and collusion between Trump, the Russians, and The Betsy DeVos company. Also, there is some odd behavior by The New York Times (the failing New York Times!) that Mr. Trump should thank them for, because had it not been for that, and the FBI in yet another case of interference in the election, it is unlikely that Trump would have won the narrow victory that he did.
Where to begin?
Let’s start with the evidence of human interaction. The Russian bank, Alfa-Bank, is tied tightly to Putin. The two running it are not in Putin’s inner circle, but have steered their enterprise in such a way that they have not been thrown in jail and had their assets seized like other oligarchs. This says something about their ability to function within Russia, because it is conceded that no enterprise in Russia functions without Putin’s blessing.
“Banks” in Russia aren’t like banks anywhere else. They are extensions of the government and the oligarchs that run the country. There purpose is to help the oligarchs get ill gotten gains out of the country and into the west where their money is safer. One such avenue is via The Bank of Cyprus where Wilbur Ross was on the board of directors until it became known and he gave up the title. But not before transferring the stock to others in his family so he could claim he didn’t own any of it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Don McGahn, White House Counsel, came from a white shoe DC law firm that has as a client Alfa Bank. There are half a dozen lawyers that McGahn brought over from that firm to work in the White House, and another half dozen are sprinkled throughout the government. Additionally, the lawyer in charge of the criminal division of the FBI was the lawyer that defended Alfa Bank when these suspicions were originally raised.
There’s more. The Dutch lawyer who served time for lying to the FBI in relation to the Russia collusion probe that Mueller is conducting is married to the daughter of one of the founders of Alfa Bank.
By the way the rise of Alfa Bank is a rags to riches story that would make Donald seem handed everything, which he was, and managed to screw it up. The founder started out with a window washing service, bought a bakery, and now is the second richest man in Russia. (I skipped a few intermediate steps.)
Does any of this prove that Trump et al colluded? No.
But I’ve only laid out some of the background.
The reporter for the NYT approached Alfa Bank’s lawyers with their evidence; two days later the Trump server stopped working. The only way that could happen was via communication, human communication.
The reporter also was approached by the FBI and they said they were already looking into the connection between Russians and Trump and asked the paper not to publish as it could upset their investigation. The reporter felt he had a duty to report this to the public. His boss disagreed. Harry Reid implored the FBI to say what they knew – before the 2016 election. Everyone kept silent and Trump got elected. Well, that’s not exactly true, The New York Times did run an article about it, but the headline suggested that Trump had been investigated and there was no evidence of collusion. You would have had to read the article carefully to see that the real story was there was some questionable stuff.
Trump has the FBI, Jim Comey, and The New York Times to thank for his being elected.
The New Yorker article gives some more details about what might have been going on with those servers. Three organizations were involved: Alfa-Bank, The Trump Organization, and Spectrum Health, which is the DeVos company. The activity is human communication. It is not machine. It is not spam, or some old archive being rescanned and sending out an errant email. It is not email because that would have left more digital timestamps. It appears to be the use of existing software from a previously used system.
The reporter on the New Yorker story called it “foldering.” The idea being that you could write an email for someone, save it in a draft folder and never send it. Then another person who knew the login id and password could go into the same system and look at the draft email and leave another draft email as a response. This would leave fewer timestamps and fingerprints. This is exactly what Paul Manafort got put in jail for. He was using this method to communicate with witnesses in his upcoming trial. He ended up incarcerated because of it.
The other possibility is some kind of instant messaging system built within existing software. The software that Trump organization used when they were using the server for email marketing blasts had such a feature.
Regardless of what system they were actually using to communicate Alfa Bank, the Trump organization, and the DeVos’ Spectrum Health were talking to each other.
Oh yes, there was collusion. There is no doubt about that.
Was it illegal?
This brings us back to “the reasonable person test.”
If it wasn’t illegal why did they go to such lengths to hide it? To then cover it up? And then to make excuses that don’t stand up? Why did they and their lawyers lie?
The conclusion is obvious. It was illegal and they knew it. These are crimes. They should all be in jail.
949 Days to Go
PS The handoff