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The NYT should tell readers whether it helped crooked FBI agents get Trump elected in 2016

  
Via:  John Russell  •  last year  •  19 comments

By:   Team Trump ( httpswww. inquirer. com)

The NYT should tell readers whether it helped crooked FBI agents get Trump elected in 2016
The arrest of a high-level FBI agent on Russia-tied corruption charges raises stunning new questions about how Trump really won in 2016.

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S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Charles McGonigal, former special agent in charge of the FBI's counterintelligence division in New York, leaves court Jan. 23 in New York. The former high-ranking FBI counterintelligence official has been indicted on charges he helped a Russian oligarch, in violation of U.S. sanctions.Read moreJohn Minchillo / APby Will Bunch | ColumnistPublished Jan 29, 2023

It was arguably the most consequential "October Surprise" in the history of American presidential elections. In the waning days of the 2016 race, with polls showing Hillary Clinton clinging to a lead over Donald Trump, two last-minute stories broke that rekindled on-the-fence voters' ethical doubts about Democrat Clinton and quashed a budding scandal around her GOP rival.

Except the "October Surprise" was no surprise to one key player: Rudolph Giuliani, the ex-New York mayor and Trump insider who later became the 45th president's attorney. Late that month, Giuliani told Fox News that the trailing Republican nominee had "a surprise or two that you're going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I'm talking about some pretty big surprises."

Just two days later, then-FBI director James Comey revealed the bureau had reopened its probe into Clinton's emails, based on the possible discovery of new communications on a laptop belonging to disgraced New York politico Anthony Weiner. The news jolted the campaign with a particularly strong boost from the New York Times, which devoted two-thirds of its front page to the story — and the notion it was a major blow to Clinton's prospects.

It was later reported that Comey was motivated to make the unusual announcement about the laptop because he feared leaks from the FBI's New York field office, which, according to Reuters, had "a faction of investigators based in the office known to be hostile to Hillary Clinton." Indeed, Giuliani bragged immediately after that he had sources in the FBI, including current agents.

The supposed bombshell — it turned out there was nothing incriminating or particularly new on the laptop — wasn't the only FBI-related story that boosted Trump in the homestretch of the 2016 campaign. On Oct. 31, citing unnamed "intelligence sources," the Times reported, "Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia." That article defused a budding scandal about the GOP White House hopeful — at least until after Trump's shock election on Nov. 8, 2016. In the coming days and weeks, the basis of that Times article would melt, but by then the most unlikely POTUS in U.S. history was ensconced in the Oval Office.

There are many reasons for Trump's victory, but experts have argued the FBI disclosures were decisive. In 2017, polling guru Nate Silver argued that the Comey probe disclosure cost Clinton as many as 3-4 percentage points and at least one percentage point, which would have flipped Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin and handed her the Electoral College.

Clearly, the wrong investigation was reopened.

This week's stunning corruption charges against a top FBI spymaster who assumed a key role in the bureau's New York office just weeks before 2016′s "October surprise" — an agent who by 2018 was known to be working for a Vladimir Putin-tied Russian oligarch — should cause America to rethink everything we think we know about the Trump-Russia scandal and how it really happened that Trump won that election.

The government allegations against the former G-man Charles McGonigal (also accused of taking a large foreign payment while still on the FBI payroll) and the outsized American influence of the sanctioned-and-later-indicted Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska — also tied to U.S. pols from Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell — should make us also look again at what was really up with the FBI in 2016.

How coordinated was the effort in that New York field office to pump up the ultimate nothingburger about Clinton's emails while poo-pooing the very real evidence of Russian interference on Trump's behalf, and who were the agents behind it? What was the role, if any, of McGonigal and his international web of intrigue? Was the now-tainted McGonigal a source who told the New York Times that fateful October that Russia was not trying to help Trump win the election — before the U.S. intelligence community determined the exact opposite? If not McGonigal, just who was intentionally misleading America's most influential news org, and why?

As a veteran journalist, I find the Times' role in this fiasco — although likely an unwitting one — deeply disturbing. To be sure, the 2016 FBI leaks weren't the first time a major news organization has been burned by anonymous law enforcement sources, and regrettably it probably won't be the last. Media critics have been talking for years about the Times' flawed coverage, and how its near certainty that Clinton would win and a desire to show its aggressiveness toward a future president seems to have skewed its coverage.

It's not only that America's so-called paper of record has never apologized for its over-the-top coverage of the Clinton emails or the deeply flawed story about the FBI Trump-Russia probe. It's that the Times has shown a stunning lack of curiosity about finding out what went wrong. In May 2017, or just seven months after Trump's election, the paper ended the position of public editor, an independent journalist who was embedded in the newsroom to cover controversies exactly like these.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger said the rise of social media meant the public could now raise such questions. OK, those questions are being raised. When can we expect answers? (I've sent a Twitter direct message to one of the coauthors of the 2016 FBI-Trump-Russia article, Eric Lichtblau, and attempted connecting with the other, Steven Lee Myers, and I'll let you know if I hear back.)

Last week's indictment of McGonigal is a classic case of raising more questions than were answered. The evidence presented by prosecutors suggests the FBI counterintelligence expert wasn't introduced to Deripaska until his waning days with the bureau in 2018, aided by a pair of Russian diplomats. In 2019, after he'd retired, the indictment says McGonigal went to work for the oligarch to help him evade U.S. sanctions and to investigate a rival. But the Times also reported that U.S. counterintelligence — in which McGonigal had been a key player — had tried unsuccessfully to recruit Deripaska as an asset in the years around the 2016 election.

Like the Woody Allen character Zelig, Deripaska — a 55-year-old aluminum magnate who at one time was the richest man in Putin's Russia — is turning up in the background everywhere in the ongoing corruption of American democracy. The oligarch's history of multimillion-dollar business dealings with Paul Manafort — Trump's campaign manager in the summer of 2016 — is central to the theory of Russian interference, after it was confirmed that Manafort shared key campaign data with a suspected Russian intelligence agent also connected to Deripaska.

In 2019, Deripaska did manage to get those U.S. sanctions lifted, in a controversial deal backed not only by Team Trump but critically by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That same year, a Deripaska-linked aluminum company announced it would build a large plant in Kentucky, where McConnell was running for reelection. (It eventually wasn't built.) This is the same McConnell who, during that critical fall period in 2016, refused to sign a bipartisan statement warning about Russian election interference.

Another coincidence in a scandal that is drowning in so-called coincidences.

It's becoming clear that the tamping down of the most explosive parts of the Trump-Russia story is the greatest case of gaslighting since the George Cukor movie dropped in 1944. It's not just the FBI leaks in New York. We also learned last week — yes, thanks to that same New York Times — about the extraordinary and ethically dubious lengths that Trump's second attorney general, William Barr, and Barr's handpicked special prosecutor John Durham, went to to try to prove the FBI was out to sink Trump. That's the exact opposite of what really happened. Indeed, the Times noted the only major criminality turned up in the Durham probe was a potentially explosive new charge of financial impropriety — by Donald Trump.

Seven years later, the lack of accountability and justice for the gaslighting of American democracy is appalling. Barr did a remarkable job in blunting the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, including squashing his findings about obstruction of justice by the Trump administration. A much-hyped probe by Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz into the FBI's New York office took four long years and failed to find the leakers. And new revelations — including that tip about Trump financial crimes that Italian intelligence passed on to Barr and Durham — continue to surface.

" READ MORE: 'Get the emails': Revealed memos suggest Mueller probe failed America. Can Congress fix it? | Will Bunch

Why does it matter? Trump is no longer president, after all, and America has a lot of other problems, with police brutality and mass shootings currently on the front burner. Yet when it comes to this all-encompassing Trump-Russia scandal, the past isn't even past. The seemingly untouchable 45th president was in New Hampshire and South Carolina this weekend, campaigning to become the 47th. The man that critics call "Moscow Mitch" McConnell could return as majority leader in that same election. And Putin's obsession with Ukraine — always a focus of his U.S. interference and Trump dealings — has become a war with dire global implications.

More importantly, this never-ending scandal has demolished our trust is so many institutions — an FBI that seems to have corrupted an election, a Justice Department that covered up those deeds instead of exposing them, and, yes, a New York Times that enabled several lies instead of exposing them.

Congress and Merrick Garland's Justice Department can shine a true light on this giant mess, but there's a reason I'm picking on the New York Times today. It's a massive temple of journalism that gives us both great work (like the Barr-Durham piece) and inexcusably bad work on a daily basis. The Times can finally apologize for the sins of 2016, expose exactly what went wrong, and then reveal the rest, so this kind of disaster never happens again. They owe it to American democracy.

McGonigal, meanwhile, will get a chance to clear his name in court. His defense lawyer comes from the firm Bracewell LLC, the law firm that was previously known as Giuliani and Bracewell after its onetime name partner, the former New York mayor. Just another coincidence, probably.

Published Jan. 29, 2023 Will BunchEmailTwitterI'm the national columnist — with some strong opinions about what's happening in America around social injustice, income inequality and the government.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    last year

Fascinating story.  The FBI New York office was filled with Trumpsters who wanted to sabotage Hillary Clinton. 

Not exactly what we hear from Fox news, is it? 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @1    last year

Hillary's own deliberate actions and campaign "strategy" doomed her campaign.

People may still be crying and whining about her clutching defeat from the jaws of victory, but it is ALL on her.

Looks like some liberals are finally waking to the fact that perhaps the NYT isn't the bastion of journalism it once was thought to be.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    last year

Sorry, but Hillary lost the election on her own, she was disliked way more than Trump.

The FBI really didn't do anything to help Trump win.

And the alleged Russian "interference" into the election is still just a myth.

And finally, after all this time, does this old news still have any relevance?

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
1.2.1  Snuffy  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    last year
And finally, after all this time, does this old news still have any relevance?

Sure it does.  It allows someone to take two distant points and create an orange.  Gotta love the conspiracy mongers among us...

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Quiet
1.2.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    last year
The FBI really didn't do anything to help Trump win.

"In 2017, polling guru Nate Silver argued that the Comey probe disclosure cost Clinton as many as 3-4 percentage points"

Trying to claim that days before an election an announcement that an FBI investigation into one of the candidates is being re-opened but somehow that won't have any negative effect on the election results is just plain fucking ridiculous. Anyone who believes that has their head shoved up their own ass.

And the alleged Russian "interference" into the election is still just a myth.

You're not really being serious are you? There is a fucking MOUNTAIN of evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. If someone is not able to accept that reality then they should really go get their head examined.

after all this time, does this old news still have any relevance?

Well the same players are gearing up for another attempt in 2024. I think the American people deserve the actual truth and not some wild fiction invented by lazy worthless piece of shit MAGAites who believe nothing but conspiracy theories and lies and are so far detached from reality that they are no longer recognizable as human. Avoiding allowing any of those folk or their fat greasy tangerine Tyrant anywhere close to the government again should be any sane educated Americans top priority.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.2.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.2.2    last year
"You're not really being serious are you? There is a fucking MOUNTAIN of evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. If someone is not able to accept that reality then they should really go get their head examined".
What mountains of evidence? You mean like the Adam Schiff type of evidence?
You don't seem to be able to differentiate between trying to influence an election, which most all governments do, and actually interfering in the election process.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Junior Quiet
1.2.4  afrayedknot  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2.3    last year

“You don't seem to be able to differentiate between trying to influence an election, which most all governments do, and actually interfering in the election process.”

Just where do you fall in denying the results of an election and in peacefully certifying those results? 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.2.5  Texan1211  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.2.2    last year
Trying to claim that days before an election an announcement that an FBI investigation into one of the candidates is being re-opened but somehow that won't have any negative effect on the election results is just plain fucking ridiculous. Anyone who believes that has their head shoved up their own ass.

Conversely, the FBI deciding to never charge Hillary with a thing had an impact too, but I get it that leftists always forget that fact.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Quiet
1.2.6  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Texan1211 @1.2.5    last year
Conversely, the FBI deciding to never charge Hillary with a thing had an impact too

Right, that had a lot of impact just two days before the election when nearly half of America had already voted.

FBI clears Clinton in email review two days before election | Reuters

"more than 41 percent  of all ballots were cast before Election Day"

Newly Released 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey Provides Snapshot of Nation's Voter Turnout Registration Trends Voting Systems | U.S. Election Assistance Commission (eac.gov)

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.2.7  Texan1211  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.2.6    last year
Right, that had a lot of impact just two days before the election when nearly half of America had already voted.

Many people had already voted before the FBI announcement of reopening her case. That weak-ass argument holds no water.

Say, if Hillary had just used the same servers and email systems she told her State employees to use, no investigation would have ever happened!

Liberals attempting to blame the FBI for Hillary snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a classic case of denial.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2  Ronin2    last year

The New York Times where the TDS driven go to get their latest Trump bashing news wanted Trump to win in 2016.

Of all of the conspiracy theories being put out by leftists- this one is trying to claim the tin foil crown.

The FBI wasn't trying to get Trump? Really? They didn't illegally spy on them. They didn't illegally use the Steele Dossier- which has been proven repeatedly to be complete and utter garbage paid for by the Clinton campaign- to get FISA warrants to spy on Trump. 

Comey didn't let Clinton off the hook for not only mishandling classified information by storing and sending it on a private unsecured server; but also destroying classified information by using bleachbit; and taking a hammer to said servers.

I suppose Mueller didn't hire a team of TDS driven Hillary and Obama donors and ex appointees all with a major axe to grind against Trump to investigate him either?

Leftists must be getting desperate now that Brandon the Human Fuck Up Machine has been outed as a habitual classified document mishandler dating all the way back to his days in the Senate. That he should suffer the same exact fate as Trump. That their 2024 hopes are sinking faster than the tech companies can fire employees; than the housing market crashes; oil and gas prices rise; and inflation refuses to go away. Recession here we come- courtesy of the Democrats!

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @2    last year

Your commentary seems more unhinged than usual lately. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Ender  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    last year

He says all that shit while at the same time the republicans now control the purse strings...

I guess even though they are in charge of the chamber everything will still be the fault of the other side...

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2.1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    last year

Your sly personal insults to other members seems to be more common lately.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Ender @2.1.1    last year

There's a lotta of fault and wrong doing on the Dems side. Hopefully it eventually become exposed to the light of day.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.4  Ender  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1.3    last year

Knock yourself out. Expose the Dems. While you're at it, maybe stop protecting the side you want.

You know, treat them equally instead of saying one side is worse than the other...

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Guide
2.2  Split Personality  replied to  Ronin2 @2    last year

512

That whole screed is factually incompetent

complete with hearsay and incorrect partisan talking points.

Bravo ! /S

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
3  Sean Treacy    last year

The election deniers are everywhere.  Left wing media, the President's spokesperson, the minority leader of the house and their favorite legal partisan Laurence Tribe: 

It certainly looks like Putin, with the help of Manifort and Trump, stole the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton but, more importantly, from the 65.8 million people who voted against the Thief in Chief, Donald Trump, who, btw, won just 62.9 million votes despite Putin’s efforts.

It would be nice if the leaders of the Democratic Party stopped undermining and attacking Democracy. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4  Vic Eldred    last year

Will Bunch seems to forget that it was the FBI that kept Hillary Clinton out of trouble and kept her capaign alive in the 2016 election. Will can't seem to get over the fact that Trump won. There must be a reason for it!

Just keep in mind that the FBI went the extra mile for the left. FBI agents sought to destroy the Trump candidacy, his Presidency and in the process deleted subpoenaed data, lied to federal investigators or committees while under oath, doctored court evidence, and violated the civil rights of American citizens.

So ya, Comey was forced to look into something lest the FBI be charged with hiding something had Hillary won, but Comey did it holding his nose.

 
 

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