Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

Drudge Retort




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Fort Dodge, Iowa - Jayden Johnson was 8 years old the first time someone hurled a racial slur at her, a biracial girl frolicking on a playground in this overwhelmingly white town. She was about 15 years old when a Family Dollar clerk wrongly assumed her black father was on welfare. And she's been pulled over by police several times when in cars with black friends but rarely when with white friends, she says.

Those memories were swirling in Johnson's mind as she read about George Floyd's death in Minneapolis several weeks ago. She pulled out her phone and opened Snapchat. "Everybody meet at the square at 8 p.m.," wrote Johnson, 19. "Be there or be square."

As people arrived at the downtown park, Johnson was astonished by the turnout. Instead of the 15 people she expected, about 100 teenagers and young adults " African American, Latino, white and mixed race " gathered to march through this farming and factory town of 25,000 residents.

"Let's get justice," Johnson recalls saying as the group began the first public protest that anyone in town can remember. "I saw people who looked like me and didn't look like me, and I started thinking, Something really is different now,'" Johnson said.

The number of young people of color living in the Midwest has surged over the past decade, as the older white population has nearly stalled. Forty percent of the nation's counties are experiencing such demographic transformations " a phenomenon fueling the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the country and forced racial reckonings in communities, colleges and corporations nationwide.

The horse has left the barn and it ain't coming back... ever.

Russia's actions were a threat to America's democracy. It was critical that they be investigated and understood. By late 2016, the FBI had evidence that the Russians had signaled to a Trump campaign adviser that they could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to the Democratic candidate. And the FBI knew that the Russians had done just that: Beginning in July 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen by Russian military intelligence officers from the Clinton campaign. Other online personas using false names " fronts for Russian military intelligence " also released Clinton campaign emails.

Stone became a central figure in our investigation for two key reasons: He communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks' release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers.

We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel " Stone among them. We did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its activities. The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. It also established that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.

Consider the hornet's nest knocked over and upset. Mueller is not going to let Trump and Barr discredit his investigation of Russia's counterintelligence operation during the 2016 Presidential election. Looks like the gloves might finally be off due to Trump's blatant corruption in commuting Roger's sentence.

During the 2016 campaign, Mueller writes, Stone "made several attempts to contact WikiLeaks founder Assange, boasted of his access to Assange, and was in regular contact with Campaign officials about the releases that Assange made and was believed to be planning." He spoke repeatedly about his connections to Assange, witnesses told Mueller, and his ability to find out what new releases of information WikiLeaks was planning. Crucially, the unredacted information includes testimony from multiple witnesses who described Stone's conversations about upcoming WikiLeaks releases with high-level campaign officials"including Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort"and even Trump himself.

According to Manafort, Trump personally told the chairman that he should keep in touch with Stone about WikiLeaks. Another campaign official, Rick Gates, recalled an incident during the campaign in which Trump spoke by phone with Stone and then told Gates that, as Mueller paraphrases, "more releases of damaging information would be coming." Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen told Mueller about overhearing a phone call in which Stone told Trump that "he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and in a couple of days WikiLeaks would release information." Then, Mueller writes, once WikiLeaks began dumping material damaging to Clinton in July 2016, Trump "said to Cohen something to the effect of, I guess Roger was right.'"

So Trump clearly knew about and encouraged Stone's outreach to WikiLeaks, the unredacted report shows. Yet in written answers the president provided to Mueller's office in the course of the special counsel's investigation, Trump insisted that he did not recall "the specifics of any call [he] had" with Stone during the campaign or any discussions with Stone of WikiLeaks. And shortly after he submitted those answers, the unredacted report states, Trump began tweeting publicly in support of Stone"calling him "brave" and congratulating his "guts" for refusing to testify.

Trump's tweets were always suspicious, to say the least. And his answers to Mueller seemed less than entirely credible even when the redacted report was first released. But the newly revealed text makes clear Mueller's suspicions that Trump lied in his written answers"and then pushed Stone not to testify in order to prevent Mueller from discovering that lie. As Mueller put it dryly: "[T]he President's conduct could also be viewed as reflecting his awareness that Stone could provide evidence that would run counter to the President's denials and would link the President to Stone's efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks." The special counsel also writes that Trump's tweets to Stone"along with his tweets criticizing Cohen, who was by then cooperating with investigators " "support the inference that the President intended to communicate a message that witnesses could be rewarded for refusing to provide testimony adverse to the President and disparaged if they chose to cooperate."

Quid pro quo and it doesn't involve Joe. Trump's own people tell the story, not his opponents.

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