Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Brookings Institute Is The Hub Of The Russiagate Disinformation Campaign...,

jonathanturley |  The latest indictment by Special Counsel John Durham has created a stir in Washington as the investigation into the Russian collusion scandal exposed new connections to the Clinton campaign.  The indictment of  Igor Danchenko exposes additional close advisers to Hillary Clinton who allegedly pushed discredited and salacious allegations in the Steele dossier. However, one of the most interesting new elements was the role of a liberal think tank, the Brookings Institution, in the alleged effort to create a false scandal of collusion. Indeed, Brookings appears so often in accounts related to the Russian collusion scandal that it could be Washington’s alternative to the Kevin Bacon parlor game. It appears that many of these figures are within six degrees of Brookings.

The fact is that Washington remains a small town for the ruling elite where degrees of separation can be quite small as figures move in and out of government. Moreover, think tanks are often the parking lots for party loyalists as they wait (and work) for new Administrations. The Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation play a similar role for conservative figures.

However, even in Washington’s inbred environment, the layers of connections to Brookings is remarkable in the Durham indictments and accounts of the effort to create a Russian collusion scandal. The effort was hardly a secret before anyone knew the name of the former British spy Christopher Steele. On July 28, former CIA Director John Brennan briefed then President Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” Notes from the meeting state the plan to invent a collusion narrative was “allegedly approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.” That was three days before the Russian investigation was initiated.

Durham is detailing how this plan was carried out and many of those referenced are within not six but two degrees of separation from Brookings.

Brookings played a large role in pushing the Russian collusion narrative, hiring a variety of experts who then populated media outlets like MSNBC and CNN stating confidently that Trump was clearly incriminated in a series of dubious criminal acts. While no such crimes were ever charged, let alone prosecuted, Brookings maintained a deep bench of enabling experts like Susan Hennessey (now a national security adviser in the Biden Administration), Ben Wittes (who defended James Comey in his leaking of FBI memos) and Norm Eisen (who then become counsel in the Trump impeachment effort). This included the Brookings site, LawFare, which ran a steady stream of columns on how Trump could be charged for crimes ranging from obstruction to bribery.

However, that type of media cross-pollination is common. What is most surprising is how the indictment seems to map out roads that keep leading back to Brookings.

The latest indicted figure, Danchenko, worked at Brookings. He proved to be the key unnamed source for Christopher Steele and later admitted to the FBI that the information attributed to him was not just “unsubstantiated” but, after being reworked by Steele, was unrecognizable from the original gossip or speculation.

 

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