Are You Still Following News of the Russia Probe?

Russia probe, Donald Trump, James Comey
Did this guy somehow collude with Russia? I don’t know, but something’s off …

On April 24, I started a two-post series in which I discussed my overall view of the Russia probe that is currently dominating headlines in the United States. While I said I felt that the probe was a distraction (in terms of its focus), I felt there needed to be an investigation in order to finish vetting Donald Trump and some of his cohorts.

Now, while I might disagree with this probe’s focus, it has turned up some interesting events I could not ignore or refrain from sharing. Also, there have been some recent developments in regards to how this entire probe and suspicions are being reported.

That said, let’s discuss what this probe is about and how I plan to cover it.


What Is This Probe About?

From my understanding, the Russia probe has four main claims involving:

  1. Mistrust
  2. Discord
  3. Collusion
  4. Direct manipulation

This is the CIA’s assessment:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments …

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.

This takes care of two of the claims. The other suspicions were partially borne out of Trump’s own behavior and reports that American voting systems had also been hit by hackers.

Claim 1: Russia Sought to Influence American Voters by Presenting Unflattering Information About Hillary Clinton.

This probe was thus started in order to find out if Russia waged an “information war” against the United States during a presidential election.

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.

The logic goes like this:

The hackers who stole information from various sources (including the DNC servers, John Podesta’s emails, and even Colin Powell) in order to make Clinton and her associates look bad — or worse than they already did. Since Hillary Clinton was already a polarizing figure, any (more) detrimental information would tip the scales for anyone on the fence about her or those planning to “hold their nose” and vote for her despite not preferring her during the Democratic primaries.

By taking aim at the Democratic Party, that would disenchant Democratic voters and discourage them from voting on Election Day. That would only help Donald Trump.

Claim 2: Russia wanted to undermine the American voting system through developing mistrust in the system.

The idea behind this assertion is that the Russian government deployed the services of Internet users to make plant information and weaponize it in order to anger Americans and get them to mistrust the voting process. If people cannot trust that their votes will count, they won’t waste their time at the polls.

Claim 3: Donald Trump and His Presidential Campaign Colluded with Russian Agents in Order for Him to Win Election.

“Collusion” could mean anything from disseminating information that hurt Hillary Clinton and helped Trump to outright rigging elections. But the main logic here would be the charge that Trump elicited the help of Russians in order to find dirt on Clinton, which he would use to anger Democratic voters and get them to turn on her.

Claim 4: Donald Trump’s Campaign and/or the Russians Directly Tampered with American Elections.

This charge is a clear accusation that the 2016 election was compromised, either by the theft of voter information or the direct tampering with voting machines. The former could have led anyone with that information to either purge voters from the rolls or misdirect them to the incorrect polling places. The later would actually change voting totals, thus helping Trump, especially in swing states.


The Fact of the Matter Is …

There is no definitive proof for any of the above claims. As of the time I published this, any possible collusion between Donald Trump and Russia or among Trump surrogates and representatives of the Kremlin based on suspicion. I have a deep mistrust of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that is not enough for me to conclude he tried to tamper with American elections, particularly in 2016. That’s why I want to have proof before I were to say so with confidence.

With that in mind, I do have a vested interest in this investigation, if only indirectly. At the very least, I would like to study this for historical purposes. Hence, I decided to make a timeline.

My Timeline

Originally, I was going to put everything into one big post, but I feel it’s more efficient to break things down year by year (for the most part). While I don’t know how long this Russia Probe will last, has been a lot of news in that regard since the start of 2016. In order for me to make the news (and my summaries) easier to digest, there is a needs to make separate posts and link to them.

That said, this is the general timeline I will be working from:

  • Before the Russia Probe Began (2012-2015)
  • Prelude to the Russia Probe (2016)
  • The Russia Probe Begins: Congress Seeks to Prove Collusion (2017)
  • This Russia Probe Continues: Where Sabotage Meets Incompetence (2018)

Of course, there are others (especially real journalists and news organizations) who have made their own timelines, but mine will be different. I don’t just want to take stalk of all of the developments in the probe itself, but to include notes on how the news is presented and how different people feel about the level of suspicion of those involved.

Let these posts serve as a type of time capsule so anyone can look back at this with an enhanced perspective (and possible laugh at some of the events, like Sean Spicer hiding behind the bushes so he couldn’t talk to the press after Comey’s firing).

Each post will be updated with current developments and to fill out everything I missed. And if this probe goes past the current year, I will add another post. Of course, I plan to make another post to look over what transpired once this investigation is over.


Related Posts

Going from Benghazi to Russia: Why Are We Doing This Probe?

Russia in the Crosshairs: Are We Sure We Want to Do This?

Guccifer 2.0 DNC’s servers hacked by a lone hacker


Other Russia Probe Timelines

Interactive Timeline: Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump by Steven Harper — Moyers & Company (Timeline was created in February 2017)

Here’s a timeline leading up to James Comey’s firing and the fallout it unleashed by Eric Levenson — CNN (May 17, 2017)

Timeline of Russia Investigation by Eugene KielyFactcheck.org (January 3, 2018)

The Trump-Russia investigation, from the beginning by Marshall Cohen — CNN (January 5, 2018)

What you need to know about Christopher Steele, the FBI and the Trump ‘dossier’ by Glenn Kessler — The Washington Post (January 9, 2018)

Last Updated: March 17, 2018

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2 thoughts on “Are You Still Following News of the Russia Probe?

  1. I missed much of what you have written before about this issue. What seems to be most needed here is an attempt to follow the money that Trump gained through his support of Russia and the underlying coverup that is occurring now.
    He certainly acts guilty with the endless tweeting…

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    1. We don’t know if Trump colluded with Russia to spread unflattering information about Democrats, but we do know that he has business all around the world. In that respect, I want to see if a thorough investigation reveals (more) conflicts of interest. I think that is most likely what would turn up and if Trump doesn’t want to cooperate it’s because he fears what would be revealed.

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