HomeArticleThe Burden Of Proof Is On The Russiagaters

The Burden Of Proof Is On The Russiagaters

I saw a Twitter thread between two journalists the other day which completely summarized my experience of debating the establishment Russia narrative on online forums lately. Aaron Maté‏, who is in my opinion one of the clearest voices out there on American Russia hysteria, was approached with an argument by a journalist named Jonathan M Katz. Maté‏ engaged the argument by asking for evidence of the claims Katz was making, only to be given the runaround.

I’m going to copy the back-and-forth into the text here for anyone who doesn’t feel like scrolling through a Twitter thread, not because I am interested in the petty rehashing of a meaningless Twitter spat, but because it’s such a perfect example of what I want to talk about here.


Katz: Are you aware of what Russian agents did during the 2016 presidential election, by chance?

Maté‏: I’m aware of what Mueller has accused Russian agents of — are we supposed to just reflexively believe the assertions of prosecutors & intelligence officials now, or is it ok to wait for the evidence? (as I did in the tweet you’re replying to) 

Katz: Why are you even asking this question if you’re just going to discard the reams of evidence that have supplied by investigators, spies, and journalists over the last two years? 

Maté‏: Why are you avoiding answering the Q I asked? If I can guess, it’s cause doing so would mean acknowledging your position requires taking gov’t claims on faith. Re: “reams of evidence”, I’ve actually written about it extensively, and disagree that it’s convincing.

 Katz: Yeah I’m familiar with your work. You’re asking for someone to summarize two years of reporting, grand jury indictments, reports from independent analysts, give agencies both American and foreign, and on and on just so you can handwave and draw some vague equivalencies.

Maté‏: No, actually I’ve asked 2 Qs in this thread, both of which have been avoided: 1) what evidence convinces you that Russia will attack the midterms 2) are we supposed to reflexively believe the assertions of prosecutors & intel officials now, or is it ok to wait for the evidence?

Katz: See this is what you do. You pretend like all of the evidence produced by journalists, independent analysts and foreign governments doesn’t exist so you can accuse anyone who doesn’t buy this SF Cohen Putinist bullshit you’re selling of being a deep state shill. 

Maté‏: Except I haven’t said anything about anyone being a “deep state shill”, here or anywhere else. So that’s your embellishment. I’m simply asking whether we should accept IC/prosecutor claims on faith. Mueller does lay out a case, that’s true, but no evidence yet.

Katz: No. You should not accept a prosecutor’s claims on faith. You should read independent analyses, evidence gathered by journalists and other agencies, and compare all it to what is known on the public record. And you could if you wanted to.

Katz continued to evade and deflect until eventually exiting the conversation. Meanwhile another journalist, The Intercept‘s Sam Biddle, interjected that the debate was “a big waste of” Katz’s time and called Maté‏ an “inverse louise mensch”, all for maintaining the posture of skepticism and asking for evidence. Maté‏ invited Katz and Biddle to debate their positions on The Real News, to which Biddle replied, “No thank you, but I have some advice: If everyone has gotten it wrong, you should figure out who really did it! If not Russia, find out who really hacked the DNC, find out who really spearphished American election officials. Even OJ pretended to search for the real killer.”

Biddle then, as you would expect, blocked Maté‏ on Twitter.

If you were to spend an entire day debating Russiagate online (and I am in no way suggesting that you should), it is highly unlikely that you would see anything from the proponents of the establishment Russia narrative other than the textbook fallacious debate tactics exhibited by Katz and Biddle in that thread. It had the entire spectrum:

Gish gallop – The tactic of providing a stack of individually weak arguments to create the illusion of one solid argument, illustrated when Katz cited unspecified “reams of evidence” resulting from “two years of reporting, grand jury indictments, reports from independent analysts, give agencies both American and foreign.” He even claimed he shouldn’t have to go through that evidence point-by-point because there’s too much of it, which is like a poor man’s Gish gallop fallacy.

Argumentum ad populum – The “it’s true because so many agree that it is true” argument that Katz attempted to imply in invoking all the “journalists, independent analysts and foreign governments” who assert that Russia interfered in a meaningful way in America’s 2016 elections and intends to interfere in the midterms.

Ad hominem – Biddle’s “inverse louise mensch”. You have no argument, so you insult the other party instead.

Attempting to shift the burden of proof – Biddle’s suggestion that Maté‏ needs to prove that someone else other than the Russian government did the things Russia is accused of doing. Biddle is implying that the establishment Russia narrative should be assumed true until somebody has proved it to be false, a tactic known as an appeal to ignorance.

I’d like to talk about this last one a bit, because it underpins the entire CIA/CNN Russia narrative.

As we’ve discussed previously, in a post-Iraq invasion world the confident-sounding assertions of spies, government officials and media pundits is not sufficient evidence for the public to rationally support claims that are being used to escalate dangerous cold war tensions with a nuclear superpower. The western empire has every motive in the world to lie about the behaviors of a noncompliant government, and has an extensive and well-documented history of doing exactly that. Hard, verifiable, publicly available proof is required. Assertions are not evidence.

But even if there wasn’t an extensive and recent history of disastrous US-led escalations premised on lies advanced by spies, government officials and media pundits, the burden of proof would still be on those making the claim, because that’s how logic works. Whether you’re talking about law, philosophy or debate, the burden of proof is always on the party making the claim. A group of spies, government officials and media pundits saying that something happened in an assertive tone of voice is not the same thing as proof. That side of the Russiagate debate is the side making the claim, so the burden of proof is on them. Until proof is made publicly available, there is no logical reason for the public to accept the CIA/CNN Russia narrative as fact, because the burden of proof has not been met.

This concept is important to understand on the scale of individual debates on the subject during political discourse, and it is important to understand on the grand scale of the entire Russia narrative as well. All the skeptical side of the debate needs to do is stand back and demand that the burden of proof be met, but this often gets distorted in discourse on the subject. The Sam Biddles of the world all too frequently attempt to confuse the situation by asserting that it is the skeptics who must provide an alternative version of events and somehow produce irrefutable proof about the behaviors of highly opaque government agencies. This is fallacious, and it is backwards.

There are many Russiagate skeptics who have been doing copious amounts of research to come up with other theories about what could have happened in 2016, and that’s fine. But in a way this can actually make the debate more confused, because instead of leaning back and insisting that the burden of proof be met, you are leaning in and trying to convince everyone of your alternative theory. Russiagaters love this more than anything, because you’ve shifted the burden of proof for them. Now you’re the one making the claims, so they can lean back and come up with reasons to be skeptical of your argument. Empire loyalists like Sam Biddle would like nothing more than to get skeptics like Aaron Maté‏ falling all over themselves trying to prove a negative, but that’s not how the burden of proof works, and there’s no good reason to play into it.

Until hard, verifiable proof of Russian election interference and/or collusion with the Trump campaign is made publicly available, we are winning this debate as long as we continue pointing out that this proof doesn’t exist. All you have to do to beat a Russiagater in a debate is point this out. They’ll cite assertions made by the US intelligence community, but assertions are not proof. They’ll cite the assertions made in the recent Mueller indictment as proof, but all the indictment contains is more assertions. The only reason Russiagaters confuse assertions for proof is because the mass media treats them as such, but there’s no reason to play along with that delusion.

There is no good reason to play along with escalations between nuclear superpowers when their premise consists of nothing but narrative and assertions. It is right to demand that those escalations cease until the public who is affected by them has had a full, informed say. Until the burden of proof has been met, that has not even begun to happen.


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Latest comments

  • Caitlin, You are great. Truth is great! Are you an Aboriginal women? Free Assange and TruthTellers. Peace… Please Keep On… Chuck

  • Disclaimer: I’m French, so I must be stupid, socialist and a coward, so no need to read further. I also tweeted during the US electoral campaign (as I felt that decisions taken by the US internatinally do affect all 7 billion or so of voteless and helpless mortals) so Mueller could rightfully indict me under a very large intepretation of the electoral campaign fundng legislation for some in-kind support. That is, for a fact which is not illegal in my country (as it would not be in Russia) and would not be illegal in the US if an American citizen did it for other countries’ elections. Luckily, the French Constitution (like most other European Constitutions, including Russia’s) forbids the extradition of its own citizens, so any request in this respect would be little less than cheap political gesticulation.

    But I digress. I loved to see real and honest logic applied to a highly emotional subject. Thank you for the article, it was a pleasure. If I may – seen from the outside, the US appears like a Dr Jeckill – Mr Hyde. Domestically, its democratic mechanisms seem to be functional – you guys seem to more or less democratically decide whether or not to have an affordable health car system, a wall on the border with Mexico etc. OK, the electoral system is bizzare both in respect of its proportionality (or lack thereof, which means that votes are not equal) and of campaign funding (I know we Europeans are low form of only semi-intelligent life but our funding systems may be worth looking at) and the Courts may sometime issue somewhat hilarious rulings, you still sometime execute innocent people etc. but all in all the system seems to be functional.

    On the other hand, internationally, what can I say? The US has never been a democracy internationally but now things get a bit odd. Now, from the over 20 countries the US bombed after WWII, as far as I counted only in one case this was done legally under international law and in exactly zero case did US first declare war to the country in question (you might remember that most of your citizens were solewhat indisposed when Japan did the same in Pearl Harbor). These undeclared wars also led to around 20 million people being killed, which is somewhat comparable to Nazi Germany’s record, but I guess we kindda got used to this. But there are new developments.

    How do you recognise a nefarious dictature? I guess there are things concerning democracy, human rights and the rule of law which are to be considered.

    Democracy: suppose you start to withdraw from deliberative institutions which criticise you (like UNESCO, UN Human Rights Council), or your UN Ambassador starts to publicly threaten countries which do not vote as you want them to.

    Human rights: suppose that you start to deprive people of essential rights, you kill them, torture them or deprive thm sine die of their freedom without ever accusing them of anything, in places like Poland, Latvia, Romania or Cuba (Guantanamo belongs to Cuba under international law).

    Rule of law – beyond not respecting the above-mentioned international law and doing things which are classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Geneva conventions. There is one extraordinary thing that only dictatures do, and only exceptionally: making accusations public but keeping proof secret and asking for convictions to be issued on this basis. You see, you have created this nice family of 17 agency which have drafted what Obama called « the Washington playbook ». Essentially they say: we know it all, but we can’t show the proofs because this woild be against national security. So we ask the media (hence the public and the politicians) and the tribunals to just trust us and decide what we know it is right without the usual controversial procedures.

    And most citizens agree with this.

    Now, of course we can discuss about the meddling (or not), the Skripals, Syria or Crimea (these are all very interesting subjects, which I have studied with gusto) but the main question is why. Why would we spend time and energy if CIA and its friends know it all and do not need to discuss or prove anything either in the Agora or in a Court of law?

    • One thing I can say as an American who now has French citizenship (and now prefers to travel to the US as a French citizen), I’m sure the US meddled in the French elections.
      1: Obama’s clear endorsement of Macron in 2016
      2: “En Marche” is essentially “Move On” à la française. George Soros created/funded this faux-populist movement to crush Occupy Wall Street and promote a faux progressive wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing candidate, Obama.
      3: Media treatment of the French candidates mirrored the US’s. Scandal for Fillon, dengrating Melenchon, and ignoring the others. Focus entirely on the “good guy” Macron vs the “evil woman” Le Pen.
      For info: I put a sheet of Lotus toilet paper in my envelope. I was labeled a Le Pen supporter for nullifying my vote. I lost one friend over that. He’s gay and thought Le Pen would send him to the gulag. Because of my non-vote.
      In a nutshell, I got to relive the joy of electoral PTSD once again. Indeed, we are in a sham of a democracy. I hope the French catch on to this scam before Macron fucks this fine country over with a smile.

  • Seth Rich’s murder is a blatant smoking gun while Mueller has.., take an awfully long time in the bathroom and forgot to turn on the fart fan.

    Let’s talk motive. Russia recently changed some laws to give away free land to immigrants. With tons of resources, lets say giga-tons, why exactly do they need to acquire new territory? What’s free in the US, vaccinations?

    Now the motive for every single action in the Empire’s jurisdiction is crystal clear. More control, especially of those who dare to thwart their evil plans. Plus profit, for all their wealthy benefactors and especially for the MIC. You want peace pass a law making all defense contractors profits go to poor people. Yup holding my breath till that happens.

    One thing for sure Seth Rich was a patriot. When a patriot gets murdered and know one cares, the only conclusion is your government is not patriotic.

  • They aren’t interested in evidence. They want to cover up the DNC rigging of primaries. Plan A is to bully people into going along with it, Plan B is play “I am under attack” card if you refuse to “shut the fuck up and tow the line” its the classic tactic of any religion. Either way, they get to lie and be the victim.

  • off topic, but i’ve been unable to subscribe for post notifications by email…i’ve tried using 3 different browsers, and all of them return the same error message, ie, “There was an error when subscribing. Please try again.”

    i don’t do social media, so email is the only way for me…hence, i’m going to try the comment function of “Notify me of new posts by email.” to see if that works…

  • Great article, but I hate that you must keep saying the same thing in different ways, because so many just don’t get it.
    For Katz, Biddle, et al, I’ll repeat my question/comment from your column a few days ago, namely:
    “Where’s the beef?” Hard as I try, when listening to Russiagaters speak, I can’t even fin a trace of cotton candy.

  • Russiagate is not worthy of discussion.
    It seems to me the trump haters just try to keep it going. Anything to distract the public from what a useless wasteland our news media has become. If they want to accuse Russia of revealing the truth about one of our two (great democracy) political vlubs its ok with me. Or even worse accuse Russia what us routinely does (except us does worse including murder).

    I now believe Chris Hedgedges and Sy Hersch are cia assets. And I suspect Caitlin is big hairy russian troll. They just keep the narative rolling.

    Talk about something constructive. What is needed is education.

    Analyze and move on.

  • The facts are quite clear! You have to start by asking “Who is Guccifer?” to get a better feel for the workings of the system -> http://www.apsense.com/article/who-is-guccifer.html

    If you still think the Clintons will not use the system to corrupt due process, you have no idea what goes on in this country on a regular basis -> https://youtu.be/mtuswlH8ncY

  • What, exactly, do “Russiagaters” have the burden of proving to you, and what are the consequences if they do not meet their burden? For example, should there be no investigation whatsoever until the burden of proof is met? Should no actions to prevent future meddling be taken at all?

    Implicit in your rhetoric is the assumption that Russiagate is a ruse intended to lead us to war with Russia. Don’t you have the burden of proving that assumption, particular given that your assumption clearly raises the burden of proof in your mind?

    The way I see it, those of us who believe that Russia meddled in the 2016 election do so based on a preponderance of the evidence, while people like you and Greenwald seen ti demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The reason I require a lower standard of proof is because the most likely remedy to Russian meddling is the enactment of measures to prevent such meddling in the future, by Russia or any other country.

    The fear of a nuclear war is completely unfounded (unhinged might be a better word) because Trump is not going to nuke the country that helped get him elected, if that is indeed the case. Think about it: the only way the U.S. heads towards war with Russia is if the Trump administration (1) provides proof of Russian election meddling, and (2) advocates for war. Do you really think that is even REMOTELY plausible?

    The Deep State conspiracy theory surfaced almost as soon as Russian interference in the 2016 election was announced. That theory has since been adopted by Trump and his base as the basis for their argument to end the Mueller investigation. However, there is zero proof from anybody that a “Deep State” exists or spun the Russiagate story out of whole cloth.

    Until you can meet your burden of proving your theory Deep State theory is plausible, I don’t see any reason to raise my burden of proof for believing “Russiagate” actually happened.

    This whole kerfuffle reminds of climate-change deniers. The fact that the vast majority of scientists agree that humanity is causing adverse climate change is enough for me to at least be concerned and want to consider doing something about it. But the deniers would rather cling to the idea of a cabal of evil scientists and intellectual elites engaged in a mass conspiracy to accomplish some policy objective that is ludicrous on its face.

    • You have a slight point there.

      “Burden of proof” is a legal term of art applying to legal actions, civil, criminal or administrative, and a creature of legal precedent. I do not see any legal action proceeding here on this subject.

      This is the so-called “court of public opinion,” a very different kind of court. The point is that I don’t have any responsibility to prove to you that Frosty the Snowman is real, or not. You’re the judge and jury!

      • A lot of people are confused when it comes to legal terms of art. They look just like ordinary words to the ordinary person, but they have special meanings when applied to legal proceedings. Let me explain it.
        For example, the word “election” often causes a lot of confusion. An “election” is defined as a proforma endorsement by the public of a pre-selected public official, known as a “candidate.”
        A “candidate” is someone that has been designated as the winner of the “election” by the permanent government.
        “Interference” means doing something to prevent that endorsement. It means prevention of the functioning of an orderly oligarchy.
        For example, counting all the “votes” in an “election” would be considered “interference.” It’s something that should not be done. Informing voters about something they aren’t meant to know about the candidate before an “election” is rank “interference.”
        Hillary Clinton was selected to be the next president. This was “interfered” with because voters were given information they weren’t supposed to know about her saying she was a horrible candidate.
        Any questions?

        • This is correct. But we aren’t supposed to know that, so shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….

          “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.”

          Uncle Joseph

        • I do have a question, but before I need to address some of what you have said.

          Before doing so, I will say that I did vote for president in 2016, but I did not vote for either Trump or Clinton.

          I share your deep skepticism of our electoral system, and that skepticism led me to NOT vote for president in 2012. I figured voting for the lesser of two evils was still evil. In 2016, I found it necessary to vote against the two evils. Clinton was clearly a corporate neoliberal, and Trump was not a fully formed adult human and, therefore, clearly lacked the capacity to be president.

          That said, I do not believe in a “permanent state” or a “deep state” any more than I believe in Frosty the Snowman.

          I do believe in the framework of our Constitutional system. I further believe that this framework has the capacity to serve all the people and not just multinational corporate interests, but only if we, the people, do something about it.

          Ultimately, Deep State conspiracy theorists like Greenwald and Johnstone have revealed themselves to be nihilists who do not actually believe in what they espouse. If they truly cared about press freedom, which they don’t have in places like Russia, they would want to allow the Mueller investigation (which they know nothing about other than the indictments that get handed down) to be completed, especially if they believe that the only “interference” that will be proven is the revelation of embarrassing facts. (NOTE: one of the ironies of the Deep State conspiracy theory is its acceptance of the absence of any assertion that votes were changed as proof that no votes were, in fact, changed; this acceptance is based on what has been reported so far, which they take at face value.)

          Personally, I want to know the full nature and extent of the meddling. I would welcome a finding that the only thing that happened was what has been revealed so far, but I just don’t know where we will wind up. I do think that hackers who illegally accessed private information should be prosecuted, as should anybody who directed them in their efforts (if anybody did).

          My question: where do you find tin foil these days?

          P.S. I am a lawyer, but even I know that in the court of public opinion you don’t waste your time trying to convince people who are incapable of changing their minds.

          • Lawyer to lawyer, I take that advice respectfully which is why I will not try to persuade you of anything either. You are simply too naive. If you took my “modest proposal” too literally, I suspect you will get over it soon.

          • And while we are discussing this, I didn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump either and for the same reasons. We aren’t that far apart except I’m not so smug.I voted for Stein in the general and for Sanders in the primaries, figuring that in California the Dems would win anyway so it didn’t make any difference if I voted my conscience.

        • Yeah, no. Having a law degree and being a lawyer are two different things.Also, I have met many lawyers who are really bad at being lawyers, and I happen to not be one of them. To be fair, we are both anonymous, so we can talk whatever smack we like, but it is pretty clear that I am older and more experienced than you, and I am quite comfortable in knowing that, compared to you, I am the farthest thing from being naive. But, hey, you convince yourself of whatever you want to convince yourself. We don’t need you to make the world a better place, which is something you don’t seem to care about. That’s what makes this whole attempt at dialogue sad: a bunch of ideologues have apparently determined that their ideology is bankrupt, so now they want to burn it all down. Nihilism is not a good look.

          • You couldn’t possibly be older unless you’re in your 80s, and I doubt that you have had the breadth of personal contacts and life experiences I have had. Naivete comes in all flavors and sizes. To some, you may appear seasoned but believe me on this level you’re naive and professionally smug. The events of the last year are enough to convince anyone that we live in an oligarchy, but that has already been scientifically proven.

    • All of the talk of war with Russia is a complete smokescreen. That Caitlin engages in this sort of talk is disappointing. It’s pure conjecture and conflating of known facts and the unknown. It is a tactic used to bolster a claim without any burden of proof.

      The great irony here is this article, like all the other “Russiagate” articles, doesn’t offer any proof or evidence of this war assertion while incessantly demanding for proof of Russia meddling. That’s why this is so disappointing – a real fail in journalism.

      Moreover – couch surfers that delve into the so-called “evidence” are working with second-hand data. That is to be clear, “reporting on what’s been reported” and claiming it is first-order (source) data. I’ve a real problem with that because it is exactly how we got duped before (Iraq, yellow cake, Gaddafi, etc., etc.)

      Ostentatiously, we’re supposed to believe the couch surfers working with second-hand data, or – we’re supposed to believe the unverified, unpresented claims by the so-called “real investigators”. Do you see the problem here? The entire WORLD is being polarized around these two false set of choices.

      Lost in the mix is the real evidence, which as yet, still has not been presented. Either it will, or it won’t – but the narrative has already been written. We would do well to not get lost in this narrative and demand the evidence and then judge accordingly.

      I do not believe that there is nothing to it – but my belief is just as irrelevant, as it the unverified claims.

      • JR, you’re doing exactly what you are accusing the “couch surfers” of doing: presenting arguments with no supporting basis, when you say that war with Russia is merely a scare tactic. With the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists placing the Doomsday Clock at 2 minutes to midnight, you have to admit there are at least some people that don’t feel the same way you do. Your statements are pure conjecture. With the US encircling Russia threatening it with nuclear missiles and staging military exercises on its border, overthrowing Ukraine on its southern doorstep, and exiting the SALT treaty, there is a very real danger to Russia’s national security and ours, which up to Trump’s visit to Helsinki, we were not listening to. Given the catastrophic consequences of miscalculation, I think your defamation of peace activists’ motives is nothing short of dastardly.

      • Afghanistan. Iraq. Libya. Yemen. Syria. All smoking, blood-soaked abattoirs of sweet green profits for the military-media-industrial complex. How many times does Lucy have to pull the football away before you start seeing a pattern? The last honestly-entered war USA fought was the Civil War. When they tell these sorts of lies, there’s only ever one reason for it. Try to remember what happened the day before yesterday…

  • So far there’s smoke but no fire. Sure people are jumping to conclusions based on what they want the outcome to be. This isn’t the first or last time that will happen. The truth is whatever a jury says it is. All of those involved have the resources to defend themselves.

    • I really, really, really don’t want Russia defending itself with its nuclear arsenal.

      • So there should be no investigation because Russians might use nuclear weapons to defend themselves in court? I think security screening would take care of that.

  • I’ll bet I could find a whole lot of evidence of collusion and interference by the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelman, various Wall Streeters, etc. And their collusion and interference was far more effective.

    • How about the literally millions of votes stolen from Bernie Sanders in the California primaries and electronically switched to Hillary? Isn’t that “hacking?” Or the millions of votes that were never counted before Hillary claimed victory? Who’s going to account for that? Nobody, apparently. The Establishment Democratic Party, the very same people that are raising the hue and cry about Russians, did it. Why isn’t Moeller doing a deep investigation of that? It’s the old rubber-glue game.

  • “I have watched incredulous as the CIA’s blatant Lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks [not hacks] of emails showing Clinton’s corruption.” “Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan . . . called the CIA claims ‘bullshit,’ adding: ‘They are absolutely making it up.’” https://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/12/12/cias-absence-conviction

    “Have You No Sense of Decency?”

    • Whatever Craig Murray and Jullian Assange say is true. Period. End of story.

      • What they say is no more relevant than Mueller’s indictment. VIPS is the ONLY group who have made an offer of proof that no one hacked the DNC computers. They (who include forensic cyber specialists like William Binney who designed NSA’s system) have said, in effect: We know the files were not hacked; they could only have been downloaded by someone with physical access to the computers. Mueller’s indictment contains zero offers of proof. Federal indictments don’t have to include offers of proof, but when they don’t, defense attorney’s know that they’re dealing with a ham sandwich indictment meant not to prosecute the accused, but to encourage him/her to role over on co-conspirators. So, a real federal indictment goes something like this. Tony Soprano and Big Eddie Falcone conspired to violate (cite US Code) in a telephone conversation recorded under federal warrant issued by US Dist Judge Joe Doaks. You don’t have to trust VIPS, but you could ask for their evidence. Try asking Robert Mueller for his evidence.

        • Mueller doesn’t have to show his cards to you yet. He did present evidence to the grand jury but it’s not public so we don’t now what it is. It may or may not be a “ham sandwich” as you say unless you have access to the grand jury proceedings. Defense lawyers say a lot of things but U.S. Attorneys have a 90% plus conviction rate. I’m not prejudging and maybe others shouldn’t either. I know speculating is fun.

      • Of course what Assange and Murray say is relevant. For one thing, the fact that the “investigation” sedulously ignores what they say – as well as ignoring the most basic step to prove a hack – look at the damned computer – proves to the highest standard – beyond reasonable doubt – that the investigation is not an investigation at all. It proves they’re not even trying to investigate anything.

        • Trump just tweeted he wants to pull all their security clearances

  • Oh boy I heard the news today…

    Um I have zero doubt that Russia used bots, electronic this and that, in a propaganda campaign to support Trump. It doesn’t matter if the source of info was the FBICIANSA etc. The real horses mouth is Mr Putin’s, who has said, clearly, without equivocation, that he wanted Trump to win and Russia did EXACTLY WHAT THE USA constantly does, and works in whatever manner needed, from bribes to killings to vote manipulation to vast propaganda programs in an attempt to get what it wants.

    While I think it is perfectly correct to note how the whole system, including of course the press, is an ideological machine that constantly lies, as in the WMD (and myriad others) case in Iraq, I think it is a very serious error to, in this case, deny something that is “true” regardless of whose mouth it came out of. You are out on a limb and sawing it off from the wrong side.

    • All Putin said was that he wanted Trump to win. Everything you said after that was your own unfounded conjecture.
      Trump told us he wanted to be friends with Russia. Hillary said she wanted to respond to alleged cyberattacks with nuclear bombs. Of course, Putin preferred Trump! Why not? This is an extremely grave danger for both Russia and US.

      Russia is trying to fend off NATO aggression. Russia does not want war, it is developing nicely in peacetime. Of course, they wanted to see Trump win. That didn’t mean that they did anything more than aspire to peace, and nobody even claims they had any effect on our election, but even if they had I’m glad.

      I want peace, too, and so should you. Only lunatics would want nuclear war or more war hysteria. I hope Helsinki can get us there. Pray for peace, even if you don’t believe in prayer.

      • Actually, Putin was asked two questions, one after the other, and he provided two answers (paraphrasing, “did you want Trump to win?” and “did you direct anyone to help Trump win?”, one after the other: “Yes, I did. Yes, I did.” Go back and watch the tape.

        • Same difference. No admission he did anything.

  • The Russian collusion narrative has finally unraveled and been exposed as a CIA/Democratic-media hoax to everyone except the cognitively impaired and those extremely susceptible to mass media programming. However we still have all our work ahead of us, for according to the world’s most defiant freedom fighter and foremost truthteller Julian Assange,

    “…there is another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government. That country is, of course, Israel.”

    Now we get to find out who’s serious about exposing the foreign country with privileged access to Trump’s inner circle and roots that run deep down into the US political system. – and who was merely hypnotized by the faux outrage of the liberal media’s Russia-phobic hate Trump propaganda…

    • The right-wing government of the Jewish state that has sadly succeeded in giving Jews a bad name.

      • I have interest in being in a nuclear war. I also have no interest in making up realities to suit my fantasies. The USA and once USSR now Russia have been long-term aggressive adversaries. They muck around in each other’s business as much as they can, overtly and covertly. It is clear – never mind legalistic nit-pick proofs – on either side of the fence, that the USA mucks around in Russian biz as much as it can, the Russia is doing the same to the US. If you want to pretend it isn’t so, please do so. However if you do, expect to lose credibility with those interested in reality. Did you see the part of Putin’s discussion, I think it was with NBC or was it CNN, the part they did not transmit, where he calmly cites all the things America has done which require a Russian response. He was honest in his press conference with Trump when he said bluntly that there was no reason he should trust Trump and no reason Trump should trust Russia.

        • Putin was honest when he said Russia should not be trusted. But we have Trump who trusts Putin and Jong Un. It’s not clear why the US should just overlook that Putin may have interfered in US elections and may do so again. If Putin and Russia think the US is muddling in Russian elections they are capable of taking steps to protect themselves.

  • The US will not take Putin up on his offer to allow US investigators to come to Russia to interview the 12 Russian indicted men for the same reason the US didn’t let Sweden go to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to interview Julian Assange. It is not about learning the truth. Both allegations have ulterior motives.

  • May I please… may I please… please… I don’t even know what to say here… I’m not an expert or even a voice to follow… but I know some things… I own guns and I will use them to defend myself and my family! I also believe that we should be a healthy and educated society that is allowed to carry guns and make abortion something to explain and not expect!

    • WTF does that have to do with anything?

      • It means Randall Frye is friggin’ idiot – or more likely, a troll.

  • I may be wrong but didn’t Wikileaks admit that the DNC ‘hack’ was not a hack but a leak? And the suspected leaker is the conveniently murdered Seth Rich. Kim dot com seems to know a lot about this. So what was Russia’s involvement here?

    Crazy that if you just repeat something enough times there are people who will fight to the death to defend it.

    • As I commented below:

      ‘I can’t believe people are still talking about a hack when Bill Binney and VIPS have demonstrated conclusively that it was a LEAK and Craig Murray has told us how it was done.’

      Further, Julian has repeatedly said that the LEAK did not come from a state actor.

      Wikileaks never discloses sources but there was hint that it might have been Mr Rich when Wikileaks offered a reward in connection with Mr Rich’s murder.

    • They believe if they say something it becomes God’s gospel truth the minute it leaves their mouths and will fight to the death to defend it because they consider themselves privileged.

    • Obama referred to it as a leak in a press conference.

  • Another gem from Caitlin , and kudos to Aaron Mate for repelling some pretty high degree
    “red baiting” . Red herring ,this time. Our democracy ,or at least what’s left of it, rises from a
    foundation of due process of law and a requirement that the state bring proof for an accusation.
    It’s a hard standard to hold sometimes , but it beats the hell out of “you’re a bad person………
    ….. because I said so”.

  • Love logical fallacies! Thanks for citing a few. We do not teach logic in the U.S., except maybe in a college math or philosophy course. I’d guess that most philosophy profs likewise avoid logic. Their students might pay attention and deconstruct some of the profs’ B.S. Politicians hate the idea that citizens might unravel their B.S. Logic is the enemy of those who would rule.

  • We need to keep pointing out ad nauseum that this is exactly what happened with the “weapons of mass destruction” pack of lies that was fed to us after 9/11 – everyone jumped on the bandwagon and ridiculed (and fired) anyone who questioned it.

  • Of course the case hasn’t been proven. That’s why there’s an ongoing investigation. It may or may not be proven. To say that it can’t be proven at this point is as speculative as to say it has. There’s propaganda flowing back and forth to try to control the narrative.

    • It begins with a premise. What premise came first? The premise that Russia did it. Russia did what, to what effect, to what inflicted damage to one wo-man, one vote? What narrative, what is a narrative definition construct we agree to use within the opening premise? Do we bundle all who support the premise along with their assertions and call that side The Bible and accord them all freedom to rest their case on The Book of Mueller without empirical expectations? Can’t prove a negative is what took down Santa Claus. If he would only stuck to promises and never showed his face America would still be waiting in anticipation. Like Heaven. Still waiting, but I guess I will be dead before I find out.

      • In case you missed them there are the competing narratives that the 800 lb. guy on a bed in New Jersey may have done it, that Hillary and the DNC did it or anyone anywhere might have done it. So far none of them have been proven except to those who already believe them. Maybe there will never be any answer.

    • What “ongoing investigation”? As per my above comment, one thing that is perfectly clear, provable beyond reasonable doubt is that Mueller’s and the MSM’s antics do not deserve the label of “investigation”. They are playing at investigation, not conducting one.

      Real world investigations interview and examine real world witnesses, suspects and evidence that are obviously relevant beyond any doubt, that are asking to be interviewed and examined.

      Investigations on TV and the movies and Mueller etc do not do these things. At least the Hollywood ones pretend to. Mueller and the MSM don’t even bother. Their antics are more like a paper script that never even gets produced, that lacks even actors and props and sets.

      I mean, Congress or Trump could and should call him on the carpet and ask him why he should not be dismissed or worse for refusing to investigate.

      • How do you know there’s no investigation?

        • If they actually wanted to know who gave Wikileaks some true-but-unflattering-to-some-elites information, they would have started by talking to Wikileaks. They’re proud to tell us that they’ll never talk to Wikileaks. Ergo, that isn’t an investigation.

          • Who is this they?

        • Yes, Jess. JIm: To expand: Investigations run by investigators do investigational things. That’s not what Mueller does.

          If somebody like longtime Wikileak associate, a former Ambassador & University Rector – Craig Murray – says: Hey guys – I am the one who got the leak from a DNC insider, why aren’t you “investigators” investigating me? And poor lonely Craig gets no answer – no, it ain’t no investigation.

          If an “investigation” centered on hi-jinks with a computer – doesn’t even bother to LOOK at the computer- No, it ain’t no investigation.

          They’re insulting your intelligence with the claim that it is an investigation. That’s why it works. The lie is so big and so obvious that people cannot see it.

          • They might get to poor lonely Craig yet. Just because he says something doesn’t mean it’s true. Maybe there’s a method to their ignorance that even you don’t understand.

  • If the government had actual evidence against Russia, they would present it and win their case. They have bupkis, and we should not be required to honor their baseless assertions, no matter how often their shills repeat them.

  • Right on!

    Love The Real News. A beacon of light.

  • It’s called the “Secret Lie Syndrome.” They say, “we know something about you that we think is so terrible we don’t dare reveal it to anyone because our sources are secret so it would violate security if we did.” So they can never be proven to be lying, and it doesn’t matter anyway because they are so sure they are right.

  • The 2016 election continues for Democrats.
    The entire hoax is a political attack by Democrats against Trump. Obama/Clinton stuffed the FBI with Democrat psychopaths, and American media is 96% Democrat.

    • It’s not as much to attack or de-legitimize Trump as it is to try to defuse and out-flank the stiff challenge of progressives who are questioning the party establishment’s strategy, tactics and overall policy prescriptions. How much easier than trying to explain their decisions in the party’s worst overall electoral debacle since 1928 is it for the establishment to say it wasn’t their fault at all, it was the Russians?

  • I can’t believe people are still talking about a hack when Bill Binney and VIPS have demonstrated conclusively that it was a LEAK and Craig Murray has told us how it was done.

    • The truth is irrelevant, Robyn. Don’t you understand that? All that matters is that you follow the lie along with everyone else. Then you’ll be safe.

      • I understand that fully. This Russia nonsense is just another example of the depths to which the MSM have sunk in their role as propaganda outlets for the powers-that-be. This could never have happened if we had journalists rather than presstitutes informing the masses.

    • But as our host says, where is the proof?

  • I suppose if Muellers’ investigation wasn’t tossed in with Trumps’ supposed Russian “campaign collusion”, the firing of top FBI Comey, (responsible for instigating the IC) McCabe, Sroczk, Yates….et al FISA warrants during an election, spying on opposing candidate/Rep, exoneration of HRC paid for Dirty Russian Dossier contributed to by DOJ spouse, texts which intimate apprising the WH, leaked emails from the DNC/Podsta, 33,000 deleted bleach bit files under subpoena, immunities handed out like candy and continuing to be so for anyone who supported HRC, (must I go on and on)? it would look less like Comey needed to bring in the big gun, (Mueller) to defend the rotten Obama administration/MSM Media, in order to keep the real facts or CYA agenda of the deep state as far from the surface as possible. It’s not like this is the Intel Agencies first rotten intel rodeo!

  • No, the standard of proof today is the “beyond reasonable hope” standard. You’re presumed guilty even if proven innocent. No joke.

  • The USA used to stand for “Innocent until PROVEN Guilty!! ” …
    Not so much anymore !!

  • Bingo! Right on point! Thanks for doing this, much appreciated!

  • Thank you for this argument. It remains shocking to me (although it shouldn’t really) that millions of people do not understand the meaning of the burden of proof being on the person or persons making the allegations. They turn on anyone who questions the veracity of allegations and opinions with the viciousness of mad dogs. I wonder what their motive is to create such fury in them against a requirement of evidence for their assertions. In fact, not even THEIR assertions, but the assertions of the media and government “experts” who have plenty of axes to grind. What is behind this clinging to belief in unproven assertions?

    Great work, Caitlin.

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