US says intelligence shows Russia stirring unrest in Moldova

“U.S. intelligence officials have determined that people with ties to Russian intelligence are planning to stage protests in hopes of toppling the Moldovan government, according to the White House.”

Tucker Carlson’s January 6 lies throw Republicans into disarray

““Very little about Jan. 6 was organized or violent. Surveillance video from inside the Capitol shows mostly peaceful chaos,” Carlson said, falsely, playing clips of Capitol police security footage that he argued depicted a calm scene. In reality, the insurrection was a violent breach that led to five deaths and the assaults of about 140 police officers. Carlson’s points echo arguments made by Trump voters and members of the Republican base, who’ve increasingly incorrectly suggested that the riot was more of a legitimate protest than a deadly incursion.
Since Carlson’s segment aired, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger issued an internal memo denouncing it and noting that the Fox News host “cherry-picked” footage that portrayed the attack in a “misleading” way.”

““It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here in the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said at a weekly news conference”

““I think it’s a very dangerous thing to do to suggest that attacking the Capitol of the United States is in any way acceptable and is anything other than a serious crime against democracy and against our country,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who was shown during congressional January 6 hearings as having narrowly avoided an encounter with an angry mob. “To somehow put [Jan. 6] in the same category as a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie,” added Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).”

The rise of the Trump-Russia revisionists

“Does the media’s Trump-Russia coverage hold up? It depends on what coverage you’re talking about. The “Trump as Manchurian candidate” theories, the frenzied hunt to unearth any suspicious-sounding “contacts” with any Russians, and anything based on the Steele dossier — the explosive document that purported to have the goods on Trump but very much didn’t — have not aged well.
But the coverage and scandal were about more than that. Though it’s inconvenient for the revisionists’ narrative, the Russian government really did intervene in the 2016 election by hacking leading Democrats’ emails and having them leaked. Much of the coverage of the scandal now derided as “Russiagate” was about the investigation into whether anyone associated with Trump was involved in that Russian effort, treating this as an open question to which we simply didn’t yet know the answer.

Much of what the critics are arguing here is less about the facts of the scandal and more about the larger narrative around it. Should the media have treated Trump-Russia as the biggest political story in the country? Did the overall amount and tone of the coverage leave a false impression of his guilt? How does it compare to scandal coverage of other politicians, like Hillary Clinton?

And was the media and liberal establishment too suspicious of Trump in treating him like an unprecedented threat to the nation or have his subsequent actions proven they were right all along? The revisionists, in arguing that Trump got a raw deal, want to focus more attention on the overreaching of his liberal and establishment critics, but their one-sided account distorts the full picture of what happened, and reveals their own blind spots about the former president as he runs for office again.”

“A fuller recap of what the scandal was all about would go something like this: What became the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia was opened in the summer of 2016 for reasons having nothing to do with Steele, Fusion, or Alfa Bank.

That year, leading Democrats had seen their emails and documents stolen in hacks, later to surface on mysterious websites or to be published by WikiLeaks. Initial assessments blamed the Russian government for the hack (and Mueller’s team later confirmed those assessments, fleshing them out with much more detail).

Trump viewed these leaks as highly beneficial to him, touting them constantly on the campaign trail, and even publicly calling on “Russia, if you’re listening” to find more Clinton emails. (He then claimed this was a joke, but in private, he urged his campaign advisers to try and get ahold of more Clinton emails.)

While this was unfolding, the FBI received a tip that a little-known Trump foreign policy aide, George Papadopoulos, had been saying he knew Russia had damaging emails related to Clinton before any hack news was public. So the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation originally focused on a discrete question: Had the Russian government conveyed information about their plans to interfere in the 2016 election to someone on Trump’s team?

This was, I would argue, an entirely reasonable question. And with hindsight, due to this investigation and reporting, we know that many shenanigans were indeed afoot.

Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone was trying to get hacked Democratic emails from WikiLeaks in advance, while apparently informing Trump about his efforts.
Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was sharing the campaign’s polling data and strategy with an associate the FBI claims is tied to Russian intelligence.
Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had reached out to the Russian government to try to get a Trump Tower Moscow project going, though it didn’t end up happening.
Donald Trump Jr. even welcomed an emailed offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton that was said to be “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” setting up a meeting with Manafort and Jared Kushner to discuss it. (They didn’t find the information useful.)
Additionally, Trump later tried to get a different foreign government to help him win the 2020 election, in his effort to strong-arm Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelenskyy into investigating the Biden family — so it’s not like he’s ethically opposed to colluding with a foreign government to help him win the presidency.”

“the revisionists too rarely acknowledge that many other media outlets, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, were more cautious about Steele’s claims, and about theories of Trump being Putin’s puppet. Much of their coverage of the Trump-Russia investigation and the topic generally was newsworthy and stuck to the facts, making clear that it wasn’t known whether Trump conspired with the Kremlin.”

“recall that Trump fired the FBI director and then quickly contradicted his own aides’ explanation for why he did so, saying it was because of “the Russia thing.” Should the assumption have been that Trump had nothing to hide? (Gerth puts great weight on Trump also saying that he thought the firing actually might prolong the Russia investigation, ignoring the false explanation Trump’s team initially offered for Comey’s firing and sounding rather too credulous about whether Trump truly would have let such an investigation proceed.)”

“How should the media cover these unfolding investigations when information about them is incomplete and imperfect and the full story really isn’t initially clear? How much coverage is too much and how much is not enough? Can the press really know in advance which investigation is a nothingburger and which isn’t? These are tough questions with no easy answers.”

“To be clear, there was too much hysterical and flawed reporting in Trump-Russia coverage, and that shouldn’t be defended. But a great deal of thoughtful, rigorous, and newsworthy work took place on that beat too. Journalists did not in the end find that Trump cut a deal with the Kremlin in 2016, but they unearthed a great deal about Trump and his allies in the process.

Dismissing the whole thing as a hoax or debacle — as the revisionists are doing — is too pat a dismissal. It was a complicated, messy endeavor”

‘There would’ve been gunfire’: Officer testifies at Proud Boys trial

“The quick thinking of Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman may have prevented a shootout at the doors of the Senate chamber on Jan. 6, 2021, a top Capitol Police official said Friday.
Inspector Thomas Loyd, testifying in the trial of five members of the Proud Boys leadership charged with seditious conspiracy, recalled the outnumbered Goodman’s effort to lure the first wave of rioters inside the Capitol to a position away from the doors of the Senate and toward a waiting line of Capitol Police officers.

In a famous video of the incident, Goodman lures the group of rioters — which included one of the Proud Boys defendants, Dominic Pezzola — up a staircase and away from the unguarded Senate doors. For a moment, one of the rioters, Douglas Jensen, considered veering away from Goodman and toward those doors. But he ultimately followed Goodman and ran into the line of police reinforcements.

“If those doors had been breached,” Loyd told jurors, “most likely there would’ve been gunfire at that point.””

The far-right threat to liberal democracy in Europe, explained

“In fact, far-right parties have been slowly but steadily increasing their electoral support and political power in Europe since the early 1980s. Over that time, they have moved from the political margins into the political mainstream. As a consequence, far-right parties currently constitute the biggest threat to liberal democracy in Europe.
Five European countries in particular (but not exclusively) deserve attention on this front. Going from the most to the least acute level of threat, the world should keep an eye on Hungary, Poland, Italy, Sweden, and France. In all these countries, far-right parties are electorally successful and politically powerful, though their ability to weaken liberal democracy varies.”

“It was only in the third wave, 1980-2000, that far-right parties started to break into national parliaments in various European countries, such as the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the misleadingly named Center Party (CP) in the Netherlands. These populist radical right parties shared a core ideology of nativism, authoritarianism, and populism. Although not strictly single-issue parties, they mostly profited from a growing political dissatisfaction that centered in particular on immigration.

That paved the way for the fourth wave at the beginning of the century, in which far-right parties moved from the political margins into the political mainstream and increased their electoral support, from an average of just 1 percent of the vote in EU member states in the 1980s to close to 10 percent in the 2010s.”

“Most of the relevant parties in this fourth wave are part of the same populist radical right subgroup, focusing primarily on issues like crime, corruption, and immigration. Unlike the extreme right, which consists of a broad variety of small, neo-fascist parties — parties that, in terms of ideology and symbols, hark back to the fascist movements of the early 20th century — the radical right supports democracy per se. That is, they support popular sovereignty and majority rule, while opposing key institutions and values of liberal democracy, such as an independent judiciary and media, minority rights, pluralism, and the separation of powers.”

“the main impact is indirect, through the co-optation of the far-right agenda or the collaboration with far-right parties — by, mostly but not exclusively, mainstream right-wing parties — as is happening in France and Sweden, for example. What makes this process particularly problematic is that it is often not perceived as far-right or threatening; within the political establishment, many might deny or minimize cries of authoritarianism or nativism among insiders.”