‘Putin Has Won’ Russia Declared in 2016, and They Plan To Do It Again w/Sean Hannity’s Help

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Sean Hannity...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

“No collusion, no obstruction” is the happy mantra that Russian state television is broadcasting on its airwaves in the wake of the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report Thursday, and who have they chosen to be the primary spokesperson for these glad tidings? None other than Sean Hannity. They’re binge-broadcasting clips of Hannity tearing down the Mueller probe, and there’s no lack of that material. Daily Beast:

The Russian government-owned Rossiya 1 news channel recently broadcasted excerpts from Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity’s on-air monologue, which hammered “media hysteria” over the report and allegations of campaign “collusion” with the Russian government.

In its own editorializing, Rossiya 1 described the report as “bestseller about the absence of collusion between Trump and Russia,” and blamed the political press and U.S. intelligence agencies for “hounding Trump” over the allegations, according to a translation by journalist and Daily Beast contributor Julia Davis.

Well, that’s something you don’t see every day. An American broadcaster (Hannity is by no means, and by his own admission, no “journalist” but he is technically a broadcaster) who sides with a hostile foreign power against his own country. Edward R. Murrow is undoubtedly gyrating in his grave.
Now bear in mind, the Mueller report extensively documents Russia’s efforts to hack emails and the introduction of Russian bots on social media, for the purpose of disinformation campaigns. But that’s not what is being reported in Russia. Rossiya 1 characterized the Mueller investigation as “an attempt to threaten the current government and influence U.S. foreign policy without offering any specific evidence.” in other words, it’s a witch hunt, like Trump and Hannity have been saying all along, and now the Russians are on the bandwagon.
Make no mistake, the Russians are gleeful about the Barr-spun redacted version of the Mueller report, which Hannity is using to declare not only a victory for Trump — but by extension, a victory for Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Soloviev, host of Russian state-TV shows Moscow. Kremlin. Putin and The Evening, proudly surmised that Americans can’t solve any problems without Moscow, and are “wavering” and ready to talk. The host and experts jointly concluded that Trump’s hands seem to be untied, because the Mueller investigation’s ending has opened a new era of diplomatic relations between the White House and the Kremlin.
Diplomatic relations, my foot. The Russians see the Mueller report, and Barr’s handling of same, as a major victory in their long game, which is to take over the United States, by taking over it’s political system. This is not new information, this is vintage Russian protocol.

This line of thinking wasn’t limited to communications taking place behind the scenes. In recent years, Russian state media has made a habit out of boasting about the Kremlin’s successful influence operation, brazenly asserting “Trump is ours,” mocking the American intelligence community for sleeping “while Russia elected a new U.S. president,” and joking that U.S. lawmakers traveled to Russia “to make deals with our hackers so they can rig the midterms in favor of Trump’s team.” In line with Trump’s “locker-room talk” explanations, the Kremlin’s mouthpieces have consistently claimed these statements are meant only as jokes or sarcasm. In reality, they represent a thinly veiled pride at the reach and success of Russia’s ongoing info-ops against the U.S. Experts say a coordinated online disinformation campaign targeting 2020 elections is already underway, using techniques developed and refined by the Kremlin during the U.S. presidential elections in 2016.

Evgeny Popov, the host of 60 Minutes, the most popular state TV program in Russia as of 2018, is defiant about the findings in the Mueller report. Popov tells me: “Soon, we will help you elect Trump once again. Just like the last time. Get ready!”

This is what we’re up against in 2020. We not only have all the usual rough and tumble of a crowded Democratic primary field to contend with, we also have Fox News in our midst, and a complicit GOP who has demonstrated no problem whatsoever in selling out the country to the highest bidder — which is Russia. This deck is very badly stacked and this is an issue that we need to get a handle on now. It’s always been true that “Vigilance is the price of liberty,” but in this presidential election, vigilance is only the first step. We have to dig deeper and be more pro-active, and more protective of our liberties, than ever before.

You know the joke about paranoia, “it’s not paranoia if they are out to get you.” That’s the case here. Russia is making no bones whatsoever about it’s intentions to reelect Donald Trump, “just like the last time.”

No ambiguity here. It was declared on November 9, 2016, “Putin has won,” and that is exactly what the Russians intend to declare once again. Voter beware.

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