Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Schiff: "Why all the deception? If this is aboveboard, why would they need to hide it?" (Transcript)

Rachel Maddow interview w/Adam Schiff last night

With these outstanding quotes:
We can see very direct evidence of deception [in Trump org], which raises profound questions about why are they hiding, and what they're hiding.
Not only does Donald Trump have a hard time criticizing Russia, so does Julian Assange.  And why is that? 
At outset [the hacking] may have been merely a foreign intelligence operation. But when the Russians decided to weaponize the data, it became more important to hide their tracks.
Here is transcript of the interview with Adam Schiff from Rachel Maddow Show in MSNBMarch 20, 2017
(Open with Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, opening statement, which is available in many places, but I include this quote)

Adam Schiff:  We do not yet know whether the Russians had the help of U.S. citizens including people associated with the Trump campaign.  Many of the Trump campaign personnel, including the President himself, have ties to Russia and Russian interests.  This is of course no crime. On the other hand if the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it aided and abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of democracy in history. 

(Maddow’s interview with Schiff about the March 20 hearing begins in this video at 01:20 in)

RM: What I observed today in terms of new things that were disclosed, the headline is FBI confirmed investigation into Russia Trump campaign connection- are there things in the hearing today that were publicly disclosed for the first time?

AS:  I'm not sure that I can point to any others, but I would say this with respect to Director Comey’s discussion of the Russians’ “loudly” making their presence known.  I'm not sure that I would draw that same conclusion [Russians wanted their hacking to be publicized]. Part of this is a question of what the Russians intended at the outset.  It may very well be that when the Russians first penetrated the Democratic party computers, it was merely a foreign intelligence operation and they didn't feel the necessity of very cleverly hiding their tracks, because it's something the Russians have always done, in terms of foreign intelligence gathering.
But when they decided to move to the weaponization of that data, then it became more important for them to hide their tracks.  Then they needed more plausible deniability, in terms of the platforms they would use to publish the material. 
So I'm not sure it's as simple as, well the Russians were really intending to send us a signal here, that's possible.  I think it may be more likely frankly that the Russians are clumsy or what started out as an intelligence gathering operation, later turned into something different.

RM:  On the point of Russians releasing information, Guccifer, D.C. Leaks, versus using an intermediary later like WikiLeaks, what's your understanding of the importance there?

AS:  Well I can't go too much beyond what the Director said today but it's clear that in some cases they have a more direct relationship.  Or that persona like Guccifer 2 is a reflection of the Russian GRU, there's not much distance if any between the personnel that are collectively the identity of Guccifer 2 and Russian intelligence itself.
In other cases where they wanted more deniability, more distance, they used a platform like WikiLeaks.  Now whether they directly engaged Julian Assange or indirectly, one thing is pretty clear, not only does Donald Trump have a hard time criticizing Russia, so does Julian Assange.  And why is that?  Is there some relationship there? I don't know the answer, but I do think it's worth our finding out.

RM: Congressman, on NBC Yesterday, you said that you see an accumulation of what you described as circumstantial evidence that there was collusion between this Russian operation and associates of Donald Trump during the campaign.  Can you just expand on that, what you meant by circumstantial evidence and the limits and also the extent of it?

AS:  Well when you use that term, a lot of people think that circumstantial evidence isn’t very telling, it isn’t very powerful.  But it all depends on what kind of circumstantial evidence.  [gives example: snow in the morning]
So circumstantial evidence can be very-very powerful and indicative that something has happened.  And here I think we can say certainly that the Director made clear today that he had a basis in specific or credible information or evidence to initiate an investigation of the Trump campaign.  That's not something that you do lightly or at the drop of a hat or on a whim or third party hearsay.
No, as the Director made clear, you not only need to have a certain quantum of evidence, but it has to be a high enough priority to supersede other investigations that you can't do at the same time because of lack of resources, so this is obviously a big deal.
I think we also can see some very direct evidence of deception, which raises profound questions about why are they hiding and what they're hiding.
Why did Michael Flynn lie about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador, why wasn’t Jeff Sessions more forthcoming, to put it charitably, with the Senate about his meetings with the Russian ambassador.
What about Paul Manafort?  Why did he lie about the Trump campaign role in the Ukraine amendment at the Republican party convention.
Why all the deception?
If this is aboveboard, why would they need to hide it?
And I think certainly those are important questions to answer
(Watch the video at MSNBC at this link: )

Title of Maddow Video Clip is 
Hearing Probes Trump Russia 2016 Coordination
and it is not up on YouTube yet, but if you search with that title later, you will likely find it. 

When I hear someone say something striking, I get it down and post it here at the City of Angels Winging It / Malcolm Nance Transcript Project, documenting the coup taking place in U.S. today

Posted by Kay Ebeling, pro transcriber since 1998
Because I want to get down what they are saying for myself anyway,

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