Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton, spoke with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Wednesday evening about the most recent unsubstantiated report about President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Cohen, who is also a contributing editor for The Nation , has been (fairly or unfairly) referred to as “a slavish defender of Putinism” and “Vladimir Putin’s best friend in the American media.” But he has an incisive, sharp intellect and a highly informed point of view on Russia that deserves a hearing.
Carlson asked Cohen what he thought of the salacious dossier published by BuzzFeed Tuesday.
“You’re talking about the stuff released yesterday about the sexual and financial blackmail?” Cohen asked.
“That’s right,” answered Tucker. “That he’s basically a pawn, in effect, in Russia — they’re blackmailing him to do their bidding.”
“This is, if not the endgame, if not the last chapter, an attempt to destroy Trump’s presidency before he gets to the White House,” said the professor.
“As for that document — published in BuzzFeed or whatever — I’ve seen stuff like that before in Moscow. It’s junk.”
He continued, “You send me to Moscow and I could get you a better dossier and it wouldn’t even have the factual errors in it. It’s scuttlebutt, it’s rumor. It’s generated by so-called private intelligence agents who are out there to make a buck. They’ll sell it to anybody.”
Cohen asked, “What is it doing in our political discourse? What are the motives? Why did CNN put it on the air? Why is the FBI and the CIA even touching this stuff?”
“Something’s going on,” he continued ominously. “I’ve been doing this — studying Russia as a professor and even was on the inside for 40 years — I’ve never seen anything like this. People in the mainstream media — authoritative media, places like The New York Times — are calling Trump a puppet of the Kremlin! They’re wounding him mortally as a national security president before he even gets in the White House.”
Cohen pointed out that the Russia rumors originated with the Clinton campaign.
“It didn’t begin with this, it began with the Clinton campaign when they decided to run against Trump and Putin instead of Trump and Pence,” he explained. “It got picked up with this so-called three intelligence agency report, published last week that was absolutely empty. Even The New York Times — which is very anti-Trump and anti-Russian — referred to that intelligence report as lacking any evidence whatsoever. Now we get what is essentially tabloid stuff. I can only assume — it’s an assumption — that people in this country are desperate to ruin Trump for various reasons and one way is to stop any detente or cooperation with Russia.”
Professor Cohen concluded, “Without a full debate about that possibility and the policies involved, these accusations against Trump have become a grave American national security threat.”
Left-of-center journalist Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept calls the faction that is out to destroy Trump “the deep state,” which is defined as “the permanent government embedded within the bureaucracy and military that wields power no matter who is nominally the president.”
Greenwald says the American Deep State has gone to war with Trump:
This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.”
Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be.
The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest…
But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Fox Wednesday night that he hopes Dan Coats, Trump’s nominee for the director of National Intelligence, will “bring in a couple of outsiders and really dig through how politicized, how intellectually corrupt, how dishonest the senior levels of the intelligence community have become.” He called the two-page memo Trump reportedly received on the allegations “pure garbage.”
The Kremlin, meanwhile, is insisting that the dossier is a complete fabrication and also denied it had information on Hillary Clinton.
Via the UK Sun:
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, spoke to reporters on a conference call and called the dossier a ‘fake’ and ‘fiction’ which had been dreamt up to further damage US-Russia relations.
He stated unequivocally: “The Kremlin does not have compromising information on Trump.”