2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein seems very upset that the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked her for documents as part of its investigation into Russia’s meddling into the campaign. And I’m sorry, but cozying up to Tucker Carlson with suggestions that the investigation is somehow corrupt did nothing to persuade me of her innocence.
Let me start by saying that while I happily and unhesitatingly voted for Hillary Clinton, I have never knocked Stein supporters and have never blamed her for Trump’s win. But Stein is acting like a woman with something to hide more than a woman who is being unfairly accused. She is not acting like a woman who feels a deep need to get to the bottom of Russia’s activity during the 2016 campaign.
Before Stein appeared on Fox, she visited Democracy Now on December 20. My Spidey sense started tingling when I heard this:
STEIN: We are cooperating with the study—with the investigation. Our campaign takes very seriously the issue of interference in our elections. That’s why we, ourselves, launched an inquiry into potential interference in the actual vote, in the voting machines and the software, a so-called recount campaign. But it’s more than recounting. It’s essentially an effort to examine the actual technology of the vote and to answer the question, for once and for all, whether or not our votes were tampered with. And unbeknownst to the public, the voting machines and the software has never undergone a forensic examination. So when they use the term “there’s no evidence of interference,” they actually mean, in fact, there’s no physical evidence. It has never been examined, at least to the knowledge of our computer expert advisers, who have also been testifying before Congress. So, just to make the point that we take very seriously the issue of interference and, in fact, would not restrict interference to simply the question of interference by one particular foreign government. We think any interference—foreign, domestic, by governments, by gangster networks, by corporations that control voting software—none of that is acceptable. Likewise, interference with the right to vote, with the passage of voter ID laws, with corporate media that only covers certain candidates and not others, when the public is clamoring for more information—to my mind, all of that is interference, which is not good.
That's a whole lot of deflection. As House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) explains on his website, Russia meddled in our election, with the goal of helping Donald Trump’s campaign and harming Hillary Clinton’s through “hacking, leaks, and the dissemination of fake news.” By “hacking,” he apparently means the hacking of emails, not the voting machines.
So I found it concerning that Stein pointed to interference in the vote itself (which is not part of the ongoing investigation) as her only concern. At the same time, she deflected to other election issues unrelated to Russia’s interference. In other words, she looked like someone eager to change the subject.
I have no idea what, if any, role Stein may have played in Russia’s efforts. But it’s even more disturbing to me that she visited Fox News to make her case without calling out any of the network’s dishonest efforts to undermine the investigation.
During her appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, host Carlson joked in his introduction, “Are you now or have you ever been an agent of Russia. Do you speak Russian? How often do you talk to Vladimir Putin?”
Stein laughed and said, “Like, not at all.” She went into her story about being at a dinner table with Michael Flynn and, briefly, Vladimir Putin, during a conference in Russia. She noted that plenty of other countries had media representatives there, such as China and India. “This was an actual, legitimate conference,” she said. “It’s all up on the web. There’s nothing secret about it.”
She called the dinner a “non-event” and that there had been “not a word exchanged” between her and Putin. Again, this is not necessarily what the Committee may be interested in, since they have asked for documents. A New York Times report may have a clue: “A year later, RT [Russia’s state-run news organization] hosted the Green Party’s presidential debate, and showered attention on Ms. Stein’s campaign.” The Times also noted that Stein’s chumminess with Julian Assange is “drawing scrutiny.”
Neither Stein nor Carlson addressed those points. Instead, Carlson pushed to get to the delegitimization of the Russia investigation as a political witch hunt.
CARLSON: Can we get to your real crime, which was running for president as a third party candidate and in the view of a lot of people in Washington, you got Donald Trump elected. Do you see this as punishment for the crime of running for president?
STEIN: Yes, yes. I mean, in many ways. … [Democrats are] outraged that I dared, in so many words, dared to think that we get to make up our own minds, that our votes don’t belong to Hillary Clinton or to anybody else. But I gotta say, you know, it’s not just Democrats. This is a bipartisan commission that’s led by Republicans and yeah, yeah, they have it in as well because it’s very inconvenient to have an opposition political party that’s not taking orders from the same subjects.
Carlson further showed his lack of interest in facts when he asked, “Why try to pretend that you’re an agent of a foreign government? That seems like McCarthyism to me.”
FACT CHECK: Nobody on the Committee has said Stein is an agent of a foreign government. They are investigating.
And this is where I really fault Stein. There are serious national security questions about Russia’s behavior and Trump’s relationship with Russia. Why didn’t she call out Carlson’s (and Fox’s) disgraceful attempts to undermine the investigation and merely say, “I don’t know about Trump but I’m completely innocent, I never had any relationship with Russia (i.e. not just Putin) and I’m sure the committee will soon see that?”
Instead, she validated Carlson’s “McCarthyism” attack. “You’re not the only person to suggest that,” Stein said coyly. She added, “I think there are legitimate aims here in the investigation.” But rather than discuss them, she immediately deflected again.
STEIN: I think interference in our election is much bigger than the Russians and we have yet to see the proof. I would like to see the evidence of Russian culpability here. When John Kennedy was facing the Cuban missile crisis, he declassified the evidence to show the photographs of the missiles in Cuba. Aren’t we owed that as the American public? We didn’t get to really see the evidence before the run-up to the Iraq war. We are still paying that price, five and a half trillion dollars and counting! You know, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a gazillion times, shame on all of us.
Sorry, but this is hogwash. For one thing, the Russia investigation is still ongoing so the compiling of “evidence” is still ongoing, too. For another, no one is about to invade a country or start a war over the evidence. A Senate committee is asking her for documents. Third, we have seen evidence. Swalwell has a comprehensive rundown of the known facts on his website. Lastly, Stein must know that much of the material is still sensitive probably can't be made public without compromising national security.
Not surprisingly, Stein’s last comments got a big smile of approval from Carlson. “I actually do agree with you on something!” he said.
Watch the less-than-reassuring comments from Stein below, from the December 21, 2017 Tucker Carlson Tonight.
This has nothing to do with anyone being a “die-hard Democrat”. I’m confused because you are making strange allegations that don’t line up with the facts. Now you’re trying a theory that Trump became the GOP nominee because Clinton had influence over GOP voters? How the heck does anyone think that would work? If the GOP candidates had one thing in common, it was their hatred for Clinton. Same thing goes for their voters. The notion that Clinton’s opinions somehow impacted the GOP primaries is beyond science fiction. The tag about her being a “lying politician” makes very little sense. To what are you referring? Where are you going with this?
The Nixon campaign’s dirty dealings in Southeast Asia have been documented in multiple places. How far that went depends on which source you believe. But the meetings were documented and the impact was of course seen at the time. Your second bit, about “GHW Bush made a deal with Iran”, completely confuses the documented material we have about the infamous “October Surprise” situation from 1980. And that wasn’t with George HW Bush – it was with representatives of the Reagan campaign. The allegation brought up later was that Bush was aware of it, not that he instigated it. Again, how far you believe this scenario went depends on which source you believe. I do not recommend going with the conspiracy theories peddled by the Christic Institute in any case.
I need to ask – what overall point are you attempting to make here?
No problem, I will agree to disagree with you and time will tell us whatever we each are ready to learn from it.
I think it’s plausible that Clinton’s influence to swing Trump the GOP nomination had far more influence to get Trump elected than anything the Russians did. She wanted to make sure she would run against him and no one else, and she did far too good a job.
But maybe she really didn’t have the influence on the media she claimed she did. She could easily have lied about that. She was a lying politician, after all.
Republicans have often had unethical communications with foreign governments during political campaigns.
It’s widely believed that Nixon told the South Vietnamese government not to negotiate peace before the election, saying he would get them a better deal, so that he could win.
It’s widely believed that GHW Bush made a deal with Iran to keep the hostages until after the election, so that Carter would lose.
That sort of thing seems par for the course for them, and it will be good if actual evidence shows up and they can be held responsible for once. That doesn’t have much to do with the Senate media clown show, though.
First of all, there’s already been evidence presented and discussed – see the Mueller investigation and the indictments already presented. Also see the plea bargains that have already been made, which indicate that bigger fish are in the net. (You don’t make plea bargains like these just to stop – these are intended to lead to bigger indictments) It’s fairly clear that the Pence White House is nearly panicked over what Flynn must be telling the investigators – and that’s because they should be. Does this mean that everyone is going to be indicted? Probably not. But this story is not over yet. None of us knows exactly what will wind up being proven in court – but it’s out in the open that the Trump team was having what look at the least like very interesting and inappropriate communications with foreign agents during the campaign, and then again during the transition period. That’s not a normal thing we should just disregard.
I have no idea what you mean by “The Democrats and Republicans interfered in the election FAR more than the Russians ever could have. We need to investigate them.” First, there is already an investigation into the Trump campaign’s improper behavior here. Second, there is no indication that the Dems were doing the same thing, no matter how many times Fox News tries to repeat that false talking point.
As for RT’s objectives, it’s not a secret that “they want what they think is good for Russia.” Exactly. That’s why you take what they broadcast with a grain of salt. A LARGE one.
Both the Dems and the GOP have threatened Russia with war. Not sure what your point is there. You may recall the infamous Reagan joke in the 80s: “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” That was a chilling moment for both countries and it wasn’t the only one. It’s odd to see today that the Russians do seem to be favoring Trump, and that they did so during the election. Perhaps because they see Trump as separate from the GOP, perhaps because they have other reasons to favor him. That’s part of the point of the investigation.
Your comments about people looking sideways at Stein being linked to Dems “who want war with Russia” make no sense whatsoever.
I agree that Putin was enjoying trying to roil the 2016 election, and that there was plenty of bizarre material that the Russians flooded into our social media. We’ll have to see if actual collusion ever gets proven. What we do know is that the Trump team had plenty of contact with what appear to be Russian agents, and acted improperly in enough ways to keep Mueller’s team busy for at least another year. I’m not seeing anything that shows that Stein did the same thing – and we should remember that it isn’t Mueller who’s trying to throw mud at Stein. It’s the Senate GOP, and that’s a different animal. Of course they want people to look at someone else, who isn’t in the Pence White House. Of course they want to play the “whataboutism” game. I wouldn’t fall for it.
As for the last part, the Stein voters did not turn this election. Neither did the small but vocal group of Sanders supporters who refused to do what he asked. The election wasn’t decided by this group. It was decided by a much larger group of Dems who decided not to show up at all in the swing states. We can argue about why they didn’t show up – whether it was because they didn’t like Clinton, or because they didn’t like either candidate, or because they didn’t think it mattered since he couldn’t possibly win anyway, or whatever other reason we discuss. The fact is that 2-3 million Dems didn’t show up across the whole brace of swing states and by doing that, they handed the election to the Pence White House. An object lesson in why you MUST show up and vote every time.
I understand and agree with your frustration with anyone espousing the notion that it didn’t matter if Trump got elected or that Clinton “was just as bad”. The reality is that these guys are doing serious damage. I’m personally looking at paying thousands more in taxes every year for the next four years as a direct result of this disaster, so I have no patience with that nonsense either. I also agree with your frustration with someone like Stein cozying up to a vicious bully like Carlson just because it’s convenient for her. There’s no reason to give Carlson that talking point.
Assuming that they want what they think is good for Russia, it makes sense that they would want the USA to be divided, to have multiple points of view that don’t always agree. The more divided we are, the less threat we are to them. The Green Party offers alternatives, so they want to provide publicity to those alternatives.
Also, they might figure that it’s better for the USA to follow good policies instead of crazy policies, and that’s another solid reason for them to publicize the Greens.
Since the Democratic Party has threatened Russia with war, it makes perfect sense for the Russians to support anybody but them.
Stein proposes that we look for ways to get along with Russia. That may not be possible because they might try too hard to take advantage. But isn’t it worth a try?
If you are a Democrat who wants war with Russia, you will think that Stein is a Russian agent.
But who in their right mind would agree with the Democrats about this?
I wasn’t aware of Stein being painted as a “traitor”, but even she has embraced the notion of being a spoiler. That was the entire point of her run, just as it was the entire point of Ralph Nader’s runs. I say this as someone who voted for Nader in 2000 and 2004. The point before was to show the Dems that if they ignored their friends like this, their friends would go away just like their teeth. The difference between then and 2016 is that Hillary Clinton did not ignore Bernie Sanders. She debated him multiple times, she engaged with him, and when the primaries were finished, she spotlit him at the convention and took on multiple issues he had wanted included in her campaign. That’s a major difference from 2000, when the Dems shut out Nader and slammed the door. The problem this time was that a small but vocal group of Sanders voters refused to accept Clinton’s statements, asserting that they would never accept her.
RT is not a “small independent news” organization. It is an open advocate for Russia, and it is properly known as such. Calling it out for what it does is not McCarthyism. And I again note that it’s a good thing that RT gave the Green Party Debate a platform – I just also note that anything you see on an openly propagandistic channel like RT should be taken with a large grain of salt. Ask yourself why they’re presenting it. The same thing applies to other propaganda outlets – like Fox News.
And it’s strange to see a discussion about how Stein is being unfairly treated or accused of “disloyalty” when the whole point of the Green Party’s campaigns is to challenge the Establishment and the major parties, particularly the Dems.
The Democrats and Republicans interfered in the election FAR more than the Russians ever could have.
We need to investigate them.
As a private investor there are scads of environmentally friendly mutual fund options, and what companies any fund invests in is readily available information that takes 5 seconds, literally, to Google. You chose the environmentally unfriendly fund based on ROI despite a significant portion of that fund’s portfolio being in Exxon stock. Environment be damned so long as you hit your target return. You. are. a. fraud. A completely exposed phony. A poser.
Also love that infamous Putin pic with Flynn at that RT event in Russia. Putin played the far-left and the far-right loons via propaganda using social media to interfere in our democratic process and get this idiot, Trump, elected. Stein was either a willing participant involved in the collusion in which case she should be behind bars along with Trump — or just another quintessential useful idiot, as were the “Bernie or bust” morons who jumped ship and irrationally wasted their vote, voted for Stein — someone polling at 1% (my cat had equal chance of getting elected), paving the way for a Trump presidency with a republican-controlled House and Senate.
And I totally blame the Bernie ship-jumpers who voted for Stein. I fault them for their painful stupidity, ignorance, irrationality, and being useful idiots. Either Trump or HRC was going to be president. Period. Not some 3rd-party loser like Stein polling at 1%. HRC? Not the greatest candidate by a long shot. However, she was a dem with veto power with an R-controlled congress and several SCOTUS justices set to retire and Scalia’s seat outstanding. The ONLY rational thing to do with your vote given the context of the last election, handing the presidency over to a lunatic like Trump with an R-controlled congress and up to four SCOTUS and federal judge appointments across the nation, was to hold your “effen” nose and vote for HRC. At the very least she could veto the noxious legislation coming from congress. Also, we will have a right-wing Supreme Court and conservative federal judges all across the nation for a generation.
And in that context, you voted for Jill Stein? Seriously?!?! Someone with NO chance to win an election? You are a flaming idiot. An absolute moron whose stupidity is staggering. Sorry. You just are. And because of you, and the nuts on the far-right, this country is in the dire straights it’s in now.
Don’t complain about anything Trump does if you were so stupid as to vote for this fake Green Party moron, Stein. Hush. Not a word. That this sickening poser who calls herself (embarrassingly) a “real progressive”, would get in bed with Tucker Carlson? Blow me over with a feather. Maybe she, Putin, and Carlson can have a threesome.
If Jill had to limit herself to whatever media the Democrats believed was “good judgement”, she’d never get a chance to get any media coverage except perhaps from Democracy Now!; CNN and MSNBC rarely ever let her on except when they can try to paint her as a “spoiler” or a “traitor”, and small independent news media have also been smeared as “Russian propaganda” by organizations such as Prop or Not.
Admit it; she’s not being treated fairly. Call it what you will, but to me this does in fact have elements of McCarthyism. One doesn’t have to be formally charged in such an environment to see damage done to one’s reputation, just the mere hint of “disloyalty” against the ruling Establishment (both ruling parties) turns people against her.
I honestly think Stein isn’t trying to hide anything. She’s just indulging her long hatred for the Clintons and for the Democrats in general. Like Assange, she took a great satisfaction in watching Hillary lose.
At the same time, it’s also true that she’s tried to tweak the GOP – such as with her attempted recount a few months ago. But for this story, she’s happy to cozy up to the Right Wing so they can both attack the Dems as a group effort.
A presidential candidate who seems to be reluctant in cooperating with the Russia investigation(s) and then actively attacking it looks like someone trying to hide something. It may be something that is just bad PR or maybe nothing. And then to play nice with Fox News, which is definitely looking like it is helping Donald Trump hide something, looks even worse.
Her explanation for attending the conference is plausible and sounds legit. I’d feel better if she came clean about the rest of it instead of obfuscating.
The fact is that Russia was up to no good in our election. Her dodging and deflecting and attacking the Russia investigation while avoiding being forthcoming except with regard to the conference – and then cozying up to Fox News, which has its own, obviously pro-Trump agenda – only raises further suspicions rather than point to the kind of plausible scenario you presented.
I’m not quite seeing the same thing with Jill Stein here. Based on what I’ve seen from her approach, and from the coverage given her (and the Russian story) by Democracy Now and Pacifica Radio over the past two years, she’s pursuing a counter narrative of last year’s election, and she’s happy to have Fox News help her push it. What she’s doing here is smarmy, but she sees it as “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Meaning she’s happy to cozy up to Fox News and someone like Tucker Carlson if she can get support to slam a group she really hates – the Democrats.
If you look at the Democracy Now coverage, you see a point of view of the campaign that plays things out very differently than was done on CNN. That narrative is one where Hillary Clinton and the Democrats ran a crooked campaign against Bernie Sanders to steal his rightful nomination from him and the real majority of their party, so that Hillary could have her presidential nomination. The narrative continues that Clinton was so horrible of a candidate and a person that many Dems could not bear to vote for her, although they would have happily voted for Sanders, and that Clinton’s loss to the Trump campaign was entirely her fault. Under this narrative, had the Dems just let Sanders have the nomination they owed him, he would have won in a landslide and everything would be all better now. To them, the carnage being inflicted by the Pence White House is really just the result of Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s selfishness and corruption – and to them, she would have been just as bad of a president as the mess we currently have. (I don’t subscribe to this thinking myself, as it’s all based on extremely wishful and naïve assumptions – and the actual results we are seeing today show the fallacy of those assumptions.)
So when this group hears the Dems constantly harping on Russian influence in the election, their response is to say “That’s not why you lost.” They’re happy to point out the corruption of the Pence White House, and to note the scary implications of the Right Wing’s moves to undermine the Special Counsel. But their thinking is that there’s nothing to this investigation when it comes to the actual result of the election. Again, that’s based on their narrative that the Dems were simply undone by their own corruption – something they’d like the Dems to address by having the DNC roll over for Sanders’ supporters, etc. Jill Stein is simply another purveyor of this opinion.
As for the RT support for the Stein campaign, I don’t see anything really sinister there – RT regularly supports leftist causes and people. I’d agree anyone should be cautious about just accepting whatever they say on face value, but there was a value in having the Green Party debate get coverage – which it also did from Democracy Now. (I note that Democracy Now has regularly done its own versions of the big debates where you have the other candidates included – so you show part of the debate from last night’s Clinton/Trump event, and then you pause the tape and allow Stein and the others to chime in, etc.) Not saying that the Russians wouldn’t love to have some kind of influence – just that RT isn’t exactly subtle about its propaganda. Should we be skeptical of stuff airing on RT? Absolutely. Does that mean everything they air is automatically horrible? Not necessarily – having someone, anyone air the Green debate is a good thing, regardless of who wanted to air it.
(Given Assange’s anarchism and his hatred of the Clintons and the Dems, I believe he took great satisfaction from watching Hillary Clinton lose last year – even if the result was going to be that Mike Pence would become the acting president here. From Assange’s point of view, that just corroborated his take on America as a deeply corrupt and ridiculous operation. While those of us in the USA have been struggling with the Pence White House’s vindictiveness and bullying of the country, Assange has been sitting back and laughing at the spectacle. To him, this is all good fun.
I agree that it’s frustrating to see an interview like this. It’s frustrating to see someone like Jill Stein play games like this. It was equally frustrating when Ralph Nader’s campaign happily accepted Far Right funding for his races against Dems in the early 2000s, knowing that those groups were intending to use him to undermine their opponents. To Stein, she’s getting media attention for herself and the Greens, and she’s going to maximize that for the 2020 campaign. To me, it’s shameless and frankly offensive to watch Stein do this smug “tut-tut” at the Dems trying to shed light on what was obviously a corrupt campaign for Trump. But I don’t know that Stein’s actions here are a sign of guilt of anything – if anything, they are a sign that she just wants more attention for herself and is happy to have yet another opportunity to attack Democrats.