Lies, lies, and more lies. A brief history of denial.
This week has seen a lot of denial. A lot of things most certainly, definitely, didn’t happen… honest.
After British Prime Minister, Theresa May, hit out at Russia, publically accusing the country of meddling in Europe’s politics and elections, and “planting fake stories” to “sow discord in the West,” a slew of Russian politicians stepped up to deny everything.
“May has done more damage to herself than to us, making a fool of herself in the eyes of the world community and once again raising Russia’s profile.”
“Russia, like the UK, is by no means striving to bring back the Cold War. We are ready to develop a mutual dialogue and partnership relations.”
Of course, May herself rather implausibly stopped short of suggesting Russia had in any way impacted either the Brexit referendum or the last general election as that would undermine her own position, and everything she’s doing.
Such denials by Russia in the face of mountains of evidence collected by governments around the world sound almost embarrassing, like a kid covered in chocolate, next to an empty chocolate box, denying he ate any of the chocolates.
Remember this is the same Russia that denied sending soldiers into Crimea, only later to boast about having done that very thing. And it is the Russia which denies any involvement in shooting down the passenger plane, MH17, despite vast amounts of evidence gathered together by the Dutch investigators that point clearly to that conclusion.
But this is the same week that Jeff Sessions, playing the role of America’s Attorney General, continued to deny any links with the Russian State during Trump’s campaign. This despite having originally said he met no Russians, then remembering he twice spoke with the Russian Ambassador, who let’s face it, is pretty Russian (the clue is in his job title).
He then denied having ‘met’ any Russians, which is different to talking to them on the phone, and denied any links between Trump’s team and the Russians, until George Papadopoulos admitted his interactions with… erm, the Russians. He then denied knowing about this, until he was reminded he had chaired a meeting at which Papadopoulos had suggested arranging a meeting between Trump and Putin. WAPO listed all the times Trump’s campaign had contacts with Russia here, but this is mainly denied.
Carter Page denied having had any contacts with Russian officials, apart from a Deputy Prime Minister, Arkadiy Dvorkovich, whom he said he only exchanged greetings with on a trip to Russia. This despite Trump staffers writing a memo about the meeting, claiming that “In a private conversation, Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems.” And Page himself writing back to the Trump team, “on a related front, I’ll send you guys a readout soon regarding some incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential administration here.”
Page still denies meeting any Russian officials, leaving himself guilty either of lying in his memos of the time, or in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee now.
Meanwhile, Putin himself denied ever meddling with the American elections, despite this now being a proven and documented fact. Trump, who like May cannot really accept that his election win may have been rigged by a foreign State, echoed Putin’s denials, and instead attacked his own Intelligence community, before denying that and coming back in line.
In amongst all these denials and, well, lies, what is becoming clear is that whilst Trump and his campaign may have been just too stupid, disorganised, and ignorant to have colluded with Russia in any coherent manner, Russia was throwing everything it had at them, looking for weaknesses. The Russian State apparatus is far from stupid, and is very coordinated. Each and every approach to Trump and his team was a test to see who might give, and how far they would go.
The revelation this week also of the rather pathetic email dialogue between Wikileaks and Trump Jr, documents just one thread in that plot. Wikileaks wrote repeatedly to Trump the Younger asking him to promote its leaks of DMC emails, which were stolen by the Russian intelligence service. Whilst Jr responded to Wikileaks with about as much enthusiasm as a supermodel fending off the advances of an embarrassing drunk in a bar, both he and his father do appear to have diligently Tweeted about Wikileaks as requested, as seen when comparing the timestamps of the messages and their respective Tweets. Of course, everyone denies all of this.
What a good week for things that didn’t happen after all.
What a bad week for the truth.