PARANOID MSNBC, CNN Push Theory That Iran Election Threat Is Trump Spin

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PARANOID MSNBC, CNN Push Theory That Iran Election Threat Is Trump Spin


For MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Jeremy Bash everything is about Russian election interference, even Iranian election interference. 

During her Thursday show, Mitchell wasn’t buying DNI John Ratcliffe’s explanation that Iran was trying to hurt President Trump and cited Senator Chuck Schumer as proof, “Senator Schumer, Jeremy, went on with Rachel Maddow and said he was taking this seriously, that there is something here, but did not take at all from the briefing what the DNI said, that this was done to hurt Donald Trump’s election. That’s not the way he read what the briefers, what the briefers were telling them.”

 

 

 

 

Despite the fact that the press conference was about an actual Iranian action and not a hypothetical Russian one, Mitchell still accused Ratcliffe of downplaying the Russian threat, “It also seemed as though the DNI was deliberately downplaying the Russian angle and really focusing on Iran, who is obviously, you know, a major target for the president. Did you read it the same way?” 

Bash, being the former Obama official that he is, agreed, “I think it’s clear, as Senator Schumer pointed out, that all foreign adversaries fundamentally want to sow chaos because a presidential election is the crown jewel of American democracy. So if they can disrupt that, obviously that denigrates the standing of the United States and our ability to export our values and our democracy.”

Bash is new to the chaos theory, for he has previously labeled Trump a Russian “investment.” He also cast doubt on Ratcliffe’s assessment, “Basically he said this was done to damage Trump. I mean, I didn’t read it necessarily that way. The emails actually went to Democrats and threatened them and said don’t show up at the polls. I would think that would be more damaging to Joe Biden.”

The day before the press conference, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tweeted the Proud Boys story in an attempt to damage Trump.

Beyond that he also tried to say that anti-Trump Iranian interference was no big deal, “I do think this is a serious issue but let’s not overstate it … I’m much more concerned about more capable actors like Russia because they have shown that they have a preferred candidate in this race and they will hack and dump and engage in propaganda on a scale that Iranians frankly can’t do as well.” 

Bash had said earlier on Thursday on Today, but there he also told Savannah Guthrie:

But the other thing they can do is a hack and dump operation. And this week, 50 former intelligence officials, many of whom I worked with, including Republicans, including career officials, wrote a letter saying that they believe that this effort to provide dirt on Hunter Biden to The New York Post by Rudy Giuliani appears to be and has all the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Of course, the FBI does not believe that, but even more outrageous from a ethical standpoint is that Bash cited this letter without disclosing he was a signatory. 

Andrea Mitchell Reports was sponsored by Verizon and Today was sponsored by Chevrolet.

Here are the transcripts for the October 22 shows:

Today
10/22/20
7:03 AM

(…)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: First and foremost, the announcement from the nation’s top intelligence officials from the Trump administration that both Russia and Iran are attempting to compromise the election by obtaining voter registration data, and they say Iran has used that information already to intimidate U.S. voters, including with a fake email going out to voters.

(…)

7:04 AM

PETE WILLIAMS: The U.S. intelligence community says that both Iran and Russia obtained some information about registered voters, but that, so far, only Iran has actually done anything with the data. It’s now blamed for sending threatening emails that claim to be coming from a far-right group here at home.

(…)

7:06 AM

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let’s bring in NBC national security analyst Jeremy Bash, who served as chief of staff at both the Pentagon and the CIA. Jeremy, good morning.

JEREMY BASH: Good morning, Savannah.

GUTHRIE: What strikes you about Iran’s actions here? How concerning is this?

BASH: Well, Iran is not a very sophisticated cyber actor, Savannah, but the broader concern is that more sophisticated actors, like Russia, if they get their hands on voter information, and as Pete noted, the information is fairly widely available, a more sophisticated actor could bombard voters with disinformation.

GUTHRIE: Do you think that Iran is trying to hurt President Trump? That’s what the Director of National Intelligence, director Ratcliffe, said, or is it an effort to just make a mess of everything? Sow chaos and sow doubt about the election process?

BASH: Well, certainly to sow chaos, Savannah, that’s clear. I think every foreign adversary wants to undermine the signature moment in American democracy, a presidential election. But I find it hard to believe that what Ratcliffe said is accurate. Because of course these emails went to Democratic voters and said, “Don’t come to the polls.” So I don’t understand how that somehow damages Donald Trump. That appears to actually damage Joe Biden.

GUTHRIE: There’s so much focus on Iran because those were the emails that were sent just yesterday, those scary emails purporting to be from the Proud Boys. But it was interesting, the FBI and intelligence community also says Russia is actively interfering right now. What do you think Russia is up to? Did they reveal anything there?

BASH: Well, Russia has a lot of mechanisms to try to attack the election. First of all, they could engage in propaganda on social media and elsewhere, as they did in 2016. But the other thing they can do is a hack and dump operation. And this week, 50 former intelligence officials, many of whom I worked with, including Republicans, including career officials, wrote a letter saying that they believe that this effort to provide dirt on Hunter Biden to The New York Post by Rudy Giuliani appears to be and has all the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign. So I think that’s the concern that we have to be thinking about.

GUTHRIE: Maybe this is a naive question, but will being outed like this by the U.S. authorities do anything to deter Iran, Russia, and perhaps China?

BASH: I think it helps. I think it’s very critical that someone like Director Wray, who is clearly non-partisan and has a lot of credibility, was there, and he said that our vote is not being undermined, that people should still go to the polls. So I think it’s important to do that. But at the end of the day, whoever is the next president, whether it’s Trump or Biden, they’re going to have to impose costs on these foreign actors. After 2016, Savannah, it was open season. Russia paid no price and, in fact, I would argue, they got rewarded.

GUTHRIE: Alright, well, the administration certainly moved quickly to get this out there publicly. Jeremy, thank you, appreciate it.

BASH: Thank you. 

MSNBC

Andrea Mitchell Reports

12:29 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: Senator Schumer and others were briefed on The Hill as well, and last night, Senator Schumer, Jeremy, went on with Rachel Maddow and said he was taking this seriously, that there is something here, but did not take at all from the briefing what the DNI said, that this was done to hurt Donald Trump’s election. That’s not the way he read what the briefers, what the briefers were telling them. It also seemed as though the DNI was deliberately downplaying the Russian angle and really focusing on Iran, who is obviously, you know, a major target for the president. Did you read it the same way? 

JEREMY BASH: I do give credit to folks at the Department of Homeland Security and at the FBI because they have been very carefully watching what foreign actors are doing. I think it’s clear, as Senator Schumer pointed out, that all foreign adversaries fundamentally want to sow chaos because a presidential election is the crown jewel of American democracy. So if they can disrupt that, obviously that denigrates the standing of the United States and our ability to export our values and our democracy. I do agree, though, Andrea, that the analysis that was put forward by the DNI at the press conference was a little thin. Basically he said this was done to damage Trump. I mean, I didn’t read it necessarily that way. The emails actually went to Democrats and threatened them and said don’t show up at the polls. I would think that would be more damaging to Joe Biden. Maybe we’re ascribing too many motives to the Iranians, maybe they’re not playing fifth dimensional chess as one official told me. I do think this is a serious issue but let’s not overstate it. The voting process has integrity. People should feel good about going to the polls. I’m much more concerned about more capable actors like Russia because they have shown that they have a preferred candidate in this race and they will hack and dump and engage in propaganda on a scale that Iranians frankly can’t do as well. 



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