Active Measures chronicles the most successful espionage operation in Russian history, the American presidential election of 2016. Filmmaker Jack Bryan exposes a 30-year history of covert political warfare devised by Vladmir Putin to disrupt, and ultimately control world events. In the process, the filmmakers follow a trail of money, real estate, mob connections and on the record confessions to expose an insidious plot that leads directly back to The White House. With democracy hanging in the balance, Active Measures is essential viewing. Unraveling the true depth and scope of “the Russia story” as we have come to know it, this film a jarring reminder that some conspiracies hide in plain sight.
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(Russian: активные мероприятия)
A Soviet term for the actions of political warfare conducted by the Russian security services to influence the course of world events.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Donald J. Trump (R) shake hands during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, 07 July 2017.
G20 MEETING – HAMBURG – 2017
[Dr. Alina Polyakova, Foreign Policy Fellow, Brookings] Russians have learned that there is an asymmetry in conventional warfare. The Russian military does not match that of the United States by far. How do you then balance out the asymmetry? One way to do that is to invest in much cheaper measures. These nonconventional active measures to try to weaken western institutions, undermine western democracies versus sending in the tanks.
[Evan McMullin, U.S. 2016 Presidential Candidate CIA Operative (1999-2010)] Putin realizes that if we’re divided as a nation we cannot protect ourselves from threats within and without.
[Dr. Alina Polyakova] From the Russian point of view, political warfare is just part of the art of war.
[Clint Watts, Former FBI Special Agent, Joint Terrorism Task Force] What they’re driving at over the longer term is to watch democracy crumble from the inside out.
[Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013)] I’m sitting with him at dinner. I told him I’d been at the memorial of the siege of Leningrad. He said I’ll tell you a story. He said my father was one of those people who was on the front lines. And had gotten 24 hours off to go home. As he was walking down the street to his apartment, he saw a big pile of bodies which was not at all uncommon. He saw a leg sticking out and a shoe on the foot and he recognized that as being his wife. So he stopped and he screamed and said, well, that’s my wife. That’s my wife. I want my wife. The body collectors told him to leave and he kept demanding. At this point he’s pulling his wife from under the pile. He took her to their apartment and nursed her back to health. And then after the war she gave birth to Vladimir Putin. Putin sees himself as literally pulling the body of Russia out of the pile, the dust bin of history. You know, we are going to revive you. You are not dead. And I will take care of you. I mean, that is the mindset.
[Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ) Senate Armed Services Committee] I think his ambitions always were to be the president and then gather all the instruments of power into the presidency.
[Hillary Clinton] His devotion to reasserting Russia’s greatness is certainly in his self-interest because he wants to be the czar. He wants to be the richest man in the world and he wants to settle scores.
[Sen. John McCain] He made his way up through the KGB.
[Jeremy Bash, CIA Chief of Staff (2009-2011)] His role in the KGB was to support Russian intelligence officers living under assumed identities under deep cover inside the United States and developing active measures to impact the policies of the United States.
[Steven Hall, CIA Chief of Russia Operations (1985-2013)] The KGB was power. If you said that you were with the KGB, doors were open. People would stand aside.
[Steven Pifer, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (1997-2000)] In 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, every republic that emerged from the debris of the Soviet Union agreed at the time to recognize the republics in their then existing borders.
[Steven Hall] Putin, like many Russians, feels that the dissolution, the dissolving of the Soviet Union was a horrific thing because it made the Russian people and Russia itself smaller. And the Americans are celebrating all of this.
[Vladimir Putin] The tragic collapse of our state. It can only be called a tragedy. I think those involved in the October revolution planted a time bomb under the building. That building being the once unified state called Russia.
[Richard Fontaine, President, Center for New American Security] I think he’s dedicated to building it back up.
(downcast piano music)
[Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2012-2014)] The first time I met him in the spring of 1991, he was the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg working for the mayor whose name was Anatoly Sobchak. Sobchak was this charismatic western leaning guy allied with Boris Yeltsin. His deputy was the exact opposite of that. Non-descript, grave bureaucrat. A very soft spoken. Had you asked me back then to name a thousand people that might be the next president of Russia he would not have made my list.
[Heather Conley, “Kremlin Playbook” author] He supported Mayor Sobchak but he was also organizing this incredible network of former KGB foreign economic interest and local interest.
[Jonathan Winer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (1994-1999)] In the 1990’s St. Petersburg was known for organized crime and corruption. State institutions were partnering with Kremlin organizations to rip off as much as they could as fast as they could.
[Amb. Daniel Fried, U.S. Department of Sate (1977-2017)] Putin was a pretty good fixer. He could make stuff happen. He knew how to work the system.
[Vladimir Putin] This is very impressive, I’ll be honest with you.
[Heather] Mr. Putin was able as deputy mayor to be the focal point of all of these different networks as they came together.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia (2006-2016)] He was made FSB director. The FSB is responsible for internal spying. These are the guys who have the most funding, the most resources.
[Hillary Clinton] He learned which served him in good stead how to maneuver politically.
[Vladimir Putin] The FSB wanted to return to power. I am pleased to announce that we have succeeded.
[Steven Hall] That became his primary goal. Power. The FSB was simply a ladder.
[Richard Fontaine] Almost immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union, these oligarchs were able to take over state owned enterprises at bargain basement prices. It turned some of these individuals into multi-millionaires or even billionaires almost overnight.
Under Yeltsin, the oligarchs became very powerful and very independent. And the power of the state was crumbling.
The end of the Yeltsin years he obtained almost sort of a buffoonish type of personality. You know, a drunk. A little bit out of control.
[Michael McFaul] Yeltsin was nervous and he chose to go with a guy that he thought would protect his family and their assets. That’s, I think, the sole purpose why Putin was selected to then run for president.
[Yeltsin] He has agreed to stand in the presidential election.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves] Followed by the bombings of the apartment houses.
There were a series of terrorist attacks in 1999. (somber piano music) They found evidence of the FSB having been there and set that all up.
[Michael McFaul] I know what has been alleged. I find the evidence compelling and I know those terrorist attacks helped Vladimir Putin win the election. I’m not ready to believe yet and maybe that’s just my idealism getting in the way of my analytic side that the Russian government would kill its own civilians to elect Putin president.
[James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence (1993-1995)] The apartment bombings were KGB operations using a type of explosive that’s only made in a KGB facility.
[Sen. John McCain] Oh, sure. It was very clever and the Russian people began to look for a leader. It’s not the first time in history. You can compare it in some degree to the 1930’s and the rise of Adolph Hitler.
[Vladimir Putin] Dear friends, we are mere seconds away from the year 2000. Everything good and kind that you have wished for will come to fruition. Let’s raise our glasses to the new Russian century!
[Michael McFaul] With respect to democracy, I think it’s pretty clear from the very get go he feared independent actors. (speaking in foreign language)
Putin started forcing the independent media to knuckle under, putting in state control, turning it into propaganda outfits.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves] Started arresting people who had different points of view. (men yelling)
Then he starts going after independent journalists. They start ending up dead. Assassinated.
[Scott Horton] The most prominent journalist in Russia, Anna Politkovskaya was murdered on Putin’s birthday.
[Jonathan Winer] Putin brought the oligarchs to heel.
[Vladimir Putin] You ran around like cockroaches when I said I was coming. -Did everybody sign this agreement? -Yes. – Deripaska, have you signed? – I’ve signed. I can’t see your signature. Sign it. Give me back my pen.
[Scott Horton] A number of them were forced to leave the country Some were killed in mysterious fashions. Those who remained are basically lapdogs of his.
[Vladimir Putin] As for those who disagree with this policy… they either no longer exist – or have been sent far away.
[Molly McKew] Putin was letting everyone know that this period of everybody getting to do their own thing was very much over.
[Scott Horton] And then he brought his most trusted friends and confidantes from the intelligence services into the key positions, controlling all those businesses.
[Evan McMullin] Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs used money, essentially stolen from the Russian people.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] If you’re one of these big kleptocrats, getting your stolen proceeds into a rule of law system is one of your highest priorities.
[Craig Unger] Once that money is laundered, they have access to western banks and they can do whatever they want.
[Jonathan Winer] Semion Mogilevich was the first big organized crime figure in Russia who figured out how to launder massive amounts out of Russia and the former Soviet Union.
[Craig Unger] Semion Mogilevich is worth about 10 billion dollars according to FBI reports. He’s considered the money laundering genius. He’s sometimes called the brainy don ’cause he has a economics degree.
[Scott] The most important of the Russian crime bosses. The man who was for years on the 10 Most Wanted list in the United States.
[Jonathan] He still lives happily in Moscow today.
[Reporter] In Russia he still gets the VIP treatment and is rarely without a bodyguard who chauffeurs him and his 200,000 pound armor plated bomb proof limousine.
[Reporter] Why did you suss out companies in the Channel Islands?
[Semion Mogilevich] The problem was that I didn’t know any other way. Well, they taught us geography at school. I was sick that day.
[Craig Unger] The Russian mafia is an adjunct of the Russian government.
[Jonathan Winer] I’ve described it as going from organized crime under the Soviets to disorganized crime under Yeltsin to organized crime again under Putin.
[Heather Conley] His networks recycle back to Mr. Putin’s inner circle and they continue to help maintain Mr. Putin’s power.
To the point where today Putin may well be the wealthiest man on the face of the planet.
[Interviewer] How does Russia launder money into America?
[Michael McFaul] Yeah. (laughs) Yeah. Everything I know that’s interesting I can’t tell you. Now let me try to think of a way to go at 30,000 feet. Yeah, I know where you’re going with this ’cause I know we’re gonna talk about Trump in a few minutes. (upbeat electro music)
[Nina Burleigh, Newsweek Correspondent] In the 70’s Donald Trump is a scion of one of the biggest landowners along the east coast.
[Mary Anne MacLeod Trump] He played monopoly. Yes, indeed. More than monopoly, he played with building blocks. Always with building blocks.
[Nina Burleigh] He has huge ambitions, huge ego as we know.
[Donald Trump] Because not everybody is meant to be a business person. They’ll ruin their lives. I mean they’ll go and they’ll, they’ll put up their house and they’ll mortgage their cars and everything else they own.
And he is starting to move into Manhattan.
[Craig Unger] Trump Tower was structured in a way that made it a money laundering paradox.
[Nina] Trump Tower became one of the first buildings in New York where Shell companies could buy and sell condos without identifying yourself.
[Craig Unger] If you go back to the 80’s, Senator Henry Scoop Jackson got a bill through Congress allowing the immigration of Soviet Jews into the United States at a time when immigration had been highly restrictive.
[Senator Henry Scoop Jackson] We’ll honor the right of a person to leave a country freely and return freely just as clear as anything can be.
[Craig] The Russians saw it as an opportunity to open their jails. That’s when you see members of Russian organized crime come to the United States for the very, very first time and end up in Brighton Beach.
[Scott Horton] There were certain techniques for money management and money movement that were prized above others. And these involved real estate.
[Craig Unger] It started off simply as money laundering pure and simple and you had in 1984 for example David Bogatin, who was a Russian mobster, met with Trump. Trump Tower had just opened the previous year and Bogatin, who had no legal way of making that money, sat down with Trump and bought five condos and the state attorney general ruled that that was money laundering. Vyacheslav Ivankov, who was very close to the great mastermind of organized crime, Semion Mogilevich, and he was sent to the United States to oversee the rise of the Brighton Beach mafia. And when the feds were looking for him they looked all over and they couldn’t find him anywhere in Brooklyn. Instead, he was living in Trump Tower.
[Nina Burleigh] Donald Trump marries Ivana. The Czech Secret Police takes note of this. The intelligence that they gathered was that Donald Trump was being pressured, not clear by whom, to run for president as early as 1988. They thought that it would be good for Czechoslovakia if this husband of a Czech citizen became president of the United States. After his successes in New York City he got into the Atlantic city casino business. He goes big. Builds the Trump Taj Majal.
[Donald Trump] Which will be the largest hotel casino in the world and I think it’s gonna be a tremendous success.
That turns out to be his undoing.
[Steve Wynn, Casino Magnate] In a town where for the last 10 years no casino with 60,000 squared foot has ever been fully utilized. On what basis would someone build one with 120,000 feet? He was destined to fail.
Trump Casino was hit hard for having violated U. S. federal anti-money laundering regulations. It suggests a culture of willful disregard of the law.
[Nina] He basically unravels financially. He also was unraveling personally at this same time. His marriage was falling apart.
[Jonathan] By that point he had filed, I believe it was six bankruptcies. He had no way to move forward professionally. He couldn’t get a bank loan anywhere.
There is a homeless person sitting, sitting right outside of Trump Tower. I remember my father pointing to him and saying, you know, that guy has eight billion dollars more than me because he was in such extreme debt at that point, you know.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] The Russians have a particular type of mark whom they go after. They go after somebody who has business resources, perhaps some shady morals so that they’re amenable to the bribery. Or perhaps are in a difficult financial situation. And either has political connections or aspirations. I’ve just described Donald Trump. He was the perfect mark for the Russians.
[Craig Unger] The Russians saved him. They rescued him. He would not have gotten back in business without them. I think it’s safe to say he couldn’t have run for president if he had just been a guy who was four billion dollars in debt. When the Russian mafia does something it’s with Putin’s permission and it’s serving his interests.
[David Letterman] Have you ever knowingly done business with what I like to call organized crime? (audience laughing) Have they ever stopped by and??
[Donald Trump] Well, I really tried to stay away from them as much as possible.
[David Letterman] Right.
[Donald Trump] Although I must say I have met on occasion a few of those people. They happen to be very nice people. You just don’t want to owe them money.
Yeah, I understand.
Don’t owe them money.
Simeon Mogelivich, he made a decision to make the move on Trump after studying Trump’s 2004 bankruptcy filings. Noticing that Trump had lost his credit lines. They felt he would not be in the position to say no.
[Craig Unger] The Russian real estate firm Bayrock started leasing space in Trump Tower. Putin needs to keep track of his oligarchs and one way of keeping tabs is knowing where their money is. Bayrock may well have been a way of doing that. To me that’s a turning point because what we have here is a very serious intelligence operation and it is in the belly of the beast. It is in the home of the man who becomes president of the United States. And it was operating there for many, many years.
One of the key people putting it together, Felix Sater.
A lieutenant in the Mogilevich crime family. Very connected into the nexus between the Russian criminal organizations and the Russian national security organizations.
[Craig Unger] He became managing director of Bayrock. He himself had been convicted of two felonies.
Slashing a guy’s face at a bar.
[Craig Unger] Another was a pump and dump stock scheme. But he ended up cooperating with the feds and he started providing information on sales of weapons to Al-Qaeda. Mogilevich, according to FBI reports, was selling weapons to Al-Qaeda. That raised very interesting questions ’cause I don’t think Felix Sater would betray Mogilevich. He famously threatened an investor with electrocuting his testicles. Trump worked with Sater for many, many years after it was revealed that he was a criminal. He continued to work for Trump and in fact had a business card saying that he was a senior advisor to the Trump organization.
[Michael] There’s multiple photographs of the two of them together. He had an office in Trump tower. Trump was the public face of Bayrock.
[Michael Isikoff] And yet when he was placed under oath in a deposition and confronted about Sater, he simply says, uh.
[Donald Trump] If he was sitting in a the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.
[Craig Unger] Trump actually personally asks Sater to escort his two children, Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr., on a trip to Moscow and showed them around the town.
[Donald Trump] “I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin” (Source: Felix Sater Email)
He seems to be playing a consistent role in assisting the Trump’s and tapping Russians or let’s say post-Soviet money for developing condominium units. No co-op board has to review whoever is buying. It’s safer than putting it in the bank.
(upbeat electro music)
The Sunny Isles development is the Florida development that the Trumps own that has been heavily populated by Russians who want to launder their money.
[Craig Unger] At least a third of the condos in Sunny isles, Florida have been sold to Russia.
Trump’s Soho is one of the promoters of the project. Alexsandr Mashkevich has been described as Mogelivich’s banker. The Trump Tower project in Baku is located in the middle of a post-industrial sledge pool. It’s just sort of a joke that they were building this.
[Craig Unger] Trump World Tower. I started looking at who bought into and the very first name I came across that was Russian was that of Eduard Nektalov. He had been indicted for money laundering. He turned state’s evidence and was going to cooperate with the feds. He was murdered the next day.
The Toronto Tower. The source of funding was the Vensheconobank, the two twin cash management tools of the Kremlin. They go out and become involved in projects usually because one man, Vladimir Putin, tells them to do so. That would link this project straight back to the Kremlin.
[Craig Unger] I think this is the tip of the iceberg. There’s been 1.3 trillion dollars in flight capital since Putin’s become president. There are over 30 Trump Towers all over the world. That means there are several thousand units. So many condos that journalists like me have been unable to investigate because they are in Shell companies.
Shell corporations where law enforcement and the public and the press can go and see what the name of the corporation is but they can’t find out who’s really behind it. What’s really going on. Who’s pulling the strings here.
[Craig Unger] So a 500 million dollar condo can change hands three or four times a year and you’ve laundered 20 million dollars or so. We want to follow the money. It’s clear to me that a huge amount of it comes from the Ukraine Russian energy trade.
[Sen. John McCain] Vladimir Putin particularly has a strong feeling about Ukraine. Ukraine was part of Russia for many, many years. He feels that needs to be restored.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] Putin has worked to undermine democracies across the globe.
[Woman] You had a couple of people running for president.
Viktor Yanukovich who appeared to be more interested in keeping Ukraine aligned with Russia. Significant amounts of money coming from Russia into the Yanukovich campaign.
His competitor on the other side, Yuschenko, was a Ukrainian politician. A reputation of being clean and fair and pro-western. Yulia Tymoshenko entered the Yushenko campaign. She was a politician.
Tymoshenko, in my experience, she was by the far the most effective minister in the Ukrainian cabinet.
[Richard Fontaine] Well, I was working for Senator McCain in 2004. And we visited. We met with Yuschenko. They just said, I’m afraid they’re gonna try to kill him. Within a matter of months he had been poisoned and almost was killed.
A disfiguring poisoning. It destroyed his looks. Scarred his face.
[James Woolsey] Quite convinced it was a KGB operation.
[Steven Pifer] He was off the campaign trail for about four weeks. It also had a second effect, too, was it really hardened his resolve.
[Viktor Yushchenko] I know that today my country endures unusually troubling times.
[Yulia Tymoshenko] Will we be able to gain victory with you?
[Ukrainian citizen] We want to be a democratic country. We want to live in a market economy. And not in the Soviet Union republic.
[Steven] During the election there was lots of evidence that something had gone wrong.
[Ukrainian citizen] Where did he get all these people? They are all paid!
[Dr. Alina Polyakova] At that time Ukrainian intelligence agencies detected that there were hackers who actually tried to break into the central election commission. So they were trying to change the results of the votes.
And those parts that had voted for Yanukovich turned out in excess of 100% was reported.
[Reporter] The country’s election commission ignored reports of fraud declaring Kremlin-backed victory Yanukovich the winner.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] The election was, in the eyes of most Ukrainians, stolen.
[Yulia Tymoshenko] It’s a massive falsification of your rights. Tomorrow at 9:00 AM on the Square of Independence we’ll gather as many people as possible.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] The Ukrainians had enough. And the Orange Revolution consisted of people coming out to the central Kiev square and saying, no, we’re not going to accept a bad election.
[Yulia Tymoshenko] Glory to the rightful heroes of Ukraine! Glory to Yushchenko!
The Ukrainian Supreme Court basically ruled a do over.
[Ukrainian Supreme Court Representative] The results on November 24, 2004, in regards to the election of the President of Ukraine are annulled.
Russia opposed that idea because they understood correctly that if it was done in a free and fair way that Mr. Yanukovich would not win.
[Daniel] And Yuschenko became president.
[Steven] His prime minister was Yulia Tymoshenko.
[Sen. John McCain] So this week has a unique feel to it as we all have the profound privilege of welcoming president Viktor Yuschenko to America (audience applauding)
[Viktor Yushchenko] Protection from the regime of mobsters is only a matter that can cause hope. We faced a very similar choice. It was not a choice between the left and the right. It was the choice between totalitarian regime and democracy. It has betrayed the future at best.
[Reporter] Viktor Yanukovich predicted more turmoil ahead. I am ready to lead, he said. Yuschenko will find out what opposition really means.
Mr. Manafort came to Ukraine late 2004. Yanukovich had been fairly badly discredited.
“Pro-Putin party in Ukraine gave Paul Manafort $600,000 a month” (Source: Newsweek)
The role that I saw for Mr. Manafort was somebody tried to rehabilitate Mr. Yanukovich.
[Jonathan Winer] Paul Manafort has been a Washington political consultant for a long, long time.
[Reporter] Paul Manafort, a top campaign strategist for President Bush.
[Paul Manafort, 1989] I will stipulate for the purpose of today that you could categorise this as influence peddling.
[Woman] Bob Dole was the last one who brought him on as the head of the convention at that point.
[Paul Manafort, 1996] We are ready, not only to continue to lead in the Congress but to take the White House.
He had disappeared. No one knew what he was doing.
[Greg] It’s impossible that Paul Manafort was not at least run past the Russian government because Manafort was very close to Yanukovich. And Yanukovich was so close to the Kremlin.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves] The big switch from western, the western point of view was the Munich security conference speech.
[Vladimir Putin, Munich, Germany – 2007] The United States has overstepped its national borders in every way. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race. No one feels safe.
[Sen. John McCain] Senator Joe Lieberman and I were sitting in assigned seats in the front row. And he would utter a phrase in Russian and after he would say, he’d look over at the two of us like that, you know, I said what is it with this guy?
[Vladimir Putin, Munich, Germany – 2007] I very often. He repeals by our partners. The effect that Russia should play an increasingly active role in world affairs.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves] That was 2007. Two months later they did the cyber-attack on my country because we really didn’t want a Soviet statue in the middle of town. We didn’t tear it down. We moved it. We figured, okay, this is important for some people. But even that was sort of enough of an offense. (yelling) The 9th of May with the day the Russians celebrate the end of World War II no one could get into any websites including the banks, any government sites, news media. I mean, it’s clear they did it. A year later they invaded Georgia.
[Molly McKew] After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia was controlled by mafias and criminal gangs that were known as thieves-in-law.
[Sen. John McCain] Then came the revolution and Misha Saakashvili became their president. And made, really, very significant changes and improvement to the country.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] After years of the Georgian economy being a basket case suddenly starts to roar. He had a vision of Georgia in NATO and the EU. The Russians hated it.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves] As long as you have these blocs, NATO and the European Union, they’re bigger, richer, stronger, more powerful than Russia. But if you reduce them to their individual parts each of these countries is far weaker than Russia.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] They kept provoking the Georgians more and more and more and more. They wanted a war.
[Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia (2004-2013)] They started to say the war. At first he started to tell it to me. To some western leaders. Looked like the west was the wandering life, wanted somewhere and Russians knew where they were going. Then we had direct military attacks.
[Molly McKew] In the middle of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, the Russians invaded Georgia. (man yelling) (tanks rapidly firing)
[Mikheil Saakashvili] Wake up, wake up. We are attacked because we wanted to be free. We are attacked because we wanted to build genuine democracy. If Americans and Europeans don’t stand up for their own values, for their own principles, then those principles and values will be in danger to the Georgia, tomorrow elsewhere.
[Molly McKew] But the Russians then spent a lot of time convincing everyone the Georgians started the war. It’s Saakashvili’s fault. He was dangerous and a madman.
[RT Reporter] Russia has criticized the western media for what it’s called it’s biosphere on the conflict. Not all journalists blame Russia for the conflict. Alex Jones?
[Alex Jones] I just hope Russia keeps troops in Georgia because the dictator, and we know he was elected under fraud there in Georgia has said that he plans, he said it last week, to attack again.
[Sen. John McCain] Allegation that Georgia would attack Russia is so foolish and outrageous and disgraceful. But it’s typical of Vladimir Putin.
[Molly McKew] They did not achieve the collapse of the Saakashvili government. It cost them a lot in respect, in international relationships. And their military was really exposed as something weaker than they all thought. So there was this whole portfolio of kind of rethinking what are the political warfare tools that we have that we can use.
[Hillary Clinton] They began to increase their funding to far right nationalistic white supremacists political parties.
In democracies, public opinion is your battlefield. It’s finding those affinity groups. They don’t like globalization. They’re very fearful of immigration. They’re xenophobic. And that fear is then used by Russian disinformation operations to say you’re not being protected from migration crisis, from the social changes that we see around you. Gazprom and others, they were purchasing local affiliates so it looked like less Russian, had less of a Russian face.
Gazprom is the world’s largest gas company. It and its resources are used to help achieve the political objectives of the Russian state.
When the economics and the politics combine in fact the, it’s state capture. The national government cannot take independent action that does not follow Russia’s policy interests.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves] It’s far better to expend your energy on getting a Russia friendly government elected than it is to have to build up your military to invade the country.
There was the Russian oligarchy, Ivanishvili, who was biggest private shareholder of Russia Gazprom. Suddenly Ivanishvili announced that he was entering politics and he will run against us.
[Molly McKew] They wanted to believe that he was this independent weirdo businessman. He must be a very successful man. Nobody wanted to believe he was what he is, a front for Russian engagement in the country. The campaign in Georgia before the 2012 election had been increasingly dirty and hostile and violent.
[Mikheil Saakashvili] So the narrative was that no matter what you will falsify, rig the elections. And then they would take it to the streets.
[Molly McKew] There was a lot of discussion about political prosecution. If they won they would have put the entire former government in prison, that these were all criminal. Some of it was really cheap stuff. Saakashvili is really an Armenian. He’s not really a Georgian.
That’s a technique the Russians use quite a bit. The best way to discredit somebody is to make them appear inauthentic. They’re not part of the community which they say they are.
[Molly McKew] Then it’s picked up by other media. It’s sort of spread about social media. Eventually people sort of say some of this must be true.
[Mikheil Saakashvili] Mafia bosses, (speaking in foreign language) from Russia try to help to organize mass disturbances. They listened to our telephone conversations, especially when we were calling from abroad. For whatever similar situation would ignite in Georgia they always had intercepts for all kind of situations.
[Molly McKew] No party in Georgia could have been in a real popular way for Russian. And Ivanishvili knew that. So you had a new message on Russia. It was wouldn’t it be nice if we had a better relationship with Russia?
[Bidzina Ivanishvili] When Russia realizes, and when our allies see that it’s time for Georgia to become a member of NATO and the EU. We must patiently wait for all of this.
[Molly McKew] About two weeks before the vote, there was the release of the first of what became known as the prison abuse tapes.
[Mikheil Saakashvili] The images looked very bad. After initial shock, people started to look at the image. In details they explain to us that the whole thing was fake. Later we discovered that this thing was done by guys with very well-known Russian intelligence connections. But it was too late.
[Reporter] On Tuesday President Saakashvili conceded he lost the closely fought parliamentary vote.
[Molly McKew] 65 or so former officials have been arrested, detained, or convicted. Saakashvili will be arrested if he goes back to Georgia.
[Interviewer] Is it true that you promised to hang Saakashvili by a certain body part?
[Vladimir Putin] Why only one part?
[Molly McKew] And then you saw the allowing of Russian money back into Georgia’s full society.
We are returning Georgia product to the Russian market.
[Molly McKew] His wealth and his fortune are all connected to the Kremlin. That means he can never be independent of what they want.
[Mikheil Saakashvili] Putin had told the National Security Council that Georgian elections were the most successful special operation they ever had. They learned that any democratic system is essentially very vulnerable to this kind of meddling. Full corruption, information campaigns, character destructions, and then your adversary’s much more vulnerable. Then it’s nothing about their economy size or military size. It’s about their state of mind.
[Hillary Clinton] In Ukraine Putin did the same thing.
[Craig Unger] Ukraine is about 100% dependent on Russia for natural gas.
Instead of there being direct sales from Gazprom there were a whole series of intermediary companies which seemed to be controlled by a man named Dmitry Firtash. Dmitry Firtash, a Pro-Putin oligarch. He had worked with Mogilevich, the crime boss. They siphon off lots of money from this Gazprom. Billions of dollars.
[Michael] Firtash was very close to Vladimir Putin. Paul Manafort was a business partner of Firtash.
Ukrainian politicians. It was all just whisper the name Paul Manafort. He was the dark prince in the background, orchestrating everything. He was viewed as a man who was the connection between the Kremlin and pro-Russian party in Ukraine to advance Russian political interests.
“Paul has a whole separate shadow government structure… In every ministry, he has a guy” (Source: Rick Gates, Manafort’s Deputy)
[Hillary Clinton] Russia was buying up utilities. The oligarchs were doing Putin’s bidding. It cut off Ukraine’s energy supply.
[Sen. John McCain] It’s really a terrible thing if someone is killed by a bullet but isn’t it terrible if you shut down the power in the winter?
In 2009, after about two weeks meeting with President Putin, Prime Minster Tymoshenko negotiated a deal that ended the gas cutoff.
[Reporter] The presidential elections head for a pulsating climax. In the orange corner the current poor western prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. In the blue corner, pro-Moscow opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich.
[Reporter] Manafort was remaking Yanukovych’s overall appearance and personality as a politician to make him more palatable.
[Reporter] When he said no to a TV debate, she went ahead with it anyway facing an empty podium.
[Reporter] Viktor Yanukovich claimed victory in the Ukraine presidential election.
[Steven Pifer] Once Viktor Yanukovich had become president one of the things they were trying to go after Tymoshenko for was, in fact, that gas arrangement she had done.
[Reporter] She compared the case to a Stalinist show trial.
[Reporter] All this was staged in advance of the president’s administration to eliminate the opposition.
[Steven Pifer] It may have been a bad deal but it certainly wasn’t the criminal action that the Ukrainian government under Yanukovich charged her with.
[Reporter] Protestors against Tymoshenko are chanting for her to be locked in prison.
[Reporter] A seven year prison term and an order that she pay 200 million dollars in compensation.
[Reporter] From prison, Tymoshenko staged a temporary hunger strike saying she’d been beaten by guards and needed immediate medical attention.
[Michael Isikoff] In a lawsuit that was filed by the former prime minister of Ukraine, there were some rather striking court documents referring to Manafort’s role, and including his business relationships, real estate deals with a Russian oligarch, Dmitry Firtash. Paul Manafort was in business with not one but two Russian oligarchs. Dmitry Firtash, who was under indictment by the U. S. Justice Department. Another, Deripaska, who had been denied entry into the United States because of suspected organized crime ties.
Paul Manafort signed a contract with Oleg Derispaska to promote the Kremlin and the Kremlin’s interests. Quoting Deripaska, Putin told him Manafort’s our man.
[Craig Unger] Paul Manafort got his home in Trump Towers in 2006. You can easily see billions of dollars being siphoned off from that Ukraine Russian energy trade and going through Firtash to Paul Manafort and to Russians or Ukrainians who were buying condos in Trump-branded properties.
[Jeremy Bash] Russia has three main tactics for engaging in what we call active measures. Propaganda, cyber-attacks. Most people don’t focus on a third pillar of Russian active measures which is to recruit and enlist and in some cases run agents of influence.
[James Woolsey] The Russians, with their full-time intelligence operatives. There’s probably way over 1,000 of those in the United States.
[Steven Hall] The FBI does its best to try to monitor Russian intelligence officers here in the United States but there are so many of them and frankly the FBI’s resources are so limited.
[Asha Rangappa] When I did cases I actually had to decide on which days I wanted the FBI surveillance group to watch my target.
[Woman] We had no idea. They just seemed like a nice, quiet family.
[James Woolsey] If you look at either as Russian agents or as Russians who work on disinformation there are more of them than there are Russians in the armed forces. So a thousand. (laughs)
[Jeremy Bash] These can be individuals who know that they are spying for Russian intelligence. Know that they are committing espionage. Or can refer to some individuals who just aren’t sure exactly who they’re dealing with. Maybe it’s bankers, maybe its financiers. Maybe it’s people on the periphery of government doing something that the Russian government wants.
It seems that anybody who was anybody in Russian organized crime who came to Manhattan bought a condo unit in Trump tower. There were gambling operations going on there and prostitution operations. These investigations were leading to Trump over and over and over again.
[Jonathan Winer] Christopher Steele is a former MI6 specialist in Russia. The U. S. investigator firm commissioned Mr. Steele to look at Mr. Trump and Russia. It was a very general assignment and he found an extensive set of relations with Russia.
[Scott] He was generally held in very high regard. Had a reputation of also for working with the FBI.
[Jonathan Winer] He helped the FBI make the FIFA cases.
[Reporter] Major corruption crackdown going down right now. Arrests made around the world.
[Reporter] This is the result of a three year long FBI investigation.
He broke the case. He gave them access to the key witnesses that they used to get the pretty spectacular results that they ultimately got.
[Craig Unger] Alexander Litvinenko, who’s a former FSB agent. When he sought asylum in London he started working for MI6. His handler was Christopher Steele. He was trying to expose that Vladimir Putin was closely linked to Semion Mogilevich, the crime boss of Russia. Litvinenko was eventually poisoned by polonium in a murder that was very directly linked to Russia. So when Mr. Steele was hired to do oppo research on Donald Trump he was very, very knowledgeable indeed.
[Jonathan Winer] The Steele Dossier was a set of reports that Mr. Steele wrote.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] All of its allegations fall into one of three categories. Not yet proven, proven to be true, and have an error that is consistent with transcription or transliteration problems.
[Jonathan Winer] It was said to Mr. Steele’s sources that Russia had turned Mr. Trump for many, many years. In the course of work on Russia matters, I came to know Mr. Steele. I work with people who I can trust. Yes, I trusted Chris Steele. I still trust Chris Steele.
[Donald Trump] Look at Putin what he’s doing with, I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean, this guy has done, whether you like him or don’t like him he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia. And also rebuilding Russia period.
[Heather Conley] Putin seeks the veneer of democratic legitimacy but there cannot be choice. In the Russian constitution you cannot run for a third term as president. So what he did was to find a very close member of his inner circle to agree to be president while he could be prime minster.
[Hillary Clinton] He is someone who is obviously being installed by Putin and it raises serious issues about how we’re going to deal with Russia going forward.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] Putin faces what I call the King Lear problem. You can’t resign to a comfortable life because of the things you’ve done when you were king. But the constitutional forms were observed.
[Vladimir Putin] There are different sorts of addiction but the worst addiction is power.
When Putin returned to the presidency, by that point I think it was about to the least surprising development that any of us had seen in Russia in a long time.
[Hillary Clinton] I mean, you can imagine the conversation with Putin. Vladimir. You think you’d like to be president again? I think I would. (audience laughs)
[Hillary Clinton] The election was clearly unfair and illegitimate. I said that on behalf of the United States.
[Hillary Clinton] We just witnessed a flawed duma election in Russia including efforts to halt the election monitoring.
[Hillary Clinton] And Russian voters deserve a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation.
[Hillary Clinton] I wasn’t the only person who thought that.
[Heather] He encountered the largest public demonstrations of his tenure. (shouting in foreign language)
[Man] They shouted Putin is a thief.
[Hillary Clinton] Which terrified him because of the Orange Revolution. Because of the uprisings that took place post collapse of the Soviet Union in places that wanted more than just a different form of autocracy.
[Sen. John McCain] If you look at the crowds of those that were in the protest, I’ll bet ya nine out of 10 of them were under age 25. They don’t want that kind of a government. They want to be like the Europeans. And I think that Vladimir Putin has not seen the last of these protests.
[Hillary Clinton] And then he attacked me and accused me of inciting the demonstrations that really were grassroots from the bottom up. ? Putin blamed her very publicly. Privately he did too, by the way.
She set the tone for some of the activists inside our country. Gave them a signal. They heard this signal and started active work in support of the U. S. State Department.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] I suspect that Putin, like Stalin, read every one else by his own measure. And being a cynical person, understanding only power, he probably assumed that we were equally cynical and our protestations of support for democracy were meaningless fluff. So that he sees our actions in Russia as designed to undermine him. And he looks at all the democratic activists as somehow somebody else’s puppet. Hillary Clinton is doing this or Condi Rice is doing this.
[Hillary Clinton] It’s not that he believes everything but there is a kind of a grounding in his KGB training because, remember, during the Cold War they would fund some firebrand in some country to became allied with them and we would go in and try to undercut that person and vice versa. But a lot of it is just to keep people in Russia in line. My experience with him was difficult and challenging because I challenged him.
[Vladimir Putin] It’s better not to argue with women. But Mrs. Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements. When people push boundaries too far it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.
[Hillary Clinton] In meetings that I’ve had with him, he is in a very calculated way trying to gain advantage, looking at you with disdain and contempt. The bored kid in school. When the cameras are on he will criticize the United States. When the cameras are gone, he’ll act like he’s willing to talk to you. He’s into man spreading. You know what that is, right.
[Michael McFaul] Putin never really developed a working relationship with secretary Clinton. He became very upset about what she said in December, 2011 and was looking for revenge.
[Molly McKew] If you can use and capture elite in specific ways you can accomplish your goals without needing to get public support. The recruiting tool was money.
[Craig Unger] You see just so much money flowing to Trump. It’s hard to imagine there’s not more to it than just simple generosity. (chuckles)
[Scott Horton] All his American banks cut their lines of credit. Stopped doing business with him and one bank steps into the breach as his lender of choice. And that’s Deutsche bank.
[Craig Unger] From the perspective of most western bankers that was just seen as insane.
[Scott Horton] He’s had a history of making misleading statements to them. Threatening them. They call and he sues them. He fails to pay the loan. He publicly criticizes Deutsche Bank about all this. But Deutsche bank sticks with him loyally throughout. Not only that they also start making loans to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] Deutsche Bank has been fined before for participating in Russian money laundering.
[Reporter] The German bank says it’s willing to pay over 600 million dollars in fines for its connections to alleged Russian money laundering.
[Scott Horton] When the scandal erupted that Deutsche Bank about these money laundering operations, the Deutsche bank CEO was fired. He became the CEO of the bank of Cyprus.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] One of the financial institutions through which they launder money.
[Scott] Who hired him to be the CEO of the Bank of Cyprus? Wilbur Ross, tight supporter of Donald Trump, now his Secretary of Commerce.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] The practice of overpaying significantly is something that falls into the category of Russian methods.
[Scott] The man known as the Russian potash king, Rybolovlev, purchases a property for more than twice what Trump had paid for it.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] That’s when our country was going through a financial collapse that largely was caused by the real estate market. Did he overpay because Mr. Trump was such a great negotiator or was there something else going on?
[Scott Horton] Never does anything with the property. So the property transaction appears to be nothing more than cover for infusing a cool 100 million dollars into Trump’s bank accounts. This same Rybolovlev is also a principal owner with Wilbur Ross of the bank of Cyprus.
[Craig Unger] In 2013 there was a bust at Trump Tower of a massive gambling ring. It was run by a guy named “Taiwanchic”. He has been tied to the Russia crime boss Simeon Mogilevich. 29 people were indicted but Taiwanchic fled to Russia.
[Taiwanchic] They say I am guilty of so many crimes, like killing people, selling drugs, kidnapping. Well, catch me. I am here walking around.
[Craig] Taiwanchic appeared again that year, oddly enough, at the Miss Universe pageant that Donald Trump was doing with Aras Agalarov.
[Michael] Billionaire oligarch who was known actually as Putin’s builder because he had done massive construction projects for the Kremlin and gotten a big award personally delivered by Putin.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] Donald Trump chose Moscow as the place to have Miss Universe. I think it would be important for us to understand just who he met with while he was on that trip. Whether he talked to Vladimir Putin.
[Donald Trump, Tweet from June 18, 2013] “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?”
There was a luncheon with a lot of Russian business leaders in which Trump spoke and the birthday party for Aras Agalarov.
[Scott] He even appears in the scion of the Agalarov family music video.
[Donald Trump] You’re fired.
[Jonathan Winer] Compromat. It’s essentially embarrassing information that’s going to put you under somebody else’s thumb.
[Hillary Clinton] Use money, use sex, use whatever they can to try to entrap people. I mean, that’s just a fact.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] They don’t mind blowing up their own bribery scheme to blackmail an individual and now they’ve got that person.
[Craig Unger] There’s purely rumors that on his trips to Moscow that Trump was involved in various sex escapades that may have compromised him.
[piers] If I can offer you a check for 10 billion dollars.
[Piers] But the deal is you can’t have sex for the next 10 years.
[Donald Trump] Would that include my wife?
Sergei Million appears in connection with Trump’s dealings in Russia and certainly in connection with his hotel stays and someone who would know an awful lot about what went on during those visits with meetings with prostitutes and so forth.
[Donald Trump] You know, I was in Moscow a couple of months ago. I own the Miss Universe pageant. And they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present. Beautiful present with a beautiful note. ? When you look at Steele’s report information he gives, one of those sources could be Million. We don’t know that for sure but the descriptions match.
He likes Russia because there’s money to be made there.
He likes Russia because he likes beautiful Russian ladies.
[Craig Unger] But I hear that golden showers was not the end of it. There was much more extreme sick stuff.
He was only there two days one night. He was supposed to be there longer but Billy Graham’s 95th birthday party was in Asheville, North Carolina. Trump felt the need to go. Why? Because he’s getting ready to run for president.
♪♪ Happy birthday to you ♪♪
[Donald Trump] To be honest, the question was just asked or was asked many times today at the Miss Universe contest. They said would you run, and it’s just too soon to say.
[Reporter] Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, a conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?
[Donald Trump] I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. He’s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form. But I do have a relationship with him.
[Reporter] About Russia. You were asked yesterday if you’ve ever spoken to Vladimir Putin and you said I don’t want to say.
[Donald Trump] Yeah, I have no comment on that. No comment. I was in Russia…
Well one of the things people like about you is you answer any questions.
[Donald Trump] Yeah, but. Let’s assume I did. Perhaps it was personal or, you know, I don’t want to, I don’t want to hurt his confidence.
[Donald Trump] He’s done a very brilliant job in terms of what he represents and who he’s representing.
[Richard Fontaine] Viktor Yanukovich had been in talks with the European Union about an association agreement but then after a visit to Moscow and getting the message that this was not going to be seen favorably, Yanukovich came back and decided that in fact he was not gonna pursue this agreement. So this square in downtown Kiev, protestors went there and began demanding that, in fact, this agreement go into force, instead of some alternative agreement with Russia. They protest not just in favor of an agreement with the European Union but a protest against Viktor Yanukovich and the way he was running things at the time.
About a week later the police went in and broke up that camp. In two hours shed more blood than had been shed during the entire Orange Revolution back in 2004.
And at each turn, Yanukovich became more and more repressive, more and more bloodthirsty.
[Steven Pifer] You had people shooting into the crowd. In some cases directly shot to the head where like snipers were shooting at them. (guns firing) Probably 100, you know, odd people killed.
He just infuriated and enraged his entire country.
[Man] One demand… that the criminal Yanukovych leave now.
[Crowd] Yanukovych out! Yanukovych out!
[Reporter] Yanukovich defied calls for his resignation.
[Viktor Yanukovich] I am not going to leave Ukraine or go anywhere.
[Steven Pifer] Yanukovich packed up in a car and left. He fled the country and turned up in Russia.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] And this is while Manafort is still advising him.
[Paul Manafort] I don’t think that Yanukovich was the pro-Putin person that he’s reputed to be and if you look at what…
[Charlie Rose] Well, he went off. He ended up in Moscow.
[Paul Manafort] Well, yeah.
[Reporter] The ousted president is wanted for mass murder and on the run.
[Steven Pifer] So you have the Ukrainian parliament. What do we do?
[Reporter] Parliament voted to free Yanukovych’s arch nemesis, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
Today you have an open road to build Ukraine the way you want. That is why you must stay here until the person you trust is elected in an honest way.
[Steven Pifer] My sense is at that point the Russians panicked. The Russians had lying in a safe somewhere the plan how you take Crimea and they activated that plan. Within a couple of days you saw people who were very clearly professional soldiers. They were wearing Russian style combat fatigues but they had no identifying insignia. The Ukrainians referred to these people as little green men.
[Richard] Which were in fact special operations forces and intelligence operatives.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] We thought this could be the beginning of an outright full scale invasion of the country. That’s when the separatists shot down the Malaysian airliner and killed over 100 Dutch passengers.
[Richard] Separatists initially boasted on Twitter that they had taken it down.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] The unforgivable sin was Putin lying about it. Suggesting Ukrainians shot it down or CIA shot it down. Throwing out a bunch of chafe which was an insult. The European Union had had enough. They joined us with strong sectoral sanctions. And that surprised the Russians and it hit the Russian economy hard right at the time oil prices started to tank. So they had a double whammy.
[Heather Conley] How do you respond to the greatest geo strategic catastrophe of the 20th century, which was the collapse of the Soviet Union? You try to preempt the collapse of the western system in the 21st century. If you can’t destroy these structures militarily, you will destroy them from within.
[Clint Watts] By actually creating fissures and exploiting them such that it’s the electorate is so divided that you don’t trust the government anymore.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] The foundations of geopolitics is a guiding principle for Russia. It’s something that their militaries and intelligence services have relied upon and applied throughout their campaigns.
[Clint Watts] Russia has helped unite an alternative right movement.
You have certain voices in the media. Info Wars, for example, Breitbart to capitalize on these divisions. And then further encourage them for their own personal gain.
[Donald Trump] I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya. Knock the crap out of him, would you, seriously. That guy looked like an NFL football player. Now, they took him out. And I’ll tell you what. It was really amazing to watch. Bye. Go home to mommy. But if we get a little bit rough in taking them out, oh, we’re terrible people. It’s one of the many reasons our country’s going to hell.
Certainly this is all in the interest of at least one country.
To see this otherwise rather brazen candidate turn into such a sycophant when the name of Putin ever came up rang a very discordant bell.
[Donald Trump] Putin has done an amazing job of showing leadership whether it’s a noble or cause or not. Let’s not discuss that. He is now the world leader. I respect Putin. He’s a strong leader, I can tell you that. Unlike what we have. We have a pathetic leader. I think in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A.
[Sen. John McCain] As far as an individual who poses a threat to the world literally. A person who has no moral standards that I’ve been able to detect. F is not low enough.
He was certainly very vocal about Russia, wanting a better relationship.
[Donald Trump] Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing, frankly, if we actually got along with Russia?
Who’s against getting along with people but that’s not a policy.
More noticeable perhaps is the absence of any criticism.
[Donald Trump] The fact is that, you know, he hasn’t been convicted of anything.
Some of the things he was saying was actually talking points that sounded very similar to what the Russian media will put out there.
[Reporter] The fact that Ukraine has not published radar data leads us to the conjecture the missiles, if it was a buk, was launched from territory under the control of the Ukrainian military.
If it was a Russian made buk missile that took down that plane would you hold Putin and Russia accountable? Would there be sanctions?
[Donald Trump] Well, you know, they say it wasn’t them. It may have been their weapon but they didn’t use it. They didn’t fire it. They even said the other side fired it to blame them.
He never provided his original birth certificate. What he provided was a photoshopped computer image of something that was issued only in 2007.
[Donald Trump] A certificate of live birth is not even signed by anybody. I saw his. I read it very carefully.
They’re voting for peace on planet earth if they vote for Trump. But if they vote for Hillary, it’s war.
[Donald Trump] Now Hillary Clinton wants to confront nuclear-armed Russia that could very well lead us into World War III.
Mr. McCain was taken prisoner in Vietnam and was put not just in jail but in a pit. He sat there for several years. Anyone would go nuts after that.
[Donald Trump] He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, okay, I hate to tell you.
Donald Trump delivered a major foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on April 27. The center for the national interest, this American Think Tank, which has very close ties to the Kremlin. This Think Tank played a leading role in drafting Donald Trump’s speech and that speech was full of Russian propaganda.
[Donald Trump] We can upgrade NATO’s outdated mission and structure grown out of the Cold War. I am skeptical of international unions. The U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.
[Alexandra Chalupa, Part-time consultant, Democratic National Committee (2014-2016)] When Paul Manafort became the actual head of the campaign all of a sudden I had a pop up window come on my computer saying that Yahoo believed that I was part of an attempt of state sponsored actors. So I was being targeted. That was the first time.
[Jonathan Winer] There was a Russian campaign to interfere in American elections through hacking. That information appeared in the dossier before it was publicly reported anywhere else, anywhere.
[Clint Watts] You saw active measures in elections across eastern Europe. No one really thought that that would happen in the U.S. base until it did.
[Sen. John McCain] I was surprised as everyone was but looking back on it with benefit of hindsight, obviously, we should have probably known that something like that was going to happen.
[Mikheil Saakashvili] Russia is 1.6% of the world economy. They’re so small but they have, they’re so centralized. And when state concentrates these resources on wanting something then it works.
[Clint Watts] Russia did a wide range of hacks. Started I would guess around August, September of 2015, extended all the way through the spring and into the summer of 2016. We’re talking about thousands of Americans that were hit. They were going after anybody and everybody they could. Their targets include media personalities, politicians, government officials, current and former. Anybody that they could gain what is ultimately information or compromat that they could use. That is the nuclear fuel that powers the influence operation in ’16.
[John Podesta, Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman] A couple of my co-workers who had access to my personal email used to manage the volume. One of them saw a phishing attempt from a Google source through some mistake of communication. One of our cyber security experts in the campaign suggested to my assistant that they change their email account. So she clicked on the link and my private email cache was, you know, was exfiltrated.
[Hillary Clinton] People were seeing this dangerous troubling activity coming from the Russians that was actually in our electoral system.
Government officials learned that they’re actually going into state voter databases.
There may have been 26 different states where there were efforts made to penetrate. That’s disturbing. The key to flip an election without leaving a trace is the voter rolls.
It would only take a small digital switch to make that happen. This really spooked officials in the White House and that’s the moment I think that the enormity of the Russian influence campaign really started to hit home.
[Sen. John McCain] The fact that there was that attack on the fundamental, the absolute fundamental free and fair election should have alarmed all of us.
The Russians didn’t care if we found out. This is pretty new.
They stole the data. Let’s be clear about it. I don’t like this word hacking. This is theft. If the Russians walked into my house and took something out, this is exactly the same thing. And I think the problem that a lot of Americans have with it is they don’t see it, they don’t think of it that way.
The goal was plausible deniability. And you hear that even in Vladimir Putin’s statements.
If they are patriotic, they contribute in a way they think is right. To fight against those who say bad things about Russia.
[Jonathan Winer] If there were people in the Trump Campaign who colluded in any of that, those people are at serious criminal risk because there were serious crimes people committed in 2016 to influence the U. S. elections.
Once it looked like Trump was gonna be the clear nominee, the Agalarovs resurfaced and they said we are obviously supportive of the Trump Campaign but more importantly, we are doing so with the blessing of the Russian government and with the Russian government involved.
And they promised there would be the delivery of information that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
[Man] This is information the Russian government has collected.
Donald Trump, Jr. emailed back, great, I love it. Here we see what appears to be evidence of collusion.
[Michael] Donald Trump, Jr. forwarded the emails to Paul Manafort, then the campaign manager, and Jared Kushner. They both sat in on the meeting.
[John Dean, White House Counsel to President Nixson (1970-1973)] Conspiracies are very easy to enter into. If indeed there was just a tacit agreement furthering that conspiracy, boy, they’re in. And they’re on the wrong side of the law.
Trump being pressed early on in the campion for a list of his foreign policy advisors. The second name he mentions is Carter Page, PhD.
No one had heard of Carter Page. He had worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow.
“Carter Page Claimed He Was Adviser to Kremlin in 2013 Letter” (Source: New York Magazine)
“Former Trump adviser admits to 2013 communication with Russian spy” (Source: The Washington Post)
[Michael] He had been an investor in Gazprom and a quite vocal defender of the Putin government. A critic of sanctions.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] Carter Page traveled over to Moscow with permission of the Trump campaign as a senior advisor to Donald Trump.
[Carter Page] Washington and other western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change.
[Craig] The Steele Dossier alleges that Carter Page met with Igor Sechin who is head of Rozneft, the enormous Russian oil company. Sechin happens to be very, very close to Vladimir Putin.
[Scott] Sechin was his closest friend in the intelligence services.
They came up with a scheme by which sanctions would be lifted on Russia. In return, when parts of Rozneft were sold off, a huge portion of it, I believe was 19% of it, would be diverted.
[Scott Horton] This could have been another way to funnel enormous cash resources to Donald Trump or his family. America’s European allies were picking up things involving interaction between the figures associated with the Trump Campaign and Russian agents of influence that they were very disturbed about.
[John Podesta] When the administration asked for a bipartisan statement saying that Russians were active and they were trying to interfere with the election they were blocked by Republican leadership.
[Evan McMullin] When I was working in the House of Representatives, especially as the Policy Director for the House Republicans, I was part of many discussions. One of them was on June 15. One of the leaders speculated that Trump had a compromising relationship with Putin, a very serious allegation to make but it was one that everyone was thinking. The leaders were afraid to stand up to Donald Trump for fear of being attacked by his Russian troll army.
[Michael Isikoff] By the time of the convention, it was beginning to look like there was a really serious Russian effort.
“Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire ‘private briefings’ on 2016 campaign” (Source: Associated Press)
“Other clients include Moscow-based OAO Rosneft.” (Source: Bloomberg)
“Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose” (Source: The Washington Post)
[Michael Flynn] She is above the law.
[Michael Isikoff] Michael Flynn had become a top national security advisor to Trump.
[Michael Flynn] Lock her up.
What concerns me again from a counter intelligence perspective is the pattern that Flynn has established. Flynn goes to Moscow and sits next to Vladimir Putin in a lavish RT s ponsored event. Just like in the United States, you don’t get to sit next to the president of the United States without any planning. He takes money from the Russians, from RT, which is nothing more than a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. Then says he didn’t take any money.
[Reporter] Were you paid for that amount?
[Michael Flynn] You have to ask my, the folks that went over there to…
[Reporter] I’m asking you. You’d know if you were paid.
[Michael Flynn] I didn’t take any money from Russia if that’s what you’re asking me.
[Reporter] Well then who paid you?
[Michael Flynn] My Speaker’s Bureau.
[Michael Isikoff] The Speakers Bureau is merely the pass through for the organization that’s paying for the speech. Flynn had given the same answer when he was trying to get his security clearance.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] At that convention, the Republican party did something that they almost have never done before which was take out of their platform, language that was standing up for Ukraine and standing against Russia.
[Sen. John McCain] I was confident that was gonna be a part of our party platform. It was before. All of a sudden somewhere it disappeared.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] J. D. Gordon, his account is that it was at the request of the Trump Campaign.
[Sen. John McCain] And I think that’s part of this whole scandal that needs to be resolved. Why would the Republican party remove a provision that would help people who had been invaded and slaughtered defend themselves? Interesting.
[John Podesta] When we went into the convention, we had to contend with that first drop of emails.
[Reporter] Just that the DNC employee…
[John Podesta] It’s Russia. Adverse. They were in communication or in touch with Julian Assange at Wikileaks.
[Michael McFaul] And then they published that data in a way to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.
[Dr. Herb Lin, Director Cyber Policy and Security, Stanford University] When Wikileaks was originally founded I don’t think it had the intention of influencing the 2016 American election but was it the goal after Assange announced that he wanted to harm Hillary. You bet. I mean, he said so. From that standpoint, it was a match made in heaven.
[John] They were actively in the systems of Democratic and as we now know Republicans as well.
[Toomás Hendrik Ilves] We’ll publish the embarrassing material from the hack into the DNC. We won’t publish the embarrassing material in the RNC.
[Alexandra Chalupa] There were more damaging ones on Manafort that they could have dropped. They didn’t. It really exposed a lot of personal contact information. So many staff were getting harassment calls for weeks.
[Hillary Clinton] As we learned more first about the DNC, he basically invited them to try to, you know, hack into me.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] He blurts things out that sound to me as a prosecutor almost like an effort to confess.
[Donald Trump] Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] If you were in fact conspiring with Russia and encouraging them to help your campaign and signaling them as to what you wanted them to do…
[Donald Trump] I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] There’s a pretty good suggestion right there but in this case made in plain view in open daylight at high noon, it’s a little odd.
[John Mattes, Bernie Sanders Organizer] Campaign was over. Bernie had lost. I was assisting in helping with a number of Facebook pages here in California. I started to see strange people appearing. Their posts were coming from American sounding websites but when I peeled away the layers, eastern Europe became a common theme. They were propaganda pieces. Not a single one of them true. All viciously anti-Hillary. This isn’t just one Sanders page. It’s Latinos for Sanders, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan for Sanders. It kept on going.
[Heather Conley] While we were focusing on the positive of social media and information technology, Russia was looking at how to use that as an instrument and they have been incredibly effective.
[Steven Pifer] Cyber with social media, with things like RT. They can reach out to western publics in a way that they couldn’t do 35, 40 years ago. Some of their predecessors would be really envious of the techniques that they have now.
[Dr. Alina Polyakova] How the Russian state does influence operations online is pretty complex. On the one hand you have real people, trolls. A bigger part is actually digital disinformation. Making user accounts that are algorithms. This is the evolution of artificial intelligence online.
[Hillary Clinton] Russians figured out how you game Google. If you have enough bots to drive it to the top of the Google suggestion list.
[Clint Watts] Any wedge that’s there, they’re gonna test that audience out. And when they find success then they exploit it. They double down on it. You might see them show up around Black Lives Matter protests. And in the counter protest movement. Any anti-government or white supremacist group. Nationalists, non-globalists. Anti-EU, anti-NATO, anti-immigration.
Promoting the far right, promoting the far left, so that our politics become more polarized, then Putin can feed lies to either side because they hate each other so much. If we’re divided as Americans then it’s harder for us to stand up to that influence.
[Steven Hall] They know that in the west there’s a tendency towards positivism, there’s a tendency towards, well, I don’t know. That’s a story that’s out there. We just can’t discredit it. We have to. Maybe the media is right. The Russians know that we do this a s westerners. They see it coming and they take it to the bank every single time.
[Mikheil Saakashvili] The westerners are lazy. I mean, they don’t do research. Russians have already done everything for them and they know how to pack it and how to feed it to them.
[Clint Watts] Russia wins the audience first and then directs them somewhere. It’s very different from American approaches. Americans are impatient. You just create pictures, you create bios that look like accounts that are from these locations because people are more likely to take in information from people that look like them and talk like them. Follow everybody that’s in that community. You retweet what they say. Lowering the guard of that audience so they would accept Russian information or Russian views. Over time you can insert in the content you want.
[Reporter] In this office building in St. Petersburg, an army of trolls. They were even caught on camera secretly filmed by a former employee.
The U. S. elections are the key issue for the Kremlin and of course Russia has invested a lot of effort into them. It’s so sophisticated and adapted for the tastes of internet users that it’s almost impossible to recognize.
[Dr. Alina Polyakova] You have serious quotas. So in an hour you have to produce 20 tweets, 30 comments on these websites. So, it’s actually like a work environment for these people.
[Reporter] 12 hours a day praising the Kremlin, berating its enemies.
[Steven Pifer] I myself have a number of Russian trolls. I know whenever I refer to the illegal annexation of Crimea I get, you know, quite a bit of criticism.
[Clint Watts] An interview like this, once it goes out on the internet, I’ll receive some sort of trolling very specifically around it. The goal is essentially to get you to shut up. And to not be a challenger. They’ll threaten lawsuits, for example, because they know nothing effects an American like the threat of a lawsuit. If you’re operating in Europe, the closer you get to Moscow, the more your physical life is actually in danger. (gun firing) They can try and break into your bank accounts, attack you financially, and if they can’t get to you personally they’ll target your family. They create false stories, seed it out there to try and destroy your reputation.
[Dr. Alina Polyakova] You plant an idea, a fake story, a lie.
[Clint Watts] It will take on a life of its own and you don’t have to do the propaganda. The audience will do it for you. Seth Rich was a campaign worker for Hillary Clinton. He turned up dead. The Seth Rich story was that he was the one who stole the Democratic Committee emails. There’s no evidence to support that. Today is, it’s an unsolved murder but it’s propagated both by the alternative right but also by groups like Wikileaks. Even to the point where you have Russian ambassador show up and say I think there might be something into this Seth Rich story. That doubt that’s there really covers your hand over the longer term.
[John Podesta] And sometimes the most outrageous are the ones that you think that you don’t want to dignify with a response to but that I’ve subsequently learned that’s a kind of dangerous proposition.
[Hillary Clinton] John Podesta says let’s go over to the pizza place and all of a sudden it’s a story about child trafficking ring in the basement which doesn’t exist in the pizza place.
[John Podesta] Resulted in a person who had been reading this stuff deciding that he would deputize himself to come up here with a gun, firing that weapon in the pizza parlor. But it just sort of never ends.
[Clint Watts] In 2013 they were starting to learn the power of this influence. In 2014 they were doing capability development. ’15 was winning audiences so that in 2016 you could actually go after the U.S. election. The primary message would be one, Hillary Clinton cannot become president. Second one is Trump is the man to mend fences with Russia and he’s a great leader and a nationalist much like Putin. The third one was Bernie Sanders got a raw deal that you shouldn’t even come out to the polls.
[Hillary Clinton] The Russians in line with right wing radical media were creating false stories to generate fear and in story after story after story.
[George] Secretary Clinton had a serious disease.
[Man] Multiple sclerosis.
[Woman] Hillary’s gonna cause nuclear war.
[Man] Murderer of 30 people.
[Man] Funding Isis, smuggling drugs.
[John Mattes] Hillary Clinton is the she devil.
[Hillary Clinton] Totally creepy falsehood.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] Sometimes we found in the United States our greatest strength, free speech, open societies, a democracy can also be one of our greatest vulnerabilities.
[Hillary Clinton] I don’t think we were fully aware of the impact, the effects that it was having. So much of it seemed surreal, ridiculous.
[John Mattes] By utilizing our openness, they exploited us. If people that I knew personally to be thinking thoughtful people, if they were sharing the propaganda, who else was sharing?
[Clint Watts] Everyone falls for fake news. I’ve fallen for fake news.
[John Podesta] Over the last 75 days, the top 20 demonstrably fake stories, got more Facebook likes and shares than the top 20 campaign stories from mainstream media.
[John Mattes] It laid the groundwork for Sanders supporters to say I’ve had it.
[Clint Watts] They actually have won over a segment of the U.S. audience like Russia’s never won over before. A white nationalists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they chanted.
[A white nationalists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia] Russia is our friend. Russia is our friend.
Recent polling indicates that 49% of Republican voters, I’m sad to say, believe that, that Putin and that Russia are either an ally or a friendly nation.
[Donald Trump] The question is who helped guide the decisions that the Russians were making, what ads they may have bought. What kinds of fake news they thought would be most effective.
[Alexander Nix, CEO Cambridge Analytica] If you know the personality of the people you’re targeting, you can nuance your messaging to resonate more effectively with those key audience groups. This information is quite helpful to a campaign manager.
[Nina Burleigh] Cambridge Analytica popped up growing out of an experiment, behavioral science experiment at Cambridge University to see whether they could analyze large numbers of people using Facebook because people are spilling their feelings to their friends, hundreds of millions of people in their pool.
[Alexander Nix] We have somewhere close to four or five thousand data points on every adult in the United States. We can see where these people are on the map.
[Nina Burleigh] They were able to take that to micro segment. You belong to a group of 12 like-minded people exactly like you who are interested in the same things around the country.
[Alexander Nix] These are people who are definitely going to vote but they need moving from the center a little bit more towards the right.
[Nina Burleigh] You’re not supposed to go into Facebook and harvest that kind of information. Cambridge Analytica got its Facebook data in a sort of quasi-legal way.
[Alexander Nix] We can look at what issue they care about. Gun rights I’ve selected. That narrows the field slightly more and now we know that we need a message on gun rights. It needs to be a persuasion message and it needs to be nuanced according to the certain personality that we’re interested in.
[Nina Burleigh] They were very involved in the Brexit vote.
[Dr. Alina Polyakova] We saw the Russian bot armies, the trolls, have a very pro Brexit message.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] There have been allegations that Cambridge Analytica supported it through a small office above a pizza shop, which is not exactly the kind of place you think would be the center for international intrigue unless it was just a cutout for somebody much more consequential behind it.
[Craig] Cambridge Analytics is owned by SCL.
[Nina Burleigh] A larger and much more sinister global election tampering operation using big data and technology.
[Craig Unger] SCL is in turn owned by shell companies that you can trace back to Dmitry Firtash who again is tied to Mogilevich. That would complete the entire string and show crime boss and Mogilevich involved starting out with pure and simple money laundering in 1984 with Trump properties going forward more than 32 years to the election in which this data mining firm Cambridge Analytica is playing a very, very big role in the Trump campaign and helping him win.
“Bannon listed his stake in Cambridge Analytica, between $1 million and $5 million” (Source: The New York Times)
[Alexander Nix] Of the two candidates left in this election, one of them is using these technologies and it’s gonna be very interesting to see how they impact the next several weeks. Thank you.
[Nina Burleigh] One of the big investors in Cambridge Analytica is Robert Mercer. He’s a hedge fund billionaire.
[John Podesta] Cyber scientists on the outside noticed this server that was configured in a very unusual way that was a direct link essentially from a Russian bank, Alfa bank, and Trump Tower.
[Man] That would obviously explain a major path of communications.
[John Podesta] Trump Tower. They seemed to have premonitions of things that were gonna happen that in fact did happen. Roger Stone in August saying it would be my turn at the barrel while he simultaneously involved with Wikileaks.
[Roger Stone] I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next crunch of documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.
[Jeremy Bash] October 7, 2016, three major things happened. The Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence made a public statement and said the government hacking during the 2016 election was none other than the Russian Federation and that this decision could have only been made by Vladimir Putin. On the same day the Access Hollywood tapes were revealed.
[Donald Trump] And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.
Whatever you want.
[Donald Trump] Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
[Jeremy Bash] Those two things. A third thing happened. John Podesta’s emails were released.
[Fox News] Wikileaks posted more than 2,000 additional emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.
[John Podesta] I never heard from the FBI until two days after my emails started getting released. They said you may not be aware of this but your emails have been hacked. I said, yes, I’ve been watching it for 48 hours on every cable story, you know, in the country. That was actually the last time I talked to the FBI.
[Hillary Clinton] There was a lot more that was coming out that we were aware of that we couldn’t get the press to pay any attention to. I tried in my speeches and then culminating in the third debate.
Debate Clinton-Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign
[Donald Trump] Look, from everything I see has no respect for this person.
[Hillary Clinton] Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of United States.
[Trump] No puppet. No puppet.
[Clinton] United States and it’s pretty clear.
[Trump] You’re the puppet.
[Clinton] It’s pretty clear you won’t admit?
[Trump] No you won’t?
[Clinton] That the Russians have engaged in cyber-attacks against the United States of America. That you encouraged espionage against our people. That you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do.
[John Podesta] We went into election day believing that we had a lead in the popular vote which proved to be true. Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, we felt like we had a lead in all those states and that proved to be not true so he won by a combined total in those three states of 70,000 votes and gave him the presidency.
[Donald Trump] Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business.
3 minutes ago Hillary Clinton admitted her defeat in the US presidential election, I congratulate all of you with this.
[Vladimir Putin] He took it all the way through the end, even though no one really believed he could win – well, except me and you!
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] During the transition, Jared Kushner met with a sanctioned Russian bank.
[Scott Horton] Gorkov, the head of that bank, got his training not in the banker’s academy. He’s a trained KGB agent. And its offices all around the world are always understood to be providing cover for Russian intelligence operations.
[Reporter] What did you really speak to Jared Kushner about in New York when you met him in December?
[Reporter] The Russian bank said they talked business. White House says they talked future U. S./Russia relations.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] If he was doing this for business purposes it would be a violation of the law. If he was doing this for political purposes there are serious questions about whether he or anyone on the campaign were working with Russians during the interference campaign.
[Jeremy Bash] The crown jewel for any intelligence agency is to recruit an asset inside your adversary’s intelligence agency because that person can of course report on intelligence operations against your own country.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] For Donald Trump to put Michael Flynn in the role of National Security Advisor shows that they were extremely incompetent in their vetting of an individual who was working as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of Turkey. Who had extensive ties to a foreign adversary in Russia and wasn’t disclosing those ties or that was one of his highest qualifications and Donald Trump liked that.
[James Woolsey] I was invited to take my old job as CIA director back. And I learned that I would have had to report to the president through Mike Flynn. They pressed me to go to a particular meeting where there were several Turks present and it was clear they were thinking seriously about taking him into custody Gulan in Western Pennsylvania which would have been completely illegal under American law. I told them that and left. I decided I did not want to report through Mike and so I turned down the offer.
[NBC News] President-elect Donald Trump sent out an email announcing his pick for Secretary of State. Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, despite concerns over his close ties to Russia.
[Evan McMullin] I mean, this is a guy who was given a friendship award by Vladimir Putin.
[Rex Tillerson] I have a very close relationship with him which dates back almost 15 years now.
[Evan McMullin] I believe that Rex Tillerson was chosen by Donald Trump for primarily one reason. He would not stand in the way of Donald Trump’s prevailing policy interests which is to align the United States with Vladimir Putin’s regime. And I think that’s exactly what he’s done. He’s facilitated it.
[Craig Unger] Putin and Rex Tillerson had been trying to put together a 500 billion dollar Arctic Exploration deal.
[Reporter] Exxon Mobil has won a highly coveted contract with Russia’s Rozneft.
[Rex Tillerson] You know, my philosophy is to make money. And so if I can drill and make money then that’s what I want to do.
[Craig Unger] But it had been put on hold by the Obama Administration when the sanctions were imposed.
[Jonathan Winer] One of the fascinating things in that dossier, Steele sources told him that Rozneft, big Russian oil company owned by the state, that 19% of it was gonna be sold off. And that there’d be money for people who were able to get. U.S. sanctions removed. Well, sure enough in December that percentage of Rozneft was sold off in a method by which involved Shell companies in the Grand Caymans which are nontransparent so which you can’t penetrate.
[Scott Horton] Only someone in the highest echelons of Rozneft would have access to that information.
[Jonathan Winer] And obviously somebody talking to Chris Steele knew a lot about it many months before it happened.
[Clint Watts] The Russian hand in these influence efforts, ultimately they’ll try and hide it and they do it with two methods, putting them in jail or killing people off.
(Video of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, assassinated in Ankara)
[Scott Horton] Arrests in which people were dragged out had black bags put over their heads. Charged for treason. These people may have been Chris Steele sources or Russian intelligence may have suspected that they were. The day after Christmas, General Oleg Erovenkin, who was the Chief of Staff of Rozneft was assassinated in the back of a car in the center of Moscow.
[Clint Watts] The head of RT English mysterious death in Washington, D. C. A Russian diplomat stationed here in New York City had actually died on election day.
[Steven Hall] You’ve got obvious interests on the part of the Russians. And of course on the other side of the equation you have all of these contacts going back to Russia, whether it’s Roger Stone, whether it’s Flynn. Whether it’s any of these folks, there is simply way too much smoke for there to be absolutely no fire whatsoever. (light intense music)
[Craig Unger] That I forget how many tentacles this has. (laughs) It’s just sort of anyone of these is a massive story. It’s unrealistic to think it’s limited to what we know now. Rather than look at this as one isolated money laundering after another or one criminal appearing after another. I think it’s much more than that and what you have is probably the biggest intelligence breach in the history of the world.
[Reporter] So to be clear Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?
[Paul Manafort] That that’s what he said. I didn’t. That’s what I said. That’s obviously what our position is.
Do you solemnly swear.
[Donald Trump] The office of President of the United States. (intense somber music)
[Evan McMullin] The president is, I believe, a puppet of Vladimir Putin. That is the mere challenge that we face as Americans.
[Hillary Clinton] He has tried to deliver for Russia. He wanted to take off sanctions immediately.
[Amb. Daniel Fried] I was in the administration for the first five weeks of Trump where, among other things, I was responsible for the Russia sanctions. And I’m one of the people who was worried that the Trump Administration would suddenly lift the sanctions unilaterally. And I stand by it now.
[John Dean] You don’t have to have been a lawyer. You don’t have to have been in a cover-up to see when somebody is acting like they’re covering up. This man is clearly inconspicuously doing so.
[Clint Watts] I don’t know how a president can handle this situation worse than President Trump is now. His actions at the G20, his talk of maybe getting a cyber partnership. You don’t go to somebody who just punched you in the face and then offer them a favor.
[Vladimir Putin] It seemed to me it wouldn’t be ethical on my behalf to describe in details my conversation with President Trump.
[Craig Unger] Trump has to have known he was compromised. He’s got to know the eyes of the world are on him. And suddenly all these forces will be out to expose him. I cannot imagine living with that every day, you know.
[Asha Rangappa] The Trump campaign’s biggest potential exposure is gonna be in their financial dealings. It’s very hard to cover up money trails. The other one is obstruction of justice.
[John Dean] Collusion is a media shorthand for could be aiding and abetting. Conspiracy. It could be aid and comfort which is treason.
[Donald Trump] The Russia story is a total fabrication. What the prosecutors should be looking at are Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails.
Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! (crowd yelling) Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!
[Asha Rangappa] It is ongoing. The Russians efforts here are continuing as we speak.
[Michael McFaul] We’ve done zero. Absolutely nothing to protect us from a future cyber-attack with respect to any election. Zero. We haven’t done anything.
[John McCain] As long as people can do things without penalty they’re going to continue to do them.
[Hillary Clinton] We all have a stake because it may have been the Democrats and me this time. It can be the Republicans and their candidate next time.
[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse] Every single national security official we’ve talked to has said they’re coming back. We have to be ready for that.
[Michael McFaul] And if the people don’t demand that. If they don’t demand that our sovereignty needs to be defended, our representatives in Congress are gonna kind of look the other way and move on.
[Evan McMullin] What’s at stake is truth. What’s at stake is government that’s accountable to us. And the cause of liberty at the most profound level possible.
[Rep. Eric Swalwell] We owe it to the people who have fought for and sacrificed for this democracy and to be guardians of it and make sure that we always have free and fair elections.
(upbit electro music)
3 thoughts on “Active Measures (2018) – Transcript”
If you believed Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons, this movie is for you. If you’re an ideologue on an anti-Russian bender, you’ll find this movie intoxicatingly pleasant. But if you want a real dose of reality about the troubling Trump-Russia scandal “Active Measures” has nothing for you except an object lesson in how mass deception is done.
“The President is a puppet of Vladimir Putin!” That sums up the revelations of Jack Bryan’s blockbuster documentary “Active Measures.” Putin’s alleged efforts to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election in collaboration with The Trump Campaign are the “active measures” that title the film.
Interviewees form a star-studded cast, including former presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and the late John McCain, former US envoy to Moscow Michael McFaul, the former presidents of Georgia and Estonia, among others. There’s no host asking questions — just the commentaries and quips from the interviewees alone.
Active Measures is a term coined during the Cold War era to describe a variety of deceptive Soviet political warfare activities that can loosely be described as propaganda. Active measures are frequently used in the media to promote political positions.
From a media analysis standpoint, one fact stands out clearly. This is a movie that seems intent on convincing audiences of its premise. But it doesn’t offer much relevant proof.
For instance, Clinton says of Putin, “He wants to be the richest man in the world.” How in the world does she know that? Then there is McCain’s comparison of Putin with the rise of Hitler. McCain just joined Clinton with more hyperbolic disparagement.
Other characters in the movie touch on issues that have been blamed on Putin. For example, Jonathan Winer, a former State Department Official, said the 2006 polonium poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko was a “murder that was very directly linked to Russia.” Another former State Department official Daniel Fried claimed that “Putin started forcing the independent media to knuckle under, putting in state control, turning them into propaganda outfits.” Fried goes on to claim that Putin started “going after independent journalists,… They ended up dead.” These are all allusions to mainstream myths about Putin.
Some of their assertions seem to belie a level of confusion. Former ambassador Michael McFaul, speaking about the alleged 2016 election hacking said, “They stole the data. Let’s be clear about it… This is theft. If the Russians walked into my house and took something out, this is exactly the same thing.” This is not the same thing.
A more consequential matter is that of Putin’s KGB background. “His role in the KGB was to support Russian intelligence officers living under assumed identities under deep cover inside the United States and developing active measures to impact the policies of the United States.” That is a quote from Jeremy Bash, identified as CIA chief of staff 2009-2011. However, it appears that Putin’s actual role in the KGB was extremely insignificant, virtually that of a clerk assigned to a backwater posting in Dresden, East Germany.
Active Measures presents yet more specious, factually unsupported stories to advance the movie’s primary premise. For example, there is the matter of the 2016 Republican platform with regard to Ukraine. There’s also the mysterious death in Washington DC of the head of Russia’s English language broadcasting arm. These and other vignettes appear to follow a similar pattern of deception.
Some of the speakers appear to have excellent credentials, but closer scrutiny suggests that they may be speaking outside of their areas of expertise. For example, Winer was State’s special envoy to Libya. Then he became associated with the Steele dossier, a document which has largely been discredited and tied to the presidential campaign of Hilary Clinton.
But the ultimate impact of the material about Russia is to mislead the audience to a conclusion that is at odds with the truth. The film sets out to warn the audience about active measures being used to deceive Americans. Ironically, the film is itself an example of active measures.
Cast members state unfounded premises about Russia as if they are facts. Then they draw conclusions based on those premises. The fast pace of the film does not allow the audience to weigh the information before the next speaker is up. The pacing makes the film feel like a two-hour long trailer. Audience members unable to tag the premises as false will likely be drawn into accepting the conclusions without realizing they’ve been hoodwinked. That’s the danger presented by Active Measures.
While I agree with you that the Active Measures film does not adequately prove its premise (that Trump is a pupet controlled by Putin in exchange for hacking the election) I don’t think it intended to or should be expected to.
Our country is currently at a point that if there was proof of the premise of Active Measures many people simply couldn’t believe their own eyes and ears. The President created that environment by his constant attacks on the media.
I think Active Measures succeeds by doing an opening statement without the trial. However the trial will come in real life. This opening statement will held add context for when that proof does come.
Craps from the Loft … a good example of active measures in action