Maddow loses count of the Russians!

MONDAY, JULY 17, 2017

Her actual count came to one:
Last Friday night, she made it official:

Rachel Maddow is one of least disguised major dissemblers in the history of "cable news."

Her opening segment on that night included a rich assortment of cons. To watch the full segment, click here.

At one point, Maddow was astonished to think that a Russian lawyer who doesn't speak English might have had a translator present. This is the bullshit she served:
MADDOW (7/14/17): And then we learned that it wasn't just Donald Trump Jr.

Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were at that meeting too, and they too had been notified this was a Russian government attorney coming to meet with them, bringing derogatory information that came from the Russian government.

And then we learned it was not just all of them and the Russian government attorney.

Today, we learned the group also included this guy [Rinat Akhmetshin], who NBC News first identified as a former Soviet counterintelligence officer suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence. He was there too.

Despite all of these days of reporting and statements and admissions about this meeting, the presence of this guy, this former Russian military intelligence guy, the presence of this guy at the meeting was somehow left out of all of the earlier disclosures and we only found out about that today, thanks to NBC.

In addition to him, there was also reportedly a translator there, who is a relatively well-known person himself. I expect you'll see a bunch of reporting about him and his potential role in this in the days ahead, over the course of the weekend.
That passage starts shortly after the eight-minute mark of the Maddow videotape.

Imagine having a translator there! We have no idea what made Maddow meant by her insinuations about the translator, Anatoli Samochornov. But four hours earlier, this profile had already appeared at the Daily Beast, along with this profile at the Huffington Post.

Long story short: the scary translator, an American citizen, had been vouched for, by Masha Gessen, as "the best intrepreter in New York, hands down." He has worked in all sorts of major international settings, typically for the good guys. Also this, at HuffPo:
SCHULBERG AND BLUMENTHAL (7/14/17): A registered Democrat, Samochornov works with clients on all sides of American and international politics. But his own views appear to be progressive. On Facebook, he has shared clips from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s show, labeled former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Bush-era adviser Karl Rove as losers, and posted in favor of expanded health care coverage and more restricted access to guns. When PEN, the literary and human rights organization, invited a gaggle of Russian writers critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin to New York, he became “great friends” with them, Gessen said.
Who would allow such a man in the room? Four hours later, Maddow was using this scary Maddow viewer as a way to extend and enhance her brainless, dissembling red scare.

How bad did Maddow's dissembling get? As is often the case, if it weren't for the phony facts she provided, she offered few facts at all.

Go ahead! On your own, note the overt dissembling as she pretended to establish the claim that the Russian lawyer actually was a Russian government lawyer. In the passage below, she served you a flat misstatement:
MADDOW: So that meeting with the upper echelons of the Trump campaign in June of last year, today we learned that it also included a former Russian counterintelligence officer who nobody thought to mention before. He also tells the Associated Press that he and Natalia Veselnitskaya left documents about Hillary Clinton behind at that meeting for the Trump campaign to continue to review. We didn't know that before.
In that passage, Maddow was still playing Akhmetshin as "a former Russian counterintelligence officer." (By the next day, her beloved NBC News would move way back from that claim.)

But whatever you may think about that characterization, Akhmetshin didn't say that "he and Natalia Veselnitskaya" left documents about Hillary Clinton behind. He said that Veselnitskaya did. Full and complete total stop, unless you're getting yourself conned by a con man like Maddow.

That said, the most comical part of Maddow's con occurred when she started counting Russians. You really need to watch the tape to see Maddow clown and emote as she cons you at this point. But in this fuller chunk of text, she is rolling her eyes about all the Russians in the room at the now-famous meeting:
MADDOW: Today, we learned the group also included this guy [Akhmetshin], who NBC News first identified as a former Soviet counterintelligence officer suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence. He was there too.


In addition to him, there was also reportedly a translator there, who is a relatively well-known person himself. I expect you'll see a bunch of reporting about him and his potential role in this in the days ahead, over the course of the weekend.

That would bring the total number of people in the meeting to, let's see:

Junior, Manafort, Kushner, the lawyer, the ex-counterintelligence guy, the translator.

Oh, also on the lower right hand side there, that's the British guy who wrote the e-mails to Don Jr. in the first place.

That brings the total number of people we now know in the meeting to seven. But CNN is also reporting that actually maybe it was eight, and maybe it was more than eight.

CNN is reporting that there was somebody else in the meeting in addition who was there as a representative of the family of this Putin-linked Russian oligarch who initially took the meeting with Yuri Chaika, with the federal prosecutor in the first place that led to this whole thing.

So, we're now basically waiting to find out if there were any Russians who were in New York that day who were not in that meeting. And if so, is that just because they wouldn"t fit in the elevator? Honestly, like anything else to declare on this?
Maddow's outraged muggng was superb during that performance. Consider:

She said there may have been as many as eight people in the room. Histrionically, she asked if there were any Russkies in New York who weren't at the now-famous meeting.

She failed to note that her own sacred NBC News was saying that the alleged eighth person may have been Akhmetshin himself. She also failed to note this:

Of all the people she identified, only one—the now-famous Russian lawyer herself—wasn't an American or British citizen. The lawyer was the only one! Let's run down the list:
People known to be in the room at the now-famous meeting
"Junior," Manafort and Kushner: American citizens
Akhmetshin: naturalized American citizen
Translator: naturalized American citizen
Music publicist: British citizen
The Russian lawyer: flat-out Russian citizen
Maddow had identified exactly one straight-up Russkie. But uh-oh! Amazingly, she never told her misled viewers that Akhmetshin is an American citizen. She also forgot to mention the fact that the translator is an American citizen too.

She made it sound like all Mother Russia was there. In reality, she had managed to count exactly one person in the room who wasn't a British or American citizen.

We the pitiful liberal viewers weren't permitted to know that.

We don't know what makes Maddow behave in this highly unstable way. But this is very much the way she does behave, at least when she gets on the air.

We've warned you, for quite a few years, about her lack of obsessive honesty. That performance Friday night was an ugly con all the way down.

This ugly con was played on us, her gullible liberal viewers. We are the people who get fooled when this puzzling corporate tool plays these deeply disordered, Trump-like TV games.

There was one Russkie in the room. Maddow shrieked and completely lost count, the number had gone so high.

This actually is what Maddow does. She's been like this for years.

Don't misunderstand this remarkable fact: Maddow never told her viewers that Akhmetshin is an American citizen.

She never told viewers that the very scary translator is an American citizen too. This is what Rachel Maddow does. She's played the game this way for years, as has Donald J. Trump.


  1. "People known to be in the room at the now-famous meeting
    Uday, Manafort and Kushner: American citizens..."

    Made it clearer for you.

    1. By definition, you have to be an American citizen to commit treason against the USA. It is a special kind of betrayal.

  2. Don't misunderstand this remarkable fact: Somerby never told his readers that Akhmetshin is also a Russian Citizen.

    After meeting with Jr. et al, Akhmetshin and Veselnitskaya went to DC to attend a documentary film screening a foundation he represented financed.
    The foundation is called the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation. Its purpose was to lobby for repeal or modification of the Magnitsky Act and sanctions.

    "The June 13 showing was the film's premiere. Other screenings had been canceled in Europe following protests by critics who say it is a crude attempt to smear Magnitsky's name and that of the Western financier who employed him, William Browder.

    That it was shown at all was a small coup for Rinat Akhmetshin, the man at the back of the room who for nearly 20 years has worked the shadowy corners of the Washington lobbying scene on behalf of businessmen and politicians from around the former Soviet Union.

    A bespectacled 48-year-old who holds dual Russian-American citizenship and is known to ride around downtown Washington on a retro orange bicycle, Akhmetshin has managed to fly largely under the radar in past campaigns. There are only a handful of records in the congressional lobbying database bearing his imprint.

    Moscow, meanwhile, has made no secret of its desire to undermine the Magnitsky Act and has waged open war against Browder as part of that effort. Browder had been barred entry in Russia even before Magnitsky’s death, and in 2013 he was convicted in absentia by a Russian court for tax evasion. Magnitsky was posthumously convicted on similar charges. A Council of Europe investigation concluded the conditions leading up to his death amounted to torture.

    State-run Russian TV has aired investigations about Browder and the country’s top prosecutor has linked Browder to an investigative documentary exploring the shady business practices of the prosecutor’s sons."

    1. The translator, Samochornov, was also born in Russia before coming to the US and working for the FBI and State Dept and more recently Meridien (a contractor).

    2. Of course the reason Veselnitskaya first came to the US was as a lawyer for Prevezon, a Russian owned firm who had $14 million of the alleged Magnitsky money frozen by the Justice Department. From the same article:

      "Akhmetshin has paid at least one visit to Congress in connection with new human rights legislation that builds on the earlier Magnitsky Act. Along with Ron Dellums, a former U.S. congressman from California and longtime Washington lobbyist, Akhmetshin visited House member offices on May 17 to meet with Dana Rohrabacher, another California congressman viewed as one of the most sympathetic U.S. officials to Russian causes.

      According to The Daily Beast, the two told congressional officials said they were lobbying on behalf of Prevezon. But Dellums told RFE/RL that his involvement focused on resuming Russian adoptions by U.S. parents.

      “I don’t know anything about the other stuff -- Prevezon or anything else,” Dellums said."

      The Daily Beast article tells us a bit more about the translator.

      In February, an organization calling itself the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation, an obvious echo of the full name of the Magnitsky Act, was registered in Delaware....

      HRAGIF claims to be “working on analyzing legal and legislative options to help overturn this adoption ban,” according to its site. “We would like to present our findings to the members of U.S. Congress, Administration and U.S. public and is planning to brief them on possible ways of resolution of this stalemate on adoptions.”

      The Daily Beast has seen an email sent to the Open Dialog Foundation, a Poland-based NGO, from a man named Anatoli Samochornov, who claimed to “represent” HRAGIF along with Natalia Veselnitskaya, identified in the email as “a Russian lawyer who conducted an extensive investigation of the Magnitsky case.”

      Both Samochornov and Veselnitskaya were seeking press accreditation to attend an event last month at the Open Dialog Foundation where Browder was slated to speak.

      They were denied accreditation.

      The Daily Beast spoke briefly to Samochornov last week. He confirmed the authenticity of his email to the Open Dialog Foundation and his and Veselnitskaya’s involvement in the setting up of HRAGIF. But he asked to be interviewed on the record alongside his colleague, who was not, at the time of the call, available to speak.

      Then, after agreeing to such an interview, neither Samochornov nor Veselnitskaya responded to The Daily Beast’s follow-up inquiries, and neither was available in time for the publication of this story. Their silence may owe to the fact that, unmentioned in Samochornov’s email to the Open Dialog Foundation and nowhere apparent on HRAGIF’s website, is Veselnitskaya’s role as the family attorney for the owner of Prevezon Holdings, Ltd., the company accused in U.S federal court of money-laundering."

    3. In other words, the translator was directly involved in setting up the "Russian Adoption" group that was actually trying to remove sanctions, and he misled the Daily Beast to evade an interview. And this was a month before the Trump meeting.

  3. Bob:

    Point taken...Just to underline, here is the line up of current citizen status of the attendees as you have correctly listed them:

    "Junior," Manafort and Kushner: American citizens
    Akhmetshin: naturalized American citizen
    Translator: naturalized American citizen
    Music publicist: British citizen
    The Russian lawyer: flat-out Russian citizen

    Now that this has all been spelled out, the question is does this make
    the meeting seem one bit less suspicious than it seemed previously.
    How about the fact that the meeting was originally left off of Kushner's security clearance forms. Or that for some reason Trump, Jr., and co., have had to change the number of attendees twice. I say Rachel is Rachel, the good and the bad, but that is no reason to for us to take our eye off the ball.

  4. Espionage agents are always named Boris and Natasha and they walk around with badges saying "Spy" on their lapels. It is thus easy to identify them and conversely easy to tell who is not a spy -- anyone lacking a Russia name or accent, with no spy credentials.

    Easy to see why Somerby would conclude that anyone who was born in Russia but then came to the US and became a naturalized citizen cannot be a spy, and similarly, anyone who is a British Music Promoter cannot be a spy either, no matter how much he hangs around with Russian wheeler-dealers (to use a kinder word) who are BFFs with Putin.

    And remember that Trump asked Putin point-blank, in two different ways, whether he hacked our election and Putin said he didn't. That's good enough for Trump, so these meeting-attendees who all proclaim their innocence and cannot be doing anything against American interests since they are mostly Americans, are no doubt completely innocent too. Especially Donald Jr., despite what he said in any emails.

  5. Ethel & Julius Rosenberg were American citizens. So was Alger Hiss.

    Maddow no doubt left out any mention of nationalities because it would be irrelevant for any of them except the Russian lawyer, since she was explicitly representing Russia.

  6. Bob has become a full Trump apologist. His sole purpose in life these days seems to be to attack Maddow, the NYT, the WaPo and parrot Trump talking points and false equivalences (Hillary and Ukraine !). Most of his arguments are mere nitpcking at best.

    Completely absent from Bob's self imposed remit are the wild news and conspiracy theories from the right -- Seth Rich etc. And he completely ignores or belittles all the solid investigative reporting from the NYT, the WaPo etc. that broke all of these stories.

    His obsession with Maddow is almost Ahabian, but he hardly even mentions Hannity, who is far worse than Maddow in most respects and is a complete Trump enabler.

    I think Bob would much rather see Trump in power so he can continue to lambaste his favorite hate objects (such as Maddow). The word 'useful idiot' comes to mind.

    1. There is something you, Sir Prize, and others with similar complaints do not understand. You complain that Bob spends too much time denigrating "our tribes" media heroes, the NYT, WaPo, et alia, and not enough time denigrating Fox News et alia. Bob has written in the past about the partisan nature of Fox, and has noted the lack of push back by the NYT, et alia, at the birth of Fox.
      The problem with the NYT in particular, and mass media in general, is that they adhere to a propaganda model. This was written about by Herman and Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent. That explains why the lack of criticism against the partisan, tribal media, and his criticism that Maddow is exactly the complement to Hannity.

    2. I am not even a liberal (centrist Anti-Trumper), and even I can see a great chasm betwen Maddow do some decent reporting at times. Hannity has gone full enabler on Trump, and has been pushing some really atrocious stories like the Seth Rich conspiracy theories (which was too much even for Fox).

      And Maddow (and WaPo) has criticized Fox coverage. But Bob has probaby spent 100x as much time criticizing Maddow was he does Hannity and Fox. And he's now parroting Hannity talking points ("What about Hillary/Ukraine").

      Basically Bob is now indistinguishable from a full blown Trumptard -- so full of hate for the NYt, WaPo, Maddow etc. that he is defending the indefensible (Trump).

    3. I mean -- even can I see a great chasm betwen Maddow and Hannity. Maddow may work for a corporate giant, but she is figthing the good fight (mostly) in pointing out the mendacity and corruption in the Trump admin.

  7. Here is what was in the email sent to Uday.

    This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin.

    Part. Of. Russia. Government's. Support.

    What the fuck are you having trouble understanding Bob?

  8. Bob Somerby: “At one point, Maddow was astonished to think that a Russian lawyer who doesn’t speak English might have had a translator present.”

    That firm assertion is more than you know.

    And it is highly unlikely.

    Since you watch every Rachel Maddow episode so intently and in detail, Bob, no doubt you saw (as Maddow interviewed former Ambassador Michael McFaul) the photo of that Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, sitting in the front row directly behind McFaul — and next to his sons — while he testified before the House in June 2016, and where was her translator then? (Yet, oddly enough... and please check her facial expressions for yourself, look up the videos of his testimony... does she look the least bit lost or puzzled or like she is having any trouble following the proceedings?)

    Putin himself also speaks English; it’s quite often taught and learnt as a second language in Russia, and third and even fourth languages are not uncommon especially among Russians who travel. Remaining a monoglot is far more a marker of the “Ugly American” stereotype... that, ironically, Trump has come forward to represent.

    Having a translator in for discussions and negotiations offers a nice help to make sure important terms correctly cross the language barrier, but also serves the tactical purpose of giving a bit of extra thinking time to plan out a response while the translator repeats what you already understood the first time.

    Meanwhile, the Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump blog, has tried to paint that photo as proof of a conspiracy between Putin and Obama (“Well Look Here: Russian Lawyer Veselnitskaya is Pictured with Obama Ambassador to Russia — 8 Days After Trump Jr. Meeting”), never mind the meaning of “with” by foreshortening is that she sat behind his back in an audience row, in a seat arranged by a Republican staffer, while he testified facing the other direction at a witness table, nor that he was even then only a former Ambassador, truth clearly was not a priority here.

    And Trump himself, in Paris, claimed, with his usual reliance on the anonymous sourcing he decries: “Somebody said that her visa or her passport to come into the country was approved by Attorney General Lynch. Now, maybe that’s wrong. I just heard that a little while ago. So she was here because of Lynch.”

    Lynch shouldn’t even have needed to point this out (though she did release a statement), but the Attorney General doesn’t approve visas; that’s up to the Department of State, and the concern of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees foreign entry at airports. Neither of them were in her charge.

    Ah, but in reasonable, rational discourse, no doubt we will be spun around to ask why this guff should not be given more lengthy consideration too, along with the firmly asserted factual claim that Veselnitskaya “doesn’t speak English”.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Here’s a YouTube video showing Veselnitskaya as former Ambassadors McFaul and Matlock exchange comments during testimony. If she doesn’t understand what’s being said, what is she taking notes about?

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