Josh Marshall’s ‘Team on the Ground’: Putting the GOP on the defense against Russia requires reversing its offense

Josh Marshall argued yesterday that the Democratic Party must start attacking the GOP’s complicity in Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

A new AP poll said that 54% of Americans believe that President Biden was “not tough enough” on Russia for his invasion of Ukraine. These types of public perceptions can be shaped by a leader’s perceptions as much as they motivate them. So you think Biden is weak as a starting point and therefore you think he’s not tough enough on Russia rather than the other way around. It should also be noted that the aggressiveness of the Americans towards Ukraine has slightly decreased over the past month. But the first, second, and third most important thing about this poll is that’s what you get when you don’t remind Americans every day – and I mean every fucking day – that the GOP has spent the last 7 years inciting, allying and even conspiring with Russia.


Will pushing the GOP’s guilt and complicity toward Russia make people stop worrying about inflation? Of course not. But if you’re not even putting that team in the field, you’re just not doing the simplest blocking and fighting politics. It’s that bad. [my emphasis]

I don’t disagree with him. But for a guy who has his own medium, he has to start following his own advice. That’s because his site has done little to undermine the flood of misinformation the GOP has used to hide its own complicity.

Between the tag, “Durham“,

And “John DurhamMarshall’s site shows four stories this year.

The tag “Biden hunterjust returns two things this year.

While I haven’t focused on undermining the ridiculous claims the GOP makes about the ‘Hunter Biden’ ‘laptop’ — I’ve only written three stories this year (one, two, three), although that number would be way more if you count my attention to the Rudy inquest – I’ve written 28 stories about the Durham inquest this year. Among other things, I showed that:

  • Six different pieces of evidence from the Mueller investigation undermine the foundation of the Durham inquiry
  • Durham’s senior prosecutor, Andrew DeFilippis, was outraged that DARPA thought to investigate an ongoing Russian attack on democracy and elsewhere Durham suggested victims of voter hacking should wait until after the election for any remedy.
  • Durham seems totally unaware that the Democrats knew Russia hacked them in response to Trump’s “Russia, listen to you” comment (even though the DOJ has proof that the Democrats admitted it)
  • A judge observed that the Durham investigation and the Alfa Bank lawsuit appeared to be “written by the same people” and, after Alfa Bank had to drop out due to the invasion of Ukraine, Durham said performs multiple stunts to make up for losing that partner, violating a number of time limits to do so
  • Durham has no intention of completing its investigation
  • Durham’s evidence has the same irregularities as the documents that were changed in Bill Barr’s attempt to undermine the Mike Flynn investigation
  • Durham failed to take basic investigative steps before charging Michael Sussmann
  • Durham took no further basic investigative steps before charging Michael Sussmann
  • Durham took a trip with Bill Barr to Italy rather than take basic investigative action at the DOJ
  • Durham failed to take the investigative steps it was warned of years ago before charging Michael Sussmann
  • Durham failed to take even more basic investigative steps before charging Michael Sussmann
  • Rather than take basic investigative action, Durham was ingesting the propaganda of proven exaggerator John Ratcliffe
  • Durham hid a key detail – that Sussmann and Rodney Joffe granted an FBI request to help kill the Alfa Bank story – which totally undermines his case
  • Durham suggests he intimidated one of the witnesses in this case
  • Durham has accused one of his key fact witnesses, Sergei Millian’s Twitter feed, of twisting details of his investigation and said it was not his fault that his former boss called for death of his accused.

One of the only other journalists to cover this subject with any attention, Charlie Savage, has to speak to a general audience. Meanwhile, an absolute torrent of frothy right-wing propaganda ignored the mounting evidence not only of abuse by prosecutors, but also of a shocking lack of rigor. Instead, they turn Durham’s unsubstantiated conspiracy theories into facts, and from there conclude that Trump was not really badly implied by Russia, but instead it was all made up by Hillary in advance.

If I weren’t alone swimming against the tide, Durham’s ignorance would actually be a great way to correct the moss. As I noted, Durham and his rubes seem totally unaware that the suspicions of researchers trying to figure out Alfa Bank’s anomalies – that Trump had back-channel communications with the Kremlin, that people close to Trump were laundering the payments from oligarchs close to Trump, and that a family member of an oligarch from Alfa Bank could help – it all turned out to be true.

The story of the Durham Inquiry is that it criminalized people investigating reasonable inferences that turned out to be true. And yet the story that has been told, largely because other journalists are largely silent about it, is that he continues to chase Russian conspiracy theories in defiance of the evidence obtained through the Mueller investigation.

Josh Marshall has been far more successful than I have been in the two decades we’ve been doing this online journalism, so I’m not in a position to tell him how to run his business.

But people think Biden is weak on Ukraine, not just because Democrats aren’t shouting about how complicit Trump and his enablers are. They believe it because Trump seeded two screaming conspiracy theories that filled that void with false denials that all suspicions about Trump turned out to be true.

Update: Added a third ‘laptop’ story ‘Hunter Biden’.


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