Q. What is a non-partisan?
A. Someone who is not committed to any political party. The non-partisan in theory can observe political events neutrally, whereas a partisan tends to view matters from a particular perspective.
Q. Did you vote in the last American election.
A. No, I did not. I didn’t contribute to any political party and I received no money from any political party.
Q. Is a coup d’état occurring in Washington, D.C. at this time?
A. Yes, a coup is being attempted. It is a non-traditional coup. There are no troops or armed masses converging on the White House with the aim of forcing Trump to resign and flee, at least not at this time. There has been no assassination or attempted assassination. There is no blood on the streets shed in an effort to remove Trump from office. It has been called a soft coup or a low-level coup. These adjectives are not important. What’s important is that there has been an ongoing effort to discredit Trump, the ultimate objective being his removal from office, and Trump has not squashed this effort.
Q. Will the coup succeed in removing Trump from office?
A. Not in its present form. It is currently destined to fail because the investigating agencies and enemies of Trump haven’t found a smoking gun against him on the basis of Russian ties or influence. No one can prove that Trump is being controlled by Putin, and so he won’t resign for that reason. The coup will peter out unless it comes up with new and more explosive anti-Trump material that’s not obviously specious or doubtful as much of the current material is. Furthermore, Trump hasn’t yet counterattacked and he has plenty of ammunition.
Q. What are the objectives of the coup?
A. One objective is to keep in place an anti-Russian policy. The coup’s instigators want to prevent Trump from letting up on the pressure (sanctions) on Russia and from cooperating with Russia. The coup forces are all anti-Russia, and that serves to unite them. A second objective is to maintain the positions, power, and influence of the coup’s seekers.
Q. How is the coup being conducted?
A. This is a “seed crystal” coup. The model for the seed crystal coup is the Watergate scandal. The operational goal is to crystallize and solidify the disunited Trump opposition into a movement that has irresistible momentum. In much the same way that seed crystals can accelerate a phase change from liquid to solid, the coup perpetrators introduce reports, accusations, and leaks over time in order to create the impression that a widening scandal is occurring. Each component has no merit but the media accept them at face value and provide publicity that creates new adherents and coherence among the anti-Trump forces. The anti-Trump forces are anxious to replicate the success in getting Nixon to resign.
Q. What is the role of the establishment media in the coup?
A. The anti-Trump media are critical in this effort. The anti-Trump media keep up a drumbeat of anti-Trump reporting. They slant the news, manufacture stories, repeat them and create fake news. They try to convince the public that the coup’s promoters are on the side of the angels (as in protecting national security and the election system’s purity) and Trump is on the side of the devils (as in making concessions to a dangerous foe and being too respectful to Putin). The media must paint Russia and Putin as enemies for this propaganda effort to succeed. The media provide a focal point that coordinates the coup’s backers even if they never sit down and conspire with one another. Everyone can observe the media stories and through that the effects of their anti-Trump leaks, reports, and innuendos. This allows them to plan their next moves.
Q. What is the role of social media in the coup attempt?
A. Social media have played a role in uprisings during the Arab Spring. The same thing can happen in America. There is a host of groups who are anti-Trump on grounds other than Russia. They can coordinate through social media. These groups seek to de-legitimize Trump so as to maintain items on their agenda. Aides to Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign are now piling on to the effort.
These groups are distinct from the coup’s perpetrators. They might launch a coup attempt of their own or they may become a front line of the existing coup, that is, merge with it as a force to reckon with that Trump has to address.
Q. How do you answer those who deny that there is an ongoing coup attempt?
A. Positing a coup attempt is the simplest and most comprehensive hypothesis that ties together and explains a host of known facts that we know have occurred. Being a model of events, it is imperfect; but it’s better than no model because it still helps us to understand what’s going on. We are not seeing a train of unconnected events that just happen to be anti-Trump. It is easier to understand it as a concerted effort going on to emasculate the Trump presidency and possibly see him replaced; and that effort is centered in the CIA.
The people behind the coup are operating partly openly and partly covertly. They are not so far using military means or physically threatening means so that the coup is not clearly recognizable as such. They are more like sharks circling their intended victims, with each one being hungry and attacking its own, as opposed to making pre-arranged attacks. Their coordination is achieved through publicity and a common goal.
We can see these attacks, and they show a pattern, a common goal and a recognizable origin, primarily among U.S. intelligence agencies, especially the CIA.
Q. What attacks are you referring to?
A. The first victim was Paul Manafort who resigned in mid-August 2016 as Trump’s campaign chairman. His lobbying efforts on behalf of the ousted head of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, resulted in a dirt campaign against him. That attack stemmed from anti-Russian sources in Ukraine whom the U.S. government supports. Attacks from foreign origins conceal their true U.S. origins. They are a sign of a CIA operation behind the scenes.
The second victim of the coup is Michael T. Flynn, who resigned as Trump’s National Security Advisor after only three weeks in that post. Leaks of tapped phone calls showed that intelligence operatives were behind this shark attack.
Q. Who is behind the coup attempt?
A. Mainly, unnamed intelligence officials and operatives who are in the CIA or recently retired from such. A number of media outfits are exceptionally active in propagating negative headlines and stories about Trump and his administration. Elements of other intelligence agencies and departments of government are possibly involved. We do not know the names of those operating against Trump, and this is a weakness of the coup hypothesis.
Q. When did the coup attempt begin?
A. Its foundation was laid in 2016 by accusations of Russian interference in the election. The coup began in earnest as soon as the election in November 2016 made Trump the winner.
Q. What evidence points to the CIA’s role in the coup attempt?
A. A news report from September 5, 2016, reports that “U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence, and congressional officials said.”
On Jan. 14, 2017, a news report states that the CIA set up a task force in 2016 to investigate possible Russian funding of Trump’s campaign. The task force included the FBI, the Treasury, and Justice Departments, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Agency (NSA).
Q. Why did the CIA set up a task force to investigate Trump’s campaign?
A. Why did the CIA not set up a task force to investigate Hillary Clinton’s activities during and after being Secretary of State in response to receipt of mammoth amounts of foreign money that were laundered through the Clinton Foundation? The reason is that she was the candidate favored by the CIA leadership and Trump was not.
Early in 2016, Trump was raising very strong doubts in the intelligence community that he’d govern as they saw fit.
On February 24, 2016, ex-CIA chief Hayden said he’d be “frightened” of a Trump presidency. He said, “I would be incredibly concerned if President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign.” A news report told us “Former CIA director Michael Hayden believes there is a legitimate possibility that the U.S. military would refuse to follow orders given by Donald Trump if the Republican front-runner becomes president and decides to make good on certain campaign pledges.”
A month later, Hayden opined that Trump was a larger threat to national stability on security matters than Hillary Clinton.
On April 11, 2016, we learn that CIA Director “Brennan said on NBC News Sunday that he would not allow enhanced interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, even if a future president ordered it.” Trump wasted no time responding: “Donald Trump is taking on CIA Director John Brennan on torture, saying Brennan’s pledge not to allow waterboarding is ‘ridiculous.’”
On July 13, 2016, Brennan testified that he’d consider quitting rather than obey a president’s order to reinstate waterboarding, something that Trump had suggested. Another article says that even before that date, “[Brennan] has already expressed his distaste for Trump.”
There is ample evidence in the form of sharp public bickering between Trump and these two CIA chiefs, present and the past, that the CIA set up a task force to investigate Trump’s campaign as a weapon against Trump and his possible election. The motive behind the investigation was not to ensure a clean campaign free of Russian influence but to work against Trump’s election chances. The CIA was dismayed by what appeared to them to be a possible president who was aiming to work with Putin and not against him.
Q. But wasn’t the CIA doing the right thing to investigate possible Russian funding of the Trump campaign?
A. The idea of Russian funding of Trump’s campaign was absurd. This investigation had no reason to be started other than a goal of smearing Trump and preventing a Trump presidency. It was absurd because foreign money given to American political campaigns is illegal and everyone knows it. Trump would not jeopardize his campaign for some trivial amount of money nor would his campaign officials; and a large amount would easily be spotted through the banking system. It was also absurd because the Kremlin would not operate and does not operate in this way. It would not risk being found out blatantly violating American law in this way, as that would greatly diminish its credibility. “Doing the right thing” for the American system was strictly a plausible and disingenuous device.
Q. If the investigation was absurd, what leads or allegations did the CIA have to set it up?
A. The excuse was an allegation that three of Trump’s associates had received campaign money from the Kremlin. This allegation came from a Baltic state and it was processed by the CIA and made into something worthy of following up. We read that the task force “…was set up after the director of the CIA, John Brennan, received a recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into Trump’s campaign coffers, the BBC’s Paul Wood reported. The recording was apparently passed to the CIA by the intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States.”
According to this, John Brennan is the key player in the anti-Trump movement. He wants to see Trump’s presidency brought to a quick end or otherwise neutered and made compliant to rule by the CIA. By their control over information and its interpretation, the leaders of the CIA have gained considerable power within the government. They’ve enhanced this by developing operational forces in the field.
As occurred during the propaganda campaign that preceded Bush 2’s attack on Iraq and as in the Ukraine case noted above, we again observe murky foreign sources that are given credence and validity by the CIA. The public and media have no viable way of checking on the story of Kremlin money except perhaps through off the record sources. Such stories can’t be traced through public hearings without subpoena power and a will to wash a lot of dirty linen in public. They are perfect for propaganda and cover-ups.
John Brennan has the CIA initiate an investigation on a flimsy basis and gets away with it. We know from his public statements at that time and later that he’s thoroughly anti-Trump and anti-Russia. This is why such an investigation went forward. Brennan had nothing to lose. If he found some dirt on Trump or his associates, he’d discredit Trump and lose him votes. If he didn’t find anything, the investigation itself would still raise suspicions about Trump and provide Hillary Clinton and her aides with anti-Trump ammunition. In fact, her campaign did use the alleged Russian connection against Trump.
Q. What else do we know of Brennan’s differences with Trump?
A. On Sept. 11, 2016, Brennan disagreed with Trump publicly: “CIA Director John Brennan pushed back against Donald Trump’s claim that he could read disapproval of President Barack Obama’s policies in the body language of the intelligence officers who gave him a confidential national security briefing.”
On November 30, 2016, we read that Brennan expressed another difference with Trump: “The director of the CIA has issued a stark warning to President-elect Donald J. Trump. Tearing up the Iran nuclear deal would be ‘the height of folly’ and ‘disastrous.’”
On January 3, 2016, Charles Schumer said that Trump was “being really dumb” for arguing against the assessments of the intelligence community on Russian hacking. He adds ominously: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
On January 15, 2017, we read “CIA Director John Brennan on Sunday had a stern parting message for Republican Donald Trump days before he assumes the U.S. presidency, cautioning him against loosening sanctions on Russia and warning him to watch what he says. Brennan rebuked the president-elect for comparing U.S. intelligence practices to Nazi Germany in comments that laid bare the friction between Trump and the intelligence community he has criticized and is on the verge of commanding.”
Q. What became of the allegations against the three associates of Trump?
A. The three accused men each strongly denied allegations of being paid by the Kremlin. On October 15, the FISA court granted a warrant to intercept communications from two Russian banks. The investigators were looking for evidence that money passed from Russia to the three Trump associates. No such evidence was found.
On January 19, 2017, the continuing investigation by “American law enforcement and intelligence agencies” was confirmed, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was mentioned:
“The counterintelligence investigation centers at least in part on the business dealings that some of the president-elect’s past and present advisers have had with Russia. Mr. Manafort has done business in Ukraine and Russia. Some of his contacts there were under surveillance by the National Security Agency for suspected links to Russia’s Federal Security Service, one of the officials said.”
Mr. Manafort has done nothing illegal, we learn. He has merely done some business in Ukraine and Russia. He merely came into contact with people with suspected links to a Russian intelligence outfit. They weren’t even known spies. Mr. Manafort has fallen victim to suspicion by association two or three times removed even from guilt by association.
The other two being investigated are Carter Page and Roger Stone, and we learn that they too are innocent of wrongdoing.
“The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said.”
So, we know that a concerted effort has been made to investigate three of Trump’s close aides. We know that the CIA was the instigator and that it used its typical murky and unverifiable tips to gain credibility. Finally, we know that this inquiry has produced no evidence of any illegal activities of Trump or his aides.
Q. What other evidence is there of an attempted coup against Trump?
A. On Oct. 7, 2016, there was released the “Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security”. This brief statement on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies linked the Russian government to hacking: “The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” It stated its belief “that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
On Nov. 30, 2016, an outfit named PropOrNot with links to the U.S. intelligence community published a report that named 200 websites as propagators of Russian propaganda: “Russia Is Manipulating US Public Opinion through Online Propaganda”.
On Dec. 9, 2016, it was reported that “The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency…”
Dec. 29, 2016, arrived the FBI-DHS report: “Grizzly Steppe – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity”. This was widely denounced as lacking even persuasive circumstantial evidence, never mind direct evidence of Russian involvement.
On Jan. 10, 2017, the Golden Showers report was leaked, accusing Trump of having been compromised by Russian agents and therefore subject to blackmail. This report had been circulating for weeks in intelligence and media circles. It had supposedly been written between July and December by former British MI-6 agent, Christopher Steele.
Once again we observe that a spurious anti-Trump report is purported or arranged to have a foreign origination; but that it is carried to the public by means of the CIA and leaks within the U.S.
On February 13, 2017, the coup perps drew fresh blood when Michael Flynn resigned, despite no evidence of wrongdoing. Their success is attributable to their use of wiretapped phone calls and to leaking these to the media. Since intelligence agents have access to these calls that the NSA collects, we once again observe that intelligence circles are active in seeking to undermine Trump. This is consistent with the conclusion that a coup attempt is ongoing.
Q. Could you summarize, please?
A. In 2016 Trump and the CIA became foes of one another because of vast policy differences. Past and present CIA directors went public against Trump. They instigated a series of reports and leaks to discredit Trump and to link his campaign to Russian meddling in the election. They went after several of his aides, causing Paul Manafort to resign. After the election, they produced new anti-Trump material and managed to get his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, to resign. This adds up to an attempted coup that has had some success.
Q. What happens next?
A. The future is guesswork. We will be surprised at what happens, but here are some guesses. The coup attempt will not cease. There is nothing presently opposing it unless Trump is counterattacking behind the scenes, of which there is no evidence. Trump will eventually sense the coup’s efficacy and devise ways to stop it. The anti-Trump media will keep the pot boiling. They will need new stories to exploit. Anti-Trump elements in the CIA can be expected to come up with new, dubious and devious revelations aimed at discrediting Trump’s handling of foreign affairs. We can expect former intelligence officials to speak out against Trump at critical times and to recruit allies who will add what appears to be an even more independent criticism of Trump. The coup may transform into an effort to control Trump’s policies from outside his administration.
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.