Moscow Project in the Press
1/13/19 - No president has ever been asked: Are you a Russian agent?
Let’s remember where we started: “No collusion.” Since then we’ve learned of: more than 100 contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, Moscow Trump Tower dealmaking that continued through the 2016 campaign, a June Trump Tower meeting where Russians offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort sharing polling data with a Russian linked to Kremlin intelligence operations.
1/10/19 - Trump Team Had Over 100 Contacts With Russia-Linked Officials, Says Think Tank
Donald Trump’s campaign and transition teams had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, a new report has found. The findings come from the liberal think-tank the Center for American Progress and its investigative unit known as the Moscow Project. “This wasn’t just one email or call, or one this or that,” said Talia Dessel, a research analyst for the organization.
1/10/19 - Trump Campaign Had More Than 100 Contacts With Russia-Linked Operatives: Report
Members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russia-linked operatives between September 2015 and January 2017, according to an updated report by the Center for American Progress’ Moscow Project.
These contacts reportedly included at least 28 meetings, both in person and over Skype, and involved several prominent members of Trump’s inner circle including the president’s children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.; his former attorney Michael Cohen; and his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
1/9/19 - Trump's team had over 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to think tank analysis
Members of President Donald Trump's campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress think tank and its Moscow Project.
12/14/18 - Strange real estate deal raises specter of Putin buying Trump
Diana Pilipenko describes the relationship between Putin and the oligarchs in her Center for American Progress report “Cracking the Shell”:
“When President Vladimir Putin consolidated power after the fall of the Soviet Union, he established a social contract of sorts, sanctioning the unbridled self-enrichment of Russia’s new class of wealthy business tycoons — known as oligarchs — in return for their unwavering loyalty to his administration. Among other things, this loyalty to Putin meant the oligarchs would not attempt to challenge him politically or otherwise act counter to the Kremlin’s strategic interests. It also meant the oligarchy would act on behalf of the state, thus erasing the boundary between the two.”
12/13/18 - Russia, Russia, Russia
“What is so significant about Butina is that she pulls the curtain back on Russia’s larger objectives,” says Max Bergmann of the Moscow Project. “Her influence efforts started before the Trump campaign existed and formed a distinct and separate line of effort. Her goal was to move the Republican Party away from its 70-year-plus history of being hawkish toward Russia. To do so, she built ties to one of the most powerful interest group on the right: the NRA.”
11/30/18 - Who else is in danger from Cohen plea?
A third group of rattled people should be those who had Russia contacts during the campaign and transition. The Moscow Project has been keeping track of all the connections between the Trump campaign and Russians. It now reports: “With news of the Cohen plea and other developments since then, we have now updated our total tracker to include at least 92 contacts, including at least 27 meetings.” Its log of contacts reveals “at least 26 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisors were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition. None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities. Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.”
11/29/18 - Vox Sentences: Michael Cohen makes 33
There’s evidence that at least 26 high-level Trump advisers and campaign operatives were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the candidate’s 2016 campaign and his transition. According to a report, Trump’s team has made more than 92 contacts with Russia-linked operatives to discuss and collaborate on issues ranging from election meddling to business deals, despite blanket denials by all involved that they had relations with the Russians.
11/29/18 - Cohen’s plea deal renews scrutiny of Republicans’ Trump-Russia report
Earlier this year, the left-leaning Center for American Progress wrote that the House Intelligence Committee failed to interview about 60 percent of the Trump associates believed to have had contacts with Russians, and collected about 80 percent of the documents and evidence it needed from witnesses.
11/29/18 - Trump should be freaked out right about now
“Cohen was Trump’s fixer and was clearly part of the effort to conspire with Russia,” said Max Bergmann, who heads the Moscow Project. “Most worrying for Trump, Cohen knows what Trump knew and when he knew it. The walls are closing in.”
11/27/18 - Trump’s weakness begets Russian aggression
In the case of Russia, Trump’s peculiar submissiveness seems to have only emboldened Putin. “The President of the United States is almost certainly compromised by Russia. Since he entered political life, Trump has been submissive to Putin even though it hurts him politically,” says Max Bergmann, the director of the Moscow Project for the Center for American Progress. “If Trump took a strong stance toward Russia, it would contradict the narrative that he’s in Putin’s pocket. The fact that won’t dare do so tells you everything you need to know: He’s in Putin pocket.”
11/1/18 - The election is almost here. That means Mueller’s next move is coming soon.
If Stone were to cooperate, he could have much to say. We know that Trump campaign officials had at least 87 reported contacts with Russia-linked individuals and officials during the 2016 election cycle. Among those was the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Russian nationals and senior members of the campaign in June 2016, for which Donald Trump Jr. was promised “information that would incriminate” Hillary Clinton, and to which he responded, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” That was, of course, when the stolen Democratic National Committee email was released — and Mueller, it seems, has already alleged that Stone had contacts with a Russian entity involved (though Stone says those contacts all came after the initial release of the emails).
10/10/18 - Music's Mystery Mogul: Len Blavatnik, Trump and Their Russian Friends
A key asset that Blavatnik brought to his partnerships was his American citizenship. He had Western connections and conveyed a sense of legitimacy lacking in some of his Russian allies. "He's been able to walk this fine line between these two worlds," says Diana Pilipenko, an anti-corruption expert at the Center for American Progress. "If he has, in fact, had any concerns about his reputation as a 'Russian oligarch,' one can see that he has gone to great lengths to launder it through philanthropy."
9/14/18 - Mueller is snaring more pleas: Look for what Manafort will be admitting to
The huge downside is that a senior, the most senior, campaign adviser for a time is pleading to crimes directly tied to Russian interests while he was running the campaign. “Manafort is effectively admitting to being an instrument of the Kremlin — something that didn’t stop when he was in charge of the Trump campaign,” says Max Bergmann, who heads the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress. “This is what collusion looks like.”
9/13/18 - Not even Republicans trust Trump on Russia
In sum, “The issue isn’t whether the Administration has the authority to respond.” says Max Bergmann of the Moscow Project. “The issue is that they aren’t responding. Instead of issuing an Executive Order about process they should start implementing the law and announce additional sanctions. This seems like a PR stunt.”
8/31/18 - State Department Team Fighting Russia Election Interference Still Waits For Funds
Former Obama State Department official and Russia expert Max Bergmann suggested that the Pentagon, after watching Tillerson fail to access the initial money and losing faith in the State Department’s effort, was purposefully withholding the funds.
“The Department of Defense is reticent as they don’t quite believe the State Department will be able to implement [the Global Engagement Center’s] mission, and that’s because they can look at leadership of the State Department where there’s an unwillingness to counter the president’s views on countering Russia,” he told HuffPost, citing signaling by Adm. Mike Rogers, formerly head of the National Security Agency, that this is something Defense wants to work on. “I think this is a reflection that the Pentagon does not trust the State Department’s effort to counter Russian disinformation.”
8/14/19 - Putin ally wooed young Americans visiting Moscow
But his meetings with American students earlier in the decade, coupled with the government’s recent allegations in the Butina case, suggest that Torshin may be a more significant Kremlin operative, and for a longer time, than was previously understood.
“All of that needs to be explored now through the lens that Torshin is a handler for Russian intelligence operatives,” said Max Bergmann, a State Department senior international security adviser in the Obama administration. “The suspicion has to be raised, given what is laid out in [the Butina] indictment, that this wasn’t his first rodeo.”
8/1/18 - The lessons we should learn from Facebook’s announcement
President Trump has been utterly delinquent in protecting our election system from and rebuking Russia for its skullduggery. “This shows Russian interference hasn’t stopped. Why would it? The Trump administration has done nothing to deter Putin from attacking us again,” observes Max Bergmann, head of the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress. “President Trump’s weak response compounded by his pathetic fealty toward Putin in Helsinki has given Russia a green light to continue and possibly escalate its interference operations.”
7/27/18 - What Michael Cohen’s bombshell means
Max Bergmann, who heads the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress, tells me, “This revelation reveals what has been staring us in the face: Trump was part of the collusion. He wasn’t some innocent bystander on his campaign.” He argues, “Trump ran the Trump campaign. We know this because everybody — from embedded reporters, to Trump campaign staff, to Trump himself — told us that he was fully in charge. So when it came to the most important decision of his campaign — whether or not to collude with Russia — of course he was involved.” He adds, “This is now a national security crisis. We have a President of the United States that almost certainly aided and abetted an attack on American democracy.”
7/25/18 - The evidence doesn’t prove collusion. But it sure suggests it.
While this was going on, the Moscow Project of the Center for American Progress reports, there were 82 known “contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives.” “None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities,” according to the project. Team Trump tried to conceal all of them.
7/16/18 - Monday briefing: Europe a big foe, says Trump as he meets Putin
Like their peers in Britain, anti-Trump activists in Finland have prepared to make the two presidents feel unwelcome. “It doesn’t feel good to have them here,” said Anna Bruun, a civil servant, as protesters took to the streets of Helsinki on Sunday. Washington is watching the meeting anxiously. Max Bergmann, from the Center for American Progress, said: “It’s leaving the Washington foreign policy community utterly terrified. In the past week Trump has been sowing discord in Europe and undermining the traditional alliances: these are all objectives that Russia has had since they were the Soviet Union.” Putin and Trump are expected to discuss issues from nuclear arms treaties to the conflict in Syria, but publicly at least the agenda has only been very loosely defined.
7/15/18 - Trump calls European Union a 'foe' – ahead of Russia and China
Washington is watching the Helsinki meeting anxiously. Max Bergmann, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (Cap) Action Fund, said there were concerns Trump will make faux “deals” on Crimea, Ukraine or Syria and “agree to something that not even his own administration would find acceptable”.
He said: “It’s leaving the Washington foreign policy community utterly terrified. In the past week Trump has been sowing discord in Europe and undermining the traditional alliances: these are all objectives that Russia has had since they were the Soviet Union.”
7/13/18 - NATO Summit Analysis
Jeffrey Rathke, Deputy Director of the Europe Program at The Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Max Bergmann, Senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, join host Carol Castiel to discuss the fallout from the NATO Summit and to preview the Helsinki meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
7/13/18 - Trump Told Russia To Get Clinton’s Emails. The Same Day, They Obeyed.
“We know that the Trump campaign and the Russians were in constant contact during the campaign, and it is increasingly apparent they were in fact coordinating their efforts,” said Max Bergmann, the director of the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress. “That’s what collusion looks like.”
6/28/18 - The Trump-Putin summit should set off alarm bells
“This is a summit about appeasement and we should be terrified that Trump is going to sell out America and its allies,” says Max Bergmann of the Center for American Progress. “Any other President — Republican or Democrat — would use this summit to confront Russia for its on-going attack on our democracy, for its illegal occupation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine, for its efforts to assassinate people using chemical weapons in the U.K., and for its backing of [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad.” He argues, “We should be confronting Russia and redrawing clear red lines, not trying to cut any deals because the only deal to be had is one where Russia agrees to completely change its behavior. That’s not going to happen.”
6/28/18 - Trump seeks Kim repeat with Putin
Critics, however, worry that Trump will shy away from pressuring Putin on the key issues where the United States and Russia are at odds — notably, the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea, its broader actions in eastern Ukraine and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in that nation’s ongoing civil war.
“The key thing is, is anything going to be asked of the Russians, or is the U.S. basically lending legitimacy to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, in Syria, to its illegal seizure of Crimea?" said Max Bergmann, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
“That is what Putin will be after,” Bergmann added. “And the question will be, if Trump gives it to him, why?”
6/18/18 - Republicans continue to play clueless on the Russia investigation
Max Bergmann, a former State Department official who heads the Moscow Project at the Center For American Progress Action Fund , tells me, “The evidence of collusion is clear and obvious. The Trump campaign met with the Russians with the expressed purpose to collude. ” He continues: “The June 9th meeting [at Trump Tower] was collusion — secret cooperation for an illegal purpose. It also showed that the Trump campaign wanted to collude. They wanted Russia’s help. And then what happened? Russia helped.”
6/11/18 - There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion
“In all of this, in any of this, there’s been no evidence that there’s been any collusion between the Trump campaign and President Trump and Russia,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday at his weekly press conference. “Let’s just make that really clear. There’s no evidence of collusion. This is about Russia and what they did and making sure they don’t do it again.”
From Ryan’s perspective, it would be convenient if it were true that Robert Mueller’s investigation had turned up no evidence of collusion, but it simply isn’t.
5/31/18 - Trump’s war with our closest allies continues
“A main goal of the Soviet Union and Russia under Putin has been to divide the transatlantic alliance,” says Max Bergmann of the Center for American Progress. “Trump is now making this a reality. From the outset of his Administration, Trump has attacked our European allies and again and again sought to undermine the alliance. From the symbolic — not shaking [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel’s hand and not mentioning Article 5 at the opening of the NATO headquarters — to the tangible — dismissing European concerns on Iran and now starting a trade war with Europe — Trump seems deeply committed to destroying the transatlantic alliance. This isn’t in our interests but it is in Putin’s.”
5/24/18 - Thinking CAP: Breaking Down the Mueller Investigation with Chris Hayes
It’s been one year since special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate whether the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Igor and Michele talk to Chris Hayes, MSNBC host of “All In with Chris Hayes” and author of The New York Times best-seller 'A Colony in a Nation', to get his take on the Mueller probe and why he thinks a Republican-led Congress won’t impeach the president regardless of what the investigation reveals. Hayes also discusses how it took getting caught with marijuana at the Republican National Convention to understand the widespread problems within the criminal justice system. But first, Igor and Michele talk to Diana Pilipenko, associate director of anti-corruption and illicit finance with the Moscow Project and the Center for American Progress, to break down the biggest developments within the Mueller investigation in the last year.
5/18/18 - Trump has destroyed his own moral legitimacy
President Trump won in the electoral college in 2016, but lost the popular vote by about 3 million ballots. (California, take a bow.) He is the president and cannot be removed against his will, except by impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020. But moral legitimacy is another matter.
The sinking sense that he really didn’t win fair and square — that he and a foreign power tipped the scales — has now been fortified by a raft of information unknown to voters when they cast their ballots. Consider all the things he concealed which, if known at the time, could possibly have swung about 80,000 votes in three states.
5/17/18 - Congratulations, America, indeed
When Mueller was named, we had some scattered knowledge of contacts between Trump campaign aides and Russians, most prominently the meetings between then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the phone conversations between Kislyak and incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn. Yet we had no inkling of how many Trump associates and campaign aides had dealings with Russian officials and operatives — at least 75 contacts and 22 meetings between Trump’s team and individuals linked to Russia, according to the Moscow Project, an initiative of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
5/17/18 - 2020 Dems Would Really Rather Not Talk About Russia
A former State Department official who now is the director of CAP’s Moscow Project, Bergmann has a generally simple view of what happened in 2016. “Collusion occurred,” he stresses, with some evident frustration that not everyone else manages to see this. “I think we have enough evidence that has emerged that it is clear the president of the United States, when offered help from the Russians, took it.”
5/17/18 - Politicians who took NRA money ought to give it back
There are numerous questions yet to be answered — the extent of the NRA’s knowledge of Russian meddling, whether the NRA participated in a conspiracy to break campaign finance laws barring foreigners from making campaign donations and where the Russian money funneled through the NRA wound up. Nevertheless, Max Bergmann of the Moscow Project observes: “It looks increasingly clear the Russians were looking to infiltrate the American right. What’s shocking was how little resistance the Russians seemed to face.”
5/17/18 - Stormy Daniels obsession shines light on dark arts of Donald Trump's New York fixer Michael Cohen
Max Bergmann, a former speech writer to John Kerry, is running a progressive think tank project called The Moscow Project.
"He's one of the most powerful oligarchs within Russia, that's why he's subject to US sanctions and why his company has now been sanctioned because it is a powerful Russian company," Mr Bergmann said.
Colombus Nova paid about $US500,000 to Mr Cohen. Democrats want to know if it's standard access buying or a more sinister influence campaign.
4/2/18 - Trump’s secret summit offer shows he just can’t quit Putin
“This should put to bed the absurd narrative that Trump is ‘strong’ on Russia,” says Max Bergmann, who leads the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress. “What’s clear is that Trump is the one holding back his administration from taking strong action. They aren’t implementing the sanctions law and they haven’t spent a dime on countering Russian disinformation. The current tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions do little to punish the Kremlin.”
3/25/18 - Report alleges the House Intelligence Committee failed to investigate a stunning number of leads before closing its Russia investigation
The Center for American Progress' Moscow Project, which has been closely documenting events of interest to investigators in the Russia probe, identified 70 known contacts between Trump officials and "Russia-linked operatives," 22 of which were meetings between the two sides.
The project's report says that when looking into 81% of these contacts, the committee obtained only partial information from the relevant Trump representatives, and in 60% of them, didn't interview the Trump associate involved.
3/22/18 - House probe overlooked most Trump-Russia contacts, report claims
Even though the final report from the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee will find no evidence of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia, a new study by a Democratic-aligned advocacy group suggests the committee didn’t look very hard.
According to the Center for American Progress’s Moscow Project, the House committee charged with investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election obtained either no or incomplete information about 81 percent of the known contacts between Trump officials and Russians, or groups and individuals with strong Russia ties like Wikileaks.
3/22/18 - Think tank: Trump advisers made contact with Russians 57 times during campaign, 13 during transition
The Democratic-aligned Center for American Progress organization claimed Thursday the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee did not try hard enough to find proof of collusion between President Trump and Russia during its yearlong investigation.
The group's Moscow Project issued a report that cites "at least 70 contacts between Trump's team and Russia linked operatives, including at least 22 meetings."
3/22/18 - Dem group: House Intelligence Committee ignored most Trump-Russia links
A new study by a Democratic-aligned group says that the House Intelligence Committee's probe into Russia's election interference ignored most links between President Trump's campaign and Moscow.
The report — by the Center for American Progress's Moscow Project — argues the committee overlooked many of the contacts that occurred between Trump campaign officials and Russians, NBC News reported.
The report lays out dozens of contacts between members of the Trump team and Russian-linked operatives and alleges the House Intelligence Committee did not interview many key witnesses.
3/19/18 - What did Facebook know about Cambridge Analytica’s work, and when did it know it?
“What’s clear is that Facebook has built up a massive intelligence tool that can be exploited by foreign actors who don’t care at all if they are violating Facebook’s user agreements,” remarks Max Bergmann, who heads the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress. “This incident demonstrates that it is time for Washington to get serious about regulating the tech companies. They’ve been living in a libertarian fantasy world of ‘don’t be evil’ but that doesn’t work when you have a fiduciary responsibility to your shareholders to prioritize profits.”
3/16/18 - Is Trump Really Getting Tough With Putin?
Max Bergmann, a former State Department official who leads the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress, told the Washington Post that the new sanctions were a "baby step," and then added: "Actually, this is not even a baby step. This is a mirage to make it look like they have implemented sanctions."
3/15/18 - New Russia sanctions are Trump’s strongest action against Moscow — but far short of what Congress wanted
Max Bergmann, a former Obama administration official who heads the investigative Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress, called Thursday’s sanctions “a baby step” that does not suggest the administration intends to use much of the authority it has to go after Russian interference.
3/15/18 - Russia sanctions: A baby step
Max Bergmann, who heads the investigative Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress, agrees. “I think this is a useful first step. But let’s be clear; it is a pretty small first step,” he said. “These sanctions are focused on the Internet Research Agency and the GRU [Russia’s intelligence force], and [special counsel Robert S.] Mueller may have forced the administration’s hand with his indictments.” He adds that “we are still awaiting sanctions on oligarchs, additional sanctions on Russia’s economy and sanctions against those doing business with Russia’s defense industry. Those are the sanctions that will bite.”
3/8/18 - If Trump isn’t hiding anything, why all the covering up?
“It’s the breadth of the cover-up that is so shocking,” says Max Bergmann, who heads the Moscow Project investigating the Russia scandal. “Time and time again Trump and his associates have been exposed for lying about meetings with Kremlin-linked figures.” He surmises that they were lying because there really was evidence “the Trump campaign colluded with hostile foreign power to defeat their political opponent.”
3/2/18 - The Controversy Over Trump and Russia Sanctions Isn't Going Away
"The administration’s announcement in January of no new sanctions, and the public unveiling the same day of a list of significant Russian oligarchs cribbed from Forbes magazine ― rather than a detailed list of possible future Treasury Department sanctions targets ― made it look weak on the question of Russian money flows, Harrell added.
Trump ”made a mockery of the entire legislation,” said Max Bergmann, another former State Department official now at the Center for American Progress."
3/2/18 - Does Russia Have Leverage Over Trump>
"An interview with Diana Pilipenko on Moscow's potential kompromat"
2/17/18 - The truth about Russia's electoral interference requires Trump answer Mueller's questions
Even before Robert Mueller's team announced the indictments of 13 Russians on charges of election interference on Friday, Donald Trump's Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats had issued a stark warning about ongoing Russian interference in our democracy: “Frankly, the United States is under attack.”
But even as Putin continues to expand on his attacks, the president of the United States is refusing to tell law enforcement what he knows about the last one.
2/15/18 - Trump: The Real Menace to National Security
"It would also require him to bite the hand that reportedly fed him during his lean financial years. Ironically, the day after the hearing, the Moscow Project put out a comprehensive report on Russian financial operations that work hand in hand with political operations.
The report sets out three strands that came together in the 2016 election: “An oligarchy co-opted to be an extension of the Kremlin, in Russia and abroad. A convergence of crises that sprung mutual benefits for Trump and Russia’s moneyed elite. Patterns in Trump’s business operations that lay bare mechanisms for potential compromise.” In short, oligarchs became functionaries for the Kremlin, to whom they owed their wealth..."
2/15/18 - NRA, Russia and Trump: How 'dark money' is poisoning American democracy
It was recently revealed that the FBI is investigating the National Rifle Association to determine whether a Russian central banker, and Putin ally, illegally funneled money through the organization to help the Trump campaign.
These allegations have now prompted a complaint to the Federal Election Commission and an effort by Sen. Ron Wyden to obtain documents from the Treasury Department and the NRA. As shocking as other Russia-related revelations have been — attempts to hack voting machines, vast Internet propaganda, leaking of stolen campaign information — this allegation illustrates a problem of even broader scope.
2/14/18 - We're defenseless against Russian sabotage in the midterm elections. And Trump's not helping.
"Trump’s refusal to defend our elections — a blatant instance of disregarding his oath of office — comes in the face of multiple calls to secure our election machinery. Max Bergmann, the head the Moscow Project for the Center for American Progress, told me “our democracy was attacked in 2016, and the intelligence community just unanimously told us that the Russians plan to do it again in the 2018 elections. Yet the response from Trump and the Republican Congress is a collective shrug.” Bergmann added: “There have been no Cabinet meetings on Russian interference, no agency has been charged with leading a response, and no election security legislation. Worse, the administration amazingly turned lemonade into lemons with the new Russia sanctions legislation by not sanctioning anyone.” He concluded, “this is a deliberate policy of appeasement that is practically inviting future attacks on our democracy.”
1/8/18 - This Anniversary is No Cause for Celebration
Many anniversaries are cause for celebration.
But last week's one-year anniversary of the director of national intelligence publishing its report detailing Russia's attack on our country is one that conjures up feelings of dismay rather than goodwill.
Twelve months after the DNI shared its assessment that it was highly confident of Russian malfeasance, US national security is worse off than it was a year ago. America is at greater risk of additional attacks, it is more exposed, and it is less willing to put up a fight.
1/5/18 - Trump's White House is Using Putin's Lying Kremlin Tactics
The Department of Justice investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 election has survived the holiday season and fears that, while the country was distracted, the White House would make a move to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
While Mueller’s job is secure for the time being, his investigation is under increasing pressure as the President’s allies in Congress and the media ramp up their campaign to discredit the former FBI Director.
1/5/18 - Trump Gets Book Thrown at Him
"Max Bergmann of the left-leaning Center for American Progress opined that with the Russia probe staring down at Trump, Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort, “This is Bannon seeing the avalanche coming and running for the exits.”
Or maybe working for Trump doesn’t bring out the best in a person — if you actually hire the best person."
1/5/18 - New Book Shows Trump Falling Short on Vow to Hire Best People
As a candidate for president, Donald Trump assured voters that if elected, he would hire “the best people.” It was a claim that suggested Trump didn’t need years of Washington experience because, well, as Trump boasted in “The Art of the Deal,” “my philosophy is always to hire the best from the best.”
A shrewd eye for top talent? That’s not the view from Washington.
1/2/18 - "Undercover Coup": Pro-Trump media seeks to obscure the Russia investigation
12/21/17 - The Only Two Reasons to Rush the Russia Investigation are Ignorance or Politics
Those calling for a speedy conclusion to the congressional investigations into Russian election meddling are either doing so for strictly political reasons, or they have no idea how long investigations take and what is required to do them well.
12/14/17 - Mueller’s Investigative Noose Tightens Around Trump’s White House
Robert Mueller is closing in on the president.
Much like a python wrapping itself around its prey, his investigative noose looking into Russian meddling in last year’s election is tightening around Donald Trump’s ill-fated White House.
After indicting three members of the president’s inner circle this month (Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his right hand man Rick Gates, and foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos), the special counsel also struck a plea bargain with former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
12/12/17 - Robert Mueller is Closing in on Trump. Congress Must Protect His Investigation
Mueller is coming.
The investigation into Trump campaign coordination with Russia appears to be closing in on the president. The three indictments earlier this month of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; his deputy, Rick Gates; and foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos show that Robert Mueller is inside Trump’s campaign. The indictment and plea agreement of former national security adviser Michael Flynn now puts the investigation into the White House.
11/16/17 - Russian Money and Trump’s Legal Defense
Which brings us to a troubling question: is Russian money helping to pay for the legal defense of the President and his family against allegations they colluded with Russia?
According to filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) the Republican National Committee (RNC) has paid over $400,000 in personal legal fees for Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in connection with the investigations into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. At least $12,000 of those funds came from a Ukrainian-born billionaire with ties to Vladimir Putin.
11/13/17 - Russia’s Election Meddling Is Another American Intelligence Failure
Many members of the intelligence community, or I.C., as the collective agencies are known, blame President Obama for being reluctant to publicly criticize the Russian campaign during the 2016 election. But, by law, the intelligence chiefs must also keep congressional intelligence-committee members briefed on major threats to national security—yet it doesn’t look as if they gave the representatives many details either. Instead, members of Congress seemed as surprised as the rest of us when they learned about Russia’s social-media presence from recent testimony by Facebook and Twitter. Max Bergmann, who worked at the State Department until 2017, and had access to classified reports on the Russia activities, described the problem to me as “a failure of imagination. Everyone was guilty of the same sin.”
11/8/17 - Concerned Russia Election Meddling Wouldn’t Get Probed, This Think Tank Started its Own Investigation
The effort, which includes an investigative staff with both forensic accounting and policy experience, was undertaken because CAP leadership was not convinced that Russian meddling would be probed fully.
11/6/17 - The Washington Post: "The Trump Administration Is Up To Its Neck In Russians," by Jennifer Rubin
“The constant deception and lying from this administration when it comes to Russia makes it abundantly clear that they have something to hide,” says Bergmann. “It also raises real questions about whose interests they are actually representing — theirs? The Russians’? It certainly seems the American people come last in that order.”
10/27/17 - Newsweek: “The Hillary Clinton Russia Uranium One Conspiracy Theory Doesn’t Make Any Sense,” by Zachary Fryer-Biggs
“For this conspiracy theory to be true, she would have to twist the arms of all these other eight Cabinet secretaries, which is completely absurd and completely implausible,” said Max Bergmann, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who specializes in U.S.-Russia relations and who worked at the State Department under both Clinton and her successor, John Kerry.
10/9/17 - The Guardian: “Facebook Must ‘Follow the Money’ to Uncover Extent of Russian Meddling,” by Diana Pilipenko
Much has been made of the dollar amounts spent by Russian entities on political Facebook ads. Some have argued that $150,000 is an insignificant fraction of the total spent on political ads in 2016, while others have pointed to the outsized return on investment from well-targeted placements. Based on what we know of Facebook’s internal audit to date, however, we cannot be certain that all the suspicious transactions have been identified.
9/19/17 - Just Security: “How Facebook Could Crack the Trump-Russia Case,” by Max Bergmann
Facebook should be treated like a crime scene. The social media company likely has troves of data that could provide critical leads for the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
8/1/17 - The Hill: “Progressive Think Tank To Release 50-Page Report Saying Trump Colluded With Russia,” by Mallory Shelbourne
“We're ... trying to convey that it’s time to stop beating around the bush on Trump’s collusion with Russia. There is a mountain of evidence that Trump and his associates colluded with Russia and it’s time to start saying so,” Adam Jentleson, a senior strategic adviser for CAP, told BuzzFeed. “We think it’s time to be a lot more forward-leading because the evidence is overwhelming.”
8/1/17 - Buzzfeed: “The Center For American Progress Is Releasing a Nearly 50-Page Report Claiming Trump-Russia Collusion,” by Lissandra Villa
The Center for American Progress has written a nearly 50-page report for Democrats in Congress, making the case for collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. The report, a draft of which was reviewed by BuzzFeed News ahead of its release Wednesday, makes the bold claim that “it is now clear there was collusion” and “this is the biggest political scandal in American history.”
7/19/17 - Mic: “3 Takeaways From Jon Huntsman’s Nomination As Ambassador to Russia,” by Eric Lutz
“It’s an impossible job,” Max Bergmann, a senior fellow on U.S.-Russian policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress and former John Kerry adviser, told the Salt Lake Tribune in March. “In the case of Russia, there is no unified direction in terms of policy where we have the State Department, the Defense Department in one place, you can count Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador in there ... Then we have the president who is clearly in a different space of where the relationship in Russia should be.”
6/19/17 - Slate: “Our Sovereignty Was Violated,” by Michelle Goldberg
In February, he helped found the Moscow Project at the CAP Action Fund, an arm of the Center for American Progress … Its website keeps track of the ever-expanding story of the scandal and its key players, while its staffers brief members of Congress and compile reports on matters related to the Trump-Russia nexus. They try to coordinate experts across fields—including money laundering and counterintelligence—to get the clearest possible picture of what is happening with the scandal and the investigation.
6/6/17 - Fast Company: “How the U.S. Should Be Responding To Russian Cybermischief,” by Steven Melendez
Russian hacking and online propaganda campaigns should be met with a sharper response from Washington, according to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.