The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released 57 transcripts comprising several thousand pages related to their 2017 and 2018 investigations into Russian electoral interference late Thursday. A document dump befitting WikiLeaks or Friday, here’s a few brief flash points focusing on some key Trumpworld players.
What follows is not an exhaustive accounting of those transcripts but rather some of the more interesting testimony from: (1) first in line heir to his father’s business (and perhaps political?) empire Donald Trump Jr.; (2) son-in-law-of-all-trades Jared Kushner; and (3) Trump’s 2016 digital media director and 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale.
Parscale Remains Patient with the Gerontocracy
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) honed in on a since-discredited story about the Trump 2016 campaign’s alleged ties to a Russian bank named Alfa based on widely-misunderstood internet protocol suites. Speier credulously brought up the report and quizzed Parscale about his–and the campaign’s–knowledge of that report.
Parscale began to explain why the story was bunk and relied on the initial reporter’s poor understanding of how the internet actually works when Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) interjected to note that he also did not know how the internet works.
“So just to make sure I understand, I don’t actually know what a DNS server is,” Himes confessed–revealing the extent of the House Intelligence Committee’s actual intelligence about one of the most basic building blocks of the public internet.
Here’s how things went after that point:
So in the Internet when you have a domain name, multiple domain names can point to the same IP address. So it’s possible that your website for your reelect could be on the same with a Russian server, Putin’s, you would never know, completely possible. Why? Because you register a domain name to a server provider, that server provider shares that same IT address across multiple servers, that’s what’s called a router configuration, which then spreads the traffic.
So millions of domain names in the United States and around the world share the same IP addresses. Like Rackspace Cloud or Liquid Web Cloud, over 10 million websites in the United States share the same IP address, because we are running out of IP addresses because Congress hasn’t passed and pushed IP6, so we’re running out of IP4 addresses.
So what they have done is they have created load balancers which load single IP addresses across, because of the expense of how hard it’s got for IP4. That makes a lot of sense, but if you don’t understand how the IP system works, which most Americans and most humans don’t, you would immediately say these feedings (ph) point to the same server, they must know each other. That’s not true. That would mean that 90 percent of the world’s businesses in the United States are colluding with each other because they use rack space.
“Okay,” Himes ventured, ultimately incorrectly. “So the explanation, just if I can summarize, the explanation you received was this third party, Alfa, is also occupying space in this server–”
“No, not even the same server,” Parscale noted.
Parscale briefly tried to explain things again before the bipartisan members of the Intelligence Committee decided that understanding how the internet works wasn’t actually that important after all:
Don Jr. Gets Snippy With Adam Schiff (and Vice Versa)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked a lengthy series of questions regarding the context in which Trump Jr. came to release a four-page email exchange between himself and music publicist Rob Goldstone concerning potential Russian help for the Trump 2016 campaign’s efforts to dig up dirt on then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Interspersed with protestations from his attorney Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr. was largely blithe and nonchalant with the committee over his actions on behalf of his father’s presidential campaign.
“And who did you consult in that decision?” Schiff asked, about releasing the emails originally reported on by the New York Times.
“Counsel,” the younger Trump replied.
“Did you discuss it with anyone other than counsel?” Schiff pressed.
“Not anyone other than in privileged conversations,” Trump said.
“Now, Mr. Trump, apart from counsel, there are no privileged conversations,” Schiff shot back.
To which the younger Trump sarcastically replied: “Correct. So it would’ve been with counsel. So the answer is no.”
Kushner on Michael Cohen and Roger Ailes
Testimony from Ivanka Trump‘s husband reveals an explicit and seemingly never-before-reported tie between Fox News and the Trump 2016 campaign.
Recall: Trump’s unofficial Muslim outreach coordinator Dr. Walid Phares who led a “quiet” campaign to court Muslim Americans in the spring of 2016. Apparently, Phares became part of the campaign by way of Fox News founder Roger Ailes.
“So with Dr. Phares, he was introduced to the President from Roger Ailes,”Kushner told Schiff. “I think he was a FOX News contributor, and he was one of the few people who was actually willing to put their name out publicly and say they were giving advice to our campaign.”
“And what was his role during the campaign?” Schiff asked.
Kushner replied vaguely and incompletely: “He would–I think he maybe met with the candidate maybe once, and I think he would send emails with suggestions that probably a small fraction actually got to the candidate with regards to the policy.”
Schiff also pressed Kushner and his attorney Abbe Lowell on his knowledge of campaign-related work by onetime Trump friend and since-incarcerated fixer Michael Cohen.
“What was Michael Cohen’s role in the campaign?” Schiff asked.
Let’s go to the transcript, in which Kushner described Cohen as “virtually nonexistent” when it came to “actual” campaign operations:
[image via Scott OlsonGetty Images]
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