The latest indictment by Special Counsel John Durham has created a stir in Washington as the investigation into the Russian collusion scandal exposed new connections to the Clinton campaign. The indictment of Igor Danchenko exposes additional close advisers to Hillary Clinton who allegedly pushed discredited and salacious allegations in the Steele dossier. However, one of the most interesting new elements was the role of a liberal think tank, the Brookings Institution, in the alleged effort to create a false scandal of collusion. Indeed, Brookings appears so often in accounts related to the Russian collusion scandal that it could be Washington’s alternative to the Kevin Bacon parlor game. It appears that many of these figures are within six degrees of Brookings.
The fact is that Washington remains a small town for the ruling elite where degrees of separation can be quite small as figures move in and out of government. Moreover, think tanks are often the parking lots for party loyalists as they wait (and work) for new Administrations. The Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation play a similar role for conservative figures.
However, even in Washington’s inbred environment, the layers of connections to Brookings is remarkable in the Durham indictments and accounts of the effort to create a Russian collusion scandal. The effort was hardly a secret before anyone knew the name of the former British spy Christopher Steele. On July 28, former CIA Director John Brennan briefed then President Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” Notes from the meeting state the plan to invent a collusion narrative was “allegedly approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.” That was three days before the Russian investigation was initiated.
Durham is detailing how this plan was carried out and many of those referenced are within not six but two degrees of separation from Brookings.
Brookings played a large role in pushing the Russian collusion narrative, hiring a variety of experts who then populated media outlets like MSNBC and CNN stating confidently that Trump was clearly incriminated in a series of dubious criminal acts. While no such crimes were ever charged, let alone prosecuted, Brookings maintained a deep bench of enabling experts like Susan Hennessey (now a national security adviser in the Biden Administration), Ben Wittes (who defended James Comey in his leaking of FBI memos) and Norm Eisen (who then become counsel in the Trump impeachment effort). This included the Brookings site, LawFare, which ran a steady stream of columns on how Trump could be charged for crimes ranging from obstruction to bribery.
However, that type of media cross-pollination is common. What is most surprising is how the indictment seems to map out roads that keep leading back to Brookings:
The latest indicted figure, Danchenko, worked at Brookings. He proved to be the key unnamed source for Christopher Steele and later admitted to the FBI that the information attributed to him was not just “unsubstantiated” but, after being reworked by Steele, was unrecognizable from the original gossip or speculation. Steele himself was introduced to Danchenko
It appears that Danchenko was introduced to former British spy Christopher Steele by Brookings employee Fiona Hill. If that name seems familiar, Hill secured a position on President Trump’s National Security Council and later became a key witness against him in the first Trump impeachment over the Ukraine scandal.
Steele also testified in London that his friend and then Brookings President Strobe Talbott was involved in briefings and inquiries on the development of the dossier. Talbott is also a former Clinton administration diplomat and Clinton friend who served in a high-ranking position under Hillary Clinton. (Another figure, Cody Shearer, who has been mentioned in accounts developing and spreading his own collusion claims, was the brother of Talbott’s late wife).
When Steele was called to the State Department for a briefing on his dossier, Talbot sat next to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who is currently at Brookings. The role of figures at Brookings in the dossier is still developing but all roads seem to lead back to the think tank.
Even when it became clear that false statements made in the secret FISA applications targeted Trump associate Carter Page, the secret court selected David Kris, who wrote for Brookings’ LawFare despite his prior denial that the FBI misled the court and criticism of Trump).
Brookings has long been viewed as effectively the research arm for Democratic figures and liberal causes. Yet, even in the Baconesque world of Washington insiders, it is rare to see a think tank connected on so many levels to a criminal investigation. Like much in our politics, these connections will mean different things to different people. For conservatives, Brookings looks like the mothership for this scandal with associates coordinating meetings and roles in the metastasization of the scandal. For liberals, the connections simply show the influence of the liberal think tank and any highlighting of the think tank is gaslighting a new “Trilateral Commission” narrative.
With the exception of Danchenko, there is no evidence that any of these Brookings-related individuals have committed criminal acts or are suspected of such acts by Durham. However, these connections have already factored in the investigation and are likely to be addressed in any final Special Counsel report. Brookings Institution’s influence on the Russian collusion scandal will likely remain central to Durham’s unravelling of how the FBI was duped into the Russian investigation and the role of Clinton operatives in that effort. Notably, on September 9, 2015, Hillary Clinton appeared at Brookings and stressed there are “a lot of long-time friends and colleagues who perch here at Brookings including Strobe.” The question is whether that perch will become increasing precarious as Durham continues his investigation.
Foreign-born population soars to new record under Biden; highest rate of immigrants since 1910
The U.S. has had a massive surge in immigration this year, with as many as 1.5 million newcomers and a record 46.2 million foreign-born people, according to a report for the Center for Immigration Studies.
After a deep trough last year, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel and migration restrictions imposed to control the spread, the flow of people rebounded around the time President Biden was elected.
In numbers never seen before, they are coming legally through airports and land border crossings and illegally across the Rio Grande and remote regions of Arizona and California.
“There was pent-up demand for legal immigration, and illegal immigration has exploded in one of the greatest surges, if not the greatest, we’ve ever seen,” said Steven A. Camarota, the demographer who was the chief author of the report. “It’s driving the numbers up and up and up.”
As it stands, 14.2% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, or 1 out of every 7 people. That is the highest rate of immigrants in the population since 1910, when the number was 14.7%. At current trends, the government says, the U.S. will break that record well before the end of this decade.
Those numbers are even starker given the reversal of trends.
The data showed a drop of 1.2 million immigrants from February to September 2020, likely the result of coronavirus restrictions blocking new entrants, even as outmigration continued. That left the population of the foreign-born — the Census Bureau’s term — at 43.8 million.
It was up to 45 million by January and marched steadily to the current 46.2 million total shown for last month.
In the year after President Trump’s election, the immigrant population flattened.
Mashup: MSM worst moments of 2021
Salvation Army’s Internal Survey Suggests Only Whites Are Racist
“I Took The Salvation Army’s Internal Survey On ‘Racism’ Within The Organization. Here’s What I Discovered.”
The Salvation Army has recently come under significant fire for asking white donors to “offer a sincere apology” for racism. The nearly 150-year old organization created a curriculum entitled “Let’s Talk About Racism” and shared it with its members, along with associated DEI Trainings that cite and draw from Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi’s work. The packet argues that Christians should “stop trying to be ‘colorblind’” and that they should apologize for being “antagonistic.. to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.” In response, donors by the thousands have vowed not to donate until the organization reverses their stance.
The Salvation Army has denied any wrongdoing, defiantly calling the allegations that they have gone woke “false.” While they admit that the topic of race in America can be fraught with controversy, they have denied they have “gone woke.” Much of their denial centers around their claim that use of the guide was completely voluntary, and that they are not peddling critical race narratives in their organization.
I obtained a copy of The Salvation Army’s internal survey on “racism within the Salvation Army” and tested that claim.
One Salvation Army officer reached out on condition of anonymity to Color Us United, the raceblind advocacy organization which I run, to reveal an internal survey he was asked to take. It was not a voluntary survey, and was sent by the Territorial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary to every Salvation Army Officer in the US Central Territory. The purpose of the survey, according to an email from the “Territorial Racial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary,” was “to better understand perception of institutional racial bias within The Salvation Army.” The accompanying email stated that there was no “preconceived idea” with regard to whether or not racism existed in The Salvation Army, and told recipients that there were no wrong answers.
I sat down and went through the questions.
First, Questions #1, #2, and #3 asked me for my race, age, and gender. I could not skip these questions. Already, I felt uncomfortable being required to list my personal attributes. If I was an officer, I would be wondering: how could this information be used against me in the future? (They did promise anonymity in this survey.)
The survey then asks Salvationists if they agree with the following definition of racism: “Institutional racism refers to organizational or system processes, behaviors, policies, or procedures, which produce negative outcomes for nonwhites relative to those for whites.” The remaining questions in the survey are dependent upon agreeing to this definition of racism. For any Officer or Soldier who disagrees with this framing, there is no way to express any disagreement or nuance apart from plainly saying that racism does not exist.
Question #6 goes on to ask the survey taker whether they believe there is any institutional bias or racism in The Salvation Army. Question #7 says: “If you answered no to question #6, do you think others in The Salvation Army think there are racial tensions or institutional racism?” The purpose of these questions, I started to feel, was to force the survey taker to admit that The Salvation Army is institutionally racist according to their definition of racism. There is no room for any Officer to elaborate on how they disagree with the definitions, framing, or worldview informing the questions.
The final question asks: “What is the best way to address Racism in The Salvation Army?” The answer options are: “individual reconciliation,” “group reconciliation,” “addressing structures and practices that cause racism,” “all of the above,” or “other.” Note that there is no option for the survey taker to simply say that racism is not a problem in The Salvation Army. The survey (which according to the email, was “intended to go to all the officers within your division, employees, and soldiers” for the Central Territory) simply assumes that racism is present in the organization.
Going through the survey, it became apparent that the survey was attempting to lead me to making only one conclusion about The Salvation Army – that it harbored problematic racism.
This belief is one of the core tenets of critical race theory. Critical race theorists teach that racism is ubiquitous in all aspects of American life. They also teach that it works systemically; that is, by being ingrained in the systems and institutions that operate in society. Their primary evidence of the system being racist is the reality that individuals from different demographics have different life outcomes on average, without taking into account any variables that might impact said life outcomes apart from the color of their skin. All of these concepts are reflected in The Salvation Army’s survey.
Any officer who believes in individualism, colorblindness, and meritocracy will be unable to answer any of the survey questions in good faith. Any officer who believes that The Salvation Army is not a racist organization would not be able to answer these questions in good faith either. Many (if not most) Americans believe that racism is primarily an issue of individuals who harbor feelings of hate against those of other races, not a society-wide conspiracy as alleged by antiracist activists. This survey totally excludes the colorblind perspective from the conversation and forces Officers and other Salvationists into a critical race theory-informed box.