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by John Helmer, Moscow

President Donald Trump’s lawyers have presented a 171-page legal brief defending him from  impeachment charges in the trial which began this week in Washington. The brief mentions Russia a total of 41 times.

Not counting repetitions, footnotes and references, Trump’s defence accepts as proven that Trump has defended Ukraine against Russian “aggression”; is “stronger in support of Ukraine against Russia than his predecessor [President Barack Obama]; and the Russian military is “scared” of Trump’s weapons.  

The lead brief writer, Jay Sekulow, is a combination of fundamentalist Christian and Jew, according to his official Wikipedia profile, and author of the book, “Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia, and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World”. This was published by Simon & Schuster, a New York property of ViacomCBS, National Amusements Inc., and the part-demented Sumner Redstone (Rothstein). It has long made a business of selling lies about Russia.  Jay Sekulow’s son Jordan was also employed on the brief.

Their co-attorneys – Stuart Roth, Benjamin Sisney, Mark Goldfeder, and Andrew Ekonomou  — are also employed, with the two Sekulows, at the American Center for Law Justice (ACLJ); that is a Sekulow family business, which also pays Jay Sekulow’s brother Gary and his son; the registered proprietor is a tax-exempt charity calling itself  Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, Inc.

The group claims its “work reaches across the globe with affiliated offices in Israel, Russia, France, Pakistan, South Korea, and Zimbabwe”. Since 2013 the group’s contributors have increased the annual take from $15.8 million to $22.6 million in 2018. A part of this money is provided to a Russian partner called the Slavic Center for Law and Justice; $304,000 in 2018. Read the parent organization’s tax return for 2018 here.

The Slavic Center has not yet been closed for violating the Russian foreign agent registration statute and ban on American funding for domestic non-government organizations. Anatoly Pchelintsev, a spokesman for the NGO at its Moscow office.  refused today to answer questions.

Source: https://drive.google.com/

On Trump’s behalf, the Sekulow argument was repeated with slightly different wording several times.

“The undisputed reality is that U.S. support for Ukraine against Russia has increased under President Trump. President Trump provided Ukraine Javelin anti-tank missiles to use against Russia after President Obama refused to provide that assistance. President Trump also imposed heavy sanctions on Russia, for which President Zelenskyy thanked him. A parade of State Department and National Security Council (NSC) career officials universally acknowledged that President Trump’s policy was stronger in support of Ukraine against Russia than his predecessor’s. Ambassador Yovanovitch testified that ‘our policy actually got stronger’ under President Trump, and Ambassador Taylor agreed that aid under President Trump was a ‘substantial improvement’ over the previous administration, largely because ‘this administration provided Javelin anti-tank weapons,’ which ‘are serious weapons’ that ‘will kill Russian tanks’.”

The Trump defence denies that his presidential campaign in 2016 “colluded with Russia”, but accepts there was Russian interference in the election. They were not the only foreigners who did, the lawyers argue, naming Ukrainians but no others.   

“Democrats”, the Trump lawyers declare, “have been fixated on impeachment and Russia for the past three years for two reasons. First, they have never accepted the results of the 2016 election and have been consumed by an insatiable need to justify their continued belief that President Trump could not ‘really’ have won. Long before votes had been cast, Democrats had taken it as an article of faith that Hillary Clinton would be the next President. House Democrats’ impeachment and Russia obsessions thus stem from a pair of false beliefs held as dogma: that Donald Trump should not be President and that he is President only by virtue of foreign interference.”

“Simply asking about any Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election—including with respect to hacking a DNC [Democratic National Committee] server—does not imply that Russia did not attempt to interfere with the 2016 election. It is entirely possible that foreign nationals from more than one country sought to interfere in our election by different means (or coordinated means), and for different reasons. Uncovering all the facts about any interference benefits the United States by laying bare all foreign attempts to meddle in our elections. And if the facts uncovered end up having any influence on the 2020 election, that would not be improper.”

“Even if facts uncovered about conduct in the last election were to have some impact on the next election, uncovering historical facts is not improper interference. Nor can House Democrats self-servingly equate asking any questions about Ukraine with advocating that Ukraine, instead of Russia, interfered in 2016. Actors in more than one country can interfere in an election at the same time, in different ways and for different purposes.”

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