"CrossTalk Bullhorns: Russiagate 3.0"
RT.com (February 24, 2020)

[13:04] Peter Lavelle: "And now we're joined by Alexander Mercouris in London. He is a writer on legal affairs as well as editor-in-chief of The Duran.com. Alex, Welcome to the probgram here."

"Well, we have the sequel. Russiagate lives on. I thought is was in traction, but no. It has new life and it's the same figures in the swamp and the intel-community that tell us it's alive and kicking. And then, in the sequel, as you've well noticed, Bernie Sanders is playing a very important if not leading role. So, in one way, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have to share the stage in equal terms. I have to say that I am aghast by this. I thought we've been through it enough times. But it seems to be the only things that keep the political establishment and the media together on their war against Donald Trump when its, what, 250-odd days out for a general presidential election. Go ahead, Alex."

[14:00] Alexander Mercouris: "You know, what do they say, History repeats itself, first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Now it's repeating itself as farce followed by further farce, because this is completely farcical. We now have both Donald Trump, the leader of the Right in the United States, and Bernie Sanders, the leader of the Left in the United States. And Russia, supposedly, helping and manipulating both. It's so crazy that one wonders how people in the United States [can be] taking complete leave of their senses. It is on that level of total absurdity. And consider: We have the New York Times promoting the myth of Russian help for Donald Trump. We have the Washington Post promoting the myth of Russian help for Bernie Sanders. It's the two newspapers of record, the two big traditional newspapers that have been drawn out to pull this sort of game. Now the other thing I have to say is, you know, Never give up, apparently, on a failed strategy. It didn't work with Donald Trump, so what do you do? You try again. You actually expand it. And I'm hearing that Bernie Sanders is doing very well in Nevada, so it's obviously not working."

[15:32] Peter Lavelle: "Yes, that's exactly where I wanted to stress, Dmitry, for our viewers, again, based on anonymous sources, of course, OK. But, Dima, this is all happening for a reason. And I'll give you my scenario. You had the conviction and sentencing of Roger Stone. For the pushers, the people that support and back this conspiracy theory, this ridiculous hoax, they needed that conviction and sentencing to make, to legitimize, at least one of [their themes]. And then this week coming up we have the extradition trial of Julian Assange and Wikileaks being tied to Russia. And now, we have this against Bernie Sanders. And the reason they're doing this against Bernie Sanders, is because he's winning. He's winning. He got more than 50% in Nevada. That is an astounding outcome. This is all connected together. That's why they're resurrecting it."

[16:33] Dmitry Babich: "There is only one thing that is more destructive than the hostility of the mainstream media in the United States. That is their love. They poured so much love on Joe Biden that now Joe Biden is losing, despite his huge financial support and the media support. Why, they love him so much that they kept talking about how he had nothing to do with Burisma and, finally, tens of millions of Americans got to know the name of that Ukrainian company very well. And I think it destroyed Joe Biden's campaign."

[17:11] "But coming back to what you just said: I think that Sanders, this campaign about his involvement with Russia is so absurd. Only he can destroy his chances. When he said, "My message to Russia is, Stay out of American elections." Well, my message to him is "Don't be a nincompoop. Don't push the same theory that stole your chance to be nominated in 2016."

Peter Lavelle: "Alex, you know, one of the things I find very interesting in looking at the coverage of these allegations from these anonymous sources. It seems to me that they're like living in a time capsule. You know, Bernie Sanders visited Moscow on his honeymoon. Actually, I think he came during the Soviet Union, there was a sister city thing, I think it was Moscow and a city in Vermont. There was a reason for him to be here. He happened to be having his honeymoon here at the same time. But they're trying to stretch this out as if Russia is still a communist country. They're making this really weird connection and that is something that is, you know, thirty years ago. But for the media, it's still the same narrative. And in their minds, because nothing has ever changed in the country I've lived in for thirty years, it must be the same. The same Bernie. The same commie is still getting support from the Kremlin. It really shows a lack of any depth of knowledge. Go ahead.

[18:47] Alexander Mercouris: "Well, there's absolutely no knowledge. This is one of the things that came across for me very clearly throughout Russiagate. And right at the very center of the US intelligence community world there is a basic failure of knowledge about Russia. And can I just say, Russia is, in some ways, the victim in all of this. Because it is being constantly blamedby the US political establishment, the "militant Center," as I think somebody called it, of the United States, for whatever goes against the Establishment. So, if the Left does well, that's Russia's fault. If the Right does well, that's Russia's fault. And Russia is constantly used in this way in American partisan struggles. And the result is that Russia gets sanctioned. Russia gets criticized. Its political leaders get demonized. And the whole prospect of improved relations between the United States and Russia, two extremely important countries, Russia the other great nuclear superpower, that prospect gets indefinitely postponed."

[20:05] "And Russian people, ordinary Russian people, are constantly caught in the crosssfire. We saw that with Maria Buttina. We've seen this again in Italy where the Russian athletes were frisked just before they were due to involve themselves in an important race. There is no question at all, in my opinion. All these things are connected."

[20:27] Peter Lavelle: "You know, Dima, again, these anonymous sources coming out of the intel community, Donald Trump was supposed to drain the swamp. He's being overwhelmed by the swamp to this day. This is, again, a continuation of the same strategy they had before the election [of 2016], after the election, and being badly re-invented."

[20:49] Dmitry Babich: "Well, I mean, if only Russia had been just a victim of all this, I completely agree with Alexander that basically it's absurd. Let me just quote a Republican Senator, Chris Stewart, defending Trump against the accusations that he is a Russian agent. 'I challenge anyone to give me a real-world argument where Putin would rather have President Trump and not Bernie Sanders,' Mr Steward said in an interview, citing Trump's anti-tank weapons for Ukraine, expelled Russian diplomats,[Peter Lavelle interupts: " ending arms control agreements"] so this is making the world less and less safe [as in "more dangerous"?]. If you want to be the President of the United States you have to show hostility to Russia, the second next nuclear superpower. So it just destroys security on our planet. The Ameican political life is just destroying security. And not only American political life, I completely agree with Alexander, that it's not just American nationalists or Hawks, it's the "militant center."

[22:01] "You just mentioned Julian Assange. The European press kind of feels obliged to pay at least lip service to supporting Julian Assange. Der Spiegel, the liberal German magazine, what is their headline on Assange's trial: "Trump's America is against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange." [Peter Lavelle interrupts: "Not just Ameica"]. Was it Trump who made Assange stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London? Was it Trump who imprisoned Bradley Manning [the first time] and basically tortured him? No. It was the adorable liberal, Mr Obama. It was in the time when Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State. But these people, the so-called liberals in Europe and in the United States, they want us to have blank spots in our memory. They want to destroy all the things, all the positive things connected to Russia and only stress all the negative things. And they forget, these German and French and British liberals that Russia was the only country that dared to give political asylum to Edward Snowden. None of them had the courage."

[23:15] Peter Lavelle: "It's not the first time liberals have amnesia here. Let me go back to Alexander. You know, one of the things I find really comical and I've never been able to understand is Why would the Kremlin have a preference, either way? I mean, it's just going to be more hostility. It doesn't make any difference. I find it just really comical that they're scheming about supporting this side against that side and maybe support both of them against each other. I mean, this is an assumption that is never given any serious thought. Go ahead, Alexander."

[23:43] Alexander Mercouris: "That's right. Because the Kremlin doesn't have a preference. It understands perfectly well that it is actually disastrous for Russia to interfere in American politics. And that's why one important reason, by the way, why I have always been extremely skeptical about the whole Russiagate conspiracy theory. Which, after multiple investigations has proved to be, well the evidence for it has been threadbare, and bitterly contested. So, why would the Russians try and manipulate the American electoral process when the only result has been that relations between the United States and Russia just get worse. So why would they do it? I'm sure they're not doing it. And I'm sure that all of this purely a product of American partisan politics, which unfortunately, have now resulted in a situation where if the establishment candidate loses, be it Joe Biden, be it Pete Buttigieg, be it Mike Bloomberg, it's always the fault of the Russians. It's never the American people exercising their own democracy."

[25:04] Peter Lavelle: "The problem is that the political elites in the United States abhor democracy and they have contempt for the voter."