There are two ways to have one's preferred candidate win a close election: (i) trash and harm the main opponent - which is what Russia did to Hillary Clinton, and (ii) aid and abet a third party candidate who has no chance of winning so as to drain off votes from the non-preferred candidate. The latter approach may be what Vladimir Putin did with Green Party candidate Jill Stein who has never satisfactorily explained what she was doing when she attended a December 2015 party for Russian state broadcaster RT and dined with Vladimir Putin and the now indicted Michael Flynn. Stein's supporters who "protested" against Hillary Clinton helped throw the election to Trump just as much as Russian interference and manipulation of the most gullible and racist members of Trump's base. As The Daily Beast reports, Stein is now using funds raised from supporters to fund recount efforts in key states instead to pay for her legal costs in responding to the Russiagate investigation - she seemingly played these folks for fools not once but twice. Here are article excerpts:
Money that Jill Stein raised to recount votes in 2016 swing states is being used by her campaign to pay for legal bills stemming from the investigation of Russian interference in the last presidential election.In June, The Daily Beast reported that the the U.S. Green Party candidate’s campaign, which raised $7.3 million for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, had in 2017 stopped disclosing its monthly spending with the Federal Election Commission. Later that month, the Jill Stein for President committee filed a slew of reports that reveal spending on lawyers who are not trying to get inside any voting machines.
Stein campaign paid the “Partnership for Civil Justice” $66,441.60; that is on top of a $31,536 payment made in January, and more than the Stein campaign had in cash on hand by November 2016. . . . the group notes that it is representing Stein in her dealings before the the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Stein has not been accused of any wrongdoing with respect to the various Russia investigations, but she has drawn attention from investigators for, among other things, her attendance at a December 2015 party in Moscow celebrating the 10th anniversary of state broadcaster RT. There she dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser whom Mueller indicted for making false statements.
In December 2017, Senate investigators requested documents from the Stein campaign as part of its own look into Russian government interference in the last presidential election. Stein has largely complied.
In an April 26 letter, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, cofounder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, told Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner that, “As its records reflect, the Campaign paid for Dr. Stein’s trip to Russia.” The letter also notes Stein’s willingness to comply with its requests for communication with Russian state media organizations and Russian government officials. Objections are raised, however, to what are deemed unconstitutionally vague requests for internal policy discussions and contacts with any “Russian persons,” regardless of affiliation.
In a November 28 press release, the Stein campaign assured such donors that “recount funds are being held in a dedicated account, separate from Stein’s Presidential campaign treasury, and will be used to pay for all costs associated with the recounts.” . . . What to do with the money left over, after all recounts efforts were completed, is a question that 150,000 contributors were promised a vote on.
Dave Schwab, Communications Director for the Stein campaign responded Friday:
Recount money was used to provide legal counsel for the Senate investigation of alleged Russian collusion that the recount and our campaign were accused of. It was outrageous that the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the recount of being a tool of Russian interference, when the recount was exactly the thing that could have detected any such election interference, had it not been obstructed. Legal counsel enabled us to defend the recount from the baseless accusations behind the Russia investigation, which allowed us to leverage the intense media interest in the Russia investigation to amplify the critical message that election integrity is our best defense against election interference.
I don't trust Stein and her supporters were played for idiots. They bear as much responsibility for Trump's election as the lazy slugs who failed to get out and vote.