The Senate Judiciary Committee has asked that both Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort testify next week, and in the memo they sent out, they have asked for any and all correspondence between them and Dr. Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party candidate for President of the United States, and there is every reason to believe she knows more than she has let on thus far, given her appalling behavior in the lead to the election and its aftermath.
Historically, the Green Party has served as an election spoiler, peddling the appalling myth that by “voting your conscience,” you rid yourself of the taint of association with the two major parties, but mostly the Democrats. When activist Ralph Nader ran on their platform in 2000, he managed to fool many people into thinking that voting for him meant they were doing this. In reality, however, his campaign was merely an act of revenge against Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and the party that largely ignored him throughout the 90s. This was confirmed in The Village Voice’s damning 2004 expose, “Ralph Nader, Suicide Bomber“:
“Later I was introduced to Nader’s closest adviser, his handsome, piercingly intelligent 30-year-old nephew, Tarek Milleron…when I suggested that Nader could gain substantial influence in a Democratic administration by focusing his campaign on the 40 safe states and encouraging his supporters elsewhere to vote Gore, Milleron…simply said, ‘We’re not going to do that.’
“’Why not?’ I said.
“With just a flicker of smile, he answered, ‘Because we want to punish the Democrats, we want to hurt them, wound them.’”
Nader siphoned off enough votes to cost Al Gore the election, and it’s no surprise that, in 2016, the Bernie-or-Busters HATED being reminded of this fact. As this Twitter exchange with one of them reveals, if you called them out on it, they pivoted to attacking the Democrats:
It’s no coincidence that, the last two times a Democrat has ran to succeed a popular, two-term President of their party, the Greens have roared into action and run campaigns based solely around Democrats’ failures, while more or less ignoring the damage that Republicans threatened to do. We saw this happen again in 2016 when the Purity Left, who loved Bernie so much that they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Behillzebubba, switched to Stein, with the most high-profile of these being Susan Sarandon, who lost whatever credibility she had left with her claims on All In with Chris Hayes that a Donald Trump presidency would “bring the revolution” (who, no surprise, had worked on Ralph Nader’s 2000 campaign.)
But in this case, something far more sinister was at play with the Greens than a petty revenge campaign. Jill Stein knows something about how this election went down, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is right to want to get to the bottom of it, since, as the Steele Dossier argued, Russia sought to manipulate this election away from the Democrats, and one of their strategies in doing this was by propping up “useful idiots” like Stein and the Greens, and manipulating voters who had supported Bernie Sanders in the primary. She is not under investigation at this moment, but whatever evidence they could get their hands on from Junior and Manafort will go a long way, given her dubious history with the Russians since 2015, and the ways in which Russian media aided and abetted her Quixotic run for this nation’s highest office.
To recap, Jill Stein, a former Lexington, Massachusetts town-hall meeting representative, has lost every other election she has run in, including those for Massachusetts governor (in 2002 and 2010), the Massachusetts House in 2004, and as Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2006. She ran for President in 2012 but made no discernible mark on the outcome and received nothing like the publicity she got this past year. And for bad music lovers like myself, she is part of the folk rock duo Somebody’s Sister, whose protest music is so awful that scientists have reported rolling tremors from Pete Seeger’s grave. Seriously, give a listen. Or don’t.
All of this begs the question: how does a wannabe hippie from a liberal bastion like Massachusetts, with two degrees from Harvard (the Kremlin on the Charles, as Nixon called it), wind up at a dinner sitting across from Vladimir Putin in winter 2015?
Stein, who claims she was not paid for attending the dinner, is the only American at this table other than disgraced former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn, who by contrast, received an undisclosed check of $45,000 for his appearance sitting next to the Russian President. She has claimed that “nothing happened” at the dinner, but you can only take that claim so far, since she also spoke at an RT Conference connected to it:
True confessions: What was I doing in Russia? Speaking out against Putin following the US into catastrophic war in the Middle East. pic.twitter.com/ZXAlwbRdbx
— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) February 26, 2017
Then, as we know, she posted this video from Red Square, talking about the need to “rein in” American exceptionalism, a talking point that Putin has echoed before in his criticism of President Obama:
From there, the connections to Russia and RT grow even more pronounced. As her running mate, Stein chose Professor Ajamu Baraka, whose flirtations with Holocaust deniers and 9/11 truthers should raise eyebrows, along with his belief that Russia’s attack on Ukraine was a “false flag,” (although this essay from his website claiming that Beyoncé serves white hegemony is enough to damn him in my eyes.) More alarmingly, Baraka had appeared multiple times on RT as a correspondent. Is it coincidence that Stein chose him, given this connection? Perhaps so, but it still raises eyebrows.
Then there’s the matter of Julian Assange and the hacking of the Democratic Party, which manipulated supporters of Bernie Sanders by playing the DNC as an unfair entity who denied him the nomination. As soon as the first emails were leaked, RT was all over the story, with misleading headlines like this one, and have portrayed the DNC as the enemy as late as May of this year, with this article, “DNC Argues It Had the Right to Rig the 2016 Primary.” Julian Assange himself spoke highly of Stein, and even spoke via satellite at the Green Party’s nominating convention last year.
When the election finally rolled around, Hillary Clinton lost by a handful of votes in three rust belt states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In each of theses states, Stein received more votes than Trump’s margin of victory, and if every Stein voter had voted for Clinton, she would have won all three. But the disinformation campaigns from RT and WikiLeaks (plus Steve Bannon’s micro-targeting of those states) were enough to tip the election to Donald Trump. Stein pivoted towards raising money for a recount effort in those three states, and ended up raising but claimed that it wasn’t about helping Clinton. Still, she managed to raise $7.3 million, and announced plans to repurpose the leftover money for voters’ rights organizations – some of whom could use that money right now, given the administration’s current assault on voting rights.
Since then, Stein has made a few media appearances, never once showing any remorse for what she did to spoil this election, nor has she acknowledged the contributions Russian media made to propping up her campaign. If she had won, in spite of the progressive values she claims to stand for, she would have been just as chummy with Putin as Trump wants to be right now, and would most likely have supported Assad’s government in Syria as a way of downplaying “American exceptionalism.” These kinds of views helped her fool many into thinking that by voting for her, they were supporting “the greater good,” never mind the POC, women, and LGBTQs whose rights are threatened by this current administration (along with my straight white guy rights to the Medicaid I rely on!). The evidence is still circumstantial, but it is enough to demand that Jill Stein be brought in for questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And one last thing: guess which Presidential candidate isn’t under investigation for doing anything wrong, in spite of what Stein said about her at the time? That’s right, Hillary Clinton.
Jeremy Fassler is a writer and journalist living in Brooklyn, New York.