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Fevered Swamps: Lawrence O’Donnell promotes bizarre Trump-Putin-Assad conspiracy theory

Fevered Swamps: Lawrence O’Donnell promotes bizarre Trump-Putin-Assad conspiracy theory

Crazy: Putin allowed Assad to use chemical weapons so Trump could launch symbolic attack to deflect from Trump allegiance to Putin.

Donald Trump ordered a limited military strike on a Syrian air base after the Syrian military was believed behind a chemical weapons airstrike that killed dozens.

The military strike generally received praise both because it happened and because, at least for now, it was limited and intended to establish the red line that Obama ignored. Whatever other horrific warfare has taken place in Syria, and it has been horrible on a historic scale, the use of chemical weapons would not be tolerated.

The plans for an attack were drawn up by the U.S. military, among many alternatives. The Russians, apparently, were alerted at some level beforehand since the attack was on an airbase also used by the Russians. To have done otherwise would have risked a wider conflict if Russian troops were hit by U.S. launched missiles. So that minimal coordination, which takes place among several militaries operating in the skies over Syria, was a cautious move by the U.S. military and Trump.

The widespread praise for Trump’s action has triggered some really bizarre conspiracy theories.

Of course, people are making the “Wag the Dog” comparison, that Trump did the strike to divert from domestic problems. That metaphor was established during the Clinton administration after the movie Wag the Dog. It’s a stretch in this case, but at least Wag the Dog analogies are somewhat commonplace. So if that was all there were to the conspiracy theory, it wouldn’t be notable.

But anti-Trump hatred is so intense that the conspiracy theory has gone much further. The claim now is that the entire scenario of a chemical attack followed by a retaliatory airstrike was a conspiracy by Trump and Putin to help cover up Trump’s alleged allegiance to the Russian leader. The claim is that Trump and Putin hatched the scheme to have Assad use chemical weapons so that Trump could carry out a militarily insignificant attack that would allow Trump to say that he is not in Putin’s pocket.

While I don’t know if she started it (WaPo says it started here), I first saw the conspiracy theory promoted on Twitter by Louise Mensch, who already has gained infamy for bizarre anti-Trump conspiracy theories. Mensch has a large Twitter following, and regularly claims Trump has committed treason, will be impeached and will go to jail.

Mensch tweeted the conspiracy:

Seth Abramson, who also has gained some infamy for his anti-Trump theories, and who has made a name for himself and Twitter following based on anti-Trump hyperbole, also tweeted that the attack was intended to make Trump look like he’s at odds with Putin:

Mike Luckovich, cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also pushed one aspect of the conspiracy, collusion between Trump and Putin:

There are hundreds of others who have been retweeting and spreading this conspiracy theory.

For this conspiracy to have taken place, of course, would have meant that the U.S. military at the highest levels was in on it. That’s of course the problem with conspiracy theories of this sort, to be plausible requires an inplaussible number of people to be involved, all of whom are staying silent about it. Conspiracy theories like these also cannot be disproven, because there is no proof of the conspiracy itself. It’s worse than trying to prove a negative, it’s chasing a rabbit down the hole.

The Trump-Putin-Assad conspiracy theory really took off, however, when Lawrence O’Donnell started promoting it both on Twitter and on air during his MSNBC show.

O’Donnell issued this tweet, that was spread far and wide:

And O’Donnell offered praise for the Luckovich cartoon:

On air, during prime time on MSNBC on April 7, 2017, , O’Donnell promoted the conspiracy theory (transcript via Newsbusters):

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC: Wouldn’t it be nice if it was just completely, totally, absolutely impossible to suspect that Vladimir Putin orchestrated what happened in Syria this week, so that his friend in the White House could have a big night, with missiles and all of the praise he has picked up over the last 24 hours?

Wouldn’t it be so nice if you couldn’t even in your wildest dreams imagine a scenario like that?

I don’t know what it is. Is it a two percent chance? Is is a 50 percent chance? Is it, I don’t know.

But I don’t think it’s a zero percent chance, and it used to be with every other President besides Donald Trump.

O’Donnell tried to play it cute by claiming he was spreading the theory only to prove that it’s a shame that the question even can be asked because of Trump. Yet he spent so much time on it, and none of the three guests pushed back in any serious way against the lunacy.

A DailyKos writer thinks O’Donnell’s theory makes sense:

In other words, because Trump lies to us and deceives us all of the times. One should infer that he is doing it now as well.

Mike Doran, senior director in the National Security Council in the Bush administration and a harsh critic of Obama administration “unmasking,” tweeted that this was the moment the left totally lost its mind:

I think that’s letting the perpetrators, including O’Donnell, off the hook too easy.

Whether or not they’ve lost their minds, this is part of a calculated effort. O’Donnell helped push it out for a reason, and that reason almost certainly is not that he actually believes it.


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Morning Sunshine | April 8, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Wait… what? I got confused just reading the title. How do people’s brains work this way?

    MattMusson in reply to Morning Sunshine. | April 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    MSNBC is like listening to the Arab Media.

    You made a huge mistake assuming that these “people” have brains. What evidence do you have that they can think? No way they can figure these elaborate conspiracy theories on their own. I still haven’t figured out what collusion with the Russians on the election is. What did the Trump people do to collude? Somebody wrote this scenario where the Russians targeted people through Facebook advertising to get people to vote for Trump. Trump for his cooperation (don’t have any idea how he could cooperate) would get millions of dollars. Why Trump would quit a job on TV paying 60 million a year to commit treason, never made much sense and who reads Facebook ads?
    I have my own conspiracy theory. Most people don’t know that the generally accepted theory of Russian hacking is based on the DNC writing a report. The FBI, NSA,CIA etc. never analyzed the hacked servers. The DNC wouldn’t allow them and use a guy who was a DNC functionary to send a report to these agencies. My theory is everything we read about Russian hacking is a dem ploy to excuse their crushing defeats. The Russians are not our friends, but neither is Schumer and Pelosi.

O’Donnell lost it a LONG time ago…

He is actually insane, sad, just sad…

    murkyv in reply to gonzotx. | April 8, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Never forget how he savaged the Swiftboat Vets in 2004.

    Especially John O’Neill, screaming at him “LIAR, LIAR, CREEPY LIAR”

Some people will at least PRETEND to believe any-damned-thing…

Like that Ted Cruz had ANY mistresse or his dad ever SMELLED Lee Harvey Oswald.

    XOXO. …. 😉

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | April 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I remember your soiling your thong and doing your Chicken Little dance because a “no-fly zone” would lead to WWIII with Russia.


      I remember being against the insane no fly zone proposals of Fiorina and Clinton as a policy too late in time to do anything but risk world war 3 with Russia and you arguing in favor of these world war 3 inducing policies because you found world War 3 advocacy an acceptable never Trump position.

      I was correct and you were deranged.


        Ragspierre in reply to garybritt. | April 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

        Look “deconfliction” you lying moron.

        You were always wrong, and you ARE always a lying POS.

        Kinda like your Great God Cheeto…!!!

          Ah the factless, logic free, and juvenile mating call of the permanently Trump deranged.

          Scientists are investigating whether such derangement is caused by a mental disorder or is induced by a severe cheeto allergy? My money is on mental disorder.

        Ragspierre in reply to garybritt. | April 9, 2017 at 2:31 pm

        No, indeed, bung-sucking liar

        Virtually all the field of actual Republicans and conservatives agreed that a no-fly zone was a great…and mandatory…option in Syria, partly to allow people a safe area to shelter from the war rather than emigrate to avoid getting killed.

        But you, lying POS that you are, dutifully aped the crap of your man-crush that that was CRAZY, bellicose, WAR-talk, and he knew the pragmatic route to avoid trouble with Russia.

        So. Now that he’s sent five dozen cruise missiles into an airfield where Russians were KNOWN to reside, it’s allllllll
        cool, because bung sucking.

        AND he’s broken his word on repealing ObamaDoggle (at least for the nonce).

        You are truly to be despised and made an object of scorn.

          Yep. A mental disorder.

          Fiorina and Clinton wanted a no fly zone over all of Syria. The problem was the Russians were already there and flying all around Syria, hence the risk of world war 3 when they had to shoot down a russian fighter jet. It was insane then and is insane now yet you still try to argue for it while re-writing the history of what you posted back then.

          Trump has always supported safe zones for refugees to be established in Syria. Now you are trying to re-write your insane advocacy for the Clinton/Fiorina insane no fly zones over all of Syria as if they were limited safe zone no fly zones over a small part of Syria.

          You supported these insane blanket no-fly zones because you thought it would hurt Trump. You were wrong. I was right.

          No. Neither Carly nor Hillary wanted “blanket” no-fly zones over “all of Syria.” Both specified areas (or “safe zones” within Syria) and “humanitarian corridors” within Syria to be designated as NFZ and enforced by the US and, presumably, its allies. At no time did either say the entirety of Syria should be a no-fly zone.

          If you are certain that either of them said that, please provide the link/s because I neither recall either stating that nor can I find any credible source that says so.

          A nonsensical nitpick. Clinton and Fiorina and Rags argued for the creation of a no fly zone in the areas of Syria where Russia was already conducting combat jet fighter missions. So whether Fiorina and Clinton wanted no fly zone in all of Syria or just those areas where Russia was already flying jet fighter combat missions is irrelevant. Their insane policy would have required shooting down Russian fighter jets already flying combat missions in the areas they wanted no fly zones. They WERE NOT advocating for the creation of no fly zones for refugee non combatant safe zones in Syria as Rags was trying to suggest.

          A simple google search on Fiorina’s insane no fly zone policy provides pages of links like this one:

          But special circumstances in Syria make the no-fly proposal even more dangerous than normal. Russia has intervened in that country and is flying numerous combat missions against rebel units. Establishing a no-fly zone over Moscow’s objections would be extremely provocative. Yet neither Clinton nor the GOP hawks gave any hint that creating the zone should be contingent on Russia’s consent. Indeed, there was an undertone in the debate comments by Rubio and Fiorina that imposing the zone would be an effective way to humiliate Vladimir Putin and make it clear that Russia would not be able to exercise influence in the Middle East.

          If that is the nature of no-fly zone proposals, they are extraordinarily reckless. How would we enforce the unilateral no-fly edict? Would we actually shoot down Russian planes if they dared continue their combat flights? That would carry the obvious risk that Moscow might respond in kind—and that would bring two nuclear-armed powers to the brink of all-out war.

          You wrote: “A nonsensical nitpick.”

          Hmmm, how so? Your entire comment, to which I replied, was about how Carly and Hillary wanted NFZ’s over ALL of Syria and that Rags is saying that they wanted them over only parts of Syria (i.e. limited). The wanted them over parts of Syria (i.e. limited); Rags is correct, you are not.

          You go on to explain that limited NFZ’s are just as bad as wholesale ones, yet you’ve said that Trump wants limited ones. What gets weird is when you contort yourself to bash people who don’t agree with Trump while not agreeing with him yourself. It’s okay to disagree with Trump on Syrian NFZ’s, you know, and to still support him on other issues.

          Personally, I don’t care whether or not Trump pursues NFZ’s in Syria. I don’t care how they’d be enforced. You know why? Because there is no way in hell Putin will pull the trigger on provoking a war with the U. S. over Syria and Assad (whom by most reports he despises). His country is in horrible shape and has little support outside of Iran and China, and he most certainly does not want to play chicken with Trump, whom he undoubtedly sees as unpredictable and somewhat rash. Putin is an ideologue, so he “got” Obama on that level, but Trump is not ideological (nor particularly principled), and I think that makes Trump a loose cannon as far as the Kremlin is concerned. Poking Trump with a stick is not a good idea, as Assad (and Putin) just learned.

          Your critical thinking seems to be unable to contemplate the difference between a no fly zone in an area where Russia was already conducting jet fighter bombing operations against military targets and a no fly zone over an area containing non combatant refugees where Russia was not already conducting military operations. Fiorina and Clinton proposed the former which was and is insane. Rags was trying to imply it was the latter which is incorrect. Whether it was all of Syria or not is not the important fact. It is whether it was an area already in use by Russian jets for military operations or not that is the important fact. Duh…

          OMG, Gary. Seriously? Where on earth did you get the idea that either of them pointed to a map and said, I want NFZ’s here, here, and here? That’s beyond implausible; it never happened. I really really don’t like to be in a position to defend Hillary (or Carly, for that matter), but what you are saying simply didn’t happen. Neither Hillary nor Carly set up exact geographical locations for NFZ’s and “humanitarian corridors” and certainly none that were contemporaneously used for Russian operations; presumably, both would have, as president, consulted with military leaders, et al. Show me where they said they want to set up NFZ’s in Russian-controlled airspace over Syria. Seriously, if they said that, I would love to see it.

          OMG, Not my job to do your research and education.

          Google “where in syria did fiorina propose no fly zones”

          You will get lots of links like this one:

          Where they quote Fiorina’s own words:

          Carly Fiorina
          Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive

          “This is a tricky maneuver, it’s a dangerous maneuver, but it’s a maneuver that we must undertake.” September 30, 2015

          Mrs. Fiorina called for a no-fly zone to protect rebel forces that are opposing President Assad. She said that such a move would show the Russians “that they do not get to move into the Middle East and become the dominant outside power.”

          A no fly zone to protect the rebel forces (likely al qaeda rebel forces but that’s a different bit of insanity). Those are the rebel forces Russian jets were actively bombing. So Fiorina wants a no fly zone exactly where Russian jets are attacking military targets so she can start world war 3 by shooting down some Russian jets.

          Exactly has I stated and EXACTLY as Rags argued in favor of both back then and today.

And, MSNBC Executives wonder why their ratings are in the tank? Lawrence O is certifiably insane. Lock him up already.

This is why it is so difficult to parody the Left.

He didn’t mention that Putin had bought an unnamed German car that was a lemon and the dealer wouldn’t make it right. The car was parked at the fuel depot and was unfortunately destroyed. Vlad has already contacted his insurance agent and the check is in the mail. The other 58 Tomahawks were just a diversion. Geez, I could write copy for CNN.

Blaise MacLean | April 8, 2017 at 10:36 pm

On the subject of alternative explanations, is it possible that Lawrence O’Donnell is a “V”?

Actually, O’Donnell’s secret is that he is a collaborator with the North Koreans, and was ordered by Kim-Jong-Un to spread the word about Trump, so that he (Kim) can attack the USS Carl Vinson, after he forced Trump to turn it around and send it within his range. And actually, it was President Xi of China who ordered Trump to launch the missiles during dinner, so that Putin will have more respect for China, in return for China promising to have its diplomats stay exclusively in Trump Hotels (and if the Chinese ever take up golf again, to play exclusively at Trump golf courses).
And I have that on the firm authority of the CIA, which was actually tipped off by British Intelligence, which has been working with the Russian FSB to reveal Putin’s indiscretions with an American bellydancer, who once worked for Trump as a bricklayer. “Layer”. Get it?

    Old0311 in reply to Topnife. | April 9, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Hmmm! I thought his secret was that he is Rosie’s Siamese twin half brother. Did you see where the whacko lib said that Trump should be hung? After looking at his wife, I would assume that he is already.

Interesting thought by a poster on another blog .
Hillary coming out for a strike right before the strike.
Did someone leak to her? and she decided to make political capital

    Tom Servo in reply to dmi60ex. | April 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

    interesting guess, but I think it’s more likely that Hillary gambled that Trump would never ever do such a thing, and that she would look like SHE was the “Tough On Foreign Policy!!!” candidate. BUT this move was catastrophic for her, because it completely neutralized any chance she had to criticize him.

    Once again, she completely miscalculated how Trump would respond.

kenoshamarge | April 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

I don’t remember hearing of Louise Mensch, I might have it’s just that one loon’s name gets lost among so many, but as I am a cartoon addict I am very familiar with cartoonist Luckovich. He uses his cartoons to promote some very ugly slurs against most things on the right consistently.

I prefer, of course, LI’s own brilliant A.F. Branco and another brilliant cartoonist, Michael Ramirez. Luckovich is, like so many on the left, just nuts.

As for O’Donnell, he’s been past his shelf life for years. If he didn’t say something outrageous from time to time people wouldn’t even know he was still around.

“Of course, people are making the “Wag the Dog” comparison, that Trump did the strike to divert from domestic problems.”

None of us know the truth about who was behind the poison gas attack. Everyone across the political spectrum is again engaging in knee-jerk, self-serving pronouncements to further their political agendas. We can target any nutty theory for ridicule and have a field day. Where does that get us? Let’s stop obsessing about what the usual suspects are saying and start focusing on what is happening. The world is suddenly off on a new trajectory and it may be a good thing. America’s national interests are suddenly in the world’s best interests again.

With world events spiraling dangerously out of control, I believe the US needed to do something dramatic to send a message and retake leadership. I suspect the gas attack really was a false flag event staged by US proxy. Nothing shocking here. That is the way these things work. What matters is what happens next. It is already appearing that this is the opening act of a global strategy.

RUSSIA. The non-Islamic world, including Russia, cannot allow Assad to be toppled by ISIS hence the false flag argument. The main winner would be Iran if they could control ISIS but I don’t get the idea that Iran is happy with the missile attack. So what gives? Caught off guard? Russia’s support of Assad is “conditional”. What conditions? Oil. Period. Russia is now the new OPEC without pricing leverage.

This is complicated for Russia too. Spread thin militarily and fighting terrorism at home and abroad to protect their oil interests, their frail economy could impode. An Islamic Europe would be a major catastrophe for them.

Anticipating the collapse of the dollar, Russia and China may be collaborating but were WWIII to break out, the main adversaries would be Russia vs China. So what was China’s reaction to Syria?

CHINA. China has it’s own Syria problem with North Korea. NorKo is a major pain in the ass for China and they really don’t know what to do about it. A resolute, decisive US determined to bring order to an unraveling world threatening all would be welcome by China. The Mar-a-Lago meetings ended on an up note. Next day, the US Navy is dispatched to North Korea. No comment from China.

And so, the US media is off and running again with yet another silly war of gotcha. Everyone hitting each other over the head with their own conspiracy theories or reveling over the return of neocon globalism. Maybe it’s something else. I sure see a lot of new American chips being placed on the bargaining table.

The US remains the world’s only major, efficient and innovative economy. The China century is already in shambles with their house of cards debt-ridden economy ready to collapse. Even China’s 3rd world wages are not low enough to keep their inefficient command economy going. They don’t innovate. They just steal ideas and use their laws to protect the Red Army-run companies while taxing and harassing foreign competition. Capital flight (voting with your feet) threatens collapse the whole show.

So the two US rivals are no match for a resolute US, the only country on the planet that has everything it needs to thrive on its own. We could concentrate our military to focus solely on vital US interests and successfully take on the world. We have rarely, if ever, been in a better negotiating position. We have the cure and our interests line up favorably with those who could help.

THAT is what we should be talking about.

    For those who still don’t understand why Russia is helping Addas:

    Russia desperately NEEDS to maintain its virtual monopoly of nat/gas exported to Europe. It is a futile effort. The US is already a major natgas exporter that will keep natgas prices too low for a Russia that produces nothing else the world needs or wants. Just like OPEC, Russia will eventually crack. They can’t win.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Pasadena Phil. | April 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Venezuela is well down the road with the same problem, except it’s oil, not natgas. Maduro is letting his people starve in the streets. He has control over the farms now. There is little food and medicine there and Maduro just coerced the high court into dissolving the legislature. A cruel dictatorship is upon those poor people and, once again, it’s right in our neighborhood.

      Russia has nothing to sell of any consequence except natgas and military equipment. They don’t raise a lot of food or manufacture any durables except some really crappy stuff they can’t export because it’s so poorly made, although it’s considered by the government to be good enough for the Russian people.

O’Donnell says “but what you won’t hear is proof that that scenario that I’ve just outlined is impossible.”

O’Donnell and his audience also didn’t hear during that hour that little green men from outer space were actually the ones that hacked the DNC and Podesta’s email account, nor did they hear these little green men sent a UFO to Syria to drop those chemical weapons. Finally, they did not hear that these little green basta*ds did all this to help Trump so he would give them free memberships to the Mar a Lago country club in Florida.

Mar a Lago is apparently a hot destination for intergalactic space alien travelers.

OH, and you know what else O’Donnell’s audience didn’t hear that night or any other night? They didn’t hear a single piece of evidence that there was ever any collusion by a Trump campaign person with Putin/Russia.

    Ragspierre in reply to garybritt. | April 9, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Dunno about your alien bullshit, but…

    it IS a dead-bang certainty that Mar-a-Lago is the place to BUY access to power, AND…

    that’s what Der Donald sells there.

      In your deranged Trump psychosis you are conflating Hillary with President Trump. Like all good deranged liberals you spout the MSNBC factless and unsupported BS.

      You supported Hillary for President because according to you that was what “conservativism” required you to do.

      Your deranged thinking and psychosis continues unabated for all to see.

“Wag the Dog” from one of Obama’s b*tches…

OK, then.

A gambit. If coordinated to minimize collateral damage, then a viable strategy to end Obama’s adventurism and mitigate CAIR.

Genius O’Donnell has done it again.

Lock him up in the same asylum as Crazy Pelosi.

Gremlin1974 | April 9, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Lawrence O’Donnell? Isn’t he the same Mentally Ill sad sack that after liberals got their ass handed to them in the Wisconsin Recall said that the real winner was “President Obama!”

Yep it was. That anyone could take this man seriously just boggles the mind.

inspectorudy | April 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm

You have to consider the source of this absurdity. It is msnbc!. They have no credibility or audience. This is giving them free publicity on every single website there is. Madcow is not much better. She says stuff that makes a whore blush but it is for one reason, ratings. They are all rating whores at msnbc because they have nothing else. No credibility, honesty, ethics, or interesting people.