Monday, March 20, 2017

Note on the Narratology

From Dino Felluga, "Introduction to Narratology"
The conventional wisdom on our side seems to be that the climax of today's House Intelligence Committee hearing was FBI director James Comey acknowledging, as he has seemed so unwilling to do for such a long time, that the FBI and other agencies are indeed conducting an investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, including with reference to the question whether anybody from the Trump campaign was personally involved in it.

But to me it came before that, in the opening statement by Rep. Schiff, laying out with such clarity what the public evidence consists of, and why the committee investigation has to take place: especially where he shows how documents from the Steele dossier compiled last summer essentially prophesied the events that would take place in the fall:

According to Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. Intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft. Sechin is reported to be a former KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s. According to Steele’s Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company. According to Reuters, the sale of a 19.5 percent share in Rosneft later takes place, with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees.
Also, according to Steele’s Russian sources, the Trump campaign is offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like Wikileaks. The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump Administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fair share – policies which, even as recently as the President’s meeting last week with Angela Merkel, have now presciently come to pass.
That's a bit of a misuse of "presciently" there at the end; it's not the policies that were prescient, but Steele. Rather than suggesting he's clairvoyant, anyhow, I think we ought to say his sources were good enough that he knew in advance what was going to happen—the dealing of Page and Sechin, the stolen Democratic campaign documents laundered by passing from Russian agents through WikiLeaks and others, the startling insistence of the Trumpians on altering Republicans' Ukraine policy (which was originally very McCain-style belligerent, criticizing Obama for not being tough enough on the Russians), and the documents starting to appear online right after the Republican convention and then the Rosneft, as if somebody were saying, OK, you, Page and Gordon and Sessions with Ambassador Kislyak, have done your part, now we do ours.

What Schiff was doing there, it struck me, was very carefully putting together the things Comey won't say but at the same time won't dispute, the framework Comey won't provide in which the answers he gives make a coherent sense.

And the reveal that there is an investigation seems so powerful because of the context showing exactly what the investigation must be of.

No comments:

Post a Comment