Former FBI Agent Says Trump Attempted to Employ Covert Propaganda Against American Public

In a viral Twitter thread posted by former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa, the CNN correspondent said a series of text messages between the Ukrainian President and Kurt Volker shows that President Donald Trump attempted to employ propaganda against the American public.

In the video clip she attached, taken from CNN, an on-screen chyron featuring recently released texts between Kurt Volker, a former top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Volker says, "Good lunch - thanks. Heard from White House -- assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/"get to the bottom of what happened" in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington. Good luck. See you tomorrow - kurt"

THREAD. One thing not to overlook in understanding the significance of the texts is that in addition to soliciting section assistance and abusing his power, Trump was attempting to employ covert propaganda against the American public:

— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) October 4, 2019

The host asks Rangappa if that's a "quid pro quo," and with a laugh she replies 'yes'.

"Not only is there a condition here of having a meeting in exchange for doing something, I think what one thing we need to highlight is what they were looking for was a public announcement. Now, this is really what makes the lie 'we're looking for corruption' versus 'looking for dirt and helping the campaign,'" she said.

"If you really just want another country to investigate, they can do it quietly, you wait for the findings, and then let them take it on. What they wanted was a public announcement, that would then publicly cast doubt on Joe Biden in a way that would benefit Trump. And I think that that need for them to be very public about this investigation that they were potentially starting really adds to this idea that he was looking for a personal benefit to his own campaign," she continued.

A screencap of Asha Rangappa appearing on CNN speaking about text messages between former U.S. diplomat Kurt Volker and the Ukrainian President. Rangappa said on Twitter afterwards that Trump was applying covert propaganda tactics to his dealings with Ukraine. Newsweek

"One thing not to overlook in understanding the significance of the texts is that in addition to soliciting section assistance and abusing his power, Trump was attempting to employ covert propaganda against the American public," Rangappa said in their ensuing Twitter thread.

"As I note in the clip above, one thing the texts make clear is that the administration wasn't just interested in Ukraine investigating Biden -- they were specifically interested in the *messaging* about the investigation. If what you care about is "corruption," you would be satisfied with an assurance that Ukraine was going to investigate," she continued.

"Instead, the Trump admin doesn't care so much about the investigation itself, but making sure that the fact that it is being investigated is *being broadcast* to the audience they care about: American voters," said Rangappa.

"IMPORTANTLY," she continued, "they are very invested in the message being crafted in a *specific way* -- tailored to Trump's benefit by maximizing the "seeds of doubt" on both Biden and the 2016 election. It's being drafted by Trump's personal lawyer! In addition, the message was going to be delivered as an official statement from Ukraine, with NO INDICATION that the United States either precipitated or participated in its creation in any way. This, folks, is called black propaganda."

She explains that "black propaganda" attempts to conceal the true source of information, so that the credibility of it cannot be properly ascertained.

Trump, she says, "wanted to cloak his own role and motives behind the statement of a foreign country."

"The goal here is to manipulate the American public into to thinking that Ukraine had *independently* reached the same conclusions about the Russia investigation, and/or uncovered criminal leads about Biden. Trump could then use this to bolster his own views," she wrote.

"Not for nothing, but a good chunk of the cases I investigated in the FBI were 'perception management' (propaganda) cases. We actively try to STOP foreign countries from doing this to us, because we believe that part of an open society and marketplace of ideas is ensuring that people know the true source of information in order to assess credibility and critically evaluate the content (FARA originated in 1938 as a way to combat Nazi propaganda, be requiring state-sponsored content to be identified as such). Basically, you have the Trump admin attempting to conduct an illegal covert psyop on the American public, using officials from the State Department and his own attorney to do it. It's literally a version of what Russia did in 2016." she concludes.