The Lincoln project’s latest anti-Trump ads, one in Russian and the other about Russia

July 4, 2020 • 12:00 pm

As you probably know, The Lincoln Project is a PAC (political action committee) composed largely of Republicans who oppose Trump’s re-election in November. They endorsed Joe Biden earlier this spring, and are known for their hard-hitting videos (collection here) that The Atlantic has criticized this way: “personally abusive, overwrought, pointlessly salacious, and trip-wired with non sequiturs.” Well, I don’t fully agree. Personally abusive? Overwrought? Remember who we’re talking about here!

At any rate, here are two recent ones, so judge for yourself. The first, described on The Week, is entirely in Russian voice with English subtitles. As that article notes:

 On Wednesday, the Republican operatives behind the Lincoln Project released another ad attacking President Trump — in fact another one tied to the growing scandal over Russian bounties for slain U.S. troops in Afghanistan, indirectly — though this one’s a little different: It’s entirely in Russian. In case you were curious, the ad “is actually in good Russian and voiced over by a good Russian actor,” says Russian-born U.S. journalist Julia Ioffe.

Tovarich Trump! I don’t see this as fitting The Atlantic‘s description at all. It’s strong but not pointless, not salacious, and not abusive.

And here’s an ad about the U.S. bounty that Russia supposedly placed on American soldiers killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Now none of us have seen the evidence that this is true, but given that the leaks came from the intelligence community, I think the report can be considered credible for the time being. And certainly it was called to Trump’s attention a long time before we heard about it.  Nor has he said anything about it.

Just as Thomas Henry Huxley was known as “Darwin’s Bulldog,” since Darwin was mild-mannered but Huxley took it upon himself to gnaw the tushies of Darwin’s detractors, so the Lincoln Project could be considered Biden’s Bulldog. And again, I see nothing unseemly about this ad.


46 thoughts on “The Lincoln project’s latest anti-Trump ads, one in Russian and the other about Russia

  1. I agree. I don’t know what The Atlantic was smoking. Te Lincoln Project’s videos are so well produced. They always choose the right music and voice talent. They rely on ridicule which, IMHO, is our best tool against Trump.

    There are so many sources of ridicule against Trump these days: the wonderful Sarah Cooper of course being one of them. Here are a couple of recent favorites from non-Lincoln Project sources:

    Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, of all people, on Trump:

    Trump giving an award to actor/sycophant Jon Voight:

    1. Voigt is a hacked out old fool who once played an actor on TV, badly.

      I’ve written articles alluding to Trump’s probable Alzheimers for years now. It’ll be like Reagan II if he wins, 1984-88. For the youngsters RR was president, on and off, for the 1980s.

      I like the Lincoln Project and their ads. Uncle Joe should EMPLOY them! I really like the Russian one b/c I could understand most of it – I’ve been studying Russian since I went to uni.

      1. You really can’t be a PAC and ’employed” by a campaign. There is not supposed to be coordination between the two without running afoul of campaign finance laws.

  2. If nothing else, Trump has remained consistent throughout his entire administration. Never a negative word about Russia or Putin and generally siding with Russia over our own intelligence services. He seems not to know or even understand who’s side he is on. It’s disgusting and sick. He is a Russian puppet at the very least. The ignorance of his base and the republicans in congress only magnifies the corrupt nature of this union with Russia. Moscow Mitch is always standing by.

    1. I liked the Russian one too but I think the one about the troops will be the most effective because I remember the picture of those two men wearing shirts that said they’d teacher be Russians over Democrats.

  3. given that the leaks came from the intelligence community, I think the report can be considered credible for the time being.

    And I would draw the exact opposite tentative conclusion. Especially given the effort to wind down American combat troops’ presence in Afghanistan.

    1. Elaborate please.

      I would also disagree with our host’s conclusion that Trump hasn’t said anything about it. He’s downplayed it entirely. As before, Trump is essentially taking the Russian opinion over those of his intelligence services by declaring them as unreliable. While I certainly don’t know how reliable they are, I know where I’d place my bet.

      1. The information was supposedly gained from the interrogation of Afghan Taliban fighters. Human Rights Watch recently reported on the use of torture upon Afghan detainees. Meanwhile, within the US military and intelligence there are differing opinions about whether and when we should withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Some factions might find it convenient to push this information regardless of its trustworthiness.

        1. There is supporting evidence beyond the interrogations. Large electronic financial transfers, a network linking Afghans to the suspected Russian operation, including the suspected intermediary, is some of the evidence. It was the discovery of half a million dollars in a home the home of one of the men that was an early piece of the puzzle.

          Regardless of whether the story is ever fully substantiated, the real story is about Trump. He doesn’t intelligence briefings and then lies about them, he always promotes Russian over American interests, and his incompetence is on full display here.

          1. I don’t doubt that the Russians support our enemies in Afghanistan; it’s what we did to them when they were there, after all. It’s the bounties for specific heads, that seems a bit too much like what a captive thinks the interrogator wants to hear.

            Agreed on Trump and his Putin friendship. I just don’t want to buy the bathwater along with the baby in this news story.

            1. The very least we should expect from any US president is that he would hold a press conference to address the issue, say that he is personally reviewing every bit of evidence regarding the allegation, and, if the reports of Russia putting bounties on the heads of US GIs are borne out, promise the American people he will come down with both feet on the head of Vladimir Putin and his GRU military intelligence unit.

              Instead, Trump has said and done none of these things. Indeed, he has never made a single public statement that risks alienating Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump’s obsequiousness regarding Putin — as demonstrated perhaps most starkly at the Helsinki summit — is the hinkiest thing a US president has done during my lifetime (and my lifetime includes Richard Nixon and Watergate).

              1. I suspect it’s because Trump really has Putin’s @ss in a crack; he *knows* what a train-wreck the Russian economy is, he knows how to play economic warfare, and he’s kept the sanctions — therefore the pressure — up on Russia. He can afford to say nice things about Putin, knowing that he’s got him over a barrel. Putin also has cause to hate Trump, for the same reasons.

              2. He had them while the price of oil was plunging to twenty bucks and below. Now that it has risen up, a lot of pressure is off. But in truth, that oil price had him too because he needed prices up so that the oil men wouldn’t be upset. Remember when he tweeted out that we could thank him for the fact that a barrel of oil had risen in price.

              3. That’s no excuse for Trump’s lying and saying he was never briefed about it. Or for Trump’s calling it a “hoax” without having done anything to investigate it. Or for Trump’s refusing to call Putin out for it before the American people.

                If Trump has “Putin over a barrel,” as you claim, why has he, after learning of the Afghanistan bounty scheme, advocated for Putin to be re-admitted to the G7 summit and announced the draw down of US troops from Germany (one of Vladimir Putin’s wet dreams)? Why didn’t Trump say anything to Putin about it in any of the five friendly phone chats they’ve had since March 30, 2020?

                Is there no lie by Trump so base that his supporters won’t debase themselves by struggling to find some risible way to excuse it?

              4. The stuff Trumpists come up with is rivaled only by Trump’s own lies. If Trump truly had “Putin over a barrel”, wouldn’t he be explaining that to us every chance he got? Instead, we get the occasional weak refrain that he’s tougher on Russia than any other president. Whenever he uses that grammatical form, he’s always lying. It’s one of the ways he dismisses a topic.

              5. And slamming NATO (another Putin desire) to the point that NATO members have pretty much started to plan with the idea in mind that they cannot count on the US. That is a very scary thing.

              6. NATO members’ increased independence might actually be a positive outcome, though perhaps it is more than matched by Putin’s increased confidence and boldness.

              7. NATO needs the US. There just isn’t enough from the other members to hold off Russia.

              8. Yes, but having independently strong partners will make us stronger together in the longer run. Ironically, Putin may find that in future he will have many strong opponents to his aggression, not just one who is far away and subject to the whims of US political climate. I don’t think Trump had any of this in mind, of course, but that’s how it may play out.

                I suppose we should have some fear that Putin will see the remaining months of Trump’s presidency as his last chance to expand his empire. Perhaps that might be our October Surprise but I don’t see that it would help Trump at all.

              9. The US already has very strong partners but what they will find is that missions won’t be able to be run because those partners will need to concentrate elsewhere. This means there will be more instability in many regions with peace keeping efforts stalled in favour of other missions.

        2. I don’t find the argument that we should be protecting soldier’s lives because of these bounties. Perhaps that sounds callous but they are in a war zone regardless of who funds their opponents. Instead, it does against Trump’s personal agenda of Russia/Putin as our pals. We shouldn’t be at all surprised if they are funding the Taliban. That’s really the point.

          1. I would not be surprised at any number of countries that might be funding the Taliban however paying bounty to kill U.S. solders is another thing. A very hard pay back to whoever would be doing that should happen and would be expected to happen. The release or leaking of this information to specific NYTs reporter is never surprising, this has been happening throughout the Trump period. In fact it is the only way we usually get real information and know what is going on.

            Instead, what we get from the moron is the same old I love Russia and it is all fake news. If anyone things that is okay, they have something seriously wrong with them. At the same time he should be doing things to Russia he instead wants Putin to come over, maybe have a sleep over.

      2. I think it’s entirely typical for Trump to do nothing because he is too lazy to find a proper response (similar story with COVID 19). He is also clueless and unable to judge whether his advisors are competent and trustworthy. I suspect this is why he tries to judge them on perceived personal loyalty. How else could he have hired people like Bolton and Mattis whose interventionist foreign policy is the complete opposite of his own isolationism?

        Assuming that the Russians have been active in Afghanistan for years, can their support for Anti-American forces have been anything but an open secret? That makes me suspicious about the timing of the leak.

        Now Trump wants to withdraw from Afghanistan (and have a good relationship with Russia, of course). It appears at the same time that the foreign policy establishment in Washington has no intention whatsoever to do that. There is still no exit date after almost 20 years of conflict. The Afghanistan Papers ( have shown how insane and unwinnable the war is, and that the general public has been systematically misinformed about it. I am dismayed by attempts to prolong the war by turning it into a matter of national honor (a dangerous and foolish concept, imo). A more peaceful foreign policy without wasting trillions on questionable wars would make America more formidable. Rival powers would prefer for these wars to go on indefinitely.

        1. It may well be that the leakers wanted to maintain the US’s involvement in Afghanistan but, if so, their efforts seemed to have failed. I’ll admit that I haven’t looked hard but I don’t see much call for that in reactions to the bounty story. Instead, it is just more evidence that Russia is not our friend and increases wonder at why Trump still regards it that way. In fact, I wonder if the leakers’ real goal was to draw attention to Trump’s Russia policy and to remind voters that we still have no explanation as to why this is the case. Furthermore, they may seek to undermine Trump’s enablers on that basis. I have to think there are a lot of career people in the military, intelligence, and foreign service who absolutely hate what Trump has done to this country. Not wanting wars to go on indefinitely actually seems like the one Trump policy that most would agree with, perhaps even these leakers.

          1. Trump has decimated the whistleblower protocols that had been in place, leaving leaking to the media as the only outlet for this type of information.

  4. The ads are undoubtedly hard-hitting, but I worry about how they will play out in such a polarized election – they seem to be preaching to the converted. Equally, I don’t doubt that they are accurate about the facts (although apparently that doesn’t count for much these days, sadly).

    1. I think they want to reach the people on the edge. Say, the Republican who hates Trump but to be loyal to the party is considering holding their nose and voting for him.

    2. These ads are playing heavily on Faux News, so it’s targeted directly at Trump’s base, not the “choir”.

      1. I thought the choir also mostly gets their news from Fox. Those Trumpish neighbors we all know probably would never go to one of his rallies or wear a MAGA hat but they still consider themselves conservatives so watch Fox News. That’s my impression anyway. Isn’t Fox News #1 over its competition?

  5. The State Dept. (and therefore, we can assume, the POTUS) has known for years that the Russians have been paying off the Taliban to attack ISIS, and the Chinese have been paying off ISIS to attack other Arab terrorists — since both Russia and China hate the Jihadists even more than they hate each other. This doesn’t mean that either of them micro-manages the various Jihadist warlords that they pay. It’s perfectly believable that some Taliban warlord took his Russian money and spent it on a project of his own — such as paying bounties for killing American troops, let alone Israelis. The question isn’t why the Russians hate Trump (he’s kept the sanctions up, after all, and he *knows* what a wreck the Russian economy is). The question is why they should love Biden, knowing that the Democrats make kissy-face to both the Chinese and the Jihadists.

  6. The ad in Russian is over the top, simplistic and potentially dangerous Cold War Propaganda. It ignores the fact that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union completely lost power, that the Soviet economy was transformed, and that Putin came to power after this transformation nearly completely destroyed Russian society. You completely ignore the fact that the intelligence for the bounty story is at best thin. You seem unaware that we still have sanctions on Russia, we still support the Ukraine, and that Trump is actually a warmonger. The problem with Trump is not that he is too “dovish”. Sorry, not signing up for Cold War II.

    1. I’m sure the families of the three dead US Marines apparently killed to collect on this bounty scheme take great comfort in your words of support for the autocrat who’s about to be “elected” president for life of his third-world kleptocracy and who expends great effort interfering in the functioning of western democracies.

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