A New ‘Guardian’ Report Shows Just How Far Team Trump Would Go to Discredit the Iran Deal

Aides allegedly hired an Israeli intelligence firm to dig up dirt on Obama staffers who were involved in negotiations.

Cheriss May/Sipa USA/AP

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According to a new report from the Guardian, Trump aides hired an Israeli private intelligence firm to coordinate a “dirty ops” campaign against former Obama staffers who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal.

The alleged plan was to discredit the agreement, which the president has called the “worst deal ever,” by digging up dirt on Ben Rhodes, one of President Obama’s national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, who was Vice President Biden’s national security adviser. Investigators were supposedly told to look at their personal lives and any involvement with Iran-friendly lobbyists. They were also told to contact journalists who supported the deal to see if Rhodes or Kahl told them any sensitive information.

“I was not aware [of the campaign], though sadly am not surprised,” Rhodes told the Guardian. “I would say that digging up dirt on someone for carrying out their professional responsibilities in their positions as White House officials is a chillingly authoritarian thing to do.”

It’s unclear how much work was done to carry out the plan, but after the Guardian story published, Kahl tweeted about an incident last year in which a supposed “socially responsible private equity” firm contacted his wife while she was serving on the fundraising committee at their child’s elementary school in Washington, D.C.

This seems eerily similar to the tactics used by operatives trying to silence Harvey Weinstein’s accusers. That might not be a coincidence:

The Guardian report comes just days before Trump’s May 12 deadline by which he’s said he’ll make a decision on whether to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. It also follows a recent, very public attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discredit the deal—and potentially provide Trump cover should he choose to pull out of it. 

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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