Mar 27 • 50M

Episode 48 - Xi visits Putin, "Microchip" takes the stand, and Trump says he's getting arrested

The one where we discuss Xi's visit to Russia and what that means to the future of their alliance , notorious troll "Microchip"s testimony in the Mackey trial, and Donald Trump's latest media stunt.

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Appears in this episode

Jay McKenzie
Griff Sombke
Politics at the intersection of extremists, propaganda and Cold War 2.0. Cutting through the noise to help you make sense of a chaotic information space.
Episode details

The one where we discuss Xi's visit to Russia and what that means to the future of their alliance , notorious troll "Microchip"s testimony in the Mackey trial, and Donald Trump's latest media stunt.

Here are some of the sources we used to create this episode:

No path to peace: Five key takeaways from Xi and Putin’s talks in Moscow

Experts say that China and Russia’s inclination to build their alignment against the US – and a world order more suited to their own more autocratic agendas – was driving the meeting, not interest in resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

As Xi left the Kremlin following a state dinner on Tuesday evening with Putin, his parting message reiterated his view that global power dynamics are shifting. 

“Together, we should push forward these changes that have not happened for 100 years. Take care,” he said during a goodbye handshake with Putin, alluding to what Xi sees as an era where the West is fading and China is ascendant.

Online Troll Named Microchip Tells of Sowing ‘Chaos’ in 2016 Election

““I wanted to infect everything,” Microchip said, adding that his aim before the 2016 election had been “to cause as much chaos as possible” and diminish Mrs. Clinton’s chances of beating Donald J. Trump.”

SPLC article on Microchip

Posobiec has an apparent personal connection to Microchip that goes beyond interviewing him on OANN. Posobiec referred to what he claimed was the creator of QAnon as his friend in a tweet he published on March 8, 2019. He made the claim six months after he produced the segment reporting that Microchip created QAnon with another person. Posobiec and Microchip both promoted fake antifa Twitter accounts as part of a disinformation campaign intended to discredit the leftist protest movement, Buzzfeed reported in March 2017.

“Well seeing as QAnon was started by two guys that are friends of mine, wouldn't that make sense?” he wrote in response to a comment that he “speaks the same language” as QAnon.

Hatewatch reached out to Microchip over the gaming app Discord to ask him about that statement. He described Posobiec as his “buddy just through the internet” and said the OANN correspondent “doesn’t know who [he is],” regarding his true identity.

White House ‘antifa’ petition written by pro-Trump troll

“Microchip is an online provocateur who is routinely kicked off Twitter and claims to direct legions of automated bot accounts. He said getting conservatives to share and discuss the petition is the entire point, and not to prompt concrete action by the government.

He called the petition “a waste of time” but a useful distraction from recent infighting among conservative factions.

He created the petition on Aug. 17, the day after Trump made controversial remarks in which he blamed “both sides” after white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville.

Microchip told POLITICO he wrote it with the explicit intent of stoking conservative rage and forcing the GOP establishment to take a stand or risk becoming targets themselves.

“It was to bring our broken right side together” after Charlottesville, he said, “and prop up antifa as a punching bag.”

“So the narrative changed from ‘I hate myself because we have neo-Nazis on our side’ to ‘I really hate antifa, let’s get along and tackle the terrorists,’” he explained.”

Trump posts disturbing baseball bat photo with Alvin Bragg, threatens ‘death and destruction’

Trump first said last week that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, which came and went without any word of charges. 

Instead, the grand jury was postponed on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Manhattan prosecutors have been presenting evidence to the grand jury since late January in connection with the $130,000 hush money payment made to porn star Daniels shortly before Trump’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which Trump has denied.

Former Trump lawyer and ex-con Michael Cohen alleges he made the payment at Trump’s direction.

Trump paid off Stormy Daniels to subvert democracy Despite what Republicans would have you believe, it matters.

Aaron Rupar’s great Substack article about the case

This is our current events recap program, where we offer our takes on what’s going on at the bleeding edge of the information war. Feel free to let us know what you think, suggest topics, etc. at, or in our group chat using the Substack app.

Thanks for listening,

Jay and Griff