Meditations: What Is this Thing? Examining Trump-Russia

“This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material? And what its causal nature (or form)? And what is it doing in the world? And how long does it subsist?”

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VIII, sect. XI

When writing about the Trump-Russia investigations, there’s invariably push back questioning the legitimacy of inquiry or the sanity of those who seek answers.

One of the most persistent demands is for unassailable proof the Russians were responsible for hacking the US, whether the DNC or other systems, and any inability to provide such unquestionable evidence invalidates investigations for those who insist on proof.

But such demands may never be met in a way satisfying these demands. Some of these demands are made knowing with certainty that full disclosure of evidence would reveal sources and methods and therefore cannot be made in public.

It’s the specificity of these demands which redirects the attention away from what the investigations may find. Rather than allow ourselves to be derailed by what we aren’t able to answer, we should rely on first principles and examine what is directly in front of us.

What is this thing?

Pull together what are known facts and look at them. Here are a few; what are they, at face value?

• Then-president Obama warned Trump against Michael Flynn as national security adviser. (10-NOV-2017)

• Trump hired Flynn anyhow, against his predecessor’s recommendation. (18-NOV-2017)

• Flynn had a history of breaking rules, including the secret installation of an internet connection in his Pentagon office.

• Flynn had dialogue with foreign agents without disclosing truthfully the nature of his discussions. (29-DEC-2016; possibly more and other contacts earlier)

• Trump kept Flynn on as national security adviser after deputy attorney general Sally Yates warned White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn could be blackmailed. (26/27-JAN-2017)

• Yates was fired the same day she was to provide White House counsel with more information about Flynn, after she announced the DOJ would not enforce the executive order signed 27-JAN-2017 banning Muslim travelers; the president wrote she was “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.” (30-JAN-2017)

• Flynn denied talking with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in December 2016 about U.S. sanctions on Russia. (08-FEB-2017)

• The Washington Post reported Flynn had spoken with Kislyak about the sanctions according to officials from both Obama and Trump administration with access to reports about Flynn’s communications. (09-FEB-2017)

• Flynn resigned as national security adviser.

• Trump nominated Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

• During his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions said, “I didn’t have—did not have communications with the Russians” when asked if there was any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the campaign. (10-JAN-2017)

• In responses to written questions from Senate Judiciary Committee member Pat Leahy, Sessions denied he had been “in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election”. (17-JAN-2017)

• Reports emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Kislyak during the campaign season. (01-MAR-2017)

• In a statement later the same evening, Sessions said, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

• After calls by Democratic members of Congress for Sessions to resign, Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. (02-MAR-2017)

What is this, on the face of it, with regard to Flynn, Sessions and Trump-Russia? What was the nature of Flynn’s and Sessions’ contacts with Russian officials? What were these multiple undisclosed meetings and denials supposed to do, if left unquestioned and uninterrupted? Why would two key figures in the Trump campaign and administration both have contact with Russian officials either during the campaign season or after the election before inauguration, and then lie about the nature contacts?

Similarly, we can look at Donald Trump Jr.’s and Jared Kushner’s actions through the campaign and post-election and -inauguration. We see more undisclosed interactions, more denials and lies, more forced disclosure.

We can also look at Trump’s words and deeds: long sympathetic to Russia, he more than hints that Russia should hack his opponent’s emails during the campaign season. He is not forthcoming about his finances. He does not resolve conflicts of interest. He leans on FBI director to drop the investigation into Flynn’s Russia-related activities, ultimately firing him. His attendance at the G20 meeting yielded private, unrecorded meetings with Russian president Putin. He’s harassed Sessions for having recused himself from the Russia investigations. He vacillated on whether he will or will not sign the latest sanctions on Russia which Congress passed last week.

And in the last 24 hours, after Russia demanded an end to specific sanctions on former U.S.-based Russian compounds, after Russia retaliated by ejecting U.S. diplomatic personnel, Trump does not offer any response, leaving VP Mike Pence to offer tepid supportive comments for NATO allies.

What is this thing?

49 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I should have noted this is NOT an open thread. Please stick to Trump-Russia here.

    I am working on a fresh open thread now; if you can’t wait, use the last one. Thanks!

  2. Rugger9 says:

    Flynn’s Pentagon internet connection should have gotten him cashiered out of the Army by itself, they had plenty of generals to fill his billet. It is a useful question to ponder: who signed off on this arrangement over at the Pentagon? The New Yorker article kind of makes it look like it was during Shrub’s administration. It also makes me wonder how long it will be before the Army does a court martial on him to save its own face.

    The Pence stuff also needs more digging. Putin’s eviction of 755 -> 455 diplomats bring back memories of the Cold War time when this kind of thing was routine, only the numbers would change for people asked to leave because of “activities inconsistent with their diplomatic status”. However doing the defenestrations right after Mikie said everything was just A-OK and it would blow over was a message in itself to remind Caesar Disgustus (the best name this week) who is really the boss.

    Type faster on that new thread, please.

  3. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Money. Follow the money.
    The emperor has new clothes.

    Gunitsky, who was raised in Russia, has followed the evolving relationship between Donald Trump and Russia for more than a decade. He says the prevailing narrative about Putin interfering in the American election in order to undermine democracy is wildly overstated.

    The financial connections between Trump and various Russian banks and oligarchs (business elites with ties to the Kremlin) stretch back decades, which is likely a big reason why Trump won’t release his tax returns. Trump’s election, Gunitsky contends, presented Russian oligarchs with an opportunity to recoup losses and leverage Trump’s debts for political gain.

    [Obama warning Trump about Flynn was wasted air/electrons. Obama already knew it would be ignored]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I agree.  Follow the money.  Trump’s businesses might be awash in funds borrowed from Russian oligarchs, all of whom would respond to demands from Putin, on pain of losing much that is dear to them.

      That would be an obvious, marvelously effective way to influence Trump.  Each deal would be a labyrinth of shells and conduits, hard to penetrate, each standing on its own business model, each nominally defensible barring accounting and tax compliance issues.  But each and especially collectively, they would make Trump vulnerable to Putin in the most intimate way possible.

        • JAG says:

          FYI, Trump’s close friend from early days is a famous violinist. This famous violinist holds a billion dollars in the Mossac Fonseca accounts.  This has me wondering is the Panama papers were a CIA moveto expose Putin and the oligarchs.  Putin has always been crazy aggressive, but he went off the charts aggressive post Panama Papers.


          • Rayne says:

            I have wondered if there’s even more content in the Panama Papers yet undisclosed because of the complexity of reporting. Many have wondered as well if the Papers were a U.S. intel leak based on the the circumstances surrounding the leak to a German outlet and the limited number of U.S. citizens in the Papers. I don’t know if the last point is really true, though, depending on structure of holding companies in the Papers. If only there were a way to fund more research — this is the real bottleneck.

            • greengiant says:

              I think it was the biggest team of investigative journalists in history going through the Panama Papers.  Here are starter links.

              There are reports that by 2008 Mossack Fonseca was ditching American accounts.

              I doubt if Trump ever had any free assets to offshore,  he has always been in debt to lenders who might frown on that kind of activity. The nasty stuff could be handled just with Delaware LLCs and so on.

          • greengiant says:

            Putin’s close friend,  but we know who you meant.  Putin reportedly has much much more off shored.

    • PG says:

      Thanks for that link.

      My sense is that confidence in US political systems has been steadily eroding for quite some time.  And this process accelerated during the Obama years, culminating in the total failure of both political parties and a disastrous presidential election.  The panic that ensued opened the door for the disproportionate focus on Russia.  Ultimately, Russia is not responsible for the panic, we are vulnerable to losing our sh!$ on a grand scale because our government is failing us and we’re a painfully divided nation.

      The Trump-Russia story has unfolded piecemeal, over time, like finding pieces of a scattered jigsaw puzzle.  And, we simply can’t know what picture will emerge.  My guess is it will be far more nuanced than the prevailing public speculation.  But, we do need to know the truth sooner rather than later, since worst-case scenario speculation is politically exploited and leading to further destabilization.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    Someone in the WH leaked that Kelly threatened to resign over the Comey firing, which I think may change the calculus on how Caesar Disgustus will respond to the Russian problem, as well as making me whether Kelly was the best option.

    So, the threat to resign makes Kelly instantly a member of the “disloyal list” especially when considering why he was willing to go.   So, why is he Chief of Staff now, was it really about sliding JeffBo over to DHS? Not by itself, but nonetheless useful.  Perhaps moving Kelly in was an attempt by the Trumps’ legal teams to try to keep Mueller from amassing too much evidence prior to working out plea deals.  Confounding that is that Mooch (we hardly knew ye) was a person with the support of Jared and Ivanka (why???) brought in with their blessing.

    So, who might have leaked this info on Kelly other than Jared/Ivanka or Bannon?  I don’t see anyone else with the axe to grind that would have something to gain.  Disgustus’ best hope is rapid closure by a series of deals where everyone clams up.  That is possible with Kelly maintaining message discipline.  It is not possible otherwise.

  5. dalloway says:

    It may have begun with the oligarchs, but once Drumpf was elected, you can bet far bigger prizes (a percentage of Rosneft worth many billions, for example) were dangled, payable in exchange for implementing whatever foreign policy Putin dictated.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Putin would know enough to use cut-outs and to establish plausible deniability.  Trump could well have taken the money deal after deal without assessing the potential collective vulnerability that entailed.

      He could easily have fooled himself into thinking he could, as president, come up with whatever Putin’s cut-outs demanded of him.  Trump has shown no evidence that he can step back and see a bigger picture.  Pointillism, for him, will always remain a bunch of colored dots.

  6. greengiant says:

    At a personal level,  at least two times this year after making a social media reply concerning Trump I have had drive by surfers from Russian IP addresses.   So maybe it was a TOR exit node, hacked PC, or a spoof,  I don’t know.  If the latter three,  who and what the hell are these actors or big data miners doing?  Usual drive bys are from some arcane location like the Maldives or Indonesia.  And on March 14 when the French shut down a TOR server,  (hat tip to SLF),  the daily drive by phishers, (assuming these were just click bait for Russian ad money at least if not malware also)  from French IP addresses stopped dead in their tracks.

    Some actors and TLAs know a lot more that has not been revealed about Trump Russia.  A lot of people have the savvy to set up their own honey pots.

  7. MaDarby says:

    Albert Einstein, the brilliant physicist lived a lifetime of dedication to the scientific method.  He had equaled and supremely surpassed Sr. Isaac Newton, his mind was amazingly able to focus and unsurpassed in its discipline.

    Yet, even this great man with such an astonishing capability to discover and understand our world, when confronted with quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principal at the core of all existence it was too much for him to accept.  He said: “God does not play dice.” Uncertainty would be out of god’s control – it would disobedient of god’s certain laws.  And thereby appealing to the supernatural existence of a mythical “god” who’s mind he knew.  Einstein spent the rest of his life making endless calculations trying to show that he knew the mind of god and produced very little of significant value after that.  He knew the mind of god and uncertainty was not part of it the universe would then be disobedient.

    Einstein was brilliant even beyond what that word usually indicates, yet above all he was human and humans for thousands of years sought comfort in the idea of a creator, a beginning – BANG god’s dramatic creation in an instant the beginning order and obedience in response to an uncertain world.

    Today, it seems there are many Einsteins, Trump has brought uncertainty and challenged the status quo on how a president should behave.  Most of all Trump is disobedient – and disobedience is the highest of all sins. Confronted with the challenges of uncertainty and disobedience at the heart of power many “Einsteins” are reverting to the same “safety” of myth making to which Einstein himself fell victim.  The Einsteins know that the world is not like the one with Trump as president and are set to prove it is different – as Einsteins they know the mind of god and god will not have Trump as president.

    Trump’s crime is nothing to do with Russia or many of the accusations against him it is that he is the sinner of all – he is disobedient.  That is what emptywheel and so many others despise – his disobedience – his refusal to bow and worship at the Church of America the Redeemer.

    It has been recorded that Niels Bohr responded to Einstein by saying: “Stop telling god what to do.”

  8. JAG says:

    Flynn was also fired for ignoring protocol when hunting ISIS and Al Quada operatives. Its as if  the means justify ends type was what recommended him to Trump in the first place. My understanding is that Flynn was the best at catching ISIS groups and the worst at respecting rules for how to do it. Trump saw his likeness.

  9. JAG says:

    What to make of this thing, Rayne? The only place that isn’t leaking is the IRS. I actually am hopeful that that is because his audit is not so routine now and there are real investigations going on……

  10. m. sam says:

    What’s wrong with asking for proof? You make it sound like asking for proof is just distracting you from wild-eyed speculation about Russia. And come to think of it that actually sounds like a good thing to me.

    So yes, there needs to be more proof before I will believe this has any importance to my life. Proof this Russia business isn’t just a ploy in order for certain factions to gain politically (which indeed seems most likely, IMHO, with the absence of that apparently massive bugaboo, proof), proof that increasing tensions with the other global nuclear superpower (a factor in the Doomsday Clock’s recent shortening to 2.5 minutes to midnight, to boot) is worth the risk.

    So proof is important. And actually I find it irresponsible to try to back away from providing proof when you throw around such extraordinary accusations. I would even say it weakens your argument.

    • Rayne says:

      I personally find it irresponsible to claim it weakens my argument when my argument isn’t the same one as yours.

      There is nothing wrong with asking for proof of hacking. But there is something wrong with shutting down dialog about other obvious wrong-doing by focusing on one demand alone. We already have proof directly in front of us of repeated perjury and false statements by several individuals around the same issues. Let’s not ignore that by insisting on proof of hacking alone.

      By the way, nice of you to drop in on this topic. The uptick of new accounts commenting on Trump-Russia stories is noticed.

  11. MaDarby says:

    Around 70 years ago the Empire of the Exceptionals dropped nuclear bombs on two cities full of innocent people incinerating over 100 thousand. These nuclear bombs were not used to end WWII, the war was already won and the surrender agreed. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were spared the carpet bombing the US visited on vast areas of Japan so that they could be used to demonstrate the power of nuclear weapons to the world, to show the world the US was ready and willing to use them again and again.

    From those days to this very day, over 70 years the Empire of the Exceptionals has killed people, by the tens and by the thousands EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 70 YEARS.

    I would take great caution before advocating for the return to the efficient operation of this the most vicious and brutal Empire which has killed more people in more places than the second place by many millions.

    Is this what emptywheel wants? a return to the polite sophisticated family man to do the butchering?

    How long is this continuous slaughter going to be supported?

    Has emptywheel thought about what it wants? Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Rex Tillerson – that’s the succession of power – see any improvement?

    Does emptywheel really believe that just one more election and this will change? Does emptywheel seriously want a return to the status quo of slaughter with impunity day in and day out but with better PR and a woman – say Condi Rice or Madalyn Albright or Victoria Nuland – or everybody’s favorite capitulator Bernie – say Bernie how do you go about un-capitulating? Then the slaughter can continue and no one will question the motives of the the Empire of the Exceptionals.

    It is the slaughter of the innocents to appease a vengeful god and rid the world of evil – conducted by the Church of America the Redeemer complete with its ten sacred, universal, immutable and absolute demandments.

    • Rayne says:

      Did I not make myself clear? This is not an open thread. Stay on topic here.

      And clearly you have made zero effort even with repeated visits here to learn anything about this site before concern trolling.

  12. pdaly says:

    I wonder why Trump, if [/snark] he owes money to Russian oligarchs, doesn’t just do his usual dance and cut loose from his troubles and leave the other persons holding the empty bag?

    Trump seems to WANT to please Putin. I don’t get the impression he is being black-mailed.  It’s not as if the usual compromising sex tape would be enough to control The Trump nor change the minds of his defenders.

    If Trump is operating out of pure self-interest, is Trump’s wealth locked in the actual real estate around the world and he can’t stash cash in some Swiss account? How does Trump get others to join him in this Russian connection? Are his coteries’ interests similarly financially situated?

    Glad to think that the expanding Mueller investigation has liberated Trump’s IRS filings and that they will be made public eventually.

    • Rayne says:

      But it’s not just Trump. Why did Flynn, Sessions, Junior, Jared resort to different forms of lies, denials, obfuscation to avoid telling the truth about matters related to Russia?

      Again, what is this?

      • pdaly says:

        Agree. Seems Junior and Jared would work for Trump. But did Trump find Flynn and Sessions? Or perhaps did the Russians suggest them to Trump?
        I don’t know how Trump would have known Flynn and Sessions would be flexible wrt work with Russia.


        • Rayne says:

          May have been self-selecting. Or yet another party did the screening. The 27-APR-2016 meeting at the Mayflower Hotel puts Sessions, Trump, Kislyak in same place early in campaign, and Manafort as well as Kushner are supposed to have been responsible for organizing the event.

          Don’t know how we get Flynn in this but there must be other players involved.

          The one thing that niggles away at me is the role of social media serving white nationalists — we may not see the connections because they may be buried in places some of us will never go. Unlike intercepted voice, text, email data, these sites may not cough up information as easily.

  13. Rayne says:

    Speaking of lies, denials, obfuscation to avoid to avoid telling the truth about matters related to Russia, the WaPo’s report tonight — Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer — confirms Trump’s role in Donnie Junior’s initial statement about the 09-JUN-2016 meeting emails. But this first graf:

    On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign — a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril.

    The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.

    But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.

    Does the timing suggest Trump may have asked for guidance about this earliest response in his private, unrecorded, unaccompanied meetings with Putin?

  14. orionATL says:

    i have been looking off and on all day for this particular tidbit to add to rayne’s list in her post above, but i was using a slightly wrong quote rather than “stay strong”. the search engines have a mighty reach, but they are dumb, dumb, dumb – a real opportunity for AI.

    anyhoo, it really perked up my ears when i first read this report months ago because it is just the sort of thing a co-conspirator would say to a fellow conspirator that had been nabbed:

    i want to emphasize that this argument by rayne is really a very powerful, creditable one that has helped unravel many mysteries

    “… We already have proof directly in front of us of repeated perjury and false statements by several individuals around the same issues. Let’s not ignore that by insisting on proof of hacking alone…”

    when you have multiple pieces of information (involving misdirection and lying in the case of trump and russian gov co-ordinating election-manipulating activities) pointing in the same direction you – a scientist or a lawyer or a gardiner – would be a fool to ignore their directionality.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, let’s not ignore a pattern of behavior. A pattern of patterns of behavior.

      Rico, suave. LOL

      The “stay strong” thing bothered me, too. Like “hang in there until I get the investigators off your back” –?

  15. Rugger9 says:

    I would suspect that no amount of proof would satisfy m. sam regarding the hacks.  However, as Rayne correctly notes, that’s not the only illegality here by a long shot.  The craven response of the congressional GOP between trying to normalize the behavior, trotting out red herrings (Hi, Devin!!) or hijacking investigations into another Benghazi witch hunt while not saying anything about what this administration has already admitted to is telling, because remember that the GOP SuperPAC used the Russian goods in several congressional races.  I think some sort of fix is in, but the formula that will allow everyone to dodge responsibility hasn’t been found.  No one wants to take the hit on this one, and Caesar Disgustus’ behavior makes it less likely that someone will.  If the committees start giving immunity that would make the pardon route less dangerous for the GOP.

    The money is a principal reason for control.  However, even with C.D.’s best efforts, combined with a craven GOP majority the Constitutional process still works, and the new Russia sanctions is a thumb in Putin’s eye.  When Putin realizes how ineffective Trump is, what will he do then?  He won’t have his sanctions lifted without Congressional action, and Reince’s departure was the last opportunity to build a coalition with Congress by the WH.  Disgustus can’t wave them off with an executive order.

    I’m still wondering how Flynn has dodged a general court martial, perhaps the Army is waiting to see how cooperative he is with Mueller.  Even allowing for how generally connected most flag officers are, I find it hard to believe that given Flynn’s conduct there aren’t a few flag officers willing to report him at least for Article 134 among more than a few others.

    For MaDarby – Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced the militarists in Japan to surrender.  Nothing was agreed to before that point for Japan’s surrender, we were looking at invading the home islands at a projected cost orders of magnitude higher in US lives.  Given the treachery involved in the Pearl Harbor attack and brutality done to all Allied prisoners and many civilians I find your apologia highly offensive and not related to the actual history.  Do your homework before wasting our time.

  16. orionATL says:

    [email protected]:06pm

    the quote from the wapo article that describes what trump dictated is:

    “… Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”… ”

    so what does” primarily discussed” include in totality? what else was discussed?

    why intervene at all in the statement suggested by staff?

    i believe that “adoption of russian children” is a substitute for “magnitsky act” which is a substitute for “presidential release from american sanctions”. see the browder testimony which i think i cited above. browder (or somebody) says that magnitsky act sanctions put putin’s billions on billions of heisted money stashed around the globe at jeopardy of seizure by american authorities.

    in short, getting rid of american sanctions against russia (orphans=magnitsky=locked up dinero) would leave putin’s billions free to move around the world and be withdrawn.

    this implies, of course, that putin is not acting in his nation’s interest at all, but in his own and his co-conspirators’ interests. rather shocking when you think of it – until you think of an equally greedy, merciless sociopath co-equal to putin who has been installed as prez of the u. s.

    • Rayne says:

      Agree on “Russian orphans” = Magnitsky Act. I can’t recall who made a remark that the June 2016 must have had a big ask or it wasn’t worth the effort. It’s right there, though, especially after Bill Browder’s testimony this past week; assuring the incoming administration would do what it could to ditch the Magnitsky Act would be worth beaucoup rubles to Russia and to Putin personally. Makes me wonder if the theater of Trump harassing Sessions isn’t about Sessions’ recusal; more like legerdemain to distract us from Sessions not looking into the hacking investigation, but looking into investigations relying on Magnitsky Act enforcement.

  17. orionATL says:

    when it comes to trumps “beliefs” about the russian interference matter we are told, by others mostly but occassionally by trump, that “he believes he has done nothing wrong” or “he believes this is a witchhunt”.

    o. k.

    but in fact we have no idea what trump really believes.

    however, we do have plenty of hard evidence, based on his actions, not his words, that trump believes he is in serious danger because of something to do with russia and the 2016 presidential election.

    or in police speak – don’t listen to the voice, watch the hands. it’s the hands that can kill you.

  18. Desider says:

    We have a story from jul 27, 2016 in Business Insider confirming Putin-paid internet disinfo teams for Trump, and a hidden Jun 9 meeting to confirm some dirt-on-Hillary deal. We have regular monthly encounters between Sessions & Kirlyak for progress status. We have covered up Trump Team-Russia meetings at the Mayflower and Trump Tower. We have crooked Trump-Russia real estate & failed development dealings with Putin insiders going back 15 years, including criminal operations convicted out of Trump Tower and sweetheart purchases of 2x property value for a mansion that couldnt sell in 2 years. We have huge unsecured loans from Deutsche Bank to Trump & Kushner while same bank fined near billion dollars for laundering billions in Russian money. We have Trump campaign manager fresh off Ukrainian cleanup duty for Putin, and Trump “security” guy bobbling undeclared go-behinds for Russia and Turkey (one of Putin’s major initiatives). We have the Steele dossier still largely intact and accurate describing Trump-Russia activities. We have Wikileaks-Russia-Trump connections and funny servers in Trump Tower, russian Alfa Bank and a Michigan health complex owned by Betty (?) de Vos and supposedly where Putin’s daughter or similar works, and another report of Wikileaks servers hosted in Russia as they leak out Trump-friendly kompromat . We have a huge 18% Rosnaft oil selloff in a private Mayflower meeting with 4 ambassadors arranged by Kushner and team, and Kushner’s Russian-backed Toronto building gone bad.
    Quite a web there – I never knew there were so many pols/DC types interested in Russia, yet it seems they’re all over.

  19. lefty665 says:

    “What is this thing?”  So far regarding massive Russian intervention it is all innuendo, new McCarthyism, smoke and mirrors mixed in with Hillary angst and paranoia. We have no evidence, none, nada.

    Domestically as far as Trump, Pence, Flynn, Sessions, Junior, etc, etc, etc being buffoons, twits, morons and/or jerks the case is clear. Guilty. 

    Listen to Chuck Schumer “When you lose an election to someone with a 40% approval rating you don’t blame Comey and the Russians”.  Get over it, and get on with building a Democratic party newly rededicated to serving 90% of the country, its root constituency of working class and poor Americans of all races, creeds and genders.

    Elections in ’18 are coming in a hurry. Unless Dems get their heads out of their butts they can lose them just as they did in ’16, ’14 and ’10. Like what we’ve got now? Keep up the hysteria and we can have even more.


    • Rayne says:

      So basically you demand evidence.

      But not THAT evidence.


      As for Schumer: a very large rally on 21-JAN-2017 lobbed an opening salvo. We’re not going away. And we’re done with listening to stupid white men. If the asshat fits, wear it.

      • lefty665 says:

        So basically you demand evidence.” Uh yeah. Evidence, more than John Brennan assuring us that the world is flat and we should be afraid, very afraid. One of the tenets around Emptywheel for years has been that there is good reason to be skeptical of blythe assertions coming out of the IC. Suddenly in this case you’re ready to swallow it hook, line and sinker.

        There has been no evidence presented. We have seen American bozos being bozos, diplomats doing what diplomats do, talking to politicians, oligarchs lobbying to get back the money they lost with Magnitsky, and Pakistani IT guys taking Wassermann-Schulz, Dems and the DNC for a ride for fun and profit. The only “evidence” we’ve seen is low level mucking around to no effect that NSA was watching and reporting on. It was leaked by Reality Winner, for which she is now in jail. That is the same kind of mucking around you can bet NSA does in Russia.

        You need to pay attention to current events, although I can understand that it may take news awhile to get to the upper mid-west. I’ll help you get up to date, no need to thank me. The Democratic Party, last Monday, 7/24/17, with Schumer leading the parade in Berryville, in my own Virginia reclaimed their New Deal roots: “A better deal: better jobs, better pay, a better future“.  No more of the elitist neo-liberal bullshit that has had Dems well on the way to becoming an ex-party.

        I listen without prejudice, and form opinions on the basis of facts and knowledge.  You on the other hand apparently are pleased you do not. A stupid white man (Forrest Gump) observed “Stupid is as stupid does”.  He knew something of what he was talking about. Have a nice day.


        • Rayne says:

          In re evidence: you have a particularly nasty habit of lumping everything Trump-Russia together to persuade people to look the other way. There are at least two different matters in front of the public:

          (1) Hacking of US computer systems and networks, including hacking of the DNC but not excluding hacking of DOD and White House in 2015 (or did you forget about those attacks and/or have no interest in that evidence?);
          (2) The actions/interactions of Team Trump with regard to Russia, during the campaign season, after the election, and post-inauguration.

          For whatever reason — much like Fox News and right-wing talk radio — you insist on evidence of which much may not be made available to the public but to our elected representatives and law enforcement on the matter of Russian hacking only. You don’t trust Brennan but do you trust Senators like Richard Burr, Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham in their roles on Senate committees conduction investigations?

          You choose — again like Fox News et al — to ignore the abuse of power, perjury, false statements, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, violations of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978…for starters. And these are directly in front of you but you insist ignoring the pattern of behaviors across a group of people.

          It’s persistent and deliberate blindness like this which compelled me to write this post. It’s the continuous redirection — your most recent examples being, “Look over there! Schumer!” — when obvious criminal behavior is reported by news outlets offering coverage of such as current events you insist must be observed. After this long and this much repeated concern trolling by you, insisting there’s no evidence AND that we shouldn’t bother looking any further, it’s clear you have a divergent agenda incompatible with my posts. Stay the fuck out of my threads, then, as you have been instructed in the past, especially when you can offer absolutely no evidence to the contrary on either hacking or the systematic actions by Team Trump.

    • Rayne says:

      I wonder if this is a deliverable — the pocket veto by ignoring the bill — as well as the lack of response to the ejection of U.S. diplomatic staff. What if the ejection isn’t a protest but the actual aim itself, and Trump understood this? What would he have to say about it that wouldn’t be another lie?

    • P J Evans says:

      The deadline for that bill is August 9, and the Senate is in session until August 11. Pocket veto fails because of that.

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