Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quote of the Day: Russiagate - It’s Probably A Lot Worse Than We Thought

As noted numerous times, my gut feeling is that Donald Trump and his campaign sought to collude with Vladimir Putin's operatives to throw the 2016 presidential election to Trump.  I further believe that Putin likely has blackmail information on Trump either involving personal misconduct - remember the "golden shower" rumor? - or more likely financial improprieties involving  money laundering and/or undisclosed financial reliance on Russian funding, the latter explaining Trump's refusal to release his tax returns.  As the train wreck that is the Trump presidency hurls down the tracks towards disaster, the increasing smoke plumes suggest that the Russiagate situation is likely far worse than many want to admit.  Josh Marshall explains why:
Yesterday we learned that President Trump had a second, undisclosed discussion with President Putin for as long as an hour with only Putin’s translator present. In other words, no other American citizen was there to make a record of or hear what was discussed.
It’s been noted that President Obama spoke for a few minutes one-on-one once with Dmitry Medvedev when he was President or Russia. My understanding is that Medvedev actually speaks decent English; so translation is less of an issue. But no one had any reason to believe that President Obama was compromised by the Russian government or somehow in league with it. We have plenty of reasons to believe that about President Trump. (Is this circular reasoning? No, as I’ll explain in a moment.) I see no plausible explanation for this latest revelation other than President Trump wanting to discuss things with President Putin that he does not want any other American citizen to hear.
I know that sounds ominous and even hyperbolic. But what is the alternative explanation – when all the other relevant evidence is considered? I can’t see any.
Add into the mix that even if you think that most or all of the Trump/Russia stuff is a bum rap, it is clearly the case that speaking privately with Putin for an hour – with no witnesses – would raise an insane level of suspicion. Why would you do that? You would only do that if you thought having the conversation was really, really, really important. It’s not circular reasoning because the suspicion is a fact; courting it for no reason is all but impossible to explain.
The mix of President Trump’s bizarre toadying to Russia and Putin himself, combined with the latest revelations about Don Jr and the rest make it no longer credible that there’s any innocent explanation to this mystery. I think a lot of higher-ups in government have not fully thought through and absorbed what this means.

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