By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (7/20/17)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Adam Schiff (D-CA) and senior Dem member of the House Intelligence committee summarizes the Trump-Russia history this way:
Evolution of a Defense:
- No meetings w/ Russians
- Yes, meetings
- No collusion
- We tried to
- It’s not illegal
- Everybody does it
- I didn’t know.
And that’s where we are. Trump and Donald Jr. denials no longer sell so well. I will offer a bit of breaking news then let the headlines tell the story and paint the picture of where we now stand with Trump-Russia.
F.B.I. Nominee Answers Questions on Donald Trump Jr.
Watch Sen. Lindsey Graham push and force FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray to ‘advise’ all politicians – “call the FBI” during Wray’s Senate hearing. It takes Wray two tries but he gets there, if any politician learned anything from Donald Trump Jr. it’s like looking both ways before you cross the street.
Here’s the exchange from CNBC:
GRAHAM: Well, let me ask you this. If I got a call from somebody saying the Russian government wants to help Lindsey Graham get re-elected, they’ve got dirt on Lindsey Graham’s opponent, should I take that meeting?
WRAY: I would think you would want to consult with some good legal advisers before you did that.
GRAHAM: So the answer is should I call the FBI?
WRAY: I think it would be wise to let the FBI —
GRAHAM: You’re going to be the director of the FBI, pal. So, here’s what I want you to tell every politician. If you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you, by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the FBI.
WRAY: To the members of this committee, any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation state or any nonstate actor is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know.
In a continuation of Donald Jr.’s travails:
Trump praised Donald Jr. for his transparency. But over the last two weeks (The New York Times first reported the meeting on Saturday July 7) the details of his June 9 Trump Tower meeting with Russians has changed almost every new cycle – even ‘how many’ has grown from 5 to 6 to 7 to now, 8. More?
The fundamentals remain the same: Junior’s “I love it” response to an offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians.
But the 8th attendee brought a unique skill set to the meeting:
“A New York Times published in 2000 identified a Georgian immigrant named Irakly Kaveladze as a key player in an alleged $1.4 billion money laundering plot uncovered by what was then known as the General Accounting Office. Over $800 million in foreign cash passed through 136 accounts Kaveladze opened for Russian clients, according to a report GAO produced on its investigation. While the GAO report did not name Kaveladze, he told the New York Times that he helped set up Delaware corporations and open scores of bank accounts for Russian nationals.”
Someone clever should put this to music like the intro to Gilligan’s Island:
The billionaire’s son, the billionaire’s son-in-law, the Ukraine political fixer/Trump campaign manager, the Russian lawyer/spy, the Russian oligarch’s front-man, the other Russian spy and the business man for laundering Russian money in the US…
In another indication of coincidence and transparency, Trump knew before the NY Times story broke:
The Trump campaign committee reported in the filing to the Federal Election Commission that it shelled out $50,000 to the law firm of attorney Alan Futerfas on June 27. That payment was made 13 days before it was that Futerfas would represent Trump’s eldest son in . (A full ten days before the NY Times story broke)
And the only legal way to use campaign funds to pay Junior’s legal bills is if he was acting on behalf of the campaign.
Kompromat Against Trump
We are seeing Kompromat in action. Junior is being thrown to the wolves by Putin. The Trumpsters are scrambling; a picture worth 1000’s of words:
Speaking of the mainstream media you’ll find at the checkout lane at Walmart, take a look at the cover of People magazine:
This is the kind of stuff that can begin to shift public perception, and opinion.
A Few Headlines From the Week:
- From Twitter: “The Gang That Couldn’t Collude Straight.”
- From the Financial Times: “Donald Trump, Russia and a mob of comedy Corleones.”
- From the Financial Times: “The Rot In Side America’s First Family” (The spelling is a British thing. – Ed.)
Over at the Financial Times columnist Ed Luce began a scathing takedown of Trump with the following:
“Donald Trump’s administration is little more than the Trump family plus some disposable retainers. It is unclear where the White House ends and the Trump business empire begins. One reason Mr Trump took against Qatar may have been that an influential Qatari denied Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, a $500m loan.”
And ends with this observation:
“If your goal is to disable the US government, now is the time to strike. Whether you are president of Russia, emir of some oil-rich kingdom or a nihilist working from the inside, Mr Trump offers an unparalleled opportunity. Trump is America and America is Trump. While he is president, the US republic is highly vulnerable.”
Washington Post editor of Global Opinions Christian Caryl’s sent out a special message to Trumplandia:
“Putin is contemptuous of freedom, and he sneers at the idea of representative democracy. He believes in corruption, and as tools of statecraft. His only version of Christianity is one in which priests serve as his stooges. I don’t see how you can defend a man like this and still believe in the values that America is supposed to stand for. I don’t see how you can claim to be a patriot and simultaneously embrace a leader who hates our way of life.
“So follow Trump’s lead if you will, and join the Putin fan club. But I, for one, will never understand how you can do it.”
Looking For An Answer To The Question, ‘Where’s the meat?”
Check out this Washington Post article and podcast: “Standard opposition research or something worse?”
This is a GREAT segment as we get to hear from the perspective of what is known now Trump’s public statements laid against the events at the time.
It’s as good as Trump himself telling us as exactly how he managed the ‘con’ while doing it.
Leave It To Keith Olbermann to Give Us The Best Timeline Yet And To Do It In Just Under 10 Minutes. Link HERE.
A Few Other Good Reports and Commentaries on Trump’s Russia Infatuation:
This from The Guardian: ‘These are not bright guys’: Watching the Trumps bring about their own destruction
Or this from Talking Points Memo: “The Vipers and the Derp”
Or this from The Washington Post: “This NBC News scoop is another big blow to the Trump camp’s Russia Spin”
“After media scrutiny Donald Trump Jr. to reveal the that showed President Trump’s top advisers met with a Russian lawyer to gain information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, the Trump camp adopted the retroactive spin that Trump Jr. had actually shown admirable transparency about this meeting. Trump Jr. went on Sean Hannity’s show to do damage control, leading the president to : “He was open, transparent and innocent.”
Not transparent, not innocent.
THIS would be a welcome outcome from Jr.’s meeting and the Trump obfuscation. I mean Trump lies:
“Trump seems to have participated in an active effort to mislead the country about this meeting, which is the first concrete evidence that his top campaign officials were eager to collude with Russia’s efforts to sabotage our democratic process. And Trump’s deception efforts should themselves now receive more intense scrutiny.”
Even Trump’s lawyer has all the style, grace and verbal acuity of a two-bit mobster. The guy makes Tony Soprano look like Miss Manners.
Even New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat seems to be getting the willies:
“Here is a good rule of thumb for dealing with Donald Trump: Everyone who gives him the benefit of the doubt eventually regrets it.”
Bungled collusion is still, um … COLLUSION!
Charles Krauthammer, a traditionally staunch conservative opinion writer for The Washington Post had this:
“The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election, and as part of that effort he proposes a meeting with a “” possessing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the Kremlin is willing to share troves of incriminating documents from the Crown Prosecutor. (Error: Britain has a Crown Prosecutor. Russia has a .)
“Once you’ve said “I’m in,” it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were forwarded the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.”
“The news is real. The president is fake.”
Now it turns out that wasn’t the news but the Trump denials, that the truly scandalous emails were in the Trumps’ own servers and that the person who may have committed a felony is actually Donald J. Trump Jr.
An exasperated Shep Smith vented to Chris Wallace, live on Fox News:
“The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling. And there are still people who are out there who believe we’re making it up. And one day they’re gonna realize we’re not and look around and go, Where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?”
From conservative Michael Gerson for the Washington Post:
“Donald Jr. certainly doesn’t know what all the fuss is about. Instead of offering a hint of contrition, he offered a complaint that the proffered information was not particularly useful. “I applaud his transparency,” . But disclosure is not really a virtue if you are admitting highly unethical actions without apology. It is more like the public confession of serious wrongdoing, and the attempted normalization of sliminess.
“A faith that makes losing a sin will make cheating a sacrament.”
Now, for next week’s issue, illustrator Barry Blitt has painted the Stooge-inspired “Grounded”, in which President Trump has a lock on Junior’s ear lobe (while giveing son-in-law Jared Kushner a swift boot) amid revelations of a Russian meeting last summer — a Trump Tower campaign sit-down confirmed by Trump the Younger’s own tweets.
At this rate, Blitt could illustrate major events of the administration entirely through aerial metaphors, with such future cover titles as “The Plane Dealer,” “Air Farce One” and “covFAA.” Till then, Junior remains his latest figure of editorial satire.
“Tolstoy said that ‘happy families are all alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Somehow this seems to apply to the Trumps, particularly lately.”
If you link to the article you can see additional New Yorker covers by Barry Blitt.
Extra Credit: Married To The Mob
I’ve had other articles about Trump’s condo sales to Russians, but this is a one-stop great round-up of how Russian mob money ‘made’ Trumplandia. As Junior boasted during a 2008 real estate conference:
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Through his many real estate holdings from Trump Tower in New York to Sunny Isles, Florida Trump has long been ‘facilitating’ Russian money laundering and getting his big slice of dirty pie along the way:
“According to James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey & Company who consulted on the Panama Papers, some $1.3 trillion in illicit capital has of Russia since the 1990s.”
Credit to The New Republic for the great story and the cover artwork:
When you read the author’s comment, about: “…“combat brigades” of Special Forces veterans from the Soviet war in Afghanistan [being hired] to run the mafia’s protection racket and kill his enemies” maybe it will remind you of the Putin’s Russian Night Wolves motorcycle gangs and motely crew of Russian oligarchs, and shady characters invested in and holed up at Trump’s Sunny Isles, Florida property, as reported in earlier editions of the Russia Monitor.