By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (7/2/18)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Russian TV continues to lay claim to Trump. We reported this a few weeks ago, the new refrain is “Trump is not a hero, he’s just OURS”.
Who amongst us would argue with this claim?
Should I even bother to keep mentioning it every time they say “Trump is ours” on #Russia‘s state TV? Ah, heck…. Ukrainian panelist: “Stop calling people like Trump “our heroes,” then tearing them down when they don’t come through.” Host: “Trump is not a hero, he’s just OURS.”
11:05 AM – 29 Jun 2018
Subtlety is not a Russian thing: Russian TV boasts about electing Trump ahead of summit with Putin.
“What trouble did we cause?” he asked. “We just elected Trump, that’s all.”
Or is it? Maybe not every Russian wants to take all the credit.
Well here’s one person who has an argument – it just happens to be the same argument Trump offers. Who better to offer an opinion than Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after all, he was in the White House with Trump and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in March 2017, the day after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. Lavrvo even managed to get in a joke for U.S. media referring to Comey with, “Was he fired? You are kidding.” The White House meeting was only covered by Russian state media, no U.S. media allowed.
Lavrov now has this to say: WATCH: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Repeats Trump Line & Blames Mueller Investigation On ‘Democrat losers’.
Lavrov of course dismisses Russian influence in the U.S. election to benefit Trump.
“I hope that people who try to dig something to prove that we decided the future of the greatest country on earth from some Internet agency –it’s ridiculous,” he remarked. “I understand the Democrats in the United States are really quite nervous. And I believe that what is being done in the context of the Russiagate in the United States as President Putin repeatedly says, it’s a manifestation of deep domestic controversy because the losers don’t have the guts to accept that they lost the elections.”
In perfect harmony
Is Lavrov right, Democrats are worried? It is true that Senate minority leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) expressed concern after Trump again this week assured U.S. citizens that Russia continues to say they are innocent.
“Trump has continually parroted the Kremlin’s denial of interference in the 2016 elections. That move has put him out of step with the findings of the U.S. intelligence community and nearly all Democrats and Republicans in Congress who say there is clear evidence of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.”
Trump says Russia is innocent of getting him elected. Russia says they are innocent of influencing the election. Trump and Russia offer the same arguments in the same language – almost as if they have coordinated the message. Some might even say colluded.
But here’s someone who won’t say ‘colluded’. Or maybe he would, but hey, everyone does it: GOP Senator On Russian Election Hack: Hey, Everyone Does It.
Not to speak for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) before he visits Moscow, but “everyone does it” sounds more like an admission of Russian influence than a denial.
“Most countries would meddle and play in our domestic elections if they could, and some of them have,” the Washington Examiner quoted Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican and chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, as saying.
“We have to be realistic nations are going to do what is in their next [sic] interest; we’ve done a lot of things too.”
Who’s to judge?
Shelby did assure us that “he didn’t excuse anything” … while excusing Russians influencing our election. He could have also assured us that he is happy with the outcome and so what, because as an example: The Russia Investigations: Big Implications For The New Supreme Court Justice.
That’s right, Russian influence to swing the election to Trump means Trump and the GOP get to appoint a second Supreme Court justice. And maybe just in time for the “Russia imbroglio”.
Some have offered that Trump has unlimited pardon power and can pardon himself, but many envision this and many other scenarios could result in challenges before SCOTUS.
“Meaning what? The political importance of Trump’s new Supreme Court justice cannot be overstated. The president’s nominee will likely complete a five-vote majority of conservatives that could take the country in a new direction on the biggest constitutional questions.
“The new justice also would be part of a Supreme Court that could play an important future role in any faceoff between Trump and Mueller.
“Picture this: Trump finally and formally says “no” to an interview with Mueller. The special counsel responds with a subpoena to compel Trump to testify. The president’s attorneys ask a federal judge to throw it out, citing the range of arguments they’ve already made about why Trump should be exempt.
“This would be a dispute for the ages and it would likely go before the top courts in the land — likely the D.C. Circuit and then, potentially, the Supreme Court.”
So Trump will be nominating a justice who may stand in judgment of any number of aspects of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russiagate to use Lavrov’s expression.
Not to speed past this, it is Justice Kennedy who is stepping down and he has a very, very special relationship to Trump: Trump, Russia & Deutsche Bank — What We Know So Far.
Yep, Kennedy’s son represented Deutsche Bank when the bank was only bank willing to loan to Trump and Trump has used this as part of his communications with Kennedy and his retirement.
“A quick refresher on some of the key points of the Trump-Deutsche Bank saga, now thatThe New York Times has reported that the president invoked his former business relationship with Justin Kennedy as part of a sustained effort to urge his father to retire:
“As the Trump Organization limped through the 1990s and 2000s, Deutsche Bank was one of the only financial institutions willing to lend to him.”
The article has a great run-down of all the many hundreds of millions of dollars loaned through the relationship and the linked New York Times article will explain the Trump, Kennedy, Kennedy son “imbroglio”.
The NPR article raised the question of timing of Mueller’s investigation given the new SCOTUS opening to be filled by Trump. Some clues are represented by former Trump foreign policy adviser, who pleaded guilty, George Papadopoulos, is scheduled for sentencing on September 7. Former Trump national security adviser, Mike Flynn, who also pleaded guilty, is scheduled for a court update by August 24.
Does this signal some fall developments in Trump’s Russiagate with a new SCOTUS judge just in time? Bloomberg reports: Mueller Poised to Zero In on Trump-Russia Collusion Allegations.
According to a person “familiar “with the investigation:
“Mueller and his team of prosecutors and investigators have an eye toward producing conclusions — and possible indictments — related to collusion by fall, said the person, who asked not to be identified. He’ll be able to turn his full attention to the issue as he resolves other questions, including deciding soon whether to find that Trump sought to obstruct justice.”
The article gives a concise summary of the key Trump-Russia interactions, but the key here is that for the first time “a person familiar” is predicting some conclusions for fall.
Over at MSNBC Rachel Maddow also thinks something is up: GOP Anxious To Subvert Robert Mueller As Donald Trump Russia Probe Pushes On.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee called a hearing to have FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appear to provide a “Russiagate” update. Said another way, this was a blatant opportunity by GOP committee members to have their public moment in front of the cameras to entertain the Trump base while demeaning the attendees.
Rep. Trey ‘Benghazi On and On and On’ Gowdy (R-SC) stole the show with his, “Whatever you’ve got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.”
This followed Gowdy’s, “This country is being hurt by it. We are being divided.”
Thank God his endless, circular, repetitious and totally fruitless Benghazi circus had no similar effect on the nation.
Gowdy showed no reluctance or shame having taken two and-a-half years of Benghazi hearings in his effort to taint Hillary Clinton while producing nothing — absolutely no results — other than his constant drumbeat trying to link Benghazi and Clinton ahead of the election. Russians might have declared how proud they were.
The Maddow segment is interesting as she goes past her remarks about the committee propaganda and focuses on the many mega-wealthy Russians who attended Trump’s inauguration and very, very private parties that followed. It is a long — and tawdry — list of high-level Russian celebrants.
Hmm, turns out Sen. Shelby (inadvertently) had a point, after all!
We’ll end here with two articles that are a bit in the weeds but fascinating.
Trump’s Russiagate and the growing evidence of Russian influence on the U.K. Brexit continues: Russians Offered Business Deals to Brexit’s Biggest Backer.
Switch the details and billionaire backer of Leave.EU sounds like a spy novel series prequel to Trump’s Russiagate:
“While Mr. Banks was spending more than eight million British pounds to promote a break with the European Union — an outcome the Russians eagerly hoped for — his contacts at the Russian Embassy in London were opening the door to at least three potentially lucrative investment opportunities in Russian-owned gold or diamond mines.”
In comparison, consider this: Mueller Just Exposed A Secret $10 Million Bribe From Putin’s Right Hand To Top Trump Campaign Official.
A Mueller search warrant for Trump’s former campaign manager now indicted, Paul Manafort’s property disclosed this:
“In an affidavit attached to the July 2017 application, an FBI agent said he had reviewed tax returns for a company controlled by Manafort and his wife that showed a $10 million loan from a Russian lender identified as Oleg Deripaska.”
Russian money for Trump’s elections, Russian money for the Leave.EU campaign – turns out Senator Shelby indeed was (inadvertently) right – happens all the time.
A bit of a side note, but should we take bets on what gets Trump in court first? There are so many, many possibilities: The Inconvenient Legal Troubles That Lie Ahead for the Trump Foundation.
The question is, do we care?