Russia Monitor: A Bonfire Of Personal Reputations & Torching Of Values

‘Everything Trump Touches Dies’

— Book title by former Republican strategist, author and Never-Trumper Rick Wilson

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (12/26/19)

Dear Fellow Readers,

I sat down to write about the Trumpsters that seem to come into the day with highly regarded pedigrees only to soil themselves in defense of the indefensible. Before I started, I happened to click on this:

In aftermath of Ukraine crisis, a climate of mistrust and threats

The opening statement sets the stage and underscores a partial answer to my question. From Trump’s perspective it is all about him, that much is clear; but then why the abject loyalty on the faces of so many who were ‘touched and died’? Here’s the opening paragraph:

“The new Russia adviser at the White House — the third in just six months — has no meaningful background on the subject. The only expert on Ukraine has never spoken with President Trump, only been mocked by him publicly.”

Trump is — of course his own expert — on so many things, including Russia and Ukraine. And it’s not like he doesn’t seek advice, as he has explained, Russian President Vladimir Putin has given him all kinds of advice on Ukraine, North Korea and any number of things. ‘Any number’ – we’ll never know just how many as Trump and Trumpsters declare these conversations are none of our business, even as the resultant actions shape our lives. Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe continue:

“An entire roster of public servants has been disparaged, bullied and in some cases banished for standing in Trump’s path as he sought to pressure Ukraine for political favors, or for testifying about his conduct afterward.”

This roster (which is detailed later in the article), were trashed because their ideals got in the way of Trump’s demand for abject, servile loyalty:

“Many who came forward were convinced that Trump’s actions were a violation of American principles, if not the law, and they clung to a misplaced faith that matters of national security would transcend partisan politics. Instead, the impeachment saga has hardened political divisions and cast doubt on the United States’ commitment to ideals it has long professed.”

And so many Trumpsters rise to the fight to vilify the accusers. Let’s consider a few careers, or at least reputations, laid bare.


A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel

As with Trump’s many pathologies and varied brands of personality disorders, it’s easy to find explanations for Rudy’s actions, or at least hand wringing over ‘he’s not the Rudy I knew’. The article reinforces the questions more than providing answers, but to entice you to read this fascinating article, here is a teaser:

“Over a sweater, he wore a navy-blue suit, the fly of the pants unzipped. He accessorized with an American-flag lapel pin, American-flag woven wallet, a diamond-encrusted pinky ring, and a diamond-encrusted Yankees World Series ring (about which an innocent question resulted in a 15-minute rant about “fucking Wayne Barrett,” a journalist who manages to enrage Giuliani even in death).”

I read an observation recently that I will paraphrase as it says volumes about what Rudy has become, if not who he is. The comment was that Rudy’s phone used to ring and it would be the CEO of Boeing, now it rings and it’s his indicted fellow conspirators, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Not to leave the importance hanging, we now know that sanctioned and indicted Ukraine oligarch linked to Russian mafia Dmytro Firtash paid Parnas $1 million, while Parnas has paid Giulianni $500,000. These facts are not contested, though once again we are left with many questions and far too few answers.

By the way, the article clarifies that Giuliani’s meeting with the author follows his return from Ukraine on December 8 by way of Vienna. Firstash is under house arrest in Vienna as he fights extradition to the US for money laundering. More questions.


Trump’s attorney’s assistant

Much has already been made about the biased actions of Trump lawyer and attorney general William Barr. There are many well-reported instances of his zeal to protect Trump and justify a unitary executive – a president with powers that cannot be limited by Congress. Sound familiar?

Instead, let’s consider Barr’s next effort to exonerate Trump and rewrite the history of Putin-Trump to Ukraine-Clinton. John Durham is a “veteran federal prosecutor” engaged by Barr “to investigate the origins of the Russia inquiry”.

Durham Surprises Even Allies With Statement on F.B.I.’s Trump Case

The sub-head summarizes Durham’s ‘respected’ reputation as a former prosecutor taking on the Boston mob, The federal prosecutor leading a review of the origins of the Russia inquiry has a reputation for keeping his mouth shut. At a sensitive moment, he didn’t.

Much like Barr was trusted as an objective arbiter, so too John Durham. The first time Barr proved otherwise it resulted in cautious remarks expressed with incredulity. Of course Barr has erased any views of caution, he’s all-in on Trump defense as being above the law.

My view of Durham is one time ‘over-the-line’ is enough. Clearly, he was hired by Barr for a reason.

“That wall of silence cracked this month when Mr. Durham, serving in the most politically charged role of his career, released an extraordinary statement questioning one key element of an overlapping investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz.

“Mr. Horowitz had found that the F.B.I. acted appropriately in opening the inquiry in 2016 into whether the Trump campaign wittingly or unwittingly helped Russia influence the election in Donald J. Trump’s favor. In response, Mr. Durham, whose report is not expected to be complete for months, released a caveat-laden rebuttal: “Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the F.B.I. case was opened.””

Durham doing Barr’s dirty work – Barr’s Department of Justice publicly battling over Trump and our rule of law.


I don’t care about the long and storied backgrounds of Trumpsters that abandon objectivity and fairness to protect and rationalize ‘Trump’ – the person and the autocratic ideal. In addition to a violation of decency and norms, Trump is a violation of his oath of office and the Constitution. I lump Giuliani, Barr, Durham and a long sordid list of others into the same summation. Regardless of their motivations, I judge them by their actions. Their view of who we are and who we aspire to be is not mine.

Impeach and Remove.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah.