It was about this time last week that I posted a "TrumpWorld Grab-Bag" that contained the tidbit that Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, was the likely "senior WH Adviser close to the President" who was an FBI probe "person of interest", and this week it was well and truly confirmed. Kushner has been found to have had additional contacts with Russian representatives that he did not mention in his security clearance paperwork, and he and former NSA Michael Flynn had met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to discuss setting up a backchannel using Russian facilities for secure communications, per them to work out a plan for Syria.
Right--Syria. If that's what it was all about, there's no particular reason why they needed to keep this that far on the down low, right? A new Administration sets foreign policy, and keeping the IC out of the loop doesn't even seem smart--who is looking out for US interests and making sure what they're trying to do diplomatically isn't a double-cross? While I'm trying to be sympathetic (no, a little!) to the idea that maybe Kushner is a newbie to these things and thought that was cool--if Flynn was there, he has no such excuse. In the framing of the known possibility or probability that there already was an active investigation into the GRU DNC hack and possible interference by Russia into our elections (they had to know this, right?) and atmosphere of chatter regarding Trump being "Putin's puppet"--how in the hell did any of that seem like shit they were supposed to be doing? Like they didn't know the story was coming out and would look super bad? (And we know there was already somebody working on a backchannel with Putin in the Seychelles anyway, not as close to the near-Trump orbit.)
Even if it wasn't looking like straight-up treason, there is a still a part of me that cringes at the bonehead simple incompetence of it all. And Ivanka's baby daddy, who the President trusts as a senior adviser for some reason with all kinds of things, is looking like a huge patsy--except don't call him "stupid", just yet. After all, he was guy with the campaign analytics (which turned out to work so complimentarily with the leaked stolen data that it seems so...coordinated, like a science). And keep in mind that at least he tried to throw off the investigation, by pushing for Jim Comey's firing, even if it was one day after Eric and Don Jr. were called into an emergency meeting with the FBI to discuss a possible hacking attempt on the Trump Organization that the alleged "nut job" finally got the axe.
Blood is thicker than...you know?
But as for former FBI Director Comey, a little weird news--he made his wrap-up press conference not at all showboatingly about the end of the Clinton email investigation in part because of a fake email that he knew was fake, that implied AG Loretta Lynch was clearing Hillary Clinton for partisan reasons.
I'm going to actually be more sympathetic to Comey over this one, even if some Clinton-backers are feeling a rage and kind of think that should have given him predicate to spill the tea over the Russian investigation and break that whole thing open instead of what he did do--but I get what his options were, and I think I have a good handle on "Clinton Derangement Syndrome" by now. The possibility that leaked email info-dumps could contain retroactively faked and placed info has always been mixed up in this. The problem with fake news is, once it is out there, no matter how dumb and discredited it is, there is going to be some people who for their own emotional needs will believe an utter lie and pass it on just because. It's the logic behind catfishing emails from Nigerian hackers setting up relationships with lonely middle-aged sad sacks who give them money--the mark defends the con because they have a sunk-cost interest. They want to believe because believing upholds their own idea of themselves as rational, clever, on-top-of-it, party to secret information and not a mere rube or sheeple.
This thinking is what kept Obama off of bringing the Russia hack/Trump benefit line of inquiry to light as well. He knew all too well that whatever he said, would create an equal and opposite reaction among his critics. We live in a world where people literally complained that Michelle Obama was the kind of monster that wanted kids to eat their vegetables. I know I grew up in a "finish your veggies or no dessert" world. The changing factor had to be that some people disliked the Obamas so much that they suddenly needed to pretend that kids eating junk food and not vegetables was FINE! and she needed to STEP BACK! Because cafeteria liberal fascism, obvs.
So, Comey had to consider whether he looked like a Republican hack who closed the Clinton email thing but was pissed about it because of things, or like he was being used by the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, and was also probably smuggling children that were kept in the basement of a pizza place that didn't even have a basement. Now, I really feel like I have context to his admission that he felt sick if what he did affected the election--maybe there was no way he wasn't going to. He did his best not to feed the monsters, but here there were monsters everywhere. And if that was my position, I know I'd feel sick, too. I get it. We aren't living in a rational world where truth serves everybody. Sometimes even the truth is a little hinky. But it still has to be its own reward.