There were a few things that were confirmed today that fascinate me about the Trump/Russia connection--I think I want to start with the pull-aside(?) that Trump had with Putin at the G20 dinner on July 7, because this was already after a nearly 2 1/2 hour meeting that was closed door and had few attendees (Tillerson, some interpreters, Lavrov?) but this one had exactly one interpreter--for Putin. This makes one ask--so, if Trump "pressed" the issue of possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections (and elsewhere), and held any sort of hard line that this behavior was not to be done, how was it that he bonded with the Russian autocrat enough to have another friendly discussion with only Putin's Kremlin interpreter witnessing it, so that no US record exists? What could they have discussed?
Maybe the Russian compounds associated with possible espionage operations that Russia would like to have handed back without conditions? Let's even live it up a little, and speculate that Russian influence might have something to do with decisions like Tillerson's State Department blowing off the cyber threat to the extent of not giving a shit anymore, anyways, or deciding that a War Crimes Office is just such a hassle. After all, Syrian leader Assad looks good for war crimes, but is partnered up with Russia, no? (Or maybe a US administration that has loosened it's ROE with respects to civilian deaths and already signaled to the rest of the Middle East that they don't care to lecture on the subject of human rights, has simply decided that people in glass houses should be circumspect about durable projectiles.)
It would hearten one attempting any defense of Trump's relationship to Russia if he did not act exactly like a patsy all the time. Just the biggest unaware openly collusive dupe in the whole world.
Which brings us back to the election 2016 where we left off with Trump, Jr., and the greatest thing to happen to foreign policy, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort (some of these folks will be testifying publicly in a Senate hearing, so, popcorn futures certainly do look bright). The so-called 8th man was Ike Kaveladze--a guy associated with money-laundering. I kind of thought this would come back to the issue of money-laundering, myself.
The reason why is Trump is wide open for it. Like, the now-defunct Trump Taj Mahal was even seriously fined because of money-laundering. It strikes me as funky as all get out that the lure the Russian contacts used for the Trump Tower meeting was to accuse the DNC of financial dealings with Russia--but well, they seem to have made their own in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign, hm? (It also hammers home how babes-in-the woods-ish the Trump family seems to have been--anyone could have been in attendance, but they simply didn't have a concept of vetting or self-protection regarding who might have been there.)
That meeting is still weird for other reasons, though. Jay Sekulow made the tv rounds to influence public opinon about this case (which will most likely not be tried based on public opinion) by suggesting that there couldn't have been anything untoward about the meet because the Secret Service let those Russians into Trump Tower--ha!
But no. For one thing, SS vetting would only really make sense if Trump, Sr., was in attendance and he wasn't, supposedly. Trump, Jr. didn't have a SS detail. And also, even if Secret Service was involved, their business is to make sure the principles are physically protected, not held harmless from dick-tripping.
(As a side-note, I have referred to Jay Sekulow as "hind-titterati"--a term of my own dubious art. By which I mean a guy who isn't especially skilled, but benefits solely on the basis of having found biases to milk. That's not to say being him isn't lucrative. The milking resentment can be a cash-cow--it's just udderly weak, in my book. I mean, take Paul Clement. There's a guy who manages to milk resentment, get taxpayer money from red state governments, and get his ass talked about as SCOTUS material. Trump saw Sekulow on Fox News. That's kind of like seeing his name on a bench at a public trans stop, I think.)
Anyway, this Trump Grab-Bag is familiar in the sense that Trump and Putin have settled in like old friends, and the problems with Trump's reality is what is always is--dodginess, secrecy, creative capitalism (let's call it, instead of the more vulgar "grifting"), loyalty to self and disregard for norms.
Other than all that, Party of Lincoln, how are you enjoying the play?