A visual guide to the web of connections in Trump’s Russia controversies: https://t.co/4cxmrgbMKJ pic.twitter.com/RFb4KUVrtt
— Vox (@voxdotcom) March 3, 2017
For a best-possible-faith counterpart, here’s Josh Marshall’s “The Innocent Explanation, Part #1”:
… The simplest explanation isn’t necessarily the right one. But in the spirit of Occam’s Razor, we should prefer it because it usually will be. To state the key point for clarity and emphasis, it is not the simplest explanation. It it is the simplest explanation which accounts for all the known facts. That distinction makes all the difference in the world.
With this prologue and with the above in mind, here is what I would call the innocent explanation of the Trump/Russia story. I don’t think it is necessarily the true story. Or, to put it more precisely, I don’t think it is necessarily the whole story. But I think it accounts for most of the what we know so far…
1. In the late 90s and early aughts, Donald Trump ran out of lenders. A string of bankruptcies on top of numerous ventures where he walked away unscathed and lenders lost their shirts convinced every major US bank to stop lending to him… This put Trump’s whole family business under great strain. In response he increasingly took capital from abroad, especially from Russia and other post-Soviet successor states… What we don’t know is quite the degree of his dependence on money from the former Soviet Union, both for investment capital and for the purchase the numerous apartment units which make up his ubiquitous high-rises. None of this is illegal or wrong. Foreign capital is pervasive in the New York City area real estate market.
2. Trump gets into this world. He associates with these people. He starts thinking like they do. Perhaps along the way, people in this murky Russian world where oligarchs and mafiosos and legitimate businesspeople are hard to differentiate and perhaps not really different at all, find out about his dirty laundry. Nothing extravagant like sex tapes. Just the more garden variety stuff business associates find out about each other from long association. We know Trump is highly secretive. His myriad partners and investors likely know a lot of those secrets…
4: Now the 2014 Russian seizure of Crimea comes along, to be followed by the low intensity intervention in eastern Ukraine and, critically, the imposition of western sanctions. If Trump is significantly dependent on capital out of Russia, those sanctions are going to put a crimp on all his ventures. It won’t be fatal. But it will hurt – potentially a lot…
5: So by 2015, this gets you to a pretty clear storyline: Sanctions wrong; Russia good; Putin good; Putin strong. To me this provides a fairly satisfying explanation for most of what we’ve seen over the last year and a half: Trump’s weirdly fawning attitude toward Putin, hostility toward Russia sanctions, insistence on the obviousness of ‘getting along’ and ‘making a deal’ with Putin. It also gets us most of the way to explaining why he has so many people in his orbit with conspicuous on-going communications and relationships with suspicious figures in the Russian intelligence world or the criminal underworld….
You should read the whole thing, but Marshall’s theory does seem to explain some of the weird cluelessness that the people in Trump’s orbit are showing about this whole ugly mess: You hang around with bad people, you gradually get inured to bad behavior — even very bad behavior. The nuns in my parochial school warned us about the importance of avoiding the near occasion of sin; my old man taught us the joke about the innocent young lady who took a day job scrubbing floors at the local whorehouse.
Inquiring minds want to know: name one thing congressional Ds are willing to work on, on a bipartisan basis, now. I am at a loss.
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) March 3, 2017
Bet they'd back a bipartisan commission on Russian election meddling.https://t.co/aGJqcJ8qa6
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) March 3, 2017
Good Morning, Everyone ???
Thanks for the links
Iowa Old Lady
I have no idea what this is about, but Trump’s on a tear this morning. Tweets from within the last hour:
How bizarre is that?
@rikyrah: Good morning.
@Iowa Old Lady: So Coons was correct when he said there are transcripts.. lol
This is all very interesting, but the shiny new object is Trump’s tweets libeling Obama this morning. He sounds insane, and it appears to have been soured to Mark Levin’s talk radio show Thursday, via Breitbart yesterday.
Also, impeachment proceedings.
@Warren Terra: I hope Obama doesn’t deny it. Let him stew.
Iowa Old Lady
@JPL: I like “very sacred election process” myself, but there’s much meaty craziness there.
@Iowa Old Lady:
This one is my favorite
@Iowa Old Lady: Someone should tweet back that all the phones are still tapped.
Well, this is Trump related:
Trump Tower alone is estimated to have cost $56.6 million already.
Iowa Old Lady
@Baud: Do you think the Ambassador promised to support Obama’s election if Obama would remove the sanctions? Oh wait..
@OzarkHillbilly: But when you run those numbers through the racial currency converter, Obama is still the more spendthrift one.
@Iowa Old Lady: I can’t imagine why the Russian ambassador would have frequent meetings with members of the Executive Branch.
I just want all of these trumputin monsters to go gown. The whole corrupt cabal needs to face prosecution.
@Baud: DOH! You are right of course. How silly of me.
@Iowa Old Lady: That was my favourite part as well. Discussing the size (or lack thereof) of your boy bits on the campaign trail is just the sort of sacred behaviour that presidential campaigns had been lacking in the past.
I can just see them all in drag. ;-)
@Baud: Even with the inverse of 3/5th rule?
Love it how the kenyan is still living in twitler’s nightmares fer free.
@Iowa Old Lady: He seems untroubled.
Is it time for someone to explain the FISA laws to him?
@Iowa Old Lady: He doesn’t exactly say that his personal apartment was being tapped (though maybe it was). (Donnie’s English isn’t terribly clear on the best of days – he claims the Tower is his, even though DB or the Russians probably own more of it than he does.) Since the Russians are well known for buying up apartments and condos in Donnie’s buildings, why would it be surprising that some of them would be tapped as part of these investigations? And since he and his family have bragged about thei connections to Russia, why wouldn’t they be investigated during and after the election?
USA Today from December:
Donnie shouldn’t be leaking this stuff. It’s hard enough to get information on what the Russians are doing – telling them about wire tapping doesn’t make it easier. (Of course, the smart ones should suspect that they’re being listened to all the time, but (as we’ve seen) smart ones seem to be in short supply these days.)
@Another Scott: wonder when and how the rushyan mobs come collecting.
I just want to know how the joke goes.
@Baud: oh, OUCH! And so true, too
Smart Russians? They seem to be every where. Getting tapped phone conversations leaked was probably their plan all along, or if not, just as good. Their goal is to discredit American democracy, anything that goes towards that goal is fine with them.
Barack Obama, the Crafty Negro, who was simultaneously feckless pushover and ruthless dictator, was not going to do the obvious thing and just say “Fuck you, birther asshole.” No, he would take a much more subtle and eventually devastating route. Is this what we’re seeing now? FSM, let it be so, and if it is so, Obama achieves full ninja status.
Someone’s up early on a Florida Saturday morning:
I tell you, it started with the strawberries…
Oops, left out the best one:
Sorry, I see this was already posted. My skimming skills suck.
How sinister that the Russian ambassador visited the White House to talk to the sitting president!
@Iowa Old Lady:
“This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Well, he’s not wrong.
This is from Breitbart, so I won’t add a link..
If Trump heard about this, he could have sought additional briefings about how extensive it was.
Is any of this based in fact?
@Iowa Old Lady:
Why yes, yes he did. So did W, Bill C, Bush41, Reagan, Carter….
It’s what heads of state and ambassadors DO, you ignorant piece of pig shit.
Oh, and I’m sure the ambassadors of dozens of other countries had official visits to the WH hundreds of times.
As for the “wiretappung”…. Pulled that one out of your fat ass, didn’t you?
I put up a separate thread about the wiretap accusation. Should have checked comments here first, but on the other hand, this kinda deserves its own post…
Ha! They may have to bring Rudy back for that act.
I remember there was some reporting on a Trump server communicating with the Russians during the campaign, so it might be true. Since Trump should be investigated, I have no problem with this.
True, but I’m hating Trump’s implications.
His hands are much too small to roll the ball bearings around.
@debbie: I know that FISA warrants were issued, from previous reports.
@OzarkHillbilly: The oligarch[s]’s and Putin’s interests don’t align exactly (though there is a lot of overlap). The oligarchs want to be treated like MotUs and quietly make their money via any shady deal they can come up with. Putin wants to make his money too, but he’s much more interested in not being constrained by the West in throwing his weight around in foreign relations. He wants to rebuild Russia’s “sphere of influence”, and doing that on the cheap via Gazprom and Wikileaks / Guccifer 2.0 and “little green men” is much preferable to direct military confrontation (which costs real money). Leaks that undermine the US federal government helps Putin, but probably doesn’t help oligarchs who have invested in Donnie’s properties.
One thing now is that Sessions and Trump and all the others need to be considered Russian agents by EVERYONE.
Sure Sessions probably thinks he’s still his own man, but he isn’t. Putin can now Call him up any day and say”Jeff old boy, I’d like you to put all your files on investigations into the Russian mob on a flash drive and send it to me.” Sessions says “I can’t do that!” Putin says “If you don’t, I’ll release more info on your visit with Kisalyk. You’ll be toast.” Sessions: “Yes, Mr. Putin, sir.”
Thing is, what Putin releases doesn’t even have to be true. He could release info on Sessions and Kisalyk having a group goatfuck. But Sessions is now a know liar about his dealings with the Russians, so his denial doesn’t carry much weight.
This scenario also of course applies to Trump and half of his cabinet. They have to be considered Russian agents.
@debbie: It’s hard to keep up with rapidly moving threads here, and the linear presentation of comments here doesn’t help. Repeats are flattering and emphasis is good – just look at the thread upstairs! ;-)
Wait, he’s trying to make something out of the credentialed ambassador of a foreign country meeting with the head of state of the country to which he’s been assigned? Isn’t that kind of part of an ambassador’s job?
I wonder what they had on him that necessitated the warrants. I guess Trump’s assuming they just did it because they could — like he would.
Tell me about it! I come home from work, sit down, and despair.
What amazes and dismays me is I followed the Watergate thing pretty closely in real time, Nixon’s guys never did anything remotely this bad, Nixon got run off in disgrace.
The Pale Scot
Ya this sounds viable, this or something similar (throw in something like Benito’s actively assisting a fraud to hide someone else’s exposure fer instance)
Banality of Evil and all that.
@Another Scott: And that’s real money that Russia doesn’t really have. Russian GDP is about 1/14th of the US, 1/9th of China, and 1/3th of Germany.
The punchline: A year later, the young lady assures her dubious mentors, “No, no, I’m still the God-fearing young lady you raised me to be. My employers totally respect my principles… but sometimes I help out upstairs on the weekends, if it’s especially busy.”
The Pale Scot
@Iowa Old Lady:
This is how a civilization starts the process of collecting rocks for Vaal.
Fifty years from now government will be directed by koans received from billboards and texts, or longer tracts found in abandoned factories by a fellow named Hilkiah. Eventually we’re all in little pods intravenously maintained while the AI’s try to create a massive bio-neural net to run their version of minesweeper. The only thing they can get to run on such an unstable network. Just to see if it will work
I might not have the details right. A few months ago, while we were monitoring Russian stuff, we came across a weird connection between Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. We monitored it for a while to see if the Russians had hacked the server or there was sneaky communications going on or what. This leaked out and the leftist media was speculating hopefully that it was a serious thing when it turned out that it was a server that was probably used for a Trump deal a few years back that had never been shut down and since then it and the Russian servers had been exchanged random gibberish.
Says the asshole who obstructed everything the previous president did even though Obama tried to get you troglodytes to put country before party. DIAF.
Tell Cornyn we’ll work on confirming Merrick Garland, on a bipartisan basis, now.
@Groucho48: Yeah, but that server got shut down once the news of it hit. Then about a week later another one was set up in Trump Tower.
@John: co-sign. Whoever gets that seat under this regime is an illegitimate SCOTUS justice IMHO.
@debbie: Oh, idunno. I go to LGM and just despair at the mess. Impossible to tell if some new comment has been posted. Linear, time-organized comments have their advantages.