Say that title three times fast and you’re a winner!
The intelligence community (or the Deep State if you’re going for the sexy, conspiratorial angle) is after another scalp.
U.S. investigators have examined contacts Attorney General Jeff Sessions had with Russian officials during the time he was advising Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.
The outcome of the investigation, and whether it is ongoing, wasn’t clear, these people said. The contacts were being examined as part of a wide-ranging U.S. counterintelligence investigation into possible communications between members of Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Russian operatives, they said.
Some conservatives are now saying that Trump made a big mistake by letting Flynn go over his own liaisons with the Russians because it would encourage more of these leakers to keep trying to undermine his Administration. I disagree. It was the right choice.
The bigger issue was that Flynn lied to Pence. If you know anything at all about Trump’s managerial style, that’s something he really doesn’t tolerate. Seriously, if you don’t know that Trump is known for firing people for matters like that, it’s probably about that time to crawl out of your cave and empty the bucket that you use to shit in. Just a helpful reminder for our more out-of-touch readers!
There are two facets of this I’d like to explore with you.
The first one is whether or not Sessions did anything wrong. As far as I’m concerned, this is early in the innuendo stage. “People familiar with the matter” aren’t a source I trust and it’s the sort of term that has greatly aided the media in be-clowning itself over the “Fake News” accusations. To be fair, though, these allegations about the relationship between Trump’s people and Russians keep coming up. There are folks working very, very hard to keep these sorts of contacts fresh in the public mind so let’s indulge them and talk about it.
Sessions did have a meeting with the Russian ambassador during the RNC and at another unspecified time over the phone. That’s not in dispute. He admits it so the remaining questions should relate to what was discussed, whether the FBI actually investigated it, and if they still investigating it. If this really is the subject of an FBI investigation, then they would evaluate whether he was doing it as a Trump campaign surrogate or a sitting US Senator. He was both at the time, so was this problematic?
I don’t see how this goes anywhere, honestly. Yeah, yeah, “potential Logan Act violation” again, but that law is a dead letter and always has been. It isn’t unusual for Senators to chat with foreign ambassadors and he certainly conducted business with those of other countries during the same time period. Unless there was something in that conversation that specifically related to some sort of special treatment for Russia, then I don’t know where you go with it. But good luck.
That leads to the second facet of this that I find interesting. You can look at all of these Russia stories and see one of two things happening. Either the sitting president of the United States and his cabinet are fully compromised by the Russian government or the intelligence community is actively abusing its access to secret information to reverse the outcome of an election with which some of its membership disagrees. Both of those are terrifying and I’d like to believe that neither one is true, but I think everyone has an opinion one way or the other.
For those of you who believe that Trump is the Moscowian Candidate, I have to ask: you do realize that you’re giving off a Birther vibe with this whole thing, right? I don’t say that to insult you, but it needs to be emphasized that if you think you can get rid of a president you don’t like simply by engaging in a whispering campaign about his shady foreign ties, it probably won’t work. Republicans know a lot about this. Hell, Trump himself can tell you that from firsthand experience.
Let’s say that Trump and his Administration really are secretly working for Russia’s interests above the interests of the United States. What’s in it for Trump? Money? Do you think he’s just being blackmailed? Maybe a secret pact to kill all the Muslims off? A plot to establish a white supremacist federation of states? Is Trump lining up his next trophy wife and wants Vlad to hook him up with a Russian gal? Help me understand.
My own opinion on Trump’s relationship with Russia is that Trump simply agrees that there are areas in which our countries should be cooperating and that there are others where we are experiencing tensions where they shouldn’t exist.
For example, Trump isn’t fond of the EU or NATO. He thinks they’re a bunch of freeloaders and that the agreements we have with them weaken us and give them far too much in return. Putin doesn’t like the EU or NATO either. They’re keeping him from dominating everything east of Poland as Russia always has since Napoleon. Another example might be Syria. Both Trump and Putin favor destroying ISIS, though for different reasons. Trump sees them as a threat to the US while Putin wants to prop up his client Assad and expand his influence in the region.
I see those as both believable and benign, but it’s obvious that the anti-Trumpers are seeing the potential for something darker and they really, really, really want it to be true and to bring an end to Trump’s presidency. For my part, I think these leaks have all the markings of an espionage-style rumor campaign and there’s no question that they are coming from within the intelligence agencies. If I’m right, they’re using their weapons and tactics against our own elected government. Trump’s Russian connections are tepid. What the leakers are doing is illegal on its very face and outright treasonous.
But hey, maybe I’m wrong and instead of my preferred conspiracy theory, it’s the other one. Actually, it even wouldn’t surprise me if Trump is leaking this himself to discredit the intelligence community and the media and the Democrats in one masterful move. Can we do that one too?
Lay it out for me, somebody. I’m willing to acknowledge that where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and we’ve been seeing a big old cloud for months now. It’s undeniable that something is there, even if it truly is a operation by some shadowy Deep State or maybe just a couple of pissed off analysts. I’d rather not ignore it. Take all of the correlations with the Russian DNC/Podesta hacking, discreet meetings with Russian officials and Trump s surrogates, hookers, and anything else you have and explain to me what it’s all about.
The narrative is there but I think it’s kooky and desperate and totally dependent on circumstantial information. Give me something coherent. I genuinely want to learn something new today.