I’ve moved beyond posting about the latest allegations and developments in the conspiracy wank that is TrumpRussia and have instead been driven to write about the state of the conspiracy theories and its proponents themselves.

It’s all gotten sad and you are embarrassing yourselves.  I’m saying this without any sense of anger, frustration, or condescension toward you.  If I wanted to be mean, I’d ask that anyone who doesn’t want to see Trump re-elected in 2020 continue obsessing over every possible detail in the TrumpRussia saga because I know that it’s all they have and it’s a loser.

Today it’s all about Donald Trump Jr and him meeting with a Russian lawyer to “get dirt” on Hillary.  I’m not going into details about it here except to observe that it wasn’t a crime and means nothing.  The lawyer provided nothing and received nothing.

This is just one more story that fits the mold of the dozens of collusion claims that have come before it.  Look, we know that Russian officials and other individuals worked hard to get close to the Trump campaign.  We even know that members of Trump’s campaign were happy to talk to them.  None of it has amounted to collusion nor was any of it against the law.

In saner times, that would be the end of it, but again the Democrats (and the media) have nothing else to run with against Trump.  They don’t understand why they lost in November, are in a blind terror that Trump is in the White House with the Democratic Party at its weakest point at all levels of government in a century, and Trump doesn’t have anything negative on his job performance to attack him with yet being that this is so early in his term.

You want to know why I’m so dismissive of all of this, besides all of that stuff I just said?

It’s because I’ve been applying a rational approach.  Well, I think it’s rational anyway.  My starting point is that Russia had a legitimate interest in who would win the 2016 US Election, they preferred that Trump win, and they tried to make inroads of goodwill wherever they could.

My guess is that my use of the word “legitimate” might be questionable to some.  I’ll explain.

Russia has been under devastating US-led economic sanctions over Putin’s government invading Ukraine and some other nefarious shit for a few years now.  They really want the sanctions gone, but don’t want to abandon the Crimea either.  Their only hope for getting rid of the sanctions without backing down from doing the things that brought them in the first place is to convince the US government to do so.

Lots of people accept without hesitation the idea that Russia interfered in our election, but they rarely seem to wonder why they’d want to do that.  I say that it’s because we insist on interfering in matters that are vital to Russian security even when those matters shouldn’t concern us.  The Obama Administration helped egg on the Ukraine crisis and then punished Russia for intervening.

Clinton certainly wasn’t going to ease sanctions nor could Putin expect another “reset”.  Do we even need to discuss her Ukrainian “collusion”, if we can call it that, which Russia certainly must have been aware of?  Putin had every reason to believe she would continue the “Let’s Have Another Splendid Cold War With Russia” policies of Obama. This is why I say Russia had a legitimate interest in who won the election.

You don’t want other countries interfering in our elections?  Then maybe we should conduct our foreign policy in a manner that doesn’t make the outcome of our elections a threat to the vital interests of other countries.

So the Russians had all this incentive to meet with Trump associates, right?  Then why did so many Trump associates eagerly want to meet with them unless TREASON?  I can think of two plausible reasons.

The first is that those associates would stand to benefit financially from the elimination of sanctions against Russia and they were happy to make some connections.  That’s obvious, right?  Shady, but not unusual in government in either party and likely not a crime.  Maybe it should be.

Second reason is that those Trump associates are already well-disposed toward Russia for a variety of reasons and would like to lift sanctions and build a closer relationship for–you’re not going to believe this but–the sake of the best interests of the United States.  Does that sound insane to you?  Unbelievable?  It shouldn’t.  It happens to be what I really believe, though I would also happily write nice things about Russia if I could get paid for it.  Hey, I’m even better looking than Lee Stranahan.

At the end of the day, the collusion myth isn’t going to remove Trump.  I think the best its proponents can hope for is that a few close associates of Trump might get tangled up in some sort of obstruction or perjury charge, but nothing that will remove Trump, much less somehow reverse the 2016 election.

The only other “achievement” of this conspiracy mongering, and the one that actually does bother me, is that any sort of rapprochement with Russia is doomed to failure.  Congress will levy more sanctions, won’t ease the old ones, and with that Trump will have nothing to offer in negotiations.    The only possible reason you could have for thinking this is a good thing is if you happen to be employed by the military-industrial complex and rightly see that Cold War II is good for business.

Jeez, whatever happened to the good old fashioned conspiracy theories where the shady government war profiteers were the bad guys?

29 comments

  1. Oh, you’re so totally wrong. We’re like *this* close to impeaching Trump. It’s so close I can already read the headlines calling for President Pence’s impeachment. Once we’ve run through the gamut of impeachment of every single Republican, there will be NO CHOICE but to elect a Democrat! So, laugh now, smug Trump supporter! We’re only 43 years away from single payer and there’s nothing you can do about it!

  2. Just wait till democrats and the media discover that nations other than russia, attempted to effect the outcome of the election too….

  3. Is there any legal mechanism to force a early or new presidential election? I’m not aware of one but…..?

  4. As I understand it, yes, it can be done. The Constitution has this to say:

    The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    Congress can also change Election Day. I would say that if one party had enough votes to impeach and remove a president, they could also bump up an election date.

    From what I can tell, there isn’t so much a mechanism for calling a new or early election as there is nothing stopping Congress from doing it.

  5. Moving election day up is easy since Congress determines it. But moving up the date he leaves office would be almost impossible with the current atmosphere in Washington. Article II states:

    The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows”

    And the Twentieth Amendment states:

    The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

    So four year term, to end/begin at noon on the 20th day of January on the year the four year term ends. They would have to amend the Constitution to get him out of office early.

  6. Yes, you’re right. I’m assuming that if they went to the trouble to change Election Day’s date, they would also be impeaching both the President and Vice President.

  7. You don’t want other countries interfering in our elections? Then maybe we should conduct our foreign policy in a manner that doesn’t make the outcome of our elections a threat to the vital interests of other countries.

    ???

    That’s what foreign policy is. You think the Norks are thrilled with your foreign policy? You think dropping Russia sanctions doesn’t affect NATO countries? To apply your logic, not sanctioning Russia would make the outcome of your election vital to the interests of, oh I don’t know, Ukraine? Sorry is the Republican foreign policy now “let’s try not to piss anyone off”? Whose the snowflake?

    The third reason is to win an election, but I’ll address your second reason:

    Second reason is that those Trump associates are already well-disposed toward Russia for a variety of reasons and would like to lift sanctions and build a closer relationship for–you’re not going to believe this but–the sake of the best interests of the United States.

    Ok. Let’s say that’s the reason. Make that argument to the American people. Have it as a campaign platform. If it is in the best interests of the US, then it shouldn’t be a secret policy position should it? I’d be keen to hear the argument why the US shouldn’t stand up against the annexing of a sovereign nation by an authoritarian government. I’m open to hearing that argument, and I’m sure North Korea would be interested too. Maybe, Maybe, we’ve all misjudged poor old Vladimir Putin, and actually the whole ‘wanting to destroy the west, undermine NATO and take back the states of his previous community empire’ thing was a big old misunderstanding. But that’s not the argument that the Trump team is making, or has ever made. No one in the Republican Party is making an argument for this policy shift.

    And even if what you say is true – making moves in that direction before the election, working against the foreign policy goals of a sitting Government as a private citizen – that’s a crime…….

    Listen – I don’t think this is impeachment time. I don’t think we’ll ever get there. But what really saddens me is to see Democrat Opposers tie themselves in knots to somehow be fine with this shitshow running your country. Suddenly you’re arguing that taking a back seat and not upsetting anyone is the best foreign policy. What happened to the shining city on a hill?

  8. I think your interpretation of what Thrill is saying goes way too far.

    To the first point, the problem isn’t that we have policies that may threaten other countries’ interests, but rather a stark partisan divide in what those policies should be, which disposes a rival to try and tip the scales. I also don’t think it’s too crazy to suggest we might consider the impact of our policies on the vital interests of other nations and weigh them against the benefits. We should do what is in the U.S.’s best interests, but with clear eyes as to the impacts and threats that presents to other nations.

    To the second point, you’re taking the entirely reasonable idea that we’d like to have good relations with Russia to mean that we should roll over for them completely. A bit more realism in our foreign policy is a welcome development. We can disagree and take actions in response to Russia’s bad actions while still working to find common ground.

    The escalation of anti-Russian U.S. attitudes, particularly among the left since Trump’s election, is a worrying thing.

  9. Yes, I think our foreign policy is problematic and the two examples you provided in the first paragraph are the absolute best ones to highlight what the problem is. I would prefer that the United States stick to the principles set by George Washington and avoid entangling alliances that serve no other purpose but to drag us into wars that aren’t in our best interests.

    We have given security guarantees to South Korea against North Korea. Granted, we did it at a time when the stakes were necessary, but the Cold War is long over. I don’t understand why we have continued to maintain forces in South Korea against North Korea.

    We’ve planted military assets on the border with this little pissant country for decades and kept them isolated. Why? For the South Koreans? I don’t think it’s necessary or that it benefits us. North Korea hadn’t previously been a threat to us.

    Of course, thanks to our foreign policy that has made us behave as an existential threat to North Korea, that country is now poised to make itself an existential threat to us. We may yet get to see the Norks nuke American territory and kill millions of people, all because what? South Korea? I don’t like it.

    In the same vein, I don’t know how you get the idea that I much care about the welfare of NATO countries or why I would think we should have any obligations at all to Ukraine. If any country in NATO is genuinely frightened of Russia, then they shouldn’t have to have their arms twisted to meet their minimal obligations to the treaty. It’s another arrangement that should have gone away with the Cold War.

    Instead of “let’s not piss anyone off” (which is going to happen from time to time, I get that), how about a foreign policy of “let’s not recklessly endanger our own security by provoking other nations through actions that place their vital interests at risk in areas where we don’t actually have any.”

    I want what’s best for the United States. Not South Korea. Not Ukraine. Not Lithuania. Not New Zealand and not the UK. If that’s a snowflake position, then I’ll be a snowflake.

    As for your given “third reason”, it’s invalid. They had to win the election to serve either the first or second reason. Winning the election supports one or both of those two but isn’t a reason by itself to cultivate relationships with Russian nationals.

    To making relations with Russia a campaign pledge. Trump did. Did he not state on the campaign trail that he wanted to work with the Russians on defeating ISIS? Hey, and guess who killed the Caliph!

    You speak about Putin in simplistic terms. No, he’s not a nice guy and he certainly wants what’s best for Russia and that isn’t what’s best for Europe or us. I think your characterization of him as out to “destroy the West” is dramatic, but I will agree that he would very much like to see a change in the international order. Russia may never be our friend, but it doesn’t have to be our enemy either.

    But you know what? I pay attention to what Putin says. When he points out that in the post-Cold War era, the US has repeatedly violated international norms and laws and caused greater destabilization in the course of doing it, he’s not wrong.

    The US and NATO did help precipitate the Ukraine crisis. Why? It also helped overthrow Ghadafi with zero authority under international (or US) law. It is also inflaming the civil war and waging military operations in Syria with absolutely no legal authority either. And you know what? I haven’t given Trump a pass on the last one either.

    This will probably piss a lot of people off, but I’ll say it anyway. If you dropped an alien from Alpha Centauri anywhere on Earth right now (maybe not in the US, he’d get deported) and asked him to objectively study the behaviors of the various nations on the planet and determine who is the most dangerous and hegemonic, I have no doubt that he’d say it’s the US and NATO, not Russia.

    Since the end of the Cold War, we have been behaving as if we can do whatever we want, whenever we want and we pay absolutely no care to the consequences of our actions. Can you blame Putin for wanting some change in that power structure? If the US and NATO were at least running the world competently or even justly, that would be something we could argue in favor of the current order.

    I’m ashamed of what we’re doing. It’s not true to our founding principles. Our foreign policy is sowing chaos and death all over the world and endangering us. When Putin says he doesn’t like it, I say “I agree with Putin”.

    “Shining city on a hill”, are you kidding me? Does anyone still think that’s true of us these days, as far as our foreign policy is concerned, with our incessant and pointless wars and attempts to dominate the Old World? Let me remind you that Trump became president because enough of the American people were sick of our officials placing the best interests of foreigners above theirs. This is how you got Trump.

    And you know what? I know it “pisses off” people in other countries that we elected Trump and I don’t care at all. You know why? Because electing Trump over Clinton might actually serve OUR best national interests. I’m perfectly okay with pissing off foreigners as long as it’s what’s best for my people.

  10. Before I go onto the Russian policy question, I just want to address this:

    My starting point is that Russia had a legitimate interest in who would win the 2016 US Election, they preferred that Trump win, and they tried to make inroads of goodwill wherever they could.

    You sound like you’re fine with this? I’m guessing Iran had a preference for who was a winner – would you be cool with Iran and Hillary working together? Or Hillary and Ukraine? (You don’t seem so cool with that one?) Pretty much every nation on earth has a legitimate interest in who leads the worlds only remaining global superpower. It doesn’t give them the right to try an influence the result – especially not by committing crimes in order to do so. If you don’t protect your democracy from the influence of foreign powers, then citizens lose autonomy. It’s pretty fundamental. We’re annoyed with the Koch brothers influence, and you’re annoyed with the Union influence. What about the influence of all the combined unions in Europe? Or maybe it’s a straight shoot out between China and Russia to decide your trade policy?

    This is what I don’t understand. The conversation about whether there needs to be a foregin policy shift towards a less antagonistic relationship with Russia, or a shift towards a more isolationist foreign policy is a valid one to have (and we’ll have it). But the Conservatives who traditionally mistrust Government are more than willing to give this new administration the benefit of the doubt time and time again, despite being shows to have lied and concealed several times over. It’s our side who are meant to get all starry eyed over the next Obamajesus, and you guys who are meant to have the healthy skepticism of Government. But that’s seem to have gone out of the window.

    So I’m not talking about impeachment, or whether or not anyone technically broke the law, blah blah blah. I’m asking why you’re not more concerned about the Presidents Son, his campaign manager and his senior advisor getting an email aksing for an meeting to discuss high level and sensitive information as part of the Russan Government’s support for Mr Trump, and then going to that meeting, followed by some sensitive information from the Russian Government being leaked to the American people. I mean it could just be a coincidence – but is there any part of you think suspects it might, just, not be 100% on the up and up? You have so much trust in the current US Government, that not a single part of you suspects that anyone involved can be anything less that 100% honest. Isn’t there even a teensy tiny part of you that goes “Hang on a minute. That does actually sound quite dodgy.”

    As for the rest of your post about the merits of a better relationship with Russia – I’ll put together some thoughts on that.

  11. I would argue that foreign countries are as likely to try to influence our elections as we do theirs. Let me emphasize: We. Do. Theirs.

    Yes, it annoys me that foreign nationals try to curry favor with our presidential candidates and influence policy. However, it is inevitable as long as they think the US has something to offer them. As you say, every country has their hand out for something from the superpower. What did Russia want? Lifting of sanctions. What did Ukraine want? More sanctions on Russia.

    And that is a key point I think you’re missing in this whole debate. There was nothing unusual about Russian nationals trying to get access to Trump’s campaign associates, as happened with Don Jr, Flynn, and others. Many countries do the exact same things to other candidates and it’s been this way for years.

    Isn’t it strange to you that the ONLY time it’s problematic that this happened was when it was Russia and the candidate was Trump? Just this ONE country and this ONE candidate? No others are considered problematic? Why do you think that is?

    I say the reason is that it’s because it just so happens that Trump’s relationship with Russia and alleged Russian interference in the election was the reason given by the Clinton campaign for its defeat last November and the media dutifully picked up on it.

    That’s
    not a coincidence. Nothing the Trump campaign did was illegal. Maybe it should be, but it isn’t. But until the US quits trying to run the world, foreign governments aren’t going to stop trying to influence our elections and candidates. I’d rather eliminate their reasons for trying to do so rather than criminalize our politics.

    You want some conservative mistrust of government? Fine.

    I’m less outraged about Russia’s interference in the election than I am the possibility that our presidential administration in office was spying on the opposition party’s candidate.

    I’m outraged that the Democratic Party’s candidate was allowed to skate for breaking the law.

    I’m outraged that Obama Administration officials appear to have unmasked the targets of these spying efforts specifically so that the information could be leaked and undermine the incoming administration.

    I’m outraged that our presidential administration failed to fully address Russia’s supposed involvement in the election because they were afraid that it would their candidate in the election if it were fully explained to the public that a foreign government is really good at hacking unsecure email servers.

    You don’t seem to understand that from my perspective–and millions of other conservatives–the current fight isn’t Government vs People. It’s the Unaccountable Deep State vs Legitimately Elected President. In that fight, I support Trump. The Washington bureaucracy needs to be broken. I absolutely trust Trump more than Deep State.

    There’s some mistrust of government for you.

    You want to know why I’m not concerned about Russia’s efforts? Two reasons. One, the foreign influence-peddling in our elections is commonplace.

    Again, it’s really interesting that it’s ONLY when it’s Russia and ONLY with regard to Trump that it’s supposed to be problematic and that is ONLY because it is politically beneficial to the Clinton campaign that people think so.

    The second reason is that if the Russians had some valid information about the Clinton campaign, I wouldn’t care what the source is. Only whether or not it was true.

    What I have to smirk about is that the same liberals who are currently ignoring the Obama Administration’s interference in the election and attempts to undermine Trump haven’t yet realized that in 2020 (and probably 2024), Trump will be in control of the Deep State apparatus and his people might decide to do the exact same thing to the Democratic candidate or incoming administration.

    I can’t wait for the next election year when the accusations that Trump is doing exactly what Obama has been accused of are flying from the people who are now fixated on Russia. When that happens (and it will, mark my words), I will at least give them credit for understanding what the true danger is: the weaponization of the intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies for political purposes.

    That is what has the true potential to destroy our “democracy”, not Moscow-inspired fake news. If you want to see democracy under attack, you need look no further than bureaucrats and political appointees working to delegitimize a president whose election they opposed.

  12. There was nothing unusual about Russian nationals trying to get access to Trump’s campaign associates,

    Agreed. What is unusual is that the Trump campaign accepted that offer.

    Isn’t it strange to you that the ONLY time it’s problematic that this happened was when it was Russia and the candidate was Trump?

    nope. The ONLY time it’s problematic was when a political campaign agreed to it. To be clear – I’m sure all politicians get a lot of bribes. That doesn’t excuse the ones who take them.

    So. Let me get your position straight. Last week your position was that there was no collusion, because the evidence wasn’t there.

    This week your position is that even if evidence might be there, collusion is a-ok.

    Again, let me be clear. You are saying you have no problem with foreign Governments making deals with campaigns to trade their espionage for favours in foreign policy? If it had been, say, Pakistan trading a stolen Clinton dossier for the end of the war on ISIS? How about if Sweden get hold of the pee-tape, and trade it to Pelosi in 2018 in return for nationalisation of the means of production?

    It’s the Unaccountable Deep State vs Legitimately Elected President.

    BTW : I’d be keen some day to explore the ‘deep state’ concept a bit further.

  13. I don’t think I’ve ever said “there was no collusion”. I certainly didn’t post anything about it last week. In my last post on the topic, I observed that the problem with the word “collusion” is that it means whatever anyone wants it to mean. Once you call something collusion, it makes it sound ominous, but what does it mean?

    That’s exactly why in this post I used Ukraine’s involvement in the election sarcastically in quotes as “collusion”. Why is what Trump is accused of doing “collusion” and this isn’t? Hell, why isn’t this evidence of collusion with Russia?

    As has been discussed before, there is no statutory definition of collusion so we’re forced to argue semantics. What exactly is it? I’m sorry, I don’t define “collusion” as speaking to Russians unless there is some underlying conspiracy associated with an actual crime.

    I’m saying that what YOU call collusion is “a-ok” with me because, again, those “collusion” activities are only considered to be collusion when it’s about Russia and Trump.

    You have to understand, ilovecress, that this whole issue is a political one and has been since the Clinton campaign first decided to make it one. Even you said above that you aren’t concerned with whether or not any laws were broken. To you, this is apparently simply something that’s politically damaging for Trump.

    I don’t believe that the people advancing these theories are really interested in justice, security, or anything beyond undermining the Trump Administration. I’m not condemning them or you for it, that’s just politics.

    However, you have to understand that this whole “collusion” story is regarded as bullshit outside of that group of people known as “those who don’t like Trump already.” For those in the group “those who voted for Trump”, the accusations aren’t shaking them. In fact, their support for Trump seems to be strengthening.

    Even as a political issue, TrumpRussia is failing.

    And you know what? That’s a shame. Benghazi was politicized too and I think that was unfortunate. There are always going to be misconceptions about it and I don’t think the public will ever really know or understand what it was all about.

    There is an amazing story to tell about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, the Obama Administration’s actions both to counter it and surveil members of Trump’s campaign, and what everyone’s motivations were but the people will never get the whole truth or even accept it if it’s given to us.

    To your hypotheticals, I’ll only say that an objective investigation of TrumpRussia might result in some changes that can clearly define those activities as unlawful. I don’t like the idea of any American elected official being beholden to a foreign power, but I don’t believe that Trump owes Putin anything any more than I believe that Nancy Pelosi would need some sort of incentive from anyone else to push for nationalization of American industries.

    As a political matter, there is nothing that has come out about Trump and Russia that would have caused me to vote for anyone other than Trump nor is there anything that is making me consider not voting for him in 2020. Particularly since it seems that my choices in 2016 were between the candidate who was backed by Russia and the one who was backed by Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, and maybe also Russia.

    At some point, the TrumpRussia conspiracy devotees will realize that they’re spinning their wheels. If this issue isn’t going to get Trump impeached and isn’t convincing his winning coalition from 2016 to vote for him again, they certainly aren’t going to be able to run on it in the next election.

    That’s why I say it’s sad and desperate.

  14. Here’s a decent primer on the Deep State. I hate that term since it’s associated with tinfoil hat nuts, but it’s pretty much what it’s being called now so…..

    I don’t vouch for the accuracy of the video. It’s just an explanation of what it is thought to be.

  15. No, he’s not a nice guy and he certainly wants what’s best for Russia and that isn’t what’s best for Europe or us.

    I actually think Putin wants what is best for Putin, not Russia. But then, I think the same of most politicians in Washington.

  16. What is unusual is that the Trump campaign accepted that offer.

    That’s funny, considering.

    I guess it’s okay if a foreign person/government gives you millions of dollars towards your re-election campaign (an actual crime), but offering opposition research is beyond the pale (not a crime).

  17. I guess it’s okay if a foreign person/government gives you millions of dollars towards your re-election campaign (an actual crime), but offering opposition research is beyond the pale (not a crime).

    Nope – both are a crimes (different crimes). “Money or thing of value”. I’m assuming you were on Clinton’s side in 96? Also the opposition research was stolen.

    Once you call something collusion, it makes it sound ominous, but what does it mean?

    You’re confusing something there. The question isn’t ‘collusion with Russia’. It’s ‘colluding with Russia in committing a crime.’

    ‘Collusion’ means ‘Did the Trump campaign cooperate with Russia in the federal crime they committed.’ It’s not ‘Collusion with Russia’ – it’s “Collusion with Russia to illegally steal information from an American citizen and release it to the public.”

    I’m sorry, I don’t define “collusion” as speaking to Russians unless there is some underlying conspiracy associated with an actual crime.

    Me neither. I’m not saying that Junior having a meeting with a Russian Government Lawyer is collusion. But it was a meeting literally about an underlying conspiracy associated with an actual crime. The meeting was about whether or not to collude in the crime. At the moment the story is that they said no. But you’ve got to admit, the story shifts quite a bit, so let’s not call the game up right now?

    However, you have to understand that this whole “collusion” story is regarded as bullshit outside of that group of people known as “those who don’t like Trump already.” For those in the group “those who voted for Trump”, the accusations aren’t shaking them. In fact, their support for Trump seems to be strengthening.

    I totally understand this is happening. That’s really what I’m trying to understand. I’m not saying that Rachel Maddow is right. But I’d like to understand the thought process around not being even a little bit skeptical about all this, and not at all worried about this.

    Let me put it this way – hypothetical Wapo story tomorrow, that would make you think there was something to the Trump Russia Story? An email from the Russian Government offering to collude, and a reply saying ‘Love it!’ didn’t do it – so, what? We need the pee tape?

  18. Okay then, if the question is “Did the Trump campaign collude with Russia in committing a federal crime”, I’m going with “No”. I don’t have any reason to think that Trump or the campaign hacked the DNC or Podesta. I’m not even convinced the Russians did it, but that’s another story.

    And yes, the story with Don Jr does shift quite a bit in interesting ways. For example, it’s very interesting that she had her visa extended by AG Lynch under very extraordinary circumstances.

    It’s fascinating that she has ties to Fusion GPS, which gathered foreign intelligence and was later used to discredit Trump.

    I find it rather intriguing that she has apparently been running around DC for years to convince various politicians to revoke the Magnitsky Act but it’s ONLY because she spoke to Trump’s son that it’s an issue.

    Look, I keep saying that there is something to the TrumpRussia story. The Russians certainly had a motive and I’ve discussed my thoughts on it at length above. However, all of the allegations that Trump had something to do with it are politically-motivated and I treat them with the same skepticism I would any other propaganda.

    You have to recognize that the Democratic Party and its surrogates in the media routinely tell me that Republicans want to put black people in chains, murder old and sick people, and decriminalize rape, among other accusations. So when they tell me that the President is a secret Russian agent, do you seriously believe that I’m inclined to take anything they have to say at face value?

  19. Nope – both are a crimes (different crimes). “Money or thing of value”.

    You’re going to have to try harder than that if you want to try to make that case. Here’s the actual law that you quoted part of.

    (b)Contributions and donations by foreign nationals in connection with elections. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.

    In order for the opposition research to be an “other thing of value” in terms of this law, it must literally have a quantifiable monetary value. You see, here’s the legal definition that the law explicitly states it means (at the beginning of my first link) when it uses the word “donations”:

    (e)Donation. For purposes of part 300, donation means a payment, gift, subscription, loan, advance, deposit, or anything of value given to a person, but does not include contributions.

    See all the financial terms included? Now I’m sure the talking head that you first heard “money or thing of value” from had completely unbiased intentions when they omitted the word “other” in the sentence thereby attempting to imply it wasn’t directly linked to the first word, “money”, and failed to provide the definitions being used in the law, but legally the argument you attempted means nothing unless you can quantify the monetary value of whatever non-information Trump’s campaign received from Russian sources.

  20. (BTW – I’d be keen for some links on this – not because I’m asking for proof or anything, just that basically all the media I can find is either agreeing with me, or dismissing it. But that’s probably my bubble.)

    I don’t have any reason to think that Trump or the campaign hacked the DNC or Podesta.

    Obviously all this would have to be argued in court, but if the accusation is that Russia committed election fraud (by hacking the DNC and disseminating the information and misleading information to US voters) the question is whether the Trump campaign conspired in the plan (from what I’ve read, that’s a more sound legal term than collude).

    Don Jr received an email that explicitly stated that the Russian Government wanted Trump to win, and had some incriminating documentation about HRC – and asked if he wanted to meet to discuss the best way to get it to Trump. Don Jr enthusiastically agreed.

    Dude gets an email asking for a meeting to talk about colluding. Dude agrees to go to meeting. Now we don’t know what happened in the meeting, but again, gotta be a red flag, no?

    You have to recognize that the Democratic Party and its surrogates in the media routinely tell me that Republicans want to put black people in chains, murder old and sick people, and decriminalize rape, among other accusations. So when they tell me that the President is a secret Russian agent, do you seriously believe that I’m inclined to take anything they have to say at face value?

    Totally get it. But see that you’re admitting your bias here.

    Zurvan – totally get your point on the liberal talking head thing, but I’m not sure I follow that the ‘other’ means literal monetary value that can be quantified? Again, I’m not a law surgeon, and I’m probably not getting my media from the same place. I got a link from business insider that said the FEC has interpreted ‘thing of value’ to be non monetary contributions.

  21. Links:

    Loretta Lynch extended the lawyer’s visa

    The lawyer has ties to Fusion GPS

    She met with several members of Congress.

    Were I to engage in any conspiracy theories myself, I might suggest that this was a setup to justify a FISA warrant against the Trump campaign or open the door for some other collusion by the Obama Administration to assist the Clinton campaign.

    Dude gets an email asking for a meeting to talk about colluding. Dude agrees to go to meeting. Now we don’t know what happened in the meeting, but again, gotta be a red flag, no?

    There’s nothing there that’s a red flag to me. Keep in mind that everybody at this time was demanding to see Clinton’s missing emails, which was a damaging matter for her campaign and also the subject of a criminal investigation.

    Trump’s campaign would have been fools to ignore any information that might have been helpful and I’d guess that Don Jr was suckered into thinking that her information had something to do with it.

    Both Putin and Trump wanted Trump to win the election. It seems to me that the only way Trump could have not “colluded” with Putin in your eyes was to not run against Clinton.

    Yes, I’m biased. So are you. What of it? However, I’m taking all information about this scandal into account. Isn’t it curious that I knew details about this topic that throw a lot of suspicion on the Obama Administration that you did not even though they are available in mainstream media publications?

    It’s almost as if we’re both biased but I’m the one taking the trouble to learn all of the available facts and make a rational determination about what it all means.

    And I say it’s going to amount to nothing but tears for the Democrats.

  22. Is the suggestion that the Obama admin was trying to set Trump up? Before the election, just in case he won, as a sort of back up plan?

    It’s almost as if we’re both biased but I’m the one taking the trouble to learn all of the available facts and make a rational determination about what it all means.

    Dude. I’m the guy on the right wing blog to try and get other points of view. I literally asked you to give me any facts that I didn’t have. I’m keen to get the version of events where this isn’t some seriously shady shit. You’re not giving an inch…..

  23. No, I don’t think it was a back up plan. I think that some in the Administration were looking for dirt that would help the Clinton campaign. They don’t seem to have expected Trump to win, but we already know from Farkas that once Clinton lost, they decided to take all they had gathered and spread it out among the IC so that it could be used to give the Trump Administration problems. Waste not, want not, I suppose.

    Dude. I’m the guy on the right wing blog to try and get other points of view.

    Yeah, that was unfair of me.

  24. Except Putin. In fact Putin could leak that they discussed anything, and Trump wouldn’t be able to counter, as he didn’t have any US note takers.

    (By the way, I don’t think this is a huge deal, but it is a bit silly of Donny J Trump to get himself into this situation)

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