The Trump-Russia Collusion Scandal Is Not About Hillary Clinton

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Trump Maladministration

I’ve been arguing for months that the Russian hacking story needs to be taken seriously apart from whatever one felt about the election. I’ve also been saying all along that there’s no clear indication that anything the Russians did made any difference, and Clinton probably would have lost anyway.

I’m bringing this up now because I keep running into people who sincerely believe this whole Trump-Russia thing is just something like a false flag operation being run by Clinton supporters in media and government. One of these geniuses just told me James Comey obviously is part of this conspiracy. Um, James Comey? The guy who probably did cost Clinton the election? The whackjobbery is strong with this one.

Clinton supporters do like to bring up the Russian hacks as one of their many excuses for why Clinton’s loss was not her fault, but frankly, that’s bogus, also. As I’ve said, there’s no clear indication that anything the Russians did cost Clinton the election. There were so many factors that cost Clinton the election that it’s just about impossible to point to any one that made any measurable difference — with the possible exception of James Comey’s October 28 letter to Congress about Clinton’s damn emails. That does seem to have hit Clinton’s poll numbers hard.

And at this point, to believe the “false flag” theory one would have to believe that Glenn Greenwald and the crew at The Intercept are Clinton trolls. I don’t think so.

There are five major investigations going on right now into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia — two investigations in the Senate, two in the House, and one being led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Russian interference in the election is only one items on their agenda. They’re also looking into the circumstances that led to Michael Flynn’s dismissal as national security adviser, any inappropriate connections between Trump campaign and staff and foreign governments, leaks to media, and attempts to impede investigations of all that.

We don’t know what all Bob Mueller is doing, but he’s still staffing up. This just in

On the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, special counsel Robert Mueller has been quietly and methodically building the equivalent of a small US attorney’s office — a team of formidable legal minds who’ve worked on everything from Watergate to Enron, unlikely to leave any stone unturned.

The hires include top criminal prosecutors.  These include Michael Dreeben, considered one of the top criminal prosecutors in the U.S. Mueller is serious, and he has no particular ties to the Clintons that I can find. It may be months yet before we know where he’s going with his work.

Aside from the election, it seems just about every part of Trump’s real estate business, plus any associates one ever hears about, has ties to Russia. This is particularly critical, since Trump still is making money from that business, and genetically compromised offspring Eric admitted that he shows his father profit reports.  (Today the Washington Post published a story saying that Trump lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz has ties to Russia, for pity’s sake. )

Eric Trump said in an interview aired early Tuesday that sharing profit reports with his father “doesn’t blur the lines” in separating the family business from President Trump’s administration.

“You’re allowed to show that and remember the president of the United States has zero conflicts of interest,” Eric Trump told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Zero.”

Some of those profits may be from money laundering for the Russians. Trump is extremely vulnerable to abuse-of-office and corruption charges, whether he realizes it or not. And then there are the many associates, such as his out-of-his-depth son-in-law Jared Kushner, who might as well have an “R” for rotten stamped into his forehead.

So, yeah, this is a big deal, and it’s a big deal that has nearly nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.

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11 Comments

  1. uncledad  •  Jun 10, 2017 @5:50 pm

    “I’ve also been saying all along that there’s no clear indication that anything the Russians did made any difference, and Clinton probably would have lost anyway.”

    That confuses me, on one hand you say the hack made no difference, on the other hand your rightfully scolding those who call the hack a false flag? To me the hack was real and if it made a difference or not is unknowable and irrelevant. To me the whole mess needs to be figured out outside of liberal political squabbles. The righties are with the Russians, not us. I’m on your side 90%!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1gxkRve4Q0

  2. maha  •  Jun 10, 2017 @5:56 pm

    “That confuses me, on one hand you say the hack made no difference, on the other hand your rightfully scolding those who call the hack a false flag?”

    IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE HACK! IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE HACK! IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE HACK!

    How many times do I keep having to say that? If it were JUST about Russian attempted interference in the election, that would still be kind of a big deal, but this scandal is about SO MUCH MORE. Trump apparently has multiple business and personal ties that potential compromise his position, including a long-standing allegation that Russians have been using his real estate business for money laundering purposes for many years.

    Further, there’s copious evidence that’s been made public that the Russians really were trying to manipulate the election. That there’s no indication they succeeded, or changed the outcome, doesn’t mean that’s not kind of a big deal by itself.

  3. KC  •  Jun 11, 2017 @1:20 am

    Amen. These intra-Left squabbles are getting stupid, especially now that everyone is accusing everyone else of being distracted, suckered, sellouts, whatever. The Republicans are in charge and the man fronting them is a conman who is actively flaunting it.

  4. Swami  •  Jun 11, 2017 @1:31 am

    To me it seems to be shaping up as a spiritual battle royale of sorts between substance and bluster. When you hear that Mueller has enlisted the top criminal prosecutor in the country while Trump is armed to the teeth with bullshit and bluster you kinda get the feeling it’s going to be one hell of a show.
    Trump is still engaging in his little games that might work for his not releasing his taxes to the public or hinting about the existence and future releasing of tapes that don’t exist. But when he’s faced with the weight of the legal expertise coming at him full force he’s going to realise he’s in way over his head.
    Somehow I think Trump’s understanding of power and control is based on watching episodes of the Sopranos..He acts like he’s running a crew of hijackers at Kennedy Airport. “ I hope you can see your way clear”
    Well, anyway I’m wishing, I’m hoping, I’m praying, and I’m believing that the big bloated bag of shit is going to get run out of office in the disgrace that he so rightfully deserves. Also I’m hoping that Jared becomes an alumnus of the same penitentiary that his father graduated from.

  5. uncledad  •  Jun 11, 2017 @9:48 am

    “Trump apparently has multiple business and personal ties that potential compromise his position”

    I agree but to the average GOP’er those are just standard business practices, they don’t seem interested in investigating Trump’s business, seeing his taxes, forcing him to divest, etc. The election meddling is the only thing keeping the GOP’ers reluctantly on-board with the investigation. It seems like the only Russian ties that would cause the GOP’ers to flip on Trump is if the p-hookers story is true and we get video. Being financially tied to the Russian government, ah that’s just Trump doing business, like seven bankruptcies, countless out of court settlements, Trump University, grab-em-by the Pu$$y, it’s just Trump being Trump! So to me only two things get Trump impeached, collusion with the ruskies in the 2016 election or Russian p-hookers everything else is forgivable in the eyes of Paul “he’s new to this” Ryan!

  6. maha  •  Jun 11, 2017 @1:03 pm

    uncledad — if Trump is even half as dirty as he appears to be, and the truth of his business corruption comes out in the open, the Republican Party won’t be able to protect him. They’ll have to sacrifice him to save themselves. If he were a really popular president maybe they could protect him, but he isn’t.

  7. csm  •  Jun 11, 2017 @2:20 pm

    Many don’t seem to understand how corrupt Trump was before he even ran for President. I can’t imagine any democrat, and even some republicans, getting the nomination let alone winning the presidency with all the dirt and skeletons rattling around in Trump’s sizable closets. There were considerable legal issues and possibly compromat as the Russians call it *before* they interfered and Trump and company possibly colluded in the election. Another reason, I believe, why former USA for Southern District of NY Preet Bharara was quickly jettisoned after being asked to stay on.

    Trump’s ascendancy in the face of all that was due to two things: a failure of the media to hold him sufficiently accountable while obsessing over the entertainment value in stories and prioritizing that over what’s truly newsworthy. And a failure of Clinton and the democrats to effectively call him out. Granted, nothing would have prevented the reality-challenged Trump Voter from voting for him anyway, but it might have been enough to sway at least some of those former Obama voters.

    Lastly, as the candidate running, Clinton, her campaign and the democratic party does deserve some responsibility for the loss. I don’t believe, as some have said in retrospect, that it was impossible for her to win, and that her loss can be attributed to tactical errors with respect to applying resources to getting out the vote, and strategic blunders on Clinton’s part in how she approached the campaign and responded to Trump.

  8. Bill  •  Jun 12, 2017 @2:16 am

    Clinton lost for the same reason that Theresa May so badly screwed up – their blindness to the growing anti-neoliberalism. I suspect that Clinton/May have at least a minimal ability to care, and therefore have a need to mentally defense from the fact that their neoliberalism has been an abject failure for so many. As a result they underestimate the number of disenchanted voters.

    Trump has no such issues. He doesn’t give a shit one way or the other, so long as his own personal status isn’t lessened. A good con artist knows what the people want, then sells it to them, then gets the hell out of town before they figure it out. The problem with Trump is that he isn’t a very good con artist. And now we get to watch him being stuck in town while the rubes figure it out.

  9. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Jun 13, 2017 @11:24 am

    To be honest, while I won’t accept that “Russian hacks cost Hilary the election,” I also won’t accept “Russian interference did nothing”.

    For example: I heard some twitterbots may have been Russian; the Russians could have found things that helped cement certain narratives (getting paid a lot of money when one is a super-popular speaker; documents that seem to support popular rabid talking points, etc.); and, of course, fake documents, a little tweak here, there, BAM, proof of how a pizza parlor murdered Vince Foster and used his blood in their pizza sauce to turn good Christians into consumers of human blood.

    Until we get the full tell, we might find that the Russian interference was completely innocuous, far worse than we imagined, or possibly that it interfered just a tad, but in a steady, drip, drip, drip way that swung the polls by 1% over the course of the entire campaign – which, in this race, was a huge deal.

    But I do agree that the “cost her the election” is false – not with Comey’s letter front and center with clear statistical evidence that it halted her rise in the polls.

  10. Dave  •  Jun 16, 2017 @12:57 pm

    On the subject of the special council, I am not opposed to that if that is what it takes to get completely to the bottom of what happened and what did not happen. But, in order to justify his and his staff’s existence, there will be innuendo and more innuendo, suspicions and more suspicions, and maybes and more maybes, but not much in the way of substance. In the end, nothing will come of it except the Democrats will score a great victory in 2018 which is what they are after in the first place. I expect the investigations to go on for about three (3) years or so. I think Trump should set a time limit of one year and let them talk to anyone they want to talk too. If after one year they can’t come up with anything that is prosecutable or have good reason to extend the investigation then that should be the end of it.
    Many will not believe the report in any case. If Trump is not impeached, then it must be a cover-up. If Trump or aids or family are found to have colluded it will be judged to be a political “witch hunt”. So not sure what good can come out of it. Blame the messenger!
    In the spirit of balance, if there is hard evidence of a crime that should be out in the open and people prosecuted.

    I suspect that the Russians are involved in hacking and false news in many countries, not just in America. The new “war” is cyber war and they seem to be winning. I don’t see that as a Trump problem, rather a disinformation problem that needs fixing. If papers continue to print articles from unnamed sources and information leaks then the Russians have great access to the American public where public opinion can be manipulated. Who knows who they favor next time.

    I think that Trump won because people were fed up with the Clintons. The primaries were fixed, the DNC did not want Bernie, and the Super-Delegates are in place to be sure the “establishment” i.e. Clinton was going to win regardless of what Bernie did. So, in summary, I think the Democrats are just as screwed up as the Republicans and Hillary would have been just as bad as Trump. Not good choices which means the system is just not good in either party.

  11. maha  •  Jun 16, 2017 @3:37 pm

    Dave, first of all, as I said in the post the investigations into Trump and his associates primarily are not about the 2016 election, or Hillary Clinton. That’s peripheral stuff of relatively minor importance. It’s like Watergate wasn’t really about the burglary. And as I wrote in the post (which you should have read before you commented, and apparently didn’t) I doubt anything the Russians did will be found to have changed the outcome of the election. Clinton lost for a lot of reasons, but the Russian interference was way, way down the list of those reasons.

    The immediate issue is that the Trump organization was rotten to the core before Trump was elected, and it appears he’s brought that rot into the White House with him. Bob Mueller is hardly a Democratic Party toady, nor is he a person likely to drag out a frivolous investigation just to draw a check or get his name in the paper. I will be very surprised if Mueller doesn’t find significant criminal activity involving Trump and his close associates, and only a little of that will be directly connected to the election.

    However, I doubt Democrats are going to reap much benefit from any of this in 2018 if they don’t get their act together.

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