Thursday April 14, 2022
'The Litany of Trump-Russia Intersections Remains Remarkable'
There is a long, remarkable paragraph in Robert Draper's excellent New York Times Magazine feature on former presidential adviser Fiona Hall. It's good reading for Americans who, per David Bowie, don't really remember their President Trump. Or the bills they have to pay. Or yesterday.
As I said, it's a long paragraph. This is how it begins: “The litany of Trump-Russia intersections remains remarkable,” and then Draper lists them off. He doesnt' bullet-point them but I'm going to. They demand bullet-pointing. Most of them I remember. I didn't know the thing about Gordon and Kislyak. I knew about the watering down but not the details behind it. Ready? Rock 'n' roll...
- Citizen Trump's business pursuits in Moscow, which continued throughout his candidacy
- Candidate Trump's abiding affinity for Putin
- The incident in which the Trump campaign's national security director, J.D. Gordon, watered down language in the 2016 Republican Party platform pledging to provide Ukraine with “lethal defense weapons” to combat Russian interference — and did so the same week Gordon dined with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, at an event
- Trump's longtime political consigliere Roger Stone's reaching out to WikiLeaks through an intermediary and requesting “the pending emails,” an apparent reference to the Clinton campaign emails pirated by Russia, which the site had started to post
- Trump's chiming in: “Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
- The meeting in the Seychelles islands between Erik Prince (the founder of the military contractor Blackwater and a Trump-campaign supporter whose sister Betsy DeVos would become Trump's secretary of education) and the head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund in an effort to facilitate a back-channel dialogue between the two countries before Trump's inauguration
- The former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort's consistent lying to federal investigators about his own secretive dealings with the Russian political consultant and intelligence operative Konstantin V. Kilimnik, with whom he shared Trump campaign polling
- Trump's two-hour meeting with Putin in Helsinki in the summer of 2018, unattended by staff
- Trump's public declaration, at a joint news conference in Helsinki, that he was more inclined to believe Putin than the U.S. intelligence team when it came to Russia's interference in the 2016 election
- The dissemination by Trump and his allies in 2019 of the Russian propaganda that it was Ukraine that meddled in the 2016 election, in support of the Clinton campaign
- Trump's pardoning of Manafort and Stone in December 2020
- And most recently, on March 29, Trump's saying yet again that Putin “should release” dirt on a political opponent — this time President Biden, who, Trump asserted without evidence, had received, along with his son Hunter Biden, $3.5 million from the wife of Moscow's former mayor
This is the guy that his base, his idiot base, says would be tough on Russia right now. This fucking putz.
Jonathan Chait has a piece over on the New York magazine site about Sean Hannity trying desperately to get Trump to condemn Russia's aggression in Ukraine and Trump constantly deflecting to complain about NATO and our western allies and Ukraine. Jesus fucking Christ. It could be high comedy but Chait knows it's not and ends the piece ominously: “Had 44,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin swung the other way, Zelensky would probably at this moment be in exile, in a Russian prison, or dead.”