Okay, I just read that and now I need a drink. Or a bunker. Maybe both.
Socially liberal and fiscally conservative, hmm… so, like Hillary, but without the Bernie-inspired bits?
[quote=“antlers, post:944, topic:127454”]
I just don’t think the “dumb” argument is as implausible as you make it sound. Steele certainly had incentive to come up with anything he could on Trump-- that’s what he’s paid for. But even if you take the dossier as absolutely true, there’s nothing in it that’s all that damning of Trump himself (except the pee thing, which is so ridiculous that even if true does not make good kompromat); he is shown as resisting attempts to make deals with Putin.[/quote]
He was offered a direct bribe for dropping sanctions, and his man apparently said “we’ll see”, then that exact bribe appears to have been prepared since the election (19.5% of Rosneft being sold through a series of shadow companies). That alone is damning - if Trump lifts the sanctions against Russia, any corroboration of that conversation goes from “dark cloud” to “lock him up”. That’s just one piece of the dossier, too - if the kompromat is confirmed, Trump’s reaction to the release of the dossier argues that it is something to take seriously - I mean, a video of that wouldn’t just hurt Trump the President, it would hurt him as a businessman and especially as a reality star - not a lot of networks are going to put him on the air after that. Someone testifying that it happened wouldn’t make good kompromat, because it’s so ridiculous, but a video is what is claimed.
I did say that you can find reasons to call the advisor choices coincidence; Manafort might be happenstance and Page coincidence, so again, what does that make Stone, Flynn, and any of the other as-yet-unnamed folks who were in contact with Russian intelligence? How out of the loop of his own staff do we have to believe Trump is to claim that he has no ties to Russia?
You also didn’t address my other point, which is that Russia seems to be the only major policy area in which he did anything but parrot established views of the far-right (or the GOP more generally). That’s also quite damning, and seems to cut against the “clueless Trump” explanation. Unless I’m missing something about the counter-jihadist crowd, the only connection I’ve seen is the occasional statement that Putin ate Obama’s lunch when he invaded the Crimea or did some other BS.
The reality, though is that America under Obama figured out that soft power was far more effective than hard power. They brought Iran’s nuclear program down with hackers and sanctions, they slapped down Putin’s moves in Ukraine with massive sanctions, and they were generally getting a lot of cooperation from the key world powers, including China. The next step of all that was going to be screwing over bad actors in carbon emissions
and Russia needs oil - Putin is still popular now, but 3-4 more years of declining oil prices and continued sanctions and he’ll be killed by his oligarchs. So Hillary really was a bit of an existential threat to Putin personally,
whereas Trump has already destroyed America’s ability to project soft power by pissing off every one of our allies and China, and he’s got Tillerson running foreign policy and Pruitt about to gut the EPA. We don’t need to have a sign contract for Trump’s soul to see the writing on the wall here.
This kind of evidence would obviously have Trump in jail for life, we execute murderers with far less solid evidence. Your over-the-top description makes me assume you were joking (a difficult thing to be sure of these days), but the evidence we do have is approaching Watergate levels of certainty. It does still need some more corroboration or nothing will happen with it, but it could be that the only reason we are even able to debate the issue right now is because most of the people debating it are biased to either defend Trump at all costs or attack him at all costs (and thus to consider their own views suspect). I find myself in that second category - the logical part of my brain says to me: the evidence seems clear enough from what we already know that I would rule against Trump if a similar amount of evidence existed in a civil wrongful death suit, but I wouldn’t quite be ready to lock him up for life in a criminal murder case, and yet I’ve already got a negative opinion of Trump and am inclined to believe bad stuff about him. So is my opinion of the evidence biased because of that? I try to dispassionately evaluate it by inserting other figures instead of the ones we know, but that doesn’t work because the question is really about the credibility of the sources, and I find it natural to believe that the NYT, WaPo, and CNN have what they say they have (that is, what the article says, even if the headlines are inevitably exaggerated).
So now apparently NATO allies have intercepted communications between the Trump administration and Russia:
Here’s a fun quote:
“These operations reflect a serious breakdown in the long-standing faith in the direction of American policy by some of the country’s most important allies. Worse, the United States is now in a situation that may be unprecedented—where European governments know more about what is going on in the executive branch than any elected American official.”
WaPo starts connecting the dots https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/02/15/daily-202-it-s-bigger-than-flynn-new-russia-revelations-widen-trump-s-credibility-gap/58a3c5b9e9b69b1406c75cb4/?utm_term=.f9f23b75c538
Isn’t it great that we need our allies to spy on us in order to find out how traitorous our government is? Investigating this, especially Republican involvement, just doesn’t make sense!
How about this one:
Of equal concern to our allies is Trump’s business partner in the Philippines, who is also the special representative to Washington of that country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte. This government official, Jose E.B. Antonio, is the head of Century Properties, which in turn is a partner with the president’s business in the construction of Trump Tower at Century City in Makati, Philippines. According to people with direct knowledge of the situation, a European intelligence service has obtained the contracts and other legal documents in the deal between the Trump Organization and Antonio. That deal has already resulted in large payments to Trump’s business, with millions of dollars more on the way—all coming from an agent of the Philippine president.
I say we use Trump’s unwillingness to completely divest himself of his connections to Trump International against him. Wouldn’t this likely qualify as an emolument issue?
Actually I found another pretty good article today regarding how state attorneys general could tackle the emolument issue, possibly.
That is some worrying shit.
Actually, all of this stuff was being reported before the election. Certainly none of this is coming as any surprise to me. It’s just now starting to hit critical mass as things are corroborated and consequences are finally starting to be felt which creates a momentum of its own.
I don’t feel it quite got the level of scrutiny it is getting now, but yes, I was also concerned about Russia prior to the election.
Yes and no. There was certainly stuff swirling, but not with this amount of corroboration and not much concrete (still isn’t a whole lot concrete).
Finally someone is focusing on the real problem here: how the dishonest media is trying to besmirch our righteous and innocent president.
I wish I could jump forward a few years and see the outcome. I suppose there are two possible outcomes (well three if you count “nuclear hellscape”).
The mostly likely scenario: nothing happens. The scandals never quite nail him, and the congress has no motivation to dig around. Trump does his four years, embarrasses us all constantly, and runs the country into the ground.
Or, a smoking gun gets uncovered, or maybe the Russians decide he’s not playing along as much as they’d hoped and they back-channel incriminating evidence. The (R’s) in congress decide the situation is untenable for their party, and he gets impeached. Pence manages to stay above the fray with his aw-shucks-I-wasn’t-in-the-loop act, and is made our new President. Now we’ve got a true believer and a motivated congress who can get to work enacting horrible policies. Yipee!
Either result is pretty crappy, though I do admit I would love (oh, so much love) the schadenfreude of option B.
Remember… the likely goal of the Russians is to cause as much ongoing chaos here as possible, because it creates a power vacuum that they can swoop in and fill. China also will be eyeing power vacuums and looking to increase global influence without embroiling themselves in military action. It’s not in the best interest of the Russians to see Trump leave office because he sows too much chaos in place.
I think the administration will follow the same arc as Flynn. Flynn had been flatly denying everything until last Thursday when he suddenly realized intelligence agencies likely had him on tape and that they know he lied to investigators, at which point he suddenly changed his tune to “I don’t recall discussing sanctions.” The jig is up at that point and he’s now choosing his words explicitly to try and minimize his legal exposure. Within four days he’s forced to resign.
So it will, hopefully, go with the other allegations swirling about. Plausible deniability works so long as it is plausible but once that shield starts to crumble, folks will start acting to cover their own asses. The Republicans in congress, for example, will continue to say there is nothing worth investigating until it becomes impossible to plausibly say that without anchoring themselves to the sinking ship. (Reasonable people already feel this is the case but they’re playing to their base.)
As with Al Capone, I suspect the smoking gun will actually come in the form of evidence of financial shenanigans. His taxes will finally be forced into the light and reveal massive conflicts of interest, or ties to oligarchs or who knows what. The stuff in the Newsweek article sounded all pretty on point. You’ve got the press, the intelligence agencies and foreign intelligence agencies all smelling blood in the water. The trickle is starting to turn into a flood and I think it will only accelerate. Impeachment can’t be far off at this point.
At least I hope. But who the fuck knows?
Also, hilarious that no one is talking about Tillerson in all of this. That will come back around. Oh, and who approved his appointment, despite his known ties to Russia?
This is also starting to feel a little like the last days of Mannfort. That sense that we’re approaching critical mass.
This is usually when the sacrificial lamb comes forward and claims to have been the mastermind of everything without the President’s knowledge.
Maybe it’ll be Roger Stone with the promise of a Trump pardon if things get harsh.
But something needs to release the built up pressure.