Idle Friday speculations

>> Friday, June 16, 2017

It depends on what you mean by "collusion," doesn't it?  No, I don't think there were secretive meetings where Trump and/or his surrogates sat down in shadowy rooms and discussed swinging the 2016 Presidential election to the Republicans, mostly because I don't believe for a second that very many people (if any) in the Trump campaign or in Moscow seriously thought for a minute, or even a second, that Trump had any chance whatsoever of winning.

On the other hand, I think there's an extraordinarily good chance that the bottom feeders Trump associates with--and perhaps even the Bottom-Feeder-in-Chief himself, personally or through mouthpieces--and some folks in Russia talked about the opportunities inherent in the whole situation.  Financial, obviously, with all the opportunities for money laundering inherent to the messy books of even a not-corrupt political campaign, and all the opportunities for graft and kickbacks and future transactions and personal favors owed.  Political, to the extent that Vladimir Putin allegedly has a special loathing for Hillary Clinton and that it would be in Russia's national interest more broadly for the next American President-Elect to arrive in Washington D.C. bleeding, compromised, and in a buzzing cloud of questions of electoral legitimacy.  Personal, to the extent that the Russians likely have leverage over Trump and maybe some of his associates and family members in terms of blackmail or extortion options; and I don't necessarily mean the more salacious details of the Steele Dossier--it's not at all unlikely that the Russians are in a position to start calling in debts Trump owes him and/or could cancel building negotiations and/or contracts with Trump, and (in short) could ruin and humiliate the man.

So no, I don't expect any investigations of Trump, Kushner, and the whole lousy lot will expose a grand scheme to throw the Electoral College to Donald Trump.  Does anyone seriously think this?  I feel like I'm laying out some obvious points here.  The idea that the Russians really planned to install Trump in office seems like the kind of plan that only works in movies, the kind of plan where an hour after walking out of the theatre, it's really, really bugging you that the entire third act of the film depended on the hero or villain knowing that someone would perform (or not perform) some very specific act in some very specific manner; the kind of plots the old Batman TV show regularly lampooned with Batman and Robin just happening to have predicted they'd need to implement some arcane countermeasure before the final face-off.  But you hear this word, "collusion," and it depends on what you mean by "collusion," right?

Things that are just running through the head, probably obvious to you, Dear Reader, and telling you nothing at all you weren't already thinking.  But sometimes one feels compelled to lay it bare, you know.

And so I do think Trump is in a bit of trouble.  And this is why he certainly needs to be feeling something ominous creeping around the corners of the eye and up over his shoulder.  In a sense, the "Russia Investigation" is likely to come up empty in certain respects; I don't think we're talking about treason in any kind of formal sense.  But I think we're talking about corruption, which may be a better word than "collusion," which is why I sort of wish some folks would stop using the one c-word and swap it out for the other.  What I think people were most likely meeting about wasn't what Trump could do for if he became President; I think they were meeting about how everybody could get ahead exploiting the circumstances.

Y'know, there's a kicker to this, obviously (obviously?) in that Trump getting elected President may actually be the whole thing failing catastrophically.  Irony, yeah?  In that if Trump had done as well in the election as everybody was expecting he would back in October of last year, people might be getting comfortably rich without a whole lot of scrutiny, or very much consequence.  It's a political norm in this country for Presidents-Elect to be magnanimous in victory: there's nearly no chance President Clinton would have sicced DOJ on the Trump campaign, it just isn't done.  Besides which, President Clinton doubtlessly would have been too busy with Congressional hearings over e-mail servers and Benghazi and whatever else Congress could come up with besides to pay much notice to Trump coincidentally signing a bunch of Russian contracts or Manafort suddenly getting a good lobbying deal or whatever.  And, hell, if anybody did notice or care, probably it could all be handwaved away as the Russians opportunistically bestowing favors and sowing chaos.  Losers, anyway, rarely (if ever) are subject to the same scrutiny that you're suddenly under when you become head of state to a great world power, and in a democracy with a free press, to boot.

Well, we'll see where the investigations go.  I think we all know there's something to be found.  I'm pretty certain the President knows it, too.


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