There's a report that Vladimir Putin is now bragging that he has a recording of Trump's meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov
. Good Lord. I don't know what to say. For now.
So let's get back to our post as originally published...
I suspect that we're going to see more than one Comey memo. I think that they are gonna keep drip-drip-dripping out.
The one that everyone is talking about
arguably reveals an attempt to obstruct justice. It also reveals that Trump had told the FBI Director that the Bureau should imprison reporters who publish leaks. This, from the same man who said "I love Wikileaks" during the campaign, who welcomed
any leak that could harm an adversary.
The scandals now plaguing Donald Trump would be survivable if he were more politically adept, if he did not possess the instincts of a crime boss, and if he did not habitually lie about smaller matters, thereby destroying his credibility in a my-word-vs-Comey's
situation. Trump is haunted by his past, and by our collective distaste for his impulsive and imperious personality.
In short: If Trump had a different history, he'd have a different future.
Take, for example, the current contretemps over the Comey memo
, in which Agent Orange expresses a hope for the end of the investigation into Michael Flynn. I honestly don't think that it ever occurred to Trump that his words could be construed as an obstruction of justice. Being a New York thug by nature, the non-Teflon Don probably thought that he was being polite and statesmanlike in his communications. If Donnie had intended
to obstruct justice, his words would have been more along the lines of Do as I say or else
One could say something similar about Trump's revelation of classified material in his meeting with the Russians. Ronald Reagan could have gotten away with spilling those particular beans, because Reagan was a better politician. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan nervously bragging "I get the best intel"? Of course not. That phrase (and no-one denies that Donnie said it) reinforces the perception of Donald Trump as a swaggering oaf with poor impulse control and a puerile need to impress.
If caught out, Reagan would have found a way to justify revealing code-word intelligence to his adversaries. In somber tones, he would have told the public that a humanitarian need to save lives overwhelmed other considerations. It's easy to imagine how Peggy Noonan would have sold that product -- hell, Reagan's approval numbers probably would have shot up
I was hardly a fan of Ronald Reagan. But no-one can imagine him tweeting a thuggish threat to a fired FBI Director. If Reagan had a thuggish streak, he kept it hidden. Even during the Iran Contra scandal, Reagan's adversaries usually pictured him as a dolt, not as a conspirator or a crime lord. There was a famous SNL sketch (glimpsed here
) in which the public Reagan seems genial and slow-witted, while the behind-the-scenes Reagan becomes a devious, fast-talking mastermind. This sketch got laughs because portraying Reagan as cunning and manipulative struck the audience as funny.
By contrast, nobody considered Nixon a dolt. He always seemed like the sharp lawyer for a crime family who had finagled his way into the Godfather's chair.
Trump has the worst of both worlds: He is seen as both a dolt and
a mob boss. He still possesses the ability to fool paranoid rubes; he knows how to talk to gun-totin' Illuminati-spotters who want something done about the cannibalistic Sasquatches prowling our national forests. But that audience is limited, and Trump has lost whatever ability he once possessed to speak to other kinds of people.
For all the non-rubes out there, the truth is pretty plain: Trump wanted -- wants -- to squelch the Flynn probe because such a probe could reveal some serious Trumpian dirt. If the Donald were innocent, he wouldn't act so guilty.
My current TOT (Theory of Trump)
is that the relationship between Donnie and the Russian oligarchs tightened around 2005, when he regained control of his Atlantic City casino after coming up with $100 million from...well, somewhere
. At that time, Putin and his pals were siphoning billions out of Russia; the money needed cleaning and casinos provide excellent laundry services. Trump, for his part, needed banks who would loan to him. That's when certain Russian-linked banks (Deutsche Bank, the Bank of Cyprus) stepped in.
Why else would even a crooked bank loan to such a poor businessman? Trump must have offered a service which justified the risk.
If I may boast: Toldja it was Israel
. As a rule: Whenever the WP or the NYT becomes skittish about revealing the name of a Middle East nation, the correct answer is either Israel
or Saudi Arabia
had a couple of quotable tweets yesterday.
There's been way too much winning today. Please make it stop.
Spoke to a DOJ lawyer. He said obstruction of justice cases have lower bar than other cases. Not always so hard to prove "corrupt" intent.
A Corn reader offered a filk which I shall slightly improve:
And now, the end is near
And so I face the prosecutin'.
My crime, I'll say it clear,
was when I climbed in bed with Putin