Here are a few conundrums which gnaw at me on this chilly December day...
Why did Trump hold back the Urkaine aid?
After Trump and Zelensky had their infamous "perfect" conversation, the president froze aid to Ukraine
"Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration's plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process," Mike Duffey, the White House official in the Office of Management and Budget responsible for overseeing national security money and a Trump political appointee, wrote to select OMB and Pentagon officials on July 25.
Apparently, Duffey understood that the freeze could be illegal. After all, Congress had appropriated the funds.
During the impeachment hearings, one of the witnesses -- was it Bill Taylor? I think so -- suggested that, from the Ukrainian perspective, the nightmare scenario was that Zelensky would announce the investigation and still
not get the aid. Looks like the nightmare was reality.
The mystery: Why would Trump do this?
My theory: Trump wanted something more than Zelensky's aid in the 2020 election. He wanted to force Ukraine to enter into negotiations with Russia on terms favorable to Putin.
Heretofore, I felt that the deepest truth underlying this scandal involves control of natural gas in that part of the world. Gas may have been on the minds of Firtash and Parnas, but I now think that what's really
driving this scandal is Putin's drive to reconstitute the USSR.
Incredibly, Trump is willing -- even now -- to risk a government shutdown in order to block legislation requiring prompt release to aid to Ukraine
. The White House justified this move on the grounds of protection of presidential powers. Really? Would Trump invite a shutdown so close to an election, just so he could retain the power to screw over the Ukrainians? Would he do so right after being impeached for the Ukraine scandal? Does that scenario make any
political sense to you?
Occam's razor, people. The simplest theory is that Trump dances to Putin's tune.
Does the con artist con himself?
Digby addresses a related mystery
which has bedeviled me for ages.
The big question remains: Did Putin tell Trump that Ukraine did the hacking in 2016 to frame Russia and him on behalf of Hillary Clinton (which makes little sense since it required hacking herself but whatever) and he believed it? Is he that dimwitted? Or does he just pretend to believe it because he and Putin are scratching each others backs? Does it even matter?
Yes. It matters.
Does the con artist buy into his own con? As noted in an earlier post, that question started to bug me back in the '70s, well before I first heard the name "Donald Trump." That question resounded in my head as I flipped through the pages of Fawn Brodie's biography of Joseph Smith. Donald Trump is the most outlandish Joseph Smith in the history of Joseph Smithery.
Is Lindsey Graham a shoplifter?
I suspect that this DU post
is a gag. If so, it's a good one.
Did I just hear Al Franken correctly? About Lindsey?
"Lindsey Graham is a shoplifter. It's a compulsion. I've been with him when he goes into a pottery store and takes things. And he's on tape."
Since no source is cited, I have no idea if Franken actually said these words. I also have no idea if Franken ever went shopping with Graham, or how Franken would know that such a tape exists.
Many people (including some Trump supporters) presume that the president has something on Graham, and the most popular theory is that this "something" concerns homosexuality. (The difference between gaydar and stereotyping is...what
, exactly?) Wouldn't it be surreal if something as absurd as shoplifting
corrupted a senator and endangered the nation?
Trump's empty apartments.
Last Halloween, a Twitter-user named Jeff -- who claims to be an attorney in Florida -- offered a series of tweets
which deserve more attention than they have received.
Crooked guys love Florida, and have bought half of Miami as a vehicle to hide some wealth away for a rainy day. There are entire beachfront buildings where only a few people live. Here are the Trump towers in Sunny Isles, notice how almost no one has any balcony furniture?
I mean no one actually lives in these places. Dollars to doughnuts it's all one big money laundering scheme. The fees alone are thousands of dollars per month; a terrible investment property even with appreciation.
This is what a normal building looks like across the street from the Trump buildings...
Certain responses to this thread may be of interest.
I’ve been there in this building and at night you can hardly see any lit condos across the street in Trump Towers. First off, only about 30% of those Trump condos are sold the rest are still for sale. Of the 30% sold only 10% are occupied, the rest is russian mob parked money.
"This building" apparently refers to the structure in the last image -- the one that is clearly tenanted.
I do not live there, I had a dear friend who rented in the building across the street from th Trump Towers, so I stayed over a few times and every time it stroke me how very few Trump condos were actually occupied. Smart Floridians are moving away from the coasts.
From a 2016 Miami Herald story
But in South Florida, Trump helped local developers sell condos to buyers from Latin America and Russia, including people allegedly involved in corruption and wrongdoing, as well as to dozens of anonymous offshore companies.
In 2004, Trump signed a licensing deal for an 813-unit condo project called Trump Towers in the city of Sunny Isles Beach. The Apprentice star’s gold-plated name was used to market the units to wealthy foreigners.
The Miami Herald found that at least 13 Trump Towers buyers have been the subject of government investigations, either personally or through their companies. They include members of a Russian-American organized crime group, a Venezuelan oilman convicted in a bribery scheme and a Mexican banker accused of robbing investors of their life savings.
For more, see here
. That Reuters investigation attracted some attention in 2017. But at the time, few understood just how empty Trump's "ghost towers" were. (Actually, the Towers appear to belong to Trump's partner in the project, the flamboyant Gil Dezer. He and his father are definitely worth a google.)