It's Russia 24/7

In Politics Plus

By Michael Gomez
July 12, 2017 at 2:52 p.m.


The Kremlin is probably popping the corks of their champagne bottles (or vodka) in celebration over the success of their deliberate meddling into our elections. Russia successfully launched their propaganda machine by flooding the internet with #fake news, hacking the DNC and John Podesta’s email account and possibly coordinating their efforts with Wikileaks and now we may have some evidence of collusion. I know collusion is not a crime and it may not be in violation of election laws, but Mueller will sort that out.

President Trump is frustrated with the amount of coverage CNN devotes to Russia but we keep getting new revelations on what he calls a witch hunt. Did he think firing the FBI director, whom he later called a “nut job” was not going to be covered on a continuous loop. And now, Junior has just submitted his email chain contradicting all the Trump claims that his campaign not meeting with Russian operatives during the election, was false.

It is my opinion that Donald Trump Jr.’s troubles are just beginning because he is going to testify to Congress under oath; Junior better get his stories straight. About six weeks ago, Paul Manafort mentioned the meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in a closed session with Congress. Jared Kushner is currently amending his disclosure form to include the meeting. How many times do you get to amend a request for a security clearance before you are denied? We are told that the meeting at the 25th floor of Trump Tower was not known by the FBI but now that they know, you can bet they have their sights on Rob Goldstone, Emin Agalarov, and Aras Agalarov as to what their roles they played in the 2018 elections and their ties to Putin.  We now have a time/date stamped email with the subject line titled “ Re: Clinton-Russia…private and confidential” which was forwarded to Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner. We are supposed to believe that President Trump just learned of the meeting as he was coming back from the G-20. Since Watergate, the FBI uses a “follow the money.” plan of action.

The White House strategy is come up with yet another “Clinton did it too” by resurfacing the Politico/Daily Caller story about Ukrainian efforts to aid Hillary Clinton. The Politico story implicated the DNC, not Hillary. As senator Franken said in today’s FBI director hearing “Ukraine never hacked the RNC.” There is little if any evidence of a top-down effort by Ukraine. Our four major intelligence agencies tell us the meddling into our 2016 election was directed by Vladimir Putin and he used his country’s military and foreign intelligence services. President Obama removed 35 Russian spies form our country and seized two of their compounds. So, it not remotely close to being a “they did it too.” Trump Jr. provided a document that White House surrogates defended only to be thrown under the bus by the release of the emails. You can tell Donald Jr. didn’t fall far from the tree, his dad uses Twitter to do the same thing. i.e. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended the G-20 message of forming a joint cybersecurity effort with Russia, when he was on Sunday’s George Stephanopoulos show; only to be thrown under the bus by Trump when he tweeted “The fact that president Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t -but a ceasefire can&did.”

I too want to discuss healthcare, jobs and other issues but Russia matters even though Senator Cruz disagrees. Yesterday when asked about Trump Jr.’s emails, Cruz dismissed it saying his constituents were not interested in Russia, they were interested in healthcare and abolishing the IRS. The senator then went into his campaign talking points of blaming the Obama/Clinton policies for Russian appeasement. I take it that the Cruz constituents don’t care about Russia meddling in our democracy.  They are far removed from the warning of President Ronald Reagan’s evil empire. I can’t imagine any scenario where Cruz would be standing toe-to-toe with Obama or Clinton under similar circumstances. Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz fighting for two Select Congressional hearings, on top of the ongoing ones. That may be changing because the theme of today’s FBI director hearing was the need to repudiate a loyalty pledge.

The White House and a lot of Trump supporters want to blame the Democrats and the media for the Russian inquires but the committee hearings are chaired by the GOP and the president’s Justice department hired the special prosecutor. The investigation can take months or years before they conclude, so in the meantime the media will due its due diligence in reporting the latest findings. In the day- to- day reporting, mistakes will make it print but that’s a rarity. Some mistakes don’t change the story-line, but they may not have necessarily met the gold standard of journalism.  You don’t bench Aaron Justice for one strikeout or replace a LeBron James because he didn’t take you to the championship.

I liked how the Washington Post is keeping a timeline of events and last night a couple of cable news outlets reminded me that a few days after the Jr’s meeting with the Russian lawyer, Donald Trump promised a damaging report on Hillary Clinton; I believed he called it a bombshell.  Like many of his threats, the report never materialized. Close your eyes and imagine multiple huge white boards with all of Trump’s tweets, summaries of his speeches, testimonies of his surrogates, timelines, and then there is Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort waiting to make a plea deal. No, this won’t lead to impeachment because like Trump said “ I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” and he’s right ,Republicans won’t impeach him. In the meantime, the Trump brigade will shout “ a year of investigation and no evidence of collusion, oh, scratch that, collusion is not a crime.”

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