Oh Hey, Trump! We Found The Collusion! It Was Right In Front Of Our Faces This Whole Time!
Because it's Monday and there's not a damn thing going on -- besides, you know, all the things -- you need to curl up with a long read, and boy oh boy, do we have one for you! It's from Jonathan Chait in New York magazine, in advance of Donald Trump's upcoming cuddle session with his KGB handler, Vladimir Putin. Now, over here at Ye Olde Wonkette, we've been referring to Putin that way for ages, because Wonkette is always a few months ahead of the lamestream media when it comes to figuring out the news. But Chait takes the idea really seriously, in a piece that tells the story of the conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in the most streamlined way we've ever seen, and seriously grapples with the question, "What if it's all far worse than we think?"
And it probably is, Blanche. It probably is.
Wonkette has of course always assumed it is far worse than we think, because we are a
conspiracy theorist person who reads stuff good and analyzes stuff good too. Chait explains the reason for his column:
[W]hile the body of publicly available information about the Russia scandal is already extensive, the way it has been delivered — scoop after scoop of discrete nuggets of information — has been disorienting and difficult to follow. What would it look like if it were reassembled into a single narrative, one that distinguished between fact and speculation but didn't myopically focus on the most certain conclusions?
Chait's column is basically a long-form Wonkette JUST ASKING QUESTIONS post, but it doesn't have dick jokes, so as part of our service to God and Country, we will add some right now. We don't want to step all over Chait's exhaustive work (READ THE WHOLE THING) so we'll just pick a few areas to highlight:
NO TREASON! NO TREASON! YOU ARE THE TREASON!
Chait notes that analyzing the Russia scandal is a bit different from conspiracy-mongering, in that it relies so often on statements from people in the intelligence community, as opposed to yokels in their moms' basements reading QAnon. As an example, he highlights the statements of former CIA director John Brennan, who saw with his eyes much of the intel that started this investigation. Brennan was briefed way back in April of 2016 by "one of the Baltic states" about intercepts of Russians talking about illegally funding the Trump campaign. Later that summer, the British intelligence agency GHCQ showed Brennan what it had on Trump and Russia. Chait recalls that time Brennan testified to Congress and said this:
"Individuals who go along a treasonous path," he warned, "do not even realize they're along that path until it gets to be a bit too late." In an interview this year, he put it more bluntly: "I think [Trump] is afraid of the president of Russia. The Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult."
Chait concludes, "While the fact that the former CIA director has espoused this theory hardly proves it, perhaps we should give more credence to the possibility that Brennan is making these extraordinary charges of treason and blackmail at the highest levels of government because he knows something we don't." WHOA IF TRUE, RIGHT?
Did the KGB record the first Trump pee tape on a camcorder in 1987 while telling him to smile bigly?
With Brennan's quotes as his backdrop, Chait rewinds the narrative all the way back to 1987, when it sure seems like the Soviet Union and the KGB that spawned Vladimir Putin might have made their first outreach to Trump, the greedy bumblefucking idiot with the big ego and the thin skin and the sexual (ahem!) proclivities, which, as Chait explains, make Trump pretty much the ideal Russian intelligence asset. There is simply much to exploit! And indeed, Chait quotes people with extensive knowledge of Trump's history who point to Trump's 1987 trip to the Soviet Union and say that's when Trump's bizarre brand of white supremacist nationalist politics started to show up. It's also when his politics -- for instance, the ad he took out in the New York Times blathering on like an idiot about how the US shouldn't be spending money to protect Japan -- started to align with Soviet (now Russian) foreign policy goals of tearing apart all the alliances in the free world. For a current example of this, refer to the seven million times Trump has yelled at NATO for failing to WRITE HIM CHECKS.
Did the KGB record a pee tape of Trump way back in 1987? MAYBE! For all we know, they've got like seven of 'em. Regardless, Chait concludes by asking us to consider even the small possibility that Trump has been sleeping with the enemy for three decades now, and that Russia's Trump file (of pee tapes) is longer and wetter than we ever imagined.
As we said, we want you to READ THE WHOLE THING, so we're not going to do a line-by-line analysis, but here is one part of the piece that features facts that, when you put 'em all together, might just make your head spin. Are you ready for all the fucking FACTS we are about to throw at your faces to make your head spin?
PAUL MANAFORT'S WORK IN THE 2010 UKRAINE ELECTION WAS LITERALLY THE SAME AS HIS WORK IN THE 2016 AMERICAN ELECTION
This one is whoa because we've never seen anyone put such a fine point on how Manafort seems to mysteriously show up in elections ALLTHEFUCKINGTIME in order to sway them for the Kremlin's benefit. It notes that Manafort, in his decade plus working for Oleg Deripaska, AKA Putin's favorite oligarch, has literally been working for Vladimir Putin for years. (Because that is how Russia works under Putin. If you are a rich oligarch, it is with Putin's blessing, and you are doing his bidding.)
The effort to install [Viktor] Yanukovych prefigured many elements of Trump's campaign. His campaign exploited ethnic divisions and portrayed his opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, as corrupt and the election as rigged. Yanukovych called for closer ties with Russia while obscuring the depth of his own furtive Russian connections. Most significant, the consultant brought in to manage Yanukovych's campaign was the same one who managed Trump's six years later: Paul Manafort.
After spending years working for Deripaska (Putin) to influence politics in Ukraine and Georgia and Montenegro, Manafort found himself in 2014 WAY in debt to Deripaska. Remember how he was offering up exclusive briefings on the Trump campaign for Deripaska (Putin)? Remember how he emailed his Russian spy business partner Konstantin Kilimnik, to ask how they could use his work for the Trump campaign to get "whole" with Deripaska? Kilimnik said yes, they could do that, and get back to the "original relationship" with Deripaska ... which was working for Putin to influence elections around the world:
This much was clear in March 2016: The person who managed the campaign of a pro-Russian candidate in Ukraine was now also managing the campaign of a pro-Russian candidate in the United States. And Trump's campaign certainly looked like the same play Putin had run many times before: Trump inflamed internal ethnic division, assailed the corruption of the elite, attacked Western allies while calling for cooperation with Russia, and sowed distrust in the fairness of the vote count.
And now Manafort is unique among indicted Trump people in that he's the only one who refuses to flip and save his ass. We've noted many times, and Chait notes in his piece too, that one of the only reasonable explanations for Manafort choosing to spend the rest of his life in prison to protect Trump (a man he doesn't fucking care about) is that he plausibly believes that the alternative is worse, and that alternative is getting murdered by Putin's thugs. That's how deep he is with these people.
AND SO MUCH MORE!
As we said, that is literally one example of how well Chait puts this narrative in context. He examines all the myriad people on Trump's campaign who had weird ties to Russia, which by our last count was ALL OF THEM, KATIE. He looks at the foreign policy decisions and statements Trump is making that really probably truly sounded better in the original Russian, considering how Putin probably wrote all of them. And he looks at the oh-so-innocent explanations the mainstream media is wont to give for Trump's behavior -- his constant defense of Russia, his desire to blow the Western alliance to pieces, that one time he gave code word Israeli intel to the Russians in the Oval Office -- because it's scared to look for the obvious answer that Trump acts how he does because he's quite literally a tool of the Russians:
It seemed just too crazy to consider the alternative: It was all exactly what it appeared to be.
Have fun in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, Mister Traitor-in-Chief guy! Can't wait to see what you do once you've received your next mission!
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