Let me take an Occam's Razor approach.In another thread, Warren wrote:Ever since 9 NO 2016, every investigative journalist in the free world has devoted 23.5 hours of every day to the task of proving that connection. I am also confident that high ranking officials in America's intelligence community have dedicated their office to the task. More man-hours and resources have been brought to bare on exposing the POTUS as the Slavician Candidate than on finding the Lindbergh Baby, the identity of D. B. Cooper, and who shot J.R. combined. Thus far all this effort has produced only smoke.Sandy wrote:I disagree that there is nothing to the Russia connection...
Six months ago I was perfectly willing to believe it. Now it's just a bone clenched in the teeth of rabid dogs.
We know the following:
1) Trump had guys like Paul Manafort moving in the outer orbit of his campaign.
2) Russia is almost certainly behind the DNC hack.
3) Trump confidante Roger Stone seemed to have advance knowledge that the DNC emails would be released.
4) At the 2016 Republican Convention, the Trump camp seemed remarkably eager to change the platform language on Ukraine. It was one of their few areas of interest for the foreign policy part of the platform. Rather strange for a group of people whom you'd think would be unsure whether Chicken Kiev was named for a restaurant in the East Village or a city in Russia.
5) Nobody wants to admit to talking to Sergey Kislyak.
6) In January Jared Kushner really, really, REALLY wanted to use Russian diplomatic facilities for secure communications.
Here's what I think it means:
1) First and foremost, I doubt that Donaldik himself knows much (if anything) about Russia's games. If he did, he'd be tweeting about it. Unless they have heavy, heavy blackmail on him. But since we're using Occam's Razor, I won't assume the existence of peepee tapes.
2) Guys like Manafort (totally tied to Russia, but lacking names or accents that would give it away to NYC real estate executives) don't seem to have been personally close to Trump. They may have held important titles in the campaign at times, but the real power in the Trump camp rests with whoever currently has his ear. One day that could be a Cabinet Secretary, the next day it could be an 80's TV star who hangs out at Mar Lago.
So I suspect that guys like Manafort were mostly there to learn how things actually work in the Trump camp, and also to say to anyone who will listen "You know, for someone who served as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton just does not get Eastern Europe at all. The Russians, they aren't dumb, they're playing a game and we need to be savvy about how we play it with them..." Just plant the seed that maybe there's a game that we can play with Russia.
3) A few people were probably told that "someone" will be hacking emails and whatnot, and while these hackers are pro-American patriots, the illicit nature of their activity means that sometimes they operate overseas. At least one of them (Roger Stone) shoots off his big mouth.
4) Sergey Kislyak probably never talks about emails, but uses his position to hobnob with political types who are close to Trump and say "You know, Hillary Clinton would be terrible for both of our countries; we hope Donald wins. We could work together on a lot of things..." Maybe he insinuates a bit more, in language that diplomats and politicos would understand without needing anything made explicit.
5) At some point, enough people have heard enough about Russia to make them receptive to changing platform language. Somebody was probably told a little more than the others, to make them sufficiently motivated to actually do the work of pushing the language. It's one thing for everyone in the campaign to more or less agree that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have mishandled Ukraine, and quite another thing to get someone to actually step up and do the work of pushing against GOP foreign policy insiders, and to get that someone to push on this specific issue rather than some other.
I have no idea whether the people who did the work were simply pumped up to believe that Obama badly mishandled Ukraine, or if they were handled with personal leverage, or if they knew who was really supporting Trump and knew what was necessary. But one way or another, somebody was well-handled.
6) At some point, Jared Kushner learns too much, and (whether out of desperation or cockiness) decides that he should talk to Russia on a communications channel that the US government doesn't control. Kislyak is not impressed.
7) Everyone else eventually puts two and two together and decides that it might be a good idea to forget that they ever met Kislyak. Which is dumb, because it would have been much safer to say "Yes, it was a reception in DC, we shot the breeze for a few minutes, and there may have been a brief mention of [some topic that was being publicly discussed by many people, nothing you could get in trouble for casually mentioning with a diplomat]."
8) Trump himself has heard enough to realize how tarnished his win is. So he goes into denial. Everyone tells him to distance himself from Russia, so he defies them and decides that Russia is the one and only country on the face of the Earth that he WON'T badmouth.