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The Shearing of Hair Trompf (20)

January 1, 2018

I’m beginning this new page of this episode simply upon the occasion of the passing of time. I needed that. It’s simply the next day, the next number; but 2017 was so bad that 2018 feels to me like the end of something deeply troubling, and the beginning of something that is likely to become much worse, if the Republicans work their will, or much better if we stop them and begin to turn the country around.

In that regard, 2017’s last entry (at the bottom of the previous page) seems appropriate for this opening of a crucial new year:

12-31-17  Bernstein:  The President’s lawyers are trying to control “an out of control client,” so that he won’t fire people or pardon people (be sure to watch the CNN clip). / A New Year’s Eve prediction by Senator Blumenthal (D-CT):  “Trump denial of Russian collusion rotten at core and doomed to unravel. Expect more serious convictions and indictments early in 2018 as Special Counsel climbs ladder of criminal culpability – and more panicky, preemptive attacks from Republicans.”

1-1-18  Could be a big year.  Onward!

1-2 Yep.  In a (very well written) Op-Ed in NYT, the founders of Fusion GPS explain the history of the “Steele dossier” and its role in the FBI and Meuller investigations of Trompf/Russia. They point out that the House investigative committee [actually its chair, Rep Nunes (R-CA)] is refusing to release their testimony to the public.

They tasked Mr. Steele, a highly regarded Russia intelligence expert, with gathering information re. this Q:  Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun? What came back shocked us. Mr. Steele’s sources in Russia (who were not paid) reported on an extensive — and now confirmed — effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president. Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the F.B.I. . . .The public still has much to learn about a man with the most troubling business past of any United States president. Congress should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy.

1-3  All the crazy people.  Where do they all come from?  Hell, perchance?   Bannon says the President’s name-sake son committed treason with his Trump Tower meeting, and undoubtedly walked the results directly up to his dad’s office, and that the T doings included money laundering.  Pres. “Big Button” Trompf says B has lost his mind and has no relationship with the presidency.  And btw, Manafort is suing Meuller, Rosenstein, and the DOJ.  Feels like the toboggan of the mind has left the hill top of sanity.  Or, given global warming, we my just say that things are heating up. / Here’s JM’s take on where we are in this episode’s part of the plot line: what has brought us to the end of the beginning. We know there was campaign collusion with Russia. Next Qs include:  what were T’s earlier contacts with Russian organized crime and money laundering? How high did the campaign collusion go?

1-4  T’s real estate company has given docs to M:  The bulk of the information is focused on the period between June 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy, and his January 2017 inauguration. . . The Trump Organization produced records that include information related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, the billionaire Agalarov family of Russia, head of the US-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce Sergei Millian, a paid speech Donald Trump Jr. gave in October 2016 to a Russia-friendly policy think tank in Paris, Trump’s foreign policy address in April 2016 at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel and communications regarding WikiLeaks, two of the sources said. / Schmidt at NYT with new evidence of how hard the WH has tried to get control of the investigation, and WH has obstructed justice.  1-5 Sargent (WaPo) on that new evidence revealed NYT article.  

1-8  TPM:  Marshall points out that we know T had financial ties to Russians going far back, and we know that the campaign had contact with Russians.  How are those related?  My best guess is that people around Putin knew Trump was crooked and dependent on Russian money and that he was likely to be friendly and up for … well, up for anything. So they went to work trying to make friends and found willing partners. . . But that isn’t so much an explanation based on specific facts as it is the simplest explanation, the cleanest theory that accounts for all the facts we know.  This requires a lot more sleuthing and explanation. / WaPo:  Sargent explains that the Rs are trying to scuttle the M investigation by claiming that it began with politically motivated collusion with Russia, by HC, specifically by producing the Steele dossier.  This narrative took a major blow last week when the two co-founders of Fusion GPS published a New York Times op-ed detailing their own testimony to Congress on these matters. They said they told Congress — mainly the Judiciary Committee — that the original funding for their research was a conservative publication; that they don’t believe the dossier triggered the probe; and that their sources told them that the FBI took the dossier seriously because it corroborated reports of collusion [by the T campaign] coming in from many other sources, something that has been confirmed by deep investigative reporting. / Appears that M will interview (in some form) Trompf soon.  

1-10 T says it’s unlikely he’ll be asked to be interviewed by M; but WaPo columnist says, “The president is wrong. What is unlikely — unimaginable, in my assessment — is that Mueller would conclude his investigation without seeking to interview the president.”  1-11 Bannon will be interviewd by M act campaign. /  Rs in all-out attack to try to discredit M.  1-12 M asks court to set May 14 trial date for Manafort and Gates [1-19 but judge says Sept or Oct, during election season]. 1-16 Bannon has been subpoenaed (grand jury) by M. 1-17 Reports that Bannon will be interviewed directly by M, avoiding grand jury appearance, and that he is ready to sing (and not the praises). / (Btw, In the Beginning, Trompf called Wolff.) / Kislyak – Flynn payment, or something? 1-18  M investigating whether a Russian banker funneled money through the NRA to the T campaign. / Paul Waldman explains how this is one more way in which we are weakened by Citizens United:  501(c)4 nonprofits can recv money from foreign sources, not report the source, and spend it to influence elections.  1-23 US AG Sessions recently questioned by M (and now we’re told that before that, M interviewed Comey).  And now M is getting ready for a sit-down with Trompf. / Marshall (TPM) points out that M seems to be looking at a possible ongoing pattern of obstruction by T.

[Pages (1), (19), & (21) of this episode.]

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