Nothing Has Changed

Today the president’s supporters are practically orgasmic with their gloating and trolling, while Democrats are rending their garments, shaking their fists at the unfair heavens, and crying out, “Why? Why?!” But the truth is, nothing has really changed. No, really, it hasn’t. We still don’t know what’s actually in the Mueller report. We’ve just been given a summary of what it supposedly contains, a summary that was crafted by a political appointee who got the job after writing the president a letter about how terrible the Mueller investigation was. So… yeah. Not the most trustworthy intermediary, in my opinion. Until the American people actually see the full report with our own eyes, I’m not changing my opinion that, for someone who’s supposedly done nothing wrong, the president certainly acts like a man with something to hide. Consider these reminders from Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

Based on the publicly available information, the President betrayed his country and serially lied about his involvement with Russia and his knowledge about the Russian interference campaign. We know that despite all denials, throughout the campaign the President was trying to land a multi-hundred million dollar real estate deal that required the assistance of the President of Russia, one that required the end of sanctions. We know his campaign manager was handing over campaign data to a man the FBI judged was a Russian intelligence asset. We know his campaign had a back channel to Wikileaks and appears to have coordinated the timing of the leaks. We know that his top campaign officials had numerous contacts with Russian officials and intermediaries offering campaign assistance and welcomed the assistance. Finally, we know the transition [team] worked with Russia to undermine the sanctions intended to punish the interference campaign.

By any standard, simply these known facts are profoundly damning and constitute a massive national betrayal. The Trump campaign knew about, profited from and encouraged Russian assistance. Putin also appears to have been dangling a massive payoff in front of him the whole time. Russia helped Trump; Trump helped Russia; they were in contact via intermediaries throughout the campaign.

Presumably the report explains the details of these dealings and how they did not constitute either conspiracy or coordination. That is the information, the analysis we need to see. I’d suggest we know very little until we see this information, which is to say, until we see the report.

Mueller may not have been able to connect all the dots within his mandate, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Trump is sitting in the Oval Office (when he bothers to go into work, that is) because of the Russians. Yeah, yeah, Hillary was a less-than-ideal candidate, and Democratic infighting, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the vagaries of the electoral college all played a role, but the thumb on the scale that tilted things over the line belonged to Putin. Whether he made an actual deal with the Russians or not, they did everything they could to install him in the White House, either in hopes that he’d quid-pro-quo away those sanctions or just because they knew he’d generate so much barking chaos that it would tear the U.S. to pieces. Well, mission fucking accomplished, comrades.

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