It was shortly before 10 pm on last Friday night when the bombshell of last week finally landed. I had anticipated one, but not from this source. Let’s explore.
An old rule of thumb in politics and business is that if you have to release bad news late on a Friday is a good time to do so. Most of the big names in journalism have folded their tents for the weekend and often have left town. Going into an elongated holiday weekend that reasoning is even more valid. Friday night the Wall Street Journal expanded on a story it first released the night before.
Consider that the Wall Street Journal is a conservative publication and is owned by Rupert Murdoch. To be fair their editorials are often far right wing and suspect in reasoning, but their news reporting is pretty much straight up. They are one of the five most influential newspapers in the world and one of the three most influential in America therefore they deserve to be paid attention to.
Thursday they posted a story that a longtime Republican operative colluded with Russia in an effort to get information damaging to Hillary Clinton with the intent of helping the Trump campaign. They also claimed that the operative worked with Michael Flynn of the Trump campaign. On Friday they expanded the list of Trump campaign conspirators to four including Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway who headed up the Trump campaign in its final weeks.
In fairness, we have not heard all sides of the story and it could be more bragging in the form of name dropping than substance. However when considered with other (at this point) known events and occurrences it merits serious consideration. While claiming innocence, Trump and team are acting like they are covering something(s) up. Flynn among others in the Trump campaign and administration seem to have an odd habit of forgetting meetings and events that link to the claims of collusion with the Russians. Only after the press reports them do the bouts with “amnesia” disappear. Trump himself publically asked Russia to recover the missing Clinton e-mails during this same time period.
Am I the only one that finds it interesting that while Trump seems obsessed with cable news and newspaper coverage of Russiagate he has not launched an investigation into it? In fact, based on what we know he never even questioned senior investigative people like former FBI Director James Comey about it. In fact, during the campaign he publically mocked the validity of the conclusion of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russians had interfered with the 2016 election. However there is mounting evidence that he tried to squelch an investigation into Michael Flynn who we know met with the Russians on several occasions.
Based on everything that has happened to date I tend to believe the Wall Street Journal stories and will until and unless proven to be false. I don’t know if they will reach the level of unimpeachable truth (no pun intended) in a legal proceeding but they sound more believable than not to me. That all said, when the final chapter of Russiagate is written I think this will be the opening of a floodgate rather than the final damning piece of evidence. However it is significant in that (publically) it is the first time someone has linked very senior Trump campaign staffers and White House staffers to collusion with the Russians in an effort to interfere with the 2016 election.
It is still going to boil down to the basics of most political scandals: the cover-up is usually worse than the crime along with who knew what and when they knew it.
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