The Simplest Theory of Kompromat

A basic explanation for Trump's behavior towards Russia.

Julia Ioffe offers a parsimonious theory of Russian kompromat on Trump in a piece from GQ she wrote right after the Helsinki press conference:  Now We All Know What Putin Has on Trump.

After Trump and Putin met in Helsinki, many pundits and politicians struggled to understand what it is they saw, to rationalize it, to explain it away, to speculate on what kinds of kompromat the Russians could have on Trump, when the answer—like infidelity or death—was staring them, us, in the face. Yes, Putin has something on Trump: He helped him win. That’s the kompromat.

[…]

Going into the summit, friends in the White House pool and TV hosts asked what Putin would do to Trump in their meeting. Would he try to intimidate him, like he did by bringing his black Labrador Konni to his meetings with the notoriously dog-phobic Angela Merkel? Would he push on all those financial ties Trump’s sons have bragged about over the years? Of course not. In the end, the only approach that works with Trump is flattery. Trump wants Boris Johnson to be prime minster of England not just because he likes his position on Brexit, but because “he has said very nice things about me.” He likes Putin not just because he’s an authoritarian Trump clearly wants to emulate, but because he believes Putin called him a “genius.” (The actual word used, “colorful,” was more of a backhanded compliment, but Putin wisely let the mistranslation stand.) And if Putin were smart, which he clearly is, he would have flattered Trump exactly the way he needed to be in their tête-à-tête: by echoing his denials. Of course we didn’t interfere, Donald. You won fair and square. You did it all by your genius self.

At a minimum, Trump clearly fears confirmation that Putin helped him win in 2016.  The man has been insecure about his victory from the beginning (remember the inauguration crowd size business?  How many times has he talked about his EC victory? etc.).

I am not saying there is nothing else (I am less a peeliever and more thinking that there are deep financial ties with Russian interests, which almost certainly means organized crime). However, Trump’s ego over winning is more than enough to explain his obsequiousness with Putin and his general reaction to Russian attacks on the US and the Mueller investigation in general.

 

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, Europe, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    This simplest theory doesn’t match the timeline.

    Donald Trump has been obsequious towards Putin long before he was elected president. And there have been countless meetings that were suspiciously forgotten on disclosure documents (82 at last count, but presumably there are more). And, of course, Donald Jr. and the Trump Tower meeting about adoption getting dirt of Clinton, which his father is now openly acknowledging, but claiming that was not illegal.

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  2. @Gustopher: A fair point, but like I said, I not precluding other things, including his general admiration for strongmen.

    Note, I was focusing on the following: “Trump’s ego over winning is more than enough to explain his obsequiousness with Putin and his general reaction to Russian attacks on the US and the Mueller investigation in general.”

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    I am not saying there is nothing else

    Thanks. You had me worried there for a minute.

    Trump himself may not know just what they have. From what I read, it would be standard Kompromat to leave Trump unsure as to just what they have, leaving him to fear the worst.

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  4. @gVOR08: Keep in mind, as I argued in another post, he has, at a minimum, forsaken his oath of office in the way he is dealing with Russia–no small thing, that.

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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump was caught money-laundering through his failed casino. Whose money? We evidently don’t know. That started as early as 2003 with the $10m dollar fine coming in 2015.

    By 2004, Russians were already disproportionately buyers of condos in Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Trump had already been scouting locations in Moscow.

    2006 has Ivanka and Don Jr. visiting Moscow and sitting in Putin’s chair.

    By 2007 Trump was enthusiastically praising Putin on TV.

    In 2008 as the RE market crashed Trump sold a property he’d bought for $41m three years earlier, to a Russian oligarch for $95m, a profit of $54,000,000. The oligarch never occupied the property.

    In 2014 Eric Trump was bragging about not needing banks because the Russians were financing Trump’s empire.

    Then of course he famously hired a broke Paul Manafort who worked for free but who promptly reached out to another Russian oligarch seeking to monetize his influence over Trump.

    That’s just a few of the data points. These points do not prove, but very strongly suggest, Trump is and has been a money-launderer for the Russians, and has been in Putin’s pocket from before the election, before Trump’s decision to run.

    Putin wasn’t gambling on Trump, he owned Trump. He couldn’t be sure of winning, but he could be absolutely sure of Trump’s slavish obedience.

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  6. MBunge says:

    1. There is no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    2. There is no evidence that anything Russia did or anything Russia is publicly accused of doing actually had any effect on the 2016 election.

    3. The Trump Administration has been tougher on Russia in numerous ways than the Obama Administration.

    4. This theory is essentially an admission that Trump’s enemies are either stupid or don’t care about the country. If Trump’s “obsequiousness with Putin and his general reaction to Russian attacks on the US and the Mueller investigation in general” are tied to his fears of attacks on the legitimacy of his victory, then the first and most important step toward changing Trump’s behavior would be to…you know…STOP ATTACKING THE LEGITIMACY OF HIS VICTORY.

    So, you’re not only promoting a ridiculous conspiracy theory, you’re doing so in a way that makes you look like either a moron or someone who’d rather see the nation harmed than accept the results of the 2016 election.

    Keep pluckin’ that chicken.

    Mike

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  7. @MBunge:

    There is no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    Except, of course, a meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign with agents of the Russian government who promised dirt on Hillary. No proof at all.

    But you miss the most important part: even if there was “no collusion” the RUSSIANS HELPED HIM WIN AND HE CAN’T ADMIT IT

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  8. Focus, Bunge, FOCUS.

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  9. As President of the United States he should be concerned about the integrity of our elections. HE ISN’T. Why? Because to admit interference would taint his win.

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Donald Trump is motivated by roughly equal parts fear, resentment and wanting to be praised. If all that happened was the Russians had helped him, his resentment would have come out and he would have switched full force into “I ran the greatest campaign, the best campaign. We triumphed over the Russian interference to help Crooked Hillary…”

    Something has him scared. Scared enough to constantly remind him to be on his best behavior.

    I’m not a peeliever, but only because every horrible rumor we have had about Trump turns out to be slightly better than the truth. It’s a shit tape.

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  11. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge:

    1. There is no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    His tweets this morning include an admission that his son was colluding with the Russians.

    He claims that it is not illegal, and that campaigns do this all the time, and that they didn’t get any good dirt. These claims are wrong.

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  12. Kathy says:

    If junior’s statement of money coming in from Russia to the Cheeto organization are true, then Putin has to have something on Trump as surely as night follows day.

    Putin claims they don’t surveil or keep tabs on every rich person in America. I believe that. But they certainly must on every rich American who gets money from Russia, or has major business there.

    For one thing, what they do might affect Russia’s economy. For another, especially people who get Russian money, well, they’re playing with Putin’s money.

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  13. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge:

    The Trump Administration has been tougher on Russia in numerous ways than the Obama Administration.

    False.

    https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/feb/20/donald-trump/has-donald-trump-been-much-tougher-russia-barack-o/

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  14. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge:

    This theory is essentially an admission that Trump’s enemies are either stupid or don’t care about the country. If Trump’s “obsequiousness with Putin and his general reaction to Russian attacks on the US and the Mueller investigation in general” are tied to his fears of attacks on the legitimacy of his victory, then the first and most important step toward changing Trump’s behavior would be to…you know…STOP ATTACKING THE LEGITIMACY OF HIS VICTORY.

    This is the same logic as telling a woman who is being raped that she should just lie back and enjoy it, to prevent things from getting worse.

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  15. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t think they did get any good dirt, though I’m sure they were desperate for it. Recall that a few days before the meeting, Trump announced in a speech that he’d be revealing some major incriminating info on HRC. That never happened.

    So, sure. They went into the meeting expecting to be given some seriously incriminating material. And got played, not for the first or last time.

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  16. Gustopher says:

    I have no doubt that Putin wants a weak America on the world stage, and a divided NATO. Russia is a regional power with nuclear weapons and ambitions, and a united NATO alliance makes those ambitions too expensive.

    The sanctions for the occupation of Ukraine hurt. It makes it harder to muscle the Baltics and the Balkans when there will be real consequences.

    An obsequious Donald Trump helps by — well — directly helping. An embattled and weakened Donald Trump helps by creating a power vacuum in the western alliance. In both cases, our allies can no longer trust us.

    MBunge’s claim that weakening Donald Trump at home only helps Russia, is just wrong. So far as international relations go, we have a no win situation so long as Trump remains president.

    So, we have to look at home, and ponder what will make America great again. We have a choice between a humiliated nation reeling from a disasterous failed illegitimate presidency of a compromised racist, or a smug and arrogant nation that willfully ignores the illegitimate presidency of a compromised racist.

    I have faith in America. We will survive a failed presidency. I don’t have as much faith that we will survive unchecked foreign interference in our elections.

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  17. An Interested Party says:

    Keep pluckin’ that chicken.

    And you keep polishing that knob…your sycophantic attitude towards your hero is as disgusting as his sycophantic attitude towards Putin…I realize that whores are shameless but this is ridiculous…

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  18. Lounsbury says:

    @MBunge: your shrill desperation is sometimes entertaining. Regretably for you, your orangatang threw poo all over you in his Tweeting today.

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  19. Warren Weber says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Except, of course, a meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign with agents of the Russian government who promised dirt on Hillary. No proof at all.

    You’re probably going to regret bringing up that meeting, because there is about four jetliners of dirty baggage surrounding that meeting — baggage that really, really, really puts a hurting on your conspiracy theory here.

    1) The meeting was between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

    2) Veselnitskaya was initially denied a visa to come to the US. It was only after the intervention of the Obama administration that that denial was overturned and Veselnitskaya was allowed into the US.

    3) Immediately before her meeting with Trump Jr., Veselnitskaya had a private meeting with Glenn Simpson, the founder and boss of Fusion GPS.

    4) Immediately after her meeting with Trump Jr., Veselnitskaya had another private meeting with Glenn Simpson.

    5) Simpson’s firm, Fusion GPS, was on the payroll of Hillary’s campaign and the DNC (through Perkins Coie, a Democratic law firm that served as a cutout).

    6) Fusion GPS had very few employees. One of them was the wife of top FBI official Bruce Ohr. Mrs. Ohr was employed as an expert on Russia. Mr. Ohr did not report his wife’s employment to the FBI, despite being legally required to do so.

    7) Fusion GPS was also the firm that hired Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who compiled the infamous dossier of dirt on Trump from his former contacts within the Russian government.

    Now all this is thoroughly documented. The only question I have here is how will this be spun:

    1) Sheer coincidence and crazy conspiracy theory.

    2) Utter irrelevance and an attempt to change the subject.

    3) Trump being contacted by the Russians is high treason, while Hillary’s actively contacting the Russians was The Highest Form Of Patriotism.

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  20. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: Literally nothing in your comment is even remotely approaching the merest glimmer of perhaps starting to think about being factual.

    Why do you keep coming here and making yourself look like an utter imbecile? Are you some kind of masochist?

    @Warren Weber: Your comment is, somehow, even stupider than Bungle’s. Congratulations!

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  21. Warren Weber says:

    @Mikey: Mikey, feel free to point out which details I cited are incorrect, misrepresented, or irrelevant, or just plain wrong.

    Right now I’m interpreting your comment as calling them “bloody inconvenient,” and I’m taking that as an admission that they’re right.

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  22. JohnMcC says:

    I have no capacity to imagine the inner workings of a mind that can read the presidential tweet this morning admitting that the June meeting was a total violation of 11 CFR 110.20 – “Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures and Disbursements by Foreign Nationals…” and then say there’s no collusion.

    Truly alarming. As MReynolds is given to saying, it’s a cult. Whatever is happening between those ears has absolutely nothing to do with public policy, governing, ensuring a nation’s safety and such.

    It’s pitiful really. The way watching an alcoholic slip-sliding away is pitiful.

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  23. Mikey says:

    @Warren Weber: I am not going to address your spoonfed list of deliberately distorted and/or outright dishonest idiot right talking points. You are a shill for a de facto traitor and as such merit nothing but contempt.

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  24. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: As a regular reader, I request more than just a thumbs up or a thumbs down to indicate approval of a post. At least one LMAO emoji would be fabulous!
    @Warren Weber: You guys always conveniently forget the part where Fusion GPS was originally hired by the Heritage Foundation. It’s a pretty important piece of the puzzle, don’t you think?

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  25. Warren Weber says:

    @Mikey: So, in brief, you got nothing but name-calling.

    Be gentle. I just got out of the hospital from heart surgery, and I can’t handle that kind of a shock.

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  26. Warren Weber says:

    @Jax: You guys always conveniently forget the part where Fusion GPS was originally hired by the Heritage Foundation. It’s a pretty important piece of the puzzle, don’t you think?

    First up, it wasn’t Heritage, it was the Washington Free Beacon. It really makes you look stupid when your “correction” needs correcting.

    Second, they weren’t hired to do research on just Trump, but on all the GOP candidates.

    Third, they didn’t come up with anything worthwhile.

    It took the Democrats throwing stupid money at them (through the law firm cutout) to come up with enough stuff to fake something that sounded good.

    I don’t have a precise timeline on how long after the Free Beacon dumped Fusion GPS and when Fusion GPS got in bed with the Russians, but it was definitely on the order of months later — and also well after they went on the Democrats’ payroll.

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  27. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @MBunge:

    Wow, Mike… Not a great day for you to be a Trumpkin. So Sad.

    1. There is no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    Trump must believe that confession is good for the soul:

    President Admits Focus of Trump Tower Meeting Was Getting Dirt on Clinton

    The Day Trump Told Us There Was Attempted Collusion with Russia

    Trump Tweets a Confession, Then Sekulow Admits His Client Has Been Lying about His Involvement

    Sure, Sekulow didn’t use the word liar, but he made it clear that Trump lied to him at the start, but that it was only after time (and the realization they couldn’t pull off the lie) that the White House settled on some version of the truth (stopping short, of course, of admitting that Putin helped to craft the statement).

    So, at almost the same time the President’s less incompetent lawyer was on TV admitting his client lies, the President was tweeting that he did not know about the June 9 meeting.

    This conspiracy trial is going to be awesome.

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  28. Liberal Capitalist says:

    —- Mod — Er — A — Tion — :o)

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  29. Bruce Henry says:

    I’m not a lawyer so correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a difference between what the Hillary campaign did and what the Trump campaign did, vis a vis the Russians?

    The Hillary campaign paid a British national to compile a dossier of oppo research, using his contacts in the Russian government. This is, how does one put it, “perfectly legal, done all the time in politics.”

    The Trump campaign accepted confidential information stolen from their opponent’s campaign from the government of an adversarial foreign power. This is, if not technically treason, at the very least an in-kind campaign contribution from the said government of that adversarial foreign power.

    That’s two different things, right, despite what Jay Tea I mean Jenos I mean Warren asserts?

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  30. Mikey says:

    @Warren Weber: All going down your list of bullshit would accomplish, is repeating the bullshit.

    That’s what you Trumpist fools want. You pretend to give a shit about truth and fact, but you don’t. All you want is for those of us who aren’t shilling for treason to get caught up in your bad-faith arguments and help you spread the bullshit.

    So I’m done engaging with Trumpists, except to point out you are willing and committed shills for treason.

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  31. teve tory says:

    @Mikey:

    Mikey says:
    Sunday, August 5, 2018 at 18:27
    @MBunge: Literally nothing in your comment is even remotely approaching the merest glimmer of perhaps starting to think about being factual.

    Why do you keep coming here and making yourself look like an utter imbecile? Are you some kind of masochist?

    Saying there’s no collusion between the trump campaign and russia is basically telling the world “I quite possibly have an Organic Brain Disorder.”

    But it’s not foreign to me, I just saw a comment a few hours ago on a creationist site that said Intelligent Design has basically destroyed the entire field of evolutionary biology. It’s done. It’s over. Nevermind that there was just a conference of over 1,000 practising evolutionary biologists, and there’s about to be a conference of about 2,000 of them, and the I.D. crowd now consists of about a dozen crackpots posting rambling diatribes at basically the last ID website left. People will believe whatever nutty garbage they want, irrespective of facts.

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  32. Warren Weber says:

    @Bruce Henry: So, Bruce, if the meeting was bad, then what is the criminal liability of those who set up the meeting?

    Since the Hillary campaign set up the meeting without the Trump campaign’s knowledge of their involvement, doesn’t that count as conspiracy too?

    Does the Obama administration’s involvement in greasing the skids for Veselnitskaya’s admission into the US raise a possible “entrapment” defense for the Trump campaign?

    What’s really impressive to me is how much effort you have to expend to ignore A) how much money Russia fed to the Clinton Foundation, B) how much the Clinton campaign and the DNC spent on colluding with Russia to get dirt on Trump, and C) how much collusion there was between Hillary’s campaign and top people at the FBI during the campaign.

    Do you get spare blinders from horse farms or something? Do you get volume discounts?

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  33. Bruce Henry says:

    Well Jay Tea I mean Jenos I mean Warren,

    I notice the monkeyshit flung at the question but it’s a valid one. One practice was “perfectly legal, done all the time in politics,” and one was (ALLEGEDLY LOL) an illegal conspiracy to accept an in-kind campaign contribution from a foreign adversary.

    I also notice that you do what you have always done, and what wingnut conspiracy-mongers always do, which is throw up a bunch of bullshit bullet points in order to pretend you are making some kind of ironclad case. It’s hilarious. Whether it’s Fast and Furious or BENGHAAAAAZI!!!111!! or the Seth Rich “affair” or Susan Rice’s “illegal unmasking” or whatever ridiculous Pizzagate-level nonsense you’e trying to vomit up, it always comes with these oh-so-ominous sounding “facts” (usually involving the wife of an FBI agent for some reason) that, upon the slightest scrutiny, evaporate.

    This time it’s Obama “greasing the skids” you’re adorable. And, ballsily enough, that Hillary “set up the meeting.” (!) And of course the tried-and-true but still fucking unproven insinuations of impropriety in the Clinton Foundation. Get a new act. No one buys your machine-gun bullshitting any more.

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  34. Jax says:

    @Warren Weber: Oh, sorry, I forget which Conservative think tank/website it was. They’re all pretty much the same, right? They share a lot of the same people. 😉

    If there was nothing worthwhile, why would anybody else “throw money at it”? There’s got to be a million of these opposition research companies by now, I used to work for one in the 90’s who did the very basic stuff, with the advent of the internet, why choose what Fusion GPS had? Because it was worth something. It was going somewhere. You don’t throw money at something unless you want it to go away, or you want to find out more.

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  35. Warren Weber says:

    Man, doesn’t it suck when you’ve got your little mutual stroke-fest all lined up and the other side not only shows up, but plays dirty by bringing facts with them? Isn’t it so much easier to win arguments when you get to write the script for both sides?

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  36. Bruce Henry says:

    LOL, “facts.” And thoroughly documented, mind you!

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  37. Warren Weber says:

    @Bruce Henry: Poor Brucie. When your tried-and-true “call it all bullshit” tactic failed, you tried the ever-reliable “this is bullshit and that is bullshit” move. And that one failed on you, too. And bringing up a bunch of other irrelevant points only scores you points with the brain-dead automatons already on your side, so… well, OK, that one got you some points from the regular crowd, so that wasn’t quite so bad.

    So why don’t you offer explanations as to why Veselnitskaya met with a firm doing work for Hillary both immediately before and after her meeting with Trump Junior. Why didn’t Bruce Ohr report to the FBI that his wife was a “Russia expert” on the payroll of a firm doing work for Hillary? Why was Veselnitskaya’s visa first denied, then granted?

    That’s right. Curiosity killed the cat, and you don’t wanna take any chances.

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  38. Bruce Henry says:

    Just this once, Jay Tea, I’ll address your bullshit bullet points, or at least a couple of them.

    It wasn’t that Ohr didn’t report TO THE FBI that his wife worked for Fusion, it was that his and his wife’s relationship to Steele wasn’t included in the Carter Page FISA application. That wasn’t necessary because the FISA judge(s) were aware that the Steele dossier was paid for by a partisan opponent of Trump’s. Trump’s opponents were well known. Your allegation that Ohr’s employer didn’t know his wife worked for Fusion is, ahem, bullshit. False. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Ohr

    Veslelnitskaya’s visa application was looked at and approved after being initially denied so that she could perform work for her client, Prevezon holdings. It was done so that a shady figure called Katsyv could testify. It’s all explained here: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/342118-homeland-security-confirms-special-entry-for-russian-lawyer

    Since your kooky allegations are so easily debunked, just like the Seth Rich, Benghazi, IRS, etc stuff, I decided not to bother with all of them. As I said, they’re all bullshit bullet points, monkeyshit thrown against a wall to help you pretend you have some kind of case. You don’t.

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  39. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Maybe I should have said: I’m in moderation, please release me (… let me go).

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  40. Warren Weber says:

    @Bruce Henry: Sad, Brucie. That the Steele dossier was “so well known” to be a product of Hillary’s campaign that it wasn’t necessary to spell it out? And Hillary’s payments to Perkins Coie being mislabeled as “legal fees” was just a typo, I’m sure. And Ohr failing to disclose “BTW, my wife makes good bank working on Russian-related stuff for this firm paid by Hillary to dig up dirt on Trump from Russia, but that’s just one of those crazy-ass coincidences that means nothing.”

    Face it, Brucie. The people from Hillary on down were so sloppy because they were sure they had the election in the bag, and Hillary would make sure it was all whitewashed and all those would not only be protected, but rewarded. And now the big strategy is to stall until after the November elections, so the unstoppable Blue Wave can be sure to gum up the investigations that have already uncovered so much shade.

    BTW, odd how Perkins Coie is now involved in trying to dig up dirt on Jim Jordan. Seems like they’ve found their niche — if they can’t get dirt on a Republican, just make some up and trust the gullible fools to recognize how it’s in their best interest to buy into it. Must pay well…

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  41. @Warren Weber:

    and the other side not only shows up, but plays dirty by bringing facts with them?

    Hmm. I checked in moderation and nothing (except @Liberal Capitalist). When are the guys showing up with reason and evidence, rather than whataboutism? I would love to invite the other side to show up with facts and reasoned arguments.

    I honestly really would.

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  42. Let me spell out one simply fact: what HRC and the Clinton Foundation did, or did not do, is irrelevant to the Trump Tower meeting.

    If X kills Y, that doesn’t make Q innocent of killing Z.

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  43. And obsession with the Steele Dossier is clear evidence of too much right wing media.

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  44. The Republican Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee agrees that the Russians interfered with our elections, so if this is about partisanship, and not Trump worship, there are Republicans who are concerned about this fact.

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  45. CSK says:

    Hope Hicks flew to Ohio with Trump on AF1. Do you suppose Mueller has her wired?

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  46. Gustopher says:

    @Warren Weber: so, you claim is that the Trump campaign was tricked into colluding with the Russians, by the evil Crooked Hillary?

    They aren’t traitors unless you tempt them?

    That’s your defense? Really?

    And then Crooked Hillary did not spring this information on the world in the closing days of the campaign to crush those poor, saintly, entrapped Trumps? Have you failed to notice how ruthlessly ambitious Hillary is? She would put Chelsea through a wood chipper to become president — either her daughter, or the neighborhood, she wouldn’t care.

    God, you are special. Bless your heart.

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  47. Bruce Henry says:

    No, it wasn’t necessary to spell out who Donald Trump’s “partisan political opponent” was. Who did not know who Trump’s opponent was?

    Ohr DIDN’T “fail to disclose” to the FBI that his wife worked at Fusion. The fact that she had a relationship with Steele wasn’t included in the FISA application, but, since Ohr DIDN’T WORK ON THE APPLICATION, that didn’t matter. By the way I already pointed that out to you, but, true to wingnut form, you ignored it to repeat your Zombie Lie, like you always have and like wingnuts always do.

    Again, I’m not going to continue to waste my time refuting every bogus bullet point you pull out of your ass. It’s enough that I’ve shown that your nonsense is simply a repeat of every bullshit “scandal” you nuts have come up with the past 25 years. A list of lies, exaggerations, and mischaracterizations presented as “evidence” of whatever it is you’re trying to convince your fellow mouth-breathers of.

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  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MBunge: teeheehee…

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  49. KM says:

    @Warren Weber: Look, you can point all the fingers in the world you want but it doesn’t change what Donald and Co did. Every parent in the world has heard some variation of the “logic” your spouting, namely that because Nancy spilled some milk, you shouldn’t be punished for smashing the picture window.

    It. Doesn’t. Work. Like. That.
    It never has.

    Even if all of your wildest accusations are true, it doesn’t clear or mitigate Trump in any sort of way. It doesn’t help him, it doesn’t pardon him, it doesn’t justify him. His sins are his own, his crimes his to answer for. Mueller’s still going to find incriminating evidence and this is still going to play out very badly for him. All y’all accomplish with Hillary this, Hillary that is proving you *don’t* have a viable defense or rationale and have to resort to childish nonsense.

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  50. mattbernius says:

    Instead of engaging with yet another Gish Gallop, I think it’s more productive to share a recent tweet thread from author John Scalzi:

    It’s really frustrating to me that more people don’t understand that racist/alt-right people have gamified their rhetoric; they’re not interested in discussion, they’re slapping down cards from a “Debate: The Gathering” stack, and the only goal is taking heads.

    They gamify their rhetoric because essentially this shit is a low-stake game for them, whereas for other people it’s their actual lives. That’s an advantage they have. If they lose, they shuffle their cards and go on to the next thing. If others lose, their life takes a hit.

    And because their rhetorical strategy is essentially card-based, actual knowledge of issues is unimportant and probably a hinderance. They don’t want or need to understand the issues that affect others, they just need you to play their game so they can win.

    I don’t have time anymore to diddle about with children who think other people’s lives are some sort of turn-based game, especially when all they want is to hurt other people. And it bothers me more people, especially those with power, don’t understand this shit.

    I’m not going to tell people not to engage with these chuckleheads. But don’t engage with them on their terms. Engage with them on your own. One, they hate that, and two, it exposes what they’re doing as a pointless, hateful exercise, and them as awful people.

    *In sum: Understand what these folks are doing. Refuse to play along. And if you choose, point out to others the hollowness of their game. Because their “game” is to hurt other people, and then go on to the next target. Their game is other people’s lives.*

    Tweet tread beginning with: https://twitter.com/scalzi/status/1025372965754621953

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  51. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    There is no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    Dennison admitted there was collusion over the weekend.

    Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!

    It’s not totally legal, it’s not done all the time, and there is no reason to believe he didn’t know about it…unless you choose to believe a pathological liar.
    It must suck being his fanboi…he keeps making you look like an idiot.

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  52. @mattbernius: Indeed. It is because of this that I have stopped trying to directly answer some of these comments.

    WW, MB, and company aren’t here to debate. They are here to spout (and perhaps to purposefully annoy).

    I am more than happy to change my mind. I want to be right, not in the sense of validating my opinion, but in getting to the truth. If there is real evidence I am wrong about something, I want to know.

    And, further, when it comes to engaging with people, I am happy to try and explain my position–but it has to be in the context of someone who really wants to understand my POV.

    I don’t have the time or energy to play silly games.

    Also: it would be nice if people would directly engage what is written, rather than careening off onto conservative infotainment talking points.

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  53. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would love to invite the other side to show up with facts and reasoned arguments.

    Have we seen one bit of exculpatory evidence? Everything in the drip, drip, drip, points to misdeeds.

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  54. @Daryl and his brother Darryl: To this point there are uncorroborated theories and speculation that has not been proven, but when we focus on what we know, none of it strikes me as exculpatory.

    The whole point of the post, that WW and MB ignored, is that:

    a) We have substantial evidence that the Russian sought to influence the 2016 campaign. The intelligence community confirms it, many Republicans have acknowledged it (indeed, members of Trump’s own cabinet have done so).

    b) Trump is wholly insecure about his win in 2016, and really doesn’t care about democracy or broader issues.

    ergo

    c) He is not going to take the Russia situation seriously because he fears undercutting his win, which I think is a dereliction of his constitutional duties.

    “A” is made up of facts.

    “B” is an assessment of Trump’s behavior–and I do not think it is a stretch. (It is a fact that he constantly talks about his win–who does that except for insecure people?)

    “C” is a logical conclusion (but his lack of action on this issue is also a fact–or, to be more accurate, his very little amount of action underscores his lack of seriousness).

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  55. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    BTW…I believe Potsie (aka Warren Webber) is J-E-N-O-S…who, of course, was banned.

    Potsie: Now, I’m desperate. Can’t you set me up, Ralph?
    Ralph: Oh, sure. I got a great girl for you.
    Potsie: Who?
    Ralph: Her name’s Marlene.
    Potsie: What if she has a date?
    Ralph: Who would date Marlene?

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  56. al Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    If Trump’s “obsequiousness with Putin and his general reaction to Russian attacks on the US and the Mueller investigation in general” are tied to his fears of attacks on the legitimacy of his victory, then the first and most important step toward changing Trump’s behavior would be to…you know…STOP ATTACKING THE LEGITIMACY OF HIS VICTORY.

    So, you’re not only promoting a ridiculous conspiracy theory, you’re doing so in a way that makes you look like either a moron or someone who’d rather see the nation harmed than accept the results of the 2016 election.

    Interesting, as you know, Republicans never stopped attacking the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency. Our current minority-elect president ran a multi-year (yes, it was racist) inquiry into Obama’s background in order to promote the idea that Obama was not a legitimate American, therefore a wrongful occupant of the White House.

    What Democrats learned from Republicans is that there is no downside to constant pressure and and opposition. The alternative is to accept the constant lying, dissembling and disinformation from our Russian-oriented president.

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  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @mattbernius: I’m doing what I can. I mostly scroll by Bunge, JKB, Warren/Jenos/Jay/whoever and the countercomments directed at their nonsense. Some days I comment, but even then I stop at short comments that avoid trying to argue with them.

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  58. JohnMcC says:

    @mattbernius: If he was less accustomed to being paid by the word, he would have said ‘don’t feed the f–ing trolls’. Just sayin’.

    And for those who actually care – WW’s question about penalties for the foreign involvement – the website USLegal seems to indicate it’s fines to $10K and prison to 10 years.

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  59. dazedandconfused says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The theory of Kompromat is certainly plausible, but here’s an alternate theory:

    Trump lost his ability to get big investors on Wall Street quite some time ago. Trump is voluntarily kissing Putin’s keister because he feels that when this particular Reality TeeVee gig is up he won’t have any other source of capital, and he could well be right about that. Putin is smart enough to play this card, and trained to play it as well as it can possibly be.

    The reason I feel leery about the kompromat theory is it is one thing to blackmail just another businessman but quite another to blackmail a POTUS. There are risks associated with hostile coercion in all cases but never so many as with the most powerful man on earth. All one has to do to get out from under it is fess up, and then Putin would have made an enemy, not a “friend”. I believe it somewhat more likely that Putin can spot an easy mark from a mile away and there are no easier marks that malignant egoists who don’t give a rip about anything but themselves.
    The way the two men interact strongly indicates Trump WANTS to be his friend, and Putin’s training certainly informed him on the risks of strong-arming unstable assets.

    IOW: This may well be ALL carrot. No stick required.

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