Robert Mueller announced today that he has indicted 13 Russian nationals for interfering with the last presidential election. Various types of fraud, specifically, are alleged.
It is likely that all 13 are in Russia and are unlikely to ever see the inside of a US courtroom let alone a cell.
Surely Mueller knows that and knew it when he directed the grand jury to issue the indictment. So, we hear you ask: Why bother?
First because government attorneys and former FBI agents are as predictable as a well-oiled train on a well-run schedule. Why did the FBI agent cross the road? Because that’s where the next thing on the to-do list was located.
The second and more important reason is because it puts pressure on other people. It puts pressure on Manafort & co who have already been grilled and served. And it puts pressure on Trump. But more importantly than even that it puts pressure on Trump’s lawyers because they know all of this and are now asking themselves: What else does Mueller have? Or: Who else does he have? Does he have emails? Recordings? Bank records? Photos?* A live Russian who is willing to talk? Or someone inside the bunker of Trump-world who is going to crack like an egg when Mueller shows them the photos and lets them hear the recordings and he says the magic words: You should cooperate because this deal I’m offering is going to expire as soon as I walk out of the room.
Or some version of that.
And then of course all of the above puts pressure on the collection of imitation humans and assorted blow-up dolls that comprise what remains of the republican party.
Keep in mind that just the other day Adam Schiff, a democratic impersonator who probably looks in the mirror and likes to imagine its Bobby Kennedy staring back at him, said there’s already enough evidence of collusion and obstruction to hang Trump. Okay he didn’t say the last part but he didn’t have to. Everyone knows that’s what he meant.
While it’s true that the train will now move to the next station what matters is what has mattered since day one: Trump is not normal. Even Nixon was, by governmental standards, normal. A cursory look at the facts shows that Nixon was as much of a monster as any number of other people who were creatures of the system but he turned on the system and that’s when things went off the rails. It’s one thing to rattle the nuclear saber but to do it while drunk and high on pills and to seriously say you want to drop a fat one on someone is where the other goons start looking for the nearest exit and a tranquilizer dart in the shape of impeachment.
Which brings us to Trump. It’s not just that, as we’ve said elsewhere and repeatedly, he’s an unhinged professional demagogue and amateur fascist. It’s that he really is incapable of understanding how the system works and he really is in the grip of several out of control pathologies each of which is at any moment capable of causing him to do something truly dangerous. Like pick up the phone and order someone to drop a bomb somewhere setting in motion a catastrophic chain of events.
It is not a joke, though it is funny, that at various times senior military figures have said in not so coded language, that they will not obey crazy orders from a crazy man. While that is a relief, it should still be cause for alarm.
We are heading for a cliff. In the movies, or some such, the hero manages at the last minute to not fall; to hang on and to get back to the relative safety of the plateau. Sam rescues Frodo. Spock saves Kirk. On the other hand (to extend the pop culture references) Peter doesn’t save Gwen and it’s awful.
Look for Trump to do what a crazy man-baby, paranoid and bottomless spit of narcissistic self regard would do when confronted by the truth: pitch a monstrous, catastrophic fit. If he goes quietly it will be a cover up that tells us the “system worked” and there’s nothing to see here folks go home. Like when Obama said yeah we tortured some folks as if saying “folks” instead of human beings makes it okay. The truth being of course that they will have to drug Trump and drag him away in the middle of the night and have him heavily sedated in a “secure location.”
Or, there will be a very loud coup which will be called something else (like the 25th amendment).
While either of those scenarios should be cause for anxiety on par with (to borrow a phrase) a Christian scientist and a serious case of appendicitis, worse is also on the list of possible outcomes. There’s a lot of damage Trump can do before the men with the syringe and the metaphoric butterfly net come to take him away and lock him up in Trump tower like some latter day “crazy uncle” confined to the attic in some regurgitated 18th century British novel.
And it’s not just launching missiles or ordering air strikes. The damage that he can do lays in his causing the thugs to actually have to remove him and in forcing the spineless whores and old ladies of both sexes in the House and Senate and judiciary and the media to do the dirty work of what amounts to, staging a coup.
One of the things that so far has gone more or less unremarked upon in regards to the utterly vile Harvey Weinstein mess is the look – a hard look – at complicity. Sure people keep saying who knew what and when did they know it (a variation on what did the president know and when did he know it) but the truth is, Miramax was king pimp in a company town. From PR flaks to agents to producers to freaks with money and Malibu mansions and Malibu Barbie’s with tits by committee and anorexia like you ordered it from a catalogue, and more blow than a Mexican cartel could dream of; from directors to actors to assistants to waiters and chefs and bartenders and drug dealers and doctors, private eyes and cops, lawyers and wardrobe bosses and stylists to hangers-on like an army of animatronic Kato Kalins – the entire creaking mess ran on complicity because the entire system demands obedience and is corrupt. And when someone says I didn’t see anything it all depends on the definition of seeing and of things.
Trump did not arrive from another planet any more than Franco, Pinochet, Mussolini, Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Kissinger arrived from another planet. They were here all along.
That he is a monster is undeniable. That he is a symptom and not the disease is also undeniable but just look at all the complicit creeps lining up for their moment when he’s gone and the smouldering wreckage of the constitution and the limp remains of the shattered republic are on display and you’ll be able to hear them say (with unintended irony just as they did when they sent off Nixon) the magic words: the system worked.
For some details on the indictment of the 13 Russians see the link below:
*Notice that the article has a quote taken from an email that was sent by one of the Russians. That is a telling detail released to the media as a shot across the bow by Mueller. It’s his way of saying: I’ve got more; a lot more. That’s federal prosecutor 101. Show a little leg and give a come hither look to say you better make a deal and give me something good. Or it’s like a shark just before it rolls its eyes back in its head and opens its maw. Either way the shark gets fed and someone is chum.
Needless to say, stating the obvious:
At approximately the beginning of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the connections between Trump and Putin Inc. there were a series of deaths and former FSB agents began dropping like pins in a bowling alley.
The obvious guess being that Putin was practicing the old idea that the first rule of any conspiracy is to kill the conspirators. These people most likely either knew details of Putin Inc. and its connections to the wholly owned subsidiary called Trump or knew just enough to be dangerous or were double agents coughing up details to Western intelligence agencies.
Now comes word that another Russian with a sketchy past has been found dead in England. This is a week or so after a former double agent and his daughter were poisoned almost certainly by Russian agents, with a extraordinarily toxic nerve agent which is in political terms roughly the equivalent of hunting a cockroach with a flamethrower in someone else’s house.
Here then some open-ended speculation.
First, these killings are coming soon after Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians in the Trump investigation. Correlation of course is not causation but we are speculating that someone has given Mueller information that either has or could expose a whole other layer of corruption on the part of Putin Inc. and Putin is shutting down the potential leaks.
It is worth noting that Sergei Skripal had been in England for several years raising the question: Why kill him now? And why do it in such a heavy-handed way?
The second question first: Since the perpetrators would have known that British experts would have been able to trace the chemicals used the only conclusion(s) must be that it was used as a calling card designed to let everyone know that Putin Inc. are serious about what amounts to war by other means. The message being sent was thus not only intended for the emigree community (to sow fear and to paralyze them) but to let the British and Americans, et al, know that any threat to the regime (Putin Inc.) would be met with increasing levels of maximum force (a variation on “Crazy Ivan” in which Soviet submarine captains would turn 180 degrees and run towards what might very well be an American submarine that was following them. A game of chicken at hundreds of feet below the surface with several thousand tons of metal and nuclear weapons and reactors requires a special type of psychopath but is a kind of dare that says: I’m ready to die. Are you?).
The first question (why now) indicates that behind the scenes (i.e., outside of the media) a series of double agents are engaged in a fight that must draw comparisons not only with the Cold War but going back to the interwar years when Soviet Agents (NKVD, etc) moved in and out of emigree centers in Berlin, Paris, London and New York.
It further suggests that Skripal was still a potential source of information that could be dangerous to Putin Inc.
What seems incredible is that the media is reporting that Skripral’s daughter was working in Moscow. The idea that the daughter of a double agent could travel back and forth from Putin Land to England to meet with her father the former double agent, and no one on either side of the divide would take an interest in her is absurd. From run of the mill low level thugs engaged in any number of black market activities, to professional thugs paid to move in and out of the black market and/or the wilderness of mirrors that defines intelligence agencies, it is very likely that Skripal & Co were still involved and had information that if exposed could prove damaging or he was involved in a new venture that if exposed could prove damaging.
If he was only involved in something generically illegal than no one on the payroll of Putin Inc. would have made use of what amounts to a weapon of mass destruction to snuff out one man and his daughter unless, as PM May suggested, Putin has some rogue agents that have wandered off campus and gone into business for themselves.
We hasten to add that if that Hunt For Red October scenario is true then it is extremely worrying if not more worrying than the idea that Putin ordered the hit and decided to scare the piss out of everyone by using an over-the-top method with potentially catastrophic blowback.
It seems likely that it was not rogue agents. It seems likely that Putin Inc. feels threatened enough to unleash a very very big dog to say: this far and no further. (i.e., I’m prepared to destroy everything. Are you?)
Needless to say it is imperative that the US government remove Trump as quickly as possible.
It follows that Brexit must be resolved as quickly as possible as well.
Of course history rarely works that way and instead we can continue to watch Rome burn while Nero fiddles.
For a glimpse at the latest see the following: