Today, I am thankful for many things; my family, my friends, and old-fashioned, dogged journalism. Please read this entire article on Vox and be thankful today for our Press and their continued work of shining a light into the darkest corners of this “mean, nasty world.”
On November 9, 2016, just a few minutes after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, a man named Vyacheslav Nikonov approached a microphone in the Russian State Duma (their equivalent of the US House of Representatives) and made a very unusual statement.
“Dear friends, respected colleagues!” Nikonov said. “Three minutes ago, Hillary Clinton admitted her defeat in US presidential elections, and a second ago Trump started his speech as an elected president of the United States of America, and I congratulate you on this.”
Nikonov is a leader in the pro-Putin United Russia Party and, incidentally, the grandson of Vyacheslav Molotov — after whom the “Molotov cocktail” was named. His announcement that day was a clear signal that Trump’s victory was, in fact, a victory for Putin’s Russia.
Longtime journalist Craig Unger opens his new book, House of Trump, House of Putin, with this anecdote. The book is an impressive attempt to gather up all the evidence we have of Trump’s numerous connections to the Russian mafia and government and lay it all out in a clear, comprehensive narrative.
The book claims to unpack an “untold story,” but it’s not entirely clear how much of it is new. One of the hardest things to accept about the Trump-Russia saga is how transparent it is. So much of the evidence is hiding in plain sight, and somehow that has made it harder to accept.
But make no mistake: Trump’s ties to shady Russian figures stretch back decades, and Unger diligently pieces them together in one place. Although Unger doesn’t provide any evidence that Trump gave the Russians anything concrete in return for their help, the case he makes for how much potential leverage the Russians had over Trump is pretty damning.
I spoke to Unger about what he learned, how he learned it, and why he thinks Russia’s use of Trump constitutes “one of the greatest intelligence operations in history,” as he puts it in the book.
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We are discovering every day that the appointees and other lackeys of this administration are thinly disguised gangsters. Whitaker comes to mind as the latest example. It’s impossible to pretend that there is any legitimacy to the administration or its policies which are nakedly criminal and openly illegal profiteering, not to mention treasonous.
But the mob boys in and around the white house are not the worst of it.
The worst of what’s happening in the US is the cooperation of the republican party in what has amounted to attacks on the constitutional republic by both the “president” they support and enable as well as by members of their own party who have also worked closely with Russia/Putin to attack constitutional election practices in the US.
It’s not only the “president” who is attacking our country (“all enemies . . domestic”), IT IS THE ENTIRE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
If we’re too timid to say this, we’re not fully defending our country.
Couldn’t agree more, they are all co-conspirators.
This interview with author Craig Unger is thoroughly depressing. It burnishes in my brain the widely-circulated photo depicting the shit-eating grin Trimp gave V. Putin at the Paris 100th Armistice anniversary remembrance this month. I’ll never be able to purge that image from my memory.