Junior’s having a bad week. U sad bro?

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Donld Trump Jr.’s having a bad week. Now the cat is out of the bag that he, Jared Kushner and Paul Manfort met with a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin in hopes of securing some dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I find it hilarious, how the news evolved over the past weekend. When it was first disclosed, Junior said that the meeting was just about starting up a program to adopt Russian children. What a great guy, huh? His story rapidly unraveled as new details exposed his deception. I don’t have to go over the details here. Choose the “fake news” source of your choice. It’s all over the place.

Though I don’t know what the legal threshold is for “collusion,” I can tell that this doesn’t look good for Trump. And the fact that Junior’s story, which sounded so innocent at first, unraveled so quickly leads me to believe that he is concealing much more.

Looking back at the 2016 presidential campaign during the period in which the meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya took place (in June 2016) some interesting things can be seen. Mother Jones has noticed that some aspects of the (in)famous Trump dossier are in sync with the timing of the aforementioned meeting. Also–get thisThe Huffington Post noticed that Trump, in a speech, teased that he had special dirt on Clinton that he would reveal soon just hours after Junior set up the meeting. Coincidence? Get real. I remember when that happened. Trump didn’t follow through with this (big surprise). I also seem to remember that Wikileaks teased something about info that never came about, but I can’t remember exactly.

Anyway, if this is indeed a conspiracy to collude with the Russians to improve Trump’s election chances–and I believe it is–Trump, his idiot sons and his Trump-cult White House staffers aren’t slick enough to pull it off. They’ve already demonstrated their incompetence with handling just regular presidential stuff. The next few weeks, I think, will be very interesting. In the meantime, I think it’s a good idea to go over the Trump dossier again. Though many have voiced their opinions that the document is rubbish, it always seemed to me that while the allegations therein are unsubtantiated they shouldn’t be dimissed and there are likely many points that are accurate.

By the way, speaking of the dossier, I saw something on the local TV news a segment from some news outlet called Circa that referred to the dossier as “salacious and discredited.” Salacious, maybe. Discredited? Not yet. I think that was an example of biased reporting, which I think is funny considering Trump’s rants about “fake news.” But I really don’t know anything about this Circa.

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Hotline to the Kremlin: first Erik Prince, now Jared Kushner

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Look like someone you can trust?

It came out last week that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House jack-of-all-trades, discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring.

Some have tried to make this seem like no big deal, as if it were business-as-usual. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster made the regrettable statement that he was “not concerned” about Kushner setting up back channel communications with the Russians, elaborating, “We have backchannel communications with a number of countries.” This is unfortunate because McMaster is seen by many as one of the few sane minds in Trump’s administration. Looks like he might be jumping the shark. I think it’s obvious that seeking secret communications with Russia should be extremely concerning.

If it was true that Kushner was trying to establish such communications with Russia, then one must ask, from whom is he trying to keep the communications secret? He must have known that communications with Russian officials in the United States are closely monitored by the FBI, and the NSA is watching overseas communications. It seems obvious to me that Kushner is trying to hide communications from the US goverment and its intelligence agencies and I cannot fathom any above-board reason for this.

Also, we should not forget that this attempt to create a secret hotline to Russia is not new: it was reported in April by the Washington Post that Erik Prince attempted to create a backchannel to Russia in a secret meeting with a close friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles earlier this year. Prince is known for founding the now-defunct private military company Blackwater and is the brother of Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. He is also an avid supporter of Donald Trump, contributing $250,000 to Trump’s election campaign.

Trump’s ties to Russia seem to become more damning every day. Sure, some point out that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians during the 2016 election, but it sure looks like we are getting closer to finding some. I think it’s too much to expect any sort of “smoking gun,” but I can’t think of any way for Trump’s people to make this look even halfway good.