The update in the ongoing Trump/Russia series will focus on the latest developments that strive to fulfill the motto, “Follow the $$$.” Thus, the writing will not feature (many) snarky references to the forthcoming Michael Wolff must-read book: “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
The only pure moment of snark comes via a Steve Bannon quote:
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the F.B.I. immediately,”
With initial snark out of the way, time for the business at hand.
In the ongoing Trump/Russia “Follow the $$$” narrative, another Steve Bannon revelation supports what many (including this series) believe to be the key to unlocking the Trump/Russia mystery as Mr. Bannon expresses:
“You realize where this is going,” Bannon says. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy.”
Additionally, Bannon goes on to highlight The Three Chumps as being of high-interest:
“Their path to f—ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner.”
Although Michael Wolff and Steve Bannon may receive the majority of the media’s attention, there was another and perhaps a more substantive Trump/Russia development. In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, the founders of Fusion GPS attempt to provide their message directly to the public. The work is a must-read for all Trump/Russia aficionados, (to read the full article: “The Republicans’ Fake Investigations.”)
For those too busy to read the entire work, here’s a condensed version of the Fusion GPS column:
- Republicans are trying to muddy the waters and are overlooking “over 21 hours of testimony from…Fusion GPS” by turning it into a Hillary Clinton, Democrat conspiracy.
- Republicans refuse to release the full GPS testimony, which Fusion GPS declares: “We suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses.”
- Specifically, Fusion GPS claims:
“We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering.”
4. The article states they “don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger” for the investigation but was taken seriously because “it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”
5. The authors add that the intelligence reports of Trump/Russia collusion were “pouring in from independent sources during the campaign” and that the partners in Fusion were “deeply familiar with… Manafort’s coziness… and financial ties” to Moscow and oligarchs “close to Vladimir Putin.”
6. Fusion claims to have:
“(D)ebunked the biggest canard being pushed by the president’s men — the notion that we somehow knew of the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between some Russians and the Trump brain trust. We first learned of that meeting from news reports last year — and the committees know it. They also know that these Russians were unaware of the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s work for us and were not sources for his reports.”
Perhaps, the most important revelation:
Yes, we hired Mr. Steele, a highly respected Russia expert. But we did so without informing him whom we were working for and gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?
What came back shocked us. Mr. Steele’s sources in Russia (who were not paid) reported on an extensive — and now confirmed — effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president. Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the F.B.I.
The Fusion message goes on to state:
“It is time to stop chasing rabbits. The public still has much to learn about a man with the most troubling business past of any United States president. Congress should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy.”
What does it all mean?
Context. It adds possible motive to Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax information, his modifying story from no contacts, no business interests changing with new revelations that prove the President’s earlier claims to be false. Furthermore, it also raises suspicion about Trump’s past and perhaps current business dealings (such as refusal to divest from his businesses). Plus, it adds a new dimension to maybe understanding the President’s near-constant attack at the U.S. intelligence agencies and Mueller investigation–to include Trump’s view that Mueller looking into Trump’s finances would be crossing a “red-line.”
The purpose of this work is to keep the reading public informed and to serve as a call to action to support an unimpeded Mueller investigation. Increasingly it appears as though both the House and Senate investigations into Russia meddling are merely partisan politics, but Mr. Mueller has a history of being an ethical man of the law. Whatever the truth may be, Mr. Mueller and his team will find it–but only IF they are allowed to conduct a thorough investigation. All Americans (to include both Trump supporters and anti-Trump folks) should want to know the truth while also resolving the problem of unwanted outside influences meddling in future elections.
Dear reader, if you wish for a fair and real investigation into the 2016 Russian meddling, please contact your representatives–to have your voices heard–let them know. Otherwise, there remains a chance that Mueller and team might be shut down or fired before completing their work.
To read previous articles in the Trump/Russia series: