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On Russia: Tying the conflict of interests together (Updated)


With the appearance of FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Admiral Rogers in front of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Monday, what had been a quiet period in the Trump Campaign/Administration-Russia saga has come to an end. The headline will read that Director Comey confirmed that an investigation ongoing. Many suspected this, but it is still a bombshell. Let's say this again:

The President and his campaign is under investigation for coordinating with our chief global adversary in order to aid his election.

How deep it goes is still speculation. But it got me thinking: what do we know right now? There many links in the Trump-Russia story which we can be pretty sure about: they have no credible, contradictory evidence. We can use only these things to put together a scary picture for our future, even with assuming any bad faith on the part of the Administration.

My thoughts went to two recent things that I have read: Winter is Coming, which I reviewed here; an article at Talking Points Memo titled "The Innocent Explanation." I'll be referencing this article and my review - so you should take a quick read of both before proceeding. Here is a nice image to fill up the space until you're back.

You read them? Good. For those not familiar with TPM, its editor Josh Marshall comes from about where I do on the political spectrum. Like me, he does not disclaim his political views. But over the last two years, he has shown a strong understanding of the Theory of Trump: what he'll do, how he'll think and why. He is not a mind reader, but he's been proven right a lot more than wrong.

Let's look at the World of Trump in 2004. His empire was in trouble. Apprentice money wasn't rolling in yet. A string of bankruptcies from which he emerged unscathed left traditional American lenders unwilling to lend to him. He became ever more reliant on Deutsche Bank and a group of foreign lenders. We don't know the extent, but a significant amount of this capital was coming from Russia and Russian-aligned actors. Anybody who lives in New York knows this is "normal." Russian oligar