Many investigative journalists have done great work uncovering scandal upon scandal in this corrupt-to-the-core administration. But few outlets have put all of that corruption into perspective in a way that allows voters to grasp the awful depth & breadth of it all. Failing to find a useful guide to Donald’s vast array of scandals, I decided to create my own.
There have been so many scandals over the past four years that I can guarantee you’ve forgotten some of them. And with the election upon us, it’s important to keep both the big picture and the details handy, for dealing with everyone from reporters who underplay the crookedness of this administration to far lefties who say that both parties are the same to Republicans who refuse to admit how badly they’ve been fleeced.
Below, I rank and categorize these scandals into a broad Top Ten. My ground rules were: to avoid more minor or personal stuff like marriage, health or generally being a jerk; to focus on transgressive, often law-breaking scandals as opposed to what could be characterized as policy stances; and to spend less time on recent or well-remembered scandals, in order to remind us of the many we may already have forgotten. I welcome your additions in the comments of any that I managed to miss.
And so, counting down from the bottom to number 1…
10. Mafia ties
It says a lot about the kind of guy Donald is that his ties to mobsters represent the least scandalous thing on this list (by my ranking anyway). Some of these connections are murky, as is often the case with mob ties, which most folks try not to advertise. Examples include:
- His mentor, Roy Cohn, notorious for being Joe McCarthy’s lawyer, was while working with Donald also representing New York’s most infamous Mafiosi, including “Fat Tony” Salerno, the Genovese crime family boss, from whom Donald bought concrete and union peace. Donald continued his relationships with mobsters in Atlantic City, where he bought a parking lot from “a pair of hitmen for Atlantic City mob boss Nicky Scarfo…known as the Young Executioners” – for $1.1 million though it had been purchased for $195,000 just 5 years earlier.
- Certainly, the whole Trump-Russia Conspiracy has stunk of Russian and Ukrainian mobsters from the start. One of the most notable was Felix Sater, who coordinated Donald’s years of negotiations with Russia to try to do business there. Sater had been convicted of “racketeering in a $40 million Mafia-linked stock fraud case”.
9. Beyond Russia – other suspicious foreign activity
While the campaign conspiracy with Russia merits its own category below, there have been a whole lot of murky, suspicious dealings with other countries worth mentioning – some of which appear to overlap with the Russian skullduggery. Examples include:
- Persian Gulf monarchies, which very likely may have interfered in the 2016 election as well, based on an August 2016 Trump Tower meeting set up by Blackwater founder Erik Prince, and including George Nader as an emissary of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The monarchies offered to fund Joel Zamel, an Israeli social media expert, whom Nader later paid $2 million. Nader visited Moscow during the campaign as a representative of the Abu Dhabi government.
- UAE later set up a mysterious meeting between Prince (representing Donald) and a Putin representative in the Seychelles in January 2017, to establish some kind of secret channels among them.
- Another curious UAE note – Donald’s campaign allowed that government an advance opportunity to edit one of his speeches.
- All of this raises questions about the influence of these quid pro relationships on such foreign policy decisions as the administration’s attacks on Iran (the Saudis’ main rival) and the extent to which the recent UAE-Israeli peace deal is aimed at helping Donald’s campaign.
- The murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in that nation’s consulate raised even more serious questions. Did Jared Kushner’s close relationship with Prince Mohammed bin Salman somehow facilitate that crime? It clearly helped the Saudis practice damage control afterward.
- Ukraine – we all heard about Donald’s attempt to force Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election, the basis for his impeachment, so I won’t dwell on it. I will just note that:
- He may have broken five federal laws in the process.
- The attacks on US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch were particularly disturbing, sounding like mobster threats – Donald caught on tape saying “Take her out”, Rudy Giuliani’s thugs saying that they had her under “physical surveillance”, etc.
- In fact, the connections between the Trump-Russia Conspiracy and Ukraine have been strong throughout, from the moment that Paul Manafort, who made a fortune in Ukraine, became Donald’s Campaign Chair, to today, as Sen. Ron Johnson continues to use discredited Ukrainian dirt against the Bidens and push the Russian propaganda that it was, in fact, Ukraine that interfered in the election for Hillary.
- Turkey has also played a disturbing, mysterious role in this campaign administration:
- In this case, Mike Flynn, who briefly served as Donald’s National Security Adviser before being fired for lying to the FBI, was the emissary. Flynn was paid over half a million dollars during the campaign to lobby the U.S. to get President Erdogan’s opponent, dissident Fethullah Gulen, extradited to Turkey.
- Donald himself has long-standing business ties with Turkey, notably Trump Towers Istanbul, which even he in 2015 called “a little conflict of interest”. Did any of these ties influence his shameful decision to abandon our long-time ally in Syria, the Kurds, at Erdogan’s request?
- Moldova was the source of yet another suspicious tie: Richard Grenell, Donald’s ambassador to Germany and then briefly Acting Director of National Intelligence, was paid to write articles defending a Moldovan politician but failed to either disclose those payments or register as a foreign lobbyist.
While most of the focus of the other categories are on Donald’s campaign and administration, his lifetime record of defrauding others, usually with few consequences, is also worthy of discussion. It is frankly shocking that this history did not garner more attention in 2016, considering such doozies as:
- The massive scam known as Trump University, for which he had to pay a $25 million settlement after ripping off thousands of students with bogus seminars at which students were given the hard sell to sign up for “mentorships” costing up to $35,000 each, leaving many financially ruined. (Not to be confused with the equally fraudulent Trump Institute, of course.)
- The Donald J. Trump Foundation, a fake charity he used to “to promote his presidential bid and pay off business debts” – as he admitted in court after settling these claims for $2 million.
- New York is, as we speak, investigating Donald’s tax evasion schemes over the years, based on a New York Times investigative report. This may be one of the reasons he’s been fighting court battles for years to keep his tax returns hidden, despite repeatedly promising during the 2016 campaign to make them public.
- Licensing his brand to “condo hotels” in sketchy owners’ properties, leaving buyers to lose their investments when the owners suffered financial troubles.
- Stiffing contractors and subcontractors by the hundreds over the years.
- Alternatively exaggerating or lowballing his wealth to different audiences.
7. Sexual assault & abuse
Donald’s history as a serial sexual abuser is well-known, so I’ll just cite a few sources that recount that history:
- The Guardian runs through a list of 26 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct – just updated to include the latest to come forward, Amy Dorris. This tweetstorm from Joe Lockhart, RT’ed by George Conway, provides 31 links to these women’s stories.
- Donald’s ownership of the Miss Universe pageant was the source of some of the most unsettling stories, most notably the one about him walking through the dressing room of teen beauty pageant contestants.
- While this story about his years as a judge of the Look of the Year contest lacks specific abuse allegations against him, they do confirm his pedophilic attraction to underage girls – and friendship with known abusers of them like John Casablancas, who ran the contest. And by the way, what was his Trump Model Management agency really up to, bringing in young women from other countries, some without proper visas?
- And yes, his relationship with his daughter Ivanka has often appeared very creepy.
Besides his own history of abuse, Donald certainly seems drawn to men with the same tendencies, like:
- His party buddy, notorious abuser of underage girls Jeffrey Epstein – a former Mar-a-Lago property owner – of whom Donald said in 2002: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” (Epstein’s death while in federal custody, of course, remains a mystery.)
- Among Donald’s other pedophile buddies was his informal campaign foreign policy advisor George Nader, convicted for bringing an underage boy to the US for sex and possessing child pornography depicting the sexual abuse of toddlers.
- This administration has also been enthusiastic about hiring men who abuse women, like former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, accused of beating two former wives, and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who has faced charges for being physically rough with a female reporter and slapping a (fellow conservative) woman on the rear.
6. Nazism & discrimination
The elevation of blatant racism to the highest levels of American politics and government, after decades of progress on race relations, is not a mere policy choice, but a scandal. The number of people in the administration and campaign, as well as general supporters, who have been exposed as unrepentant Nazis, is shocking, and not by any means a coincidence.
Major examples include:
- Stephen Miller remains a highly influential senior advisor to Donald, despite the leaking of hundreds of emails showing him promoting white nationalist websites, books, and hate groups, and flagging any opportunity to associate people of color and immigrants with crime and deviancy.
- Former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, essentially the brains behind Donald’s 2016 campaign, notoriously made his career running Breitbart as a site to promote the so-called “alt-right”, a fancy word for the white supremacist right. His primary intellectual influences came mainly from fascist and openly racist sources.
- donald’s 2016 campaign received the support of numerous Nazi, KKK, and white supremacist leaders, such as David Duke, Richard Spencer, and many others. And who can forget Spencer’s “Hail Trump” Nazi salute after his guy won?
- There have also been countless examples of lesser-known racist extremists being hired or promoted by the campaign or administration, e.g.:
- Plus, Donald has retweeted white supremacist accounts, symbols, etc. many times – e.g., RTing a video of a supporter of his yelling “White Power”, a picture of Hillary next to a pile of money and a Jewish star, and several accounts with “white genocide” in their name or description. This just keeps happening over and over and over again, and we’re always provided some excuse like it was an error, a joke, etc. – even though the message is unmistakable.
- And who can forget his “very fine people on both sides” comment after the vicious, deadly “Unite the Right” Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia?
- This is all related to his unsubtle encouragement of violence among his supporters against those who oppose him, e.g., from his offer during the 2016 campaign to pay the legal fees of those who attack protestors at his rallies to his order to violently clear Lafayette Park for his bible photo op. These messages have, of course, been heard by his supporters, leading to acts of violence, as in the case of Cesar Sayoc sending pipe bombs to Donald’s most frequent targets.
And the evidence is clear that these repellent ideologies have been directly applied to administration policies on immigration and other issues. Evidence of that includes:
- The horrific, and fully intentional, family separation policy – that led to thousands of children, even toddlers, being ripped out of the arms of their parents, separated, and often thrown into cage-like facilities.
- The secrecy and poorly regulated nature of the policy leading to allegations of immigrants in detention being subjected by ICE to systematic sexual assault., and most recently, the repugnant stories of forced sterilization of immigrants in detention, an echo of the horrors of Nazi concentration camps.
- The vindictive Muslim travel ban.
- The pardoning of convicted psychopathic war criminal Eddie Gallagher, who treated killing innocent Muslims in Iraq as a sport.
- Donald’s disrespectful and discriminatory treatment of Puerto Ricans who suffered from Hurricane Maria, which killed around 3,000 people.
5. War on truth: lies and propaganda
Democracy depends on the public having access to reliable facts on which to base their political choices. Elected officials blatantly lying to the American people is a gross betrayal. And while there have always been politicians who have misled or shaded the truth, no figure in American history has come close to Donald’s record of deceit – over 20,000 documented lies during his presidency, per the Washington Post’s latest count.
With so many to choose from, it’s hard to play favorites, but just a few of Donald’s most corrosive lies and acts of deception include:
- Hush money to cover up his affairs – yes, a majority of evangelicals are still backing the guy despite all that came out about him paying a few hundred thousand dollars to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy centerfold Karen MacDougal to cover up his affairs with them – an illegally unreported in-kind contribution to his 2016 campaign.
- That his 2016 loss of the popular vote was the result of several million people illegally voting – when in fact, voter fraud, per Washington Post writer Philip Bump, amounted to “0.000002 percent of the ballots cast in the race for the White House”.
- That the economy was horrible under Obama but suddenly roared to life under Donald. Sadly, polls show a majority of Americans trusting Donald more than Biden on economic issues, a sign that this lie has been successfully spread, despite the lack of evidence that he has done anything other than keep driving on the fumes of the Obama Recovery.
- Perhaps the most disgusting of his oft-repeated lies was his promotion of the Obama birther conspiracy theory for 5 years – which Republicans and the media allowed Donald to get away with so successfully that it catapulted him to the White House.
4. War on government ethics
Beyond the personal financial benefit he has been squeezing out of his time at the White House, Donald has been undermining the rule of law, ethical practices, and basic checks and balances at a wide array of agencies. Indeed, the damage is so extensive that this is one category where my attempts to list it all will certainly fall short.
But let us at least survey that damage:
- First, the Department of Justice, the agency most responsible for maintaining the “law and order” this administration falsely claims to uphold:
- The independence of the agency was undermined early on by the firings of: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose Southern District of New York (SDNY) has stayed in Donald’s sights as it touches on many areas of his corruption; and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to uphold the legality of Donald’s Muslim ban.
- Of course, Donald’s second appointed Attorney General, Bill Barr, has made everything much worse, including:
- His highly misleading “summary” of the Mueller Report
- His awkward firing of pivotal Southern District of New York US Attorney Geoffrey Berman
- His efforts to drop cases against:
- Roger Stone
- Mike Flynn
- Russian companies
- Inspector Generals (IGs), the independent investigators tasked with policing ethics at every major agency, have been under attack – CREW has documented 25 actions against IGs under this administration, including:
- The attempt to block the IG for the COVID-19 relief law, the CARES Act, from communicating with Congress.
- Firing of Michael Atkinson, IG for the intelligence community, after his role informing Congress about the Ukraine scandal whistleblower.
- Firing of State Department IG Steve Linick after he investigated corrupt acts by Secretary Pompeo.
- Whistleblowers – or simply governmental officials who do their job of honestly telling the truth – have also been under siege, such as:
- At every opportunity, this administration has undermined the Hatch Act, the law to keep government employees out of politics. Kellyanne Conway is the reigning champion of Hatch Act violations, with 50 to her name, but the recent Republican National Convention took the shredding of the letter and spirit of this law to a whole new level.
- National security protocols have been routinely violated – ironically considering all the crocodile tears shed in 2016 over the alleged security violations related to Hillary’s emails:
- The White House provided at least 30 security clearances to staff who failed to qualify for them – including Jared Kushner, who Donald ordered to be given a clearance despite lying publicly about this action
- And this gang has many times in many ways violated the very same electronic communications protocols on which they had skewered Hillary, albeit much more egregiously.
- This administration’s refusal to work with Democrats in Congress, and Republican acceptance of that state of affairs, has been one of the most corrosive attacks on the system of checks of balances designed by James Madison in American history.
- One attack on the government that many may have forgotten was Donald forcing the longest US government shutdown in history, as a futile temper tantrum over Congress refusing to fund his border wall.
- Finally, I’ll end with a sampling of corruption agency by agency. The American Prospect put together an interactive map by agency of these scandals, and I could probably spend a month trying to comprehensively cover all of them, so let’s just aim for a taste here:
- Remember former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt? He was a doozy, staying for free at a condo owned by an energy lobbyist’s wife, spending $3 million on a 24-hour security detail, buying a $43,000 secure phone booth to keep his calls secret, etc., etc….
- How about former HHS Secretary Tom Price, who spent $1 million on military jet flights between cities that could’ve much more cheaply been reached through commercial air trips?
- While Price got fired for that breach, for some reason, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got to keep his job despite spending another $1 million on unnecessary military flights – including with his wife to see an eclipse.
- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has at least as many conflicts of interest as Donald, including his shipping business having ties to Russia and China. And it was at Ross’ agency that by far the dumbest scandal of them all occurred – Sharpiegate!
- IRS Director Charles Rettig, who’s been busy hiding Donald’s tax returns, is equally busy making money from renting out Donald’s properties.
- Transportation Secretary (and Mitch McConnell’s wife) Elaine Chao also brings a ton of conflicts of interest to her job.
- Underlining how new administration scandals keep coming to light every day, see also this recent accounting of how former Energy Secretary Rick Perry abused his job to advance energy deals in Ukraine benefitting his friends and donors.
- And since it’s all fresh in our minds, I won’t dwell on the piece of work that is USPS Postmaster Louis DeJoy.
- All I can say at this point is: Whew!
3. Emoluments – Raiding the Treasury
Ethics and conflict of interest laws maintain the integrity and reputation of our government so that we can have some confidence that decisions are being made based on how they benefit the public, not the president personally. Many have pointed to the example of Jimmy Carter selling his peanut farm as an example of how far most modern presidents have gone to avoid conflicts of interest.
Donald has taken a different course, to put it lightly. Early in the administration, he announced his plan to maintain his stake in his company with the laughable fig leaf of his sons taking over the day-to-day management and supposedly not talking with him about it.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) tracks the conflicts of interest that he has piled up as he has promoted his businesses rather than the interest of the country. These blatant conflicts, pouring money into his pocket, include:
- An estimated $900,000 (at least) charged to taxpayers as a result of Donald visiting his properties over 270 times as president, including 37 instances in which Trump headlined a political event at one of these locations. All this after he promised in August 2016: “I may never see these places again. Because I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf. Believe me.”
- Rigging federal contracting rules to get the Group of Seven meeting at his Doral resort, before being forced to back off.
- Pushing regulatory changes at various agencies that could benefit Donald’s personal interests.
- Of course, we would know more about his conflicts of interest if he ever released his tax returns, rather than breaking his repeated promises to release them and fighting endless court cases to hide them, unlike every major-party presidential nominee since Carter.
2. Exploiting the Pandemic
As we are living every day with awareness of the awful fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, I won’t spend much time on it. But in terms of both death toll and the impact on the economy, this is Donald’s biggest catastrophe – and second-largest scandal when you consider how much responsibility he bears for the scope of it:
- William Saletan wrote an excellent piece for Slate with the blow-by-blow of how Donald continually made the impact of the pandemic worse:
- “Trump collaborated with Xi, concealed the threat, impeded the U.S. government’s response, silenced those who sought to warn the public, and pushed states to take risks that escalated the tragedy. He’s personally responsible for tens of thousands of deaths.”
- Donald has continually avoiding coming up with a plan to test people for the virus, often admitting his sick reasoning: “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”
- He has continually downplayed the threat and attacked those who were honest about it, in order to keep the stock market up.
- There was even the despicable chatter in the White House that “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy.”
- Of course, rather than equitable and effective economic relief, this administration has given us such pandemic profiteering as a $765 million loan to Eastman Kodak to develop COVID-19 drugs – despite a photography company having no background in the field – and $27 million to a private jet company owned by one of Donald’s donors.
- All this as the pandemic rages on, with no end in sight.
1. The Russia conspiracy
The mother of all of Donald’s scandals – the one that helped illegitimately bring him to power – while extensively covered in the press, has still been downplayed in comparison to what a blatant, treasonous, impeachable high crime it was, and continues to be.
The Moscow Project is a useful resource for this scandal, with its documentation of 272 contacts between Donald’s campaign and Russia-linked operatives, including 38 known meetings involving at least 33 high-ranking campaign officials. There has never been anything like this level of interaction between a presidential campaign and a hostile foreign country in US history.
The mountain of evidence showing how compromised Donald was and clearly still includes:
- First, the years the Russian government spent cultivating Donald as an asset, e.g.:
- Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev’s purchase of a Florida mansion from Donald for $95 million in 2008, considered “the most expensive U.S. residential property sale ever” even though “it’s hard to air condition and has persistent mold” and Donald had originally bought it for $41 million. Michael Cohen’s new book says that Donald thought the real buyer was Putin – which would have put him over $50 million in the dictator’s debt.
- Add in the “at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses [who] have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida” and the “at least 13 people with known or alleged links to the Russian Mafia who held the deeds to, lived in or ran criminal operations out of Trump Tower in New York or other Trump properties.” Money laundering dirty Russian mob money, perhaps?
- To quote Don jr.’s words from 2008, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”
- At a time when Donald was billions of dollars in debt, had to declare multiple bankruptcies and U.S. banks wouldn’t touch him, Germany’s Deutsche Bank would – with loans, according to a whistleblower with documentation, underwritten by Russian state-owned bank VTB:
- Contrary to Donald’s “no collusion” cover-up, the evidence of his campaign’s maneuverings with the Russians is nearly endless. Consider:
- Paul Manafort, Campaign Chair, had worked since 2004 for Russia’s Ukrainian puppet dictator Viktor Yanukovych, pocketing millions of dollars.
- He had many other dirty dealings with Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska, to whom he was deep in debt – emails with Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the Senate identified bluntly as a Russian agent, show “Manafort attempted to leverage his leadership role in the Trump campaign to curry favor with a Russian oligarch close to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.”
- And then Manafort shared polling data with Kilimnik.
- Mike Flynn, Donald’s first National Security Adviser, was paid $45k by Russia to speak in 2015, sitting at the same table as Putin, met several times with ambassador Sergei Kislyak but lied to the FBI and public saying that he didn’t
- Carter Page, campaign foreign policy adviser investigated by the FBI in 2013 for meeting with Russian intelligence agents – and who met with two Putin associates in Russia during the campaign:
- Roger Stone, informal adviser who coordinated with Wikileaks on the release of Russian-hacked info from Hillary’s campaign, told Donald in advance the hack was coming and then lied to Congress about the whole thing. And then Donald commuted Stone’s sentence to send the message that he’ll reward those who commit crimes in his name (while punishing those who blow the whistle).
- George Papadopoulos, foreign policy adviser with the odd relationship with a mysterious Maltese professor who supposedly offered to connect him with Russians with dirt on Hillary.
- Jeff Sessions, former Senator, and Donald’s first Attorney General, who lied to Congress that he hadn’t met with any Russians during the campaign although he had met with Kislyak three times.
- The proposed deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, for which Michael Cohen requested the help of Putin aide Dmitry Peskov during the election, after which Cohen lied to Congress about these efforts.
- The Trump Tower meetings with Russian operatives during the campaign. Recall don jr.’s emails with Rob Goldstone:
- Goldstone: “The Crown prosecutor of Russia…offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
- don jr.: “…if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
- The Russian Internet Agency, the troll farm with a multimillion-dollar budget to sabotage our election via social media.
- Donald’s infamous open entreaty to Putin’s regime: “Russia, if you’re listening…”
- The weird story of Maria Butina, the Russian spy who infiltrated the NRA and Republican ranks.
- And let’s wrap up this section with this quote from Russian mob associate Felix Sater’s 2015 email to Michael Cohen: “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”
- Paul Manafort, Campaign Chair, had worked since 2004 for Russia’s Ukrainian puppet dictator Viktor Yanukovych, pocketing millions of dollars.
- After all this scheming, of course, came the years of obstruction of cover-ups. Enjoy this video montage of Donald’s team repeatedly denying ANY contact with Russian operatives from 2016-2017, before most of their dirty dealings had come out.
- And now, can you remember Donald’s 10 major acts of obstruction of justice covered in the Mueller Report? They were:
- Pressuring FBI Director Comey to let Mike Flynn off the hook;
- Firing Comey;
- Trying to stop Attorney General Sessions from recusing himself, and to get his intelligence chiefs to deny he was being investigated;
- Trying to get Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed;
- Seeking to limit the scope of the Mueller investigation;
- Scheming to cover up the Trump Tower meeting with Russians;
- Further pressuring and then firing Sessions;
- Trying to force Donald’s lawyer Don McGahn to deny the fact that Donald tried to fire Mueller;
- Dangling pardons to Manafort and Flynn;
- Encouraging Cohen’s false testimony to Congress
- And the follow-up to Donald continually offering pardons to henchmen who agree to lie and cover-up for him has been him actually granting such actions – as in the commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence and getting Bill Barr’s DOJ to work to drop charges, as in the case of Mike Flynn.
- And now, can you remember Donald’s 10 major acts of obstruction of justice covered in the Mueller Report? They were:
- Finally, the upshot of the scandal has continued throughout Donald’s presidency as he has bent over backward endlessly to accommodate Putin:
- It started early, with Donald’s people intervening to weaken the 2016 Republican campaign platform language on Ukraine.
- Donald then appointed a steady stream of Cabinet members with ties to Russia, like Rex Tillerson for the State Department – although Tillerson was then fired right after criticizing Russia for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal.
- And then Donald shared highly classified info with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Kislyak in the Oval Office.
- Not long after, the US chose to extricate one of our spies from Russia out of fear Donald would compromise his position – not a good sign.
- In July 2018 came one of the most embarrassing moments of this presidency, when Donald, face to face with Putin in Helsinki, absolved the Russian dictator of responsibility for his sabotage of the 2016 election.
- And the treason continues, as Russia increasingly provokes our troops, even paying bounties to have them killed, and Donald and his enablers say and do nothing in response.
If all of the above leaves you overwhelmed, it’s not your fault – it’s the intended result of a psychological warfare campaign meant to be the domestic equivalent of blitzkrieg or “shock and awe”. (The information warfare versions of those tactics have been referred to by Steve Bannon’s colorful phrase “flooding the zone with sh*t” and Putin’s “firehose of propaganda” technique.)
In terms of crime & dishonesty, Donald’s approach seems to be to go big precisely because it’s harder to track a hundred scandals than to focus on just one. Or maybe because the dishonest way is the only way he knows how to do anything.
Regardless, I think that putting all of that graft and corruption into an organized reference list allows us to better process the immense scope of it, to use it as a weapon against the rotten Republican establishment, and to mark and remember all that has been broken so that we can more swiftly and effectively repair our government and society once we have finally crushed and defeated this gang of lawless thugs.