Monday was a relatively quiet news day by Trump standards. No high-level cabinet members were fired, and Trump did his best not to respond to the Stormy Daniels interview from Sunday that garnered the highest ratings for 60 Minutes in a decade. But two news items seem worthy of highlighting, one old and one new.
1) Living through a daily blizzard of lies, distortions, vile policies and scandals flowing from the White House, it’s easy to forget the scores of disclosures that have happened along the way, any of which would have brought down the presidency of anyone but Trump, whose cult of supporters seem to have no limits on what they will tolerate from him. It’s worth recalling one of these disclosures.
Prior to serving in Trump’s cabinet, Jared Kushner’s only achievements were that he inherited a real-estate fortune and WAY overpaid for 666 Fifth Avenue (a large office building in midtown Manhattan). Yet he was given a vast range of responsibilities by Trump that no mortal human could ever fulfill. One of the things he did try to do, however, was to arrange with the Russian ambassador a secret back-channel of encrypted communication that he could use from the Russian embassy to communicate privately with Moscow.
Let that sink in.
Trump’s entire team is lousy with Russians, as we already know. But Kushner wanted to bypass our intelligence community so the Trump Administration could speak to Moscow without any other Americans ever knowing what they said. This isn’t just abnormal. It’s apparently unprecedented in presidential history. And it begs the question. Why? What in the hell is the connection between Trump and Russia? Why so many contacts and communications? Why so many lies and denials? Why such unabashed fealty to Vladimir Putin? What need for a secret back channel?? With each passing day, with each new revelation, it’s more likely that there is something deeply malignant at the heart of this story, and we can only hope it comes to light sooner rather than later.
2) More news broke on the Cambridge Analytica front in the past two days. We learned that CA employed many foreigners to work on political campaigns, which may in some cases have been illegal, and some of the workers may have had “inaccurate” immigration documents.
The more we learn, the more nefarious and corrupt the Cambridge Analytica operation appears. And their London office was raided this weekend by Scotland Yard, which may yield more insight into their dealings and schemes. This is a problem for Rep John Faso, whose benefactors, the Mercers, are the main funders of Cambridge Analytica.
The Mercer family is like a giant octopus with its tentacles controlling and/or funding a wide array of noxious entities. They fund the notorious Reclaim New York (which used Cambridge Analytica to help with a project), the odious Breitbart website, and contribute massively to the John Bolton PAC, and any number of other PACs that give to extreme right-wing candidates.
As the midterms approach we have to keep asking Faso why the tainted money of an outsider billionaire family should determine the political outcomes of our district. Faso claims to know nothing about Reclaim, yet hired its Hudson Valley Regional Director to work for him, so his denials don’t pass muster. The Mercer tentacles are firmly wrapped around Faso and our local politics, and it should be a huge liability for Faso. Keep pressing him. Resist.