The USA registered a total of 145,000 deaths from coronavirus yesterday, more than the total combined losses from our wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea and World War I combined (140k). Trump continued to reassure citizens at his coronavirus briefing that he is working on a “national strategy” to attack the virus–a strategy that is six months too late. Of course, better late than never. But why has it taken so long, and will it ever actually happen?
Another sad and depressing data point, California blew past New York for the most total cases of coronavirus thus far, tallying 415,000 cases and adding about 10,000 cases a day. New York had its first day yesterday without a coronavirus death, so at least our region is doing a good job of battling the spread.
Changing gears, you are certainly aware, by now, of the Mueller report and its fallout. One of the many disappointments of the Mueller investigation emerged during Mueller’s testimony before Congress. Mueller looked into criminal obstruction of justice and collusion, and his focus on these issues was clear even in the redacted version of the report. But when asked under oath whether his investigation also had a counter-intelligence dimension, Mueller said, “No.” In other words, Mueller was not looking into Trump’s possible money laundering with Russian oligarchs, or dirty deals with Russia or Turkey, or his possible indebtedness to Russian oligarchs, or his ties to Russian mobsters–anything that could compromise his allegiance to the United States. And this seemed like a very crucial thing that Mueller ignored. But we’ve since learned that while Mueller was investigating and writing his report, the FBI was conducting it’s own low-key counter intelligence investigation of Trump. Rather than have Mueller do both, FBI Director McCabe split off the counter intel part to protect it. While all of the focus was on Mueller and his report, the FBI did a separate investigation in concert with the the Senate Intelligence Committee, headed by Republican Senator Burr. The Senate Intel Committee has since produced and released four volumes on Russian interference with our elections (364 pages). Volume 4 was released in April and confirmed that Russia had interfered in 2016 to help Trump and hurt Clinton. But a fifth volume was submitted for clearance in mid-May containing a whopping 1,000 pages–and it is rumored to include information from the FBI counter intelligence investigation of Trump, the piece missing from the Mueller report.
It’s likely that the Trump administration will try to delay the release of this report until after the election, especially if the report confirms that Trump was compromised or beholden to Russian oligarchs. The contents of the report are concerning enough to Trump that on the day Volume 5 was submitted, he had a Twitter tantrum about “Obamagate” for no other apparent reason. (Obamagate is Trump’s way of saying that any investigation of him was illegitimately formed and thus invalid.) And Senator Burr came under investigation for insider trading and the day before submitting Volume 5 for clearance had to resign his chairmanship of the Senate Intel Committee. Burr wasn’t the only Senator initially accused of insider trading, yet he was the only one being investigated. Coincidence, or payback and intimidation by Trump? Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee know what’s in Volume 5. And one of them, say, Mark Warner, could read the report on the Senate Floor if the report isn’t cleared for release soon. After all, no information in it relating to Trump would be classified or a state secret. It would pertain to his time as a private citizen dealing with Russian mobsters. So Warner or another Senator wouldn’t run afoul of the law. Like a stealth bomb, this has the potential to become an explosive story between now and the election.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”