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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Donald Trump Jr. may have found it hard to absorb these Russians had come up through the candidate’s orbit, but he nonetheless hugged the heads of the Russian agents who worked the Midwest

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Every time you thought you were reading the last word from this White House, it popped like an anchor. It’s painful to watch you blow it.

The New York Times put out a scoop Tuesday morning that 11 Russians or imposters working for the Russian government have penetrated our election-protection mechanism, trying to influence elections all over the country.

Trump’s spin team jumped into the fray, accusing this liberal media outlet of framing its report to stir up a hysteria in order to bleed conservatives dry. In a perfect display of narcissism, they insisted the Times’ reporter in Russia, Yulia Latynina, is a liberal liberal, as the GOP memes put it.

The Trump campaign “has no knowledge of any such infiltration and is confident the Department of Justice and FBI would never allow any such infiltration or influence operation to take place,” wrote Trump Jr. spokesman and senior vice president Dan Scavino Jr. Why, Scavino wondered, would the Russians be targeting the campaign when the nominee himself has no access to Russia or Russians? The troll race was taking place in an office cubicle, he grumbled.

No, Mr. Scavino. That’s what a hack operation is all about. You’ve made nonsense sound as logical as “The Wizard of Oz.”

How could your father, a cash cow for Putin, be naive enough to accept a gift like this? Don Jr. says he doesn’t know about this information — but he was offered it in late June 2017! Then, in July, he was asked about it in a joint New York Times interview with his father — but your dad knew nothing about it? In September, when Times reporters did get down to business, they approached his campaign adviser Sam Nunberg for comment, but he himself was under investigation by the FBI for contacts with Russian officials, so he couldn’t talk.

Trump may have found it hard to absorb these Russians had come up through the candidate’s orbit, but he nonetheless hugged the heads of the Russian agents who worked the Midwest. The Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg was on Donald Jr.’s annual art-world party list, the Times reported — even as he was investing in Deutsch Bank, which spent $450 million in loans on Russian projects. Vekselberg was said to have used his connections with Trump to secure a $1.2 billion loan for Russian oil giant Rosneft and a $36 million investment for Vekselberg in Russian wine company Sarevassa. That investment could help him also curry favor with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who issued a remarkable decree last month to boot Gazprom executives from the cabinet of his prime minister — according to the Times. Gazprom controls 60 percent of Russian gas exports.

The links between Trump and Russian companies or officials look even more numerous, the Times reported. In June 2016, the Trump team said it would try to negotiate a peace treaty with Russian leader Putin. Then it came up with an idea for a trip — that would require a Secretary of State, a secretary of a National Security Council and would be paid for by the very countries Russia planned to interfere with. It makes you long for Trump’s declaration on Morning Joe that he had no reason to have contacts with Russians because he was getting nothing “exculpatory” from them.

Then, of course, there’s the porn-star broad who whispered her tale to The Wall Street Journal. Then the campaign says it didn’t collude with Russia to destroy Hillary Clinton, as if to prove she had set up a pay-for-play scheme to help her husband’s poll numbers.

The fake news has found its trail and the wolf has run. All we can do is live in a weird limbo — the same one Trump lived in when he questioned the news media and insinuated that America and the media might be the enemy of the people.

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