The logical conclusion from the first five weeks of the Trump administration is that during the campaign the president ordered associates to work directly with the Russians or did so himself.
It is a conclusion that appears to be dawning on people. If it indeed is true, proof will emerge — and sooner rather than later — Congress will turn on him en masse and Trump will become our sixth living ex-President.
It is far less farfetched a scenario than him legitimately becoming president.
First, consider a high level whether Trump would allow himself to become so deeply involved with the Russians. The natural reaction is that no American would do this. Trump is not any American, however. This is a man who has no problem stiffing hard working contractors, ripping off seniors and people in other ways vulnerable with worthless “university” diplomas, dealing with organized crime to get his buildings constructed, cheating on various wives and so forth.
To say that for some reason he would draw the line at chatting with the Russians about how to undermine Hillary Clinton credits him with scruples he has been proven to lack. Working with the Russians is not worse than stealing retirement money from a senior. It just is on a far greater scale. The thread is that Trump has shown a deep disregard for the rules by which the rest of us play.
This also brings up the issue of his financial ties to Russia. Perhaps, simply, he was forced to cooperate. Trump likely owes millions to Russians who depend on Vladimir Putin’s favor. It is entirely possible that his cooperation was coerced.
The scenario may have been that neither the Russians nor Trump expected him to win. Let’s call it The Producers scenario. The best outcome is a narrow loss. In such a scenario, Trump/Russian cooperation works for both sides: Russia’s initial goal, reports say, was not to install a president. It was to degrade NATO and American institutions. Trump’s goal may have simply been debt forgiveness. Both goals would have best been satisfied if the play closed after one performance…I mean, if Trump had lost narrowly. A win or a hit play creates all sorts of complications.
The piece of the puzzle that suggests this happened, of course, is Trump’s refusal to release is tax returns.
The other indicator that Trump has a deep relationship with the Russians is that it is the best explanation for the panic that is engulfing the White House. The “fake news” motif makes sense in this context. Trump is desperately saying: “Folks, you are going to hear some very bad things about me in the near future. Don’t believe them.” It’s a very weak play, but probably all that he’s got at this point.
The play is to create so much of a firestorm that the truth continues to be hidden. Fake news. Leaks. The press as the enemy of the people. It all is nonsense, of course. It isn’t that Donald Trump is a fascist or a nascent dictator. It’s that he is trying to hide a truth that he knows will destroy him.
Trump’s problem is that it is impossible to play these games indefinitely. There are too many people involved – many of whom are bottom feeders, like he is, who also are struggling to survive – and too many sharp people on the trail. The administration is Mike Tyson on the night of the Buster Douglas fight: Seemingly invisible at the start and crawling around looking for its mouthpiece 10 rounds later.
At some point, one of two things will happen: Patriots – who are just as likely to be Republicans or Democrats, in government or in the press – will find a smoking gun. The other possibility is that foreign investigators will do so, perhaps with the help of the Americans.
All of this is speculative, of course. It seems to be the best explanation of how the first month of Trump’s presidency has unfolded.