We are often told that when Nixon was forced to resign, that the Watergate break-in was not as bad as Nixon’s attempts to cover it up. Is the same true now? First, we need to find out what the real crime is.
There are a lot of things we know and some that we just suspect. It started in 2013 when Donald Trump visited Russia as part of the Miss Universe pageant. While there he met many of the Russian oligarchs and expressed admiration for Putin’s authoritarian Russia. We know from Donald Trump’s own words on the Access Hollywood tape, that Trump is prone to misbehave when in the presence of beautiful women. He can’t help himself. We also know that Russia’s intelligence agency tries to compromise any important visitors and that hotel rooms are often bugged.
Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, a highly respected former foreign service professional, delivered a dossier that claims that Russia did indeed have a salacious film of Trump with prostitutes in his hotel. The Russian’s tradecraft is very good at what they call Kompromat, so we may never see the actual film, but US intelligence services have confirmed parts of the dossier, while other parts seem questionable. The person said to be Mr. Steel’s chief source, Oleg Erovinkin, was a key aid who acted as a ‘go-between’ for Russian President Vladimir Putin and former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who is now head of the state-owned oil company Rosneft. Oleg Erovinkin was recently found murdered in his car, and Christopher Steele went into hiding fearing for his own life.
Assume for a second the terrifying premise that Donald Trump has been compromised and is now a Russian asset, what sort of things would they want him to do, now that he is President? First Vladimir Putin would want Trump to validate him as a strong leader and the Russian nation as powerful as it was before. He would encourage Global Warming so in the future Siberia could become the breadbasket of the world. He would want to weaken America, its democratic institutions, trust of the media, and destroy our educational institutions. He would want to weaken NATO and Europe, but probably most important is the oil.
When Rex Tillerson was head of Exxon Mobil he negotiated a $500 billion oil exploration deal with the Russian oil company Rosnef. That deal was put on hold due to sanctions put in place because of Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its incursion into the Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is believed to be the richest person in the world because he has his fingers in most Russian deals, and would personally benefit from this oil deal.
It was because of these sanctions that Putin disliked Hillary Clinton and preferred that Trump win the election. We know that the Russians hacked into Hillary Clinton’s email accounts, and later her campaign chairman, John D. Podesta’s emails, and released that information to influence the election. We also know that Russia used RT, the American version of Russian Television, to spread anti Clinton propaganda, and hired internet trolls to pose as Trump supporters who created fake news to manipulate the American media.
We know that there were many Trump campaign staffers in contact with the Russians. It is legal for the FBI to wiretap foreigners like the Russian Ambassador. If those recordings indicate collusion by the Trump administration it would justify a FISA warrant to bug Trump Tower. Pres. Obama knowing that Trump would try to bury all of this information, tried to spread the information out to preserve it.
Roger Stone, a Trump advisor, was accused by Democrats of being a conduit between the Russian hackers and WikiLeaks. Trump was not too concerned about the contents of the Republican party platform but J.D. Gordon, a Trump campaign staffer, got the Republicans to change their party platforms support for arms to the Ukraine, over strenuous objections of the conservatives.
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, lied about Trump having anything to do with the change, and the records of the meeting suspiciously disappeared. Manafort was forced to resign because of his close ties to the pro Russian former president of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Was this a quid pro quo for the Russian efforts to affect the election? If not, why the cover-up?
After President Obama placed further sanctions on Russia because of their meddling in the election, Michael Flynn, who was to become President Trump’s national security adviser, contacted the Russians and told them not to sweat the sanctions, that they would go away once Trump was in. Flynn, and Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, slipped into the back of Trump Tower to meet with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak in December. President Trump knew this, but said that no one he knew had met with any Russians, and he didn’t fire Flynn until it became public and embarrassing. Once again, why the cover-up?
During his confirmation hearings for Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath about not meeting with any Russians, but he also had two meetings with the Russian Ambassador. It turns out that Trump advisors, Carter Page, Walid Phares, and J.D. Gordon, also met with the Russian ambassador, but Trump and others in his administration denied that anyone they knew of had met with the Russians, over 20 times. Why the cover-up?
In the meantime President Trump chose Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, so he can best eliminate the Russian sanctions and get on with their $500 billion contract. Wilbur Ross, Trump’s pick for Commerce Secretary also has deep financial ties to Russia. What about Donald Trump himself? President Trump said, “I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.” But Trump does seem to be dependent on Russian investors. In 2008 Trump sold a home to a Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million which is twice what he paid for it.
Donald Trump Jr., told the global trade publication eTurboNews that Russians were key investors in the Trump Organization’s assets. “And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York,” Trump Jr. said in the interview. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble.” The Congressional intelligence committees now investigating ties to Russia have the power to subpoena Trump’s tax returns. Why wouldn’t they want to find out the truth?
The main crime that President Trump is trying to cover up is not that they colluded with the Russians to fix the election. A greater crime is that President Trump is a Russian asset, and he is certainly acting like one. He is doing everything that Russia wants him to do. He is destroying confidence in our democracy. He is weakening NATO and Europe. He is also taking a lesson from Vladimir Putin in how to subdue and manipulate the press, and his pick for Secretary of Education is determined to destroy our education system so we will not be able to compete in the future.
But the greatest crime is that President Trump is attempting to destroy the environment now, by abolishing the EPA and for future generations by doing everything he can to hasten Global Warming. We now know that to limit Climate Change to only 2 degrees Centigrade we need to keep most of the remaining fossil fuels in the ground. Trump wants to accelerate climate change by encouraging the development of the dirtiest fossil fuels like coal, tar sands, fracking, and the most dangerous, drilling in the arctic.
Trump is working to further enrich Putin, the Russian oligarchs, and American oligarchs like the Koch brothers, and that effort will cost the lives of tens of thousands of people here each year, and millions of people in the future. That is the real crime, and compared to that, the cover-up of an election by an enemy foreign power is nothing. The cover-up is not nearly as bad as the crime.