Too Many Smoking Guns

We don't actually need more evidence. We already know Trump is a criminal.

ON 11 MAY 2017, in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, President Donald John Trump admitted that he fired FBI Director James Comey because of “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.” Two days later, Saturday Night Live did a spoof of the interview. After Alec Baldwin’s Trump confesses to the Russian collusion, Michael Che’s Lester Holt breaks the fourth wall and says to us, “Did I get him? Is this all over?”

He did not get him, alas. Despite issuing what appeared to be—nay, what was—a confession of obstruction of justice, Trump went right on doing his thing. SNL gave him hell, but the MSM let him off the hook.

This was to prove a pattern. Time and again, an alleged crime would come to light, and after cursory coverage, the media would move on to the next thing—usually a solemn discussion about something provocatively dumb Trump had tweeted specifically to change the narrative.

Even when the Mueller Report detailed the motives behind the Comey firing in its second section, the media opted to stick with with the “summary” provided by the irretrievably corrupt Bill Barr. The Report was Moby-Dick, and here was the Barrgoyle insisting the to-be-released document had nothing to do with whales. When the actual Report dropped, how many in the media corrected the mistake? How many read the text? The Mueller Report was so quickly forgotten that Cheri Jacobus formed a non-profit to try and coax people into reading it, rather like a grown-up begging and pleading and cajoling little kids to eat their broccoli:

So an emboldened Trump moved on, and—critically—so did the media, which seems to have the collective attention span of…well, of Trump himself, after a bump of crushed-up Adderall.

And we continued our futile quest to find the single smoking gun that would prove, beyond all doubt, that Trump is a criminal; the story sexy enough to make the ADD media finally stop and pay proper attention to the fact that our president is a dirty rotten scoundrel; the (metaphorical) silver bullet that would take him down once and for all, ending our national nightmare.

That’s what we’re waiting for, right? Don’t we want to wake up one morning and hear audio of him taking orders from Putin? Or greenlighting the hit on Jamal Khashoggi? Or plotting with Jared Kushner on how to monetize the pandemic?

As I wrote in the introduction to Dirty Rubles, in May 2018:

Trump once boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose the support of his voters. I beg to differ. If he did that, there would be irrefutable evidence of a terrible crime, a literal smoking gun, and that would (I like to think) sway the minds of even the most obdurate #MAGA apologists.

Trump/Russia, however, is not bang-bang. There is no single smoking gun. Instead, there are thousands of them, firing simultaneously, and the result is a noxious fog that hangs over everything, clouding our view.

The reality is that the evidence we have is already overwhelming. It’s obvious that Trump is a bad hombre. That the entire country doesn’t recognize this is nothing short of gaslighting—a result of four years of the media normalizing Trump’s odious and criminal behavior. A sustained psy-op attack on the American people, perpetrated by Fox News and OANN and Rush Limbaugh and, yes, CNN and MSNBC too.

Start here: Trump is a serial rapist and sexual predator. More than two dozen women have made accusations against him. He allegedly raped the writer E. Jean Carroll in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store; she wants him to submit to a DNA test, to prove her allegation, but he petulantly refuses to do so, because he knows he’s guilty. Does any objective human believe Trump is telling the truth and all of these women are lying? Rape is a crime. Sexual assault is a crime. Why does the media continue to blithely pretend he’s not a predator, just because a hostile foreign power installed him in Oval Office?

Trump was, for years, a top echelon confidential informant for the FBI. He didn’t give information to law enforcement out of some noble calling, but rather to save his ass from arrest.

As I type this, Trump is fighting to ensure that the proper authorities do not get access to his financial documents, because he knows they will implicate him in his “white collar” crimes. He launders money for the Russian mob. He’s a fully owned piece of mob property. Which is why, when he found out that Vladimir Putin was paying bounties to the Taliban for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, he did…not a goddamn thing.

At the Trump Tower meeting of 9 June 2016, Trump’s son, son-in-law, and campaign chair met with some Putin associates to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Within hours of that meeting, Trump began tweeting about “missing emails” for the first time. We’re supposed to believe that Trump had no knowledge of the meeting, that his change of tack on that selfsame day was just a coincidence? And it ain’t Hamilton, where no one else was in the Room Where it Happens. Manafort and Kushner had their cell phones at that meeting, which was attended by Putin’s lawyer. Foreign intelligence agencies almost certainly recorded the proceedings; for all we know, that transcript may be among the “sources and methods” redactions of the Mueller Report.

Speaking of: The Mueller Report is a 700-page indictment. Trump was not prosecuted for those crimes because of a ridiculous Justice Department policy that says a sitting president cannot be indicted—and because the DOJ is run by Bill Barr, the cover-up czar. However loud Sean Hannity shouts, it does not exonerate Trump; to the contrary. The obstruction of justice laid out in Part Two is open and shut.

The House Democrats were right to impeach Trump for the Ukraine quid pro quo. In the exchange between the two presidents—the full transcript of which we have not yet seen—Trump was using a mob tactic, insisting that his Ukrainian counterpart play ball or he would not release the funds. He used taxpayer dollars as leverage, to coerce an ally to do him a personal favor. That’s damned close to treason.

If Trump had advance warning of the plot to kidnap and kill Jamal Khashoggi and stood down—that, too, is a crime.

Trump repeatedly lied about his medical report.

When Trump opens his yap and talks up, or shoots down, some or other company, do we really think there is no ulterior purpose to it, that his cronies are not gaming the stock market for their personal benefit?

Corrupt governments in failed states like Moldova and Russia allow criminal oligarchs with political connections to siphon money from the federal treasury. Trump is emulating his beloved despots, using his position to massively enrich his cronies via tax cuts, exploited programs like the PPP, and government bailouts. Years from now, we’ll read about the massive theft of taxpayer money undertaken by these parasites. Trump himself violates the Emolument Clause every single day—as the indispensable Judd Legum tells us, the president has spent a full calendar year playing golf at one of his own properties. Yes, Trump is a lazy jerk, but worse: All of those trips mean taxpayer money going directly into Trump’s coffers. He is stealing our money!

And then there is his negligent non-response to the pandemic, which exacerbated a global health crisis, killing over a hundreds thousand Americans, and will likely tank the economy. This is negligent homicide, multiplied thousands of times. Trump is actively trying to kill us.

That’s a lot of crime. Like, a lot. Enough to put him away for decades. And still the media prattles on, treating Trump like any other incumbent, like he’s Dwight Fucking Eisenhower. And the rest of us wait like Vladimir and Estragon for yet another smoking gun.

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Photo credit: President Donald J. Trump, professional golfer Lexi Thompson and radio commentator Rush Limbaugh pose for a photo Friday, April 19, 2019, at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)