What goes on?

At the Trump Tower? Nothing much. Just a friend of President Putin meeting at least once with Bad Dude, his senior advisor who happens to be the president’s son-in-law, and other members of the presidential government, administration, inner circle, whatnot.

While having breakfast, I wondered. Do all these people bank at Deutsche Bank? We know Donald Dude, his son-in-law, and other members of the extended family do. As plenty media reported: Deutsche Bank was fined over 600 million US$ for laundering Russian money, in January.

Yeah – probably jumping to conclusions and watching too many James Bond films. But at breakfast, I’m not at my grumpiest best. The news just made me wonder, how many suitcases the Russian ambassador travels with and what these might contain and who handles them.

While stirring my coffee, I was not just told the Trump Tower was used for at least one meeting between a Russian ambassador, Bad Dude and his senior advisor and son-in-law. The meetings were frolicked up by several other guys.

For a start, the guy who later kind of tendered his resignation. Just after Dumb Deal had told the world he stood right behind him and supported him through thick and thin. This guy who tendered or was forced to tender or was told to tender his resignation, got paid money – by the Kremlin. A mere 40,000 US$ for a “chat”.

It is still unclear, if this guy and others got paid more for other services rendered. Money started rolling, chats started happening, meetings were arranged – while the then administration rapped the Russians on their long fingers and told them to behave. The present administration is all for getting chummy with Russia.

Regardless: Bad Dude is temporarily not talking mucho about mucho bad hombres in other countries. Which is pretty decent – with mucho bad hombres in his own government, his administration, among supporters.

Dumb Deal is pretty busy telling left, right, center – he is right behind his US attorney general. I am not sure how healthy that is. Last time he told everybody he was more than one hundred percent behind someone, that someone was gone within 24 hours.

So while going to bed yesterday, I kind of expected to hear over breakfast, that the US AG was gone too. Not yet, but with the current US administration, one never knows what fruity jam will be served next. They already got egg on their face more than once, in less than 50 days. That is a lot more, than even I manage.

While munching toast, I was confronted with pictures of the Russian Ambassador to the US. In suits, at parties, networking, whatever. Someone pointed out, he is quite unforgettable. Taking a sip of coffee, I totally agreed.

Nevertheless, the US attorney general claimed under oath, he had had no contacts with any Russians. Then he told the world he had forgotten all about meeting the Russian Ambassador. Pardon me, but this Russian Ambassador is large, broad, blond, balding, well-dressed, has a better grasp of English than Bad Dude – though apparently sporting a Russian accent – and has been “a fixture” in Washington DC for some twelve years.

Then the AG claimed he met with Russians, because he was a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. His staff backed up this twist, claiming he met with various ambassadors and that this is usual during election campaigns.

While several members of the ASC refused to chat with UK media, one member pointed out, they never meet with ambassadors; Russian and any other brands. It made me wonder, what this Senate’s Committee on Armed Services gets up to. Turns out, it is “empowered with legislative oversight of the nation’s military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy (as pertaining to national security), benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and other matters related to defense policy.” Hardly surprising, Russians and a few others are mightily interested in chumming up with ASC members.

What also got me wondering: members of election campaign teams and candidates jolly up with ambassadors of the over 200 countries on earth, while busy campaigning? They chat to the Kremlin and other governmental power bases the world over? This is normal practice?

How come they have time to campaign? How come, Vladimir Putin has time left to come partly clean about Olympic scandals?

I mean: there are Marine Le Pen, Francois Fillon, Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and their campaign staff all wanting to jolly up to him and his ambassadors and all the other world leaders and ambassadors? And we are not even talking about the Northern Ireland election, nor the Dutch one in which over twenty political parties take part.

While eating my last toast of the day, news broke that Bad Dude’s back-up Pence used a private email account for public business. The account was used to discuss “sensitive matters and homeland security issues“. Did not Republicans and the FBI recently made the use of private email accounts to do public business a major issue? FBI director James Comey was involved. 

In fact, Hillary Clinton’s use off a private email server was turned into a major issue during the election campaign. “Commenting on an FBI investigation last September, Pence told NBC’s Meet the Press that the Democrat was “the most dishonest candidate for President of the United States since Richard Nixon”. So what does using a private email account for state and scurity issues which got hacked, makes Pence now, one wonders?

While munching all this over, Dumb Deal’s administration claimed their AG snuggled up to the Russian Ambassador while still a senator. So their AG did nothing wrong. He paid for convention travel expenses out of his own political funds, not campaign funds. He spoke at an event about the Bad Dude’s election campaign – and like others of the current US president’s close circle, he happened to kind of bump into the Russian ambassador there.

So the current US president sees no need for his AG to recuse on anything. The Republican Party sees no need for a broader Russian inquiry. The GOP can start and stop inquiries anyway. The US Attorney General only recused himself from the investigation into a Russian involvement in the US election, after his position became untenable. FBI director Comey heads the investigation into a Russian involvement during the US election campaign. Oh: and former governor Pence used a personal mail account which was hacked, but Comey will probably not have time to milk this issue. Like he did another hack twice, during the election.

It certainly made me stare at my marmalade.



About Kate

Multilingual arts & culture journalist, blogger, columnist, writer and translator. Contributor to international (news) media. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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