Russia, Russia, Russia… Now that we’ve got a narrative, we can’t let go

It’s all happening so fast. It’s easy to be overwhelmed. One minute, Kid Rock, in what we can hope is just a bid to sell a few thousand more of his ridiculous “dumbfuckistan” t-shirts, announces a bid to take on Debbie Stabenow for the Senate, and, the next thing you know, Caitlyn “just because she’s transsexual doesn’t mean she can’t also be a reprehensible human being” Jenner, is announcing that she might be following in his terrifyingly unqualified footsteps, because, you know, it’s just politics. It just never seems to end… this constant onslaught of stupidity… this army of idiots and con-men, emboldened by Trump, jumping in to fill the gaping void left open by the implosion of the Republican Party… With all of this going on, it’s hard to stay focused on the big picture. If we going to stop this slide into insanity, though, it’s what we have to do. If we’re going to ensure that this never happens again, we’ve not only got to get Trump out of office, but we’ve got to make him pay such a price that no human being in history ever attempts to do what he’s done again. And we have to be sure that his followers come to see the truth, or, at the very least, slink quietly back into the shadows, never to be heard from again, like all those Germans who cheered on Hitler to victory in the 1930s.

As for how we get there, I’m not so sure. But I have to think there’s a path that will get us back on a path to sanity. We just have to work together to find it.

The good news, as we’ve been discussing, is we’ve finally got something to work with. A narrative is coming into focus – one that we can share with others – one that explains exactly how all of this came about, and why.

We now know that, in early June, 2016, just after Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination, an email was sent to his son Donald Trump Jr., alerting him to the fact that Russia not only supported his father’s candidacy against Clinton, but wanted to help him defeat the former Secretary of State. We know this because we’ve seen the emails between Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone, the intermediary in Russia, who had worked with the Trump organization in 2013 to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. [Goldstone, as I understand it, helped secure the financing for the event, by bring in a Russian oligarch by the name of Aras Agalarov, who agreed to put the money up in exchange for letting his son, a pop singer by the name of Emin, headline the soul-crushingly hollow tit and ass parade.] These emails, as everyone who gets their news from sources other than Fox News and Breitbart now knows, included phrases like “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump” [Goldstone] and “I love it” [Trump].

We also know that Trump Jr. apparently took this offer of help very seriously. Just six days after the initial email from Goldstone offering assistance from the Kremlin, people were flying in from Russia, not just to meet with Trump’s eldest son, but also his son-in-law and confidant Jared Kushner, and his ascending campaign manager Paul Manafort, who, just a few months later, as you’ll recall, left the campaign, when his extensive ties to Vladimir Putin became public, threatening to kill Trump’s chances in the general election. [We’ve heard since from sources within the intelligence community that, last summer, communications were intercepted between Russian intelligence officials discussing how Manafort could be used to influence Trump. And, today, as coincidence would have it, news just broke that New York prosecutors have subpoenaed Manafort’s bank records.]

Donald Trump Jr., of course, denied that any of this happened, at least at first. For months, he denied vehemently that there had been any meetings with the Russians, and only came clean once the emails noted above were forwarded to the New York Times by an anonymous source within the White House. And, even then, he first lied about the content of the meeting, saying that he and the Russian woman he’d met with, whose name he didn’t even know, had only talked about the possibility of once again making Russian orphans available for U.S. adoptions. [The adoption program had been closed in response to sanctions imposed against Russia by the Obama administration.]

Sean Spicer said in a press conference today, that “there was nothing (about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians) that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for (a) discussion about adoption,” but that doesn’t jive with the information known thus far about what was promised in advance, what Donald Jr. has already admitted to, or the fact that Manafort and Kushner were brought into the meeting. [One doesn’t have to have experience running presidential campaigns to know that the top three people working for a candidate don’t typically drop everything to attend meetings about international adoption policy.]

At any rate, there was a meeting between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Kremlin attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rob Goldstone, a person described as an interpreter, and least two other people, who those in the meeting, at least at first, refused to name. While the eighth member of the meeting is still unknown, we’ve since learned that the seventh was a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer by the name of Rinat Akhmetshin, who, as coincidence would have it, just happens to have an aptitude for hacking. [Akhmetshin claims to have just dropped by the meeting on a whim, as he happened to be in the area, but it seems unlikely.] Here, in case you missed it, is how the news concerning his identity broke.

While it’s unclear that a quid pro quo was established at this meeting, the circumstantial evidence would appear to confirm that some kind of agreement was struck, in which the Russians would work to actively to discredit Clinton and assist in Trump voter suppression efforts in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against their country and the passing of legislation more friendly to Putin and his cronies in Russian organized crime… Just after the meeting concluded, as I suspect you may have heard, Trump began, for the first time, talking about Clinton’s deleted emails and the possibility that they might somehow surface. And, as you’ll recall, about a month later, at the Republican National Convention, the only addition the Trump campaign had to the GOP platform was the stopping of support to those in Ukraine fighting against the Russian military… Oh, and then, this past May, Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly settled a money laundering case being handled on behalf of Russian organized crime figures by our old friend Natalia Veselnitskaya. The case, which had been filed by US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara in 2013, according to Foreign Policy magazine, “alleged that 11 companies were involved in a tax fraud in Russia and then laundered a portion of the $230 million they got into Manhattan real estate.” [I’ll leave the discussion of Russian money laundering by way of Trump properties for another occasion.]

So, stay with me here… On March 10, Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara, and, then, on May 12, Sessions, without warning, settled the $230 million case that Bharara had been handling for less than $6 million… It kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Well, as you might imagine, the 17 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee would like to know more about this case… Here, for those of you who haven’t seen it, is a clip from their letter to Jeff Sessions, demanding answers.

You might think that the Attorney General of the United States would be anxious to help in an inquiry regarding a money laundering racket being run on American soil by a hostile foreign nation that the FBI, NSA and CIA all feel confident worked to subvert our 2016 election, but apparently that’s not the case. Citing the importance of his “personal privacy,” Sessions has declined to disclose his contacts with Russians. And, it’s worth noting, he’s done this in violation of a court order. This, I should also add, comes after Sessions lied on his SF86 security clearance form by stating that “No,” he had not had any contact with foreign government officials in last seven years. Oh, and then there’s the matter of his lying under oath during his confirmation hearing, saying that he’d not had contact with anyone connected to the Russian government during 2016 election, when, in fact, he had… His end, I suspect, will come like Michael Flynn’s, who also denied talking to the Russians until tapes were apparently produced by the intelligence community… A fitting end, in my opinion, for the man who civil rights leader Coretta Scott King warned us back in ’86 was a threat to American voting rights. In the meantime, though, Sessions will keep looking for ways to take more cash and property from American citizens, while giving more cash and property back to members of the Russian mob.

I suppose it could all be a coincidence. It could be a coincidence that Flynn, Kushner, Trump Jr. and Sessions all just happened to forget their many interactions with Russians prior to the election. And maybe Trump sent his entire senior campaign staff to meet with a Russian delegation promising information harmful to Hilary Clinton because they somehow knew they’d really just be talking about the plight of Russian orphans, which is a cause that’s close to all of their hearts. And maybe it’s a coincidence that, while the President talks shit about every other global leader, he only praises Putin. And maybe there’s nothing to the fact that Sessions quietly settled that Russian money laundering case, and that the Trump campaign’s only contribution to the GOP platform in 2016 was that language about how we’d stop assisting those fighting against Russia, a country that, not too long ago, we used to refer to as the “evil empire.” And maybe the former Russian intelligence officer with a background in hacking, who Trump Jr. neglected to tell tell us was at that meeting, really did just happen to tag along with a friend, as he was in the area and had nothing better to do that day. And maybe there’s nothing to the news about how Kushner had sought a private back channel so that he could communicate with Moscow outside the established State Department channels. And, I suppose, the investigations into how the Trump campaign could have coordinated the strategic placement of fake news stories about Clinton with the Kremlin could lead nowhere. But, really, how likely do we think any of that is? I mean, the odds against all of those things just being coincidence is pretty astronomical, right? And I feel like more is coming. My sense is that it’s inevitable, that this administration has to completely unwind at some point. I mean, the alternative is unthinkable, but it’s more than just wishful thinking on my part, I think. There’s just too much smoke, and there’s more and more if it every day.

As I’ve told others, though, I suspect it would have been even worse if Trump had lost. I really believe that it would have been even uglier, with a sizable percentage of our fellow citizens thoroughly convinced that “Crooked Hillary” had “rigged” the election, and stolen the White House from Trump. I think it could well have torn the nation apart, and this cold civil war of ours could have quickly turned hot. At least now, we have an opportunity to work through this together in the light of day, and move forward. It’s just a question of how. How do we break through to the viewers of Fox News, InfoWars and Breitbart News, and convince them that it’s all been a con? How do you pull someone out of a world like that when they’ve been brainwashed for over a decade, told repeatedly that our last president was an America-hating Kenyan marxist, and that Hillary Clinton operated a child sex ring beneath a D.C. pizza parlor? And, more importantly, how do you ensure that it never happens again? Do models exist for the mass deprograming of entire populations? How was it done in Germany and Japan after WWII? How did we convince people to accept the truth of what had happened? The easiest way, I think, would involve a full confession from Trump… a complete retelling of the entire thing from his perspective, starting with the lies of birtherism, and going right through the campaign, admitting to every lie, and explaining to the American people how he conned them by stoking their fear and appealing to their most base instincts. I don’t think, however, that’s going to happen. So maybe we’d better start planning now for contingencies.

This isn’t, of course, to say that we should let up on the health care debate. We should continue to push back, build on our successes, and use it as an opportunity to talk with others Americans about the differences between our parties and our visions for the future. With that said, though, I don’t think we’ve got a chance of rolling back the Trumpification of American politics, and the army of con-men like Kid Rock in our future, without a clear focus on the Russia investigation. Health care is a battle. But Russia is the war. And, in my opinion, we have to proceed with that in mind. The attack on health care will be back. The Empire, as we know from Star Wars, will keep rebuilding the Death Star. The only way to end it once and for all is to get at the root from which all of this terrible stuff is growing, which is ignorance and fear. And the only way to do that, I’m convinced, is to wake the American people up to what’s been happening. And Russia, I think, is the key. It’s the story that shocks them into waking up. And we can’t let go of it, for even a minute.

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37 Comments

  1. Joe M.
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    It’s all well and good, but I agree with the Pod Save America guys from yesterday – healthcare is all we should be talking about until the Republican bill is for sure killed and a bi-partisan approach to reform begins.

    Russia is going to take years to settle – if at all with a Republican Congress. It’s important to keep in mind and keep forming the narrative, but it’s not nearly as important as healthcare to peoples’ lives.

  2. stupid hick
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    “If we’re going to ensure that this never happens again, we’ve not only got to get Trump out of office, but we’ve got to make him pay such a price that no human being in history ever attempts to do what he’s done again. And we have to be sure that his followers come to see the truth, or, at the very least, slink quietly back into the shadows, never to be heard from again.”

    Ok, I’ll bite. What is the price you’re going to make Trump pay for running as a Republican and performing so well that he got elected? How will you get Republicans to slink away and disengage in politics?

  3. Joe M.
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Speaking of more important things to focus on while the Russia investigation trudges along in the background –

    House GOP unveils budget plan that attaches major spending cuts to coming tax overhaul bill (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-gop-unveils-budget-plan-that-attaches-major-spending-cuts-to-coming-tax-reform-bill/2017/07/18/6e68b679-c63a-4dd1-a3da-e191636946ad_story.html)

    A budget needs to get passed that can greatly effect social service programs. Tax cuts for billionaires and corporations are on the table. That along with healthcare are more important things for the average person to spend their limited time/resources on.

  4. M
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I agree on health care. I think we should stay on it. I just think that we can’t afford to lose momentum on “the Russia thing.” While I’m aware that the investigation is out of our hands, and will take years to prosecute, I think it represents our best chance of turning the Trump narrative around and bringing people back to a place of sanity.

  5. anonymous
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Speaking of the recent Trumpcare setback, did you hear what McConnell had to say?

    “It’s regretful that our Dem colleagues decided…that they did not want to engage with us seriously…to deliver that relief.” – McConnell

  6. Kat
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    anonymous, I’ll see you, and raise.

    “Obamacare is the single worst piece of legislation that has been passed in the last half century.” -Mitch McConnell

  7. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else wonder whether a successful impeachment would only serve to give a false sense of security to Democrats; whereas Trump’s impeachment would rally Republicans for the following voting cycles like never seen before?

    The assessment that Trump supporters are on the cusp of shamefully slinking back into the shadows seems like an INCREDIBLY optimistic assessment of the situation.

    Bubble?

  8. M
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    And we do not have a minute to spare.

    “Tillerson is considering closing the State Dept.’s entire cyber office, limiting people who work on cybersecurity.” – Kyle Griffin

    http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-cybersecurity/2017/07/18/top-state-cyber-official-to-exit-leaving-myriad-questions-221386

  9. M
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    We push for impeachment not because of political calculus, but because it’s the right thing to do for the country.

  10. Lynne
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The only way out of this is better voter turnout on the left. If Kid Rock wins, it will be because he taps into a voting demographic that doesnt typically turn out for elections, ie young people.

  11. Meta
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The eighth person in the Don Jr. Russia meeting has been identified: Ike Kaveladze, who works for the Agalarovs

    An American-based employee of a Russian real estate company took part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., bringing to eight the number of known participants at the session that has emerged a key focus of the investigation of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian.

    Ike Kaveladze’s presence was confirmed by Scott Balber, an attorney for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. Balber said Kaveladze works for the Agalarovs’ company and attended as their representative.

    Balber said Tuesday that he received a phone call from a representative of Special Counsel Robert Mueller over the weekend requesting the identity of the Agalarov representative , which he said he provided. The request is the first public indication that Mueller’s team is investigating the meeting.

    Donald Trump Jr. agreed to take the meeting on the promise that he would be provided damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government to help his father’s presidential campaign, according to emails released by Trump Jr. last week.

    Read more:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/eighth-person-in-trump-tower-meeting-is-identified/2017/07/18/e971234a-6bce-11e7-9c15-177740635e83_story.html

  12. Seth Abramson by proxy
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    We must consider the *possibility* the intel dossier Don received on June 9, 2016 *wasn’t* Clinton kompromat—but *Trump* kompromat.

  13. Think Progress
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this isn’t good at all.

    Judd Legum: “Mysterious 8th person at Trump Jr. meeting allegedly ran massive Russian money-laundering scheme” https://goo.gl/pmKeuq

  14. nick
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    lol @ kid rock turning out the youth vote. smdh

  15. Lynne
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    nick, you think he is too old? He is over 40 but I think he has a lot of younger fans, has a tour coming up which could turn into a pretty major campaign platform. *shrug* He is also smarter and more reasonable than Trump (I know I know, damning him with faint praise). I think the left needs to take him seriously if he begins to takea run for Senate seriously. I am still hoping this is a publicity stunt

  16. Jeff Lark
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    The adoption angle in this story amuses me. If the Russians cared for the welfare of the orphans all they had to do was step out of the way and allow adoptions. They were the ones who stopped the program in retaliation for the Magnitsjy Act and the seizure of the Maryland dachas. They came to sell the babies in exchange for repeal. Obviously, they realized that Hillary “dirt” was the real currency that the Trump campaign would desire. The compromat gleaned by the Russians for even having the conversation was a bonus (and there is likely much more). But, why are there so many Russian orphans, anyway?

  17. M
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The one thing that Putin does well is manufacture orphans.

  18. nick
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    na lynne in just saying the youth is not who is going to see that fucking moron play.

    Rock knows his fan base: “45-50-year-old girls wearing extra-large T-shirts — they’re my bread and butter.”
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/the-killer-inside-kid-rock

  19. stupid hick
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    According to a Democratic survey by Public Policy Polling, this is who you have to convince to “slink quietly into the shadows”:

    45 per cent of Trump voters believe that Trump Jr met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

    13 per cent of Trump voters believe members of the Trump campaign worked with Russia to boost his presidential bid.

    26 per cent of Trump voters believe that Russia wanted Mr Trump to win the election.

    44 per cent believe Russia wanted Ms Clinton to win.

    Good luck.

    BTW, Mark, I’m looking forward to your appearance at the 2017 Shadow Art Fair this Saturday in Canton. Finally the Shadow Art Fair returns to its roots in Canton, and you will be a most deserving Assistant Vice Grand Marshall.

  20. Joe M.
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Planet Money had a great podcast the other day giving the background behind the sanctions that led to the Russian meeting in Trump Tower.

    July 14 – #784: Meeting the Russians

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    For nick and Lynne:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oSQJ2ULuhb8

  22. nick
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    bawitdaba jean

  23. EOS
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    A recent Bloomberg poll shows that only 6% of Americans are concerned about possible Russian collusion. And Trump still has a higher favorability rating than Hillary.

    https://assets.bwbx.io/documents/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/rea7oF1xoNA0/v0

  24. Kat
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Stop getting your news from Sean Hannity, EOS.

    That’s not what the poll said. The poll asked what the biggest issue facing the country was.

    http://www.hannity.com/content/2017-07-18-poll-only-6-of-americans-care-about-russia-collusion/

  25. City Watch
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Putin wants Russia to be the world leader in everything. So much so that he will try to compromise our elections and get his patsy,….. Trump into the White House. So much so that after the last Winter Olympics when the Russian man Pleshenko, did not win the men’s figure skating competition Putin went home to Russia and staged his own awards ceremony and gave Pleshenko the Gold Medal and a seat in the Russian parliament. Who else would do something like this? Only Trump.

  26. Robert
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    A wretched bunch. No one in the entire family ever cared a whit about public service and now they are in the White House. Piteous and appalling.

    Beautifully written, Mark. The problem of the “false consciousness,” as Marx framed it, however, has been with us for centuries. We need to frame the issues more clearly and aggressively as the class conflict that they are.

  27. Lynne
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Jean. LOL. I love that video and have seen it before. They make a good point.

    Still, I have to admit that during the election run up, one of my GP friends asked me if there were any combination of candidates that might get me to vote third party and my answer was that if Sean Penn was the Democrat and Kid Rock was the Republican I might vote for the GP candidate but not if it was Jill Stein.

  28. Torch
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Great passage that sums it all up:

    As I’ve told others, though, I suspect it would have been even worse if Trump had lost. I really believe that it would have been even uglier, with a sizable percentage of our fellow citizens thoroughly convinced that “Crooked Hillary” had “rigged” the election, and stolen the White House from Trump. I think it could well have torn the nation apart, and this cold civil war of ours could have quickly turned hot. At least now, we have an opportunity to work through this together in the light of day, and move forward. It’s just a question of how.

  29. XXX
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    EOS isn’t alone. There are a lot of stupid people out there.

    NEW POLL: Third of Trump voters don’t think Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer despite admitting he did http://hill.cm/x6o9Q69

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    XXX,

    Nice insults.

    You might want to read the actual poll question and compare it to the headline/claim of the article. Do you see any problems with making the claim made in article based upon the actual fucking survey question?

    What should we call someone who parrots sloppy claims that are not supported by evidence?

  31. Andy
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Typical Mark Maynard bullshit, asking us to be informed and engaged as citizens with a collective focus on an important central issue when all the others are far more exciting.

  32. stupid hick
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Nah, typical MM bullshit would be failing to appear at the 2017 Canton Shadow Art Fair, despite being honored as an assistant Grand Marshall. Where are you Mark?

  33. Matthew Yglesias by proxy
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s weird that despite being heavily in debt to pro-Russian interests, Manafort volunteered to work for free for Trump.

  34. stupid hick
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Ever wonder what a Russian orphan baby smells like? This Saturday, we will have one at the “Smell a Baby” booth at the Shadow Art Fair in Canton. Assuming Mark picks up our guest at the airport as planned. Mark, this is a gentle reminder.

  35. wobblie
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I am going to rely on the folks who got the Iraq WMD right based on the intelligence.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47516.htm

  36. Lynne
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the far left is denying Russian hacking because Jill Stein was in on it or appears to have been in on it based on her recent tweets?

  37. stupid hick
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie, I don’t expect you to believe an anonymous internet hick over your beloved trusted source, but the conclusions of the “forensic analysis”, upon which the memo is based, are so flawed I have to conclude the analyst is intentionally attempting to deceive non-technical readers. The analyst claims the short durations between the timestamps of the files show they could not have been transferred over the internet from the DNC server to wherever Guccifer Jr. lives, but instead must have been copied using a USB drive plugged into the DNC server, or downloaded to a computer on the same LAN as the DNC server. That’s disingenuous because the COPIES of the files in the archive didn’t have to be transferred directly from the DNC server, instead they could have been COPIED from an intermediate COPY that was exfiltrated from the DNC server at an earlier date. The timestamps are not properties of the files themselves, they’re records kept in the filesystem of the disk where the files are stored.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Drip, drip, drip… it just keeps on coming on July 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    […] « Russia, Russia, Russia… Now that we’ve got a narrative, we can’t let go […]

  2. […] I wouldn’t be at all surprised, given what’s come out over this past week concerning the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between senior members of the Trump campaign and a Kremlin a…, if we heard late tomorrow that Trump had not only pardoned his son, his son-in-law, and his former […]

  3. […] well with the evangelical set that he’s been trying to cozy up to since news broke about the secret June 9, 2016 meeting between senior members of his campaign staff and a delegation from the Kremlin apparently sent to […]

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