So … About this Russia Thing

So far, after months of speculation, reporting, and now the Comey hearings, we know or think we know two things:

1) The FBI is investigating links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
2) They changed the Ukraine plank in the GOP platform.

1) obviously might come up empty, and 2) is already empty. Nobody cares what the GOP platform says about Ukraine.

To be clear people SHOULD care. For example, the platform explicitly endorses gay conversion therapy. But really, do we expect the average American to care about a document that politicians routinely ignore? Does anyone think John McCain, say, would prepare a major policy address on Ukraine, only to scrap it when reminded of the platform?

What else did they do, or not do, because of Russia? Is there anything? We need something.

Recommended by jconway, johntmay, mark-bail.


11 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Pointless comment to draw attention to my post

    Or is a comment to draw attention to my pointless post?

  2. Recommend not endorsing

    I think you are underappreciating that this was a major foreign policy shift leading to the US essentially abandoning the Truman Doctrine and hallowing out the effectiveness of NATO. There is now no detterence to Russian aggression short of nuclear war. They have no reason to believe we’d go to war to defend Estonia which erodes the entire foundation of the organization. One hopes we go to war to defend Poland if the Ukraine is being made into are the 21st century Sudetenland by virtue of Trumps appeasement. Oh and his is the equivalent of Hitler bribing Chamberlain with overvalued real estate transactions and tactical help to keep him in power-to paraphrase Biden-that’s a big fuckin deal.

    It may not be a big deal to Trump voters or even a majority of Americans but it’s still grounds for impeachment and a major violation of several federal laws and constitutional article subsections. Mark Bail can fill in the details on this since he’s really well informed.

    • Hmm

      I concede that I may be understating the case. That’s sort of the point.

      Could you elaborate on this?

      several federal laws and constitutional article subsections

      As President, Trump makes the foreign policy. Why would it violate the Constitution for a candidate to ask the party to change the platform to reflect his view?

      • 2 points

        1) It is foreign policy

        This is why it’s a bigger deal than the other platform changes since Trump
        has wide latitude to set it unlike social policy which runs into the courts or domestic policy which runs into Congress. So far, fingers crossed, he hasn’t done as much damage since the courts block the ban and his own party will
        Knife him in AHCA. He has already altered our relationship with Europe in profoundly problematic ways that help Russia at our expense.

        2) Natural born citizen/Emoulents Clause/Treaty Power

        These clauses affirm the idea that the President should only have loyalty to this country and no other power. No foreign influence from gifts and presumably business interests-which Trumo gets and continues to profit from-and he shouldn’t conduct major foreign policy shifts without Congressional obligation. His statements on NATO, destruction of the State Department, call to Taiwan and hostility to long standing allies are all new directions that alter the substance of long standing treaty bound relationships from the Executibe.

        • So why?

          Why are Democrats not calling for impeachment? Crap, there are enough violations of the foreign emoluments clause and the domestic emoluments clause to call for impeachment. Now this.

          What are our Democrats in office waiting for? A formal invitation?

  3. JimC, the laws depend on the

    crimes. Michael Flynn seems to have broken the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires people working for a foreign government to register with the U.S. government. With that said, it doesn’t seem like it’s a huge offense. No jail time.

    50 U.S. Code ยง 1801 seems to have stuff on spying, etc. I sort of know my way around MGL (enough to look thinks up with a lot of effort), but not federal law.

    Paul Manafort may be guilty of money laundering and tax evasion.

    Devin Nunes sure looks guilty of leaking classified information in his pressers. Embarrassing for the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

    I don’t know the exact offense (still working on a post for prior to Tuesday’s hearing), but FISA identifies an “agent of a foreign power,” which is an American spying on or contributing to terrorism or sabotage of the United States. I’m still researching what statutes prohibit this. It seems so obvious. FISA says we can surveil an “agent of a foreign power.”

  4. Regarding the platform...

    …it is my understanding that reaction to Russian action in Ukraine is the ONLY plank regarding which the Trump campaign directly intervened during the drafting process.

  5. Nunes should recuse himself

    As several people have pointed out, the investigation is heavily focused on the transition team, on which he served. His conflict is at least as direct as the one that made Jeff Sessions recuse himself.

  6. Then again ...

    Maybe “Deliberately cozying up to Russia” is enough.

    Denis Voronenkov, who fled Russia last October and has criticized President Vladimir Putin’s government, was killed in Kiev Thursday, in an apparent assassination that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is reportedly calling “state terrorism.”


    When he fled Russia, Voronenkov did so along with his wife, Maria Maksakova, who was also a former lawmaker. She was seen at the site of her husband’s killing today, being restrained by police and emergency workers.

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Sun 30 Apr 2:56 AM