Dwindling Odds of Coincidence

Connecting the dots, which have been multiplying at an alarming rate.

Comments: 208

  1. Let's not forget that Trump publicly called for Russia to find HRC's lost emails through hacking.

  2. Yes, and thank you for reminding us of this as our fellow citizens have short memories. Trump OPENED THE DOOR BY INVITING HACKING, and Putin's thugs simply walked right in to thwart our democratic process of electing the most qualified successor to President Obama.

  3. What's wrong with that? The Obama FBI sure proved feckless.

  4. The smoking gun is the Obama administration's sanctions against Vladimir Putin's Russia for its activities in the Ukraine and Crimea.

    President Obama froze the Russian dictator-oligarch's and his buddies' foreign assets. It says here that money was the root of the Russian interference in our election in 2016. Putin may have cherished an animus against the Madame Secretary but money is a more powerful aphrodisiac than resentment.

    So, with Larry, Curly and Moe rolled into one jack-in-the-box package as Donald Trump, and having vanquished his less-than-commendable rivals in the Republican primaries, it must have been clear to Putin that a Trump win on Nov. 8 might be the combination to the vault behind which President Obama locked Putin's fortune(s). He must have clearly seen that Trump, now widely speculated to have been in his pocket, could be used with impunity.
    The Orange One, stumbling on the campaign trail even as his numbers remained static in the 40% range, nevertheless clung to Mrs. Clinton's coats as the spring and summer wore on and the fall (delicious pun here) was upon us.

    If Trump couldn't get so much as loan from American banks for an iMac; if his sons boasted of the huge sums emanating to their accounts from Russia; if Gen. Michael Flynn, not to mention Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions or Rex Tillerson, was a guest at Putin's dinner table, well, it tells me that he was not an uninvited guest. Shakespeare wrote about them, but these were welcome.

    Why?

  5. I suggest that "the lady, (or in this case, 'The Donald') doth protesteth too much, methinks"...for this to be any coincidence.

  6. Charles, every thinking person is "right to wonder"-- Trump's political ignorance, dependence on loyalty " among thieves," and habitual proclivity for unethical personal behavior mean he's inclined to break laws. If there were conversations among Trumpists and the Russians, when is conversation collusion? Are there electronically recorded transcripts? Did Trump know and when did he know, and did he overtly attempt to cover up any knowledge of these shenanigans? Ultimately, if evidence leads to Trump's direct involvement, we'll all sleep better knowing that he's gone.

  7. I keep wondering is, as a loyal member of the "transition team," was Devin Nunes also exposed in the "incidental" surveillance conducting chats with foreign actors? Is that why he caused such a ridiculous distraction last week and got caught at it?

  8. GroveLaw, I've wondered this too about Nunes. And with all his squawking about 'unmasking' it wouldn't surprise me. But, oops! joke's on him (and the Trump zealots), as Trump and his transition team (as well as new appointees) would be unmasked per intelligence rules.

  9. Agreed. However, to paraphrase Adlai Stevenson, all thinking people do not constitute a majority. Sadly.

  10. If part of the current administration was surveiled legally but inadvertantly, is their outrage designed to 'mask' the fact that they were keeping bad company?

  11. Is Putingate now on the verge
    Of a strong connect-the-dots surge?
    Is Trump's imminent doom
    Just outside the Room,
    Dancing dots on the verge of a purge?

  12. That Russian interference in the election occurred in concert with people involved in the Trump campaign is no longer speculation. However, Trump and his enablers actually have found an unforeseen ally in certain elements of the Democratic party and the self proclaimed "liberal" faction of the party that were diehard Sanders (come Stein) supporters. While these people most assuredly despise Trump, they also share the right wing's irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton. Just this weekend Bill Maher declared in much less delicate language that Ms. Clinton should "go away. she lost." No - actually - she won - by three million votes - and a system developed to ensure African Americans were counted as 3/5th a person and white slaveholders had disproportionate influence - allowed Trump to "steal" the White House. The failure of the the left to rally behind Ms. Clinton and express consistent, unwavering outrage at the current inhabitant of the white house enables and empowers him. The crazy, irrational blaming of Ms. Clinton for being the object of a foreign government's campaign to keep her from the white house - should outrage everyone . Rather, the sexism that otherwise hampered her candidacy continues to dampen the outrage - her emails! benghazi! "terrible campaign" and an even "worse candidate" etc. Nevermind Trump has already done far worse - it's just not a scandal unless a woman, particularly the trailblazer does it.

  13. The Hillary Clinton insults and attitudes are knee-jerk by now. These Sanders and third party voters don't seem to be aware that their views were shaped by Kremlin propaganda very directly just as Republican views were.

    They cannot point to any facts, any truth, just vague cries of corruption, so they helped elect the king of corruption who trailed thousands of lawsuits, broken promises and frauds around while a stink of proven ties with mobsters, racists and big money investors from abroad swirled around him.

    Trump supporters almost need to be de-programmed to understand that their minds and emotions were manipulated by expert propaganda paid for by the Kremlin. 15,000 people were hired by the Russians to invent and spread fake news in cyberspace. Add to this the efforts of Fox, the Murdoch and Trump friendly tabloids, Breitbart, and Koch trolls, and you have an unending assault on the minds and hearts of confused, easily misled people.

    Truth and time will clear this up. It is sad for the victims, those who would normally denounce a racist, sexist and completely unqualified bigot. Their votes were cast not as those of informed citizens but as puppets controlled by malicious forces they had no idea about.

  14. Dana, we're talking about Donald Trump and the Russians. Enough about Hillary Clinton already. She's a proven loser and you people need to let it go and move on.

  15. I'm a moderate Democrat who actually likes Hillary Clinton and preferred her over Sanders. However, I also blame her for losing a totally winnable election. The election should never have been close enough for Comey and the Russians to hand it to Trump.

    Hillary lost because she and too many of her supporters, arrogantly looked down upon many of the white people in "fly-over country" and saw them as "deplorables."

    That lesson must not be forgotten.

  16. Here we go again with a political myth that refuses to die--if only Congress and the Senate came to its senses and impeached Donald Trump, all of our problems would automatically be solved. Bye-bye President Trump and hello President Pence. What Charles Blow fails to understand is that impeachment is a lengthy process with no guarantees that a president will be removed from office. The problem lies with conviction--two thirds of the Senate has to vote to convict an impeached president before he can be removed from office. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached but remained in office because the Senate failed to convict them. The Founding Fathers made it difficult to get rid of a president who behaved badly because they feared endless coup d'etats where we would have president after president.

    I wish Charles Blow and everyone else would put impeachment on a back burner for a while. Impeachment without a clear conviction is nothing more than a glorified slap on the wrist.

  17. The case for impeachment should be made even if the Repubs will ultimately block it. The details should all be part of the official record.

  18. Does it occur to you that Republicans may not be any happier with a President who committed treason than we Democrats are? Not to mention the fact that they'd be more supportive of a President Pence (who was probably NOT embroiled in collusion with the Ruskies) that they'd ever be of The Thing that Wouldn't Shut Up.

  19. Perhaps you should have read all the way to the end of his editorial. After noting the "quality" of those next in line and the fact that their policy positions would be pretty much the same, he goes on to mention the theory that a crippled trump might be better for the chances of a Democratic success in 2018 and 2020.

    No, the Republicans won't impeach him. That 35% who approve of him are the Republican base. Angering them would be political suicide.

  20. Russian collusion or not, what is the Trump administration trying to to hide by subverting the investigation process? Why not push for a rapid exoneration, unless there is something damning that could be revealed?

    How many dots do we need before we see a pointillist picture of corruption worthy of Seurat.

  21. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (spoken by Sherlock Holmes)

  22. Mr. Blow, you correctly note that there are no winners since the debacle of November 8th. The old saying, "a fool and his money are soon parted", applies to to the 62 million citizens who were fleeced at the voting booth on election day. These supporters insist that they would vote for the same candidate again.

    Now, fast-forward to the present. It's no coincidence that Michael Flynn now wants immunity from a possible prison sentence in exchange for his kiss-and-tell memoirs with the president that might be worthy of a made for reality TV movie. It's a good bet that Flynn's lawyers are already writing the screenplay for that blockbuster.

    This president's supporters didn't want effective government for we, the people, they wanted late night entertainment at the White House. And with this president's penchant for tweeting at odd hours, his faithful are getting exactly what they asked for.

  23. Maybe he asks for immunity, because when you are tried in the Press, there are no winners, only losers. Guilty until proven innocent is the norm for treatment of Republicans.

  24. I was surprised that they didn't install reality tv cameras the day he moved into the oval.

  25. We were the victim of a coup. The evidence is there, and is becoming stronger and stronger every week.
    Those in the Congress who do not fight for the soul of our Republic are complicit in Russia's takeover of our country.
    The 2018 elections, though so far off, might give us a new Speaker of the House, a Democrat, and a Democratic Senate. That's not impossible.
    And Mike Pence may well be caught up in the scandals before then.
    The future will be chaotic, but we might just bend toward justice in the end.

  26. With digital access to liberal newspapers like the NYT, whether a person lives in rural or urban regions, can be an equalizer to the diet of TV news. In some parts of this country, where only the local newspaper is delivered and at the best of times a drugstore might save a copy of the Times or another paper for you before the few copies run out, access to fresh ideas might have impeded the 'coup'.

  27. SW, Trump is incompetent, but he didn't come to power via coup.And how many people were predicting that Hillary Clinton would lose before election day. Some people who are anti Trump are sounding like some of his supporters who make overblown and extreme statements. Trump will most likely be ineffective, but we do not need overheated rhetoric to oppose him.

  28. SW Don't go down that "we're victims" path.

    We let a grifter like Trump take over the show. Given who voted for him it's tempting to lay him at their door and pray for deliverance.

    Tempting but deadly. None of us was brave enough to say the Republican party was already off the rails. That it's become a party of rich Republicans only and cares not at all for America, her people, her future.

    We let it slide as they gerrymandered, we failed to root out sources of behavior like mailing incorrect voting locations/times, randomly closing poling places, robo-calls announcing immigrants would be targeted when they came to vote.

    No mere political gamesmanship, this is a well-funded, decades-long effort designed to deprive citizens of their votes. And a prelude to the decline and irrelevance of America.

    An America that now exists as unconvincing talking points and as a flag for detractors to wrap themselves in. As when they reduce our courts to political hack-farms, bringing discord to the streets and riches to traitors at the top. It began ages ago with a push for elected judges and well-financed campaigns for the judiciary. We sat and watched.

    Even now it's embarrassing to talk this way, like the nation is in danger. The cloak-and-dagger Right has no such qualms.

    They lie outrageously, distract blatantly. They trot out Sean Spicer, who couldn't lie effectively to a second grade teacher, and we act as if he's worthy of respect. Its time for us to stop.

  29. Trump, so self-infatuated, has no idea he has been the useful idiot of not just Russia but the GOP. Flattery will get you so far with him, it's a wonder he's only been married three times. The Republicans will keep a flailing Trump on life support for months, if necessary, until their cherished tax cuts are passed. Then, they'll gleefully pull the plug and install their man Pence, whom they've preferred all along. He's one of them, heartless, dogmatic and dull - but eminently predictable.

  30. Perhaps written without proper investigation, the current vp with conservative opinions might be better than the p, weakening the hold of the p's connivers and getting rid of his out-and-out shortcomings. That the vp as governor chose to expand Medicaid coverage, unlike some of his counterparts, has influenced my opinion.

  31. Any observant person has already connected the dots and awaits the painting's unveiling.

    For those of us old enough to remember, Nixon's inevitable resignation was a couple of years in the making.

    American justice moves slowly, but surely. We must trust our system of government to dispel our fears and find comfort in our history of patriotism upstaging any threat.

  32. Nixon's resignation also came in his SECOND term...after he was re-elected by the largest landslide victory in US History.

    I gather that lefties here want Trump to win a second, landslide term of office?

  33. General Flynn declared that since so many Clinton staff members were obviously guilty because they had been granted immunity, might the judiciary system save resources by simply placing General Flynn in prison since by his own definition he is obviously guilty even if we, the American public, do not yet quite know what that is. If Flynn had any moral courage and ethical standards, should he not be testifying without securing immunity?

    Yes, General Flynn, your request for immunity possibly does suggest some aspect of guilt and/or a guilty conscience. If you are guilty of high crimes, then you should serve a sentence like every other criminal. To seek immunity only suggests you are more of a coward than most of us realized when it appeared you had not informed the Vice-President as a simple oversight; the need to repeatedly amend the required documents that you should have accurately submitted the first time around adds to the American public suspicion of your guilt. To register your working for a foreign power further adds to the suspicion. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially for someone supposedly as informed and intelligent as you were deemed to be.

  34. Hmmm...a shrill shilly-shallying general, doesn't give me a lot of faith in our supreme commanders, which begs the question: how many generals, active, retired, with or without immunity do we tax payers support? 600?1000? Whatever the count I no longer feel safe.

  35. Question: if Flynn gets immunity, will we be deprived of the spectacle of him pleading the Fifth, like other criminals that have been subject to a Congressional grilling?

  36. As a retired Air Force colonel, I am appalled that such a sleazeball like Flynn could reach 3 star rank.

  37. Unstated in this alarming column, is that the usually predictable zealous GOP congresspersons, who have remained extraordinarily silent, in regard to the demagogue Trump's possible treasonous codependency with the Russians.

    If Supreme Court nominee, Gorsuch, has any kind of self respect, and sense of common decency, he'd ask ( insist) that his Senate hearings be held in abeyance, at least until Trump's possible involve the with the Russians, has been put to rest, and Trump is still our president.

  38. :The journalistic caution in me keeps having to write that these could all be coincidences..."

    There is too much smoke for there to be no fire.

  39. Mr Blow says, "But I also understand the order of succession and that, too, gives me pause. It moves from the zealot Mike Pence, to the weasel Paul Ryan, to... " It does no such thing. If Pence becomes to 46th president his first duty will be to nominate a vice president (as Gerald Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller, and for hearings on that nomination.

  40. I believe Blow's point is that even if a couple of more dominoes fall prior to a final successor being installed the line gets no more uplifting.

  41. President Trump, an obviously unbalanced and unfit president, needs to be removed from office as expediently as is legally possible.

    The remainder of his likely illegitimate administration needs to be treated in a damage control manner until the American electorate has a chance to reassert some degree of sanity.

  42. As Charles and others note, impeachment and removal are long processes, and leave toxic remnants behind. I foresee a different conclusion, in which the FBI simultaneously arrests Trump, Penece, Flynn, 1/2 the cabinet, 1/2 Trump's family, most of his advisers (paid or otherwise) and a number of congresspersons and various business associates. The problem is if the tapes or other evidence get leaked they then might reasonably argue they can't get a fair trial with an impartial jury. The solution, since the top counts are treason, sedition, aiding and abetting the enemy, and cowardice, is to try them in a military tribunal, preferably at Mar-a-Gitmo.
    Ironically, the scale of this purge is such that we may actually need martial law for a few weeks or months, though I think the best solution is simply appoint Adam Schiff president pro tem, or ask Obama to step back in until new elections can be held. All of this must be accompanied by a restraining order insuring HRC gets nowhere near the White House as a result of the ensuing chaos.

  43. First of all, if only 35 % of Repubs think the FBI should investigate Trump/Russian links, that shows that anyone still a Republican is an extremist ideologue living in a bubble.

    But also, the threat to democracy and our economic security is worse from the Republican party than from the Russians.

    Look at the years of Gop propaganda, misinformation, manipulation and lies. They’ve conditioned millions of voters thru the Fox News Monopoly to see bizarre ideas as convincing. The Gop has no patriotism or sense of responsibility to citizens. The EU rw parties are less rw than the Gop.

    Charles, why do you call it “a brazenly political, callously calculating school of thought — as dangerous as it is interesting" -- to say that distaste for Trump is a liberal motivator for future elections? Isn’t that purple prose? What is voting in a democracy all about then?

    It’s the Gop, the dominant party, that’s pulled the Dems rightward also, who are brazen, callous and dangerous.
    But it may be harder for the nation to free itself from big money influence on both parties, than to free itself from Tsar Trump the Terrible.

    A crippled Trumpf and voting him out is better than impeachment (or anything more drastic) to get rid of this shame on America before the world. What are you talking about?

  44. Hopefully he will take McConnell and Ryan with him!

  45. There is one thing that a lot of people, including Charles Blow, are missing about Russiagate.

    Not even the Russians thought they were radically influencing the election in Trump's favor. The Russian objective was to preemptively weaken POTUS Hillary Clinton, as part of a campaign to show their own populace that western democracies have major flaws. And to provide support for their aggression towards some of their near neighbors, Ukraine in particular.

    So this means that the Trump campaign was not in touch with the Russians and even perhaps cognizant with a bit of inside knowledge about Russian dirty tricks?

    Almost certainly the Trump campaign was in touch, and at least a bit in the know, but only as an observer, not a colluder.

    The Trump campaign's motivation was not for the sake of winning the election. Even Trump had no real thought that he would win.

    But he did see the campaign as very good for business in the aftermath of the election. Running for POTUS catapulted him to a global stage which would benefit him and Trump enterprises in perpetuity.

    A Trump Tower -- or at least a Trump Tower license -- in every capital of an oil rich former Soviet Republic!

    Is engaging in business dealings, with some knowledge of political shenanigans, illegal?

    I don't know.

    But it probably wasn't treason.

    And it did screw up Trump's ability to go cut ribbons on grand openings of Trump Towers until at least January 21, 2021.

    Though the emoluments are really flowing, aren't they?!

  46. It is a fact that Russians interfered in the election.

    It is a fact that two thirds of republicans chose to believe lies that betray every principle they brag on as theirs and theirs alone, like patrotism, in order to have state power for their party. That is, are fascists.

    It is also a fact that Trump won and all the next in line are less crazy but just as bad and all three branches belong to republicans because DC democrats are terrible, rotten, awful competitors who do things like cheer Trump's fascism so DC democrats can get state power back without ever having achieved minimal competence.

    Keep your eye on the ball when analyzing why people win and lose in a competitive duopoly. Republicans are winning key elections cycle after cycle. Demicrats are losing competitive elections cycle after cycle. That is why republicans now have the votes to lay down for fascism. Republicans will lay down for fascism and democrats will welcome republican fascism so democrats have a chance to get power without coming up with effective candidates and policies to win elections.

    Forget a third party. A competent second party would be enough but the incompetent DC democrats ain't giving up power to competent democrats.

  47. @In Deed: So you want the Democrats to adopt the Republican play book of using lies, and racist and sexist dog whistles in order to win elections? You do know that each election cycle, Democratic candidates garner more votes nationwide for President, Senators and Representatives, right?

    Democrats have two problems:

    1. The incredibly successful, decades long propaganda war of Fox "News" and hate radio has brainwashed a large segment of the population, especially across the South and middle of the country.

    2. Facts and the truth are harder to sell than pandering lies. A simple example: coal mining jobs are not coming back; the only way to bring any kind of prosperity to coal country is to invest in their future, not the past. That was Hillary's message. It didn't get through, while trump's empty promise to return coal mining jobs won the day. How do you compete with that?

  48. If there is nothing there why all the lying. The first response is invariably
    not true. Oh those meetings Oh those payments. Oh those people
    in the Whtie House.
    YOu knoew it's there. Say Russia, count to three, and you get an
    angry tweet trying to change the subject.
    They sure act guilty. Hmmm.

  49. "What then?" is indeed the question. Will we shrug and say Oh well, he's president now like we did when it became clear that Al Gore had won Florida?
    If we do decide that trump must go, then I think Pence must go too - after all he was part of the same campaign that may have colluded with the Russians. So then President R.... It's awful, but maybe not as awful as trump pence...

  50. The drip, drip, drip of scandal will wear down the stone of Trump's denials. Impeachment is not necessary to restore order; the acceptance of scandal by the public (reflected in poll numbers and expressions/protests of outrage) will turn the president into a lame duck.

    The most important thing is to follow the trail left behind by those who colluded.
    Keep doing your job, Charles. What happens next is secondary; primary is to expose the truth of this devious attempt to destroy our democracy.

  51. According to the Senate hearing, Russia's interference is ongoing. Towards the end of last week, there was a large-scale trolling effort directed at the comment boards of the New York Times. As during the election, this creates a false impression of where opinions lie. 15,000 people were paid by Russia the several months before the election to troll, create fake news, and interfere.

    From the same people who believe that voter suppression is necessary due to all the (non-existent) election fraud, now that a serious and massive state-sponsored election crime has definitely happened, crickets.

    The dots are being connected by the FBI, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement. It is no coincidence that these same agencies are under constant assault by Trump. In the same way he repeatedly assailed the judges trying various cases against him through insults and threats and trying to make them recuse themselves, here he preemptively attacks the investigations while his White House and some Congressional collaborators also attacks patriotic American agencies.

    American checks and balances which include these agencies, a free press, and citizens must continue their efforts to uncover the truth. If their are traitors in the administration, they must be unmasked and prosecuted. Political calculations or reservations about unworthy successors cannot be allowed to block the truth. Let the cards fall where they may.

  52. It looks as though Trump's unholy alliance of grifters and idelogues without much thought were playing checkers while the Russkies were playing chess. Putin has eaten Crimea, penetrated East Ukraine with "volunteers". He has shaken NATO, forced some nations into expensive arms-buying, revived Sovieet-era assassinations of whistle-blowers and diplomats, and laughed at Trump.

    And every day new evidence emerges of Trump/GOP ties to Russia.
    Trump wanted money from being elected, and the bills turn out to be written
    in Russian. More reasons for organized resistance wherever T.

  53. David Talbot, columnist for the S.F. Chronicle points to THIS:

    "If you want to read the most fascinating new angle about the Trump-Russia-FBI drama, you should check out WhoWhatWhy.org. Last week, the spunky investigative publication broke a major story about the Russia shadow play, reporting that Comey chose not to tell all about the Trump-Moscow connection during the U.S. presidential race “because doing so would jeopardize a long-running, ultra-sensitive operation targeting mobsters tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to Trump,” evidently taking place in Trump Tower offices (perhaps without Trump himself aware of it? Then he became president, and now has to deflect desperately?).

    Talbot, "The hottest story about Trump and Russia you never heard," SFChron. 4/2/17

  54. I did read this and it's positively chilling.

  55. Russian mobsters had offices 3 floors below Trump in Trump Tower. It is not conceivable they didn't rub elbows together.

  56. This article once again misses the point. Trump was enticed to enter the political arena before 2008 with the payoff for the Palm Beach mansion that bailed him out from the real estate crash, hence the birth of the "birther lie". He has accepted large sums of money from Russians connected with Putin's money laundering machine in exchange for his real estate properties, always at values high above the market value, leaving him with profits to pay off his debts. A history of his financial dealings will coincide with his political ambitions. To suggest that this is coincidental is utterly ridiculous. But this leads us to the real apprehension and the reason the details are so slow in coming forth. Once Trumps is convicted of having conspired with the Russians to influence the election, what next. The only viable response is to invalidate the election, which means that a new election must be held, meanwhile there is no legally authorized administration to run the government. The fear of this is what is keeping this investigation from preceding. How to resolve this is anyone's guess, but this is the real problem we face. Do we let a treasonous person continue to act as our president, let his illegally selected administration continue once he is impeached, or allow the legal line of succession to temporarily replace the president, vice president, and current administration, and install a temporary administration, until a new election installs a legitimate president.

  57. Sorry, there are no provisions in the Constitution to address "re-elections", But I wish there were. Succession means Mike Pence, I shudder.

    There's always the 25th Amendment, but the Congress all has to agree on the narrative. A toughy. One can hope!

  58. There is no provision in the Constitution to declare a presidential election invalid and hold a new one. The only way to get rid of a sitting president is impeachment. If successful, that would mean Pence becomes president. No way to avoid it.

  59. Ed Homestead: I hate to say it but the price "the fertilizer guy" whom I believe is the Russian you are referring to has been surpassed on several occasions since then. Hedge funder Ken Griffin assembled an oceanfront parcel at a cost of over Two hundred and twenty five million. If that isn't absurd enough a condo in a generic building on the ocean in Palm Beach recently sold for some sixteen million, over four thousand dollars a square foot. But you are correct the Ninety five million paid for Dimitri Rybolovlev's property on South Ocean remains a record for a single property, but the moguls are no longer satisfied with just one property as Mr. Griffin demonstrates and the two hundred twenty five million does not include the price of the new Fifty five thousand square foot house he is building on the property. How much will that cost , pick a number, probably another two hundred million. Go figure this from a guy whose hedge fund had been losing money for investors even as the Dow continues to soar. The point being it's a stretch to think Rybolovlev is a Russian agent, filthy or in his case stinking rich but no Kim Philby.

  60. Mark Cuban on Twitter has a much better explanation that doesn't rely on convoluted conspiracy theories. It's worth checking out.

  61. Remember Watergate, "what did the President know and when did he know it?"

  62. Forget the Mexican wall. The wall that needs to be built is a digital firewall to keep intruders like Putin and his Russian hackers out of our electoral process. It's obvious they flooded the zone with misinformation and propaganda and Trump capitalized on it willingly and knowingly.

  63. You are correct that the real problem here is not President Trump (who was viciously smeared by allegations and fake news, too) but that the Russians have out-thought and out-maneuvered us all along the way. They hacked BOTH of our political parties.

    When did the US become so lame and backward in technology? How can we hope to win any future conflicts, or continue dominance in high technology, when we are HELPLESS in the face of Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear?

  64. Really, Concerned Citizen? The real problem here IS trump. Anyone running for president who is stupid enough to be out-maneuvered by a sweet-talking Russian dictator is the real problem. If he were a dog, trump's tail would be wagging like crazy at the attention he got from Putin.

  65. Of course in a highly indoctrinated country like the US the pious meddling that has gone on the other way seems to have been forgotten or is considered impolite to mention. When the US does not like the prospects for an election, it makes sure that an acceptable (and obedient) candidate is installed. The examples are far too numerous to mention here. Just noting the utter hypocrisy of it all.

  66. Though the nation will suffer, I want Trump in office as long as possible, so he can bring every other Repblican in power (Ryan, McConnell, et al) down with him.

    And quite frankly I fear with Pence as president things would run much too smoothly legislatively for Republicans, ultimately doing even more damage than a careening Trump.

    Goodness, never have I thought 'a lesser of two evils' and meant it so literally!

  67. I'd almost agree, except for the fact that Trump's infantile behavior (ala N.Korea's Kim Il Jong) is an existential threat to everybody on the planet.

  68. The magnitude of presidential impeachment disgrace would presumably prevent this.

  69. Charles, I share your misgivings (or do I understate our attitude?) about the men in the line of succession to the presidency. Still, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to present Donald Trump with a gold watch or ball-and-chain or whatever the appropriate token of esteem is and start down that line.

    I almost don't care about the politics of Mike Pence or the others. The important thing is to get back to politics and away from this extremely dangerous Grand Guignol. As I write, Donald Trump has just declared that "we" will solve the problem of North Korea single-handed if China doesn't cooperate. Oh, brother. Let's hope "we" doesn't mean Donald and whatever it is that comes rapping at his chamber door in the early morning hours.

    Nobody is more averse to reviving Republican prospects in the coming elections than I am, but I'd rather make that deal with the Devil than pay off the more terrible deal made by Trump voters last November.

    http://thefamilyproperty.blogspot.jp/

  70. Just keeping filing lawsuits to totally tie them all up in court

  71. "The public and the press’s appetites for prurience far outweigh their appreciation of prudence."

    Charles, what a line! Thank you for this very astute assessment of the unholy mess that is gripping the Trump administration.

    You aren't the only one wondering "what next? " should the preponderance of evidence be so overwhelming it can't be ignored.

    But while I used to think I couldn't wait for that moment, I think differently now. In fact my fear has increased, wondering if this country can survive a constitutional crisis of this magnitude.

    Yesterday I read a book review in the Boston Globe about a chilling novel describing a second Civil War in the United States. The author an immigrant no less, painted the dystopian scenario of Blues versus Reds which actually seemed plausible.

    It is America itself I fear in how it deals with the strong portion of the public's perception that yes, team Trump committed collusion, but so what?

    In a very short time,Trump has done an amazing amount of damage to civility and truth in our every day dealings. He has managed to persuade a sizable segment of our population to believe the press is corrupt and untrustworthy.

    At this point the press is the only entity, (with the exception of the intelligence community) seeking truth wherever it follows. But if the future of Trump depends on the the public's desire for truth versus the convenience of sitting back and doing nothing,

    These are dark times indeed.

  72. The novel in question is this: "In his striking debut novel, “American War,” Omar El Akkad envisages a not-too-distant future in which a second Civil War, a plague, and drastic climate change ravage the United States and nearly annihilate its inhabitants. "

  73. @Christine: You might want to add to your reading list "The Mandibles" by Lionel Shiver: a convincingly plausible novel that had your candidate HRC won at some time in the future the scenario unfolds with Chelsea as President: at this point we really are getting our Wall with Mexico, the twist being though Christine, and I know you won't like this, Mexico is building the wall to keep out the hordes of starving "Norte Americanos" who are now without even the basics as the jobs continued to flow South to Mexico as well as to Asia. Trump or no Trump this is looking increasingly likely as the poverty engulfing our inner cities and rural areas begins to infiltrate the bastions of tech and finance with the ascendency of China and the diminishing importance of our own role, once the four billion Asians are armed with American educations and have bought our tech secrets in the sweet heart deals being done by the American CEOs seeking big next quarter numbers and even bigger bonuses. China has been executing five year plans and in some instances assuming generational leaps in their calculus, this as we continue to be myopic, individually selfish. self centered and our leaders abandoning even any pretext of concern for the middle class.

  74. @Ted: and your point is? If you think Trump is helping our middle class, you might want to study his recent budget cuts. So far, and I know his administration is young, everything Trump has done is contrary to the needs of his base, and particularly the struggling middle class. We can't deal with hypotheticals when reality is so grim. If you disagree, I'd love some examples that show concern and policies on the part of the Trump administration to fulfill his campaign promises for jobs, jobs, jobs for low-skill Americans living in abandoned rural areas plagued by drugs, disability, and unspeakable poverty.

  75. According to Michael Flynn "requests for immunity can often signal guilt." Should we all chant "Lock him up?"

  76. The unfortunate truth is that while an investigation may take months or years, our nation is going to hell in a handbasket. Important agencies have either been gutted or have not been staffed appropriately. We now have a shadow State Department in the person of Jared Kushner, who has NO clue how to handle either diplomacy or detente. And now apparently is getting involved with Iraq. THAT is going to go over really well in the Middle East. We have more ground troops assigned to the Middle East. Our military attacks in Mosul are killing more civilians than ISIS. Our allies in Europe, Mexico and Australia have been marginalized and insulted. And these are just some of our international issues.

    Anyone who reports on the President and the state of our nation, and does so in a manner that suggests we have a working government is deluding themselves. At 70 years old, I have never seen our country in worse array. And what does Trump do? Aha, busy with his thumbs on Twitter, naming his enemies, among them Democrats who represent almost 100 million registered voters of the US. That can hardly be called looking out for the welfare of our citizens. I don't know what the answer is, but I wish someone could put on the brakes on this runaway circus and speed up the investigations so that if people need to be removed, it happens before our whole system of government crumbles.

  77. Absolutely this is NO COINCIDENCE. and I'm not a conspiracy theorists.

  78. Russia has played this game before all they needed was a partner to pull it off. They found their man in Trump. A man with no morals and a insane hunger for money and adulation. I'm still betting that if they dig deep enough they will find that many of Trumps deals with the Russian oligarchs were a money laundering enterprise. As they say follow the money and you will find the crime. Doubly so in Trumps case.

  79. Like all narcissistic, pathological liars, Trump always presents his mendacity convolved with a little veracity, just to spice things up with that added pinch of warped obfuscation. He has spent his life learning the tricks of the trade in becoming a cunning and calculating liar. It will take time to work though the extensive and pernicious fallout from his ongoing and pending scandalous acts. But people will manage to deal with these tribulations cogently and patiently, and in the end Trump will be relegated to the sad, forgotten footnote that is his due, his reward for manipulating and exploiting us during a difficult time in our democracy. In the end, miscreants and malefactors like him do not get away with it. They become isolated, they rot, they wither, and they die. And that gives the rest of us new life.

  80. One can only hope.

  81. If Trump and his associates were "incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies", then Trump and his associates were communicating with these foreign nationals. The dots are there.

    By his own words, Flynn appears to be scared of ending up in prison. I would grant him the immunity he is requesting because is better to have the rest of the actors have their day in court, including the president. If the system works, there will be an impeachment process.

    By the way, Tillerson's track record with totalitarian governments goes from Venezuela where he did not get what Exxon wanted to Russia where he did. It would be interesting to double check if in the dealings with these countries the foreign corrupt practices act was observed.

    Following the money is usually enlighting.

  82. Mark Cuban says....
    “No chance this is a DJT led conspiracy. He isn’t detail oriented, organized or big picture enough to pull off any time of conspiracy,”
    Well, it's an antecedent exoneration of a huge, rather specific, felony, and makes sense, but there are lesser felonies and misdemeanors galore, just ripe for proving.
    But I'm leaning toward " the brazenly political, callously calculating school of thought ".
    Paul Ryan is not nearly as repellent as Trump, but his policies are, perhaps, even more evil. Pence, perhaps, is somewhat less evil than the Speaker.
    Pence's attitude about unchaperoned members of the other, dangerous, but still weaker, gender seems quaintly Victorian. I must move in rather narrow circles, I don't think I've ever personally encountered such a world view. But it isn't nearly as awful as bragging about grabbing you know what. I have encountered that.
    Nevertheless, I think it might be better to stick with the devil we know.
    Whatever will result in a President Warren, or a President Franken, in 2021 is the winning strategy I advocate.

  83. If you think either Warren OR Franken will ever run -- let alone get elected -- you are deeply delusional. Franken's OWN election is mired in deceit and shifty circumstances (votes found at the last minute in a supporter's car trunk?).

    Warren had a real chance THIS YEAR, at 67 years old -- to be the anti-Hillary. She is very well liked. But she didn't run. Sorry, but in 2020 she will be too old. I hope that if the lefties get ANY message here, it is that they MUST cultivate a bench of young, energetic candidates. They cannot rely on the Old Folk's Home anymore.

  84. And how old will Trump be in 2020? Or in the "old folk's" home? Hillary was 70 when she ran.

  85. The daily lacerations and cuts suffered by the Trump administration over its Russian fiasco is the perfect illustration of death by a thousand cuts. The Trump administration is hemorrhaging political capital with each succeeding day and eventually will bleed out. The everyday slashes and revelations are the clone of Watergate. The Senate Intelligence Committee,if it can keep the cancer of partisanship in remission, can answer all the "Russia" questions of the American people. Part of their investigation will require them to subpoena Donald Trump's tax returns, their revelations, coupled with key grants of immunity, will undoubtedly end the mushrooming nightmare of the Donald Trump presidency.

  86. The Russian affair has brought to light ideas even more horrific: the utter lack of dignity at the highest levels of American government. Trump is Trump, and really, has always been a disaster of a human, but what about the range of "honest" politicians who have given him cover. Corruption and espionage is nothing new, but the blatant disregard for America is new. I suppose the best we could hope for from an investigation is make the American public realize that they cannot be so gullible. The reality is that it was not the Russians who stole the election, but the gullibility of the American people to believe the lies that changed the election. I hope the GOP changes due to Trump and it becomes more willing to reach across the aisles.

  87. Hope all you want but this bunch of Republicans will never change. Many hoped that Trump would change and be more 'presidential' once in office and we (or most of us) can see how that turned out. The party of obstruction and destruction will remain that way far into the future unless we vote them out of office. All you have to do is listen to the words of the revolting Sen. Mitch McConnell. "You don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows".

  88. R in Kansas: What changed the election was the archaic Electoral College, and the failure of the Electors to do their job and keep such an undesirable candidate from taking office! So we suffered a legal loss, but we can't forget that 3 million more of us voted for Clinton than Trump!

  89. A Congressperson is supposed to have three loyalties. One is to the Constitution, to which he swore or affirmed a binding oath. Second is the people of his district, the majority of whom voted to grant him the right to speak for them, preserving the People's Sovereignty through a "representative." And, third, to the United States of America, since the House deals with national issues. Nowhere in there is included loyalty to a party, wealthy contributors, or personal ideology, where it diverges from those who elected him to represent their voices.

    Imagine that a group within the United States is secretly plotting to shift our government over to a plutocratic, neo-fascistic theocracy under a one-man rule (or at least a small coterie of his advisors). Now imagine that one or two of the plotters get pangs of conscience and leak some of the nefarious behind-the-scenes goings on.

    What does it tell you about the Republicans in Congress & the right-wing media that they are ignoring the threat against the government & instead trying to denounce, catch, & silence the whistleblowers? You can't help but conclude that those who aren't active participants in the plot, are at least accessories after the fact in contributing to the cover-up.

  90. I consider myself to be a typical American I tend to lean right on fiscal matters and towards the left on social issues. I fortunately lived to an extent the American dream. It used to be if you put your heart in to your work you could acquire the house, the car, the new TV and occasionally a vacation.
    For many that dream is lost or much harder to achieve. The question we need to ask is why, what has changed? Well for one there used not to be the high level of scandals in Washington, on Wall Street and in corporate offices. We in the past would not have tolerated the abuses of office and power to the degree we experience today from the so called president down.

    I find it ever more difficult to separate the avalanche of fake news from the real news. Walter Cronkite were are you when we need to you?

    I think the hope for us is to fight against the extremes in the major political parties, it does the country and its people no good to have a minority sabotaging the benefits of programs that benefit citizens of all walks of life or needs.
    Its a fact the economic political system of today is stacked against the common man/women and we must all become freedom fighters for what we want and deserve. Become active, call, write, march, be not afraid to state your POV. I have hope that the current administration is under intense fire because they do not represent what used to be the middle class.

  91. I'm not sure you are quite as typical as you think--many Americans actually, when you question them more closely, lean left fiscally. No one wants to remove Medicare, or Social Security, for example, and most likely no one wants to remove government funding for roads, bridges, libraries, schools, the FAA, the FDIC, the FDA, or the CDC. I fully agree with your exhortation to participate, but I must argue with the sentiment that there is an equivalence in the extremism of BOTH political parties.

    It isn't Democrats who are trying to take away health care. It isn't Democrats passing loathsome laws depriving half of America's citizens--the female ones--of bodily autonomy and the most basic constitutional rights. It isn't Democrats arguing to LOWER the minimum wage, or rolling back the most environmental regulations, or threatening our LGDT friends, or running private for-profit prisons and incarcerating as many African-Americans as possible, then making them work for literal slave wages, in chains.

    It isn't Democrats who urged the passage of "Citizens United." The Koch brothers are far-right-wing idealogues in the John Bircher mold, whose father built ball-bearing factories for Hitler. They aren't Democrats.

    I'm not saying "the left" is perfect--we have our share of idiots and cranks. But holding the two parties side by side, they most certainly are not the same. It is the Republicans, and only the Republicans who are actively trying to destroy us.

  92. Coincidence or not, if the Iran-Contra hearings of the far simpler Reagan years managed to do no better than throwing low-level operative Ollie North under the bus, then why would we expect anything resembling justice now?

  93. I don't think the Reagan years were simpler. Reagan was a likeable, charismatic, handsome Hollywood actor, with huge popularity, unlike Trump, and most people were completely unaware of what he was really doing, in those days before tweeting and any kind of internet, so he could easily conceal his acts as he sold arms to our then deadly enemy, propped up Death Squads in Nicaragua, dismantled our mental health and education systems, busted unions, and brutally refused to disseminate even the most basic information about how this strange "gay" disease was spread, causing a catastrophic epidemic and the loss of a generation of beautiful bright boys. In those days, it was actually worse--there was no Twitter, no social media, no internet; things could be very easily swayed and concealed. It was remarkable that we even managed to have the hearing, and that everything came out.

  94. Consider also the implications for the Putin regime, in light of recent anti-corruption protests in Russia, if the investigation correctly "follows the money."

  95. Our country has been taken over by immoral, unethical businessman with absolutely no regard for anything other than making money for themselves. White collar criminals the lot of them. These are evil people and it's so not funny anymore that even Saturday Night Live will likely forego their sketches. Given the order of succession, coupled with 50% of the population thinking these guys are just fine, the way back to sanity will indeed be long and hard.

  96. Excellent summation.

    In your next column please address the conundrum of Fake News, and remedies to this scourge that will not weaken any provisions of The First Amendment.

  97. Have Libel-based law suits been employed against Fake News Sites?

    Can the Clintons sue anyone over "PizzaGate" ?

  98. "At this point this is all conjecture". I agree Mr. Blow. I think you will find at the conclusion of this lengthy investigation that the Russians succeeded in their mission to disrupt the American Election and that they are doing the same thing around the world. Not tinkering with the votes, but exposing some Democratic operatives ignorant emails, and producing tons of fake news stories that went viral into the general population. Did this cause people ( Clinton supporters) to change their vote to Trump? I would hope that the Clinton supporters were not that stupid.
    I think you will also see that senior people in the Obama administration made the decision to unmask certain Trump associates, and leak to the press in order to damage the Trump administration. Someone insignificant will take the fall for this offense.
    Of course this is all conjecture, but you would understand that, wouldn't you Mr. Blow?

  99. Do you understand the rules governing unmasking? Trump and his transition team and appointees would be unmasked per intelligence agency rules. Also, anyone under criminal investigation would not be masked either.

  100. understand the rules very well...also understand that the rules were changed weeks before this incident occurred by the Obama administration and I also understand the 4th Amendment.

  101. Charles, I said this many times that if Trump had any spine or a backbone left in his body, he would've resigned by this time.

    That way it could've been a quick end to his presidency than a slow death spiral that his administration is heading to.

    If he resign now he can save himself a lot of embarrassing moments and indignities that is going to follow and haunt him forever.

    The Republicans in Congress are trying their best to stall the investigation almost to the point of scuttling it.

    But they'll never succeed in eliminating the outcome just like they couldn't stop Nixon from resigning.

    In fact it was the Congressional Republicans who went to Nixon's White House in 1974 and told him pointblank that they couldn't save his behind anymore.

    The current Republican Congress members should do the same to Trump by asking him to resign now than later.

    They should know that if they drag this closer to the election time next year, Democrats will capture everything except the White House.

    Trump's name will be so toxic by that time that even the senior most Republicans will have a tough time going past the primary challengers.

    By this time next year, all the American citizens like us will hear all the treasonous activities of Trump and his campaign team.

    One recording after another will be revealed on a daily basis by the F.B.I. which will reveal clear and crystal voices of Trump team members including Mike Flynn et Al, hatching out plans with Mr. Kislyak to defeat Hillary.

  102. There is a true double standard being applied to the “typical American voter” and especially the Republican voter. The most recent revelations at the Senate Intelligence hearing demonstrates just how vulnerable these folks are to their innermost biases and hatred. Bots designed by Russian hackers targeted these folks to the point some were even designed to replicate images that were familiar to the “typical voter”. These voters “bought the Con” and still do. This mind influence/propoganda is called “politics” and accepted because no one dies.

    On the other hand “everyone” wonders out loud “how on Earth” “radical Islam” can influence the minds of people with the same Bots to commit horrible acts in the name of some religion.

    Social media has become one of those oxymoron’s. It is neither social in the sense of social good; and it is not media in the sense of providing an avenue for the truth.

    Spend 10 minutes with the typical voter and tell me how our Republic will survive.

  103. "To be sure..." -- You summed it up so beautifully, thank you! Keep up the good work. Please.

  104. Factual collusion will never be found. Trump and his campaign allowed the Russian intervention by walking on the fringes of negligence. They knew something was happening and let it be, as it was advantageous for them. There was no there, there. Simply a wash of hands and wishing for the best. And the best happened and they did not get dirty.

  105. I tend to agree; however, I think it's quite possible Trump is guilty of other crimes involving the Russians that will be unearthed during the course of the FBI investigation.

  106. A piece that goes right to the heart of the matter, as usual!
    Every day there is another article somewhere exposing the far right leanings of yet another Trump donor or member of his administration or even his family. It is truly awful to discover how many alt-right personnel have been unearthed, many of them coming in through the Mercers, to terrorize the citizens of all countries of the world! If all of Donald Trumps hangers on and puppeteers could be prosecuted, so much the better! But I guess that's just wishful thinking, you're right that there are too many, and any weakening of these destroyers of democracy sure would be a welcome start.

  107. Where was the CIA in all of this? The CIA is the agency with the greatest ability and history of surveilling foreign intelligence, as well as the NSA. Why has the FBI been charged with running this international breach of security by itseld when it is bizarely guilty of interfwrence itself? I believe an independent commission is already long overdue, and that the FBI should be investigated as part of this deep scandal. Where are the voices of 200 Democrats? The press has made it clear that two thirds of the voters want this mystery solved, and the sooner the better. Everything is tainted and delayed while this great mess lingers. Trump can play his trump card of foreign military confrontation for the ultimate distraction at any time, as he's proven emotionally prone towards bluff and bluster. What is everyone waiting for? We CAN handle the truth, right folks?

  108. If the Trump campaign is found guilty of collusion with the Russians, why would this not make the election invalid, with the Presidency going to the electorally-defeated, but majority-vote receiving candidate?

  109. Testimony from Flynn, or any other Trump associate, campaign operative or even Trump himself would be fraught with lies. They have no qualms about being deceitful. It is the absolute duty of Senators now to uncover the truth. The House investigation appears contaminated by Nunes. It is the duty of everyone to keep the focus on truth and to ignore the likely distractions that will be thrown in our path.

  110. I think Flynn is going to testify to try to make Trump look good.

  111. Yes! I thought I was the only one whose antennae went up when the duplicitous Flynn stepped forward, willing to 'testify.' When his lawyer says that he does, indeed, 'have a story to tell,' I get really concerned. The man has been an alt-right Trump extremist with a track record of lies- why would his testimony be different? I haven't seen enough evidence to suggest that he can actually be convicted to believe that his coming forward is an exchange of campaign (or Administration) damning info for immunity. Just as likely- a narrative of lies designed to damage Trump's enemies, and immunity as a 'just in case' need to admit to his own wrong-doing.

  112. "The journalistic caution in me keeps having to write that these could all be coincidences...."

    To which I provide one of my favorite quotes from Ian Fleming of 007 fame:

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action”

    Incidentally, in your order of succession, you left out Wilbur Ross, although as 9th in line, his odds are not good. But Ross is yet another figure in the Trump administration with connections to Russia, perhaps more important than others, as he was Vice Chairman of Bank of Cyprus which was involved in Russian money laundering.

    "The White House has been accused of withholding information from Congress about whether Donald Trump or any of his campaign affiliates have ever received loans from a bank in Cyprus that is partly owned by a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin," The Guardian reported. http://tinyurl.com/h8own87

    What we do know is that Trump owes millions to Deutsche Bank which paid $630 million in penalties over a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme. Ross, it so happens, recruited Josef Ackermann, formerly of Deutsche Bank, to run Bank of Cyprus.

    Let's not dismiss that as one of these "coincidences." It's enemy action.

  113. Perhaps Flynn wants immunity because he plans to fall on the sword for Trump, but without actually getting bloody. It will be one of those stage swords that folds into itself as it punctures a baggy of fake blood. The sword of alternate reality, designed to deflect attention away from the whole truth.

  114. I have been wondering the same thing.

  115. The smoke has gotten thicker. Fire is somewhere to be found.
    The impeachment trail doesn't give much relief as you pointed out. All of this is why the appointment and confirmation of Mr. Gorsuch is a mistake a this time and should be opposed.

  116. "He is crude, a liar, a bully and a cheat. He is vainglorious and vengeful."
    You left out the no. 1, which is his motivation for all that. He's a thief.

  117. In essence it seems that the Russians used old and new-media propaganda techniques in parallel with homegrown pathogens like Breitbart, Alex Jones and Sean Hannity, to delegitimize both Hillary Clinton and the election itself.

    The big question is whether the Russians performed as a sub-contractor controlled by Trump or as the contractor controlling him.

    The truth will likely be messy and unsatisfying.

  118. One thing that bothers me about these investigations is that it whitewashes how bad a candidate Hillary Clinton was. She was the wrong candidate at the wrong time. That had more to do with her electoral loss than anything Russia did, short of hacking voting machines. Which wasn't the case as far as we know.

    If all these stories are more than just smoke, I dont believe it will be about hacking, It will likely will be about sanctions, and certain wealthy tenants of Trump properties.

  119. Disagree. The only thing bad about her candidacy was the hubris in not going to the rust belt and deep American misogyny.

  120. Yes, she lost. But was she a bad candidate? She won the popular vote by 3 million votes, she demolished him in three debates. She maintained her dignity and calm in the face of Comey and other surprises.

    I'd say her campaign was bad -- they put effort in the wrong places and kept her out of MI, WI and PA, that's where she lost. Yes, she bears responsibility for that because she was the boss.

    But I think calling her a "bad" candidate is wrong. It assumes the Trump-rightist attack machine would have left alone any other candidate. It assumes a lefty candidate like Sanders would have held onto suburban northern states.

    That is a false assumption. In CT Hillary won Republican-leaning suburban towns and lost the old, small mill towns. It's not a stretch to think Sanders would have lost the Republican suburbs without picking up the mill towns (he is a socialist, after all, and they think that's anathema). And he would have lost CT. So where would he have won?

    So, Hillary. Bad campaign tactics, yes. Bad candidate, no.

  121. Most of the Wall Street deregulation that led to the Great Recession happened on her husband's watch, with her tacit approval.

    Clinton continued to do Wall Street's bidding as a Senator. Most people know this. Chalking her failure up mainly to bigotry will only produce more Democratic candidates who just dont get it.

  122. Thank you! I agree.

    And I wonder if Russia and the Trump posse colluded to get elected, how can this administration--with or without Trump--stand?

  123. One of the greatest ironies of all in this horrible mess is that, in legal parlance, this situation is defined as a "conspiracy". We keep trying to avoid this simple reality by refering to other "c" words, like collusion and cooperation; but c'mon folks, let's call it what it is. There's already been way too much "collateral damage" to keep building denial into the whole things. Just like in Watergate, let's prosecute the co-conspirators as soon as possible. It's all about a little thing called "justice", folks

  124. ....................  Well the dots may not be connected yet, but they definitely have correlation.

  125. At 7:00 am on 9/11 I boarded a plane at National Airport bound for San Francisco. I was lucky. I'm here. But for weeks after I was in a state of constant shock that we all shared as a nation, and I became glued to the TV.

    Once again I am glued to the TV and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. We are being deliberately disoriented, shocked each day, seemingly as a prelude to a takeover.

    The difference is that this time ~50% of my neighbors are cheering for the the suicide bombers who are destroying our country.

  126. At an early age my parents taught me, "Where there is smoke, there is fire".

    Trump and his crew cause me to think about many of the disgraceful periods in human history. Today's editorial sparked my thinking about Nero and the great fire that consumed Rome.

    "In 64 AD, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome. Suetonius, writing a generation later, claims that many Romans believed Nero himself had started the fire, in order to clear land for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea"

    Is "Domus Aurea" Latin for Trump Tower? Nero's reign is also noted by his "Who stabbed who in the back?" inner circle. Yes, when the smoke is cleared, it's going to be quite interesting to see what really took place during Trump's cycle of decadence!

  127. Domus Aurea means "Golden House." Trump Tower? Close enough.

  128. NO COINCIDENCE That Judge David Hale ruled in a suit brought by protestors at a Trump rally, were attacked by Trump "supporters" were attacked physically by Trump's incitement to violence, NOT a form of protected speech. So Charles Blow, here is evidence of an apparently impeachable offense that has nothing to do with arguably "coincident" appearance of undue foreign influence perpetrated by Russia with Trump's support. Judge Hale's findings will, no doubt be appealed. However, I recall seeing during the presidential campaign on TV, that Trump described supporters attacking protestors as loyal Americans who are showing their love for their country. The video in which he made the statement is no doubt among the archives of the professional who took the video. Undoubtedly there are other instances when Trump the candidate, engaged in speech uncovered by the First Amendment because it represented an incitement to violence. Had protesters brought suit for having been attacked due to Trump, as candidate, engaged in unprotected speech, he would have been charged, and thus, ineligible to pursue his candidacy. The oversight was dangerous. Let the searches of campaign and presidential rallies begin so that additional charges can be brought against Trump. Let the impeachment begin! Let sealed documents be subpoenaed as evidence of further wrongdoing, such as conflicts of interest among White House staff members. Let the long knives be at the ready to begin the end game.

  129. Of course there is no coincidence, but there needn't be collusion either. The Trump campaign made it clear that they were friendly to Russian interests. Clinton had been clear that she was not. The Russians acted accordingly; the campaign could have been aware or, equally, not aware.

    However, the Trump administration has been at best opaque and at worst deceptive. And they have been throwing out chum to draw the sharks to other targets - like insisting that Obama wiretapped them. If the WH did nothing wrong, what are they so busy hiding?

    And the GOP political machine - so enraged about Benghazi! and E-mails as treason - are particularly uninterested in both the bogus accusation of illegal spying and the Russian election tampering. If we find out what happened in any detail, and who knew or drove it, it will be an accident, not a result of Congressional action.

    What we see is that Trump isn't draining any swamp, he is feeding the gators, and making them fat. I'm just so proud to be an Amurican.

  130. I have to disagree with your assessment that there is no coincidence though there may be no collusion either.

    By your friends and the company you keep, you shall be known.

    What are the odds that every significant person in your team has a connection to Russia and Putin, an enemy of America at worst, an unfriendly rival of america at best, a country under a government which is NOT a friend of your most important allies - the EU.

  131. Simply follow the Bots...it won't be an accident.

  132. He can't drain the swamp. He has buried too many bodies in it.

  133. If we want to connect dots lets open up Trump's tax returns for the past 30 years. His tax returns will either connect Trump to Russian mafia or disperse the odor of his financial connections to Russia.

    No matter who in the lineup of bad successors would replace an impeached and imprisoned Trump, it is imperative that Democrats take control of both houses of Congress in 2018. We should not even be waiting till then, we should be targeting Republican representatives for recall votes and get it underway.

    And keep in mind, everyone tainted by Trump is also impeachable for their handiwork in supporting and enabling Trump. Doing so was and is an act of treason. No, that is not over the top.

  134. Thank you for expressing the awful unease that I could not have nearly as well, Mr. Blow.

  135. Forget the line of succession. We have 12 months to get through. If Trump has another ACHA he's through with his own party. He will be no use to them and there will be enough evidence to impeach him. This has to be done inside of the next 12 months because Republicans need enough time go back to their voters and tell them they did the right thing for the constitution. It might not be enough but it could be enough to turn one house of congress blue in which case Trump's successor will be a figurehead.

  136. How can an administration, not yet through its honeymoon first 100 days, be on track to go down in history as the most corrupt, the most treasonish, and the most inept (thank goodness) of all time? More than half of the country and most of the rest of the world knew that this would happen. Only William Henry Harrison had a worse start.

  137. I've also worried about the men in line behind Trump, should he be impeached. But in the end, I feel that although they are entirely capable of continuing to rob the poor and give to the rich, of continuing to deny climate change, of keeping their comprehensive health insurance while taking away ours, and of trying to return women to their place under the thumb of men, we will at least be rid of the not entirely sane hand that now rests on the nuclear button. And, for the next year and a half, that could be enough.

  138. "Trump will likely be the best liberal motivator for success in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. Following this logic, a crippled Trump is better than a vanquished one."

    I disagree with the position that Trump's crippling would be better than his removal to aid liberals in 2018. Neither party is ideal and until both parties fix their antiquated perceptions and cliquish mentalities that negate the multicultural talent across our nation regardless of race, gender, or religion....we will continue to cycle back to this point unless we acknowledge that we are Americans...not defined by party but by truth.

    Forget the succession issue. Mr. Pence will have to give an account for his actions and it is not for us to judge as we all have our proclivities. A crippled Trump is not good for Trump and not good for America. Our president must go and receive the help he needs to heal. With the multifaceted issues of that office coupled with the myopic leaches attached to him, they will suck him and our country dry. DT's mind and some of his team at this point is leading him on a path to destruction and it is unhealthy for all of us.

    Heavenly Father, please shine your light in the darkest places and manifest the hidden things that only you can see. Your word says there is nothing hidden that won't be revealed. Please bring healing and love to our divided country and touch the hearts of our elected federal officials to walk in your truth. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

  139. First, we need to restore voting access to those who've been suppressed.
    Also, undo gerrymandering everywhere.
    Then, we flip the House and, hopefully, Senate in 2018.
    That's when we can impeach both Trump and Pence simultaneiously, so the accession moves down the line to the then new(ly re-elected) Speaker of the House, and give us our first woman president:
    Nancy Pelosi.
    Wouldn't THAT give the tea party a heart attack.

  140. "I can see Russia from my White House !"

    Donald 'Sarah Palin' Trump

  141. Evidence Blow, where is the actual evidence you allude to?

    These articles are non stop from you, but without an actual smoking gun.

    You're a "report" then do some research and report. What we have here is conjecture and hype with no real smoking gun.

    Pass.

  142. What we do have is Susan Rice being identified as the unmasker of confidential or top secret information on Trump sand staff. That's at a minimum a felony. Lots of unanswered questions surrounding Rice

  143. Eveidence? What do you need; the pee tapes? The evidence is there, you are unwilling to see that your man is, as Hillary called him, a puppet dancing on strings pulled by Putin.

  144. Joseph, go eat some BBQ, have a shiner, chill. You are seeing things, hallucinating as it were. BBQ and shiner cures that.

  145. If it is found that tRump was elected in a fraudulent manner wouldn't it follow that would be true for Pence? I suggest we consider an historic first - bring back Obama until we elect a president in 2018.

  146. Trump bragged about being able to shoot someone on fifth ave and people would still love him. He was bragging that he could commit crimes right in front of us and get away with it. Evidence of him claiming to be able to openly commit crimes and get away with it also shows up in his infamous conversation with Billy Bush. Lastly, he openly requests Russia to hack Hillary's emails, right in front of us all. Yet we refused to believe it, giving him the benefit of the doubt, just like he bragged we would.

    Now, with all these other dots connected, do you really need a smoking gun? Would a smoking gun even convince his supporters he's a con? Would it convince the press or Congress? Or would everyone give him the benefit of the doubt, just as he knows we will.

    Wake up!

  147. And this is exactly why Trump "loves the poorly educated".

  148. "...a crippled Trump is better than a vanquished one." And Congress has encumbered itself. We'll survive, but what next? When do the Democrats reflect on an election cycle, begun in 2012, in which we could not get past an establishment created and establishment-owned narrative about Hillary Clinton, a woman who will follow the first black president, and the return of the Great Society? Hillary was such an incredibly bad candidate that Trump beat her and earned almost as many votes in the general vote. And yest we come away so o sensed with the Russian connection that we're learning nothing about ourselves nor planning anything better as our future.

  149. And how bad of a candidate was John Kerry, how bad of a candidate was Howard Dean, how bad of a candidate was Al Gore? How bad was Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, for that matter? Hillary Clinton was the most qualified and experienced of them all, and even decades long character assassination by Koch, Mercer, big oil, big pharma and health industry financed attack groups like Judicial Watch, Breitbart and Fox News could not keep her down, but Comey, the Russian hackers and the ingrained sexism and bigotry of blue collar and rural America and self-hate of a good part of white American women tipped the scales against her. Hillary Clinton is too good for this country. This country needs Trump good and hard for a while to understand that elections have consequences. Let's hope his latest flapping of his mouth about going it alone against North Korea doesn't get the whole world into a nuclear war. Let's hope the generals know what to do if he calls for the nukes, just like they knew what to do when Nixon was drunk all the time.

  150. The "Dwindling Odds of Coincidence", behold the albino alligator walking across the fat man's fairway! I can remember getting into an online debate about Russian interference in the Presidential election of 2016. What struck me then was the complete impasse and talking past each other because of what sources were held to be most trustworthy. This is a result not just from Russian meddling, but also from the misuse of wealth and power. Money is spent denigrating military service (e.g. Senators McCain and Kerry), denying healthcare, education, clean environment to the poor (Ryancare, stealing public funds for private schools, and lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan public water). Those who protest are labeled agitators and are summarily dismissed until the affected citizens "Rise Up!". It is time to rise up against those who will do America harm. And that force must come through are institutions thereby affirming the best of our institutions, schools, government, courts, press, and public peaceful protest.

  151. Mr. Blow, you have been criticized in some quarters, and in this forum, for your relentless attacks on Donald Trump. Some of these critics are actual Trump supporters, others are just "ready to move on". I say, please Mr. Blow, persist in your jeremiad. The fact that Trump got tens of millions of votes and that the vast majority of those voters remain supporters is of no consequence. You have truth on your side. There will be tremendous pressure to abandon your post, from foe and friend alike. Resist. You have been gifted with a soapbox - use it!

  152. First off if Trump was clean, he would welcome the investigation as he truly had nothing to hide. Second, when all his associates, including his son in law, knew any Russian connection was being looked at, why did they wait for someone else to discover it, making them look like they are hiding something? And lastly perhaps there was no collusion and,according to recent testimony the Russians are still at it. So they get him elected and help get him impeached. They would certainly get a lot done in a short period of time. And that would make the Republicans in Congress look incompetent. No,wait, they don't need the Russians' help to do that. It would just be the icing on the cake.

  153. It is amazing how a new story became an old story in so short a period of time: "I voted for trump, and now don't believe in many of his policies, but I'd vote for him again." What is going on here, the Stockholm syndrome enmass?
    When I read how far the United States is behind in education, the proof is in the voting.

  154. And the originator of fake news, Fox News, aptly called faux news.

  155. They think so little of us that they don't even make a good effort at hiding this woeful behavior.
    They have learned that repeated insults and lies undermine the public's ability to focus on the depth of their depravity. Think back to the GWB years as rule after rule and law after law was broken. We became inured or exhausted.

    In any other country, the government would have fallen by now.

  156. I never thought I would say this but let the vain toddle man stay in the White House for his full term because as you pointed out the chain of command might be worse. What I can hope for is for the Democrats in the house and the senate to continue to stand firmly against this travesty of a president and the so called freedom caucus to remain obstinate for anything that smells of moderation. So in other words let's stagnate this administration for 4 years and hopefully get some people behind bars for high treason.

    But the appetite of Americans for complete fictional lies spread viral on social media will not change. What must change is the percent of people who participate in our democracy. Then maybe the numbers of voters who do not fall for the craziness will out number the fools who do. Trying to make people believe the truth when they would rather believe the lies is daunting if not impossible. The alternative right is still churning out absurdities about Hillary Clinton, and nothing will stop them or change the minds of their followers. If only she was as willing to sue for libel as members of the Trump family.

  157. Please stay on it Charles. It is bad enough to see what the arrogant fraud has already done but it will be worse if he actually gets away with it. We know a reckoning here is way overdue.

  158. Shoes continue to drop from McCain's centipede. Trump has already sabotaged one investigation through the compliant Mr. Nunes. The Senate, although in the hands of far more honorable and competent individuals, may hit some brick walls. That leaves Comey who has been investigating since July. Watch Trump and his crew cast more aspersions on him, the FBI, and the intelligence community. The truth and fate for the country rests in Comey's hands. It is probably the job he has been waiting for and meant for his entire life.

  159. The slender thread of opposition to Trump's Supreme Court appointment is the illegitimacy of his presidency due to his campaign's probable collusion with Russia. And the slender thread of our democracy hangs on a balanced and impartial Supreme Court.

  160. Adam Schiff laid out the timeline of events masterfully in his opening statement at the House Intelligence hearings on March 20th. There is a deep miasma of corruption and possible collusion hanging over this regime. Everything they propose to do right now, no matter how anodyne it sounds, will be viewed with great suspicion by a majority of Americans. Irony abounds of course: the GOP did their best to "illegitimize" both the Clinton and Obama administrations, and here they are with their own regime that may be illegitimate at best and traitorous at worst. And here we all are in "interesting times."

  161. Trump and his inner circle are living in La La Land if they think that Russia will go away in favor of a hunt for the leakers. Eventually, they will all testify under oath or invoke the fifth amendment. Roger Stone is sadly mistaken if he thinks that there are off-limit topics. Immunity will go to the person(s) who can finger Trump or any person so close to Trump as to beggar the imagination that Trump was unaware of what was going on. Jared Kushner comes to mind in this regard. And meanwhile, the drip, drip, drip of the leaks continue.

  162. It amazes me how lightly treason sits with Republicans, top to bottom. Russia is no friend of ours, and here they all are, from top R politician down to Fox news dupe, happy to crawl into bed with the Russians as if some major warming in the relationship between our two countries occurred when the KGB stepped into control of Russia.

  163. It is a morally bankrupt party. No one not even McCain, has a shred of honor.

  164. While many are pessimistic about a Trump impeachment, I remain optimistic that even if impeachment isn't reached, Americans have managed to invoke the vital elements of checks and balances embedded in our constitution. We suspect treason--based on mounting evidence--and we are leaning on the lever that rejects tyranny.

  165. First off, I vote for a crippled trump. Pence and Ryan are really despicable men behind that plastic smile and quiet voice.They scare me more than trump because with their ties to and knowledge of Washington they can get things done to the determent of America.

    Second, there definitely is something here. trump surrounds himself with yes people that seemly will do anything to gain his favor. I am starting to believe one or more of them talked to Russia during the election to help trump in return for favors as president. Just look at Nunes, he destroyed his honor and reputation just to kiss up to trump!!

    I say LOCK THEM UP!! It's all SAD, VERY SAD!

  166. I am not terribly concerned about Ryan. For all of his ties and knowledge, he has shown that he is incompetent, and the right wingers will eat him up and spit him out just as they did to John Boehnor.

    Pence is a different story, altogether. Color me cynical, but I have always believed that Pence accepted to run as VP to establish national name recognition. Now, he is probably contemplating the possibility that he may be elevated to the Oval Office without having to run for the office.

  167. Charles,

    Did you begin writing your "opinion editorial' on Saturday?

    This may be the one and only time I will ever partially agree with something you have written, however not to the same extent where you wishfully draw your conclusion:

    "There is something here, but I can’t yet put my finger on what it is."

    Well the "what it is" is materializing into a "failing process" that Russian government can claim the United States governing process has become in recent years.

    The "undermining" was not of the election process but it is the challenge of the outcome, which for the most part is "homegrown".

    By most accounts, Russian government officials have acted no differently as they normally do, and normal surveillance may just acknowledge nothing different.

    Furthermore, there is one dot you fail to mention, is that of the leak of the capabilities of the US Intelligence agencies leaked by WikiLeaks. If the US really has all these capabilities, the exposure of all these capabilities is another process being undermined, which true or not still undermines the US in light of the circumstances.

  168. I am not worried about his successors. Trump has reached people who normally despise the republican party. When he goes, they lose a reason to back republicans, who keep pushing laws that hurt them.

  169. Excellent point.

  170. Additionally, if Trump falls his administration may continue but it will be fatally hobbled and ineffective. Ford could never move out of the shadow of Watergate.

  171. Coincidence? Roger Stone , infamous for his underhanded disgusting political tricks and hatchet jobs predicted that Podesta would soon have his time in the barrel, and boom the next day Gucifer leaked it for the world to see! Everything you said about Trump is true and more. He must be removed whether or not democrats and liberal causes could benefit in 2018 and 2020. THe very fabric of our nation and everything America stands for and has meant to the world is in the balance. As we implore our elected Republicans to " do the right thing" as Republicans did with Richard Nixon ( I'd take him over Trump any time} Democrats must also follow their conscience and drive this man out of office.

  172. Donald Trump can't wait to cash out big time from the fake news conspiracy theory of an alliance between Trump and Putin.

    This is why he is pushing his entire team to volunteer to cooperate with the investigation. This is unprecedented if you compare for example with Hillary Clinton's email scandal where everybody used their constitutional right to refuse testimony. And cash out he will!

  173. Quoting Mr. Blow: "Then there is the brazenly political, callously calculating school of thought — which is as dangerous as it is interesting — that holds that the severe distaste for sitting-President-Trump will likely be the best liberal motivator for success in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. Following this logic, a crippled Trump is better than a vanquished one."

    How is this any different from the carefully-cultivated, severe distaste for Hillary Clinton that motivated so many persons to hold their noses and vote for Trump?

  174. Conjecture and wishful thinking Mr. Blow. This investigation has been going on for over eight months and nothing has been found. There is more real evidence of the Clinton Russian money connection and what has been reported this weekend of the Obama administration surveillance of Trump before during and after the election than any Trump Russian connection. Without facts there is no news.

  175. Great piece and great line "The public and the press’s appetites for prurience far outweigh their appreciation of prudence."
    I wish I could put that on a bumper sticker.

  176. The more troubling issue is how many Republicans are shrugging all this off. Wasn't this the party that christened Russia "the Evil Empire" and created the Cold War? Now it's OK that Russia colluded in the election, as long as it was against Hillary Clinton? The GOP hates the Clintons more than Russia, that much is clear. It's a scary exposed fault line in what's looking more and more like a country about to blow.

  177. Mr. Blow, you appear to have omitted the deaths of 8 Russians since the November 2016 US elections:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/24/europe/dead-russians/

    We are all hoping that evidence emerges tying several of these figures financially or otherwise to the Trump administration. Certainly their deaths, in such rapid succession and concomitant with the release of intelligence data in the US showing Russian interference in our election, cannot be coincidental.

  178. Distaste for Trump serving as liberal motivator for 2018 and 2020 elections assumes that we still have elections in the traditional sense by 2020. The Trump administration is busy smashing the institutions that protect us from autocrats while the crowds cheer. Why would you assume that the 2020 election would represent free choice for the people?

  179. He is vainglorious? Vanity is a fault and according to Trump he doesn't have any faults.

  180. Coincidence? To quote Ina Fleming and Bond: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action”. And here, perhaps, we have it.

  181. Dump Trump and Dispense With Pence 2. But how I ask? Impeachment? Then you get Pence, an odious creature himself. I say play it out. Let him run the country into the ground. Sometimes you don't need to pull the rug out, just let them find the banana peals that have been dropped. Pick up the pieces and move on.

  182. To know Pence is to dislike him -- he would not have been re-elected in Indiana.

  183. Democratic votes will be needed for impeachment. That's called leverage.

  184. Politics is all about the art of survival. If Republican House members feel their chances of re-election are endangered as the mid-terms get closer, they will distance themselves from Trump as far as possible. Trump will become a lame duck by 2018.

  185. Flynn's seeming desire to "tell his story" is likely another bit of tradecraft, Russian style. Will he use his time before the committee to hand Trump a "get out of jail free card?" We don't know, but I guess we're going to find out!

  186. If Flynn were convicted, Trump could simply pardon him.

  187. Did Flynn report the Russia money on his tax return? If not likely criminal tax evasion. Lock him up.

  188. It is truly unsettling what Trump has been able to get away with since campaigning and then being elected by a minority of voters. That 90 million voters sat on the sidelines to allow this travesty of electing an unqualified person to occupy the oval office is equally concerning. The choices after a Trump impeachment or by resignation in disgrace does not offer much hope. Pence will pardon Trump as a reward.

    A Pence presidency may bring a sweeping out of a few swamp dwellers but some will no doubt remain. A Pence presidency will likely usher in a era of pious Christianity along with Ryan's Ayn Rand brand of policies on social safety nets or lack thereof.

    There is no good outcomes coming from a White House with or without Trump. We are left with Congress and the will of the people as our last line of offense or defense and that is not looking very good right now with the GOP in control the levers of government. It is unlikely that the 90 million "bench warmers" will be any help in 2018. Buckle in America its going to be a rough ride.

  189. The Dems are/were AGAINST the "will of the people" if "the people" don't live in Cali or the east coast.

  190. There are few things in this country as important as having a president who is on the up and up, who is able, and who consistently and openly focuses on the matters that are critical to the nation and the world. The distracting issues facing the Trump administration will not go away, until and unless there is good reason for them to do so.

    The manly and proper thing for Trump to do is to demand that anyone in his administration, or who served on his campaign, agree to appear before the appropriate, independent investigative bodies, without immunity, come clean under oath and face the music, whatever the tune. There is too much of what Mr. Blow could characterize as coincidence for it all to be coincidental. If Trump wants to be seen as being in charge, this would be a great way to do it.

    Trump should want this, no matter the consequences. If he's lacking in culpability, it will come out. Those who have done the wrong thing will appropriately pay the price. The damage Trump and his acolytes are doing to the country by running out the line is horrific, and if he really cared about the country, he would step up, do the right thing, and let the chips fall where they may.

    Don't hold your breath.

  191. “It is absolutely clear that the Russians did interfere in our election. This is not a debatable issue. This is not fake news. This is not a witch hunt. This happened.”
    There is no evidence whatsoever that enables Mr. Blow to make this statement, until he produces or refers to evidence then his column is a debatable issue, fake news, a witch hunt.
    Within the Presidential Election Cycle for 2016 there is evidence available of only one incident of hacking; this was of vulnerable machines during the DNC primaries that were hacked to suppress the vote of Bernie Sanders. Had that hacking not occurred Bernie Sanders would have been the Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. There is a high probability that Sanders would have beaten Trump and we would have been spared this extraordinary rupture in American Politics.
    There is no evidence that Vladimir Putin assisted the DNC to hack their own primaries.

  192. Quote from the intelligence report published in Newsweek:
    “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the report stated, adding that the U.S. intelligence community had “high confidence” in its judgments. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

  193. None so blind as those who would not see

  194. I read the intelligence Report. It contains ONLY assertions, and such nonsense as saying that Russian Media carried a programme on the 'Occupy Movement' in the USA proving that Russia does not like the USA and seeks to undermine American Democracy. I do recall BBC [a State Financed Television Station] carrying an analysis of the Occupy Movement some years ago - does that 'prove' that the UK is trying to undermine American Democracy? The Intelligence Report contains NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER!

  195. OK, the Russians did interfere in our election. Fact, not "alternative reality". General Michael Flynn has a story to tell about Trump's unknown involvement with Russia, but he wants immunity. It is also clear as swamp mud that America cannot survive a full-term Trump presidency. So what about collusion with the Russians by anyone on the Trump campaign or the Big League enchilada himself? Polls show the ultimate wished-for remedy - impeachment, ouster, removal of President Trump. And do we want Mike Pence, the religious zealot VEEP, or the weak Ayn Rand devotee, Speaker Paul Ryan, or Orrin Hatch or Rex Tillerson to climb the ladder of succession to the 46th Presidency? Conjecture won't cut the mustard. We the people must investigate and fine out what happened and who was involved over there in Putin's hegemon. Gross impropriety is the smoke, we just haven't discovered the fire. Or to put it memorably, as you have, Charles Blow - "the albino alligator pf political reality exists, but is exceedingly rare."

  196. But if Trump is impeached for election tampering in collusion with the Russians would that not also rid us of his running mate, Pence, who gained office on Trump's unraveling coat tails? But wait, perhaps Mr. Blow has a point, better we to keep those two pesky gerbils in office than to jettison the priggish Ryan wolf into the highest office in the land. Shudder, shudder, shudder.

  197. The American people deserve to know whether their president is a Russian spy. We already know Trump is a crook. The $25 million dollar settlement for students scammed by Trump "University" Brings a whole new meaning to the term The Education President Such is the Trump Effect that settling for scamming students or describing how he would grab women still yielded his election success. Apparently Putin wouldn't have it any other way.

  198. So all is fair in love and war and presidential campaigns? There is evidence that there was a quid pro quo with the Trump campaign easing a Republican party plank against Russia in return for Russian complicity in undermining not only the presidential campaign but fundamentally our democratic system. The most egregious crime is the ineptitude of a blindly egomaniacal Trump using Russian tactics to stir racial and religious hatred among Americans to divide us.

    Russia is acting to undermine the most precious and revered foundations of our country including distorting truth and undermining our faith in a free press. Trump and his campaign are dangerous dupes.

    Is it the case that we have no option to overturn an election that was stolen by Russia and a handful of self-serving billionaires? If so, then the 2018 midterm elections have taken on a profound importance. We need to save the Country and the very Constitution on which it is based.

  199. Question: if the entire Trump administration is tainted by Russian influence doesn't that prevent the normal paths of succession? Is there anything in our Constitution to support this event?

  200. A taint isn't enough to remove a president or Vice President . The Vice President would have to be impeached and convicted of their own crimes or misdemeanors

  201. Don't worry, the spin machine is working on finding/manufacturing evidence against Pence even as I type. Paul Ryan WILL become POTUS before 2018. This must be one of the largest, most elaborate good cop/bad cop routines in the world.

  202. I'm no supporter of Flynn, but his wanting immunity for testimony may have everything to do with his certain knowledge that no matter his culpability, his principal value to Trump et al. is that of scapegoat. Whatever his real role in the Russian disinformation campaign, he will not come out of this without a back-full of daggers.

  203. I would caution the press and all of us not to become too obsessed with the idea of the "smoking gun," i.e., proof of intentional collusion between Russian hackers and the Trump campaign. Of course, we need a full and impartial investigation, but it would be a mistake to conclude that in the absence of intentional meddling, the Trump campaign and administration are in the clear ethically. Russian connections are part of the complex web of business ties--some apparently nefarious--and debts of the Trump family. And building a team full of people with strong pro-Putin connections and shaping foreign policy according to what serves those business interests is a very serious problem. All of that should come to light in the investigation--and it will take some time.

  204. To unravel the "Trump Planet" financial ties to the Russian scheme...will take
    an independent investigation....and ...it is happening sooner than you think.
    Time cannot be wasted....and the coordinated intelligence bodies in the US and
    allies we will find out what a mess this is...We will succeed.....and get rid of this
    global threat to democracies ...and the reason it seems to take too long...is
    because the investigation must be thorough...this is an international effort to
    eradicate the effort by Russia to dismantle democracies everywhere...in the
    world.....I only hope that we can dismiss Trump sooner than later....and keep
    up the war against cyber malfeasance.

  205. I'm fairly certain you, the people liking this comment and the New York Times used the EXACT OPPOSITE argument when it came to all the circumstantial evidence of influence peddling that surrounded Hillary Clinton.

    For months, that's all we heard—no smoking gun, no proof of quid pro quo, no problem.

    And that really sums up this whole charade from both sides: "It's only a serious problem if the other side does it."

    You all deserve each other, but America deserves better.

  206. We are arguing with a three year old who is being encouraged by a congress so desperate to rework the country in he image and likeness of their rich overlords at it is never going to end while Trump is in office. Begin the impeachment process now. The American people don't deserve better, but the world needs better from us.

  207. It will be a mistake to give up trying to remove Trump from office because "the order of succession"could be worse. Mr.Blow's partial list of Trump's disqualifications was accurate but much too generous. He is in a league of his own in terms of the potential damage he can inflict on us and the rest of the world.
    Many Democrats made a similar mistake during the election when they were looking at what they viewed as their candidate's imperfections instead of focusing on what should have been,and still is ,the most important goal-- to make sure Donald Trump is not the president of The United States .