But post-Helsinki, Trump has delivered nothing short of a Putin wish list of objectives that is shaking this nation to its core. The government shutdown, stretching an agonizing 35 days, crippled the federal government—destroying FBI investigations designed to protect the nation from our enemies, stoking chaos among Americans who couldn’t pay their bills or get the services they needed, and wreaking havoc on the basic safety functions provided by federal employees like air traffic controllers. A foreign adversary couldn’t possibly dream up a more demoralizing and debilitating episode for a long-time foe.
So yeah, that along with Trump’s insistence on spiting all our decades-long Western allies, forcing out a totally competent Defense Secretary through a Syria troop withdrawal that benefits Russia, lifting sanctions on one of Putin’s biggest allies, and ripping up our multilateral trade agreements in favor of nominally different, inferior, or even non-existent ones—boggles the mind, to say the least. And then we find out there’s no documentation of Trump’s conversations with Putin because Trump actually confiscated the ones that existed, among other things.
Just imagine—if you were compromised by Russia, what do you think you might be ordered to do as president? Exactly what Trump has been doing and no one seems to be able to stop.
So the idea that impeachment could be tied to something concrete like suborning perjury was a respite. It put a momentary fine point on a swirl of disorienting questions that Americans are still waiting with bated breath for Robert Mueller to clear up.
Whereas the Buzzfeed story that Mueller dashed hinged on the notion that Trump “directed” Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, the Stone indictment teases us with the allegation that a senior Trump campaign official “was directed” to contact Stone about future Wikileaks releases. So who had the power to order around a “senior” campaign official? Again, we are left with more questions than answers.
In the meantime, despite Trump’s cave on Friday, he’s still a mad man who’s threatening to go nuclear all over again in three weeks if he doesn’t get his border wall money. Thank goddess, Nancy Pelosi is holding the gavel at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue because the thought of Kevin McCarthy running the show is nothing short of frightening. Nonetheless, the country needs answers and frankly deserves clarity sooner rather than later on whether we are all living under Putin’s thumb.