Yesterday a Washington Post story sketched the muddled background: In a post-election meeting of Trump-son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump-emotional-doppelgänger Michael Flynn and Putin-mouthpiece Sergey Kislyak, the creation of a Trump-Putin backchannel housed in the Russian embassy and designed to evade U.S. intelligence services was discussed.
Reuters' subsequent story then reported — 18 paragraphs in — what seems to be a clarifying forefront: "FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump.... The head of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank [which is under U.S. sanctions], Sergei Nikolaevich Gorkov, a trained intelligence officer whom Putin appointed, met Kushner at Trump Tower in December."
Simple greed and byzantine financing — the two hallmarks of a Trump empire too sleazy for Wall Street. It is said that Trump sees every relationship as transactional, and what typically Trumpian and thus sleazier transaction than selling out American democracy in exchange for convertible Russian rubles?
This president never expected to win the White House, and neither, I'm sure, did Russia's president ever expect the unfolding of such an epic tragicomedy. But there would be rewards for a Trump campaign cooperating with Russian intelligence in the pursuit of corrupting our electoral process and undermining confidence in the incoming Clinton administration. The fix, as they say, was in. Trump going on to shockingly win the White House was but icing on the kekc. There would be no Clinton administration, American democracy had indeed been sabotaged, and Trump's empire and Russia's money would come to its understanding — on an even cozier level. Kushner could not wait to verbally draft the sinister contract.
Was Trump personally involved in all the details of this assorted perfidy? I doubt it. As the New Yorker's Adam Davison wrote two weeks ago: "I spoke recently to a longtime business associate of Donald Trump, and asked his thoughts about the various investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. He laughed and said that there is no way Trump could have been part of such a conspiracy. 'He couldn’t sit through the meeting,' the associate said." A Trumpian order for a loose "understanding," however, is an altogether different matter. Because Trump is so seedily greedy and necessarily fond of byzantine financing, one can easily imagine such an amorphous Trumpian diktat.
It makes sense. Indeed the mysterious backchannel and FBI investigation into the Kushner-Gorkov meeting about possible tits for tats only make sense if one thinks on Trump's endlessly unscrupulous level and bores into his limitless, transactional greed. Whether it was through the presidency or merely his campaign for it, Trump would secure a monied payoff. It's who he is. It is all he is.