The Trump “Campaign” and Papadopolous

What campaign? Trump never had a political campaign in the conventional sense, unless I’m missing something. Mostly, he got up in the morning in Manhattan, tweeted, watched some Fox, took his jet to some rally to juice his white-identity base, hustled back to his jet, flew back to Manhattan, watched some Fox, maybe tweeted, and went to bed.

During the “campaign,” reporters pressed Trump to provide the names of folks advising him on foreign policy. So he came up with a list in March of last year. A Politico story on the list carried the headline “Trump’s foreign policy team baffles GOP experts” and the subhead “Republicans can’t figure out the mogul’s quirky mix of advisers.”

George Papadopolous, who now has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is thought to have been wearing a wire recently to aid the Mueller investigation, was one of the names on the list. The Politico story described Papadopolous as “a 2009 college graduate and an international energy lawyer” who previously had advised Ben Carson’s campaign. The publication resorted to Papadopolous’s LinkedIn page to flesh out the rest of his thin résumé.

Given what we know now, all too well, about Trump’s Modus Operandi, it’s plausible at least that he ordered somebody to gin up a list of foreign policy advisors so he’d have something to hand out, that he knew little or nothing about Papadopolous, and that he considered the list a prop in his act rather than a serious document.

The questions I have at this point include (1) who put the list together, (2) how did this person know Papadopolous, (3) why was Papadopolous included on the list, and (4) what was the precise nature of Papadopolous’s involvement as a foreign policy advisor after his name appeared on the list, beyond what we already know?

On the question of who put the list together, we have this:

According to two knowledgeable Team Trump sources, the insurgent GOP campaign was scrambling to compile a legitimate list of foreign policy advisers to Trump in early 2016, when people in media and political circles kept pressuring the campaign to release one. [Sam] Clovis, then a top Trump policy adviser, slapped together a roster that Trump could read in an attempt to “at least shut up” the critics, according to one Trump campaign veteran.

— Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Sam Stein, The Rise of a Trump Adviser Who May Kill Trump’s Presidency, Daily Beast, November 1, 2017.

The Papadopoulis Plea

A professor with close ties to the Russian government told an adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in April 2016 that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to court documents unsealed Monday.

The adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about that conversation. The plea represents the most explicit evidence connecting the Trump campaign to the Russian government’s meddling in last year’s election.

New York Times, October 30, 2017.

The Bipartisan Conspiracy of Silence

The Hill leadership on both sides of the aisle, their willful deafness to calls for impeachment quite palpable, must have concluded that the country is going to be okay until early 2019, when the outcome of the 2018 election either has extended the GOP stranglehold on power or has made Nancy Pelosi Speaker again and maybe handed the Democrats a Senate majority.

Between now and the election, Trump will continue to be Trump. The Hill GOP will be interested only in tax cuts. The Hill Democrats will moan about this or that, but do nothing, figuring Trump is destroying the electoral prospects of the GOP.

So, the betting is that the generals will keep Trump from doing anything really stupid internationally, and anything he does domestically can be fixed later.

And if Mueller and his Untouchables come up with something that can’t be ignored, so be it.

That’s the pathetic truth, my fellow Americans. There is no real prospect of salvation for quite awhile. Time to find a good therapist.