Day -9: Donald Trump Is Melting Down

Allegations of Russians blackmailing Trump and undermining U.S. democracy leads president-elect to attack everyone except Russia

Yesterday, CNN reported that top U.S. intelligence chiefs informed both Barack Obama and Donald Trump about allegations of a continuing exchange of information between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government during the campaign.

Furthermore, they informed Obama and Trump that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, that could be used to blackmail him (if not done so already).

Later last night, Buzzfeed published what many or all of those allegations are in a 35-page unverified dossier allegedly compiled by a former British intelligence officer, and possibly passed up the chain by John McCain. (Many members of the vocal right and alt-right are proclaiming this information originated on an internet message board and is a hoax, ignoring the fact that intelligence agencies, including the CIA, have investigated the dossier’s claims, and it seems highly unlikely that that a message board hoax is the source.)

The details in the dossier are incredibly scary and salacious, with references to large-scale attempts by the Russians to effect our national campaign in an effort to systematically undermine the U.S.’s democracy.

Among the allegations:

  • Trump’s top adviser or advisers, including his attorney, secretly met with top Russian officials numerous times during the campaign and discussed strategies to help Trump get elected and the effect on and for Russia;
  • Trump watched or engaged in sexual acts with prostitutes while in Moscow that involving urination on one another; these acts are allegedly on audio and/or video;
  • That Russia was feeding information directly to Wikileaks regarding Hillary Clinton; and
  • A regular exchange of information between the Kremlin and Trump for nearly a decade.

Trump, obviously did not take this information well, blasting out the following tweet last night:

Trump’s lawyer claimed he had never been where the dossier claimed, and as proof tweeted out a picture of the front of his passport, for some reason.

As is typical with Trump, the real string of tweets came this morning.

He actually went with, ‘Russia denies it, so they must be telling the truth’ defense.

This was the same argument as his ‘Julian Assange denies Russia was involved, so he must be telling the truth’ defense about Wikileaks’ sources.

Trump denied having anything to do with Russia and denied that they have any leverage on him before again railing against fake news.

To be clear, there is an important distinction between “fake news” and “unverified dossier contents.” The latter, in this case, is simply intelligence that has not been vetted entirely, but information that the intelligence agencies have put enough stock in and have investigated to brief both the president and president-elect about directly.

Fake news, meanwhile, are completely made up fiction, such as, “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President,” or “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead of Apparent Murder-Suicide.”

While the former calls into question the journalistic ethics of premature publishing without full confirmation of details, the latter is destined entirely to fool and mislead with false information.

Trump, again butchering basic grammatical rules and apparently totally whiffing on the irony of the urination allegations (and for some unknown reason invoking Nazi Germany) ended his morning tweetstorm with:

The man is totally unhinged.

This is not a normal way to handle allegations as serious as the ones in the dossier.

Is this the beginning of the end for Trump, or just another speed bump that gets forgotten by next week?

-9 days in, 1470 to go


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