Sins of the Son, Sins of the Father
Watching the unfolding of the Trump-Russia affair has come to remind me more and more of the Red Wedding chapter from A Storm of Swords. Unlike the version filmed for Game of Thrones, where it’s a sudden shock moment, the book’s version is a slow build of mounting dread from Catelyn Stark’s perspective. She knows the wedding was a terrible idea to begin with, as it came about from their betrayal of their host, and begs her son not to go for fear of his life. They decide to attend all the same, and everything about it is a little off: the band is terrible, the food is awful, and the room is airless and joyless.
With each sentence of the chapter, she notices more and more odd details, and stranger and stranger behavior by the people in the room, as if they’re all part of some elaborate subterfuge, and taking position for it. By the time the first arrows fly, she knows it’s coming, that the father of the bride — coincidentally an aging, vindictive member of the lesser nobility with a insatiable lust for younger women — is working with the Lannisters to ambush them. The band plays The Rains of Castamere, Walder Frey Jr. draws his sword, and before Catelyn’s very eyes, the massacre begins.
To his credit, Putin is a much bigger asshole than Tywin Lannister, if not equally fond of throwing around his vast mineral wealth, but the arc of the scandal is much the same. We know that Trump’s nomination never should have happened in the first place, and the country was warned not to walk into a geopolitical slaughter by electing him; but we’re here now, being fed detail after detail of just how unsavory this story is, our dread growing with every moment.
We hear lie after lie about undisclosed meetings, and all the stories that change the moment those lies are proven false. We see more and more inexplicable support for Russian policies, rendered all the more outrageous by the contempt in which Trump holds the rest of the free world. We’ve seen independent connection after independent connection between Trump and Russia, and we know what’s coming. We’ve known all along what’s wrong here, and we see the trap laid around us. All that was left was to wait for the signal. This weekend, Donald Trump Jr. admitted that he betrayed the United States, and before our very eyes, a political massacre has begun that will civically traumatize us for generations.
First off, the facts: Donald Trump Jr., who I should mention shares a company, a name, and slightly less than half of his genetic code with the President, met with a Russian operative at Trump Tower specifically with the intent of gaining intelligence from a hostile foreign power. Since the chain of emails explicitly offering the support of the Russian government apparently wasn’t incriminating enough, he brought in Jared Kushner, another New York real estate scion whose children happen to share Don Jr.’s mitochondrial DNA; and Paul Manafort, campaign manager and friend of Moscow, who was paid vast sums of money to consult for deposed Ukranian strongman Viktor Yanukovych, yet he asked for no fee for his service to the Trump Campaign (in what could only have been a selfless act of patriotism).
Donald the Younger and his co-conspirators allege the President was never made aware of this meeting, which occurred in his building on a day when he was in New York, which involved two members of his immediate family, and which his campaign manager made time to attend in the midst of the life-destroying black hole that is running a presidential campaign. Did I mention that the Trump Organization only occupies a single floor of the building, or that Paul Manafort was actually living in Trump Tower at the time? Or that two days before the meeting was scheduled, Trump promised to drop bombshell information about Hillary Clinton’s shady dealings the following Monday? Or that ten minutes after this supposedly unproductive meeting, our future president Tweeted about Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails, revised up from the 30,000 he cited in all his previous tweets on the subject? Or that the only reason we ever talked about this chickenshit email controversy was that they were the only thing the GOP and a massive state-sponsored hacking campaign could dig up on Hillary, because she’s a public servant with a relatively clean soul?
After releasing a series of conflicting stories, that he only amended once he was caught dead-to-rights lying about knowing he was meeting with a Kremlin associate (as all remotely important Russians are, which is sort of their whole problem), Donald Trump Jr. decided to kick off the discovery phase of his trial a little early. He provided the world with the exchange in full between himself and his Putinist contacts from the Miss Universe Pageant, as if admitting to potentially criminal behavior somehow makes it legal. In fact, his attempt at “transparency” is what we would traditionally refer to as “a written admission of guilt of conspiracy to defraud the United States, with the evidence of the conspiracy enclosed therein for your viewing pleasure.”
It doesn’t matter whether he put the emails out because he was listening to the worst legal advice in history, or simply falling victim to his family’s inability to listen to legal advice despite being sued once every 17 minutes, on average, for the past 40 years. We have the son-of-a-bitch. It’s there, in writing. Unless you think journalists can outrun a massive, wide-ranging FBI investigation with subpoena and law enforcement powers, logically, we have to assume Mueller has produced even worse. All that remains is for the president to be publicly implicated, which, being a simpering, narcissistic idiot with no self-control or capacity for long-term strategic thinking, he most certainly will be. I mean, I’ve been pretty much dead-set on the idea that it’s all true for awhile now, but I never expected anything so utterly and explicitly damning as these emails to emerge. Like, I knew they were a little slow on the uptake, but good lord…
As incompetent as everyone on the American side of the conspiracy might be, I figured I could count on Russian intelligence to make up for their lack of talent as far as the cover-up goes. They have centuries of experience at subterfuge, psy-ops, and destroying democracy — Peter the Great created the world’s first secret police in Russia almost 400 years ago, to say nothing of the combined record of the Cheka, NKVD, KGB, and FSB — and they had the good sense to stage the fatal heart attack of the highest-ranking Steele Dossier source. They reserve the polonium-tipped umbrella trick for reminding their own people that they can kill them slowly and painfully anywhere on earth at any time, whereas taking out the former KGB Chief in question required a more delicate approach, accommodating the tastes of the American audience of said cover-up. Unfortunately for the Administration, Trump & Sons are way too stupid to hold up their end of the conspiracy, and their façade is crumbling like the Trump Taj Mahal. Putin always knew it would. That was the point.
As overjoyed as I am that we are finally prepping for surgery, readying ourselves to excise the metastic tumor throbbing in the White House before it kills us, we need to stay cognizant of the fact that we won’t be in remission afterwards. Tens of millions will still feel ignored by and alienated from our government, job market, and society as a whole. Our political system is riddled with dysfunction and partisanship so toxic that it made one of our political parties fall in lockstep with a traitor, and that won’t stop — conservatives will say “he was never a real conservative” before they admit to being part of the problem. Worst of all for the country, the Republican Party will continue to exist, stocked with the same crowd of government-ruining yahoos as it has for decades.
The healing process can only begin after agonizing political chemotherapy, and given the terrible trials that followed an office break-in and an act of consensual fellatio involving presidents, the ordeal of de-Russification will test us as a people nearly as much as the administration itself has (though the destruction of American foreign policy will thankfully be in the rearview). A third of the country is still living in a media universe that reinforces their denial, which I would be too if I stuck with a corrupt traitor for this long. Bill Cosby is up to 15 accusers, and they’re still buying tickets to his shows.
I mention Mr. Jello for a reason — once he rounded about 30 victims, all telling the same story, America did fully turn on him, as did everyone who ever admired him. Dave Chappelle, who has famously gone on at length about how he never believes black celebrities are guilty of anything, tore his former hero apart in his recent Netflix special (the good one). Whoopi Goldberg stopped going to bat for him. My black Facebook friends stopped posting about giving him the benefit of the doubt, apart from this one former co-worker who thinks he’s proving a point.
I hope that when all the information comes out, including his tax returns and the shell corporations they lead to, Trump is so insanely guilty of every charge that his allies have no choice but penitence and humility. He has to be so emolumented, micturated, and treasonous that the sinners repent for their willful blindness to his civic apostasy. He has to be so guilty that he even loses the voters who only ever liked him for hating Mexicans and Muslims as much as they do. This letter is a promising start to that effect, but if Director Mueller only finds the bare minimum of evidence to toss his vast ass out of office, or leaves any ambiguity about the degree of Trump’s malfeasance, then American Conservatives will make more of their weaksauce excuses to reinforce their sense of grievance and “oppression,” and they’ll never get their asses on the road to Damascus.
Going back to my show, the Lannisters knocked off all of their enemies through treachery, assassination, and blasphemy against the most sacred laws of their country. They set loose vicious mercenaries on their people, killed the clergy, and burned down half the kingdom. They were utterly ruthless and did whatever it took to win, and win they did, but the people of the Seven Kingdoms were pious, and they believed in the laws of Gods and Men. From Dorne to the North, every corner of the Seven Kingdoms rose up against the Lannisters’ sacrilege and took them off the throne — well, strictly speaking, that hasn’t happened yet, on the show or the books. But I’m sure it will happen, just as I’m sure the people of America, whose sacred traditions have been violated every which way by our unworthy, foreign rulers, will rise up to put the Starks and Targaryens back in their rightful place, as it was in the days when George Washington first came to Westeros. Winter is Coming, you fat fuck, and it’s coming with Fire & Blood.