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Hullabaloo


Friday, November 03, 2017

 

Where's the MacGuffin?

by Tom Sullivan


Roger Thornhill: I see you've got the pumpkin.

Computer break-ins, stolen emails, troll farms, Russian mobsters, money laundering, and a foreign intelligence service.

It goes on: shady wire transfers, a mysterious professor, multiple passports, perjury by government officials, an eastern European model, and a grandiose madman with nuclear launch codes.

Surely, there is a MacGuffin in there somewhere.

Even if the plot is already wildly implausible, someday it's going to make a terrific thriller with an all-star cast. If we survive the reality. If truth survives the propaganda.

But let's look at a few headlines driving the plot this morning:

Russia probes spotlight 'deniable' Kremlin intelligence tactic

Current and former U.S. officials say the Trump-Russia case is spotlighting the way Russia’s intelligence services rely on a worldwide network of shadowy figures — some undercover agents, others paid accomplices in fields like academia, activism and even journalism — to infiltrate and influence western politics and government.

Trump and Sessions Denied Knowing About Russian Contacts. Records Suggest Otherwise.

For months, journalists have revealed evidence that associates of Mr. Trump met with Russians during the campaign and the presidential transition. But the court documents represent the first concrete evidence that Mr. Trump was personally told about ties between a campaign adviser and Russian officials.

Exclusive: Carter Page testifies he told Sessions about Russia trip

During more than six hours of closed-door testimony, Page said that he informed Sessions about his coming July 2016 trip to Russia, which Page told CNN was unconnected to his campaign role. Page described the conversation to CNN after he finished talking to the House intelligence committee.

Sessions' discussion with Page will fuel further scrutiny about what the attorney general knew about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia — and communications about Russia that he did not disclose despite a persistent line of questioning in three separate hearings this year.

Franken Blasts Sessions: Papadopoulos Docs Show ‘You Failed To Tell The Truth’

“Once again, developments in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election have brought to light evidence that you failed to tell the truth about your interactions with Russian operatives during the campaign, as well as your awareness of Russian contacts by other members of the Trump campaign team,” Franken wrote.

He called it “another example in an alarming pattern” in which Sessions “apparently failed to tell the truth, under oath, about the Trump team’s contacts with agents of Russia—a hostile foreign power that interfered in the 2016 election.

Finally, artist Amy Finkel decided to celebrate Halloween by carving a pumpkin in the likeness of special prosecutor Robert Mueller and leaving it outside Paul Manafort's townhouse in Manhattan. But someone else had commemorated the address before her :
When she arrived, Finkel said a plaque was already there, which read "The House That Brought Down a President." "377 Union Street will forever be known as the building that lead (sic) to the collapse of the presidency of Donald J. Trump," the plaque read.

Finkel's creation makes a great place for hiding government documents, and it's a good likeness. Except the color reminds me of someone else.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.