Josh Marshall gets it:
“…throughout 2016 Trump was trying to finalize a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow from which he believed he’d reap hundreds of millions in profits over the coming years.
Again, whether and how he lied about it is legally interesting. But that’s the cover-up rather than the thing itself. That deal was with sanctioned individuals and sanctioned banks. Whether it was even legal to be entering into the negotiations is not clear to me. But certainly the post-2014 sanctions against Russia had to be lifted before the deal could be finalized. That is the central issue. It’s not simply that Trump had “business” with Russia and deceived the public about it during the campaign and after. It’s more specific and direct. Why was Trump so solicitous of Russia and Vladimir Putin during the campaign? Well, a lot of possible reasons. But a major and likely the major reason was because Putin was dangling a multi-hundreds of millions of dollars payday in front of him. That’s a big incentive, especially for Donald Trump.
To get that money, Trump had to court Putin and he’d eventually need to lift sanctions against him.”
And this all makes perfect sense if you assume that they believed they would lose the election. In fact, Trump has explicitly told us as much. His words, from back on November 29, 2018:
we were very open with it. We were thinking about building a building. I guess we had — in a form, it was an option. I don’t know what you’d call it. We decided — I decided ultimately not to do it. There would have been nothing wrong if I did do it. If I did do it, there would have been nothing wrong. That was my business.
I was running my business while I was campaigning. There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gotten back into the business. And why should I lose lots of opportunities?
He was just keeping his options open, after all. Who among us hasn’t negotiated with sanctioned individuals to conduct a real estate deal in a country also sanctioned for, among other things, seeking to undermine our electoral opponents during that very same election in which we were running. It’s all so commonplace and within the bounds of normal political behavior. You see it every day, am I right?!?
I get it. The ins and outs of this scandal are incredibly complicated, so much so that most people just have no way to keep up without make sense of it all. But if you do, it’s all there ain’t as day:
Trump was happy to have Putin muck about in our election, so long as in the end he got his real estate deal. He never thought he would win. It was never about that. And then he did, and he was screwed. He almost had no choice by to try to cover it up. But then it turned out he wasn’t the only grifter at the top of the food chain; Gen. Flynn, among others, went and screwed the whole thing up. And so here we are.
It’s like 2006 all over again. If you’re paying attention, the war has already been lost. Most people aren’t. Most people are only just about to figure it out. And when they do, they’ll try to pretend like they never supported the damn thing in the first place.
Don’t. Let. Them. Get. Away. With. It. This. Time.