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It's difficult to discuss these things without sounding conspiratorial and more than a little paranoid, but the facts are the facts. Based on volumes of published reports so far, and on top of warnings from lawmakers with a heavy presence in national security (McCain, Graham, Feinstein, etc), it's becoming increasingly obvious that several of President Trump's top advisers, and perhaps Trump himself, colluded with Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence and Wikileaks to hijack the 2016 campaign.

But that's only one harrowing trespass in a long sequence of events out of Moscow, collectively painting a horrifying portrait of a Russian kleptocracy with, naturally, Putin at the helm.

And yet, Trump and his disciples remain proudly loyal to Putin, further proving the allegations might be true. After all, if Russia has compromising information on Trump, known in Russian as "kompromat," it only makes sense that Trump would scramble to the defense of Putin. It also makes sense from a purely Trumpian point of view: specifically, if Trump thinks the Russia story is a favorite story of his enemies -- the Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans -- his natural inclination is to believe the opposite. If his enemies believe it, then it must not be true. It can't be.

Joining Trump's loyalty to Putin is a group of leftists, dubbed "alt-left" or "left-libertarians," who believe the rest of us are engaged in a form of neo-McCarthyism. Candidate-for-life, Jill Stein, appears to be at the vanguard of this movement of leftists who've taken to defending Russia while indicting anyone who questions Moscow's involvement in our election. Stein has, of course, dined with Putin in Moscow, and she continues to post favorable remarks about Russia. For example:

Elsewhere, intrepid reporter for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, routinely questions the veracity of the Russia story, while shrugging off the despotism emerging from Moscow in recent years with vague, throwaway acknowledgments. The overall effect would make Kellyanne Conway proud. The goal seems to be to inject reasonable doubt into the conversation -- just enough to undermine public interest in the story. If true, it's torn directly from the Conway playbook. 

Oddly, the entire collection of lefty bloggers and reporters orbiting Edward Snowden have cast doubt into the debate about whether Putin is up to no good. Shocker, given how Snowden was mysteriously shuttled from China, via a support staff of Wikileaks lawyers, to Moscow where he lives today as a guest of Putin -- complete with FSB (formerly KGB) lawyers at his disposal, including former FSB lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.

It defies logic to hear anyone from the West defending Putin's Russia, given what we know. And that includes this news: over the weekend, the apparently benevolent, pro-Snowden Russian parliament voted almost unanimously, 380-3, to decriminalize domestic violence. It seems wife-beaters and child-abusers are being somehow unfairly persecuted. USA Today reported:

The move, which eliminates criminal liability in such cases, makes a violation punishable by a fine of roughly $500, or a 15-day arrest, provided there is no repeat within 12 months.

The bill now goes to the rubber-stamp upper chamber, where no opposition is expected. It then must be signed by President , who has signaled his support.

Kremlin spokesperson told journalists that family conflicts do "not necessarily constitute domestic violence."

Trump apparently spoke with Putin on Saturday. I'd bet a month's salary the domestic violence decriminalization wasn't discussed, nor is Trump even privy to the vote. We also heard that the hacking of the election wasn't discussed. What a surprise.

Meanwhile, an FSB agent with links to the hacking operation and, possibly, the U.S. intelligence community was disappeared back in December. While attending a meeting, goons rushed in, tossed a black bag over the head of Sergei Mikhailov then whisked him away. One of several possibilities here. First, Mikhailov is reportedly one of the officials in charge of the hacking operation and was arrested perhaps as a means of showing the U.S. that Russia is cracking down. Second, it's possible that Trump's advisers ratted out Mikhailov in order to shuffle him away from, say, reporters looking to break some huge news. Or, maybe the Trump administration learned that Mikhailov was collaborating with U.S. intelligence agencies, leaking information about the hacking -- information that'd directly implicate Trump. Maybe something from the golden showers dossier. Seems like it'd be in Trump's best interest to have Mikhailov shuffled off to Siberia. Or worse. We just don't know.

And then we learned about this:

An ex-KGB chief suspected of helping the former MI6 spy Christopher Steele to compile his dossier on Donald Trump may have been murdered by the Kremlin and his death covered up. it has been claimed.

Oleg Erovinkin, a former general in the KGB and its successor the FSB, was found dead in the back of his car in Moscow on Boxing Day in mysterious circumstances.

Again, it's difficult to know for sure, but it sounds plausible, doesn't it? It seems like Putin would have an intense interest in disconnecting the hops between Moscow and Mar-a-lago. And this guy, Erovinkin, could be linked to the pee-pee tape.

I'll come right out and say it. Shame on anyone who soft-pedals on Russia, especially our delusional president. I'm nowhere near beating the war drums here, but let's not be naive about Putin or what he's capable of. If the reports end up being corroborated with further evidence, we'll know with more than enough certainty that he disrupted our election in order to install Trump in the White House. This should be enough to both indict Putin and Trump while seriously questioning the linkage of certain powerful Americans to the Putin regime.