In case you've been avoiding Fox News Channel and the Red Hats, here's what they're saying about this week's historic events. They're saying it's all a big nothingburger, just like always. Specifically, we learned this week that, yes, Donald Trump secretly worked on a deal to build "Trump Tower Moscow," the would-be tallest building in Russia, and he was working on this project during the 2016 presidential campaign.
If you take out "secretly" and look at the existence of the project by itself, sure, I guess you could call it a nothingburger. But looking at the project within the context of everything else circulating through the Trump-Russia story, it's anything but a goddamn nothingburger.
The last thing I want to do is to invite trolls to park themselves here, but nevertheless, I have some questions for the nothingburger crowd. Here goes nothing... burger...
1) Why did the Trumps repeatedly lie about cutting a deal in Russia if the deal was such a nothingburger? For example:
2) Donald Trump told reporters that he discussed the project many times during the campaign. He repeated this claim in a tweet on Friday.
Here's the challenge for the Red Hats on this one: find me just one example -- video, text, or otherwise -- in which Trump discussed the Trump Tower Moscow deal during the campaign. Go.
3) Do you realize that the financing for the Moscow project was provided by VTB, a Russian bank controlled by the Kremlin? Do you know that VTB has been sanctioned by the U.S. making it illegal for Americans to do business with it?
4) Do you understand that the Trump Organization broke the law by engaging VTB while it was under sanction?
5) Do you understand how the very existence of a deal, even if it's dead now, is a massive conflict of interest for Trump? Do you understand that Trump is compromised by this deal? Do you grasp the easy-to-understand reality that in order secure financing from VTB, the Trump Organization and perhaps Trump himself had to furnish extensive financial disclosure documents well beyond the application process for a simple consumer mortgage? Do you understand, therefore, that if Trump doesn't do what the Kremlin wants him to do, such as lifting sanctions or acquiescing on Ukraine, etc, that Putin could threaten to -- whoops! -- accidentally leak some of Trump's financials, embarrassing him if not incriminating him in, say, financial fraud?
6) Do you understand that Trump was doing a deal with Russia through June of 2016, while Russia was engaged in a military intelligence cyberattack against the United States?
7) Let's say I wanted to build an Obama monument in my town square, and while I was struggling to get the correct documents filed and approved, I offered to build the city zoning commissioner a free statue of himself to be placed next to the Obama statue. Would you consider this a bribe? If so, would you consider the offer to build a $50 million penthouse for Vladimir Putin inside Trump Tower Moscow to also be a bribe?
8) Do you think it's odd that Trump accused Michael Cohen of lying about Trump Tower Moscow, then, seconds later, Trump confessed to wanting to build Trump Tower Moscow?
9) Pee-tape aside, name one thing in the Steele Dossier that's been factually debunked.
10) Do you think it's a coincidence that Don Junior, Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner met with Russian operatives to receive dirt on Hillary Clinton (Trump himself admitted to this) while the Trump Organization was working on Trump Tower Moscow?
BONUS QUESTION: Can I sell you some robot insurance? If you believe Trump on this, you'll believe anything.
Seriously, if you're a Trump supporter and you still think this is all a big nothingburger, you've been indoctrinated into a cult, blinding you to reality. Seek help.
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