Let the games begin. As I write this, the world is waiting for the Tangerine Tantrum Machine to tell us all how we totally misunderstood what he said yesterday, and how strongly he shoved Putin into the corner when nobody was watching. Knowing His Lowness, he’ll probably recap his amazing electoral college win again. That seems to be the go to security blanket he likes to drag into the corner with him when he’s sent there.
As I wrote yesterday, when even loyal cheerleaders like the Drudge Report and FOX News are basically calling you what you’re so fond of grabbing, it wasn’t a very good day for you. But people who are saying that Putin was the hands down winner are not looking at the bigger picture. Because, while Putin was busy making a sock puppet out of Glorious Bleater, in the back of his mind were two words, gnawing away at him, Robert Fucking Mueller.
Without wasting 9 hours on an airplane, Robert Mueller managed to rain on both of their parades, by remote control. And just like buying a car, he did it on the installment plan. Robert Mueller was in the back of both of their minds, and I would not be at all surprised if Mueller actually took up more of their private conversation than Syria did.
For Trump, it was a twofer from hell. The fact that Rod Rosenstein gave him a heads up of almost a week, it didn’t change the facts on the ground. The indictments were too intricate, too detailed to make it possible for Trump to effectively fob it off as “FAKE NEWS!” Regardless of the actual intent of the timing, it made sure that Trump was going to have to at least put on a public face of taking Putin to task over his interference, something he was loathe to do. And nothing was more likely to ruin his weekend rounds at Turnberry than the dread words “US citizens known and unknown.” How close is Mueller getting to his actual front door. And the rotten cherry on the runny whipped cream of his sundae was the revelation of the arrest of Mariia Butina for being a foreign agent in the US. Hell, it has already been shown that Butina met with Don Jr at an NRA convention, along with her handler. And who the hell are “US Person One and US Person Two?”
And Vladimir Putin couldn’t be having a much better weekend. As I wrote over the weekend, the Mueller indictments on Friday were a direct shot across the bow of the Putinatania. I saw comments worrying that in releasing the indictments, the DOJ had risked “methods and sources.” I didn’t see any sign of that. While the indictment was surgical in what the government felt it cold prove in cort, there was next to nothing about how they obtained the information. That would only come during “discovery” in the lead up to an actual trial, which will never happen unless we get one of them into a US courtroom. How in the hell did the US intelligence community manage to mine that deeply, matching IP addresses with names? And good Lord, one of the greatest selling points for bitcoin is that it’s untraceable! How did they manage to track payments through, and even the financing of the bitcoin coffers for the operation? Putin’s biggest question is “Did they manage this magic totally through electronic means, or do they have HUMINT, a human intelligence source that is feeding them? I think that Putin’s offer of Russian support in interrogating the 12 Russians was more geared towards trying to determine US methods and sources in the investigation than nosing around for US interference in Russian politics.
And then Mueller managed to rain all over Putin’s victory lap after leading Trump around by the nose. I highly doubt that the announcement from the DOJ of the arrest of Mariia Butina as a Russian asset was even on Putin’s radar. How in the hell did the US trip her up, and how thoroughly was she penetrated. Putin is going to have somebody going over her whole file, to determine how isolated from the Trump election operation she was, and how many other “sleeper”assets was she in contact with that can also be turned? While I honestly don’t think that Putin was worried about the broad brush strokes of his interference being unearthed, hell, it was probably desirable to him that we should know that he had tinkered with our election, and saddled us with this cretin, I think he was totally unprepared for the fury of our response, and the laser like intensity with which the counter intelligence assets would go to get to the bottom of it. Some of the shine is rapidly becoming tarnished on his trophy. Because he also knows that anything we learn will be shared with our European allies, making his future meddling in their elections even harder, since they seem to take it more seriously than we do.
So, while Vladimir Putin may be basking in the glory of recreating the Howdy Doody show, with Trump on his knee, his victory may be starting to ring a bit hollow. And the best part for me, you know who else gets to do a fist pump and hiss “Yessssssss!” Peter Strzok. Pop quiz! From the spring of 2015, when they started tracking and collecting information on Mariia Bjutina, to the summer of 2016, who was the top dog in the FBI’s counter intelligence section? None other than Peter Strzok. And as damaging as that information could have been to the GOP and the NRA, not a word of it leaked. Gee, you think in his minds eye right now, Peter Strzok is serving a table occupied by Mark Meadows, Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan, and Louie Gohmert a main course of humble pie, with a side of kiss-my-ass? I just hope he’s not hoping for a very generous tip.