Putin’s Playthings

Here is Victor Davis Hanson writing at National Review about Putin’s real motivation:

Putin will do anything to advance Russia’s interests because his country is in terrible shape.

About a year ago, Donald Trump Jr. met with a mysterious Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump Jr. was purportedly eager to receive information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Veselnitskaya denies that she was working for the Kremlin to lobby for favorable Russian treatment. But in the past, Veselnitskaya has been connected with a number of Russian-related lobbying groups.

Trump Jr., for his part, proved naïve and foolish to gobble such possible setup bait. The Russians proved eager to confuse, confound, and embarrass everyone involved in the 2016 election.

This latest Trump family imbroglio piggybacks on six months of Russian collusion charges. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned less than a month into his job after being less than candid about his contacts with the Russians. Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager, had some questionable Russian business interests and resigned well before the election.

Yet several intelligence officials from the Obama administration — former CIA director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey, and former director of national intelligence James Clapper — asserted that they had found no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign to rig the election. Former FBI head Robert Mueller is now overseeing the probe into possible Russian meddling as a special counsel. There are also several other Russia-related investigations being conducted by various agencies and congressional committees.

Some members of Congress are asking why Obama-administration officials such as Brennan, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice requested surveillance files on Trump-campaign officials, may have unmasked names, and may have allowed those names to be illegally leaked to the press.

Earlier, some Republican anti-Trump operators (and later some Clinton campaign operatives) hired former British spy and opposition researcher Christopher Steele to compile a dossier on Donald Trump that would include some ludicrous Russia-related allegations. Weirder still, Steele’s firm may have had some contacts with none other than Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Read more: National Review

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