Today was a watershed day in the RussiaGate scandal, and to quote The Carpenters, "we've only just begun."
Former Donald Trump Presidential campaign chair Paul Manafort and former Trump Foreign Policy Adviser Rick Gates became the first individuals charged with allegedly colluding with the Russians to steal the 2016 Presidential election.
Additionally, Trump Adviser ("an excellent guy" according to Trump) George Papadopoulos reached a plea agreement, and he's reportedly actively cooperating with the Robert Mueller investigation. "Mueller Time" is going to continue well into 2018, and likely even longer than that.
Mueller, in order to do his job correctly, has to really be extremely detailed at every single step of this investigation. Additionally, RussiaGate is very complicated. There is no line item in Trump's still unreleased tax returns that reads "Russian Criminal Collusion."
Today was the polar opposite of a slow news day, and we have plenty more to come.
As Sir Winston Churchill said:
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Now RussiaGate is intricate, and it can be tedious and dull at times, so here's a short list of links to make it more user friendly. Humor is definitely required in this situation, so we made sure to employ plenty of it.
1. The Washington Post has a fantastic interactive flow chart that makes this about as simple as it can possibly be...without the diagram degenerating into high strung conspiracy theorist guy meme.
2. Real Time with Bill Maher did a chart as well, but this one is accessible via video, more humorous, and somewhat NSFW. Instead of being done in a corporate presentation style, the theme here is cop show, or mystery crime film.
3. Russia is waging cyber warfare on America right now. For a brief synopsis of what Vladimir Putin's troll army and bots have been up to, we stay with Real Time. This is a great quick clip on social media and its toxic effects.
Maher points out the bastardization of the word "share" today, and it's the plain truth. It's also long overdue that someone finally said this.
Every journalist gets dozens of pointless, inane email pitches every single work day from publicists asking them "can you SHARE this with your readers?"
What they really mean is "can you spam your readership by publicizing our brand, and we give you nothing in return for doing so?"
4. Next we turn to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, for a very thoroughly thought out, and well researched desk piece on Vladimir Putin. Not to make a federal case out of the ex-KGB operative, but well the United States D.O.J. is literally putting together a federal case about what his minions did to undermine our democracy.
If you want to know who Putin really and what he's about, watch below:
5. Sticking with Last Week Tonight, all of Oliver's main feature stories end with a fun parody, usually a song.
"A Man Like Putin" is a brief take-off the techno pop propaganda song "Must Be Like Putin," have a look and a listen: (it's an AWFUL song, but it's also AWFULLY catchy!)
6. Now that you know why Putin is the way that he is, what explains his bitter, destructive agenda against America? One commonly held theory says that he wants everyday life in America to degenerate into what everyday life in Russia is like.
For a very short, comical take on that, we turn to Jon Stewart, and a segment on life with a Russian dash cam video:
Links 7-10. The Sleeper, Under the Radar Connections between Putin and Trump: Roman Abramovich and Jared Kushner.
Jared Kushner has been hailed as the true architect of the Trump presidential campaign success, and he literally is as close as you can possibly get to the president. He's also very close to an extremely wealthy and powerful Russian oligarch, one who is extremely tight with Putin.
Thus, you can pretty easily draw a straight line here.
That Russian oligarch is Chelsea FC Owner Roman Abramovich, and in March news broke that he was in Colorado the same exact day as Kushner. It turns out the two men are pretty tight, I believe "BFFs" is what kids these days would say about it, and that Ivanka Trump is also very close friends with Abramovich's wife (now soon-to-be ex wife), Dasha Zhukova.
Abramovich, the world's 139th richest man according to Forbes, is notoriously recluse and secretive. He doesn't do interviews, and naturally, we did not approach him with an interview request for this piece.
"We know that Jared has been close with other Russian billionaires and oligarchs. Roman Abramovich is one of his best friends. His wife, in fact was Jared and Ivanka's guest at the inauguration."
"Unlike in the U.S. and with businessman in the U.S. every single oligarch in Russia has connection to one person, and that's Vladimir Putin."
We hope all of these RussiaGate links, (articles, audio, video etc.) help you to understand the whole situation better. Hopefully, Mueller gets the final piece of the RussiaGate puzzle in place shortly.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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