Hey, Russia, If You’re Listening…

How much treason does a traitor have to commit before our news media finally deigns it “treasonous”? Maybe a better question is “how much treason do they have to describe before they finally accept their own reporting as true”? One of the truly confounding things about Donald Trump and his assault on our body politic is the extent to which that assault has happened right out in the open. Trump is beyond “brazen”. He’s convinced that he’ll get away with it – whatever “it” is. That includes treason.

When Donald Trump brayed “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening…!” on July 27, 2016 (as the newly minted Republican Nominee for the office of President), he was committing treason in public. He knew it and so did the entire Republican Party leadership who’d all agreed to keep it a secret that “Putin pays [Rohrbacher and] Trump – swear to God!”

Perversely, Trump has been everything we thought he was and nothing we thought he was. A con man, absolutely! A corrupt-to-his-mitochondria pawn of a hostile foreign government? That’s a little too Jean Le Carre for a general audience. Can’t we “James Bond” it up a little? But, Le Carre’s spy world is far closer to the real spy world than Bond’s ever could be (with the exception of Vladimir Putin who seems to be auditioning for the Ernst Bloefeld role in the eventual Bond reboot).

Trump has broken the rules in such a way that they might never be satisfactorily repaired ever again. He’s a lifelong criminal – but a glorified petty criminal. The Trump Company is no more than a glorified mom-n-pop money laundering shop. But for Vladimir Putin’s active involvement in changing the outcome of election 2016, Trump would never have been POTUS. The Republican leadership knew even before they nominated Trump that Putin owned him. “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” is how current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it upon entering a meeting of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016.

No one at the meeting questioned McCarthy or his assertion. Rather, they all accepted it and agreed to keep this terrible secret to themselves. As then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan put it, “That’s how we know we’re family.”

The Republican leadership KNEW that keeping their terrible secret about Trump’s corruption – its utter “treasonosity” – was essential to “winning” the election in 2016 (though cheating to win should never be considered “winning”). Trump’s corruption was their corruption. How many of them, we need to know now, have actually accepted money from either Putin or one of Putin’s oligarch minions? How many knowingly accepted money from “legal” Russians whose money they knew was “less” legal? How many obligated themselves in ways that later pitted them directly against the oath they took to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign – like Russia – and domestic – like themselves?

The entire GOP leadership knew that when Trump brayed “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening…!” that he was braying directly at Vladimir Putin – a man to whom he owed a debt. Correction – a hostile (to America’s interests) foreign leader to whom Trump showed and owed an obligation of criminal feudal loyalty.

Unfortunately for Trump, yesterday’s strange behavior toward a hostile foreign leader is today’s overt act of treason. It’s all about perception. And overt acts of war. Behaviors that used to be perceived as “Trump’s just a different kind of politician” or “Putin’s just being hostile toward democracy” are now more accurately seen for what they are – part of a combined effort by the far right powers to permanently gut liberal democracy and force human beings to live in a permanent authoritarian shithole.

Good thing those those plans came up short when Vlad Putin invaded Ukraine. I’m out on a limb here but I feel pretty confident I’ll defy gravity and find my way to the top of this tree. The one big question mark is why now? What was happening right now that compelled Putin to not just run ahead of himself but outright sprint?

Invading Ukraine is a military cockup of the highest order. And it never should have been. He must have sensed that whatever highwater mark he was going to achieve with his “Donald Trump” project, he’d achieved it. The wheels aren’t just coming off that shit wagon, they’re flying off! Adjudging treason is way easier in “bombs n bullets’ wars than in cyber wars. It gets easier still when one of the guys waging war with bombs and bullets is a stone cold war criminal, too.

Hey, Russia, if you’re listening – thank you!

I mean that, Vlad – thank you for making the biggest mistake of your life! Ukraine will never be the same. Victims of war crime never are. That’s 41.46 million tragedies – that’s how many Ukrainians there are in Ukraine.

By making himself a war criminal in the world’s eyes, Putin made himself – and anything he’s done to get here – completely indefensible. Want to know who’s friends with a war criminal? If his friends have any sense, no one! But then we’re talking Republicans and Republicans have no sense. That’s why so many of them were so slow to reverse course on their embrace of Putin over Ukraine. That club sure got small in a hurry, didn’t it? Even Trump has had to say a nice thing or two about Ukraine (while also insisting Putin was a genius for invading it).

Prior to the social media tsunami of brutalized Ukrainian women and children flooding our devices and emotions, Putin apologists still put their heads up where they could be fired at. Now they know better. There’s simply no standing with a war criminal. No liking the good bits and hating the bad like some Republicans did with Trump. Being a war criminal makes everything you do bad just because it’s you doing it. And shooting wars make it easier for the slow of mind to figure out who the traitors are.

The insurrectionists know the end is near for them. When the investigation pierces the veil of Congressional involvement via indictments, the rats will begin flipping en masse. We already understand the insurrection as treasonous. But, when we get an even fuller picture of how it all came together and nearly succeeded, we’re going to see clearly that Russia was one of the players. At the very least, Russia helped pay for – and why wouldn’t they? Consider the totality of their investment up to that point. Compared to a military campaign, putting Trump in the White House was relatively simple. All the Kremlin had to do was feed disinformation into the marketplace while it sunk its hooks ever deeper into Trump’s pasty white flesh.

Now that Putin’s THE internationally accepted icon for pure evil, everyone in the Republican Party who’s bonded with him has a perception problem. And a legal problem, too. Those Republicans who, like Trump, took money from Putin need to explain what their patron was obligating them to do. Considering Putin’s clearly stated intention to undermine our country, whatever it was was treasonous.

“Hey, Russia, if you’re listening — enough already!”

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