Trump/Russia, the latest

I wanted to write a little wrap-up of the Trump/Russia news last week, as things got really interesting with the Mueller indictments, and more importantly, the plea deal reached with Trump senior foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos. And, don’t forget the hugely important elections in Virginia on Tuesday, tomorrow. We’ll discuss those two.

RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA

I did a podcast last Monday about the Mueller indictments and what they mean, and decided to write a longer story about it as well. And then we did another podcast last Friday, delving more deeply into where things stood by the end of the week (you can hear a 7-minute snippet of that discussion here, and to hear the entire hour, please subscribe to our premium podcast for $5/month or greater).

And if anyone is worried about how podcasts work, it’s easy. Just visit the link above, and click the orange arrow to start listening to the episode. It’s that simple. You can also listen to both podcast below, just click the orange arrow.

Here’s Friday’s episode:

And here’s last Monday’s:

In a nutshell, the Mueller indictments and plea deal helped the story grow, a lot, this week. Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions had claimed, under oath, repeatedly, that he had no knowledge of any Trump campaign officials having any contacts with Russians. Trump and other top officials have claimed the same. In fact, Papadopoulos suggested in a March 26, 2016 meeting, with Sessions and Trump in attendance, that Trump meet with Putin. According to another witness at the meeting, Sessions shot down the idea while Trump listened intently. So both men were aware of contacts, and lied.

And Trump, who just one week ago claimed he has one of the best memories in all of history, is now saying he can’t remember anything about that March 26th meeting, other than that there was “no collusion.” But if Trump can’t remember the meeting, how does he know that no collusion took place at the meeting that he can’t remember?

Things got worse for Sessions, in particular, when the other Trump foreign policy aide who’s causing much heartburn for Team Trump, Carter Page, testified before the House Intelligence Committee this past Thursday, telling them that he informed Jeff Sessions of a trip to Moscow he was taking during the summer of 2016. Even though the trip wasn’t campaign-related, Sessions was specifically asked under oath about any contacts anyone of the campaign had with Russians, and Sessions denied any such contacts repeatedly and on multiple occasions.

And remember that Don Jr., Kushner and Manafort lied about their meeting with the Russian government officials in June 2016 at Trump Tower, at which the Russians had promised to give them dirt on Hillary Clinton. There’s an awful lot of lying going on if no one has anything to hide.

DEMS ARE CLOSE TO WINNING THE VIRGINIA GOVERNORSHIP

There’s a hugely important election taking place in Virginia on Tuesday. Among other things, the governship is up for grabs — Democrat Ralph Northam is running against the former head of the Republican Party, Ed Gillespie.

Gillespie is a Trump clone. That’s enough reason to vote against him, but it’s way more improtant than that. Whoever wins will have a front seat at redistricting in the state in 2020. That means drawing anew the congressional districts, and undoing much of the gerrymandering that Republicans have done around the country to guarantee their US House majority.

Northam was ahead by ten points or more. Now he’s not. The two men are within a few points of each other, some say the race is tied. We cannot afford to lose this race. If you know anyone in Virginia, call them and make sure they get out to vote this coming Tuesday.

Here’s another reason the race is hugely important. If we can beat Gillespie, the former head of the RNC, then the message coming out of Virginia will be that the Republicans are in trouble heading into the 2018 congressional elections. That will dispirit Republicans, and energize Democrats. We’ve seen what happens when the bad guy wins an election. Winning is way better than losing. Let’s win this one in Virginia come Tuesday. (New Jersey also has elections on Tuesday, but the Dem governor’s candidate is ahead by 15 points and expected to win without a problem — but there are other issues on the ballot, so vote there too!)

You can make a last-minute donation to Ralph Northam’s campaign here.

Thanks, JOHN

PS Help defeat Roy “I think homosexuality should be illegal” Moore in December’s run off election for the US Senate race from Alabama by donating to his opponent Doug Jones here. Even Fox News says the race is tied! We’re only one month away — please support Doug Jones.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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