Slowly at First, and Then Suddenly: How the Trump Election Conspiracy Unraveled

This weekend, the New York Times published a stunning report about a plan floated by a longtime emissary for the Saudis and the UAE in early August 2016, when Trump had just grabbed the GOP nomination but faced an uphill campaign against Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., aide Stephen Miller and Erik Prince, founder of the notorious mercenary outfit once know as Blackwater, listened intently as the emissary offered Team Trump millions of dollars in assistance, including a covert social-media campaign, to help Trump win that would be run by a former Israeli spy who specializes in psychological warfare, or psywar.

“The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president,” the Times reported. Some key elements — exactly who was behind the plan, and what parts, if any, were carried out — remain murky.

But like a lot of Trump scandals, the smoke from any alleged fire was clearly visible. Nader became a Trump ally who met frequently with key players like then-national security adviser (and future felon) Michael Flynn. He also, according to the Times, later made a large payment to the ex-spy Joel Zamel, as much as $2 million. After Trump was elected, Erik Prince attended a then-secret meeting in the Seychelles believed to have been brokered by UAE to cement ties with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. After Trump became president, American foreign policy has been almost unwaveringly consistent in fighting for the foreign policy goals of nations believed to have supported his 2016 election: Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — most notably with Trump’s rejection of the Iran nuclear deal that is seriously destabilizing the Middle East. These dealings increasingly appear to have benefited the Trumps and Kushners not just politically but financially — even as they are not helpful, and even counterproductive at times, to the American people whom Trump was allegedly elected to represent.

The Times scoop on Trump’s dealings with the Saudis and UAE is the puzzle piece that finally brings the big picture into focus. As Trump’s unlikely 2016 campaign drew closer to the White House, it triggered a mad dash to sell American foreign policy to the highest bidder — and some of the world’s worst autocrats stepped up to the plate. What happened next is arguably tantamount to treason. What is beginning to take shape is the outlines of a scandal that threatens to be worse than Watergate on a massive scale, that would make Richard Nixon’s crimes truly seem like “a third-rate burglary” in comparison.

A shadowy network of computer hackers in Eastern Europe and experts in psywar techniques used illegal methods — including voter suppression aimed at African Americans — to essentially steal a U.S. presidential election decided by a mere 100,000 or so votes in a few key states. Meanwhile, the foreign countries that backed this enterprise and their billionaire allies also found myriad ways to financially support America’s new ruling junta — dangling real estate deals, hiring Trump allies, booking big parties at Trump hotels, giving millions to Trump’s inauguration that no one can now account for — in ways that have built a bonfire out of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

And here’s the worst part: The sudden trashing of long-standing American policy objectives — like the Iran deal or delaying any move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem until a true Israel-Palestinian peace deal — risks war on large scale. People could die in the name of keeping 666 Fifth Ave. and the Trump Organization afloat. Arguably, some already are…

Bad timing for Fred Hiatt, though…

95 replies
  1. 1
    wjs says:

    Oh, hay – you forgot the scheme where foreign governments stay at Trump properties, pay millions, and get stuff they want.

    In and of itself, and separate from every other horrible thing that’s been done, if George W. Bush had charged Saudi princes a hundred bucks a night to stay at his Crawford ranch, that generation of Dems and Repubs would have revolted, en masse and started impeachment hearings.

    Who am I kidding? Everyone’s mad at Trump because he’s showing them how easy it would have been to fleece the rubes. That is the real reason the elites have failed and why they won’t do anything. He’s creating an innovative series of grifts that will now be used for decades. Can’t wait for the next three or four billionaire presidents to totes cash in (unless, of course, we get serious about saving the republic and elect some women to be president).

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    And here we go down the banana Republic wormhole.

    Judge rejects House suit challenging Trump’s border wall, ruling one chamber of Congress cannot sue executive branch over spending

    U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden of the District on Monday denied a House request to temporarily stop spending on the wall because the House lacked legal standing to sue Trump for allegedly overstepping his power by diverting billions intended for other purposes to pay for it.

    Trump appointed Federalist Wingnut does what you’d expect a Federalist Traitor to do.

  3. 3

    I love Will Bunch’s work, but I think he may be out over his skis on this one. I need to reread the NYT article he links, but as far as I can see, he hasn’t made his case in a way I’m comfortable with. OTOH, I talked to a reporter about some of this over the weekend, so others may be putting the missing pieces in place. I would love to see the Trump-Saudi connection worked out in detail.

    It’s very plausible that the Sauds offered Trump a deal similar to the Russians’. Part of the difficulty is that the story lines are so complex and intertwined that it’s hard to follow one of them through the morass.

  4. 4
    Shana says:

    Sheesh, Seth Abramson has been on this Grand Bargain for over a year to my recollection. Nice, I guess, that other US media is catching up.

  5. 5
    Emma says:

    Jesus.H.Christ.On.A.Harley. I can’t. Not today. I’m going to make myself a cup of tea, find a good (actual paper) book and forget this whole gang and its oysshteler boss.

  6. 6
    Jay says:

    Caroline Orr
    #BREAKING: The House will vote next week to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller’s fully unredacted report and underlying evidence.

  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:

    “While the Constitution bestows upon Members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority,” McFadden wrote in a 24-page decision, continuing, “The Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to hear the House’s claims and will deny its motion.”

    BJ legal eagles, is this as full of shit as I think it is?

    McFadden’s order effectively kills the House suit, which sought to block the administration from tapping not only $1 billion already transferred from military pay and pensions accounts but also money from an emergency military construction fund that the administration said it intends to transfer but has not yet moved.

    McFadden’s decision ran counter to a 2015 ruling that found the then GOP-led House could sue the Obama administration for allegedly spending on an Affordable Care Act program that Congress never approved, a ruling that would have marked the first time the House was able to challenge an administration in court. The case was settled before it withstood appeal.

    McFadden wrote that “Applying Burwell [ the 2015 decision] to the facts here would clash with binding precedent holding that Congress may not invoke the courts’ jurisdiction to attack the execution of federal laws.”

    He added, “The Executive and Legislative Branches have resolved their spending disputes without enlisting courts’ aid,” he said, finding Congress had many other levers to deploy in its conflict with a president. “The House thus ‘lack[s] support from precedent,’ and ‘historical practice appears to cut against [it] as well,” he wrote.

  8. 8
    Faithful Lurker says:

    @Shana: Thank you for drawing attention to what Seth Abramson has been talking about for so long. The 5 nation bargain that helped to land us in this disaster.

  9. 9
    Mike in NC says:

    OH, no doubt this Nader creep had a lot of conversations with Bannon, Miller, and Kushner over their mutual kiddie porn hobby.

  10. 10
    Jay says:

    Robert Young Pelton
    If you want to know how fucked up these people are go ahead and read the search warrant descriptions of what Nader was packing on his iPhone. Let’s also see how the right wing news media handles the Trump/ Nader and Mo Bone Saw buddy photo Nader paid good money for.

  11. 11
    Splitting Image says:

    The New York Times, eh?

    I look forward to reading in 2023 their explosive revelations about how Trump broke the law to get himself re-elected in 2020, three years after they sandbag the Democratic candidate to help Trump get re-elected in 2020.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    Has the new website launched? The mobile site looks completely different.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    I guess records of Nader taking Kushner to the cleaners in the negotiations for buyout of US foreign policy would be child abuse, not kiddie porn, so Nader is charged of being into really bad stuff.

    As for Saudi Arabian and other Gulf States connections, I think clear that they bought a share in TrumpsterUSA Inc., along with Russia, so it’s just a question of when they bought in.

  14. 14
    Martin says:

    @Baud: The porn wasn’t deliberate, if that helps understand why it looks different.

  15. 15
    Jay says:

    “4:00 am, June 04, 2019
    The Associated Press
    SEOUL (AP) — A senior North Korean official who had been reported as purged over the failed nuclear summit with Washington was shown in state media on Monday enjoying a concert near leader Kim Jong Un.

    North Korean publications on Monday showed Kim Yong Chol sitting five seats away from a clapping Kim Jong Un in the same row along with other top officials during a musical performance by the wives of Korean People’s Army officers.”

  16. 16
    NotMax says:


    First, IANAL.

    That said, as all funding emanates from the House, that implicitly carries with it the authority to monitor it and legally protest for cause when said monies are diverted. This judge’s ruling is built on smoke.

  17. 17
    Baud says:


    I never got the porn. The formatting is completely different now on the mobile site.

  18. 18
    chris says:

    OT: For the cat people, 500 cats!

  19. 19

    @Baud: I think Alain did a couple of temporary mods to get rid of the pron. i haven’t been following that closely because I mostly use my desktop with an adblocker, but there are a couple of threads downstairs.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Gotcha. Thanks.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:


    A tad more.

    This ruling effectively makes the budget, as passed, into a mere suggestion and also undermines if not removes entirely the “shall faithfully execute” clause of the oath of office.

  22. 22
    Searcher says:

    @NotMax: I’m sure they’ll reconsider the next time a D is in the White House.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    @Searcher: There will be a new theory of cyclical binding precedents.

  24. 24
    SFAW says:

    The Fred Hiatt “opinion” that Burneko tweets about is seriously fucked up. {Big surprise, I know.] If Kay Graham were still around, one would hope she’d fire his ass for being a fucking moron/toady/lickspittle.

  25. 25
    Emerald says:

    @TenguPhule: So Article One of the Constitution is no longer operative?

    Yeah, if this stands, we’re done. This is the scariest thing I’ve seen yet.

    I thought Barr was scary. This is literally throwing the Constitution in the trash.

    Somebody talk me down.

  26. 26
    sdhays says:

    @TenguPhule: Didn’t the Boehner House actually stop several actions by the Obama Administration by suing? Certainly over recess appointments and, I thought, something else. Do we get that shit back?

  27. 27
    cain says:

    So cool.. when President Democratic Candidate gets elected they can use this ruling against the Republicans, right? These judges should realize that whatever is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you’re going to give new powers to the executive it can be used by both parties.

    Looking forward to Nader getting a Trump pardon. It would be exactly the kind of chaotic move he would do.

  28. 28
    hells littlest angel says:

    Oh Kent, I’d be lying if I said my men weren’t committing crimes didn’t have child pornography on their phones.

    Hmm .. no, that doesn’t quite work.

  29. 29
    FelonyGovt says:

    OT Active shooter at Del Amo Mall. This is a shopping center maybe 5 miles from where I live, I go there all the time. So sick of this stuff.

  30. 30
    sdhays says:

    @NotMax: I’m also not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the National Emergency law itself is unconstitutional since it flips the control of the purse to the Executive unless you have super majorities in both Houses of Congress, which was clearly not what the Founders had in mind. It’s the kind of law which should only be used when the need is clear and uncontroversial because as soon as it hits the courts, it should be overturned.

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:


    So Article One of the Constitution is no longer operative?

    Sure looks like it from here.

    Scoot over, I want to sit next to you.

  32. 32
    sdhays says:

    @cain: Don’t forget: the whole idea here is to ensure that there is NEVER another Democratic President.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:


    and also undermines if not removes entirely the “shall faithfully execute” clause of the oath of office.

    Well “well trained militia” was already deemed a dead letter, so this was the obvious next step.

  34. 34
    joel hanes says:

    In the WaPo, Fred Hiatt bleats :

    We can’t impeach him for that

    Hiatt’s been keeping a lower profile for quite a while.
    I honestly thought that he might have learned something from having been one of the foremost cheerleaders for W’s Excellent NeoCon Adventure in Iraq, and the horrible debacle which that became.

    Apparently not.

    He must have mad skillz as an organizational man, or have kompromat on Bezos, because he’s been wrong about everything for almost two decades.

    Also, he’s not a very good writer.

  35. 35
    TenguPhule says:

    @joel hanes:

    Hiatt’s been keeping a lower profile for quite a while.

    Uh no. He’s been quite faithfully spouting the Trump credo from day one.

    He’s just a slow transcriber.

  36. 36
    Jackie says:

    Anyone besides myself watching the Pete Buttigieg town hall with Matthews? Matthews isn’t great, but, as always, Mayor Pete is impressive.

  37. 37
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Emerald: relax. It’s only figuratively throwing the Constitution in the trash.

  38. 38
    Mike in NC says:

    @Jackie: Caught most of it. Very sharp guy.

  39. 39
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Q-Anon, Q-Anon, paging Q-ANON!!!

  40. 40
    Jay says:


    “So cool.. when President Democratic Candidate gets elected they can use this ruling against the Republicans, right? These judges should realize that whatever is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you’re going to give new powers to the executive it can be used by both parties.”

    Hasn’t worked that way for 20 years.

  41. 41
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    It’s only figuratively throwing the Constitution in the trash.

    Metaphorically speaking.

  42. 42
    Richard Guhl says:

    @NotMax: Exactly! And what follows is rule by decree.

  43. 43
    TenguPhule says:

    The judge in Washington never touched on the merits of the Democratic-led House’s claim, ruling instead that a single chamber of Congress had “several political arrows in its quiver” remaining to address disputes with a president and could not show that it needed courts to intervene as “a last resort.”

    McFadden granted that the case “presents a close question” and added that his ruling “does not imply that [the full] Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers.” Still, he said, the Constitution provides the House other levers to use against the executive, including specifically denying funds, passing other legislation, conducting hearings and investigations, or overriding a president’s veto.

    I mean its not like they haven’t tried all of these other measures……OH WAIT THEY DID ALL OF THE ABOVE.

  44. 44
    JGabriel says:

    cain: So cool.. when President Democratic Candidate gets elected they can use this ruling against the Republicans, right?

    Not so much, no:

    via TenguPhule above:

    McFadden’s decision ran counter to a 2015 ruling that found the then GOP-led House could sue the Obama administration for allegedly spending on an Affordable Care Act program that Congress never approved, a ruling that would have marked the first time the House was able to challenge an administration in court.

    Republican judges and justices have no shame, no compunctions against being openly hypocritcal, and, when called on it, will simply reply, “Yeah. So what? What are you gonna do about it, huh?”

  45. 45
    Bex says:

    @Jackie: Prepare for the shitstorm you’re about to endure…

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Jackie says:

    @Bex: LOL

  48. 48
    danielx says:


    These judges should realize that whatever is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you’re going to give new powers to the executive it can be used by both parties.


    These are Trump Federalist Society appointees, and know upon which side they bread is buttered. They don’t give a flying fuck about precedents. If you think they will actually rule in favor of a Democratic president using the same tactics, you haven’t been paying attention.

  49. 49
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @JPL: I am here to serve!

  50. 50
    Baud says:


    FWIW, today’s decision was the more mainstream outcome. The 2015 decision is where the judge bent over backwards to allow the suit to move forward.

    Neither decision is binding on any other court because only appellate decisions are precedential.

  51. 51
    Another Scott says:

    In other news, Krebs:

    For almost the past month, key computer systems serving the government of Baltimore, Md. have been held hostage by a ransomware strain known as “Robbinhood.” Media publications have cited sources saying the Robbinhood version that hit Baltimore city computers was powered by “Eternal Blue,” a hacking tool developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and leaked online in 2017. But new analysis suggests that while Eternal Blue could have been used to spread the infection, the Robbinhood malware itself contains no traces of it.

    On May 25, The New York Times cited unnamed security experts briefed on the attack who blamed the ransomware’s spread on the Eternal Blue exploit, which was linked to the global WannaCry ransomware outbreak in May 2017.

    That story prompted a denial from the NSA that Eternal Blue was somehow used in the Baltimore attack. It also moved Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott to write the Maryland governor asking for federal disaster assistance and reimbursement as a result.

    But according to Joe Stewart, a seasoned malware analyst now consulting with security firm Armor, the malicious software used in the Baltimore attack does not contain any Eternal Blue exploit code. Stewart said he obtained a sample of the malware that he was able to confirm was connected to the Baltimore incident.

    It’s almost like the FTFNYT is a disinformation rag and not “the newspaper of record”. If it ever was…


  52. 52
    SFAW says:

    Literally metaphorically speaking.

  53. 53
    Quinerly says:

    @Baud: looks totally different on my phone.

  54. 54
    Mike in NC says:

    I turned on HBO a short while ago and somebody is interviewing Jared Kushner. He has a face that begs to be punched.

    If they ever make “Trump: The Musical” they could cast Michael Cera as Jared the Worm.

  55. 55
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SFAW: is it also a figurative simile?

  56. 56
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I am here to serve!

    He’s a cook!

  57. 57
    JPL says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Are you here or there?

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    @Another Scott:

    It’s almost like the FTFNYT is a disinformation rag

    What do you mean, almost?

  59. 59
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @JPL: here! This week anyway. Traveling the next three.

    B-J meetup in Evadale, TX, Joplin, MO, or Stevenson, AL?

  60. 60
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    B-J meetup in Evadale, TX, Joplin, MO, or Stevenson, AL?

    Haven’t the jackals already suffered enough?

  61. 61
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @TenguPhule: haven’t *I* suffered enough?! I need better clients.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    haven’t *I* suffered enough?

    I don’t think one has go to very far out onto a limb to say, “No, you have not.”

  63. 63
    RSA says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I love Will Bunch’s work, but I think he may be out over his skis on this one. I need to reread the NYT article he links, but as far as I can see, he hasn’t made his case in a way I’m comfortable with…

    Note that the Bunch piece and the NYT article are from May 2018, if that makes a difference.

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Evadale Texas meetup. Good luck with that.

  65. 65

    @Baud: I have the answers to many of the questions you had asked on my last election post. I have also sent AL the second post in the series, blog link here.

  66. 66
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: [sobs quietly into his Tequila Sunrise]

  67. 67
    matt says:

    so Comet Ping Pong is also projection.

  68. 68
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Weren’t you in a littoral area of your state earlier this year?

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I need better clients.

    But who pays a better rate that I do? (Lie if you must.) [Pouts, having no Conumdrum in the house, and ponders tequila/grapefruit/pineapple combo instead]

    @Omnes Omnibus: Zing! Thanks for that.

  69. 69
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Steve in the ATL: living the dream, I see

  70. 70
    Jay says:

    Robert Young Pelton
    This is the fourth time Nader has been arrested and charged:
    1983 – mailed porn from Netherlands
    1991 – stopped at Dulles with child porn
    2003 – convicted of abusing 10 young boys between 1999 and 2002 in Prague.
    2019 – pornographic videos found on phone

  71. 71
    Starfish says:

    I really do not know what to make of the Nader stuff since Russia has been accused of planting child porn on people to discredit their foes in the past.

    Oh yuck. Apparently, Nader has past related crimes and is probably guilty of this though.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I hope that Steep is aware that TCM currently is showing the G. W. Pabst classic Pandora’s Box starring the incomparable Louise Brooks.

  73. 73
    West of the Rockies says:

    When the report broke about Trump telling Barr to investigate the investigation of Trump and authorized Barr to release whatever info he wished, Adam Silverman here said the IC may push back via leaks.

    Could the arrest of Nader be part of this, an embarrassing shot across the bow to warn Trump that actions have consequences?

  74. 74
    SFAW says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    is it also a figurative simile?

    Depends on it’s construction, so to speak.

  75. 75
    Jay says:

    @West of the Rockies:


    The indictment was one of the sealed ones, filed April 19, 2018.


    It’s Middle Eastern child pron, not Russian, and what the Russians are accused of is planting evidence of child pron on peoples devices after they have been taken into custody and while their devices are in police custody.

  76. 76
    JaySinWA says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    Q-Anon, Q-Anon, paging Q-ANON!!!

    Obviously he was collecting evidence for the Q crusade. //

  77. 77
    SFAW says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    living the dream, I see

    Coulda been worse: he could have said/writed “Fritters, AL.”

  78. 78
    Leto says:

    How is any of this new NYT piece “stunning” when they reported on the exact same thing a year ago? Maddow covered all this exact same info, including interviews with the reporters who covered it, a year ago. Like a couple of weeks of this stuff. You can pull it all up on Google. Other than Nader was arrested, what’s new? Even the child porn portions aren’t new (what was found on the iPhones). Someone fill me in.

  79. 79
    Jay says:


    The Indictment has been unsealed, and further connections between Nader, Eric Prince, shady arms deals, the UAE and other past practices are coming out.

  80. 80
    West of the Rockies says:


    Ah, thanks, Jay.

  81. 81
    Leto says:

    @Jay: Yeah, all of this (at least in this guys twit feed) was covered a year ago by the Times. But he was arrested so kewl.

  82. 82
    Jay says:


    Oh, and Nader, who was allowed to run around free and continued to interconnect with the Sawdi’s, the UAE, the Russians, the Trumpists, was arrested today based on the unsealed Indictment from last year.

    @West of the Rockies:

    Welcome, just don’t read the descriptions of what was on his phone.

  83. 83
    zhena gogolia says:

    I don’t care what anybody says, Buttigieg is damned eloquent and we’re lucky to have him appearing on TV

  84. 84
    Another Scott says:

    @zhena gogolia: A good clip.


  85. 85
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @SFAW: Steve in the WhereTheHellAmINow in Fritters, Alabama (lol) sounds like it should be the subject of an Elmore Leonard novel

  86. 86
    Jackie says:

    @zhena gogolia: I agree. I ♥️ Mayor Pete!

  87. 87
    SFAW says:

    @Just One More Canuck:
    “Freaky Stevie”?
    “Mr. Pedantic”?
    “Out of Flight”?
    “Fifty-Two Pickups (from Airports)”?

  88. 88
    Another Scott says:

    So, Rebecca Shoenkopf, the Editrix at Wonkette, is in the hospital with chest pains.

    Probably related to being sued by Don Blankenship.

    Send some money and some good wishes if you’re able. We need more like her fighting for all of us.


  89. 89
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SFAW: “Steves on a Plane”?

    A screenplay I’m working on now, obviously a horror movie: “WTF do you mean I didn’t get upgraded?!”

  90. 90
    NotMax says:

    “50 Shades of Pay”

  91. 91
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I thought you always got an upgrade.

  92. 92
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: 90%. That’s why it’s a horror movie!

  93. 93
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: of course! Eagerly (not anxiously) awaiting your email.

  94. 94
    Kay says:

    I knew it. It makes perfect sense. The Trump freaks have an entire weirdo movement, “Q”, that revolves around the idea that there is a huge international child porn ring at the highest levels of government.

    Of course the Trump hires have child porn on their phones. Whatever accusation they lob, just rest assured they’re doing that exact thing. It’s guaranteed.

  95. 95
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    @Kay: I’m sorry but I can’t give you that. Now, I’m not saying they wouldn’t have covered for Nader if they had the chance! I think that the reason the QAnon conspiracy uses child. pornography as its basis is that it is the one crime everyone agrees on, and is mutually disgusted by.

    That said: in any healthy democracy, such ridiculous, obviously-false stories would be attacked on both sides. Republicans wouldn’t want to win because their supporters think Pizzagate is real; they wouldn’t want to win because of birtherism; they wouldn’t want to win based upon lies told about a woman with most of her brain dead and actually *gone*; they wouldn’t want to say “some very fine people were on both sides, but strangely, only one side committed a murderous terrorist attack”.

    And it’s important to step back and realize that in any healthy democracy all of those would be stories.
    It would also be a story to claim the IRS had been used as a weapon (when, in fact, it had been klutzy and stupid); it would also be a story to say the BATF was corrupt when it had been tracking guns, and for that reason we could spot that one of the guns they tracked was used in a murder; It would be a *big* story to say a President following the law was acting unconstitutionally; and it would be absolutely *devastating* for an entire political party to aim baseless criminal accusations at a political opponent.

    Alas, we’re in the United State of America, where all of those stories are non-starters. Access journalism; you can’t ask us to cover actual *stories* if we might lose *access* to liars.

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