Mike Flynn’s Nuclear Adventure – The Companies


Since elements of the story first appeared, I have been intrigued by the idea that Michael Flynn wanted to sell nuclear reactors to the Saudis. Too much of it doesn’t make sense and still doesn’t. A few things I’ve wondered about:

  • Flynn has no experience with nuclear reactors.
  • Why nuclear reactors? There are a great many problems in selling in building them.
  • Why Russian reactors?
  • Why is the administration so persistent in pushing this deal?

Most importantly, is this activity connected to other varieties of Trumpian corruption?

A simple theory can explain this. The Saudis want nuclear reactors to eventually build a nuclear weapons program. Flynn was at the head of a group of Trump-connected grifters who wanted to make money from that desire. Informed by a profound ignorance of nuclear economics and nonproliferation, it explains everything in a general way, but others also have the uneasy feeling that it’s more than that.

A few years back, I looked at Russian ambition to sell nuclear reactors. Reactors are one of the few manufactured export products Russia has on offer. They were so eager to sell the reactors that the business model they developed was that Russia would provide the up-front costs of building the reactor, which the customer country could then pay back out of electricity profits. That would make it possible for smaller, poorer countries to increase their electrical power capacity.

Something seemed fishy about that to me, too. I added up all the deals Russia had made, and it looked like they would bankrupt the country. I posted it, but the post is lost to internet decay. Since then, some of the deals have come apart, and others are moving slowly enough that they no longer look like Russia will go bankrupt from that any time soon. Read more

Trump Treason Long Read Open Thread: Why Matt Whitaker Was So Sweaty Under Questioning

As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.

Mr. Whitaker, who had privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to “jump on a grenade” for the president, knew he could not put Mr. Berman in charge because Mr. Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. The president soon soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away…

Mr. Trump’s public war on the inquiry has gone on long enough that it is no longer shocking. Mr. Trump rages almost daily to his 58 million Twitter followers that Mr. Mueller is on a “witch hunt” and has adopted the language of Mafia bosses by calling those who cooperate with the special counsel “rats.” His lawyer talks openly about a strategy to smear and discredit the special counsel investigation. The president’s allies in Congress and the conservative news media warn of an insidious plot inside the Justice Department and the F.B.I. to subvert a democratically elected president.

An examination by The New York Times reveals the extent of an even more sustained, more secretive assault by Mr. Trump on the machinery of federal law enforcement. Interviews with dozens of current and former government officials and others close to Mr. Trump, as well as a review of confidential White House documents, reveal numerous unreported episodes in a two-year drama.
Read more

You Do Understand Why He is Doing This, Don’t You?

Cheryl wrote about the administration’s attempts to nuclearize the Middle East, but I just want to make sure something is crystal clear. Obviously, there are probably a ton of people trying to get filthy rich off this, and I am sure someone promised Trump or his family money somehow for this, but I think it is super important we remember why Trump signed off on this and is letting people pursue it.

It’s because one of Obama’s major issues was nuclear proliferation. It’s something he was interested in and pursued as a Senator, it is something he talked about frequently, and something he believe was extremely important. It’s one of the first things he pursued in 2009 in Prague, it’s why he worked so hard to achieve the Iran deal, it’s why he was very focused on the 2016 Nuclear Summit- it was a big deal for him.

Obviously, like everything, his record did not meet his goals, but goals are, you know, aspirational. But it was very, very important to him.

And that’s why Trump is doing everything he can to dismantle it. Sure, there are hawks who wanted to kill the Iran deal for a variety of reasons, but for Trump, it was because Obama’s admin negotiated it. It’s why Trump walked away from the INF. It’s why he is ok with this.

Everything Trump does is about Trump- of course he is surrounded by enablers and opportunists who realize he is a dolt who can be used to achieve their own ends, but Obama humiliated Trump at the WHCD several years ago, so everything that Obama has done must be destroyed.

It’s important we remember that with a narcissist and a sociopath like Trump, the motives are always right there in the open. There’s no reason to wrap yourself around an axle trying to figure out why Trump would be ok with this. It’s that simple- he’s doing it because Obama would oppose it. It’s the same with the fucking ACA and everything else.

Update: Ratfvcker Rog “Apologizes” (for What That’s Worth)

Grifters gonna… cover their flabby arses:

Gave the lawyers on twitter some cheap entertainment, at least…

Did you say ‘lawyers on twitter’?…
Read more

Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Nobel Nominations Edition

Via International Relations Professor Dan Drezner’s twitter feed:

Jesse Johnson works for The Japan Times, “Japan’s largest and oldest English-language daily newspaper”; Asahi (technically Asahi Shimbun) is the second-largest of Japan’s five national newspapers.

Nah, a piece of paper wouldn’t work… but if someone stamped an elaborate challenge-coin-style design on a chunk of brass the size of a small hubcap, and hung it from one of those massive silk curtain tie-backs that were popular when Reagan was in office…