Is there any question that President Trump is God’s gift to American journalists—assuming that he doesn’t start an apocalyptic World War III or force the collapse of the republic which he heads?
Journalistic entities are getting fat in ratings and readers, feeding on the increasingly large breadcrumbs being dropped by a uniquely leaky administration and the generous trail of allegations and hints that President Trump laid down during his campaign, almost all begging for investigative follow-up.
A dossier compiled by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele on what’s becoming known as Trump’s “Russian scandal,” is reportedly being investigated by a variety of government entities as well as intrigued reporters. As evidenced by the trajectory of disgraced National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn, all such allegations are met by initial flat denials until media follow-up stories ferret out evidence that they are accurate. You wondered why American intelligence agencies happened to record and transcribe Flynn’s phone conversations, leading to his firing? Well, perhaps it’s because they already knew his side job was as a well paid foreign agent for Turkey.
Reports about Steele’s dossier have scrupulously walked around the unconfirmed suggestion that President Putin’s intelligence apparatus is sitting on a video showing that during a Russian visit, Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on a bed President Barack Obama once slept in. True or not, I don’t know. But as investigation of this whole mess continues, various reports, including video documentation, have shown that recording the hotel activities of visiting VIPs is the most basic of Russian intel tools, offering the potential for subsequent blackmail. On the other hand, Trump has already survived proven, embarrassing behavior that would have brought down any past candidate for his high office or certainly most foreign leaders visiting Moscow. He seems impervious to shame.
Now California Congresswoman Maxine Waters has strongly hinted that a proper investigation will reveal that this alleged tape is anything but “fake news.”
It made me think of a trip to Khabarovsk, Russia more than 20 years ago. Reps of the CNMI went to Russia, then a brand new market, to urge more of their northern neighbors to come visiting on Saipan.
During our flight from Seoul to Khbarovsk on a creaky Aeroflot Ilyushin 62, we met our new Russian pals, Andre and Konstantin, who plied us with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of vodka. We wondered what these guys and their accompanying trio of “college girls” did for a living back home. They didn’t say.
By the time we reached the high-rise, Stalin-era Intourist hotel, our government minder viewed us with a mixture of suspicion and disgust and offered a cautionary tale suggesting that we should shape up and behave. According to her, a guest who had invited a hooker up to his room only a few weeks before, wound up drugged to unconsciousness, robbed and left naked when found the next morning. She further suggested that there was video surveillance of selected rooms, another thing for us to consider if we were thinking about making any mischief in-house.
As a non-VIP with no particular plans for misbehavior, I wasn’t worried about potential blackmail, but I would never stay at a Russian hotel again without some suspicion and find it hard to believe Trump would have been so naïve as to not know this would be going on. If President Trump’s favorite world leader—a former career KGB man—truly has the goods on the Donald, he’ll probably wind up waiting until the time is right for him to play this particular card.
On the other hand, the sum total of all these revelations may actually lead the U.S. Congress and/or some other entity to actually do a complete and non-partisan investigation.
Bruce Lloyd is a veteran journalist, who has been a longtime resident of Guam and Saipan. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.