Collusion and the Russian character

Last night I earmarked a paragraph in Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, by Luke Harding, to give you today — because I found it crazily funny and fit into my admittedly prejudicial idea about Russian character.

Then what do my wondering eyes see on the front page of today’s New York Times, hard copy?

Yep, that story about a Russian who apparently scammed the CIA for $100,000, promising to sell them stuff about stolen NSA software and Trump kompromat.

Ergo, how much more pertinent and timely is the following excerpt from Luke Harding’s excellent book which lays out the whole story about Trump’s long romance with Russia chronologically and clearly. It refers to the delightfully amoral and amorphous Rinat Akhmetshin, one of the Russians at that infamous Don, Jr. meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016:

Akhmetshin was a lobbyist and U.S. citizen who had previously campaigned against the Magnitsky Act…

One associate described Akhmetshin as fun, charming, erudite, a gastronome, and “a total sleazebag” who would work for anybody, regardless of whether they were pro- or anti-Kremlin. Indeed, Akhmetshin told the Financial Times that his spy contacts in Moscow didn’t trust him because “they know I’m a mercenary.”

UPDATED. P.S. As I typed that and reconfirmed that Akhmetshin is actually a U.S. citizen, it occurs to me to ask how our immigration laws allowed this sterling character to become a U.S. citizen but are being used viciously to deport much worthier people, as Nick Kristof tells us in today’s (Sunday) Times?

P.P.S. Mr. Jamal — the man Kristof wrote about — lives in Lawrence, Kansas. You may not know this but in the massive box colored red which is Kansas, there is one small blue spot: Lawrence. Why? Because it’s a university town. So ICE seems to be focusing its Gestapo efforts on blue country.


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