Like the famous line from fairy tale figure Humpty Dumpty about his prerogative to pervert words, President Trump and his defender/supporters routinely engage in a putrid practice of altering widely accepted meanings of words to obscure or to outright deceive.
Humpty Dumpty, when talking with Alice in the classic Louis Carroll novel “Alice In Wonderland’ declared that the words he uses are just what he choses those words “to mean – neither more nor less.”
So in ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ defenders of the President blithely downplay the June 9, 2016 impropriety committed by the President’s oldest son, Donald Jr., as the misstep of a “kid” not serious misconduct consciously committed by an adult.
Kid is a word usually used as a descriptor for children from babies to teens but not a 39-year-old man like the junior Donald.
Don Jr. has admitted – in public statements and in emails he released – that in June 2016 he eagerly met with a person presented to him as a representative of the Russian government who would supply him with political dirt on front-running Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Emails released by Don Jr. document that Don Jr. was clearly informed that the meeting to provide political dirt was part of efforts by the Russian government to help his father win the presidential election.
President Trump’s new Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, declared that Don Jr. “is a kid” when proclaiming that Don Jr. did “nothing wrong” by attending that secret June 2016 meeting with a representative of America’s avowed enemy. Scaramucci’s characterization of Don Jr. as a “kid” during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper perverted the traditional meaning of the word kid to minimize the actions of a grown man who Scaramucci described variously as a “great guy” and a neophyte in the world of big time politics.
While Scaramucci spun the line of that June 2016 meeting being a “non-event” Don Jr. obviously saw that event, held at Trump Tower in New York City, as really, really important. The importance of the meeting that Humpty Scaramucci Dumpty termed a “non-event” led Don Jr. to invite his father’s then presidential campaign manager to that meeting.
The importance of that “non-event” also produced deceptions. Neither Don Jr., then campaign manger Paul Manafort nor another meeting attendee, Don’s brother-in-law Jared Kushner (now a top advisor to President Trump) disclosed their attendance. Don Jr. did not reveal the attendance of Manafort, Kushner and himself until recent news media reports exposed that meeting.
Apparently in ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ the word transparency has a Humpty Dumpty meaning different from the traditional dictionary definition. President Trump praised the “transparency” of his oldest son for acknowledging that June 9, 2016 meeting. The President sloughed off the fact that his son’s admission was not self-motivated but a reaction to blunt pending news reports. Further, Don Jr. soiled claims to transparency when he proclaimed that only he, Manafort, Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselinitskaya attended that meeting when revelations now document that four others attended that meeting.
The top security clearance Jared Kushner holds as a top White House advisor was already under scrutiny for his failing to report other contacts with Russians before revelations of his attending that previously unreported June 2016 meeting. Further, Kushner has amended his White House financial disclosure forms again. The latest addition is Kushner’s acknowledgement that he failed to report $10-million in assets.
Presumably – in ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ – Kushner’s failures to honestly report his contacts with Russians and accurately report the amounts of his assets are considered mere miscues by a kid – a grown man who is 36-years-old. In ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ are the failures to report contacts with Russians by Trump’s now fired National Security Director Michael Flynn and Trump’s beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions also acts of ‘kids’ although Flynn is 58 and Session is 70-years-old?
It is repugnant that many Trump defenders and others who’ve used ‘youthful indiscretion’ to downplay misconduct by adults involved in political intrigues are also prime proponents of the unjust practice of sentencing teenagers to life in prison without parole. There are nearly 2,500 across America serving teen-life sentences and many of those teen-lifers did not commit the murder that condemned them to harsh incarceration. Those who use the word kid to excuse the misconduct of adults hypocritically treat teen offenders as adults worthy of harsh punishment because those errant kids must be held strictly accountable for their actions.
Donald Trump Jr., President Trump, Scaramucci and a host of others contend that since purported Russian representative Natalia Veselinitskaya did not provide any political dirt during that undisclosed June 2016 meeting no wrongdoing occurred irrespective of the fact that Trump campaign personnel attended that meeting with the clear intention of obtaining political dirt provided by America’s avowed enemy – supposedly a no-no act by patriotic Americans.
Trump Jr. claims Veselnitskaya only talked about adoption of kids from Russia (real kid-aged kids not adult kids) and the Magnitsky Act – the measure approved by Congress in 2012 to penalize Russians who were exposed for engaging in multi-million dollar money laundering schemes. Russia blocked Americans from adopting Russian children in retaliation for sanctions imposed under the Magnitsky Act – named after a Russian lawyer who died suspiciously inside a Russian prison after he exposed that money laundering.
Veselnitskaya was a well known as a person seeking to eliminate the sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act. She also provided legal services to the company named in a federal indictment detailing $230-million in money laundering by persons in Russia that triggered passage of the Magnitsky Act. Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for New York City that President Trump fired earlier this year, filed that indictment.
Now, in another example of ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ Humpty Dumpty word usage, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions perverted the phrase ‘tough on crime’ in the case of that alleged $230-million money-laundering scheme when he approved a settlement of that money laundering case for just $6-million in May 2017.
That settlement at a steeply reduced amount came weeks after Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to seek the toughest possible charges and sentences in all cases. And, that settlement was announced on the same day that Sessions announced his intent to ramp up federal asset forfeitures – the process of taking cash, homes, cars, etc. from persons not convicted (and sometimes even charged) of crimes. That $6-million settlement with a firm headed by a Russian did not include any forfeiture comparable to the kind Sessions wants extracted on ordinary American citizens.
Spokespersons for Sessions defended the extraordinary settlement as a “very good outcome” that saved taxpayers the cost of a trial. Veslnitskaya told a Russian news outlet that the $6-million settlement was so light it appeared as “almost an apology from the government.”
Sessions, when announcing his plans to increase forfeiture actions where abuses have received bi-partisan condemnation, proclaimed, “no criminal should be allowed to keep proceeds of theirs crimes.”
Apparently, Sessions has Humpty Dumpty eyesight failing to see what Preet Bharara saw in that money-laundering scheme that involved what Bharara publicly stated was “a Russian criminal organization” that used the firm represented by Veslnitskaya to launder “fraud proceeds into” real estate holdings including investments in Manhattan.
The Humpty Dumpty usage in ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ for the money laundering scheme is rejected by some Democratic members of U.S. House Judiciary Committee who’ve written to USAG Sessions demanding answers to questions about the money laundering case settlement and Don Jr.’s June 2016 meeting.
“We write with some concern that the two events may be connected – and that the [Justice Department] may have settled the case at a loss for the United States in order to obscure the underlying facts,” stated that letter to Sessions dated July 12, 2017. “An explanation for your decision to settle just two days before trial was set to begin is long overdue.”
These Democratic House Judiciary Committee members also reject the Humpty Dumpty view of Trump defender/supporters that Don Jr.’s June 2016 secret meeting was a non-event of no consequence. “That the President’s inner circle was willing to accept this kind of assistance from a foreign adversary, is, at best, deeply troubling,” that July 12th letter stated.
Those who live in or like ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ should remember that, according to the fairy tale rhyme, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and couldn’t be put back together again.