No collusion! No collusion! You collusion!

No collusion! No collusion! You collusion!

As expected, the House Republicans released their collusion report and concluded... that Donny Trump did nothing wrong. It was all a big misunderstanding and we have to pull together and can't we all just get along? Obviously, Democrats dissented, blasting their colleagues for abandoning their constitutional duty of oversight on the executive branch. Needless to say, Donny is over the moon, thinking that a partisan report exonerates him.

However and meanwhile, the New York Times just published a report on that Russian lawyer at the center of the Trump Tower meeting. It's not good for Trump.

The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton has long insisted she is a private attorney, not a Kremlin operative trying to meddle in the presidential election.

But newly released emails show that in at least one instance two years earlier, the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, worked hand in glove with Russia’s chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm.

Ms. Veselnitskaya also appears to have recanted her earlier denials of Russian government ties. During an interview to be broadcast Friday by NBC News, she acknowledged that she was not merely a private lawyer but a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.

“I am a lawyer, and I am an informant,” she said. “Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”

So, yes, Madame Natalia is a paid up member of the Russian intelligence community. Which means that, yes, Donny Jr. et al met with a Russian intelligence asset.

The operatic lengths to which Trump and his cronies go to deny any collusion with Russia just serve to indicate that yes, there's smoke, and there will soon be fire. That the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee had to rush their exonerating report out in an effort to give Trump cover is of a piece with this. They're hoping that this draws a line under the issue, apparently unaware that if Democrats take the House in November, they will just start a new investigation, one in which no witnesses are left unquestioned. Republicans used to play the long game; now they're just trying to survive 24 hours at a time. That's what happens when you hitch your wagon to a man who can only function in short bursts. You spend time and effort to clean up his messes.

The House GOP report is so obviously, unashamedly partisan that it's already being laughed off. (Trump's rabid tweets in support of it don't help.) So we head into the weekend still with nothing resolved.

Welcome to the new normal.



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