It’s not a matter of whether but how much Trump and his immediate surrogates are compromised by Russia. The only question that remains is: Where is the smoking gun…or Kevin Costner?

By Andrew J. Pridgen

The current, and justifiable, freak out over Jeff Sessions’ dealings with a Russian envoy (two meetings) during the ramp up to Trump taking office should perhaps have more to do with the fact that he lied about it under oath during his confirmation than the substance of the interactions. (Of course, one wonders what secrets in the exchange were worth committing such a high crime.)

Yes, the attorney general of the United States’s first act while taking office was to perjure himself. It’s basically the equivalent of losing your virginity by participating in an Eyes Wide Shut-style orgy. Yes, this is my first time, but it all seems a little pedestrian without a mask.

But let’s put the good ol’ boy’s current lies and misdeeds on the backburner for a minute, shall we?

This group, in just over its first full month in office (and let’s be honest, it was a short month at that), is about to lose its second major player to a scandal over involvement with Russia. Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, resigned two weeks ago because of his involvement with Russian higher-ups as well as concerns about his potentially illegal contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, which he, like Sessions, lied about.

Let’s also be clear about the continued nation-crippling, bald-faced hypocrisy that is the GOP mandate of the last two decades. Bill Clinton skirts the truth about a sexual tryst and the GOP wastes millions of dollars not to mention thousands of hours on a witch hunt. Sessions helps produce four articles of impeachment and 45 “guilty” votes… not because of what Clinton did (though that was a sticking point to the airport restroom toe-tapping sect) but because he lied about it.

The scandal-free Obama administration is robbed of its Supreme Court pick and the GOP shuts down government because — deficits. Now we have trillions upon trillions in useless military spending and tax breaks for the rich on the table, not to mention a fucking shit border wall that pisses everyone off, and that gets a standing ovation from the same group that crippled government because of …spending?

That the Trump administration is fully compromised is far from conspiracy. And the GOP enablers and Democrats who choose to remain silent are equally guilty of trying to break this nation beyond repair.

Imagine for a moment if Hillary Clinton was elected with the verified help of Russian hacks. Imagine her NSA chief resigned after lying about further dealings with the Russians during and after the election. Imagine her Attorney General lied under oath about his dealings with the Russians.

Republicans in the senate would have already rubber-stamped the impeachment hearings and would be in the process of calling witnesses. The Dems, for their part, would be fully cooperative, because that’s what Dems do, they bend over. Hillary would be pilloried in the national and international press and her administration would be well on its way, through an independent investigation and a bi-partisan effort, to being over. And prison talk would not only escalate once more but this time be altogether probable.

This is what the current regime is like: Say America is a little brother and Trump and his team is the big brother. America decides to go to the bathroom while he’s playing Battleship with big brother and before he shuts the door, he witnesses big brother turn the board around and study the younger brother’s ship’s placement. Little bro gets angry so he decides to film big brother in the act. When little brother returns to the table, he accuses big brother of cheating. He denies it. So little brother shows him the video proof and he sits there and blames little brother for his transgressions saying, “You hiding and catching me in the act was sneaky and deceitful.”

This is the exact same argument Trump officials and, frankly, the GOP are using to try to cover the Russia scandal which is on the spectrum somewhere between impeachable to treasonous to “holy fucking shit this is the nightmare that could very well end this republic.”

How far does the connection and the corruption to Russia go? Who knows. Trump has disavowed basically everyone he’s encountered who has stood up to or questioned him during the last 18 months, from Meryl Streep, to the cast of SNL and Hamilton, to the entirety of the free press to, I dunno, Samuel L. Jackson, but has nary a cross word for Vlad Putin.

For his part, Sessions Thursday recused from any investigation into charges that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Um, thanks bro. Trump when asked whether Sessions should recuse himself said, “I don’t think so.” Again, the POTUS shows he either has no idea what the fuck is going on, no moral compass, or is, in fact, the epicenter of the scandal that this shit storm is swirling around… or, likely, all three.

Why? All the above evidence and the new revelation that his son-in-law and top advisor Jared Kushner also had numerous meetings with Russian envoys after the election in Trump Tower adds further stink to the young administration of the human piece of spinach stuck between your upper incisors that is your freely elected leader.

In a sense, this administration is the No Way Out Administration. No Way Out, to refresh your memory, was a 1987 political thriller starring Kevin Costner who was then unknown beyond being the corpse in The Big Chill. Costner was acting his skinny white ass off in in the borrowed dress whites from Officer and a Gentleman. Gene Hackman checked in as a grizzled Secretary of Defense and Tom Cruise’s first wife, Sean Young, is the love interest in a triangle between Hackman and Costner.

Turns out there is a scandal, and good-guy hero of the sea Costner, who plays a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, becomes embroiled in some intrigue that Hackman is doing his best to cover up. Costner eventually brings down the lot, only to be revealed as a KGB agent in the final frame.

Now, while there is no Costner (or smoking gun) in this situation, yet, there is confirmation of heavy Soviet involvement from the top down. The only real question that remains is: In light of this administration being so patently deceiving and so grossly incompetent what does Russia really want to — or think it can — do with it?

The clearest answer is to blackmail to get what they want. They’d love Obama’s sanctions removed for starters. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (we haven’t even gotten to him yet) is one of Putin’s cronies and would adore having his parent company ExxonMobil drilling up in the Arctic.

And if you are Russia, why not maximize the use of Trump, regardless of how inept he is, in this theater? Trump’s tax returns are still under wraps so we have no way of knowing how indebted he is financially to Russia — though since he’s been doing business there for three-plus decades, the conservative answer might be considerably. In his last press conference before the election he directly called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton. And, since a 30-page dossier was leaked to the public detailing the ways Russia was blackmailing Trump, nearly everyone who was associated with the leak has died or gone missing.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, recently died of an apparent heart attack. Sergei Krivov, another diplomat, was also said to have died of a heart attack even though he was found of the floor of the Russian Consulate in New York with his skull bashed in.

Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB general who helped prepare the dossier, was found dead in the back of a car in Russia two weeks after the document’s release.

Sergei Mikhailov, who may have been working with U.S. intelligence and was embedded in the Russian government, was literally dragged out of a meeting with a bag over his head and has been missing since mid-January.

Russian diplomat Andrey Melanin was found dead in his Athens apartment and Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was murdered on live TV that same week. And the first to go, high-ranking Russian diplomat Petr Polshikov was found shot to death in Moscow, at the end of December.

That’s seven deaths in two months over something that Trump has tweeted about as recently as last Sunday as fake news:

Add to all of this revelations yesterday by The New York Times that some Obama White House officials were so concerned about the incoming administration’s ties to Russia that they took proactive steps to ensure to keep information from being destroyed. “American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump,” three former American officials said. “Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.”

U.S. intelligence agencies (all 17, which, again, have confirmed the Russian tampering with the election) created expeditious analysis of the events and spread readership of their findings throughout the government.

Other, more sensitive information, has been protected and is not yet public.

Though it’s easy to splash a headline with top names like Kushner or Sessions or Flynn, their involvement may have been minimal compared to Trump himself and they likely are patsys for this regime to sacrifice for some relief from opposition politicians and the press. If an independent investigation is launched, and frankly, if GOP lawmakers really did follow their oath to put their constituents and country ahead of personal gain and party, it would already be underway — the only move the Trump administration has to counter is to quickly gin up a war to distract and galvanize.

This week the the Wall Street Journal reported Trump’s team is considering military options to counter aggression from Kim Jong Un, the dictatorial leader of North Korea. North Korea, as every member at Mar-a-lago, is trying to improve its military capacity and is readying its ICBM capabilities. Granted, the North Korean regime is one that only a Dennis Rodman could love, but we let a lot of bad guys off the hook as long as they generally remain quiet and mostly non-threatening.

Trump, for his part, has attempted to distract by upping his pro-militarism talk this week saying he wants to start “winning wars” again, which is pretty fucked up only because the next war will probably result in all of us debating the results of it as stardust.

At this point you have one party that is hellbent on taking the nation and the world with them to their graves. It makes sense, since it’s run by white men who are about at, or have just passed, their average life expectancy in Washington DC of 68 years.

Most Americans feel little or no connection to the politicians that represent them anymore. Greed has taken over, completely. Compromising country in the name of profit for the few (even if it directly benefits other nations that are our enemies) is commonplace. Leaders no longer can face their communities because they enjoy things like money pouring in from lobbyists and government-sponsored top-flight healthcare and retirement plans while we are stripped of ours.

And lies happen with such abandon that it is tough to keep track, much less counter. Any shred of decency or democracy has already been stolen.

Maybe, like Costner’s character, we are revealed to be Russians already.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of the novella “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”. His first full-length novel will be released in late-2017.