Russian Oligarch Funnels $500,000 to Trump’s Slush Fund Through “Fixer”

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The Weekly Standard: “Attorney Michael Avenatti’s out-of-the-blue announcement that a Russian oligarch’s company had funneled [$500,000] to presidential fixer Michael Cohen in the months following the 2016 election was the kind of bombshell story that makes the most even-keeled observers spit out their soup. On its face, the charge seemed to indicate the closest thing we’ve seen yet to a secret arrangement between the Trump campaign and meddlesome Russians.”

“In fact, although the question of collusion is obviously important, it’s almost beside the point here. The more significant condemnation of Trump and his associates is the more prosaic offense: the casual pay-to-play scheme which allowed a morally vacuous lawyer to use his personal relationship with the president to enrich himself. If Trump was unaware of Cohen’s behavior then, or if he is disgusted by the swampiness of it now, he has not said so. At the White House Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to address the subject.”

“Ironically, it’s this sort of casual contempt for transparency and ethical norms—the unwillingness to play by the rules that help shield a president from all-too-human conflicts of interest—that presents a more persistent threat to our democracy.”

UPDATE: FBI Warned Of Russian Intelligence Links To Oligarch In Cohen Payment Allegation (Source: NPR)

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