As Robert Mueller continues to connect the dots in the Trump-Russia scandal, one thing is becoming abundantly clear: Donald Trump and his accomplices will be held accountable. Prison time, asset forfeiture, and international shame await all of those involved. That a foreign enemy could have the chutzpah to think that it could disrupt our political process so thoroughly comes as a complete shock to American citizens. Arguably, most voters still are having a hard time acknowledging that it has happened.
Why would Russia do something so provocative? Here’s why: In 2009, the Russian economy was in dire straits. The price of oil and natural gas (Russia’s primary exports) were dangerously low and seriously impacting cash reserves. This was due in large part to Saudi Arabia’s influence. Ukraine and Georgia were actively courting membership into NATO and negotiating lucrative deals with US and European agricultural businesses. There was talk of a Trans Arabian oil pipeline to Europe running through Syria.
If you’re a criminal organization disguised as a country, you simply couldn’t lose this turf battle. Making matters worse, the US froze billions in Russian funds via the Magnitsky Act. Russia had also spent billions in developing the resort town of Sochi (host of the 2014 Winter Olympics). Russia and Putin had no choice but to protect their criminal enterprise. And rest assured, they were not going to do it half-assed.
To wit: the annexation of Crimea in early 2014, the cultivation of foreign intelligence operations, fraudulent financial dealings with major Western banks and a long-term recruitment of reality TV star led to the great swindle of 2016. Robert Mueller will serve justice to Trump eventually. But the big fish is Putin.
Bill Sherrod is a freelance golfer and avid political observer.