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Paul A Duginski
Paul A Duginski
Paul Duginski is a political cartoonist and veteran newspaper staff artist. He enjoys reading history, literature and going bodyboarding whenever he has time.


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Posted in Politics / Elections / National

'High-Quality Person'

Jul. 12, 2017 1:50 am
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Vladimir Putin and his hard-eyed Kremlin cronies are probably hugging themselves with glee tonight. I’ll bet the vodka toasts will go on well into the night. They’ve successfully sown confusion and discord in the U.S. democracy. And today had to be a red-letter day on Red Square calendars.

Today it was revealed that Don Jr., the dim-witted “Fredo” of the Trump family, was lured into a meeting last summer with a Russian lawyer offering to give him dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for Donald Trump. When this tempting offer was dangled in front of Don Jr.’s eyes, instead of picking up the phone and reporting it to the FBI, he responded “I love it!”

Don Jr. attended the meeting with brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort.

All of this is profoundly illegal, and Jared for one could well be facing five years in the slammer as a result.

It not only gives the lie to all the denials and claims for months that the whole Russia thing is a hoax and fake news, it could be treasonous. We now know for sure that the Trump campaign attempted to collude with the Russians.

Like Ron Ziegler, Nixon’s Press Secretary, calling Watergate a “third-rate burglary,” Republicans are chanting in unison that revelations of Don Jr.’s meeting amounts to a “nothing burger.” It sounded like they had all gotten the same talking points.

It should be noted, by the way, that virtually every revelation about the emerging corruption scandals of the Trump White House have been dredged up by print journalists. I would suggest to America that it show its gratitude by subscribing to a good local or regional newspaper — and read it! You’d be doing no one a bigger favor than yourself.

The New York Times and the Washington Post will continue to dig and, as with Watergate, we may never know how close we came to losing our democracy without them.

I recently read my fellow Minnesotan Sinclair Lewis’ novel, “It Can’t Happen Here,” in which a president named Buzz Windrip campaigned on nationalist themes and promised to represent “the forgotten men.” He also railed against the lies of the mainstream press. Trump has used almost identical language. In the 1935 novel, the populist Windrip is also nominated in a Cleveland convention, and manages to win because he isn’t taken seriously. Windrip then proceeds to establish a fascist dictatorship.

How much more do we not know yet about what Trump has been up to? In what ways have the Russians’ clever use of kompromat allowed them to compromise and blackmail or influence our government or our leaders? We know that President Trump can’t bring himself to say anything bad about Putin.

How far does the scandal go? Did Trump borrow a lot of money from the Russians? Remember back in 2008 when the same idiot son, Don Jr., bragged about how the Trump organization “had a lot of money pouring in from Russia”? When Trump was having financial difficulties, did he sell his soul to the Putin-controlled oligarchs and borrow money with blood on it?

Today, the president called his eldest son, Don Jr., a “high-quality person,” which struck me as damning with faint praise. Are they preparing to throw Don Jr. under the bus to save bigger or more important West Wing hides?

All I can say is that, in a family where the president behaves like a Mafia don, trusting almost exclusively close family members and appointing them to multiple roles, I wouldn’t want to be the Fredo of the family. And I certainly wouldn’t go out in a boat alone on a lake with Steve Bannon.

[The cartoon of Trump kissing Putin's jackboot from a year ago this month, it turns out, is fairly prophetic.]

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