From Russia Without Love

наш президент является марионеткой путин. он не мой президент.

Wait. Did I just begin this blog in Russian? But I don’t know anyone in Russia. I have not talked to anyone in Russia. I swear. Not the Russian ambassador. Not any Russian high-ranking officials. Not during the election. Not after the election. My becoming conversant enough to write in Russian is just a bizarre coincidence. (By the way, the sentences above say: “Our president is a Putin puppet. He is not my president.” In any language, that sounds about right.)

My sudden ability to write in Russian is not even the top story in my life this week. I have just learned that former President Obama decided to tapp myy phonne. I’m sorry. I mean, tap my phone. (My darn spellcheck is not working; Trump’s Twitter account seems to have the same issue.) Even though I have no evidence that Obama is listening in on my phone conversations, my instinct says that he is. This is strange because my conversations are rather boring. They mostly go, “Yea, Mom. What do you want?”

But enough about me. Let’s get to the real story: Trump and Russia. Every day, new evidence unfolds regarding the entanglements between the Trump campaign and Russia. We know that advisers like Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and Jeff Sessions spoke with Russian officials during the campaign. We know the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to be more favorable to Russian interests in Ukraine. We know that the Russians interfered in our election to benefit Trump. We know that there are likely FBI investigations into this.

Is there more? Was there collusion? There is no definitive evidence of this, but the fact that Trump’s people have continually lied about their contacts with Russia does not make them look innocent. And, yes, we are used to Trump melting down on Twitter. But accusing Obama of wiretapping his phones is a whole new level of breakdown. Does it have something to do with all the scrutiny into his campaign’s Russian ties and possible crimes committed?

Additionally, this particular Trump meltdown was counterproductive to his cause. After all, accusing Obama of wiretapping makes one wonder whether the FBI did have enough on Trump to get a surveillance warrant. And his accusation just adds to the reasons for an investigation. His Twitter rants may as well end with #treason, #guilty.

People often say that the cover-up is worse than the crime. In this case, the crime of influencing the election, with perhaps the Trump team’s knowledge, was quite effective. The cover-up is worse because it is so incompetent. The denials usually go like this: “I didn’t talk to Russia. I didn’t talk to Russia. I didn’t talk to Russia. Okay, I talked to Russia.”

Now, Republicans are on the defensive about all matters Russian. Amazingly, only two Republicans seem to care about a foreign adversary’s meddling in our democratic process: John McCain and Lindsey Graham. I usually never agree with Lindsey Graham, but I want to give him a standing ovation for, at least, giving a crap about the outrage of a foreign power hacking our institutions and trying to upend our election. Surprisingly, because things are so bad, many staunch Democrats I know, including myself, have recently uttered something we never thought we’d say: “I wish John McCain would just take over.”

Speaking of McCain and Graham: I watched a highlight from their joint town hall where they cried talking about their close friendship. I even teared up. They are so inseparable that I’ve created a celebrity couple name for them: Johnsey McGraham. Those two should remake The Shawshank Redemption, the ultimate movie on male friendship. The hug on the beach in the final scene would be amazing, except this time it would be on the bank of the Potomac. This updated version would end with that hug and their whispering into each other’s ear something which is actually true in their case: не марионеткой путинского. нет кукол. нет кукол. The translation from Russian: “Not Putin’s puppet. No puppet. No puppet.”

Hilary Schwartz is a comedian and writer based in NYC with love (and hate) for politics. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.

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