THE NEW YEAR started with a bang.
First, we learn from Susan Glasser in Politico what a bunch of pit vipers there are on President Trump‘s foreign policy team.
The dysfunction continued to plague Trump’s foreign policy team as the tumultuous year came to an end. “It’s a snake pit,” a senior Republican who has remained in close contact with many of the players told me in early December. “There are personality tensions between the president and Tillerson, between the president and McMaster, between McMaster and Tillerson. It’s broken and it’s going to have to be fixed one way or another. It can’t go on like this.”
Over at the State Department, barrels of ink have been spilled telling the still-mystifying story of how Tillerson came to Foggy Bottom and alienated a foreign service that had been inclined to receive him warmly and initially perceived him as an establishment-minded defender who might speak up for diplomacy and curb some of Trump’s more reckless impulses.
The Guardian is out with a report on a bombshell in a new book about to land. Steve Bannon, before he came on board with the campaign, called the Russian meeting Trump’s team had “treasonous.”
Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, reportedly based on more than 200 interviews with the president, his inner circle and players in and around the administration, is one of the most eagerly awaited political books of the year. In it, Wolff lifts the lid on a White House lurching from crisis to crisis amid internecine warfare, with even some of Trump’s closest allies expressing contempt for him.
But it’s the op-ed in the New York Times that has people buzzing. Fusion GPS strikes back.
We suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses. Congress appears uninterested in that tip: Reportedly, ours are the only bank records the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed.
We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those deals don’t seem to interest Congress.
We explained how, from our past journalistic work in Europe, we were deeply familiar with the political operative Paul Manafort’s coziness with Moscow and his financial ties to Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.
Finally, we debunked the biggest canard being pushed by the president’s men — the notion that we somehow knew of the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between some Russians and the Trump brain trust.
Buckle up, boys and girls.