(Rich Galen, Mullings) – One of the major plot points in the 1962 movie “The Manchurian Candidate” was the trigger mechanism to taking control of Lawrence Harvey’s character, Raymond Shaw.
A voice on the phone would tell him to play solitaire and when he turned over a red queen, he was open to receiving instructions ranging from jumping into the lake in New York’s Central Park to murdering a U.S. Senator.
There will be more chatter about this film in the next two months than there has been in the past half-century.
On Saturday, the Washington Post released a story saying,
“The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency.”
This specific charge is far different from the vague suggestion we had been hearing that the Russkies were working to undermine the presidential election process.
Donald Trump and his allies have denied – on behalf of the Russians – that any of this is true. Again, from the WaPo:
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” his first Sunday show appearance since the election last month. “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it … No, I don’t believe it at all.”
Since November 8, Trump and his campaign have been very defensive over any suggestion his election is not 100% legit. Hillary won the popular vote by (so far) 2.8 million votes. Who cares? That’s not the way we keep score for President. Donald Trump cares because he Tweeted on November 27 (almost three weeks after he had already won):
“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
First of all, Trump won the Electoral College with a comfortable margin (306 – 232) but that’s far from a landslide.
A landslide would be Richard Nixon’s 1972 margin (520 – 17 over George McGovern) or Ronald Reagan’s 1984 total of 525 Electoral votes to Walter Mondale’s 13.
The only two people who care about Trump’s margin of victory are Trump and the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The other 325 million of us have accepted – for better or worse – that Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President on January 20.
Let’s remember that any skullduggery on the part of the Russians occurred on Barack Obama’s – not Donald Trump’s – watch.
If the Russians did interfere with the election with an eye toward getting Trump elected, the question is: Why? It seems that there is, or at least was, a business connection,
According to a CNN op-ed this weekend,
Donald Trump, Jr., said to a reporter in 2008 that he’d made six work trips to the country in the preceding 18 months. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” he claimed, particularly into the group’s holdings in Dubai and New York.
No one with any sense is suggesting that the Trump organization’s previous business dealings with Russia are the equivalent of a Manchurian Candidate. Mike Flynn, ardent conspiracist, and Trump’s pick to be National Security Advisor has had business dealings with Russia at least in the form of paid speeches.
And the current front-runner for Secretary of States, Rex Tillerson, has done millions – perhaps billions – of dollars of business with Russia as an executive of ExxonMobil Corporation.
In fact, CNN Money claims Tillerson made his bones with ExxonMobil by running, and building the Russian business:
“The 64-year-old Tillerson, a lifetime Exxon employee, came up through the ranks by managing the company’s Russia account.”
With so much discussion about conflicts of interest in regard to the incoming Administration, the Senate’s focus on all these Russia-connections during confirmation hearings is going to be very close, indeed.
If someone at Trump Tower announces a reality TV show featuring a Professional World Solitaire Tournament, be afraid.
That red queen will show up sooner or later.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.