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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 29 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Anyone who knows the Trump-Russia case knows Trump's inaction on Khashoggi is tied to a 6-nation "grand bargain." More proof—Khashoggi was banned from Saudi TV, newspapers and conferences for criticizing the Saudi Crown Prince's involvement in the bargain:…
2/ I can't underscore this enough: the Khashoggi case is a chapter in the Trump-Russia scandal. Reporters must understand that the Trumps' relationship with the Saudis is inextricably tied to its relationship with and expectations for the Russian government with respect to Iran.
3/ Trump and Kushner figured out early on—well before the 2016 election—that they could enrich themselves via both the Russians and the Saudis if they dropped sanctions on Russia in exchange for Russia giving the Saudis what they wanted: a curtailing of Russian support for Iran.
4/ I've said before and will say again that the Trump Jr. meeting reporters most need to focus on with respect to Russia didn't take place in June 2016 at Trump Tower but in August 2016 at Trump Tower and did not involve Russian agents but agents of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel.
5/ When Erik Prince met with the Russians and the UAE in the Seychelles in January 2017, it was at a *bare minimum* the *third* meeting to discuss a single topic: a six-nation "grand bargain" involving the Trumps (United States), Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Israel.
6/ Another meeting—the second, though there may well have been additional intervening meetings we don't know of—happened at Trump Tower during the 2016 transition and involved a secret trip to the U.S. by the Crown Prince of the UAE, who met with Bannon, Kushner, and a Saudi rep.
7/ Kushner's desire for a December 2016 backchannel—via a Russian SCIF—to discuss Iran with the Russians, and his secure backchannel to the Saudi Crown Prince via WhatsApp, are key parts of this. As is the backchannel between Bannon and Erik Prince that began during the campaign.
8/ The lobbying done by Tom Barrack, Mike Flynn, Rick Gates, and Bud McFarlane on giving Saudi Arabia nuclear tech, which led to Flynn's now-infamous "good to go" text at Trump's inauguration—and Trump's plan to drop Russia sanctions right after the inauguration—are part of this.
9/ Trump's IC knew the Saudi Crown Prince planned to lure Khashoggi to (at a minimum) a kidnapping and failed in its duty to warn him. Kushner spoke to the Crown Prince *about Khashoggi* the day before he was killed. This story is *not* going away, as it's part of a larger story.
10/ Don't forget: Kushner already stands accused of taking classified intel on Saudi dissidents from the presidential daily briefing his father-in-law gets and giving it to Saudi's Crown Prince on a surprise visit to Saudi Arabia, thus giving MBS a domestic assassination roadmap.
11/ George Papadopoulos told ABC he was still getting messages from Kremlin agent Joseph Mifsud in 2017, meaning the Kremlin still thought Papadopoulos had value as a Trump agent when Papadopoulos went to Israel the week of the inauguration. So what was @GeorgePapa19 doing there?
12/ Criminal conspiracies are necessarily small in their roster of conspirators—lest the chance of betrayal to law enforcement be too high. The "six-nation grand bargain" is a "theory of the case" in the Mueller probe that helps explain everything everyone was doing at all times.
13/ Why was Papadopoulos—still a Trump agent—telling Greek officials in December 2016 that he "helped Trump win the presidency" and had a "blank check" for any job he wanted? Why was he expected to join the State department—which Trump was about to use to drop Russia sanctions?
14/ If Papadopoulos' wife is telling the truth, and every trip he took was authorized, who sent Papadopoulos to Greece in December 2016 to meet with Putin allies, and then to Israel in 2017, where he met with (he says) people he thought were Israeli spies who offered him money?
15/ Why did Papadopoulos' January '17 trip to Israel come immediately after a 3-man meeting with Trump's incoming Chief of Staff and a top Putin ally in the Greek government (an anti-Russian sanctions crusader) at Trump's inauguration? Investigators don't believe in coincidences.
16/ Not everything Trump does is connected to the grand bargain—not even 15% of what he does is. But we're entering a period of time in which media and investigators being able to see *which* events connect to the domestic interests of the six nations will be a critical skillset.
17/ It's in that context that I say the Khashoggi assassination *must* be seen as connected to the Trump-Russia story by anyone who covers that story—because Khashoggi's fatal misstep was criticizing Kushner pal MBS on his plan to strike a deal with the Trumps and Russia on Iran.
18/ And I say "the Trumps" because we need to start thinking that way. "The Trumps"—meaning Trump Sr., Trump Jr., and Kushner—were one of the six parties in the six-nation bargain, standing in for "the United States." But their interest from Day 1 was solely their own enrichment.
19/ If Kushner (in the campaign) really "nixed" a meeting with Kremlin agent Torshin, why did Trump Jr. ("not" in the campaign) dine with him 72 hours later? Why did (it appears) Kushner and Gates "reject" the Israeli Zamel's proposals just weeks before Trump Jr. met with him?
20/ If Goldstone was just trying to use Trump Jr. to get a message to Trump Sr. in June 2016, why did Trump Jr. immediately bring in Kushner? And why does another attendee of that meeting say *Kushner* was engaged, animated, and angry (at the lack of Clinton dirt) at the meeting?
21/ In every criminal conspiracy, seemingly far-flung events are connected by the people involved, their interests, and the way certain decisions lead to later events. The only way Trump and Kushner slide on this Khashoggi assassination is if media doesn't connect it to anything.
22/ But it seems likely this is the *second* time Kushner violated government protocols in a way that assisted his pal MBS—the Saudi Crown Prince—in assassinating dissidents. And Kushner is only going to do that if the Trumps owe the Saudis or there's money in it for the Trumps.
23/ There's no non-clandestine, acknowledged U.S. diplomatic or security interest in assisting that Saudi Crown Prince in murdering his enemies. None. Zero. The Trumps could easily have said "we support you but want nothing to do with this." Instead, they appear to have assisted.
24/ The co-conspirator list in the Trump-Russia case isn't long. If you're in media and don't have a mastery of each conspirator's movements from mid-2015 (for the Trumps 2013) onward—including every known meeting with an agent from one of the six nations—you're behind the story.
25/ Flynn. Prince. Kushner. Trump Sr. Don Jr. Bannon. Papadopoulos. Sessions. Barrack. Manafort. Gates. Page. McFarlane. Second-tiers like Clovis, Miller, Stone, Schmitz, Gordon. Foreign agents like Mifsud, Nader, Zamel, MBS, MBZ, Torshin, Butina. It's not too much to learn. /end
PS/ Saudi Arabia needed two things from Trump in the six-nation bargain: unnecessary U.S.-Iran hostility (see Trump's lies about Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal) and massive military aid (see Trump's insistence that nothing block his $100 billion military deal with MBS).
PS2/ The $100 billion begins Trump's effort to help MBS get nuclear power/weapons. Why does he care? The Saudi blockade on Qatar forced the Qataris to "loan" Kushner $900 million and a Cohen client—Broidy—stood to get $1 billion in Saudi/UAE contracts. Was Trump to get kickbacks?
PS3/ The evidence suggests that Trump used Cohen as a money laundering apparatus for Russian and possibly Saudi/UAE money. Russians gave Cohen millions in "consulting fees" and in Saudis/UAE paying Broidy, his "lawyer" Cohen—also Trump's "lawyer"—could have gotten money to Trump.
PS4/ At the end of every decision Donald Trump has ever made in his life is a profit motive—same with Kushner. If you think suddenly their motives changed with respect to the endlessly rich Saudi Crown Prince, you are—excuse me saying it—yet another in a lifetime of Trump chumps.
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