Josh Marshall takes a moment to reflect on the fact that President Trump gets a lot of money from Russia. Even if the explanation is completely innocent, it's still a pretty big deal:
Many people look at this arc of growing dependency on money from the former Soviet Union and look for that moment when Trump becomes so dependent on money from Russia that he's forced to cut a deal with Vladimir Putin; or perhaps his business partners catch him in a compromising situation and then he's owned by nefarious forces in Russia. I do not rule out the possibility that some less lurid version of one of these scenarios did happen. But what many of us see as the smoke, which must somewhere lead to fire, is actually the story itself. The smoke is the story! Or to put it differently, the deep business ties provide a compelling explanation and I think likely sufficient explanation of Trump's persistent coziness and affection with top figures in Russia and Russian geopolitical interests.
We can also see the impact of the Crimea crisis of 2014 - which is the fulcrum of so much of the Trump/Russia story. If Trump had been getting a substantial amount of his buyers and investors from Russia, the imposition of sanctions in 2014 created a major obstacle to his way of doing business. (The big dip in the global oil market likely had a similar impact.) Remember, what's bad for Trump is wrong. That's the rule of thumb. Not just bad for Trump but wrong, stupid, terrible. And it wasn't just bad for Trump, it was clearly a very bad development for many people in his business orbit. Bad for Trump, Bad! Bad for Trump's friends, Bad! Bad for Trump's friends who keep the money flowing, Especially Bad!
I don't deny that we may eventually find a needle in this haystack. There are parts of the story which remain difficult to piece together based on what I've called this "innocent explanation." There are so many sleazy characters, so many connections to figures in the Russian criminal underworld that I'm sure there are at least a few sub-needles there. But haystack itself is a very, very big story.
He's seriously the most corrupt person ever elected to that office, and I'm including the guys from the 1880s and Warren Harding.