TPM's Josh Marshall shares how Occam's Razor is coming into play, and the worst case scenario of corruption and scandal is quickly becoming the most likely. The simplest explanation of Kushner's alleged behavior is money from Russia, with love.
We've heard it claimed that this secret channel to Moscow Kushner and Flynn wanted to set up was to discuss the situation in Syria. That is simply not plausible. At least it couldn't have been just about Syria as there are numerous legitimate ways to do that. If the conversations were about Syria and ISIS, which I find dubious, they must have included other topics which had to be hidden from the US government, the intelligence agencies and US military.
The most plausible 'bad' story behind the Trump/Russia mystery has always been some kind of financial preferment to members of the Trump family in exchange for lifting the sanctions put in place after the Russian annexation of Crimea and subsequent low-intensity incursions into eastern Ukraine. This wouldn't come out of the blue. It would probably come in the context of some 'deal' over Syria or Ukraine or perhaps some agreement about global counter-terrorism cooperation. As I've written, there is a more 'innocent' explanation as well. It may not be any quid pro quo. It could simply be years of doing business with Russians and people from other parts of the former Soviet Union which has made Trump inclined to see their needs in a sympathetic light. His hostility toward the sanctions regime could also be driven by the fact that, with his dependence on Russian and FSU investments and purchases, they likely hurt him directly.
This chart, let me be clear, is not a statement of fact. It is an effort to illustrate a series of patterns which are the subject, the subtext, of many of the reports about the Trump/Russia story and indeed the investigation. It looks at what each side wants, what each side seems to be getting. President Trump's efforts to destabilize NATO and the EU are the most clear. These things are happening. The election hacking and subversion did happen. We know the Trump Organization has taken vast sums of money from Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union over the last twenty years. Whether there's any explicit quid quo pro today is what we don't know. When people talk about collusion, this is the pattern of actions they're looking at and trying to confirm.