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Have you had a friend who died after a long bout with alcoholism or some other form of substance abuse who left you wondering when he turned the proverbial corner from moderation to addiction? The comparison may not be the neatest, but the same question can be asked of Donald Trump: When did we know for sure that he colluded with Russia?
The answer to when a friend may have approached and turned that corner probably always will be elusive no matter how cognizant we may have been, and it certainly has eluded me over the 21 years since the death of a dear acquaintance although he and I had been especially close.
But with Trump it's easy.
Even absent a court ruling or our ears ringing from the discharge of a smoking gun, the corner between doubt and certainty concerning collusion was turned when the available evidence -- as opposed to all the stuff we still don't know that is locked in Robert Mueller's safe -- grew so enormous, the meetings between Trumpkins and Russian cut-outs dismissed by the president's sycophancy as mere coincidences grew so numerous, the denials and shifting explanations became so arcane, the kissing of Vladimir Putin's ass so egregious and the lies so bold that there no longer was any question that Trump did not merely collude, and in doing so broke the law and violated his oath of office.
His betrayal of the American people has been not merely historic, it is enormous.
From a chronological perspective, the corner was turned for me about a year ago. That's pretty obvious from reading my dozens of blog posts on the Russia scandal from my more cautious conjecture about collusion after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 to my outright statements that there was indeed collusion a few months later when a number of seemingly unrelated events clicked into place and it became obvious that Daddy Trump not only knew about the infamous Trump Tower meeting called by Donald "If What You Say Is True I Love It" Trump Jr., but he green lighted the meeting and expected his campaign to get a huge bump from all the "dirt" that would be revealed about Lock Her Up Hillary courtesy of Putin's sulfurous helpmate, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.
It has taken the fevered Trump sycophancy far longer to espy that corner. But they now have and they are one freaked out bunch because they now know Trump is guilty as sin.
First the sycophancy said there were no meetings between Trump's campaign and those cut-outs. None whatsoever. Then they admitted there were low-level meetings. Then they admitted there were lots of them. Then they admitted there were high-level meetings. Lots of them, too. But they were about adoptions and stuff. Then they admitted that those lots of high-level meetings were not about adoptions and stuff. But Trump didn't know about them. Then they admitted Trump did know about them. But there was no collusion.
And as spring has begat summer, they have now acknowledged there was collusion, but collusion is not a crime, so the mantra of the moment is "Nothing to see here, America, move along."
If that's not evidence enough for you, there's this:
From the very first news story in August 2016, three months before a victory that seemed improbable until we gleaned the full extent of Putin's cyber sabotage of the Clinton campaign, Trump has repeatedly denied the Kremlin's role, let alone that he had any connection to Russia whatsoever despite deep ties that go back three decades. Then as president he has repeatedly tried to conceal those connections and hide his guilt by stopping the investigations into that Kremlin involvement. And at every turn -- on some 250 occasions, according to The New York Times -- he has lashed out when the footsteps become louder, most recently dangling the promise of pardons and now revoking the security clearances of his most informed critics.
All undeniably the actions of a very guilty man.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.