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Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Rachel Maddow Show

Floor 4 West

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112


Dear Rachel,

I have a question for you and here it is:


The problem is my wife, Viola.  She can’t get enough of you!  If I tell her the Cunninghams want us over for a game of bridge, Viola says, “Tell them I can’t make it tonight.  Rachel’s going to be talking about Mike Flynn.”

If I tell her I’m hungry, Viola says, “Fix your own dinner, Carl.  Rachel’s about to get a historical perspective from Michael Beschloss.”

If the house was burning down during your show, Viola would say, “Make sure to let the dog out!”

Last night, I was in the basement watching Hannity, and I came running upstairs to tell Viola what I had just learned.  I told her, “Viola, turn down Rachel for a minute and listen to this: Hannity just said, ‘The Mueller fishing expedition is desperate for dirt, any dirt on…’ ”

But you’ll never guess what she did.  She turned up the sound and said, “Quiet, Carl!  Rachel’s connecting the dots!”

When the commercial came on, Viola hit the mute button, looked me in the eye, and said this:

“Rachel is playing a Bach fugue while Hannity’s trying to remember the chords to ‘Louie Louie.’ ”

Then she turned the sound up again because you were starting to compare and contrast the Mueller probe to the 1973 investigation of Nixon and the Watergate break-in. 

I waited patiently until your show was over, and then I started to repeat what Hannity said about Mueller treating Paul Manafort worse than he treated Sammy “The Bull” Gravano when he took down John Gotti.  But Viola was having none of it.

“Shush!” she said.  “Rachel’s bantering with Lawrence O’Donnell.  I love how they banter at the end of her show!”

Finally, when Viola turned off the TV, I explained to her what Hannity had taught me.  I told Viola that Hannity said this:

“Mueller has spun out of control, left way beyond his mandate, laying just perjury traps, and literally trying to coerce people into what we call testi-lying.”

“You see, Viola?” I exclaimed.  “Cohen, Manafort, Flynn, Corsi, Stone, Papadopoulos—that’s what they’re all doing!  We call it ‘testi-lying.’

“Oh, poor Carl,” said Viola.  “Don’t you know that president of yours testi-lies every time he opens his mouth?  I bet he even testi-lies in his dreams!  Most people dream in color; your president dreams in testi-lies.”

Viola and I have been married a long time and by now I know when to keep my mouth shut.  I decided I’d better change the subject.  So here’s what I said:

“Did you hear what Hannity said about the ‘climate alarmists’?”

But before I could tell her what Hannity said about the ‘climate alarmists,’ Viola said this:

“Carl, if you will watch Rachel with me just once, I will let you sleep in our bedroom again.”

This was a tempting offer because, ever since Thanksgiving, I had been sleeping on the couch.  

The only time I had ever seen you before was when Viola locked me in the basement with the TV on MSNBC and she took away the remote. To be honest, I don’t remember much about you except that you were a lot harder to follow than Hannity.

But my back had been getting pretty sore from sleeping on the couch, so I told Viola I’d give you a try.  She records you on our DVR and watches the same show over and over again.  Here’s what she calls it:


Viola cued the TV up to your latest show and said, “Ok, Carl, listen and learn.”

Well, I watched, I listened, and here’s the main thing I learned:

You are really confusing!  

You talked on and on for twenty-five minutes and you never  took a breath!  I tried to follow you, but you weren’t making any sense!  I felt like I was driving 150 mph at the Indie 500 going the wrong way!  

Here’s what I think you said:

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of lying to investigators, and will submit evidence to court on Friday, showing that Manafort’s lawyers have been communicating with Trump’s lawyers about his testimony, and Mueller’s report will give us our best window yet into what the prosecution knows. 

In the meantime, on Tuesday prosecutors will file a sentencing memo on Mike Flynn, President Trump’s first National Security Advisor who pled guilty to lying about his contacts with the Russian government, including talks about the US lifting sanctions on Russia. 

“So I think this is worth focusing in on pretty intently,” you said.  “Focus in on this Flynn thing just for a second.”  And boy, did you focus intently!

Flynn was invited to visit Russia, which he did just as Trump was announcing his run for president.  Soon after he returned, he joined the Trump campaign.  Soon after that, he was paid by Russia to attend a gala event in Russia where he sat next to Putin and led a standing ovation for Putin.  He denied being paid but later admitted that he was.  

Then, in the presidential transition, Flynn acting as designated National Security Advisor, had multiple talks with Russia assuring them that Trump would lift the sanctions when he became president.  

“The big question,” you said was: “Why did Mike Flynn lie about this stuff?

“It would be a little bit weird but it wouldn’t be that weird that he’d be making these calls to Russia.  But for some reason Michael Flynn was doing something with those calls that could not come out; that really needed to be secret.

“And it wasn’t just him,” you continued. “That’s how they all were with these Russian sanctions.”  

Flynn’s Deputy, KT McFarland lied to the press about it too. She also lied to the Senate and the FBI.  Later she walked back her statement after Flynn pled guilty. But the fact that Flynn and McFarland lied about it meant that “they were both compromised by Russia.”  Russia knew the secret that they were both hiding from the public, the press, the Senate, and the FBI.  

“Ok,” I said.  “So, what’s your point?”  I thought you were done, but no!  You were just getting warmed up.  

Then you showed a clip of candidate Trump at press conference saying: “I don’t believe we need sanctions.  I believe I’ll get along very well with Putin.  I don’t believe we need sanctions.”  

And guess who you told us asked the question to Trump about sanctions?  It was none other than Maria Butina!  She’s now in prison on charges of being a Russian secret agent.  Then you told us it was weird that nobody except Trump publicly advocated dropping sanctions.   

But the part you said Trump didn’t tell us was that dropping the sanctions would be “a huge personal financial windfall for him.  That’s because he was secretly negotiating a deal for Trump Tower Moscow, borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from VTB Bank that was…you guessed it…under US sanctions!"  

Trump said he had no business interests in Russia whatsoever, but the truth was that Trump Tower Moscow would only go through if sanctions lifted. The Kremlin was actively involved in discussions with the Trump Organization about the financing the building project. 

AND: The Trump Organization planned to give Putin a $50 million penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow.

“Now is she done?” I asked Viola. “I feel like Charlie, our cat, after he got locked in the washing machine.”

“Poor Charlie,” said Viola.  “He was never the same after that.  No, Rachel’s not done.  Quiet, Carl!  We haven’t gotten to Peskov yet.” 

Dmitry Peskov, you explained, was the Russian official with close ties to Putin, who denied the Trump Tower Moscow discussions to the press.  But from Michael Cohen’s latest plea,  we know that Peskov knew.

“We now know,” you said, that Flynn, McFarland, and Trump were all lying, and they were all compromised because Russia knew. "Kompromat!"

“Kompromat” is what the Russians call it, meaning “compromising material.”  

And, as Congressman Jim Himes said on your show, a lot of people under oath told the same story as Michael Cohen, “and Michael Cohen just pleaded guilty because his story was a lie.”  

And all those people will be in trouble because the transcripts of their testimony will go to Mueller as soon as the Dems are sworn in.  Hmm…..

“Whew! That was really interesting,” I told Viola. “I think it’s time for Tucker Carlson.”

“Not so fast,” Viola said.  “Listen to this…”

And sure enough, you weren’t done.  You were as relentless as Bob Mueller setting a perjury trap!

Next, you told us that the special counsel says in the criminal information file alongside the Cohen guilty plea that the Trump Tower Moscow project involved direct contact with the Kremlin; that there were plans for the Trump Organization personnel including potentially Trump himself to come to Moscow and meet with “senior government officials.”   Those plans involved more consultations with Trump than had previously been admitted to; the consultations went on for months longer than previously admitted, all the way to summer of 2016 after Trump was the presumptive nominee!  

These talks came to a “rather dramatic and specific halt, on a specific date”: June 14, 2016. That was the date that Michael Cohen and Felix Sater met in Trump Tower on and decided not to go to Moscow to pursue Trump Tower after all.  That was the day the Washington Post published the story that Russian hackers had stolen files from the Democratic National Committee.  That was….

“Wait a minute!” I cried.  “Felix Sater?!  Who the hell is Felix Sater?!”  My head was spinning faster than Linda Blair’s head in “The Exorcist.”

“Felix Sater,” Viola informed me, hitting the PAUSE button, “is a New York real estate guy who advises Donald Trump.  He’s also a mobster who, in 1998, pleaded guilty in a $40 million Russian mafia stock fraud scheme and became an informant for the FBI.  Any other questions?”

“Can I go watch Tucker Carlson now?” I asked.

“Not yet,” said Viola.  “It’s starting to get good.”  She hit PLAY.

This was when you drew the line connecting Peskov to the Trump Tower Moscow deal and the Russian hacking. What was the connection between the Russian deal and hacking?  “Why does one have to stop when the other gets exposed?” you asked.  

Then you answered your question by saying: “Well, what if they’re the same project?”  Peskov has close ties to Putin; Pescov lied to the press to keep Trump Tower Moscow a secret; Peskov is thought to have “a major role, perhaps even the chief executive role” in the Russian campaign to interfere with the elections, bring down Hillary, and help Trump.  

“If the goal of Russia is to compromise the candidate and install him in the White House, then the Trump Tower Moscow project and election interference are the same operation.

“Compromise your guy, then install your guy.  World domination in two easy steps,” you said.

But still you wouldn't stop!

To make Trump Tower Moscow viable, you said, you need financing to make the whole thing possible. This Russian bank, VTB is committed to financing the project. In order for them to finance the project, you need sanctions to be lifted. So Donald Trump publicly advocates for that after being prompted by a Russian agent--Maria Butina!

Flynn and McFarland start secretly working on it, lying to the public, the press, congress, and the FBI. Lifting sanctions isn’t so terrible, you said, but if it were part of this scheme, “Yeah, that might explain why they were being so surreptitious about it.

“What else?” you asked. 

“What else?!” I screamed.  I think this was when my leg started bleeding from me chewing on it.

Felix Sater and Michael Cohen, you continued, who were the two guys who were specifically working on Trump Tower Moscow, were involved in one more scheme.  Right before Flynn was fired, right before the start of the Trump presidency, Sater and Cohen pursued a “secret Ukrainian peace deal scheme,” which you said was “really just a scheme to hand Ukraine over to Russia and drop the sanctions.”

“What were Felix Sater and Michael Cohen doing working on something like that?” you asked. “Do those guys scream ‘international diplomacy’ to you?”

It was those guys who were working on a plan to drop Russian sanctions, you said, because those guys were the ones who were working on making the Trump Tower Moscow project happen too.  And to make that come true, they needed financing from that state owned Russian bank controlled by Putin, and that couldn’t happen until sanctions were dropped.

All one thing—might have been run by the same guy—Peskov.

Tuesday is the Flynn hearing.  Then we’ll find out, you said.  Donald Trump, MikeFlynn, KC McFarland all lied to hide that they tried to lift sanctions in order to protect Trump Tower Moscow. 

The Russians plan: To get sanctions lifted while compromising President Donald Trump.  You paused dramatically.

Then, mercifully, the TV switched to a Maxi-Pads commercial.  Finally, something I could wrap my head around!

“Well,” said Viola, “what do you think now?”

“I think it’s no wonder Hannity’s ratings are better than Rachel’s,” I said.  “At least he says things that make sense.”

“Oh, you mean like when he said this,” Viola offered:

"Here you are, you're a liberal, probably define peace as the absence of conflict. I define peace as the ability to defend yourself and blow your enemies into smithereens."

“Exactly!” I said.  “Those are ideas I can wrap my head around!  Or like when he said this:”

“Halloween is a liberal holiday because we're teaching our children to beg for something for free. … We're teaching kids to knock on other people's doors and ask for a handout."

Well, Viola did honor her promise and let me sleep in the bedroom again.  

The only problem is I’m sleeping there alone.  She’s gone up north to visit her sister.  She didn’t say when she’d be back.


Carl Estrada








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