NYMag asks: What if the Trump-Russia collusion scandal is 'much worse than we suspect'?

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The July 9-22 cover of New York Magazine.
The July 9-22 cover of New York Magazine. Credit: New York Magazine

In its July 9-22 issue, on newsstands today, New York Magazine explores a "plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion." Jonathan Chait's piece, which is fronted on the cover with a stark typographic visual created by artist Barbara Kruger, carries the headline "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart—Or His Handler?" inside. It has an even more provocate alternate headline that the magazine is using in some places online, including in its Twitter feed: "What If Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?"

Chait writes that "The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory" and notes that various Trump loyalists have busied themselves trying to gin up innocent explanations for "every suspicious piece of evidence" in the ongoing scandal. But, Chait adds,

What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect. After all, treating a small probability as if it were nonexistent is the very error much of the news media made in covering the presidential horse race. And while the body of publicly available information about the Russia scandal is already extensive, the way it has been delivered—scoop after scoop of discrete nuggets of information—has been disorienting and difficult to follow. What would it look like if it were reassembled into a single narrative, one that distinguished between fact and speculation but didn't myopically focus on the most certain conclusions?

Chait then does just that, carefully laying out the narrative, beginning with "The first intimations that Trump might harbor a dark secret originated among America's European allies"—in 2015, when Western European intelligence began seeing evidence of "communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump's orbit."

Chait's story also includes an illustrated diagram captioned "A crazy quilt of connections" that lays out the links between Trump and Putin.

Read the piece in full here.

As of this writing, Trump has so far failed to slam NYmag's report—doing so, of course, would prompt more people to read it—though over the weekend he did serve up a couple tweets as part of his continuing campaign to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation:

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