January 19, 2019

I'm not sure if Sarah Kendzior knows how funny she is, but she routinely has her co-panelists cracking up. Today it was while they were discussing the notion that has been floated by many, including columnist Frank Bruni of the New York Times, that Donald Trump wasn't actually interested in winning the 2016 election. That he was just running to lay the groundwork to make money in the future, and would be better able to profit off a loss than a win. The line that had shoulders shaking on AM Joy today was Kendzior's dead-panning that yeah, she didn't buy that.

"First off, this is Trump, and you have to imagine that in his head he's content to lose to a woman, and lose to a Clinton." You can hear the giggles in the background, but luckily Kendzior is not done and her colleagues have a chance to recover as she systematically lays out all of the reasons Trump had to want VERY BADLY to win the election. And that now that he's "won" — or more accurately, it seems, was installed — as president, she explains how he has proceeded exactly according to the M.O. of every other autocrat in the world by weakening our country's democracy and its institutions.

Honestly, I don't know how she fits as much information as she does into 60 seconds of airtime, but Kendzior either talks really fast, or has the breath control of Daveed Diggs and should audition for Hamilton. Watch especially for Elie Mystal's little mic drop moment at the end.

REID: Sarah, the reason that the tower and the Buzzfeed report that is now in such hot dispute all over Christendom is so significant, it's sort of the Frank Bruni theory of the Donald Trump run for president, that he didn't really want to BE president. Running for president was part of the long-standing marketing strategy for him to make a lot of money. He could have made up to $300 million on this tower, that he decided that he may not win. It's also in the Buzzfeed story and not in dispute that Donald Trump said, "Listen, I may not have won," right? And this has been in other reports, and, "Why should I give up all of these lucrative opportunities?" and that the challenge for Donald Trump is that he hired a bunch of people who did intend for him to win, right? That the Russians were like, "Oh, no, you're going to win," and that you had people like Stephen Bannon who were like, "We want you to win," because they all had agendas tied to him being president, when in his own mind this may have been a way for him to get rich. What do you make of that theory that the reason that he would have Cohen lie -- or that Cohen would lie because we don't know that Donald Trump made him do it, but that Cohen would lie about it is because of the fact that he was continuing to pursue this tower while running for president, I don't know, what would be the problem with people knowing that if in his own mind he had a right to do it because he might not have become president?

KENDZIOR: I don't buy this theory at all that Trump thought he wasn't going to win or he didn't want to win. First off, this is Trump and you have to imagine that in his head he's content to lose to a woman and lose to a Clinton. Second of all, his relationship with Russia goes back 30 years, as do his political ambitions. He nearly ran for president in 1988. He ran in 1996, he ran in 2000, he ran in 2012 and he ran again in 2016. That's not a political neophyte. That's somebody who's had long-term political ambitions. We also know that Trump has had ties to Russian officials and to organized crime for about 30 years and that he's been the source of various crackdowns on those crimes. For example, there's an investigation into the Taj Mahal casino by the U.S. Treasury in 2015. Trump may have been in trouble. A great way to get out of trouble is if you're the president of the United States and you can pack the courts, you can purge agencies, you can rewrite the laws so you can be immune from prosecution, as well as filling your own autocratic objectives and partnering with autocrats around the world which is what he's done. This is a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as government.

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