The Little Meeting that Keeps Getting Bigger


The Borger Post Office came to mind recently.

I spent two years in Borger, Texas, in the late nineties. It was a good time: lots of good work, some successes.

After spending 19 years among the East Texas pines, the expanded horizon required some adjustments. In Huntsville, with its hills and trees, you might see three or four blocks down a street at a time. The wide open spaces actually widen your vision.
Now, the Borger Post Office is a non-descript little federal building, no match for Duncan’s home to our dedicated postal workers. Still, according to many Borger historians, its dimensions are deceiving.

After the discovery of oil in the vicinity, Asa “Ace” Borger and a partner bought themselves a town site in the Texas Panhandle in 1926 – well within the memory of a lot folks 20 years ago, and the Borger boomtown soon had a population of about 45,000 people.

We’ll skim over the “Boogertown” era, with its crooked mayor and his henchman running the entire place as a red light district; the arrival of a trainload of Texas Rangers (not one riot, one Ranger here) co-led by Capt. Frank Hamer of Bonnie and Clyde fame; the Exodus of the Whores – all sent hitch-hiking out of town in their finery on the same day; the murder of a district attorney and finally martial law and state troops.
Pertinent to our story, is the Borger Post Office on Aug. 31, 1934, when the county treasurer, blaming ol’ Ace for not bailing him out of jail after he had been charged with embezzlement, gunned Borger down in the post office lobby.

I have it on good authority from the those who survived that era, including one guy who claimed to have been a youthful ice cream runner in the hot afternoons for the ladies of the night: If everyone who claimed to have been in that post office at the time of the shooting had actually been inside the post office, it had to be the biggest post office in the country.

The Borger Post Office comes to mind as new information keeps emerging about Donald Trump, Jr.’s June, 2016 meeting with our Russian enemies.
First, it was just a meeting between Junior and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer concerned about adoptions. Well, her translator, Anatoli Samochornov’s  was there, too.
But, no, Rob Goldstone, who set up the meeting by promising Junior that the Ruskies had  anti-Clinton info, was there as well.

Oops. Seems like Trump son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner – who omitted mentioning more than 100 contacts with foreign officials when applying for his security clearance — was at the meeting, too, along with Trump’s then-campaign chair Paul Manafort – who apparently owed Russian interests $17 million a couples years back, but owes them nothing now.

They came along after being forwarded Goldstone’s memo to Junior, which assured Junior that the Russian government was pulling for his papa.

Hold on a sec. Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhemetshin, who has boasted of his past as a Russian intelligence officer, was at the meeting. Akhemetshin provided Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher material intending to slander Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian whistleblower who found $230 million in governmental theft before being consigned to a prison where he died.

Feeling a bit crowded, yet?

Turns out Ike Kaveladze was also in attendance. I don’t much like this Ike. On his own, he has been accused of laundering more than $1.4 billion from Eastern Europe into the U.S.

He works for  Crocus Group, an American-based company owned by Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch and real estate developer Aras Agalarov.  Rob Goldstone, who set all this up, is a publicist for Agalarov’s pop-singer son, Emin. The senior Agalarov is a buddy of Russian no-goodnik Vladimir Putin.

But, wait, there’s more — though not another person despite President Trump’s attempt to put his 11-year-old son into the conversation. (Of course, naming a son “Barron” does tell us what this president thinks of republics.)

Turns out our adoption-concerned lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya  has served as a lawyer – I would guess successfully – for the Russian FSB security agency, the successor of Putin’s KGB.

I’m beginning to think that the little meeting, originally described as between Junior and the lawyer, could have been held in the Trump Tower Grand Ballroom. Bring on the balalaikas and the Polvetsian Dancers.

What harm can come from secret meeting with our enemies. Trump and his Trumpeteers would like to say, “Nothing.”

But, we do know that, within a week of President Trump’s originally-undisclosed meeting with Putin in Germany, the Administration announced it was dropping its support for anti-Assad forces in Syria, where the Russians have been propping up that brutal dictatorship for years.

(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)

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