Winston Churchill once said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” I wouldn’t know. The only Russians I’ve ever known are Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale from “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.”

One thing I did learn, however: Never trust the Russians. Heck, weren’t they part of that “Evil Empire” that Reagan was talking about?

The Trump administration must have massive amnesia when it comes to remembering when they’ve had meetings with the Russians. Everybody it seems, from the attorney general on down, finally has been forced to admit to meeting with Russians.

Those Russians seem to be everywhere.

Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, had to amend his SF-86 form, the form he submitted to obtain his security clearance. He even hired a lawyer to help him with it. Seems he had forgotten over a hundred contacts, including some, um, …Russians, including not only his contact with Russian Ambassador Kislyak, but also his meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of the sanctioned Russian bank Vnesheconombank.

I bank with Umpqua. That is hard enough to pronounce. I can’t imagine doing business with a bank called Vnesheconombank – but hey, if you need the money....

One month before election day, Jared Kushner’s real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan. At this point, Jared was a key member of the presidential campaign. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The cases were settled in December and January.

Darn it. How do the Russians keep getting mixed up in all this?

Fortunately, Donald Trump Jr. made sure that Jared didn’t forget the June 9 meeting in 2016 with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, by tweeting about the meeting he set up with Jared and Paul Manafort – both involved with the election. Junior forgot to mention another Russian named Rinat Akhmetshin – former military and possible intelligence agent. Plus, there was a translator and a couple other people in the room. I hope it was a large room because every other day it seems more and more people were there.

Now I can’t imagine that Jr. would not even know the name of the person he is inviting to this meeting in Trump tower but somehow gets two very important people who are very busy with the Trump campaign to sit down to meet some Russians who are supposed to have some dirt on Hillary or the Democratic National Committee. As far as her name, I think Jr. just forgot it. I can’t even pronounce it let alone remember it.

Both Russians are advocating for sanctions to be lifted on Russia but say they have no connection with Putin whatsoever. Putin who? Oh, you mean THAT Putin? Oh no. We have nothing to do with him. It was just a coincidence that their agenda and the Kremlin’s agenda were exactly the same.

We are supposed to believe that the Russians’ real goal was only for the Americans to lift the sanctions we slapped on Russia called the Magnitsky Act, named for a lawyer who died at age 37 in a Moscow prison after accusing Russian officials of a massive tax fraud. The Russians claim this was based on a false story.

People die all the time, right? Even at age 37. It could happen.

Anyway, if the sanctions could be lifted, then Russia would allow adoption of Russian children by American families. Russian children coming to American? Hmm.

Trained KGB orphan agents, with a chip in their brains timed to go off in 20 years, infiltrating America? The Manchurian Candidate thing? Nah, that’s ridiculous.

Meanwhile, Trump is elected president. The day after he fires FBI Director James Comey, President Trump has a meeting in the White House with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He kicks the American press out and allows TASS, the Russian press, that bastion of freedom, to take pictures. They all have a big laugh about firing Comey. Then Trump reveals some highly classified information to the Russians. Of course, he is the president. He can do that.

Meanwhile, our press is locked out, presumably, because they print fake news.

The only press there, what’s left of them, are very loyal to Putin since many dozens of journalists have died in very suspicious circumstances. I understand journalists in Russia not friendly to Putin are a sickly and clumsy lot.

Could a Russian plant some bugs in the White House? But why plant bugs? Who needs them? I understand that Trump’s phone is not secure and they can’t get it away from him. The Russians have probably already hacked it. And this is how you can tell they are not our friends. They could, but they won’t stop his tweeting.

Don Urbanus is a Burson business owner. Contact him at


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