With Quartz, I looked into the historical precedent - or lack thereof - of a U.S. presidential campaign taking up Moscow's offers of aid:
As analysts debate whether Trump Jr. committed any crimes in meeting with Veselnitskaya, it’s clear that we are in an unprecedented situation. But the most remarkable thing here isn’t that the Russian government attempted to conspire with a preferred candidate. It’s that the Trump campaign actually decided to take them up on it—an extraordinary break from the way prior US presidential candidates have responded when Moscow offers a helping hand.
Consider the memoir of Anatoly Dobrynin, who served as Moscow’s ambassador to the US for nearly a quarter-century. Dobrynin worked through the Cuba missile crisis and the space race, through the assassination of John F. Kennedy, through Vietnam, Angola, and Afghanistan. As seasoned a diplomat as any, Dobrynin was rarely shaken. But even he reports being shocked in 1968, when he learnedthat his higher-ups decided that the Kremlin would offer Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey “any conceivable help in his election campaign—including financial aid.”
For Dobrynin, the decision smacked of myopia. If anyone got a whiff of Soviet aid, it “certainly would have backfired and ensured Humphrey’s defeat,” he wrote. And he was galled by the idea of domestic interference in the affairs of a Cold War foe. But he broached the topic with the Democratic candidate. While joining Humphrey at his home for breakfast—a meeting that, unlike Trump Jr.’s, wasn’t predicated on any nefarious offers—Dobrynin began hinting at the Soviet Union’s willingness to help defeat his opponent, Richard Nixon. Humphrey, however, wouldn’t hear of it. He reportedly told Dobrynin that Moscow’s well-wishes would suffice. Moscow’s efforts to intervene, Dobrynin concluded, “got nowhere.”
Meanwhile, with The Diplomat, I checked in on Central Asian infrastructure projects, as well as the likelihood we'll be seeing more revelations in Kazakhstan's ongoing money-laundering allegations against those who purchased Trump properties.