Shmuley Ben Shekelheim
New York Times
July 22, 2018
WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election issued an indictment of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday in the sinking of a Missouri duck boat. The indictment came as no shock to many close to the duck boat investigation, though America is reeling from learning that the President of Russia was hiding out in a submergible pod in a Missouri lake waiting to sink a duck boat.
The 29-page indictment is the most detailed accusation by the American government to date of the Russian government’s interference in American duck boat tours, and it includes a litany of brazen Russian subterfuge operations meant to foment chaos in the Missouri lake.
The indictment details a vigorous and complex effort by Russia’s dictatorial leader to sabotage “Ride the Ducks” and other operations at the lake. It accuses Mr. Putin of murdering the 17 people who drowned in the boat, most of whom were African American. It states that Mr. Putin used an advanced sound weapon to destabilize the craft, and notes that Putin watched the victims sink with “giddy glee.”
The timing of the indictment, by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, added a jolt of tension to the already freighted atmosphere surrounding the fallout of Mr. Trump’s Helsinki summit with Mr. Putin. It is all but certain to feed into the conspiratorial views held by the president and some of his allies that Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors are determined to undermine Mr. Trump’s designs for a rapprochement with Russia.
The indictment was based on an image posted on the Twitter page of the Reagan Battalion, a traditional conservative group which opposes President Trump because of his attacks on multiculturalism and transsexuals in the military. The photo shows Mr. Putin in a submergible pod watching the duck boat sink.
Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein apparently learned of the incident from another Twitter account, that of Ed Krassenstein, and had a seizure. His wife briefly took over the account, writing in response, “This is his wife, you caused a seizure. I have your information and have called the police to report the assault.”
Mrs. Rosenstein later apologized to Mr. Krassenstein, telling the Times that there was some confusion while her husband lay foaming at the mouth on the floor of the synagogue, having been triggered by the tweet which mentioned the Putin attack on the duck boat, which she says he read on his BlackBerry KEY2 Black Edition Saturday afternoon.
Robert Mueller did not immediately respond when contacted by the Times for comment on this new indictment, which comes ahead of Mr. Trump’s recently announced meeting with Mr. Putin in Washington this fall.
The indictment does not explicitly state that Mr. Trump colluded directly to sink the duck boat, but many politicians have suggested they believe this to be the case.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that there is “zero doubt” in his mind that Trump knew of the Russian plot to sink the duck boat.
“Intelligence sources have confirmed that Trump used ICE to sneak Putin and his weaponized plexiglass submergible pod across the Mexican border. He then drove him in his big truck to the Missouri lake and helped him deploy the pod,” Sen. Schumer told the Times.
“Trump might as well have drowned that precious African American family himself. This is the dynamic duo, which we in Congress call ‘Putrump.’ Others call it ‘Trumptin,'” said Senator Ben Sasse (R-NB).
Speaker Paul Ryan told the Times that he did not know what a duck boat was. When the Times explained the concept to him, he repeatedly stated that he didn’t understand the concept, saying “I’ve heard of cars and I’ve heard of boats, but I’ve never heard of combining the two, and I don’t think it’s physically possible.”
Speaker Ryan then told the Times that he was “at a BBQ with the fam,” adding, “maybe we can talk Monday,” and hung up the phone.
When asked by the far-right news site Fox News why the indictment does not contain any evidence beyond the Reagan Battalion tweet, Mr. Rosenstein said there is “mounds of damning evidence” but that it is “all being kept secret forever.” The Times talked to 87 intelligence officials familiar with the investigation, who asked to remain anonymous, and they each confirmed that there are mounds of damning evidence to support the claim that the Russian President sunk “Ride the Ducks.”
It is unlikely that Mr. Putin will extradite himself to America to face these charges. There are currently ongoing operations to ensure that he isn’t still hiding at the bottom of the lake, though the indictment states that he used “a portal gun like from Rick and Morty” to escape back to Russia.
Experts claim that it will be impossible to arrest Mr. Putin during his upcoming visit to America, due to diplomatic immunity laws. However, former CIA agent and current CNN analyst Philip Mudd said that Rod Rosenstein should make use of notoriously liberal anti-terrorism laws to send a “phalanx of cyborg ninjas” to nab Putin.
The Times was unable to confirm that Mr. Rosenstein has the authority to order cyborg ninjas to arrest the Russian President.