From Charles Pierce:
It is about the money because it always has been about the money, and, because it always has been about the money, we suspect that the hounds now are baying loudly at the doors of the Kompromat Laundromat. This is how it could have happened: The Trump Organization, reportedly deeply in debt, needed money and couldn’t get a loan from a U.S.-based bank. Meanwhile, the vicious Russian kleptocratic elite had a lot of dough it needed cleaned and was washing it through Deutsche Bank and through banks in Cyprus, an underrated spot for such enterprises. It was a profitable relationship for both parties: Both of the older Trump boys boasted in the past about how important Russian investment had been in maintaining the Trump Organization. Then Dad ran for president. Then he won. And then, by all indications, the bills came due.
One of the more conspicuous debtors to the Russians was a guy named Paul Manafort, who reportedly owed them $17 million in the days before he became manager of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
We can safely assume that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into all of this, and more, but the outline of the essential corruption never has been clearer. The Trumps needed money and the Russians needed to clean a lot of it. Cui bono? Res Ipse loquitur. All of the rest of it, the dodging and weaving and, most recently, the unveiled threats to fire Mueller and unilaterally end the investigations, the almost blithe assault on all democratic norms and institutions, spin out from the possibility that Donald Trump needed money to continue to be Donald Trump to the world, and to himself, and that the easiest place to get that money was from the Russians.