On Oct. 31, Slate published a nerd-fascinating story about a server in the Trump Organization communicating with two servers in a Russian bank with connections to Putin. How this odd exchange between the servers was discovered is the bulk of the story and the author, Franklin Foer, does an excellent job of trying to connect the dots in a meaningful pattern without devolving into conspiracy theories. After the first story, he followed up with a second, giving fair consideration to explanations from the Trump camp and Alfa Bank. He ended with an open mind about whether the communications had been the result of spam coming from the Trump Organization server or whether, as the computer experts who analyzed it thought, “The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion.”

One tidbit in the article, quickly dismissed because it seemed to make no sense, was that a small amount of this unusual data exchange involved a server owned by Spectrum Health in Michigan. While one could build a tentative narrative about a hidden exchange between a Trump company and a Russian bank, what in the heck was a Michigan health care system doing in the mix? It made no sense and was, in fact, a piece of the puzzle that made me doubt there was a big picture. I soon forgot all about the article, especially as the avalanche of the election descended on all of us.

But it’s amazing how one’s perspective can suddenly shift. Today I stumbled across a tweet from @kayzed14

A small portion of the logs showed communication with a server belonging to MI-based Spectrum Health.#AuditTheVote
— Kay Zed (@KayZed14) December 1, 2016

If you follow that tweet thread a little farther, you’ll find that Spectrum Health is connected to our newly named Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Her husband is chairman of the board. A children’s hospital in the Spectrum system is named after her mother-in-law. Suddenly another dot connected and a tiny whiff of a conspiracy theory began percolating in my mind.

I’m not a conspiracy theory buff. I’ve never believed in one of them, even the more plausible, once even more plausible information came out to rebut it. So I’m sure there are plenty of ways that this could turn out to be one big implausible coincidence.

But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be that Trump himself or Betsy DeVos or even Putin’s friend Pyotr Aven of Alfa bank knew anything about these servers or what they were doing. These extraordinarily wealthy beings have hoards of underlings, sycophants and manager-types hanging around them. As soon as Trump and DeVos were identified as being sympathetic to Putin, in whatever way that might have been expressed, it would be easy for someone to be inserted into their extensive camps. No one would be guarding for that. At least not before this year.

So make of it what you will. I’m putting it on my list of Trump-Putin links. And any Kos nerds who missed this article when it first came out might want to peruse it and see what you think.

Strange times. Very strange times. I feel like I’ve woken up in a spy movie.
Further connection to Spectrum Health: Betsy Devos's sister-in-law is the secretary on their board of trustees.
I wonder if Putin found anything incriminating on Trump or Devos with this tactic.