Generally, when one is accused of a crime, and one doesn’t want to be thought of as guilty (whether actually guilty or not), said individual would be wise to not… y’know… act guilty.
Okay, I’m starting off on a snarky foot. Lemme backtrack just a bit here.
Within Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian intelligence operatives for election tampering, was a paragraph that explained those operatives were working with somebody connected to the Trump campaign.
That individual wasn’t named, but I think it’s a safe bet the Trump team will distance themselves from that person as soon as the name is revealed.
Once the specifics of the connection are publicly established, I would bet it wouldn’t take all that long to figure out how close to Trump the conspiracy gets. Special Counsel Mueller may already know that answer by now, or at least have a good idea.
I use the word conspiracy, as “collusion” is a largely meaningless term in a legal sense. But a criminal conspiracy charge (or something similar), seems increasingly likely to be directed at one or more people within the Trump campaign.
Now, this part alone makes the “witch hunt” mantra laughable. But what’s more significant is figuring how closely connected this individual is with Trump himself. To quote Senator Howard Baker, “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
That’s a question that deserves an answer.
To those who are screaming at Mueller and Rosenstein to “hurry it up,” and “end the witch hunt already,” I only have this to say:
* It took two years and two months from the Watergate break-in to Nixon’s resignation.
* Iran-Contra resulted in indictments of a dozen high ranking people, took six and a half years for the final report to be published, and arguably should have led to the downfall of both the President and Vice President.
* Whitewater started as an investigation into a money-losing land deal in Arkansas in the 1980s, lasted eight years, and eventually transformed into a sprawling investigation that uncovered the fact that the president lied about an affair. Oh yeah, and there was no criminal action involved in the land deal.
* Meanwhile, in the year 2018, Robert Mueller is investigating whether or not a successful American presidential campaign knowingly sought and received assistance from a hostile foreign power in order to improve their election chances.
With these things in mind, my question is, what’s your hurry?
I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to note that foreign election meddling is at least as significant to the American people now as Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Whitewater were in their days.
So why not wait and see where this goes? If one is a supporter of Donald Trump, isn’t it important to know whether or not he conspired with a foreign entity to defraud the American public? If it were a president I supported, I sure as hell would want to know the answer to that.
Innocent until proven guilty? Sure. But a hint of guilt requires investigation. And persistently guilty behavior warrants a persistent investigation.
If Trump wanted to prove he wasn’t in Putin’s pocket, he should probably stop doing his best to tear apart alliances that provide a counterweight to Russian influence. Like when he called the European Union “a foe” of the United States, or demanded that Russia be returned to the G7, or when he vaguely threatened to dismantle NATO.
It would probably help if he didn’t insist on meeting with Putin after Mueller’s fresh round of indictments, or stand on a stage with Putin and admit he believed Putin’s denials of election interference over the evaluation of the entire US intelligence community.
Oh yes, he did that. When asked directly about whether or not he would denounce Putin for the Russian election hacking, he rambled on about Hillary’s emails for awhile, then his rambles veered to the topic, and he said, “…With that being said, all I can do is ask the question, my people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, and some others, they said, they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server, but I have—I have confidence in both parties.”
And then he rambled back over to Hillary for awhile longer. He does that often. But in the middle there, he did this other thing, where he said he believed a dictator of another country over the word of his intelligence chiefs. He did this right next to Putin himself.
Former CIA chief John Brennan described Trump’s meeting and comments with Putin as treasonous. While it’s true Brennan has made no secret of his personal distaste for Trump, is there an argument there? As I’ve written about before, Trump himself is no stranger to tossing around the word treason rather loosely.
As I described in that earlier piece, treason is described as (according to Title 18 of the US Code), Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
Can we describe Russia as an “enemy?” Well, we know quite clearly that the Russian military intelligence coordinated and carried out extensive hacking operations against American political institutions, primarily those allied with the Democratic Party. We have solid evidence that they funneled money and assistance to Republican candidates, using groups like the NRA. And of course, we know of plenty of examples of communication between persons associated with the Trump campaign, and Russian government and business officials.
“If it’s what you say, I love it.”
Remember that gem from Don Jr., responding to Russian offers of dirt on Hillary Clinton, and the subsequent meeting, of which details have changed several times?
Remember the emails between Wikileaks and Roger Stone? Or the other emails between them and Don Jr.?
Remember George Papadopoulos bragging about his Russian contacts?
We know the Russians DID compromise both campaigns and actual voting infrastructures. We know Trump himself publicly requested these acts. We know members of the Trump campaign sought out Russian (and others) assistance.
We know quite a lot.
As of this writing, July 16, 2018, we don’t know for certain if Donald Trump knew what was happening with Russian interference, while it was happening.
There are those who might know. There are those who do know, one way or another.
Whatever the truth is, it’s clear that Trump doesn’t know one thing in particular: It’s better to swallow his ego and acknowledge what everyone else knows, than to act guilty.
He was willing to stand on a stage in Finland, and tell the world he trusted a dictator over his own intelligence officials.
I don’t know for certain Russia is an “enemy” in the sense the Founders intended. But any nation that seeks to undermine free and fair elections in another is – at the very least – a foe. There should be no question that they attacked the US in 2016, and seek to continue those attacks two years later.
And for a national leader to blatantly support such a foe certainly feels wrong, if not specifically treasonous.