Let’s take a brief look at the big picture surrounding this murky topic.
The first point is that it is not vividly clear what the hubbub is really all about in the minds of many people.
Obviously, we all know, politics is a contact sport. The idea of digging up dirt on the opposition is as old as politics. And a lot of American citizens of all stripes still seem to see no problem with what Donald Jr. did. They think his freedom of speech gives him a lot of latitude.
The First Amendment looms large in a lot of minds—as it should—BUT there are exceptions like ‘you cannot cry fire in a crowded theater’—and dealing with a hostile power about a democratic election is surely such an exception.
So far, no sign of money has yet appeared from Russia. It would not be at all surprising, however, if money had change hands at some point. There are already indications that it did. Would that be enough to convince more Americans to forsake him? Who knows?
But even if no money ever changed hands, what Trump’s team did was dangerous and illegal.
In order to keep hostile foreign powers from corrupting our democratic process, we have laws that forbid political campaigns from soliciting or accepting money or anything of value from foreign governments and even indirect sources. Opposition research is certainly something of value (as evidenced by Donald Jr.’s reply of “I love it”), and agreeing to receive it from a foreign power would be a very serious illegal act.
These laws are vital to the continued functioning of our nation. Despite the enormous sums of money spent on our elections, the fundraising prowess of our politicians pales in comparison to the ability of a state to levy taxes and raise funds (and the researchers employed by a campaign are amateurs compared to state intelligence services). It would not be (was not?) particularly difficult for a determined country to swing the outcome of an election, which is why these laws and their effective enforcement is so important. If we do not enforce them today, we will have no idea what to make of the 2018 election results.
What is clear now is that the Trump team’s bluster and denials is evidence (though admittedly still circumstantial) that something rotten is afoot. Given that every one of Donald Jr.’s (many) denials has now been proved a lie, there is no reason to trust any denials.
There are basically only two possibilities for someone in Trump’s position.
A normal person would most likely say “I am faced with a terrible dilemma. I genuinely know nothing about these disturbing allegations, and I want to join the effort to investigate thoroughly and clear the decks of the issue, so we can get on with running the country.”
OR, if that person actually knew there had been transgressions, he or she would have/should have said “whatever may have happened was a mistake. It should not have happened, and will never again happen on my watch!”
But, at the end of the day, I believe that you will have to conclude that Trump’s behavior signals his desperate hope and belief in a cover-up and distraction that will stymie investigations long enough that in due time the system will tire of the process.
It might be possible for us to sit back and wait for a Democratic Congress to impeach Trump or for the Mueller investigation to turn up even worse dirt. But Trump will grow increasingly desperate as the net closes around him, and he still has a terrifying way out.
It is well known that war dramatically increases American support for the president (it even has a name: the “rally ‘round the flag effect”), and Trump has a ready enemy waiting in the wings. Experts worry that war with North Korea could/might start DESPITE all efforts to avoid it. It could, therefore, become too easy for Trump to ‘allow’ a war to begin in order to increase his standing at home and distract from the sins of his campaign.
That is where we stand today. It seems ever clearer to this observer that we cannot/should not wait for this scandal to run a normal course to replace him.
It is time to start a public crescendo from all corners of America through our internet echoing “ENOUGH” to save our republic and our lives.
America needs all of us NOW, my friends!