Opinion: This time, Trump has every reason to be angry

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(AP)

I don’t want to ruin the party, and I’m not exactly pre-disposed to rush to Donald Trump’s defense, but these “allegations” against him published by CNN and more irresponsibly by Buzzfeed are at this point garbage. Absent supporting evidence — and we have none — they should be given no credibility.

Put another way, some of it may be true;  none of it may be true. And until you can distinguish reliably between those things, none of it is true.

I’ve already written that Trump’s behavior and attitude toward Russia cannot be explained by what we know on the public record, and that something must be missing. And yes, allegations contained in the material made public Thursday night, especially the 35-page memo reportedly compiled by a former British intelligence operative, would be the perfect missing piece that makes the puzzle complete.

But that’s part of the reason that it should be treated with such caution. The material, reportedly gathered on behalf of Republican and later Democratic political opponents of Trump, is too convenient, too neat. It reads like an investigative report written to tell the client what (s)he wanted most to hear, so that the money would keep flowing:

  • Would you like to believe that Trump was caught by the Kremlin in acts of sexual perversion while visiting Moscow, which helps to explain his passivity toward Vladimir Putin? Check.
  • Would you like to believe that the Kremlin knows all about Trump’s criminal business behavior, and has threatened Trump with exposure unless he plays ball? Check.
  • Would you like to believe that the Trump campaign and the Kremlin directly negotiated release of hacked material harmful to Hillary Clinton in return for foreign-policy concessions by Trump, which would be blatant treason? Check once again.

American intelligence officials are reportedly investigating the allegations aggressively, as they must. For defensive purposes alone, we need to know what the Russians think they know about our new president. But so far, there is no indication that they’ve been able to confirm any of its contents. One important allegation, that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had traveled to Prague to meet with Russian agents, appears at this point to be false, which is a big warning sign.

It’s also worth noting that Trump himself has played this game with total abandon, for example with the birther allegations and with claims that the father of Ted Cruz had helped to assassinate JFK. However, none of that changes the fact that it is deeply unfair to treat these new claims as anything more than groundless gossip or fake news. You either hold yourself to a higher standard than Trump, or you don’t.

Based on what we know now, it’s a major mistake for Trump’s opponents to try to give these allegations more credibility than they deserve. They harm their own credibility by doing so, and they distract attention from very real and well-documented concerns about Trump and the presidency that he is about to begin.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

2317 comments
Josh West
Josh West

So, Jay Bookman, did you apply this same logic to the Birther thing?

Nicole Presa
Nicole Presa

Listen, you reap what you sow. This is his birther controversy. Didn't he even go as far as saying that Ted Cruz's father killed Kennedy!!?? I don't feel bad at all for him.

Carlos Calderon
Carlos Calderon

Dude... you're supposed to be a news organization. THE WAY YOU DISCOVER THE TRUTH IS BY ASKING QUESTIONS!! Do your job. Quit with giving us YOUR opinion FFS!

Donna Johnson
Donna Johnson

This man is evil thru and thru.Americans are going to see just how evil he is shame on the ones that voted for this evil man

Silliw Alegna
Silliw Alegna

Like saying Obama wasn't a Us citizen. I took him 8 years to admit he was a liar.

Dieter Fiek
Dieter Fiek

Dumbest option you can have. They guy claims Obama wasn't born an American citizen, claims that Ted Cruz's dad was part of the JFK assassination and that the Clinton's are murderers. Lol. I guess it's only fair when HE reads things on the internet.

Nicole Richardson
Nicole Richardson

It isn't any fun she the rabbit \U0001f430 has the gun is it.It was okay to put out false lies everyday on Hillary but now its false news.Whinning brat have a seat you will be out within a year for treason you idiot.Russia is waiting for you at Sarah palins house.you idiot crybaby

Cathy Hatfield
Cathy Hatfield

Obama wasn't born in America, his birt certificate is located in the British archives because at time of his birth, Kenya was a province of England or Great Britain, now the U.K. RESEARCH !GOOGLE IT

Vance Croft
Vance Croft

He's a Sociopath. He's always in a snit about something.

Gail Beaman
Gail Beaman

Maybe it was the same source that Donald Trump used for his Birther statements.

Devan Watson
Devan Watson

Isn't this the man who said Ted Cruz's dad murdered JFK and Obama's grandmother witnessed his birth in Kenya? He has no right to be mad about anything anyone says about him.

LaVetta Irene Dartez
LaVetta Irene Dartez

He won because rule Americians. ..the silent majority , was tired of paying for abortions that's heartbreaking ! And many more topics ect.......

Paul Moisan
Paul Moisan

Trump was pushing fake news for years regarding where our current President was born.

Mike Fleming
Mike Fleming

May be true, may not be true, I don't know, but a lot of people say it might be true so who knows? Maybe is true, maybe it's not, but millions of Americans can't be wrong to talk about it.

shelley09
shelley09

Wait-an unverified report is wrong to publish, but unverified emails are not?  It's a 2 way street, Jay.  SMH

WDE
WDE

@shelley09 there was nothing unverified about the emails...hell even Hillary didn't deny they were real...just that they were exposed.But nice try....NEXT !

Robin Marks
Robin Marks

Trump publicly tweets and talks innuendo and hear say all the time with no substantive proof to back his words. Example: Obama is a Kenyan born Muslim with a fake American birth certificate.

Robin Marks
Robin Marks

Daniel Shayder I don't agree with any of it. But I do think Trump is leaving himself open to a lot of criticism do to his and his cabinet members conflict of interest. Undisclosed investments, tax returns etc. We can only take him at his word I guess but for some people that's not good enough.

Alex Yu
Alex Yu

but many people are talking about it.. and according to Trump - that's enough to bring it up...

David Wakefield
David Wakefield

what i find funny is that the AJC thinks it's a credible news source ....and this story is just an op ed ..

Glenn Reed
Glenn Reed

If Trump and Republicans in general hated all Fake news they might have a leg to stand on but the amount of unsubstantiated Hillary and Obama fake news never stopped them from tweeting and posting it online

rimsky
rimsky

 Trump top nominees Pompeo and Mattis warn of Russia threat

I know they are saying these things to get the job and be confirmed by the Senate.  Then they will do exactly do what their boss (Putin) tells them to do.

honested
honested

@PaulinNH 

Did he not comprehend the question or is there an overt notion that steering funds to a real estate concern will be authorized because the President says it's ok?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Joe is funneling $ to the Trump Foundation? The things one learns here!!

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Carson is the gift that keeps on giving

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

The Libs remind me of scenes where the insane are being escorted to the rubber room shouting they are sane, nothing is wrong with me, etc.

gadem
gadem

@JohnnyReb when is the last time that you had a moment of self reflection?

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@JohnnyReb I won't group you in with all other conservatives -- you seem to lump everyone together -- but your intolerant and inflexible brain demands forensic study for the betterment of humankind when it becomes available.

Of course, I do hope you live a long and fulfilling life in your bubble.

No rush.

JoAnn Blake
JoAnn Blake

Releasing a report with all the facts not yet verified but by written a credible intelligence source does not constitute fake news. Fake news is deliberate deception, made-up news, such as Hillary and the pizza shop story.

David Tinch
David Tinch

I don't see him calling out fox,brietbart,Limbaugh,Alex Jones or anyone else about fake news.

rimsky
rimsky

@gotalife Not so soon Mr. Got.  We will survive hurricane chump.  Wounded of course.

WDE
WDE

@NativeAtlantan57 @gotalife yeppers with Rosie O'Donald and Alec Baldwin in your crowd you are really showing your "decency"...oh yeah Bill Clinton...

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

I FULLY SUPPORT IMPOSING MARTIAL LAW - DELAYING THE INAUGURATION - UNTIL TRUMP IS "CLEARED" OF ALL CHARGES   ~Rosie O'Donnell~    The closer to the end of the error we get, the more unhinged the proggies get.

rimsky
rimsky

@DownInAlbany Just one prog's opinion.  Not all.  Rosie does not represent my opinion.  

But Fox tells all you cons what to say.   Hehhehehe

rimsky
rimsky

@DownInAlbany @rimsky Yes.  I watch Fox time to time just to see what you people say is copied from them or lush or hannity or .......any number of con high rollers.

JayBook
JayBook moderator

@rimsky @DownInAlbany Funny to see the same folks who insisted we pay no attention to Meryl Streep now insisting that we pay close attention to the rantings of Rosie.