In the spirit of bipartisanship, let’s try a little thought experiment:
Instead of jumping to the worst of conclusions, as many on the left have begun to do, let’s do the opposite. Let’s grant President Trump his single biggest wish by giving the president and his administration the benefit of every possible doubt regarding its relationship with Russia.
We’ll start with the basics, by assuming that President Trump long ago reached an honest, informed strategic decision about trying to work with Vladimir Putin that had nothing to do with his own private business interests or with a misplaced case of hero worship. That leads us in turn to the further assumption that Trump and his staff in no way colluded with the Russian effort to interfere in our election, that they were as surprised by its discovery as anybody else.
In this world, the infamous British dossier was a complete fabrication and the string of rather amazing coincidences regarding Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn and Roger Stone and others was exactly that and no more, a meaningless string of amazing, amazing coincidences. The repeated denials of meetings and contacts — denials that we now know to have been false — are purely the product of bad memories on the part of people so busy that they just can’t recall things accurately.
If we accept all that, presuming innocence at every turn, where do we find ourselves?
Not a good place.
We are left with the most amazingly incompetent administration perhaps in American history, an administration that is so clueless and bumbling that in a matter of two months in office, it has managed to make itself look guilty and defensive even when it is presumably innocent. We face an administration that for some reason cannot tell the American people a straight story even when a straight story would be to its immense benefit, that cannot get its message across accurately even with an extremely gifted messenger as its leader.
If they truly are hiding nothing, then the absurd theatrics involving U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes going to the White House to inform the White House of what the White House had leaked to him the night before rises to an even higher level of absurdity. In this best of all possible worlds, Sean Spicer’s hapless, desperate evasions are no longer comical but … I don’t know what term to use. Downright tragic?
Personally, I don’t think that’s the way the history books are going to cover this. I think this will end up being attributed to gross incompetence on the part of people not half as smart as they think they are, combined with at the very least willful deceit if not felonious complicity. And heaven help the country if malfeasance ends up outweighing the considerable amount of incompetence already on display.