Opinion: It was attempted collusion. Period.

(AP)

It’s pretty basic: The only reason to schedule or attend a meeting about getting secret campaign assistance from the Russian government is because you are willing, even eager, to accept secret campaign assistance from the Russian government.

A lot of Trump supporters may still attempt to deny or evade that obvious conclusion. They may claim, as some do, that having the meeting doesn’t prove that the Trump campaign would have accepted secret campaign assistance from the Russian government. However, they rather quickly run into a major problem. When Donald Trump Jr., confronted with the offer of secret campaign assistance from the Russian government, responds in an email by saying “I love it,” you can’t credibly make that argument any longer.

As a Trump supporter, you might then attempt to compartmentalize the damage, to dismiss what the junior Trump did as the behavior of a kid who didn’t know what he was doing.

That “kid” is 39 years old; he’s the father of five and served a top role in the Trump campaign. In addition, Paul Manafort knew what he was doing. Jared Kushner, Trump’s closest adviser, presumably knew what he was doing. They were in that meeting because they too were willing to accept secret campaign assistance from the Russian government.

A Trump supporter looking for yet another fallback position might then argue that sure, the top three officials in the Trump campaign were in that room hoping to get secret campaign assistance from the Russian government. But Trump himself was not there. According to the White House, Trump only learned about the meeting and the emails a few days ago.

First, I don’t think that’s true. The degree of professionalism and discipline needed to keep information of this sort from the candidate did not exist in the Trump campaign and does not exist to this day in the Trump White House. I have a hard time believing that Donald Jr. didn’t go running to Daddy immediately on being told that the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton that it wanted to share.

But let’s leave that for Robert Mueller to figure out, as he undoubtedly will. Let’s limit ourselves to what we know for a fact, and we don’t yet know for a fact whether Trump was told in June 2016 about the offer of Russian assistance. We do know this: Today, Trump thinks the meeting was fine. Today, the president of the United States believes that it was perfectly acceptable, even standard, to try to get secret campaign assistance from the Russian government.

We know this because he has told us so, this week:

“I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research, or even research into your opponent. I’ve had many people — I have only been in politics for two years, but I’ve had many people call up — “Oh, gee, we have information on this factor or this person, or, frankly, Hillary.” That’s very standard in politics. Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard where they have information and you take the information.”

Of course it is not standard. Not when the source of the dangled information is the government of an American adversary, and when the information itself was probably culled through espionage against American targets. Top officials in every presidential campaign going back 20 years, Republican and Democratic, have been asked and have said to a person that they never would have considered taking such a meeting, not for a second.

So where are we? We have top campaign officials of the president of the United States actively seeking campaign assistance from the Russian government. We have the president himself endorsing that behavior. And we have this, a few weeks after that meeting at Trump Tower:

That’s bad. By any standard, that’s bad. Unable to frame a cogent defense or response to this clear evidence of attempted collusion, the instinct of the Trump crowd is to lie, deceive, invent and fabricate conspiracy theories to shift the blame. In this case, it doesn’t matter that the son, son-in-law and campaign manager of the Trump campaign at the very least proved themselves willing to take assistance from the government of a U.S. adversary.

What matters is Loretta Lynch.

Seriously, the narrative now taking shape on the right goes like this:

The U.S. Justice Department, under President Obama, allowed that Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, into the country. Lynch, as attorney general, ran the Justice Department. Therefore Lynch herself  allowed Veselnitskaya into the country.

Therefore, as Rush Limbaugh puts it:

The whole thing’s a setup.”

Earlier this week, President Trump fed the theory in his remarks in Paris.

“Somebody said that her visa or her passport to come into the country was approved by Attorney General Lynch,” Trump said. “Now, maybe that’s wrong. I just heard that a little while ago. But a little surprised to hear that. So she was here because of Lynch.”

No, she wasn’t here because of Lynch. There is no evidence linking her to Lynch in any way. It is pure invention. Veselnitskaya was allowed into the country by the State Department because she was serving as an attorney for a Russian accused by the U.S. attorney in New York of money laundering. There was no legitimate reason to keep her out.

Yet this is the lead story, supposedly the most important story in the news cycle, dominating the website of FoxNews.com as of 10:50 a.m. on Friday:

Somehow, someway, this whole thing is the Obama administration’s fault. The Trump campaign at the highest levels solicits the help of the Russian government, and once again, the black guy, the magic Negro, made them do it. Stripped of all reasonable, fact-based defenses and explanations, this is the kind of rabbit-hole malarkey that the Trump apologists are reduced to feeding their crowd, and this is the kind of rabbit-hole malarkey that the crowd will now gladly chew upon and regurgitate.

Conspiracy theories are nothing new, of course, but what’s new is how mainstream they have become on the right.¹ As we’ve seen, the president himself is publicly feeding and encouraging it. A major cable news operation has signed onto it. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tells Fox & Friends that he wants an investigation into how Veselnitskaya got into the country. Alex Jones at InfoWars declares that Veselnitskaya is a mole planted by George Soros, and the Bannonites at Breitbart are in full-throated baying. A host at Fox Business News tweets out her theory that Hillary, working with John McCain, arranged the meeting so that Veselnitskaya could get entry to Trump Tower to bug his offices….

It is so nonsensical, so obviously contrived and implausible, that only those desperate for a distraction from the truth can allow themselves to believe it.


¹Buzzfeed of all places has performed a heroic, detailed dissection of this nonsense.

Reader Comments 0

3780 comments
Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

In ten years IRGuy might figure out how to make a punchline out of the word "sheets."

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Hey LIbs, time to drop the collusion shoe, the Jaybird has  a new topic.

rimsky
rimsky

 But after years of struggling to find religious texts, classes, and services in their native tongue, this minority within a minority has helped to organize what they believe to be one of Southern California’s first-ever Friday prayer sermons in Spanish, thanks to a collaboration with an unlikely source — a small mosque in Orange County run by Cambodian refugees.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/latino-muslims-find-home-mosque-led-cambodian-refugees-n782381

Cambodian refugees helping Spanish speaking Muslims.  SMH.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Visual_Cortex I mean, yeah.  those white walkers will kill far fewer than those real life "cut Medicaid" folks. 

Brosephus
Brosephus

Update on the Minnesota police shooting via WCCO:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  The Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed a woman on the city’s south side over the weekend has been identified as Mohamed Noor.

...

Noor was the first Somali-American officer to join the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct team. He joined the department in March 2015. Before that, he worked in property management.

Noor and the other officer, whose identity has yet to be released, have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting.


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Brosephus

Mohamed Noor.

Must...not...assume...how THIS case's prosecution might turn out nor why...

rimsky
rimsky

In the oil country waaay up north there are plenty of jobs.  But you need a CDL and 2 years of driving experience.  Pay is 80,000.  NPR

stefpe
stefpe

@rimsky Seems like trucking companies are always hiring so getting the experience shouldn't be an issue. Paying for that CDL though..

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@stefpe @rimsky Truckers jobs are the next on the "oh, you did what last century?" kind of job to be taken over by automation. 

I am sure there will still be a need for truckers for about the next 10 years, but after that, automated driving will dwindle the number drastically. 

stefpe
stefpe

@LogicalDude @stefpe @rimsky Yeah you're probably right, although I think your time frame might be a tad optimistic. We'll see though.

One problem with automated driving I think, is the unpredictable behavior of "normal" drivers, e.g. humans. Maybe we'll start to see "automated driving only" lanes early on.

elgrunir
elgrunir

Nasty dust storm.

Some rain, too.

rimsky
rimsky

+What ever happened to Spicy and Huckabee.  Do they still have a job?

elgrunir
elgrunir

Sweet.

Came to the CA border for lottery tickets, played the Daily 3, and won $43.

KUTGF
KUTGF

 Spicer says the Jr. meeting was about adoption... LOL.....

"These are not the emails you should be believing... these are not the leave behinds that you should be discussing....."

Spicer makes Baghdad Bob look more credible every day.

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

@KUTGF Tha's where they step into it. If they are discussing adoptions, why are they discussing sanctions, something Flynn denied until he was told they had the tapes?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

 td1234 36 minutes ago

@Brosephus @td1234 Let's see if I can throw a little math at you if I can remember it from my polisci class days. 


First, what the hell is a polisci class?  I know you are not talking about political science class as much as you make up stuff. Next thanks for warning us about more incoming BS before you threw it at us.  LOL

elgrunir
elgrunir

Like yelling "IN--COMING!!!"

TBS
TBS

For all his I was certified to teach history this, government that etc etc

He said the other day that a VP couldn't be tried while in office.

PaulinNH mentioned Spiro Agnew and the two right foot clod hop was on to other issues within seconds

I was almost, but didn't get there, embarrassed for him

The blog Brit sent him tumbling like a tumble weed across the desert on a windy day

rimsky
rimsky

@StraightNoChaser @Brosephus @td1234 I had a friend in College who did graduate level Poly Sci.  They did rudimentary Statistical Analysis at best.  Nothing heavy like differentials or something in that league.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@rimsky @StraightNoChaser @Brosephus @td1234  TD showed he didn't have a clue about how to do even rudimentary statistics when, after seeing a poll that had D's overrepresented by 6% or so and R's underrepresented by 6% or so, he added the 6% underrepresented R's plus added the 6% overrepresented D's to Trump's approval number.  I laughed by butt off - and I still don't think he knows why his analysis was stupid.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TBS  I felt like Albert Pujols getting a hanging curve ball.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@rimsky well, detecting is one thing.  destroying those cells while not destroying neighboring cells is another. 

elgrunir
elgrunir

And I just had prime rib last night...

BUZZKILL!!! ;)

elgrunir
elgrunir

Shlt.

Don't tell me he's a Dodger fan!

They're red hot, by the way.

elgrunir
elgrunir

Easy to package the hate for him, then!

elgrunir
elgrunir

Hey, the Giants may suck this year, but 3 titles in 6 years deserves mad props.

TBS
TBS

They had a great run

Woulda

Shoulda

Coulda

But if Lincecum hadn't lost the magic they might still be one of the best

Of course other teams have had players like him who didn't last however he was damn good for a few years

elgrunir
elgrunir

His breaking stuff was filthy, and he had a good fastball against it.

Mad Bum has been insane as a playoff performer, but that ATV accident seems to represent the Giants' season.

honested
honested

Hey, I'm putting together a truckload of water to take to those guys busily building 'the wall'...

Anybody want to kick in?

elgrunir
elgrunir

I'll divert the Colorado River.

Give me, oh, a few hours.

elgrunir
elgrunir

That snorkel bong is about to come in really handy...

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

I was rewatching parts of the 2016 Olympics where Americans won medal after medal after medal. How did the hayseeds fall for that MAGA crap? We are already great!

https://youtu.be/t6oE2wG_p0Y

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

More people listen to NPR than to Rush. Thank Goddess.