Neither the Trump campaign nor the Trump presidency have been normal by any measure. When it comes to lying and unacceptable behavior and the trashing of America's role in the world, there are truly no comparisons from the nation's past. Even the paranoia driven Nixon presidency looks normal compared to the debacle that we are now witnessing - a debacle that seems to be accelerating with every new news cycle. Yet few Republicans want to admit the obvious: Trump was never fit for office and that they are now faced with a choice of backing Trump and by extension Vladimir Putin of defending the U.S. Constitution from both domestic and foreign enemies. Yesterday's revelation of Donald Trump, Jr.'s email exchange has removed all other options. Mealy mouthed statements and equivocation no longer work. Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker basically makes this point in a column in the Washington Post. It is time for Republicans to pick between their party and a demonstratively unfit - and possibly traitorous - individual or the Constitution and the nation. We are at the point where Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will show that they have some shred of patriotism left or instead act in a manner akin to the Vichy French who chose accommodation with Hitler (and a short term retention of power). Here are column highlights:
Not only did Donald Trump Jr. meet with a Russian attorney who, he was told, had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but also there are emails indicating that he knew in advance that the opposition research was part of the Kremlin’s effort to help Donald Trump become president.
If that’s not collusion, it seems at least “collusioney,” a newly minted term surely destined to erase all memory of Monday’s exhaustively used “nothing-burger.”
Smoking guns don’t need to be nearly this hot to capture Washington’s attention, but these latest revelations should be enough to make every American take a deep breath. Whether Trump Jr. is merely stupid is yet to be determined, but he wasn’t alone in that meeting. Joining him were his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Paul J. Manafort, then Trump Sr.’s campaign manager, who is known to have had business dealings in Russia for a number of years.
After Goldstone said that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had information that would incriminate Clinton, Trump Jr. replied that he’d “love it.” Who wouldn’t? You’re the namesake son of the man on track to become the Republican nominee and possibly president — and Russia wants to help him win? Hell da !
The fact that the alleged opposition research was part of Russia’s war on Clinton, as indicated in one of the emails, would have raised flags for most people — no, make that for all but these people. I’m confident that, if the nice Ace Hardware man who recently helped me select a mailbox were to receive such an email, he’d contact the FBI as soon as possible.
[W]e can presume that all three knew better than to attend such a meeting. After all, it could well have been a trap — and I’m not sure it wasn’t. But to the inexperienced minds of Kushner and Trump Jr., the calculation may have been as simple (and feeble) as: Why not? Defeating Clinton was in the national interest, wasn’t it? And the Trumps have (or had) no pique with Russia.
Trump Jr.’s claim that he didn’t tell his father about the meeting rather strains credulity, don’t you think? Ditto Veselnitskaya’s claim that she has never worked for the Kremlin and has no idea what all the fuss is about. She was here to lobby against American legislation that her client finds objectionable.
[A]pparently, the future of the Trump presidency is in the hands of Goldstone. He set up the meeting; he brought Trump Jr. into a damning email exchange; he promised dirt. Wait, who is this guy again?
Well, that’s a very good question. He’s an intermediary for Veselnitskaya, who either (a) works for the Kremlin and possibly even Vladimir Putin; or (b) is just a lawyer/lobbyist interested in U.S. policy. Wouldn’t we like to know? Also possible is that President Trump knew all along about the meeting, which may be why he acts like a cocker spaniel at a Doberman rally whenever the name Putin comes up. What did Veselnitskaya really come to say? For whom?
More shock waves are doubtless coming. Meanwhile, we know for certain: When a Russian lawyer meets privately with the future president’s son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager on a third-party promise of Clinton-disabling intel, it’s hard to say the Trump campaign had nothing to do with Russia.
Watergate involved lies and cover ups for a"third rate burglary." Here we have lies and a now much clearer effort to cover up collusion with an enemy power. The new developments certainly make it much more understandable why Trump wanted to fire James Comey and stop the Russiagate investigation. Republicans can try to cling to denial, but the media which Trump loves to trash now smells blood in the water. Republicans need to do the right thing NOW or be consumed in the growing feeding frenzy. Oh, and don't for a minute believe Mike Pence's claims that he knew nothing. Like Trump, he's a pathological liar.