This weekend on the Sunday News talk shows the following idea got repeated over and over– “There is no direct evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians during the Presidential campaign”. The meme was repeated by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow on several shows, NYTimes David Brooks on Meet the Press, Amy Walter of the Cook Report and Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute. What you see emerging is the new Trump Defensive Wall – “There is no smoking gun of Trump colluding with the Russians just his inexperience in the norms of Washington, his Tweets and other self-inflicted wounds” and . This corollary was supported by Speaker of the House Speaker Paul Ryan who chalked up all the Trumpian missteps to the fact that “He’s just new to this.”
The problem with this Trump Defensive Wall are 4 telling counterpoints:
1)First both Attorney General Sessions and President Trump have been privy to the facts presented by 16 National Security Experts about the interference of the Russians not just in the National elections but also state-wide elections plus world-wide attacks on democratic processes. Yet neither has chosen to investigate the extent of the Russian actions in the last election. It is almost a repeat of President George Bush’s refusal to acknowledge or “connect the dots” on Mid East chatter reported by the CIA and other intelligence sources prior to 9/11;
2)Everybody has said “follow the money”. But President Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns has stymied most North American news organizations. But the Dutch have not been frustrated as they have investigated the relationship of President Trump to some of the key Russian Oligarchs. Salon.com has reveled the Dutch analysis in its report on Dutch TV Zembla’s video:
The connections that the Dutch have found extends not just to President Trump but the full array of Trump’s inner circle including son-in-law Jared Kushner.
3)President Trump’s adamant refusal to release his tax returns, especially in light of the Dutch report on his illegal ties to Russian finance, has stong implications on Trump’s susceptibility to Russian influence. Robert Mueller should be able to break this info jam.
4)David Brook’s own publication would beg to differ onDavid’s assessment that there is no smoking gun on collusion with the Russians. Rather the NYTimes depicts the Trump- Russia Nexus as substantial. Unlike the President & Attorney General, Robert Mueller has every reason to connect the dots here.
So the GOP’s Trump Defense Plan is remarkably like Trump’s own StoneWall [Fake News, a Witch Hunt]- since there is currently no direct evidence of collusion it is not worth the while to pursue any serious investigation into the how and why of the Russian interference in the US electoral processes. That so-called serious commentators like David Brooks and Amy Walters embrace this “See no Evil, there is no Evil” line of argument is most discomforting.