Any one of us mere mortals (non-lawyers) can say what we will about laws being broken but we do not speak with any formal authority. That is primarily up to Robert Mueller, the special counsel.
What we can say, without hesitation, is that President Trump and his administration, including at least one son, lie. They lie and then they lie to cover up their lies. They may tell the truth if the New York Times is about to print evidence, as evidenced by Donald Trump Jr. yesterday.
For months they denied any ties or meetings with Russians regarding the campaign and now we know the president’s namesake son “loved” the idea of meeting with a purported Russian government attorney to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. This is not normal behavior by a campaign. You do not meet with foreign actors, especially those considered an adversary, to help them influence our elections. Now the spout has opened and the question is what else might there be?
Don Jr’s approach in the last week when confronted by the New York Times with questions was to lie, lie some more and then disclose some of the truth. That only came, though, when the Times asked him for comment because they were about to print his emails on the topic. That’s his father’s approach, too, as he continues to point fingers at the “fake news” people who drudge up the danged truth all the time.
Trump, the president, is more worried about his coverage than he demonstrates he is about the country’s reputation, security and well-being. We’ve seen that in his behavior at the G-20. In his spilling classified information in the Oval Office to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador. And other numerous examples.
Yes, we can disagree over policy -- be that supply side economics or taking a step away from NATO or ending U.S. participation in a global climate change agreement -- but this President is showing little natural talent for making policy decisions and more likely he is taking a position to keep his base happy. Trump’s brand is more important to him than the country’s well-being, and his brand is to be a marketer par excellence when it comes to himself. In his private sector life that included exaggerating, calling reporters disguising himself as his own publicist, branding every deal he ever was involved with “fantastic” and more.
Were there more meetings of Trump family or campaign types with Russians offering to help his campaign? That’s what the special counsel, congressional committees and the top newspapers in the country will ferret out. Was the President aware of those contacts, if they happened? Again, special counsel and committees and the media will get to the bottom of it. What did the President know and when did he know it? We may never really know.
My experience dealing with the media of this country is that if the New York Times or Washington Post publish a story, it typically is far more often true than false. This is another example.
We all can vent our frustrations about President Trump and talk about “locking him up” but this likely will not end that way though it likely will end in a major, official tarnishing of his presidency at least and, at most, prison time for folks who perjured themselves which is what federal prosecutors in DC cases typically find.
But we know this President is a natural liar. It comes instinctively and it comes easily. He has, in six months in office, used up whatever credibility pool he had left after the campaign. We now are as likely to believe the Russians as we are to believe our president. Read that again. I’ll wait. Got it? Good.
Trump’s credibility in office has been destroyed and we haven’t had a natural disaster or security crisis yet. What are we to believe then from this White House?
And now, his son’s credibility is gone. Kellyanne Conway’s disappeared a long time ago. And the White House’s official spokesmen – the press secretary and his primary deputy – have become a laughing stock with their “I haven’t asked the President but I’ll get back to you” which is akin to hearing from your prom date that she’ll call you, and while you’re waiting you read about her pending marriage in the paper.
We are clearly in uncharted territory. And we all want the chart.
(By the way, let’s get “treason” out of the way. Here’s the Constitution’s definition of treason: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” “Treason” is a wartime crime.)