the worst scandal in US history

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At Mother Jones, David Corn reminds us how "Trump pushes out a simple (and dishonest) narrative via tweets and public remarks:"

The Russia investigation is a...well, you know, a witch hunt. Or a hoax. Or fake news. He blasts out the same exclamations daily: Witch hunt, hoax! Hoax, witch hunt! That's his mantra.

"The other side--the accurate perspective--isn't that complicated," he continues:

In 2016, Vladimir Putin's regime mounted information warfare against the United States, in part to help Trump become president. While this attack was underway, the Trump crew tried to collude covertly with Moscow, sought to set up a secret communications channel with Putin's office, and repeatedly denied in public that this assault was happening, providing cover to the Russian operation. Trump and his lieutenants aligned themselves with and assisted a foreign adversary, as it was attacking the United States. The evidence is rock-solid: They committed a profound act of betrayal. That is the scandal.

"Along with his shouts of 'witch hunt,'" however, "Trump also incessantly declares, 'No collusion:'"

This simplistic piece of shorthand aims at a straw man. Trump seems to be setting a bar that favors him: Unless evidence emerges that he personally met with Russian hackers, told them which Democratic Party emails to steal, and then provided guidance on how to release the material, then nothing wrong occurred. But the public record is already replete with serious wrongdoing committed by Trump and his aides. For example, after being secretly briefed in mid-August 2016 by the US intelligence community that Moscow was behind the hack-and-leak attack on the Democrats, Trump publicly claimed there was no reason to suspect the Russians.

"With his 'no collusion' chant," Corn continues, "Trump is like an embezzler who yells, 'There was no murder'--and asserts that is the only relevant benchmark:"

Think of what Trump did during the campaign in this fashion: A fellow is standing on a sidewalk in front of a bank. He is told the bank is being robbed. He can see armed men wearing masks in the bank. Yet when people pass by and ask what is happening in the bank, he says, "There is no robbery. Nothing to see. Move along." Even if this person did not collude with the robbers, he is helping the gang perpetrate a crime. And in Trump's case, the criminal act was committed for his gain.

Much of the media framing of the Russia scandal has followed Trump's lead and adopted his collusion-centric perspective.

"In this ongoing fight," sadly, "it is Trump and his bumper stickers versus a media presenting a wide variety of disparate disclosures that come and go quickly in a hyperchaotic information ecosystem, often absent full context:"

No wonder then that a recent poll found that 59 percent of Americans said Mueller has uncovered no crimes. In fact, he has secured 17 criminal indictments and obtained five guilty pleas. Accurate news reporting alone does not always carry the day.

"The Russia scandal is the most important scandal in the history of the United States," Corn concludes, because "at the heart of the Russia scandal is the most fundamental issue for a democracy: the sanctity of elections:"

An overseas enemy struck at the core of the republic--and it succeeded. Trump and his minions helped and encouraged this attack by engaging in secret contacts with Moscow and publicly insisting no such assault was happening. This is far bigger than a bribe, a break-in, or a blow job [but] Yet the full impact of this scandal does not resonate in the daily coverage and discourse. Digby concurs:

The bottom line is that an incompetent, unfit, corrupt president was elected with the help of an adversarial foreign power. Of course that's the worst scandal in American history. And he may get away with it.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on June 10, 2018 5:13 PM.

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