The latest Team Trump tribulation preceding the GOP healthcare reform flub was, of course, the involvement of Donald Trump Jr. in even signaling an intent to accept information that might affect an American election from a foreign source… especially an antagonistic one like Russia. In spite of no laws being broken when no information was actually exchanged, it is damning on multiple levels. As we are moderately conservative, this is not a serial criticism of the Trump family or the President. We have always noted the President is the guy with the right message who happens to be the absolutely, positively worst possible messenger.
That is based on personal factors, such as a very thin skin that has him tweeting and commenting more on the press and other perceived opponents much more than his otherwise enlightened legislative agenda. And the latter is looking more tattered than ever on the Republican Senate abandoning its healthcare reform effort. That is a problem for other, more important efforts like tax reform. After so many promises of immediate action on major issues, Trump is looking wounded by having no major legislative ‘wins’ after six months.
Deny, deny, deny
Yet one of the tenets of the overall Trump organization denials of any collusion with the Russians (specifically the Russian government or closely tied operatives) is that the whole thing is not to be believed. They have asserted again and again that there were no meetings at all with any Russians, and the whole thing is a Left-wing press ‘conspiracy theory’ fantasy.
Well, as of Donald Jr.’s email dump last Tuesday and subsequent revelations, it is apparent that there was at least one substantial meeting. That’s bad enough, even if it ended with no damning information on Hillary Clinton being provided to the Trump campaign.
The initial emails between Trump and Russian affiliated, London-based publicist Rob Goldstone demonstrate a willingness to ‘collude’ with foreign agents on things that could have affected the U.S. election. That is even if no laws were broken based on no action being taken. This reinforces all of the claims of the Democrats and mainstream press that the Trump campaign was willing to cooperate with foreign agents to influence the U.S. election.
There is the other aspect of this nasty ‘little’ affair (because it was ultimately not a major violation and nobody is likely going to jail) that is very troubling. That is Trump Jr.’s involvement of then Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and close advisor Jared Kushner. It means that nobody can claim this was a mental lapse… not by three individuals.
Especially as Manafort is a seasoned international campaign manager, the ‘collective amnesia’ defense doesn’t go very far. It was only cured when Jared Kushner decided it was in his interest to amend his security clearance forms to include the meeting with Russian lawyer Ms. Veselnitskaya to avoid more serious complications.
Press willfully distracted
And the left-leaning press is, of course, having a field day. This is yet another example of something that will divert the mainstream press from any extended discussion of Trump policy proposals. The salacious interest in various Team Trump peccadillos are so much better ratings drivers that the press cannot afford to move onto more meaningful matters.
More important is the distraction for a Republican Congress that is struggling to pass any of the Trump legislative agenda into law. The GOP Senate’s healthcare reform abandonment is merely the latest example. That is just what the not-so-loyal U.S. opposition is happy to see, as it will come back to bite the Republicans in the 2018 bi-election if they fail to pass reforms.
The ‘real’ story behind Trump Jr.’s peccadillo?
All of the highly partisan defense or damnation of Donald Trump Jr. for taking that meeting with a Russian attorney misses the real point: This was just another well-thought way in which the Russians have been able to create uncertainty about American and other political systems’ legitimacy. Going back many decades there was a broadly held view that Russian leaders who did not have to deal with regular elections of any consequence were playing chess (it is their national game after all) while the West was mostly playing checkers.
In spite of Russia’s poor economic system, the Soviet Union was able to maintain a major global presence outside of some key times. One was the Nixon era, when Henry Kissinger was up to the task of matching chess moves with the Russians. He was followed by the also very astute Zbigniew Brzezinski under President Carter. Too bad Carter was not clever enough to take Brzezinski’s advice as he messed up American foreign policy.
What does all of this have to do with Trump Jr.’s misstep in taking that meeting with the Russian attorney? Well, if anyone is playing chess out there while the Americans (at least since Bush Sr.) are playing checkers, it is Vladimir Putin, the ex-KGB officer.