We now have a smoking gun on the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia. Don Jr. admitted to being interested in oppo research from a Russian lawyer. A person with an ounce of integrity or smarts would have never agreed to any such meeting. He, and practically every other person involved in the campaign, have lied about the extent of Russian contacts. It’s that simple. It’s not subtle.
To sum up:
Flynn: Met w/Russians; lied
Page: Met w/Russians; lied
Sessions: Met w/Russians; lied
Kushner: Met w/Russians; lied
Donald Trump Jr: Me too.
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) July 8, 2017
As smoking-gun reveals go, this is terribly unsurprising. There’s been strong circumstantial evidence of contacts with Russia going way back in the campaign. Trump even encouraged Russian interference in a sorry-not-sorry way. And shockingly (to me), people voted for him anyway.
America is not America without democracy. The Constitution begins with “We the People”. The vote has been won, maintained and expanded at great cost of effort and blood. It is not an exaggeration whatsoever to note that democracy itself, our most cherished institution, is under attack, from without and within. When one attempts to allow a foreign country to interfere with the America’s most sacred function, that’s treason — every bit as much as if one were handing over some military asset or intelligence (which Trump also has done).
I think we on the left-of-center have been exceptionally patient and restrained in the use of that word. If anything, we on the left underplay the threat, and we soft-pedal the accusation, because we know it’s grave. We have the memory of McCarthyism and the Cold War, and we know how it can be abused, because it was wielded against the left.
At the same time, let’s see the plain facts in front of our faces. The Trump “family” (in every sense) is both stupid and brazen enough to implausibly lie, and then flaunt their betrayal. It may open them to great jeopardy, but politically it’s their great Jedi-mind trick: It’s fine. What’s the big deal? And a good chunk of the conservative media-industrial complex will parrot their insouciance.
Add that to Trump’s preposterous suggestion that he would create a cyber-attack task force with Putin, and it’s perfectly clear that this President is intentionally and nakedly selling out the United States to an anti-democratic, malicious, sleazy, and murderous foe. He is openly inviting more interference and mischief, for his own political benefit. As Brian Beutler says:
It is frequently suggested that Trump’s solicitousness of Russian interests reflects his long-held affinity for strongmen, and that his imperviousness to the consensus that Russia meddled in the election reflects insecurity about the legitimacy of his victory in an election where he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by millions. But this analysis, attractive and safe in some ways, is too generous. Matt Yglesias’s slightly harsher assessment in Vox, that Trump is behaving like an accessory after the fact, is closer to the mark but incomplete. Based on everything we know, it is less of a reach to assume not just that Trump is helping Russia cover up past crimes, but that he appreciated Russia’s meddling on his behalf, and is sending strong signals that he would welcome more of it in the future.
That’s treasonous. I’m reluctant to say it, but I don’t know what else to call it. The fact that it’s out in the open doesn’t make it less nefarious. Trump should be impeached, and his involved underlings and family members should do hard time in prison.