Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series about the potential Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and what then-candidate Trump and his closest advisers knew about the situation. The first story can be found here.
Once again, my planned blog post could not keep up with the current breaking news regarding this story. I am beginning to feel like a cat chasing a laser pointer – I think I’m going to grasp the story but as soon as I get close, it slips right out of my hands.
The last time I discussed Russia, I discussed why it matters: the hacking situation was an attack on all Americans, not just Democrats or Republicans.
This time, I want to explore why the Russian hacking story matters for the Republicans and President Trump.
First of all, there is the issue of impeachment: Democratic congressmen have filed a resolution of impeachment against the president, but between you and I, that is not going anywhere. The House of Representatives votes for impeachment, and Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican-majority Congress are not going to let an impeachment resolution move forward unless the President is found to do something blatantly illegal.
As our own William Walwik argued, the Democrats need to tone down the discussion of the 25th Amendment and impeachment and let Special Counsel Robert Mueller do his job. The American public doesn’t know what it doesn’t know – and action cannot and should not be taken on supposition. And as William pointed out in his piece, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is doing a pretty good job keeping the Democrats under control in this issue.
Don’t get me wrong, the “Russian” waters around the president are very muddy – from his son’s meeting with the Russian lawyers, to Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s secret meeting, to Paul Manafort’s meetings with the Russians and his investigation, to the firing of FBI Director James Comey, to Trump’s aggressive tweets against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to … well, you get the idea. As I said, the waters are very, very muddy. But muddy doesn’t mean illegal. It is Mueller’s job to figure out what illegal acts, if any, were committed by the Trump campaign or even President Donald Trump himself.
Which brings me to how the Republicans are handling the Russian hacking stories; specifically, how one Republican in particular is handling the Russian hacking stories: the President.
if the president is truly as innocent as he says, then he should have reframed the story on Russia. He should have been tweeting about how infuriating it is that Russia “hacked the election.” He should let Mueller do his job (It doesn’t matter whether or not he likes him, but he has to let him work).
Every time he tweets out an attack on someone attached to the Russian story, Trump sends the mainstream media into a furor: “What does that tweet mean? Did this person have something to do with Russia? Why is the President turning on them? What does this person know that we, the American public, does not?” Every time he speaks about Russia, I’m reminded of something my father used to tell me: “The best defense is a good offense.”
Why is the president on the offensive? Because if Trump did nothing wrong, he shouldn’t be afraid of the investigation and he shouldn’t be trying to undermine it at every turn.