As lightning bolts go, the juice within the 336 pages of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” is sufficient to melt a man’s wingtips.
Did we really need Wolff’s reportage of it to know that Donald Trump is infantile, intemperate and spectacularly unfit to be president?
No, we didn’t. We have read the man’s tweets. (His claim to be “like a very stable genius” already having been bookmarked by historians beside Nixon’s “I’m, like, not a crook.”)
Similarly, do we need Steve Bannon’s reportage, via Wolff, that the Trump campaign’s entanglements with Russians look like treason?
No, we don’t. The crumbs Trump has left on the collusion trail are enough to bread a wagon train of cutlets.
How thin must one’s credulity membrane be to think that when Donald Jr. hosted a Russian contingent in Trump Tower, Junior didn’t “walk these jumos up to his father’s office” as Bannon says in Wolff’s book?
If Trump didn’t glad-hand these Russians presumed to be bearing campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, how high is one’s NQ — naiveté quotient — to assume Trump didn’t know exactly what was happening in his very own high-rise involving his son, his inner-circle of campaign advisers, and a mess of Russian emissaries?
My goodness, who could possibly believe that Trump was in the dark when, as U.S. intelligence asserts, Michael Flynn made promises to the Russians about lifting sanctions while still a private citizen — in direct violation of the Logan Act, which makes it a crime for an “unauthorized person” to negotiate disputes between the United States and foreign governments?
Then there’s the back channel that U.S. intelligence asserts Jared Kushner sought to establish with the Russians before — yes, before — he was employed by you and me because he married the president’s daughter?
The thing is, this isn’t about Don Jr. It’s not about Jared Kushner. It’s not about Mike Flynn. It’s not about Paul Manafort. It’s not about George Papadopoulos.
It’s about the man who, in impeachment terms, has made every day in office a death wish: the “very stable genius” himself, Donald Trump.
This is about a man who, if he didn’t collude outright with the Russians, is at minimum guilty of telling the least believable lie in political history: that he had no involvement with them whatsoever.
On this extremely alarming matter, let’s refine our terms. We’ve heard references to the fact that the Russians “meddled” in the 2016 campaign. So indiscreet. Sort of like a 3-second violation in basketball.
“Meddled”? Get serious. Russia attacked the American political system — in the same way an enemy might attack our submarines or our electrical grid.
We’ve heard about “hacked” emails from the Democratic National Committee. Such an urbane, techie term, like getting whistled for double-dribble. Try “stolen,” though, and it sounds like a crime. If you’ll recall, the attempt to steal campaign material in the days before email is what made President Nixon a civilian.
Aside from all of the lies, possibly the most incriminating thing we know for certain about Trump is how little interest he’s shown in the clear evidence of Russia’s attack on our elections system.
The bogus specter of voter fraud, raised by Trump with absolutely no evidence, was deemed sufficient for him to appoint a commission to demand voter information from every state. (He dissolved that panel last week, and blamed its failure to get anything done on uncooperative states.)
By contrast, consider another meeting in Trump Tower that happened a year ago. Last January, a few days before Trump’s swearing-in, the directors of the CIA, FBI and the National Security Agency met with him there to express their concerns about Vladimir Putin’s efforts in 2016 to undermine our elections system and elect Trump.
According to the Washington Post, that briefing included “an extraordinary CIA stream of intelligence that had captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation.”
Advisers urged Trump “that he could affirm the validity of the intelligence without diminishing his electoral win.” It would also be a good way to put charges of collusion behind him.
Trump ignored the advice. Unlike the matter of bogus voter fraud, he never launched his own investigation. He blew it off. Why? Because he’s a genius, and very stable.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.