Mike Pence, defending the release of a politically juiced Republican memo that Donald Trump said “vindicated” him, said it was all about transparency.
As is Trump’s releasing his tax returns.
As is Trump’s releasing of White House visitor logs.
As are the names of foreign companies doing business with the Trump organization.
Oh, wait. He’s not releasing any of those.
Trump says the Russia investigation is all about Democrats’ trying to torpedo his presidency. Indeed.
A Republican special prosecutor (Robert Mueller), hired by a Republican assistant attorney general (Rod Rosenstein), who answers to a Republican attorney general.
Team Trump says the investigation is tainted because a single FBI agent, since fired by that Republican special prosecutor, expressed his desire that Trump not be president.
The irony: That former agent, Peter Strzok, is the one who recommended reopening the investigation that knee-capped Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in the last two weeks of the 2016 campaign.
None of that matters. Donald Trump thinks he’s found his Mark Fuhrman.
Aspersions of racial animus by the L.A. detective were critical to the planting of seeds of doubt in the O.J. Simpson trial.
Blood on the Bronco? Cuts on Simpson’s hand? An alibi shot to hell? Well . . .
An actual meeting in Trump Tower with Russians offering actual incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton? A lie-filled cover-up letter dictated by Trump?
A “back-channel” relationship with Russia sought by Team Trump before the election?
An offer from the soon-to-be national security adviser to ditch sanctions on Russia should Trump be made president?
A lie-filled explanation of why Trump fired FBI director James Comey after he leaned on him to demand loyalty?
Pressure exerted on any number of high-ranking officials to take the air out of Mueller’s tires?
And now “the memo” – an effort by House Republicans (and Fox News) to “vindicate” the president with the bloody glove.
Again, we must remind ourselves what this is about. It’s not about Russian “meddling.” It’s about an attack, a multi-pronged attack on our elections, an attack about which Trump has shown absolutely no alarm, even denying its occurrence.
It’s not about “hacked” emails. That’s so techie, so trivial. It’s about stolen information – stolen, the FBI and CIA have said, by a foreign power intent on helping its chosen candidate become our chief executive.
The cyber attack continues. In the days before the House released it, Politico reports, Russian Twitter bots contributed their mighty net-genuity such that by midnight Jan. 18 “#Release the memo,” was being tweeted 250,000 times per hour.
Ask Trump, and he’ll say that’s the voice of the people working.
Trump talks a lot about voter fraud. You hear him say nothing about Soviet hackers’ efforts to infiltrate and infect state elections systems except to call the story a hoax. Arizona shut down its voter registration system for almost a week to analyze and detect any mischief. One user name and password for an election system was stolen. In Illinois, hackers got into the voter database in July 2016 and retrieved voter records.
Similar mischief was happening before the 2016 election with Russian-seeded pro-Trump fakery on social media.
One analyst called Facebook “a living, breathing crime scene for what happened in the 2016 election.”
Disregard all the evidence, say the Trump acolytes, particularly on state-run media, aka Fox News.
The investigation has been tainted by people with political opinions, they say. Yes, they really say that.
Admittedly, this worked for O.J. He got a jury to ignore it all in favor of one incredible conspiracy theory.
Well, we won’t be expecting this House to serve as an impartial tribunal for the mountains of evidence Mueller undoubtedly has amassed about collusion and coverup.
If anything happens to Trump, it’s going to depend on (1) a grand jury or (2) a Democratic-controlled Congress.
In this election year, Congress could become the latter before the next State of the Union.
A grand jury? That could happen any time. Next week, even.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.