Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trump has lost.

I'm not sure anyone at the White House recognizes that at this point, after firing three separate prosecutors or investigators, after all the smokescreens and diversions, after the bouts of loony tweets, it's no longer possible for this to have a good outcome for Donald Trump.

He should have the right to the presumption of innocence---sorry, fellow progressives, but he should, as an American and even just as a human being---but he has shredded that presumption by his rage and panic toward anyone who gets close to the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election. And now, no matter how an investigation comes out, he will lose.  Because if there is no investigation, if he manages to suppress it, then half the country or more will believe that he is hiding something terrible.  And if an investigation is pursued and finds his campaign innocent of all wrong, many people, maybe even a majority, will be cynical about that, and will presume that he simply managed to manipulate the outcome. Even if some associates in his campaign are found guilty of being complicit with Russia in this, many people, maybe even a majority, will believe that Trump knew about it at the time, and that he sacrificed his campaign staff to hide his own guilt.

The last possibility, of course, is that a strong independent investigation finds "problematic" (Sally Yate's word) behavior from Mr. Trump himself. What the response to that might be would be interesting, but it certainly could (hypothetically) include impeachment, or even some pretty nasty prosecutions---colluding with a hostile foreign power to subvert an American election is treason.

Which of those outcomes is good for Trump?  If he has a long term goal here, a plan that turns all of this to his advantage, I have to admit I can’t see it.

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