One of the most frustrating and awful parts about the return of the on-the-record, on-camera White House briefings this week has been the repetition of the Bigly White House’s new talking point, that the investigation into Trump-Russia is a “hoax” or a “false narrative.” As in, Robert Mueller is just independent counseling over there about nothing, and it has nothing to do with Emperor Bigly or anyone close to him. Meanwhile, the president and all of his people are lawyering up at a steady clip, it’s looking more and more like Paul Manafort will turn, and Mike Flynn is pleading the fifth, likely because he committed treason. And it’s Mike Flynn at the center of yet another bombshell about the Trump-Russia investigation. The story comes from the Wall Street Journal and the article is paywalled, so I’m just going to use NY Mag’s coverage:
One of the oddities of the investigation into Donald Trump’s relations with Russia is the degree to which he has largely enjoyed a presumption of innocence in the court of public opinion. David Brooks, who has hardly taken a sympathetic line on the administration, wrote recently, “it is striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred — that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians.” Mike Allen observed, “if Trump had kept Comey and stopped obsessing about his investigation, his legal troubles might have blown over: No evidence of collusion has emerged.”
That line of defense is likely to disappear now that The Wall Street Journal has reported that Peter Smith, a Republican opposition researcher who said he was working for Michael Flynn, colluded with Russian hackers to try to obtain stolen emails from Hillary Clinton. The Journal reports that Smith referred to conversations with Flynn in emails with associates, and that U.S. intelligence has evidence of “Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary.” The Trump defense does not inspire a lot of confidence. “A Trump campaign official said that Mr. Smith didn’t work for the campaign,” reports the Journal, “and that if Mr. Flynn coordinated with him in any way, it would have been in his capacity as a private individual.” Obtaining hacked information from Russia for the campaign as a campaign staffer versus doing it as a private individual is a distinction without much difference.
This whole idea that collusion hasn’t been “proven” is absurd at this point, even without Mike Flynn’s specific involvement in accessing the information hacked by Russian operatives, on Putin’s orders. I have always maintained – and I will continue to believe – that the proof of collusion is in Donald Trump’s actions, his firing of James Comey and Sally Yates, his comments to the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office, and more. The coverup IS the collusion. And Bigly’s fat ass is guilty of treason.
Photos courtesy of Getty.