Last night the New York Times dropped a bomb on the Turdpol Kakistocracy. After a weekend where the Times reported that Donald Trump, Jr. met with Russian lawyers with Kremlin ties, reporting that Trump Jr. and his father both confirmed, it was further reported that Trump Jr. took the meeting with the understanding he would be receiving materials damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Then last night the Times reported that before the meeting, Trump Jr. received an email about the meeting that claimed that the promised materials were coming from the Russian government, which was engaged in an effort to aid the campaign of Donald Trump. If these articles from the Times are accurate, then this is the proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to undermine American democracy we all knew was out there somewhere.
The damaging stories from the Times, the Washington Post, and other news outlets, has been steadily building since before election day. With every story that comes out, it is becoming more and more probable that members of the Trump campaign engaged in treasonous behavior in order to advance the interests of their candidate. So far, the buck isn’t stopping with Trump, but it feels like it’s only a matter of time. Taken together, all of these stories have one thing in common. No one seemed to consider the possibility that they would get caught, or that it would matter if they did. The story the Times published yesterday isn’t the first that shows there is a paper or email trail. It looks as if not only was the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy, they wrote enough of it down for there to be concrete evidence.
Which makes me wonder if the Russian government’s aim was twofold during the last election. One, they wanted to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Whoever became the Republican nominee was of secondary consideration to them. Second, the operations against the Clinton campaign would be just enough out in the open that whoever won the presidency would be faced with the prospect of illegitimacy. The fact that Trump campaign and administration officials seemed to so gleefully engage with Russian officials, both in government and out, means that second part is succeeding beyond Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wildest dreams. The specter of illegitimacy is nothing compared to entrapping a presidential campaign in a treasonous criminal conspiracy that could end in an American president being thrown out of office. In addition, Russia is only helped by having the most feckless and incompetent president in United States history in office. I imagine these are happy days for Putin.
Most of the days of this administration, and there have been 173 of them, have shown that Donald Trump is incapable of handling the office of the presidency. It’s an administration that is remarkable for all the wrong reasons. The steady stream of lies is unprecedented, as is the inability of the administration to hold any sort of coherent position on important issues. The administration has been in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution since day one, and Trump has shown no hesitation at putting unqualified family members in key positions.
This latter aspect of the administration was on display this past weekend at the G20 meetings in Hamburg, Germany, when Ivanka Trump sat in for her father during one of the meetings. It was a stunning display of nepotism, and only added to the beliefs of the other members of the G20 that the United States is not being represented by the same stable government of the past. European nations, in particular, now consider the United States to be an unreliable partner. We are no longer driving the agenda in the world, and in particular in Europe, whose prosperity and peace following World War II would not have happened without the security guarantees of the United States. All the power and good will we built up in Europe has been at the very least temporarily suspended for as long as Trump is president. At the worst, the American era is over, and it’s all thanks to the awful man in the Oval Office.
Addendum: A couple of hours after I posted this, the text of the emails began coming out. Here’s a choice tidbit: “[The documents] would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father...This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for your father.” To which Trump Jr. responded, “If it’s what you say I love it...” Indeed.