In Scathing Op-Ed, Krauthammer  Proclaims: ‘The Trump Defense Is Officially Dead’

"The Russia scandal has entered a new phase, and there’s no going back"...


Via  for WaPo

The Russia scandal has entered a new phase, and there’s no going back.

For six months, the White House claimed that this scandal was nothing more than innuendo about Trump campaign collusion with Russia in meddling in the 2016 election. Innuendo for which no concrete evidence had been produced.

Yes, there were several meetings with Russian officials, some only belatedly disclosed. But that is circumstantial evidence at best. Meetings tell you nothing unless you know what happened in them. We didn’t. Some of these were casual encounters in large groups, like the famous July 2016 Kislyak-Sessions exchange of pleasantries at the Republican National Convention. Big deal.

I was puzzled. Lots of coverup, but where was the crime? Not even a third-rate burglary. For six months, smoke without fire. Yes, President Trump himself was acting very defensively, as if he were hiding something. But no one ever produced the something.

My view was: Collusion? I just don’t see it. But I’m open to empirical evidence. Show me.

The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election, and as part of that effort he proposes a meeting with a “Russian government attorney” possessing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the Kremlin is willing to share troves of incriminating documents from the Crown Prosecutor. (Error: Britain has a Crown Prosecutor. Russia has a Prosecutor General.)

Donald Jr. emails back. “I love it.” Fatal words.

Once you’ve said “I’m in,” it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were forwarded the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.

“It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame,” Donald Jr. told Sean Hannity. A shame? On the contrary, a stroke of luck. Had the lawyer real stuff to deliver, Donald Jr. and the others would be in far deeper legal trouble. It turned out to be incompetent collusion, amateur collusion, comically failed collusion. That does not erase the fact that three top Trump campaign officials were ready to play.

It may turn out that they did later collaborate more fruitfully. We don’t know. But even if nothing else is found, the evidence is damning.

It’s rather pathetic to hear Trump apologists protesting that it’s no big deal because we Americans are always intervening in other people’s elections, and they in ours. You don’t have to go back to the ’40s and ’50s when the CIA intervened in France and Italy to keep the communists from coming to power. What about the Obama administration’s blatant interference to try to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu in the latest Israeli election? One might even add the work of groups supported by the U.S. during Russian parliamentary elections — the very origin of Vladimir Putin’s deep animus toward Clinton, then secretary of state, whom he accuses of having orchestrated the opposition.

This defense is pathetic for two reasons. First, have the Trumpites not been telling us for six months that no collusion ever happened? And now they say: Sure it happened. So what? Everyone does it.

What’s left of your credibility when you make such a casual about-face?

Second, no, not everyone does it. It’s one thing to be open to opposition research dug up in Indiana. But not dirt from Russia, a hostile foreign power that has repeatedly invaded its neighbors (Georgia, Crimea, eastern Ukraine), that buzzes our planes and ships in international waters, that opposes our every move and objective around the globe. Just last week the Kremlin killed additional U.N. sanctions we were looking to impose on North Korea for its ICBM test.

There is no statute against helping a foreign hostile power meddle in an American election. What Donald Jr. — and Kushner and Manafort — did may not be criminal. But it is not merely stupid. It is also deeply wrong, a fundamental violation of any code of civic honor.

I leave it to the lawyers to adjudicate the legalities of unconsummated collusion. But you don’t need a lawyer to see that the Trump defense — collusion as a desperate Democratic fiction designed to explain away a lost election — is now officially dead.


15 comments on “In Scathing Op-Ed, Krauthammer  Proclaims: ‘The Trump Defense Is Officially Dead’

  1. Anonymous

    I always enjoy Krauthammer’s opinion pieces but seldom see him on Fox (every night?) since my TV will not accept that channel. 🙂 There are several thoughts running thru my mind — first, the Trump’s will have to use a dictionary to define the phrase “code of civic honor”; he will also have to look up ‘unconsummated’ and once he discovers the definition, he will then think he was right about the word ‘innuendo’ when he decided that was something a person should not eat.

    My second thought was when I traveled the link on Charles Krauthammer’s name at the very top and then read the paragraph ABOUT — “he practiced medicine for three years as a resident and then chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.” Am I crazy to not have known that? Would really love to hear him speak about Trump from that prior life experience/knowledge!

    – Murphy

  2. So gullible to believe the meeting was fruitless.

  3. A man that looks a lot like Donald Trump Jr. slides up next to a very attractive Russian agent woman in a Kremlin bar. “Would you sleep with me for $ 100?

    She says “No.”

    “Would you sleep with me for $1000??

    She says “What kind of a woman do think I am?”

    The man says “We’ve already established that by the conversation we both are having. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”

    “Collusion” works the same way. We’ve established that it occurred, and the nature of the transaction, the identification of those present, and the professions and character of the people involved. We just don’t know what the Trump’s paid – beyond their credibility and reputations for taking a little something or two from Putin’s Russia to help them win the election.

    Perhaps the the great irony here is that Donald Trump, Jr. (undoubtedly with Sr.’s blessing) went to the meeting to get the “dirt” on the opposition and in fact ended up only becoming “dirtier” than the opposition. If Putin wanted to destabilize US elections and show just how corrupt the election process has become, he couldn’t have done a grander job of it.

    • Not to nit pick but it works a lot better like this;
      Would you sleep with me for a million dollars, women why yes.
      How about 100?
      What kind of women do you think i am… we have established that, now we are haggling over price.

      Just sayin

  4. Someone says “I’ve got incriminating evidence on your opponent.” You say, “Fine, come meet and tell me what it is.”

    That is “foreign meddling?” That is “meddling of ANY sort?”

    That is “interference?” That is “manipulation?” Foreign, or ANY sort?

    And let’s step it up. Let’s say that the person you agreed to meet with was Putin himself. Or Kim Jong Un. Or Bin Laden. I say again:

    Where is there a crime?

    You people are reetaaaaaarded.

    What you most idiotically miss is that even IF that meeting *HAD* produced incriminating emails or documents or tapes or videos, and they were delivered by Vladimir HIMSELF – there’s NO CRIME HERE.

    And on top of ALL of this, hasn’t anyone heard that “truth is a defense against slander” ? You Hillbots are pathetically grasping to say that she was “hacked” – while never denying the truth of any evidence presented against her.

    My God, I would dread being you, going to bed each night knowing that one is a cowardly hypocrite.

    • You need to brush up on election law. Here is a starter
      “Campaigns seek out damaging information about their opponents all the time. What makes this Donald Trump Jr. situation unique?

      The law specifically prohibits soliciting or accepting anything of value from a foreign national. When we talk about information, which is a very general term – we could be talking about research reports, polling data, a cache of emails — they have value. The election laws pick up, for this particular prohibition, and in other provisions as well, contributions that consist of something in kind. Something that is not acquired with cash, something that is received in the form that somebody else procured and paid for it.”

      Also since there were a least three people involved Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner you have a conspiracy charge. It does not even matter if nothing was exchanged, to conspiracy to subvert election law in and of itself is a crime.

  5. Anonymous

    Hmmmmm, lemme guess…… you voted for trump? Stick around till the end…… hahaha!

    – Murphy

    • Actually, I held my nose. And absolutely am not a deplorable hypocrite. I sleep well in that regard.

      • Anonymous

        All your ranting above, like you think you know what you are talking about. You think you know more than the lawyers who are qualified to interpret the constitution and and laws about foreign interference in our elections? It is 100% clear to all the sane people that there was absolutely interference — you think all these connected actions and people, including the “former” Russian spy who also attended the meeting with Jr and his little club – you think all that is a coincidence? You think that Manafart (I know) did not know the line he crossed – with all his decades in politics and the related laws? You think about 65 million people are wrong and you are right? What is your home planet, pray tell.

        – Murphy

      • BTW: It is not the constitution, it is the law that has been broken
        “The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment. ”

        Since from the emails, that was the intent of the meeting you have three people with probable cause of conspiracy to violate the law. Once again succeeding in a conspiracy does not matter, engaging in one does. Now whether Mueller will actually bring the charges is another question. Prosecutorial discretion allows for a judgement call, with factors such as whether a conviction will result from the effort. We will see, but it will probably take at least six months before we hear anything from the special council.

    • I do understand the butt hurt of November 8 though; it is clearly persisting in its hemorrhaging sting for those who still haven’t accepted what really, really happened.

      • One last one before Walter W. throws me off the site. This is a classic use of spycraft read this article They will try to bring you in using a non-threatening actor to get a feel for where you are while maintaining plausible deniability. Then once you have started to take the bait they not only can move in with senior operatives but can also use your now compromised position in blackmail should they choose to. That is why you HAVE to disclose any foreign relationship on your clearance form, the mere fact of hiding it is enough to have it revoked.

      • You’re doing fine, Lance. And I’ll grant that if those are verbatim expressions of applicable law then it sounds like it could be as solid as what Comey held on Hillary. As you observe, we’ll see what Mueller says – or doesn’t.

        Before anyone prematurely ejaculates, this ain’t Nixon. Top dog was immune until the Smoking Gun – after which he was toast. Until Nixon’s smoking gun tape, he was clear. There’s no smoking gun on this POTUS. Does anyone believe, in any psychedelic form, that Sr. has any virginal blemish? There is nothing here on POTUS.

        Again, you present an intelligent case. Maybe. For others. Not Sr.

  6. Anonymous

    There actually is some little thing on assface. Follow this — there is word that the lobbyist “former” spy at the June 9th meeting, Rinat Akhmetshin has said they did in fact leave some documents with Jr at the end of that ‘waste of time 20 min’ as Jr calls it. (Vanity Fair, July 14, 2017, by Abigail Tracey, “Ex-Soviet Spy Confirms He Also Met With Trump Jr.”)

    On June 7th, Jr. sent email confirming the meeting for June 9. THREE HOURS LATER, DJT gave a victory speech after becoming the Republican nominee and in that victory speech, he said he would have a major address (most likely on June 13) detailing Mrs. Clinton’s “corrupt dealings” to give “favorable treatment” to foreign governments, including “the Russians.” On June 9th, he sent a tweet, “jabbing” her for saying those were personal emails and not government related: “How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted? 3:40 PM – 9 Jun 2016”. I believe that was his first slam about those 33,000 emails. ( And it was sent about 40 min. after that planned meeting )

    June 15 DNC was hacked and documents stolen; they said Russia was behind it. “Too bad the D.N.C. doesn’t hack Crooked Hillary’s 33,000 missing emails,” Mr. Trump, the candidate, said in a statement. For the next couple of days, he was relentless hammering on Hillary. Then on June 27th, during a speech, he said “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” Advisers later said he was only joking. (NY Times article, July 12, 2016, Conspiracy or Coincidence? A Timeline Open to Interpretation” by Peter Baker)

    So, if the “good boy” did have documents provided by the Russians on June 9 and rushed to tell daddy – which of course he would do to get that pat on his head – and then big mouth daddy could not wait to slam Hillary and blasted out how he was gonna tell us all something big “very very soon” – interesting linkage from Jr meeting to his promise of a big slam on Hillary. It could come back to prove he knew about the meeting far sooner than what he has said (just another lie) and not only knew, he was now using the information — I bet Lance can explain how that may cause bigger problems legally. There is no way in hell any of those people would make a move without Sr. knowing all about it.

    Another little thing I think interesting is some of them have said that Manafart (I know) played with his phone the entire time (even Sr reported they had said that) – most likely he was not playing — he was taking notes or sending the notes (or recording?) to Sr during the entire meeting. I am quite sure that we will eventually find out that assface is up to his eyeballs in this and knew in advance of the meeting and could not wait to bash Hillary — cause that is just who this cretin is! That cellphone transcription can be subpoenaed as evidence — clearly more than one person has mentioned he was using that phone all the time during that meeting. Can you imagine what will happen if it provides evidence that Assface was on the receiving end? 🙂

    – Murphy

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