Granted, none of the three — Max Boot, Kathleen Parker, and Jennifer Rubin — has been other than a critic of Trump. But having all three on the same webpage of one of the nation’s most important newspapers (and one read by Congressional types), perhaps carries a little more weight?
Let’s start with Parker, whose column is titled The wall is a testament to Trump’s toxic narcissism. After exploring the idea of Trump’s narcissism, Parker informs us that a Mexican can, without a visa, travel by plane from Mexico to Canada for $300, and then poses a question which she answers forcefully:
Would Trump shut down the government for a northern wall?
Of course not. This is because “Build the Wall” and “Mexico will pay for it” were campaign slogans created by a guy who never expected to become president. Now that he faces possible rejection, the wall has become a metaphor for his identity, his very being-ness. To fail would be to suffer narcissistic injury, which, given Trump’s immaturity and predilection to punch back, could lead to a real national crisis. As he said, he’d be proud to shut down the government — and keep it shut down for months or years if need be.
All for that stupid wall.
that stupid wall — indeed.
Please keep reading.
We will look next at Max Boot’s Here are 18 reasons Trump could be a Russian asset. If you have been paying attention, none of those reasons — for each of which Boot provides either a link and/or a detailed explanation — should be new to you. But reading one after another is like a series of punches to the gut. But immediately after completing the list, Boot offers this:
Now that we’ve listed 18 reasons Trump could be a Russian asset, let’s look at the exculpatory evidence. . .
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I can’t think of anything that would exonerate Trump aside from the difficulty of grasping what once would have seemed unimaginable: that a president of the United States could actually have been compromised by a hostile foreign power.
And if that is not enough, Boot goes further. He goes through the “evidence” supporting Trump’s contention of how tough he has been on Russia (despite his complaints about any toughness his administration might have been showing towards Russia, he concludes with this paragraph:
This is hardly a “beyond a reasonable doubt” case that Trump is a Russian agent — certainly not in the way that Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames were. But it is a strong, circumstantial case that Trump is, as former acting CIA director Michael Morell and former CIA director Michael V. Hayden warned during the 2016 campaign, “an unwitting agent of the Russian federation” (Morell) or a “useful fool” who is “manipulated by Moscow” (Hayden). If Trump isn’t actually a Russian agent, he is doing a pretty good imitation of one.
If Trump isn’t actually a Russian agent, he is doing a pretty good imitation of one.
Finally, let’s go to Jennifer Rubin and her piece, titled No president has ever been asked: Are you a Russian agent?
She goes through the recent stories in the nation’s two most important papers, New York Times and Washington Post, that broke at the end of last week, as well as commentary in response from the likes of Ben Wittes and Laurence Tribe and Asha Rangappa, all of which is on the point and well worth reading completely,
Rubin offers some pointed commentary on Trump hiding the content of his conversations with Putin. Consider each of these comments:
… in Trump’s concealing and perhaps destroying of records of conversations with Vladimir Putin, the question is raised: Was he destroying evidence of collusion and in fact continuing to collude with Putin?
Immediately after that Rubin starts a paragraph like this:
ere is no logical reason that Trump would be going to such efforts to keep everyone else from knowing what he told Putin if there was not something untoward, embarrassing and/or incriminating in those discussions. Otherwise, those records would be essential for his own senior staff in formulating Trump’s desired Russia policy.
Reread the first of those two sentences again. Let them sit in your mind.
Now read the last sentence of that same paragraph:
The very fact that Putin knows what was said and we don’t raises the potential for blackmail.
Of course, many of us believe that Putin already had material with which to blackmail Trump before any of the meetings (or phone calls) the two have had since January 20, 2017.
I am going to push fair use and quote ALL of Rubin’s final paragraph, which comes after further discussion/analysis on her part, because it is perhaps the most important thing I have read since the two news report broke at the end of last week. I will offer a few additional words afterward.
Here is that paragraph:
The two reports may have several ramifications. First, even if they don’t say it out loud, sentient Republicans on the Hill increasingly understand the Mueller investigation is extremely serious and has the potential to bring the president down. They may hope it is a nothingburger, but they aren’t dumb people. They know that what has already come out is disturbing, and they know that there is more coming. Second, we should put aside the assumption that no matter what is in the report Republicans will not turn on Trump and seek his removal. Not until we know what Trump said to Putin, what Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik discussed, what former White House counsel Don McGahn, Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn shared with Mueller in dozens of hours of discussion and a whole lot more will we be able to predict what Republicans will and will not do. Third, it is imperative in his confirmation hearings that attorney general nominee William P. Barr pledge to allow Mueller to complete his work and to make his report public. And finally, if it were not obvious before, this is already the biggest scandal in American presidential history. No other president has so closely aligned himself with a hostile foreign leader, and no campaign has been so intertwined with Russian operatives. Even Richard Nixon didn’t do that.
Let’s note the points
– The accumulation of stories is getting very serious and even Republicans realize that the accumulation of material is far complete.
– Republicans increasingly understand the seriousness, and the possibility exists that they will be willing to turn on Trump Here it is worth noting how quickly Nixon’s support dried up once the smoking gun tape was released.
– Yet again we see the need to get Barr to publicly commit to protecting the Mueller investigation. Here I note that while Comey actually was not that close to Mueller, Barr actually has a longstanding and close personal relationship with Mueller, which MIGHT have an impact on any actions he might take. I suspect that relationship will be publicly discussed during his confirmation hearing this week.
– if it were not obvious before, this is already the biggest scandal in American presidential history
Trump likes to apply superlatives to his Presidency. We have gotten used to his lies about these: his inaugural crowd size, how much his administration has accomplished, how tough he has been on Russia, to cite just three.
But there are “superlatives” we can apply to his Presidency. Already, we have the longest government shutdown in American history.
And I think Rubin is right. This is the biggest scandal in American presidential history. Bigger than Watergate or Teapot Dome or anything in the 19th Century.
Three outstanding opinion pieces in the Post. You should read them all.