Trump may not be “guilty” of anything on Russia, but he’s sure acting like it

Good post from Brian Beutler.  Whatever went on with Trump campaign officials and the Russians, this is decidedly not how innocent people typically act.  Of course, there’s not much that’s typical about Trump, so maybe he only knows to lash out when attacked, period, but it’s sure not a good look.  Beutler:

It is hard to say, exactly, how a presidential administration should behave when it has been the beneficiary, wittingly or unwittingly, of foreign interference on its behalf. The U.S. intelligence community has already concluded that the Russian government sabotaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign to bolster Trump’s candidacy. Even under the most innocent of circumstances, Trump and his senior aides would find themselves in the awkward position of having to contend with the role that dirty tricks played in their rise to political power.

But the defensive, contentious posture they have adopted—marked by obfuscation, deflection, and wild counterpunching—doesn’t call to mind the temporary embarrassment of a political team benefiting from the interference of some noxious but unaffiliated entity, like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that smeared Democratic nominee John Kerry in 2004. They’re acting like cornered animals. And though Trump’s response to these developments is dressed up with the trappings of the presidency, including a White House press secretary who speaks on his behalf every day, it bears all the hallmarks of his standard reaction when his unsavory associations come back to bite him. This is vintage, guilty Trump…

The pattern was well established before Trump had the machinery of the White House behind him. He devoted his official Twitter feed on Monday afternoon to posting deceptively edited and summarized video clips from the Intelligence Committee hearing, to make it appear as if Obama were the real villain, that Comey’s testimony had exonerated him, and that Russians didn’t meddle in the election when, in fact, the exact opposite was true.

It is easy enough to imagine a version of events in which the Russian government determined its preference for Trump over Clinton and consequently sought to influence the outcome of the election in complete isolation from the Trump campaign, like a kind of rogue, sovereign, lawbreaking super PAC. If at bottom, Trump had confidence that his associates never colluded improperly or illegally with the Russian effort to sabotage the election, he might see it as in his interest to let an investigation proceed unencumbered.

You send your spokesman out to make an ass of himself, and pretend your closest advisers were mere hangers on, when you’re afraid of what that investigation might turn up. [emphasis mine]

I still think it entirely possible, if not likely, that Beutler’s penultimate paragraph is correct, but whether it is or not, Trump is sure acting guilty.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to Trump may not be “guilty” of anything on Russia, but he’s sure acting like it

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    John Dean talking with Chris Hayes on MSNBC: He knows something about Presidential administration cover ups because he’s been in a Presidential administration cover up. – Watergate.

  2. rgbact says:

    Trump is a master troll. He knows Democrats and liberal media can’t resist this stuff. Pretty sure he wants Democrats talking about nothing but Russian conspiracies for the next 4 years.

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