“What did the President know and when did he know it?”
Yes. That question will, in due time, need to be asked and answered.
For the time being, however, it is clear that at least three members of the Trump for President Campaign inner circle were willing to accept the assistance of a foreign country to influence the outcome of a U.S. Election.
It doesn’t matter whether that foreign country is an antagonist of our nation, Russia – or if that foreign country is a friend of ours – a treasonous act is a treasonous act.
Let me be perfectly candid about a couple of things.
I did not vote for Trump or Clinton.
Once elected and sworn in as our President I have stood by the decision of my fellow Americans to elect Donald Trump as President.
I respect the process of Democracy in America – even if the outcome is not what I would have wanted or chosen.
I have gritted my teeth. Screamed inside as he and those around him continue to do more and more inane and inept things while in office. Shaken my head at his continued juvenile and childish antics which raise serious questions about his competency and his balance.
On this issue of collusion between him, his campaign and a foreign country, I have chosen to stand on the sidelines and wait to see if all of the smoke was coming from a fire – or if it was simply smoke.
The revelation by Donald Trump, Jr. that he deliberately took a meeting, along with two key members of the Trump Campaign, with representatives of a foreign government who claimed they had information that would influence the outcome of an American election, is no longer smoke.
It is a raging fire.
This was not the casual act of arrogant and clueless rich businessmen who didn’t know better.
Paul Manafort, who was chair of Trump’s campaign at the time, was not only a seasoned political operative, he was a shrewd businessman who knew a great deal about Russia and how the Russians did business.
Jared Kushner, who joined in the meeting, if we are to be believed, is a brilliant tactician and highly intelligent.
Trump, Jr., himself, by his own volition and those around him is smart, ambitious and intelligent.
Trump, Jr. in his own words understood the purpose and nature behind the meeting he and his two accomplices agreed to accept: It was to accept the help of Russia to help the campaign of Donald Trump, Sr. and defeat Hillary Clinton.
Which, by definition, was intended to influence the outcome of an election and the direction of the United States of America.
The lawyers of these three men are no doubt working overtime to fashion an argument that the simple act of taking a meeting did not constitute the legal definition of Treason.
Clearly the defense mechanism is already being put in place by Trump, Inc. that all of America must be fools if they believe that this kind of thing isn’t done in politics all the time.
Trump, Jr. himself has taken to the social media networks to mock those who would challenge his assertion that he should not have accepted the meeting.
We are hearing the argument that there is a difference between accepting a meeting with representatives of a foreign country promising information to influence an American election and actually accepting their help to influence an American election.
That may be a defense necessary to keep Trump, Jr., Kushner and Manafort out of prison.
But, it doesn’t absolve them from their willingness to consider an act of treason against America.
We don’t know, either, whether or not they actually did accept the help of the Russian government, or its agents, which would have been actual acts of treason against America.
In the days and weeks ahead the most important role the American media can play in helping America get to the bottom of this matter is to avoid the temptation to create conjecture and, instead, stick to what we actually know.
This is now the moment for the American media to avoid the headlong rush to talk to anybody and everybody who has an opinion.
It is time for sober analysis of the facts and to focus on what it is we do know – and to be candid about what we don’t know.
We are heading towards dangerous grounds here.
There may be more to this story than currently meets our eyes.
This is the moment where the 4th Estate can, and must, rise to meet the occasion.
Take the time to get the story right. Give the American people the insightful, probing and accurate depiction of what we actually know and what we must come to know.
We need the nation’s press to get this story right.
The American people need to get the right story.
We need the facts.
We can handle the facts.