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Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump can't come clean on Russia, because the cover-up is all that keeps him in office

The crime is that Trump’s campaign did have contacts with Russia. Frequently. And on several fronts.
It may not have originated with Watergate, but the saying “the cover-up is worse than the crime” certainly got a boost from that affair. Nixon’s convoluted efforts to hide his connection to the break-ins served only to fan the flames and draw attention to the story, and the lesson every politician is supposed to have taken away from the resultant mess is that it’s better to fess up to a problem than to hide it. Otherwise, you end up claiming you’re “not a crook” … or discussing the meaning of “is.”

Under that theory, a guy who claims he can shoot people on Fifth Avenue without losing support seems like he should be confession central; ready to spill his guts on everything he’s done before it can fester. But there are two reasons why Donald Trump has to maintain that his Russia connection is “fake news.” First, it would be admitting a mistake, and chief among Trump’s long list of flaws is his inability to admit that he has any flaws.

Second … the conventional wisdom is wrong in this case. Because the crime is worse.
The connections between the Trump camp and Moscow during the campaign, when Vladimir Putin was trying to subvert American democracy. …
Whenever queried about this highly sensitive matter, Trump and his minions have said there were no contacts between anyone in his crew and the Putin regime during the 2016 campaign. This is a cover-up.
The crime is that Trump’s campaign did have contacts with Russia. Frequently. And on several fronts.

It was stated openly just days after the election …
Russia said it was in contact with President-elect Donald Trump’s team during the U.S. election campaign, despite repeated denials by the Republican candidate’s advisers that any links existed.
And it’s confirmed in intelligence reports on the same day Flynn resigned.
Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
Donald Trump can’t halt the cover up on Russia. Because the cover up is his only hope.
At a minimum, it seems that Trump associates—at least Flynn—were secretly interacting with the Putin regime as it was plotting to subvert American democracy to help Trump win the White House. A key question is obvious: What did they discuss? The darkest possibility is that they talked about the Kremlin assault on the US election. Short of that, might Flynn or others have encouraged Putin's clandestine operation by signaling that Moscow would have an easier time with a Trump administration than with a Clinton administration?
And all of this was at a time when Trump was openly, loudly calling for Russia to hack into Clinton’s emails, while also denying that Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC.

Trump can’t admit that his team was in communication with Russia. Because that communication wasn’t innocent. Look again at the paragraph quoted above with a bit of emphasis added.
Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
Not calling Russian friends. Not calling Russian economic experts, or military experts, or even real estate agents. Contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials. 

That’s not something you can explain away. It’s something that has to be covered up.
Trump would lose all legitimacy as president were he to admit that anything of this sort transpired. There are some deeds that cannot be acknowledged. Expecting Trump and his lieutenants to confess that his campaign or business associates were networking with the Kremlin or Russian intelligence is not realistic—especially after their months of denial.
As in last week's ludicrous press conference, Donald Trump will continue to deny that this happened—until he’s dragged from the Oval Office.

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