For all of us, stakes went up

Print Article

Only special counsel can set politics aside and sort out what is or is not true.

IF A BEST-SELLING AUTHOR were writing a political thriller he might script it this way, with some investigative reporter progressively baiting a hook by revealing just enough information to entice the quarry to swallow a little harder each day.

Saturday: The New York Times reports President Trump's son, Donald Jr., accepted an undisclosed meeting last summer with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. Trump Jr. responds that it was only a "short introductory" affair about issues related to adoptions of Russian children by American parents.

Sunday: The Times springs the information that the meeting was set up by an intermediary who promised the Russian lawyer had damaging facts about Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. says "no details or supporting information was provided" and the meeting was adjourned.

Tuesday: The Times reports it has seen a pre-meeting email in which Trump Jr. was promised the Russian lawyer would dish dirt on Clinton that is "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." The email chain showed this response from Trump Jr.: "If it's what you say, I love it."

THE HOOK IS SET. There's no other conclusion to be drawn. Donald Trump Jr. and the two key players who attended the meeting with him - then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner - were in the room intending to glean damaging information about Clinton from what had been clearly represented to them as Russian government sources.

So much for the claims no one from the Trump organization colluded with Russia about anything appearing to meddle in U.S. elections.

If there was no collusion, it was not from lack of intent.

The evasiveness and denial from Trump Jr. that began Saturday ended with the stunning revelation that the three highest-ranking members of the campaign team - beneath only the candidate himself - were all sitting in a Trump Tower room expecting to hear information that had been described by the intermediary as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

THAT MEANS THE STAKES just went up dramatically.

Published information may be damaging and embarrassing. But reality will play out in the offices of special counsel Robert Mueller.

The two congressional investigations may or may not be of value. On the House side, the investigation at several turns has looked substantially tainted by partisan maneuvers. In the Senate, the investigation has appeared less compromised. Still, politics being politics, citizens probably should lower expectations for a thorough, transparent and effective congressional probe.

We live today in a poisonous partisan climate. Sides have been chosen and, for many, facts and truth are only accepted if it fits the preconceived partisan narrative - far left or far right. As a result the outcome within Congress likely is predictable, with the two parties just glaring at each other over ideological barricades.

Mueller, on the other hand, holds an independent office and is not answerable to anything but the law. His charge is to follow the facts where they lead, expose the truth and let the legal chips fall where they may. That could mean anything from criminal charges to nothing there to see.

That's a tightrope to walk across a swamp filled with maneaters. Let's hope his step is sure.

Print Article

Read More Editorials

They know best. Just ask them.

January 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Both political parties put the lie to believing in local control. READERS SHOULD TAKE a good long look at columnist Steven Walters' piece adjacent to this commentary, and give the matter some thou...

Comments

Read More

Foxconn benefits going to Illinois?

January 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Hard to miss the likelihood that Wisconsin may pay while Illinois reaps benefits. THERE IS A SUBTEXT to the planned Foxconn development in Wisconsin, with its possible 13,000 jobs, and that's this...

Comments

Read More

Good info leads to good decisions

January 12, 2018 at 4:00 pm | School board should have been fully informed before acting on promotions. THIS WEEK, THE Beloit Daily News published findings from its extensive survey built from legal records requests to local g...

Comments

Read More

Unblinking camera can serve us all

January 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Police body-camera use will be a good thing for Beloit, and for officers. IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE there could be some trepidation among citizens if Beloit Police officers inside schools don body came...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2018 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X