Either there is evidence of collusion, or the United States has undertaken a lengthy investigation into its own President. Either way, Trump will be taintedby Jay Elwes / September 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by Congress to investigate the Trump campaign’s links to Russia, is a busy man. Perhaps not surprisingly for someone who used to run the FBI, Mueller is pursuing a highly aggressive investigation of those people connected to Trump who were also, perhaps, connected to Russia. The New York Times has reported that, when federal agents wanted to search the home of Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign official, they picked the lock of his front door as he slept. Agents then searched his house and examined his computer files. They even took photos of his “expensive suits.”
Mueller is pushing hard and he is wise to do so. The longer he conducts his enquiry, the longer he remains exposed. Much better to get it over with quickly.
And hanging over his investigation is the deeply alarming prospect of what lies at the end of it. Because one of the following two statements is true: Trump’s election campaign was assisted by Russia in the greatest act of political espionage in history; Trump’s election campaign was not assisted by Russia, and the US has descended into a needless episode of political paranoia more poisonous even than the worst excesses of the McCarthy era. Take your pick. It is not a palatable choice.
Whatever conclusion Mueller draws, America’s adversaries will feel a strong sense of schadenfreude. Most pleased of all will be Vladimir Putin. More than anyone else, he is the winner in this rather strange, post-modern stand-off between Russia and the US. Whichever way Mueller’s judgement goes, Russia will always be associated with the mess of the Trump presidency. And the signs are that a political mess in Washington is just what the Kremlin wanted all along.
To take the two statements in reverse order—what if Mueller concludes there is no evidence of collusion? From a legal perspective, a lot of current and former White House employees would breathe a sigh of relief. But the stain would remain. The rumours. The insinuations. The Moscow hotel bedrooms. Trump would always be tainted.
It would also lead us to a further question. If all those stories weren’t true, where did they come from? For a story to exist,…