Like much of America, I anxiously awaited the results of the Mueller investigation with some hope that it would find evidence that Trump cooperated with or enlisted the assistance of Russia in order to gain the presidency. I had that hope because I’m in favor of anything legal that gets him out of office.
Just so we’re clear, I want him out of office because, as I’ve been saying for three years longer than George Conway has, his behavior demonstrates that he has a significant mental defect which – whether we call him an extreme narcissist, a sociopath or a psychopath – makes him exceptionally unfit to be President of the United States.
But unlike, I suspect, most people who hoped for a **Collusion!!!** outcome, I really didn’t expect one. I always thought that while Trump and his clown-car staff (clown car: full of clowns; clowns keep leaving it; somehow, there are always more clowns) were inept enough to be unwitting dupes of those crafty Russians, they were way too inept to pull something like that off on purpose.
That said, whether intentional or not (my money is on “not”), Trump has pulled off an extraordinary misdirection play.
What became the Mueller investigation started as an FBI inquiry aimed at understanding how Russia interfered in the 2016 election so that we could keep it from happening again. One strand of that inquiry was to ascertain whether any Americans aided Russia. One thin strand within that strand was to ascertain whether “any Americans” included Trump or anyone in the clown car.
Yet that strand-within-a-strand became the entire focus of public interest, if not of the investigation itself. So how did THAT happen?
What really seemed to spook Trump when Russia’s election meddling was first revealed was that it might delegitimize his election. But the investigation didn’t become focused on Trump until he fired James Comey, and then bragged to both Russian officials (in the oval office, no less) and the American people (via Lester Holt) that he did so in order to stop the FBI from investigating the aforementioned Russian meddling (see “inept” and “clown”).
That required the appointment of a Special Counsel because administrations aren’t supposed to investigate themselves.
But what Trump did next was brilliant. He started yelling “No Collusion!” at the top of his lungs – 231 times according to the Washington Post.
Then, instead of saying, “I am committed to the integrity of our electoral process and have instructed my staff to cooperate fully with this investigation,” he stonewalled it in every way possible. He stonewalled it so much that it really started to look like he had something to hide, which was great fodder for the media (“Fake News! Fake News! Enemy of the People!”).
This is the shell game. He had all of us looking at the shell called “collusion.” Yet when Mueller finally lifted it up – guess what? – no pea. Meanwhile, nobody is looking at the shell that matters, which is that Russian meddling very likely did have enough of an impact to sway the election, and that even if it didn’t, the dissension it has sown in America has been an extraordinary coup (see what I did there?) for them.
It used to be said that Russians play chess and Americans play Pac-Man. We don’t even do that anymore.
We just play shell games.