The Emails. Jesus Christ, the Emails

The Emails. Jesus Christ, the Emails

Seriously, Did Anything Else Even Happen Last Week?

The answer to that subtitle is, obviously, yes. Quite a bit happened last week. The Senate vote for the GOP’s new, still wildly toxic health care bill was delayed. The Congressional Budget Office scored Trump’s prospective budget as off by a few trillion dollars, which would be pretty funny if it wasn’t so dire. In that same category, Kid Rock (honest to fucking God) is now running for U.S. Senate. And, in domestic matters, just a few hour ago it was revealed that Malcolm Turnbull will soon be announcing a total change-up to terror laws that would see state police forces being trained by the Australian military, while also allowing the army authority to wall off streets and kill terror suspects on sight.

Here he is meeting with the head of that taskforce. (Wikimedia)

So it wasn’t exactly an uneventful seven days, granted. But something else that happened last week kinda leaves the rest of that behind in the dust. Now, I don’t wanna get hyperbolic here and play into the hands of people who think the reaction to this news by the left has been hysterical. Still, I’d struggle to think of a better word to describe it: what Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain reveals is seismic.

By his own admission, Trump Jr. received an offer from Rob Goldstone – a longtime associate of the Trump family – of damning intel on Hillary Clinton, being provided by “The Crown prosecutor of Russia”. The email continues: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr.’s unequivocal response: “I love it.” He then forwarded the email to Paul Manafort – the Trump campaign manager at the time – and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, all of whom attended the subsequent meeting. Others present included Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who promised the damning intel, and Rinat Akhmetshin, a former member of the Russian military intelligence services. So far, so incredibly dodgy.

This was, in case there is any misunderstanding, in the summer of 2016, when Trump Jr. was working within his father’s presidential campaign and, therefore, was an acting surrogate for the Trump campaign. As an advisory figure to a presidential nominee, Trump Jr. accepted a meeting with the representative of a foreign government in order to receive a thing of value to use against Trump Sr.’s opponent. He did so with the expectation of receiving said thing of value, which makes whether or not he actually got anything hugely irrelevant. He never once contacted the FBI or other authorities to tell them of the offer, and he has changed his story on the import of the meeting time and time again.

I’m gonna say this once more, as simply as possible: Russia offered to help sway the election, and Trump Jr. said, “I love it.” How the fuck would you define collusion? And, please, no more of this piss-poor defense of any member of the Trump family or administration with, “But they’re new to this, they don’t know what they’re doooooing!“. Where else does that ever hold up? “I’m sorry your husband died during that routine surgery, madam, just it’s the janitor’s last day here and he’s always wanted to cut someone open, so we thought he could have a go at it. Now, I’m off to finish this sack of ouzo and then pilot a 747 aircraft full of orphans, because fuck it, nothing matters anymore, right?”

Pictured: a successful first day. (Wikimedia)

Now, what was I saying about not getting hysterical…? Oh yeah, so here’s the thing: this is one of many moments that will happen over the next few weeks and months where we need to examine our principles. We need to address what we believe in and the sort of conduct we want to see enacted at the highest positions of power in the world. If you lean left, middle, right, up or down and you oppose and resist Trump, it’s pretty simple. Your job is to not get fatigued by the relentless, over-saturated media coverage of all this. Don’t lose your nerve when surrounded by people who shout you down as a snowflake and don’t lose your capacity to be shocked or horrified by these kinds of revelations. Preserve your ideals and don’t let them falter just because you can’t see the value in them yet; the time is coming when they will be the strongest elements you possess.

On the other hand, if you’re a staunch, right-wing, dyed in the wool supporter of Donald Trump and believe this email proves nothing, then I have a sincere question to put to you: What would you need to see or hear to at least begin to have some suspicion that the president cooperated with Russia to sway the 2016 election? It’s an earnest question. At some point, a thing becomes undeniable if you have the willingness to see it for what it is. I don’t think you (hypothetical Trump supporter who is almost certainly not reading this) have an active delusion, or an inability to see the truth when it’s presented to you, but I think you owe it to yourself to be honest as to whether there’s any reasonable degree of evidence that could be attained to make you question your trust in the president.

This tweet from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes explains why:

Damn. Fuckin’. Straight.

There is a culture being nurtured and proliferated right now of winning by any means necessary. It’s scary to think, but the time may come when indisputable proof of collusion and a subsequent cover-up may come out and people… just won’t care. I don’t mean everybody won’t care, but Trump’s base will remain steadfast to the point that it may not be within the GOP’s interests – whose decision it will ultimately be – to oust the president for such a revelation. What’s more worrisome, in his current position Trump is legally able to pardon all of those embroiled in this scandal. And why wouldn’t he, if he can get away with not even keeping a small fraction of his campaign promises and firing the man in charge of investigating him and still poll strongly with his base?

This is why it’s hard not to sound hysterical or hyperbolic when talking about this sort of thing. If you support Trump, or you don’t but can’t really see what the big deal is – or maybe you just don’t care – then I can see how this scans as over the top. As will this: the United States has a foundation and standing – however notional – built on the tenets of democracy, of the enforcement of a unifying body of law and order that no one man or group of men is above. Watch how it crumbles.

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