From The Guardian
Republicans make excuses for Trump's behavior, but continue to back him. All this anti-Trump energy would be better spent organizing for the coming election.
The latest New York Times blockbuster revealing the president's son, Donald Trump Jr, knowingly accepting a meeting in 2016 with a Russian lawyer in the hope of getting damaging information on Hillary Clinton is making waves across Washington DC. But if people think that this latest story is definitely going to lead to criminal charges against Trump Jr, or force the president from office, it's time for a reality check.
The journalism displayed by the Times and the Washington Post pushing the Trump-Russia story forward has unquestionably been laudable, but the real question is where does this leave the Trump administration.
While pro-impeachment advocates scream "treason!" on Twitter every time a new story is published, the truth is much more complicated. Some legal experts wonder whether the Trump clan actually did break any laws in their interactions with Russian nationals, even if their behavior pre-election was incredibly shady, unethical and nefarious.
Look no further than Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes, two prominent national security figures and Trump critics, who explained in Foreign Policy last week that "collusion," in and of itself may not be a criminal problem for Trump so much as a political one. (Hennessy and Witte's article came before the latest Trump Jr story, but there's also reason to be skeptical about assertions that Trump Jr broke the law by taking a meeting with the Russian lawyer as well.)
The Robert Mueller special counsel investigation into Trump and Russia could take years to complete. And it probably won't directly lead to Trump himself being indicted. Mueller is likely to submit his findings on Trump himself to Congress for action rather than bringing an indictment. And if people really think Republicans are going to impeach Trump, they are kidding themselves.
At almost every turn, Republicans have made countless excuses for Trump's behavior and demurred on aggressively pursuing any action against him that would irreparably handicap his presidency.
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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to The (more...)