Periods in search of an argument

Today’s column by Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post is called “The. Meeting. Was. Not. Okay.” Can you find the part of the column where she offers reasons in support of this proposition? I can’t.

Marcus and her editors must believe that if you put enough periods in the title, no argument in favor of the proposition is necessary.

Marcus also asserts that Trump denies Russia interfered in the election. Actually, he doesn’t. Trump’s position repeatedly has been that Russia “probably” interfered. I think he should drop the “probably,” but to say that Trump is denying the interference is incorrect.

Marcus then points out that President Trump first said he didn’t know about the meeting between his son and the Russian lawyer, but later said it might have been mentioned. That’s true, and it follows a troubling pattern in this presidency. However, it doesn’t show that Trump Jr. acted improperly when he tried to find out whether the Russian lawyer had information about collaboration between Hillary Clinton and the Kremlin.

Marcus concludes by ridiculing the argument that members of the Democratic National Committee met with Ukrainian officials to receive information harmful to the Trump campaign. Marcus points out that unlike Russia, Ukraine is not a U.S. adversary.

Coming from Marcus, this argument is disingenuous. She has been among those who insist that Trump Jr. would have violated the law had he received something of value — namely, information — from an agent of a foreign government.

But if receiving information about a campaign opponent from a foreign agent were illegal (I don’t think it is), then the Democrats would also be in violation of the law based on their dealings with Ukraine. The law applies to all foreign governments whether or not they are our adversaries. That’s the point of the Ukraine analogy.

Trump Jr. may have been naive to think that the Russian lawyer would deliver incriminating information about Hillary Clinton and/or the Democrats. He may have been naive to think that, if she did deliver such information, it would come without a price. But I see nothing improper about attending a meeting for the purpose of finding out what information the lawyer had, and nothing in Marcus’ column that amounts to an argument that the meeting was improper.


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