This day in “collusion” hysteria

The mainstream media is in a state of ecstasy over the story of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with that Russian lawyer. It’s easy to understand why. After months with nothing to feed on, the media now has a scrap. In this context, the meal feels like a feast.

It certainly seems that way to Ruth Marcus. She declares, absurdly, that the Trump Jr. emails “could hardly be more incriminating.” I must have missed the one in which he told the Russkies to go ahead and hack John Podesta’s emails, and provided them the password.

Marcus also opines that Trump, Jr. violated U.S. law by accepting something of value from a foreign government agent. If that’s true, then the FBI should raid every embassy party in Washington and half of the city’s cocktail parties. Journalists and others routinely accept useful information (and plenty of interesting gossip) from “foreign government agents” at these events. Even I have used information obtained from diplomats in my writing.

For a sane take on the criminal law implications, if any, of Trump’s emails and subsequent meeting, see this column by Jonathan Turley.

Also lost on (or ignored by) the frenzied mainstream media is the fact, noted by me here, that the information Trump expected to receive from the Russian lawyer pertained to serious collusion between Hillary Clinton and/or Democrats and the Russian government, a potential crime. In other words, Trump Jr. went to the meeting to learn whether there was a basis for believing that Clinton and/or the Democrats were engaging in criminal behavior (treasonous behavior, in the view of some in the media and the Senate).

Though his intent was to help his father’s campaign, his attendance was nonetheless a potential service to the country. It certainly wasn’t treason.

The other thing the Democrats and their supporters in the media ignore is instances of efforts by foreign governments to influence American presidential elections in favor of Democrats. Byron York discusses this history.

One needn’t delve into the past to find examples. Byron reminds us of a Politico story from January — one that, surprise, never really caught on — describing an effort by the government of Ukraine to sabotage the Trump campaign

“Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office,” Politico’s Ken Vogel and David Stern reported. “They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

The covert Ukrainian campaign had some effect — it helped forced Trump to fire his campaign chief, Manafort, in a shakeup that made a difficult August even more difficult — but has generated about one-millionth the interest that Russia’s meddling has produced.

Byron also recalls how representatives of foreign powers weighed in on Bill Clinton’s behalf in the 1996 election? He asks, “Anyone remember Yah-lin “Charlie” Trie? Or Johnny Chung? Or John Huang? James Riady? Maria Shia?”

Chung testified before the House of Representatives that the head of Chinese military intelligence told him: “We like your president very much. We hope to see him re-elected. I’ll give you 300,000 U.S. dollars. You can give it to your president and the Democratic Party.” Republicans called for an independent counsel to investigate. Clinton’s attorney general refused to appoint one. The mainstream media was mostly unperturbed, if I recall correctly.

For our media, foreign interference is only a treason or some other crime if the interference is on behalf of a Republican. If the interference is on behalf of a Democrat, it’s a non-issue.

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