What did the president know and when did he know it?
So went the questions addressed to then President Richard Nixon at the height of the Watergate scandal, one that would ultimately lead to his downfall. Knowing that he was certain to be impeached, Nixon took the easy way out by resigning instead.
The same questions are being asked of President Donald Trump today, in light of his recent admission that the now infamous 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in New York at the height of that year’s presidential campaign involved an attempt to get dirt on what he euphemistically called his “political opponent,” meaning Hillary Clinton.
While the president and his son Donald Jr. had previously dismissed the meeting as much ado about nothing, it has become clearer over the last few weeks and months that they were hiding something about that meeting with a group of Russians with ties to Vladimir Putin.
Now it has become clear that the meeting was arranged because the Trump campaign had been promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Whether the Trump camp gained any dirt or not is no longer the issue.
For the longest time, President Trump has been insisting that there had been “no collusion” between his camp and the Russians. Now, it is apparent that there was.
Collusion is defined as a “secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.”
With so much information coming from the president himself that he and his camp did indeed collude with the Russians in order to win the 2016 elections, Mr. Trump and his lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, are floating the idea that collusion is not a crime.
Their game of semantics stands on the shakiest legal ground imaginable.
So what did then candidate Donald Trump know about the meeting and when did he know it?
Sifting through the lies and half-truths and using simple common sense, then candidate Donald Trump may have been extremely busy during that stage of the campaign, but his son had sufficient reason to attend a that meeting that was in itself a criminal offense bordering on treason.
Donald Jr. did, after all, meet with a group that can be described as enemies of the state. The Russian people may not be enemies of the American people, but Vladimir Putin’s actions show that he remains an old-style communist who lives to destroy democracy as we know it.
The POTUS tells us that he lied, but that the meeting was nothing out of the ordinary and was something that was normal in US politics.
It may be true if the parties involved were all Americans. It would have been unethical, but not illegal. It would have been forgivable had the meeting been with foreigners from countries which are allies of the US. But Donald Trump Jr. met with Russians tied to Putin, and he and his father lied about it again and again. The president has painted himself into a corner. He will need nothing less than a miracle to escape this mess of his own making.
In the end, Richard Nixon did the right thing after his guilt was established. It remains to be seen if Donald Trump will take the same route.