There remains a long road towards understanding the full implications of the Russia scandal — and in the meantime, President Donald Trump’s team continues to maintain that their meddling is no big deal and scrutiny is just an attempt to “hang” the president, in Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s description this weekend. He went to disturbing new lengths to defend his team’s position in the ordeal during an appearance on MSNBC’s Meet the Press, explicitly asserting that it’s sometimes okay for “political campaigns to work with material stolen by foreign adversaries” as the Trump team did via emails the Russians stole from the Democrats.
After initially resorting to pointing fingers at the media for their own reporting on stolen information, host Chuck Todd countered:
‘You’re putting the Pentagon Papers and Vladimir Putin on the same level?’
Giuliani, of course, had an answer, and seemed unfazed by Todd pointing out how disconnected from the reality of the situation he was, replying:
‘No, the theft. How often have newspapers and you covered stolen classified material… You do! And you justify it! And I don’t know if NBC was a part of it, but the media went to court to defend doing that! Because it’s part of the public’s right to know. But I guess the public didn’t have a right to know how stinky, how dishonest, and how dishonorable Hillary and the people around her were!’
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 21, 2019
Wow, what a compelling argument in favor of participating in a global conspiracy to tilt domestic political arguments led by a historically hostile foreign power — Hillary Clinton is… wait for it… “stinky.” Although there was a significant deal of commotion surrounding the email leaks when they first emerged, it’s not as though any of them have even produced any lasting legal scrutiny of Hillary Clinton or another target as Giuliani might suggest. The closest they might have come is when Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fl.) resigned in the face of revelations about backroom favoring of Clinton over her primary race challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders. That issue had significant repercussions for party unity and may have helped shave far-left votes away from Clinton.
Giuliani suggests that’s all a good thing and basically, the ends justify the means. He — a lawyer for the president of the United States — doesn’t seem to mind if a hostile foreign power decides that it’s now going to insert itself into relationships between American political leaders and their constituents. He’s fine with chaos — and considering who he works for, that’s not exactly surprising.
Down in the real world, there have been a number of clear alternatives for the Trump team to have taken when presented with help via Kremlin dirt on Hillary. For instance, when then-Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore got an inappropriately obtained sheaf of campaign materials from rival George W. Bush, he turned it into the FBI. Much more recently, when the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) learned of a significant collection of information detailing the Trump team’s supposed connection to Russia’s scheme to tilt the 2016 elections, he too turned the material into authorities.
The Trump team, meanwhile, would have us look the other way — and they’re not even trying to hide that perspective! Giuliani went on national television and explicitly said that a foreign government hacking into domestic political systems isn’t really anything to be too concerned about!
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