The Russians are/aren’t coming

I’ll spare people the “sorry I’ve been away” spiel. I haven’t been forthcoming on updates to this blog, and that’s on me. My bad. Mea culpa and all that.

So, it’s time to address the issue of the Special Counsel into Russian interference in the 2016 US General Election. To date a couple people have been indicted on this case, on matters that do not seem to link back to Trump. Paul Manafort has been indicted on matters relating to money laundering and ties with nations that are notably not Russia.

Other charges, like Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos seem to be more (with the former) in line with “lying to the FBI” and (with the latter) something which seems to have fairly little substance – everything is still in the air on that one.

Yet it seems telling that the Special Counsel seems to have pivoted a little on the Russian story and has now turned an eye to Obstruction of Justice and maybe even campaign finance issues.

But this all needs to wash out over time. I don’t know one thing or another, but am just commenting on the matter as a layman.

Let’s get this down to brass tacks. What exactly is this all about?

The contention originally made was the Russian influence affected the outcome of the US General Election. Okay, fine. To date, it seems that very little has come forward to implicate Trump in these allegations. From the beginning of his presidency, Trump has had these allegations on his back, and there has been a constant question of the legitimacy of his win. The investigation is ongoing, and seems to yield very little substance so far.

So, I am surprised that all these extra items have popped up that have gained some legs. Not because I think Trump is a man of substance and purity. Oh hell, no.

Because this whole mess was to focus on how Russia might have skewed the results of the election. So, first we were worried about the election being turned, and now we’re worried that Trump might have broken a rule about buying off a porn star to keep her quiet? Or that he’s tried to obstruct his own witch-hunt?

What about collusion with Russia?

Because, it seems to me that if this is no longer about Russia, then we basically have an investigation in search of a crime, as opposed to a crime requiring an investigation.

Why is this a problem?

Because if not by intent, then at least by appearances, this whole special counsel theatre is basically a sign that very powerful and well-backed people will stop at nothing to depose someone who was actually democratically elected to his position.

Forget for a moment about the other charges and look at the Russian narrative. If it was found that Trump did not collude or conspire with Russia, and that there was no effect on the results of the election, then why is the special counsel continuing to dig for other random charges? If there was no influence, then Trump is and was – for better or worse – the winner of the election.

If you are not troubled by the idea rich and powerful people can overturn the result of a legitimate democratically elected leader, then I fear for your priorities.

This is beyond cheering for left over right. This is about the democratic process and respect for the will of the people. Whether you like Trump or not, if his win was legitimate, then you should be very worried. If you have no problem with the incessant probing of Trump’s affairs, but perceive Trump to be a tyrant, then you should be doubly worried, because it means that he can turn the tables back on your preferred candidate.