In Comparing Russia Collusion to Whitewater, David Brooks Cements Place as Most Clueless Pundit
There’s a very interesting Washington Post article about how Trump’s own staff has to talk to Trump about Russia every morning at 6:30 AM in a bid to reassure him that, it’s all just ‘fake news’ and a ‘Dem hoax.’
I’m not sure how comforting Trump finds this advice by Roger Stone:
“This is a train that’s coming,” said Roger Stone, a former Trump adviser and longtime confidant, referring to the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. “These guys are going to move on him despite the fact that they don’t have a case. The question on the table is what is he going to do about it, and that is a legal and political question.”
This is a train coming and you need to figure out what to do about it.
I’m sure Trump is reassured after hearing that.
But while the train continues to pick up speed and roar, David Brooks hasn’t gotten the memo. He dissmises it as another Whitewater. Jack Schaffer seems to like that comparison:
“In a heavily cited column this week, the New York Times‘ David Brooks yawned that despite the endless sleuthing by the press and investigators to unearth evidence that Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russians to monkeywrench the November election, there just isn’t very much there. Detecting “little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred,” Brooks compared the collusion story to the overblown Whitewater scandal, which he covered as a Wall Street Journal op-ed editor. Headlining his piece “Let’s Not Get Carried Away,” Brooks joined an entrenched rump consensus of Russia-collusion doubters, which include Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone), Glenn Greenwald (the Intercept), former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, Harvard law professor emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Joshua Holland (The Nation), and of course, President Donald Trump.”
Honestly there is so much wrong and misinformed in this formulation I don’t even know where to start. First of all putting Morell in the same camp as Glenn Greenwald and Devin Nunes is very naughty.
It’s a clever kind of naughtiness. Morell is just saying based on his own knowledge-he hasn’t received any classified info in six months, he hasn’t seen direct, smoking gun evidence of collusion. That’s far from saying:
1. It didn’t happen
2. Or even it’s very unlikely that it happened.
As Nate Silver always warns, we as humans are really bad at assessing probability and likelihood.
But as for David Brooks’ Whitewater comparison this doesn’t even pass the laugh test. Heck it fails it so spectacularly it’s hard to do it’s level of failure justice.
Indeed, my guess is that Brooks was one of those who greatly exaggerated the significance of Whitewater at the time. I wasn’t able to find any articles he wrote during the 1990s but he did write for the Weekly Standard that treated Whitewater as just slightly worse than the Holocaust.
To compare Whitewater to Russia collusion abstracts from the fact that:
1. The seriousness of the inherent charges. A Whitewater deal the Clintons lost money on 20 years in the past-during the Ken Starr investigation-is a joke compared to the charge that the Trump campaign may have colluded with a hostile foreign power’s interference in our election.
That Schafer and Brooks abstract from this point just makes it a comparison that doesn’t even pass the laugh test-and this failure is by a mile.
2. Bill Clinton didn’t fire Ken Starr. Even though Whitewater was in truth a nothingburger, had he fired Starr that would not have been a nothingburger. Of course, Bill Clinton knew better than that.
What’s important to understand at this point is there are three prongs of the Trump Russia investigation.
“According to political insider Claude Taylor, whose sources have a history of being correct about Trump-Russia grand juries and other related developments, here’s what the Special Counsel is really up to: “Source with knowledge of investigation. Mueller is proceeding along 3 broad fronts. Investigating Trump for ties to Russian Organized Crime, especially money laundering and other illegalities tied to his business career. The second front is Trump Campaign and their collusion and coordination with Putin/Russian Govt in fixing the 2016 election. The third front is Trump’s crimes as president especially obstruction of justice. My source says Mueller’s team feels confident that Trump has committed impeachable offenses on all 3 fronts.”
So Brooks dismissing this as Whitewater-which,, we should note, actually did through a very scenic and circuitous route-actually lead to impeachment-abstracts from both abuse of power and finanical crimes and links to Russia mobsters.
It’s quite arguable that Trump’s link to Felix Sater in and of itself is a serious crime which may explain why he gets so cagey when he’s asked about Sater.
To be sure, Sater also figures prominently in Russia collusion-on the Quid pro Quo side as it was he who provided Michael Cohen with the ‘Ukrainian peace plan’-actually a Ukrainian giveaway to Russia that Cohen hand delivered to Trump Tower in February.
So in trying to navigate the different dimensions of this it’s not easy as there is much overlapping and intersection. Sater would be obviously on the financial crimes and Russian mobsters side of the three headed investigation but he was also involved with the fake peace plan which bears directly on Russia collusion-remember the Quid pro Quo nature of Russia collusion.
The Russians interfere in our elections on Herr Trump’s behalf and the payoff is rolling back sanctions-and the State Department, among other things, including, apparently, showing them classified Israeli intelligence.
In any case, even if there were nothing there on Russia collusion we have a clear prima facie case for obstruction in firing Comey as well as financial crimes with Russian oligarchs and Russian mobsters, etc.
But for Brooks, or Shafer or anyone else to claim there’s little meat on the bone on Russia collusion makes you wonder if they’ve been living under a rock since Trump’s Last Press Conference-‘Russia, are you listening?’
After that Trump never went anywhere
Far from Russia collusion drying up, every single day we learn that things were even worse than we ever knew.
Does Brooks know nothing about Jeff Sessions, Jeff Gordon, and Carter Page and the efforts to change the RNC platform-which are the Quo in Quid pro Quo?
I mean has Brooks never heard of Guccifer 2.0, Roger Stone, Alan Nevins, or Brad Pascale?
Does he not realize that RNC”s data analytics was leaked almost 200 million Americans personal data out into the ether that had ‘all the information needed to rig a state or local election?’
Again, talk about not passing the laugh test. If Brooks and Shafer want to represent themselves as America’s sages, perhaps they ought to study up a little first.
P.S. So the Gravis poll against Peter King NY2 and it has good news-almost too good to believe.
In my March poll I trailed King by 11 and thought that was very good news. Now Gravis has me up by 10? Still, the moment of truth is next week when Gravis writes up the press release.
I can use any help I can get at this point-volunteers or supporters who live in NY 2. Donations whatever your zip code. These days we can’t just support a local Dem we need a Dem Congress. Which is why I’ve donated few hundred to Jon Ossoff.
Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House-$5 or $10 can do so much.
If you feel that you can’t I, of course, understand-who is rich these days? But please do me one favor: ask yourself privately, mentally, if you really can’t spare $5 dollars. If you can honestly say you can’t, no worries.
We can have a Dem Congress, we must have a Dem Cogress, and we will.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.