Arguments About Trump Jr.'s Emails That Are Just Dumb
In a perfect world, this article wouldn't even need writing.
After all, this Donald Trump Jr. story really should be easy for everyone, shouldn't it?
Trump Jr. released his own emails, in which he literally replied "I love it" when proposed with the aid of the Russian government to support his father and discredit Hillary Clinton.
That release comes after months of President Donald Trump -- and those associated with his administration -- insisting that there were literally no meetings with Russians looking to influence the election.
Without getting hysterical or clutching any pearls, everyone should be able to agree on this basic fact: The administration's story and the actual facts, at this point, just don't line up.
It's that simple.
Except, it isn't, because this is politics and everyone has a different take.
Ever since Trump Jr. released those emails, everyone and their mama has given a different view on a story that should be pretty cut and dry.
It's understandable, to a certain extent.
Politicians, journalists, and other media members are, ultimately, human. Even with the best efforts to stay objective, the lens through which each person views a story is bound to be different from the next person's.
But there's a difference between perspective and spin. Spin leads people to make arguments out of pure partisan interest, rather than any effort to offer genuine analysis.
Take exhibit A:
For the rest of the week, there'll be more of it. Fortunately, some arguments are so transparently ridiculous that they're easy to spot. Here are five of the worst you'll hear in reaction to Trump Jr.'s emails.
When asked about Trump Jr.'s emails, former Clinton running mate Tim Kaine said,
We're now beyond obstruction of justice. This is moving into perjury, false statements, and even into potentially treason.
Other politicians, like Congressman Seth Moulton, have mentioned that word, too. But whatever Trump Jr.'s emails amount to, it's not "treason," especially if you're judging by the letter of the law.
The Constitution defines treason as providing aid to countries with which the United States is at war.
In case you were wondering, the United States is not officially at war with Russia. If we were, the very Congress in which Kaine and Moulton work would have had to declare that war.
"You Shouldn't Believe Everything The Media Says."
First, "the media" isn't a single entity that acts the same.
Fox News is no less of a mainstream media source than CNN, and both have their differences. Beyond that, though, if there's ever any time to ignore cries of "fake news" it's now.
Then there's the fact that the Times has been citing sources who work inside the White House, anonymously. In other words, the most critical information is coming from people who work under Trump at his own residence.
So, yeah, look at every news story critically, for sure. But avoid falling into the idea that this is a made-up story.
"He Did Nothing Illegal."
In July 2016, a month after he'd had the meeting with the Russian lawyer, Trump Jr. went on CNN and was indignant at the mere suggestion that the Russian government could be looking to damage the Clinton campaign.
On numerous occasions this year, administration officials — including President Trump himself, Vice President Mike Pence, and on down — have denied that meetings between Trump campaign members and Russians have taken place, period.
To move from that to "Yeah, but it wasn't illegal," would be to make an argument that is irrelevant to the very talking points the administration has stood by all this year.
Impeachment is mostly about politics.
Whether the president did anything worth being impeached over is one thing. But then there's another question that's just as important: Are there are enough people in Congress who would actually want to impeach the president?
Never mind the most important fact -- that Trump Jr.'s actions still prove little to nothing about what Trump knew about Russian efforts to influence the election.
No matter how many Democrats mention impeachment, the simple fact of the matter is that there aren't enough of them to actually achieve it.
"What About Hillary?"
Donald Trump is president. Hillary Clinton is not, partly because of -- right or wrong -- the perception that she was corrupt, which very clearly contributed to her losing the election.
If you're wondering why the focus is on the conduct of the campaign for the person who sits in the Oval Office, there's a simple answer.
It's because that person actually sits in the Oval Office.
Any mention of "what Hillary did" in response to Trump Jr.'s emails elicits two responses. First, it's a ridiculous comparison, given Clinton actually suffered because of her reputation.
Second, and most importantly, like the rest of these points covered here, it's a dumb argument to bring up in response to a story about the president's son apparently seeking the aid of a foreign adversary.