Dear President Trump,
I just looked up “plausible deniability” again because I can’t keep the concept straight in my head and wanted to see if it might be a way of understanding what you said the other day about happily taking opposition information from foreign sources. It isn’t. It almost certainly does apply to other stuff you’ve done, but since it‘s referring to situations where someone high up in a chain of command can at least semi-plausibly deny that they knew about the terrible/negligent/questionable/etc. thing(s) someone lower down in the chain did, it really doesn’t speak to this other type of ick.
I think this other type of ick could instead be framed as establishing “plausible ignorance.” By publicly stating that even now, in 2019 after all the civics lessons and references to the part of the constitution that prohibit foreign interference in US elections, you believe that taking information damaging to an opponent from a foreign source is A-OK, you are attempting to lay ground work to shield you all from prosecution, censure, impeachment, or whatever around your “yeah, gimme!” posture with Russia in 2016. It boils down to something very, very simple – if you believe that it isn’t wrong (criminal, corrupt, etc.) to take opposition information from representatives of the Russian (Chinese, Norwegian, etc.) government now, then you couldn’t possibly have known it was wrong in 2016.
It’s a handy tool, isn’t it? And it’s especially handy for those who’ve cultivated (or simply can’t help having) a down-home, anti-intellectual persona complete with poor spelling, non-existent grammar, and vacuous speech patterns. It’s a match made in heaven for you, dude. So who thought to have you do a big TV interview to get it out in front of the public that you feel perfectly fine about receiving opposition information from anyone who’ll give it to you and that you might or might not, but probably wouldn’t, go to the FBI about it because, hey, everyone’s doing it? Is Steve Bannon back? Did he ever really leave? Or is this the other Steve-ish one (Miller)? It can’t be Rudy – he’s too dysregulated and reactive to come up with any strategy.
Whoever thought of it deserves some credit. First, they tasked you with something you could easily pull off and they didn’t need to worry about some last minute flight into commonsense or newfound morality. They could count on you delivering on this one with consistency and gusto. Second, it’s a terrific thing for your relationship with Vladimir and it essentially issued an open solicitation for opposition dirt in support of Trump 2020. Third, as mind-boggling as it is to way more than half the country, this will play well with your base. I would love to be proven wrong on this (truly, really, truly), but I can easily picture your fans talking with each other over coffee or a beer saying things like “Hell yeah, it’s all fair game. I mean those Commie-Dems have been using that kind of crap against us for years.” Sigh. And fourth, it appears from what I’ve gathered from the Mueller report that a lot of why they declined to go after corruption or conspiracy charges is they couldn’t be sure they could prove intent. So, this on camera demonstration of ignorance undermines the argument that you all knowingly engaged in wrong-doing in the election.
So f*cking bravo to Team Trump.
And do I think you really know now and that you really knew then that it was not ok to take opposition information from foreign sources? Why yes, I do think you know this and I think you knew this then because otherwise why come up with the stupid Russian adoption story about the Tower meeting, etc.
But can we prove that you know/knew? Well, we might just be able to if we could see the un-redacted report and the underlying research that you and Barr are so stubbornly withholding from view. Hmm.
May we be safe from leaders who would just as soon throw the whole enterprise under the bus.
May we be willing cut through the blathering BS.
May we take care of ourselves and one another because it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
May you not start a war of any kind with anyone.