by Michael Tomasky · July 13, 2017
The most royally screwed-over person in the history of American politics should be in the White House, right now.
Wednesday morning, Donald Trump went back to the well, and he tried to change the subject to Hillary:
Not one of his most offensive tweets, but surely among the most pathetic. “May have gotten away with”? He’s accused her of everything short of homicide, most of the time with no evidence at all, and now he’s reduced to the conditional tense?
Others were less tentative. Sean Hannity started out his interview with Don Jr. Tuesday night slamming us fake media types for totally ignoring the supposed huge scandal of the Clinton campaign coordinating with Ukraine last year, because they did it too, see, and it was even worse, and why aren’t the media all over that?
He was referring to a long Politico piece from back in January that told the story of a woman, Alexandra Chalupa, who was a consultant to the Democratic National Committee. Of Ukrainian heritage, she was quite naturally interested all things relating to Russia and her home country, including the doings of Paul Manafort.
It’s a long and complicated story, but ultimately one that alleges nothing more than that some Ukrainian politicians and Ukrainian figures in America supported Clinton and opposed Trump and did and said things, normal things, to promote their preferred outcome. Chalupa researched Manafort’s Russia connections. She told Politico that she “occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and the Clinton campaign.” There is no time frame on this, and no discussion of what “occasionally” meant. In any case, Chalupa, identified in news stories as “Ukrainian-American,” presumably was and is (unlike Natalia Veselnitskaya) an American citizen, doing research in her private time.
And that’s it. She didn’t email Chelsea Clinton dangling dirt on Trump sourced to the Ukrainian government. Chelsea did not write back “I love it.” Chalupa did not get a resulting meeting with Chelsea, John Podesta, and Robbie Mook. And across all of Politico’s sprawling 2,500 or so words, there is no allegation that Ukrainian efforts to promote Clinton were coordinated in Kiev by the Poroshenko government, while the efforts to promote Trump and to damage Clinton were of course run directly out of the Kremlin.
Gee, other than all that, Sean, they’re exactly the same.
Donald Trump’s fortunes will wax and wane, Sean Hannity’s ratings will go up and down, and the Republican Party will see good days and bad. But one thing will never change: They’ll beat up on Hillary until the day she dies. After, actually. They’ll decide she didn’t leave enough to charity. Or left too much. Whatever. It will always be something.
And in the press at least, outside of a few columnists, Clinton won’t have many defenders, because the fashionable thing is always to bash her, too. And of course, she and Bill have made their mistakes. Both Clintons were way too insensitive to the appearances of their actions, like how much money they were making. And as I’ve written many times, I think she decided to use a private server because she put her distrust of those out to get her (like Judicial Watch) ahead of her obligation to public transparency. It doesn’t matter that Colin Powell used a private server, too. The press loved Colin Powell. They didn’t love her.
So yes. A person of flawed judgment. And the whole thing about not having a strong enough economic message turns out to have been true, too.
But honestly. Who outside of the committed right can watch what we’ve been watching and not think, Gee, I guess it would be better if she were in the White House? Because along with 90 percent of this town, I feel pretty sure we still haven’t seen the half of it. This monster has about 96 feet, and there are many shoes left to drop. This is likely to end in humiliation not just for Trump and his wretched family, but for the United States.
I’m sure that like me, you wake up some mornings and don’t know whether to be enraged or depressed or amused, or you hear the words “President Trump” on the radio and still sometimes wonder how the $@ did that happen? Well imagine how Hillary feels. She was the target of the biggest coordinated campaign attack, stretching from the Kremlin to Julian Assange’s sitting room, in the history of American politics. She got zonked by Jim Comey 11 days before the election in a move that was totally without precedent in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And both of these after a quarter-century smear campaign that alleged everything up to and including murder but that never actually proved—and I mean proved, not “proved” to the satisfaction of millions of people who’d been worked into a state of rage against her over two decades—a single thing of importance that she did that was wrong or unethical. And still she got 3 million more votes.
Three emails marked classified on her server. Three. About things like talking points for a call with the president of Malawi. And two of those may have been marked in error. And that was her great crime? For that, we have to live through this?
She’s the most royally screwed-over person in the history of American politics. She should be in the White House, right now. And she’d have been good. Maybe not great. They wouldn’t allow that. We’d be having impeachment hearings underway already, I assure you, over far smaller matters than the things we know the Trump family has done. That would be rough, but I know this much: She wouldn’t be suddenly discovering that health care is complicated, she wouldn’t have her son-in-law on the White House staff and in charge of Middle East peace, and she wouldn’t be an international embarrassment. The free nations of the world wouldn’t be trying to find ways to work around the United States of America.
That Trump is sitting in that office and not her is a tragedy. And what are we to do if, someday, we learn it was also a crime?