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Trump's 'Russia problem' doesn't actually exist
Like certain other things people want so badly to believe in.
One of the media spins in response to last week’s firing of FBI Director James Comey was that President Trump has just “made his Russia problem worse.”
Well, you see, firing Comey while the Russia investigation is going on would only give rise to further speculation that he had something to hide. It would raise doubts with the public about any claim by a new, Trump-appointed FBI director that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the election.
Oh yes. That Russia problem. It just won’t go away for the president.
But there’s one problem with that take: The “Russia problem” isn’t actually real. It doesn’t exist.
The so-called Russia problem is kind of like Bigfoot. People have been talking about him for years, and occasionally someone claims to have evidence that he exists. But it’s always grainy, or blurry, or it turns out it’s the guy’s brother-in-law in an oversized gorilla suit. Many people want to believe Bigfoot is real, but there’s no serious reason to think he is.
The “Russia problem” is very much like that. The media keep talking about it. A lot of people are looking for something to substantiate that it exists. And the speculation about what it might be like is pretty interesting.
Maybe the Russians and the Trump campaign worked together to hack the DNCC e-mail server! Maybe the Russians paid Trump campaign operatives to write all that so-called “fake news”! Maybe Trump and the Russians worked together to put that picture of Hillary next to Bat Boy from the Weekly World News! (Oh, come to think of it, we did that. Never mind.)
There are lots of fanciful theories. And there’s an investigation. It’s going on every day, which means the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC can talk about it every day if they want to, which they do.
But as far as anyone can tell – and even Democrats are starting to admit this – there is nothing to it. Nothing. This whole thing came about because a few Trump campaign operatives had connections in Russia, and people got big ideas about what they might have talked about. And as a candidate Trump made some statements about Vladimir Putin that sounded (but really weren’t) complimentary.
Somehow we got from all this to an investigation that the Democrats and the media desperately want to be the new Watergate.
But the “Russia problem”? In any real sense? It doesn’t exist. The media think they can make something real just by refusing to stop talking about it. How many times have you heard them use expressions like “questions are swirling,” or “talk about this won’t go away.” What do these things even mean? They mean the media have decided to keep a topic alive by continuing to talk about it, regardless of whether there’s anything to talk about.
Unless and until we see some actual evidence, that’s all this Russia business is.
So does President Trump really have a problem? Is the persistent buzz in the Beltway a real matter he has to deal with, even there’s nothing to what they’re talking about? Sure, he has to answer questions about it, and it will probably affect his polls over the short term. But just because everyone is yacking about something doesn’t mean it’s real, especially when you know the facts and you know if it’s real or not.
I hear the Russia business irritates him. I don’t blame him for feeling that way. I would too. When you have serious work to do, it’s a complete waste of time and energy to be distracted by irrelevant nonsense.
But if you haven’t been paying attention, President Trump is focused on reforming the tax code, repealing and replacing ObamaCare, unleashing domestic energy resources, eliminating anti-business regulations, securing the border and getting the budget in line with reality. He’s doing all this, regardless of what the media and the political class are talking about.
So is the “Russia problem” real? Not really. The Trump agenda moves forward. I’d say it’s only real for the people who are obsessed with it. And one of these days they’re going to end up like the Bigfoot aficionados who find themselves forced to confront the heartbreaking reality:
There’s just nothing to it. And eventually you have to come back to reality, if you think you can handle that.
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