The Watergate investigation was to determine responsibility for a definite crime—the Watergate burglary and its cover-up. Its result was the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon under threat of impeachment.
The Whitewater investigation was a fishing expedition to find a crime for which President Bill Clinton could be blamed. Its result was a failed impeachment of Clinton for lying about his sex life.
The investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russians is more like the Whitewater investigation than the Watergate investigation.
What you have is reports of conversations between Russian diplomats and politicians and Trump supporters. It is not a crime to talk to a Russian. It is not even suspicious behavior. Talking to foreigners and diplomats is something that Washington politicians and officials do all the time.
The biggest harm the Russian red herring does for progressives is to give Donald Trump a free ride on creating a government of militarists and Wall Street plutocrats.
And his actual policies—tax cuts for the rich, increased spending for the military and austerity for everybody else, privatization of public education and infrastructure, covert attacks on Medicaid, free rein to polluters, attacks on science, climate change denial, and much more..
The other harm the red herring does is to pressure Trump to back down on one of the few good things he has advocated—backing off from military confrontation on Russia’s borders, with the very real risk of nuclear war.
So why don’t Democrats confront Trump on the real issues? Many are pro-war and pro-plutocrat themselves. Doing the things necessary to promote peace and prosperity would get them in trouble with their donors. It is easier to change the subject to Russia.
Also, many Republicans, even though they agree with Trump on issues, don’t think he has the ability or character to be President. It is easier for Democrats and these Republicans to form a consensus if they ignore the issues.
You may ask: If I think the red herring is a distraction from important issues, why don’t I write about those issues and ignore the red herring?
The reason is that the anti-Trump campaign is a way of getting us Americans to assume that there is something disloyal about speaking to Russians or wanting to avoid war with Russia.
I think military confrontation with Russia could trigger a nuclear war. A nuclear war would be a threat to the existence of the United States as a nation—an existential threat, which terrorism is not.
The red herring is a way of pressuring Trump to renounce his goal of making peace with Russia, or, if that fails, maybe replacing Trump with the more pro-war Mike Pence.
The Dirty Secret Behind the Jeff Sessions Mess by T.A. Frank for Vanity Fair.
Obama Ordered Abuse of Intelligence to Sabotage Trump’s Policies by Moon of Alabama.
A Budget Without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare by Fred Reed for Fred on Everything.
Trump Can Prove He’s Not a Russian Puppet by Blowing Up the World by Norman Solomon for Truthdig.
Principles for Progressives to Follow on Trump’s Ties to Russia by Richard Eskow for OurFuture.org.