Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Scandal to Nowhere

In public relations you learn to judge a crisis or scandal by whether it has "legs" or not. Meaning will the drip by drip facts lead to a major scandal. Now we live in an era of fake news and fake scandals. The latest fake scandal that CNN and the other media outlets are pushing is this notion that there was "collaboration" or "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Does the scandal have legs? No, in fact there is not a shred of evidence of any collaboration. I can't understand why a candidate for President of the Untied States would think a leader of a foreign county could help his campaign. It doesn't make any sense.

But for 10 months CNN has found a way to speculate. And Democrats want an independent prosecutor to look into the matter. Perhaps an investigation can yield some evidence. Now normally you acquire evidence first and then open the investigation, but the hope of the left is based on the belief that an investigation might find some evidence.

The charge centers on the claim that Putin ordered the hacking of Hillary's email and released its contents to hurt her campaign and bolster the Trump campaign. But it is clear that the hacking occurred before Donald Trump was the GOP's nominee. Putin hacked Hillary's email without Trump's knowledge or request.

Democrats have made it clear that they hope this fake scandal will lead to the impeachment of President Trump. But the Constitution requires that a President can only be impeached if he commits high crimes and misdemeanors while in office.

On the campaign trail Trump did suggest that Putin should release all the Hillary emails he had, but that is hardly a high crime or misdemeanor. For most Americans such a release would be closer to transparency than a crime. Remember Hillary deleted some 30.000 emails which she didn't want the American people to see. Putin seemed to think the American people should have the chance to read all her emails.

Now since we have no evidence of "collaboration" I thought I would make up three examples and discuss whether any would equate to High Crimes and Misdemeanor's and lead to the goal of impeachment.

Now in any campaign there are phone banking events. That is where a group of volunteers get together and call voters and encourage them to vote for their candidate. And after the phone calls the campaign usually will provide pizza and coke for the volunteers. Now imagine if investigators found that on one such occasion Vladimir Putin paid for the Pizzas. Lets say in Scranton Pennsylvania investigators discover that the Dominoes pizza bill was paid for with Putin's credit card.

This would be evidence of collaboration, but could Trump be impeached for it? Would it rise to the level of a high crime and Misdemeanor? I doubt it. Putin and the Trump campaign may have violated FEC regulations, but it would not be enough to overturn an election.

Second scenario. Let's say Putin called Trump and suggested that Trump spend the last 3 days of the campaign in Ohio. And records showed that Trump did. Investigators find the Super 8 hotel bill for the days in question. Perhaps that would in imply collaboration between the two. Would it rise to the level of a high crime and Misdemeanor? No, if he wanted to take campaign advice from anyone including Putin he could.

Third scenario. Trump suggests publicly that there are a lot of Russian Americans in the panhandle of Florida. Hearing that Putin decides to help. Investigators discover that in the final 3 weeks of the campaign Putin spent a total of twenty hours making calls into Florida encouraging voters to pull the lever for Trump.

Would it rise to the level of a high crime and Misdemeanor on Trump's part. Probably not. If on his own volition Putin decided to make campaign calls to Florida he could. The discovery of such calls could be a political issue for Trump but not a criminal matter.

The left may think they have something. They really have nothing.

No comments: