Op­pos­ing view: Trump camp too dis­or­ga­nized to col­lude

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS OPINION - J.D. Gordon

Crim­i­nal­iza­tion of pol­icy dif­fer­ences has de­scended upon Amer­ica once again. The vi­cious­ness to­wards a sit­ting pres­i­dent and his team evokes mem­o­ries of Bill Clin­ton’s 1998 im­peach­ment. In the “witch hunt” Clin­ton was im­peached for some­thing un­re­lated to the Arkansas real es­tate deal which sparked the White­wa­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tion years ear­lier. Like a Soviet se­cret po­lice chief once said: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” In­deed.

We’re see­ing the same thing to­day. The Trump-Rus­sia col­lu­sion story is a hoax and “witch hunt” of this cen­tury.

Like typ­i­cal con­spir­acy the­o­ries, usu­ally the sim­plest ex­pla­na­tion is cor­rect. The cam­paign was chaotic, un­der­staffed and un­der­paid, if paid at all. We couldn’t col­lude amongst our­selves.

Of those who en­coun­tered Rus­sians, there is still zero ev­i­dence of cam­paign­re­lated wrong­do­ing. Clearly, po­lit­i­cal rook­ies in Trump’s in­ner cir­cle made some bad de­ci­sions — in­clud­ing de­nials of “any for­eign en­tity” con­tacts. Two novices free­lanc­ing on the far pe­riph­ery made even worse de­ci­sions. Two sea­soned po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tives in lead­er­ship roles may have com­mit­ted past fi­nan­cial crimes. Per­haps a top sur­ro­gate and his son did as well.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Trump and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions are vic­tims of colos­sal gotcha games. Thou­sands of peo­ple told them count­less things. Al­bert Ein­stein prob­a­bly couldn’t re­mem­ber every com­ment from rel­a­tive strangers a year ear­lier.

And my high crimes? Speak­ing to over 50 for­eign am­bas­sadors at a U.S. State De­part­ment-spon­sored con­fer­ence dur­ing the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion — in­clud­ing Rus­sia’s Sergei Kislyak. The week prior, I helped en­sure the GOP plat­form was not changed to un­der­mine the cam­paign’s stated po­si­tions — iron­i­cally main­tain­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s poli­cies on Rus­sia-Ukraine. Yet ever since, it’s been char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion by sloppy re­port­ing and de­lib­er­ate omis­sion.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his Red Scare didn’t end well. Those con­tin­u­ing his shame­ful legacy of lies and defama­tion will also face the con­se­quences.

J.D. Gordon, for­mer Pen­tagon spokesman and re­tired Navy Com­man­der, was a for­eign pol­icy ad­viser to pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump.

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