What we know to be true, and what we do about it

The Tribune (SLO) - - Opinion - BY ANN MCFEATTERS

This we know is true: Rus­sia at­tacked the United States in 2016 and 2018, spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to en­sure that Don­ald Trump won the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, try­ing to un­der­mine U.S. democ­racy and co-opt­ing lo­cal elec­tions. We know this from for­eign gov­ern­ments and all 17 U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

This we know is true: Trump as pres­i­dent tried to end sanc­tions on Rus­sia for in­vad­ing Crimea, for its crimes in Ukraine, for hack­ing U.S. elec­tions. When asked di­rectly if he be­lieved U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies about the ex­tent of Rus­sian hack­ing or Rus­sian dic­ta­tor Vladimir Putin’s de­nial, Trump chose Putin.

This we know is true: Trump has spent years try­ing to gain a busi­ness foothold in Rus­sia, hop­ing, even­tu­ally to build a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar ho­tel in Moscow. He hosted the Miss Uni­verse pageant in Rus­sia. A sub­stan­tial num­ber of his top cam­paign aides are go­ing to prison or try­ing to avoid it be­cause they lied about the ex­tent of their con­tacts with Rus­sians dur­ing the elec­tion. Two dozen Rus­sians have been in­dicted for in­ter­fer­ing with U.S. elec­tions.

This we know is true: Spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller re­fused to draw a con­clu­sion on whether Trump ob­structed in fir­ing FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey who was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ex­tent of Rus­sian interference.

This we know is true: Trump’s cur­rent at­tor­ney gen­eral, Robert Barr, who wrote a memo say­ing Mueller had no right to in­ves­ti­gate Trump, im­prob­a­bly in­sists the Con­sti­tu­tion places no limit on a pres­i­dent’s con­duct.

Ei­ther Mueller con­cluded there was not enough in­con­tro­vert­ible ev­i­dence to in­dict a sit­ting pres­i­dent be­cause Trump’s cam­paign did not ac­tively help Rus­sia, or Mueller de­cided that U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice pol­icy that a sit­ting pres­i­dent may not be in­dicted is cor­rect. Trump is wrong to in­sist that he was fully ex­on­er­ated. Pros­e­cu­tors do not ex­on­er­ate or con­vict.

So where do we go from here?

We stop pay­ing breath­less at­ten­tion to Trump’s ridicu­lous tweets, such as his bo­gus claim he was “to­tally, com­pletely” ex­on­er­ated by Mueller.

We wait pa­tiently while House Democrats hold me­thod­i­cal, fac­tual and civil hear­ings about in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the trav­es­ties Trump has brought to the pres­i­dency.

We pay at­ten­tion to Repub­li­cans who refuse to see Trump with stars in their eyes, who aren’t ter­ri­fied of him and are will­ing to speak truth to power.

We do all we can to help our fel­low Amer­i­cans dev­as­tated by floods, hur­ri­canes, droughts, wild­fires, snow, storms and all man­ner of cli­mat­e­change-fu­eled dis­as­ters.

We stop giv­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to Trump’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. We give money to causes that are do­ing the hard, te­dious work of mak­ing Amer­ica bet­ter.

We protest, loudly, the cruel Trump plans to take health in­sur­ance away from 11 mil­lion Amer­i­cans and in­sur­ance for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions away from 100 mil­lion more.

We re­joice in our open so­ci­ety, our right to free speech and free­dom to crit­i­cize our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers with­out ret­ri­bu­tion from them.

We un­der­stand there is no such thing as fake news. Ei­ther it’s news and it is true or it is fic­tion and pro­pa­ganda. Facts are facts. Lies are lies. Pur­vey­ors of truth are not our en­e­mies.

This we know to be true: This is not Trump’s coun­try. This is not Rus­sia’s coun­try. It is ours, and we can keep it.

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