For a while we had the luxury of thinking it might be fake news. The media kept getting the story wrong. The related stories kept being retracted, changed, or otherwise walked back. Then a funny thing happened. Donald Trump Jr. decided to release the whole email thread. Turns out he really did meet with a Russian. The email exchange makes clear that the Russian government wanted to help his dad and had information damaging to Hillary Clinton.
Freeze. Stop right there. If you are a Clinton supporter you are now outraged. If you are a Trump supporter you may think so? But if you are a Trump supporter, what would you think if the Clintons had done this? The reality is the first reaction should be that this is not good. It may not be illegal, but getting Russian help to beat an American presidential candidate is way more Manchurian candidate than anything Obama did.
At some point country has to come first. Even though I doubt what Donald Trump Jr. did was illegal, his first reaction should have been to call the FBI, not to think he could help his dad. When Russians show up bearing gifts, everyone should be cautious.
That now applies to the Democrats, too. The Russians are conveniently bearing gifts now to the Democrats. Just as the Russia story started to die, suddenly the Russian lawyer comes forward and delivers a masterful performance. The Trump team did want Russian help, she told the American press. But the Russians had none to give she claimed. It seems the Russians have played both sides. Remember, according to the Obama administration, the Russian goal was not to steal the election for Donald Trump, but to undermine American trust in our democratic system so that we would turn in against each other. It is working.
As I write this there are allegations that President Trump knew about the meeting and authorized it. Like with the original story, we will have to wait several days to see if that is actually true. The problem for the White House is that they spent months claiming there was never, ever a meeting with anyone ever from Russia and now the president’s own son outs himself.
On top of all that we have another related situation to deal with. It seems 75 percent of the White House spends 80 percent of their time trying to destroy other members of the White House. I have it on good authority, from a White House source no less, that this story got dragged before the press by people in Trump’s orbit. They are sabotaging each other and the president’s own ship of state over feuds and jealousy.
The American people decided they wanted a non-professional politician to be president of the United States. They would allow him to make mistakes that professionals would not make. They would be patient with him. Unfortunately, the amateurish nature and vindictive pettiness of the Trump administration is starting to sink that ship. The Russians knew who they could dupe and played them masterfully.
It is not a coincidence that the vice president has started having his own meetings with business leaders, congressional leaders and others. Better for him to distance himself from the coming fall out. I still think the odds are that President Trump serves out his term in office. But I increasingly think hell be constantly embattled as he slogs through a mess of his own design. His White House appears more and more to be the Augean Stables.
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.