From the Left



Relax, President Trump only behaves like a Russian agent

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

What a weekend. It began with President Donald Trump walking free after special counsel Robert Mueller turned in his report on Russian tampering with our elections and ended with the arrest of anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti.

The coincidence of those two events offers intriguing evidence in my view that, barring some earthly conspiracy, the Almighty has a sense of humor.

Unfortunately in this case, the laugh is on those of us who thought with undue certainty that Mueller's investigation of alleged obstruction of justice and collusion by Trump and his presidential campaign with Russians would conclusively confirm some collusion.

The laugh also is on Avenatti, whose flamboyant legal representation of his now-former client, the stripper and porn director Stormy Daniels, made him a Trump nemesis and media star with enough popularity among anti-Trumpists to reveal that he was considering a presidential run.

That option probably closed with his arrest Monday on multiple charges, including an alleged attempt to extort more than $20 million from sports apparel giant Nike. He expects to be exonerated, he said later. Either way, I don't think we'll be hearing anymore talk of his possible presidential run.

But on the Trump side, we may never hear the end of collusion suspicions about Trump and counter-charges against Democrats and the news-commentary media, especially as long as the full Mueller report is kept secret in the attorney general's office.


Nevertheless, after Trump was briefed on Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary of the Russia investigation, Trump displayed his usual fondness for modesty and understatement.

Just kidding. Trump actually inflated the Mueller report's partial exoneration as "a complete and total exoneration."

That's half-true. On the charge of collusion, Barr's summary quotes Mueller as saying no evidence of conspiracy or coordination with Russians by Trump's campaign was found, but that on the obstruction of justice charge, "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Nevertheless, Trump and other Republican leaders are calling for apologies and congressional hearings into the sources and evolution of the collusion accusation. No word about apologies from Trump and other Republicans for the two years in which many of them denigrated Mueller, a registered Republican, as a partisan hack.


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