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Not at all quiet for Trump on the Russia front

Eugene Robinson on

That is a "deal," and Trump's hunger to keep it alive may explain his reluctance to say anything critical about Putin. Or it may tell just part of the story.

The other part involves the whole question of collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign to meddle with the election and boost Trump's chances. Sater's boasts, by themselves, are hardly definitive. But of course there is the larger context, which includes the infamous meeting that Donald Trump Jr. convened in New York at which he hoped to receive dirt, courtesy of the Russian government, on Hillary Clinton.

Thus far we have the president's son, his son-in-law Jared Kushner (who was at that meeting), his then-campaign manager Paul Manafort (also at the meeting), and now his personal lawyer all seemingly eager for Russian help in the election. Who in the campaign wasn't willing to collude?

All of this is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller and the various congressional committees that are conducting investigations. Some have suggested that Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio, the unrepentant "birther" and racial profiler, might have been a message to Trump associates facing heat from prosecutors: Hang tough and don't worry, you'll get pardons.

But there was more bad news for the president: Politico reported that Mueller is now cooperating and sharing information with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Presidents can only issue pardons for federal offenses, not state crimes. Uh-oh.

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Eugene Robinson's email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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