Not that we didn’t know that Trump would go to the Putin summit, despite how the indictments brought by Mueller on Friday underscored the inappropriateness of Trump going forward with this meeting (especially if entered into it in a friendly spirit).
Not that any of us were betting that, if Trump did go ahead with the meeting, he’d go in there, as has been suggested he should, and demand extradition of the Putin minions whom Mueller has just indicted.
But even though we didn’t need any more clues about Trump’s lack of interest in protecting the nation, it’s interesting to note how Trump inadvertently confirmed our assumption that he’ll meet with Putin as his buddy. (Or as Putin’s puppet, or in any case something quite different from what the situation calls for from an American president obliged, as the nation’s commander-in-chief– to stand up to a hostile power that has attacked America.)
So here’s the clue, the way Trump once again gave away his game of collusion.
At a press statement in the U.K., Trump spoke to assure people that he will ask “the question” of Putin. Presumably some kind of “Did you do this?” kind of question. (Trump also added that he wasn’t expecting Putin to make any Perry-Mason-style sudden confession.)
But the thing is: there’s no question. No need to ask Putin anything, because the answer is already known– known for a year and a half from the unanimous finding of 17 American intelligence agencies, and known now in fleshed out great detail in the Mueller filings of indictments of Friday:
Beyond question, the Russians (the Russian military, to be more precise, under the command ultimately of Putin) attacked the heart of our democracy.
No President protecting America’s interest would be talking about questions. He’d be making demands.
So when Trump talks of asking “the question,” he reveals that — under pressure from the indictments being fresh in the news –he’s just pretending to take the issue seriously. He shows that in reality he’s no more concerned about the Russian attack on America than he ever was.
Whatever is going on between Putin and Trump in terms of a quid pro quo (American policy in exchange for Trump getting to be president) or Trump being controlled by some threat of blackmail, or something else, Trump’s course with Putin is about taking care of Trump’s needs at the clear expense of the nation.